Archive for October, 2015

The Pronk Pops Show 565, October 30, 2015, Story 1: Budget Busting Bastards of The Republican and Democratic Parties — No Dollar Ceiling on National Debt! — Two Party Tyranny with A Bad Habit — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — America’s Warfare and Welfare Expanding Empire Burdening Future Generations — Videos

Posted on October 30, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Drones, Drugs, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Gangs, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, News, Nuclear, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, South America, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 565: October 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 564: October 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 563: October 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 562: October 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 561: October 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 560: October 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 558: October 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 557: October 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 556: October 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 555: October 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 554: October 15, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 553: October 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 552: October 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 543: September 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 542: September 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Story 1: Budget Busting Bastards of The Republican and Democratic Parties — No Dollar Ceiling on National Debt! — Two Party Tyranny with A Bad Habit — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — America’s Warfare and Welfare Expanding Empire Burdening Future Generations — Videos

Sen. Cruz: The Budget Deal Is a Corrupt Betrayal of the American People

Rand Paul Speech against Obama’s Debt Deal | Senate Floor CSPAN

Senator Rand Paul speaks on the US Senate floor to speak on President Obama’s debt deal to raise the debt ceiling. Paul will filibuster the debt deal into the morning to hopefully slow down the passing of the debt bill.

Sen. Mike Lee: Budget Deal Is ‘Last Gasping Breath Of A Disgraced Bipartisan Beltway Establishment’

Senate Republicans Who Betrayed The American People by voting YEA:

Screen-Shot-2015-10-30-at-9.34.59-AM

cruz and mcconnell

“Senator McConnell has proven to be the most effective Democratic leader of all time.”

~Senator Ted Cruz

What Pisses Me Off About Government Debt | The Debt Ceiling and Budget Act

Ted Cruz On Debate Performance, Mainstream Media, Budget Deal

Presidential Candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul Opposed Budget Bill

Senate votes to pass bipartisan budget deal overnight

Senate Passes 2-Year Budget Deal, Raising The Debt Ceiling – Newsy

Cruz: It’s not two parties, it’s one party; Washington Cartel; 10-29-2015

Clueless Charlie Rose — Obama and Clinton Are Liars! 

CBS’s Charlie Rose Desperately Tries To Lecture Marco Rubio On Benghazi

Following Wednesday night’s CNBC Republican presidential debate, on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose repeatedly tried to lecture Senator Marco Rubio over Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 Benghazi attack. After Rubio stated that he had not engaged in personal attacks throughout this campaign, Rose immediately rushed to defend Clinton and proclaimed that on the issue of Benghazi “[w]ell, well, you called Hillary Clinton a liar, senator. You called Hillary Clinton a liar.”

Hillary_Obama_Poster_Liar

Hillary Clinton: A Lying Compilation

Jim Jordan GRILLS Hillary Clinton About Video

Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) relentlessly questioned former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday over why she and other administration officials initially blamed a YouTube video for the Benghazi terror attacks, a claim contrary to available intelligence at the time. “Your experts knew the truth, your spokesperson knew the truth, Greg Hicks knew the truth,” Jordan said during a House Benghazi Committee hearing. “But what troubles me more is I think you knew the truth. Jordan accused Clinton of telling the president of Libya, Egyptian prime minister and even family members that terrorists were behind the attack, but later suggested an anti-Muslim video sparked the attack.
“The American people want to know why,” Jordan added. “If you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack,” Clinton replied. “Calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue — of course it was an attack,” Jordan shot back.

Confirmed: Hillary Clinton Repeatedly Lied Under Oath During Benghazi Committee Hearing

YouTube Video Maker Blamed for Benghazi Attacks Breaks Silence on CNN

Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive

Hillary Clinton Still Says A Video Was A Factor In The Benghazi Attacks

liars

See How Your Senator Voted on the Boehner-Obama Budget Deal

Less than five days after it was introduced, the Senate passed the 144-page, two-year budget deal that suspends the debt limit until March 2017 and raises spending caps.

The Senate passed the budget deal, 64-35, just after 3 a.m. on Friday. Thirty-five Republican senators opposed the deal, though it was not enough to stop the bill from heading to President Obama’s desk.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.34.59 AM

The bill was approved after a 1 a.m. procedural vote which passed, 63-35, and allowed the budget plan to proceed.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

The budget deal, the result of weeks of closed-door negotiations between McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, former House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, passed the House of Representatives Wednesday night.

The president is expected to sign the two-year budget agreement, called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, within the next few days.

Though the deal passed by the House and Senate with support from members of both parties, the fiscal plan was protested by conservative senators who opposed both the substance of the deal and the manner in which it was negotiated.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Sessions of Alabama—the current and former chairmen of the Senate Steering Committee, respectively—sent a letter to their GOP colleagues calling on them to oppose the deal. In their message, Lee and Sessions criticized the deal for being “crafted in secret without the involvement of the vast majority of our conference.”

Additionally, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., threatened to filibuster the legislation in what many believed would be an overnight protest. Paul, however, spoke on the Senate floor for just 18 minutes.

The Kentucky senator did appear on the Senate floor later in the night and criticized the deal for giving Obama unlimited borrowing authority.

“Both sides of the aisle have what I would call sacred cows. On the right, they have the sacred cow of military contracts. …The left wants more welfare,” he said, adding, “Should we give Congress more money? Hell no.”

Conservative senators went head-to-head with Republican leadership before the vote.

“The budget deal before the Senate today is not just a horrible piece of legislation that is undeserving of this chamber’s support. It also represents the last gasping breath of a disgraced, bipartisan Beltway establishment on the verge of collapse,” Lee said on the Senate floor. “The bill is a product of an unfair, dysfunctional and fundamentally undemocratic process, a process that is virtually indistinguishable from what we promised the American people a GOP-controlled Congress would bring to an end.”

McConnell, though, stressed that the agreement satisfied the list of demands Republicans had during negotiations with Democrats.

“This agreement isn’t perfect. I share some concerns other colleagues have raised. But here’s the bottom line: this is a fully offset agreement that rejects tax hikes, secures long-term savings through entitlement reforms and provides increased support for our military, all this at a time when we confront threats in multiple theaters,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “Each of these was a Republican goal heading into negotiations. Each of these items was achieved in the agreement before us.”

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 lifts spending caps by $80 billion—$50 billion in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017—with the increases split evenly between defense and nondefense spending.

It also suspends the debt limit until March 2017, and shifts $150 billion from the Social Security Trust Fund to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund

The budget deal was viewed by Boehner, who resigned from his post earlier this month, as a way to “clean the barn” for his successor, the newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

gdp_largeUS_GDP_second_quarter_2015_July2015

quarter-to-quarter-growth-in-real-gdp-2005-2009_q2

spreas of empireCG-map-3bases  US_military_bases_in_the_world_2007globalmilitarism58_14

U.S.Gov_SafetyNetProgramsUS Welfare State

Budget buster: Senate passes debt and spending hike in dead of night

144-page bill amounts to $558 million in new spending per page

Senate Republicans managed to wrangle enough of their troops to overcome a filibuster early Friday morning and pass the new budget deal, granting President Obama yet another debt holiday, busting the budget caps and boosting spending some $80 billion over the next two years.

Democrats, who are far more thrilled with the deal, did the heavy lifting, providing most of the votes as they won some $40 billion in new domestic spending in 2016 and 2017. They also forced the GOP to retreat on the hard-fought 2011 budget agreement that had helped bring deficits back under control.

Conservative Republicans were irate at their leaders and at defense hawks within the GOP who forced the deal by saying it was worth busting the caps in order to get the Pentagon more money at a time when the U.S. is fighting the war on terror.

“This deal represents the worst of Washington culture,” said Rep. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate who’d vowed to lead the filibuster, but who saw his efforts fall short to what he called an “unholy compromise between right and left.”

The bill cleared on a 64-35 vote, with just 18 Republicans joining all Democrats in backing the bill.

President Obama said the deal will “break the cycle of shutdowns and manufactured crises” that he and Congress have been through the last few years.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/30/senate-passes-debt-and-spending-hike-dead-night/

Senate passes two-year budget deal

Jim DeMint

When I had just started to raise a family, and I struggled to make my small business turn a profit, I had to make decisions about what bills to pay based on priorities and due dates. Sometimes, the struggle to balance the checkbook would be a painful one, and we had to do without some things as “luxuries”—even if we hadn’t considered them luxuries before.

This wasn’t some unique experience of mine. Too many Americans these days are forced to make sacrifices to keep the lights on.

But the federal government doesn’t do the same—in fact, it rarely even tries. Instead, the impending Boehner-Obama agreement allows Congress to rack up new debt and guarantees even more spending without putting any checks in place.

This is an insult to the American families whose tax dollars pay their salaries. It is slap in the face to families who are forced to shell out for every single irresponsible spending bill and wrecked entitlement system, because their representatives are too cowardly to tighten the belt and work on some hard reforms.

Instead, the current budget deal keeps our government on a trajectory to spend another $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So, like clockwork, Congress raises the debt limit.

Just as credit cards have limits that serve as warning signs for reckless spending, the debt limit is Congress’ self-imposed warning sign that our spending problem needs to be addressed. They’ve ignored it to the tune of $18.1 trillion and counting.

The Boehner-Obama deal has gimmicky savings that will not materialize—if ever—until 10 to 15 years from now. It bails out the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund by robbing the general Social Security Trust Fund without putting in any meaningful reforms. This is no help to the next generation of retirees.

Insultingly, the deal also turns Overseas Contingency Operations (an emergency spending provision that was meant to help the troops) into a slush fund for non-defense spending. If that disgusts you, welcome to the club—your annual dues are paid every April 15.

Congress hasn’t been forced into this. Better options have been proposed, but they require holding to budget caps and building on them with real spending and entitlement reforms.

Until Washington is forced by the voters into fiscal sanity, American families can expect to continue making those painful budget decisions at home while watching their leaders pile more debt on their heads from afar. Unfortunately, government debt will eventually lead to less opportunity and lower quality of life for all Americans.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/10/28/lame-ducks-lame-deal-the-boehner-obama-budget-plan/

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Thursday, October 29, 2015
BEA 15—50

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2015 (Advance Estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s
economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price
changes -- increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015, according to the
"advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP
increased 3.9 percent.

      The Bureau emphasized that the third-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 2 and
"Comparisons of Revisions to GDP" on page 4).  The "second" estimate for the third quarter, based on
more complete data, will be released on November 24, 2015.

      The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed
investment, exports, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions
from private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP,
increased.

      Real GDP increased 1.5 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 3.9 percent in the second.
The deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected a downturn in private inventory
investment and decelerations in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, in PCE, in state and local
government spending, and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in
imports.

_____

      FOOTNOTE.  Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified.  Percent changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized.  "Real" estimates are
in chained (2009) dollars.  Price indexes are chain-type measures.

      This news release is available on BEA's Web site.
_____

      Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 1.5 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 3.6 percent in the
second.

      Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s
economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production -- increased 2.7 percent, or
$121.1 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $18,034.8 billion.  In the second quarter, current-dollar
GDP increased 6.1 percent, or $264.4 billion.
Disposition of personal income

      Current-dollar personal income increased $171.6 billion in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of $139.5 billion in the second.  The acceleration in personal income primarily reflected an
acceleration in wages and salaries and an upturn in farm proprietors’ income that were partly offset by a
deceleration in personal interest income.

      Personal current taxes increased $15.8 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of
$27.3 billion in the second.

      Disposable personal income increased $155.9 billion, or 4.8 percent, in the third quarter,
compared with an increase of $112.2 billion, or 3.4 percent, in the second.  Real disposable personal
income increased 3.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.2 percent.

      Personal outlays increased $136.6 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of
$182.3 billion in the second.

      Personal saving -- disposable personal income less personal outlays -- was $636.7 billion in the
third quarter, compared with $617.5 billion in the second.

      The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income --
was 4.7 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.6 percent in the second.  For a 
comparison of personal saving in BEA's national income and product accounts with personal saving in the 
Federal Reserve Board's financial accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth, go to
www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/Nipa-Frb.asp.

_____

      BOX.  Information on the assumptions used for unavailable source data is provided in a technical note
that is posted with the news release on BEA's Web site.  Within a few days after the release, a detailed
"Key Source Data and Assumptions" file is posted on the Web site.  In the middle of each month, an
analysis of the current quarterly estimate of GDP and related series is made available on the Web site;
click on Survey of Current Business, "GDP and the Economy."  For information on revisions, see
"Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components."
_____

      BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.



                                      *          *          *



                       Next release -- November 24, 2015 at 8:30 A.M. EST for:
                   Gross Domestic Product:  Third Quarter 2015 (Second Estimate)
                   Corporate Profits:  Third Quarter 2015 (Preliminary Estimate)


                                      *          *          *

Release dates in 2016

Gross Domestic Product

                 2015: IV and 2015 annual      2016: I            2016: II           2016: III

Advance....            January 29             April 28             July 29          October 28
Second.....           February 26               May 27           August 26         November 29
Third......              March 25              June 28        September 29         December 22


Corporate Profits

Preliminary...            ...                   May 27           August 26         November 29
Revised.......           March 25              June 28        September 29         December 22




                                        Comparisons of Revisions to GDP


	Current quarterly estimates of GDP are released on the following schedule: "Advance" estimates, based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, are released near the end of the first
month following the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available,
"second" and "third" estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively.  "Latest"
quarterly estimates reflect the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions, which are typically released in late July.

	Annual revisions generally cover at least the 3 most recent calendar years (and the associated quarters) and
incorporate newly available major annual source data.  Comprehensive (or benchmark) revisions are carried out at
about 5-year intervals and incorporate major periodic source data, as well as improvements in concepts and
methods that update the accounts to portray more accurately the evolving U.S. economy.

	The table below presents the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real and current-dollar
GDP for the different estimate vintages.  From the advance estimate to the second estimate (1 month later), the
average revision to real GDP growth without regard to sign is 0.5 percentage point, while from the advance
estimate to the third estimate (2 months later), it is 0.6 percentage point.  From the advance estimate to the latest
estimate, the average revision without regard to sign is 1.2 percentage points.  Larger average revisions for the
latest estimates reflect the fact that comprehensive revisions include major improvements to the accounts, such as
the incorporation of BEA's latest benchmark input-output accounts.  The current quarterly estimates correctly indicate the
direction of change in real GDP 96 percent of the time, correctly indicate whether GDP is accelerating or
decelerating about 75 percent of the time, and correctly indicate whether real GDP growth is above, near, or
below trend growth about 83 percent of the time.


                      Revisions Between Quarterly Percent Changes of GDP: Vintage Comparisons
                                                  [Annual rates]

       Vintages                                   Average         Average without     Standard deviation of
       compared                                                    regard to sign      revisions without
                                                                                         regard to sign

________________________________________________________Real GDP_____________________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.1                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................               0.1                 0.6                  0.5
Second to third......................               0.0                 0.2                  0.3

Advance to latest....................              -0.1                 1.2                  1.0


____________________________________________________Current-dollar GDP_______________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.1                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................               0.2                 0.7                  0.5
Second to third......................               0.1                 0.3                  0.3
Advance to latest....................               0.1                 1.3                  1.0

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 NOTE.  These comparisons are based on the period from 1993 through 2014.

http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm

Fiscal Year 2015, Budget Deficit $438,889,000,000 or $438 Billion

National Debt Clock

$18,425,566,000,000 Plus or $18.4 Trillion

national_debt_chart2014totalusdebtobligationsUS-Unfunded-Liabilities

Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis

America’s Debt Crisis Explained

Published on Feb 24, 2014

Fact: America’s national debt stands at $17 trillion. That’s a tough number to grasp. Most people will never come close to making $1 million in any given year. How can we understand the magnitude of the hole our country is in? Well, imagine you owed your credit card company $200,000. On top of that you have to pay them about $4,000 per year in interest. You are bringing in $150,000 per year, but you are spending way more than that. How are you going to ever pay back that $200,000 debt? And what happens if you default? Well, that is America today.

‘US hides real debt, in worse shape than Greece’

The US national debt is twenty times higher than is officially reported, approaching $222 trillion, and today’s children could soon be paying their parent’s debts, reputed American economist Laurence Kotlikoff told RT. TRANSCRIPT of the interview: http://on.rt.com/81u1ac

How Big Is the U.S. Debt?

Uploaded on Feb 11, 2011

Do you know how much debt the U.S. is really in? Learn more: http://bit.ly/1HVAtKP

Economics professor Antony Davies illustrates the size the U.S. federal government’s debt and unfunded obligations. He breaks down the total U.S. debt and obligations into parts and compares them with the size of the GDP of countries around the world, showing the magnitude of America’s fiscal situation.

Deficits, Debts and Unfunded Liabilities: The Consequences of Excessive Government Spending

Uploaded on May 10, 2010

Huge budget deficits and record levels of national debt are getting a lot of attention, but this video explains that unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs are Americas real red-ink challenge. More important, this CF&P mini-documentary reveals that deficits and debt are symptoms of the real problem of an excessive burden of government spending. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

I.O.U.S.A.: Byte-Sized – The 30 Minute Version

Uploaded on Oct 31, 2008

By now, you may have heard about our acclaimed documentary I.O.U.S.A., a film that boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. The film has been a huge hit, getting rave reviews from Roger Ebert and others.

Now, we proudly release a 30-minute condensed version of I.O.U.S.A. designed specifically for watching and sharing on the web – for free.

IOUSA Solutions: Part 1 of 5

The award-winning documentary I.O.U.S.A. opened up America’s eyes to the consequences of our nation’s debt and the need for our government to show more fiscal responsibility. Now that more Americans and elected officials are aware of our fiscal challenges, the producers of I.O.U.S.A. created I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions, a follow-up special focusing on solutions to the fiscal crisis. Learn more athttp://www.iousathemovie.com/.

IOUSA Solutions: Part 2 of 5

IOUSA Solutions: Part 3 of 5

IOUSA Solutions: Part 4 of 5

IOUSA Solutions: Part 5 of 5

FIAT EMPIRE: Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution

$205 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities

By Gary North

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress.

There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information should not get out to the American people, namely, that the present value of the United States government’s off-budget liabilities is over $200 trillion.

…the government needs $205 trillion… to invest in the private sector, in order to fund its legal liabilities.

The man who has followed this for the longest time is Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University. He has created a great deal of embarrassment for the government by his relentless pursuit of the statistical implications of the statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Congressional Budget Office has a way to avoid this, namely, to cease publishing the statistics that Kotlikoff has used to expose the real condition of the United States government.

Kotlikoff referred to this suppression of information in an article that appeared in Forbes.

The CBO has two sets of books. This is what any Ponzi scheme requires. It releases one set of books to the rubes in the financial media, who are perfectly content to quote from it, when they are even aware of it. This is called the Extended Baseline Forecast or EBF.

The second set of books is called the Alternative Fiscal Scenario or AFS. Here’s how Kotlikoff describes the difference.

In past years, the CBO simultaneously released what it calls its Alternative Fiscal Scenario. This forecast is what CBO actually projects future taxes and spending to be given not just the laws in place, but also how Congress and the Administration have been bending and changing the laws through time. In short, the Alternative Fiscal Scenario (AFS) is what the CBO thinks we’re facing absent a truly dramatic and sustained shift in fiscal policy.

Because of Kotlikoff’s ability to get news coverage for the AFS, the CBO decided this year not to publish it.

Those of us who track U.S. fiscal policy eagerly await each year’s release of the AFS. But this year, the CBO’s long-term forecast included only the EBF. The AFS was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t mentioned in the CBO’s lengthy report. Nor was it included in the downloadable data CBO provided on its website.

The national media, which generally “covers” fiscal affairs by repeating what it’s told, missed this omission entirely. Indeed, it spent an entire news cycle discussing the EBF figures as if they had real meaning.

The CBO did not get away with this, at least not to the extent that it had hoped. There were complaints. Kotlikoff says that enough people did complain to persuade the CBO to release a summary of the projections in an obscure spot in the CBO’s spreadsheet. The CBO posted this information, but it did not alert the financial media to the update.

He predicted that the link would soon be removed. This was in early October.

The EBF and AFS projections differ dramatically, yet the AFS is hidden away in one tab of one spreadsheet called Supplementary Data, the small link to which will shortly disappear from the CBO’s homepage, making it even harder for we taxpayers to find.

He was correct. It’s gone. It’s “page not found.”

[Ed. Note: We tried accessing the link, but nothing came up.]

He points out that the CBO’s projections on the deficit which it has posted in full public view, namely, the ESB, has the fiscal gap at $47 trillion. Now, just between you and me, $47 trillion is a large chunk of change. But it is such a low-ball estimate that the public has no real conception of how big the liability really is. Of course, the public doesn’t care one way or the other, because the public has never heard of the CBO, let alone the ESB. When I say “public,” I mean the financial media.

Using the AFS figures, the unfunded liability is $205 trillion. This is the figure that the CBO does not want the general public, meaning the financial media, to be aware of.

Understand, this is not the unfunded liabilities added up in all future years. This is the present value of the unfunded liabilities, discounted to today. This means that the government needs $205 trillion, cash on hand, to invest in the private sector, in order to fund its legal liabilities. This is not the deficit long after we are dead. This is the present value of the deficit long after we are dead.

The only fiscal measure that’s free of this classification problem, known as economics labeling problem, is what economists call the infinite horizon fiscal gap. This measure puts everything on the books — all future spending obligations, whether they are called official or not as well as all future tax and other receipts. The difference valued in the present (the present value) of future spending less future receipts is the infinite horizon fiscal gap.

Kotlikoff explains this in layman’s terms. He explains it in terms of the taxing and spending consequences of the present value of the unfunded liabilities. He tells us what must be done today.

The $205 trillion fiscal gap is enormous. It’s 10% of the present value of all future GDP. Equivalently, it corresponds to 10% of GDP year in and year out for as far as the eye can see. To raise 10% of GDP each year we could (a) raise all federal taxes, immediately and permanently, by 57%, (b) cut all federal spending, apart from interest on the debt, by 37%, immediately and permanently, or (c) do some combination of (a) and (b).

The odds of Congress agreeing on a bill to this effect, and then having President Obama sign this bill into law, are a good deal lower than the odds of your winning the state lottery. Three times in a row. One ticket per year.

This is the softcore version that he wrote for Forbes. He released a hard-core version in an interview on the Financial Sense website. He called this a conspiracy. But he made it clear that it is a bipartisan conspiracy.

I sent him [head of the CBO] an email and asked whether he was under some sort of political pressure to withhold this information and he said that was a big insult, and he was very upset with me for suggesting that. But then he said that the reason he hadn’t released it was because they didn’t think anyone was interested. I said, well obviously we’re interested — it’s the only thing worth looking at.

I love it when bureaucrats cover up the obvious. They do not even try to be clever. They give some obviously screwball explanation, and leave it at that. They cannot be fired. We cannot do anything about it.

This has gone on for a long time.

This is a pattern, you know. The Clinton administration — we put out the fiscal gap studies for a couple of years on the President’s budget. The Clinton administration then censored it. The guy who’s now head of the National Economic Council, the Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama, was the one who did the censorship back in 1994. President Bush’s Treasury Secretary O’Neil wanted us to do a fiscal gap accounting for the President’s budget in 2003 and he was fired in December 7, 2002, and that study was censored two days after he was fired.

So, this is not accidental. This is more or less a conspiracy to hide the truth to keep ourselves and our kids in the dark about what the politicians are really doing, which is trying to garner the votes of older people and then get reelected and leave a bigger mess for our kids to handle.

Our kids will handle this effectively. They will elect people to Congress who will vote to stop paying the oldsters and their physicians, the vast majority of whom will be dependent on Medicare payments. I call this “stiff the geezers.” I also call it the Great Default. The surviving generations that ran up the liabilities will bear the brunt of the pain, as well they should.

There is no way out, other than default. This will have profound consequences politically, economically, and socially. It will be the end of the Keynesian welfare state. The Keynesians will be left holding the empty bag.

This is how all Ponzi schemes end. But those deluded souls who buy into them refuse to face statistical reality until the scheme blows up, leaving them empty-handed.

Will they be wiser after the Great Default? It is our job to explain to them what happened. We must begin with this: “We told you so. We also told you why.”

Regards,

Gary North
for The Daily Reckoning

You Think The Deficit Is Bad? Federal Unfunded Liabilities Exceed $127 Trillion

By Vance Ginn

Although the battle over a two-year budget deal and the national debt limit in Washington, D.C. has received the lion’s share of media attention recently , the bigger, more ominous threat facing taxpayers are unfunded liabilities—the difference between the net present value of expected future government spending and the net present value of projected future tax revenue, particularly those associated with Social Security and Medicare.

While federal unfunded liabilities are important, state-level unfunded pension liabilities also pose serious obstacles. In Texas, the recent 2013 Employees Retirement System (ERS) Valuation Report outlines the funding shortages this pension system faces and there is some indication it may be unable to pay beneficiaries by 2052.

The federal unfunded liabilities are catastrophic for future taxpayers and economic growth. At usdebtclock.org, federal unfunded liabilities are estimated at near $127 trillion, which is roughly $1.1 million per taxpayer and nearly double 2012’s total world output.
With about 134,000 active members in Texas’ ERS at the end of fiscal year 2013, the total unfunded liability was $7.2 billion—or $54,000 per active member. Despite the much smaller future net debt obligations in ERS compared with federal programs, there are similarities how we got here.

Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns’ book entitled The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know About America’s Future argue federal unfunded liabilities are primarily from a generational accounting problem, in which the dependency ratio of retirees to taxpayers is declining from an aging population.

The authors’ state, “today there are about 4 payees for every 1 beneficiary, but by the year 2030 there will only be 2 payees for every 1 beneficiary. Simple arithmetic will note that this is not sustainable over the long run.”

To understand the magnitude of this problem, the authors note one solution that includes all the following: “raise income taxes by 17 percent, raise payroll taxes by 24 percent, cut federal purchases by 26 percent, and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits by 11 percent.”

In the current political and economic environment, these changes are highly unlikely, but it shows the substantial economic costs associated with these large unfunded liabilities.

State pensions across the country also face this generational accounting problem, whereby an author discusses his research in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “The Hidden Danger in Public Pension Funds” stating, “The ratio of active public employees to retirees has fallen drastically, according to the State Budget Crisis Task Force. Today it is 1.75 to 1; in 1950, it was 7 to 1. This means that a loss in pension investments has three times the impact on state and local budgets than 40 years ago.”

In addition to an aging population in Texas creating substantial challenges with funding ERS, it is also riddled with a problem many state pension portfolio managers face: low rates of return on risk-free assets, such as a one-year Treasury security that returns less than 1 percent.

As these managers choose riskier investments to gain a higher rate of return, the study cited in the WSJ op-ed notes that the standard deviation of public pension investments to state and local budgets—a good measure of risk—has increased 10-fold from about 2 percent in 1975 to 20 percent today. Along with fewer people contributing to these pensions, riskier investments should be of grave concern to all.

Since the actuarial funded ratio of ERS is 77 percent based on an 8 percent annual rate of return, this rate of return and the risk-taking portfolio managers must use to gain this return are vital. Over the last five years, the fund’s annual return was 6 percent and 7.1 percent over the last ten years. Although the ten-year annual average was close to 8 percent, there is no guarantee this will continue, which could dramatically lower the funded ratio.

Clearly, the generational accounting problem burdening programs at the federal level also burden Texas’ pensions and the more risky assets portfolio managers must invest in are increasing the susceptibility of an even lower funded ratio in the future.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/01/17/you-think-the-deficit-is-bad-federal-unfunded-liabilities-exceed-127-trillion/

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The Pronk Pops Show 564, October 28, 2018, Story 1: Lying Lunatic Left Lame-stream Losers: CNBC — Winners: Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Carson and Trump — Losers: Bush and Kasich — 2016 Republican Candidates Debate — October 28, 2015 — Boulder, Colorado — New House Speaker Paul Ryan — Videos

Posted on October 29, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Banking System, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Defense Spending, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Independence, Insurance, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, Videos, Wall Street Journal, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Lying Lunatic Left Lame-stream Losers: CNBC  — Winners: Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Carson and Trump — Losers: Bush and Kasich — 2016 Republican Candidates Debate — October 28, 2015 — Boulder, Colorado — New House Speaker Paul Ryan — Videos

Lying Lunatic Left Lame-stream Losers

Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and especially John Harwood

cnbc-gop-debate-moderators-1024x682cnbc-moderators-debate

The Winners

Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Carson and Trump

the winners

 Real Losers: Jeb Bush and John Kasich–  Next Out?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets a supporter following her address at the 18th Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University in New York April 29, 2015. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

House Speaker Paul Ryan

paulryanspeaker

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Are We Really Talking About Fantasy Football? • Chris Christie • GOP Debate • 10/28/15 •

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Ben Carson Says PC Culture is Destroying America

Donald Trump Closing Remarks During 3rd Republican Debate

Donald Trump says he negotiated the length of the debate from 3 hours down to 2 hours during his final statement at the end of the 3rd Republican Presidential Debate on CNBC.

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Donald Trump vs John Kasich At Gop Debate. Kasich Tears Into Trump, Carson:

Lamestream GOP Moderators’ Total Debate Fail

MEDIA SCOUNDRELS

By Lloyd Grove

When Rand Paul asked for the rules about who was allowed to respond to a rival candidate’s statement, Quick informed him, “It’s at the discretion of the moderators.”

It was not an answer guaranteed to instill the participants’—or, for that matter, the viewers’—confidence in the fairness and balance of the occasion.

Speaking of which, Fox News, unsurprisingly, had a field day with CNBC’s treatment of the candidates.

“This is the most appalling performance by the moderators,” Charles Krauthammer opined, “that I can ever remember seeing.”

Republican talking point virtuoso Sean Hannity declared: “The candidates combined beat the moderators, who were taking the Democratic Party line.”

“This a horrible night for the news media,” Hannity added—and, for once, I agreed with him.

The trouble started with the very first question, Quintanilla cutely asked each candidate, as though they were in a job interview, to admit to a weakness of character or somesuch.

It was a gimmicky and rather puerile inquiry, of course, and predictably few of the contenders even bothered to address it. Bush conceded he was probably a little too impatient. Trump claimed he was a little too trusting, and then bitterly unforgiving when betrayed. Carly Fiorina—grinning winsomely for laughs—revealed she was advised to smile more during debates.

Quick, meanwhile, got blindsided when she asked Trump about something he supposedly said about Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration policies, and Trump told her he never said it.

“So where did that come from?” Quick pleaded lamely.

“I don’t know. You people write this stuff,” Trump retorted, to laughter.

Harwood, who also writes for The New York Times, came in for particular criticism from the candidates—and with justice. He came across as a sort of grand inquisitor and took on the severe and scolding tone of an irritated headmaster with candidates who spoke beyond their 60-second allotment.

“John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer?” Christie chided after Harwood interrupted him. “Gotta tell ya, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called ‘rude.’”

Toward the end, when each contender was invited to deliver a 30-second closing pitch, Trump used his time to congratulate himself and Ben Carson for negotiating with CNBC to pare down the debate from 3½ hours to 2 hours “so we can all get the hell out of here.”

Trump argued that it’s just those sorts of negotiating skills that he’ll employ as president to make America great again.

“Just for the record,” Harwood felt compelled to chime in, “it was always going to be two hours.”

“That is not right,” Trump shot back, basically calling Harwood a liar. “You know that is not right.”

All in all, the night offered a harsh lesson for future debate moderators: Go ahead and pose tough questions, but get your facts straight, don’t be snarky, and don’t, on any account, debate the pros

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/29/lamestream-cnbc-moderators-blamed-for-gop-debate-debacle.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 563, October 28, 2015, Story 1: American People Can Longer Afford The Democratic and Republican Party’s Warfare and Welfare State — End The Two Party Tyranny — Establish A New Independent Constitutional Party Supporting Balanced Budgets and Limited Government — Videos

Posted on October 28, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Crime, Defense Spending, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Labor Economics, Legal Immigration, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Tax Policy, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 563: October 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 562: October 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 561: October 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 560: October 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 558: October 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 557: October 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 556: October 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 555: October 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 554: October 15, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 553: October 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 552: October 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 543: September 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 542: September 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Story 1: American People Can Longer Afford The Democratic and Republican Party’s Warfare and Welfare State — End The Two Party Tyranny — Establish A New Independent Constitutional Party Supporting Balance Budgets and Limited Government — Videos

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fredgraph

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Budget-Debt Ceiling Package Passes in House

The House passed a two-year budget and debt ceiling agreement on a 266-167 vote. The Senate is slated to take up the bill right away and move to final passage, likely this weekend, clearing it for the signature of President Barack Obama. The White House supports the measure and has urged its passage in Congress.

Budget Deal Faces Last-minute Protest by Republicans

Boehner announces that a budget agreement has been reached

Politics Panel: Is this Boehner’s final middle finger to the Tea Party?

Paul Ryan Now Promising No Amnesty Until 2017, After Obama Leaves Office

The Hard Line | Dick Morris analyzes recent ads by the Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and John Kasich campaign

EPA weighs environmental toll of ethanol with proposed cuts

Milton Friedman – The Federal Reserve Caused Great Depression

Milton Friedman – Abolish The Fed

Milton Friedman On John Maynard Keynes

Crony Capitalism Revisited (Is Keynesianism What We Think It Is?) | Hunter Lewis

Budget Deal Stirs Anger on the Right

Two-year plan reduces risk of a government shutdown

By KRISTINA PETERSON and NICK TIMIRAOS

Congressional leaders worked Tuesday to marshal support for a sweeping budget and debt deal that offered an end to fiscal fights with President Barack Obama but opened up top Republicans to criticism from conservatives, including GOP presidential hopefuls.

The House is expected to pass the legislation as soon as Wednesday, eliminating the risk that the government might default on its debt until after the next presidential election and increasing government spending for the next two years. The bill is likely to then pass the Senate only days before Nov. 3, after which the Treasury Department has said it wouldn’t be able to pay all its bills unless Congress acted to raise or extend the federal debt limit.

The agreement, which boosts federal spending above limits established in a 2011 deal and in effect since 2013, would deliver a policy victory to the administration and congressional Democrats because it increases domestic spending on par with that for the Pentagon. It also revealed the GOP split over spending levels, infuriating conservatives, who accused congressional leaders of caving to the administration and its allies on Capitol Hill during House Speaker John Boehner’s final days in office.

Congressional leaders and the White House struck a tentative budget deal that would raise the debt ceiling and reduce the risk of a government shutdown. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday highlights some of the key terms of the agreement.

“John Boehner’s golden parachute will certainly cement his legacy, but it is a slap in the face to conservatives who rose up across the country in 2014 on a promise that we would stop the disastrous runaway spending and debt in Washington,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who is running for president.

For Republicans, the deal offered a path for the GOP-controlled Congress to avert blame from a potential default, instead securing at least some policy goals as a condition for raising the borrowing limit.

If the new accord passes Congress, it would become the second two-year agreement to relax the sequester, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts that took effect in 2013.

Both deals came together carrying an unusual political price. The first was negotiated two years ago after a 16-day partial government shutdown. The second was struck only after Mr. Boehner announced his resignation last month. In a twist of political irony, Mr. Boehner’s retirement liberated him to cut his final deal, infuriating the same lawmakers who helped bring his quarter-century congressional career to an end by Friday.

“Sometimes, the clock works against you, sometimes the clock works in your favor,” Mr. Boehner told reporters Tuesday, as he dismissed his critics. “In a town that isn’t known for a lot of bipartisanship, you’re going to see bricks flying from those that don’t like the fact that there’s a bipartisan agreement. But there is. It’s a solid agreement.”

Conservatives criticized the deal as the product of collusion between establishment Republicans and the White House.

“Another last-minute, backroom spending deal by the White House and congressional leaders that busts the budget caps and allows unlimited debt for the next 18 months,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives. “No wonder so many Americans distrust Congress.”

If approved, the deal would defuse two of the most contentious issues faced by Congress, easing the difficult job falling on Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), expected to be elected the next House speaker later this week.

Reflecting the frustration of conservatives he must soon lead, Mr. Ryan was publicly critical of the secretive process that left lawmakers deciding whether to support a far-reaching bill they had no hand in helping shape. However, he said Wednesday morning that he would reluctantly support the deal.

The deal reached late Monday effectively raises the debt ceiling through mid-March 2017 and boosts spending by $50 billion in fiscal year 2016 and $30 billion in fiscal 2017. Lawmakers still would need to pass detailed spending bills for the next fiscal year by mid-December, likely in a combined measure.

Boehner’s Plan to ‘Clean Out the Barn’

As John Boehner exits to make way for a new Speaker of the House, he is considering some politically contentious financial measures that would attempt to fix the budget and raise the debt ceiling. WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains.

The announcement pushed defense stocks higher on Tuesday and offered relief to investors who are already preoccupied with whether the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates at a mid-December meeting scheduled for days after the government funding is set to expire.

“The deal basically eliminates most of the remaining uncertainty around the fiscal deadlines,” said Alec Phillips, a political economist at Goldman Sachs in Washington. He estimates higher government spending next year could add around 0.2 percentage point to gross domestic product.

Few Democrats are expected to oppose the deal, which will free Mr. Obama to focus on other issues in his final months in office.

“No one got everything they wanted,” Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday. “But it will last for two years and it will prevent us from lurching from crisis to crisis.”

ENLARGE

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said the bill was “better than the alternative,” predicting that Democrats would “come to the conclusion that progress has been made.”

The deal is likely to rely largely on Democratic votes to pass both chambers, and a widespread GOP insurrection could still hamper its passage in the House. Some concerns emerged Tuesday night over a provision reducing subsidies on crop insurance purchased by farmers and the bill’s official cost from the Congressional Budget Office. The crop insurance issue is expected to be addressed in a future spending bill.

The agreement also incorporates fixes to two federal safety-net programs that loomed large as political problems as the 2016 election drew closer. The agreement incorporates measures aimed at extending the solvency of the Social Security program used to help support disabled people. The deal also would prevent an expected 52% increase in premiums for roughly 30% of the people enrolled in Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care such as doctor visits.

Separately, the Internal Revenue Service would have an easier time auditing large partnerships, including private-equity firms and hedge funds, under a provision of the deal that would revamp a 33-year-old law that sets the rules for partnership audits and requires the IRS to pass additional taxes to each of the partners.

The budget deal would also repeal a delayed provision of the 2010 health law requiring employers to automatically enroll workers in company plans.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-congressional-leaders-reach-tentative-budget-deal-1445925316

House to Vote on Budget/Debt Limit Deal Today

Marcia S. Smith

Today the House is scheduled to vote on a deal worked out by the White House and top congressional leaders to raise budget caps and the debt limit for two years — until after the 2016 elections.  The deal is controversial both for its provisions and the way in which it was negotiated, but is expected to pass.

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his intent to resign from the Speakership and Congress last month, he promised to “clean the barn” before he left, resolving major issues so his successor would not have to deal with them.   Two of the four key issues — reauthorization of spending from the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank — now have cleared the House.  The others — increasing the budget caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and raising the debt limit — are combined in the bill the House will consider today.   All of these still must pass the Senate, but Boehner will have fulfilled his promise by getting them through the House.  The idea is that as outgoing Speaker, he has more flexibility to use Democratic votes to get bills passed even if many Republicans oppose them.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to be chosen by the House Republican Conference as Boehner’s successor at a meeting today and voted in by the full House tomorrow.   Boehner’s last day is Friday.

Ryan is one of the critics of the budget/debt limit deal saying the process by which it was reached “stinks.”   Only top congressional leaders were involved in the negotiations with the White House.  Ryan was the most recent House member to negotiate a major budget deal when he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee.  He and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), found a compromise in 2013 that provided stability for budgets in FY2014 and FY2015.

The Ryan-Murray agreement expired with the FY2015 budget, though, so a new deal was needed for FY2016, which began on October 1.  At the same time, Congress needs to raise the $18.1 trillion debt limit by November 3 to avoid a U.S. default on its debts.

By limiting participation in the budget/debt limit talks to just the top congressional leaders, Ryan and others are protected from criticism that they approved of the process or the results.

The new bill, the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, was introduced just after midnight yesterday (Tuesday) and would do the following:

  • Increase discretionary spending caps by $80 billion compared to the caps set in the 2011 BCA (about 1 percent).  The increase is spread over two years: $50 billion in FY2016 and $30 billion in FY2017, divided equally between defense and non-defense programs.  The increases are at least partially paid for by changes to Social Security and Medicare.
  • Add $32 billion to the off-budget Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account: $16 billion each year, split roughly equally between DOD and the State Department.
  • Raise the debt limit through March 2017.

Approval of the deal would get these issues off the table through the 2016 congressional and presidential elections.  The deal does not end sequestration.  In fact, it extends sequestration (automatic across the board cuts if Congress exceeds budget caps) through 2025.

The budget cap increase does not specify how the additional money will be spent.  There is no way to know how much any specific agency like NASA or NOAA will benefit, but the agreement should ease (but not eliminate) fears of a government shutdown this year or next.

An appropriations process must take place where the money will be allocated to various agencies and activities that could nonetheless be controversial.  House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said his committee “stands at the ready” to implement the details of the deal. The House has passed six of the 12 regular appropriations bills already; the Senate has not passed any.  The bills that already passed the House, including the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill that funds NASA and NOAA, can be changed in negotiations with the Senate.  The government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires on December 11.

As for government shutdowns, it is important to remember that the 16-day shutdown in 2013 was driven primarily not by budget issues, but by opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Many of the same House and Senate Republicans who fought Obamacare that time are determined to stop government funding of Planned Parenthood now.  Breathing a sigh of relief may be premature.

Still, there is a sense that this new deal is better than nothing, raising hopes among its proponents that it will, indeed, become law.   The House vote today will be the first test.  The Senate is expected to vote on it next week.

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/house-to-vote-on-budget-debt-limit-deal-today?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Spacepolicyonline+(SpacePolicyOnline+News)

The giant debt ceiling increase rolled together with a budget deal was introduced at 11:36 p.m. Monday, in the dead of night, several congressional sources confirm to Breitbart News.

by MATTHEW BOYLE

The text is 144 pages long and increases the debt ceiling beyond when President Barack Obama leaves office, all the way until March 2017.  It also, according to Politico, increases spending by $50 billion this year and $30 billion more the following year.

As AP reports, House Speaker

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) 37% is pushing for a Wednesday vote, this would be yet another instance in which he has broken his promise to give members and the public three full days—72 hours—to read legislation before voting on it.

“We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives,” Boehner’s “Pledge to America” reads. “No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2010, Boehner also promised that three full days meant “at least 72 hours.”

By scheduling a vote on Wednesday—any time before 11:36 p.m. on Thursday, actually—Boehner would be violating that pledge.

Boehner is also putting the chances of his likely successor, House Ways and Means Committee chairman

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 58% , at risk. Ryan has indicated he thinks the “process stinks” on this, but is planning to review the deal in its entirety before making a decision one way or the other.

Ryan’s office has refused to answer a series of basic questions from Breitbart News on whether he believes all Republicans in the House should support or oppose the deal, what took him so long to comment on the deal at all (he still hasn’t weighed in on the substance just the process), whether he would support

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 45% remaining on as Majority Leader if he becomes Speaker after McCarthy contradicted him on the process of the deal, and whether Ryan would allow staffers who were involved in this process who currently work for Boehner to remain working for the Speaker’s office if and when this takes over. Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck, over the course of several emails on Tuesday, openly refused to answer each of those questions. Buck used to work for Boehner.

The Associated Press captured in its piece on Tuesday just how high stakes this game is for Ryan’s chances.

“The House budget vote slated for Wednesday would come on the same day as the GOP caucus nominates its candidate, widely expected to be Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan,” the Associated Press wrote.

That means that as the House votes on this monstrosity, it will also be voting to nominate Ryan as the GOP conference official candidate for the Speakership—setting him up for a floor vote on Thursday at which Ryan needs to win a majority of those present and voting for a person.

If he fails to achieve that absolute majority on the floor—something absolutely possible since

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) 64% is still running against him—then it could set up a catastrophic-for-Ryan second ballot fight at which point Ryan would likely eventually step aside. It’s still entirely uncertain what is going to happen between now and Thursday, but with Ryan siding with the establishment in Washington on things like this it’s highly unlikely there will be a clear answer until it all goes down. Making matters more interesting, too, is that GOP presidential candidates are arriving in Boulder, Colorado. All are likely going to face questions about this highly unpopular deal going down in Washington.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/27/massive-debt-budget-deal-introduced-in-dead-of-night-vote-violates-another-boehner-pledge/

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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The Pronk Pops Show 562, October 27, 2015, Story 1: None on The Presidential Candidates Are In America’s Wheelhouse — Kicking The Can Down The Road To Serfdom — Creeping, Corrupt, and Crippling Socialism — Videos

Posted on October 27, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Corruption, Disasters, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, IRS, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Monetary Policy, Neutron Bomb, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 562: October 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 561: October 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 560: October 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 558: October 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 557: October 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 556: October 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 555: October 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 554: October 15, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 553: October 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 552: October 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 543: September 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 542: September 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Story 1: None on The Presidential Candidates Are In America’s Wheelhouse — Kicking The Can Down The Road To Serfdom — Creeping, Corrupt, and Crippling Socialism — Videos
wheelhouse

noun, plural wheelhouses

[hweel-hou-ziz, weel-] (Show IPA)

Idioms

2.

in one’s wheelhouse,

  1. Baseball. (of a pitch) within the zone that is most advantageous fora batter to hit a home run.
  2. within one’s area of expertise or interest:
    There are some subjects that are in your wheelhouse and some that are not.

3.        in the same wheelhouse, very similar and usually in the samecategory:

The two folk singers are in the same wheelhouse.
boehner Cartoon_Debt_Ceiling_25 debt ceiling and spending debt ceiling  us_debt_ceiling_cartoon

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Debt-Ceiling-Cartoon debt-ceiling

U.S.-Debt-Ceiling10 year notes yield800px-Federal_Debt_Held_by_the_Public_1790-2013
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SR-budget-book-2015-chart-5-160004102014_medicare_explainer_chart1-crop

Understanding the National Debt and Budget Deficit

The United States Debt Limit Explained – (CR) Heritage Foundation

The New Road to Serfdom

Daniel Hannan’s new book, The New Road to Serftdom: A Letter of Warning to America, urges Americans not to take such things as federalism, the rule of law and limited government for granted.

He believes the United States could find itself lurching toward European-style socialism even more quickly. He spoke at the Cato Institute September 29, 2010.

House GOP leaders reach budget deal with Obama White House

Donald Trump & Ben Carson Watch Democratic Debate

Donald Trump (Jimmy Fallon) and Dr. Ben Carson (David Alan Grier) have a phone conversation while watching the first Democratic debate.

In someone’s wheelhouse Meaning

Wheelhouse Meaning

Donald Trump: Negotiating Is Not In Ben Carson’s “Wheelhouse” – Ben Carson On Cavuto

Carson leads national poll at 26 percent

Melvin Goodman: Part 2

Book TV: Melvin Goodman,”National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism

Budget deal divides Hill Republicans

Paul Ryan: Hiding Spending Doesn’t Reduce Spending

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.”
(Remarks by President Obama to a Joint Session of Congress, September 9, 2009)

This afternoon Budget Committee Ranking Member Ryan walked through why the bill put forward by Democrats FAILS the President’s deficit test.

The Majority Leader said the bill scores as reducing deficit by $131 billion over the next 10 years.

First a little bit about CBO: I work with them every single day; very good people; great professionals. They do their jobs well. But their job is to score what is placed in front of them. And what has been placed in front of them is a bill that is fill of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors.

Now what do I mean when I say that?

First off, the bill has ten years of tax increases and ten years of Medicare cuts to pay for six years of spending. The true ten year cost when subsidies kick-in? $2.3 trillion.

The bill is full of gimmicks that more than erase the false claim of deficit reduction:

– $52 billion of savings is claimed by counting increased Social Security payroll revenues. These dollars are already claimed for future Social Security beneficiaries, and claiming to offset the cost of this bill either means were double-counting or were not going to pay Social Security benefits.

– $72 billion in savings is claimed from the CLASS Act long-term care insurance. These so-called savings are not offsets, but rather premiums collected to pay for future benefits. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has called these savings, A ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.

Additionally, the nearly half-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts cannot be counted twice. Medicare is in dire need of reform in order to make certain that we can ensure health security for future seniors.

Using Medicare as a piggy bank, it raids a half trillion dollars from retirees health coverage to fund the creation of another open-ended health care entitlement.

The Presidents chief Medicare actuary says up to 20% of Medicare providers may go bankrupt or stop taking Medicare beneficiaries as a result. Millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage will lose the coverage they now enjoy.

Objections to the policy aside, you cannot use these savings twice to both extend the life of Medicare and to pay for other spending. The half-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts are either to extend the programs solvency or to reduce the cost of this deficit but not both as its authors claim.

When you strip away the double-counting of Medicare cuts, the so-called savings from Social Security payroll taxes and the CLASS Act, the deficit increases by $460 billion over first ten years and $1.4 trillion over second ten years.

Finally, one of the most expensive and most cynical of the gimmicks applies to Medicare physician payments, the so-called Doc Fix.

By your own estimate, the Doc Fix adds an additional $371 billion to the cost of health care reform. With the price tag beyond what most Americans could handle, the Majority decided to simply remove this costly provision and deal with it in a stand-alone bill.

Ignoring this additional cost does not remove it from the backs of taxpayers. Hiding spending doesnt reduce spending

Rep. Ryan: ‘Do Nothing, Punt, Duck, Kick the Can Down the Road’ Causing A ‘Debt Crisis’

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2

The Road to Serfdom

Friedrich Hayek: Why Intellectuals Drift Towards Socialism

Hayek on The Road to Serfdom

Friedrich von Hayek and Axel Leijonhufvud – Nov 1978

F. A. Hayek on Social Evolution and the Origins of Tradition

The Road to Serfdom

The Road to Serfdom is a book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek (1899–1992) between 1940–1943, in which he “warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning

Exclusive: John Boehner says it’s time for him to ‘move on’

Hank Karr sings Paddlewheeler

Paul Ryan on Obama-Boehner Budget Deal: ‘This Is Not the Way to Do the People’s Business’

Rep. Paul Ryan, the leading candidate to become the next House speaker, today criticized the massive budget deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner.

“This is not the way to do the people’s business,” said Ryan, according toPolitico. “And under new management we are not going to do the people’s business this way. We are up against a deadline—that’s unfortunate. But going forward we can’t do the people’s business. As a conference we should’ve been meeting months ago to discuss these things to have a unified strategy going forward.”

As Republican lawmakers met Monday to learn details of the budget plan, Ryan reportedly didn’t speak a word at the meeting. Politico reported Ryan had not reviewed the contents of the deal as of Tuesday morning.

With a vote on the deal expected as early as Wednesday, conservatives turned their attention to the top candidate for speaker. Ryan will face an internal Republican conference vote Wednesday, then a public floor vote Thursday.

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“Heritage Action and the Club for Growth call on Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., to stop this zombie budget deal,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh and Heritage Action chief executive Mike Needham in a statement.

Ryan’s criticism of the process Boehner used to negotiate the deal reflects similar sentiments from House Freedom Caucus members.

“We’re not just here to take commands,” Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., told CNN. “People back home expect us to participate in the process.”

“We would want [Ryan] to change the process, to make it more transparent, to let the committees do their work early, and to make sure that all members have the opportunity to weigh in early rather than find out when it’s too late,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., told Roll Call.

The Obama-Boehner deal would increase the $18.1 trillion debt limit by at least $1.5 trillion and add $80 billion in spending above the budget caps agreed to in 2011.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/10/27/paul-ryan-on-obama-boehner-budget-deal-this-is-not-the-way-to-do-the-peoples-business/

House GOP Leaders Reach Budget Deal With Obama White House

Republicans Throw A Tantrum After Boehner Gives Obama Everything He Wants In Budget Deal

Senate and House Republicans are throwing a fit and claiming that Speaker of the House John Boehner gave President Obama everything he wanted in the new two-year budget deal.

Politico talked to some very unhappy Republicans:

Asked about the tentative agreement after the briefing, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions replied: “My knees quiver at the sound.” In an interview, Sessions expressed frustration that outgoing Speaker John Boehner was hammering out the deal just days before he plans to give up the gavel for good. “What does Boehner got to do with it?” said an exasperated Sessions, the former top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “I’m worried about how fast it’s moving. I see no reason for that. Based on what I know now, it appears the president got whatever he wanted.”

….

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas dryly acknowledged: “I don’t think you’ll hear anybody popping any champagne corks.”

The discontent over the preliminary fiscal agreement also extended to the House on Monday night, where Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) focused his ire over how leadership was handling the budget process. “We’re not just here to take commands. We’re really tired of the top-down, micromanagement where you have just a few people, or in this case just the speaker and his team, determining the outcome,” Amash said. “This is a fair reason to vote against the bill.”

The real reason Republicans are unhappy is because this deal would take away their ability to hold the country hostage by creating a crisis over the budget and the debt ceiling for two years.

The far right will be neutered.

This deal is not perfect, but Democrats can check many more boxes off of their side of the wish list than Republicans can. In fact, the main selling point for Republicans will be the lifting of the sequester cuts and a repeal of a small piece of the ACA.

Compared to what the Democrats got in return, no more sequester, more spending, no increase in Medicare premiums, and no 20% cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, Republicans got next to nothing.

President Obama has finally done it. He has broken the cycle of Republican crisis politics. There will be no more calls for government shutdowns, or Republicans pushing the economy to the brink of catastrophe by refusing to raise the debt limit.

Obama won, and Republicans can do nothing but blame Boehner and grumble in defeat.

http://www.politicususa.com/2015/10/26/republicans-throw-tantrum-boehner-obama-budget-deal.html

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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The Pronk Pops Show 561, October 26, 2015, Story 1: Part 2: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

Posted on October 26, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Computers, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Legal Immigration, Media, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Private Sector Unions, Progressives, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Social Networking, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 561: October 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 560: October 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 558: October 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 557: October 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 556: October 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 555: October 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 554: October 15, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 553: October 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 552: October 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 543: September 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 542: September 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Story 1: Part 2: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

Obama-is-pathological-liar  liars four americans diedBenghaziDied

epa03398098 US President Barack Obama (2-L) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3-R) take part in the Transfer of Remains Ceremony marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya, at Joint Base Andrews in Washington DC, USA, 14 September 2012. Gunmen attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, killing of US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three embassy staffs. EPA/MOLLY RILEY / POOL

obama lied


laughing-h-600-li

Inside Hillary Clinton’s measured Benghazi testimony

Ray: A public servant who has a track record of not telling the truth

Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business

Donald Trump on GOP competition, Benghazi hearing

Kurtz: Paul Ryan, insufficiently conservative?

Pro-Amnesty Rep. Gutiérrez Supports Paul Ryan For Speaker Of The House

Save Us From Paul Ryan

Ann Coulter, “¡Adios America!”

Ann Coulter argues that immigration is the greatest issue facing the United States today. She contends that America’s immigration policy is deeply flawed and that amnesty will lead to a greater influx of liberal voters, who according to the author, will hurt the economy as well as the country’s public and foreign policy.

Ann Coulter slaughters pro Immigration advocates

Rush Limbaugh: GOP donors installed Paul Ryan as House Speaker

Limbaugh: Donor/RINO Class Pushing Hard For Paul Ryan As Speaker Of The House

Limbaugh: Donor/RINO Class Pushing Hard For Paul Ryan As Speaker Of The House

Pro-Amnesty Paul Ryan … what the GOP’s big donors want (Limbaugh)

Rush Limbaugh (10/23/15): “Here’s the dream, from the Republican donor side. The Republican donor side is that Jeb Bush or, if not Jeb, somebody else acceptable to the Republican establishment, gets elected president, Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House, and the donor class thinks that if they can make that happen, that within 12 to 18 months their entire agenda will be implemented.”

Both Parties Fear the Tea Party (Limbaugh)

Mark Levin on Paul Ryan’s radical pro Amnesty ideology

UN-led Mass Migration Destroying U.S. Nationhood

Understanding the Impact of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Would Paul Ryan Be a Good Choice for House Speaker?

What We Can Expect If Congress Passes TPP

The Nuances Behind the Republican Presidential Debate

How Trump’s Attack on McCain Didn’t Go Far Enough

Iran Deal Courtesy of CFR New World Order Crowd

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“MORE AND MORE PEOPLE “FED UP WITH THIS “RIGGED TWO-PARTY SYSTEM”!

The Two-Party System is Making America Ungovernable- Intelligence Squared U.S.

Andrew Horning on Breaking the Two Party System 1 18 2014

Reagan Warned Us About Obama

Mark Steyn on Racism, Slavery, and the Democratic Party

Rush To Beck: “We May Be Looking At Barack Obama Destroying The Democrat Party”

Mark Krikorian Intro to Panelists – Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Robert Rector – Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Panel Press Release: http://cis.org/Announcements/Immigran…
Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households: http://cis.org/Welfare-Use-Immigrant-…
Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrant Households: http://cis.org/Welfare-Use-Legal-Ille…
Panel Video: Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants: http://cis.org/Videos/Immigrant-Welfa…
Panel Transcript: Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants: http://cis.org/PanelTranscripts/Immig…

The Center for Immigration Studies hosted a discussion at the National Press Club focusing on two reports on immigration and welfare. The Center’s first report focuses on welfare use by immigrant and native-born housholds, the second report separates welfare use by legal and illegal households. Two nationally recognized policy experts, along with the Center’s director of research and author of the report, discussed immigrant welfare use at the panel.

Q and A Welfare – Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Panel Clip: Jobs Americans Won’t Do?

Panel Clip: Do Immigrants Create More Jobs?

Steven Camarota – Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Panel Clip: Welfare Restrictions on Immigrants?

Panel Clip: U.S. Family Immigration vs. Other Countries

Mark Krikorian Intro – 1965 Immigration Act 50 Years Later

Philip Martin – 1965 Immigration Act 50 Years Later

Jerry Kammer – 1965 Immigration Act 50 Years Later

Peggy Orchowski – 1965 Immigration Act 50 Years Later

Q and A – 1965 Immigration Act 50 Years Later

Panel Clip: Was JFK a Restrictionist?

Stop Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants – Expert Reveals the True Cost of Amnesty

Alan Keyes: Stop Illegal Immigration, No Amnesty!

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

Ron Paul – Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 1 of 3

Art Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, takes you into the new healthcare law. He identifies a pattern of government broken promises, revealing that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Find out what’s really in the new law and what you can expect long term.

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 2 of 3

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 3 of 3

John Birch Society: Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

William F. Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine, explains how President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an “an all-out assault on our national sovereignty,” and how It would unconstitutionally transfer legislative powers from the U.S. Congress, our state legislatures, and our city and county governments to multi-national corporations and unaccountable international bureaucrats at the World Trade Organization, or WTO. Incredibly, it also would transfer judicial powers from our federal and state courts — which are bad enough — to globalist TPP judges at regional tribunals and the WTO.

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

Archie Bunker on Democrats

Archie Bunker predicts conditions under Obama

George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%

Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%
by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Average 45.9% approval similar to 46.1% in prior quarter
  • Obama has been under 50% approval for most of his presidency
  • Approval midrange compared with other presidents’ 27th quarters

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in his 27th quarter in office, from July 20 to Oct. 19, averaged 45.9%, essentially unchanged from his 46.1% average for the prior quarter.

President Barack Obama's Quarterly Job Approval Averages

Obama’s daily approval ratings also varied little within his most recent quarter, averaging 46% nearly every week during the quarter. There were just two modest but notable exceptions. In late August, as U.S. stocks fell in response to concerns about problems in the Chinese economy, his weekly approval rating dipped to 44%. And in late September it rose to 48% during the week of Pope Francis’ U.S. trip, which included a widely covered visit with Obama at the White House.

Since he became president nearly seven years ago, Obama has averaged 47% job approval. There have been only five quarters when he had majority approval, with four of those occurring during the first year of his presidency, the so-called “honeymoon phase” when new presidents tend to be rated positively. The only other time Obama’s quarterly approval exceeded 50% was perhaps the most consequential one — the 16th quarter, in which he was re-elected.

Obama’s 27th Quarter Midrange Compared With Other Presidents

Obama is the sixth post-World War II president to serve a 27th quarter in office. Two of these — Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton — were rated quite positively at this stage in their presidencies, with average approval ratings of 65.3% and 59.7%, respectively.

In contrast, Harry Truman (23.0%) and George W. Bush (33.2%) were decidedly unpopular at the same point of their presidencies. Truman’s 27th quarter average is the worst quarterly average for any president in Gallup’s polling history.

Obama’s 27th quarter average, along with Ronald Reagan’s, is between these two extremes. Reagan averaged 47.0% approval, slightly better than Obama’s 45.9%.

Job Approval Averages for Presidents During Their 27th Quarter in Office

After presidents have served nearly seven years in office, Americans’ opinions of them are pretty well-established and unlikely to change unless a major international or domestic crisis occurs. Clinton’s and Bush’s approval ratings did not change between their 27th and 28thquarters. Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan saw modest improvements of a few percentage points.

Implications

Americans’ opinions of Obama have been steady this year, holding near 46%. If his approval ratings do not improve dramatically during the remainder of his presidency, his full-term approval rating average, currently 47%, will rank among the lowest for post-World War II presidents, tied with Gerald Ford’s and better than only Truman’s (45.4%) and Jimmy Carter’s (45.5%).

Obama’s relatively low approval ratings may be as much a function of the era in which he is governing as it is a reflection on his leadership, management and decision-making. There have been relatively few international crises that helped to boost his public support, as the 9/11 attacks and Iraq War did for Bush, and as similar crises have done for other presidents. Arguably the only “rally event” in Obama’s presidency was the capture of Osama bin Laden. Obama also took office during the Great Recession, and the economic recovery since it ended has been slow and uneven.

But Obama is also governing in a time of extreme partisan polarization. In Congress, that has meant political gridlock since Democrats lost control of the U.S. House in the 2010 midterm elections. In the American public, it is evident in his historically low support from the opposition party. Obama’s average 13% approval rating among Republicans is on pace to be the lowest job approval rating from the opposition party by a full 10 percentage points, behind Bush’s average 23% approval rating among Democrats. By comparison, Clinton averaged 27% approval among Republicans, and presidents before Clinton averaged 40% approval from the opposition.

These data are available inGallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 20-Oct. 19, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 45,663 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/186335/obama-job-approval-steady-27th-quarter.aspx?g_source=Politics&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles

In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents

by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Record 43% of Americans are political independents
  • Democrats maintain edge among those with a party preference
  • Democratic advantage smaller in 2014 than in 2013

PRINCETON, N.J. — An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014, establishing a new high in Gallup telephone poll trends back to 1988. In terms of national identification with the two major parties, Democrats continued to hold a modest edge over Republicans, 30% to 26%.

U.S. Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2014

Since 2008, the percentage of political independents — those who identify as such before their leanings to the two major parties are taken into account — has steadily climbed from 35% to the current 43%, exceeding 40% each of the last four years. Prior to 2011, the high in independent identification was 39% in 1995 and 1999.

The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%. Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year.

The latest results are based on aggregated data from 15 separate Gallup telephone polls conducted throughout 2014.

These changes have left both parties at or near low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. Although the party identification data compiled in telephone polls since 1988 are not directly comparable to the in-person polling Gallup collected before then, the percentages identifying as Democrats prior to 1988 were so high that it is safe to say the average 30% identifying as Democrats last year is the lowest since at least the 1950s.

Republican identification, at 26%, is a shade higher than the 25% in 2013. Not since 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election victory, have fewer Americans identified as Republicans.

The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans. This is likely due to the partisan gridlock that has come from divided party control of the federal government. Trust in the government to handle problems more generally is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, and Americans’ favorable ratings of both parties are at or near historical lows. Thus, the rise in U.S. political independence likely flows from the high level of frustration with the government and the political parties that control it.

Democrats’ Edge in Party Identification and Leaning Shrinks

Although independents claim no outright allegiance to either major party, it is well-known that they are not necessarily neutral when it comes to politics. When pressed, most independents will say they lean to one of the two major parties. For example, last year an average of 17% of Americans who initially identified as independents subsequently said they “leaned” Republican, 15% were independents who leaned Democratic, with the remaining 11% not expressing a leaning to either party.

Since partisan leaners often share similar attitudes to those who identify with a party outright, the relative proportions of identifiers plus leaners gives a sense of the relative electoral strength of the two political parties, since voting decisions almost always come down to a choice of the two major-party candidates. In 2014, an average 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or said they were Democratic-leaning independents, while 42% identified as Republicans or were Republican-leaning independents.

That the three-point Democratic edge was down from six points in 2013, and among Democrats’ smaller advantages the past 25 years. Democrats usually hold an advantage in this combined measure of party affiliation. In fact, the only year Republicans held a notable edge since Gallup began tracking independents’ political leanings was in 1991, the year Republican President George H.W. Bush’s approval ratings soared after the United States’ victory in the Persian Gulf War. Democrats’ high point came in 2008, in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.

U.S. Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Annual Averages, Gallup Polls, 1991-2014

However, the three-point Democratic advantage for all of 2014 obscures the change that occurred during the year. On a quarterly basis, Democrats started out 2014 with a five-point edge, similar to their advantage in 2013. That dipped to two points by the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, likely in response to Republicans’ success in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans held a slight advantage of one point.

Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Quarterly Averages, 2014

Implications

Since 2008, Americans have been increasingly reluctant to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and now a record 43% claimed political independence in 2014. Given historical trends, 2015 could bring a new record, as the percentage identifying as independents typically increases in the year before a presidential election, averaging a 2.5-point increase in the last six such years.

Although Democrats typically have an advantage in partisanship, that edge shrunk in 2014 and in the last months of the year the parties were essentially on equal footing. With each party controlling part of the federal government — Democrats the presidency and Republicans the Congress — they each will have a say in how the nation addresses its major challenges in the coming year. However, in recent years divided control of government has more often than not resulted in partisan gridlock, and Americans’ frustration with the frequent political stalemate is evident. Continued frustration with the government would likely encourage more Americans to identify as independents this year.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted January-December 2014, with a combined random sample of 16,479 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how Gallup Poll Social Series works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/180440/new-record-political-independents.aspx

New Emails Reveal Obama White House Worked on Concocting Benghazi Lie DURING the Attacks

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said on Thursday that the Obama White House was contacting YouTube owner Google during the Benghazi terrorist attacks, working on the false narrative even before Americans were out of harm’s way and before the intelligence community examined available evidence.

The still classified Obama State Department email, according to Issa, shows that the Obama White House rushed to settle on the false narrative of the anti-Islamic YouTube video instigating the attacks, which was completely at odds with the conclusions reached by reports from the ground.

This new evidence destroys the Obama White House claims, communicated by Obama spokesman Jay Carney, that the White House obtained the false narrative from CIA talking points, since, according to Congressman Issa, the communication with YouTube was conducted by the Obama White House before  any CIA talking points were concocted.

The subject line of the email, ironically sent at 9:11 p.m. (the attacks took place on 9/11/12) on the night of the attack, was “Update on Response to actions – Libya,” hours before  the attack had ended.

“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence,” Issa said.

Issa has called for the Obama White House to declassify the email.

According to Issa, one of the items noted in the email stated, “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advise ramifications of the posting of the Pastor Jon video.”

Issa scolded current Secretary of State, Democrat John Kerry, for just now turning over a classified version of the email, some 20 months after the attack, while calling on the regime to release a unclassified copy.

“Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry and the State Department continue to try to keep this information from the public, only turning this document over to Congress last month. While the information I have cited from this email is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document that redacted only classified portions outlining what the Department of Defense and the Secretary of State were doing in response to the attack in Benghazi that night.”

“This tactic prevents the release of the email itself,” said Issa.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/05/23/new-emails-reveal-obama-white-house-worked-on-concocting-benghazi-lie-during-the-attacks/#ixzz3pQkPlr1D

Paul Ryan officially declares candidacy for House speaker

The Most Likely Next President Is Hillary Clinton

And Republicans are in denial about it.

A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now afflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45thpresident. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.

To be sure, nothing ever happens in a linear or tidy fashion with the Clintons; she is certain to add more chapters to the Perils of Hillary saga before Election Day 2016. Bernie Sanders could still upend her in Iowa, New Hampshire, or both, which could throw the nomination battle into unadulterated bedlam. Even if Clinton is nominated, a strong Republican candidate could absolutely defeat her next November, with victory as simple as the party putting forth a nominee who is more likeable to voters and better on television. Indeed, many elite and grassroots Republicans believe Clinton’s personality, which they can’t stand, will keep her out of the Oval Office no matter what.

But October has been good to Clinton: a glittering debate performance, the decision of potential rival Joe Biden not to run (greatly simplifying her path to the nomination), the vanquishing of Republicans during her daylong Benghazi hearing, and a solid turn at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night. All have improved Clinton’s odds of cruising into the White House twelve months hence, and have thrown into sharper relief some of the advantages she has had all along.

To state the obvious, Clinton faces two tasks to become commander-in-chief: get enough delegates to beat Sanders and then sew up 270 electoral votes. The more easily she can complete her first mission (especially compared to the wooly nomination battle of her eventual Republican opponent), the more easily achievable will be her second goal.

Here, then, are some of the advantages the Democratic frontrunner has now, many of which have been ignored or discounted by the people who want to beat her so badly they can’t think straight:

Hillary has shown she can handle Bernie Sanders, despite his plucky persona, raw grassroots appeal, and authentic authenticity. The Vegas debate and Clinton’s improved poll standing has given her and her team a revived notion that Sanders will end up a nuisance rather than a real threat. She has confidence she can face him down in the three debates remaining before Iowa. Without Biden in the race, Clinton is not going to have to play three-dimensional chess and can focus her energies on Sanders alone.

Bernie has shown he doesn’t quite understand how to play big moments in the big leagues. First the debate and now the Jefferson-Jackson dinner—Sanders prepared more for both evenings than the organic Vermonter normally would for any political event, but even his advisers concede that neither occasion represented the kind of performance that Sanders will eventually have to present if he is going to stop the prohibitive front-runner. He was very strong Saturday night but aides say they are still having trouble fully convincing him that not all campaign events are created equal.

Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. 
Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hillary is getting better at managing (and shaking off) the personal pang of her likability deficit.  At the J-J dinner, in her recent television interviews, and in her Benghazi testimony, she is showing more of her real self (even the all-too-human tetchy, the airily dismissive, the lordly—without knee-jerk defensiveness or wide-eyed guile), and not getting tied in knots over how she is coming off.  While this version of Hillary is still nails-on-a-chalkboard to her conservative critics, it is a huge improvement over the recent past and probably enough to win under the right circumstances.

Biden’s withdrawal means Clinton will lock up even more commitments from the Democratic establishment, giving her even more super delegates and making it easier to bounce back if Sanders wins Iowa, New Hampshire, or both.  I reported in August that Clinton’s camp already had in hand private commitments from enough of the elected and party officials who are automatic delegates to the national convention next summer (so-called super delegates) that she was one fifth of her way to the nomination. That number has increased significantly in recent weeks and will go up now that Biden has passed on the race. This allows Team Clinton to make a robust argument about her inevitability and gives it a squadron of surrogates from the left, center, and right of the Democratic Party to wound Sanders, buck her up if she stumbles, and, eventually, argue that the senator should get out of the competition if she wins early.

Hillary has massive support from labor unions. The party’s most important constituency group in terms of ground troops and campaign resources is now moving decisively towards Clinton, also giving her more working-class cred and undermining one of Sanders’ strongest rhetorical plays—that she is out of touch with the economic grassroots. And long-invested unions will provide her important foot soldiers in the general election battlegrounds, as they have since time began for Democratic presidential nominees.

Hillary could be the de facto Democratic nominee by Feb. 8. Her team privately believes that, given the way expectations have been set up, even narrow wins in the two first-voting contests would not be discounted. Clinton has robust field operations in both states and could diligently grind her way to victories. Even Sanders’ top aides acknowledge that, barring other factors, it could be game, set, match if Hillary starts the voting year with twin wins, giving Brooklyn ample incentive to go all in there and try to put it away early.

Hillary Clinton waves to supporters with husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, at the conclusion of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. 
Hillary Clinton waves to supporters with husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, at the conclusion of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hillary’s husband now seems fired up and ready to go. Although a little rusty over the weekend in Iowa in his 2015 campaign trail debut, accounts from aides to both Clintons suggest the former president has learned lessons from his performance eight years ago, when he arguably hurt his wife’s chances as much as he helped her. He has been kept in the loop on the campaign’s thinking, receives polling information on a regular basis, and has participated in some strategy discussions with the team. The campaign seems happy with him, and he seems happy with the campaign, and that is a big change from 2008. Both campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook have good and confident relationships with the FPOTUS, who seems less ambivalent than last time about becoming the First Lad.

Hillary’s campaign is much less tense and fractious than was the 2008 team. There are fraught moments in Brooklyn, as in any campaign, and Clinton’s donors can get restive awfully quick, but this year’s model is one of relative peace and tranquility. Zen masters Podesta, Mook, and communications chief Jennifer Palmieri set the “been there, done that, seen that, dealt with that” sensibility.

Hillary’s team at last is convincing rich Democrats to come around to the super-PAC game. Clinton loyalist Guy Cecil is now topping Priorities USA and he has brought in a new cast of folks to supplement holdovers such as Paul Begala, Jim Messina, and Harold Ickes, all of whom have experience rubbing shoulders with the mega-wealthy and prying seven-figure checks out of their hands. Cecil knows how to leverage hot buttons like the Koch brothers and the threat of more conservative Supreme Court justices and unified GOP control of Washington to maintain momentum and encourage the participation of those previously reluctant to muck about in the big money world that many liberals despise and disdain.

Hillary has a first-class opposition research team that is saving nuggets to use once Republicans pick their nominee. Oppo veteran Christina Reynolds heads an operation that can afford to play a long game, teasing out incremental research in conjunction with allies such as the Democratic National Committee but knowing full well that holding back powerful tidbits until the late spring or summer, when the eventual Republican nominee will be most vulnerable, is supremely smart. The research operations of the Republican presidential campaigns, on the other hand, are currently focused on each other (although the independent group America Rising is hoping to make up the gap).

The Republican nominee is more likely to emerge bloodied, broke, and behind. A nominating calendar and delegate rules designed to avoid the kind of extended intra-party fight that crippled Mitt Romney’s general election effort will almost certainly be no match for a fifteen candidate field, a number of whom can make a decent argument that they’ll win the prize. The ferociousness and deep pockets of gladiators Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the possibility that the party establishment will end up intervening with tens of millions of dollars in negative TV spots means a long, gory slog that might not find resolution until after the national convention in Cleveland in mid-July. (Of course, if Trump is ultimately the nomination victor, then “broke” should not be a factor.)

As the nominee, Hillary will effectively control the DNC and will exercise free rein over the convention. Even with Sanders a remaining foe, Hillaryland is coordinating fundraising with the national and state parties, strategizing about installing allies at the party headquarters in DC, and gaming out what the Philly convention will look like. If Clinton is the standard bearer, make no mistake: Brooklyn will convert the DNC into its wholly owned subsidiary and will take over every jot and tittle of convention planning and execution. This type of control typically leads to less friction and a smoother running enterprise, including on-message convention speakers.

Republicans are erroneously convinced they can beat Clinton solely with talk of Benghazi, e-mails, and other controversies that have nothing to do with the economy and the real lives of real people. Nowhere does the Fox News-Rush Limbaugh echo chamber more hurt Republican chances of beating Clinton than in the politics of scandal and controversy. To paraphrase the famous line attributed to Pauline Kael: everyone who conservatives know think the Clintons should be in prison. The problem is that swing voters don’t share that view in sufficient numbers to actually warrant banking a victory on placing those arguments front and center. Kevin McCarthy’s acknowledgement that the Benghazi committee was set up to damage Clinton politically has not just polluted the select committee’s efforts; it also means that one of the most effectively tried-and-true Team Clinton defenses (that any controversy that swirls around her is a ginned up political attack because Republicans don’t want to talk about real issues) has got legs straight through next November.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 22, 2015.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 22, 2015.
Photographer: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary is ready for the debates. She won’t have as many debates in which to hone her skills as the eventual GOP nominee, but she has many other edges, including her 2008 experience; the fact that going forward she will face only one or two opponents—rather than nine or so—on the debate stage (much closer to the dynamics in a general election); her professionalized and experienced debate prep team (many of whom worked the same gig for Barack Obama); and her own fearsome, dogged, and scrupulous preparation.

Hillary’s pollster knows how to find issues that test 80-20 or 70-30, and the candidate knows how to translate them on the stump. While Republican presidential candidates thrash around competing to see who can be the most anti-immigrant, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy, anti-abortion and gay marriage, and pro-climate change-denying, Clinton’s pollster and strategist Joel Benenson is busy finding topics she can talk about in a general election that garner overwhelming support from the public across the political spectrum and will put the GOP nominee on the defensive. Nothing makes a Clinton running for president more confident and effective than having mainstream boldface issues to use as a cudgel.

Obama’s approval rating is holding at a level that would make Clinton’s path much easier. Yes, the economy is not going gangbusters. Yes, ObamaCare is not universally popular (to say the least). Yes, the world is filled with dangerous hot spots and looming, chilling threats. But barring some major change in his fortune, Obama’s current approval rating of around 46% is likely to sustain through Election Day, a high enough figure, history suggests, to keep him from being a drag on his party’s nominee and chosen successor.

Hillary’s team is already thinking about general election targeting. One of the pages Brooklyn has taken from the Obama playbook is to start thinking about the general election early. That includes using contests in caucuses and primaries states that will be battlegrounds next November to build up a team, target data, establish media relationships, and keep it all humming after the nominating contest and throughout the duration. It also includes living by the dictum “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours let’s negotiate over,” hawkishly protecting the nearly 250 electoral votes and voting groups Democrats have won consistently over the last several cycles while looking to expand the targeting efforts demographically and geographically.

Hillary would inherit a considerable demographic edge in a general election. Republicans have done next to nothing, and clearly much more harm than good since Mitt Romney lost in 2012, to make in-roads with the so-called coalition of the ascendant. Clinton would almost certainly have an overwhelming edge with African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, LGBT voters, young people, and single women, and the future contours of the Republican nomination fight are not likely to make the party’s challenge with these groups any easier.

Hillary would also inherit a considerable Electoral College edge in a general election. The Democrats don’t have quite the Electoral College “lock” that the GOP had in the ‘70s and ‘80s but it is pretty close. A strong Republican nominee could make Clinton play defense in states such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado.  But the safe Democrat states would give her a huge leg up, and demographic changes mean Clinton could be playing offense in places such as Georgia and Arizona under the right circumstances. Political pros in both parties believe some of the leading Republican contenders would give Clinton a chance to surpass her husband’s 1992 electoral vote total of 370 if they are her eventual competition.

Clinton advisers are well aware of these many advantages. They are staying largely mum for now, preferring to let the candidate’s recent positive media coverage speak for itself and not relinquish any tactical advantage of surprise.

They also know the FBI probe into her e-mails, Bill Clinton’s portfolio, or something new and super controversial could upend her standing at any time. And the raucous Republican nomination process could yet yield a strong general election opponent for her. This list is not meant to gloss over the considerable challenges Clinton is sure to face even if everything goes as planned on her side—not to mention if things start to go south. And a few savvy Republican operatives are ringing the alarm bell in private strategy sessions, urging the party to try to address as many of these deficits as soon as possible.

But don’t be surprised if reports soon surface mirroring what happened almost exactly eight years ago, when Clinton asked top advisers to secretly begin planning her vice presidential selection process—and her presidential transition. Republicans would surely see those steps as wildly premature, but given all of Clinton’s advantages now, she may consider it simply prudent planning.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-10-26/the-most-likely-next-president-is-hillary-clinton

O’Malley: ‘Clinton Has Changed Her Position on Virtually Every Defining Issue’

BY DANIEL HALPER

“I think this race has changed in many, many ways just over the last week … the differences that I am going to be able to make now between two candidates who have been in Washington for about 40 years now – neither one of whom have gotten much done – and another candidate representing a new perspective and a new generation of leadership who’s actually gotten difficult things done,” O’Malley said.

Later O’Malley added, “A weathervane shifts its positions in the wind. Effective leaders do not. I am clear about my principles I know where I stand. I was against the Trans Pacific Partnership 8 months ago. Hillary Clinton has changed her position on virtually every defining issue in this race – except for one, and that’s to protect the big banks on Wall Street and go about with business as usual. I don’t think that’s what the people of our country are looking for. I have the independence, I have the backbone, to stand up for what our nation needs. That’s what people are going to see now that it’s down to a three person race.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 560, October 21, 2015, Story 1: Part 1: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Story 1: Part 1: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

Obama-is-pathological-liar  liars four americans diedBenghaziDied

epa03398098 US President Barack Obama (2-L) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3-R) take part in the Transfer of Remains Ceremony marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya, at Joint Base Andrews in Washington DC, USA, 14 September 2012. Gunmen attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, killing of US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three embassy staffs. EPA/MOLLY RILEY / POOL

obama lied


laughing-h-600-li

Inside Hillary Clinton’s measured Benghazi testimony

Ray: A public servant who has a track record of not telling the truth

Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business

Donald Trump on GOP competition, Benghazi hearing

Kurtz: Paul Ryan, insufficiently conservative?

Rush Limbaugh: GOP donors installed Paul Ryan as House Speaker

Limbaugh: Donor/RINO Class Pushing Hard For Paul Ryan As Speaker Of The House

Both Parties Fear the Tea Party (Limbaugh)

Mark Levin on Paul Ryan’s radical pro Amnesty ideology

UN-led Mass Migration Destroying U.S. Nationhood

Understanding the Impact of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Would Paul Ryan Be a Good Choice for House Speaker?

What We Can Expect If Congress Passes TPP

The Nuances Behind the Republican Presidential Debate

How Trump’s Attack on McCain Didn’t Go Far Enough

Iran Deal Courtesy of CFR New World Order Crowd

‘2030 Agenda’: Latest UN Plan for World Government

‘Two-party system an illusion, both funded from same source’

“MORE AND MORE PEOPLE “FED UP WITH THIS “RIGGED TWO-PARTY SYSTEM”!

The Two-Party System is Making America Ungovernable- Intelligence Squared U.S.

Andrew Horning on Breaking the Two Party System 1 18 2014

Reagan Warned Us About Obama

Mark Steyn on Racism, Slavery, and the Democratic Party

Rush To Beck: “We May Be Looking At Barack Obama Destroying The Democrat Party”

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

Ron Paul – Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 1 of 3

Art Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, takes you into the new healthcare law. He identifies a pattern of government broken promises, revealing that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Find out what’s really in the new law and what you can expect long term.

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 2 of 3

ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 3 of 3

John Birch Society: Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

William F. Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine, explains how President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an “an all-out assault on our national sovereignty,” and how It would unconstitutionally transfer legislative powers from the U.S. Congress, our state legislatures, and our city and county governments to multi-national corporations and unaccountable international bureaucrats at the World Trade Organization, or WTO. Incredibly, it also would transfer judicial powers from our federal and state courts — which are bad enough — to globalist TPP judges at regional tribunals and the WTO.

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

Archie Bunker on Democrats

Archie Bunker predicts conditions under Obama

George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%

Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%
by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Average 45.9% approval similar to 46.1% in prior quarter
  • Obama has been under 50% approval for most of his presidency
  • Approval midrange compared with other presidents’ 27th quarters

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in his 27th quarter in office, from July 20 to Oct. 19, averaged 45.9%, essentially unchanged from his 46.1% average for the prior quarter.

President Barack Obama's Quarterly Job Approval Averages

Obama’s daily approval ratings also varied little within his most recent quarter, averaging 46% nearly every week during the quarter. There were just two modest but notable exceptions. In late August, as U.S. stocks fell in response to concerns about problems in the Chinese economy, his weekly approval rating dipped to 44%. And in late September it rose to 48% during the week of Pope Francis’ U.S. trip, which included a widely covered visit with Obama at the White House.

Since he became president nearly seven years ago, Obama has averaged 47% job approval. There have been only five quarters when he had majority approval, with four of those occurring during the first year of his presidency, the so-called “honeymoon phase” when new presidents tend to be rated positively. The only other time Obama’s quarterly approval exceeded 50% was perhaps the most consequential one — the 16th quarter, in which he was re-elected.

Obama’s 27th Quarter Midrange Compared With Other Presidents

Obama is the sixth post-World War II president to serve a 27th quarter in office. Two of these — Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton — were rated quite positively at this stage in their presidencies, with average approval ratings of 65.3% and 59.7%, respectively.

In contrast, Harry Truman (23.0%) and George W. Bush (33.2%) were decidedly unpopular at the same point of their presidencies. Truman’s 27th quarter average is the worst quarterly average for any president in Gallup’s polling history.

Obama’s 27th quarter average, along with Ronald Reagan’s, is between these two extremes. Reagan averaged 47.0% approval, slightly better than Obama’s 45.9%.

Job Approval Averages for Presidents During Their 27th Quarter in Office

After presidents have served nearly seven years in office, Americans’ opinions of them are pretty well-established and unlikely to change unless a major international or domestic crisis occurs. Clinton’s and Bush’s approval ratings did not change between their 27th and 28thquarters. Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan saw modest improvements of a few percentage points.

Implications

Americans’ opinions of Obama have been steady this year, holding near 46%. If his approval ratings do not improve dramatically during the remainder of his presidency, his full-term approval rating average, currently 47%, will rank among the lowest for post-World War II presidents, tied with Gerald Ford’s and better than only Truman’s (45.4%) and Jimmy Carter’s (45.5%).

Obama’s relatively low approval ratings may be as much a function of the era in which he is governing as it is a reflection on his leadership, management and decision-making. There have been relatively few international crises that helped to boost his public support, as the 9/11 attacks and Iraq War did for Bush, and as similar crises have done for other presidents. Arguably the only “rally event” in Obama’s presidency was the capture of Osama bin Laden. Obama also took office during the Great Recession, and the economic recovery since it ended has been slow and uneven.

But Obama is also governing in a time of extreme partisan polarization. In Congress, that has meant political gridlock since Democrats lost control of the U.S. House in the 2010 midterm elections. In the American public, it is evident in his historically low support from the opposition party. Obama’s average 13% approval rating among Republicans is on pace to be the lowest job approval rating from the opposition party by a full 10 percentage points, behind Bush’s average 23% approval rating among Democrats. By comparison, Clinton averaged 27% approval among Republicans, and presidents before Clinton averaged 40% approval from the opposition.

These data are available inGallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 20-Oct. 19, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 45,663 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/186335/obama-job-approval-steady-27th-quarter.aspx?g_source=Politics&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles

In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents

by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Record 43% of Americans are political independents
  • Democrats maintain edge among those with a party preference
  • Democratic advantage smaller in 2014 than in 2013

PRINCETON, N.J. — An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014, establishing a new high in Gallup telephone poll trends back to 1988. In terms of national identification with the two major parties, Democrats continued to hold a modest edge over Republicans, 30% to 26%.

U.S. Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2014

Since 2008, the percentage of political independents — those who identify as such before their leanings to the two major parties are taken into account — has steadily climbed from 35% to the current 43%, exceeding 40% each of the last four years. Prior to 2011, the high in independent identification was 39% in 1995 and 1999.

The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%. Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year.

The latest results are based on aggregated data from 15 separate Gallup telephone polls conducted throughout 2014.

These changes have left both parties at or near low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. Although the party identification data compiled in telephone polls since 1988 are not directly comparable to the in-person polling Gallup collected before then, the percentages identifying as Democrats prior to 1988 were so high that it is safe to say the average 30% identifying as Democrats last year is the lowest since at least the 1950s.

Republican identification, at 26%, is a shade higher than the 25% in 2013. Not since 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election victory, have fewer Americans identified as Republicans.

The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans. This is likely due to the partisan gridlock that has come from divided party control of the federal government. Trust in the government to handle problems more generally is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, and Americans’ favorable ratings of both parties are at or near historical lows. Thus, the rise in U.S. political independence likely flows from the high level of frustration with the government and the political parties that control it.

Democrats’ Edge in Party Identification and Leaning Shrinks

Although independents claim no outright allegiance to either major party, it is well-known that they are not necessarily neutral when it comes to politics. When pressed, most independents will say they lean to one of the two major parties. For example, last year an average of 17% of Americans who initially identified as independents subsequently said they “leaned” Republican, 15% were independents who leaned Democratic, with the remaining 11% not expressing a leaning to either party.

Since partisan leaners often share similar attitudes to those who identify with a party outright, the relative proportions of identifiers plus leaners gives a sense of the relative electoral strength of the two political parties, since voting decisions almost always come down to a choice of the two major-party candidates. In 2014, an average 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or said they were Democratic-leaning independents, while 42% identified as Republicans or were Republican-leaning independents.

That the three-point Democratic edge was down from six points in 2013, and among Democrats’ smaller advantages the past 25 years. Democrats usually hold an advantage in this combined measure of party affiliation. In fact, the only year Republicans held a notable edge since Gallup began tracking independents’ political leanings was in 1991, the year Republican President George H.W. Bush’s approval ratings soared after the United States’ victory in the Persian Gulf War. Democrats’ high point came in 2008, in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.

U.S. Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Annual Averages, Gallup Polls, 1991-2014

However, the three-point Democratic advantage for all of 2014 obscures the change that occurred during the year. On a quarterly basis, Democrats started out 2014 with a five-point edge, similar to their advantage in 2013. That dipped to two points by the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, likely in response to Republicans’ success in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans held a slight advantage of one point.

Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Quarterly Averages, 2014

Implications

Since 2008, Americans have been increasingly reluctant to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and now a record 43% claimed political independence in 2014. Given historical trends, 2015 could bring a new record, as the percentage identifying as independents typically increases in the year before a presidential election, averaging a 2.5-point increase in the last six such years.

Although Democrats typically have an advantage in partisanship, that edge shrunk in 2014 and in the last months of the year the parties were essentially on equal footing. With each party controlling part of the federal government — Democrats the presidency and Republicans the Congress — they each will have a say in how the nation addresses its major challenges in the coming year. However, in recent years divided control of government has more often than not resulted in partisan gridlock, and Americans’ frustration with the frequent political stalemate is evident. Continued frustration with the government would likely encourage more Americans to identify as independents this year.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted January-December 2014, with a combined random sample of 16,479 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how Gallup Poll Social Series works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/180440/new-record-political-independents.aspx

New Emails Reveal Obama White House Worked on Concocting Benghazi Lie DURING the Attacks

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said on Thursday that the Obama White House was contacting YouTube owner Google during the Benghazi terrorist attacks, working on the false narrative even before Americans were out of harm’s way and before the intelligence community examined available evidence.

The still classified Obama State Department email, according to Issa, shows that the Obama White House rushed to settle on the false narrative of the anti-Islamic YouTube video instigating the attacks, which was completely at odds with the conclusions reached by reports from the ground.

This new evidence destroys the Obama White House claims, communicated by Obama spokesman Jay Carney, that the White House obtained the false narrative from CIA talking points, since, according to Congressman Issa, the communication with YouTube was conducted by the Obama White House before  any CIA talking points were concocted.

The subject line of the email, ironically sent at 9:11 p.m. (the attacks took place on 9/11/12) on the night of the attack, was “Update on Response to actions – Libya,” hours before  the attack had ended.

“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence,” Issa said.

Issa has called for the Obama White House to declassify the email.

According to Issa, one of the items noted in the email stated, “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advise ramifications of the posting of the Pastor Jon video.”

Issa scolded current Secretary of State, Democrat John Kerry, for just now turning over a classified version of the email, some 20 months after the attack, while calling on the regime to release a unclassified copy.

“Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry and the State Department continue to try to keep this information from the public, only turning this document over to Congress last month. While the information I have cited from this email is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document that redacted only classified portions outlining what the Department of Defense and the Secretary of State were doing in response to the attack in Benghazi that night.”

“This tactic prevents the release of the email itself,” said Issa.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/05/23/new-emails-reveal-obama-white-house-worked-on-concocting-benghazi-lie-during-the-attacks/#ixzz3pQkPlr1D

Paul Ryan officially declares candidacy for House speaker

The Most Likely Next President Is Hillary Clinton

And Republicans are in denial about it.

A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now afflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45thpresident. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.

To be sure, nothing ever happens in a linear or tidy fashion with the Clintons; she is certain to add more chapters to the Perils of Hillary saga before Election Day 2016. Bernie Sanders could still upend her in Iowa, New Hampshire, or both, which could throw the nomination battle into unadulterated bedlam. Even if Clinton is nominated, a strong Republican candidate could absolutely defeat her next November, with victory as simple as the party putting forth a nominee who is more likeable to voters and better on television. Indeed, many elite and grassroots Republicans believe Clinton’s personality, which they can’t stand, will keep her out of the Oval Office no matter what.

But October has been good to Clinton: a glittering debate performance, the decision of potential rival Joe Biden not to run (greatly simplifying her path to the nomination), the vanquishing of Republicans during her daylong Benghazi hearing, and a solid turn at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night. All have improved Clinton’s odds of cruising into the White House twelve months hence, and have thrown into sharper relief some of the advantages she has had all along.

To state the obvious, Clinton faces two tasks to become commander-in-chief: get enough delegates to beat Sanders and then sew up 270 electoral votes. The more easily she can complete her first mission (especially compared to the wooly nomination battle of her eventual Republican opponent), the more easily achievable will be her second goal.

Here, then, are some of the advantages the Democratic frontrunner has now, many of which have been ignored or discounted by the people who want to beat her so badly they can’t think straight:

Hillary has shown she can handle Bernie Sanders, despite his plucky persona, raw grassroots appeal, and authentic authenticity. The Vegas debate and Clinton’s improved poll standing has given her and her team a revived notion that Sanders will end up a nuisance rather than a real threat. She has confidence she can face him down in the three debates remaining before Iowa. Without Biden in the race, Clinton is not going to have to play three-dimensional chess and can focus her energies on Sanders alone.

Bernie has shown he doesn’t quite understand how to play big moments in the big leagues. First the debate and now the Jefferson-Jackson dinner—Sanders prepared more for both evenings than the organic Vermonter normally would for any political event, but even his advisers concede that neither occasion represented the kind of performance that Sanders will eventually have to present if he is going to stop the prohibitive front-runner. He was very strong Saturday night but aides say they are still having trouble fully convincing him that not all campaign events are created equal.

Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. 
Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hillary is getting better at managing (and shaking off) the personal pang of her likability deficit.  At the J-J dinner, in her recent television interviews, and in her Benghazi testimony, she is showing more of her real self (even the all-too-human tetchy, the airily dismissive, the lordly—without knee-jerk defensiveness or wide-eyed guile), and not getting tied in knots over how she is coming off.  While this version of Hillary is still nails-on-a-chalkboard to her conservative critics, it is a huge improvement over the recent past and probably enough to win under the right circumstances.

Biden’s withdrawal means Clinton will lock up even more commitments from the Democratic establishment, giving her even more super delegates and making it easier to bounce back if Sanders wins Iowa, New Hampshire, or both.  I reported in August that Clinton’s camp already had in hand private commitments from enough of the elected and party officials who are automatic delegates to the national convention next summer (so-called super delegates) that she was one fifth of her way to the nomination. That number has increased significantly in recent weeks and will go up now that Biden has passed on the race. This allows Team Clinton to make a robust argument about her inevitability and gives it a squadron of surrogates from the left, center, and right of the Democratic Party to wound Sanders, buck her up if she stumbles, and, eventually, argue that the senator should get out of the competition if she wins early.

Hillary has massive support from labor unions. The party’s most important constituency group in terms of ground troops and campaign resources is now moving decisively towards Clinton, also giving her more working-class cred and undermining one of Sanders’ strongest rhetorical plays—that she is out of touch with the economic grassroots. And long-invested unions will provide her important foot soldiers in the general election battlegrounds, as they have since time began for Democratic presidential nominees.

Hillary could be the de facto Democratic nominee by Feb. 8. Her team privately believes that, given the way expectations have been set up, even narrow wins in the two first-voting contests would not be discounted. Clinton has robust field operations in both states and could diligently grind her way to victories. Even Sanders’ top aides acknowledge that, barring other factors, it could be game, set, match if Hillary starts the voting year with twin wins, giving Brooklyn ample incentive to go all in there and try to put it away early.

Hillary Clinton waves to supporters with husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, at the conclusion of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. 
Hillary Clinton waves to supporters with husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, at the conclusion of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hillary’s husband now seems fired up and ready to go. Although a little rusty over the weekend in Iowa in his 2015 campaign trail debut, accounts from aides to both Clintons suggest the former president has learned lessons from his performance eight years ago, when he arguably hurt his wife’s chances as much as he helped her. He has been kept in the loop on the campaign’s thinking, receives polling information on a regular basis, and has participated in some strategy discussions with the team. The campaign seems happy with him, and he seems happy with the campaign, and that is a big change from 2008. Both campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook have good and confident relationships with the FPOTUS, who seems less ambivalent than last time about becoming the First Lad.

Hillary’s campaign is much less tense and fractious than was the 2008 team. There are fraught moments in Brooklyn, as in any campaign, and Clinton’s donors can get restive awfully quick, but this year’s model is one of relative peace and tranquility. Zen masters Podesta, Mook, and communications chief Jennifer Palmieri set the “been there, done that, seen that, dealt with that” sensibility.

Hillary’s team at last is convincing rich Democrats to come around to the super-PAC game. Clinton loyalist Guy Cecil is now topping Priorities USA and he has brought in a new cast of folks to supplement holdovers such as Paul Begala, Jim Messina, and Harold Ickes, all of whom have experience rubbing shoulders with the mega-wealthy and prying seven-figure checks out of their hands. Cecil knows how to leverage hot buttons like the Koch brothers and the threat of more conservative Supreme Court justices and unified GOP control of Washington to maintain momentum and encourage the participation of those previously reluctant to muck about in the big money world that many liberals despise and disdain.

Hillary has a first-class opposition research team that is saving nuggets to use once Republicans pick their nominee. Oppo veteran Christina Reynolds heads an operation that can afford to play a long game, teasing out incremental research in conjunction with allies such as the Democratic National Committee but knowing full well that holding back powerful tidbits until the late spring or summer, when the eventual Republican nominee will be most vulnerable, is supremely smart. The research operations of the Republican presidential campaigns, on the other hand, are currently focused on each other (although the independent group America Rising is hoping to make up the gap).

The Republican nominee is more likely to emerge bloodied, broke, and behind. A nominating calendar and delegate rules designed to avoid the kind of extended intra-party fight that crippled Mitt Romney’s general election effort will almost certainly be no match for a fifteen candidate field, a number of whom can make a decent argument that they’ll win the prize. The ferociousness and deep pockets of gladiators Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the possibility that the party establishment will end up intervening with tens of millions of dollars in negative TV spots means a long, gory slog that might not find resolution until after the national convention in Cleveland in mid-July. (Of course, if Trump is ultimately the nomination victor, then “broke” should not be a factor.)

As the nominee, Hillary will effectively control the DNC and will exercise free rein over the convention. Even with Sanders a remaining foe, Hillaryland is coordinating fundraising with the national and state parties, strategizing about installing allies at the party headquarters in DC, and gaming out what the Philly convention will look like. If Clinton is the standard bearer, make no mistake: Brooklyn will convert the DNC into its wholly owned subsidiary and will take over every jot and tittle of convention planning and execution. This type of control typically leads to less friction and a smoother running enterprise, including on-message convention speakers.

Republicans are erroneously convinced they can beat Clinton solely with talk of Benghazi, e-mails, and other controversies that have nothing to do with the economy and the real lives of real people. Nowhere does the Fox News-Rush Limbaugh echo chamber more hurt Republican chances of beating Clinton than in the politics of scandal and controversy. To paraphrase the famous line attributed to Pauline Kael: everyone who conservatives know think the Clintons should be in prison. The problem is that swing voters don’t share that view in sufficient numbers to actually warrant banking a victory on placing those arguments front and center. Kevin McCarthy’s acknowledgement that the Benghazi committee was set up to damage Clinton politically has not just polluted the select committee’s efforts; it also means that one of the most effectively tried-and-true Team Clinton defenses (that any controversy that swirls around her is a ginned up political attack because Republicans don’t want to talk about real issues) has got legs straight through next November.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 22, 2015.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 22, 2015.
Photographer: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary is ready for the debates. She won’t have as many debates in which to hone her skills as the eventual GOP nominee, but she has many other edges, including her 2008 experience; the fact that going forward she will face only one or two opponents—rather than nine or so—on the debate stage (much closer to the dynamics in a general election); her professionalized and experienced debate prep team (many of whom worked the same gig for Barack Obama); and her own fearsome, dogged, and scrupulous preparation.

Hillary’s pollster knows how to find issues that test 80-20 or 70-30, and the candidate knows how to translate them on the stump. While Republican presidential candidates thrash around competing to see who can be the most anti-immigrant, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy, anti-abortion and gay marriage, and pro-climate change-denying, Clinton’s pollster and strategist Joel Benenson is busy finding topics she can talk about in a general election that garner overwhelming support from the public across the political spectrum and will put the GOP nominee on the defensive. Nothing makes a Clinton running for president more confident and effective than having mainstream boldface issues to use as a cudgel.

Obama’s approval rating is holding at a level that would make Clinton’s path much easier. Yes, the economy is not going gangbusters. Yes, ObamaCare is not universally popular (to say the least). Yes, the world is filled with dangerous hot spots and looming, chilling threats. But barring some major change in his fortune, Obama’s current approval rating of around 46% is likely to sustain through Election Day, a high enough figure, history suggests, to keep him from being a drag on his party’s nominee and chosen successor.

Hillary’s team is already thinking about general election targeting. One of the pages Brooklyn has taken from the Obama playbook is to start thinking about the general election early. That includes using contests in caucuses and primaries states that will be battlegrounds next November to build up a team, target data, establish media relationships, and keep it all humming after the nominating contest and throughout the duration. It also includes living by the dictum “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours let’s negotiate over,” hawkishly protecting the nearly 250 electoral votes and voting groups Democrats have won consistently over the last several cycles while looking to expand the targeting efforts demographically and geographically.

Hillary would inherit a considerable demographic edge in a general election. Republicans have done next to nothing, and clearly much more harm than good since Mitt Romney lost in 2012, to make in-roads with the so-called coalition of the ascendant. Clinton would almost certainly have an overwhelming edge with African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, LGBT voters, young people, and single women, and the future contours of the Republican nomination fight are not likely to make the party’s challenge with these groups any easier.

Hillary would also inherit a considerable Electoral College edge in a general election. The Democrats don’t have quite the Electoral College “lock” that the GOP had in the ‘70s and ‘80s but it is pretty close. A strong Republican nominee could make Clinton play defense in states such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado.  But the safe Democrat states would give her a huge leg up, and demographic changes mean Clinton could be playing offense in places such as Georgia and Arizona under the right circumstances. Political pros in both parties believe some of the leading Republican contenders would give Clinton a chance to surpass her husband’s 1992 electoral vote total of 370 if they are her eventual competition.

Clinton advisers are well aware of these many advantages. They are staying largely mum for now, preferring to let the candidate’s recent positive media coverage speak for itself and not relinquish any tactical advantage of surprise.

They also know the FBI probe into her e-mails, Bill Clinton’s portfolio, or something new and super controversial could upend her standing at any time. And the raucous Republican nomination process could yet yield a strong general election opponent for her. This list is not meant to gloss over the considerable challenges Clinton is sure to face even if everything goes as planned on her side—not to mention if things start to go south. And a few savvy Republican operatives are ringing the alarm bell in private strategy sessions, urging the party to try to address as many of these deficits as soon as possible.

But don’t be surprised if reports soon surface mirroring what happened almost exactly eight years ago, when Clinton asked top advisers to secretly begin planning her vice presidential selection process—and her presidential transition. Republicans would surely see those steps as wildly premature, but given all of Clinton’s advantages now, she may consider it simply prudent planning.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-10-26/the-most-likely-next-president-is-hillary-clinton

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The Pronk Pops Show 559, October 22, 2015, Story 1: House Select Committee investigating Benghazi — The Unintended Consequences Of President Obama’s Undeclared War on Libya and Central Intelligence Agency Covert Operations in Libya and Syria — Congress Did Nothing To Stop An Imperial President — The Lying and Blame Game On Display — “Disgusting and Reprehensible” — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

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Story 1: House Select Committee investigating Benghazi — The Unintended Consequences Of President Obama’s Undeclared War on Libya and Central Intelligence Agency Covert Operations in Libya and Syria — Congress Did Nothing To Stop An Imperial President — The Lying and Blame Game On Display — “Disgusting and Reprehensible” — Videos

benghazi-four obama_hillary_liars_benghazi_treason

Background Information

Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive

Our Fallen Heroes

Published on Sep 15, 2012

President Obama speaks about the tragic loss of four of our fellow Americans who were serving in our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. These Americans represented the best of our country; without people like them, we could not sustain our freedoms or security, or provide the leadership that the entire world depends on. During this time of turmoil in many different countries, the President makes it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths, but as Commander in Chief, he will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans and will ensure that those who attack our people find no escape from justice.

Obama and Press Secretary Carney Blame a Video for the Benghazi Attack

YouTube Video Maker Blamed for Benghazi Attacks Breaks Silence on CNN

White House Covers Up Benghazi Terrorist Attack

13 hours in Benghazi FULL VERSION INTERVIEW 5 parts combined.

ABC News’ Jon Karl hammers Jay Carney over New bombshell Benghazi emails

Benghazi Whistleblower Embarrassed by Obama Admin Placing Blame on a YouTube Video

Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer

Email Reveals Obama Advisor Urged Susan Rice to Blame Video for Benghazi

Exclusive: Docs Show Weapons Going From Benghazi To Syria – Benghazi Gate – Happening Now

Breaking: Hillary Clinton Knew About Libyan Arms Shipments to Syria in 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew that the US was sending arms from Libya to Syria back in 2011. She denied this during public testimony (under oath) in early 2013 after the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Melvin Goodman on why CIA Director Brennan is dangerous

The show is going to be about the response to CIA director Brennan’s press conference two weeks ago and then an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, an on the record interview with Charlie Rose in New York about his plans to restructure the CIA to try to bring a more integrity to intelligence and make it less politicized. We are going to hear from today Melvin Goodman. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. He is he is a former CIA analyst. Melvin Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: the Decline and Fall of the CIA and the forthcoming book On the Path to Dissent: A Whistleblower at the CIA. Goodman is the national security columnist for Counterpunch, and he said of CIA director ‘s plan to restructure the CIA and I quote “Simply, it takes the CIA further from Truman’s concept and closer to the ability to politicize intelligence. Operations are part of the policy world and not the intelligence world. The Centers have made it too easy to provide the intelligence that the ‘masters’ desire, whether they are the masters on CIA’s 7th floor or the policy masters. Brennan’s world was the Center for Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism, and many of the intelligence errors and operational errors of the past 15 years have emanated from those centers. Organizationally, it makes no sense — what are the directorates of operations and analysis — they sound as if they are HR experts.”

CNN Benghazi Claims: Report alleges CIA operatives in Libya were sending weapons to Syrian rebels

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

Clinton Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary

Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East…E

Why is Benghazi still a big issue for Hillary Clinton? BBC News

General Petraeus Testifies Before Congress For The First Time Since Resigning As Director Of CIA

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

Former CIA Director and General David Petraeus (Ret.) testified at a hearing on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and combating ISIS* in the region. He talked about his support for military enclaves in Syria and for greater military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. He also gave his assessment of the Russian military build-up in Syria and of the Iran nuclear agreement.

At the beginning of his testimony, General Petraeus apologized for what what he called his “serious mistake” of sharing classified information with his biographer, with whom he also had an extramarital affair.

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Second Hearing

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Third Hearing

Rep. Gowdy: Either Petraeus Will Come Before Congressional Committee Or He Will Be Subpoenaed



Benghazi Select Committee (Hearing 4)

House Select Committee on Benghazi

Trey Gowdy Opening Statement Benghazi Committee Hearing. 10/22/2015

Rep. Trey Gowdy addresses Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his opening statement at a hearing Thursday by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. trey gowdy elivers opening statement of benghazi committee hearing with hillary clinton. trey gowdy says ‘We are going to find the #Truth because there is no expiration of it.’ Chairman Trey Gowdy opens #Benghazi hearing: ‘Previous investigations were not thorough. Trey Gowdy to Clinton: Trey Gowdy addressed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally at a high-stakes hearing on Thursday, telling the Democratic presidential candidate that the panel’s investigation is not about her. “Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you,” Gowdy said. “Let me assure you it is not. And let me assure you why it is not. This work is about something much more important than any single person. It is about four U.S. government workers, including our Ambassador, murdered by terrorists on foreign soil. It is about what happened before, during, and after the attacks that killed these four men.” He continued: “It is about what this country owes those who risk their lives to serve it. It is about the fundamental obligation of our government to tell the truth — always — to the American people. Not a single member of this Committee signed up for an investigation into you or your email system. We signed up because we wanted to honor the service and sacrifice of four people sent to a foreign land to represent us – who were killed – and do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others.” Gowdy also presented several key questions he would be asking in his opening statement: Why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment, and why were those requests denied in Washington? Why did the State Department compound in Benghazi not even come close to meeting proper security specifications? What policies were we pursuing in Libya that required a physical presence in spite of the escalating violence? Who in Washington was aware of the escalating violence in Libya? What special precautions, if any, were taken on the anniversary of 9-11? What happened in Washington after the first attack and what was the response to that attack? What did the military do or not do? What did our leaders in Washington do or not do and when? Why was the American public given such divergent accounts of what caused these attacks? And why is it so hard to get information from the very government these four men were representing and serving and sacrificing for?

Benghazi panel chair: Investigation not about Hillary Clinton

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi, tells Hillary Clinton in his opening statement that the probe is not singularly focused on the former secretary of state.

Benghazi hearing: Hillary Clinton’s entire statement

Hillary Clinton gave her opening statement to the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Benghazi Hearing Committee Chairman on Hillary Clinton’s Emails | The New York Times

Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 1)

Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 2)

Clinton to panel: 3 things we learned from Benghazi

Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton Benghazi Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi Committee Hearing. trey gowdy went off on hillary clinton about blumenthal and more. watch the explosive exchange. Hillary Clinton coolly hit back at her Republican interrogators on the Benghazi committee during her long-awaited testimony on Thursday, rebuffing claims she was detached as the situation in Libya deteriorated and asserting she did not use email to conduct the “vast majority” of her work as secretary of state.

The Democratic front-runner told the House Selection Committee on Benghazi, which is 18 months into its probe of the 2012 attacks on the consulate in Libya, that the tragedy does not deserve partisan attacks, while insisting the U.S. needs to stay committed to diplomatic engagement.

“Despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, I’m here to honor those we lost and to do what I can to aid those who serve us still,” Clinton said, speaking slowly and deliberately during her opening statement. “My challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge I put to myself…. Let’s be worthy of the trust the American people bestow on us… they expect us to rise above partisanship. And I hopes it’s what we’ll strive for today and in the future.”

Republicans questioned Clinton about why numerous requests for additional security never made it Clinton’s attention. She said they went to the right place: to personnel who handled security. And when they pressed her on why she kept the compound open or did not give it additional, she retorted that she never received a recommendation to shut down the mission—even after two attacks on the compound.

The hearing kicked off on Thursday with the partisan sniping that has been the hallmark of the committee’s work, with House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy defended his investigation, assuring Clinton that his probe is not centered on her.
Hour_2_151022_hillary_clinton_2_gty_1160­.jpg

WATCH LIVE: Hillary Clinton testifies before Benghazi Committee

“Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you. Let me assure you it is not,” Gowdy said in his opening statement, adding that it was about the people who were killed.

He also blamed her in part for the fact that the inquiry has dragged on for a year and a half.

The State Department only realized it did not have Clinton’s emails after they requested documents, triggering a lengthy process by which the department had to ask her and her top aides who also sometimes used private email for work purposes to turn them over.

“You had an unusual email arrangement with yourself, which meant the State Department could not produce your emails to us,” Gowdy said. “When you left the State Department you kept those public records to yourself for almost two years….Those decisions were your decisions, not ours… It just took longer to get them and garnered more attention in the process.

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) blasted the committee as a partisan witch-hunt out to get Clinton, saying Republicans formed the panel because they “did not like the answers they got” in previous probe—“so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadlines and a unlimited budget.”

“They set the noose because you’re running for president,” Cummings said, raising his voice before calling for the panel to disband. “It is time for Republicans to end this …fishing expedition.”

It only took Cummings a few minutes to highlight a number of embarrassing moments for Gowdy in recent weeks, including comments by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y) and a fired GOP Benghazi investigator who all suggested the panel was either out to hurt Clinton or increasingly focused on investigating her.

REP. Martha Roby vs Hillary Clinton at House Select Committee on Benghazi 10/22/15

Rep Jim Jordan Goes After Hillary ‘Where’d the False Narrative Start It Started With You’

REP Trey Gowdy vs Hillary Clinton Round 2 at House Select Committee on Benghazi 102215

Benghazi Select – Gowdy: this is an investigation, not a prosecution

Bickering among Benghazi panel as Clinton looks on silently

Fireworks erupt between Clinton, Republicans at Benghazi hearing



More Background Information

Weekly Address: Carrying on the Work of

America’s intelligence community, explained

THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 1 of 2

THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 2 of 2

Special Activities Division

Published on Aug 15, 2014

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service (NCS) responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action.
Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the government of the United States may deny all knowledge.

Inside America’s New Covert Wars: Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Blackwater, Security Contractors (2013)

The Daring Early Years of the CIA: Covert Ops from WW2 to Vietnam (1995)

How has the CIA been used as a secret Military force? William Blum • BRAVE NEW FILMS

The CIA began as a spy agency after World War Two, but soon the CIA was planning and executing covert operations across the globe without proper congressional oversight. From the removal of the democratically elected leaders of Iran and Guatemala to the attempted invasion of Cuba, to the removal of every secular government in the Middle East, the influence of the agency is insidious. But how can a democratic society tolerate such a secret and lethal institution that works against the very values America seeks to uphold around the world?

CIA Covert Operations in Africa: How Does the U.S. Government Make Decisions?

According to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, a covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.” It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally financed by government revenues but in this age of super-empowered individuals and corporations they could become a common tool of power beyond traditional war and diplomacy.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must lead covert operations unless the president finds that another agency should do so and properly informs the congress. Normally, the CIA is the US Government agency legally allowed to carry out covert action. The CIA’s authority to conduct covert action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government”. The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

Special Activities Division – Special Operations Group | SAD SOG

Published on Jun 30, 2015

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action. The Special Activities Division reports directly to the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service.

Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government may deny all knowledge.

SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU and ISA, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, Special Forces, SEALs and 24th STS.

SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.

REVEALED: If This Is True, Benghazi Is Even Worse Than We Ever Thought

Insiders Come Forward, Proof of Benghazi Stand Down Order, It was Obama

Obama Lies About Libya – Imperial Presidency

Media Silent About Obama’s Undeclared Wars

Did the Military Intervention in Libya Succeed? (Benjamin Friedman)

Drones are Obama’s weapon of choice for waging illegal and undeclared wars

Special Activities Division

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency‘s (CIA) Directorate of Operations (DO) responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action.[1] The Special Activities Division reports directly to the Deputy Director for the Directorate of Operations.

Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection ofintelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated.[2] As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government.[3] If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government maydeny all knowledge.[4]

SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU, ISA, and 24th STS, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, Green Berets, SEALs, SWCC, Force Recon, Pararescuemen,Combat Controllers, and Army Rangers.

SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.[5]

Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has added cyberwarfare to their mission. Tactical units within SAD are also capable of carrying out covert political action while deployed in hostile and austere environments. A large covert operation usually has components that involve many, or all, of these categories, as well as paramilitary operations. Political and Influence covert operations are used to support U.S. foreign policy. Often overt support for one element of an insurgency would be counter-productive due to the impression it would have on the local population. In such cases, covert assistance allows the U.S. to assist without damaging these elements in the process. Many of the other activities (such as propaganda, economic and cyber) support the overall political effort. There have been issues in the past with attempts to influence the US media such as in Operation Mockingbird. However, these activities are now subject to the same oversight as all covert action operations.[6]

Overview

SAD provides the President of the United States with an option when overt military and/or diplomatic actions are not viable or politically feasible. SAD can be directly tasked by the President of the United States or the National Security Council at the President’s direction. This is unlike any other U.S. special mission force. However, SAD/SOG has far fewer members than most of the other special missions units, such as the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) or Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).[7][8][9]

As the action arm of the DO, SAD/SOG conducts direct action missions such as raids, ambushes, sabotage, targeted killings[10][11][12] and unconventional warfare(e.g., training and leading guerrilla and military units of other countries in combat). SAD/SOG also conducts special reconnaissance, that can be either military orintelligence driven, but is carried out by Paramilitary Officers (also called Paramilitary Operatives) when in “non-permissive environments“. Paramilitary Operations Officers are also fully trained case officers (i.e., “spies”) and as such conduct clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) operations throughout the world.[13]SAD/SOG officers are selected from the most elite U.S. military units.[9]

The political action group within SAD conducts the deniable psychological operations, also known as black propaganda, as well as “Covert Influence” to effect political change as an important part of any Administration’s foreign policy.[1] Covert intervention in a foreign election is the most significant form of political action. This could involve financial support for favored candidates, media guidance, technical support for public relations, get-out-the-vote or political organizing efforts, legal expertise, advertising campaigns, assistance with poll-watching, and other means of direct action. Policy decisions could be influenced by assets, such as subversion of officials of the country, to make decisions in their official capacity that are in the furtherance of U.S. policy aims. In addition, mechanisms for forming and developing opinions involve the covert use of propaganda.[14]

Propaganda includes leaflets, newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and television, all of which are geared to convey the U.S. message appropriate to the region. These techniques have expanded to cover the internet as well. They may employ officers to work as journalists, recruit agents of influence, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places it is hoped it will come to public attention, or seek to deny and/or discredit information that is public knowledge. In all such propaganda efforts, “black” operations denote those in which the audience is to be kept ignorant of the source; “white” efforts are those in which the originator openly acknowledges himself; and “gray” operations are those in which the source is partly but not fully acknowledged.[14][15]

Some examples of political action programs were the prevention of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from winning elections between 1948 and the late 1960s; overthrowing the governments of Iran in 1953, and Guatemala in 1954; arming rebels in Indonesia in 1957; and providing funds and support to the trade unionfederation Solidarity following the imposition of martial law in Poland after 1981.[16]

SAD’s existence became better known as a result of the “Global War on Terror“. Beginning in autumn of 2001, SAD/SOG paramilitary teams arrived in Afghanistanto hunt down al-Qaeda leaders, facilitate the entry of U.S. Army Special Forces and lead the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan against the rulingTaliban. SAD/SOG units also defeated Ansar al-Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003[17][18] and trained, equipped, organized and led theKurdish peshmerga forces to defeat the Iraqi army in northern Iraq.[13][17] Despite being the most covert unit in U.S. Special Operations, numerous books have been published on the exploits of CIA paramilitary officers, including Conboy and Morrison’s Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia,[19] and Warner’sShooting at the Moon: The Story of America’s Clandestine War in Laos.[20] Most experts consider SAD/SOG the premiere force for unconventional warfare (UW), whether that warfare consists of either creating or combating an insurgency in a foreign country.[7][21][22]

SOCOM.jpg

There remains some conflict between the National Clandestine Service and the more clandestine parts of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM),[23] such as the Joint Special Operations Command. This is usually confined to the civilian/political heads of the respective Department/Agency. The combination of SAD and USSOCOM units has resulted in some of the most notable successes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to include the locating and killing of Osama bin Laden.[22][24] SAD/SOG has several missions. One of these missions is the recruiting, training, and leading of indigenous forces in combat operations.[22] SAD/SOG and its successors have been used when it was considered desirable to have plausible deniability about U.S. support (this is called a covert operation or “covert action”).[13] Unlike other special missions units, SAD/SOG operatives combine special operations and clandestine intelligence capabilities in one individual.[9] These individuals can operate in any environment (sea, air or ground) with limited to no support.[7]

Covert action

Under U.S. law, the CIA is authorized to collect intelligence, conduct counterintelligence and to conduct covert action by the National Security Act of 1947.[1]President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled “United States Intelligence Activities” in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities,” both political and military, that the U.S. government would deny, granting such operations exclusively to the CIA. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and mirrored in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e).[1][22] The CIA must have a presidential findingissued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act.[25]These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the U.S. Senate, called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the U.S. House of Representatives, called the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).[26]

The Pentagon commissioned a study to determine whether the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) should conduct covert action paramilitary operations. Their study determined that the CIA should maintain this capability and be the “sole government agency conducting covert action.” The DoD found that, even under U.S. law, it does not have the legal authority to conduct covert action, nor the operational agility to carry out these types of missions.[27] The operation in May 2011 that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was a covert action under the authority of the CIA.[24][28]

Selection and training

SAD/SOG has several hundred officers, mostly former members of special operations forces (SOF) and a majority from theJoint Special Operations Command (JSOC).[29] The CIA has also recruited individuals within the agency.[30] The CIA’s formal position for these individuals is “Paramilitary Operations Officers” and “Specialized Skills Officers.” Paramilitary Operations Officers attend the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) program, which trains them as clandestine intelligence operatives (known as “Core Collectors” within the Agency). The primary strengths of SAD/SOG Paramilitary Officers are operational agility, adaptability, and deniability. They often operate in small teams, typically made up of six operators (with some operations being carried out by a single officer), all with extensive military special operations expertise and a set of specialized skills that does not exist in any other unit.[9] As fully trained intelligence case officers, Paramilitary Operations Officers possess all the clandestine skills to collect human intelligence—and most importantly—to recruit assets from among the indigenous troops receiving their training. These officers often operate in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out direct action (including raids and sabotage), counter-intelligence, guerrilla/unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue missions, in addition to being able to conduct espionage via HUMINT assets.

There are four principal elements within SAD’s Special Operations Group: the Air Branch, the Maritime Branch, the Ground Branch, and the Armor and Special Programs Branch. The Armor and Special Programs Branch is charged with development, testing, and covert procurement of new personnel and vehicular armor and maintenance of stockpiles of ordnance and weapons systems used by SOG, almost all of which must be obtained from clandestine sources abroad, in order to provide SOG operatives and their foreign trainees with plausible deniability in accordance with U.S. Congressional directives.

Together, SAD/SOG contains a complete combined arms covert military. Paramilitary Operations Officers are the core of each branch and routinely move between the branches to gain expertise in all aspects of SOG.[30] As such, Paramilitary Operations Officers are trained to operate in a multitude of environments. Because these officers are taken from the most highly trained units in the U.S. military and then provided with extensive additional training to become CIA clandestine intelligence officers, many U.S. security experts assess them as the most elite of the U.S. special missions units.[31]

SAD, like most of the CIA, requires a bachelor’s degree to be considered for employment. Many have advanced degrees such as Master’s and law degrees.[32]Many candidates come from notable schools, many from Ivy League institutions and United States Service Academies, but the majority of recruits today come from middle-class backgrounds.[33] SAD officers are trained at Camp Peary, Virginia (also known as “The Farm”) and at privately owned training centers around the United States. They also train its personnel at “The Point” (Harvey Point), a facility outside of Hertford, North Carolina.[34][35] In addition to the eighteen months of training in the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) Program[36] required to become a clandestine intelligence officer, Paramilitary Operations Officers are trained to a high level of proficiency in the use and tactical employment of an unusually wide degree of modern weaponry, explosive devices and firearms (foreign and domestic), hand to hand combat, high performance/tactical driving (on and off road), apprehension avoidance (including picking handcuffs and escaping from confinement), improvised explosive devices, cyberwarfare, covert channels, Military Free Fall parachuting, combat and commercial SCUBA and closed circuit diving, proficiency in foreign languages, surreptitious entry operations (picking or otherwise bypassing locks), vehicle hot-wiring, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape(SERE), extreme survival and wilderness training, combat EMS medical training, tactical communications, and tracking.

History

World War II

While the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was technically a military agency under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in practice it was fairly autonomous of military control and enjoyed direct access to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Major General William Joseph Donovan was the head of the OSS. Donovan was a soldier and Medal of Honor recipient from World War I. He was also a lawyer and former classmate of FDR at Columbia Law School.[37] Like its successor, the CIA, OSS included both human intelligence functions and special operations paramilitary functions. Its Secret Intelligence division was responsible for espionage, while its Jedburgh teams, a joint U.S.-UK-French unit, were forerunners of groups that create guerrilla units, such as the U.S. Army Special Forces and the CIA. OSS’ Operational Groups were larger U.S. units that carried out direct action behind enemy lines. Even during World War II, the idea of intelligence and special operations units not under strict military control was controversial. OSS operated primarily in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) and to some extent in the China-Burma-India Theater, while General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was extremely reluctant to have any OSS personnel within his area of operations.

From 1943 to 1945, the OSS also played a major role in training Kuomintang troops in China and Burma, and recruited other indigenous irregular forces for sabotage as well as guides for Allied forces in Burma fighting the Japanese army. OSS also helped arm, train and supply resistance movements, including Mao Zedong‘s People’s Liberation Army in China and the Viet Minh in French Indochina, in areas occupied by the Axis powers. Other functions of the OSS included the use ofpropaganda, espionage, subversion, and post-war planning.

One of the OSS’ greatest accomplishments during World War II was its penetration of Nazi Germany by OSS operatives. The OSS was responsible for training German and Austrian commandos for missions inside Nazi Germany. Some of these agents included exiled communists and socialist party members, labor activists, anti-Nazi POWs, and German and Jewish refugees. At the height of its influence during World War II, the OSS employed almost 24,000 people.[38]

OSS Paramilitary Officers parachuted into many countries then behind enemy lines, including France, Norway, Greece and The Netherlands. In Crete, OSS paramilitary officers linked up with, equipped and fought alongside Greek resistance forces against the Axis occupation.

OSS was disbanded shortly after World War II, with its intelligence analysis functions moving temporarily into the U.S. Department of State. Espionage and counterintelligence went into military units, while paramilitary and related functions went into an assortment of ‘ad hoc’ groups, such as the Office of Policy Coordination. Between the original creation of the CIA by the National Security Act of 1947 and various mergers and reorganizations through 1952, the wartime OSS functions generally went into CIA. The mission of training and leading guerrillas generally stayed in the United States Army Special Forces, but those missions required to remain covert were folded into the paramilitary arm of the CIA. The direct descendant of the OSS’ Special Operations is the CIA’s Special Activities Division.

Tibet

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in October 1950, the CIA inserted SAD paramilitary teams into Tibet to train and lead Tibetan resistance fighters against thePeople’s Liberation Army of China. These teams selected and then trained Tibetan soldiers in the Rocky Mountains of the United States;[39] training occurred atCamp Hale.[40][41] The SAD teams then advised and led these commandos against the Chinese, both from Nepal and India. In addition, SAD Paramilitary Officers were responsible for the Dalai Lama‘s clandestine escape to India, narrowly escaping capture and certain execution by the Chinese government.[39]

According to a book by retired CIA officer John Kenneth Knaus, entitled Orphans Of The Cold War: America And The Tibetan Struggle For Survival, Gyalo Thondup, the older brother of the 14th (and current) Dalai Lama, sent the CIA five Tibetan recruits. These recruits were then trained in paramilitary tactics on the island ofSaipan in the Northern Marianas.[42] Shortly thereafter, the five men were covertly returned to Tibet “to assess and organize the resistance” and selected another 300 Tibetans for training. U.S. assistance to the Tibetan resistance ceased after the 1972 Nixon visit to China, after which the United States and China normalized relations.[43]

Korea

The CIA sponsored a variety of activities during the Korean War. These activities included maritime operations behind North Korean lines. Yong Do Island, connected by a rugged isthmus to Pusan, served as the base for those operations. These operations were carried out by well-trained Korean guerrillas. The four principal U.S. advisers responsible for the training and operational planning of those special missions were Dutch Kramer, Tom Curtis, George Atcheson and Joe Pagnella. All of these Paramilitary Operations Officers operated through a CIA front organization called the Joint Advisory Commission, Korea (JACK), headquartered at Tongnae, a village near Pusan, on the peninsula’s southeast coast.[44] These paramilitary teams were responsible for numerous maritime raids and ambushes behind North Korean lines, as well as prisoner of warrescue operations. These were the first maritime unconventional warfare units that trained indigenous forces as surrogates. They also provided a model, along with the other CIA-sponsored ground based paramilitary Korean operations, for theMilitary Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) activities conducted by the U.S. military and the CIA/SAD in Vietnam.[7][44] In addition, CIA paramilitary ground-based teams worked directly for U.S. military commanders, specifically with the 8th Army, on the “White Tiger” initiative. This initiative included inserting South Korean commandos and CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers prior to the two major amphibious assaults on North Korea, including the landing at Inchon.[7]

Cuba (1961)

Main article: Bay of Pigs Invasion

Map showing the location of the Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs Invasion (known as “La Batalla de Girón”, or “Playa Girón” in Cuba), was an unsuccessful attempt by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba and overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency of the United States. TheCuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile-combatants in three days.

The sea-borne invasion force landed on April 17, and fighting lasted until April 19, 1961. CIA Paramilitary Operations OfficersGrayston Lynch and William “Rip” Robertson led the first assault on the beaches, and supervised the amphibious landings.[45] Four American aircrew instructors from Alabama Air National Guard were killed while flying attack sorties.[45]Various sources estimate Cuban Army casualties (killed or injured) to be in the thousands (between 2,000 and 5,000).[46] This invasion followed the successful overthrow by the CIA of the Mosaddeq government in Iran in 1953[47] and Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954,[48] but was a failure both militarily and politically.[49] Deteriorating Cuban-American relations were made worse by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Bolivia

The National Liberation Army of Bolivia (ELN-Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia) was a communist guerrilla force that operated from the remote Ñancahuazú region against the pro-U.S. Bolivian government. They were joined by Che Guevara in the mid-1960s.[50][51] The ELN was well equipped and scored a number of early successes against the Bolivian army in the difficult terrain of the mountainous Camiri region.[52] In the late 1960s, the CIA deployed teams of SAD Paramilitary Operations Officers to Bolivia to train the Bolivian army in order to counter the ELN.[52] These SAD teams linked up with U.S. Army Special Forces and Bolivian Special Forces to track down and capture Guevara, who was a special prize because of his leading role in the Cuban Revolution.[52] On October 9, 1967, Guevara was executed by Bolivian soldiers on the orders of CIA paramilitary operative Félix Rodríguez shortly after being captured, according to CIA documents.[53]

Vietnam and Laos

South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967

The original OSS mission in Vietnam under Major Archimedes Patti was to work with Ho Chi Minh in order to prepare his forces to assist the United States and their Allies in fighting the Japanese. After the end of World War II, the US agreed at Potsdam to turn Vietnam back to their previous French rulers and in 1950 the US began providing military aid to the French.[54]

CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and Vietnam, and their actions of these officers were not known for several years. Air America was the air component of the CIA’s paramilitary mission in Southeast Asia and was responsible for all combat, logistics and search and rescue operations in Laos and certain sections of Vietnam.[55] The ethnic minority forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct actions mission, led by Paramilitary Operations Officers, against the communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese allies.[7]

Elements of SAD were seen in the CIA’s Phoenix Program. One component of the Phoenix Program was involved in the capture and killing of suspected Viet Cong (National Liberation Front – NLF) members.[56] Between 1968 and 1972, the Phoenix Program captured 81,740 National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong) members, of whom 26,369 were killed. This was a large proportion of U.S. killings between 1969 and 1971. The program was also successful in destroying their infrastructure. By 1970, communist plans repeatedly emphasized attacking the government’s “pacification” program and specifically targeted Phoenix agents. The NLF also imposed quotas. In 1970, for example, communist officials near Da Nang in northern South Vietnam instructed their agents to “kill 400 persons” deemed to be government “tyrant[s]” and to “annihilate” anyone involved with the “pacification” program. Several North Vietnamese officials have made statements about the effectiveness of Phoenix.[57][58]

MAC-V SOG (Studies and Observations Group) (which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes), was created and active during the Vietnam War. While CIA was just one part of MAC-V SOG, it did have operational control of some of the programs. Many of the military members of MAC-V SOG joined the CIA after their military service. The legacy of MAC-V SOG continues within SAD’s Special Operations Group.[59]

Maritime activities against the USSR

In 1973, SAD/SOG and the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology built and deployed the USNS Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), a large deep-sea salvage ship, on a secret operation. This operation was called Project Azorian (erroneously called Project Jennifer by the press).[60] Her mission was to recover a sunken Sovietsubmarine, K-129, which had been lost in April 1968.[61][62] A mechanical failure caused two-thirds of the submarine to break off during recovery,[60] but SAD recovered two nuclear-tipped torpedoes, cryptographic machines and the bodies of six Soviet submariners.[63] An alternative theory claims that all of K-129 was recovered[64] and that the official account was an “elaborate cover-up”.[65]

Also in the 1970s, the U.S. Navy, the National Security Agency (NSA) and SAD/SOG [66] conducted Operation Ivy Bells and a series of other missions to place wire taps on Soviet underwater communications cables. These operations were covered in detail in the 1998 book Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage.[67] In the 1985 edition of “Studies in Intelligence”, the CIA’s in-house journal that outsiders rarely get to see, the CIA describes the “staggering expense and improbable engineering feats” that culminated in the August 1974 mission.[68]

Nicaragua

In 1979, the U.S.-backed Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship in Nicaragua fell to the socialist Sandinistas. Once in power, the Sandinistas disbanded theNicaraguan National Guard, who had committed many human rights abuses, and arrested and executed some of its members. Other former National Guard members helped to form the backbone of the Nicaraguan Counterrevolution or Contra. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams were deployed to train and lead these forces against the Sandinista government. These paramilitary activities were based in Honduras and Costa Rica. Direct military aid by the United States was eventually forbidden by the Boland Amendment of the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983. The Boland Amendment was extended in October 1984 to forbid action by not only the Defense Department, but also to include the Central Intelligence Agency.[69][70]

The Boland Amendment was a compromise because the U.S. Democratic Party did not have enough votes for a comprehensive ban on military aid. It covered only appropriated funds spent by intelligence agencies. Some of Reagan’s national security officials used non-appropriated money of the National Security Council (NSC) to circumvent the Amendment. NSC officials sought to arrange funding by third parties. These efforts resulted in the Iran-Contra Affair of 1987, which concerned Contra funding through the proceeds of arms sales to the Islamic Republic of Iran. No court ever made a determination whether Boland covered the NSC and on the grounds that it was a prohibition rather than a criminal statute, no one was indicted for violating it. Congress later resumed aid to the Contras, totaling over $300 million. The Contra war ended when the Sandinistas were voted out of power by a war-weary populace in 1990.[70][71] Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was re-elected as President of Nicaragua in 2006 and took office again on January 10, 2007.

El Salvador

CIA personnel were also involved in the Salvadoran civil war.[72] Some allege that the techniques used to interrogate prisoners in El Salvador foreshadowed those later used in Iraq and Afghanistan.[73] In fact, when a similar counter-insurgency program was proposed in Iraq, it was referred to as “the Salvador Option”.[74]

Somalia

Location of Somalia

SAD sent in teams of Paramilitary Operations Officers into Somalia prior to the U.S. intervention in 1992. On December 23, 1992, Paramilitary Officer Larry Freedman became the first casualty of the conflict in Somalia. Freedman was a former ArmyDelta Force operator who had served in every conflict that the U.S. was involved in, both officially and unofficially, since Vietnam.[75] Freedman was killed while conducting special reconnaissance in advance of the entry of U.S. military forces. His mission was completely voluntary, as it required entry into a very hostile area without any support. Freedman was awarded the Intelligence Star on January 5, 1993 for his “extraordinary heroism”.[76]

SAD/SOG teams were key in working with JSOC and tracking high value targets (HVT), known as “Tier One Personalities”. Their efforts, working under extremely dangerous conditions with little to no support, led to several very successful joint JSOC/CIA operations.[77] In one specific operation, a CIA case officer, Michael Shanklin[78] and codenamed “Condor”, working with a CIA Technical Operations Officer from the Directorate of Science and Technology, managed to get a cane with a beacon in it to Osman Ato, a wealthy businessman, arms importer, and Mohammed Aideed, a money man whose name was right below Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s on the Tier One list.

Once Condor confirmed that Ato was in a vehicle, JSOC‘s Delta Force launched a capture operation.

a Little Bird helicopter dropped out of the sky and a sniper leaned out and fired three shots into the car’s engine block. The car ground to a halt as commandos roped down from hovering Blackhawks [sic], surrounded the car and handcuffed Ato. It was the first known helicopter takedown of suspects in a moving car. The next time Jones saw the magic cane, an hour later, Garrison had it in his hand. “I like this cane,” Jones remembers the general exclaiming, a big grin on his face. “Let’s use this again.” Finally, a tier one personality was in custody.[77]

President Bill Clinton withdrew U.S. forces on May 4, 1994.[79]

In June 2006, the Islamic Courts Union seized control of southern Somalia, including the country’s capital Mogadishu, prompting the Ethiopian government to send in troops to try to protect the transitional government. In December, the Islamic Courts warned Ethiopia they would declare war if Ethiopia did not remove all its troops from Somalia. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, leader of the Islamic Courts, called for a jihad, or holy war, against Ethiopia and encouraged foreign Muslim fighters to come to Somalia. At that time, the United States accused the group of being controlled by al-Qaeda, but the Islamic Courts denied that charge.[80]

In 2009, PBS reported that al-Qaeda had been training terrorists in Somalia for years. Until December 2006, Somalia’s government had no power outside of the town of Baidoa, 150 miles (240 km) from the capital. The countryside and the capital were run by warlords and militia groups who could be paid to protect terrorist groups.[80]

CIA officers kept close tabs on the country and paid a group of Somali warlords to help hunt down members of al-Qaeda according to the New York Times.[citation needed] Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, issued a message calling for all Muslims to go to Somalia.[80]On January 9, 2007, a U.S. official said that ten militants were killed in one airstrike.[81]

On September 14, 2009, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaeda leader in East Africa as well as a senior leader in Shabaab, al Qaeda’s surrogate in Somalia, was killed by elements of U.S. Special Operations. According to a witness, at least two AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopters strafed a two-car convoy. Navy SEALs then seized the body of Nabhan and took two other wounded fighters captive.[82][83] JSOC and the CIA had been trying to kill Nabhan for some time including back in January 2007, when an AC-130 Gunship was called in on one attempt. A U.S. intelligence source stated that CIA paramilitary teams are directly embedded with Ethiopian forces in Somalia, allowing for the tactical intelligence to launch these operations.[84] Nabhan was wanted for his involvement in the 1998 United States embassy bombings, as well as leading the cell behind the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[82][85]

From 2010 to 2013, the CIA set up the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) by providing training, funding and diplomatic access. In the same time period, the EU and UN has spent millions of dollars for the military training of the Somali National Army (SNA). NISA is considered a professional Somali security force that can be relied upon to neutralize the terrorist threat.[86] This force responded to the complex al-Shabaab attack on the Banadir Regional Courthouse in Mogadishu which killed 25 civilians. NISA’s response however saved 100s and resulted in the death of all the al-Shabaab guerrillas involved.[87]

Significant events during this timeframe included the targeted drone strikes against British al-Qaida operative Bilal el-Berjawi [88] and Moroccan al-Qaida operative Abu Ibrahim.[89] It also included the rescue of U.S. citizen Jessica Buchanan by U.S. Navy SEALs.[90] All likely aided by intelligence collection efforts in Somalia.[91]

Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai with Special Forces and CIA Paramilitary in late 2001.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Paramilitary Operations Officers were instrumental in equippingMujaheddin forces against the Soviet Army. Although the CIA in general, and a Texas congressman named Charlie Wilson in particular, have received most of the attention, the key architect of this strategy was Michael G. Vickers. Vickers was a young Paramilitary Operations Officer from SAD/SOG. The CIA’s efforts have been given credit for assisting in ending the Sovietinvolvement in Afghanistan and bringing Taliban to power.[92]

SAD paramilitary teams were active in Afghanistan in the 1990s in clandestine operations to locate and kill or capture Osama Bin Laden. These teams planned several operations, but did not receive the order to execute from President Bill Clintonbecause the available intelligence did not guarantee a successful outcome weighed against the extraordinary risk to the SAD/SOG teams that would execute the mission.[13] These efforts did however build many of the relationships that would prove essential in the 2001 U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan.[13]

On September 26, 2001, members of the Special Activities Division, led by Gary Schroen, were the first U.S. forces inserted into Afghanistan. The Northern Afghanistan Liaison Team entered the country nine days after the 9/11 attack[93][94] and linked up with the Northern Alliance as part of Task Force Dagger.[95]

They provided the Northern Alliance with resources including cash to buy weapons and prepared for the arrival of USSOCOM forces. The plan for the invasion of Afghanistan was developed by the CIA, the first time in United States history that such a large-scale military operation was planned by the CIA.[96] SAD, U.S. Army Special Forces, and the Northern Alliance combined to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan with minimal loss of U.S. lives. They did this without the use of conventional U.S. military ground forces.[13][97][98][99]

The Washington Post stated in an editorial by John Lehman in 2006:

What made the Afghan campaign a landmark in the U.S. Military’s history is that it was prosecuted by Special Operations forces from all the services, along with Navy and Air Force tactical power, operations by the Afghan Northern Alliance and the CIA were equally important and fully integrated. No large Army or Marine force was employed”.[100]

In a 2008 New York Times book review of Horse Soldiers, a book by Doug Stanton about the invasion of Afghanistan, Bruce Barcott wrote:

The valor exhibited by Afghan and American soldiers, fighting to free Afghanistan from a horribly cruel regime, will inspire even the most jaded reader. The stunning victory of the horse soldiers – 350 Special Forces soldiers, 100 C.I.A. officers and 15,000 Northern Alliance fighters routing a Taliban army 50,000 strong – deserves a hallowed place in American military history”.[101]

Small and highly agile paramilitary mobile teams spread out over the countryside to meet with locals and gather information about the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. During that time, one of the teams was approached in a village and asked by a young man for help in retrieving his teenage sister. He explained that a senior Taliban official had taken her as a wife and had sharply restricted the time she could spend with her family. The team gave the man a small hand-held tracking device to pass along to his sister, with instructions for her to activate it when the Taliban leader returned home. The team responded to her emergency signal, capturing the senior Taliban official and rescuing the sister. The siblings’ tearful reunion left the team at a loss for words—a rarity for the normally loud warriors of CIA’s Special Activities Division.[102]

Tora Bora

In December 2001, SAD/SOG and the Army’s Delta Force tracked down Osama bin Laden in the rugged mountains near the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan.[103]Former CIA station chief Gary Berntsen as well as a subsequent Senate investigation claimed that the combined American special operations task force was largely outnumbered by al-Qaeda forces and that they were denied additional US troops by higher command.[104] The task force also requested munitions to block the avenues of egress of bin Laden, but that request was also denied.[105] The team allegedly uncovered evidence in the subsequent site exploration that bin Laden’s ultimate aim was to obtain and detonate a nuclear device in a terrorist attack.[96] According to other press reports, SAD were ineffectual and “Bin Laden and bodyguards walked uncontested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area.”[106]

Surge

In September 2009, the CIA planned on “deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ ordered by President Obama. This will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history.”[107] This presence is expected to surpass the size of the stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars.[107] The station is located at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and is led “by a veteran with an extensive background in paramilitary operations”.[108] The majority of the CIA’s workforce is located among secret bases and military special operations posts throughout the country.[108][109]

Also in 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, planned to request an increase in teams of CIA operatives, including their elite paramilitary officers, to join with U.S. military special operations forces. This combination worked well in Iraq and is largely credited with the success of that surge.[108][110] There have been basically three options described in the media: McChrystal’s increased counterinsurgency campaign; a counter-terror campaign using special operations raids and drone strikes; and withdrawal. The most successful combination in both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been the linking up of SAD and military special forces to fight alongside highly trained indigenous units. One thing all of these options have in common is a requirement for greater CIA participation.[110]

The End Game

According to the current and former intelligence officials, General McChrystal also had his own preferred candidate for the Chief of Station (COS) job, a good friend and decorated CIA paramilitary officer.[111] The officer had extensive experience in war zones, including two previous tours in Afghanistan with one as the Chief of Station, as well as tours in the Balkans, Baghdad and Yemen. He is well known in CIA lore as “the man who saved Hamid Karzai‘s life when the CIA led the effort to oust the Taliban from power in 2001″. President Karzai is said to be greatly indebted to this officer and was pleased when the officer was named chief of station again. According to interviews with several senior officials, this officer “was uniformly well-liked and admired. A career paramilitary officer, he came to the CIA after several years in an elite Marine unit”.[111][112]

General McChrystal’s strategy included the lash up of special operations forces from the U.S. Military and from SAD/SOG to duplicate the initial success and the defeat of the Taliban in 2001[113] and the success of the “Surge” in Iraq in 2007.[114] This strategy proved highly successful and worked very well in Afghanistan with SAD/SOG and JSOC forces conducting raids nearly every night having “superb results” against the enemy.[115]

In 2001, the CIA’s SAD/SOG began creating what would come to be called Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams (CTPT).[116][117] These units grew to include over 3,000 operatives by 2010 and have been involved in sustained heavy fighting against the enemy. It is considered the “best Afghan fighting force”.

Located at 7,800 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, Firebase Lilley in Shkin serves as a “nerve center for the covert war”.[117] This covert war includes being a hub for these CTPT operations with Firebase Lilley being just one in a constellation of CIA bases across Afghanistan.[117] These units have not only been highly effective in combat operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, but have also been used to engage with the tribes in areas with no other official government presence.[118]

This covert war also includes a large SOG/CTPT expansion into Pakistan to target senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).[119] CTPT units are the main effort in both the “Counterterrorism plus” and the full “Counterinsurgency” options being discussed by the Obama administration in the December 2010 review.[120] SOG/CTPT are also key to any exit strategy for the U.S. government to leave Afghanistan, while still being able to deny al-Qaeda and other trans-national extremists groups a safehaven both in Afghanistan and in the FATA of Pakistan.[121]

In January 2013, a CIA drone strike killed Mullah Nazir a senior Taliban commander in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan believed responsible for carrying out the insurgent effort against the US military in Afghanistan. Nazir’s death degraded the Taliban.[122]

The U.S. has decided to lean heavily on CIA in general and SAD specifically in their efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan as it did in Iraq.[123] There are plans being considered to have several US Military special operations elements assigned to CIA after the withdrawal.[124]

Yemen

On November 5, 2002, a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone killed al-Qaeda members traveling in a remote area in Yemen. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams had been on the ground tracking their movements for months and called in this air strike.[125] One of those in the car was Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, al-Qaeda’s chief operative in Yemen and a suspect in the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole. Five other people, believed to be low-level al-Qaeda members, were also killed to include an American named Kamal Derwish.[126][127] Former Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called it “a very successful tactical operation” and said “such strikes are useful not only in killing terrorists but in forcing al-Qaeda to change its tactics”.[126]

“It’s an important step that has been taken in that it has eliminated another level of experienced leadership from al-Qaeda,” said Vince Cannistraro, former head of counter-terrorism for the CIA and current ABC News consultant. “It will help weaken the organization and make it much less effective.”[128][129] Harithi was on the run, pursued by several security forces who were looking for him and Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, another suspect in the USS Cole bombing case.[130]

In 2009, the Obama administration authorized continued lethal operations in Yemen by the CIA.[131] As a result, the SAD/SOG and JSOC have joined together to aggressively target al-Qaeda operatives in that country, both through leading Yemenese special forces and intelligence driven drone strikes.[131] A major target of these operations is Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen with ties to both Nidal Hassan, the alleged Fort Hood attacker, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas 2009 attempted bomber of Northwest Airline flight 253.[132] Imam al-Aulaki was killed on September 30, 2011 by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command.[133]

Iraq

SAD paramilitary teams entered Iraq before the 2003 invasion. Once on the ground they prepared the battle space for the subsequent arrival of U.S. military forces. SAD teams then combined with U.S. Army special forces (on a team called the Northern Iraq Liaison Element or NILE).[17] This team organized the KurdishPeshmerga for the subsequent U.S. led invasion. This joint team combined in Operation Viking Hammer to defeat Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group allied to al-Qaeda, which several battle-hardened fighters from Afghanistan had joined after the fall of the Taliban, in a battle for control over the northeast of Iraq – a battle that turned out being one of the “most intense battles of Special Forces since Vietnam”.[134] This battle was for an entire territory that was completely occupied by Ansar al-Islam and was executed prior to the invasion in February 2003. If this battle had not been as successful as it was, there would have been a considerable hostile force in the rear of the U.S./secular Kurdish force in the subsequent assault on the Iraqi army to the south. The U.S. side was represented by paramilitary operations officers from SAD/SOG and the army’s 10th Special Forces Group (10th SFG). 10th SFG soldiers were awarded three Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars with V for valor for this battle alone [135] and several paramilitary officers were awarded the Intelligence Star for valor in combat.[136] This battle was a significant direct attack and victory on a key U.S. opponent. It resulted in the deaths of a substantial number of militants and the uncovering of a crude laboratory that had traces of poisons and information on chemical weapons at Sargat.[17][137] The team found foreign identity cards, visas, and passports on the enemy bodies. They had come from a wide variety of Middle Eastern and north African countries including Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iran.[135]Sargat was also the only facility that had traces of chemical weapons discovered in the Iraq war.[18][136][138]

The village of Biyara and Base of Ansar al-Islam 2001–2003

In a 2004 U.S. News & World Report article, “A firefight in the mountains”, the author states:

“Viking Hammer would go down in the annals of Special Forces history—a battle fought on foot, under sustained fire from an enemy lodged in the mountains, and with minimal artillery and air support.”[135]

SAD/SOG teams also conducted high risk special reconnaissance missions behind Iraqi lines to identify senior leadership targets. These missions led to the initial assassination attempts against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his key generals. Although the initial air strike against Hussein was unsuccessful in killing the dictator, it was successful in effectively ending his ability to command and control his forces. Other strikes against key generals were successful and significantly degraded the command’s ability to react to and maneuver against the U.S.-led invasion force.[17][139] SAD operations officers were also successful in convincing key Iraqi army officers to surrender their units once the fighting started and/or not to oppose the invasion force.[18]

NATO member Turkey refused to allow its territory to be used by the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division for the invasion. As a result, the SAD/SOG, U.S. Army special forces joint teams, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the 173d Airborne Brigade were the entire northern force against the Iraqi army during the invasion. Their efforts kept the 13 divisions of the Iraqi Army in place to defend against the Kurds rather allowing them to contest the coalition force coming from the south.[134] This combined U.S. special operations and Kurdish force defeated the Iraqi Army.[17] Four members of the SAD/SOG team received CIA’s rare Intelligence Star for “extraordinary heroism”.[18]

The mission that captured Saddam Hussein was called “Operation Red Dawn“. It was planned and carried out by JSOC’s Delta Force and SAD/SOG teams (together called Task Force 121). The operation eventually included around 600 soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division.[140][141] Special operations troops probably numbered around 40. Much of the publicity and credit for the capture went to the 4th Infantry Division soldiers, but CIA and JSOC were the driving force. “Task Force 121 were actually the ones who pulled Saddam out of the hole” said Robert Andrews, former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. “They can’t be denied a role anymore.”[140]

CIA paramilitary units continued to team up with the JSOC in Iraq and in 2007 the combination created a lethal force many credit with having a major impact in the success of “the Surge“. They did this by killing or capturing many of the key al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq.[142][143] In a CBS 60 Minutes interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward described a new special operations capability that allowed for this success. This capability was developed by the joint teams of CIA and JSOC.[144] Several senior U.S. officials stated that the “joint efforts of JSOC and CIA paramilitary units was the most significant contributor to the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq”.[142][145]

In May 2007, Marine Major Douglas A. Zembiec was serving in SAD Ground Branch in Iraq when he was killed by small arms fire while leading a raid.[146][147]Reports from fellow paramilitary officers stated that the flash radio report sent was “five wounded and one martyred”[148] Major Zembiec was killed while saving his soldiers, Iraqi soldiers. He was honored with an intelligence star for his valor in combat.[149]

On October 26, 2008, SAD/SOG and JSOC conducted an operation in Syria targeting the “foreign fighter logistics network” bringing al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq (See 2008 Abu Kamal raid).[150] A U.S. source told CBS News that “the leader of the foreign fighters, an al-Qaeda officer, was the target of Sunday’s cross-border raid.” He said the attack was successful, but did not say whether or not the al-Qaeda officer was killed.[151] Fox News later reported that Abu Ghadiya, “al-Qa’ida’s senior coordinator operating in Syria”, was killed in the attack.[152] The New York Times reported that during the raid U.S. forces killed several armed males who “posed a threat”.[153]

In September 2014 with the rise of the Islamic State, the U.S. government began aggressive military operations against them in both Iraq and Syria. SAD Ground Branch was placed in charge of the ground war.[154] This is a testament to SAD being the preeminent force for unconventional warfare and their long-standing relationship with the most effective fighting force in the region, the Kurdish Peshmerga.[155]

Pakistan

SAD/SOG has been very active “on the ground” inside Pakistan targeting al-Qaeda operatives for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Predator strikes and along with USSOCOM elements they have been training Pakistani Special Service Group Commandos.[156] Before leaving office, President George W. Bush authorized SAD’s successful killing of eight senior al-Qaeda operatives via targeted air strikes.[157] Among those killed were the mastermind of a 2006 plot to detonate explosives aboard planes flying across the Atlantic Rashid Rauf and the man thought to have planned the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing on September 20, 2008 that killed 53 people.[158][159] The CIA Director authorized the continuation of these operations and on January 23, SAD/SOG performed killings of 20 individuals in northwestern Pakistan that were terrorists. Some experts assess that the CIA Director – at that time Leon Panetta – has been more aggressive in conducting paramilitary operations in Pakistan than his predecessor.[160] A Pakistani security official stated that other strikes killed at least 10 insurgents, including five foreign nationals and possibly “a high-value target” such as a senior al-Qaeda or Taliban official.[161] On February 14, the CIA drone killed 27 taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in a missile strike in south Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border where al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri were believed to be hiding.[162]

According to the documentary film Drone, by Tonje Schei, since 2002 the U.S. Air Force 17th Reconnaissance Squadronhas been working for the CIA as “customer”, carrying out at least some of the armed missions in Pakistan.[163]

In a National Public Radio (NPR) report dated February 3, 2008, a senior official stated that al-Qaeda has been “decimated” by SAD/SOG’s air and ground operations. This senior U.S. counter-terrorism official goes on to say, “The enemy is really, really struggling. These attacks have produced the broadest, deepest and most rapid reduction in al-Qaida senior leadership that we’ve seen in several years.”[164] President Obama’s CIA Director Leon Panetta stated that SAD/SOG’s efforts in Pakistan have been “the most effective weapon” against senior al-Qaeda leadership.[165][166]

These covert attacks have increased significantly under President Obama, with as many at 50 al-Qaeda militants being killed in the month of May 2009 alone.[167][168][169] In June 2009, sixty Taliban fighters were killed while at a funeral to bury fighters that had been killed in previous CIA attacks.[170] On July 22, 2009, National Public Radio reported that U.S. officials believeSaad bin Laden, a son of Osama bin Laden, was killed by a CIA strike in Pakistan. Saad bin Laden spent years under house arrest in Iran before traveling last year to Pakistan, according to former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell. It’s believed he was killed sometime in 2009. A senior U.S. counter-terrorism said U.S. intelligence agencies are “80 to 85 percent” certain that Saad bin Laden is dead.[171]

On August 6, 2009, the CIA announced that Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a SAD/SOG drone strike in Pakistan.[172] The New York Times said, “Although President Obama has distanced himself from many of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies, he has embraced and even expanded the C.I.A.’s covert campaign in Pakistan using Predator and Reaper drones”.[172] The biggest loss may be to “Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida”. For the past eight years, al-Qaeda had depended on Mehsud for protection after Mullah Mohammed Omar fled Afghanistan in late 2001. “Mehsud’s death means the tent sheltering Al Qaeda has collapsed,” an Afghan Taliban intelligence officer who had met Mehsud many times told Newsweek. “Without a doubt he was Al Qaeda’s No. 1 guy in Pakistan,” adds Mahmood Shah, a retired Pakistani Army brigadier and a former chief of the Federally Administered Tribal Area, or FATA, Mehsud’s base.[173]

Airstrikes from CIA drones struck targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan on September 8, 2009. Reports stated that seven to ten militants were killed to include one top al-Qaida leaders. He was Mustafa al-Jaziri, an Algerian national described as an “important and effective” leader and senior military commander for al-Qaida. The success of these operations are believed to have caused senior Taliban leaders to significantly alter their operations and cancel key planning meetings.[174][175]

The CIA is also increasing its campaign using Predator missile strikes on al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The number of strikes in 2009 exceeded the 2008 total, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal, which tracks strikes in Pakistan.[108] In December 2009, the New York Times reported that President Obama ordered an expansion of the drone program with senior officials describing the program as “a resounding success, eliminating key terrorists and throwing their operations into disarray”.[176] The article also cites a Pakistani official who stated that about 80 missile attacks in less than two years have killed “more than 400” enemy fighters, a number lower than most estimates but in the same range. His account of collateral damage was strikingly lower than many unofficial counts: “We believe the number of civilian casualties is just over 20, and those were people who were either at the side of major terrorists or were at facilities used by terrorists.”[176]

On December 6, 2009, a senior al-Qaeda operative, Saleh al-Somali, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan. He was responsible for their operations outside of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and formed part of the senior leadership. Al-Somali was engaged in plotting terrorist acts around the world and “given his central role, this probably included plotting attacks against the United States and Europe”.[177][178] On December 31, 2009, senior Taliban leader and strong Haqqani ally Haji Omar Khan, brother of Arif Khan, was killed in the strike along with the son of local tribal leader Karim Khan.[179]

In January 2010, al-Qaeda in Pakistan announced that Lashkar al-Zil leader Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a drone missile strike. Neither al-Qaeda nor the US has revealed the date of the attack that killed Libi.[180] On January 14, 2010, subsequent to the suicide attack at Camp Chapman, the CIA located and killed the senior Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud had claimed responsibility in a video he made with the suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.[181]

On February 5, 2010, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and CIA’s SAD/SOG conducted a joint raid and apprehended Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar was the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the beginning of the Afghan War more than eight years ago until that date. He ranked second to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and was known to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden. Mullah Baradar was interrogated by CIA and ISI officers for several days before news of his capture was released.[182] This capture sent the message that the Taliban leadership is not safe in Afghanistan or Pakistan.[183] “The seizure of the Afghan Taliban’s top military leader in Pakistan represents a turning point in the U.S.-led war against the militants”, U.S. officials and analysts said.[184] Per Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, several raids in Karachi in early February netted dozens of suspected Afghan militants.[184] In other joint raids that occurred around the same time, Afghan officials said that the Taliban “shadow governorsP for two provinces in northern Afghanistan had also been detained. Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s leader in Kunduz, and Mullah Mir Mohammed of Baghlan were captured in Akora Khattack.[185]

On February 20, Muhammad Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of four people killed in the drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region in North Waziristan, according to two Pakistani intelligence sources.[186]

On May 31, 2010, the New York Times reported that Mustafa Abu al Yazid (AKA Saeed al Masri), a senior operational leader for Al Qaeda, was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas.[187]

From July to December 2010, predator strikes killed 535 suspected militants in the FATA to include Sheikh Fateh Al Misri, Al-Qaeda’s new third in command on September 25.[188] Al Misri was planning a major terrorist attack in Europe by recruiting British Muslims who would then go on a shooting rampage similar to what transpired in Mumbai in November 2008.[189]

Operation Neptune Spear

File:President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden.ogv

President Barack Obama‘s address(Text)

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed earlier that day in Abbottabad, Pakistan by “a small team of Americans” acting under his direct orders during a CIA operation under Director Leon Panetta.[24][28][190] The helicopter raid was executed from a CIA forward operating base in Afghanistan by the elements of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (assigned to the CIA) and CIA paramilitary operatives.[191] [192][193]

The operation in the Bilal military cantonment area in the city of Abbottabad resulted in the acquisition of extensive intelligence on the future attack plans of al-Qaeda.[194][195][196] The body of bin Laden was flown to Afghanistan to be identified and then out to the USS Carl Vinson for a burial at sea.[197] DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister, confirmed his identity.

The operation was a result of years of intelligence work that included the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the CIA, the DSS, and the Delta Force‘s, apprehension and interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammad (KSM),[198][199][200] the discovery of the real name of the courier disclosed by KSM, the tracking, via signal intelligence, of the courier to the Abbottobad compound by paramilitary operatives and the establishment of a CIA safe house that provided critical advance intelligence for the operation.[201][202][203][203]

The material discovered in the raid indicated that bin Laden was still in charge of his Al-Qaeda organization and was developing plans and issuing orders at the time of his death. There is considerable controversy over claims that elements of the Pakistani government, particularly the ISI, may have been concealing the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.[204][205][206] Bin Laden’s death has been labeled a “game changer” and a fatal blow to Al-Qaeda, by senior U.S. officials.[207]

Iran

In the early 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service were ordered to overthrow the government of Iran, Prime MinisterMohammed Mosaddeq, and re-install deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[208] This event was called Operation Ajax.[209][210] The senior CIA officer was Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., the grandson of American president Theodore Roosevelt. The operation utilized all of SAD’s components to include political action, covert influence and paramilitary operations. The paramilitary component included training anti-Communist guerrillas to fight the Tudeh Party if they seized power in the chaos of Operation Ajax.[211] Although a significant tactical/operational success, Operation Ajax is considered very controversial with many critics.[212]

In November 1979, a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution.[213] Operation Eagle Claw was the unsuccessful United States military operation that attempted to rescue the 52 hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 1980. Several SAD/SOG teams infiltrated into Tehran to support this operation.[214]

On March 9, 2007 alleged CIA Agent Robert Levinson was kidnapped from Iran’s Kish Island. On July 7, 2008, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author Seymour Hersh wrote an article in the New Yorker stating that the Bush Administration had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA to begin cross border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against Quds Force, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, public and private sector strategic targets, and “high-value targets” in the war on terror. Also enrolled to support CIA objectives were the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, known in the West as the M.E.K.,and the Baluchis insurgents. “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”[215] Any significant effort against Iran by the Obama Administration would likely come directly from SAD.[216] and in July 2010, Director Panetta chose a former chief of SAD as the new NCS Director.[217]

Libya

After the Arab Spring movements overthrew the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, its neighbours to the west and east respectively, Libya had a major revolt beginning in February 2011.[218][219] In response, the Obama administration sent in SAD paramilitary operatives to assess the situation and gather information on the opposition forces.[220][221] Experts speculated that these teams could be determining the capability of these forces to defeat the Muammar Gaddafi regime and whether Al-Qaeda had a presence in these rebel elements.

U.S. officials had made it clear that no U.S. troops would be “on the ground”, making the use of covert paramilitary operatives the only alternative.[222] During the early phases of the Libyan offensive of U.S. led air strikes, paramilitary operatives assisted in the recovery of a U.S. Air Force pilot who had crashed due to mechanical problems.[223] [224] There was speculation that President Obama issued a covert action finding in March 2011 that authorizes the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and support to the Libyan opposition.[225]

Syria

CIA paramilitary teams have been deployed to Syria to report on the uprising, to access the rebel groups, leadership and to potentially train, equip and lead one of those rebel groups against the Bashar al-Assad regime.[226] In early September 2013, President Obama told U.S. Senators that the CIA had trained the first 50-man insurgent element and that they had been inserted into Syria.[227] The deployment of this unit and the supplying of weapons may be the first tangible measure of support since the U.S. stated they would begin providing assistance to the opposition.[228][229]

In October 2013, SAD was tasked with overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This program was considered too limited to have the desired outcome.[230] However, with the rise of the Islamic State, SAD was given the overall command and control of the ground fight against them. This fight will cross the borders between Iraq and Syria.[154][231]

Worldwide mission

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his capture

The CIA has always had a Special Activities Division, which secretly carries out special operations mission. However, since September 11, 2001 the US government has relied much more on SAD/SOG because fighting terrorists does not usually involve fighting other armies. Rather, it involves secretly moving in and out of countries like Pakistan, Iran and Somaliawhere the American military is not legally allowed to operate.[232]

If there are missions in these countries that are denied to U.S. military special operations forces, SAD/SOG units are the primary national special missions units to execute those operations.[233]

In the War on Terror, SAD has the lead in the covert war being waged against al Qaeda.[11][234] SAD/SOG paramilitary teams have apprehended many of the senior leaders. These include: Abu Zubaydah,[235] the chief of operations for al-Qaeda;Ramzi bin al-Shibh,[236] the so-called the “20th hijacker”;[237] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.;[238] Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, alleged to be the mastermind of theUSS Cole bombing and leader of al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf prior to his capture in November 2002;[239] Abu Faraj al-Libi, al Qaeda’s “field general” believed to have taken the role of No. 3 in al Qaeda following the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan;[240] andMullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the number two taliban commander and the highest level taliban commander apprehended in the Afghan War.[241] Prior to the beginning of the “War on Terror”, SAD/SOG located and captured many notable militants and international criminals, including Abimael Guzman and Carlos the Jackal. These were just three of the over 50 caught by SAD/SOG just between 1983 and 1995.[242]

In 2002, the George W. Bush Administration prepared a list of “terrorist leaders” the CIA is authorized to kill in a targeted killing, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be kept to an acceptable number. The list includes key al Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden (deceased) and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from al Qaeda and affiliated groups. This list is called the “high value target list”.[243] The U.S. president is not legally required to approve each name added to the list, nor is the CIA required to obtain presidential approval for specific attacks, although the president is kept well informed about operations.[243]

SAD/SOG teams have been dispatched to the country of Georgia, where dozens of al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan are believed to have taken refuge withChechen separatists and thousands of refugees in the Pankisi Gorge. Their efforts have already resulted in 15 Arab militants linked to al Qaeda being captured.[125]

The SAD/SOG teams have also been active in the Philippines, where 1,200 U.S. military advisers helped to train local soldiers in “counter-terrorist operations” against Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamist group suspected of ties with al Qaeda. Little is known about this U.S. covert action program, but some analysts believe that “the CIA’s paramilitary wing, the Special Activities Division (SAD), has been allowed to pursue terrorist suspects in the Philippines on the basis that its actions will never be acknowledged”.[125]

On July 14, 2009, several newspapers reported that DCIA Leon Panetta was briefed on a CIA program that had not been briefed to the oversight committees in Congress. Panetta cancelled the initiative and reported its existence to Congress and the President. The program consisted of teams of SAD paramilitary officers organized to execute targeted killing operations against al Qaeda operatives around the world in any country. According to the Los Angeles Times, DCIA Panetta “has not ruled out reviving the program”.[11] There is some question as to whether former Vice President Dick Cheney instructed the CIA not to inform Congress.[244]Per senior intelligence officers, this program was an attempt to avoid the civilian casualties that can occur during predator drone strikes using Hellfire missiles.[245][246]

According to many experts, the Obama administration has relied on the CIA and their paramilitary capabilities, even more than they have on U.S. military forces, to maintain the fight against terrorists in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, as well as places like Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.[247][248] Ronald Kessler states in his book The CIA at War: Inside the Secret War Against Terror, that although paramilitary operations are a strain on resources, they’re winning the war against terrorism.[247][249]

SAD/SOG paramilitary officers executed the clandestine evacuation of U.S. citizens and diplomatic personnel in Somalia, Iraq (during the Persian Gulf War) andLiberia during periods of hostility, as well as the insertion of Paramilitary Operations Officers prior to the entry of U.S. military forces in every conflict since World War II.[250] SAD officers have operated covertly since 1947 in places such as North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, El Salvador,Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[251]

Innovations in special operations

The Fulton system in use

The Fulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS) is a system developed in the early 1950s by CIA paramilitary officers for retrieving persons on the ground from a MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft. It uses a harness and a self-inflating balloon that carries an attached lift line. An MC-130E engages the line with its V-shaped yoke and the individual is reeled on board.[252]Project COLDFEET was a very successful mission in 1962 in which two military officers parachuted into a remote abandoned Soviet site in the Arctic. The two were subsequently extracted by the Fulton sky hook. The team gathered evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.[253]

Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) Billy Waugh was a Special Forces soldier attached to CIA in the 1960s. During his time at MACV-SOG in Vietnam, he developed and conducted the first combat High Altitude-Low Opening (HALO) jump, “In October 1970, my team made a practice Combat Infiltration into the NVA owned War Zone D, in South Vietnam, for reassembly training, etc. This was the first one in a combat zone.”[254] HALO is a method of delivering personnel, equipment, and supplies from a transport aircraft at a high altitude via free-fall parachute insertion. HALO andHAHO (High Altitude-High Opening) are also known as Military Free Fall (MFF). In the HALO technique, the parachutist opens his parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time to avoid detection by the enemy. Waugh also led the last combat special reconnaissance parachute insertion into enemy territory occupied by communist North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops on June 22, 1971.[255]

Notable paramilitary officers

On October 25, 2003, paramilitary officers Christopher Mueller and William “Chief” Carlson were killed while conducting an operation to kill/capture high level al-Qa’ida leaders near Shkin, Afghanistan. Both these officers were honored with Stars on the CIA Memorial Wall at their Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[256] “The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated,” Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet told a gathering of several hundred Agency employees and family members. “Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined.” Mueller, a former US Navy SEAL and Carlson, a former Army Special Forces soldier, Delta Force operator, and member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, died while on this covert operation. Both officers saved the lives of others, including Afghan soldiers, during the engagement with al-Qa’ida forces.[256][257][258] In Oliver North’s book American Heroes in Special Operations, a chapter is devoted to their story.[259]

Notable political action officers

  • Virginia Hall Goillot started as the only female paramilitary officer in the OSS. She shot herself in the leg while hunting in Turkey in 1932, which was then amputated below the knee. She parachuted into France to organize the resistance with her prosthesis strapped to her body. She was awarded theDistinguished Service Cross. She married an OSS officer named Paul Goillot and the two joined the CIA as paramilitary operations officers in SAD. Once aboard, Mrs. Goillot made her mark as a political action officer playing significant roles in the Guatemala and Guyana operations. These operations involved the covert removal of the governments of these two countries, as directed by the President of the United States.[260]
  • E. Howard Hunt (October 9, 1918 – January 23, 2007) was an Ivy league educated Naval officer who joined the CIA in 1949 after serving with the OSS in World War II. Hunt was a political action officer in what came to be called their Special Activities Division.[261] He became station chief in Mexico City in 1950, and supervised William F. Buckley, Jr., (Not to be confused with a famous SAD Paramilitary Officer of the same name) who worked for the CIA in Mexico during the period 1951–1952. Buckley, another SAD political action specialist, only served briefly in the CIA and went on to be considered the father of the modern American conservative movement. Buckley and Hunt remained lifelong friends.[262] Hunt ran Operation PBSUCCESS, which overthrew the government in Guatemala in 1954, was heavily involved in theBay of Pigs Invasion operation, frequently mentioned in the JFK assassination, and was one of the operatives in the Watergate scandal.[263]Hunt was also a well-known author with over 50 books to his credit. These books were published under several alias names and several were made into motion pictures.[264]
  • David Atlee Phillips Perhaps the most famous propaganda officer ever to serve in CIA, Phillips began his career as a journalist and amateur actor in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the Agency in the 1950s and was one of the chief architects of the operation to overthrow Communist president Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. He was later heavily engaged as a principal member of the Bay of Pigs Task Force at Langley, and in subsequent anti-Castro operations throughout the 1960s. He founded the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) after successfully contesting a libel suit against him.

CIA Memorial Wall

Main article: CIA Memorial Wall

The CIA Memorial Wall is located at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of duty.[265] As of August 6, 2012, there were 103 stars carved into the marble wall,[266] each one representing an officer. A majority of these were paramilitary officers.[265] A black book, called the “Book of Honor”, lies beneath the stars and is encased in an inch-thick plate of glass.[266] Inside this book are stars, arranged by year of death, and the names of 77 employees who died in CIA service alongside them.[265][266] The other names remain secret, even in death.[265]

See also

Declaration of war by the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941

A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another. The document Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications gives an extensive listing and summary of statutes which are automatically engaged upon the US declaring war.

For the United States, Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says “Congress shall have power to … declare War”. However, that passage provides no specific format for what form legislation must have in order to be considered a “declaration of war” nor does the Constitution itself use this term. Many[who?] have postulated “Declaration(s) of War” must contain that phrase as or within the title. Others oppose that reasoning. In the courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Doe v. Bush, said: “[T]he text of the October Resolution itself spells out justifications for a war and frames itself as an ‘authorization’ of such a war.”[1] in effect saying an authorization suffices for declaration and what some may view as a formal Congressional “Declaration of War” was not required by the Constitution.

This article will use the term “formal declaration of war” to mean Congressional legislation that uses the phrase “declaration of war” in the title. Elsewhere, this article will use the terms “authorized by Congress”, “funded by Congress” or “undeclared war” to describe other such conflicts.

History

The United States has formally declared war against foreign nations five separate times, each upon prior request by the President of the United States. Four of those five declarations came after hostilities had begun.[2] James Madison reported that in the Federal Convention of 1787, the phrase “make war” was changed to “declare war” in order to leave to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks but not to commence war without the explicit approval of Congress.[3] Debate continues as to the legal extent of the President’s authority in this regard.

After Congress repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in January 1971 and President Richard Nixon continued to wage war in Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (Pub.L. 93–148) over the veto of Nixon in an attempt to rein in some of the president’s claimed powers. The War Powers Resolution proscribes the only power of the president to wage war which is recognized by Congress.

Declarations of war

Formal

The table below lists the five wars in which the United States has formally declared war against eleven foreign nations.[4] The only country against which the United States has declared war more than once is Germany, against which the United States has declared war twice (though a case could be made for Hungary as asuccessor state to Austria-Hungary).

In World War II, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Germany and Italy, led respectively by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, declared war on the United States, and the U.S. Congress responded in kind.[5][6]

War Declaration Opponent(s) Date of declaration Votes President Result
Senate House
War of 1812 Declaration of War upon the U.K.  United Kingdom June 18, 1812 19–13 79–49 James Madison Treaty of Ghent(December 24, 1814)
Mexican–American War “An Act providing for the Prosecution of the existing War between the United States and the Republic of Mexico.”[7] Mexico May 13, 1846 40–2 173–14 James K. Polk Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848)
Spanish–American War Declaration of War upon Spain  Spain April 25, 1898 42–35 310–6 William McKinley Treaty of Paris(December 10, 1898)
World War I Declaration of War upon Germany  Germany April 6, 1917 82–6 373–50 Woodrow Wilson Treaty of Berlin (August 25, 1921)
Declaration of War upon Austria-Hungary[8][9]  Austria-Hungary December 7, 1917 74–0 365–1 1921 U.S.–Austrian Peace Treaty (August 24, 1921), 1921 U.S.-Hungarian Peace Treaty (August 29, 1921)
World War II Declaration of War upon Japan  Japan December 8, 1941 82–0 388–1 Franklin D. Roosevelt V-J Day, Japanese Instrument of Surrender(September 2, 1945),Treaty of San Francisco(September 8, 1951)
Declaration of War upon Germany  Germany December 11, 1941 88–0 393–0 V-E Day, German Instrument of Surrender(May 8, 1945), Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (September 12, 1990), Treaty of Vienna with Austria (May 15, 1955)
Declaration of War upon Italy  Italy 90–0 399–0 Paris Peace Treaty(February 10, 1947)
Declaration of War upon Bulgaria  Bulgaria June 5, 1942 73–0 357–0
Declaration of War upon Hungary[8]  Hungary 360–0
Declaration of War upon Romania[8]  Romania 361-0

Military engagements authorized by Congress

In other instances, the United States has engaged in extended military combat that was authorized by Congress.

War or conflict Opponent(s) Initial authorization Votes President Result
U.S. Senate U.S. House
Quasi-War France Act Further to Protect the Commerce of the United States
July 9, 1798
18-4 John Adams Treaty of Mortefontaine
First Barbary War Tripoli February 6, 1802[10] Thomas Jefferson War ended 1805
Second Barbary War Algiers May 10, 1815[11] James Madison War ended 1816
Enforcing 1808 slave trade ban; naval squadron sent to African waters to apprehend illegal slave traders Slave traders and pirates “Act in addition to the acts prohibiting the Slave Trade” 1819 James Monroe 1822 first African-American settlement founded in Liberia, 1823 U.S. Navy stops anti-trafficking patrols
Redress for attack on U.S. Navy‘sUSS Water Witch  Paraguay 1858.[12] James Buchanan
Occupation of Veracruz  Mexico H.J.R. 251, 38 Stat. 770
April 22, 1914
337–37 Woodrow Wilson Force withdrawn after six months. However, the Joint Resolution was likely used to authorize the Pancho Villa Expedition. In the Senate, “when word reached the Senate that the invasion had gone forward before the use-of-force resolution had been approved, Republicans reacted angrily” saying it was a violation of the Constitution, but eventually after the action had already started, a resolution was passed after the action to “justify” it since Senators did not think it was a declaration of war.[13][14]
Intervention during the Russian Civil War  Russia 1918 [15] Woodrow Wilson
Lebanon crisis of 1958 Lebanese opposition, led by
Al-Mourabitoun
Progressive Socialist Party
H.J. Res. 117, Public Law 85-7, Joint Resolution “To promote peace and stability in the Middle East”, March 9, 1957[16] 72–19 355–61 Dwight D. Eisenhower U.S. forces withdrawn, October 25, 1958
Vietnam War Viet Cong
North Vietnam
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964 88–2 416–0 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon U.S. forces withdrawn under terms of the Paris Peace Accords signed January 27, 1973
Multinational Force in Lebanon Shia and Druze militias; Syria S.J.R. 159
September 29, 1983
54–46 253–156 Ronald W. Reagan Forces withdrawn in 1984
Persian Gulf War Iraq H.R.J. Res. 77
January 12, 1991.
52–47 250–183 George H.W. Bush The United Nations Security Council drew up terms for the cease-fire, April 3, 1991
War in Afghanistan Afghanistan
al-Qaeda
S.J. Res. 23
September 14, 2001
98–0 420–1 George W. Bush War ended on December 28, 2014
Iraq War[17] Iraq H.J. Res. 114,
March 3, 2003
77–23 296–133 George W. Bush Ba’athist Iraqi government deposed April 2003. U.S. combat operations ended August 31, 2010. War ended December 15, 2011. Destabilization of Iraq and emergence of ISIL in the region 2011–present.[18]

Military engagements authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and funded by Congress

In many instances, the United States has engaged in extended military engagements that were authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and funded by appropriations from Congress.

Military engagement Opponent(s) Initial authorization President Result
Korean War  North Korea
 China
UNSCR 84, 1950 Harry S. Truman Korean Armistice Agreement,[19] 1953
Multinational Force in Lebanon Shia militias, Druzemiltias, Syria UNSCR 425, 1978UNSCR 426, 1978 Jimmy Carter,