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Stock market index

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A comparison of three major U.S. stock indices: the NASDAQ CompositeDow Jones Industrial Average, and S&P 500 Index. All three have the same height at March 2000. The NASDAQ spiked during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, a result of the large number of technology companies on that index.

stock index or stock market index is an index that measures a stock market, or a subset of the stock market, that helps investors compare current price levels with past prices to calculate market performance.[1] It is computed from the prices of selected stocks (typically a weighted arithmetic mean).

Two of the primary criteria of an index are that it is investable and transparent:[2] The method of its construction are specified. Investors can invest in a stock market index by buying an index fund, which are structured as either a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund, and “track” an index. The difference between an index fund’s performance and the index, if any, is called tracking error. For a list of major stock market indices, see List of stock market indices.

Types of indices

Stock market indices may be classified in many ways. A ‘world’ or ‘global’ stock market index — such as the MSCI World or the S&P Global 100 — includes stocks from multiple regions. Regions may be defined geographically (e.g., Europe, Asia) or by levels of industrialization or income (e.g., Developed Markets, Frontier Markets).

A ‘national’ index represents the performance of the stock market of a given nation—and by proxy, reflects investor sentiment on the state of its economy. The most regularly quoted market indices are national indices composed of the stocks of large companies listed on a nation’s largest stock exchanges, such as the S&P 500 Index in the United States, the Nikkei 225 in Japan, the NIFTY 50 in India, and the FTSE 100 in the United Kingdom.

Many indices are regional, such as the FTSE Developed Europe Index or the FTSE Developed Asia Pacific Index. Indexes may be based on exchange, such as the NASDAQ-100 or groups of exchanges, such as the Euronext 100 or OMX Nordic 40.

The concept may be extended well beyond an exchange. The Wilshire 5000 Index, the original total market index, includes the stocks of nearly every public company in the United States, including all U.S. stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (but not ADRs or limited partnerships), NASDAQ and American Stock Exchange. The FTSE Global Equity Index Series includes over 16,000 companies.[3]

Indices exist that track the performance of specific sectors of the market. Some examples include the Wilshire US REIT Index which tracks more than 80 real estate investment trusts and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index which consists of approximately 200 firms in the biotechnology industry. Other indices may track companies of a certain size, a certain type of management, or more specialized criteria such as in fundamentally based indexes.

Ethical stock market indices

Several indices are based on ethical investing, and include only companies that meet certain ecological or social criteria, such as the Calvert Social IndexDomini 400 Social IndexFTSE4Good IndexDow Jones Sustainability Index, STOXX Global ESG Leaders Index, several Standard Ethics Aei indices, and the Wilderhill Clean Energy Index.[4]

In 2010, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation announced the initiation of a stock index that complies with Sharia‘s ban on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.[5]

Strict mechanical criteria for inclusion and exclusion exist to prevent market domination, such as in Canada when Nortel was permitted to rise to over 30% of the TSE 300 index value.

Ethical indices have a particular interest in mechanical criteria, seeking to avoid accusations of ideological bias in selection, and have pioneered techniques for inclusion and exclusion of stocks based on complex criteria.

Another means of mechanical selection is mark-to-future methods that exploit scenarios produced by multiple analysts weighted according to probability, to determine which stocks have become too risky to hold in the index of concern.

Critics of such initiatives argue that many firms satisfy mechanical “ethical criteria”, e.g. regarding board composition or hiring practices, but fail to perform ethically with respect to shareholders, e.g. Enron. Indeed, the seeming “seal of approval” of an ethical index may put investors more at ease, enabling scams. One response to these criticisms is that trust in the corporate management, index criteria, fund or index manager, and securities regulator, can never be replaced by mechanical means, so “market transparency” and “disclosure” are the only long-term-effective paths to fair markets. From a financial perspective, it is not obvious whether ethical indices or ethical funds will out-perform their more conventional counterparts. Theory might suggest that returns would be lower since the investible universe is artificially reduced and with it portfolio efficiency. On the other hand, companies with good social performances might be better run, have more committed workers and customers, and be less likely to suffer reputation damage from incidents (oil spillages, industrial tribunals, etc.) and this might result in lower share price volatility.[6] The empirical evidence on the performance of ethical funds and of ethical firms versus their mainstream comparators is very mixed for both stock[7][8] and debt markets.[9]

Presentation of index returns

Some indices, such as the S&P 500 Index, have returns shown calculated with different methods.[10] These versions can differ based on how the index components are weighted and on how dividends are accounted. For example, there are three versions of the S&P 500 Index: price return, which only considers the price of the components, total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment, and net total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment after the deduction of a withholding tax.[11]

The Wilshire 4500 and Wilshire 5000 indices have five versions each: full capitalization total return, full capitalization price, float-adjusted total return, float-adjusted price, and equal weight. The difference between the full capitalization, float-adjusted, and equal weight versions is in how index components are weighted.[12][13]

Weighting of stocks within an index

An index may also be classified according to the method used to determine its price. In a price-weighted index such as the Dow Jones Industrial AverageNYSE Arca Major Market Index, and the NYSE Arca Tech 100 Index, the share price of each component stock is the only consideration when determining the value of the index. Thus, price movement of even a single security will heavily influence the value of the index even though the dollar shift is less significant in a relatively highly valued issue, and moreover ignoring the relative size of the company as a whole. In contrast, a Capitalization-weighted index (also called market-value-weighted) such as the S&P 500 Index or Hang Seng Index factors in the size of the company. Thus, a relatively small shift in the price of a large company will heavily influence the value of the index.

Capitalization- or share-weighted indices have a full weighting, i.e. all outstanding shares were included. Many indices are based on a free float-adjusted weighting.

An equal-weighted index is one in which all components are assigned the same value.[14] For example, the Barron’s 400 Index assigns an equal value of 0.25% to each of the 400 stocks included in the index, which together add up to the 100% whole.[15]

modified capitalization-weighted index is a hybrid between capitalization weighting and equal weighting. It is similar to a capitalization weighting with one main difference: the largest stocks are capped to a percent of the weight of the total stock index and the excess weight will be redistributed equally amongst the stocks under that cap. In 2005, Standard & Poor’s introduced the S&P Pure Growth Style Index and S&P Pure Value Style Index which was attribute-weighted. That is, a stock’s weight in the index is decided by the score it gets relative to the value attributes that define the criteria of a specific index, the same measure used to select the stocks in the first place. For these two indexes, a score is calculated for every stock, be it their growth score or the value score (a stock cannot be both) and accordingly they are weighted for the index.[16]

Criticism of capitalization-weighting

One argument for capitalization weighting is that investors must, in aggregate, hold a capitalization-weighted portfolio anyway. This then gives the average return for all investors; if some investors do worse, other investors must do better (excluding costs).[17]

Investors use theories such as modern portfolio theory to determine allocations. This considers risk and return and does not consider weights relative to the entire market. This may result in overweighting assets such as value or small-cap stocks, if they are believed to have a better return for risk profile. These investors believe that they can get a better result because other investors are not very good. The capital asset pricing model says that all investors are highly intelligent, and it is impossible to do better than the market portfolio, the capitalization-weighted portfolio of all assets. However, empirical tests conclude that market indices are not efficient.[citation needed] This can be explained by the fact that these indices do not include all assets or by the fact that the theory does not hold. The practical conclusion is that using capitalization-weighted portfolios is not necessarily the optimal method.

As a consequence, capitalization-weighting has been subject to severe criticism (see e.g. Haugen and Baker 1991, Amenc, Goltz, and Le Sourd 2006, or Hsu 2006), pointing out that the mechanics of capitalization-weighting lead to trend following strategies that provide an inefficient risk-return trade-off.

Other stock market index weighting schemes

While capitalization-weighting is the standard in equity index construction, different weighting schemes exist. While most indices use capitalization-weighting, additional criteria are often taken into account, such as sales/revenue and net income, as in the Dow Jones Global Titan 50 Index.

As an answer to the critiques of capitalization-weighting, equity indices with different weighting schemes have emerged, such as “wealth”-weighted (Morris, 1996), Fundamentally based indexes (Robert D. Arnott, Hsu and Moore 2005), “diversity”-weighted (Fernholz, Garvy, and Hannon 1998) or equal-weighted indices.[18]

Indices and passive investment management

Passive management is an investing strategy involving investing in index funds, which are structured as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that track market indices.[19] The SPIVA (S&P Indices vs. Active) annual “U.S. Scorecard”, which measures the performance of indices versus actively managed mutual funds, finds the vast majority of active management mutual funds underperform their benchmarks, such as the S&P 500 Index, after fees.[20][21] Since index funds attempt to replicate the holdings of an index, they eliminate the need for — and thus many costs of — the research entailed in active management, and have a lower churn rate (the turnover of securities, which can result in transaction costs and capital gains taxes).

Unlike a mutual fund, which is priced daily, an exchange-traded fund is priced continuously, is optionable, and can be sold short.[22]

Lists

References

  1. ^ Caplinger, Dan (January 18, 2020). “What Is a Stock Market Index?”The Motley Fool.
  2. ^ Lo, Andrew W. (2016). “What Is an Index?”. Journal of Portfolio Management42 (2): 21–36. doi:10.3905/jpm.2016.42.2.021.
  3. ^ “FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS)”FTSE Russell.
  4. ^ Divine, John (February 15, 2019). “7 of the Best Socially Responsible Funds”U.S. News & World Report.
  5. ^ Haris, Anwar (November 25, 2010). “Muslim-Majority Nations Plan Stock Index to Spur Trade: Islamic Finance”Bloomberg L.P.
  6. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2012). “The impact of corporate social performance on financial risk and utility: a longitudinal analysis” (PDF)Financial Management41 (2): 483–515. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2012.01190.xISSN 1755-053X.
  7. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2009). “The stock performance of America’s 100 best corporate citizens” (PDF)The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance49 (3): 1065–1080. doi:10.1016/j.qref.2009.04.001ISSN 1062-9769.
  8. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2006). “Corporate social performance and stock returns: UK evidence from disaggregate measures” (PDF)Financial Management35 (3): 97–116. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2006.tb00149.xISSN 1755-053X.
  9. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2014). “The effects of corporate social performance on the cost of corporate debt and credit ratings” (PDF)Financial Review49 (1): 49–75. doi:10.1111/fire.12025ISSN 1540-6288.
  10. ^ “Index Literacy”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  11. ^ “Methodology Matters”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  12. ^ “Indexes”Wilshire Associates.
  13. ^ “Dow Jones Wilshire > DJ Wilshire 5000/4500 Indexes > Methodology”Wilshire Associates.
  14. ^ Edwards, Tim; Lazzara, Craig J. (May 2014). “Equal-Weight Benchmarking: Raising the Monkey Bars” (PDF)S&P Global.
  15. ^ Fabian, David (November 14, 2014). “Checking In On Equal-Weight ETFs This Year”Benzinga.
  16. ^ S&P methodology via Wikinvest
  17. ^ Sharpe, William F. (May 2010). “Adaptive Asset Allocation Policies”CFA Institute.
  18. ^ “Practice Essentials – Equal Weight Indexing” (PDF)S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  19. ^ Schramm, Michael (September 27, 2019). “What Is Passive Investing?”Morningstar, Inc.
  20. ^ “SPIVA U.S. Score Card”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  21. ^ THUNE, KENT (July 3, 2019). “Why Index Funds Beat Actively Managed Funds”Dotdash.
  22. ^ Chang, Ellen (May 21, 2019). “How to Choose Between ETFs and Mutual Funds”U.S. News & World Report.

External links

 Media related to Stock market indexes at Wikimedia Commons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market_index

 

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U.S. Influenza Surveillance System: Purpose and Methods

The Influenza Division at CDC collects, compiles and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States. FluView, a weekly influenza surveillance report, and FluView Interactive, an online application which allows for more in-depth exploration of influenza surveillance data, are updated each week. The data presented each week are preliminary and may change as more data is received.

The U.S. influenza surveillance system is a collaborative effort between CDC and its many partners in state, local, and territorial health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, healthcare providers, clinics, and emergency departments. Information in five categories is collected from eight data sources in order to:

  • Find out when and where influenza activity is occurring;
  • Determine what influenza viruses are circulating;
  • Detect changes in influenza viruses; and
  • Measure the impact influenza is having on outpatient illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

It is important to maintain a comprehensive system for influenza surveillance for the following reasons:

  • Influenza viruses are constantly changing (referred to as antigenic drift), and thus ongoing data collection and characterization of the viruses are required;
  • Influenza viruses can also undergo an abrupt, major change (referred to as antigenic shift) that results in a virus that is different than currently circulating influenza viruses; surveillance of viruses will detect these changes and inform the public health response;
  • Vaccines must be administered annually and are updated regularly based on surveillance findings;
  • Treatment for influenza is guided by laboratory surveillance for antiviral resistance; and
  • Influenza surveillance and targeted research studies are used to monitor the impact of influenza on different segments of the population (e.g. age groups, underlying medical conditions).

Surveillance System Components

1. Virologic Surveillance

U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Laboratories System and the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) – Approximately 100 public health and over 300 clinical laboratories located throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia participate in virologic surveillance for influenza through either the U.S. WHO Collaborating Laboratories System or NREVSS.  Influenza testing practices differ in public health and clinical laboratories and each source provides valuable information for monitoring influenza activity.  Clinical laboratories primarily test respiratory specimens for diagnostic purposes and data from these laboratories provide useful information on the timing and intensity of influenza activity.  Public health laboratories primarily test specimens for surveillance purposes to understand what influenza virus types, subtypes, and lineages are circulating and the age groups being affected.

All public health and clinical laboratories report each week to CDC the total number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number positive for influenza viruses, along with age or age group of the person, if available.  Data presented from clinical laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested, the number of positive influenza tests, and the percent positive by influenza virus type.  Data presented from public health laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested and the number positive by influenza virus type and subtype/lineage.  In order to obtain specimens in an efficient manner, public health laboratories often receive samples that have already tested positive for an influenza virus at a clinical laboratory.  As a result, monitoring the percent of specimens testing positive for an influenza virus in a public health laboratory is less useful (i.e., we expect a higher percent positive). In order to use each data source most appropriately and to avoid duplication, reports from public health and clinical laboratories are presented separately in both FluView and FluView Interactive.

The age distribution of influenza positive specimens reported from public health laboratories is visualized in FluView Interactive.  The number and proportion of influenza virus-positive specimens by influenza A subtype and influenza B lineage are presented by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-64 years, and ≥65 years) each week and cumulative totals are provided for the season.

Additional laboratory data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

Virus Characterization – Most U.S. viruses submitted for virus characterization come from state and local public health laboratories. Due to Right Size Roadmapexternal icon considerations, specimen submission guidance to public health laboratories for the 2019-2020 season is that, if available, 2 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, 3 influenza A(H3N2), and 2 influenza B viruses be submitted every other week. Therefore, the numbers of each virus type/subtype characterized should be more balanced across subtypes/lineages but will not reflect the actual proportion of circulating viruses. The goal of antigenic and genetic characterization is to compare how similar the currently circulating influenza viruses are to the reference viruses representing viruses contained in the current influenza vaccines and to monitor evolutionary changes that continually occur in influenza viruses circulating in humans. For genetic characterization, all influenza-positive surveillance samples received at CDC undergo next-generation sequencing to determine the genetic identity of circulating influenza viruses and to monitor the evolutionary trajectory of viruses circulating in our population. Virus gene segments are classified into genetic clades/subclades based on phylogenetic analysis. However, genetic changes that classify the clades/subclades do not always result in antigenic changes. “Antigenic drift” is a term used to describe gradual antigenic change that occurs as viruses evolve to escape host immune pressure. Antigenic drift is evaluated using hemagglutination inhibition and/or neutralization based focus reduction assays to compare antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses.

CDC also tests a subset of the influenza viruses collected by public health laboratories for susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and the PA cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor (baloxavir). Susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitors is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis and/or a functional assay. Neuraminidase sequences of viruses are inspected to detect the presence of amino acid substitutions, previously associated with reduced or highly reduced inhibition by any of three neuraminidase inhibitorspdf iconexternal icon. In addition, a subset of viruses is tested using the neuraminidase inhibition assay with three neuraminidase inhibitors. The level of neuraminidase activity inhibition is reported using the thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization Expert Working Group of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS)pdf iconexternal icon. These samples are routinely obtained for surveillance purposes rather than for diagnostic testing of patients suspected to be infected with an antiviral-resistant virus. Susceptibility to baloxavir is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis to identify PA protein changes previously associated with reduced susceptibility to this medication; a subset of representative viruses is also tested phenotypically using a high-content imaging neutralization test.

Results of the antigenic and genetic characterization and antiviral susceptibility testing are presented in the virus characterization and antiviral resistance sections of the FluView report.

Surveillance for Novel Influenza A Viruses – In 2007, human infection with a novel influenza A virus became a nationally notifiable condition. Novel influenza A virus infections include all human infections with influenza A viruses that are different from currently circulating human seasonal influenza H1 and H3 viruses. These viruses include those that are subtyped as nonhuman in origin and those that cannot be subtyped with standard laboratory methods and reagents.  Rapid detection and reporting of human infections with novel influenza A viruses – viruses against which there is often little to no pre-existing immunity – is important to facilitate prompt awareness and characterization of influenza A viruses with pandemic potential and accelerate the implementation of public health responses to limit the transmission and impact of these viruses.

Newly reported cases of human infections with novel influenza A viruses are reported in FluView and additional information, including case counts by geographic location, virus subtype, and calendar year, are available on FluView Interactive.

2. Outpatient Illness Surveillance

Information on outpatient visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness is collected through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet). ILINet consists of outpatient healthcare providers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands reporting approximately 60 million patient visits during the 2018-19 season. Each week, approximately 2,600 outpatient healthcare providers around the country report data to CDC on the total number of patients seen for any reason and the number of those patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-49 years, 50-64 years, and ≥65 years). For this system, ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza. Sites with electronic health records use an equivalent definition as determined by public health authorities.

Additional data on medically attended visits for ILI for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

The national percentage of patient visits to healthcare providers for ILI reported each week is calculated by combining state-specific data weighted by state population. This percentage is compared each week with the national baseline of 2.4% for the 2019-2020 influenza season. The baseline is developed by calculating the mean percentage of patient visits for ILI during non-influenza weeks for the previous three seasons and adding two standard deviations. A non-influenza week is defined as periods of two or more consecutive weeks in which each week accounted for less than 2% of the season’s total number of specimens that tested positive for influenza in public health laboratories.  Due to wide variability in regional level data, it is not appropriate to apply the national baseline to regional data; therefore, region-specific baselines are calculated using the same methodology.

Regional baselines for the 2019-2020 influenza season are:

Region 1 — 1.9%
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

Region 2 — 3.2%
New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 3 — 1.9%
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Region 4 — 2.4%
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Region 5 — 1.9%
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Region 6 — 3.8%
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Region 7 — 1.7%
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska

Region 8 — 2.7%
Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

Region 9 — 2.4%
Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada

Region 10— 1.5%
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

ILI Activity Indicator Map: — Data collected in ILINet are also used to produce a measure of ILI activity for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits due to ILI in a jurisdiction compared with the average percent of ILI visits that occur during weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation (i.e., non-influenza weeks) in that jurisdiction.  The number of sites reporting each week is variable, therefore baselines are adjusted each week based on which sites within each jurisdiction provide data. To perform this adjustment, provider level baseline ratios are calculated for those that have a sufficient reporting history.  Providers that do not have the required reporting history are assigned the baseline ratio for their practice type.  The jurisdiction level baseline is then calculated using a weighted sum of the baseline ratios for each contributing provider.

The activity levels compare the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for the current week to the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for non-influenza weeks.  The 10 activity levels correspond to the number of standard deviations below, at or above the mean for the current week compared with the mean of the non-influenza weeks.  There are 10 activity levels classified as minimal (levels 1-3), low (levels 4-5), moderate (levels 6-7), and high (levels 8-10).  An activity level of 1 corresponds to values that are below the mean, level 2 corresponds to an ILI percentage less than 1 standard deviation above the mean, level 3 corresponds to ILI more than 1, but less than 2 standard deviations above the mean, and so on, with an activity level of 10 corresponding to ILI 8 or more standard deviations above the mean.

The ILI Activity Indicator map reflects the level of ILI activity, not the extent of geographic spread of flu, within a jurisdiction. Therefore, outbreaks occurring in a single city could cause the state to display high activity levels. In addition, data collected in ILINet may disproportionally represent certain populations within a state, and therefore, may not accurately depict the full picture of influenza activity for the whole state. Differences in the data presented here by CDC and independently by some state health departments likely represent differing levels of data completeness with data presented by the state likely being the more complete.

The ILI Activity Indicator Map displays state-specific activity levels for multiple seasons and allows a visual representation of relative activity from state to state.  More information is available on FluView Interactive.

3. Summary of the Geographic Spread of Influenza

State and territorial health departments report the estimated level of geographic spread of influenza activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. This level does not measure the severity of influenza activity; low levels of influenza activity occurring throughout a jurisdiction would result in a classification of “widespread”.  Jurisdictions classify geographic spread as follows:

  • No Activity: No laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and no reported increase in the number of cases of ILI.
  • Sporadic: Small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increase in cases of ILI.
  • Local: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.
  • Regional: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.
  • Widespread: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.

Additional data displaying the influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists for the current and past seasons are available on FluView Interactive.

4. Hospitalization Surveillance

Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in children and adults are monitored through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET). FluSurv-NET conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in children younger than 18 years of age (since the 2003-2004 influenza season) and adults (since the 2005-2006 influenza season). The network includes more than 70 counties in the 10 Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, and TN) and additional Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. The IHSP began during the 2009-2010 season to enhance surveillance during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. IHSP sites included IA, ID, MI, OK and SD during the 2009-2010 season; ID, MI, OH, OK, RI, and UT during the 2010-2011 season; MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2011-2012 season; IA, MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2012-2013 season; and MI, OH, and UT during the 2013-2014 through 2019-20 seasons.

Cases are identified by reviewing hospital laboratory and admission databases and infection control logs for patients hospitalized during the influenza season with a documented positive influenza test (i.e., viral culture, direct/indirect fluorescent antibody assay (DFA/IFA), rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT), or molecular assays including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)). Data gathered are used to estimate age-specific hospitalization rates on a weekly basis and describe characteristics of persons hospitalized with influenza illness. The rates provided are likely to be an underestimate as influenza-related hospitalizations can be missed if testing is not performed.

Patient charts are reviewed to determine if any of the following categories of high-risk medical conditions are recorded in the chart at the time of hospitalization:

  • Asthma/reactive airway disease;
  • Blood disorder/hemoglobinopathy;
  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Chronic lung disease;
  • Chronic metabolic disease;
  • Gastrointestinal/liver disease;
  • Immunocompromised condition;
  • Neurologic disorder;
  • Neuromuscular disorder;
  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy status;
  • Prematurity (pediatric cases only);
  • Renal disease; and
  • Rheumatologic/autoimmune/inflammatory conditions.

During the 2017-18 season, seven FluSurv-NET sites (CA, GA, MN, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling to select cases ≥50 years for medical chart abstraction, while still performing full chart abstractions of all cases <50 years. During the 2018-19 season, six sites (CA, GA, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling of cases ≥65 years for medical chart abstraction. All other sites performed full chart abstractions on all cases. Data on age, sex, admission date, in-hospital death, and influenza test results were collected for all cases. For each season going forward, including 2019-20, sampling for medical chart abstraction may be considered in cases ≥50 years. In early January of each season, observed case counts across all FluSurv-NET sites will be compared against predetermined thresholds to determine whether sampling will be implemented for the season.

Additional FluSurv-NET data including hospitalization rates for multiple seasons and different age groups and data on patient characteristics (such as virus, type, demographic, and clinical information) are available on FluView Interactive.

5. Mortality Surveillance

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data – NCHS collects death certificate data from state vital statistics offices for all deaths occurring in the United States. Pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths are identified based on ICD-10 multiple cause of death codes.  NCHS surveillance data are aggregated by the week of death occurrence.  To allow for collection of enough data to produce a stable P&I percentage, NCHS surveillance data are released one week after the week of death.  The NCHS surveillance data are used to calculate the percent of all deaths occurring in a given week that had pneumonia and/or influenza listed as a cause of death. The P&I percentage for earlier weeks are continually revised and may increase or decrease as new and updated death certificate data are received from the states by NCHS.  The P&I percentage is compared to a seasonal baseline of P&I deaths that is calculated using a periodic regression model incorporating a robust regression procedure applied to data from the previous five years.  An increase of 1.645 standard deviations above the seasonal baseline of P&I deaths is considered the “epidemic threshold,” i.e., the point at which the observed proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia or influenza was significantly higher than would be expected at that time of the year in the absence of substantial influenza-related mortality.

Additional pneumonia and influenza mortality data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive. Data displayed on the regional and state-level are aggregated by the state of residence of the decedent.

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System — Influenza-associated deaths in children (persons less than 18 years of age) was added as a nationally notifiable condition in 2004. An influenza-associated pediatric death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory diagnostic test. There should be no period of complete recovery between the illness and death.  Demographic and clinical information are collected on each case and are transmitted to CDC.

Additional information on influenza-associated pediatric deaths including basic demographics, underlying conditions, bacterial co-infections, and place of death for the current and past seasons, is available on FluView Interactive.

Influenza Surveillance Considerations

It is important to remember the following about influenza surveillance in the United States.

  • All influenza activity reporting by public health partners and health-care providers is voluntary.
  • The reported information answers the questions of where, when, and what influenza viruses are circulating.  It can be used to determine if influenza activity is increasing or decreasing but does not directly report the number of influenza illnesses.  For more information regarding how CDC classifies influenza severity and the disease burden of influenza, please see Disease Burden of Influenza.
  • The system consists of eight complementary surveillance components in five categories. These components include reports from more than 350 laboratories, approximately 2,600 outpatient health care providers, the National Center for Health Statistics, research and healthcare personnel at the FluSurv-NET sites, and influenza surveillance coordinators and state epidemiologists from all state, local and territorial health departments.
  • Influenza surveillance data collection is based on a reporting week that starts on Sunday and ends on the following Saturday.  Each surveillance participant is requested to summarize weekly data and submit it to CDC by Tuesday afternoon of the following week. The data are then downloaded, compiled, and analyzed at CDC. FluView and FluView Interactive are updated weekly each Friday.

    For CDC/Influenza Division influenza surveillance purposes, the reporting period for each influenza season begins during Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) week 40 and ends week 39 of the following year. MMWR weeks pdf icon[65 KB, 2 Pages]refer to the sequential numbering of weeks (Sunday through Saturday) during a calendar year. This means that the exact start of the influenza reporting period varies slightly from season to season. The 2019-2020 influenza season began on September 29, 2019 and will end on September 26, 2020.

  • “Flu season” — as determined by elevated flu activity – also varies from season to season. During most seasons, activity begins to increase in October, most often peaks between December and February and can remain elevated into May. The flu season is said to have started after consecutive weeks of elevated flu activity is registered in the various CDC influenza surveillance systems.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm

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Watch Barr double down on Trump spying claims in heated exchange

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Should officials who started the Russia probe be worrying?

Russia origins probe now a criminal investigation

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Johnny Mathis – 12th of Never

Why Wasn’t Andrew McCabe Charged?

The proof that he willfully deceived investigators appears strong, but the Justice Department likely felt there were too many obstacles to convicting him.

The Justice Department announced Friday that it is closing its investigation of Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former deputy director, over his false statements to investigators probing an unauthorized leak that McCabe had orchestrated. McCabe was fired in March 2018, shortly after a blistering Justice Department inspector general (IG) report concluded that he repeatedly and blatantly lied — or, as the Bureau lexicon puts it, “lacked candor” — when questioned, including under oath.

I emphasize Flynn’s intent because purported lack of intent is McCabe’s principal defense, too. Even McCabe himself, to say nothing of his lawyers and his apologists in the anti-Trump network of bureaucrats-turned-pundits, cannot deny that he made false statements to FBI agents and the IG. Rather, they argue that the 21-year senior law-enforcement official did not mean to lie, that he was too distracted by his high-level responsibilities to focus on anything as mundane as a leak — even though he seemed pretty damned focused on the leak while he was orchestrating it.

It will be a while before we learn the whole story of why the Justice Department walked away from the McCabe case, if we ever do. I have some supposition to offer on that score. First, however, it is worth revisiting the case against McCabe as outlined by the meticulous and highly regarded IG, Michael Horowitz. If you want to know why people are so angry, and why they are increasingly convinced that, for all President Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric, a two-tiered justice system that rewards the well-connected is alive and well, consider the following.

In fact, the Bureau’s then-director, James Comey, had tried to keep the Clinton Foundation probe under wraps, refusing to confirm or deny its existence even to the House Judiciary Committee. Comey had been right to stay mum: Public revelation would have harmed the probe and thrust the FBI deeper into the politics of the then-imminent 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate and her investigation by the Bureau was an explosive campaign issue.

Notwithstanding these concerns, according to Horowitz’s report, McCabe orchestrated the leak “to advance his personal interests” — to paint himself in a favorable light in comparison to Justice Department officials amid an internal dispute about the Clinton Foundation probe (specifically, about the Obama Justice Department’s pressure on the Bureau to drop it). As the IG put it: “McCabe’s disclosure was an attempt to make himself look good by making senior department leadership . . . look bad.”

McCabe’s account has been contradicted by Comey, a witness who is otherwise sympathetic to him and hostile to the Trump Justice Department, and whose actions — like his — are being examined in prosecutor John Durham’s probe of the Trump-Russia investigation. Comey’s testimony is directly at odds with McCabe’s version of events, and the IG painstakingly explained why the former director’s version was credible while his deputy’s was not. (Comey was, nevertheless, exceedingly complimentary of McCabe after the IG report was published.)

Page is regarded by McCabe backers as key to his defense. She reportedly told the grand jury that, because McCabe had authority to approve media disclosures, he had no motive to lie about the leak. That’s laughable. McCabe did serially mislead investigators, so plainly he had some reason for doing so. But even putting that aside, the IG’s conclusion was not that McCabe lacked authority to leak; it was that he lacked a public-interest justification for exercising that authority. He leaked for self-promotion purposes, and then he lied about it because it was humiliating to be caught putting his personal interests ahead of the Bureau’s investigative integrity. That said, Page’s account does illuminate a problem for prosecutors: It’s tough to win a case when your witnesses are spinning for the defendant. (Oh, and have you seen Page’s tweet toasting McCabe in the aftermath of the news that the DOJ had closed the investigation?)

McCabe’s Multiple False Statements

Barrett’s Journal article appeared on October 30, 2016. The very next day, McCabe deceived Comey about it, indicating that he had not authorized the leak and had no idea who its source was. In Comey’s telling, credited by the IG, McCabe “definitely” did not acknowledge that he had approved the leak.

Thereafter, the FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) opened an investigation of the leak. On May 9, 2017, McCabe denied to two INSD investigators that he knew the source of the leak. This was not a fleeting conversation. McCabe was placed under oath, and the INSD agents provided him with a copy of Barrett’s article. He read it and initialed it to acknowledge that he had done so. He was questioned about it by the agents, who took contemporaneous notes. McCabe told the agents that he had “no idea where [the leaked information] came from” or “who the source was.”

On July 28, 2017, McCabe was interviewed by the IG’s office — under oath and recorded on tape. In that session, he preposterously claimed to be unaware that Page, his FBI counsel, was directed to speak to reporters around the time of the October 30 Journal report. McCabe added that he was out of town then, and thus unaware of what Page had been up to. In point of fact, McCabe had consulted closely with Page about the leak. A paper trail of their texts and phone contacts evinced his keen interest in Page’s communications with Barrett. Consequently, the IG concluded that McCabe’s denials were “demonstrably false.”

Clearly concerned about the hole he had dug for himself, McCabe called the IG’s office four days later, on August 1, 2017, to say that, shucks, come to think of it, he just might have kinda, sorta told Page to speak with Barrett after all. He might even have told her to coordinate with Mike Kortan, then the Bureau’s top media liaison, and follow-up with the Journal about some of its prior reporting.

As the IG observed, this “attempt to correct his prior false testimony” was the “appropriate” thing for McCabe to do. Alas, when he was given an opportunity to come in and explain himself, he compounded his misconduct by making more false statements while under oath: In an interview with investigators on November 29, 2017, McCabe purported to recall informing Comey that he, McCabe, had authorized the leak, and that Comey had responded that the leak was a good idea.

These were quite stunning recollections, given that the deputy director had previously disclaimed any knowledge about the source of the leak. But McCabe took care of that little hiccup by simply denying his prior denial. That is, he insisted that he had not feigned ignorance about the leak when INSD interviewed him on May 9. Indeed, McCabe even denied that the May 9 interview had been a real interview. To the contrary, he claimed that agents had casually pulled him aside at the conclusion of a meeting on an unrelated topic, and peppered him out of the blue with a question or two about the Journal leak. As General Flynn could tell you, that sort of thing can be tough on a busy top U.S. government official . . . although Flynn did not get much sympathy for it when McCabe was running the FBI.

Again, the IG concluded that McCabe’s version of events was “demonstrably false.”

McCabe Covers His Tracks

As an old trial lawyer, I’d be remiss if I failed to rehearse my favorite part of the IG’s report — the part that would tell a jury everything they needed to know about good ol’ Andy McCabe.

Again, the Journal story generated by McCabe’s leak was published on October 30, a Sunday. Late that afternoon, McCabe called the head of the FBI’s Manhattan office. Why? Well . . . to ream him out over media leaks, that’s why. McCabe railed that New York agents must be the culprits. He also made a similar call to the Bureau’s Washington field office, warning its chief to “get his house in order” and stop these terribly damaging leaks.

It is worth remembering McCabe’s October 30 scolding of subordinates when you think about how he later claimed that, on the very next day, he’d freely admitted to his superior, Comey, that he himself was the source of the leak. Quite the piece of work, this guy: To throw the scent off himself after carefully arranging the leak, McCabe dressed down the FBI’s two premier field offices, knowing they were completely innocent, and then pretended for months that he knew nothing about the leak.

This is the second-highest-ranking officer of the nation’s top law-enforcement agency we’re talking about, here.

The Non-Prosecution Decision

We may never get a satisfying explanation for the Justice Department’s decision to drop the McCabe probe. That’s the way it is when such complicated reasons and motives are at play.

The aforementioned challenge of hostile witnesses is not to be underestimated. In addition, there are growing indications that the Justice Department had lost confidence in the U.S. attorney who was overseeing the probe, Jesse Liu. As I noted this week, while Liu was once seen as a rising Trump administration star, she was quietly edged out of her post last month, and the White House just pulled her nomination to fill an important Treasury Department post.

There have been rumblings that the McCabe investigation was botched. Kamil Shields, a prosecutor who reportedly grew frustrated by her supervisors’ inordinate delays in making decisions about the McCabe probe, ultimately left the Justice Department to take a private-practice job. Another prosecutor, David Kent, quit last summer as DOJ dithered over the decision on whether to prosecute. Things became so drawn out that the investigating grand jury’s term lapsed. Meanwhile, the Justice Department endorsed Liu’s aggressive decision to bring a thin, politically fraught false-statements case against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, in connection with lobbying for a foreign country — the sort of crime that is rarely prosecuted. Craig was swiftly acquitted. Reportedly, Liu advocated charging McCabe, but the DOJ may have harbored doubts about her judgment.

No matter the outcome, the Justice Department stood to take some hits if McCabe had been charged. Focus on McCabe’s leak would have drawn attention to pressure DOJ officials had put on the Bureau over the Clinton Foundation investigation (which, reportedly, is likely to be closed without charges). It would also renew interest in the question of whether the FBI improperly allowed McCabe to play a role in Clinton-related investigations when his wife, as a political candidate, got major funding from Clinton-tied sources.

Moreover, new Freedom of Information Act disclosures — made to meet a deadline set by District Judge Reggie Walton, which may explain the timing of the non-prosecution announcement — indicate that the Justice Department and FBI did not comply with regulations in what appears to be the rushed termination of McCabe, adding heft to the former deputy director’s claim that he was being singled out for abusive treatment, potentially including prosecution, because of vengeful politics.

On that score, Judge Walton took pains to decry the fusillade of tweets directed at McCabe by President Trump. I must note here that if a district U.S. attorney publicly labeled as a liar a suspect the Justice Department had indicted for false statements, that U.S. attorney would be sanctioned by the court. The U.S. attorneys, like the rest of the Justice Department, work for Trump. The president is correct when he insists, as he did this week, that he has the constitutional power to intervene in Justice Department matters. But that means he is subject to the same legal obligations that inhibit his Justice Department subordinates. Those obligations include protecting McCabe’s right to a fair trial — a duty the president may chafe at, but which is part of the deal when you take an oath to preserve the Constitution and execute the laws faithfully.

If you envision Judge Walton as part of the Obama-appointed robed resistance, check your premises. He is a no-nonsense jurist originally named to the D.C. Superior Court by President Reagan, and then to the federal district court by President George W. Bush. As Politico reports, he had this to say about President Trump’s commentary on the McCabe investigation:

The public is listening to what’s going on, and I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. . . . I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road. . . . I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undo inappropriate pressure being brought to bear. . . . It’s just, it’s very disturbing that we’re in the mess that we’re in in that regard. . . . I just think the integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government. . . . I think it’s very unfortunate. And I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.

If you want to know why Attorney General Barr was warning this week that the president’s tweets are undermining the Justice Department’s pursuit of its law-enforcement mission, Judge Walton’s words are worth heeding. I have been making this point since the start of the Trump presidency. If you want people held accountable for their crimes, you have to ensure their fundamental right to due process. When the government poisons the well, the bad guys reap the benefits.

Finally, we must note that when the District of Columbia is the venue for any prosecution with political overtones, Justice Department charging decisions must factor in the jury pool, which is solidly anti-Trump.

The proof that McCabe willfully deceived investigators appears strong — it is noteworthy that IG Horowitz, who has strained to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt in many dubious contexts, was unequivocal in slamming McCabe. Nevertheless, a D.C. jury would be weighing that evidence, as discounted by whatever pro-McCabe slant reluctant prosecution witnesses put on it. And the jury would be weighing against that evidence (a) whatever problems caused prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office to beg off, and more significantly, (b) defense arguments that McCabe would not have been fired or prosecuted if not for the fact that he had gotten crosswise with a president of the United States whom at least some of the jurors are apt to dislike.

McCabe is not out of the woods yet, of course: The Durham investigation is a separate matter, and it is continuing. But it is unclear whether he will face any criminal charges arising from that inquiry, whereas the now-dead-and-buried false-statements case against him looked cut-and-dried.

The FBI’s former deputy director, though he undeniably misled investigators, remains a commentator at CNN. In the meantime, Papadopoulos is a felon convicted and briefly imprisoned for misleading investigators, while Flynn and Stone are awaiting sentencing on their false-statements charges. That covers both tiers of our justice system.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/why-wasnt-andrew-mccabe-charged/

 

US won’t charge ex-FBI official McCabe, a Trump target

an hour ago
 In this June 7, 2017, file photo, then FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors have declined to charge former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, closing an investigation into whether the longtime target of President Donald Trump’s ire lied to federal officials about his involvement in a news media disclosure, McCabe’s legal team said Friday.

The decision, coming at the end of a tumultuous week between the Justice Department and the White House, is likely to further agitate a president who has loudly complained that federal prosecutors have pursued cases against his allies but not against his perceived political enemies.

The case was handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, which was at the center of a public rift with Justice Department leadership this week over the recommended sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone. Senior Justice Department officials overruled a decision on a recommended prison sentence that they felt was too harsh, prompting the trial team to quit the case. Attorney General William Barr also took a rare public swipe at Trump by saying in a television interview that the president’s tweets about the Stone case and other matters were making his job “impossible.”

Separately, the Justice Department has begun reviewing the handling of the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

On Friday, prosecutors notified McCabe’s attorneys in a phone call and a letter that they were closing the case. The letter, signed by the chief of the office’s public corruption unit, did not give a precise reason but said the decision was reached after “careful consideration” and “based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time.”

McCabe’s lawyers, Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, said they were gratified by the decision.

“At long last, justice has been done in this matter,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought.”

Speaking Friday on CNN, where he works as a contributor, McCabe said it was an “absolute disgrace” that the investigation had taken so long and that he was relieved to be done with a process that he described as “so unbelievably tense.”

Though federal prosecutors wrote that they consider the matter closed, Justice Department actions in the last few months have proven unpredictable, with a willingness to scrutinize or revisit decisions that had appeared resolved.

McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s attacks, has denied that he intentionally misled anyone. He has said his 2018 firing — for what the Justice Department called “lack of candor” — was politically motivated. He sued the Justice Department in August, saying officials had used the inspector general’s conclusions as a pretext to rid the FBI of leaders Trump perceived as biased against him.

The decision is likely to further exacerbate tensions between Trump and Barr, who before speaking out in the television interview had privately complained to aides and the president himself that Trump’s comments about the Justice Department were undercutting his political agenda and raising questions about the department’s credibility. The White House was not given a heads-up about the decision beforehand, a person familiar with the matter said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The moment came against a backdrop of growing anger from Trump at the Justice Department. The president has seethed that more of his political enemies have not been charged, included former FBI Director James Comey and his associates.

The president was particularly incensed no charges were filed over Comey’s handling of memos about his interactions with Trump, a matter that was referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution, according to a White House official and Republican close to the White House who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The president angrily denounced the decision and berated Barr over it, according to the officials. Aides expected that the decision not to charge McCabe could produce a similar eruption of rage. Trump did not address the matter during a media appearance Friday.

Trump has also repeatedly complained about FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months, saying he has not done enough to rid the bureau of people who are disloyal to Trump.

It was not immediately clear what had prompted a review of the Flynn case, though the person familiar with the matter said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of St. Louis was working on it. The New York Times first reported Jensen’s involvement.

The decision to spare McCabe criminal charges eliminates the prospect of a sensational trial that would have refocused public attention on the chaotic months of 2016, when the FBI was entangled in presidential politics through investigations touching both main contenders — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, her Republican opponent.

The criminal investigation arose from an October 2016 story in The Wall Street Journal that described internal debates roiling the FBI and the Justice Department weeks before the presidential election about how aggressively the Clinton Foundation should be investigated. The article recounted a particularly tense phone call between McCabe and a senior Justice Department official.

The inspector general’s report said McCabe told internal investigators that he had not authorized anyone at the FBI to speak with the reporter and that he did not know who did. The report said McCabe ultimately corrected that account and confirmed that he had encouraged the conversation with the reporter to counter a narrative that he thought was false.

McCabe has denied any wrongdoing and has said he was distracted by the tumult surrounding the FBI and the White House during the times he was questioned. One of the interviews took place the same day that Comey was fired.

“During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me,” McCabe has said in a statement. “And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.”

McCabe has been a target of Trump’s attacks since even before he was elected, after news emerged in the fall of 2016 that McCabe’s wife had accepted campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with ex-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate there.

https://apnews.com/ec85aa4a4fdc5a36b7b85c7a34f1b8f9

DOJ drops leak case vs. McCabe, judge said White House involvement like a ‘banana republic’

The judge, a George W. Bush appointee, said “the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted” was like a “banana republic.”
Image: Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington on May 11, 2017.

Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington on May 11, 2017.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

By Tom Winter and Dareh Gregorian

The Department of Justice has told lawyers for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that he will not face criminal charges for allegedly lying to investigators about a leak to the media, the ex-official’s attorneys said Friday.

The decision was released on the same day it was revealed that a federal judge had expressed concerns months ago that McCabe’s case was looking like a “banana republic” prosecution.

“We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client,” J.P. Cooney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., told McCabe’s attorneys in a letter Friday. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed.”

McCabe’s lawyers Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler responded in a statement, saying, “At long last, justice has been done in this matter.”

President Donald Trump had publicly urged that action be taken against McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who briefly became acting head of the agency after Trump fired James Comey in 2017.

“He LIED! LIED! LIED!” Trump wrote in one 2018 tweet about McCabe after the Justice Department’s inspector general found McCabe “lacked candor” when being interviewed about whether he was a source for two news articles pertaining to the FBI in 2016.

The Justice Department’s announcement came one day after Attorney General William Barr pushed back against criticism he’s using the department to do Trump’s bidding, and said Trump’s tweeting about his agency’s work was undercutting his authority.

“Public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Barr, who was sworn in a year ago Friday, told ABC News.

McCabe told CNN on Friday that “the timing is curious” but he was relieved that the Justice Department “did the right thing today.”

“To have this horrific black cloud that’s been hanging over me and my family for almost the last two years, to have that finally lifted is just unbelievable,” he said. “It’s a relief that I’m not sure I can really explain to you adequately. It’s just a very emotional moment for my whole family.”

McCabe has denied intentionally misleading investigators. He told CNN that he has maintained from the day the inspector general’s report came out that if investigators “followed the law and they followed the facts, that I would have nothing to worry about. But as the president’s interest in pursuing his perceived political enemies continued over the last two years, we were getting more and more concerned about where this would end up.”

Those worries had increased in recent days, he told the network.

“I’ve been greatly concerned by what I’ve seen take place in the White House and in the Department of Justice, quite frankly, in the last week,” McCabe said. “And certainly the president’s kind of revenge tirade following his acquittal in the impeachment proceeding has only kind of amplified my concerns about what would happen in my own case.”

The Justice Department’s decision came the same day it was required by a judge to make details about the McCabe investigation public in a case stemming from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The court transcripts, released after the Justice Department’s letter to McCabe’s lawyers, show prosecutors struggling with how to proceed in his case, and the judge in the matter expressing concerns about political pressure

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/justice-department-drops-leak-case-against-former-fbi-acting-head-n1137066

Story 2: Department of Justice Unseals 16-Count Indictment Against Huawei To Steal Trade Secrets of Six U.S. Companies — Videos 

New U.S. charges against Huawei

The US DOJ and the FBI have announced a 16 count indictment against Huawei

Huawei faces new charges in US

US charges Huawei with racketeering

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DOJ announces criminal charges against Huawei

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Prosecutors Hit Huawei With New Charges For Allegedly Working With Iran | NBC News NOW

U.S. unveils new charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei

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Special Report: Huawei – Connected & Contested

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Huawei probed for security, espionage risk

Oct 7, 2012

Investment in US tech will reduce Huawei threat: Secretary of the Army

[youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UtzbA0qQgM]

DOJ hits Huawei with NEW charges for ‘plotting to steal trade secrets’ from SIX US companies including Cisco and T-Mobile by ‘offering employees cash bounties and sending spy with farcical ‘Weihua’ badge to trade shows’

  • DoJ brought new charges against Huawei in indictment unsealed on Thursday 
  • Accuses Chinese tech giant of a deliberate ‘campaign’ to steal US trade secrets
  • Details bounties Huawei allegedly offered to staff to steal proprietary data
  • Describes brazen spy with ‘Weihua’ badge breaking into trade show booth
  • Though not named in indictment, Cisco and T-Mobile are among alleged victims
  • Feds also claim Huawei covered up secret subsidiary operating in Iran
  • CFO Meng Wanzhoua is still fighting extradition from Canada on Iran charges 

The Department of Justice has announced new criminal charges against Huawei, accusing the Chinese tech giant of being engaged in a ‘decades-long’ effort to steal trade secrets from a slew of US companies.

The 16-count superseding indictment unsealed on Thursday adds RICO charges to the criminal case against Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhoua, who is currently fighting extradition in Canada.

The charges come in addition to previous criminal charges accusing Huawei and Wanzhoua of operating a secret subsidiary in Iran and lying to U.S. financial institutions about the violation of sanctions on that country.

The new charges detail a brazen decades-long scheme to steal trade secrets from at least six U.S. companies. Cisco and T-Mobile are among the alleged victims in the case, though the companies are not actually named in the new indictment.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is seen with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. US officials accuse the company of building a secret back door into its mobile network hardware

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is seen with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. US officials accuse the company of building a secret back door into its mobile network hardware

Prosecutors say that in 2013, Huawei instituted a cash bounty program ‘to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors’ and that the more valuable the secrets were, the more the company paid out.

The indictment details a shocking incident from 2004, at a trade show in Chicago, where prosecutors say a Huawei employee was busted in the middle of the night while breaking into a competitor’s booth.

The employee was wearing a bogus badge identifying him as an employee of ‘Weihua’, which is the syllables of Huawei reversed, and was caught taking pictures of the interior circuit boards of a competitor’s product, according to the indictment.

A Huawei spokesman denied the allegations, saying that the indictment was ‘part of an attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement.’

The company called the racketeering accusation ‘nothing more than a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old.’

Huawei pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment unsealed against the company in January 2019, which charged it with bank and wire fraud, violating sanctions against Iran, and obstructing justice.

Wanzhoua, the CFO, was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the prior indictment, but she has protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US. She is the daughter of Huawei’s founder and CEO, 75-year-old Ren Zengfei.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhoua was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the initial Department of Justice indictment against the Chinese tech company. She is protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US.  She is pictured wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor last month

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhoua was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the initial Department of Justice indictment against the Chinese tech company. She is protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US.  She is pictured wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor last month

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrives at extradition hearing

The new indictment also includes ‘new allegations about Huawei and its subsidiaries’ involvement in business and technology projects in countries subject to sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea’.

The DoJ asserts that the Chinese company even tired to cover up the fact they were doing business with such countries, by using code names. ‘A2’ reportedly referred to Iran, and ‘A9’ is alleged to have referred to North Korea.

The new indictment is the latest effort in a global campaign by the United States against the company, which Washington has warned could spy on customers for Beijing. The United States also placed Huawei on a trade blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.

‘The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks any regard for the law,’ U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner said in a joint statement.

The Republican and Democratic Senators called it ‘an important step in combating Huawei’s state-directed and criminal enterprise.’

In a statement on Tuesday, the DoJ alleges that Huawei’s ‘campaign’ to steal trade secrets from US competitors formed part of their global growth strategy.

The DoJ statement alleges that Huawei even launched a policy ‘instituting a bonus program to reward employees who misappropriated intellectual property from competitors.’

Prosecutors allege some Huawei employees entered into confidential agreements with the six US companies, before violating such agreements by then handing over the information to the Chinese tech giant.

Thus, the DoJ statements alleges that ‘Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets and other sophisticated US technology were successful.’

Trump administration officials, increasingly intent on preventing China from global technological domination, have urged allies not to use Huawei hardware

Trump administration officials, increasingly intent on preventing China from global technological domination, have urged allies not to use Huawei hardware

‘As a consequence of its campaign to steal this technology and intellectual property, Huawei was able to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage,’ the statement goes on to say.

The case was unsealed as the Trump administration is raising national security and surveillance concerns about Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer.

Huawei, one of the largest tech firms and a major telecom equipment maker, has been blacklisted by Washington amid concerns of its ties to the Chinese government and intelligence services.

New charges have been filed in the US against Huawei (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

New charges have been filed in the US against Huawei (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Earlier this week, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien alleged that Huawei builds secret back doors into its hardware that allow it to covertly access mobile-phone networks around the world.

‘We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,’ O’Brien told the Wall Street Journal.

US officials say that Huawei’s back door allows the company to access network data without the carrier’s knowledge, potentially giving the Chinese government a potent spy tool.

Huawei denied the allegations, telling the Journal that it ‘has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients.’

The U.S. has long tried to convince its allies, such as the U.K. and Germany, to ban the use of Huawei telecom equipment in the building of 5G networks.

 Germany’s legislature is set to vote in the coming weeks on a bill that would allow Huawei full access to its 5G market if the company provides security guarantees.

WHO IS MENG WANZHOU?

Meng Wanzhou, 46, is widely assumed to be the heiress of her billionaire father Ren Zhengfei who founded Huawei in 1987

 

Meng Wanzhou, 46, is widely assumed to be the heiress of her billionaire father Ren Zhengfei who founded Huawei in 1987

Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng, is the daughter and eldest child of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, 74, by his first wife Meng Jun.

Billed as a ‘Red Princess’, the 47-year-old is widely assumed to be the heiress of her former Communist soldier father, who founded the world’s current second largest smartphone seller at the age of 43 with just 21,000 yuan (£2,388).

Ms Meng, who is also the Vice-Chairman of Huawei, was ranked No. 12 by Frobes on the list of China’s most outstanding businesswomen in 2018.

She graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in central China’s Wuhan city.

She worked in a bank for a year upon graduation before taking up a position at Huawei’s front desk in 1993 to answer phone calls.

Over the years, Ms Meng worked as the director of the international accounting department, CFO of Huawei’s Hong Kong branch office, president of the accounts management department and brought Huawei to its current success.

Ms Meng has a brother and a 20-year-old half-sister Annabel Yao who is a ballerina and debutante.

Annabel is said to be extremely international and have lived in Britain, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

She was one of the 19 young women to be presented at the 25th annual Bal des Débutantes held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris in 2018.

 

Story 3: Just Walk Away From Two Party Tyranny Big Government Parties — Walk Away Renee — Videos

See the source image

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee
And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone
Walk Away Renee lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America Inc
See the source image

George Carlin – It’s a Big Club and You Ain’t In It! The American Dream

Tucker: Our ruling class is authoritarian, not Trump

Federal budget deficit to hit $1 trillion in 2020: CBO forecast

Walk Away Renée + The Left Banke + Lyrics

George Carlin Politicians

See the source image

Image result for the public sucksSee the source image

The Left Banke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

The Left Banke
The Left Banke 1966.jpg

The Left Banke in 1966
Background information
Origin New YorkNew York, U.S.
Genres Baroque pop[1]
Years active
  • 1965–1969
  • 1971
  • 1978
  • 2011–2012
  • 2015–present
Labels
Associated acts
  • Christopher & The Chaps
  • The Magic Plants
  • Montage
  • Stories
  • The Beckies
  • Sam Kogon
Members

The Left Banke is an American baroque pop band, formed in New York City in 1965.[1] They are best remembered for their two US hit singles, “Walk Away Renée” and “Pretty Ballerina“.[2] The band often used what the music press referred to as “baroque” string arrangements, which led to their music being variously termed as “Bach-rock” or “baroque rock“.[3] The band’s vocal harmonies borrowed from contemporaries such as The BeatlesThe Zombies, and other British Invasion groups.[1]

In 2004, Rolling Stone placed “Walk Away Renée” at #220 in its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[4]

Contents

History

1965–69: early years and disbandment

The Left Banke was formed in 1965 and consisted of keyboard player/songwriter Michael Browndrummer/singer George Cameron, bass guitarist/singer Tom Finnsinger Steve Martin (who also used the name Steve Martin Caro), and drummer Warren David-Schierhorst. Brown’s father, Harry Lookofsky, a well-known session violinist, ran a studio in New York and took an interest in the band’s music, acting as producermanager and publisher.[5]After some initial recording sessions, David-Schierhorst was ousted, with Cameron switching to drums and Jeff Winfield on guitar. Brown’s song, “Walk Away Renee”, was sold to Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, and became a huge hit in late 1966. The band’s second single, “Pretty Ballerina”, also written by Brown, charted in early 1967, and The Left Banke released an album entitled Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, by which time, Rick Brand had replaced Winfield on guitar.

Tension between Brown and the rest of the band soon began to surface. When “Walk Away Renee” belatedly became a hit, the original band had become inactive. Brown decided to capitalize on the single’s success by assembling a new version of The Left Banke for touring purposes, with Bert Sommer on lead vocals, original drummer Warren David, and (future member of Spinal TapMichael McKean on guitar. Brown also recorded a single, “Ivy, Ivy” b/w “And Suddenly” as The Left Banke, with Sommer and a group of session musicians.[6][7] The remaining members of the band hired attorneys to issue a cease and desist order and urged their fan club to boycott the record,[8] which led to confusion among radio stations over which “Left Banke” to support. Radio and Smash Records ultimately removed their support from the single, which subsequently failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. The “New” Left Banke never performed live. “And Suddenly” was eventually recorded by a group called The Cherry People and became a minor hit.[9] McKean would later find fame as an actor (Laverne & ShirleyThis Is Spinal TapBetter Call Saul).

In late 1967, the original group reunited and recorded more material, including the single “Desiree.” Brown left the group permanently shortly thereafter and was replaced for touring purposes by Emmett Lake. Cameron, Finn and Martin continued to record and tour, with Tom Feher replacing Lake on keyboards and writing half of the band’s new material. The songs recorded by various incarnations of the group in 1967 and 1968 were assembled into a second LPThe Left Banke Too, which was released in November 1968. This album featured backing vocals by a young Steven Tyler (who later became the lead singer of Aerosmith) on “Nice To See You”, “My Friend Today” and “Dark Is The Bark”. The band continued playing live in 1969, without Martin, but soon disbanded due to lack of success and financial problems. Later that same year, Brown and Martin reunited in the studio to record another single as The Left Banke, “Myrah” b/w “Pedestal”, which was their final single for Smash Records.

1971–present: various reunions

In 1971, Brown, Cameron, Finn and Martin reunited briefly to record two songs for the movie Hot Parts. The songs, “Love Songs in the Night” and “Two by Two”, were released as a Steve Martin solo single on Buddah Records, despite featuring contributions from four founding members of The Left Banke. In 1972, producer Les Fradkin offered to produce the group for a project on Bell Records. Although these sessions were not released at the time, one of the songs, “I Could Make It Last Forever”, composed by Fradkin and Diane Ellis, was released on Fradkin’s Goin’ Back solo CD in 2006. It was a rare recording since it featured Caro, Finn, Cameron and Brown, along with Brown’s father, violinist Harry Lookofsky. Fradkin sang and played 12-string guitar on the sessions. In 1978, Martin, Cameron and Finn reunited as The Left Banke to record an album’s worth of material which unfortunately was not released at the time. However, a single from these 1978 sessions, “Queen of Paradise” (b/w “And One Day”), was released in late 1978 with modest success. The album was eventually issued by Relix Records in 1986 under the title Strangers on a Train (Voices Calling in Europe). However, the album did little to restore the popularity of the group.

After leaving The Left Banke in 1967, Michael Brown helped form the band, Montage. Although Brown was never an official member of Montage, his presence is unmistakable in its music.[10] The band released one self-titled album in 1969, which included a re-recording of The Left Banke song “Desiree”, before Brown left. Brown’s next project was the band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd. The band had a hit in 1973 with “Brother Louie“, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[5] However, Brown had left the group after their 2nd album “About Us”, but before the success of “Brother Louie”. Brown’s next project was with The Beckies, although the band achieved only modest success and Brown soon left.

In 1992, Mercury Records released a Left Banke compilation titled There’s Gonna Be a Storm: The Complete Recordings 1966–1969. It was intended to bring together the band’s entire recorded output from the years 1966 to 1969, although a 1969 outtake titled “Foggy Waterfall”, which had previously appeared on two earlier compilations, was not included.

In 1994, Michael Brown and his wife Yvonne Vitale produced and released an album titled On This Moment. Between 2001 and 2006, Brown hosted a series of recording sessions at his home studio with Ian Lloyd (vocals), Tom Finn (bass guitar/vocals), Jim McAllister (guitar), and Jon Ihle (drums).[11]

In 2005, Alice Cooper included a cover version of “Pretty Ballerina” on his album Dirty Diamonds. In 2006, ex-member of The Bangles Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, as Sid ‘n’ Susie, covered “She May Call You Up Tonight” for their first album Under the Covers, Vol. 1. In addition, Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian has cited The Left Banke as one of the early influences on the sound of the band.[12]

Former guitarist Jeff Winfield died of complications from pneumonia on June 13, 2009, at age 60.[3]

2011–12

The previous touring version of The Left Banke featured one original member, George Cameron. Initially, Tom Finn and George Cameron reformed The Left Banke in March 2011, tapping New York City’s Mike Fornatale (already a veteran of numerous other 60s band reunions, including The Monks and Moby Grape) to sing lead vocals in Steve Martin Caro’s stead. The reunited group also featured new players: Paul Alves (lead guitar, backing vocals), Charly Cazalet (bass), Mickey Finn (keyboards), Rick Reil (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and second keyboardist/synth player Joe McGinty (replaced by John Spurney in 2012). They appeared live at Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 5, 2011, and March 6, 2011, to sold-out audiences. In April 2011, Tom Finn revealed in a Facebook posting that he had reformed the group,[13] with two shows planned for July in New York City.[14][15] Tom Finn only performed with the re-formed group in 2011, after which he left due to disagreements with Cameron and due to back trouble.

In early 2011, Sundazed released reissues of the two Smash vinyl albums on CD and LP, utilizing the original running order and artwork.

In February 2012, Tom Finn notified the YouTube community that the Left Banke was in the process of creating a new record featuring contributions from co-founder Michael Brown.

George Cameron (3rd from left) and Tom Finn (Center, 4th from left) with band during their 2012 reunion tour.

On April 29, 2012, Brown joined the reunited Left Banke on stage at B.B. King’s in New York City for a version of his “Pretty Ballerina.” His performance was greeted with a standing ovation. Rick Brand, guitarist with the band in 1966-67 was also in attendance. Tom Finn sang a newly written song called “City Life” which showed a heavier rock version of the Left Banke with baroque string section intact. No new recordings begun in 2012 were ever released, and Brown died in 2015.

At the beginning of their reunion dates, the group was joined onstage by a two or three-piece string section and even a guest oboe player for one or two shows. Both Michael Brown and George Cameron were in touch with Steve Martin Caro, who wanted to rejoin the group, but was unable to tour in 2012 due to previous commitments.

Unrealized reunions

On March 18, 2015, the day before Mike Brown’s death, it was announced that original vocalist Steve Martin Caro officially rejoined the current touring version of The Left Banke. Photos on The Left Banke official Facebook and Twitter pages displayed Steve signing a contract. Two 2015 shows featured co-headliner Ian Lloyd of Stories and Sam Kogon as vocalist. The re-formed Cameron band played for the last time twice in 2015; once in Sellersville, PA and once in Natick, MA. No shows under any Left Banke configuration have been performed since 2015, and by 2020 the major players of 1966 were all deceased except for the disabled Tom Finn.

In January, 2018, it was announced on the official Facebook page operated by Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron that they were planning a tour. Several photos of Steve Martin Caro rehearsing with George Cameron and guitarist Sam Kogon were posted with a message which stated “it was Steve’s first time behind the microphone in over 15 years. We went through and workshopped much of the Left Banke catalog.” However, Cameron passed away five months later, before any performances could take place under this collaboration.

Deaths

Michael Brown died from heart disease on March 19, 2015, at age 65. Brown had been writing new material and planned to participate in the 2015 reunion of The Left Banke with Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron. Brown’s funeral and memorial service was held on March 25, 2015 at Fort Lee Gospel Church in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[16]

Justo George Cameron (born October 16, 1947 in New York City) died of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on June 24, 2018, at age 70.[17] Thomas Leo Feher died from heart failure on August 5, 2018.[18] Steve Martin Caro died from heart disease on January 14, 2020. He was 71.[19] This left Tom Finn (later a renowned disc jockey) as the only surviving member from the original “Walk Away Renée” lineup.

Band members

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Left_Banke

Story 3: $19 Billion of 30-Year Bonds Sold At Record Low Yield of 2.06% — Inverted Yield Curve Flashes Recession Warning — Videos

Dow Flatlines While Fed’s Recession Alarm Screams

Treasury Sells 30-Year Bonds at Record Low Yield

Fear that the coronavirus will slow global growth has helped push down Treasury yields in recent weeks

The Treasury sold $19 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

The Treasury sold $19 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday afternoon at a 2.061% yield. That beat the previous record of 2.170% set last October, according to data from BMO Capital Markets.

The auction came as Treasury yields generally moved lower after Chinese officials changed the way they counted coronavirus infections, leading to a big jump in the number of confirmed cases in the country’s Hubei province. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 1.616%, compared with 1.629% Wednesday.

Yields fall when bond prices rise.

Fear that the coronavirus will slow global growth has helped push down Treasury yields in recent weeks. Other factors include persistently soft inflation, which has limited one of the main threats to the value of longer-term Treasurys, analysts said.

Investors have also grown more comfortable buying 30-year bonds because they view them as insurance against losses in riskier assets, said Jon Hill, a U.S. interest-rates strategist at BMO. Prices of 30-year bonds increase more for every one-percentage point decline in yields than those of shorter-term bonds. That means on days like Thursday, when investors are selling stocks and buying bonds, the holders of 30-year bonds are well-hedged, Mr. Hill said.

Thursday’s level doesn’t represent the lowest point that the 30-year bond yield has ever reached. Last August, it settled as low as 1.941%, but yields rose again before the next 30-year auction in September.

In recent years, low Treasury yields have, at times, caused U.S. officials to flirt with issuing bonds with maturities beyond 30 years to lock in low interest rates for a longer period.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last September that the Treasury Department was “very seriously considering” issuing a 50-year bond. The department, however, dropped that idea due to a lack of interest from bond dealers. Instead, it recently announced plans to issue 20-year bonds, which haven’t been issued regularly since the 1980s.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/treasury-to-sell-30-year-bonds-at-record-low-yield-11581614475

Story 4: Just Walk Away From Two Party Tyranny Big Government Parties — Walk Away Renee — Videos

See the source image

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee
And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone
Walk Away Renee lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America Inc
See the source image

Tucker: Our ruling class is authoritarian, not Trump

Federal budget deficit to hit $1 trillion in 2020: CBO forecast

George Carlin – It’s a Big Club and You Ain’t In It! The American Dream

Walk Away Renée + The Left Banke + Lyrics

The Left Banke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

The Left Banke
The Left Banke 1966.jpg

The Left Banke in 1966
Background information
Origin New YorkNew York, U.S.
Genres Baroque pop[1]
Years active
  • 1965–1969
  • 1971
  • 1978
  • 2011–2012
  • 2015–present
Labels
Associated acts
  • Christopher & The Chaps
  • The Magic Plants
  • Montage
  • Stories
  • The Beckies
  • Sam Kogon
Members

The Left Banke is an American baroque pop band, formed in New York City in 1965.[1] They are best remembered for their two US hit singles, “Walk Away Renée” and “Pretty Ballerina“.[2] The band often used what the music press referred to as “baroque” string arrangements, which led to their music being variously termed as “Bach-rock” or “baroque rock“.[3] The band’s vocal harmonies borrowed from contemporaries such as The BeatlesThe Zombies, and other British Invasion groups.[1]

In 2004, Rolling Stone placed “Walk Away Renée” at #220 in its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[4]

Contents

History

1965–69: early years and disbandment

The Left Banke was formed in 1965 and consisted of keyboard player/songwriter Michael Browndrummer/singer George Cameron, bass guitarist/singer Tom Finnsinger Steve Martin (who also used the name Steve Martin Caro), and drummer Warren David-Schierhorst. Brown’s father, Harry Lookofsky, a well-known session violinist, ran a studio in New York and took an interest in the band’s music, acting as producermanager and publisher.[5]After some initial recording sessions, David-Schierhorst was ousted, with Cameron switching to drums and Jeff Winfield on guitar. Brown’s song, “Walk Away Renee”, was sold to Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, and became a huge hit in late 1966. The band’s second single, “Pretty Ballerina”, also written by Brown, charted in early 1967, and The Left Banke released an album entitled Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, by which time, Rick Brand had replaced Winfield on guitar.

Tension between Brown and the rest of the band soon began to surface. When “Walk Away Renee” belatedly became a hit, the original band had become inactive. Brown decided to capitalize on the single’s success by assembling a new version of The Left Banke for touring purposes, with Bert Sommer on lead vocals, original drummer Warren David, and (future member of Spinal TapMichael McKean on guitar. Brown also recorded a single, “Ivy, Ivy” b/w “And Suddenly” as The Left Banke, with Sommer and a group of session musicians.[6][7] The remaining members of the band hired attorneys to issue a cease and desist order and urged their fan club to boycott the record,[8] which led to confusion among radio stations over which “Left Banke” to support. Radio and Smash Records ultimately removed their support from the single, which subsequently failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. The “New” Left Banke never performed live. “And Suddenly” was eventually recorded by a group called The Cherry People and became a minor hit.[9] McKean would later find fame as an actor (Laverne & ShirleyThis Is Spinal TapBetter Call Saul).

In late 1967, the original group reunited and recorded more material, including the single “Desiree.” Brown left the group permanently shortly thereafter and was replaced for touring purposes by Emmett Lake. Cameron, Finn and Martin continued to record and tour, with Tom Feher replacing Lake on keyboards and writing half of the band’s new material. The songs recorded by various incarnations of the group in 1967 and 1968 were assembled into a second LPThe Left Banke Too, which was released in November 1968. This album featured backing vocals by a young Steven Tyler (who later became the lead singer of Aerosmith) on “Nice To See You”, “My Friend Today” and “Dark Is The Bark”. The band continued playing live in 1969, without Martin, but soon disbanded due to lack of success and financial problems. Later that same year, Brown and Martin reunited in the studio to record another single as The Left Banke, “Myrah” b/w “Pedestal”, which was their final single for Smash Records.

1971–present: various reunions

In 1971, Brown, Cameron, Finn and Martin reunited briefly to record two songs for the movie Hot Parts. The songs, “Love Songs in the Night” and “Two by Two”, were released as a Steve Martin solo single on Buddah Records, despite featuring contributions from four founding members of The Left Banke. In 1972, producer Les Fradkin offered to produce the group for a project on Bell Records. Although these sessions were not released at the time, one of the songs, “I Could Make It Last Forever”, composed by Fradkin and Diane Ellis, was released on Fradkin’s Goin’ Back solo CD in 2006. It was a rare recording since it featured Caro, Finn, Cameron and Brown, along with Brown’s father, violinist Harry Lookofsky. Fradkin sang and played 12-string guitar on the sessions. In 1978, Martin, Cameron and Finn reunited as The Left Banke to record an album’s worth of material which unfortunately was not released at the time. However, a single from these 1978 sessions, “Queen of Paradise” (b/w “And One Day”), was released in late 1978 with modest success. The album was eventually issued by Relix Records in 1986 under the title Strangers on a Train (Voices Calling in Europe). However, the album did little to restore the popularity of the group.

After leaving The Left Banke in 1967, Michael Brown helped form the band, Montage. Although Brown was never an official member of Montage, his presence is unmistakable in its music.[10] The band released one self-titled album in 1969, which included a re-recording of The Left Banke song “Desiree”, before Brown left. Brown’s next project was the band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd. The band had a hit in 1973 with “Brother Louie“, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[5] However, Brown had left the group after their 2nd album “About Us”, but before the success of “Brother Louie”. Brown’s next project was with The Beckies, although the band achieved only modest success and Brown soon left.

In 1992, Mercury Records released a Left Banke compilation titled There’s Gonna Be a Storm: The Complete Recordings 1966–1969. It was intended to bring together the band’s entire recorded output from the years 1966 to 1969, although a 1969 outtake titled “Foggy Waterfall”, which had previously appeared on two earlier compilations, was not included.

In 1994, Michael Brown and his wife Yvonne Vitale produced and released an album titled On This Moment. Between 2001 and 2006, Brown hosted a series of recording sessions at his home studio with Ian Lloyd (vocals), Tom Finn (bass guitar/vocals), Jim McAllister (guitar), and Jon Ihle (drums).[11]

In 2005, Alice Cooper included a cover version of “Pretty Ballerina” on his album Dirty Diamonds. In 2006, ex-member of The Bangles Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, as Sid ‘n’ Susie, covered “She May Call You Up Tonight” for their first album Under the Covers, Vol. 1. In addition, Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian has cited The Left Banke as one of the early influences on the sound of the band.[12]

Former guitarist Jeff Winfield died of complications from pneumonia on June 13, 2009, at age 60.[3]

2011–12

The previous touring version of The Left Banke featured one original member, George Cameron. Initially, Tom Finn and George Cameron reformed The Left Banke in March 2011, tapping New York City’s Mike Fornatale (already a veteran of numerous other 60s band reunions, including The Monks and Moby Grape) to sing lead vocals in Steve Martin Caro’s stead. The reunited group also featured new players: Paul Alves (lead guitar, backing vocals), Charly Cazalet (bass), Mickey Finn (keyboards), Rick Reil (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and second keyboardist/synth player Joe McGinty (replaced by John Spurney in 2012). They appeared live at Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 5, 2011, and March 6, 2011, to sold-out audiences. In April 2011, Tom Finn revealed in a Facebook posting that he had reformed the group,[13] with two shows planned for July in New York City.[14][15] Tom Finn only performed with the re-formed group in 2011, after which he left due to disagreements with Cameron and due to back trouble.

In early 2011, Sundazed released reissues of the two Smash vinyl albums on CD and LP, utilizing the original running order and artwork.

In February 2012, Tom Finn notified the YouTube community that the Left Banke was in the process of creating a new record featuring contributions from co-founder Michael Brown.

George Cameron (3rd from left) and Tom Finn (Center, 4th from left) with band during their 2012 reunion tour.

On April 29, 2012, Brown joined the reunited Left Banke on stage at B.B. King’s in New York City for a version of his “Pretty Ballerina.” His performance was greeted with a standing ovation. Rick Brand, guitarist with the band in 1966-67 was also in attendance. Tom Finn sang a newly written song called “City Life” which showed a heavier rock version of the Left Banke with baroque string section intact. No new recordings begun in 2012 were ever released, and Brown died in 2015.

At the beginning of their reunion dates, the group was joined onstage by a two or three-piece string section and even a guest oboe player for one or two shows. Both Michael Brown and George Cameron were in touch with Steve Martin Caro, who wanted to rejoin the group, but was unable to tour in 2012 due to previous commitments.

Unrealized reunions

On March 18, 2015, the day before Mike Brown’s death, it was announced that original vocalist Steve Martin Caro officially rejoined the current touring version of The Left Banke. Photos on The Left Banke official Facebook and Twitter pages displayed Steve signing a contract. Two 2015 shows featured co-headliner Ian Lloyd of Stories and Sam Kogon as vocalist. The re-formed Cameron band played for the last time twice in 2015; once in Sellersville, PA and once in Natick, MA. No shows under any Left Banke configuration have been performed since 2015, and by 2020 the major players of 1966 were all deceased except for the disabled Tom Finn.

In January, 2018, it was announced on the official Facebook page operated by Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron that they were planning a tour. Several photos of Steve Martin Caro rehearsing with George Cameron and guitarist Sam Kogon were posted with a message which stated “it was Steve’s first time behind the microphone in over 15 years. We went through and workshopped much of the Left Banke catalog.” However, Cameron passed away five months later, before any performances could take place under this collaboration.

Deaths

Michael Brown died from heart disease on March 19, 2015, at age 65. Brown had been writing new material and planned to participate in the 2015 reunion of The Left Banke with Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron. Brown’s funeral and memorial service was held on March 25, 2015 at Fort Lee Gospel Church in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[16]

Justo George Cameron (born October 16, 1947 in New York City) died of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on June 24, 2018, at age 70.[17] Thomas Leo Feher died from heart failure on August 5, 2018.[18] Steve Martin Caro died from heart disease on January 14, 2020. He was 71.[19] This left Tom Finn (later a renowned disc jockey) as the only surviving member from the original “Walk Away Renée” lineup.

Band members

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Left_Banke

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1398, February 13, 2020, Story 1: Hope Returns To The White House — White Lies Resume — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr Will Do The Right Thing — Stone Should Get A New Trial Due To Juror Foreperson Bias–  Total Miscarriage of Justice In Political Prosecution of Stone to Silence Telling Truth To Power By A Great Public Speaker — Long List of Liars To Congress Not Prosecuted — Double Standard Justice — Revenge Recommendation of 9 Years For Lying To Congress! — Vacate Stone’s Conviction — Videos — Story 3: Massive Federal Spending and Taxes of  The Two Party Tyranny Sets New Records — Videos

Posted on February 14, 2020. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP_, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Hope Returns To The White House — White Lies Resume — Videos

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Hope Hicks returning to Trump White House as senior adviser

A Trump favorite is making a return after departing for the Fox Corporation.

Hope Hicks, formerly President Donald Trump’s most trusted and longest serving aide, is expected to return to the administration in the coming weeks, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.Hicks, who departed in early 2018, will return in the coming weeks as a senior adviser reporting to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. Her official title will be counselor to the president.

Since her departure, she has served as the head of communications for the Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, among other entities owned by Rupert Murdoch.

News of her resignation came the day after Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee that she had occasionally told white lies on Trump’s behalf, according to a source familiar with the interview. Then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied that her departure was related to her testimony.

Hicks met with Mueller’s teams for multiple interviews as part of the probe into Russian interference and obstruction of justice by the president.

Since her departure, Hicks appeared before the House Judiciary committee. During the closed-door hearing, Hicks answered questions related to her time working on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but declined to comment on her work in the White House.

The White House also blocked Hicks from turning over documents subpoenaed by the committee.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hope-hicks-returning-trump-white-house-senior-adviser/story?id=68961123

Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr Will Do The Right Thing — Stone Should Get A New Trial Due To Juror Foreperson Bias–  Total Miscarriage of Justice In Political Prosecution of Stone to Silence Telling Truth To Power By A Great Public Speaker — Long List of Liars To Congress Not Prosecuted — Double Standard Justice — Revenge Recommendation of 9 Years For Lying To Congress! — Vacate Stone’s Conviction — Videos

Kevin McCarthy on Democrats’ unequal standard of justice exposed

Tucker: Fairness is the most important American idea

Tucker Carlson Tonight 2/13/20 | Fox News February 13, 2020

Attorney General William Barr speaks to ABC News’ Pierre Thomas (Full)

McConnell on Trump’s tweets: He should listen to Barr

Whitaker weighs in on Barr seeking a lighter sentence for Roger Stone

The ‘remarkable’ DOJ controversy over Roger Stone’s sentencing

Napolitano explains why Roger Stone is ‘absolutely entitled’ to a new trial

DOJ likely to lessen Roger Stone’s ‘extreme’ sentencing recommendation

Roger Stone jury foreperson’s anti-Trump social media posts surface

Tucker Carlson Calls For Roger Stone Pardon, Rips Media For Wanting Longer Term Than For Rapists

Trump weighs in on DOJ’s decision to reverse recommended prison sentence for Roger Stone

The ‘remarkable’ DOJ controversy over Roger Stone’s sentencing

Trump congratulates Barr for taking control of Roger Stone case

Trump lashes out at former Roger Stone prosecutors

Gowdy on Roger Stone: Nine years is a long sentence for lying to Congress

AG Barr: I’m not going to be bullied by the President

The Five’ reacts to DOJ overruling Roger Stone’s suggested sentence

Gingrich: By Super Tuesday you’ll realize how big a threat Bloomberg is

Alex Jones Comments on Roger Stone Verdict

Roger Stone found guilty on all counts in federal trial

Roger Stone, Dinesh D’Souza react to DOJ IG’s report

Roger Stone to Hannity: They want to silence me

Gowdy on Roger Stone charges, Dems’ progressive push in 2020

Christie: No reason for Stone raid except to intimidate

Alan Dershowitz reacts to Roger Stone’s indictment

Roger Stone Addresses Mueller Indictment Live | NowThis

Roger Stone | Full Address and Q&A | Oxford Union

Feb 13, 2018

Roger Stone – BBC HARDtalk 5th February 2018

Roger Stone: Inside the World of a Political Hitman

Roger Stone jury foreperson comes forward to defend prosecutors – but social media history of the failed Democrat candidate reveals she mocked his arrest, labeled Trump supporters racist and posed with ex-DNC chair Donna Brazil

  • Tomeka Hart revealed on Wednesday that she was foreperson on Stone jury 
  • Hart unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Tennessee as a Democrat in 2012 
  • She is also a former Memphis City Schools Board President 
  • Her social media shows a long history of anti-Trump comments
  • She called Trump supporters racists and tweeted about Stone case before trial 

The foreperson on the jury that convicted Roger Stone has come forward, and is revealed to be a failed Democrat candidate for Congress and activist vehemently opposed to President Donald Trump.

Tomeka Hart, a former Memphis City Schools Board President, came forward as the Stone jury foreperson in a Facebook post on Wednesday, voicing support for prosecutors in the case.

Hart confirmed to The Daily Memphian that she wrote the Facebook post, but she declined an interview with the newspaper.

It’s unclear whether Stone’s political views and social media history were disclosed during jury selection, potentially raising questions about fairness that could impact the verdict on appeal.

Hart (left) is seen with former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile

Hart (left) is seen with former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile

Hart retweeted a post about Stone's arrest in January 2019, months before the trial

Hart retweeted a post about Stone’s arrest in January 2019, months before the trial

 Hart came forward amid controversy over Stone’s sentencing, after the four prosecutors on the case withdrew in response to Trump criticizing the government’s recommendation that Stone be sentenced to nine years in prison.

Trump has said that the prosecution of his former campaign advisor Stone prosecution for obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering was handled in a manner that was ‘ridiculous’ and an ‘insult to our country.’

‘I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter,’ Hart said in her Facebook post on Wednesday.

‘But I can’t keep quiet any longer. I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis – the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial,’ Hart wrote, referring to the prosecutors who resigned in protest.

‘It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice. For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service,’ she said.

Hart unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, and is an activist who has participated in anti-Trump rallies and protests

Hart unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, and is an activist who has participated in anti-Trump rallies and protests.

Immediately, journalists and Trump supporters began scouring Hart’s social media history, finding a trove of anti-Trump sentiment.

Independent journalist Mike Cernovich was the first to report on Hart’s extensive history of anti-Trump social media posts.

In January 2019, Hart also re-tweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers mocking Stone’s arrest, and suggesting that racism was the reason conservatives were upset about the use of force in the FBI’s armed pre-dawn raid on his home.

Months later, Hart was impaneled on Stone’s jury. On the day the jury convicted him, she posted emojis of hearts and fist pumps.

Hart has an extensive history of posting her unfavorable views about Trump

Meanwhile, it emerged that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had denied a defense request to strike a potential juror on the case, who was an Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views.

That juror’s husband worked at the same Justice Department division that handled the probe leading to Stone’s prosecution.

Another Stone juror, Seth Cousins, donated to former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and other progressive causes, federal election records reviewed by Fox News show.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7998815/Tomeka-Hart-Roger-Stone-jury-foreperson-revealed-anti-Trump-activist.html

Barr blasts Trump’s tweets on Stone case: ‘Impossible for me to do my job’: ABC News Exclusive

The AG spoke with ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.

In an exclusive interview, Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday that President Donald Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”Barr’s comments are a rare break with a president who the attorney general has aligned himself with and fiercely defended. But it also puts Barr in line with many of Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill who say they support the president but wish he’d cut back on his tweets.

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.

When asked if he was prepared for the consequences of criticizing the president – his boss – Barr said “of course” because his job is to run the Justice Department and make decisions on “what I think is the right thing to do.”

In a stunning reversal, the Justice Department overruled a recommendation by its own prosecution team that Stone spend seven to nine years in jail and told a judge that such a punishment – which was in line with sentencing guidelines – “would not be appropriate.”

The about-face raised serious questions about whether Barr had intervened on behalf of the president’s friend. It also raised questions about whether Trump personally pressured the Justice Department, either directly or indirectly.

In the interview with ABC News, Barr fiercely defended his actions and said it had nothing to do with the president. He said he was supportive of Stone’s convictions but thought the sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years was excessive. When news outlets reported the seven to nine year sentencing recommendation last Monday, Barr said he thought it was spin.

Barr said he told his staff that night that the Justice Department has to amend its recommendation. Hours later, the president tweeted that it was “horrible and very unfair” and that “the real crimes were on the other side.”

“Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump tweeted.

The blowback from such an unprecedented move by the Justice Department leadership was immediate, both internally among the rank-and-file and in Congress. The entire four-man DOJ prosecution team withdrew from the case, and one prosecutor resigned from the Justice Department entirely. Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee that oversees the Justice Department and one of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, said the president should not have tweeted about an ongoing case.

The Justice Department, while led by a president appointee and Cabinet member, is tasked with enforcing the law and defending the interests of the U.S. without political influence.

Barr said Trump’s middle-of-the-night tweet put him in a bad position. He insists he had already discussed with staff that the sentencing recommendation was too long.

“Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be,” he said.

Barr also told ABC News he was “a little surprised” that the prosecution team withdrew from the case and said he hadn’t spoken to the team.

He said it was “preposterous” to suggest that he “intervened” in the case as much as he acted to resolve a dispute within the department on a sentencing recommendation.

Trump has been pleased with Barr’s actions on Stone, praising him on Twitter. Trump on Wednesday said he was “not concerned about anything” about the resignations at the Justice Department and suggested the prosecutors “should go back to school and learn.”

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted this week, after all prosecutors assigned to the case quit.

Trump has repeatedly come under fire for trying to influence the Justice Department, including forcing out his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in 2018 after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. Early in his presidency, Trump also encouraged then-FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to a memo Comey wrote at the time.

When asked earlier this week if he would pardon Stone, Trump said: “I don’t want to talk about that now.”

“If (Trump) were to say, ‘Go investigate somebody because’—and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then the attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out,” Barr said.

When asked if he expects the president to react to his criticism of the tweets, Barr said: “I hope he will react.”

“And respect it?” ABC’s Thomas asked.

“Yes,” Barr said.

Senior level White House sources insisted to ABC News that the president and top aides were unaware of Barr’s intentions in the interview and were informed of the content only just before it aired.

The White House had no immediate comment.

ABC News’ Jack Date, Alexander Mallin, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Justin Fishel, Liz Alesse and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

 

 

Donald Trump goes after Obama-appointed judge who will sentence Roger Stone claiming she ‘put Paul Manafort in solitary’ after denying overruling prosecutors’ demand to jail dirty trickster for nine years

  • Trump found a new target on Twitter after a day of drama over the sentencing of Roger Stone, his one-time consigliere: the judge who will sentence him
  • Trump wrongly suggested that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had ‘put Paul Manafort in solitary,’ which she did not do
  • Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, is due to sentence Stone later this month for lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering
  • Prosecutors had asked on Monday for Stone to be jailed for maximum of nine years but Trump tweeted early Tuesday it was a ‘miscarriage of justice!’ 
  • Hours later the Department of Justice announced that leaders thought the demand was ‘excessive,’ overruling the prosecutors – who quit one by one 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked the federal judge who will sentence Roger Stone – after an extraordinary 24 hours saw the entire prosecution quit after their call to jail the dirty trickster for nine years was overruled.

Trump went after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson accusing her of ‘putting Paul Manafort in solitary confinement something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure.’

In fact Manafort’s prison conditions were set by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is ultimately overseen by Bill Barr, the attorney general; Berman Jackson remanded him in custody for breaching bail conditions and was one of two judges to sentence him to prison time.

Berman Jackson has scheduled a sentencing hearing for Stone on February 20, when she will decide his punishment for lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

First Trump tweeted just after midnight on Tuesday that the nine years demand was a ‘miscarriage of justice,’ then just before midday the Department of Justice overruled the prosecutors and said senior leaders found nine years ‘excessive.’

Trump rant: The president tweeted a series of claims about the investigation into Roger Stone, including a false suggestion that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had put Paul Manafort in solitary confinement, and that John Podesta's brother Tony had escaped prosecution; the Department of Justice had edned an investigation into Podesta in September

Trump rant: The president tweeted a series of claims about the investigation into Roger Stone, including a false suggestion that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had put Paul Manafort in solitary confinement, and that John Podesta’s brother Tony had escaped prosecution; the Department of Justice had edned an investigation into Podesta in September

New target: Amy Berman Jackson, the Obama-appointed federal judge who will sentence Roger Stone, found herself in Trump's twitter crosshairs after a day of unprecedented drama involving the Department of Justice

New target: Amy Berman Jackson, the Obama-appointed federal judge who will sentence Roger Stone, found herself in Trump's twitter crosshairs after a day of unprecedented drama involving the Department of Justice

Within hours the four career prosecutors quit the case one by one, and Trump was questioned in the Oval Office on whether he ordered them to be overruled.

He denied it but said he had the power to do so if he had wanted to, called the recommendation ‘ridiculous,’ said the prosecutors should be ‘ashamed’ for a case he called a ‘disgrace.’

Attacking Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, now puts Trump on a collision course with John Roberts, the Chief Justice, who presided over his impeachment acquittal last week.

Roberts had hit Trump hard in November 2018 when the president had lashed out at a judge for ruling against an immigrant measure calling him an ‘Obama judge.’

In response Roberts said: ‘We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.

‘What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.

‘That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.’

Trump also tweeted that ‘a swamp creature with “pull” was just sentenced to two months in jail for a similar thing that they want Stone to serve 9 years for.’

That was an apparent reference to James Wolfe, a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who was jailed for two months in December – by a different federal judge – for lying to the FBI.

Wolfe had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with the media while they investigated a leak of classified material. Trump had gleefully tweeted that the FBI ‘caught a leaker,’ something with which Wolfe was not charged.

Trump’s widening attacks came after he  denied asking his attorney general to roll back prosecutors’ recommendation that longtime advisor Stone face serious jail time.

The Department of Justice dramatically reversed its demand to jail Stone for up to nine years in a move announced Tuesday – hours after Donald Trump slammed it on Twitter as a ‘miscarriage of justice.’

The reversal prompted the extraordinary decision by three experienced federal prosecutors to remove themselves from the case – with one resigning his position with the government entirely.

Trump stood by his decision Tuesday afternoon, calling the original recommendation a ‘disgrace,’ and terming the proposed sentence ‘ridiculous.’

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Donald Trump's confidant Roger Stone to serve between seven and nine years in prison after his conviction in November 2019

Trump denies asking Justice Department to review Stone’s case

‘No I didn’t speak to the Jus – I’d be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn’t believe.

But I didn’t speak to them. I thought the (original) recommendation was ridiculous, I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous,’ Trump vented. ‘I look at others that haven’t been prosecutors.’

He said he considered it an ‘insult to our country.’ He called them ‘the same Mueller people that put everybody through hell.’

But he also maintained: ‘I have not been involved.’

 ‘I think it’s a disgrace. See what happens.’

Trump declined to say whether he was considering commuting Stone’s sentence, whatever it turns out to be. But he did suggest another man he considers a political enemy, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, might face a military investigation.

‘We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him any way they want. General Milley has him now. I congratulate General Milley,’ Trump said, referencing chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley. ‘He can have him. And his brother also,’ Trump said. ‘We’ll find out,’ he added, without explanation.

According to its updated filing, which came after Trump’s overnight tweets: ‘The defendant committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration that is ‘sufficient, but not greater than necessary’ to satisfy the factors set forth in’ sentencing guidelines.

‘Based on the facts known to the government, a sentence of between 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment, however, could be considered excessive and unwarranted … Ultimately, the government defers to the Court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case,’ the updated memo said.

A senior Justice Department official told ABC News “it does appear” the the prosecutors asked to be taken off the case as a form of protest. But the official denied Trump’s nearly 2 am tweet played a role in the turnaround, calling it an ‘inconvenient coincidence.’

Stone has been a Trump confidant for decades, and served as an informal advisor during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump’s denial came after prosecutors filed a new memo in the Stone case leaving it to the judge to recommend the appropriate sentence.

Leaders at the department, which is headed by Attorney General Bill Barr, found it extreme and excessive, and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses, one official said.

Shortly after the announcement, the lead prosecutor in the case, Aaron Zelinsky, used a court filing to announce that he had resigned ‘effective immediately’ as a special assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. He retains a federal post in Maryland. A second, Jonathan Kravis, followed him shortly afterwards, resigning from government service as an assistant U.S. attorney.

A third federal prosecutor, Adam Jed, also withdrew as counsel to the government in the case. Later Tuesday, it was revealed that prosecutor Michael Marando withdrew from the case.

Kravis served in the public integrity of the Justice Department, served in the White House counsel’s office under Barack Obama, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Jed clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

All four used court filings to announce their departures, apparently to the surprise of their own colleagues – in an unmistakable sign of protest.

Zelinsky was a member of Mueller’s team, but remained after Mueller departed to work on the Stone case.

Trump had tweeted in the early hours of Tuesday morning: ‘This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!’

Just before midday, the DOJ announced its walk back but one official told Fox News the decision had been made before Trump’s Twitter rant.

All three were seasoned prosecutors who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

The official did not explain why the reversal had not been announced until after the tweet. The DOJ has not said what sentence it will now seek.

The move prompted immediate anger and derision from Democrats with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer saying: ‘They’ll probably recommend the presidential medal of freedom!’

He said he was asking the Department of Justice Inspector General to investigate whether Bill Barr had directed the reversal.

Veteran ‘dirty trickster’ Stone is due to face sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson on February 20, after a jury in November found him guilty on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

 

Attack: Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell likened Trump and the DOJ's move to a banana republic

 

Attack: Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell likened Trump and the DOJ’s move to a banana republic

Trump tweeted Monday night: ''This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!' (pictured: at a campaign rally in Manchester last night)

Trump tweeted Monday night: ”This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!’ (pictured: at a campaign rally in Manchester last night)

Prosecutors will now have to ask the judge for permission to abandon their initial recommendation and submit a new one. 

‘We look forward to reviewing the government’s supplemental filing,’ Stone’s lawyer, Grant Smith, said in an email to Reuters.

It is extremely rare for Justice Department leaders to reverse the decision of its own prosecutors on a sentencing recommendation, particularly after that recommendation has been submitted to the court. Normally, United States attorneys have wide latitude to recommend sentences on cases that they prosecuted.

Sentencing decisions are ultimately up to the judge, who in this case may side with the original Justice Department recommendation. 

Long-time consigliere: Roger Stone has been advising Donald Trump on politics for more than 20 years, including in 1999 during his first putative White House run

Long-time consigliere: Roger Stone has been advising Donald Trump on politics for more than 20 years, including in 1999 during his first putative White House run

Jackson, the judge, has repeatedly scolded Stone for his out-of-court behavior, which included a social media post he made of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun.

The judge barred Stone from social media last July after concluding that she repeatedly flouted his gag order.

Besides, judges invariably frown upon crimes that they see as perverting the functions of the criminal justice system, such as making false statements or obstructing an investigation.

The Justice Department plans to refile the recommendation later Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors also recently softened their sentencing position onFlynn, saying that they would not oppose a probation of punishment after initially saying that he deserved up to six months in prison for lying to the FBI. The Flynn prosecution is also being handled by the U.S. Attorney´s office in Washington.

The White House referred questions about the decision to the Justice Department.

Stone is one of several people close to Trump who faced charges stemming from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has the power to pardon people for federal crimes, although he has yet to use it in the cases of other former aides convicted in the wake of the Mueller investigations.

His tweet hunted he could use that power, or his power to commute sentences if Stone were to get the level of custody demanded by prosecutors.

Stone’s own defense had asked for probation.

Senior Democratic lawmakers expressed amazement at the move but Trump loyalists said they now hoped Mike Flynn – the disgraced former national security advisor who is currently trying to get out of his guilty plea to lying to the FBI – would also get ‘clemency.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7993827/Donald-Trump-goes-Obama-appointed-judge-sentence-Roger-Stone.html

 

As sentencing approaches, Roger Stone turns to former mob lawyer for help

Roger Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20.

With his sentencing fast approaching, Roger Stone is bolstering his defense team with a veteran criminal defense attorney whose past roster of clients included John Gotti Jr. and other high-profile figures allegedly involved in organized crime.New York attorney Seth Ginsberg has an extensive background in criminal defense work. In a filing this week, Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted Stone’s request to bring Ginsberg onto his team.

“Roger has an excellent team of attorneys and I’m very pleased he’s asked me to assist them,” Ginsberg told ABC News on Thursday. Ginsberg added that he was brought on to help Stone’s legal team with their sentencing strategy.

Ginsberg has had a colorful career inside and outside the courthouse. At one point, in 2010, he was banned from a Manhattan federal detention center after he was caught walking in with marijuana in his bag while on his way to visit an alleged associate of the Gambino crime family.

He also previously represented an alleged member of the Luchese crime family.

Last November, Stone — President Donald Trump‘s longtime friend and former campaign adviser — was tried and found guilty of all charges in the seven-count indictment brought against him by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Stone, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, has maintained his innocence since his initial arrest during a pre-dawn FBI raid on his home Jan. 25, 2019, was found guilty of obstructing a congressional inquiry, witness tampering, and five counts of lying to Congress.

The move comes after Stone’s case unexpectedly touched off a major firestorm in Washington this week.

When prosecutors filed a memo recommending a sentencing guideline of seven to nine years in prison for Stone on Monday evening, it prompted Trump to tweet overnight that the recommendation reflected a “miscarriage of justice” and was a “horrible and very unfair situation.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice made a highly scrutinized decision to overrule the sentencing recommendation made by the federal prosecutors who successfully convicted Stone of all counts brought against him by Mueller’s team. The reversal prompted all four line prosecutors on the case to withdraw from the case, and one of the four to leave DOJ entirely.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News on Thursday, Attorney General Bill Barr told fiercely defended his actions in the case and said the Justice Department’s reversal on Stone’s sentencing recommendation had nothing to do with the president. He said he was supportive of Stone’s convictions but thought the initial sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years was excessive.

Judge Jackson is scheduled to sentence Stone on Feb. 20.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/sentencing-approaches-roger-stone-turns-mob-lawyer/story?id=68973648

 

Story 3: Massive Federal Spending and Taxes of  The Two Party Tyranny Sets New Records — Videos

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See the source image

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The High Cost of Good Intentions Featuring John Cogan

The 2018 Hayek Lecture: John Cogan on “The High Cost of Good Intentions”

The President Trump’s 2021 budget request will kick off the annual spending roulette

Romina Boccia: Out of Control Spending A Bipartisan Problem

Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for FY 2019

What Will Balance the Budget?

Coffee with Scott Adams #4 — How to balance the federal budget

What Can We Cut to Balance the Budget

Oct 16, 2012

 

Federal Taxes and Spending Set Records Through January

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 12, 2020 | 4:15pm EST

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government set records for both the amount of taxes it collected and the amount of money it spent in the first four months of fiscal 2020 (October through January), according to data released today in the Monthly Treasury Statement.

So far in fiscal 2020, the federal government has collected $1,178,800,000,000 in total taxes.

The previous high for total federal taxes collected in the first four months of the fiscal year came in fiscal 2018, when the Treasury collected $1,172,088,080,000 in constant December 2019 dollars.

While the federal government was collecting that record $1,178,800,000 in federal taxes in October through January of this fiscal year, it was spending a record total of $1,567,985,000,000.

That was up $116,800,410,000 from the $1,451,184,590,000 (in constant December 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in the first four months of fiscal 2019.

Before fiscal 2019, the record for federal spending in the first four months of the fiscal year had been set in fiscal 2009.  That year in October through January, the federal government spent $1,423,253,530,000 (in constant December 2019 dollars). Part of the spending at the beginning of that fiscal year was driven by the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which President George W. Bush signed into law at the beginning of October 2008 to bail out insolvent banks.

In the first four months of this fiscal year—while collecting a record $1,178,800,000,000 and spending a record $1,567,985,000,000—the federal government ran a deficit of $389,185,000,000.

The Department of Health and Human Services led all federal agencies in spending in the first four months of fiscal 2020 with outlays of $443,759,000,000. The Social Security Administration was second with $380,623,000,000 in spending. The Defense Department and Military Programs was third with $237,702,000,000.

(The dollar figures in this story and in the charts were adjusted into constant December 2019 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.)

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1363, November 20, 2019, Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

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Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

Impeachment Inquiry: Here’s What Nobody Understands About the Rules of Evidence, Hearsay and Perjury

Trump responds to Sondland’s testimony: ‘I turned off the television’

Trump vehemently denies quid pro quo after Sondland testimony: ‘I want nothing’

Tucker’s big takeaways from the Trump impeachment saga

Ingraham: Storytime with Adam Schiff

Ambassador Gordon Sondland Complete Opening Statement

WATCH: All the key moments from Gordon Sondland’s Trump impeachment hearing in 15 minutes (Day 4)

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Rep. Maloney and Ambassador Sondland have tense exchange

WATCH: Rep. Peter Welch’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Sondland declines to say whether he believed Trump when he said ‘no quid pro quo’

CONTRADICTING TESTIMONIES: Mike Turner RIPS into Amb. Sondland

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

 

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Sondland Screws Trump

Rep. Adam Schiff Closing Statement: “Is there any accountability?”

WATCH: Sondland testimony provides ‘zero evidence’ of Trump crimes in Ukraine, Nunes says

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the testimony by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, provided “zero evidence of any of the crimes that have been alleged” of President Donald Trump with regard to Ukraine. In closing statements after Sondland testified in a public hearing on Nov. 20, Nunes accused Democrats of contributing to a “conspiracy theory” against Trump. Sondland testified that there was a “quid pro quo” in which U.S. aid and a White House meeting were contingent on Ukraine agreeing to investigate the 2016 elections and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, Hunter, sat on the board.

Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? 1969

 

Gordon Sondland

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

July 16, 1957 (age 62)
Mercer IslandWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Alma mater University of Washington

Gordon David Sondland (born July 16, 1957)[1][2] is an American diplomat and businessperson. He is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[3] Sondland is also the founder and former chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital.

Early life and education

Sondland was born to a Jewish family[4][5] in Mercer Island, Washington,[6] the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[7][8] His mother fled Germany before the Second World War[9] to Uruguay, where after the war she reunited with his father, who had served in the French Foreign Legion. In 1953, the Sondlands relocated to Seattle where they opened a dry-cleaning business.[10] Sondland has a sister 18 years his senior.[10] He attended the University of Washington but dropped out and became a commercial real estate salesman.[10]

Career

In 1985, Sondland raised $7.8 million from friends and his wealthy brother-in-law and purchased the Roosevelt Hotel, a bankrupt Seattle hotel.[10]

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WashingtonHotel deLuxeHotel LuciaSentinel Hotel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[11]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[12][13] Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[14] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[15][16]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[17] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[18]

Following his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union by President Trump, Sondland’s name was removed from the Provenance Hotels’ website and replaced with that of his wife, who is now listed as the chairman.[19]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[20] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[21] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians, and Grimm to Oregon[22] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton, and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[23]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[24] In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[25] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[26] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[2]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[2] In April 2017, it was revealed that four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee.[27][28][29]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

In March 2018, it was reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[30][31] [32][3] [33] Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing and he was confirmed on June 28, 2018.[4] [4][5]

As ambassador, Sondland has said that strengthening US-EU trade relations is a top priority.[34] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[35][36] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[34]

Sondland has worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[37] He has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[38] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[39][40] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[39][41][42]

Sondland has been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[43] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[44] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[45]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

U.S. Delegation at May 20, 2019 Ukrainian inauguration – U.S. Photo

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between United States President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.[46] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky”.[47] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[48]

In the complaint released by the Select Committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[49]

Closed-door testimony relating to Sondland

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry.[50] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[51][52][53][54][55][56]

Three weeks later on November 5, and following the testimony of other senior national security officials who told lawmakers that security assistance was also used to try to compel the Ukrainians to open investigations that might be of benefit to the Trump 2020 campaign, Sondland provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening an investigation of Trump’s political rivals as desired by the President. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[57]

In early November, Fiona Hill testified that Sondland, as a newcomer unaccustomed to diplomatic protocols, exhibited behavior that was “comical” but “deeply concerning,” and his lack of adherence to security protocols made him a “counterintelligence risk.” Hill testified that in July, Sondland attended a meeting with Ukrainian officials and told them that an Oval Office meeting with Trump would occur if investigations began. She testified, “Ambassador Sondland blurted out: ‘Well, we have an agreement with the Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,'” and that John Bolton ended the meeting abruptly and later told her, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”[58]

On November 13, William Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified that a staff member who was later identified as David Holmes told him that he overheard a phone conversation about Ukraine “investigations” between Sondland and the president at a restaurant in Kyiv. The call was made the day following Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he asked Zelenskiy to investigate corruption. Taylor said there were two other people having lunch in the restaurant, and they heard the conversation as well.[59] Appearing in a closed-door inquiry on November 15, in a written opening statement Holmes said he heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” and Sondland replied, “he’s gonna do it” adding Zelensky will do “anything you ask him to.” Holmes also testified that Sondland later told him that Trump “did not give a shit about Ukraine” and “only cared about the big stuff … the big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.” In the same conversation, Sondland was also heard to characterize President Zelensky’s strongly favorable view of President Trump, informing the latter that Zelenskiy “loves [his] ass.” [60] U.S. security experts were alarmed by the fact that Sondland called a U.S. president on an unsecured line in a public place, particularly in Ukraine, where calls are assumed to be monitored by Russia.[61]

On November 16, the House impeachment investigators released the closed-door testimony of former National Security Council official Tim Morrison. Morrison voiced concerns saying that during the time that he had worked with Sondland he was not following the normal diplomatic process as used by other personnel but rather was on “a second track,” chiefly led by Sondland, “where Rudy Giuliani’s name would come up.” Morrison also testified that he had heard from Sondland that “US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.” Morrison said that on September 7, Sondland told him of a phone call he’d had from Trump in which the president said, “that there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelensky must announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it.”[62] During his public testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on November 19, 2019, Morrison stated that Sondland confirmed to him that there was indeed a quid pro quo for US aid to Ukraine and Sondland told him this following a telephone conversation Sondland had with Ukraine official Andriy Yermak on September 1, 2019.[63]

Public testimony

External video
 Testimony of Sondland to the House Intelligence Committee, November 20, 2019C-SPAN

In his public testimony on November 20, Sondland said it was at the “express direction of the president” that he, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry, commonly referred to as “the three amigos,” worked with Giuliani on Ukraine matters even though they were uncomfortable with Giuliani’s role. He said that the leadership of the State Department and the National Security Council, including Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, were fully informed of their activities and Giuliani’s, adding “Everyone was in the loop.”[64] He said that Trump, through Giuliani, was clearly demanding a public commitment by Zelensky to investigate Bursima (a Ukrainian gas company where Vice President Joe Biden’s son had sat on the board) and the 2016 election as a prerequisite to receive a White House invitation or phone call. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo? The answer is yes,” he said in his opening remarks.[65] He said it was “his personal guess” that the aid to Ukraine was also being withheld to achieve that goal, but that he never heard Trump say so. Sondland also confirmed that he had conversed by phone with Trump on July 26, as previously reported by other witnesses, adding that he “had no reason to doubt” that the subject had included investigations but “had no recollection” of discussing the Bidens.[64] Sondland testtified to Deven Nunas that he remains “a proud member of the three amigos,” and said that he would have objected to the Bursima investigation if he had connected it to the Bidens. In her testimony on the following day Fiona Hill was asked, “Is it credible to you that Mr. Sondland was completely in the dark about this [connection] all summer?” she replied, “It is not credible to me that he was oblivious.”[66]

Philanthropy

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[67] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[68] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

In November 2019, the Portland Business Journal noted that following Sondland’s appointment as Ambassador, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation modified its website by removing a biography tab for Sondland and adding two new ones for the couple’s children.[69]

Personal life

In 1993, Sondland married Katherine Durant,[10] who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[70] They have two children, Max and Lucy.[71]

References…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Sondland

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1356, November 11, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

Posted on November 18, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Anthropology, Banking System, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, College, Communications, Computer, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mike Pence, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Science, Security, Senate, Social Sciences, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Ukraine, Unemployment, Unions, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos

See the source image

President Trump and The First Lady Attend the New York City Veterans Day Parade

Trump is first sitting president to attend Veterans Day Parade

Trump speaks at the New York City Veterans Day parade

President Trump kicks off the 100th annual NYC Veterans Day Parade at Madison Square Park in Manhattan. He will be the first president to participate in the parade. Trump gives an address at the park, the site of the Eternal Light Flagstaff memorial. #FoxNews

Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks on Veterans Day 2019

Vice President Pence Attends a National Veterans Day Observance

WATCH: Trump speaks at Veterans Day Parade in New York

USA: Veterans Day Parade sees anti-Trump protests

100th Annual NYC Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day observances from across the country

VP Pence speaks at Arlington Cemetery

WATCH: Vice President Pence observes Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

 

Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video

Trish Regan: Corruption, payouts and quid pro quos

Fitton: This is a fundamental threat to our republic

WATCH: Giuliani had a campaign against former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, John Sullivan says

How Rudy Giuliani went from ‘America’s mayor’ to Ukraine business broker

Giuliani’s globetrotting complicates US foreign policy

Giuliani: Shouldn’t Biden be investigated over Ukraine if Trump can be impeached over it?

Giuliani rips ‘corrupt’ media, defends Trump’s calls for Biden probe

Giuliani slams ‘swamp media’, says it’s time to fight back against Dems

PBS News Hour full episode November 11, 2019

‘He’s Gonna Sing’: Giuliani Hires 3 Lawyers Amid Ukraine Scandal | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

What diplomat George Kent said about Rudy Giuliani — and Hunter Biden

‘I wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff’: Giuliani | ABC News

 

Rudy Giuliani’s diplomatic backchannel was both ‘irregular’ and ‘outlandish’

Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1355, November 8, 2019, Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos –Story 2: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — “Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

Posted on November 17, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Climate Change, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Eating, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Exercise, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Islam, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Mexico, Middle East, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, Obesity, People, Pete Buttigieg, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos —

 

Nowhere Man

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command
He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all ’til somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You

The Beatles – Nowhere Man (live!)

 

Trump: Democrats are trying to find people that hate me

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

What The World Never Knew About The Beatles

I am the Walrus The Beatles

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I’m crying
Sitting on a corn flake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you’ve been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Mr. City policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I’m crying
I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for

 

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Oct. 4, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. CDT

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

 Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 17

We recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task for misleading reporters about the fact that he was a participant in the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the subject of a whistleblower complaint and now an impeachment inquiry in Congress. He earned Four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to reporters to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place.

But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts. Now let’s look at comments by Schiff, who is heading the impeachment inquiry, as reporters probed about the whistleblower before the details of the allegation were revealed.

 Schiff’s answers are especially interesting in the wake of reports in the New York Times and The Washington Post that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee staff member for guidance before filing a complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general. The staff member learned the “very bare contours” of the allegation that Trump has abused the powers of his office, The Post said.

When the Fact Checker asked what “bare contours” meant, a committee spokesman pointed to an exchange of letters. In a Sept. 13 letter to the committee, the general counsel of the director of national intelligence said that “complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” In his own letter that day, Schiff wrote that because of that language, and because the DNI refused to affirm or deny that White House officials were involved in the decision not to forward the complaint, the committee can conclude only that “the serious misconduct involves the president of the United States and/or other senior White House or administration officials.”

Our suspicion is that the unidentified staff member learned the potential complaint involved “privileged” communication, which is code for something having to do with the president.

So, with this new information, let’s look back at how Schiff handled questions about his knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

The Facts

Sept. 16, interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN

Cooper: “Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?”
Schiff: “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.”
Cooper: “And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?”
Schiff: “I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way.”

This is a classic dodge — “don’t want to get into any particulars” — and Cooper failed to follow up. Notice how Schiff quickly answered whether he knew the identity of the whistleblower — “I don’t know” — but then sidestepped the questions about whether the committee had been contacted. But in doing so, he managed not to mislead; he just simply did not answer the question.

Sept. 17, interview on “Morning Joe”

Sam Stein: “Have you heard from the whistleblower? Do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?” …
Schiff: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”

This is flat-out false. Unlike the quick two-step dance he performed with Anderson Cooper, Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.

“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” a committee spokesman told The Fact Checker. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
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The spokesman pointed to an interview with Schiff by the Daily Beast, in which he said that he “did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff.” But he added that he “should have been much more clear.”

Sept. 19, meeting with reporters at the Capitol

Schiff: “In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern.”

Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

Schiff, however, does qualify that this was a complaint alleging “an urgent concern,” and it’s not clear whether the initial inquiry had tipped off the committee staff that it would rise to that level. Still, Schiff’s phrasing was misleading because he gives no hint that the committee was aware a potentially significant (“privileged”) complaint might have been filed.

“As Chairman Schiff has made clear, he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, has had no communication with them or their attorney, and did not view the whistleblower’s complaint until the day prior to the hearing with the DNI when the ODNI finally provided it to the Committee,” the spokesman said. “Whistleblowers frequently come to the committee. Some whistleblowers approach the IG without notice to the Committee, and some who do go to the IG do not necessarily file a complaint. However, this was the first whistleblower complaint provided to the Committee this year that the IC IG determined to be of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible,’ and Chairman Schiff would have raised the alarm regardless when it was illegally withheld.”

The spokesman added: “The focus should not be on the whistleblower, but rather the complaint which the IC IG determined was credible and urgent and which has been thus far confirmed by the call record released by the White House and statements by the President and his personal attorney.”

The Pinocchio Test

There are right ways and wrong ways to answer reporters’ questions if a politician wants to maintain his or her credibility. There’s nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don’t try to mislead (as Pompeo did).

But Schiff on “Morning Joe” clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the IG’s office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication.

The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.

Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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Story 2: Billionaire”The Nanny” Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos —

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Trump on Bloomberg: ‘He’s got some personal problems’

What impact could Michael Bloomberg have on the presidential race?

Bloomberg opens door to 2020 presidential bid

RAW VIDEO] Trump to Bloomberg: ‘Little Michael will fail’

Varney: Bloomberg is a huge problem for Biden

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Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1350, November 1, 2019, Story 1: Understanding The November Jobs Report With Increased U-3 Unemployment Rate of 3.6%, U-6 Unemployment Rate of 7.0% and Labor Participation Rate of 63.3% With Estimated 128,000 New Jobs Created — Economy Growing — Videos — Story 2: Stock Market Hits New Record Highs in S&P 500 and NASDAQ — Videos– Story 3: The Decline of United States Monetary Base Could Lead to Massive Deflation and Recession? — What Institutions are The Fed Bailing Out? — Videos — Story 4: Listen To Reading and Read The Transcript of Call Between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky —  Videos — Story 5: Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joey Biden Does Not Get It — Lying Will Not Work — Ukraine Government Interfered in 2016 Election For Hillary Clinton  — Democrats Colluding with Ukraine Government — Videos — Story 6: Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist “Beto” Robert Francis O’Rourke Leaves Race — Crisis and Fear Monger — Will Not Be Missed By American People — Videos

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Story 1: Understanding The November Jobs Report With Increased U-3 Unemployment Rate of 3.6% and Labor Participation Rate of 63.3% With Estimated 128,000 New Jobs Created — Videos

Watch Wall Street five experts react to the October jobs report

Pay attention to the manufacturing data in the jobs report, says NationsShares’ Scott Nations

October Jobs Report: 128,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment At 3.6 Percent | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Nightly Business Report – November 1, 2019

 

Alternate Unemployment Charts

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 

Public Commentary on Unemployment

Unemployment Data Series   subcription required(Subscription required.)  View  Download Excel CSV File   Last Updated: November 1st, 2019

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for October 2019 is 21.0%.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

Civilian Labor Force Level

164,364,000

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155763(1) 155312 155005 155394 155536 155749 155599 155605 155687 154673 155265 155182
2014 155352(1) 155483 156028 155369 155684 155707 156007 156130 156040 156417 156494 156332
2015 157053(1) 156663 156626 157017 157616 157014 157008 157165 156745 157188 157502 158080
2016 158371(1) 158705 159079 158891 158700 158899 159150 159582 159810 159768 159629 159779
2017 159693(1) 159854 160036 160169 159910 160124 160383 160706 161190 160436 160626 160636
2018 161123(1) 161900 161646 161551 161667 162129 162209 161802 162055 162694 162821 163240
2019 163229(1) 163184 162960 162470 162646 162981 163351 163922 164039 164364
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.3%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8
2015 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.7 62.9 62.6 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.5 62.6 62.7
2016 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7
2017 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.7 62.8 62.7
2018 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.9 62.9 63.1
2019 63.2 63.2 63.0 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3

 Employment Level

158,510,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143292(1) 143362 143316 143635 143882 143999 144264 144326 144418 143537 144479 144778
2014 145150(1) 145134 145648 145667 145825 146247 146399 146530 146778 147427 147404 147615
2015 148150(1) 148053 148122 148491 148802 148765 148815 149175 148853 149270 149506 150164
2016 150622(1) 150934 151146 150963 151074 151104 151450 151766 151877 151949 152150 152276
2017 152128(1) 152417 152958 153150 152920 153176 153456 153591 154399 153847 153945 154065
2018 154482(1) 155213 155160 155216 155539 155592 155964 155604 156069 156582 156803 156945
2019 156694(1) 156949 156748 156645 156758 157005 157288 157878 158269 158510
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Unemployment Level

5,855,000

 

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 15046 15113 15202 15325 14849 14474 14512 14648 14579 14516 15081 14348
2011 14013 13820 13737 13957 13855 13962 13763 13818 13948 13594 13302 13093
2012 12797 12813 12713 12646 12660 12692 12656 12471 12115 12124 12005 12298
2013 12471 11950 11689 11760 11654 11751 11335 11279 11270 11136 10787 10404