Archive for December, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 392, December 19, 2014, Story 1: Race Racketeers Shakedown SONY — Reverend Rat Al Sharpton of The Alinsky A Team On The Case — National Action Network Payday — Remember What Happened To Al Capone Reverend Rat — Obama Says SONY Made A Mistake — SONY Responds — Cyber Warfare Is An Act of War Not A Criminal Act — CIA Take Out Anyone? — Lights Out — Videos

Posted on December 19, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Crime, Disasters, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Politics, Radio, Regulation, Scandals, Social Science, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: Race Racketeers Shakedown SONY —  Reverend Rat Al Sharpton of The Alinsky A Team On The Case  — National Action Network Payday —  Remember What Happened To Al Capone Reverend Rat — Obama Says SONY Made A Mistake — SONY Responds — Cyber Warfare Is An Act of War Not A Criminal Act — CIA Take Out Anyone? — Lights Out — Videos

THE-INTERVIEW-Poster-2

460344448-movie-posters-for-the-premiere-of-the-film

Justice Dept Finds FBI Abuse Of Patriot Act Provision North-Korea-Sony-Pictures-hack-attackdownloadheres-why-us-authorities-think-north-korea-hacked-sony north-korea-issued-a-mysterious-message-about-the-hack-on-sony-picturesUS-Drone-Strike

1-Drone-attack

U.S. Blames North Korea for Hack Attack Against Sony

White House considers response to Sony attack

Bureau 121: North Korea has secret cyberwar network

Obama Criticizes Sony + Hackers Push the Blackmail + Another Movie Cancelled – The Know

Obama vows response to ‘N Korea cyber attack’

PRIME TIME NEWS 22:00 FBI blames N. Korea for Sony hacking

How did North Korea pull off cyberattack?

Bill Whittle: Lights Out! The Chaos When Our Grid Goes Down

KoreaAtNightunited states

Greta: Sony chief Pascal pathetic for meeting with Sharpton

Amy Pascal fell for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s bait and met with him for racially insensitive emails leaked during the Sony hack attack. But that doesn’t solve anything
Watch the video about On Air, Entertainment, On The Record, Personality, Greta Van Susteren, Movies,

The Interview Official Trailer (2014) – Seth Rogen, James Franco Movie HD

“Yes, I think they made a mistake.” President Obama on Sony Hack (C-SPAN)

Sony CEO: We did not make a mistake

Sony Pictures execs apologize for slamming Jolie, Obama

Bill Whittle THE NEW BARBARISM, Obama, Wric Holder, Al Sharpton

Andrew Klavan: Black Leader Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton is a Dirty Rat…

Barack Obama is a CRIMINAL (Still Lying About Benghazi)…

I’m Sick of North Korea…

Barack Obama’s Master, Saul Alinsky (Bradlee Dean)

Mark Levin – Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Part 1

Mark Levin – Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Part 2

Al Sharpton — Hollywood’s Like the Rockies … The Higher Up It Goes, the Whiter it Looks

Al Sharpton, Sony Co-chief Meet Over Racist Emails

Al Sharpton wades into Sony hacking scandal

Al Capone Downfall

Al Capone sentenced to 11 years in jail for tax evasion HD Stock Footage

“Team America: World Police” – Official Trailer

Team America the best scene

Team America: World Police (6/10) Movie CLIP – I’m So Ronery (2004) HD

 

Sony Responds To President Obama’s Criticism: “We Had No Choice,” Still Hope To Release ‘The Interview’

by Jen Yamato

 

Following a public rebuke from President Obama for caving to terrorist demands, Sony Pictures restated their commitment to getting The Interviewseen by audiences. Here’s the studio’s official statement, on the heels of CEO Michael Lynton’s defensive appearance on CNN:

Obama: Sony Made Mistake Pulling ‘The Interview’

“Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.

Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”

Related: George Clooney On Hollywood’s Failure To Back Sony In Cyberterror Attack

LyntonPREVIOUS, 12:44 PM: “We have notcaved,” Sony CEO Michael Lynton said today, defending his company from President Obama’s comment that the studio had “made a mistake” in bowing to terrorist demands over the North Korea-skewering The Interview. “We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.”

The Interview featuredLynton today explained that when theaters started dropping out, “we had no alternative but to not proceed with the theatrical release on the 25th of December. And that’s all we did.” After the top five exhibitor chains bowed out this week, the studio said on Wednesday they would not be releasing the film.

“The unfortunate part is… The President, the press, and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened. We do not own movie theaters. We cannot decide what will be played in movie theaters,” Lynton told CNN.

“I think (Sony) made a mistake,” President Obama said earlier on Friday in a press conference addressing the Sony hacking attack, which the FBI said the North Korean government was responsible for. “That’s not what America is about… I wish they’d spoken to me first. I would have told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks’.”

Related: Everything On The Sony Hack So Far

In his CNN interview set to air in full on Anderson Cooper’s AC360 at 5PM PT/8PM ET, Lynton made a point of contradicting Obama’s statement that Sony had not asked for his help.

“I did reach out,” said Lynton, who said Sony indeed sought assistance from the President. “We definitely spoke to a senior advisor in the White House to talk about the situation. The White House was certainly aware of the situation.”

Interview premiere posterIn less than four weeks the Sony hacking has devastated the studio, exposing embarrassing and damaging emails, trade secrets, and the personal information of thousands of current and former employees – all supposedly over the political comedy, in which two bumbling journalists are asked to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Would Lynton make the movie again if he had the chance to do this all over?

“Yeah, I would make the movie again,” he said. “I think, you know, for the same reasons we made it in the first place – it was a funny comedy, it served as political satire. I think we would have made the movie again. Knowing what I know now, we might have, uh, done some things slightly differently, but I think a lot of events have overtaken us in a way that we had no control over the facts.”

Related: Sony Has “No Further Release Plans” For ‘The Interview’ On VOD Or Elsewhere

Lynton says Sony still wants The Interview to be seen and is considering their options. Those include DVD and Blu-ray home video, YouTube, VOD, and other digital platforms but “there has not been one major VOD distributor, one major e-commerce site that has stepped forward and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us,” he said.

“We would still like the public to see this movie, absolutely.”

http://deadline.com/2014/12/sony-president-obama-the-interview-response-1201330799/

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 391-392 

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

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The Pronk Pops Show 391, December 18, 2014, Story 1: U.S. Response To North Korea Hack of SONY Computers Will Be Proportional — CIA Drone Attack On The Table? — All Options On The Table — Go To The Movies and Watch The Attack — Cyber Warfare is An Act of War and Not A Criminal Act — Videos

Posted on December 19, 2014. Filed under: Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, College, Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, Law, Media, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Security, Software, Success, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: U.S. Response To North Korea Hack of SONY Computers Will Be Proportional — CIA Drone Attack On The Table? — All Options On The Table — Go To The Movies and Watch The Attack — Cyber Warfare is An Act of War and Not A Criminal Act — Videos

computer hacked hacked

sony

“Yes, I think they made a mistake.” President Obama on Sony Hack (C-SPAN)

U.S. Considering ‘Proportional Response’ to Sony Hack

Sony Attack Sets Table For Unprecedented U.S. Response

North Korea Says Its Supporters May Be Behind Sony Attack

Sony Paralyzed By Hackers ★ Attacked By North Korea?

Sony Hack An Inside Job? North Korea Involved?

Sony Pictures cyberattack: North Korea does not deny involvement

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// ]]>The Interview Official Trailer (2014) – Seth Rogen, James Franco Movie HD – YouTube

The Interview Official Trailer (2014) –

Seth Rogen, James Franco Movie HD

Photo

Workers removed a banner for “The Interview” from a billboard on Thursday in Hollywood, Calif., the day after Sony canceled the release of the comedy that features the fictional assassination of the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-un.CreditRobyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A White House official said on Thursday that the administration was considering a “proportional response” against those who hacked into Sony Pictures computers, a retaliation that could thrust the United States into a direct confrontation with North Korea.

Officials would not describe what such a response might entail, but they stressed that the episode had become a major concern at the upper levels of government, including President Obama, who lately has been discussing the issue with aides every day.

“This is something that’s being treated as a serious national security matter,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor.”

United States officials have privately concluded that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the hacking even as Sony canceled the release of a comedy that features the fictional assassination of the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-un, and that apparently prompted the cyberattack. Mr. Earnest would not confirm the North Korean role at his daily briefing but he did not deny it either, saying that investigators would ultimately report on their findings.

Mr. Earnest said the government did not tell Sony to pull the film, “The Interview,” and expressed support for the studio’s right to make it, even if it would offend some viewers.

“The United States stands squarely on the side of artists and companies that want to express themselves,” he said, “and we believe that that kind of artistic expression is worthy of expression and is not something that should be subjected to intimidation just because you happen to disagree with the views.”

But he was vague about what kind of action the United States might take in response to the cyberattack and even hinted that it may be of a character that was hard to publicly detect. He added that the president and his team would take into consideration that its authors might be trying to stir a response to get attention, a calculation often imputed by Washington to North Korea’s mercurial leadership.

“They would be mindful of the fact that we need a proportional response, and also mindful of the fact that sophisticated actors, when they carry out actions like this, are oftentimes — not always, but often — seeking to provoke a response from the United States of America,” Mr. Earnest said. “They may believe that a response from us in one fashion or another would be advantageous to them. So we want to be mindful of that.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/world/asia/north-korea-confrontation-possible-in-response-to-sony-cyberattack.html?_r=0

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 391 

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

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The Pronk Pops Show 390, December 17, 2014, Story 1: The Republican Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) Candidate Running For President — Another Big Government Spending Progressive — Jeb Bush — Rubio, Romney and Christie Out — Conservatives, Libertarians and Tea Party Support Cruz, Paul, and Walker — Bush Is Another Republican PEE Loser — Videos

Posted on December 18, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Disasters, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pro Life, Radio, Resources, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

 Story 1: The Republican Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) Candidate Running For President — Another Big Government Spending Progressive — Jeb Bush — Rubio, Romney and Christie Out — Conservatives, Libertarians and Tea Party Support Cruz, Paul, and Walker — Bush Is Another Republican PEE  Loser — Videos

Jeb Bush exploring 2016 presidential run

Jeb Bush to “actively explore” 2016 run for White House

Jeb Bush Hurts Almost Everybody in 2016 Field: Halperin

On Tuesday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced that he will “actively explore” a bid for the White House. While Bush has not yet formed a presidential exploratory committee, he’s “running” for president by any practical definition of the term. If he proves to perform poorly in the “invisible primary,” failing to gather support among donors and influential Republicans, he could withdraw later on, before the first votes are cast in Iowa.

What might those influential Republicans think of Bush? He has sometimes been critical of his fellow Republicans, havingquestioned the GOP’s partisanship and lack of tolerance for dissenting viewpoints. He has also staked out moderate policy positions on some issues, particularly immigration and education reform.

But is Bush in the mold of Jon Huntsman and Rudy Giuliani — candidates who generated lots of buzz among the East Coast media elite but proved too moderate for the Republican base? Or is he more like the past two Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, who also were accused of being too moderate but won their party’s nomination?

The short answer: We’ll see, and we’ll want to watch for news of Republicans who endorse Bush’s candidacy or criticize it. But he’s probably more like Romney or McCain than like Huntsman or Giuliani.

Last year, we constructed ideological scores for a set of plausible 2016 Republican candidates based on a combination of three statistical indices: DW-Nominate scores (which are based on a candidate’s voting record in Congress), CFscores (based on who donates to a candidate) and OnTheIssues.org scores (based on public statements made by the candidate). None of these methods is perfect — they disagree on how to classify the libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul, for example — but they give us some empirical basis to make comparisons. The closer a candidate’s score is to zero under this method, the more moderate he is. And the closer he is to 100, the more conservative. (Liberal candidates would be listed with negative scores.) Here’s how Bush compares:

silver-datalab-jeb-1

Bush scores at a 37 on this scale, similar to Romney and McCain, each of whom scored a 39. He’s much more conservative than Huntsman, who rates at a 17.

Still, Bush is more like his father, George H.W. Bush, who rates as a 33, than his brother George W. Bush, who scores a 46. And the Republican Party has moved to the right since both Poppy and Dubya were elected. The average Republican member in the 2013-14 Congress rated a 51 on this scale, more in line with potential candidates Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee.

So as a rough cut, Bush is not especially moderate by the standard of recent GOP nominees. But the gap has nevertheless widened between Bush and the rest of his party.

On the two issues where he has most outspokenly deviated from his party, immigration and education, his policy positions are not far removed from those Republican voters declare in polls. But these issues may also take on symbolic significance beyond their immediate policy implications, signaling to Republican voters that a candidate is too moderate or too much a part of the establishment. Earlier this year, my colleague Harry Enten found Republican senators who have adopted Bush’s moderate stance on immigration have been especially likely to receive primary challenges.

And Bush has been more like Hunstman than Romney in explicitly critiquing the direction of his party. That may appeal to general-election voters, but it probably isn’t helpful to him in a Republican primary.

Still, parties have shown some historical tendency to nominate successively more moderate candidates the longer they’ve been out of the White House. That could help Bush. While he’s somewhat to the left of the average Republican politician, there’s also less competition on that side of the GOP spectrum; most Republican senators and governors first elected during the past several election cycles have been quite conservative.

That’s not to say he has the field all to himself. Romney has sometimes been considered a 2016 candidate. So has New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who rates as being far more moderate than Bush on our scale). New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has less of a national profile, but also overlaps ideologically with Bush.

Perhaps more important is the relatively early date of Bush’s announcement. If he builds an early advantage in the “invisible primary,” he could deter some of these candidates from running and make it harder for them to gain momentum if they do. The early announcement will also give Bush more time to calibrate his positions while under comparatively little scrutiny.

There will almost certainly be some credible candidates to Bush’s right, like Ryan or Rubio or Bobby Jindal or Scott Walker. Roughly 31 percent of Republican primary voters describe themselves as moderate or liberal, potentially enough to leave Bush as one of two or three remaining viable nominees after the first few states vote in 2016. That’s when he’d have to do his best campaigning — by pivoting to his right, or by convincing Republicans that his electability outweighs ideological purity. Bush may face more vigorous competition on his right in 2016 than Romney did in the likes of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2012. And to the extent that Republican voters have shifted slightly further to the right over the past four to eight years, that could make his task harder at the margins.

Betting markets put Bush’s chances of winning the Republican nomination at 20 percent to 25 percent, which seems as reasonable an estimate as any. You can get there by assuming there’s a 50 percent chance that he survives the “invisible primary” and the early-voting states intact and a 40 percent to 50 percent chance that he wins the nomination if he does. It’s a strategy that worked well enough for McCain and Romney.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/jeb-bush-president-republican-primary-2016/

 

Don’t assume Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee in 2016

By Chris Cillizza

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush hands out holiday food baskets to those in need outside the Little Havana offices of CAMACOL, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, on Dec. 17 in Miami. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The New York Times tweeted this on Wednesday night:
The piece it linked to — by Nate Cohn, a great talent, who I once tried to hire! –is somewhat more circumspect than the tweet about Jeb Bush’s chances at the Republican presidential nomination but does make the case that, if past is prologue, there is a proven blueprint for Bush to be the nominee. Here’s the key graph:

It’s a path that starts by consolidating the establishment wing of the party in the invisible primary. It ends by winning a protracted fight against an underfunded conservative opponent who can’t break through in the delegate-rich blue states that are often needed to win the party’s nomination, even though the party struggles to win them in presidential elections.

Cohn is absolutely right. A look back at recent contested Republican presidential primary fights suggests that the race typically boils down to one candidate from the establishment lane and one from the tea party/activist conservative lane — with the establishment candidate winning. As he notes, in 2012 Mitt Romney was the clear establishment favorite — especially after Chris Christie said “no,” again, in the fall of 2011 — and wound up beating back a challenge from surprise conservative lane pick Rick Santorum. Four years earlier, John McCain beat out Romney for the establishment mantle and then bested conservative lane pick Mike Huckabee for the nomination. In 2000, the establishment pick also was a sort-of conservative pick (George W. Bush) and he wound up beating McCain, running as sort of the un-candidate, for the nomination.
(Worth noting: The Republican Party of 2000 is not the Republican Party of today or anything close to it. Back then, the tea party didn’t exist and social conservatives were far more powerful. Also, there was a path to a tonal moderate to win the nomination. That is no longer possible — see Rudy Giuliani in 2008. Much more on that below.)

One thing that I think Cohn undervalues in his calculations regarding Jeb Bush’s chances are a) how much the other candidates running matter to the final outcome and b) how much the GOP has changed even from four years ago.

On the first point, I think that the potential 2016 field is significantly stronger — in both the establishment and conservative lanes — than it was in 2008 or 2012. Ted Cruz, say what you will about him, is a gifted speaker and debater who has proven over the past two years an ability to build a national following. The establishment lane is chock full (or could be chock full) of talented and well-known pols: Bush, Christie, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, to name four. Neither the 2008 mor 2012 field had as much talent.

You might notice I left Rand Paul off that list. That was on purpose. Because the senator from Kentucky is the bridge between points number one and two. He is a candidate who is unlike anyone in either the 2008 or 2012 field in that he is a sort of “cause” candidate — people believe deeply in his libertarian message the same way they did for his father in each of the past two races — and also a plausible winner in that he probably can raise the more than $100 million necessary for the primary and doesn’t scare the hell out of the establishment the way his dad did or Cruz does.

Which gets me to how the Republican Party has changed — and why simply casting the race as the establishment vs. the tea party may be an oversimplification. Yes, the “establishment” lane still very much exists — composed, primarily, of the professional political class, major donors — especially on the East Coast — and fiscal conservatives. But assuming that the “other” lane is the tea party misses some of the nuance that exists within the party. Cruz is a tea partyer, for sure, and one who unites the fiscal and social ends of that movement. But, while Paul is identified at times with the tea party (and has embraced such labeling when it’s politically beneficial) he actually is far more closely aligned with the growing libertarian strain within the GOP.

The GOP is less bifurcated — establishment/social conservatives, establishment/tea party — than in any of the past four presidential campaigns, largely because of the rise of these libertarians but also the result, in some measure, to the waning influence of the tea party. (Its influence may wax again but for the moment, not.)

That reality creates what I think is the most likely scenario in the fight for the GOP nomination in 2016: It won’t be a battle between, say, Bush and whoever the tea party puts up. It is more likely to be a battle between whoever the establishment nominates and Paul, whose hybrid appeal to libertarians, tea partyers and a slice of the fiscally conservative establishment is unlike anyone else in the potential field. And, unlike past conservative lane choices who have never had the fundraising or organization heft to challenge the establishment pick, Paul just might. His activity in the 2016 race suggests he is not Huckabee or Santorum on those fronts.

That’s not to say Paul will be the nominee. But it is to say that the idea that Bush can unite the establishment and, as a result, be the odds-on favorite as the nominee is based on an outdated read of the current state of the party.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/18/dont-assume-jeb-bush-will-be-the-republican-nominee-in-2016/

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 383-390

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The Pronk Pops Show 389, December 16, 2014, Story 1: Breaking News City of Peshawar, Pakistan, Army Run School Attacked, Resulted in Killing of 141 (132 Students) and 200 Wounded or Injured By 7 Taliban Terrorist Wearing Suicide Vests — Videos

Posted on December 16, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitutional Law, Disasters, Education, Employment, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Religion, Security, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: Breaking News City of Peshawar, Pakistan, Army Run School Attacked, Resulted in Killing of 141 (132 Students) and 200 Wounded or Injured By 7 Taliban Terrorist Wearing Suicide Vests — Videos

Pakistan-School-Attacked-in-Peshawar-650x430pakistan_army_school_attack_624mapTaliban_attack_school_in_PakistanTaliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (6)pakistan-school-attack-2Pakistan-Terror-Attackpeshawar-attack-world-prays-after-violent-school-massacre-pakistan-landovstudentsTaliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (1)Taliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (4)Taliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (3)Taliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (5)Taliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-children (2)pakistan-taliban-attack-schoolTaliban-attack-on-Pakistan-school-kills-141-mostly-childrencnadles11

Pakistan Army school Terrorist Attack on Army School in Peshawar Video | Taliban attack school

army school ATTACK Pakistan: Peshawar army school ATTACK kills 21, 500 held hostage Video of attack Terrorist Attack on Army School in Peshawar Pakistan Video | Taliban attack school Pakistan
At least 126 people have been killed, including 84 children, after Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, in the worst ever militant attack to hit the troubled region.

It was reported that one suicide bomber blew himself up in a room containing 60 children and a teacher was set on fire in front of pupils, with the children forced to watch.

The attack started with the gunmen entering the 500-pupil school – which has students aged 10 to 18 – in the early hours.

The jihadists shot their way into the building and went from classroom to classroom, shooting at random.

Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen. Eye-witnesses described how students cowered under desks as dead bodies were strewn along corridors.

Around 160 children, aged 13 and 14, are being held hostage, with four gunmen still inside. A police inspector said they had trapped the terrorists in the principal’s office. Many of the soldiers involved in the rescue operation are trying to save their own children.

During the last hour there were seven blasts. Two of them are said to be suicide blasts, a police superintendent said, the rest were grenade blasts.

‘We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,’ said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. ‘We want them to feel the pain.’

Pakistan school attack: more than 130 dead in Taliban attack, most of them children – TALIBAN

Taliban School Attack Peshawar Pakistan School Attack 126 killed Take Hostages

World leaders condemn Pakistan school attack

Nobel prize winner Malala ‘heartbroken’ by Pakistan school attack

145+ children, killed in Pakistani Punjabi ISI proxies,Taliban high school attack

Peshawar school attack: Pakistani Taliban kills at least 135 people, most of them young children

Taliban School Attack Peshawar (VIDEO) Pakistan Children Shot Dead in Army School

Raw: Militants Attack Pakistan School

Pakistani officials say siege at school over

By RIAZ KHAN and REBECCA SANTANA

In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday and killed 141 people — almost all of them students — before government troops ended the siege.

The massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks. Pakistan’s teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai — herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting — said she was “heartbroken” by the bloodshed.

Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it “un-Islamic.”

If the Pakistani Taliban extremists had hoped the attack would cause the government to ease off its military offensive that began in June in the country’s tribal region, it appeared to have the opposite effect. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that — along with U.S. drone strikes — has targeted the militants.

“The fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it,” Sharif said. “We will take account of each and every drop of our children’s blood.”

Taliban fighters have struggled to maintain their potency in the face of the military operation. They vowed a wave of violence in response to the operation, but until Tuesday, there has only been one major attack by a splinter group near the Pakistan-India border in November. Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group still could inflict horrific carnage.

The rampage at the Army Public School and College began in the morning when seven militants scaled a back wall using a ladder, said Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman. When they reached an auditorium where students had gathered for an event, they opened fire.

A 14-year-old, Mehran Khan, said about 400 students were in the hall when the gunmen broke through the doors and started shooting. They shot one of the teachers in the head and then set her on fire and shouted “God is great!” as she screamed, added Khan, who survived by playing dead.

From there, they went to classrooms and other parts of the school.

“Their sole purpose, it seems, was to kill those innocent kids. That’s what they did,” Bajwa said. Of the 141 people slain before government troops ended the assault eight hours later, 132 were children and nine were staff members. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.

The seven attackers, wearing vests of explosives, all died in the eight-hour assault. It was not immediately clear if they were all killed by the soldiers or whether they blew themselves up, he said.

The wounded — some still wearing their green school blazers — flooded into hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children. By evening, funeral services were already being held for many of the victims as clerics announced the deaths over mosque loudspeakers.

The government declared three days of mourning for what appeared to be Pakistan’s deadliest since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people.

“My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” wailed one parent, Tahir Ali, as he came to the hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son, Abdullah. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”

One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of eighth, ninth and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of army medics when the violence became real. Panic broke out when the shooting began.

“I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,” he said, speaking from his hospital bed.

Another student, Amir Mateen, said they locked the door from the inside when they heard the shooting, but gunmen blasted through anyway and opened fire.

Responding to the attack, armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school, and a military helicopter circled overhead.

A little more than 1,000 students and staff were registered at the school, which is part of a network run by the military, although the surrounding area is not heavily fortified. The student body is made up of both children of military personnel as well as civilians.

Most of the students appeared to be civilians rather than children of army staff, said Javed Khan, a government official. Analysts said the militants likely targeted the school because of its military connections.

“It’s a kind of a message that ‘we can also kill your children,'” said Pakistani analyst Zahid Hussain.

In a statement to reporters, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retribution for the military’s operation in nearby North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region where the group’s fighters largely have been based.

“We targeted their kids so that they could know how it feels when they hit our kids,” Khurasani said. He said the attackers were advised not to target “underage” children but did not elaborate on what that meant.

In its offensive, the military said it would go after all militant groups operating in the region. Security officials and civilians feared retribution by militants, but Pakistan has been relatively calm.

The attack raised the issue of whether this was the last gasp of a militant group crippled by a government offensive or whether the militants could regroup.

Hussain, the Pakistani analyst, called the attack an “act of desperation.”

The violence will throw public support behind the campaign in North Waziristan, he said. It also shows that the Pakistani Taliban still maintains a strong intelligence network and remains a threat.

The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. U.S. President Barack Obama said the “terrorists have once again showed their depravity.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry added: “The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Pakistan’s longtime regional rival, called it “a senseless act of unspeakable brutality.”

“My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences,” Modi said in a series of tweeted statements.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was a “an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn.”

The violence recalled the attack on Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman outside her school in the Swat Valley for daring to speak up about girls’ rights. She survived to become a global advocate for girls’ education and received her Nobel Peace Prize last week, but has not returned to Pakistan in the two years since the shooting out of security concerns.

“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” the 17-year-old said. “I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts.”

http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-taliban-attack-military-school-kill-2-072153239.html

Death ‘All Around Me’: Victims Relive Pakistan School Massacre

BY MUSHTAQ YUSUFZAI, WAJAHAT S. KHAN, F. BRINLEY BRUTON AND ALASTAIR JAMIESON

SHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan was plunged into mourning Tuesday after Taliban militants in suicide vests laid siege to a school, massacring more than 130 children during eight hours of sheer terror. In total, 145 people were killed, officials said.

Those who survived emerged with stories of horror — of gunmen shooting indiscriminately into crowds or killing youngsters one by one.

“One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain,” Shahrukh Khan, 15, who was shot in both legs but survived, told Reuters. “One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound.

“All around me my friends were lying injured and dead.”

A military source told NBC News that the attackers were wearing police uniforms and suicide vests.

“They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom,” he said. “They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.”

The government of Pakistan declared three days of mourning for the lives lost.

Peshawar Father: ‘They Can’t Find my Son, Dead or Alive’

Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman, told NBC News that at least 132 children were killed in the attack, along with 10 staff from the school — including the principal. Seven militants were killed and seven special forces soldiers were injured.

“They didn’t take any hostages initially and started firing in the hall,” Bajwa also told a press conference. He told NBC News that they had enough ammunition and rations to have kept up the siege for days.

At a hospital near the school, blood stained the floors. Crying relatives roamed the wards and searched operating rooms, desperately searching for their sons and daughters.

One room at at the Central Military hospital was filled with teenagers who had bullet wounds, shrapnel embedded in their flesh and burns.

A doctor, Brig. Muhammad Waqar, said his son attends the school and he watched with dread as victim after victim was brought in

“I was waiting for him to turn up dead in an ambulance,” he said. “I wanted to grab a gun and go to the school.”

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, which Pakistani officials said appeared to be aimed at the children of senior military personnel.

Uniformed militants struck shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) when about 1,000 students — in grades one through 10 — and teachers were believed to be inside.

“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.

“The gunmen entered class by class and shot some kids one by one,” one student who was in the Army Public School in Peshawar at the time told local media.

As the siege continued and Pakistani security forces battled to stop the assault, five “heavy” explosions were heard from the school at around 5 a.m. ET. Bombs planted by the attackers slowed rescue efforts, a military official said, and the massacre was not declared over until after 9 a.m. ET.

Dozens of Children Killed as Taliban Gunmen Storm Peshawar School

Wounded student Abdullah Jamal told The Associated Press he was getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of Pakistani army medics when the violence began for real. When the shooting started, Jamal said nobody knew what was going on in the first few seconds.

“Then I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,” he said, speaking from his hospital bed. He had been shot in the leg.

Hours after all the children had been removed from the school, soldiers angrily roamed the campus.

“It’s interesting that they came through this graveyard,” said one officer, pointing to a cemetery adjacent to the school. “It’s sad. They stepped over the graves of the dead to create more death.”

President Barack Obama slammed the attack and said America stands with the people of Pakistan and its government’s efforts to fight terrorism.

“By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity,” he said in a statement.

As the carnage played out in Peshawar, Pakistan’s military carried out 10 airstrikes in the Khyber region, between Peshawar and the Afghanistan border, based on “actionable intelligence” according to a spokesman.

The Pakistani Taliban has vowed to attack government targets as it fights off a huge army operation in the country’s tribal region.

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters his group was responsible for the attack. “Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel,” he said.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/pakistan-school-massacre/death-all-around-me-victims-relive-pakistan-school-massacre-n269011

 

 

Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill[1] and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.

Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

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The Pronk Pops Show 388, December 15, 2014, Story 1: Breaking News — Two Hostages and Refugee Iranian Muslim Terrorist, Man Haron Monis, Killed in Sydney, Australia, 4 Injured, After 16 Hour Siege — Videos

Posted on December 15, 2014. Filed under: American History, Assault, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Culture, European History, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Homicide, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, National Security Agency, Obama, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Scandals, Security, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Breaking News — Two Hostages and Refugee Iranian Muslim Terrorist, Man Haron Monis, Killed in Sydney, Australia, 4 Injured, After 16 Hour Siege — Videos

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Australia: Sydney cafe gunman “infatuated with extremism” says Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke from Canberra on Tuesday, following the Sydney hostage siege which ended after 17 hours at a Lindt chocolate cafe at Martin Place. Abbott stated the “lone gunman” was dead after a standoff with police, and that “tragically” two hostages were killed. A New South Wales police officer was also wounded by a gunshot to the face.

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It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent).

Even Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
Moreover, Australia and the United States — where no gun-ban exists — both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America’s rate dropped 31.7 percent.
During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women.

When you hand over your firearms,this is what you can expect!

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Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill[1] and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.

Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

5 Deadliest Mass Shootings in the USA

THREE DEAD IN BLOODY END TO SIEGE: Two hostages dead and Muslim gunman killed as police storm Sydney cafe with assault rifles and stun grenades moments after hostages fled

  • Police stormed the cafe in central Sydney where a gunman held hostages for more than 16 hours
  • Police moved in firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades as hostages were seen fleeing in terror from cafe
  • Live TV footage showed hostages running frantically from the cafe at shortly after 2 am in small groups 
  • It came hours after Man Haron Monis was named as the gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney café
  • Iranian refugee, 50, was charged with accessory in the murder of his ex-wife
  • He was also facing multiple charges of sexual assault while claiming to be a ‘spiritual healer’ 
  • Monis received 300 community service hours for sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers
  • The siege follows an unsuccessful attempt to have these charges overturned in the High Court on Friday 
  • He forced hostages to hold up a black flag with white writing in Arabic, an emblem linked to terror groups 

By Emily Crane and Daniel Piotrowski and Sarah Dean and Louise Cheer and Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia and Leesa Smith and Heather Mcnab

An Iranian-born gunman was killed, two of his hostages are dead and four injured after a dramatic and chaotic firefight brought an end to a terrorist siege at a Sydney cafe.

Teams of heavily armed police swooped on the Lindt Chocolat cafe in a hail of gunfire, ending a tense stand-off where Man Haron Monis had been holding around 17 people captive.

Police issued a statement describing the event as a confrontation with a 50-year man, who they said died after shots were fired. The man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital, police said.

A man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, also died, the police said in their statement.

Of the injured, two women have non life-threatening injuries and a police officer was injured by gunshot pellets, the police said. Another woman has a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

Live television coverage earlier showed at least two people being taken away from the scene on stretchers, while one hostage was seen being carried out of the building. She appeared to be in pain and blood flowed down her legs.

Nine News reported that eleven hostages had been accounted for after the police raid, which occurred shortly after 2am.

An injured hostage is carried away on a stretcher by paramedics after police stormed the Lindt Chocolat cafe in central Sydney where around 20 people were being held by a gunman during a 17-hour siege. One hostage and the gunman were reportedly killed in the firefight

A hostage feared dead is carried out of the cafe after they were reportedly shot by the hostage-taker, prompting police to storm the building

A hostage feared dead is carried out of the cafe after they were reportedly shot by the hostage-taker, prompting police to storm the building

A female hostage is carried out and away from the cafe - clearly in distress with blood pouring down the legs

Man Haron Monis bound in chains in protest of his charges of using the postal service for menace

Man Haron Monis bound in chains in protest of his charges of using the postal service for menace

With terror etched on their faces, two female hostages run into the arms of armed police at the back of the building

With terror etched on their faces, two female hostages run into the arms of armed police at the back of the building

Siege over: Police raided the cafe in central Sydney early Tuesday, bringing a dramatic end to a 17-hour siefe. The raid came moments after some hostages fled the Lindt cafe after more than 16

Siege over: Police raided the cafe in central Sydney early Tuesday, bringing a dramatic end to a 17-hour siefe. The raid came moments after some hostages fled the Lindt cafe after more than 16

Petrified: Two heavily armed police officers assist a hostage away from Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in central Sydney

Petrified: Two heavily armed police officers assist a hostage away from Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in central Sydney

Police officers wearing armoured suits walk with a robot towards Lindt Cafe in Martin Place to check for booby traps after the siege ended

Police officers wearing armoured suits walk with a robot towards Lindt Cafe in Martin Place to check for booby traps after the siege ended

Seven Network reporter Chris Reason, who was watching the siege unfold from his newsroom across the road, said some of the hostages broke free after Monis attempted to usher the hostages from one side of the café to the other.

One man emerged from the cafe with his hands up and lay down on the ground in front of police. Seconds later, a group of at least five hostages escaped from the cafe.

It is believed that Monis then fired his shotgun, reportedly killing one of his captives. This appeared to be the trigger for tactical police to move in.

Within seconds, they had blasted through the cafe door and opened fire with automatic weapons, also hurling what appeared to be stun grenades. The sounds of explosions echoed through the city, and the flashes of rifle fire and the grenades lit up the area.

The gunfight lasted less than two minutes, and more hostages emerged after the police raid.

As the scene calmed down, a bomb disposal robot was seen entering the cafe.

Self-proclaimed Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis, a 49-year-old man living in southwest Sydney, came to Australia from Iran as a refugee in 1996.

He first came to the attention of authorities when he started sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers between 2007 and 2009, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The siege in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday reportedly followed an unsuccessful effort to have a conviction related to penning those letters overturned in the High Court on Friday, according to The Age.

Monis received 300 community service hours and a two-year good behaviour bond for the correspondence, which he claims were his version of sympathy cards and sent with the help from his girlfriend Amirah Droudis.

Man Haron Monis - also known as Sheik Haron - has been named as the gunman holding up to 15 people hostage in a Sydney café

Man Haron Monis – also known as Sheik Haron – has been named as the gunman holding up to 15 people hostage in a Sydney café

Heavily armed police remained posted around the cafe as night fell and the hostage drama continued into the night

Heavily armed police remained posted around the cafe as night fell and the hostage drama continued into the night. Inside, the remaining hostages were brought food and were observed by witnesses as looking ‘pained’

The hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013. The man’s current partner was charged with murder but they both received bail as the case was deemed too weak.

He was arrested in April this year for the sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman in 2002 after luring her to his clinic following claims he was as an expert in astrology, meditation and black magic, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Monis was slapped with an additional 40 charges in October after more victims came forward alleging incidents took place in his spiritual healing clinic in Station Street in Wentworthville, western Sydney.

High-profile Sydney Muslim leader Jamal Rifi told Daily Mail Australia he knew of the gunman but not on a personal level.

‘What he expressed did not reflect the Muslim community which is why he is not part of the larger Muslim community and that’s why he does not belong to a mainstream mosque,’ he said.

‘He wanted his name known and may want some gratification from the reaction to this’

The hostages were seized by the gunman on Monday morning after he stormed the Sydney cafe. Several captives made an early courageous break for freedom but it was thought that about 15 hostages remained in the cafe through the night.

During the stand-off with police, three videos were released on YouTube, believed to be of three female hostages putting the gunman’s demands to police. Those demands included the police bringing an ISIS flag to the cafe and insisting on a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Daily Mail Australia decided not to air the disturbing footage which was taken down during the night. The gunman’s name was released soon after midnight, after senior police gave their approval to various media outlets.

The seige in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday follows an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges overturned linked to the hate mail he sent to the families of dead Australian soldiersin the High Court on Friday

The seige in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday follows an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges overturned linked to the hate mail he sent to the families of dead Australian soldiersin the High Court on Friday

The drama began unfolding Monday morning when the gunman entered the cafe, located in one of busiest plazas in Sydney’s central business district, and pulled a shotgun from a blue carry bag and disabled the doors.

Soon afterwards, hostages were seen with their hands pressed against the windows holding up the Islamic Shahada flag. It is an emblem of extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria. The man was described as wearing a headband with Arabic writing on it.

Scores of police rushed to the scene, evacuating surrounding buildings and closing off part of the city. The scene sent shockwaves across Australia, where terror attacks have rarely touched home soil.

Paramilitary police armed with automatic rifles spent Monday surrounding the cafe, with senior commanders saying they were prepared to take a patient approach to the siege, hoping to end it through negotiation with the gunman.

A total of five hostages, including barista Elly Chen, managed to escape the cafe by scrambling out a side door about seven hours into the drama. Fear etched on their faces, they ran into the arms of waiting police.

It is understood the hostages escaped from the cafe, rather than being released by their captor. One former male hostage was taken to nearby St Vincent’s Hospital, in Sydney’s inner suburbs, and is being treated for a pre-existing condition.

The gunman flew into a rage when he realised some of his captives had escaped.

‘The gunman could be seen from here getting extremely agitated, shouting at remaining hostages,’ tweeted journalist Chris Reason.

The light inside the building went off through the night but police would not reveal whether it was a law enforcement or hostage-taker tactic. Mr Reason said he could see the gunman rotating the hostages through positions in the store’s window.

‘From inside Martin Place we can see the faces of hostages – pained, strained, eyes red and raw,’ he recounted. Food and water was also being delivered to the prisoners from the cafe’s back kitchens.

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Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife - who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013

Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013

A young female employee came running out of the Lindt cafe shortly before 5pm and was sheltered by waiting police

Another distraught female worker, cafe barista Elly Chen, bolted from the shop before taking cover with police

A total of five hostages have now escaped Lindt cafe – it’s believed they escaped and were not released

One of the young female employees was visibly upset as she grabbed hold of armed police

One of the young female employees was visibly upset as she grabbed hold of armed police

'Omg Elly!! So glad you're OK': Ms Chen, pictured, was the fifth hostage, scrambling from the cafe with her hands in the air

‘Omg Elly!! So glad you’re OK’: Ms Chen, pictured, was the fifth hostage, scrambling from the cafe with her hands in the air

Freedom: Ms Chen was helped to a cover immediately after she burst from the Lindt Cafe store

Freedom: Ms Chen was helped to a cover immediately after she burst from the Lindt Cafe store

Daily Mail Australia understands a 25-year-old female fashion industry worker and two female baristas aged in their 30s were among that number.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said overnight that police would do whatever it takes for the situation to be peacefully resolved.

Sydney was eerily quiet on Monday night. Office buildings went into lockdown earlier this morning, Martin Place train station – a central thoroughfare for workers – was shuttered. Events at the Opera House, such as a performance of the Nutcracker, were cancelled as the city icon was evacuated.

Hundreds of heavily armed police, operating under unprecedented Task Force Pioneer counter-terrorism protocols, were scouring the city, completely isolating the darkened cafe.

Two terrified men were spotted fleeing the Lindt cafe in Martin Place shortly before 3.45pm

Two terrified men were spotted fleeing the Lindt cafe in Martin Place shortly before 3.45pm

Two men, believed to be customers, ran around a corner and hid behind heavily armed police after six hours inside the cafe

Two men, believed to be customers, ran around a corner and hid behind heavily armed police after six hours inside the cafe

A male employee wearing an apron frantically ran out of a side fire exit and hid behind police

A male employee wearing an apron frantically ran out of a side fire exit and hid behind police

BThe three men are believed to have escaped from the cafe after six hours

Many remain: Around 10 hostages are thought to remain inside the Lindt chocolate cafe 

Many remain: Around 10 hostages are thought to remain inside the Lindt chocolate cafe

On Monday morning, columnist Chris Kenny, who was in the shop about 20 minutes before the siege began, said he understood the automatic glass sliding doors had been disabled after the gunman stormed the store.

‘I did speak to a couple of people who saw a bit more of this unfold than I did,’ he said. ‘One woman said she tried to go into the shop just after I came out with my takeaway coffee but the doors wouldn’t open.

‘So obviously whoever is doing this has disabled the automatic glass sliding doors to stop anyone else going in and she said immediately she could see there was a weapon.

‘The woman was quite frantic but very clear what she was telling (the police).

‘I know the faces of the people who are sitting there enjoying a morning coffee.’

2GB radio host Ray Hadley said he had three tense telephone conversations with one of the hostages inside the cafe and he could hear the gunman giving demands.

The hostage asked to be put to air live following the instructions of the gunman. However, Hadley refused saying he didn’t have the expertise to deal with the situation.

‘There are some people who are not well. They’ve been in there for five hours, they’re distraught,’ he said.

‘I’m not in a position to comply with requests that have been made, I can’t.

‘The media can’t play a role in negotiating with people purporting to be from Islamic State holding hostages in a cafe in Sydney. This is the job of authorities to solve htis problem.

‘They want us to say things that we simply can’t say.’

Witnesses described the chaotic scenes in the legal, business and media centre as it was shut down and scores of heavily armed police surrounded the Lindt building.

All of the chocolate chain’s stores around Sydney were closed following the incident, in an act of camaraderie.

Dozens of people are being held hostage by a terrorist who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window

Dozens of people are being held hostage by a terrorist who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window

A man believed to be one of the hostage-takers was filmed wearing a black headband covered in Arabic inside the cafe

A man believed to be one of the hostage-takers was filmed wearing a black headband covered in Arabic inside the cafe

Terrified customers and employees were among those standing with their hands against the window at the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Terrified customers and employees were among those standing with their hands against the window at the Lindt cafe in Sydney

A hostage could be seen pressing their hands up against the window of the cafe

A hostage could be seen pressing their hands up against the window of the cafe

One blonde-haired hostage was pictured inside the cafe through the glass doors standing in the middle of the shop

One blonde-haired hostage was pictured inside the cafe through the glass doors standing in the middle of the shop

SYDNEY SIEGE TIMELINE

9.45am – A number of hostages held inside a cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place with an Islamic flag pressed up against a window.

10.14am – Police establish a 150m exclusion zone around the cafe with specialist police outside the shop.

10.55am – The flag being displayed appears to be the Shahada flag which has been adopted by extremist groups such as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

11.40am – Channel Seven air footage of alleged armed offender. He is middle aged with a salt and pepper beard, wearing a headband with Islamic writing.

11.51am – NSW Police try to make contact with the people inside the cafe. They advise workers who are trapped in buildings inside the police cordon to stay away from windows.

1.30pm – NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says they had moved to a ‘footing’ similar to dealing with a terrorist attack.

1.55pm – NSW Premier Mike Baird says Sydney is being tested today, but ‘we will remain a democratic society’

2.45pm – Lindt Chocolat Cafe Australia thank the public for their support via Facebook, saying they are ‘deeply concerned over this serious incident’

3.37pm – Three male hostages run out of the cafe.

3.50pm – NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn confirms negotiators have spoken with a gunman.

5.00pm – Two female Lindt workers leave the cafe.

Police kept their guns raised on the fire exit after an employee unexpectedly ran from the cafe

Police kept their guns raised on the fire exit after an employee unexpectedly ran from the cafe

Police are stationed behind a ballistic shield with weapons drawn outside the fire door where a hostage escaped from

Police are stationed behind a ballistic shield with weapons drawn outside the fire door where a hostage escaped from

Police officers were spotted climbing through the first floor window above the Lindt cafe to help evacuate those inside

Police officers were spotted climbing through the first floor window above the Lindt cafe to help evacuate those inside

Scores of police have surrounded the cafe in Martin Place amid claims the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives

Scores of police have surrounded the cafe in Martin Place amid claims the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Police heavily armed with weapons have covering all corners of Martin Place 

Police heavily armed with weapons have covering all corners of Martin Place

Thousands of workers have been evacuated from the buildings in Martin Place and have been directed to another area

Thousands of workers have been evacuated from the buildings in Martin Place and have been directed to another area

People in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place have been directed to remain indoors and away from open windows

People in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place have been directed to remain indoors and away from open windows

Emergency services have shut down the area surrounding Martin Place as they continue the operation 

Emergency services have shut down the area surrounding Martin Place as they continue the operation

A Lindt cafe employee, who was due to start her shift just an hour after the Sydney hostage drama unfolded, said she was ‘shaking with fear’ when the gunman arrived.

Kathryn Chee, a chocolatier at the cafe said she meant to turn up early for her 11am shift because the business had been so busy in the lead up to Christmas.

‘It shakes me to the bone,’ Ms Chee told the ABC. She said her colleagues who are now hostages are ‘people who I hold like another family’.

‘It’s good I’m not there but I wish I could be there for them. That could be me standing there.’

Ms Chee said the young woman seen in footage holding an Islamic flag pressed against the window had ‘a look of sheer horror on her face’.

She says the woman is a thoughtful colleague who bakes treats for people’s birthdays.

Ms Chee said the male hostage seen in the TV footage is a funny guy who jokes with the customers.

Police have handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe with reports an officer has hit foot on what appears to be a small black handgun

Police have handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe with reports an officer has hit foot on what appears to be a small black handgun

Hostages: People could be seen with their hands pressed against the window of the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Hostages: People could be seen with their hands pressed against the window of the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Police have shut down Martin Place train station and office buildings in the area have been evacuated

Police have shut down Martin Place train station and office buildings in the area have been evacuated

Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the incident as ‘deeply concerning’ but said police were well equipped to respond

Officials have also evacuated the Opera House after reports of a suspicious device

Other areas of Sydney are feeling a heavy police presence as the siege at Martin Place continues

Other areas of Sydney are feeling a heavy police presence as the siege at Martin Place continues

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

The Seven Network newsroom, which is in a building opposite the cafe, was among the first to be evacuated, immediately followed by the nearby Westpac building and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Surrounding buildings soon followed or went into lockdown.

Even the city’s courts, including the venerable Downing Centre building, were sealed for the day, with police quickly vacating the areas.

Rosemary Healion, who works at Frederick Jordan Chambers, told Daily Mail Australia on Monday morning that ‘a couple hundred’ of her colleagues were inside at the time of the attack.

‘My colleagues are still in there. They’re trying to get them out now,’ Ms Healion told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Healion said her office was on the ground floor, the same one as Lindt and they had been pushed behind the office’s reception area.

‘I’m so so worried as you would be. I was about to walk into the cafe. I get coffee there all the time.’

Window cleaner, David Wilson, managed to get a birds-eye-view of police swarming into Martin Place as he and a colleague cleaned the windows of a building across from Lindt.

‘We were looking around and there were cops running around and guns drawn. Some people came out, they looked like just coffee drinkers and that was about all we saw,’ Mr Wilson said, adding that his colleague’s first response was to get out his phone and start filming.

Rodrigo Neryt was arriving at Channel Seven for his first day of work experience when he heard screaming out the front of the cafe.

‘I was at the corner when everything started. I saw people yelling and screaming and two police cars arriving at the scene. I saw what looked like a black ISIS flag and they were holding it up’.

Armed police evacuated office staff next to the Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon

Armed police evacuated office staff next to the Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon

Police helped direct employees who were in lockdown in a building near the cafe under siege

Police helped direct employees who were in lockdown in a building near the cafe under siege

Police in white jumpsuits were helping people climb from the offices on the level above the Lindt cafe

Women help an elderly lady as they are evacuated by NSW Police from Martin Place

Women help an elderly lady as they are evacuated by NSW Police from Martin Place

Three women were pictured rushing through Philip Street past armed police as they fled Martin Place

Three women were pictured rushing through Philip Street past armed police as they fled Martin Place

It is unclear how many people are involved in the siege in a Lindt cafe in Martin Place but people could be seen with their hands pressed against the windows (second window)

It is unclear how many people are involved in the siege in a Lindt cafe in Martin Place but people could be seen with their hands pressed against the windows (second window)

At least two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site

At least two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site

WHAT IS THE SHAHADA FLAG?

Held up to a window by terrified hostages, a black flag covered in white Arabic was the first sign that the Martin Place siege could be linked to extremist Islam.

Witnesses initially believed that it was the standard of ISIS. However, close examination revealed it was in fact the Shahada flag, bearing the words ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’

It is used by the extremist group, Jabhat al Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria.

But it has meaning for all Muslims, in that the Shahada is the Islamic Creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is recited by Muslims when they pray.

The flag displayed at the Lindt cafe

The flag displayed at the Lindt cafe

John Edwards works across the road from the cafe on the ninth floor of 53 Martin Place.

He said every floor of the building had been cleared about 11.15am.

‘We were evacuated out of the building from the basement,’ Mr Edwards told Daily Mail Australia.

‘All we were told by security was to get out.’

Lindt Australia issued a statement about the siege on its Facebook page.

‘We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families,’ they said.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Martin Place was the planned location of a terror plot. It was alleged in September that Omarjan Azari, the 22-year-old Sydney man arrested on terrorism charges, was planning a public beheading there.

The alleged terror plot, mentioned in a conversation between now deceased Australian terrorism recruiter in Syria, Mohammad Ali Barylei and Azari, involved selecting a member of the public at random, beheading them and then covering their body in a flag.

The whole incident was going to be filmed, and then used as propaganda for the Islamic State cause. Federal prosecutors said the alleged terror plot was ‘clearly designed to shock, horror and terrify the community’

Police Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said that Azari had made a threat which involved a ‘random selection of persons to execute’ during a telephone conversation with Baryalei.

Azari was arrested on September 18 and charged with preparing for an act of terrorism.

He is due in court this week for a bail application.

Thousands of office workers have relocated from Martin Place to Sydney's Hyde Park

Thousands of office workers have relocated from Martin Place to Sydney’s Hyde Park

Patients from the nearby Sydney Hospital patients were also evacuated alongside office workers

Patients from the nearby Sydney Hospital patients were also evacuated alongside office workers

Police are guarding the area in Hyde Park where people are congregating after evacuating 

Police are guarding the area in Hyde Park where people are congregating after evacuating

People evacuated from offices in Martin Place have been told to congregate in Hyde Park

People evacuated from offices in Martin Place have been told to congregate in Hyde Park

Martin Place is one of Sydney's busiest streets and is at the centre of the CBD

Martin Place is one of Sydney’s busiest streets and is at the centre of the CBD

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873855/Gunman-takes-hostages-cafe-Sydney.html

Lindt Chocolat Cafe hostage drama in Martin Place, Sydney

December 16, 2014 – 3:01AM

Daniel Fallon

Siege hostages ‘our number one priority’

“We are doing all we can to set you free” is the message from the Premier and Police Commissioner to those held hostage.

1:24am: The man who is holding more than a dozen people hostage and placed Sydney’s CBD into lockdown is no stranger to the NSW police or the judiciary.

Self-described cleric, Man Haron Monis, 50, first came to attention of police when he penned poisonous letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers.

You can read the full story on Man Haron Monis here.

SIege gunman: Man Haron Monis.SIege gunman: Man Haron Monis. Photo: Nick Ralston

1:21am: As we enter day two of the hostage drama at Martin Place, we have kicked off a new live article for our readers. We’ll be switching off this live blog, and our reporters will be keeping you informed in our new blog.

You can keep up to date with all our coverage throughout Tuesday here. 

12:37am: The hostage siege at Lindt Cafe in Martin Place has been given prominence on the front pages of newspapers in the United States where there is great sensitivity to any terrorist-related attacks. The siege in Sydney follows ‘the lone-wolf’ attack on Canada’s war memorial and parliament in Ottawa by an Islamic State sympathiser.

12:12am: Police continue to keep watch and maintain their positions outside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe.

A NSW Tactical Operations Group police officer maintains his position at the scene in Martin Place, Sydney.A NSW Tactical Operations Group police officer maintains his position at the scene in Martin Place, Sydney. Photo: Andrew Meares

11:54pm yesterday:

Muslim leaders brace for backlash

A coalition of Muslim groups has issued a statement expressing their “utter shock and horror” over the siege at Martin Place and “urging everyone to stay calm”.

“We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instil fear and terror into their hearts,” the statement says.

Read the full story by Anne Davies and Tim Elliott here: Muslim leaders brace for backlash

11:48pm yesterday:

Overreaction from fear is a measure of a terrorist’s success

Peter Hartcher comments on the siege that has captured media attention around the world:

“Why do political activists turn to terrorism? Australia gave the world a lesson today.

They turn to terrorism to win attention, to cause fear, and to use that fear to produce an overreaction. That overreaction is the measure of their success.”

Read the full story here: Overreaction from fear is a measure of a terrorist’s success

11:28pm yesterday: Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended the public for its patience during the ongoing operation.

“You, the community, made our job much easier than it could have been,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

“We only hope that co-operation and understanding continues tomorrow as we work to bring about a peaceful resolution to this situation.”

Bus services will run according to regular schedules, although some routes will be diverted around the affected area.

Train services will operate normally although Martin Place station remains closed.

People intending to travel to the Sydney CBD, away from the cordoned off area, are advised to go ahead with their plans.

Those affected by the operation are advised to contact their employers, monitor media reports and seek advice via the NSW Police website and social media platforms.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended members of the public for the cooperation they have shown police during the siege in Martin Place.NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended members of the public for the cooperation they have shown police during the siege in Martin Place. Photo: Les Smith

11:16pm yesterday Daniel Fallon:

Public urged to go about its business as usual: police

Police are urging the public to go about their business as usual tomorrow.

Officers will continue to maintain a perimeter around a cafe at the corner of Martin Place and Elizabeth streets overnight where a man is holding a number of hostages.

Traffic and Highway Patrol police have cordoned-off parts of Hunter, Macquarie, King and Elizabeth streets.

  • Elizabeth Street between Hunter and King Streets – closed to all traffic
  • Elizabeth Street – northbound between Market and King Street – closed to all traffic
  • Phillip Street – between King and Hunter Streets – closed to all traffic
  • King Street – between Elizabeth and Phillip Streets – closed to all traffic
  • Macquarie Street – between St James Road and Hunter Street – closed to all traffic

10:50pm yesterday: Elly Chen, one of the employees who fled the Lindt Cafe at about 5pm on Monday, was a talented student and athlete, according to her social media accounts.

Friends and relatives flooded her Facebook page with messages of relief that she had made it from the building.

A waitress, believed to be Elly Chen, flees Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon.A waitress, believed to be Elly Chen, flees Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon. Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters

10:21pm yesterday: The hostages inside the cafe have now been there for more than 12 hours.

Here is a timeline of events from earlier in the day.

9.44am: Man seen entering Lindt Cafe, carrying blue sports bag with gun inside.

9.45am: Police called to scene.

9:50am: Police clear area and cordon off Martin Place.

10am: Cafe staff and customers pressed against windows with hands raised.

10:02am: Hostages forced to hold up flag with Islamic script.

10:45am: Sydney Opera House evacuated.

11:20am: Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces national security committee of cabinet convened for briefings.

About 1pm: Talkback host Ray Hadley claims to have spoken to a hostage who spoke under instruction of a gunman.

1:53pm: Premier Mike Baird says “we are being tested in Sydney today”.

1:58pm: NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says “at least one” armed offender is holding an undisclosed number of hostages.

3:35pm: Three people – one staff member and two others – seen running from cafe.

4:04pm: NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn says the number of hostages is fewer than 30

4:59pm: Two female employees of Lindt run from cafe.

8:20pm: Premier Baird and Police Commissioner Scipione foreshadow extension of hostage crisis into Tuesday. Scipione says the Lindt Cafe is the only building in the city police are now interested in.

Martin Place Siege exclusion zoneMartin Place Siege exclusion zone Photo: NSW government

10:11pm yesterday: This is a map of the exclusion zone around Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district, distributed by the NSW Government.

Premier Mike Baird has requested those who work inside the zone stay at home tomorrow.

10:06pm yesterday: Here is the Herald’s editorial on today’s siege, running online and in tomorrow’s newspaper.

The next test is to ensure we see this sad event for what it is – and what it is not. While there were a number of instances on Monday when Sydneysiders and the media jumped to conclusions about the link between this event and  other incidents around the city, in most cases people were rightfully reluctant to jump to conclusions about the motivations of the gunman or the extent of his plans.

Nonetheless, a temptation lingers in the community to catastrophise about such criminal behaviour; to believe that because we have endured one siege from at least one deranged individual, we are at risk of many more. Rationally, that is highly unlikely.

9:58pm yesterday:

A recap on the siege in Martin Place

  • Hours after five hostages escaped from the Lindt cafe, one of the remaining women switched off the lights inside.
  • Premier Mike Baird has asked Sydneysiders to go about their day as usual on Tuesday
  • There is an exclusion zone near the cafe, bordered by Pitt, Elizabeth, Hunter and King Streets.
  • NSW Police have activated Task Force Pioneer, which they use in terrorism related incidents.
  • A coalition of Muslim groups has expressed their shock and horror at the siege. They have urged calm.
  • Sydneysiders have united under the hashtag #illridewithyou offering company to Muslims wearing religious garments as they travel in the city.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill[1] and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.

Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

  • Map: Where Is ‘Open Carry’ Legal?

    • By RANIMOLLA

    As people on both sides of the debate regarding open carry—the practice of carrying firearms in plain view—have been turning up the heat, more companies are being forced to take a side.

    Gun-rights advocates see the practice as a way to normalize gun ownership and deter crime, while gun-control activists believe carrying guns in stores and restaurants is disruptive to the public and encourages violence.

    Recently, TargetStarbucks and Chipotle have asked their patrons not to bring their guns. After petitions by gun-control groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Kroger said it would uphold local and state laws in the 34 states it operates.

    Carrying a firearm in a concealed manner is legal in all states, but open carry has more restrictions, especially for handguns. Though federal law doesn’t restrict the open carrying of handguns in public, several states—including California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and Texas—ban the practice, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Thirteen states require a special permit or license to open carry. The remaining 31 states don’t require one. The laws are different for long guns, which are commonly associated with hunting.

    In a Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 photo, Rick Ector carries his Smith and Wesson 9mm as he prepares to pump gas in Detroit. Ector is pushing to make Detroit an “open carry” city and organizes public dinners and picnics where each legally licensed attendee wears a handgun. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Why is open carry causing so much of a stir when concealed carry is so widespread?
    “Concealed carry—you don’t know who’s doing it and it doesn’t cause as much concern as open carry,” said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “One is a danger you know, and one is a danger you don’t know.”
    According to Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action,”The National Rifle Association strongly supports conceal carry and open carry, and we will continue to lead the charge to protect and expand the right to self defense for law abiding Americans throughout the country.”

  • http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/map-where-is-open-carry-legal-1715/

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The Pronk Pops Show 387, December 12, 2014, Story 1: Corrupt Collectivist Congressional Conduct — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Budget Binge — Oligarchs Overdose — Tyranny of The Two-Party System — Mutually Assured Destruction Of Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — The Professional Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Pee On The American People and The United States Constitution and Republic — Throw The Bums Out — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

 

The Pronk Pops Show 387, December 12, 2014, Story 1: Corrupt Collectivist Congressional Conduct — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD)  Budget Binge — Oligarchs Overdose — Tyranny of The Two-Party System — Mutually Assured Destruction Of Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — The Professional Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Pee On The American People and The United States Constitution and Republic — Throw The Bums Out — Videos

Oligarchy

a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.

Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Pee on

American People, United States Constitution and Republic

obama_boehner13firstdraft-harry-reiddemocratic leadership130129_mitch_mcconnell

enemies of the people

 

 

Media Blasted Ted Cruz For Balking At Budget Deal But Lets Liz Warren Slide – Cavuto

Bachmann not backing down on last day in Congress

Budget Deal Passes House – Michelle Bachmann & Steve King – Hannity

Wall Street Launches Assault On Your Money

Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision

Elizabeth Warren Rips Wall Street Giveaway

5 HORRIBLE Things in the New Budget Deal

Senate Releases CIA Torture Report & Bipartisan Budget Deal

US House passes critical budget bill

US House passes $1.1tn budget bill to avert shutdown

House passes vital $1.1 trillion budget deal, legislation now moves to Senate

What Wall Street won in budget deal

To critics, the changes to banking regulations lawmakers slipped into a spending bill is nothing more than a giveaway to banks. And the losers will be taxpayers, who’ll be on the hook for future bailouts.

But to Wall Street, the change is a common-sense revision to a regulation that went too far in the first place.

To hear bankers and their lobbyists say it, the regulation that Congress is poised to wipe away would make the banking system more risky — not less risky.

At the center of the dispute are arcane financial instruments known as loan swaps. Those are contracts between banks used to spread the risk in their loans and trades.

A rule that would have limited the use of those swaps by commercial banks (think Citigroup (C) or JPMorgan Chase (JPM)) was essentially stripped out of the law during budget negotiations in recent days.

The move sparked outrage, mostly from progressives but also from some conservatives.

“This provision is all about goosing the profits of the big banks,” said Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. The change in the law “will simply confirm the view of the American people that the system is rigged.”

Swaps were ground zero of the 2008 meltdown of the global financial system. That’s because banks had bundled risky mortgage loans and sold them as bonds. And to make the bonds more appetizing to investors, swaps were created as a form of insurance that the bonds would pay as promised.

So when the housing bubble burst and so many people couldn’t afford their mortgage payments anymore, those bonds blew up. And the banks and firms like AIG (AIG) that held the suddenly-toxic swaps contracts needed bailouts.

Related: Congress right back where it started

Fast forward to 2009 and 2010,when Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. The idea was to prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown.

One provision of Dodd-Frank to protect taxpayers was a rule saying major banks couldn’t use their normal commercial banking operation to create, buy or trade these kinds of swap contracts. Instead those contracts had to be held by separate entities whose assets were not insured by the Federal Reserve or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

“If Wall Street banks want to gamble, Congress should force them to pay for their losses, and not put the taxpayers on the hook for another bailout,” said a letter signed this week by both one of the most conservative senators, David Vitter, and one of the most liberal, Sherrod Brown.

Even though Dodd-Frank was signed into law more than four years ago, the rules to limit banks gambling with taxpayer-backed money are not yet completely in place. That opened the door for a $6 billion dollar loss by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) due to actions of a trader known as the “London Whale.

But as part of a bill to avert a government shutdown, the banking industry won a roll-back of the rule. Banks insists they use swaps in order to limit their risks, not make them more risky. Without swaps, it will be the Main Street customers, not Wall Street, who will be hurt, they argued.

“Hedging and mitigating risk are not only good business practices, but are important tools that banks use to help borrowing customers hedge their own business risks,” said the statement James Ballentine, the head of congressional relations for the American Bankers Association.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/12/investing/congress-wall-street/

Congress narrowly averts government shutdown

By Deirdre Walsh, Ted Barrett and Alexandra Jaffe, CNN

Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown that was slated to take effect at midnight. The House approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps the government open through September. The Senate agreed to a two-day extension of current funding levels to give itself time to approve the House bill.

After a tumultuous day, the House passed the spending bill in a 219-206 vote.

Early Friday morning, President Barack Obama signed the deadline extension to midnight Saturday.

The Senate will likely vote on the House bill on Friday, though that could slip. President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law once it passes the Senate.

The bill would keep most of the government running through the end of September, but only funds the Department of Homeland Security through February, when Republicans have vowed to pass new restrictions on the agency responsible for carrying out Obama’s executive orders on immigration.wn

The bill garnered significantly more support from Republicans than Democrats. Those who did support it may have headed pleas from White House officials — including Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — pressing them to advance the spending bill.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also urged Democratic lawmakers during a late-Thursday caucus meeting to vote for the bill because they would lose much of their leverage on future spending bills, lawmakers at the meeting said.

Democratic Rep. John Larson of Connecticut said the lobbying from the President had helped move things along with the caucus.

“Obviously, I think the President also getting on the phone — some working the respective caucuses — was influential,” he told CNN.

But many progressives were outraged at the bill’s passage and suggested it would undermine Democrats’ effectiveness down the line.

“What I see is our Democratic Party — in a weakened position and trying to protect our constituents and the people. And at the same time having to make some terrible choices,” said California Rep. Maxine Waters, a key Democratic opponent of the bill, after the vote.

She said the vote was an example of “the old politics of fixing things around the edges so that you can feel better, rather than putting up a strong fight” and standing against Republican attempts to insert unpalatable policies into bills, which she suggested is more likely next year when Republicans take full control of Congress.

Other Democrats, however, saw the bill’s passage as a triumph of cooperation between the two parties, and a signal that they can move past the gridlock and dysfunction that’s plagued Washington for years.

“It’s an economic message of, we can get something done. We’re not going to always be dysfunctional, and I think that’s a welcome message for voters,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat. “They want to see that. And we don’t lose a thing.”

The vote capped a day of drama in the House. The chamber recessed for nearly seven hours as leaders scrambled to find votes to move the bill across the finish line. The chaos was fitting for a Congress that has already gone through one government shutdown and has been generally characterized by turmoil and inertia.

If anything, Thursday’s tumult highlighted the disconnect between Obama and congressional Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, came out in strong opposition to the measure even as Obama was pressing her members to back it.

Democrats aligned with Pelosi took issue with policy provisions added to the bill raising the cap on donations to political parties and rolling back a key plank of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

“This bill puts a big bow on a holiday gift for the Wall Street contributors who get special treatment in the provisions of this bill,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said ahead of the vote. “It’s all about stuffing the silk stockings, and these people want to gamble with our money.”

Conservative Republicans, meanwhile, fought the bill because they were angry that it didn’t combat Obama’s executive action on immigration.

It became clear earlier Thursday that Speaker John Boehner would have a tough time getting the package through the House. The chamber barely approved a routine procedural hurdle that sets up a vote on the spending bill later in the day. In an unusual move, Boehner was called upon to provide a key vote so the House could advance to the bill.

Though congressional leaders worked on backup options in case this bill failed, the Office of Management and Budget still discussed contingency plans on Thursday if the government was unable to open on Friday.

 

CROMNIBUS: A WINTER FESTIVAL OF UNRESTRAINED SPENDING
Cromnibus: a winter festival of unrestrained spending
By: John Hayward
12/10/2014 10:07 AM

 

As they had a habit of saying throughout the interstellar empire of “Dune,” the spice must flow. Money is once more flowing out of Congress to all manner of follies and outrages, thanks to an omnibus spending bill that funds everything except Homeland Security through September of 2015 – throwing away every scrap of leverage the incoming Republican majority could possibly exercise against Emperor Obama, ensuring that no one outside the authors of Democrat Party fundraising email spam will be talking about shutdowns, and effectively neutering freshly-elected conservatives. The GOP leadership can get through another year with its favorite wheezy excuse for not standing up and fighting for anything: Our hands are tied. Sure, the knots are a bit clumsy, but that’s to be expected when you tie your own hands. It’ll be good enough for the permanent Beltway culture, which can have a very merry Christmas, riding their one-horse open sleighs down streets coated with a fresh blizzard of taxpayer dollars, jingling all the way.

Americans with some vague memory of how the system is supposed to work might be wondering what happened to the sober deliberation of budgets, the careful spending of every dollar, and even the basic rules of accounting. Welcome to the new millennium, old-timers! We don’t do things that way any more. Government by perpetual crisis is so much more exciting, and lucrative for the Ruling Class. Now we wait until the hands of the fiscal doomsday clock stand at one minute to midnight, and the political class has to fund everything with “emergency spending bills,” scribbled in blind haste and posted on glitchy websites for public review in a half-hearted ritual of “transparency.” We live in the shadow of the cromnibus, an appropriately clunky word that combines “continuing resolution” emergency tactics with “omnibus spending” irresponsibility. The Cromnibus is a flabby beast a gaping maw and many tentacles to feed itself, but it lacks eyes, ears, and a frontal lobe.
Anyone who raises the slightest objection to this panicky spending bonanza is denounced as a penny-pinching extremist monster who just wants to kill children, puppies, and kittens for fun, by shutting down the government that keeps them alive. You don’t want Obama to throw up barricades around your national parks and memorials again, do you? No? Then shut up and spend.

The sole reservation in the winder spending festival is the Department of Homeland Security – which, as Fox News explains, is only funded through February, so the GOP leadership can pretend it’s going to stage a huge fight over Obama’s illegal amnesty orders next year. This is supposed to mollify the starchy citizens who still care about antiquated notions like the rule of law, the separation of powers, the value of citizenship, and national security long enough for the Establishment to enjoy its holiday vacation.

The bill finances the day-to-day operations of every Cabinet department except Homeland Security through Sept. 30, 2015, with $521 billion for defense and $492 billion tied to non-defense. Another $64 billion is provided for overseas military operations.

However, the plan would only fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27, 2015. That is a move by House GOP leaders to tee up a debate in early 2015 over the president’s recent executive action that could suspend deportation for as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

Some conservatives nevertheless want to wage that battle now, and use the current spending bill as leverage. Though the House voted last week against Obama’s immigration plan, these lawmakers want to do more.

Strong opposition to the House budget plan from the Republicans’ conservative wing could force GOP chamber leaders to rely on Democratic votes to avert a government shutdown. House Speaker John Boehner can afford to lose only 17 caucus votes before he must turn to support from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, D-Calif., has said her party would be willing to help but has signaled she may make some demands.

Wonderful. Let’s have a big round of applause for the GOP Establishment, ladies and gentlemen! They managed to throw away the most remarkable electoral victory in a generation in only one month, maneuvering themselves into a position where the losers who got crushed will be making demands to win their support for a bill that effectively ratifies their will through half of their sojourn in electoral exile.

There was no reason to give the defeated Democrats anything except a stop-gap bill to fund the government through January, at which point the incoming Republican majorities should have exercised control over everything. If the Democrats don’t like that deal, let them shut down the government in a fit of pique, and tell voters how they party they just threw out of power should be allowed to control their lives for an extra year. Not only would that be smart politics – giving the Republicans more fiscal leverage to stand up for America against Obama’s amnesty, instead of just funding for the Department of Homeland Security – but it would represent more sensible and responsible government. All of this multi-trillion-dollar monstrosity is linked together; all of it should be on the table; the flab should be liposuctioned out of every agency at once in a comprehensive plan for fiscal sanity and increased American liberty.

I think a liposuction metaphor is particularly appropriate, because the federal faceplant over Ebola should have taught us that over-funded agencies are not merely wasteful, but inefficient. They fail at their core responsibilities when given extravagant funding to purchase bright shiny objects to distract themselves. If you want the Centers for Disease Control to focus on controlling diseases, don’t give them zillions of dollars to spend on building fancy bureaucratic palaces and conducting monkey-gambling studies. We should be having that discussion immediately, while the failures of managerial liberalism are fresh in the public mind.

Some conservative stalwarts have expressed a desire to keep the lame-duck Congress from waddling away with a trillion dollars tucked under its mangy wings, but they concede the panicky rush to pump out “emergency” spending makes it difficult to mount effective resistance:

Among those expected to vote against the bill is South Carolina GOP Rep. Mike Mulvaney.

“I don’t think we’ve proven to people who just re-elected us that we’re doing everything that we can,” he told FoxNews.com on Tuesday before the bill was released. “Now we’re going to fund the emperor (President Obama) without putting up a fight? That’s hard for me to swallow.”

On the Senate side, conservatives such as Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., could create problems in passing the bill.

They have pushed for an aggressive attack plan over Obama’s immigration actions. If any chooses to filibuster, it could draw out the process, potentially pushing debate into the weekend — requiring Congress to either pass a stopgap funding bill or risk at least a short partial shutdown.

Senate Republican aides said Monday that they didn’t expect their bosses to fight in a way that risks a partial shutdown. They suggest that the timing, with the Senate not expected to take a crack at the bill until Thursday or later, makes it difficult to launch a major fight.

“It cuts against us,” one Republican Senate aide said. “Leadership has played its hand very well.”

Gee, it’s too bad the Republican leadership can’t play a hand well against Democrats, isn’t it? They only turn into card sharks when they’re playing against the conservatives in their own party. Don’t expect them to be pulling any cards from their sleeves when they sit down for their scheduled February game of Amnesty Hold ‘Em, and the dead-eyed Democrats on the other side of the table begin screaming “Republican extremists want to defund Homeland Security!”

Why any of these leadership strategists think voters will reward them in 2016 after they (a) give the country away to Emperor Obama and his new imported class of super-citizens, and (b) allow the defeated minority party to effectively run Washington for a year, remains a mystery. Presumably they think their own base really isn’t all that serious about the rule of law and U.S. citizenship – it’s a bout of intense anger that will pass, perhaps aided by some idle speculation about all the wonderful things a Republican president can do with Obama’s imperial powers. The same leadership geniuses will sit in shock, mouths flapping helplessly like beached fish gasping for air, when the Beltway media complex instantly strips Obama’s Republican successor of those powers before his first hundred days are over. When they lose their majority to Democrats, they’ll sob and beg the new masters of Congress to remember how well Republicans treated the decimated Democrat Party in 2014… while the Democrats ruthlessly set about marginalizing Republicans, stripping them of power, and throwing their wadded-up budget proposals right back in their tear-streaked faces.

The Republican leadership isn’t just bad at standing up for its principles and fulfilling commitments to its voters. It seems institutionally incapable of understanding, as Democrats do, that power won today must be used to set the stage for tomorrow’s elections. Democrats target constituencies and service them, including constituencies that aren’t actually American citizens. Republicans try to figure out how badly they can get away with disappointing their base while they service a Beltway culture some of them fear, and others profit from.

If the Republican leadership was smart, they’d be looping events such as Jonathan Gruber’s disastrous House testimony into a big-picture assault on arrogant, wasteful government, and reminding the hard-working, rules-obeying American taxpayer how much contempt Democrats hold them in. A proper budget debate right after the holidays would be a great way to do that. The Democrats fear nothing more than a sharp Republican Party playing that kind of hardball and appealing directly to the working middle class, which is so comprehensively betrayed by the Democrat philosophy of rewarding its big contributors and powerful special interests at the expense of everyone else. There’s a lot of junk in this “cromnibus” spending bill that could be used to buttress such a case, such as a juicy payoff to outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid’s casino backers… but then, in order for Republican leaders to make hay over such corruption, they’d have to give up their pork and payoffs, and they don’t want that.

The only reliable bipartisanship in Washington is the agreement between both parties to serve and protect the permanent system of regulators, appropriators, lobbyists, and Big Media, which have fused together into a single organism with a shared bloodstream, through which well-connected individuals and flow from lobby organizations, to bureaucratic appointments, to media sinecures with ease. Look at the resume of a Beltway power player, and you’ll have a hard time telling the difference between elected officials, the agencies they nominally control, the special interests they serve, and the media that’s supposed to keep them all honest. The same person can work for all of those entities in the span of a decade. The only thing they really cooperate on is the care and feeding of the Cromnibus, the misshapen thing that feeds them all through its multitude of teats.

If all this “omnibus spending bill” jazz sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve played through the same hammy drama every year for the better part of a decade. In fact, the term “cromnibus” – currently beloved of such feisty insurgents as Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) – is said to have been coined by the office of then-House Minority Leader John Bohener, circa 2007, when he energetically criticized the Democrat majority for doing exactly what Boehner is doing today. The Cromnibus has devoured those who once fought to keep it at bay. No one in power even pretends to be interested in responsible government any more, because the American people don’t loudly insist on it… and we should have learned by now that only our loudest, angriest, most unified cries can be heard over the constant seductive whisper of the Cromnibus. Enjoy your latest round of desperate last-minute must-pass emergency spending from the same arrogant elites who claim they alone have the wisdom to manage every aspect of your life, and be advised you’ll be getting the same “present” from them next Christmas, and the one after that.

http://humanevents.com/2014/12/10/cromnibus-a-winter-festival-of-unrestrained-spending/

 

GOP Rep: House Leaders Made False Promise to Get My Crucial Vote

Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) accused House Republican leadership of reneging on a deal made with him to get his support on a crucial procedural vote that almost killed the $1.1 trillion cromnibus funding bill.

“I was very surprised and even more disappointed to see the cromnibus back on the floor,” Stutzman said in a Thursday evening statement. “The American people deserve better.”

Stutzman was one of the last Republicans to cast his ballot in favor of a rule allowing the House to vote on the cromnibus. National Review Online reported that Stutzman backed the rule at the last minute after leadership told him that they would pull the bill, once the rule was passed, and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution favored by rank-and-file conservatives. With the last-minute help of Stutzman and outgoing representative Kerry Bentivolio (R., Mich.), leadership won the vote 214–212.

“I supported the rule because I was informed by leadership that the cromnibus was dead and a short term CR would take its place,” Stutzman said.

After President Obama came out in favor of the funding bill, Republican leaders spent the day whipping their members and hoping that Democrats would deliver the requisite number of votes.

“The cromnibus bill, over 1,600 pages long, does many things but what is most important is what it does not do,” he said. “It fails to directly address President Obama’s dangerous executive action on immigration and fails to include many of the solutions that could have been passed in January with a Republican House and Senate in an open process.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/394531/gop-rep-house-leaders-made-false-promise-get-my-crucial-vote-joel-gehrke

 

House Narrowly Approves Massive Spending Bill After a day of drama, the chamber passed a $1 trillion bill to keep the government running and sent it to the Senate.

BY DANIEL NEWHAUSER AND BILLY HOUSE

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy were able to get enough votes to pass the omnibus Thursday.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
December 11, 2014 The House narrowly approved a massive spending bill Thursday night just before the government was set to run out of cash, as an unusual coalition of Republicans and Democrats teamed up to pass a measure that drew fierce criticism from both liberals and conservatives.

The $1 trillion spending measure passed 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats in favor. It now heads to the Senate for passage, though because the government is technically set to shut down at midnight, the House was also prepared to pass a short-term resolution to give the other chamber a few days to act.

With President Obama joining all Republican leaders and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in support of the package, backers were able to overcome a concerted effort led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other key liberals—including Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who complained that the measure was larded up with provisions to help Wall Street, among other special interests. Many on the right also balked at the bill, preferring to punt long-term spending decisions until next year when Republicans control the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor shortly after the House passed the omnibus measure, assuring members that the Senate would pass a two-day continuing resolution before midnight in order to keep the government’s doors open. “We’ll take up the long-term spending bill tomorrow. Senators will want to debate this legislation. They’ll have that opportunity,” Reid said.

Reid noted that under an agreement with all 100 senators, the chamber cold take up the omnibus spending bill as soon as Friday. Absent such an agreement on timing, the bill could take up to two days, setting up final passage as late as Monday. Reid said that “there’s conversations going on now” to expedite the process for the Senate to pass the spending bill, as well as several other must-pass bills including the National Defense Authorization Act.

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“We could be out of here fairly quickly, but everyone’s going to have to work together to get this done,” he said.

House Republicans had narrowly cleared a major hurdle Thursday morning in their race for the exits, passing the rule governing debate for the “CROmnibus” bill by a razor-thin 214-212 margin. After recessing the House for several hours as they hunted for more support, GOP leaders finally called for a vote just after 9 p.m.

As members were being called back into the chamber to vote on the spending bill, it remained unclear whether there actually were enough votes to pass it.

Before concluding a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting before the vote, Pelosi was not telling her rank-and-file members to vote one way or the other.

“I’m giving you the leverage to do whatever you have to do. We have enough votes to show them never to do this again,” she told them, according to a source in the room.

With the possibility still looming that the government would shut down at midnight, the White House stepped up its lobbying of members to support the omnibus bill, and the Office of Management and Budget even held a conference call with federal agencies to discuss contingency planning.

“We continue to believe that time remains for Congress to pass full-year appropriations for FY 2015, and prevent a government shutdown,” an OMB official said. “However, out of an abundance of caution, we are working with agencies and taking steps to prepare for all contingencies, including a potential lapse in funding.”

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Leaders of both parties huddled with their members in groups large and small Thursday afternoon and evening, trying to gauge support for the spending bill that is so big it has provisions disliked by everyone.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said the bill should be returned to its original form without campaign finance language boosting donation limits to political parties and the provision altering language in the Dodd-Frank financial services bill, though Republicans have vowed not to change the bill at that point.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough addressed House Democrats on Thursday night, mawking what Fattah called a “very strong pitch.”

Rep. Steve Israel of New York said McDonough made the case to House Democrats that the economy needs the consistency and the certainty of a one-year spending package.

“There are some people who really are not going to let Elizabeth Warren get to the left of them,” said retiring Rep. Jim Moran, referring to the Massachusetts Democrat who has been especially critical of the bill.

One of the leaders of the opposition was Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. She was aided in her whip operation against the bill by more than two dozen members.

The rule passed earlier Thursday only after two Republicans, Reps. Kerry Bentivolio and Marlin Stutzman, were persuaded by leaders to switch their votes from no to yes. Every Democrat voted against the rule.

Asked about the spending bill GOP leaders might bring up if the omnibus failed, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy avoided answering the question. “Why do Democrats want to shut down the government?” he asked.

Boehner was more dramatic later Thursday morning, telling reporters: “If we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas. You all know how this process works.”

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The White House gave the omnibus bill a key boost Thursday, announcing that the Obama administration supports its passage despite “the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders” as well as the decision to offer only short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security. That cover from Obama has likely made it easier for at least some congressional Democrats to back the measure. The White House has also been calling House Democrats about the bill, according to sources.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at Thursday’s press briefing that if the bill reaches Obama’s desk, “he will sign it.”

This story has been updated throughout the day.

 

Rogers: Omnibus Package Responsibly Funds the Federal Government, Avoids a Shutdown, Makes Good-Government Policy Changes

Washington, Dec 9 

The House Appropriations Committee today unveiled the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, the legislation that will provide discretionary funding for the vast majority of the federal government for the current fiscal year.

The bill includes full Appropriations legislation and funding for 11 of the 12 annual Appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The 12th bill, which funds the Department of Homeland Security, is also included in the legislation, but is funded under a temporary “Continuing Resolution” mechanism that expires on February 27, 2015.

The package also contains emergency Overseas Contingency Operations funding to combat the emerging real-world threat brought by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and a total of $5.4 billion in emergency funding to address the domestic and international Ebola crisis.

“This bill will allow us to fulfill our Constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown. The 11 Appropriations bills in this package reflect specific, thoughtful, line-by-line decisions to target funds to critical programs, make reductions to lower-priority areas, and wisely invest the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. And by continuing current funding levels for the Department of Homeland Security, we allow the agency to maintain essential security functions for the next few months,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.

Funding for programs within the 11 regular Appropriations bills were weighed individually and prioritized, with dollars targeted to the most important and effective programs, while lower-priority programs were cut. Also included in these 11 bills are important policy provisions to improve accountability and transparency, to ensure good government, and to put the brakes on harmful overregulation by federal agencies.

“This package makes the most of each and every dollar, roots out waste and abuse, reins in bureaucratic overreach, and provides stable funding for important national programs – including our national defense – for the remainder of the fiscal year. It reflects conservative priorities, yet it is also a compromise bill that can and should have wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. This is exactly the kind of legislation and bipartisan cooperation that the American people called for in the voting booths last month. Passage of this bill will show our people that we can and will govern responsibly,” Rogers continued.

Bill Highlights –

Funding Level The bill abides by all the terms set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (the “Ryan-Murray Agreement”), providing a total of $1.013 trillion for the operation of the federal government, and meeting the $521 billion defense and $492 billion non-defense budget caps.

The legislation contains full funding for fiscal year 2015 for 11 of the 12 regular annual Appropriations bills, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Homeland Security portion is funded under a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR). This CR maintains DHS funding at the current fiscal year 2014 level, and expires on February 27, 2015.

National Security – The Omnibus contains the fiscal year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill, providing funding for our nation’s security, military readiness, and resources for our troops at home and abroad. The bill will fund important Department of Defense programs and projects, a pay raise for our troops, and the advancement of our military operations to protect the nation from current and future threats.

The bill also includes $64 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding to provide needed resources and training for our troops in the field, to combat the threat presented by ISIL, to train and equip our Iraqi allies, and to reinforce European countries facing Russian aggression.

Bolstering Job Creation and Reining in Bureaucratic Overreach – The legislation prioritizes funding for important programs that strengthen U.S. innovation and competitiveness, and that help our businesses thrive, such as small business loans, science research funding, resources to expedite domestic energy development, and critical infrastructure investments.

The bill also includes many provisions to rein in regulatory overreach that causes job loss and harm to our economy. Some of these provisions include:

  • A provision to prohibit the Export-Import Bank and OPIC from blocking coal and other power-generation projects – helping to increase exports of U.S. goods and services;
  • A provision prohibiting funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to change the definition of “fill material,” which could have harmful effects on many U.S. industries;
  • A restriction on the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from implementing regulations harmful to the livestock and poultry industry;
  • Language amending Dodd-Frank swaps pushout requirements to protect farmers and other commodity producers from having to put down excessive collateral to get a loan, expand their businesses, and hedge their production;
  • Provisions restricting the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches; and
  • A provision prohibiting funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue further rules to place sage-grouse on the Endangered Species List – an action that could have severe economic consequences in Western states.

ObamaCare – The bill provides no new funding for ObamaCare, and holds the line on funding for the IRS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – the primary agencies responsible for the implementation of ObamaCare.

Life – The Omnibus maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions that have been carried in Appropriations legislation in previous years, including the Hyde Amendment, a ban on public funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, and a ban on abortion funding for federal prisoners.

The bill also includes new language allowing states increased access to abstinence education funding, new language directing the HHS Secretary to increase the transparency of abortion coverage within federal exchange health care plans, and new language directing HHS to quickly respond to claims filed by health care providers on conscience clause violations.

Other Policy Provisions – Many other important policy provisions are included in the Omnibus, such as:

  • A ban on the Administration’s onerous “light bulb” standard;
  • Provisions to protect Second Amendment rights, including a prohibition on funding for the EPA to regulate lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle;
  • Bans and limitations on federal agency conferences and awards;
  • Provisions to stop the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.; and
  • A prohibition on funding for the IRS to target organizations for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs or for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Savings and Oversight of Tax Dollars – The bill includes program cuts and oversight provisions to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Some of these items include:

  • No funding for high-speed rail;
  • A $345.6 million cut and extensive oversight requirements for the Internal Revenue Service;
  • A $60 million cut and extensive oversight requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Oversight and monitoring requirements to weed out waste and abuse in nutrition programs;
  • No funding for contributions to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
  • A pay freeze for the Vice President and senior political appointees;
  • No funding for the Administration’s “Race to the Top” program; and
  • No funding for the International Monetary Fund.

Omnibus Summaries For summaries of the 11 Appropriations bills within the Omnibus, please visit the following:

Agriculture

Commerce/Justice/Science

Defense

Energy and Water

Financial Services

Interior and Environment

Labor/Health and Human Services/Education

Legislative Branch

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs

State/Foreign Operations

Transportation/Housing and Urban Development

For the full text of the bill and accompanying report, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/floor/.

 

Boehner’s Spending Deals Have Increased Debt $3.8T in 3.8 Years

December 11, 2014 – 11:39 AM

By Terence P. Jeffrey

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(AP Photo/Jacquelin Martin)

(CNSNews.com) – The federal debt has increased by $3.8 trillion in the 3.8 years that have passed since House Speaker John Boehner cut his first spending deal with Senate Democrats and President Obama.

That works out to $32,938.38 for every household in the United States—including those taking federal welfare benefits—and $42,783.20 for every full-time year-round private-sector worker in the United States.

In fact, the $42,783.20 that the federal government has borrowed per full-time year-round private-sector worker since Boehner cut his first federal spending deal exceeds the $41,916 that according to the Census Bureau was the median annual earnings of full-time year-round private-sector wage and salary workers in 2013.

Boehner became speaker in January 2011, after the Republicans won a majority of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2010. At that time, the government was operating under a continuing resolution that expired on March 4, 2011. Before that CR expired, Boehner cut a spending deal to fund the government after it expired.

Ever since March 4, 2011, all federal spending has been authorized by laws passed by the Republican-controlled House that Boehner leads.

At the close of business on March 4, 2011, the federal debt was $14,182,627,184,881.03, according to the Treasury. At the close of business on Dec. 9, 2014, it was $17,997,912,502,715.74.

From March 11, 2011 through Dec. 9, 2014, the debt increased $3,815,285,317,834.71.

1,376 days—or 3.8 years—transpired between March 4, 2011 and Dec. 11, 2014.

The $3.8 trillion in new debt that the federal government has accumulated under the spending deals approved by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives over the past 3.8 years equals $2,772,736,422.84 in new debt per day.

It also equals $32,938.38 in new debt for each of the 115,831,000 households the Census Bureau says were in the United States as of September, and $42,783.29 for each of the 89,177,000 full-time year-round private-sector workers that the Census Bureau says were in the United States in 2013.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/boehner-s-spending-deals-have-increased-debt-38t-38-years

 

BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
                                                  STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
             TABLE 1.  SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)

                                                        ACCOUNTING DATE:  10/14

   PERIOD                                                                     RECEIPTS                OUTLAYS    DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+  ____________________________________________________________  _____________________  _____________________  _____________________
   PRIOR YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   198,927                289,511                 90,584
     NOVEMBER                                                                  182,453                317,679                135,226
     DECEMBER                                                                  285,041                231,821                -53,220
     JANUARY                                                                   295,997                306,247                 10,250
     FEBRUARY                                                                  144,349                337,880                193,532
     MARCH                                                                     215,846                252,741                 36,895
     APRIL                                                                     414,237                307,383               -106,853
     MAY                                                                       199,889                329,860                129,971
     JUNE                                                                      323,646                253,127                -70,519
     JULY                                                                      214,493                309,113                 94,621
     AUGUST                                                                    194,248                322,925                128,677
     SEPTEMBER                                                                 351,683                245,857               -105,826

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          3,020,809              3,504,145                483,336

   CURRENT YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   212,719                334,432                121,713

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                            212,719                334,432                121,713
-

http://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/rpt/mthTreasStmt/mts1014.txt

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The Pronk Pops Show 386, December 11, 2014, Story 1: The Democratic Party War on The Central Intelligence Agency Will Lead To Blow-back and Payback When CIA Agents Reveal What They Were Really Doing in Benghazi — Shipping Arms To Syrian Rebels Including Al-Qaeda — Impeachable Offenses — The Genie Is Out of The Bottle and The CIA Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried — Do The Ends Ever Justify The Means? — Videos

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 Story 1: The Democratic Party War on The Central Intelligence Agency Will Lead To Blow-back and Payback When CIA Agents Reveal What They Were Really Doing in Benghazi — Shipping Arms To Syrian Rebels Including Al-Qaeda — Impeachable Offenses — The Genie Is Out of The Bottle and The CIA Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried — Do The Ends Ever Justify The Means? — Remembering September 11, 2001 and 2012 –Videos

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Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

Syrian Rebel Group Joins Branch Of Al Qaeda

West Intervenes to Stop Islamist Rebels in Mali but Supports Them to Destroy Syria

Presidential Finding

A presidential finding is an executive directive issued by the head of the executive branch of a government, similar to the more well-known executive order. The term is mostly used by the United States Government, and in other countries may be identified by different terms. Such findings and other executive decrees are usually protocols which have evolved through the course of government and not typically established by law.

Use and history in the United States

“US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order allowing the CIA and other American agencies to support rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime, a US government source told Reuters. Obama reportedly gave the order, known as an intelligence “finding”, earlier this year. The presidential finding also provides for US collaboration with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies. The full extent of the assistance the “finding” allows the CIA to give the Syrian rebels is unclear. It is also unknown precisely when Obama signed the order.” The report of Obama’s authorization for covert rebel support comes amidst continued fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels over control of Aleppo, the country’s economic capital. Thousands of people have fled the city, while the government and rebels continue to release conflicting reports on the extent of their control over the city. Asia Times Online correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT that the leak’s timing was intended to distort the true nature of Washington’s covert operations on the ground in Syria.

“This intelligence finding signed by Obama – that’s the code for a secret order – this was signed six months ago. So the fact that Reuters has only been allowed now to report about it proves that there have been high deliberations in Washington: ‘should we let people know about what they already know?’”

“In fact, the Washington Post two weeks ago had already reported about it, and when the CIA wants to leak something in the US, they usually go to the Washington Post. The CIA and Mossad, on the ground [in Syria], side by side working with the Qataris, the Turks, the Saudis and a swarm of jihadis coming from everywhere, but especially from across the border in Iraq,” he argues.

Escobar says the leak was intended to make it look as though Washington was leading the Syrian campaign from behind the scenes, when in fact the US is “leading from the front lines alongside al-Qaeda-style Jihadists, Qatari intelligence, and Turkish logistics.” [1]

The first specific use of presidential findings was precipitated by the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, in which the findings indicated that certain conditions of that act had be satisfied and, therefore, sales of agricultural commodities could proceed. In their use under this act, such findings were published in the Federal Register and the CFR Title 3 compilations. In contrast, presidential findings in their modern use are not published in these or other governmental publications.

Current use of the presidential finding stems from the so-called Hughes-Ryan amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, which prohibited the expenditure of appropriated funds by or on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency for intelligence activities “unless and until the President finds that each such operation is important to the national security of the United States and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees of Congress” (section 662). This was intended to ensure that clear responsibility for such action was attributable to the President and that Congress was always made aware of such activities. Due to the sensitivity of their content, presidential findings are almost always classified.

The most recent change to exercise of findings occurred in the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1991, which introduced increased flexibility in the reporting requirement: findings are to be “reported to the intelligence committees as soon as possible” after being approved “and before the initiation of the covert action authorized by the finding.” As such, presidential findings are one of the primary means through which the intelligence committees exercise their oversight of the government’s intelligence operations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_finding

Covert Action: Title 10, Title 50, and the Chain of Command

By Joseph B. Berger III

Abstract

America champions the rule of law and must maintain that moral stance in its international dealings and retain the clarity of an unambiguous chain of command. The Abbottabad raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound highlighted the dangers and vagaries of departing from the traditional military chain of command. The Secretary of Defense was taken out of the chain and the CID Director was inserted. In contrast, the rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia was carried out secretively but not covertly by joint forces under military command, maintaining individual Servicemember protections that may be forfeit in the gray zone of questionable legality. National authorities should reconsider the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD be responsible for paramilitary covert actions, and when DOD acts in that capacity, the operation should be carried out as a traditional military operation with a military chain of command.

Recent media reports have Pentagon officials considering “putting elite special operations troops under CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year’s raid on [Osama bin Laden’s] compound.”1 This shell game would allow Afghan and U.S. officials to deny the presence of American troops in Afghanistan because once “assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.”2 Nearly simultaneously, Department of Defense (DOD) leaders were warned to “be vigilant in ensuring military personnel are not inappropriately utilized” in performing “new, expanding, or existing missions,” ensuring the force is aligned against strategic choices “supported by rigorous analysis.”3 Placing Servicemembers—uniformed members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force—under CIA control demands such rigorous analysis. The raid on bin Laden’s compound provides a framework.

n his May 1, 2011, televised address, President Barack Obama reported “to the American people and to the world that the United States ha[d] conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.”4 President Obama initially detailed little beyond noting that he had directed “the[n] Director of the CIA [Leon Panetta], to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda” and that the operation, carried out by a “small team of Americans” was done “at [his] direction [as President].” In the following days, senior executive branch officials garrulously provided explicit details, from the now-iconic White House Situation Room photograph to intricate diagrams of the Abbottabad compound and the assault force’s composition. Most noteworthy was Panetta’s unequivocal assertion the raid was a covert action:

Since this was what’s called a “Title 50” operation, which is a covert operation, and it comes directly from the president of the United States who made the decision to conduct this operation in a covert way, that direction goes to me. And then, I am, you know, the person who then commands the mission. But having said that, I have to tell you that the real commander was Admiral [William] McRaven because he was on site, and he was actually in charge of the military operation that went in and got bin Laden.5

Despite his self-effacing trumpeting of Vice Admiral McRaven’s role, Panetta’s comment highlights that critical confusion exists among even the most senior U.S. leaders about the chain of command and the appropriate classification of such operations.

Openly describing the raid as both a “covert operation” and “military operation,” Panetta asserted he was the “commander,” describing a chain of “command” that went from the President to Panetta to McRaven. Panetta’s public comments are problematic, as is describing a chain of command that excludes the Secretary of Defense and purports to route command authority through the CIA director. Title 50 is clear:

The term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include . . . (2) traditional . . . military activities or routine support to such activities.6

The administration did the opposite, making patently clear the raid’s nature and, in exhaustive detail, the precise role of the United States. Instead of categorizing it as a covert action under the director’s “command,” the President could have conducted the raid as a covert action under the Secretary of Defense instead of the CIA director, or under his own constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and the Secretary’s statutory authorities, classifying it as a traditional military activity and excepting it from the statute’s coverage. As a traditional military activity, there would have been no legal limits on subsequent public discussion. Alternatively, conducting the raid as a covert action within a military chain of command removes the issues the director raised in asserting command authority over Servicemembers. The decisionmaking process remains shrouded, but conducting a raid into a sovereign country targeting a nonstate actor using military personnel and equipment under the “command” of the CIA director and classifying it as a covert action raises significant legal and policy questions. Such decisions threaten the legitimacy and moral authority of future U.S. actions and demand a rigorous examination of those associated risks.

The Abbottabad raid illustrates the post-9/11 security environment convergence of DOD military and CIA intelligence operations.7 While dead terrorists attest to this arrangement’s efficacy, many directly challenge the legal and policy framework behind current DOD-CIA cooperation. The discourse focuses largely on distinctions between Title 10 and Title 50 and the legal basis for conducting apparently overlapping military and intelligence operations beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the potentially misleadingly simple labels of Title 10 and Title 50, these complex issues lack clear answers. Many argue the legacy structure ill equips the President to effectively combat the threat. But tweaking that structure carries risk. Thus, correctly classifying and structuring our actions within that framework are critical. The law of war is designed to protect our nation’s military forces when they are engaged in traditional military activities under a military chain of command; spies conducting intelligence activities under executive authority have no such protections. This distinction rests on a constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal framework underpinning the military concept of command authority.

U.S. power relies on moral and legal legitimacy. Exclusive state control over the legitimate use of armed force remains viable domestically and internationally only where exercised within an accepted framework. Thus, employing DOD forces in a nontraditional manner entails significant risk. The policy implications of classification and structure are neither semantic nor inconsequential, and must be understood by senior decisionmakers; likewise, individual Servicemembers must understand the practical effects. A rigorous risk analysis should therefore inform any deviation, however permissible under domestic law.

This article focuses on the risks associated with both using military personnel to conduct kinetic covert action and using them without a military chain of command. Those risks inform the recommendation to change practice, but not the law. Specifically, the author rejects melding distinct operational military (Title 10) and intelligence (Title 50) authorities into the often mentioned Title 60. Properly classifying actions—either under the statute as a covert action or exempted from the statute as a traditional military activity—ensures the correct command structure is in place.8 Ultimately, the analysis argues for revisiting the previously rejected 9/11 Commission recommendation to place paramilitary covert action under DOD control.9

This article first outlines current and likely future threats and then explains the critical terms of art related to covert action and, against that lingua franca, examines why kinetic military operations should be either classified as traditional military activities or kept under a military chain of command. Analyzing the relevant constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal elements of command, this article illustrates that a raid conducted like the Abbottabad raid, while legally permissible, is best conducted as a traditional military activity.

Changed Character of the Battlefield and Enemy

In the decade since 9/11, DOD and CIA elements have become “operationally synthesi[zed].”10 A senior intelligence official recently noted that “the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been ‘deconflicted and basically integrated’—finally—10 years after 9/11.”11 The direct outgrowth is the increased reliance on special operations forces (SOF) to achieve national objectives against a “nimble and determined” enemy who “cannot be underestimated.”12 While the United States fought wars on geographically defined battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond, the underlying legal structure remained constant. In the wars’ background, leaders, advisors, academics, and others argued about the structure of the appropriate legal and policy framework. Post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan, the United States must still address other threats, including those that al Qaeda and their associated forces present.

The threats have migrated beyond a battlefield defined by sovereign nations’ borders. When asked recently in “how many countries we are currently engaged in a shooting war,” Secretary of Defense Panetta laughed, responding, “That’s a good question. I have to stop and think about that . . . we’re going after al Qaeda wherever they’re at. . . clearly, we’re confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, [and] North Africa.”13 The unresolved legal and policy challenges will likely increase in complexity on this geographically unconstrained battlefield. Remaining rooted in enduring principles is critical. DOD conduct of kinetic operations beyond traditionally recognized battlefields raises significant legal and policy concerns, especially where the U.S. Government conducts them without knowledge or consent of the host nation, as apparently happened with the Abbottabad operation.14 Properly categorizing and structuring these operations, while vexing for policymakers and their lawyers, carries much greater stakes for the Servicemembers executing them.

The Need for a Lingua Franca

Colloquial usage refers to DOD authorities as Title 10, and the CIA’s as Title 50. That is technically inaccurate and misleading since DOD routinely operates under both Titles 10 and 50.15 Instead of Title 10, this article uses the term military operations; instead of Title 50, it uses CIA operations or the more specific covert action. All three terms require clarification.

CIA operations are all CIA activities except covert action. Covert action is the narrow, statutory subset of Presidentially approved, CIA-led activities.16 Unfortunately, colloquially, covert action “is frequently used to describe any activity the government wants concealed from the public.”17 That common usage ignores the fact that a traditional military activity, notwithstanding how “secretly” it is executed, is by statute not a covert action. DOD defines a covert operation as one “planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor,” where “emphasis is placed on concealment of the identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.”18 While not in conflict with the statutory definition, the DOD definition is incomplete; it fails to recognize the President’s role and ignores the exception of traditional military activities.19 Practitioners should use the statutory definition.

The concept of clandestine operations further blurs colloquial and doctrinal imprecision.20 DOD activities “may be both covert and clandestine . . . focus[ing] equally on operational considerations and intelligencerelated activities.”21 Appropriately, DOD officials assert that, absent a Presidential covert action finding, they “conduct only ‘clandestine activities.’” 22 They characterize clandestine activities as those “conducted in secret but which constitute ‘passive’ intelligence information gathering.”23 Interchanging the terms and mixing them with intelligence functions is inaccurate and dangerous; practitioners must draw clear distinctions. The sponsorship of a covert action is hidden, not the act itself. The specific acts of the U.S. Government in influencing a foreign election (for example, posters, marches, election results, and so forth) would be visible, but not the covert sponsorship of those acts. For clandestine acts, the act itself (for example, intercepting a phone call) must remain hidden. The CIA and DOD can conduct clandestine operations without Presidential approval, whereas covert action triggers statutory requirements for a Presidential finding and congressional notification. Some have argued DOD’s “activities should be limited to clandestine” activities, as this would ensure military personnel are protected by the law of war,24 a critical point examined in detail later.

Military operations are DOD activities conducted under Title 10, including activities intended or likely to involve kinetic action. Pursuant to an order issued by the Secretary of Defense, they are conducted by military personnel under DOD command and in accordance with the law of war. They specifically exclude DOD’s intelligence activities (for example, the Joint Military Intelligence Program); like the CIA’s, those intelligence activities are conducted pursuant to Title 50.

Statutorily assigned responsibility helps distinguish between CIA operations and military operations. Although the President can designate which department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government will participate in the covert action, the statute implicitly tasks the CIA as the default lead agency: “Any employee . . . of the [U.S.] Government other than the [CIA] directed to participate in any way in a covert action shall be subject either to the policies and regulations of the [CIA], or to written policies or regulations adopted . . . to govern such participation.25

Executive order 12333 (EO 12333) makes that default tasking explicit:

The Director of the [CIA] shall . . . conduct covert action activities approved by the President. No agency except the [CIA] (or the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war declared by the Congress or during any period covered by a report from the President to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution. . . .) may conduct any covert action activity unless the President determines that another agency is more likely to achieve a particular objective.26

The statute, coupled with EO 12333, unequivocally places all covert action squarely under the CIA’s control; the narrow exception for DOD is currently inapplicable. While the Executive order expressly tasks
the director with conducting covert action, it does not task the Secretary of Defense.27
Default CIA primacy and the absence of statutory specificity in defining traditional military activities create risk when DOD conducts kinetic covert action.

The Unique Nature of Traditional Military Activities

One practitioner described traditional military activities’ exclusion from covert action’s definition as “the exception that swallows the rule.”28 But while DOD-CIA operational convergence blurs the issue, the exception need not swallow the rule. Functionally, anything done by a uniformed member of a nation’s armed forces is a “military” activity; the nuanced requirement is to understand which are traditional military activities. That definition can be consequential, functional, or historical—or a combination of some or all three approaches. The statute’s legislative history provides the best clarification, noting the conferees intended that:

“Traditional military activities” include activities by military personnel under the direction and control of a United States military commander (whether or not the U.S. sponsorship of such activities is apparent or later to be acknowledged) . . . where the fact of the U.S. role in the overall operation is apparent or to be acknowledged publicly.

In this regard, the conferees intend to draw a line between activities that are and are not under the direction and control of the military commander. Activities that are not under the direction and control of a military commander should not be considered as “traditional military activities.”29

That nonstatutory definition frames the follow-on analysis. That functional and historical definition turns on who is in charge.

Activities under the “direction and control of a military commander” meet the requirement to be excepted from the statute; those with a different command and control arrangement are not traditional military activities. “Command” is unique to the military and the definition appears to draw a bright line rule; but the CIA director blurred the line by asserting “command” over a DOD element.30 The confusion questions the necessary nature and scope of leadership by a “military commander.” What level or rank of command is required? Must the chain of command from that military commander run directly back to the Commander in Chief solely through military channels? Must it run through the Secretary of Defense? Can it run through the director if there is a military commander below him? Given Goldwater-Nichols,31 what about the geographic combatant commander? In short, what does the wiring diagram look like? These questions highlight three baseline possibilities as depicted in the figure below.

Chain of Command Possibilities

chani_of_command_possibilites

Part 1A of the figure reflects DOD’s Title 10 chain of command, illustrating the broadest historical, functional, and consequential definition of traditional military activity. The clear chain is rooted in the uniquely military concept of command and the President’s constitutionally defined role as Commander in Chief. It clarifies congressional oversight responsibility, results in unquestioned jurisdiction, and forms the basis of the strongest legal argument for combatant immunity. Part 1B represents the President as chief executive, exercising oversight and control of the CIA under Title 50. This hierarchy lacks the legal command authority exercised over military personnel in 1A. Finally, part 1C represents the paradox created by the covert action statute’s attempts to overlap the parallel structures of 1A and 1B; it is often described as Title 60.

The current Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent “future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”32 This statutory grant of power creates the paradox: here, where the Senate vote was 98 to 0 and the House vote was 420 to 1, the President’s executive authority (as Commander in Chief and chief executive) is greatest,33 the exercise of those powers blurs the clear lines of parts 1A and 1B of the illustration. Merging the two, although permissible under the covert action statute, creates risk.

Consequently, questions about the nature and structure of the chain of command demand rigorous scrutiny and cannot be left to ad hoc arrangements. Defining military command determines whether or not the activity is a traditional military activity and therefore not under the ambit of the statute. The criticality of this categorization is twofold: it is the core of the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force and cloaks Servicemembers in the legal armor of combatant immunity.

Chain of Command, or Control?

Since George Washington’s Presidency, the Secretary of War (later Defense) has served without interruption as a Cabinet member. The President’s role, enshrined in the Constitution, is clear: “The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”34 With the Secretary of Defense, this embodies the Founders’ vision of civilian control of the military. The Secretary of Defense’s appointment requires the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”35 While the President can relieve him and replace him with an inferior officer (that is, the Deputy Secretary of Defense), Senateconfirmed executive branch officials are not fungible. He cannot interchange officials individually confirmed to fulfill separate and unique duties—something James Madison warned about in Federalist 51.36

Longstanding U.S. practice is an unbroken chain of command from the President, through his Secretary of Defense, to a subordinate uniformed commander. Even GoldwaterNichols’s37 streamlining the military warfighting chain of command to run from the President through the Secretary and directly to the unified combatant commanders did not alter that fundamental practice.38 Combatant commanders simply replace Service chiefs. The civilian leader between the Commander in Chief and his senior uniformed commander remains unchanged—a specific individual confirmed by the Senate to execute statutory duties. The inviolate concept of civilian control of the military and the Senate’s Advice and Consent requirement make assertion of any executive authority to “trade out” duties between Cabinet officials implausible. The President can place military personnel under CIA control, but control is not command.

Command is the inherently military “privilege” that is “exercised by virtue of office and the special assignment of members of the US Armed Forces holding military grade.”39 In fact, under the Army regulation, “A civilian, other than the President as Commander-in-Chief . . . may not exercise command.”40 Goldwater-Nichols allows the President to exercise command through his Secretary of Defense. Command rests on constitutional and statutory authority (including the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the customs and practices of the Service. Removing military personnel from that hierarchy— illustrated in part 1C of the figure—changes their fundamental nature. This is Panetta’s assertion: he was in “command” 41 of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

itles 10 and 50 define the specific duties of the Secretary of Defense42 and Title 50 the CIA director’s.43 The duties are neither identical nor interchangeable. In Title 50, Congress explicitly states that DOD shall function “under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense” in order to “provide for their unified direction under civilian control.”44 Placing the Services under the Secretary of Defense is necessary to “provide for the establishment of [a] clear and direct line of command.”45 Congress is equally clear in Title 10, granting the Secretary complete authority over DOD: “there shall be a Secretary of Defense, who is the head of the [Department], appointed . . . by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”46 The statute allows the Secretary to “perform any of his functions or duties, or [to] exercise any of his powers through” other persons, but only persons from within DOD.47

Two caveats exist to the Secretary of Defense’s “authority, direction, and control”: the Secretary’s authority is “subject to the direction of the President” and the 1947 National Security Act.48 The latter covers DOD personnel within the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP). The former appears to be an exception that swallows the rule. But even in empowering the President to limit his Secretary’s authority, Congress did not specifically authorize any change to the fundamental command of military forces. Likewise, in defining the director’s limited authorities over military personnel, Congress maintained the military command structure over military operations.

Congress neither allows the director command nor control of DOD operational assets, nor did it grant the President a caveat like that with the Secretary of Defense’s authority.49 Although the director’s duties include the transfer of “personnel within the NFIP,” which includes DOD personnel, such transfers are limited to personnel within DOD’s Joint Military Intelligence Program (JMIP).50 SOF are not part of the JMIP. When DOD does transfer any JMIP personnel to the CIA, the director must “promptly” report that transfer to both the intelligence oversight and Armed Services Committees of both houses.51 Transfers between other executive branch elements trigger no such requirements. Congress only intended CIA control over DOD intelligence assets and was clearly concerned about even that. Goldwater-Nichols reinforces this analysis.

Goldwater-Nichols codifies geographic combatant commanders’ nearly inviolable command authority: “all forces operating within the geographic area assigned to a unified combatant command shall be assigned to, and under” his command.52 Two exceptions supplant that authority. Servicemembers assigned to U.S. Embassies (for example, the Defense Attaché) are under the Ambassador’s control and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s command. For those Servicemembers, diplomatic protections have replaced law of war protections, but the Secretary of Defense remains in the chain of command. The second exception, carved from GoldwaterNichols’s “unless otherwise directed by the President” language, covers DOD participation in covert action.53 Goldwater-Nichols’s silence on the Secretary of Defense remaining in the chain of command indicates Congress did not intend to change the default hierarchy. DOD recognized that point by defining combatant command as being “under a single commander” and running “through the Secretary of Defense.”54 All these say nothing about covert action.

The statute and EO 12333 put the director “in charge” of the conduct of covert actions.55 CIA “ownership” means any non-CIA employee supporting a covert action “belongs” to the CIA. However, the CIA lacks DOD’s legal command structure and no CIA official possesses the command authority inherent in an officer’s commission.56 The CIA can only be in charge, not in command. The director cannot give a lawful order that would be legally binding on Servicemembers. The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the authority to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”57 Those rules, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, never contemplated CIA personnel exercising command authority over Servicemembers. The CIA’s ownership of covert action is limited. Exclusive CIA control fails elsewhere; the statute authorizes the President to task “departments, agencies, or entities”58 to conduct covert action. The implication is that DOD can conduct a covert action exclusively. EO 12333 specifically envisions that.59 Placing DOD elements under CIA control to conduct a kinetic operation is arguably unnecessary.

This chain of command is constitutionally enshrined, codified, and ratified through longstanding practice; even if Congress had explicitly authorized the President to reroute it, doing so creates risk. First, it removes the law of war’s protections upon which Servicemembers conducting kinetic operations rely. In such an event, Servicemembers must be made aware they are no longer protected. Second, as a state practice, realigning military personnel under a nonmilitary framework to conduct kinetic activities creates precedential risk for U.S. allies. Such a decision must be fully informed at all levels.

Chain of Command: International Law Context

National armies engaged against each other have, throughout modern history, been cloaked in the law of war’s combatant
immunity. Absent that immunity, a captured individual is subject to criminal prosecution for his wartime conduct. His deliberately targeting and killing others become nonmilitary and therefore criminal. In World War II’s aftermath, widespread acceptance of what constituted an “army” rendered a definition unnecessary: “Individuals composing the national forces” automatically enjoyed combatant immunity.60 However, for those outside their nation’s military hierarchy, specificity was necessary. The Third Geneva Convention grants prisoner of war status—which confers combatant immunity—to those who are subordinate to a responsible commander, wear a fixed, distinctive insignia recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.61

The command requirement stems from the “dual principle of responsible command and its corollary command responsibility.”62 The Hague Convention required that a commander be “responsible for his subordinates.”63 The Geneva Convention recognized “no part of [an] army . . . is not subordinated to a military commander,” applying this “from the Commander-in-Chief down to the common soldier.”64 The later protocols “could not conceive” of a hierarchy “without the persons who make up the command structure being familiar with the law applicable in armed conflict.”65 This is DOD’s unchallenged area of expertise.66 Like Congress’s definition of traditional military activity,67 the commentary’s definition, when coupled with the requirements for those not considered part of the Nation’s army, is the parallel to Servicemembers conducting kinetic covert action under CIA control. Combatant immunity necessitates prisoner of war status; for those not acting as part of the army, that status requires a military chain of command. Replacing the Secretary of Defense with the CIA director eviscerates this.

U.S. history records a fundamental belief in the rules for combatant immunity.68 First, to codify these requirements, the 1863 Lieber Code defined prisoner of war as including “all soldiers.”69 The code noted noncompliance with the rules meant no combatant immunity: spies were “punishable with death by hanging by the neck.”70 “Armed prowlers . . . who steal within the lines of the hostile army for the purpose of . . . killing . . . are not entitled to the privileges of the prisoner of war.”71 The code’s noteworthy purpose was not to regulate conduct between nations, but for application in a non-international armed conflict and maintaining the moral high ground necessary to facilitate reconciliation with and reintegration of the confederate states.

The law of war’s efficacy rests on the principle of reciprocity. One party provides the protections to its prisoners believing and hoping its enemies will respond in kind. Commendable German and U.S. treatment of each other’s prisoners during World War II exemplifies this principle; Japanese treatment of U.S prisoners at Bataan proves its imperfections. Regardless, maintaining the moral high ground is critical. Had Abbottabad gone poorly, the United States would have asserted that U.S. personnel in Pakistani custody were entitled to the high standards of prisoner of war treatment. That would have required those Soldiers and Sailors to be in compliance with the law of war. The nonmilitary chain of command may have been problematic in making that assertion.

Conclusion

“From its inception . . . America has venerated the rule of law.”72 Traditional military activities occur against a rich fabric of domestic and international law. Covert action, while uniquely codified, presents multiple dilemmas. Although permissible under U.S. domestic law, covert action is generally illegal in the target country.73 Again, maintaining the moral high ground is critical.

Although inimical to covert action’s fundamental premise, overt executive branch commentary following the Abbottabad raid highlighted the legal risk associated with policy decisions. Placing Servicemembers under CIA command threatens to undermine the protections they rely on when conducting kinetic military operations, especially where the activity is more accurately classified as a traditional military activity.

The risk can—and should—be mitigated by first properly classifying the activity. Classifying a traditional military activity as anything else undermines the very categorization and its inherent law of war protections. DOD can undoubtedly conduct secretive (that is, clandestine and/or unacknowledged) actions as traditional military activities and enjoy the full body of the law of war’s protections. The current framework neither envisions nor facilitates placing Servicemembers under CIA control and preserving the command relationships necessary to cloak them in combatant immunity. The Abbottabad raid utilized this risk-laden approach.

This is not to assert that conducting the raid as a covert action was illegal. There were three likely outcomes: success, failure,
or something in between (that is, aborting the mission). Neither success nor failure required covert action’s plausible deniability. The United States immediately publicly acknowledged killing of “public enemy number one”; regardless, the crashed helicopter disclosed the U.S. role. A noncatastrophic driven decision to abort (for example, Pakistani detection of violation of their sovereign airspace) provides the sole outcome where the United States would likely have hidden behind the statute’s shield, disavowing all. The covert action classification provided an insurance policy, yet the cost of allowing that policy to “lapse” through post-success disclosures undermines the plausibility of such “insurance” in the future.

Compare the Abbottabad covert action with the recent rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia, conducted secretively, but not covertly, by “a small number of joint combatequipped U.S. forces.”74 This comparison illustrates that such activities can be conducted as traditional military activities, maintaining secrecy and preserving individual Servicemember protections. The need for continued distinction between covert action and traditional military activities and, where covert, the need for DOD-conducted operations to maintain a military chain of command, drive these recommendations. The United States should revisit the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD assume responsibility for paramilitary covert operations.75

Where DOD participation is necessary and primary, the operation should be conducted as an unacknowledged traditional military activity. If the risk analysis drives a decision to conduct the operation as a covert action, the President should maintain the military chain of command. This ensures Servicemembers going in harm’s way have every protection the Nation they serve can provide them—or a clearer understanding of the additional risks they are assuming on behalf
of their Nation. JFQ

http://www.ndu.edu/press/covert-action.html

The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History
By Chalmers Johnson
The History News Network

Monday 09 June 2003

The Central Intelligence Agency has an almost unblemished record of screwing up every “secret” armed intervention it ever undertook. From the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 through the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, the “secret war” in Laos, aid to the Greek colonels who seized power in 1967, the 1973 killing of Salvador Allende in Chile and Ronald Reagan’s Iran-contra war against Nicaragua, there is not a single instance in which the agency’s activities did not prove acutely embarrassing to the United States. The CIA continues to get away with this primarily because its budget and operations have always been secret and Congress is normally too indifferent to its constitutional functions to rein in a rogue bureaucracy. Therefore the tale of a purported CIA success story should be of some interest.

According to the author of the newly released Charlie Wilson’s War, the exception to CIA incompetence was the arming between 1979 and 1988 of thousands of Afghan moujahedeen (“freedom fighters”). The agency flooded Afghanistan with an astonishing array of extremely dangerous weapons and “unapologetically mov[ed] to equip and train cadres of high tech holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against a modern superpower,” in this case, the USSR.

The author of this glowing account, George Crile, is a veteran producer for the CBS television news show “60 Minutes” and an exuberant Tom Clancy-type enthusiast for the Afghan caper. He argues that the U.S. clandestine involvement in Afghanistan was “the largest and most successful CIA operation in history” and “the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time.” He adds that “there was nothing so romantic and exciting as this war against the Evil Empire.” Crile’s sole measure of success is the number of Soviet soldiers killed (about 15,000), which undermined Soviet morale and contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the period from 1989 to 1991. That’s the successful part.

However, he never mentions that the “tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists” the CIA armed are some of the same people who in 1996 killed 19 American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; blew a hole in the side of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Aden harbor in 2000; and on Sept. 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, the world awaits what is almost certain to happen soon at some airport — a terrorist firing a U.S. Stinger low-level surface-to-air missile (manufactured at one time by General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga) into an American jumbo jet. The CIA supplied thousands of them to the moujahedeen and trained them to be experts in their use. If the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan are a “success story,” then Enron should be considered a model of corporate behavior.

Nonetheless, Crile’s account is important, if appalling, precisely because it details how a ruthless ignoramus congressman and a high-ranking CIA thug managed to hijack American foreign policy. From 1973 to 1996, Charlie Wilson represented the 2nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. His constituency was in the heart of the East Texas Bible Belt and was the long-held fiefdom of his fellow Democrat, Martin Dies, the first chairman of the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Wilson is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and “handsome, with one of those classic outdoor faces that tobacco companies bet millions on.” He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, eighth from the bottom of his class and with more demerits than any other cadet in Annapolis history.

After serving in the Texas Legislature, he arrived in Washington in 1973 and quickly became known as “Good Time Charlie,” “the biggest playboy in Congress.” He hired only good-looking women for his staff and escorted “a parade of beauty queens to White House parties.” Even Crile, who featured Wilson many times on “60 Minutes” and obviously admires him, describes him as “a seemingly corrupt, cocaine snorting, scandal prone womanizer who the CIA was convinced could only get the Agency into terrible trouble if it permitted him to become involved in any way in its operations.”

Wilson’s partner in getting the CIA to arm the moujahedeen was Gust Avrakotos, the son of working-class Greek immigrants from the steel workers’ town of Aliquippa, Pa. Only in 1960 did the CIA begin to recruit officers for the Directorate of Operations from among what it called “new Americans,” meaning such ethnic groups as Chinese, Japanese, Latinos and Greek Americans. Until then, it had followed its British model and taken only Ivy League sons of the Eastern Establishment. Avrakotos joined the CIA in 1961 and came to nurture a hatred of the bluebloods, or “cake eaters,” as he called them, who discriminated against him. After “spook school” at Camp Peary, next door to Jamestown, Va., he was posted to Athens, where, as a Greek speaker, he remained until 1978.

During Avrakotos’s time in Greece, the CIA was instrumental in destroying Greek freedom and helping to turn the country into probably the single most anti-American democracy on Earth today. Incredibly, Crile describes this as follows: “On April 21, 1967, he [Avrakotos] got one of those breaks that can make a career. A military junta seized power in Athens that day and suspended democratic and constitutional government.” Avrakotos became the CIA’s chief liaison with the Greek colonels. After the fall of the colonels’ brutally fascist regime, the 17 November terrorist organization assassinated the CIA’s Athens station chief, Richard Welch, on Dec. 23, 1975, and “Gust came to be vilified in the Greek radical press as the sinister force responsible for most of the country’s many ills.” He left the country in 1978 but could not get another decent assignment — he tried for Helsinki — because the head of the European Division regarded him as simply too uncouth to send to any of its capitals. He sat around Langley for several years without work until he was recruited by John McGaffin, head of the Afghan program. “If it’s really true that you have nothing to do,” McGaffin said, “why not come upstairs? We’re killing Russians.”

Wilson was the moneybags and sparkplug of this pair; Avrakotos was a street fighter who relished giving Kalashnikovs and Stingers to the tribesmen in Afghanistan. Wilson was the more complex of the two, and Crile argues that his “Good Time Charlie” image was actually a cover for a Barry Goldwater kind of hyper-patriotism. But Wilson was also a liberal on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and a close friend of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), and his sister Sharon became chairwoman of the board of Planned Parenthood.

As a boy, Wilson was fascinated by World War II and developed an almost childlike belief that he possessed a “special destiny” to “kill bad guys” and help underdogs prevail over their enemies. When he entered Congress, just at the time of the Yom Kippur War, he became a passionate supporter of Israel. After he traveled to Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee began to steer large amounts of money from all over the country to him and to cultivate him as “one of Israel’s most important Congressional champions: a non-Jew with no Jewish constituents.” Jewish members of Congress also rallied to put Wilson on the all-powerful Appropriations Committee in order to guarantee Israel’s annual $3-billion subsidy. His own Texas delegation opposed his appointment.

Wilson was not discriminating in his largess. He also became a supporter of Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza, the West Point graduate and dictator of Nicaragua who in 1979 was swept away by popular fury. Before that happened, President Carter tried to cut the $3.1-million annual U.S. aid package to Nicaragua, but Wilson, declaring Somoza to be “America’s oldest anti-Communist ally in Central America,” opposed the president and prevailed.
During Wilson’s long tenure on the House Appropriations Committee, one of its subcommittee chairmen, Clarence D. “Doc” Long, used to have a sign mounted over his desk: “Them that has the gold makes the rules.” Wilson advanced rapidly on this most powerful of congressional committees. He was first appointed to the foreign operations subcommittee, which doles out foreign aid. He then did a big favor for then-Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.). The chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee at the time, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), had been caught in the FBI’s ABSCAM sting operation in which an agent disguised as a Saudi sheik offered members of Congress large cash bribes. O’Neill put Wilson on the Ethics Committee to save Murtha, which he did. In return, O’Neill assigned Wilson to the defense appropriations subcommittee and made him a life member of the governing board of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, where he delighted in taking his young dates. Wilson soon discovered that all of the CIA’s budget and 40 percent of the Pentagon’s budget is “black,” hidden from the public and even from Congress. As a member of the defense subcommittee, he could arrange to have virtually any amount of money added to whatever black project he supported. So long as Wilson did favors for other members on the subcommittee, such as supporting defense projects in their districts, they would never object to his private obsessions.

About this time, Wilson came under the influence of a remarkable, rabidly conservative Houston woman in her mid-40s, Joanne Herring. They later fell in love, although they never married. She had a reputation among the rich of the River Oaks section of Houston as a collector of powerful men, a social lioness and hostess to her fellow members of the John Birch Society. She counted among her friends Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, dictator and first lady of the Philippines, and Yaqub Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., who got Herring named as Pakistan’s honorary consul for Houston.

In July 1977, the head of Pakistan’s army, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, seized power and declared martial law, and in 1979, he hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the president who had promoted him. In retaliation, Carter cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan. In 1980, Herring went to Islamabad and was so entranced by Zia and his support for the Afghan freedom fighters that on her return to the United States, she encouraged Wilson to go to Pakistan. There he met Zia, learned about the Afghan moujahedeen and became a convert to the cause. Once Reagan replaced Carter, Wilson was able to restore Zia’s aid money and added several millions to the CIA’s funds for secretly arming the Afghan guerrillas, each dollar of which the Saudi government secretly matched.

Although Wilson romanticized the mountain warriors of Afghanistan, the struggle was never as uneven as it seemed. Pakistan provided the fighters with sanctuary, training and arms and even sent its own officers into Afghanistan as advisors on military operations. Saudi Arabia served as the fighters’ banker, providing hundred of millions with no strings attached. Several governments, including those of Egypt, China and Israel, secretly supplied arms. And the insurgency enjoyed the backing of the United States through the CIA.

Wilson’s and the CIA’s greatest preoccupation was supplying the Afghans with something effective against the Soviets’ most feared weapon, the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. The Red Army used it to slaughter innumerable moujahedeen as well as to shoot up Afghan villages. Wilson favored the Oerlikon antiaircraft gun made in Switzerland (it was later charged that he was on the take from the Zurich-based arms manufacturer). Avrakotos opposed it because it was too heavy for guerrillas to move easily, but he could not openly stand in Wilson’s way. After months of controversy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally dropped their objections to supplying the American Stinger, President Reagan signed off on it, and the “silver bullet” was on its way. The Stinger had never before been used in combat. It proved to be murderous against the Hinds, and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev decided to cut his losses and get out altogether. In Wilson’s postwar tour of Afghanistan, moujahedeen fighters surrounded him and triumphantly fired their missiles for his benefit. They also gave him as a souvenir the stock from the first Stinger to shoot down a Hind gunship.

The CIA “bluebloods” fired Avrakotos in the summer of 1986, and he retired to Rome. Wilson became chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, at which time he wrote to his CIA friends, “Well, gentlemen, the fox is in the hen house. Do whatever you like.” After retiring from Congress in 1996, he became a lobbyist for Pakistan under a contract that paid him $30,000 a month. Meanwhile, the United States lost interest in Afghanistan, which descended into a civil war that the Taliban ultimately won. In the autumn of 2001, the United States returned in force after Al Qaeda retaliated against its former weapon supplier by attacking New York and Washington. The president of the United States went around asking, “Why do they hate us?”

Crile knows a lot about these matters and presents them in a dramatic manner. There are, however, one or two items that he appears unaware of or is suppressing. For the CIA legally to carry out a covert action, the president must authorize a document called a finding. Crile repeatedly says that Carter signed such a finding ordering the CIA to provide covert backing to the moujahedeen after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 24, 1979. The truth of the matter is that Carter signed the finding on July 3, 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, and he did so on the advice of his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in order to try to provoke a Russian incursion. Brzezinski has confirmed this sequence of events in an interview with a French newspaper, and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates says so explicitly in his 1996 memoirs. It may surprise Charlie Wilson to learn that his heroic moujahedeen were manipulated by Washington like so much cannon fodder in order to give the USSR its own Vietnam. The moujahedeen did the job, but as subsequent events have made clear, they may not be grateful to the United States.

Mr. Johnson is the author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, to be published in January by Metropolitan Books.

http://archive.truthout.org/article/the-largest-covert-operation-cia-history

Background Articles and Videos

CIA Covert Action in the Cold War: Iran, Jamaica, Chile, Cuba, Afghanistan, Libya, Latin America

The CIA Controls Al Qaeda

Triple Cross Bin Laden’s Spy In America (Full Documentary)

 

Covert Action – Operation Field Goal

A CIA special operations officer pursues a tip from an intercepted al-Qaeda transmission and ventures alone into enemy territory – where he’ll need all his training to survive.

CIA Covert Operations and U.S. Interventions Since World War II Full documentary

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – The Formation & Purpose of The NSC – PT 1 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – The CIA’s Origins Of Covert Operations – PT 2 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – Covert Operations & Their Consequences – PT 3 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – Conclusion – PT 4 of 4

Muslim Brotherhood Subversion: 12 Key Players in Obama/Bush Administrations

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.

While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.

In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.

American officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — including the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots and the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.

In addition, the American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities.  American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives were not directing the actions of rebel forces.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.

The United States and its allies have been scrambling to gather detailed information on the location and abilities of Libyan infantry and armored forces that normally takes months of painstaking analysis.

“We didn’t have great data,” Gen. Carter F. Ham, who handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on Wednesday, said in an e-mail last week.   “Libya hasn’t been a country we focused on a lot over past few years.”

Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels, American officials said Wednesday. But weapons have not yet been shipped into Libya, as Obama administration officials debate the effects of giving them to the rebel groups. The presidential finding was first reported by Reuters.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, declined to comment “on intelligence matters,” but he said that no decision had yet been made to provide arms to the rebels.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that he opposed arming the rebels. “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.

Because the publicly stated goal of the Libyan campaign is not explicitly to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the clandestine war now going on is significantly different from the Afghan campaign to drive the Taliban from power in 2001. Back then, American C.I.A. and Special Forces troops worked alongside Afghan militias, armed them and called in airstrikes that paved the rebel advances on strategically important cities like Kabul and Kandahar.

In recent weeks, the American military has been monitoring Libyan troops with U-2 spy planes and a high-altitude Global Hawk drone, as well as a special aircraft, JSTARS, that tracks the movements of large groups of troops.  Military officials said that the Air Force also has Predator drones, similar to those now operating in Afghanistan, in reserve.

Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint eavesdropping planes intercept communications from Libyan commanders and troops and relay that information to the Global Hawk, which zooms in on the location of armored forces and determines rough coordinates. The Global Hawk sends the coordinates to analysts at a ground station, who pass the information to command centers for targeting. The command center beams the coordinates to an E-3 Sentry Awacs command-and-control plane, which in turn directs warplanes to their targets.

Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who recently retired as the Air Force’s top intelligence official, said that Libya’s flat desert terrain and clear weather have allowed warplanes with advanced sensors to hunt Libyan armored columns with relative ease, day or night, without the need for extensive direction from American troops on the ground.

But if government troops advance into or near cities in along the country’s eastern coast, which so far have been off-limits to coalition aircraft for fear of causing civilian casualties, General Deptula said that ground operatives would be particularly helpful in providing target coordinates or pointing them out to pilots with hand-held laser designators.

The C.I.A. and British intelligence services were intensely focused on Libya eight years ago, before and during the successful effort to get Colonel Qaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to do so in the fall of 2003, and allowed C.I.A. and other American nuclear experts into the country to assess Libya’s equipment and bomb designs and to arrange for their transfer out of the country.

Once the weapons program was eliminated, a former American official said, intelligence agencies shifted their focus away from Libya. But as Colonel Qaddafi began his recent crackdown on the rebel groups, the American spy agencies have worked to rekindle ties to Libyan informants and to learn more about the country’s military leaders.

A former British government official who is briefed on current operations confirmed media reports that dozens of British Special Forces soldiers, from the elite Special Air Service and Special Boat Service units, are on the ground across Libya. The British soldiers have been particularly focused on finding the locations of Colonel Qaddafi’s Russian-made surface-to-air missiles.

A spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss the operations of British Special Forces.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/africa/31intel.html?_r=3&hp&

Military, CIA shun 9/11 panel on covert operations

Special-ops lead urged in report

By Bill Gertz The Washington Times

The U.S. military and the CIA failed to agree on implementing a key recommendation of the commission that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks: Give special-operations commandos the lead for all covert military action.

The 9/11 Commission ordered the shift in response to concerns that CIA covert action — a mainstay of the agency’s World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services — had “atrophied.” The agency also had a “risk averse” approach to spying and semisecret military activities.

Former Navy Secretary John F. Lehman, a member of the panel, said a report card made public last week by the Bipartisan Policy Center didn’t address the failure to implement the covert action change because of the secrecy surrounding the issue.

“The situation has evolved far beyond where it was at the time of our report,” Mr. Lehman said, adding that the raid to kill Osama bin Laden “shows that they are now doing something right.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Gerry” Boykin, a former Delta Force commando and Pentagon intelligence policymaker during the George W. Bush administration, said that after the commission issued its recommendation in 2004, disagreements arose over bureaucratic turf, and the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command (SoCom) could not agree on how to implement it.

The military has expanded special operations forces in recent years. But critics complain that the Pentagon official in charge of the policies for their use is Michael G. Vickers, a former CIA official who comes from the agency’s risk-averse, anti-covert-action culture.

Military covert action involves training and equipping foreign military or paramilitary forces in semisecret activities where the U.S. role is hidden. Past programs included arming Cuban rebels for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, deploying direct-action hit teams in Vietnam, and the arming and training of anti-communist rebels in Latin America and anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan.

Since 2004, the CIA’s most successful covert military operation was the hunt for bin Laden and the raid to kill him in Pakistan on May 2 with Navy SEALs.

The CIA’s other successful covert military action is the war against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups using drone missile strikes in the Middle East and South Asia.

One setback was the suicide bombing by a double agent in December 2009 at a CIA covert base in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed seven agency officers.

The military’s most secret units and those involved in covert warfare are the Army’s Delta Force and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, formerly SEAL Team 6.

CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf said the agency and the Pentagon have worked closely in the fight against al Qaeda, notably in the Abbottabad, Pakistan, operation against bin Laden.

“Our capabilities are complementary, not duplicative, and the success of those capabilities should speak for itself,” she said.

Gen. Boykin said a task force was set up to study the 9/11 recommendation, but it failed to define paramilitary covert action. “This was a fundamental question that no one could answer,” Gen. Boykin said.

If the commission meant training, SoCom already had the mission of working with surrogates. But “paramilitary” operations — activities that are militarylike but carried out by groups other than the military — automatically would become military if the function is passed to the Pentagon.

Gen. Boykin said that if the commission wanted to give responsibility for covert action to the Pentagon, the CIA was opposed, arguing that the change would hinder intelligence collection. The agency said its facilities and equipment were “dual-use” — for spying and paramilitary — and could not be transferred.

Gen. Boykin said the command was against duplicating the CIA’s training facilities, methods and equipment, because of high costs needed to “age” equipment and weapons for operations.

“Working from the assumption that the commission was not really sure what they were recommending, the study group determined that the capabilities already in SoCom were competent to train indigenous forces including using clandestine methodology,” he said.

“The agreement was that the CIA would support [special operations] as needed with facilities and other resources.”

Bureaucratic turf also played a role.

CIA did not want to lose anything since that would result in a reduction of resources as well as a loss of authority,” Gen. Boykin said.

However, special operations forces also “did not want the covert action mission because they saw it as something that would absorb huge amounts of time and resources and would be a distraction,” he said.

Former CIA officer Robert Baer, who was investigated by the Clinton administration during a covert action in northern Iraq, said he favors giving the mission to the military. “No matter what the bosses say, the CIA hates covert and paramilitary operations,” he said.

“The place is managed by liberal-arts majors who do a lot better operating on intuition and big-horizon stuff — like whether we’re winning or losing in Afghanistan,” Mr. Baer said. “But never ask it to run a bunch of Hmong tribesmen or disaffected Pashtuns and ever hope to win a war with them.”

Mr. Baer said the Pentagon is better tactically at making things work and has a larger pool of recruits with foreign-language skills.

“The problem is that presidents always reach for the CIA when they think they need a ‘silver bullet,’ like the Bay of Pigs,” he said. “The CIA inevitably fails, and then it gets blamed for the mess.”

Every covert action requires a presidential directive stating that the proposed action is in the country’s national interest. The procedure is often cumbersome and prone to public disclosure. Supporters of the change say military-led covert action would be more flexible and easier to approve.

Hiring former special operations forces at the CIA will not help the agency’s covert military capabilities, Mr. Baer said. “Outside military discipline, they just don’t perform up to their capabilities,” he said.

Mr. Baer said the covert program to supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Afghan rebels in the 1980s was less a covert action success than a “logistics” plan to ship arms to the fighters in the field. “It was not a proper paramilitary campaign,” he said.

A Harvard University study several years ago quoted anti-covert-action officials at the CIA as opposing the Stinger operation because of fears it would trigger a war with the Soviet Union.

The 9/11 Commission report describes the CIA in 2001 as “institutionally averse to risk, with its capacity for covert action atrophied.”

It also says the CIA did not invest in developing “robust” paramilitary operations with U.S. personnel but instead relied on proxies trained and organized by CIA officers without military experience. “The results were unsatisfactory,” it says.

The 9/11 Commission said the CIA could continue clandestine and nonmilitary covert action, including propaganda and nonmilitary disruption.

“We believe, however, that one important area of responsibility should change,” the commission’s report says. “Lead responsibility for directing and executing paramilitary operations, whether clandestine or covert, should shift to the Defense Department.”

There, covert military action programs should be consolidated and placed under Special Operations Command, it says.

“Whether the price is measured in either money or people, the United States cannot afford to build two separate capabilities for carrying out secret military operations, secretly operating standoff missiles, and secretly training foreign military or paramilitary forces,” the report says.

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The Pronk Pops Show 385, December 9, 2014, Story 1: Profiles in Hypocrisy — Democratic Obama Killing of Civilians By Drones OK — Republican Bush Torturing of Terrorists — Not OK — The Hypocrisy of The Political Elitist Establishment and Decline of The American Empire — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: Profiles in Hypocrisy — Democratic Obama Killing of Civilians By Drones OK — Republican Bush Torturing of Terrorists — Not OK — The Hypocrisy of The Political Elitist Establishment and Decline of The American Empire — Videos

pakistandronestrikesmap

U.S. military drones All-Totals-Dash12 Drones1 drones2_s640x543 dronewar_pak_771x574 Every-confirmed-US-drone-strike-in-Pakistan-Yemen-and-Somalia-recorded-by-the-Bureau-2002-20121 Five-years-of-drone-strikes1

George Carlin – Euphemisms

Live TV Footage of 9/11 (Second Plane hit, Collapse of Towers) World Trade Center Coverage

Obama on CIA torture report: ‘Terrible mistakes were made’

CIA interrogation techniques used after September 11 to be detailed in Senate report

CIA Spying on the Senate? (w/ Mark Mazzetti)

O’Reilly Backs Release of CIA Report: If Agencies Break the Law, We Should Know

Ex-CIA Head Jose Rodriguez on Report Fallout: Obama Admin Prefers to Kill From Afar

hard_measures

Hard Measures, part 1

Hard Measures, part 2

VICE News Exclusive: The Architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program

he Senate Intelligence Committee has released a blistering, 500-page report on the CIA’s controversial detention and interrogation program, a document that committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

The $40 million, five-year study concluded that CIA officials exaggerated the value of the intelligence they gleaned from dozens of “high-value detainees” held at black site prisons, where they were subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The committee reviewed more than 6 million pages of top-secret CIA documents and found that the architect of the interrogation program was a retired Air Force psychologist named James Mitchell, an agency contractor who — according to news reports — personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Senate report does not identify Mitchell by name.

Mitchell has a signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and was unable to discuss his alleged role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program, but VICE News met up with him in suburban Florida to discuss the Senate’s report and one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. This is the first time Mitchell has ever appeared on camera.

CIA Torture Report Reveals Grisly Abuse

Fox’s Hume: Senate Torture Report Made Same Mistake as Rolling Stone

Feinstein: CIA Report ‘Ugly Truth’ We Must Face

Senate report: CIA torture brutal, ineffective

Leahy Speaks On Release Of Senate’s Historic Report On Torture

Torture Report Details Long List Of America’s Brutal Crimes

CIA Torture Report Incomplete as Key Documents Remain Withheld

CIA Torture Report: US Intelligence Facilities Overseas

Morning Joe’s Debate on CIA Torture Program Was a Masterpiece of Deflection

AP Analysis: CIA Torture Report

Assessing the impact of the Senate’s CIA torture report

Fmr. CIA Chief Explains the ‘Major Problems’ of Senate Dems Report on Interrogations after 9/11

ABC, NBC Hype ‘Explosive’ ‘Torture’ Report; Omit Its Partisan Origin

Fmr. CIA Lawyer: Senate Interrogation Report ‘Unfair and Preposterous’

Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham explains the importance of redacted 28 pages in the Reports

What Is In The Redacted 28 Pages Of The 9/11 Commission Report?

Secrets Of The 28 Page 9/11 Report Released

The Shocking Truth About Obama’s Drones

Obama’s secret drone war explained by Reuters’ David Rohde – Fast Forward

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

Confirmed: Obama’s drone program killing civilians

Rise of the Drones [PBS NOVA]

drone pilot kills Afghani militants from Nevada control centre

Warfare by Remote (Part 1)

Warfare by Remote (Part 2)

Warfare by Remote (Part 3)

Predator Drones

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke on Obama’s “Unproductive” Drone Program

George Carlin We Like War

Drone Wars Pakistan: Analysis

http://securitydata.newamerica.net/drones/pakistan/analysis

 

‘For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.’ And he added: ‘Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set’.

~Barack Obama

Presidents Pakistan

 

Drone Warfare

More than 2,400 dead as Obama’s drone campaign marks five years

Obama de Souza April 2013

Obama has launched over 390 covert drone strikes in his first five years in office (Pete Souza/White House).

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

Initial reports said up to ten militants were killed, including foreign fighters and possibly a ‘high-value target’ – a successful first hit for the fledgling administration.

But reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.

Ob1 - Fahim Qureshi - Vocativ GrabLater that day, the CIA attacked again – and levelled another house. It proved another mistake, this time one that killed between five and ten people, all civilians.

Obama was briefed on the civilian casualties almost immediately and was ‘understandably disturbed’, Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman later wrote. Three days earlier, in his inauguration address, Obama had told the world ‘that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.’

Fahim Qureshi, injured in the first Obama strike
(Vocativ/YouTube).

The Pakistani government also knew civilians had been killed in the strikes. A record of the strikes made by the local political administration and published by the Bureau last year listed nine civilians among the dead. But the government said nothing about this loss of life.

Yet despite this disastrous start the Obama administration markedly stepped up the use of drones. Since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the CIA has launched 330 strikes on Pakistan – his predecessor, President George Bush, conducted 51 strikes in four years. And in Yemen, Obama has opened a new front in the secret drone war.

For all the Bureau’s drones data: Get the data – drone wars

Lethal strikes
Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack that injured Qureshi – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.

Although drone strikes under Obama’s presidency have killed nearly six times as many people as were killed under Bush, the casualty rate – the number of people killed on average in each strike – has dropped from eight to six under Obama. The civilian casualty rate has fallen too. Strikes during the Bush years killed nearly more than three civilians in each strike on average. This has halved under Obama (1.43 civilians per strike on average). In fact reported civilian casualties in Pakistan have fallen sharply since 2010, with no confirmed reports of civilian casualties in 2013.

The decline in civilian casualties could be because of reported improvements in drone and missile technology, rising tensions between Pakistan and the US over the drone campaign, and greater scrutiny of the covert drone campaign both at home and abroad.

Presidents Pakistan
Obama has sharply escalated the drone campaign in Pakistan.

The apparent change in targeting  is well demonstrated by comparing a strike carried out by the Bush administration in 2006 and one seven years later under Obama. On October 30 2006 at least 68 children were killed when CIA drones destroyed a madrassa – a religious school – in the Bajaur area of Pakistan’s tribal belt. The attack was reportedly targeting then-al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri. He escaped. On November 21 last year, drones again targeted a madrassa, this time in Hangu, outside the tribal regions. As many as 80 students were sleeping in the building. But the strike destroyed a specific portion of the building – just one or two rooms – and killed between six and nine people.

In Yemen, however, civilians continue to die in US drone strikes. Last year saw the highest civilian casualty rate since Obama first hit the country in 2009.

In recent years drones have come to dominate Obama’s war in Yemen as much as in Pakistan.

Drones were not the first weapon the administration turned to when it started to attack the country. On December 17 2009 a US Navy submarine launched a cluster bomb-laden cruise missile at a suspected militant camp in al Majala, southern Yemen.

The missile slammed into a hamlet hitting one of the poorest tribes in Yemen. Shrapnel and fire left at least 41 civilians dead, including at least 21 children and 12 women – five of them were pregnant. A week earlier President Obama had been awardedthe Nobel Peace Prize. He used his acceptance speech to defend the use of force at times as ‘not only necessary but morally justified’. He warned that ‘negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms’.

Strikes in Pakistan are carried out by the CIA. But in Yemen the CIA and the US military’s special forces unit, Joint Special Operations Command, have used various weapons including drones and conventional jets as well as cruise missiles to target al Qaeda militants.

However in recent years drones have come to dominate Obama’s war in Yemen as much as in Pakistan. President Bush ordered a single drone strike in Yemen, killing six people in 2002. Under Obama, the CIA and the Pentagon have launched at least 58 drone strikes on the country killing more than 281 people, including at least 24 reported civilians.

Opaque operations
The escalation in the drone war has happened with almost no official transparency from the White House. It took Obama three years to publicly mention his use of drones. In January 2012 he said ‘actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’. He added: ‘For the most part they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and affiliates.’

In this period Bureau records show drones reportedly killed at least 236 civilians – including 61 children. And according to a leaked CIA record of drone strikes, seen by the McClatchy news agency, the US often did not know who it was killing. In the year after September 2010 at least 265 of up to 482 people were recorded as the documents as killed by drones ‘were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists’.

A letter written by Attorney General Eric Holder and leaked to NBC confirmed drones had killed four US citizens living abroad. US citizen Anwar al Awlaki died in a missile strike in Yemen on September 30 2011. His 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, who was born in Detroit, was killed in a separate strike two weeks later.

In April 2013 a leaked Department of Justice memo outlined the administration’s legal justification for such killings: the US has the right to kill US citizens if they pose an imminent threat, it said. It added that determining a citizen poses an imminent threat ‘does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future’. Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described the memo as a ‘chilling document’.

For the most part they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and affiliates
– President Obama

The following month President Obama made a major policy speech in which he codified the rules his administration must follow as it selects targets for drone strikes and special forces teams.

The rules are meant to constrain the use of drones. Obama said the US only carries out such attacks against individuals who pose ‘a continuing and imminent threat’ to US citizens, not ‘to punish individuals’. Obama acknowledged drone strikes had killed civilians, saying: ‘For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.’ And he added: ‘Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set’.

However Bureau analysis shows more people were killed in Pakistan and Yemen in the six months after the speech than the six months before. And the casualty rate also rose over the same period.

In 2013, there were no confirmed civilian casualties in Pakistan – the first year of the drone campaign that this was the case. But in Yemen, the year ended with mass civilian casualties. On December 12, JSOC drones attacked a convoy taking a bride to her wedding. The attack destroyed several vehicles and flying shrapnel killed up to 15 civilians. It was the biggest single loss of civilian life from a US strike for more than a year. The Yemeni government initially claimed al Qaeda militants were killed. But the Yemeni government quickly negotiated reparations with the families of the victims, sending them $140,000 and 100 rifles. The US has not commented on the strike, but in an unprecedented move Washington is carrying out an investigation.

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The Pronk Pops Show 384, December 8, 2014, Story 1: American People Do Not Trust Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties and The Political Elitist Establishment In Washington — New Political Party Formed When Independents Represent 50% or More of Voters — When? 2022 or 2024 — Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Constitutional Government, Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Taxes, and Stopping All Legal and Illegal Immigration Exceeding 1 Million Persons Per Year, Replacing The Warfare and Welfare State With A Peace and Prosperity Economy — Jobs For Everyone — I Have A Dream — The Winner Takes It All — Part 1 — Videos

Posted on December 8, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Benghazi, Blogroll, Books, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Disasters, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Fast and Furious, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Insurance, Investments, IRS, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Music, National Security Agency, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

 

The Pronk Pops Show 384, December 8, 2014, Story 1: American People Do Not Trust Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties and The Political Elitist Establishment In Washington — New Political Party Formed When Independents Represent 50% or More of Voters — When? 2022 or 2024 — Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Constitutional Government, Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Taxes, and Stopping All Legal and Illegal Immigration Exceeding 1 Million Persons Per Year, Replacing The Warfare and Welfare State With A Peace and Prosperity Economy — Jobs For Everyone — I Have A Dream — The Winner Takes It All — Part 1 — Videos

 

ABBA – I Have A Dream (From The Late Late Breakfast Show, England 1982)

Abba – The Winner Takes It All

Party Affiliation

Trend: Party affiliation in U.S. plus leaners

http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

 

U.S. Partisanship Shifts to GOP After Midterms

Story Highlights

  • U.S. partisanship shifts to net-Republican after midterms
  • GOP also made gains after 1994 and 2002 midterms
  • Democrats made gains following 2006 midterms

PRINCETON, N.J. — Since the Republican Party’s strong showing on Election Day last month, Americans’ political allegiances have shifted toward the GOP. Prior to the elections, 43% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 39% identified as or leaned Republican. Since then, Republicans have opened up a slight advantage, 42% to 41%, representing a net shift of five percentage points in the partisanship gap.

U.S. Partisanship Before and After the 2014 Midterm Elections

The pre-election results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 17,259 U.S. adults, conducted between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4. The post-election interviews are based on 12,671 interviews conducted Nov. 5-30.

There have been similar “bandwagon” effects for the winning party in the past, including after the 1994 and 2002 midterm elections, when Republicans benefited, and after the 2006 election, when Democrats made gains.

U.S. Partisanship Before and After Recent Midterm Elections

The most dramatic shift occurred after the 1994 midterms, in which Republicans picked up more than 50 seats in the House of Representatives to gain a majority in that chamber for the first time in 40 years. Before the 1994 elections, Democrats enjoyed a four-point advantage in party affiliation, but after the GOP wave, Republicans emerged with a 12-point margin, for a total shift of 16 points in the gap.

In 2002, Republicans capitalized on the popularity of George W. Bush to accomplish the rare feat of having the president’s party gain seats in Congress in a midterm election. After that strong showing, partisanship moved from a five-point Democratic edge to a four-point Republican margin.

Four years later, with Bush’s job approval rating stuck below 40%, Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress. An already strong Democratic partisanship advantage of 14 points swelled to 22 points after the election.

Not every “wave” election has produced a distinct shift in a party’s advantage. The 1998 and 2010 midterms were also notable for their outcomes, but did not produce any apparent change in Americans’ basic party loyalties. In 1998, Democrats gained seats in the House even with a Democratic president in office. In 2010, Republicans gained a net of 63 seats in the House to win back control of that chamber. That year, the shifts in party allegiances seemed to be in place before the election, with the smallest Democratic edge seen in any recent midterm year. Consequently, in 2010 it appeared that shifts in party allegiances drove the election results, whereas in other years the election results seemed to produce shifts in party affiliation after the election.

The bandwagon effect can largely be explained by the amount of positive publicity given to the victorious party after its success. However, it is unclear why there would be a bandwagon effect following most midterm elections but not all of them.

No Clear Historical Pattern on How Long Post-Midterm Party Gains Last

One key question is how long the effects persist when they do occur. A review of the three elections with obvious bandwagon effects reveals no consistent pattern.

  • The 1994 Republican surge in partisanship was the largest and the longest lasting. Republicans maintained a healthy eight-point advantage in partisanship through December 1994, and an average four-point advantage from January through March 1995. By April, Democrats had regained a slight edge, and for the most part held it throughout the remainder of the year.
  • The 2002 Republican gains were fairly short-lived, evident in November and December and largely gone by January 2003. However, when the Iraq War commenced in March, Republicans saw another surge in partisanship.
  • The 2006 Democratic gains were the most brief, disappearing by December — though that still left the party with a healthy 12-point edge in partisanship.

Implications

The 2014 midterms were an unqualified success for the Republican Party. The GOP took control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House, giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006. And that success has caused Americans to view the Republican Party more favorably than the Democratic Party, as well as to say congressional Republicans should have more influence than President Barack Obama over the direction the nation takes in the next year. Americans are also now more likely to align themselves politically with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.

It is not clear how long these good feelings toward the GOP will last. That could be influenced by what Republicans do with their enhanced power. While they are unlikely to achieve many of their major policy objectives with a Democratic president in office, how they and the president navigate the key issues facing the nation over the next two years will go a long way toward determining where each party stands heading into the 2016 presidential election.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 5-30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 12,671 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/179840/partisanship-shifts-gop-midterms.aspx

Obama Loses Support Among White Millennials

Story Highlights

  • Obama job approval among whites aged 18 to 29 is down to 34%
  • White millennials’ approval only 3 points above older whites’
  • Obama approval remains much higher among nonwhite 18-29s

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in 2014 among white 18- to 29-year-olds is 34%, three points higher than among whites aged 30 and older. This is the narrowest approval gap between the president’s previously strong support base of white millennials and older white Americans since Obama took office.

Obama Job Approval, Younger vs. Older Whites, and All Americans, 2009-2014

By contrast, the president’s approval rating was nine percentage points higher among younger whites in 2009, and 10 points higher in 2010. Additionally, while the president’s approval among younger whites matched his overall national rating in his first two years in office, it is now eight points below the national average. These data underscore the gradual erosion of the disproportionately strong support Obama received from young white voters as he took office in 2009 and ran for re-election in 2012.

The data are based on yearly averages from Gallup’s Daily tracking, including 2014 data through November.

Obama’s support among white millennials has factored into his two presidential election successes. Exit polls conducted after the 2012 election, for example, showed that Obama received 44% of the vote of white 18- to 29-year-olds, about six points higher than he received among whites aged 30 and older. Obama’s 45% job approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old whites in 2012 mirrored these voting results closely. But the president’s 11-point drop among white 18- to 29-year-olds since 2012 is almost double the six-point drop among the national population and among older whites.

Younger Whites’ Approval Now Closer to All Other Age Groups

From a broader perspective, there is relatively little difference today in Obama’s job approval ratings among whites in any of the four major age groups. Whites aged 30 to 49, as well as those 65 and older, have given Obama a 31% approval rating so far in 2014, with 50- to 64-year-olds coming in at 32% and 18- to 29-year-olds at 34%. The spread among age categories was slightly larger in the earliest years of the Obama administration.

Obama Job Approval Among Whites, by Age, 2009-2014

Support Down, but Still Higher Among Nonwhite Than Among White Young People

Although Obama’s approval rating has dropped among black, Hispanic and Asian 18- to 29-year-olds from 2009 to 2014, just as it has among white millennials, the president maintains a much higher level of support among these groups than among whites. Specifically, Obama’s approval is 80% among young blacks, 68% among young Asians, and 55% among Hispanic 18- to 29-year-olds — contrasted with his 34% approval among white young adults.

Age affects Obama’s approval ratings differently among each of these racial and ethnic groups. Obama does slightly less well among black young people than among older blacks, and significantly better among Asians younger than 50 than among those who are older. There is little significant difference in his approval rating by age within the Hispanic population.

Obama Job Approval, by Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Implications

While Obama is significantly more popular among nonwhites than among whites, he was able to count on proportionately stronger support from young whites than older whites in his 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns. Now, his support among white millennials appears to be waning, and these young Americans give Obama an approval rating that is only marginally higher than that among older whites.

These findings demonstrate the general importance of race and ethnicity when one talks about Obama’s job approval ratings by age. Obama continues to enjoy higher approval ratings among all 18- to 29-year-olds — regardless of race or ethnicity — than he does among the general population, but this is largely attributable to younger age groups in the U.S. being disproportionately composed of nonwhites. In other words, a big part of the age gap in Obama’s approval ratings today is attributable not so much to differences in approval within racial or ethnic groups, but to the fact that the white population in the U.S. skews older, while the nonwhite population skews younger.

The white vote has become an increasing challenge for Democratic presidential candidates in recent years, as well as Senate candidates in many Southern and swing states. Just this past weekend, a lack of strong support among white voters was instrumental in incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s loss in Louisiana’s senatorial runoff election. That loss gives the Republicans control of every southern Senate seat from Texas to the Carolinas. While Democrats are likely to be helped in coming years by a growing Hispanic population, Democratic presidential candidates — and senatorial candidates in many states — will continue to need the votes of a substantial minority of white voters in order to put together a winning coalition. Thus, Obama’s continuing loss of support among younger white voters highlights one of the potential challenges ahead for Democratic candidates in 2016.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey from 2009 through November 2014, with random samples of approximately 355,000 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for each of the 2009-2012 yearly samples; approximately 175,000 adults for 2013; and 163,847 adults for Jan. 2-Nov. 30, 2014. For results based on the total sample of national adults in each yearly average, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error for each year’s age subgroups varies by sample size.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/179921/obama-loses-support-among-white-millennials.aspx

how_congress_spends_your_money

About the bar chart and the U.S. Federal Budget.

Bar Chart Data Source: Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) published by the U. S. Treasury Department. WE DON’T MAKE THIS UP! IT COMES FROM THE U. S. GOVERNMENT! NO ADJUSTMENTS.

The MTS published in October, reports the final actual expenditures for the previous FY. This chart shows FY2014 actual spending data. Here is the link to download your own copy from the Treasury Department web site.

The chart normally shows the proposed budget line for the next fiscal year (FY2015 started 1 October 2014), but Congress has not passed a “budget” for FY2015; we’re still using continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on the Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis in this report on the non-budget.

NDAC Challenge: Look at the bar chart to find items that are growing and items that are being reduced. Example: One of the largest growth departments is at the Department of Agriculture; it handles Food Stamps (SNAP). You pay taxes, your money is paying for food stamps.

– – – – – – –

Here is a MUST SEE … The Budget in Pictures!

NDAC studies the Budget Proposals submitted to the U.S. Senate each year by the President of the United States and by the House of Representatives. The budget submissions include Budget Historical Tables published by OMB. Expenditures are shown in Table 4.1, scroll way right to find current years actuals and estimates. Our analysis is discussed on the home page of this web site.

“Deficit” vs. “Debt”

Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.

“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If theDEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.

Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site’s deficit analysis. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it dramatically cuts into our budget.

Cut spending??? What would you cut?
[All federal expenses are shown on the chart above].
And there is a lot of missing money! Where is it?
The Treasury Department has the third largest expense in the federal budget. Only Defense andentitlement programs (run by Departments of Health and Human Services, HUD, and Agriculture (food stamps)) spend more. As the debt increases, so does the interest payment. Entitlement spending is the largest item in our federal budget. Do you have “Compassion” for lower income earners? In FY2013 the U. S. Treasury Department spent $416 Billion of your money on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt.
Compare that to NASA at $17B,
Agriculture at $156B,
Labor at $80B,
Transportation at $76B!Can the federal budget be balanced? Here’s a video about that.
When you buy something, all the companies involved in producing and delivering it, were charged a wide range of taxes, and those costs are part of the price ofeverything you buy. The price of everything you buy will go up to cover any business tax increases.You are paying those corporate taxes! Read more about the proposed Energy Tax increases. So don’t forget that the price of fuel is in the cost of everything. The “Economic Stimulus” is shifting us from an “economic crisis” to a debt crisis!Consider this; if businesses could print their own money and give it away to customers so they could buy the products, many folks would be happy for a while; but the businesses would go bankrupt. Well, that’s what our government is currently doing, printing and giving away money.

 

  • It has been reported that about 50% of Americans pay no income tax. But, if those folks buy anything, they pay “embedded taxes”*. Here is a video about taxation.
    *[About 22% of the price of any product you buy is because of taxation on the companies that were involved in that product being produced and being at a place where it could be bought; and that’s before local sales taxes were added.] Every company must cover ALL its costs (including taxation) in the price of its product; or it will go bankrupt.

 

OPPOSING VIEWS AND MORE:

  • Government Programs always cost more than originally predicted. What about Healthcare?

**The Government cannot provide anything to anyone without first taking money from someone else to pay for it.

NOTABLE QUOTES

  • “For society as a whole, nothing comes as a ‘right’ to which we are ‘entitled’. Even bare subsistence has to be produced…. The only way anyone can have a right to something that has to be produced is to force someone else to produce it… The more things are provided as rights, the less the recipients have to work and the more the providers have to carry the load.” Thomas Sowell, quoted in Forbes and Reader’s Digest.
  • According to Mr. Kneeland, “…all dollars come from the people. Where do [you] think Coca-Cola gets the money to pay its taxes, Exxon gets its money to pay the Exxon Valdez fines, Denny’s gets the money to pay its Justice Department fines, or even Microsoft gets the money to defend itself? It all ultimately can come from only one place, and that’s from individuals.” ED: When you buy a product, the price of that product has to cover ALL the costs to get that product to you.
  • “A politician cannot spend one dime on any spending project without first taking that dime from the person who earned it. So, when a politician votes for a spending bill he is saying that he believes the government should spend that particular dollar rather than the individual who worked for it.” Neal Boortz.
  • “There is no such thing as government money – only taxpayer money.” William Weld, quoted in Readers Digest.
  • “Who will provide the roof to protect you from the rain, the heat to comfort you from the cold, and the coffee to fill your stomach when the damn, greedy capitalists are all gone?” – David Berresford, Thursday, May 20, 2010, Canada Free Press.
SOCIAL SECURITYis not part of the Federal Budget (General Fund). It is a separate account from the General Fund, and has its own source of income (“Payroll Tax”). Social Security payments go in the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF), and should NOT be counted as general revenue. The SSTF is supposed to be used to pay benefits. But, the Government is under NO OBLIGATION to pay Social Security benefits, and has even borrowed substantially fromtheSSTF for general operations!As of August 2010, there is less being paid into the Social Security Trust Fund than is being paid out to beneficiaries. Social Security is now using its “surplus”.Other Government agencies borrowed from that trust fund, and now have to pay it back. But they already spent it! So how will they pay it back? Through bailouts and taxes. Here is a “must read” about the problem. Your payroll taxes are going into a bottomless hole!The Social Security Administration’s FAQ page about the Trust Fund, and their latestReport (May 2011) explain it well.Beware the term “Social Security Surplus”; there is no such thing. Social Security is aPonzi Scheme, there is never more in the Trust Fund than will ever be needed.

Social Security must be fixed. Here is a debate page. And here is more information on the Root Problem with Social Security.

The Government does not have any money, it does nothing to earn money (maybe defense). Government takes money from you and borrows more (from your children), then spends that! The bailouts of 2008 and 2009 are purely deficit spending. Expect to see enormous deficits in the forseeable future, leading to much more debt.Interest payments on that growing debt will become the largest item in the federal budget. On C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: “We are out of money.” In 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created with the duty of preserving the dollar, one 20-dollar bill could buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Today, fifty 20-dollar bills are needed to buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Under the Fed’s custody, the U.S. dollar has lost 98 percent of its value. The dollar is the storehouse of our wealth. Has the Fed faithfully safeguarded that storehouse? Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power let us hear no more of trust in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”

http://www.federalbudget.com/

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

where-did-your-tax-dollar-go-600americas-deficit-federal-spending-600spending-cuts-680budget-entitlement-programs-680national-defense-spending-680impact-medicare-spending-growth-680federal-spending-per-household-680

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

The GOP’s ‘Cromnibus’ Compromise

Republicans look to strike back after the president’s executive action on immigration.

House Speaker John Boehner answers questions during his weekly press conference on Dec. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

House Speaker John Boehner has acknowledged that there is no simple way for the GOP to undue the president’s executive action on immigration reform.

By Dec. 8, 2014
A perfect storm of historic dysfunction combined with a lame-duck Congress, a looming power change in the Senate, a budget deadline, the holidays and the countdown to the 2016 elections has not prodded lawmakers to make compromises or to do their basic budgetary work. It has, however, led to a brand-new Washington term. Enter the “cromnibus.”

That’s the name being assigned to a tortured GOP strategy to stick it to President Barack Obama and make a bold statement on immigration and border security – all while avoiding shutting down the federal government right before the holidays, a tactic that didn’t work out so well for the GOP when it happened last year.

Described as a trial balloon, the approach was floated by House Speaker John Boehner at the party’s Tuesday morning meeting last week. The GOP plan goes like this: Congress would pass an omnibus funding bill to keep almost the entire government running into September 2015. However, the Department of Homeland Security – the department that deals with the implementation of Obama’s executive action on immigration, which the Republicans hate – would limp along on a mere continuing resolution that would fund it until sometime next March. That would give Republicans time and opportunity to pressure the Obama administration into backing off its executive action somehow – or at least isolate the DHS budget so Republicans, who next year will control both the House and Senate, could deny the funds needed to implement the action. Meanwhile, House members were given a chance, before recessing for the year, to take what is widely regarded as a show vote to undo the executive action.

[READ: Republicans Use Gridlock Because It Works]

This way, lawmakers explained, House Republicans can vent about border security, Obama and the use of an executive action to grant temporary legal status to more than 4 million people in the country illegally, all without suffering the political consequences of another government shutdown.

Boehner acknowledged that there’s no easy way for congressional Republicans to undo Obama’s executive action; rank-and-file members have thrown around ideas ranging from refusing to provide funds to implement the action to a lawsuit or impeachment.

Each has its logistical and political complications: Refusing to fund Homeland Security could make Republicans look like they don’t care about the safety of the nation’s citizens; a lawsuit (even if the House is deemed to have standing to sue) could cause a political backlash; and impeachment could lead to a repeat of 1998, when a similar action against former President Bill Clinton backfired against the GOP.

Pictured: Immigration reform protesters, left, and tea party protesters, right.

In countering Obama on immigration, the GOP has to weigh the interests of the Hispanic community against the ideals of the party’s base.

And Republicans must be mindful of two important constituencies in 2016 – the GOP base, which wants the action undone and might reject a presidential primary candidate who won’t commit to doing so, and the Hispanic community, which might align itself even more firmly against Republicans if the GOP commits to a policy that would break up families living here with temporary legal status.

“We’re looking at a variety of options, both for right now and when Republicans control both houses of the Congress next year,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. “Frankly, we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly.”

Thus, GOP strategists have proposed the “cromnibus,” a compromise that would keep nearly all agencies and programs humming along until next September (since Congress has been unable to pass any of the appropriations bills that make up the federal budget) and avoid a government shutdown that would occur if nothing is done before the current continuing resolution expires Dec. 11.

[ALSO: NSA Reform Axed From ‘Cromnibus’]

Meanwhile, Homeland Security would be put on a short budgetary leash until March. By that point, Republicans reason, they will be running both chambers of Congress and will be able to pass legislation excising funding for the part of the department that deals with the new executive action, killing it by starvation.

“The most effective thing we can do is to limit spending,” says Rep. John Fleming, R-La. While Fleming says Obama is assuming excessive powers as the nation’s chief executive, “we’ve got our own power – the power of the purse,” he adds.

Graphic quote by Rep. John Fleming, R-La.: "Republicans are blamed for everything, anyway. What difference does it make?”

But Fleming, like some other House conservatives, is irked by the idea that the House should wait until next year to go full-force against the immigration action – meaning Boehner may need House Democrats to get such a plan approved.

“I don’t think anybody wants a shutdown,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. But “I think we have significant leverage.”

The simmering rebellion by House conservatives means Boehner is likely to continue to face the same internal divisions he’s had since 2011, when a wave of new tea party-aligned lawmakers gave the GOP the House majority and demanded a rightward turn in the way the party ran things. That pressure largely drove the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 – a development polls showed Americans blamed on Republicans. So would the public also blame the GOP if Homeland Security does not get the cash it needs to keep Americans safe?

[MORE: Poll Finds Latino Boost for Obama]

“Republicans are blamed for everything, anyway – what difference does it make?” Fleming says.

However, Senate Democrats are determined not to end their reign with a shutdown, even if the GOP gets blamed for it. Getting almost all of the government funded until next fall would be “a big accomplishment,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.

Moreover, the GOP needs to worry about overreach, Democrats say. Any specific effort to undo the executive action is likely to be vetoed by Obama. That leaves Republicans in the same position as they were with the Affordable Care Act. They could hold a series of votes opposing it or defunding it, but none would get signed into law. And the difference with immigration, notes Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is that the substance of the order (as opposed to the process) is indeed popular with the public, in a way Obamacare is not.

“You’re talking about changing the trajectory of a family’s destiny for generations – that’s deep,” Cummings says.

Opposing Obama’s order as executive overreach might excite the GOP base, but Hispanic families are equally excited about the opportunity to stay intact in the U.S., he adds. For Boehner, the challenge may be keeping his Republican family united.

George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

Senator Ted Cruz: ” Let Me Be Clear, I Don’t Trust The Republicans ” – 5/22/13

Rush Limbaugh On Eric Garner, Fox News Criticism FULL INTERVIEW Rush Limbaugh Fox News Sunday

Krauthammer: A Gov’t Shutdown Would Be A Disaster For Republicans – Lou Dobbs – America’s Newsroom

Nation’s Debt Tops $18 Trillion As Dc Continues To Spend – Cavuto

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Urgent Issue Of Immigration & The Budget – Special Report 1st Segment

Americans: In Obama we don’t trust

President’s Unilateral Action on Immigration Undermines Americans’ Trust

***AMERICANS DONT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT *** there criminals.

Top 10 Government Lies – When said ‘Trust Us’

Krauthammer on Obama: American “People Think This Is Failed Presidency”

Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA? (Good Will Hunting)

U.S. Drones kill more people than ISIS: Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges, author, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and polemicist discusses the importance of resistance to empire, and passionately condemns US foreign policy, saying “There is no difference between a beheading by ISIL and a US drone strike.”

Chris Hedges: The Absurdity of American Empire [FULL INTERVIEW]

Chris Hedges Call to Action to create “New Movements” replacing corrupt Government

George Carlin on American Foreign Policy – Bombing Brown People

The Best of George Carlin: Exposing our government and fall of humanity one joke at a time

The Pursuit Of Happyness – Job Interview

Best scene pursuit of happyness, Will Smith at his best

Motivational Speech from Pursuit of Happiness

Abba – Take A Chance On Me

ABBA – Thank You for the Music

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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The Pronk Pops Show 383, December 5, 2014, Story 1: First Good Jobs Report In Years with 321,000 Jobs Created In November With 5.8% Unemployment Rate U-3, 9.1 Million Unemployed — Still 10-12 Million Jobs Short Due To Low Labor Participation Rate of 62.8% — Years Away From Near Full Unemployment Rate of 3% With 67% Labor Participation Rate — National Debt Hits $18 Trillion and Climbing — Videos

Posted on December 5, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Computers, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Resources, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: First Good Jobs Report In Years with 321,000 Jobs Created In November With 5.8% Unemployment Rate U-3, 9.1  Million Unemployed — Still 10-12 Million Jobs Short Due To Low Labor Participation Rate of 62.8% — Years Away From Near Full Unemployment Rate of 3% With 67% Labor Participation Rate — National Debt Hits $18 Trillion and Climbing —  Videos

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U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

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End of day Commodity Futures Price Quotes for Crude Oil Brent

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 http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/crude-oil-brent.aspx#ixzz3LA0mUyxX

OilPriceChartDec2014

Get Ready for More Layoffs and Higher Unemployment