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The Pronk Pops Show 873, April 13, 2017, Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos — Story 2: Trump To NATO Members: Pay You Bills (2% of GDP For Military Spending) — NATO Not Obsolete — Videos — Story 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov To United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Show Us The Evidence of Chemical Gas Attack in Syria — Assad –“100% Fabrication” — Not Enough Evidence — Videos — Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — Story 5: Trump Favors Fed Chair Yellen’s Unconventional Accommodating Easy Money Policy — Government Intervention in Money Markets — Financial Repression of American Savers — Videos — Story 6: Trump Supporters and Talk Radio Will Dump Trump Should He Continue Flip Flopping and Listening To Liberal Democrat/Moderate Advisers — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

 

 

Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos —

Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for MOAB blast site in afganistan

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

Former UN Amb. Bolton on Afghanistan bombing: Magnitude roughly equivalent to small nuclear weapon

Lt. Col. Peters on Afghanistan bombing: A message to North Koreans

President Trump Statement on Dropping MOAB on ISIS 4/13/17

Breaking! U.S. Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Afghanistan! “Mother of All Bombs”!

Trump Drops the ”Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan

WORLDS LARGEST Non-Nuclear Bomb GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

Published on Apr 13, 2017

Mother of all bombs GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
U.S. on 04.11.2017 dropped the most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal on Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
The bomb, known in military ranks as “MOAB,” or the “mother of all bombs,” was used Thursday for the first time in combat, though it was developed in the early 2000s.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik: Syria Strike Was A Message To China And North Korea

Can the U.S. handle the North Korea threat without China?

 

Children of Mother of All Bomb

Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57

MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran

Father of Mother of All Bombs — The Daisy Cutter

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

The Daisy Cutter in Vietnam

Desert Storm Daisy cutters 11 March 1991

The BLU 82 – [Daisy Cutter]

ISIS hammered as US drops biggest non-nuclear weapon ever: 21,000lb bomb is used in anger for the first time to obliterate jihadists’ caves in Afghanistan

  • U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after targeting ISIS in Afghanistan
  • The GBU-43 bomb weighs 21,600 pounds, is 30 feet long, contains 11 tons of explosives and carries a mile-wide blast radius
  • It can create a blast crater more than 300 meters wide after being dropped from a Hercules MC-130 cargo plane
  • Trump pledged in 2015 that if he became president he would ‘bomb the s**t out of ‘ ISIS 
  • On Thursday he called the bombing ‘another successful job’ and said he had delegated strike authority to his military commanders
  • Pentagon denies that it was revenge for the death on Saturday of a Green Beret soldier in the same region of Pakistan 

The United States has dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after it targeted ISIS a network of caves and tunnels in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. forces used a GPS-guided GBU-43 bomb, which is 30 feet long and weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds.

It is known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ – a play on ‘MOAB,’ an acronym that stands for ‘Massive Ordnance Air Burst.’

A crater left by the blast is believed to be more than 300 meters wide after it exploded six feet above the ground. Anyone at the blast site was vaporized.

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he was ‘very, very proud’ and called the operation ‘really another successful job. We’re very, very proud of our military.’

The Pentagon is denying that the attack was a revenge strike despite the fact that it came in the same area of Afghanistan where a Green Beret soldier was killed on Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was cut down by enemy small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker 'Mother Of All Bombs

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker ‘Mother Of All Bombs

That MOAB's first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

That MOAB’s first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

Trump suggested he had not personally ordered the bomb strike but delegated authority to commanders in the field.

‘Everybody knows exactly what happened. So, what I do is I authorize my military … We have given them total authorization,’ he said.

The move marks the fulfilment of a 17-month-old campaign promise Trump delivered in Iowa, when he scoffed at ISIS terror forces and said he ‘would bomb the s**t out of them’ if he became president.

It also comes at a moment in the young Trump presidency when tensions are rising with Russia over its role in Syria, where ISIS has its headquarters.

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: 'I would bomb the s**t out of them'

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: ‘I would bomb the s**t out of them’

The explosion will also send a saber-rattling message to North Korea and Iran that rogue states’ nuclear-weapons ambitions could be met with brute force.

Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un: ‘I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not.’

‘North Korea’s a problem. The problem will be taken care of.’

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday's attack was revenge for Saturday's death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday’s attack was revenge for Saturday’s death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that MOAB is ‘a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon’ whose use was intended to collapse underground spaces used by ISIS terrorists to move freely and attack U.S. and allied troops.

‘The United States takes the fight against ISIS seriously, and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space – which we did,’ Spicer said.

He referred reporters’ questions to the Pentagon and ignored a shouted question about whether Trump had been aware the bomb was dropped before or during the military operation.

Trump said during a November 2015 campaign rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa that ISIS was ‘making a tremendous amount of money’ because of ‘certain areas of oil that they took away’ after the Obama administration withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s**t out of them,’ he said to wild cheers. ‘I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.’

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before - in a 2003 test

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before – in a 2003 test

A specialized MC-130 ‘Hercules’ cargo aircraft released the weapon at 7:00 p.m. local time.

It was too big to drop from a traditional bomb-bay door or release from an aircraft wing, so ‘we kicked it out the back door,’ a U.S. official told Fox News.

The weapon’s sheer power produces a blast that can be felt miles away, largely because of its construction.

Engineers used an unusually thin aluminum skin to encase MOAB’s payload, in order to avoid a thicker steel frame interfering with the impact on a target.

The U.S. fast-tracked the MOAB in 2003 for use in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the Defense Department later decided that the enemy provided too little resistance to justify its deployment.

It was available to the Obama administration throughout the former president’s entire two terms, but he never deployed it in combat.

Its first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

HOW ‘MOAB’ WORKS

Key stats:

  • Known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’
  • The U.S. military’s largest non-nuclear weapon
  • Each bomb costs around $16 million (£12.8 million)
  • Its explosion is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT and the blast radius is a mile wide
  • First tested by US forces in 2003
  • It is designed to destroy heavily reinforced targets or to shatter ground forces and armour across a large area
  • 30 feet (9 meters) long and 40 inches (1 meter) wide
  • Weighs 21,000lbs (9,500kg) – heavier than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb
  • Leaves no lasting radiation effect

How it’s deployed:

  • The bomb has ‘grid’ fins that fold into the body and then open up in flight to help control its descent
  • It can only be deployed out of the back of a large cargo plane due to its size
  • The bomb rides on a pallet, a parachute pulls the pallet and bomb out of the plane
  • The pallet then separates so that the bomb can fall to its target
  • It accelerates rapidly to its terminal velocity and is partially guided to its target via satellite
  • It explodes six feet (1.8 meters) above the ground
  • The idea behind this ‘airburst’ mechanism is to spread its destructive range

The weapon carries a blast wave that can be felt more than a mile away

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the explosive colossus was dropped in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, making it the first time America’s largest non-nuclear weapon has been used in a combat situation.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first ever combat use of the bomb, which contains 11 tons of explosives.

Stump said the bomb was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by ISIS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement about ISIS that ‘as ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense.’

‘This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS-K].’

News reports suggest Nicholson made the decision to drop it from the sky.

He added that ‘[t]he strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.’

The ISIS faction in Afghanistan is known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorasan province, or ISIS-K.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4409772/US-drops-biggest-non-nuclear-bomb-combat-time.html#ixzz4eAJVW5w0

 

Story 2: Trump To NATO Members: Pay You Bills (2% of GDP For Military Spending) — NATO Not Obsolete — Videos — 

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Donald Trump “NATO is Largely Obsolete, It’s Got To Be Changed”

President Trump: I will work to enhance NATO

President Trump Holds a Joint Press Conference with Secretary General Stoltenberg

How Powerful Is NATO?

What is NATO?

Story 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov To  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Show Us The Evidence of Chemical Gas Attack in Syria — Assad –“100% Fabrication” — Not Enough Evidence — Videos — 

Rex Tillerson holds joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister after meeting Vladimir Putin…

Sec. Tillerson, Russian Minister Lavrov. News conference in Moscow. Syria. April 12. 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin: US strike on Syria an act of war against Russia – LoneWolf

Gen. Jack Keane on Secretary Tillerson’s meeting with Putin

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What You Need to Know About Assad, Syria, Chemical Attacks and Potential Military Action

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Trump Orders Attack On Syria! Will Russia Respond? Is Trump Wrong?

TRUMP’S ATTACK ON SYRIA PART OF MUCH LARGER GLOBAL POLICY SHIFT

PUTIN SAYS SYRIA ATTACK IS A FALSE FLAG

BREAKING NEWS TRUMP 04/13/17: FOX NEWS SHOW THURSDAY

Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — 

A New Approach to Currency Manipulation?

How China’s devaluation impacts the U.S.

How Does China Manipulate Its Currency?

China’s Currency Manipulation

Donald Trump Economic Speech | Calls China as a Currency Manipulator | Monessen, PA | Mango News

Trump Tv | Japanese reporter asks Trump about China currency Manipulation | February 10 2017

Why Trump Should Stop Accusing China of Yuan Manipulation

Chinese Yuan Devaluation is an Act of War

C. Fred Bergsten on Currency Wars and US Economy

China’s Upward Currency Manipulation Might Have To End – FX Reserves Are Falling

It is a standard belief of many in the US, including the new President, Donald Trump, that China is a currency manipulator. This is true, China has indeed been manipulating the value of the yuan. However, contrary to popular belief it has, at least recently, been manipulating that value up against the American dollar, not down. This of course makes Chinese exports to America more expensive and reduces the trade deficit between the two countries. Not that simple facts tend to change many peoples’ beliefs about the economy of course.

However, this all might come to an end soon enough because China’s foreign currency reserves are falling as a result of their interventions. In fact, that those reserves are falling is the very evidence we need to show that they are intervening up, not down:

China’s foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below the closely watched $3 trillion level in January for the first time in nearly six years, though tighter regulatory controls appeared to making some progress in slowing capital outflows. China has taken a raft of steps in recent months to make it harder to move money out of the country and to reassert a grip on its faltering currency, even as U.S. President Donald Trump steps up accusations that Beijing is keeping the yuan too cheap.

As we can see the general assumption in the financial markets, and the correct assumption too, is that China has been intervening to keep the value of the yuan up, not down. The major way it has been doing this being by limiting the amount that Chinese citizens can move out of the country:

Further erosion of the world’s largest stockpile may prompt policy makers again to tighten measures for controlling outflows and on companies transferring money to other countries. Authorities recently rolled out stricter requirements for citizens converting yuan into foreign currencies as the annual $50,000 foreign exchange quota for individuals reset Jan. 1.

For a capital outflow does indeed reduce the value of a currency:

China’s foreign exchange reserves fell below the $3 trillion mark for the first time in almost six years as capital continued to flow out of the world’s second-largest economy, data from the People’s Bank of China showed Tuesday.

The reserves fell by $12.31 billion from the previous month to $2.998 trillion, following a drop of $41.08 billion in December. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a $1 billion decrease in January.

The reason a capital outflow does this should be obvious. Yuan work only in China. Thus, to take money out of China you must sell yuan and buy some other form of money. That sale reduces the value of the yuan (more of something for sale does usually mean a price fall) against those other currencies. And thus the truth of those accusations of currency manipulation. As we can see the Chinese government is placing restrictions on peoples’ ability to sell yuan. This is thus manipulation which keeps the value up, not such that pushes it down.

All of which leaves us with an interesting point. The general demand is that China stop manipulating the value of its currency. OK, so, let’s insist upon that. The value of the yuan will fall, Chinese exports to America will be cheaper and we might well then see an increase in the US trade deficit. Which isn’t really what the people complaining about manipulation want, is it? But it may well be what they’re about to get.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/02/07/chinas-upward-currency-manipulation-might-have-to-end-fx-reserves-are-falling/#49701dc0751c

Trump says he will not label China currency manipulator, reversing campaign promise

April 12

Trump called China a ‘currency manipulator.’ Does it deserve the label?

During his presidential campaign Trump talked tough on China, accusing them of undervaluing the yuan. The International Monetary Fund has said that Chinese currency is “no longer undervalued”. Does China still deserve to be called a “currency manipulator”?(Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday said he would not label China a currency manipulator, contradicting one of the biggest economic promises he made on the campaign trail.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he had changed his mind because China is not currently manipulating its currency, adding that he hoped to enlist China’s help on containing the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Trump also indicated that he might be open to keeping Janet L. Yellen as Federal Reserve chair after her term expires. “I like her, I respect her. … It’s very early,” he said when asking about her reappointment.

Trump was highly critical of Yellen during the campaign. He accused her of keeping interest rates low to benefit the Obama administration and said she should be ashamed of herself. But Yellen has a reputation for being slow to raise interest rates, and Trump had also professed his preference for low interest rates in the past.

“I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” he told the Journal, when asked about Yellen.

The president is also “very close” to naming a vice chair and filling another open seat that governs community banking on the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during the interview.

In the interview, Trump also inveighed against the strong U.S. dollar, saying that the strength of the currency stemmed partially from people’s confidence in him, but that it was also hurting the economy.

“It’s very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency,” he said.

Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said it was striking that a sitting president would comment so directly on the value of the dollar.

“It could also be taken as an implicit threat to other countries that if the dollar stays strong and if U.S. bilateral trade imbalances with its major trading partners stay high or continue to expand, that he will take some sort of action,” Prasad said.

The judgment on currency manipulation was scheduled to be released in a semiannual report from the Treasury Department that is due this week.

China defies international trade rules in some respects, economists say, but devaluing its currency is not currently one of them. While China suppressed the value of its currency for years to make its products cheaper abroad and boost its exports, for the past several years it has been intervening in currency markets to prop the yuan up, which actually benefits American exporters.

“Certainly for the past six months, which is the period notionally covered by the April 15 report, China has been intervening to raise the value of its currency, not to suppress it,” said Matthew Goodman, a former Treasury official who helped to label China a currency manipulator during the Clinton administration.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-promise-tracker/?promise=9

China was a favored target of Trump’s on the campaign trail. He often said the world’s second-largest economy was taking advantage of the U.S., and that he would respond on his first day in office by labeling China a currency manipulator. He has also said he would impose tariffs of up to 45 percent on China if the country does not negotiate better trade terms with the United States.

Labeling a country a currency manipulator triggers an investigation and can eventually lead to tariffs or other economically punitive measures.

But when Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago last week, the conversation was much more genial. The outcome of the talks was a 100-day plan to reevaluate the countries’ trading relationship, including trying to boost American exports to China.

President Trump met with China’s president on April 6, after months of criticizing China and promising big trade changes. From blasting China for currency manipulation to accusing them of “raping our economy,” here are some of his biggest blusters from the campaign trail. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Has the United States mismanaged the ascent of China?

By April 15, the Treasury Department is required to present to Congress a report on the exchange rate policies of the country’s major trading partners, intended to identify manipulators that cheapen their currency to make their exports more attractive and gain market share in the United States, a designation that could eventually lead to retaliation.

It would be hard, these days, to find an economist who feels China fits the bill. Under a trade law passed in 2015, a country must meet three criteria: It would have to have a “material” trade surplus with the rest of the world, have a “significant” surplus with the United States, and intervene persistently in foreign exchange markets to push its currency in one direction.

While China’s surplus with the United States is pretty big — almost $350 billion — its global surplus is modest, at 2.4 percent of its gross domestic product last year. Most significant, it has been pushing its currency up, not down. Since the middle of 2014 it has sold over $1 trillion from its reserves to prop up the renminbi, under pressure from capital flight by Chinese companies and savers.

Even President Trump — who as a candidate promised to label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 and put a 45 percent tariff on imports of Chinese goods — seems to be backing away from broad, immediate retaliation.

 And yet the temptation remains. “When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations,” the Chinese “are world champions,” Mr. Trump told The Financial Times, ahead of the state visit of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to the United States last week.

For all Mr. Trump’s random impulsiveness and bluster — and despite his lack of a coherent strategy to engage with what is likely soon to become the world’s biggest economy — he is not entirely alone with his views.

Many learned economists and policy experts ruefully acknowledge that the president’s intuition is broadly right: While labeling China a currency manipulator now would look ridiculous, the United States should have done it a long time ago.

“With the benefit of hindsight, China should have been named,” said Brad Setser, an expert on international economics and finance who worked in the Obama administration and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A Changing Trade Picture

After suppressing its currency through 2014, China has turned to propping it up, and its trade surplus as a share of its economy has declined over the last decade.

There were reasonable arguments against putting China on the spot and starting a process that could eventually lead to American retaliation.

Yet by not pushing back against China’s currency manipulation, and allowing China to deploy an arsenal of trade tactics of dubious legality to increase exports to the United States, successive administrations — Republican and Democratic — arguably contributed to the economic dislocations that pummeled so many American workers over more than a decade. Those dislocations helped propel Mr. Trump to power.

From 2000 to 2014 China definitely suppressed the rise of the renminbi to maintain a competitive advantage for its exports, buying dollars hand over fist and adding $4 trillion to its foreign reserves over the period. Until 2005, the Chinese government kept the renminbi pegged to the dollar, following it down as the greenback slid against other major currencies starting in 2003.

American multinationals were flocking into China, taking advantage of its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, which guaranteed access to the American and other world markets for its exports. By 2007, China’s broad trade surplus hit 10 percent of its gross domestic product — an unheard-of imbalance for an economy this large. And its surplus with the United States amounted to a full third of the American deficit with the world.

Though the requirement that the Treasury identify currency manipulators “gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade” dates back to the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, China was never called out.

There were good reasons. Or at least they seemed so at the time. For one, China hands in the administration of George W. Bush argued that putting China on the spot would make negotiations more difficult, because even Chinese leaders who understood the need to allow their currency to rise could not be seen to bow to American pressure.

Labeling China a manipulator could have severely hindered progress in other areas of a complex bilateral economic relationship. And the United States had bigger fish to fry.

“There were other dimensions of China’s economic policies that were seen as more important to U.S. economic and business interests,” Eswar Prasad, who headed the China desk at the International Monetary Fund and is now a professor at Cornell, told me. These included “greater market access, better intellectual property rights protection, easier access to investment opportunities, etc.”

At the end of the day, economists argued at the time, Chinese exchange rate policies didn’t cost the United States much. After all, in 2007 the United States was operating at full employment. The trade deficit was because of Americans’ dismal savings rate and supercharged consumption, not a cheap renminbi. After all, if Americans wanted to consume more than they created, they had to get it somewhere.

Photo

Shi Guangsheng, seated, then the Chinese trade minister, signing documents admitting China to the World Trade Organization at a ceremony in Qatar in 2001. CreditRabih Moghrabi/Agence France-Presse

And the United States had a stake in China’s rise. A crucial strategic goal of American foreign policy since Mao’s death had been how to peacefully incorporate China into the existing order of free-market economies, bound by international law into the fabric of the postwar multilateral institutions.

And the strategy even worked — a little bit. China did allow its currency to rise a little from 2005 to 2008. And when the financial crisis hit, it took the foot off the export pedal and deployed a giant fiscal stimulus, which bolstered internal demand.

Yet though these arguments may all be true, they omitted an important consideration: The overhaul of the world economy imposed by China’s global rise also created losers.

In a set of influential papers that have come to inform the thinking about the United States’ relations with China, David Autor, Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gordon Hanson from the University of California, San Diego; and David Dorn from the University of Zurich concluded that lots of American workers, in many communities, suffered a blow from which they never recovered.

Rising Chinese imports from 1999 to 2011 cost up to 2.4 million American jobs, one paper estimated. Another found that sagging wages in local labor markets exposed to Chinese competition reduced earnings by $213 per adult per year.

Economic theory posited that a developed country like the United States would adjust to import competition by moving workers into more advanced industries that competed successfully in global markets. In the real world of American workers exposed to the rush of imports after China erupted onto world markets, the adjustment didn’t happen.

If mediocre job prospects and low wages didn’t stop American families from consuming, it was because the American financial system was flush with Chinese cash and willing to lend, financing their homes and refinancing them to buy the furniture. But that equilibrium didn’t end well either, did it?

What it left was a lot of betrayed anger floating around among many Americans on the wrong end of these dynamics. “By not following the law, the administration sent a political signal that the U.S. wouldn’t stand up to Chinese cheating,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “As we can see now, that hurt in terms of maintaining political support for open trade.”

If there was a winner from this dynamic, it was Mr. Trump.

Will Mr. Trump really go after China? In addition to an expected executive order to retaliate against the dumping of Chinese steel, he has promised more. He could tinker with the definitions of “material” and “significant” trade surpluses to justify a manipulation charge.

And yet a charge of manipulation would add irony upon irony. “It would be incredibly ironic not to have named China a manipulator when it was manipulating, and name it when it is not,” Mr. Setser told me. And Mr. Trump would be retaliating against the economic dynamic that handed him the presidency.

China is No Longer Manipulating its Currency

C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE)

November 18, 2016 9:45 AM

US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to instruct his Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, just as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did in 2012. He would then presumably seek to negotiate with the Chinese to reduce their large trade surplus, which equals roughly half the total US trade deficit of about $500 billion, under the threat of limiting imports unilaterally if they failed to cooperate (and risking retaliation against US exports). A declining US trade deficit, if it could be achieved, would increase US economic growth. But China has not manipulated its currency, the renminbi, for the past two years, and even an erroneous designation would not enable the new president to take any retaliatory trade actions.

China was the champion currency manipulator of all time from 2003 through 2014. During this “decade of manipulation,” China bought more than $300 billion annually to resist upward movement of its currency by artificially keeping the exchange rate of the dollar strong and the renminbi’s exchange rate weak. China’s competitive position was thus strengthened by as much as 30 to 40 percent at the peak of the intervention. Currency manipulation explained most of China’s large trade surpluses, which reached a staggering 10 percent of its entire GDP in 2007.

China was not the only manipulator. A number of other Asian economies, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, also intervened regularly to keep from losing their competitive position to China (and thus to the United States as well). A few others, including Japan and Korea, intervened occasionally as well.

Naming a country a manipulator, however, has no significant operational consequences (which is one of the reasons it has not been done in recent years). The relevant US law, dating from 1988, requires only that the Secretary of the Treasury launch a negotiation with the indicted countries in an effort to rectify the situation. Trump and his advisors have suggested they would use a designation to impose new import restrictions against China, up to the level of the renminbi undervaluation that resulted, but they would have to invoke other US statutes to justify such action. (Regardless of manipulation, the administration might authorize the Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties against imports that were subsidized by undervalued exchange rates in China and elsewhere; this would probably run afoul of US obligations in the World Trade Organization, however, and might also be challenged domestically unless Congress explicitly authorized such treatment.)

I was among the first to call attention to the manipulation by the Chinese and others and to advocate strong action to counter it, but it must be recognized that the situation has changed dramatically over the past two years. China has experienced large outflows of private capital that have driven its exchange rate down and indeed sparked market fears of disorderly renminbi devaluations. To their credit, the Chinese have intervened heavily on the opposite side of the market: Instead of buying dollars to keep the renminbi weak, they have sold large amounts of dollars to prevent it from sliding further. Their recent intervention has promoted US competitiveness rather than undermined it. Manipulation (including by other countries) has passed largely into remission.

It would thus be factually incorrect, as well as ineffectual, for the new Trump administration to label China a currency manipulator (and the Chinese might well refuse to negotiate under such circumstances). Indeed, the White House would be running counter to the thrust of the new US currency law (although it could still label a country as a “manipulator,” even if it did not meet the terms of that law). The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 spells out three criteria for identifying a country for currency misbehavior:

  • a large bilateral trade surplus with the United States, which China has;
  • a material global current account surplus, which the Treasury Department interprets as meaning more than 3 percent of a country’s GDP, a bit more than China is now running; and
  • “persistent one-sided intervention” in the currency markets, to keep its exchange rate from rising, which China is clearly not conducting.

These tests would have caught China for eight consecutive years, from 2003 through 2010, but Treasury currently has placed China only on a “monitoring list” along with five others that meet at least two of the criteria or have met them in the recent past. There is always a possibility that China (and others) could resume the competitive nonappreciation of the earlier period if market pressure again pushed the renminbi upward, especially if China’s economic reforms faltered and its growth rate sank below the new target of 7 percent. So we cannot be confident that the problem has been definitively resolved.

Indeed, it would be desirable for the Trump administration to add a new tool to the US policy arsenal, to ensure the problem will not resurface, by announcing that the United States will counter any future manipulation by others with offsetting intervention of its own. If China buys $1 billion in an effort to keep the dollar artificially strong, the United States could buy $1 billion worth of renminbi to neutralize any impact of the Chinese action on the exchange rate between the two currencies. The Chinese currency and bond markets are now large enough to permit any foreseeable level of US intervention that might be needed. But simply the announcement of a policy of such “countervailing currency intervention” would almost surely deter future manipulation efforts, requiring very little if any actual activity. It should thus prolong the current remission of manipulation indefinitely. The Senate passed a bill authorizing “remedial currency intervention” in 2011, but the policy could be adopted under current law.

Trump’s economic team may decide to address a number of Chinese policies that support its exports and impede its imports, in an effort to reduce the Chinese surplus and the US deficit, as its predecessors have done for many years. There are several US statutes that provide a basis for doing so. Currency manipulation is not one of these, however, especially at the present time. The new administration should look for alternative paths to any immediate action while shoring up the country’s defenses against possible recrudescence of currency aggression in the future.

C. Fred Bergsten is senior fellow and director emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He was the founding director of the Institute from 1981 through 2012. He was previously assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and is coauthor, with Joseph E. Gagnon, of the forthcoming Institute book Currency Conflict and Trade Policy: A New Strategy for the United States.

https://piie.com/blogs/trade-investment-policy-watch/china-no-longer-manipulating-its-currency

Story 5: Trump Favors Fed Chair Yellen’s Unconventional Accommodating Easy Money Policy — Government Intervention in Money Markets — Financial Repression of American Savers — Videos

Trump Says Dollar ‘getting too strong’

Trump: Fed’s Yellen Keeps Rates Low for Political Reasons

Published on Oct 16, 2015

Oct. 16 — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits down with Stephanie Ruhle about the state of the US economy and whether or not he shares the view of Carl Icahn who says we are headed for financial disaster. They speak on “Bloomberg ‹GO›.”

Donald Trump Says The Dollar’s Too Strong, And It’s Partially His Fault | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

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Story 6: Trump Supporters and Talk Radio Will Dump Trump Should He Continue Flip Flopping and Listening To Liberal Democrat/Moderate  Advisers — Videos

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Roger Stone About Steve Bannon And Jared Kushner

Cohn: Trump pushing us hard on tax cuts

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Trump advisor Cohn: We can absolutely get to 3% growth this

Trump’s base turns on him

Steve Bannon’s downgrade is just one of many complaints. ‘We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word,’ says one campaign supporter.

04/13/17 02:21 PM EDT

Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty
The swiftness and abruptness of Trump’s shift from bomb-throwing populist outsider to a more mainstream brand of Republican has taken the president’s stalwarts by surprise. | Getty
 Donald Trump’s true believers are losing the faith.

As Trump struggles to keep his campaign promises and flirts with political moderation, his most steadfast supporters — from veteran advisers to anti-immigration activists to the volunteers who dropped their jobs to help elect him — are increasingly dismayed by the direction of his presidency.

Their complaints range from Trump’s embrace of an interventionist foreign policy to his less hawkish tone on China to, most recently, his marginalization of his nationalist chief strategist, Steve Bannon. But the crux of their disillusionment, interviews with nearly two dozen Trump loyalists reveal, is a belief that Trump the candidate bears little resemblance to Trump the president. He’s failing, in their view, to deliver on his promise of a transformative “America First” agenda driven by hard-edged populism.

“Donald Trump dropped an emotional anchor. He captured how Americans feel,” said Tania Vojvodic, a fervent Trump supporter who founded one of his first campaign volunteer networks. “We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word.”

Earlier this week, Vojvodic launched a Facebook group called, “The concerned support base of President Trump,” which quickly drew several dozen sign-ups. She also changed the banner on her Facebook page to a picture of Bannon accompanied by the declaration: “Mr. President: I stand with Steve Bannon.”

“I’m not so infatuated with Trump that I can’t see the facts,” she said. “People’s belief, their trust in him, it’s declining.”

The swiftness and abruptness of Trump’s shift from bomb-throwing populist outsider to a more mainstream brand of Republican has taken the president’s stalwarts by surprise.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/trump-base-supporters-turn-on-him-237200

“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different. And that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” said Lee Stranahan, who, as a former writer at Breitbart News, once worked with Bannon. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently, the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The deflation of Trump’s base threatens to further weaken a president who’s already seen his public support drop to historic lows. Frustration among the president’s allies has intensified in recent days, with many expressing worry that Bannon, the intellectual pillar of the nationalist movement that catapulted Trump to the presidency, is being pushed out.

As Bannon’s influence wanes, on the rise is a small group of Wall Street-connected advisers whose politically moderate and globalist views are anathema to the populist cause.

The palace intrigue intensified this week after Trump refused to say he still had confidence in Bannon and downplayed the former Breitbart chairman’s role in his campaign victory. And it’s feeding suspicions that the president is changing his priorities.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the president’s most vocal backers on Capitol Hill, said he’s been disheartened by the chief strategist’s isolation.

“A lot of us look at Steve Bannon as the voice of conservatism in the White House,” said King, who has known Bannon for years.

The displeasure over Bannon’s reduced status has trickled down to Trump’s grass-roots army of volunteers. Among those unsettled is Shane Bouvet, a 24-year-old campaign volunteer and blue-collar single father from Illinois who became something of a hero in the Trump movement. On the eve of the inauguration, Trump, who had read about how Bouvet trekked across the country by car so he could watch the swearing-in, gave him a check for $10,000.

Bouvet later said the gift saved the life of his father, who was battling cancer and needed the money to cover medical costs.

That day, Bouvet also was introduced to Bannon. The two spoke briefly, and Bouvet came to identify with the adviser who, like him, represented a “forgotten America” that Trump had appealed to with his blue-collar pitch. He said in an interview that he still supports the president, but is troubled by reports that Bannon is on the outs and that senior adviser Jared Kushner, a New York City real estate scion, is accumulating influence.

“I see a lot of people upset about his role,” Bouvet said of Bannon.

“I love our president,” he added. “I would tell him, follow his heart instead of whispers in his ears.”

On his South Florida-based radio show, Trump backer John Cardillo has begun to hear from listeners who are disillusioned with the rising influence of moderate staffers like Kushner and Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs executive-turned-Trump economic adviser.

For Cardillo, too, it’s been a letdown. During the 2016 Republican primary, he was attracted to Trump because of his insurgent streak. As a former New York City police officer, Cardillo identified with the candidate’s blue-collar style. He fell hard and got aboard the Trump train early, backing the insurgent candidate over home-state favorite Marco Rubio.

Trump voters “felt like they were voting for an anti-establishment candidate — and they’re terrified, they’re losing faith,” Cardillo said. “They’re saying, ‘Why does he have these people around him?’”

The gripes go beyond Bannon’s apparent downgrade. Many of Trump’s most stalwart supporters, including radio show hosts Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham, called last week’s bombing of Syria a betrayal of Trump’s pledge to be an “America First” commander in chief who would avoid unnecessary conflicts overseas.

Concerns about Trump’s foreign policy approach intensified on Wednesday when he backed away from his oft-repeated campaign line that NATO is “obsolete.” Instead, during an appearance with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the organization a “great alliance.”

Howie Carr, an influential Boston radio show host and a vocal Trump backer, said he’s been mostly satisfied with the president’s tenure so far. But he said he and his listeners weren’t on board with the Syria bombing and warned against a U.S.-led push to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“People are concerned because it’s such a morass over there,” Carr said. “I don’t think any of my listeners have any great stomach for overthrowing Assad, as odious as he is.”

Other Trump boosters worry that he’s ditching his economic agenda. They wonder why he backed off his vow to label
China a currency manipulator, and are chagrined by his reversal on his position to eliminate the Export-Import Bank.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer took issue with the premise that Trump’s switch on labeling China a currency manipulator amounted to abandoning a campaign promise.

“The president’s tough talk … on a variety of subjects was to get results for the American people. That’s what he has pledged to do, to get more jobs here, to grow more manufacturing, to keep our country safe,” Spicer told reporters. “At the end of the day, this is always about developing a better situation for the American people, and I think he’s done that.”

Still others are concerned about Trump’s lack of progress on reforming the tax code.

Larry Kudlow, a veteran economist who advised Trump’s campaign, expressed dismay that the president hadn’t yet released a tax plan. He said he was beginning to wonder whether the president is about to walk back his pledge to cut taxes.

“What is their product?” Kudlow asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not giving up hope. But it’s looking very shaky to me.”

Conservative economist Stephen Moore, who also advised the Trump campaign, said he’s reached out to the White House about the lack of a tax package.

“They’re all over the map,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re listening or not.”

Then there’s immigration, the issue that catapulted Trump to front-runner status. Activists are increasingly alarmed that the president has yet to follow through on his pledge to rescind protections for undocumented parents and children put in place under former President Barack Obama.

Brenda Sparks, an “angel mom” whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, appeared onstage with Trump at an August campaign event in Phoenix. She said he promised her that he would overturn the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in short order.

While Sparks said she didn’t think it would be done immediately, “I had expected it before now.”

“I still support Trump, but I’m going to hold his feet to the fire,” she said. “He has not lived up to that promise.”

Michelle Dallacroce, an anti-immigration activist, is more pointed. Immigration is “why we voted for Donald Trump,” she said. “This could be the most elaborate reality show. I’m wondering, was this all an illusion for us, using our movement so he could get in there?”

Trump is hardly the first president to get crosswise with his supporters. After running on a promise to infuse Washington with change, Barack Obama faced sharp accusations from backers that he was moving too slowly to change the culture of the capitol. Governing, Obama learned, is a lot different than campaigning.

Not all of the president’s backers are disappointed. They point to his successful nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his rollback of environmental regulations as early wins.

“There’s always going to be things that aren’t perfect, but it’s exciting,” said Ed Martin, a conservative leader in Missouri.

But as Trump evolves, some of his loyalists are beginning to compare him to another Republican who lost the support of the party’s base: Arnold Schwarzenegger. After being elected California governor in 2003, the former movie star took on entrenched Democratic interests, lost badly, then tacked sharply to the left.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/trump-base-supporters-turn-on-him-237200

This week, some Trump die-hards passed around a column by conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter headlined: “Trump Can’t Let His Real or His Fake Friends Turn Him into Schwarzenegger Part 2.”

Schlichter, in an interview, said conservatives are fundamentally distrustful of Republican politicians who had often misled them. He urged the president to take some immediate actions, however small, to put his supporters at ease.

“You’ve got to understand the base. It’s like dating a girl whose father cheated on her mother. She’s always going to be suspicious,” he said. “He’s got to constantly provide wins because he’s got an emotionally damaged base that’s been abused.”

Within Trump’s inner circle, a moderate voice captures the president’s ear

April 13 at 7:58 PM
As power struggles and ideological battles engulfed the White House, an unlikely player is exercising new influence on the direction of President Trump’s administration.Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, is capitalizing on his new position as director of Trump’s National Economic Council to push a centrist vision and court bipartisan support on some of Trump’s top agenda items such as tax reform and a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.The growing strength of Cohn and like-minded moderates was on display this week as Trump reversed himself on several high-profile issues — including a less confrontational approach to China, an endorsement of government subsidies for exports and the current leadership of the Federal Reserve. The president’s new positions move him much closer to the views of Cohn and others on Wall Street, not to mention mainstream Republicans and Democrats.It was the clearest sign yet that an alliance of moderates in the White House — including Cohn; senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and another influential Goldman Sachs alumna, Dina Powell — is racking up successes in a battle over ideology and control with hardcore conservatives led by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who held sway at the start of the administration.In a White House short on experienced personnel, Cohn has found an edge by hiring two dozen policy experts, most with government experience. His team produced detailed proposals on overhauling the tax code, rebuilding infrastructure, cutting back financial regulations and restructuring international trade deals. He is widely considered a future candidate to be chief of staff.

“Cohn might be a newbie to policy and Washington, but you have to give him credit for one thing,” said Gene Sperling, who held Cohn’s job during the Obama administration. “While others seemed engaged in ideological and ‘House of Cards’-like staff warfare, he quietly and quickly focused on the first rule of governing: He hired some competent, professional staff at the NEC, and it has paid off for him.”

Cohn now finds himself in the awkward — and politically risky — position of being praised by Democrats but shunned by conservative allies of Trump who see the former Goldman Sachs executive as anathema to the values that got Trump elected.

“From a pure political perspective, I do not know if the White House appreciates how Gary Cohn is a liability with the Republican and conservative base, as well as the Republican Congress,” said Sam Nunberg, a strategist on Trump’s 2016 campaign. “The Trump White House will always be held in suspicion when you have someone who’s consolidated full economic power in the White House who is also a liberal, New York Democrat.”

Cohn has been getting flak in the conservative media as he has risen in profile. Rush Limbaugh last week called him “a very ideological liberal Democrat” and a “trader at Goldman Sachs.” He expressed concern that Cohn and his allies in the White House “are starting to have sway” at Bannon’s expense.

Cohn, who declined to comment for this article, has given thousands of dollars to candidates from both parties, including President Barack Obama and former candidate Hillary Clinton.

White House aides say Cohn has done well because Trump sees him, more than anything else, as a dealmaker. Cohn represents a bloc of White House officials who are working harder than before to court Democratic support for key parts of Trump’s agenda, having seen the Republican Party splinter during the health-care debate.

“I’m not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican,” Cohn often says in meetings with business executives, according to two people familiar with his exchanges. “I just want to get things done.”

People who have met with Cohn in his new role said they weren’t aware of what his ideology was. He just seemed driven to forge agreements.

That philosophy has led Cohn to show enthusiasm for ideas such as a new tax on carbon — a Democrat-friendly idea which would raise revenue to ease tax reform, a top presidential priority, while also helping to curb carbon emissions. The idea is ridiculed by many conservatives on Capitol Hill, and the White House rapidly distanced itself last week after word leaked that senior officials were studying the concept.

“I think the National Economic Council has done a terrible job,” said Larry Kudlow, who was one of Trump’s top economic advisers during the campaign. “It’s the NEC’s job to put a plan together and show the president options and make decisions. So far, I would say they are way behind the eight ball.”

But even as the legislative agenda struggles to gain momentum, Cohn and his allies are having a clear impact on the president’s thinking. In the past week, Trump reversed his earlier statements and said he supported the Export-Import Bank, would not declare China a “currency manipulator” and said flattering things about Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen.

Conservatives took aim at the Ex-Im Bank and the Fed throughout much of Obama’s term, while Trump, as part of his tough trade rhetoric, promised to go after China’s currency practices on Day One of his administration.

Cohn’s stature among the top advisers is notable because he is one of the few who played no role in the campaign. Cohn, who grew up in a middle-class family and struggled in a number of schools because of dyslexia, graduated from American University and took a job with U.S. Steel in Ohio. During a trip to New York, he coaxed a well-dressed senior Wall Street executive into sharing a cab with him to the airport, acting as if he knew financial markets (he knew virtually nothing), according to an interview he gave author Malcolm Gladwell. Cohn schmoozed his way into his first Wall Street job and then climbed the ranks, eventually becoming Goldman’s president and chief operating officer.

While friends say he loves his new job, they say Cohn also holds the traditions of Washington in low regard.

At a recent dinner with friends in New York, he called Washington a “s—show,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

Cohn has not tried to shirk his past at Goldman Sachs or hide his lavish lifestyle. He recently had drinks at the Four Seasons with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, and shortly after the failure of the House GOP health-care legislation, he went on vacation in the Bahamas.

If he is able to deflect the growing criticism from hardcore conservatives, White House officials say Cohn will have a strong future as a Trump adviser given his experience and the deep bench of experts he has established.

This includes DJ Gribbin, an infrastructure expert, and Shahira Knight, a former congressional aide on tax policy who joined the White House from Fidelity Investments.

Other top members of the team include Kenneth Juster, who is slated to play a top White House role in international negotiations; Jeremy Katz, a former White House official in the George W. Bush administration; and Ray Starling, who works on agriculture issues and was formerly the general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

While Cohn has met with lawmakers from both parties and executives from numerous companies in his role, he rarely telegraphs what the White House plans to do.

One exception came last week, when — during a gathering of chief executives — he went into great detail about how the U.S. air-traffic-control system needed to be reworked.

He quickly moved through a technical discussion on why the United States should scrap its land-based radar system and adopt a global-positioning system, suggesting he had already devoted time to the topic. He said their approach would save 25 percent of the jet fuel consumed each year.

“We are going to cut flight times down fairly dramatically,” he told the executives. “We are going to cut the experience down. We are going to cut tarmac time down.”

His penchant for dealmaking has even attracted the admiration of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a tough fiscal conservative and longtime critic of government spending. Cohn, working to fulfill Trump’s pledge to spend billions to rebuild infrastructure, has toyed with an idea that would pair $200 billion in taxpayer money with $800 billion in additional funds, mostly from private investors.

“You’ve got to give these Goldman Sachs guys credit,” Mulvaney said this week on CNBC about Cohn’s plan. “They know how to lever up.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/within-trumps-inner-circle-a-moderate-voice-captures-the-presidents-ear/2017/04/13/7a7f87b0-1fa7-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.0024e13db393

Steve Bannon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Steve bannon)
Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Bannon at the 2017 CPAC
White House Chief Strategist
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Counselor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Kellyanne Conway
(Counselor to the President)
President Donald Trump
Preceded by John Podesta (2015)
Personal details
Born Stephen Kevin Bannon
November 27, 1953 (age 63)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathleen Houff Jordan
(divorced)
Mary Piccard (1995–1997)
Diane Clohesy (divorced 2009)
Children 3
Education Virginia Tech (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1976–1983
Rank Lieutenant (O-3)[1][a]

Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon (born November 27, 1953) is an American political aide, and former media executive and film producer, who is currently the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.[2] In this capacity, he attended the Principals Committee of the U.S. National Security Council from January 28, 2017[3] to April 5, 2017.[4][5]

On August 17, 2016, in the later months of the campaign, Bannon joined the Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, taking the position of chief executive officer.[6][7] Prior to taking a leave of absence in August 2016, he had been executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right[i] news, opinion, and commentary website[17][18] which he described in 2016 as “the platform for the alt-right“.[I]

Bannon was previously a US Navy officer, a Goldman Sachs banker, a radio host, a research director, a film producer and then a media executive. He was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as well as at the Pentagon. After his military service, he worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. When he left the company, Bannon held the position of vice president. In 1993, he was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2. In the 1990s, he became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry and has produced 18 films since 1991.

Early life, family and education

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Doris (née Herr) and Martin Bannon, a telephone lineman, later in middle management.[26][27] His working class, Irish Catholic family was pro-Kennedy, pro-union Democrat.[28][29] After serving as president of the student government association,[30] he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and holds a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. In 1985,[33] Bannon received a Master of Business Administration degree with honors[34] from Harvard Business School.[35]

Service as naval officer

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a surface warfare officer in the Pacific Fleet and, afterwards stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.[36] Bannon’s job at the Pentagon were among other things handling messages between senior officers and writing reports about the state of the Navy fleet worldwide.[37]

Upon his departure he was ranked as a lieutenant (O-3).[1][a]

Business career

Investment banking

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department.[39] When he left the company he held the position of vice president.[40][b]

In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. In one of Bannon & Co.’s transactions, the firm represented Westinghouse Electric which wanted to sell Castle Rock Entertainment.[34] Bannon negotiated a sale of Castle Rock to CNN, which was owned by Ted Turner at the time.[42]Instead of a full adviser’s fee, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld, which was in its third season. Bannon still receives cash residuals each time Seinfeld is aired.[42] Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.[34]

Earth science

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the closed-system experiment project shifted emphasis from researching human space exploration and colonization toward the scientific study of earth’s environment, pollution and climate change. He left the project in 1995.[43][44]

Entertainment and media

Bannon in 2010

In the 1990s, Bannon ventured into the entertainment and media industry. He became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry. Bannon produced 18 films,[27] from the 1991 Sean Penn drama The Indian Runner to Julie Taymor‘s 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company.[34]

In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Reagan’s War author Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart, who would later describe him as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement.[34] He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated, and Occupy Unmasked.

Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment.[45] Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media.[46][47]

In 2007, Bannon wrote an eight-page treatment for a new documentary called Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism (sic) in America. The outline describes Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America as “cultural jihadists” and describes the Washington Post, the New York Times, NPR, “Universities and the Left”, the “American Jewish Community“, the ACLU, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, and the White House as “enablers” of a covert mission to establish an Islamic Republic in the United States.[48] In 2011, Bannon spoke at the “Liberty Restoration Foundation” in Orlando, Florida about the Economic Crisis of 2008, the Troubled Assets Relief Program and their impact in the origins of the Tea Party movement, while also discussing his films Generation Zero and The Undefeated.[49]

Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, where he helped orchestrate the publication of Breitbart News senior editor-at-large[50] Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash,[34][51] from its founding in 2012 until he left in August 2016.[52] For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization.[52] He has also worked as vice president of Cambridge Analytica‘s board, a data-analytics firm owned largely by the Mercer family;[53] said family are also co-owners of Breitbart News.[54]

In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite‘s list of the “25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015”.[55]

Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on the SiriusXM Patriot satellite radio channel.[56]

Breitbart News

Main article: Breitbart News

Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News,[57] an online far-right news, opinion and commentary website which, according to Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time, has “pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material into the vein of the alternative right“.[17]

In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart‘s death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.[58][59][60] Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach toward its agenda.[61] Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.[19] Bannon identifies as a conservative.[62][63][64] Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: “We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-‘ the permanent political class.”[65]

In 2016, Ronald Radosh claimed in The Daily Beast that Bannon had told him earlier, in a book party on November 12, 2013, that he was a Leninist, in that “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment”.[66] While Snopes considers this claim unproven,[67] other media such as Time magazine and The Guardian have reported or discussed it.[68][69]

In a 2014 speech to a Vatican conference, Bannon made a passing reference to Julius Evola, a twentieth-century, Nazi-linked Italian writer who influenced Mussolini‘s Italian Fascism and promoted the Traditionalist School, described by a New York Times writer as “a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.”[70] In referring to the associated views of Vladimir Putin, who is influenced by Evola follower Aleksandr Dugin, Bannon stated “We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as Traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.”[70] He has likewise quoted French anti-Enlightenment writer Charles Maurras approvingly to a French diplomat.[71][72]

Starting in 2015, Bannon has frequently referenced controversial, allegedly racist 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, which depicts immigration destroying Western civilization.[73]

Political career

Donald Trump campaign

On August 17, 2016, Bannon was appointed chief executive of Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign; he left Breitbart, as well as the Government Accountability Institute[52] and Cambridge Analytica,[74] to take the job, and shortly after the chairman of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, was dismissed.[59][62][75][76][58]

Protests against Bannon’s appointment

Following Trump’s election, on November 13 Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump.[77]This appointment drew opposition from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Council on American–Islamic Relations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and some Republican strategists, because of statements in Breitbart News that were alleged to be racist or antisemitic.[6][7][78][79][80]

Ben Shapiro,[80][81][82] David Horowitz,[83] Pamela Geller,[84] Bernard Marcus of the Republican Jewish Coalition,[85] Morton Klein[86] and the Zionist Organization of America,[85] and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach[87] defended Bannon against the allegations of antisemitism. Alan Dershowitz first defended Bannon and said there was no evidence he was antisemitic,[88][89] but in a later piece stated that Bannon and Breitbart had made bigoted statements against Muslims, women, and others.[90] The ADL said “we are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon”, while adding “under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate.”[91] Shapiro, who previously worked as an editor-at-large at Breitbart, said that he has no evidence of Bannon being racist or an antisemite, but that he was “happy to pander to those people and make common cause with them in order to transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism”,[92] an assertion supported by other sources and by gestures like his alluding to Front National politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen as “the new rising star”.[93]

On November 15, 2016, U.S. Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island released a letter to Trump signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives urging him to rescind his appointment of Bannon. The letter stated that appointing Bannon “sends a disturbing message about what kind of president Donald Trump wants to be”,[94][95][96] because his “ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well documented”; it went on to present several examples of Breitbart News’ alleged xenophobia.[97] Bannon denied being a white nationalist and claimed, rather, that he is an “economic nationalist.”[98]

On November 18, during his first interview not conducted by Breitbart Media since the 2016 presidential election, Bannon remarked on some criticisms made about him stating that “Darkness is good: Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”[99][100] The quote was published widely in the media.[99][101][102][103]

Trump responded to the ongoing controversy over Bannon’s appointment in an interview with The New York Times by saying “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”[104]

Trump administration

Bannon and other advisors watching Trump sign an executive order.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon shake hands with WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at 2017 CPAC

Several days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bannon told an American newspaper, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this: the media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”[105]

Bannon, along with Stephen Miller, was involved in the creation of Executive Order 13769, which resulted in restricted U.S. travel and immigration by individuals from seven countries, suspension of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, and indefinite suspension of the entry of Syrians to the United States.[106][107]

At the end of January 2017, in a departure from the previous format of the National Security Council (NSC), the holder of Bannon’s position, along with that of the Chief of Staff, were designated by presidential memorandum as regular attendees to the NSC’s Principals Committee, a Cabinet-level senior interagency forum for considering national security issues.[3][108][109] The enacted arrangement was criticised by several members of previous administrations and was called “stone cold crazy” by Susan E. Rice, Barack Obama’s last national security adviser.[110] In response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer pointed to Bannon’s seven years experience as a Navy officer in justifying his presence on the Committee.

File:Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda.webmhd.webm

‘Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda’ video from Voice of America, recorded at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2017

In February 2017, Bannon appeared on the cover of Time, on which he was labeled “the Great Manipulator”.[111] The headline used for the associated article was “Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?”, alluding to Bannon’s perceived influence in the White House.[112] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Bannon analogized his influence to that of “Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors“.[113][114][115]

Bannon was removed from his NSC role in early April 2017 in a reorganization by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who Bannon had helped select.[4] Some White House officials said Bannon’s main purpose of serving on the committee was as a check against former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, who had resigned in February 2017 for misleading the vice president about a conversation with the Russian operatives.[116][5] Hence, with Flynn gone, Bannon was no longer needed.[4] Bannon reportedly opposed his removal from the council and threatened to quit if president Trump went forward with it, although Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer urged him to stay.[53] The White House said Bannon had not attempted to leave, and Bannon said any indication that he threatened resignation was “total nonsense”.[117] Bannon had only attended one NSC meeting.[118]

Personal life

Bannon has been married and divorced three times. He has three adult daughters.

His first marriage was to Cathleen Suzanne Houff.[119] Bannon and Houff had a daughter, Maureen, in 1988 and subsequently divorced.[120][78]

Bannon’s second marriage was to Mary Louise Piccard, a former investment banker, in April 1995. Their twin daughters were born three days after the wedding. Piccard filed for dissolution of their marriage in 1997.[121][122]

Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996 after Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not appear in court.[123] In an article in The New York Times Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and his lawyer:

Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, she said, “threatened me,” telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer … denied pressuring her not to testify.[124]

Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997. During the divorce proceedings, Piccard alleged that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.[123][125][126][127][128]

Bannon’s third marriage was to Diane Clohesy; they divorced in 2009.[129]

Lebanese-American author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, neoreactionary blogger Curtis Yarvin and conservative intellectual Michael Anton have been pointed out as three of the main influences in Steve Bannon’s political thinking, alongside the William Strauss and Neil Howe book The Fourth Turning (which directly inspired Bannon’s film Generation Zero).[130]

Filmography

Bannon has been a producer, writer or director on the following films and documentaries:

Year Title Credited as Notes
1991 The Indian Runner[131] executive producer
1999 Titus[132] co-executive producer
2004 In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed[133] director, co-producer, writer based on the 2003 book Reagan’s War by Peter Schweizer
2005 Cochise County USA: Cries from the Border executive producer
2006 Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration executive producer
2007 Tradition Never Graduates: A Season Inside Notre Dame Football executive producer
2009 The Chaos Experiment executive producer
2010 Generation Zero[134] director, producer, writer based on the 1997 book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe[68]
Battle for America[135] director, producer, writer
Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman[135] director, producer, writer
2011 Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch[136][137] director, writer
The Undefeated[135][138] director, producer, writer about Sarah Palin
2012 Occupy Unmasked[139] director, writer
The Hope & The Change[140] director, producer, writer
District of Corruption director, producer
2013 Sweetwater[141] executive producer
2014 Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power executive producer
2016 Clinton Cash producer, writer based on the similarly titled Peter Schweizer book
Torchbearer director, producer, writer features Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson[142]

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

 

 

Jared Kushner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner cropped.jpg
Director of the Office of American Innovation
Assumed office
March 27, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Advisor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Stephen Miller
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Brian Deese
Valerie Jarrett
Shailagh Murray
Personal details
Born Jared Corey Kushner
January 10, 1981 (age 36)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Democratic[2]
Spouse(s) Ivanka Trump (m. 2009)
Relations Charles Kushner (Father)
Joshua Kushner (Brother)
Murray Kushner (Uncle)
Children 3
Education Harvard University (BA)
New York University (JD, MBA)
Religion Judaism

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American real estate investor and developer, publisher, and senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Together with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon he formed Trump’s leadership team. Kushner is said to be President Trump’s most trusted advisor, showing “unwavering loyalty” to his father-in-law.[3]

He was principal owner of the real estate holding and development company Kushner Companies and of Observer Media, publisher of the weekly, on-line New York Observer. On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named to be a Senior White House Adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. As a result, Kushner resigned as CEO of his family’s real estate company and as publisher of the Observer.[4] He also divested “substantial assets”.[5]

Kushner is the elder son of American real estate developer Charles Kushner and is married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. He was among the senior advisors to Trump’s presidential campaign. Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6] Kushner played the largest role in developing and running Trump’s digital media strategy.[7][8][9]

In 2007, Kushner’s father and CEO made the most expensive single-building property purchase in U.S. history, acquiring 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion.[10] In 2011, Kushner brought in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

Family history, early life and education

Kushner was born in Livingston, New Jersey, and is the elder son of Seryl Kushner (née Stadtmauer) and real estate developer Charles Kushner.[12][13] His paternal grandparents, Rae and Joseph Kushner, were Holocaust survivors who came to the U.S. from Poland[a] in 1949.[14]His grandmother Rae Kushner was born in Novogrudek, in what is now Belarus.[15] Joseph became a prominent real estate businessman.[16][17]

He has a brother, Joshua (also a businessman), and two sisters, Nicole and Dara. He is also a nephew of Murray Kushner, the owner of Kushner Real Estate Group. Kushner Real Estate Group is separate from Kushner Companies, which Murray Kushner started in 2000.[16]

Kushner was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey.[18] He graduated from the Frisch School, a private, coed yeshiva high school, in 1999. According to a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, he was an honors student and a member of the debate, hockey, and basketball teams while at Frisch.[19]

In 2003, Kushner graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree[20][21] in government.[22] He lived in Kirkland House.[23] While a student at Harvard, Kushner was a member of the Fly Club and bought and sold buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, earning a $20 million profit.[24]

In 2007, Kushner graduated from New York University where he earned a J.D. and an M.B.A.;[25] He interned at Manhattan District AttorneyRobert Morgenthau‘s office and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.[26]

Business career

Real estate

Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion, the most expensive single property purchase in US history at the time.[27]

In May 2015, Kushner purchased a majority stake of One Times Square for $295 million.[28]

According to Forbes, in 2017 Jared Kushner and his parents had a personal fortune of around $1.8 billion.[29] Kushner is a real estate investor, and has increased the Kushner Companies’ presence in the New York City real estate market as a principal in his family’s real estate company.[30] His father, Charles Kushner, was arrested on charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and witness tampering in 2004, and was eventually convicted on all charges (by the then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie)[31] and sentenced to two years in federal prison.[32]

Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed.[27] However, following the property crash in 2008, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail portion in the building to Stanley Chera for more than $1 billion[33] and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

He assumed the role of CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008.[31] On August 18, 2014, Kushner acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland, for $37.9 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, he and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey, and the Baltimore area.[34] In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.[28]

In 2015, Kushner scored spot No. 25 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list ranking the most influential young people in business.[35]

Newspaper publishing

At age 25, Kushner purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million,[36] using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.[37]

After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format.[38] Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observers online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group.[39][40] With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper’s veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan.[41] “This guy doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. [41] As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011.[42] In December 2011, the New York Post reported that the Observer expected to become profitable for the first time.[43] Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey[42] and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani‘s unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.

According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the “Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York’s elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth … [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013″.[44] In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.[45][46]

Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump’s administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.[47]

Los Angeles Dodgers bid

In February 2012, Kushner put in a bid to acquire the MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers.[48] He withdrew his bid in March 2012.[49]

Political activity

Earlier career and family history

Jared Kushner had been a life-long Democrat and had made major donations to its candidates for years before reportedly undergoing an “ideological conversion” and supporting the 2015–16 Trump campaign.[50][51][52][53] Kushner has had no prior involvement in campaign politics or in government before his father-in-law, Trump’s, campaign.[54]

Trump presidential campaign

From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump’s digital, online and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed “Project Alamo”.[8] Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump’s White House transition team should he be elected.[55] He was for a time seen as Trump’s de facto campaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner’s recommendation in June 2016.[56] He has been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump’s visit in late August to Mexico and he was believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate.[8][57] Kushner’s “sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign” has been described as “the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid”.[58]

According to Eric Schmidt, “Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election, Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources.”[6] Eric Schmidt said, “Jared understood the online world in a way the traditional media folks didn’t. He managed to assemble a presidential campaign on a shoestring using new technology and won. That’s a big deal. Remember all those articles about how they had no money, no people, organizational structure? Well, they won, and Jared ran it.”[6] Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6]

On July 5, 2016, Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly antisemitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper’s editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner’s involvement with the Trump campaign.[59] In the letter, Kushner wrote, “In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.”[60]

Trump presidential transition

During the presidential transition, Kushner was said to be his father-in-law’s “confidant”[61] and one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, even more so than Trump’s four adult children.[62]Trump was reported to have requested the top-secret security clearance for him to attend the Presidential daily intelligence briefings as his staff-level companion, along with General Mike Flynn who already had the clearance prior to his resignation.[63]

The Washington Post, New York Times and numerous other national news authorities explain Kushner was an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie.[64][65] A source familiar with the Trump campaign explained that “Jared doesn’t like Christie. He’s always held [the prosecution of his father, Charles Kushner] against Christie.”[66] Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie’s dismissal were false: “Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together. The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”[67]

Senior Advisor to President Trump

Japanese PM Shinzō Abe, Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and President Trump, November 17, 2016

In January 2017, Kushner was named a Senior White House Advisor to President Trump. Kushner’s appointment was questioned on the basis of a 1967 anti-nepotism law.[68] On January 20, 2017 the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating “the President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors.”[69][70] Kushner was sworn in on January 22, 2017.[71]

Trump put Kushner in charge of brokering peace in Israeli–Palestinian conflict as well as making deals with foreign countries, although in what way he is in charge is unclear.[72][73][74] Furthermore, after Donald Trump became President-elect, Kushner and his wife met with Japanese Prime Minister and other Japanese officials while his wife was conducting a licensing deal between her namesake clothing brand and a Japanese government-owned company.[75] His wife sat in on a meeting between her father, then President-elect Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.[76] In February 2017, his wife Ivanka Trump was a surprise attendee at the Chinese Embassy’s New Year’s party.[77] In late March 2017 he was also given the new role of leading the “White House Office of American Innovation”.[78][79]

Personal life

Kushner married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009.[80][81] They are Modern Orthodox Jews, keep a kosher home, and observe Shabbat.[82][83][84] Jared and Ivanka have three children: Arabella Rose, Joseph Fredrick and Theodore James.[85]

Notes

Gary Cohn (investment banker)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the business executive. For others, see Gary Cohn (disambiguation).
Gary Cohn
Gary D. Cohn - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010.jpg
11th Director of the National Economic Council
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Jeffrey Zients
Personal details
Born August 27, 1960 (age 56)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lisa Pevaroff
Children 3
Education American University (BA)

Gary D. Cohn (born August 27, 1960) is an American investment banker and political figure. He is the chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump and Director of the National Economic Council.[1][2] He was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2017. Cohn is a registered Democrat, but has donated extensively to the Republican Party.[3]

Early life and education

Gary Cohn was born to an Eastern European Jewish family,[4][5] the son of Victor and Ellen Cohn;[6] and was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father was an electrician who later became a real estate developer.[7] Cohn was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and attended four schools by the time he reached the sixth grade.[8] Cohn studied at Gilmour Academy, and received his bachelor’s degree from American University‘s Kogod School of Business.[7]

National Economic Council director

On January 20, 2017 Cohn took office as Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) in President Donald Trump‘s administration, a position which did not require Congressional confirmation. By February 11, 2017, The Wall Street Journal described Cohn as an “economic-policy powerhouse”[9][10] and The New York Times called him Trump’s “go-to figure on matters related to jobs, business and growth”.[11] With the confirmation of Trump’s December 12, 2016 nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, being held back by Congressional hearings, Cohn filled in the “personnel vacuum” and pushed “ahead on taxes, infrastructure, financial regulation and replacing health-care law”.[9] Had Cohn stayed at Goldman Sachs, some believed he would have become CEO when Lloyd Blankfein vacated that office.[9] His severance package at Goldman Sachs amounted to $285 million.[12] Additionally, Cohn sold a stake valued at $16 million in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank as of 2017.[13]

Cohn supports reinstating the Glass-Steagall legislation, which would separate commercial and investment banking.[14]

Career

Cohn started his career at the U.S. Steel home products division in Cleveland, Ohio.[15] After a few months, he left U.S. Steel and started his career as an options dealer in the New York Mercantile Exchange.[15] He taught himself the basics of options by reading about it in the days between meeting the hiring manager and joining the New York Mercantile Exchange.[16]

Goldman Sachs

Cohn was recruited by Goldman Sachs in 1990.[17] In 1996, he was named head of the commodities department and in 2002, he was named the head of the entire Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) division. In 2003, he was named co-head of Equities and in January 2004, Cohn was named the co-head of global securities businesses .[18] He became President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and director in June 2006.[19]

In late 2009, Cohn led a delegation from Goldman Sachs to meetings with the government of Greece, which included proposals (that were not adopted) to push debt-due dates far into the future, “much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.”[20] Goldman Sachs had been scrutinized for creating or pitching products used by Greece to “obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels”.[20]

In 2010, Cohn testified to Congress on the role of Goldman Sachs in the 2007-2008 financial crisis.[21] Cohn testified: “During the two years of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs lost $1.2 billion in its residential mortgage-related business. We did not ‘bet against our clients,’ and the numbers underscore this fact.”[22]

In February 2015, Cohn hosted the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. As host, Cohn asked questions of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., while Cook was on stage.[23]

Compensation

Cohn’s salary at Goldman Sachs was US$22 million in 2014.[24] He received $21 million in 2015.[25]

He received a severance package worth around $285 million – mostly in stock – from Goldman Sachs upon leaving to join the administration of Donald Trump.[12]

Personality and work style

Critics of Cohn attribute to him an arrogant, aggressive, abrasive and risk-prone work style. They see his “6-foot 3-inch & 220lbs” as intimidating, as he might “sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face and ask how markets were doing”[17] According to former Bear Stearns Asset Management CEO Richard Marin, Cohn’s arrogance is at the root of the problem.

When you become arrogant, in a trading sense, you begin to think that everybody’s a counterparty, not a customer, not a client.[17]

Cohn’s supporters see these qualities as advantages. Michael Ovitz, co-founder and former chairman of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, stated that he is impressed with Cohn. Ovitz said:

“He’s a trader. He has that whole feel in his body and brain and fingertips.”[17]

Ovitz sees Cohn’s toughness as a “positive” value, explaining that a high ranking executive can’t be “all peaches and cream.”[7][17]

Donna Redel, who was Chairman of the Board of the New York Mercantile Exchange when Cohn worked there as a silver trader, remembers Cohn as “firm,” “strategic” and “driven.” Martin Greenberg, her predecessor, said Cohn “was tough,” and added that “Gary got in with the right people, worked his ass off and used his head.”[17]

Personal life

Cohn is married to Lisa A Pevaroff-Cohn.[26] [27] They have three daughters and reside in New York City.[6][15]

Philanthropy

Cohn and his wife are founding board members of the New York University Child Study Center. The couple funded the Pevaroff Cohn Professorship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine in 1999. He financed the Gary D. Cohn Endowed Research Professorship in Finance at American University, his alma mater.[28]

In 2009, the Hillel International building at Kent State University was named the Cohn Jewish Student Center in recognition of a gift from Cohn and his wife.[29] It is the first Hillel building built directly on the campus of a state university.[30]

Cohn has been a supporter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and has supported Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time, Harlem RBI was given the chance to build its own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI director Rich Berlin asked Cohn if he could help them raise the capital they needed to build the school.[31]

In December 2012, Cohn attended the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief which raised money for the Robin Hood Relief fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.[32]

Cohn is active as a trustee of his alma mater, American University, and of his school, Gilmour Academy.[33]

In 2010, the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center named Cohn the chairman of the HJD Advisory Board.[34]

On June 17, 2013, Cohn was honored at the annual “Bid for Kids” gala in order to raise funds for Harlem RBI and the DREAM charter school. Cohn said in an interview that Harlem RBI is a project that is “very near and dear to his heart.”[31]

Published works

Cohn has written editorials in prestigious journals and newspapers.[citation needed] In March 2014, he wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, discussing “The Responsible Way to Rein in Super-Fast Trading.”[35]

Memberships

Cohn is a member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.[36]

Cohn is a member of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.[37]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Cohn_(investment_banker)

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 862, March 28, 2017, Story 1: Energy Independence and An Industrial Renaissance — Jobs — Jobs — Jobs — Making America Great Again — Videos — Story 2: Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare Bill Will Back Shortly — Stay Tuned — Videos

Posted on March 28, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Chemistry, China, Coal, Coal, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, Geology, Government, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Law, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Science, Senate, Solar, Taxation, Taxes, Transportation, Unions, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

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Story 1: Energy Independence and An Industrial Renaissance — Jobs — Jobs — Jobs — Making America Great Again — Videos —

Image result for cartoons climate change brancoImage result for president trump signs executive order energy
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Image result for president trump signs executive order energy

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By Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason | WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to undo a slew of Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says is hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court.

The decree’s main target is former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants – a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

The so-called “Energy Independence” order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.

“I am taking historic steps to lift restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump said at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, speaking on a stage lined with coal miners.

The wide-ranging order is the boldest yet in Trump’s broader push to cut environmental regulation to revive the drilling and mining industries, a promise he made repeatedly during the presidential campaign. But energy analysts and executives have questioned whether the moves will have a big effect on their industries, and environmentalists have called them reckless.

“I cannot tell you how many jobs the executive order is going to create but I can tell you that it provides confidence in this administration’s commitment to the coal industry,” Kentucky Coal Association president Tyler White told Reuters.

Trump signed the order with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Vice President Mike Pence by his side.

U.S. presidents have aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, which triggered soaring prices. But the United States still imports about 7.9 million barrels of crude oil a day, almost enough meet total oil demand in Japan and India combined.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order on ‘energy independence,’ eliminating Obama-era climate change regulations, during a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

While Trump’s administration has said reducing environmental regulation will create jobs, some green groups have countered that rules supporting clean energy have done the same.

The number of jobs in the U.S. wind power industry rose 32 percent last year while solar power jobs rose by 25 percent, according to a Department of Energy study.

‘ASSAULT ON AMERICAN VALUES’

Environmental groups hurled scorn on Trump’s order, arguing it is dangerous and goes against the broader global trend toward cleaner energy technologies.

“These actions are an assault on American values and they endanger the health, safety and prosperity of every American,” said billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, the head of activist group NextGen Climate.

Green group Earthjustice was one of many organizations that said it will fight the order both in and out of court. “This order ignores the law and scientific reality,” said its president, Trip Van Noppen.

An overwhelming majority of scientists believe that human use of oil and coal for energy is a main driver of climate change, causing a damaging rise in sea levels, droughts, and more frequent violent storms.

But Trump and several members of his administration have doubts about climate change, and Trump promised during his campaign to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, arguing it would hurt U.S. business.

Since being elected Trump has been mum on the Paris deal and the executive order does not address it.

Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change who helped broker the Paris accord, lamented Trump’s order.

“Trying to make fossil fuels remain competitive in the face of a booming clean renewable power sector, with the clean air and plentiful jobs it continues to generate, is going against the flow of economics,” she said.

The order will direct the EPA to start a formal “review” process to undo the Clean Power Plan, which was introduced by Obama in 2014 but was never implemented in part because of legal challenges brought by Republican-controlled states.

The Clean Power Plan required states to collectively cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Some 85 percent of U.S. states are on track to meet the targets despite the fact the rule has not been implemented, according to Bill Becker, director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, a group of state and local air pollution control agencies.

Trump’s order also lifts the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management’s temporary ban on coal leasing on federal property put in place by Obama in 2016 as part of a review to study the program’s impact on climate change and ensure royalty revenues were fair to taxpayers.

It also asks federal agencies to discount the cost of carbon in policy decisions and the weight of climate change considerations in infrastructure permitting, and reverses rules limiting methane leakage from oil and gas facilities.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-energy-idUSKBN16Z1L6

 Story 2: Repeal and Replacement Bill Will Back Shortly — Videos

Shep Smith goes off on Trump’s incompetent health care strategy on Monday– March 27, 2017.

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders and the White House, under extreme pressure from conservative activists, have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with House leaders declaring that Democrats were celebrating the law’s survival prematurely.

Just days after President Trump said he was moving on to other issues, senior White House officials are now saying they have hope that they can still score the kind of big legislative victory that has so far eluded Mr. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for lunchtime talks.

“We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said after a meeting of House Republicans that was dominated by a discussion of how to restart the health negotiations. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all of that.”

The House Republican whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said of Democrats, “Their celebration is premature. We are closer to repealing Obamacare than we ever have been before.”

It is not clear what political dynamics might have changed since Friday, when a coalition of hard-line conservatives and more moderate Republicans torpedoed legislation to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The replacement bill would still leave 24 million more Americans without insurance after a decade, a major worry for moderate Republicans. It would also leave in place regulations on the health insurance industry that conservatives find anathema.

Mr. Ryan declined to say what might be in the next version of the Republicans’ repeal bill, nor would he sketch any schedule for action. But he said Congress needed to act because insurers were developing the premiums and benefit packages for health plans they would offer in 2018, with review by federal and state officials beginning soon.

The new talks, which have been going on quietly this week, involve Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and members of the two Republican factions that helped sink the bill last week, the hard-right Freedom Caucus and the more centrist Tuesday Group.

Any deal would require overcoming significant differences about how to rework a law that covers about one-fifth of the American economy, differences that were so sharp they led Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan to pull the bill from consideration just as the House was scheduled to vote on Friday.

Still, Republican members of Congress said they hoped that revisiting the issue would lead this time to a solution and a vote in the House.

“I think everyone wants to get to yes and support President Trump,” said Representative Dave Brat, Republican of Virginia and a Freedom Caucus member. “There is a package in there that is a win-win.”

Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho, another Freedom Caucus member, said he hoped the discussions would yield a compromise that brings the party together after a divisive debate that revealed deep fissures. “I think we will have a better, stronger product that will unify the conference,” Mr. Labrador said.

Mr. Trump has sent mixed signals in recent days, at times blaming the Freedom Caucus, outside groups and even, it appeared, Mr. Ryan. On Monday, for instance, he said in a late-night Twitter post that the Freedom Caucus was able to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” over the health care repeal. “After so many bad years they were ready for a win!”

But then he suggested that he could also cut a deal with Democrats, a move that would almost certainly make more conservative members of the House balk. “Don’t worry,” he tweeted later Monday night, “we are in very good shape!”

Mr. Ryan said House Republicans were determined to use the next version of the repeal bill, like the first version, as a vehicle to cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood clinics.

Asked if he saw any signs that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus might be willing to compromise, he said: “I don’t want us to become a factionalized majority. I want us to become a unified majority, and that means we’re going to sit down and talk things out until we get there, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

“We saw good overtures from those members from different parts of our conference to get there because we all share these goals, and we’re just going to have to figure out how to get it done,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Scalise said that “we’re going to keep working” because “this issue isn’t going away,” and he added: “Obamacare continues to fail the American people. You’re going to continue to see double-digit increases in premiums because Obamacare doesn’t work.”

Democrats took formal steps to get involved in what they called improving the Affordable Care Act. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, sent a letter to House Democrats calling for suggestions in ways to make the health law work better. “We can then discuss these suggestions in our caucus and be prepared at the earliest possible time to go forward,” she said.

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 480-489

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 431-438

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 414-421

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The Pronk Pops Show 829, February 1, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos — Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution — Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos — Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Attack Saudi Missile Frigate — Killing Two Crewmen — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos —

Image result for president trump dover air force baseImage result for Chief Special Warfare Operator William Nawar Al Awlaki This was the president's first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved 'boots on the ground' at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKES UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO HONOR SLAIN NAVY SEAL

President Trump departs for Dover Air Force Base

FOX NEWS ALERT , SOON: President Trump at dover air force base to honor fallen seal killed in yemen

News Wrap: Trump makes surprise visit to honor Navy SEAL killed in Yemen

Navy SEAL Team 6 carries out daring raid in Yemen

Trump Releases Statement About SEAL Team Six Warrior Killed in Yemen Raid

U.S. Special Forces launch Raid against Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Raid in Yemen results in first U.S. combat death under Trump administration

Trump Leaves D.C. to Honor Fallen U.S. Navy Seal

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — Assuming the somber duties of commander in chief, President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip Wednesday to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in a weekend raid in Yemen.

Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office less than two weeks ago. More than half a dozen militant suspects were also killed in the raid on an al-Qaida compound and three other U.S. service members were wounded.

More than a dozen civilians were also killed in the operation, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric and U.S. citizen who was targeted and killed by a drone strike in 2011.

Trump’s trip to Delaware’s Dover Air Base was shrouded in secrecy. The president and his daughter, Ivanka, departed the White House in the presidential helicopter with their destination unannounced. A small group of journalists traveled with Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival.

Marine One landed at Dover shortly before a C-17 believed to be carrying Owens’ remains touched down. The president met with Owens’ family during a two-hour visit to the base. The sailor’s family had requested that Trump’s visit and the return of Owens’ remains be private.

Former President Barack Obama lifted a ban on media coverage of the casualty returns, though families may still request privacy. A spokeswoman at Dover said about half of families choose to allow media coverage.

Owens joined the Navy in 1998 and was the recipient of two Bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other honors. In a statement following his death, the Navy Special Command called Owens a “devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband.”

His death underscores the human costs of the military campaigns Trump now oversees. Far fewer troops are serving in combat now than in the wars Trump’s predecessors led in Afghanistan and Iraq, but thousands of Americans remain in hotspots around the world.

In Afghanistan, where America’s longest war continues, about 8,400 U.S. troops are training and advising local forces. More than U.S. 5,100 troops in Iraq and about 500 in Syria are involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group. The U.S. also engages in counterterrorism operations – mainly drone strikes – in Yemen, where Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war.

Sunday’s pre-dawn raid – which a defense official said was planned by the Obama administration but authorized by Trump – could signal a new escalation against extremist groups in Yemen.

As a candidate, Trump said he would be willing to “take out” the families of terrorists in order to root out extremism. On Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said no Americans “will ever be targeted” in raids against terror suspects.

The president’s trip to Dover comes as he begins weighing whether to reshape U.S. military activities around the world. As a candidate, he vowed to be tougher on the Islamic State and at one point said he would be willing to send up to 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the extremist group in Iraq and Syria. Last week, Trump gave the Pentagon and other agencies 30 days to submit a plan for defeating the Islamic State.

Trump has said little about his approach to Afghanistan. Obama had pledged to end the war there on his watch, but continuing security concerns prompted him to extend the U.S. military campaign, handing the war off to a third American president.

Trump, who never served in the armed forces and received student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War, had an uneven relationship with the military community during the presidential campaign.

About 60 percent of voters who served in the military supported Trump in the presidential election, compared with 34 percent who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But Trump was also criticized by military groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, for his feud with the Khan family, whose Muslim-American son was killed while serving in Iraq.

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRUMP_NAVY_SEAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-02-01-15-54-04

President Trump honors first military casualty of his presidency by meeting fallen SEAL’s coffin – and takes Ivanka with him

  • The body of fallen SEAL Team 6 member Officer William Owens arrived Tuesday afternoon at Dover Air Force Base
  • President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka flew to Delaware to meet him
  • Officials said that in the President’s first strike ‘almost everything went wrong’
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got emotional on Wednesday as he talked about the raid, which he admitted was not a ‘100% successs’ 
  • Nawar al-Awlaki, 8, was among several non-combatants killed in Trump’s first raid; she was the daughter of the American al Qaeda leader killed in a 2011 raid  

Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens, a 36-year-old from Illinois, was killed in Sunday's botched raid

Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens, a 36-year-old from Illinois, was killed in Sunday’s botched raid

President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president.

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington in Marine One, to receive the body of Chief Special Warfare Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens.

They touched down at Dover AFB at 3:51 pm.

The president and first daughter were accompanied by Delaware Sen. Chris Coons at the private return ceremony that Owens’ family also attended.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and their three children. They are believed to have arrived after the president and his daughtr in a Air Force C-17 transport.

Owens was killed in a pre-dawn raid, in which officials have said ‘almost everything went wrong,’ on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula last Sunday.

It was Trump’s first clandestine strike, and it was not one that had previously been ordered by former President Barack Obama.

Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was also among the non-combats killed in the raid, which resulted in the death of several Yemeni women.

Owens was a 36-year-old from Illinois.

Scroll down for video

President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president

President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington, to receive the body of Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington, to receive the body of Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens

Today's journey is Ivanka's first trip on Marine One

Today’s journey is Ivanka’s first trip on Marine One

The pair exited the Oval Office to make the journey

The pair exited the Oval Office to make the journey

President Trump salutes a marine as he boards Marine One Wednesday afternoon from the South Lawn of the White House

President Trump salutes a marine as he boards Marine One Wednesday afternoon from the South Lawn of the White House

Marine One flew with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force 

Marine One flew with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force

Ivanka Trump leaves her home in Washington D.C. on Wednesday lunchtime

Ivanka Trump leaves her home in Washington D.C. on Wednesday lunchtime

She met her father at the White House and they rode together on Marine One to Dover

She met her father at the White House and they rode together on Marine One to Dover

SEAL Team 6 is the US Navy’s special forces team that gained worldwide fame for killing Osama bin Laden.

Dover AFB is traditionally the arrival point for service members killed in action.

Obama’s first trip to Dover was on Oct. 29, 2009, nine months into his administration.

He received 18 American soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. He reflected several hours later, in Oval Office remarks on the toll of war. ‘It is something that I think about each and every day,’ he stated.

The U.S. president was back at Dover again two years later, in 2011, to receive the remains of 30 soldiers who died in Extortion 17, a helicopter mission in Afghanistan that resulted in the most American military casualties in a single day since the beginning of the war on terror.

The Sunday raid that resulted in the death of Owens involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an AQAP near al Bayda in south central Yemen, officials confirmed in a statement to NBC news.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was visibly affected by the tragedy as he addressed it in his daily briefing with reporters before Trump’s trip to Dover.

The president’s spokesman admitted that the raid was not a ‘100 percent success.’

‘I think it’s hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life,’ Spicer said.

The White House official said Owens deployed 12 times ‘because he loved his country and he believed in the mission.’

Spicer said that 14 AQAP members were killed and U.S. forces gained ‘an unbelievable amount of intelligence’ in the raid ‘that will prevent potential deaths or attacks on American soil.’

‘You never want to call something a success 100 percent when someone is hurt or killed and that was the case here. But I think when you recognize that an individual like this loved this country so much and deployed over and over again because he knew the mission that he was conducting was so important to our protection, our freedom, our safety.’  

Ivanka has been filling in for some traditionally first lady roles with Melania in New York

Ivanka has been filling in for some traditionally first lady roles with Melania in New York

The First Lady is in New York until at least June, leaving Ivanka to fill the role

The First Lady is in New York until at least June, leaving Ivanka to fill the role

Marine One with US President Donald Trump and Ivanka on board, just before it lands at Dover Air Force Base

Marine One with US President Donald Trump and Ivanka on board, just before it lands at Dover Air Force Base

Ivanka's husband, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence watched from the Rose Garden as they left

Ivanka’s husband, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence watched from the Rose Garden as they left

An eight-year-old, Nora, killed in the raid was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured), an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago

An eight-year-old, Nora, killed in the raid was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured), an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago

Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter killed in first Trump sanctioned raid

Owens’ wife, Karen, stressed in her conversation with the president that while it is ‘an unbelievably sad and emotional time for her and her family that he loved doing this.’

‘And so again, I don’t think you ever call anything 100 percent success, but what he did for this nation and what we got out of that mission, I think, I truly believe and I know the president believes is going to save American lives.’

The eight-year-old who was killed in the raid, Nora, was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a U.S. strike Obama ordered five years ago.

Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone on September 30, 2011 after the Justice Department approved the strike in a memorandum that was not disclosed until 2014.

The memo said: ‘We do not believe that al-Awlaki’s US citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action.’

United States intelligence officiers believed that al-Awaki was a potential successor to Osama Bin Laden.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said of Owens in a statement, ‘Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.’

This was the president's first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved 'boots on the ground' at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

This was the president’s first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

Nora’s grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, is Yemen’s former agriculture minister. He told NBC news, ‘My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in the neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed.’

He said she died two hours after being shot.

Mr. al-Awlaki said hte SEALS ‘entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children’s teacher.’

Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nora, was among the non-combatants killed in the raid, which also resulted in the death of several Yemeni women

Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nora, was among the non-combatants killed in the raid, which also resulted in the death of several Yemeni women

The girl’s mother survived, NBC says, and sustained a minor wound. Al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, however, was killed in the raid.

An official told NBC that the raid was directed from a U.S. base in Djibouti. Officially, it was to search for ‘information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terrorist plots’.

After American service members landed on the ground, a two-hour gun battle ensued. Some al Qaeda fighters were women, and they were among the casualties, reported the San Diego Union Tribune.

Al Qaeda has claimed that 30 civilians have died, and the Tribune reported that four other Americans were wounded in the raid and complications in the aircraft landing.

National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods.

Trump said in December of 2015 that he wouldn’t fight a ‘politically correct war’ against ISIS. In a interivew on Fox & Friends, Trump said, ‘The other thing with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.

‘They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But when they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,’ he said.

The Geneva Conventions, of which the United States is a signatory, bars the killing of civillians.

Trump, then a GOP candidate for president, reversed his position in March, saying in a statement, ‘I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies.

‘I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.’

After Nora al-Awaki was killed in Sunday’s raid, the White House went a step further on Tuesday and Spicer unoquicivocally stated: ‘No American citizen will ever be targeted.’

One of Spicer’s deputies walked back her boss’ claim later that day. She said in a statement that the Trump administration would abide by the legal standard adopted by the Obama administration.

‘U.S. policy regarding the possible targeting of American citizens has not changed,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that was reported on by Bloomberg.

Pictured: The rubble of a building destroyed by a US drone air strike that targeted suspected al Qaeda militants. The strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar and brother of Nora. National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods

Pictured: The rubble of a building destroyed by a US drone air strike that targeted suspected al Qaeda militants. The strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar and brother of Nora. National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4181764/Trump-receives-SEAL-Team-6-member-killed-Yemen-raid.html#ixzz4XTutqj5c

One US service member killed, 3 injured in raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen

Published on Jan 29, 2017

DEVELOPING: One U.S. service member was killed and three wounded in a raid against a group of senior Al Qaeda leaders in central Yemen, officials said.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement Sunday that another service member was injured in a “hard landing” in a nearby location.

The aircraft used in the landing unable to fly afterward and “was then intentionally destroyed in place.”

A total of 14 fighters from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the assault, and U.S. service members captured “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” according to the military.

Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in central Bayda province killed three senior Al Qaeda leaders.

The surprise dawn attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, Yemeni officials said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of Al Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of Al Qaeda.

Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged Al Qaeda operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.

The tribal officials said the Americans were looking for Al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.

The war began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping government forces battle the rebels for nearly two years.

An 8-year-old American girl was killed during the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen

The 8-year-old daughter of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was among roughly 30 civilians who were killed during a raid carried out by US commandos Sunday in Yemen. About 14 Al Qaeda militants were killed during the operation, according to the Pentagon.

Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was shot during the raid carried out by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 against an Al Qaeda camp,according to NBC News.

“She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours,” her grandfather Nasser al-Awlaki told Reuters. “Why kill children? This is the new administration. It’s very sad — a big crime.”

SEAL Chief Petty Officer William (Ryan) Owens was also killed during the hourlong gun battle, and three other American commandos were injured. An MV-22 helicopter that crash-landed had to be destroyed before the SEALs left.

“Almost everything went wrong,” a senior US military official told NBC News of the operation, which was the first clandestine strike approved by President Donald Trump.

Born in New Mexico, Anwar al-Awlaki spoke at the Capitol and the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks but eventually left the US in 2002. The process of his radicalization accelerated after he was imprisoned in Yemen — with US encouragement — and he became a top recruiter and mentor to several Al Qaeda operatives, including Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people during the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down an American airliner in 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.

Awlaki was killed in a CIA Predator drone strike in 2011, the first time an American citizen was targeted and killed in such a way. Another US citizen, Samir Khan, who published the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, was also killed in the strike.

About two weeks later, a US drone strike killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. US officials denied he was their target.

Anwar al-Awlaki’s fiery online video sermons have continued to inspire militants in the years since his death.

His daughter’s death will likely be used in militant propaganda efforts, especially since she is the second of Anwar al-Awlaki’s children killed by the US. It was not immediately clear where she was born, but having an American father would have given her automatic dual citizenship in the US and the country of her birth.

“The perception will be that it’s not enough to kill al-Awlaki — that the US had to kill the entire family,” Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security, told NBC.

According to Middle East Monitor, the US is already being accused on social media of “assassinating children.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/awlaki-killed-seal-team-6-raid-yemen-2017-1

US soldier killed in Yemen

US servicemember killed in raid on al Qaeda in Yemen

US service member killed in raid 01:13

(CNN)A US Navy Seal died of wounds suffered during a raid in Yemen against al Qaeda — the first American combat death under President Donald Trump, US Central Command said Sunday.

Six other servicemembers also were wounded, all non-life threatening.
On Monday, the Pentagon identified the service member who was killed as Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday callled Owens’ family, the White House said.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described the call as a “very somber and lengthy conversation” with Owens’ wife, father and children.
“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
“In a successful raid against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) headquarters, brave US forces were instrumental in killing an estimated 14 AQAP members and capturing important intelligence that will assist the US in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world,” Trump said in a statement Sunday.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” he added. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.”
A US military official said the raid was not directed against specific individuals, but aimed at “site exploitation,” a military term to describe intelligence-gathering actions.
Sources in Yemen told CNN that three senior al Qaeda leaders were among those killed. That was later confirmed by a US official.

Donald Trump's Middle East challenges

Donald Trump’s Middle East challenges 03:06
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite servicemembers,” Commander of US Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel said. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”

Ongoing civil war

Central Command said an aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing, resulting in three US troops being injured. That aircraft, which a US defense official said was a V-22 Osprey, was unable to fly after the landing and was then intentionally destroyed in place.
The US operation resulted in an estimated total of 14 members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) being killed and the capture of information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.
A US defense official said the operation was authorized by Trump. The military said there were no civilian casualties as a result of the raid.
American military raids in Yemen are rare. The US did conduct several drone strikes on AQAP targets there last week.

The starving victims of Yemen's civil war

The starving victims of Yemen’s civil war 02:18
Yemeni officials told CNN that the raid took place in the Gaifa region in Yemen’s northern Baitha province.
US military officials believe AQAP is exploiting the ongoing civil war in Yemen to solidify its presence there.
Yemen is currently beset by a conflict between Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the north of the country, and the internationally recognized government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia is leading a military intervention against the Houthis in support of the government.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/us-servicemember-killed-in-raid-on-al-qaeda-in-yemen/

Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution —  Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos

Image result for iran missile launch January 31, 2017

Image result for iran missile launch January 31, 2017

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: ‘As of Today, We Are Officially Putting Iran on Notice’

UN To Hold Emergency Meeting Over Iran’s Missile Tests

Netanyahu Iran missile test must not go unanswered

Alleged missile test strains Iran nuclear deal

Iran tests medium-range ballistic missile

Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure 

Published on Jan 31, 2017

According to two U.S. defense officials, Iran has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile, the first launch of its kind since President Donald Trump took office.
According to the officials who spoke to NBC News on Monday, the United States deemed the launch to be a failure, after the missile flew more than 500 miles before crashing. The official spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the press.
The test-fire poses a challenge for Trump’s fledgling administration. During the campaign, he took several stances on the Iran nuclear deal signed by Barack Obama and other world powers in 2015. He vowed to strictly police the agreement or renegotiate it entirely.

Trump White House Puts Iran ‘On Notice’ After Missile Launch

Security adviser condemns Iran, but doesn’t specify action

U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—The White House on Wednesday sharply condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missile test launch and accused Tehran of threatening the U.S. allies in the region, and warned of unspecified consequences.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” national security adviser Michael Flynn told reporters during a daily press briefing.

Mr. Flynn said the latest missile test was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. He said similar actions by Iran in the past six months weren’t met with a sufficiently stern U.S. response and that President Donald Trump’s administration would take a tougher approach to blunt Tehran’s “destabilizing influence.”

“Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Mr. Flynn said.

White House officials declined to elaborate on what Mr. Flynn meant by his warning to Iran, but Mr. Trump has a number of options, including new sanctions. There is bipartisan support in Congress for additional sanctions, some of which were opposed by former President Barack Obama because he said they would violate the 2015 international deal with Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr. Flynn’s declaration came as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads to Asia for his first overseas trip and on the day Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has been confirmed.

The test launch was the first Iran has conducted since Mr. Trump took office almost two weeks ago, and the White House’s rhetoric suggested the two countries are headed for an early confrontation.

Mr. Trump staked out an antagonistic stance toward Tehran during the presidential campaign, and Iran was among seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens he barred from the U.S. in an executive order Friday, calling it a needed move to keep terrorists from entering the country.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-white-house-puts-iran-on-notice-after-missile-launch-1485979767

Khamenei ally says useless for U.S. to threaten Iran over missile test: Fars

By Parisa Hafezi
Reuters February 2, 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) – A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday Iran will not yield to “useless” U.S. threats from “an inexperienced person” over its ballistic missile program.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, said on Wednesday the United States was putting Iran on notice over its “destabilizing activity” after it test-fired a ballistic missile.

Trump echoed that language on Thursday, saying in a tweet “Iran has been formally put on notice” after his administration said it was reviewing how to respond to the launch that Iran said was solely for defensive purposes.

Iran said on Wednesday it had tested the new ballistic missile but said it did not breach a nuclear deal reached with six major powers in 2015 or a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord.

“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran … the American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless,” Ali Akbar Velayati said, without identifying any U.S. official specifically in his comments.

“Iran does not need permission from any country to defend itself,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. Khamenei is the country’s most powerful figure.

A U.S. official said Iran had test-launched the medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday and it exploded after traveling 630 miles (1,010 km). Iran said it had been a successful launch.

A series of tests conducted by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2016 caused international concern, with some powers saying any launch of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate U.N. Security Council resolution 2231.

NUCLEAR DEAL

The IRGC maintains an arsenal of dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles – the largest in the Middle East, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Under the nuclear agreement, most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago. But Iran is still subject to an U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the deal.

Trump has frequently criticized the Iran nuclear deal, which restricts Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of the sanctions, calling the agreement weak and ineffective. He tweeted on Thursday that Iran “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them”.

Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Thursday: “The missile test on Sunday was successful … the test was not a violation of a nuclear deal with world powers or any U.N. resolution.”

German newspaper Die Welt, citing unspecified intelligence sources, reported on Thursday that Iran had tested a home-made cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Tasnim news agency two years ago published pictures of the Sumar missile, reporting that it was successfully test-fired.

While Iran says its missile program is aimed at displaying the country’s “deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat”, some IRGC commanders have said that Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles were designed to be able to hit Israel.

Iran refuses to recognize Israel.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/top-khamenei-ally-says-useless-u-threaten-iran-112949295.html

Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Destroy Saudi Missile Frigate — Videos

Image result for map of yemen who controls area

Image result for saudi frigate damages y yemen rebels

Image result for saudi frigate damages y yemen rebels

Houthis Destroy Saudi Navy War Ship

Saudi Frigate Attacked by Houthi Rebels

TRUMP MAKES PHONE CALL TO SAUDI KING SALMAN

Why Do Saudi Arabia And Iran Hate Each Other?

What Is Happening In Yemen?

The US may be aiding war crimes in Yemen

Origins of the crisis in Yemen

Will’s Take: Saudi Arabian Intervention in Yemen Is Good News for U.S.

YEMEN UPDATE 30 01 2017 RISKING FAMINE!

When Houthis attack | January 2017 | Yemen – Saudi Arabia

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship

Suicide bomb attack may have been meant for American warship

The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.

The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea and was carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Two Saudi sailors were killed and three were wounded. At first the ship was thought to have been struck by a missile.

US OFFICIALS: IRAN CONDUCTS BALLISTIC MISSILE TEST

But based on new analysis of a video showing the attack, American intelligence officials now believe this was, in fact, a suicide bomber whose small boat rammed the side of the Saudi vessel.

In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, “Allahu akbar [God is great], death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.”

ISLAMIC BODY CALLS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS A ‘GRAVE CONCERN’

U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack, near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, occurred in the same area where U.S. Navy warships came under missile attack in October.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles — the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.

USS Nitze, an American destroyer, retaliated soon after, launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen.

This latest incident came a day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Saudi King to discuss setting up safe zones for refugees in Syria and Yemen. Senior U.S. defense officials who spoke with Fox News say they’re concerned by this latest incident, but are confident American warships can defend themselves.

The United States has supported a Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/01/31/exclusive-pentagon-believes-attack-on-saudi-frigate-meant-for-us-warship.html

Yemen conflict: Rebels in deadly attack on Saudi warship

  • 31 January 2017
Media captionRebel-controlled al-Masira TV broadcast what it said was footage of the attack on the Saudi warship

The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels says two crew members have been killed in an attack on one of its warships in the Red Sea.

A coalition statement said three Houthi “suicide boats” had approached a Saudi frigate west of Hudaydah on Monday.

One of the boats collided with the rear of the frigate and exploded, causing a fire, the statement added.

However, a rebel-controlled news agency cited a source as saying the warship had been hit by a guided missile.

In October, the Houthis were accused of firing missiles at a US warship and a civilian logistics ship chartered by the military of the United Arab Emirates.

The US-backed coalition has fought the rebels since March 2015, when they forced Yemen’s internationally recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi into exile.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and 40,000 wounded since then, according to the UN.

Grey line
Grey line

Warships have been deployed in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as part of what the coalition says is an operation to stop the Houthis receiving weapons from Iran, which backs the rebels but denies providing military support.

“A Saudi frigate came under a terrorist attack by three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias while on patrol west of the port of Hudaydah,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition statement as saying.

Map of Yemen

“The Saudi ship dealt with the boats as necessary. However, one of the boats collided with the rear of the vessel, resulting in the explosion of the boat and a fire at the rear of the ship. The crew extinguished the fire,” it added.

“Two members of the ship crew fell as martyrs and three others were injured.”

The Houthi-controlled Saba news agency cited a military source as confirming a warship had been targeted off western Yemen on Monday. But the source said the vessel had been hit by a guided missile as it tried to approach the coast.

Newly-recruited Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride a military vehicle in Sanaa on 3 January 2017Image 

Image captionThe Houthi rebel movement said its fighters had fired a guided missile at the warship

Yemeni pro-government forces outside the Red Sea port of Mocha on 20 January 2017
Image captionPro-government forces are also attempting to advance up Yemen’s Red Sea coast

“The targeting of this warship comes within the framework of the legal right of Yemen to defend the homeland and its sovereignty,” the source added.

Coalition and pro-government forces are also currently attempting to advance up the west coast in an attempt to drive the rebels out of Hudaydah and other ports.

The coalition warned that the Houthis’ use of Hudaydah “as a launching pad for terrorist operations is a serious development that would affect the international navigation and the flow of humanitarian and medical assistance into the port”.

The coalition’s naval blockade and the wider conflict have caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, leaving more than seven million people severely food insecure.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38808345

Houthis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Ansar Allah.
Houthis
الحوثيون
Participant in Houthi insurgency in Yemen, the Yemeni Revolution, and the Yemeni Civil War
Houthis emblem.svg

Houthi flag reading God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam. (See here for further explanation)
Active 1994–present
(armed since 2004)
Ideology Zaydi Revivalism[1]
Anti-imperialism[2][3][4]
Anti-Zionism[4]
Antisemitism[5] (officially rejected)[6]
Groups Houthis, allied Zaidi tribes in Sa’dah
Leaders
Headquarters Sa’dah, Yemen
Area of operations
Strength 29,000 (2011)[7][8]
Allies State allies

Non-state allies

[14]

Opponents State opponents

Non-state opponents

Battles and wars Houthi insurgency in Yemen

Yemeni Civil War

The Houthis (Arabic: الحوثيون‎‎ al-Ḥūthiyyūn IPA: [ħuːθijuːn]), officially called Ansar Allah (anṣār allāh أنصار الله “Supporters of God”), is a Zaidi Shia-led religious-political movement that emerged from Sa’dah, northern Yemen in the 1990s and has fought against the government of the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh on and off since 2004. In late 2014, Houthis fixed their relationship with the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, Houthis took control of the capital and much of the north.[22]

Like many of Iranian-backed military militia such as Hezbollah, the Houthi movement attracts its Zaidi-Shia followers in Yemen by promoting regional political-religious issues in its media, including the overarching US-Israeli conspiracy and Arab “collusion”.[23][24] In 2003, the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”, became the group’s trademark.[24] Beside, the movement claims that it has some local-political agenda such as ending the economic under-development, political marginalization in Yemen, as well as seeking autonomy in only the areas where they are predominant not all of Yemen.[25] Tension between the Houthis and the central government steadily grew in the 1990s, with war breaking out in 2004 with the group’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi,[26] leading a rebellion against then President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The group is now led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, brother of the first leader, who was reportedly killed by Saleh’s Yemeni army forces in 2004.[27][28]

The Houthis had some role in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, participating in the street protests and coordinating with other opposition groups. Houthis also had joined National Dialogue Conference in Yemen which is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. However, after they took over the government with the help from the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, they announced their rejection of the provisions of the November 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council deal, claiming that it did not fundamentally reform governance and describe it as “a conspiracy” against them. In addition, they have also some other claims such as that it will transform the country into a federation of six regions, arguing that “it divided Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and saw it as a blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions.[25]

In 2014–2015 Houthis took over the government in Sana’a with the help of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and announced the fall of the current government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.[29] Houthis have gained control of most of the north part of Yemen’s territory and are currently resisting the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen that claims seeking to restore the internationally-recognized Yemeni government[30] to the power. Houthis, Saleh forces, Yemen’s government, and the forces of Saudi Arabian-led coalition, have been attacked by the Islamic State militant group.[31][32]

Contents

 [show] 

History

Current territorial situation in Yemen. Houthi forces are shown in green.

The Houthis belong to the Shia tribesmen of North Yemen who are renowned among Yemeni tribes for their ruggedness, sharpshooting abilities, honour, and bravery in combat. This is while they are also disregarded as being ignorant or backward, by more metropolitan Yemenis, such as Sana’anis or Adenites. They have been known for being very moderate and are the closest to Sunni Islam of all the Shi’a sects.[33]

According to Ahmed Addaghashi, a professor at Sanaa University, the Houthis began as a moderate theological movement that preached tolerance and held a broad-minded view of Yemeni people.[34] Their first organization, “the Believing Youth” (BY), was founded in 1992 in Saada Governorate[33]:1008 by either Mohammed al-Houthi,[35]:98 or his brother Hussein al-Houthi.[36]

The Believing Youth established school clubs and summer camps[35]:98 in order to “promote a Zaidi revival” in Saada.[36] By 1994–1995, 15–20,000 students had attended BY summer camps. The religious material included lectures by Mohammed Hussein Fadhlallah (a Lebanese Shiite scholar) and Hassan Nasrallah (Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Party) “[35]:99[37]

The formation of the Houthi organisations have been described by Adam Baron of the European Council on Foreign Relations as a reaction to foreign intervention: shoring up Zaidi support against the perceived threat of Saudi-influenced ideologies in Yemen and a general condemnation of the former Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States, which, along with complaints regarding the government’s corruption and the marginalisation of much of the Houthis’ home areas in Saada constituted the group’s key grievances.[38]

Although Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004, had no official relation with Believing Youth, according to Zaid, he contributed to the radicalisation of some Zaydis after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. BY-affiliated youth adopted anti-American and anti-Jewish slogans which they chanted in the Saleh Mosque in Sana’a after Friday prayers. According to Zaid, the followers of Houthi’s insistence on chanting the slogans attracted the authorities’ attention, further increasing government worries over the extent of the al-Houthi movement’s influence. “The security authorities thought that if today the Houthis chanted `Death to America’, tomorrow they could be chanting `Death to the president [of Yemen]”. 800 BY supporters were arrested in Sana’a in 2004. President Ali Abdullah Saleh then invited Hussein al-Houthi to a meeting in Sana’a, but Hussein declined. On 18 June 2004 Saleh sent government forces to arrest Hussein.[39] Hussein responded by launching an insurgency against the government but was killed on 10 September 2004.[40] The insurgency continued intermittently until a ceasefire agreement was reached in 2010.[34]

The Houthis participated in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, as well as the ensuing National Dialogue Conference (NDC).[41] However, they rejected the provisions of the November 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council deal on the ground that “it divide[d] Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and also in response to assassination of their representative at NDC.[42][43]

As the revolution went on, Houthis gained control of greater territory. By 9 November 2011, Houthis were said to be in control of two Yemeni governorates (Saada and Al Jawf) and close to taking over their third governorate (Hajjah),[44] which would enable them to launch a direct assault on Yemeni capital Sana’a.[45] In May 2012, it was reported that the Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates; they had also gained access to the Red Sea and started erecting barricades north of the capital Sana’a in preparation for more conflict.[46]

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has openly allied with Houthis

By 21 September 2014, Houthis were said to control parts of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, including government buildings and a radio station.[47]While control of the capital expanded to the rest of Sana’a, as well as other towns such as Rada’, control was strongly challenged by Al-Qaeda. It was believed by the Gulf States that the Houthis had accepted aid from Iran while Saudi Arabia was aiding their Yemeni rivals.[48]

On 20 January 2015, Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace in the capital. President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was in the presidential palace during the takeover but was not harmed.[49] The movement officially took control of the Yemeni government on 6 February, dissolving parliament and declaring its Revolutionary Committee to be the acting authority in Yemen.[29] On 20 March 2015, The al-Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques came under suicide attack during midday prayers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant quickly claimed responsibility. The blasts killed 142 Houthi worshippers and wounded more than 351, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Yemen’s history.[50]

In a televised speech on 22 March, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorists attacks. He blamed regional Arab states for financing terrorist groups operating inside Yemen.[51] On 27 March 2015, in response to perceived Houthi threats to Sunni factions in the region, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a gulf coalition airstrike in Yemen.[52] The military coalition includes the United States which is helping with the planning of air strikes, as well as logistical and intelligence support.[53]

According to a 2015 September report by Esquire magazine, the Houthis, once the outliers, are now one of the most stable and organised social and political movements in Yemen. The power vacuum created by Yemen’s uncertain transitional period has drawn more supporters to the Houthis. Many of the formerly powerful parties, now disorganised with an unclear vision, have fallen out of favour with the public, making the Houthis — under their newly branded Ansar Allah name — all the more attractive.[4]

Membership and support

Ansar Allah fighters in Yemen, August 2009.

There is a difference between the al-Houthi family, which has about 20 members[35]:102 and the Houthi movement, which took the name “Houthi” after the death of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in 2004.[citation needed]

The Houthis avoid assuming a singular tribal identity. Instead, the group strategically draws support from tribes of the northern Bakil federation, rival to the Hashid federation which had been a traditional ally of the ousted central government. The Houthis’ lack of centralised command structure allows them to generate immense support, as Yemenis from diverse backgrounds have joined their cause.[54]

Membership of the group had between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters as of 2005[55] and between 2,000 and 10,000 fighters as of 2009.[56] In 2010, the Yemen Post claimed that they had over 100,000 fighters.[57] According to Houthi expert Ahmed Al-Bahri the Houthis had a total of 100,000-120,000 followers, including both armed fighters and unarmed loyalists.[58]

As of 2015, the group is reported to have managed to pick up swaths of new supporters outside their traditional demographics.[38] [59] On 5 February 2016, Iranian TV named PressTV reported that Men of Hamdan, one of Yemen’s most powerful tribes, rallied to the north of the capital, Sana’a, vowing to provide support in the form of potential mobilisation for the country’s fighters resisting the current elected Yemeni government. In a gathering held in the capital, hundreds of tribesmen from the southern parts pledged union against what they described as a U.S.-Israeli initiative targeting the country, which was being implemented by Saudi Arabia.[60]

Ideology

Houthis belong to the Zaidi branch of Islam, also known as Fivers, a sect of Islam almost exclusively present in Yemen.[61]

Zaydis make up about 45 percent of the population, Sunnis make up 53 percent, and there are also tiny minorities of Muslims who are members of other Shia sects — the Ismaili and Twelver communities. Al-Houthi Zaydis are estimated to make up about 30 percent of the population, according to Hassan Zaid, secretary-general of the al-Haq opposition party. The Zaydis ruled Yemen for 1,000 years up until 1962. During this time they ferociously defended their independence and fought off foreign powers (Egypt, the Ottomans) who controlled lower Yemen and tried to extend their rule to the north.[39]

Similar to Shia Muslims in matters of religious law and rulings, the Houthi belief in the concept of an Imamate as being essential to their religion makes them distinct from Sunnis.[62] As of 2014 it has been observed that “The Houthi group’s approach is in many ways similar to that of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Similarly religiously based and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran”.[63]

As a consequence, the Houthis have regularly been accused, even by many fellow Zaidis, of secretly being converts or followers of the Twelver sect, which is the official religion of their ally and backer Iran.[61][64][65][66]

Ethnoreligious groups in 2002. ZaidiShia followers make up over 42% of Muslims in Yemen.[67]

The Houthis have asserted that their actions are to fight against the expansion of Salafism in Yemen,[64] and for the defence of their community from discrimination, whereas the Yemeni government has in turn accused the insurgents of intending to overthrow the regime out of a desire to institute Zaidi religious law,[68] destabilising the government and stirring anti-American sentiment.[69][70] The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having ties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government.[71] In turn, the Houthis have countered with allegations that the Yemeni government is being backed by al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia,[72][73][74] The discord has led some publishers to fear that further confrontations may lead to an all-out Sunni-Shiite war.[75]

Flag and slogan

The group’s flag reads as following: “God Is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam“.[76] This motto is partially modelled on the motto of revolutionary Iran, which reads “Death to U.S. and death to Israel”.[77]

Some Houthi supporters stress that their ire for the U.S. and Israel is directed toward the governments of America and Israel. Ali al-Bukhayti, the spokesperson and official media face of the Houthis, tried to reject the literal interpretation of the slogan by stating that in one of his interview “We do not really want death to anyone. The slogan is simply against the interference of those governments [i.e. U.S. and Israel]”.[78] However, in the Arabic Houthi-affiliated TV and radio stations they use religious connotations associated with jihad against Israel and the US. They also call Saudi Arabia a U.S. puppet state.[24]

Charges of harassment against Jews

The Houthis have been accused of expelling or restricting some members of the ancient and impoverished rural Jews of Yemen. There have been also reports about supporters of the Houthis bullying or attacking the members of the Yemeni Jewish community.[79][6] Houthi officials, however, have denied any involvement in the harassment, asserting that under Houthi control Jews in Yemen would be able to live and operate freely as any other Yemeni citizen. “Our problems are with Zionism and the occupation of Palestine, but Jews here have nothing to fear,” said Fadl Abu Taleb, a spokesman for the Houthis. But despite insistence by Houthi leaders that the movement is not sectarian, a Yemeni Jewish rabbi has reportedly said that many Jews remain terrified by the movement’s slogan.[6] As a result, Yemeni Jews reportedly retain a negative sentiment towards the Houthis, who committed persecutions against them.[5] According to Ayoub Kara, Houthi militants had given an ultimatum telling Jews to “convert to Islam or leave Yemen”.[80]

Leaders

Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi

Motives and objectives

When armed conflict for the first time erupted back in 2004 between the Yemeni government and Houthis, the then-Yemeni President accused Houthis and other Islamic opposition parties of trying to overthrow the government and the republican system. However Houthi leaders for their part rejected the accusation by saying that they had never rejected the president or the republican system but were only defending themselves against government attacks on their community.[84] Zaidi Shi’ites compose one-third of the population of Yemen and Houthis have often voiced the grievances of the Zaidi population.[9]

The group has also exploited the popular discontent over corruption and reduction of government subsidies.[9] According to a February 2015 Newsweek report, Houthis are fighting “for things that all Yemenis crave: government accountability, the end to corruption, regular utilities, fair fuel prices, job opportunities for ordinary Yemenis and the end of Western influence”.[85]

Hassan al-Homran, a former spokesperson for Ansar Allah, has said that “Ansar Allah supports the establishment of a civil state in Yemen. We want to build a striving modern democracy. Our goals are to fulfil our people’s democratic aspirations in keeping with the Arab Spring movement.”[86] In an interview with Yemen Times, Hussein al-Bukhari, a Houthi insider, said that Houthis’ preferable political system is a republic with elections where women can also hold political positions, and that they do not seek to form a cleric-led government after the model of Islamic Republic of Iran for “we cannot apply this system in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi (Sunni) doctrine are bigger in number than the Zaydis.”[87]

Ali Akbar Velayati, International Affairs Advisor to Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, stated in October 2014 that “We are hopeful that Ansar-Allah has the same role in Yemen as Hezbollah has in eradicating the terrorists in Lebanon”.[88]

Activism and tactics

Political

During their campaigns against the ousted Hadi government, Houthis used civil disobedience. Following the Yemeni government’s decision in 13 July 2014 to increase fuel prices,[89] Houthi leaders succeeded in organising massive rallies in the capital Sana’a to protest the decision and to demand resignation of the incumbent government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for “state-corruption”.[90] These protests developed into the 2014-2015 phase of the insurgency. Similarly, following 2015 Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthis which claimed civilians lives, Yemenis responded to the Abdul-Malik al-Houthi‘s call and took to streets of the capital, Sana’a, in tens of thousands to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.[91][92]

Cultural

The Houthis have also held a number of mass gatherings since the revolution. On 24 January 2013, thousands gathered in Dahiyan, Sa’dah and Heziez, just outside Sana’a, to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth of Mohammed. A similar event took place on 13 January 2014, but this time at the main sports stadium in Sana’a. On this occasion, men and women were completely segregated: men filled the open-air stadium and football field in the centre, guided by appointed Houthi safety officials wearing bright vests and matching hats; women poured into the adjacent indoor stadium, led inside by security women distinguishable only by their purple sashes and matching hats. The indoor stadium held at least five thousand women — ten times as many attendees as the 2013 gathering.[4]

Combat and military

In 2009, US Embassy sources have reported that Houthis used increasingly more sophisticated tactics and strategies in their conflict with the government as they gained more experience, and that they fought with religious fervor and courage.[93][94]

Armed strength

Situation in March 2012

Saudi and former Yemeni officials have claimed that the Houthis have received significant support from Iran in the form of weapons, money and training since 2004, while Houthi leadership denies having received weapons or financial support from Iran.[9][95] Also, Tehran denied the allegation of Houthis arm support by Iran.[96] A December 2009 cable between Sanaa and various intelligence agencies disseminated by WikiLeaks states that US State Dept. analysts believed the Houthis obtained weapons from the Yemeni black market and corrupt members of the Republican Guard.[93] On the edition of 8 April 2015 of PBS Newshour, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the US knew Iran was providing military support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, adding that Washington “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilised”.[97]

Despite being less in numbers and equipment than the Saudi-led coalition, Ansar Allah managed to inflict heavy losses and destroy dozens of invading vehicles in the city of Ma’rib on 14 September 2015.[98] In addition, Ansar Allah managed to capture a Saudi soldier, Ibrahim Araj Mohammad Hakami whose confession was broadcast on Ansar Allah news channel Al-Masirah TV.[99][100][101] Recently on late 2015, Houthis announced the local production of short range ballistic missile Qaher-1 on Al-Masirah TV.[102]

Allegations of Iran’s support

Phillip Smyth of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy told Business Insider that Iran views Shia groups in the Middle East as “integral elements to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).” Smyth confirmed to Business Insider the strong bond between Iran and the Houthi uprising working to overthrow the government in Yemen. According to Smyth, in many cases Houthi leaders go to Iran for ideological and religious education, and Iranian and Hezbollah leaders have been spotted on the ground advising the Houthi troops.These Iranian advisers are likely responsible for training the Houthis to use the type of sophisticated guided missiles fired at the US Navy.[103] For Iran, supporting the revolt in Yemen is “a good way to bleed the Saudis,” Iran’s regional and ideological rival. Essentially, Iran is backing the Houthis to fight against a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States fighting to maintain government control of Yemen.[104]

In 2013, photographs released by the Yemeni government show the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces seized a class of shoulderfired antiaircraft missiles not publicly known to have been out of state control.[105]

According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, Fars News Agency, which is the official news agency of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has admitted to arming Houthis with missiles and training. The agency quoted “a prominent analyst” Seyed Sadeq al-Sharafi as saying that militias “are developing their missile power to target Riyadh and Dubai in the future, after they increased their missile and military capabilities and expanded the range of their military operations against the enemies”[106]

In April 2016, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. Navy ship stopped a massive Iranian arms shipment dead in its tracks, seizing thousands of weapons, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers that likely were headed to Yemen.[107]

Also, the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in conflicts with them for 2 decades and currently allied with them, has accused Iran of supporting the Houthi many times. Saleh stated in a New York Times’ interview that “The real reason they received unofficial support from Iran was because they repeat same slogan that is raised by Iran death to America, death to Israel”. He also said “The Iranian media repeats statements of support for these Houthi elements. They are all trying to take revenge against the USA on Yemeni territories”.[23]

Allegations of human rights violations

Houthis have been accused of violations of international humanitarian law such as using child soldiers,[108][109][110] shelling civilian areas,[111] forced evacuations, executions and human shielding.[93][112] According to the Human Right Watch, Houthis have inclined up their recruitment of children in 2015. The UNICEF mentioned that children with the Houthis and other armed groups in Yemen comprise up to a third of all fighters in Yemen.[113] Human Rights Watch has further accused Houthi forces of using landmines in Yemen’s third-largest city of Taizz which has caused many civilian casualties and prevent the return of families displaced by the fighting.[114] HRW has also accused the Houthis of interfering with the work of Yemen’s human rights advocates and organizations.[115]

The Yemen Times reported that most children working for the Houthis are not combatants.[109]

An HRW researcher, quoted in 2009 US embassy report, has downplayed the repeated allegations by the former government of Yemen accusing the Houthis of using civilians as human shields, by saying that they did not have enough evidence to conclude that the Houthis have been intentionally using civilians as human shields.[93][94]

Governance

According to the 2009 US Embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks, Houthis have reportedly established courts and prisons in areas they control. They impose their own laws on local residents, demand protection money, and dispense rough justice by ordering executions. AP‘s reporter, Ahmad al-Haj argued that the Houthis were winning hearts and minds by providing security in areas long neglected by the Yemeni government (currently ousted) while limiting the arbitrary and abusive power of influential sheikhs. According to the Civic Democratic Foundation, Houthis help resolve conflicts between tribes and reduce the number of revenge killings in areas they control. The US ambassador believed that the reports that explain Houthi role as arbitrating local disputes were more likely than the sinister[unbalanced opinion] suggestions.[93][94]

Areas under administration

Map last updated 30 January 2015

The Houthis exert de facto authority over the bulk of North Yemen. North Yemen was united with South Yemen in 1990; the Yemen government has repeatedly suppressed separatist protests by force.[116] The Houthis’ direct administration includes the following territories:

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 819, January 18, 2017, Story 1: President Obama The Last Press Conference — Bankrupting America and Burdening Future Generations With Massive Debt — A Legacy of Lies and Failures — Videos

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“The history of the failure of war can almost be summed up in two words: too late.
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* Too late in realizing the mortal danger.
* Too late in preparedness.
* Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.

* Too late in standing with one’s friends.”
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National Debt Clock————————————————————————————————————————–

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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President Obama’s Final News Conference Video by The New York Times

The following is the full transcript of a news conference that President Obama held in Washington on Wednesday, as prepared by the Federal News Service.

For further updates and coverage, follow our live analysis.

OBAMA: Let me start off by saying that I was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today…

(LAUGHTER)

… for my last press conference

OBAMA: But Michelle, whose fashion sense is a little better than mine, tells me that’s not appropriate in January.

I covered a lot of the ground that I would want to cover in my farewell address last week, so I’m just going to say a couple of quick things before I start taking questions.

Continue reading the main story

First, we have been in touch with the Bush family today after hearing about President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush being admitted to the hospital this morning. They have not only dedicated their lives to this country.

OBAMA: They have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel for Michelle and me over the years. They are as fine a couple as we know, and so we want to send our prayers and our love to them. Really good people.

Second thing I want to do is to thank all of you. Some of you have been covering me for a long time. Folks like Christie (ph) and Lynn (ph). Some of you I’ve just gotten to know. We have traveled the world together. We did a few singles, a few doubles together. I’ve offered advice that I thought was pretty sound, like don’t do stupid stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

And even when you complained about my long answers, I just want you to know that the only reason they were long was because you asked six-part questions.

(LAUGHTER)

But I have enjoyed working with all of you. That does not, of course, mean that I’ve enjoyed every story that you have filed, but that’s the point of this relationship. You’re not supposed to be (inaudible) fans, you’re supposed to be skeptics, you’re supposed to ask me tough questions. You’re not supposed to be complimentary, but you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that.

And you have done it for the most part in ways that I could appreciate for fairness, even if I didn’t always agree with your conclusions. And having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we’re able to deliver on what’s been requested by our constituents. And for example, every time you’ve asked why haven’t you cured Ebola yet or why is there still that hole in the Gulf, it has given me the ability to go back and say, “Will you get this solved before the next press conference?”

(LAUGHTER)

I spent a lot of time on my — in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power.

So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. And so my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself.

I have no doubt that you will do so, I’m looking forward to being an active consumer of your work, rather than always the subject of it. I want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy.

And with that, I will take some questions and I will start with Jeff Mason, whose term is apparently not up.

(LAUGHTER)

I thought, you know, we’d be going out together, brother, but you’ve got to hang around for a while.

QUESTION: I’m staying put.

OBAMA: Jeff Mason from Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Are you concerned, Mr. President, that commuting Chelsea Manning’s sentence will send a message that leaking classified material will not generate (inaudible) groups like WikiLeaks? How do you reconcile that in light of WikiLeak’s connection to Russia’s acting in (inaudible) election?

And related to that, Julian Assange has now offered to come to the United States. Are you seeking that? And would he be charged or arrested if he came here?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, let’s be clear. Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence, so the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.

It has been my view that given she went to trial; that due process was carried out; that she took responsibility for her crime; that the sentence that she received was very disproportional — disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received; and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence.

And, you know, I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent that when it comes to our national security, that wherever possible we need folks who may have legitimate concerns about the actions of government or their superiors or the agencies in which they work, that they try to work through the established channels and avail themselves of the whistleblower protections that have been put in place.

I recognize that there’s some folks who think they’re not enough. And, you know, I think all of us when we’re working in big institutions may find ourselves at times at odds with policies that are set. But when it comes to national security, we’re often dealing with people in the field whose lives may be put at risk or, you know, the safety and security and the ability of our military or our intelligence teams or our embassies to function effectively.

And that has to be kept in mind. So, with respect to WikiLeaks, I don’t see a contradiction. First of all, I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked. I don’t pay a lot of attention to Mr. Assange’s tweets, so that wasn’t a consideration in this instance. And I’d refer you to the Justice Department for any criminal investigations, indictments, extradition issues that may come up with him.

You know, I — what I can say broadly is that in this new cyber age, we’re going to have to make sure that we continually work to find the right balance of accountability and openness and transparency that is the hallmark of our democracy. But also recognize that there are adversaries and bad actors out there who want to use that same openness in ways that hurt us, whether that’s in trying to commit financial crimes or trying to commit acts of terrorism or folks who want to interfere with our elections.

And we’re going to have to continually build the kind of architecture to make sure our — the best of our democracy is preserved; that our national security and intelligence agencies have the ability to carry out policy without advertising to our adversaries what it is that we’re doing, but do so in a way that still keeps citizens up to speed on what their government is doing on their behalf.

But with respect to Chelsea Manning, I looked at the particulars of this case the same way I have the other commutations and pardons that I’ve done. And I felt that in light of all the circumstances, that commuting her sentence was entirely appropriate.

Margaret Brennan?

QUESTION: Mr. President.

OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: Thank you.

The president-elect has said that he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if they substantially reduced their nuclear stockpile.

QUESTION: Given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that’s an effective strategy? Knowing this office and Mr. Trump, how would you advise his advisers to help him be effective when he deals with Vladimir Putin. And given your actions recently on Russia, do you think those sanctions should be (inaudible).

OBAMA: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I think it is in America’s interest and the world’s interest that we have a constructive relationship with Russia. That’s been my approach throughout my presidency. Where our interests have overlapped we’ve worked together.

At the beginning of my term, I did what I could to encourage Russia to be a constructive member of the international community and tried to work with the president and the government of Russia in helping them diversify their economy, improve their economy, use the incredible talents of the Russian people in more constructive ways.

I think it’s fair to say that after President Putin came back into the presidency, that an escalating anti-American rhetoric and an approach to global affairs that seem to be premised on the idea that whatever America’s trying to do must be bad for Russians, so we want to try to counter act whatever they do. That returned to an adversarial spirit that I think existed during the Cold War, has made the relationship more difficult.

And it was hammered home when Russia went into Crimea and portions of Ukraine. The reason we imposed the sanctions, recall, was not because of nuclear weapons issues, it was because the independence and sovereignty of a country, Ukraine, had been encroached upon by force, by Russia. That wasn’t our judgment, that was the judgment of the entire international community.

And, Russia continues to occupy Ukrainian territory and meddle in Ukrainian affairs and support military surrogates who have violated basic international laws and international norms. What I’ve said to the Russians, is as soon as you stop doing that, the sanctions will be removed. And I think it would probably best serve, not only American interests, but also the interests of preserving international norms if we made sure that we don’t confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues.

On nuclear issues, in my first term we negotiated the START II Treaty and that has substantially reduced our nuclear stock piles, both Russia and the United States. I was prepared to go further, I told President Putin I was prepared to go further. They have been unwilling to negotiate.

If President-elect Trump is able to restart those talks in a serious way, I think there remains a lot of room for our two countries to reduce their our stock piles. And part of the reason we’ve have been successful on our non-proliferation agenda and on our nuclear security agenda, is because we were leading by example. I hope that continues.

But I think it’s important just to remember that the reason sanctions have been put in place against Russia, has to do with their actions in Ukraine. And it is important for the United States to stand up for the basic principal that big countries don’t go around and invade and bully smaller countries.

I’ve said before, I expect Russia and Ukraine to have a strong relationship. They are historically bound together in all sorts of cultural and social ways, but Ukraine is an independent country and this is a good example of the vital role that America has to continue to play, around the world, in preserving basic norms and values. Whether it’s advocating on behalf of human rights, advocating on behalf of women’s rights, advocating on behalf of freedom of the press.

OBAMA: You know, the United States has not always been perfect in this regard, there are times where we — by necessity are dealing with allies or friends or partners, who themselves are not meeting the standards that we would like to see met when it comes to international rules and norms.

But I can tell you that in every multilateral setting in the United Nations, in the G-20, in the G-7, the United States typically has been on the right side of these issues and it is important for us to continue to be on the right side of these issues because if we, the largest, strongest country and democracy in the world, are not willing to stand up on behalf of these values, then certainly China, Russia and others will not.

Kevin Corke.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. You have been a strong supporter of the idea of a peaceful transfer of power demonstrated not terribly far from the Rose Garden. And yet, even as you and I speak, there are more than five dozen Democrats that are going to boycott the inauguration of the incoming president. Do you support that? And what message would you send to Democrats to better demonstrate the peaceful transfer of power?

And if I could follow, I wanted to ask you about your conversations with the president-elect previously. And without getting into too much of the personal side of it, I’m just curious, were you able to use that opportunity to convince him to take a fresh look at some of the important ideas that you will leave this office with; maintaining some semblance of the Affordable Care Act, some idea of keeping DREAMers here in the country without fear of deportation? Were you able to use personal stories to try to convince him? And how successful were you?

OBAMA: Well, I won’t go into details of my conversations with President-elect Trump. As I’ve said before, they were cordial. At times, they’ve been fairly lengthy and they’ve been substantive.

I can’t tell you how convincing I’ve been. I think you’d have to ask him whether I’ve been convincing or not. I have offered my best advice, counsel about certain issues both foreign and domestic. And you know, my working assumption is that having won an election, opposed to a number of my initiatives and certain aspects of my vision for where the country needs to go, it is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values. And I don’t expect that there’s going to be, you know, enormous overlap. It may be that on certain issues, once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to in fact provide healthcare for everybody, something he says he wants to do, or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country, that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that I arrived at once I got here. But I don’t think we’ll know until he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk. And I think a lot of his views are going to be shaped by his advisers, the people around him, which is why it’s important to pay attention to these confirmation hearings.

I can tell you that — and this is something I have told him — that this is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself. You are enormously reliant on a team. Your Cabinet, your senior White House staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s but who are executing on significant responsibilities. And so, how you put a team together to make sure that they’re getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions.

OBAMA: That’s probably the most useful constructive advice and the most constructive advice that I’ve been able to give him, that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything or if you haven’t created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you’ve made, that’s when you start making mistakes.

And as I indicated in some of my previous remarks, reality has a way of biting back if you’re not paying attention to it.

With respect to the inauguration, I’m not going to comment on those issues. All I know is I’m going to be there. So is Michelle. And I have been checking the weather and I’m heartened by the fact that it won’t be as cold as my first inauguration.

(LAUGHTER)

Because that was cold.

Janna Rodriguez (ph)?

QUESTION: (inaudible), Mr. President (inaudible). You have said that you would come back and fight for the Dreamers. You said that a couple of weeks ago. Are you fearful for the status of those Dreamers — the future of the young immigrants and all immigrants in this country, with a new administration?

And what did you mean when you said you would come back? Would you lobby Congress? Maybe explore the political arena again?

And if I may ask a second question: Why did you take action on (inaudible) a week ago?

OBAMA: Well, let me be absolutely clear. I did not mean that I was going to be running for anything anytime soon. So, what I meant is that it’s important for me to take some time to process this amazing experience that we’ve gone through; to make sure that my wife, with whom I will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to re-up and put up with me for a little bit longer.

I want to do some writing. I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much. I want to spend precious time with my girls.

So those are my priorities this year. But as I said before, I’m still a citizen. And I think it is important for Democrats or progressive who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this election to be able to distinguish between the normal back-and-forth, ebb-and-blow of policy. Now, are we going to raise taxes or are we going to lower taxes? Are we going to, you know, expand this program or eliminate this program? You know, how — how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change?

Those are all normal parts of the debate. And as I’ve said before, in a democracy sometimes you’re going to win on those issues and sometimes you’re going to lose. I’m confident about the rightness of my positions on a lot of these points, but we’ve got a new president and a Congress that are going to make their same determinations.

And there will be a back-and-forth in Congress around those issues. And you guys will report on all that.

But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. I put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise.

OBAMA: I’d put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country. They are our kids’ friends and their classmates, and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military, that the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out.

It doesn’t mean that I would get on the ballot anyway.

With respect to wet foot, dry foot, we underwent a monumental shift in our policy towards Cuba. My view was after 50 years of a policy not working, it made sense for us to try to reopen diplomatic relations, to engage a Cuban government, to be honest with them about the strong disagreements we have around, you know, political oppression and treatment of dissenters and freedom of press and freedom of religion, but that to make progress for the Cuban people, our best shot was to suddenly have the Cuban people interacting with Americans and seeing the incredible success of the Cuban-American community and engaging in commerce and business and trade, and that it was through that process of opening up these bilateral relations that you would see over time serious and significant improvement.

Given that shift in the relationship, the policy that we had in place with wet foot, dry foot, which treated Cuban immigrants completely different from folks from El Salvador or Guatemala or Nicaragua or any other part of the world, one that made a distinction between whether you got here by land or by foot. You know, that was a carryover of a old way of thinking that didn’t make sense in this day and age, particularly as we’re opening up travel between the two countries.

And so, you know, we had very length think consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, we had some tough negotiations with the Cuban government, but arrived at a policy which we both think is both fair and appropriate to the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries.

Nadia (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity and I want to wish you and your family the best of luck in the future.

OBAMA: Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. President you have been criticized and even (inaudible) attacked for the U.N. Security Council resolution that considered Israeli settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace. Mr. Trump promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He appointed an ambassador that doesn’t believe in a two-state solution.

How worried are you about the U.S. leadership in the Arab world and beyond as (inaudible)? With this ignite (inaudible) protect Israel? And in retrospect, do you think that you should have held Israel more accountable, like President Bush Senior did with (inaudible)? Thank you.

OBAMA: I am — I continue to be significantly worried about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And I’m worried about it both because I think the status quo is unsustainable, that it is dangerous for Israel, that it is bad for Palestinians, it is bad for the region and it is bad for America’s national security.

OBAMA: And you know, I came into this office wanting to do everything I could to encourage serious peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. And we invested a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of effort first year, second year, all the way until last year. Ultimately, what has always been clear is that we cannot force the parties to arrive at peace. What we can do is facilitate, provide a platform, encourage, but we can’t force them to do it. But in light of shifts in Israeli politics and Palestinian politics, a rightward drift in Israeli politics, weakening of President Abbas’ ability to move and take risks on behalf of peace in the Palestinian territories.

In light of all the dangers that have emerged in the region and the understandable fears that Israelis may have about the chaos and rise of groups like ISIL and the deterioration of Syria, in light of all those things, what we at least wanted to do, understanding that the two parties wouldn’t actually arrive at a final status agreement, is to preserve the possibility of the two-state solution because we do not see an alternative to it.

And I’ve said this directly to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I’ve said it inside of Israel, I’ve said it to Palestinians as well. I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy. Because if you do not have two states, then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation, functionally you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second class residents.

You can’t even call them citizens necessarily. And so – so the goal of the resolution was to simply say that the settlements, the growth of the settlements are creating a reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible. And we’ve believed consistent with the position that has been taken with previous U.S. administrations for decades now that it was important for us to send a signal, a wakeup call that this moment may be passing.

And Israeli voters and Palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing. And – and hopefully, that then creates a debate inside both Israeli and Palestinian communities that won’t result immediately in peace but at least will lead to a more sober assessment of what the alternatives are. So, the president-elect will have his own policy. The ambassador or the candidate for the ambassadorship obviously has very different views than I do.

That is their prerogative, that’s part of what happens after elections, and I think my views are clear. We’ll see how – how their approach plays itself out. I don’t want to – I don’t want to project today what could end up happening but obviously it’s a volatile environment. What we’ve seen in the past is when sudden unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive.

And what we’ve tried to do in the transition is just provide the context in which the president-elect may want to make some of these decisions.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

OBAMA: Well, that’s part of what we’ve tried to indicate to the incoming team in our transition process, is pay attention to this because this is – this is volatile stuff. People feel deeply and passionately about this and as I said – as I’ve said, I think, many times, the actions that we take have enormous consequences and ramifications. We’re – we’re the biggest kid on the block and I think it is right and appropriate for a new president to test old assumptions and reexamine the old ways of doing things.

But if you’re going to make big shifts in policy, just make sure you’ve thought it through and understand that there are going to be consequences and actions typically create reactions. And so you want to be intentional about it. You don’t want to do things off the cuff when it comes to an issue this – this volatile.

QUESTION: On LGBT rights —

OBAMA: I’m sorry where’s Chris (ph)?

QUESTION: I’m right here in the back.

OBAMA: I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.

QUESTION: On LGBT rights, we’ve seen a lot of achievements over the past eight years, including (inaudible) hate crimes (inaudible), marriage quality nationwide and insuring transfer (ph) people feel visible and respected.

How do you think LGBT rights will rank in terms of your accomplishments in your life? And how confident are you that progress will endure or continue under the president-elect?

OBAMA: I — I could not be prouder of the transformation that’s taken place in our society just in the last decade. And, I’ve said before, I think we made some useful contributions to it, but the primary heroes in this stage of our — our growth as a Democracy and a society are all the individual activists and sons and daughters and couples who courageously said, this is who I am and I’m proud of it.

And, that opened people’s minds and opened their hearts. And, eventually, laws caught up. But, I don’t think any of that would have happened without the activism, in some cases loud and noisy, but in some cases just quiet and very personal. And — and I think that what we did as an administration was to help to — the society to move in a better direction, but to do so in a way that didn’t create an enormous backlash and was — was systematic and respectful of the fact, you know, in some cases these issues were controversial.

I think the way we handled, for example, don’t ask, don’t tell, being methodical about it, working with the joint chiefs, making sure we showed this would not have an impact on the effectiveness of the greatest military on Earth. And then to have Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Chairman Mike Mullen and joint chiefs who were open to evidence and ultimately worked with me to do the right thing.

I am proud of that, but again, none of that would have happened without this incredible transformation that was happening in society out there. You know, when I gave Ellen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I meant what I said. I think somebody that kind and likable, projecting into, you know, living rooms around the country. You know, that changed attitudes. And that wasn’t easy to do for her. And that’s just one small example of what was happening in countless communities all across the country.

So — so I’m proud that in certain places we maybe provided a good block down field to help the movement advance. I don’t think it is something that will be reversible because American society has changed, the attitudes of young people, in particular, have changed. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be some fights that are important, legal issues, issues surrounding transgender persons. There’s still going to be some battles that need to take place.

OBAMA: But, if you talk to young people, Malia, Sasha’s generation, even if their Republicans, even if their Conservative, many of them will tell you, I don’t understand how you would discriminate against somebody because of sexual orientation. That’s just sort of burned into them in — in pretty powerful ways.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: April Ryan (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

Long before today, you’ve been considered a (inaudible) president. Under your watch, people have said that you have expanded the rubber-band of inclusion. And with the election and the incoming administration, people are saying that the rubber-band has recoiled and maybe is even broken.

And I’m (inaudible) back to a time on Air Force One going to Selma, Alabama, when you said your job was to (inaudible). With that, what gaps still remain when it comes to rights issues on the table? And also, what part will you play in fixing those gaps after — in your new life?

And lastly, you are the first black president. Do you expect the country to see this again?

OBAMA: Well, I’ll answer the last question first. I think we’re going to see people of merit rise up from every race, faith, corner of this country. Because that’s America’s strength. When we have everybody getting a chance and everybody’s on the field, we end up being better.

I — I think I’ve used this analogy before. We — we killed it in the Olympics in Brazil. And Michelle and I, we always have our — the Olympic team here. And it’s a lot of fun, first of all, just because, you know, anytime you’re meeting somebody who’s the best at anything, it’s impressive.

And these mostly very young people are all just so healthy looking and they just beam and exude fitness and health. And so we have a great time talking to them. But they are of all shapes, sizes, colors. You know, the genetic diversity that is on display is remarkable.

And if you look at Simone Biles, and then you look at a Michael Phelps, they’re completely different. And it’s precisely because of those differences that we’ve got people here who can excel at any sport.

And by the way, more than half of our medals came from women. And the reason is is because we had the foresight several decades ago with something called Title IX to make sure that women got opportunities in sports, which is why our women compete better, because they have more opportunities than folks in other countries.

So, you know, I use that as a metaphor and if in fact we continue to keep opportunity open to everybody, then yeah, we’re going to have a woman president. We’re going to have a Latino president. And we’ll have a Jewish president, a Hindu president. You know, who knows who we’re going to have.

I suspect we’ll have a whole bunch of mixed up presidents at some point that nobody really knows what to call them.

(LAUGHTER)

And that’s fine.

Now, what do I worry about? I — I obviously spent a lot of time on this, April, at my farewell address on Tuesday. So I won’t go through the whole list.

I worry about inequality because I think that if we are not investing in making sure everybody plays a role in this economy, the economy will not grow as fast and I think it will also lead to further and further separation between us as Americans — not just along racial lines. I mean, there are a whole bunch of folks who voted for the president-elect because they feel forgotten and disenfranchised.

They feel as if they’re being looked down on. They feel as if their kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities as they did.

And you don’t want to — you don’t want to have an America in which a very small sliver of people are doing really well, and everybody else is fighting for scraps, as I said last week. Because that’s oftentimes when racial divisions get magnified, because people think, well, the only way I’m going to get ahead is if I make sure somebody else gets less; somebody who doesn’t look like me or doesn’t worship the same place I do.

That’s not a good recipe for our democracy. I worry about, as I said in response to a previous question, making sure that the basic machinery of our democracy works better. We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote rather than easier. And that dates back. There’s an ugly history to that that we should not be shy about talking about.

QUESTION: Voting rights?

OBAMA: Yes, I’m talking about voting rights.

The reason that we are the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote is — it traces directly back to Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise (ph). And that’s not who we are. That shouldn’t be who we are. That’s not when America works best. So I hope that people pay a lot of attention to making sure that everybody has a chance to vote. Make it easier, not harder.

This whole notion of election — voting fraud, this is something that has constantly been disproved, this — this is fake news. The notion that there are a whole bunch of people out there who are going out there and are not eligible to vote and want to vote. We have the opposite problem. We have a whole bunch of people who are eligible to vote who don’t vote. And so the idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn’t make sense. And then the — you know, as I said before, political gerrymandering that makes your vote matter less because politicians have decided you live in a district where everybody votes the same way you do so that these aren’t competitive races and we get 90 percent Democratic districts, 90 percent Republican districts, that’s bad for our democracy too. I worry about that.

I think it is very important for us to make sure that our criminal justice system is fair and just, but I also think it’s also very important to make sure that it is not politicized, that it maintains an integrity that is outside of partisan politics at every level. I think at some point, we’re going to have to spend — and this will require some action by the Supreme Court, we have to re- examine just the flood of endless money that goes into our politics, which I think is very unhealthy.

So there are a whole bunch of things I worry about there. And as I said in my speech on Tuesday, we’ve got more work to do on race. It is not — it is simply not true that things have gotten worse. They haven’t. Things are getting better and I have more confidence on racial issues in the next generation than I do in our generation or the previous generation. I think kids are smarter about it. They’re more tolerant. They are more inclusive by instinct than we are, and hopefully, my presidency maybe helped that along a little bit.

But you know, we — when we feel stress, when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions and racial stereotypes, and it’s very hard for us to break out of those and to listen and to think about people as people and to imagine being in that person’s shoes.

And by the way, it’s no longer a black and white issue alone. You got Hispanic folks and you got Asian folks, this is not just the same old battles that — we’ve got this stew that’s bubbling up from people everywhere and we’re going to have to make sure that we in our own lives and our own families and work places do a better job of treating everybody with basic respect and understanding that not everybody starts off in the same situation and imaging what would it be like if you were born in an inner city and had no job prospects anywhere within a 20 mile radius or how does it feel being born in some rural county where there’s no job opportunities within in a 20 mile radius and seeing those two things as connected as opposed to separate.

So, you know, we got work to do, but overall, I think on this front, the trend lines, ultimately, I think will be good.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Christie Parsons (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you.

OBAMA: And Christie (ph), you are going to get the last question. Christie (ph)…

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: … is, you know, I’ve — I’ve been knowing her since Springfield, Illinois. When I — when I was a state senator, she listened to what I had to say. So the least I can do is give her the last question as president of the United States. Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: There you go, go ahead.

QUESTION: Well, thank you, Mr. President. It has been an honor.

OBAMA: Thank you.

QUESTION: And I have a personal question for you, because I know how much you like those.

The first lady put the stakes of the 2016 election in very personal terms, in a speech that resonated across the country. And she really spoke the concerns of a lot women, LGBT, people of color, many others. And — so I wonder now, how you and the first lady on talking to your daughters about the meaning of this election and how you interpret it for yourself and for them?

OBAMA: You know, every parent brags on their daughters or their sons. You know, if your mom and dad don’t brag on you, you know you got problems.

(LAUGHTER)

But man, my daughters are something. And — and they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. And, so these days when we talk, we talk as parent to child, but also we learn from them. And, I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted. They were disappointed.

They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses. But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.

And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude. I think neither of them intend to pursue a future of politics and in that, too, I think their mother’s influence shows.

(LAUGHTER)

But, both of them have grown up in an environment where I think they could not help, but be patriotic to love this country deeply, to see that it’s flawed, but see that they have responsibilities to fix it. And that they need to be active citizens. And they have to be in a position to talk to their friends and their teachers and their future co-workers in ways that try to shed some light as opposed to just generate a lot of sound and fury. And I expect that’s what they’re going to do. They do not — they don’t mope.

And — and what I really am proud of them, but what makes me proudest about them, is that they also don’t get cynical about it. They — they have not assumed because their side didn’t win or because some of the values that they care about don’t seem as if they were vindicated that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values. I don’t think they feel that way.

I think they have in part through osmosis, in part through dinner time conversations appreciated the fact that this is a big complicated country and democracy is messy, it doesn’t always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn’t guarantee certain outcomes. But if you — if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country and there’s a core decency to this country and — that they got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.

And in that sense, they are representative of this generation that makes me really optimistic. I’ve been asked — I had — I’ve had some off-the-cuff (ph) conversations with some journalists where they said, “OK, you seem like you’re OK, but really, what are you really thinking?”

(LAUGHTER)

And I’ve said, “No, what I’m saying really is what I think.” I — I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That’s what this presidency has tried to be about. And I see that in the young people I’ve worked with. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

And so, this is not just a matter of no drama Obama, this is — this is what I really believe. It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly…

(LAUGHTER)

… and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted and I know that you will help us do that. Thank you very much, Press Corps, good luck.

END

National debt of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Federal Debt Held by the Public as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), from 1940 to 2016 with future projections

Graph of GDP and the gross national debt

The National debt of the United States is the amount owed by the federal government of the United States. The measure of the public debt is the value of the outstanding Treasury securities at a point of time that have been issued by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. The terms national deficit and national surplus usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative total. A deficit year increases the debt because more money is spent than is received; a surplus year decreases the debt because more money is received than spent.

There are two components of gross national debt:[1]

  • Debt held by the public, such as Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including those held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System and foreign, state and local governments.
  • Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt, such as non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts administered by the federal government that are owed to program beneficiaries, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of these accounts that have been invested in Treasury securities.

In general, government debt increases as a result of government spending, and decreases from tax or other receipts, both of which fluctuate during the course of a fiscal year. In practice, Treasury securities are not issued or redeemed on a day-by-day basis,[2] and may also be issued or redeemed as part of the federal government’s macroeconomic monetary management operations. The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling.[3]

Historically, the US public debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus or due to growth of GDP and inflation. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 35 years. In recent decades, however, aging demographics and rising healthcare costs have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government’s fiscal policies.[4]

On November 7, 2016, debt held by the public was $14.3 trillion or about 76% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[5][6][7][8] Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.4 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $19.8 trillion or about 106% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[7] $6.2 trillion or approximately 45% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were China and Japan at about $1.25 trillion for China and $1.15 trillion for Japan as of May 2016.[9]

History

US federal debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP, from 1790 to 2013, projected to 2038

US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP since World War II, with presidential terms marked.

The United States government has continuously had a fluctuating public debt since its formation in 1789, except for about a year during 1835–1836. To allow comparisons over the years, public debt is often expressed as a ratio to gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, the United States public debt as a share of GDP has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined.

The United States public debt as a percentage of GDP reached its highest level during Harry Truman‘s first presidential term, during and after World War II. Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1974 under Richard Nixon. Debt as a share of GDP has consistently increased since then, except under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Public debt rose during the 1980s, as Ronald Reagan cut tax rates and increased military spending. It fell during the 1990s, due to decreased military spending, increased taxes and the 1990s boom. Public debt rose sharply in the wake of the 2007–08 financial crisis and the resulting significant tax revenue declines and spending increases.

Valuation and measurement

Public and government accounts

Detailed breakdown of government holders of treasury debt and debt instruments used of the public portion

On January 26, 2016, debt held by the public was $13.62 trillion or about 75% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[5][6][7][8] Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.34 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $18.96 trillion or about 104% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[7]

The national debt can also be classified into marketable or non-marketable securities. Most of the marketable securities are Treasury notes, bills, and bonds held by investors and governments globally. The non-marketable securities are mainly the “government account series” owed to certain government trust funds such as the Social Security Trust Fund, which represented $2.74 trillion in 2011.[10]

The non-marketable securities represent amounts owed to program beneficiaries. For example, in the case of the Social Security Trust Fund, the payroll taxes dedicated to Social Security were credited to the Trust Fund upon receipt, but spent for other purposes. If the government continues to run deficits in other parts of the budget, the government will have to issue debt held by the public to fund the Social Security Trust Fund, in effect exchanging one type of debt for the other.[11] Other large intragovernmental holders include the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal Savings and Loan Corporation’s Resolution Fund and the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (Medicare).[citation needed]

Accounting treatment

U.S. debt from 1940 to 2011. Red lines indicate the “debt held by the public” and black lines indicate the total national debt or gross public debt. The difference is the “intragovernmental debt,” which includes obligations to government programs such as Social Security. Stated as a formula, National Debt = Debt held by the Public + Intragovernmental Debt. The second panel shows the two debt figures as a percentage of U.S. GDP (dollar value of U.S. economic production for that year). The top panel is deflated so every year is in 2010 dollars.

Only debt held by the public is reported as a liability on the consolidated financial statements of the United States government. Debt held by government accounts is an asset to those accounts but a liability to the Treasury; they offset each other in the consolidated financial statements.[12]

Government receipts and expenditures are normally presented on a cash rather than an accrual basis, although the accrual basis may provide more information on the longer-term implications of the government’s annual operations.[13] The United States public debt is often expressed as a ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP). The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus as well as due to growth of GDP and inflation.[citation needed]

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac obligations excluded

Under normal accounting rules, fully owned companies would be consolidated into the books of the owner, but the large size of Fannie and Freddie has made the U.S. government reluctant to incorporate Freddie and Fannie into its own books. When Freddie and Fannie required bail-outs, White House Budget Director Jim Nussle, on September 12, 2008, initially indicated their budget plans would not incorporate the GSE debt into the budget because of the temporary nature of the conservator intervention.[14] As the intervention has dragged out, pundits have started to further question this accounting treatment, noting that changes in August 2012 “makes them even more permanent wards of the state and turns the government’s preferred stock into a permanent, perpetual kind of security”.[15]

The government controls the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which would normally criticize inconsistent accounting practices, but it does not oversee its own government’s accounting practices or the standards set by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. The on- or off-balance sheet obligations of those two independent GSEs was just over $5 trillion at the time the conservatorship was put in place, consisting mainly of mortgage payment guarantees and agency bonds.[16] The confusing independent but government-controlled status of the GSEs has resulted in investors of the legacy common shares and preferred shares launching various activist campaigns in 2014.[17]

Guaranteed obligations excluded

U.S. federal government guarantees are not included in the public debt total, until such time as there is a call on the guarantees. For example, the U.S. federal government in late-2008 guaranteed large amounts of obligations of mutual funds, banks, and corporations under several programs designed to deal with the problems arising from the late-2000s financial crisis. The guarantee program lapsed at the end of 2012 when Congress declined to extend the scheme. The funding of direct investments made in response to the crisis, such as those made under the Troubled Assets Relief Program, are included in the debt.

Unfunded obligations excluded

The U.S. government is obligated under current law to make mandatory payments for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) projects that payouts for these programs will significantly exceed tax revenues over the next 75 years. The Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) payouts already exceed program tax revenues, and social security payouts exceeded payroll taxes in fiscal 2010. These deficits require funding from other tax sources or borrowing.[18] The present value of these deficits or unfunded obligations is an estimated $45.8 trillion. This is the amount that would have had to be set aside in 2009 in order to pay for the unfunded obligations which, under current law, will have to be raised by the government in the future. Approximately $7.7 trillion relates to Social Security, while $38.2 trillion relates to Medicare and Medicaid. In other words, health care programs will require nearly five times more funding than Social Security. Adding this to the national debt and other federal obligations would bring total obligations to nearly $62 trillion.[19] However, these unfunded obligations are not counted in the national debt.[citation needed]

Measuring debt burden

GDP is a measure of the total size and output of the economy. One measure of the debt burden is its size relative to GDP, called the “debt-to-GDP ratio.” Mathematically, this is the debt divided by the GDP amount. The Congressional Budget Office includes historical budget and debt tables along with its annual “Budget and Economic Outlook.” Debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP rose from 34.7% GDP in 2000 to 40.5% in 2008 and 67.7% in 2011.[20]

Mathematically, the ratio can decrease even while debt grows, if the rate of increase in GDP (which also takes account of inflation) is higher than the rate of increase of debt. Conversely, the debt to GDP ratio can increase even while debt is being reduced, if the decline in GDP is sufficient.

According to the CIA World Factbook, during 2015, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio of 73.6% was the 39th highest in the world. This was measured using “debt held by the public.”[21] However, $1 trillion in additional borrowing since the end of FY 2015 has raised the ratio to 76.2% as of April 2016 [See Appendix#National debt for selected years]. Also, this number excludes state and local debt. According to the OECD, general government gross debt (federal, state, and local) in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $22.5 trillion (125% of GDP); subtracting out $5.25 trillion for intergovernmental federal debt to count only federal “debt held by the public” gives 96% of GDP.[22]

The ratio is higher if the total national debt is used, by adding the “intragovernmental debt” to the “debt held by the public.” For example, on April 29, 2016, debt held by the public was approximately $13.84 trillion or about 76% of GDP. Intra-governmental holdings stood at $5.35 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $19.19 trillion. U.S. GDP for the previous 12 months was approximately $18.15 trillion, for a total debt to GDP ratio of approximately 106%.[23]

Calculating the annual change in debt

Comparison of deficits to change in debt in 2008

Conceptually, an annual deficit (or surplus) should represent the change in the national debt, with a deficit adding to the national debt and a surplus reducing it. However, there is complexity in the budgetary computations that can make the deficit figure commonly reported in the media (the “total deficit”) considerably different from the annual increase in the debt. The major categories of differences are the treatment of the Social Security program, Treasury borrowing, and supplemental appropriations outside the budget process.[24]

Social Security payroll taxes and benefit payments, along with the net balance of the U.S. Postal Service, are considered “off-budget”, while most other expenditure and receipt categories are considered “on-budget”. The total federal deficit is the sum of the on-budget deficit (or surplus) and the off-budget deficit (or surplus). Since FY1960, the federal government has run on-budget deficits except for FY1999 and FY2000, and total federal deficits except in FY1969 and FY1998–FY2001.[25]

For example, in January 2009 the CBO reported that for fiscal year 2008 (FY2008) the “on-budget deficit” was $638 billion, offset by an “off-budget surplus” (mainly due to Social Security revenue in excess of payouts) of $183 billion, for a “total deficit” of $455 billion. This latter figure was the one commonly reported in the media. However, an additional $313 billion was required for “the Treasury actions aimed at stabilizing the financial markets,” an unusually high amount due to the Subprime mortgage crisis. This meant that the “debt held by the public” increased by $768 billion ($455B + $313B = $768B). The “off-budget surplus” was borrowed and spent (as is typically the case), increasing the “intra-governmental debt” by $183 billion. So the total increase in the “National debt” in FY2008 was $768B +$183B = $951 billion.[24] The Treasury Department reported an increase in the National Debt of $1,017B for FY2008.[26] The $66 billion difference is likely due to “supplemental appropriations” for the War on Terror, some of which were outside the budget process entirely until President Obama began including most of them in his FY2010 budget.[27]

In other words, spending the “off budget” Social Security surplus adds to the total national debt (by increasing the intragovernmental debt) while the “off-budget” surplus reduces the “total” deficit reported in the media. Certain spending called “supplemental appropriations” is outside the budget process entirely but adds to the national debt. Funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was accounted for this way prior to the Obama administration.[27]Certain stimulus measures and earmarks were also outside the budget process. The federal government publishes the total debt owed (public and intragovernmental holdings) monthly.[28]

Reduction

Negative real interest rates

Since 2010, the U.S. Treasury has been obtaining negative real interest rates on government debt, meaning the inflation rate is greater than the interest rate paid on the debt.[29] Such low rates, outpaced by the inflation rate, occur when the market believes that there are no alternatives with sufficiently low risk, or when popular institutional investments such as insurance companies, pensions, or bond, money market, and balanced mutual funds are required or choose to invest sufficiently large sums in Treasury securities to hedge against risk.[30][31]

Economist Lawrence Summers and blogger Matthew Yglesias have stated that at such low interest rates, government borrowing actually saves taxpayer money and improves creditworthiness.[32][33]

In the late 1940s through the early 1970s, the US and UK both reduced their debt burden by about 30% to 40% of GDP per decade by taking advantage of negative real interest rates, but there is no guarantee that government debt rates will continue to stay so low.[30][34] Between 1946 and 1974, the US debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 121% to 32% even though there were surpluses in only eight of those years which were much smaller than the deficits.[35]

Converting fractional reserve to full reserve banking

The two economists, Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof, working for the International Monetary Fund, published a working paper called The Chicago Plan Revisited suggesting that the debt could be eliminated by raising bank reserve requirements, converting from fractional reserve banking to full reserve banking.[36][37] Economists at the Paris School of Economics have commented on the plan, stating that it is already the status quo for coinage currency,[38] and a Norges Bank economist has examined the proposal in the context of considering the finance industry as part of the real economy.[39] A Centre for Economic Policy Research paper agrees with the conclusion that, “no real liability is created by new fiat money creation, and therefore public debt does not rise as a result”.[40]

Debt ceiling

US debt ceiling at the end of each year from 1981 to 2010

The debt ceiling is a legislative mechanism to limit the amount of national debt that can be issued by the Treasury. In effect, it will restrain the Treasury from paying for expenditures after the limit has been reached, even if the expenditures have already been approved (in the budget) and have been appropriated. If this situation were to occur, it is unclear whether Treasury would be able to prioritize payments on debt to avoid a default on its debt obligations, but it would have to default on some of its non-debt obligations.

In 1995[41] and 2011,[42][43] congressional Republicans unsuccessfully made threats of default on the national debt through non-renewal of the debt ceiling to try to obtain political concessions from President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, respectively.[citation needed]

Debt holdings

Estimated ownership each year

Because a large variety of people own the notes, bills, and bonds in the “public” portion of the debt, Treasury also publishes information that groups the types of holders by general categories to portray who owns United States debt. In this data set, some of the public portion is moved and combined with the total government portion, because this amount is owned by the Federal Reserve as part of United States monetary policy. (See Federal Reserve System.)

As is apparent from the chart, a little less than half of the total national debt is owed to the “Federal Reserve and intragovernmental holdings”. The foreign and international holders of the debt are also put together from the notes, bills, and bonds sections. To the right is a chart for the data as of June 2008:

Foreign holdings

Composition of U.S. Long-Term Treasury Debt 2000–2014, from U. S. Department of the Treasury, TIC reporting system

As of September 2014, foreigners owned $6.06 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $12.8 trillion and 34% of the total debt of $17.8 trillion.[44] The largest holders were China, Japan, Belgium, the Caribbean banking centers, and oil exporters.[46]

The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 13% of the public debt in 1988[47] to 25% in 2007.[48]

As of September 2014 the largest single holder of U.S. government debt was China, with 21% of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities (10% of total U.S. public debt).[49]China’s holdings of government debt, as a percentage of all foreign-held government debt are up significantly since 2000 (when China held just 6 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities).[50]

This exposure to potential financial or political risk should foreign banks stop buying Treasury securities or start selling them heavily was addressed in a June 2008 report issued by the Bank of International Settlements, which stated, “Foreign investors in U.S. dollar assets have seen big losses measured in dollars, and still bigger ones measured in their own currency. While unlikely, indeed highly improbable for public sector investors, a sudden rush for the exits cannot be ruled out completely.”[51]

On May 20, 2007, Kuwait discontinued pegging its currency exclusively to the dollar, preferring to use the dollar in a basket of currencies.[citation needed] Syria made a similar announcement on June 4, 2007.[52] In September 2009 China, India and Russia said they were interested in buying International Monetary Fund gold to diversify their dollar-denominated securities.[53] However, in July 2010 China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange “ruled out the option of dumping its vast holdings of US Treasury securities” and said gold “cannot become a main channel for investing our foreign exchange reserves” because the market for gold is too small and prices are too volatile.[citation needed]

According to Paul Krugman, “It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.”[54]

Forecasting

Further information: United States federal budget

CBO: Public Debt Under “Extended” and “Alternate” Scenarios

Spending for mandatory programs is projected to rise relative to GDP, while discretionary programs decline

Interest to GDP, a measure of debt burden, was very low in 2015 but is projected to rise with both interest rates and debt levels over the 2016–2026 period.

CBO short-term outlook

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in its February 2014 Budget and Economic Outlook (which covers the 2014–2024 period) that deficits were projected to return to approximately the historical average relative to the size of the economy (GDP) by 2014. The CBO estimated that under current law, the deficit would total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014 or 3.0% GDP. Deficits would then slowly begin rising again through 2024 due primarily to the pressures of an aging population and rising healthcare costs per person. The debt to GDP ratio would remain stable for much of the decade then begin rising again toward the end of the 10-year forecast window, from 74% in 2014 to 79% in 2024.[55]

CBO long-term outlook

The CBO reports its Long-Term Budget Outlook annually, providing at least two scenarios for spending, revenue, deficits, and debt. The 2014 Outlook mainly covers the 25-year period through 2039. The “extended baseline scenario” assumes that the laws currently on the books will be implemented, for the most part. The CBO reported in July 2014 that under this scenario:

If current laws remained generally unchanged in the future, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next few years. After that, however, growing budget deficits would push debt back to and above its current high level. Twenty-five years from now, in 2039, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP. Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely. By 2039, the deficit would equal 6.5 percent of GDP, larger than in any year between 1947 and 2008, and federal debt held by the public would reach 106 percent of GDP, more than in any year except 1946—even without factoring in the economic effects of growing debt.[56]

The “extended alternative fiscal scenario” assumes the continuation of present trends, which result in a more unfavorable debt position and adverse economic consequences relative to the baseline scenario. The CBO reported in July 2014 that under this scenario:

[C]ertain policies that are now in place but are scheduled to change under current law are assumed to continue, and some provisions of current law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period are assumed to be modified. Under that scenario, deficits excluding interest payments would be about $2 trillion larger over the first decade than those under the baseline; subsequently, such deficits would be larger than those under the extended baseline by rapidly increasing amounts, doubling as a percentage of GDP in less than 10 years. CBO projects that real GNP in 2039 would be about 5 percent lower under the extended alternative fiscal scenario than under the extended baseline with economic feedback, and that interest rates would be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher. Reflecting the budgetary effects of those economic developments, federal debt would rise to 183 percent of GDP in 2039.[56]

Over the long-term, the CBO projects that interest expense and mandatory spending categories (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) will continue to grow relative to GDP, while discretionary categories (e.g., Defense and other Cabinet Departments) continue to fall relative to GDP. Debt is projected to continue rising relative to GDP under the above two scenarios, although the CBO did also offer other scenarios that involved austerity measures that would bring the debt to GDP ratio down.[56]

The CBO estimated under the baseline scenario that the U.S. debt held by the public would increase approximately $8.5 trillion between the end of 2014 and 2024. Under a $2 trillion deficit reduction scenario during that first decade, federal debt held by the public in 2039 would stand at 75 percent of GDP, only slightly above the value of 72 percent at the end of 2013. Under a $4 trillion deficit reduction scenario for that decade, federal debt held by the public would fall to 42 percent of GDP in 2039. By comparison, such debt was 35 percent of GDP in 2007 and has averaged 39 percent of GDP during the past 40 years.[56]

The CBO reported in September 2011: “The nation cannot continue to sustain the spending programs and policies of the past with the tax revenues it has been accustomed to paying. Citizens will either have to pay more for their government, accept less in government services and benefits, or both.”[57]

Risks and debates

Risks due to increasing entitlement spending, according to GAO’s projections of future trends

CBO risk factors

The CBO reported several types of risk factors related to rising debt levels in a July 2010 publication:

  • A growing portion of savings would go towards purchases of government debt, rather than investments in productive capital goods such as factories and computers, leading to lower output and incomes than would otherwise occur;
  • If higher marginal tax rates were used to pay rising interest costs, savings would be reduced and work would be discouraged;
  • Rising interest costs would force reductions in government programs;
  • Restrictions to the ability of policymakers to use fiscal policy to respond to economic challenges; and
  • An increased risk of a sudden fiscal crisis, in which investors demand higher interest rates.[58]

Concerns over Chinese holdings of U.S. debt

Many American and other economic analysts have expressed concerns on account of the People’s Republic of China’s “extensive” holdings of United States government debt,[59][60] as part of their reserves.

The National Defense Authorization Act of the fiscal year 2012 included a provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a “national security risk assessment of U.S. federal debt held by China.” The Department issued its report in July 2012, stating that “attempting to use U.S. Treasury securities as a coercive tool would have limited effect and likely would do more harm to China than to the United States. As the threat is not credible and the effect would be limited even if carried out, it does not offer China deterrence options, whether in the diplomatic, military, or economic realms, and this would remain true both in peacetime and in scenarios of crisis or war.”[61]

The 112th United States Congress introduced legislation whose aim was the assessment of the implications of China’s ownership of U.S. debt.[61] The 2013 Report claimed that “[a] potentially serious short-term problem would emerge if China decided to suddenly reduce their liquid U.S. financial assets significantly” [emphasis in the original text], noting, also, that Federal Reserve System Chairman Ben Bernanke had, in 2007, stated that “because foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities represent only a small part of total U.S. credit market debt outstanding, U.S. credit markets should be able to absorb without great difficulty any shift of foreign allocations.”[61]

A significant number of economists and analysts dismiss any and all concerns over foreign holdings of United States government debt denominated in U.S. dollars, including China’s holdings.[62][63][64][65]

Sustainability

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States is on a “fiscally unsustainable” path because of projected future increases in Medicare and Social Security spending.[18]

Risks to economic growth

Debt levels may affect economic growth rates. In 2010, economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart reported that among the 20 developed countries studied, average annual GDP growth was 3–4% when debt was relatively moderate or low (i.e. under 60% of GDP), but it dips to just 1.6% when debt was high (i.e., above 90% of GDP).[66] In April 2013, the conclusions of Rogoff and Reinhart’s study came into question when a coding error in their original paper was discovered by Herndon, Ash and Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[67][68] Herndon, Ash and Pollin found that after correcting for errors and unorthodox methods used, there was no evidence that debt above a specific threshold reduces growth.[69] Reinhart and Rogoff maintain that after correcting for errors, a negative relationship between high debt and growth remains.[70] However, other economists, including Paul Krugman, have argued that it is low growth which causes national debt to increase, rather than the other way around.[71][72][73]

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in April 2010 that “Neither experience nor economic theory clearly indicates the threshold at which government debt begins to endanger prosperity and economic stability. But given the significant costs and risks associated with a rapidly rising federal debt, our nation should soon put in place a credible plan for reducing deficits to sustainable levels over time.”[74]

Interest and debt service costs

Components of interest on the debt

Despite rising debt levels, interest costs have remained at approximately 2008 levels (around $450 billion in total) due to lower than long-term interest rates paid on government debt in recent years.[75] However, interest rates may return to higher historical levels.[76]

The cost of servicing the U.S. national debt can be measured in various ways. The CBO analyzes net interest as a percentage of GDP, with a higher percentage indicating a higher interest payment burden. During 2015, this was 1.3% GDP, close to the record low 1.2% of the 1966–1968 era. The average from 1966 to 2015 was 2.0% of GDP.[77] However, the CBO estimated in 2016 that the interest amounts and % GDP will increase significantly over the following decade as both interest rates and debt levels rise: “Interest payments on that debt represent a large and rapidly growing expense of the federal government. CBO’s baseline shows net interest payments more than tripling under current law, climbing from $231 billion in 2014, or 1.3 percent of GDP, to $799 billion in 2024, or 3.0 percent of GDP—the highest ratio since 1996.”[78]

Definition of public debt

Economists also debate the definition of public debt. Krugman argued in May 2010 that the debt held by the public is the right measure to use, while Reinhart has testified to the President’s Fiscal Reform Commission that gross debt is the appropriate measure.[71] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) cited research by several economists supporting the use of the lower debt held by the public figure as a more accurate measure of the debt burden, disagreeing with these Commission members.[79]

There is debate regarding the economic nature of the intragovernmental debt, which was approximately $4.6 trillion in February 2011.[80] For example, the CBPP argues: that “large increases in [debt held by the public] can also push up interest rates and increase the amount of future interest payments the federal government must make to lenders outside of the United States, which reduces Americans’ income. By contrast, intragovernmental debt (the other component of the gross debt) has no such effects because it is simply money the federal government owes (and pays interest on) to itself.”[79]

However, if the U.S. government continues to run “on budget” deficits as projected by the CBO and OMB for the foreseeable future, it will have to issue marketable Treasury bills and bonds (i.e., debt held by the public) to pay for the projected shortfall in the Social Security program. This will result in “debt held by the public” replacing “intragovernmental debt”.[81][82]

Intergenerational equity

One debate about the national debt relates to intergenerational equity. For example, if one generation is receiving the benefit of government programs or employment enabled by deficit spending and debt accumulation, to what extent does the resulting higher debt impose risks and costs on future generations? There are several factors to consider:

  • For every dollar of debt held by the public, there is a government obligation (generally marketable Treasury securities) counted as an asset by investors. Future generations benefit to the extent these assets are passed on to them.[83]
  • As of 2010, approximately 72% of the financial assets were held by the wealthiest 5% of the population.[84] This presents a wealth and income distribution question, as only a fraction of the people in future generations will receive principal or interest from investments related to the debt incurred today.
  • To the extent the U.S. debt is owed to foreign investors (approximately half the “debt held by the public” during 2012), principal and interest are not directly received by U.S. heirs.[83]
  • Higher debt levels imply higher interest payments, which create costs for future taxpayers (e.g., higher taxes, lower government benefits, higher inflation, or increased risk of fiscal crisis).[58]
  • To the extent the borrowed funds are invested today to improve the long-term productivity of the economy and its workers, such as via useful infrastructure projects or education, future generations may benefit.[85]
  • For every dollar of intragovernmental debt, there is an obligation to specific program recipients, generally non-marketable securities such as those held in the Social Security Trust Fund. Adjustments that reduce future deficits in these programs may also apply costs to future generations, via higher taxes or lower program spending.[citation needed]

Krugman wrote in March 2013 that by neglecting public investment and failing to create jobs, we are doing far more harm to future generations than merely passing along debt: “Fiscal policy is, indeed, a moral issue, and we should be ashamed of what we’re doing to the next generation’s economic prospects. But our sin involves investing too little, not borrowing too much.” Young workers face high unemployment and studies have shown their income may lag throughout their careers as a result. Teacher jobs have been cut, which could affect the quality of education and competitiveness of younger Americans.[86]

Credit default

The US has never fully defaulted.[87][88]

In April 1979, however, the United States may have technically defaulted on $122 million in Treasury bills, which was less than 1% of U.S. debt. The Treasury Department characterized it as a delay rather than as a default, but it did have consequences for short-term interest rates, which jumped 0.6%.[89] Others view it as a temporary, partial default.[90][91][92]

Appendix

National debt for selected years

Fiscal year Total debt
[93][94][95]
Total debt
as % of GDP
Public debt Public debt
as % of GDP
GDP
($ billions)
[96]
1910 2.65/- 8.1% 2.65 8.1% est. 32.8
1920 25.95/- 29.2% 25.95 29.2% est. 88.6
1927 [97] 18.51/- 19.2% 18.51 19.2% est. 96.5
1930 16.19/- 16.6% 16.19 16.6% est. 97.4
1940 42.97/50.70 43.8–51.6% 42.77 43.6% -/98.2
1950 257.3/256.9 92.0% 219.0 78.4% 279.0
1960 286.3/290.5 53.6–54.2% 236.8 44.3% 535.1
1970 370.9/380.9 35.4–36.4% 283.2 27.0% 1,049
1980 907.7/909.0 32.4–32.6% 711.9 25.5% 2,796
1990 3,233/3,206 54.2–54.6% 2,400 40.8% 5,915
2000 a15,659 a55.8% a3,450 33.9% 10,150
2001 a25,792 a54.8% a3,350 31.6% 10,550
2002 a36,213 a57.1% a3,550 32.7% 10,900
2003 a6,783 a 59.9% a3,900 34.6% 11,350
2004 a7,379 a 61.0% a4,300 35.6% 12,100
2005 a47,918 a 61.4% a4,600 35.7% 12,900
2006 a58,493 a 62.1% a4,850 35.4% 13,700
2007 a68,993 a 62.8% a5,050 35.3% 14,300
2008 a710,011 a 67.9% a5,800 39.4% 14,750
2009 a811,898 a 82.5% a7,550 52.4% 14,400
2010 a913,551 a 91.6% a9,000 61.0% 14,800
2011 a1014,781 a 96.1% a10,150 65.8% 15,400
2012 a1116,059 a100.2% a11,250 70.3% 16,050
2013 a1216,732 a101.3% a12,000 72.6% 16,500
2014 a1317,810 a103.4% a12,800 74.2% 17,200
2015 a1418,138 a101.3/101.8% a13,100 73.3% 17,900
2016 (Oct. ’15 –
Jul. ’16 only)
~19,428 ~106.1% ~13,998 ~76.5%

On June 25, 2014, the BEA announced: “[On July 30, 2014, i]n addition to the regular revision of estimates for the most recent 3 years and for the first quarter of 2014, GDP and select components will be revised back to the first quarter of 1999.

Fiscal years 1940–2009 GDP figures were derived from February 2011 Office of Management and Budget figures which contained revisions of prior year figures due to significant changes from prior GDP measurements. Fiscal years 1950–2010 GDP measurements were derived from December 2010 Bureau of Economic Analysis figures which also tend to be subject to revision, especially more recent years. Afterwards the OMB figures were revised back to 2004 and the BEA figures (in a revision dated July 31, 2013) were revised back to 1947.

Regarding estimates recorded in the GDP column (the last column) marked with a “~” symbol, absolute differences from advance (one month after) BEA reports of GDP percent change to current findings (as of November 2013) found in revisions are stated to be 1.3% ± 2.0% or a 95% probability of being within the range of 0.0–3.3%, assuming the differences to occur according to standard deviations from the average absolute difference of 1.3%. E.g. with an advance report of a $400 billion increase of a $10 trillion GDP, for example, one could be 95% confident that the range in which the exact GDP dollar amount lies would be 0.0 to 3.3% different than 4.0% (400 ÷ 10,000) or within the range of $0 to $330 billion different than the hypothetical $400 billion (a range of $70-730 billion). Two months after, with a revised value, the range of potential difference from the stated estimate shrinks, and three months after with another revised value the range shrinks again.

Fiscal years 1940–1970 begin July 1 of the previous year (for example, Fiscal Year 1940 begins July 1, 1939 and ends June 30, 1940); fiscal years 1980–2010 begin October 1 of the previous year. Intragovernmental debts before the Social Security Act are presumed to equal zero.

1909–1930 calendar year GDP estimates are from MeasuringWorth.com[98] Fiscal Year estimates are derived from simple linear interpolation.

(a1) Audited figure was “about $5,659 billion.”[99]

(a2) Audited figure was “about $5,792 billion.”[100]

(a3) Audited figure was “about $6,213 billion.”[100]

(a) Audited figure was said to be “about” the stated figure.[101]

(a4) Audited figure was “about $7,918 billion.”[102]

(a5) Audited figure was “about $8,493 billion.”[102]

(a6) Audited figure was “about $8,993 billion.”[103]

(a7) Audited figure was “about $10,011 billion.”[103]

(a8) Audited figure was “about $11,898 billion.”[104]

(a9) Audited figure was “about $13,551 billion.”[105]

(a10) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Public debt figure as $14,781 billion.[106]

(a11) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Public debt figure as $16,059 billion.[106]

(a12) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $16,732 billion.[107]

(a13) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $17,810 billion.[6]

(a14) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $18,138 billion.[108]

Interest paid

Fiscal
Year
Historical
debt outstanding,
$billions, US[109]
Interest paid
$billions, US[110]
Interest rate
2014 17,824 430.8 2.42%
2013 16,738 415.7 2.48%
2012 16,066 359.8 2.24%
2011 14,790 454.4 3.07%
2010 13,562 414.0 3.05%
2009 11,910 383.1 3.22%
2008 10,025 451.2 4.50%
2007 9,008 430.0 4.77%
2006 8,507 405.9 4.77%
2005 7,933 352.4 4.44%
2004 7,379 321.6 4.36%
2003 6,783 318.1 4.69%
2002 6,228 332.5 5.34%
2001 5,807 359.5 6.19%
2000 5,674 362.0 6.38%
1999 5,656 353.5 6.25%
1998 5,526 363.8 6.58%
1997 5,413 355.8 6.57%
1996 5,225 344.0 6.58%
1995 4,974 332.4 6.68%
1994 4,693 296.3 6.31%
1993 4,411 292.5 6.63%
1992 4,065 292.4 7.19%
1991 3,665 286.0 7.80%

Foreign holders of US Treasury securities

The following is a list of the top foreign holders (over $100 billion) of US Treasury securities as listed by the US Treasury (revised by November 2016 survey):[111]

Leading foreign holders of US Treasury securities as of November 2016
Country Billions of dollars (est.) Ratio of owned US debt
to 2015 GDP (est.)[112][113]
Percent change since
November 2015
 Japan 1,108.6 23% − 3%
 China 1,049.3 5% −17%
 Ireland 275.2 89% +12%
 Cayman Islands 260.6 n/a +10%
 Brazil 258.3 15% + 1%
  Switzerland 229.5 35% + 1%
 Luxembourg 221.0 362% +15%
 United Kingdom 211.9 8% + 4%
 Hong Kong 185.5 59% − 6%
 Taiwan 183.1 35% + 3%
 India 118.7 5% + 3%
 Belgium 113.5 24% −21%
 Saudi Arabia 100.1 16% −13%
Others 1,628.9 n/a + 1%
Grand total 5,944.3 n/a − 3%

Statistics

Revenue and Expense as percent of GDP

US federal debt as percent of GDP by presidential party from 1940 to 2015

U.S. federal debt as percent of GDP by Senate majority party from 1940 to 2009

  • U.S. official gold reserves as of 31 July 2014 total 261.5 million troy ounces with a book value of approximately $11.04 billion.[114]
  • Foreign exchange reserves $140 billion as of September 2014.[115]

    United States balance of trade (1980–2014), with negative numbers denoting a trade deficit

  • The national debt equates to $59,143 per person U.S. population, or $159,759 per member of the U.S. working taxpayers, as of March 2016.[116]
  • In 2008, $242 billion was spent on interest payments servicing the debt, out of a total tax revenue of $2.5 trillion, or 9.6%. Including non-cash interest accrued primarily for Social Security, interest was $454 billion or 18% of tax revenue.[103]
  • Total U.S. household debt, including mortgage loan and consumer debt, was $11.4 trillion in 2005. By comparison, total U.S. household assets, including real estate, equipment, and financial instruments such as mutual funds, was $62.5 trillion in 2005.[117]
  • Total U.S Consumer Credit Card revolving credit was $931.0 billion in April 2009.[118]
  • The U.S. balance of trade deficit in goods and services was $725.8 billion in 2005.[119]
  • According to the U.S. Department of Treasury Preliminary 2014 Annual Report on U.S. Holdings of Foreign Securities, the United States valued its foreign treasury securities portfolio at $2.7 trillion. The largest debtors are Canada, the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands, and Australia, whom account for $1.2 trillion of sovereign debt owed to residents of the U.S.[120]
  • The entire public debt in 1998 was attributable to the cost of research, development, and deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-related programs during the Cold War.[121][122][123]

A 1998 Brookings Institution study published by the Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Committee (formed in 1993 by the W. Alton Jones Foundation), calculated that total expenditures for U.S. nuclear weapons from 1940 to 1998 was $5.5 trillion in 1996 Dollars.[121] The total public debt at the end of fiscal year 1998 was $5,478,189,000,000 in 1998 Dollars[124] or $5.3 trillion in 1996 Dollars.

International debt comparisons

Gross debt as percentage of GDP
Entity 2007 2010 2011
United States 62% 92% 102%
European Union 59% 80% 83%
Austria 62% 78% 72%
France 64% 82% 86%
Germany 65% 82% 81%
Sweden 40% 39% 38%
Finland 35% 48% 49%
Greece 104% 123% 165%
Romania 13% 31% 33%
Bulgaria 17% 16% 16%
Czech Republic 28% 38% 41%
Italy 112% 119% 120%
Netherlands 52% 77% 65%
Poland 51% 55% 56%
Spain 42% 68% 68%
United Kingdom 47% 80% 86%
Japan 167% 197% 204%
Russia 9% 12% 10%
Asia 1 37% 40% 41%
South America and Mexico 2 41% 37% 35%

Sources: Eurostat,[125] International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook (emerging market economies); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economic Outlook (advanced economies)[126]

1China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand

2Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico

Recent additions to the public debt of the United States

Deficit and Debt Increases 2001–2016

Recent additions to U.S. public debt[7][93][94][96]
Fiscal year (begins
Oct. 1 of year prior
to stated year)
GDP
$Billions
New debt
for
fiscal year
$Billions
New debt
as
% of GDP
Total debt
$Billions
Total debt
as % of GDP
(Debt to GDP
ratio)
1994 $7,200 $281–292 3.9–4.1% ~$4,650 64.6–65.2%
1995 7,600 277–281 3.7% ~4,950 64.8–65.6%
1996 8,000 251–260 3.1–3.3% ~5,200 65.0–65.4%
1997 8,500 188 2.2% ~5,400 63.2–63.8%
1998 8,950 109–113 1.2–1.3% ~5,500 61.2–61.8%
1999 9,500 127–130 1.3–1.4% 5,656 59.3%
2000 10,150 18 0.2% 5,674 55.8%
2001 $10,550 $  133 1.3% $ 5,792 54.8%
2002 10,900 421 3.9% 6,213 57.1%
2003 11,350 570 5.0% 6,783 59.9%
2004 12,100 596 4.9% 7,379 61.0%
2005 12,900 539 4.2% 7,918 61.4%
2006 13,700 575 4.2% 8,493 62.1%
2007 14,300 500 3.5% 8,993 62.8%
2008 14,750 1,018 6.9% 10,011 67.9%
2009 $14,400 $1,887 13.1% $11,898 82.5%
2010 14,800 1,653 11.2% 13,551 91.6%
2011[127] 15,400 1,230 8.0% 14,781 96.1%
2012 16,050 1,278 8.0% 16,059 100.2%
2013 16,500 673 4.1% 16,732 101.3%
2014 17,200 1,078 6.3% 17,810 103.4%
2015 17,900 328 1.8% 18,138 101.3%
2016 (Oct. ’15 –
Jul. ’16 only)
~1,290 ~7.0% ~19,428 ~106.1%

On July 29, 2016 the BEA released a revision to 2013–2016 GDP figures. The figures for this table were corrected the next week with changes to figures in those fiscal years.

On July 30, 2015 the BEA released a revision to 2012–2015 GDP figures. The figures for this table were corrected on that day with changes to FY 2013 and 2014, but not 2015 as FY 2015 is updated within a week with the release of debt totals for July 31, 2015.

On June 25, 2014 the BEA announced a 15-year revision of GDP figures would take place on July 31, 2014. The figures for this table were corrected after that date with changes to FY 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The more precise FY 1999–2014 debt figures are derived from Treasury audit results. The variations in the 1990s and FY 2015 figures are due to double-sourced or relatively preliminary GDP figures respectively. A comprehensive revision GDP revision dated July 31, 2013 was described on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website. In November 2013 the total debt and yearly debt as a percentage of GDP columns of this table were changed to reflect those revised GDP figures.

Historical debt ceiling levels

See also

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 807, December 5, 2016, Story 1: Trump’s Taiwan Telephone Transmissions or New Trump Two China Policy? — The Arms Race For The South China Sea — China Buys Gold and Currency Wars Lead To Trade Wars To Real Wars — Videos — Story 2: Ben Carson Selected By Trump For Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Controversy Erupts — Videos

Posted on December 5, 2016. Filed under: American History, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, China, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Currencies, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Energy, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Senate, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Donald Trump defends his call with Taiwan’s president: She ‘called me’

Trump Calls Taiwan President #Fail

Amb. Hill on Trump’s call with Taiwan President

China protests Trump, Taiwan pres. phone call

Published on Dec 3, 2016

China says it has lodged a protest with the relevant side in the United States after President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the Taiwanese president in a rare phone conversation.

China’s Foreign Ministry said that the one China principle is the political basis of the Beijing-Washington relationship. It urged the relevant side in the US to uphold this policy and carefully handle the Taiwan issue to avoid unnecessary disturbances in ties. During the conversation between Trump and Tsai Ing-wen, the two sides highlighted the importance of closer economic, political, and security ties. China recognizes Taiwan as part of its territory. The White House has also reacted to the phone conversation, saying there has been no change in the United States’ longstanding “One-China” policy. The objection from the White House was followed by a series of tweets by Trump in which he defended the phone call.

BREAKING – TRUMP talks to TAIWAN – History of US/China Relations, Explains Media’s Reaction to this

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Published on Sep 19, 2016

Donald Trump flayed China and called it a Currency Manipulator in his Speech. – On April 2016, a Treasury report targets five countries in particular: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Germany. Each meets at least two of the three criteria that “determine whether an economy may be pursuing foreign exchange policies that could give it an unfair competitive advantage against the United States.”

At a time when currency devaluation has become a major tool used by multiple countries to stimulate growth, the U.S. is looking to protect its own interests. The report is an outgrowth of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, a bipartisan effort aimed at stemming the global race to the bottom.

The criteria to determine whether a country should be on the “Monitoring List” of countries using unfair currency practices are: a trade surplus of larger than $20 billion, or 0.1 percent of U.S. GDP; a trade surplus with the U.S. that is more than 3 percent of that country’s GDP; “persistent one-sided intervention,” defined as purchases of foreign currency amounting to more than 2 percent of the country’s GDP in a one-year period

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White House rebuke for Trump over Taiwan phone call as Obama administration says it’s baffled he would speak to its president

  • Trump bit into the forbidden fruit on Friday when he accepted a call from Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen
  • ‘I think it’s hard to determine exactly what the aim was of the president-elect,’ White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today
  • Talk upended 40 years of U.S. foreign policy; last time an American president spoke to Taiwan leadership was in 1979
  • Officially Trump transition officials says it was a courtesy call; a report today says it was a long-planned act meant to provoke China

The White House said Monday that it didn’t understand why Donald Trump upended nearly 40 years of U.S. foreign policy by speaking to Taiwan’s president.

Trump bit into the forbidden fruit on Friday when he accepted a call from Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen. His transition team is officially saying it was a ‘courtesy’.

A Washington Post report says Trump was spoiling for a fight with China.

‘I think it’s hard to determine exactly what the aim was of the president-elect,’ White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today.

White House press secretary Josh EArnest said Monday that the Obama administration doesn't understand why Donald Trump upended nearly 40 years of U.S. foreign policy by speaking to Taiwan's president

White House press secretary Josh EArnest said Monday that the Obama administration doesn’t understand why Donald Trump upended nearly 40 years of U.S. foreign policy by speaking to Taiwan’s president

White House reaffirms ‘One China’ policy after Trump’s call

The Obama administration official warned Trump that he risked damaging U.S. interests and creating unrest in the Taiwan Straight, which separates the island from the mainland, with the gesture.

‘Some of the progress that we have made in our relationship with China could be undermined by this issue flaring up,’ Earnest said.

It is also ‘unclear’ how it helps the people of Taiwan, he stated. Already, it has provoked China to ‘ratchet up’ its rhetoric against Taiwan, which is also the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner.

‘These are significant issues,’ he said, ‘and worthy of careful consideration.’

The White House says two national security officials in the U.S. talked to their counterparts in Beijing and restated the Obama administration’s commitment to its one-China policy.

‘The Chinese government and senior officials in the Chinese government are sophisticated enough to understand the complexities in the U.S. political system,’ he said. ‘Our message…was intended to make clear that the policy position of the Obama admin had not changed.’

Trump said in a four-tweet statement that Tsai called him.

He used the occasion to whack China, saying the country devalues its currency and built ‘a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea’ without U.S. permission. ‘I don’t think so,’ he added.

Vice president-elect Mike Pence said Sunday that the incident was overblown.

‘She reached out to the president-elect and he took the call from the democratically elected leader of Taiwan,’ he said on Meet The Press. ‘I think most Americans, and frankly most leaders around the world, know this for what it was.’

A spokesman for President Tsai Ing-wen, pictured, confirmed the call was arranged in advance

Donald Trump, pictured, accepted a phone call of congratulations from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday and it has caused diplomatic issues with the Beijing

Trump claimed on his Twitter feed that the Taiwanese government had called him. His vice president said he took the call as a 'courtesy'

Trump claimed on his Twitter feed that the Taiwanese government had called him. His vice president said he took the call as a ‘courtesy’

Pence said it was a ‘courtesy’ call and Trump intends to ‘engage the world on America’s terms.’

‘It’s striking to me that President Obama would reach out to a murdering dictator in Cuba and be hailed as a hero,’ he said. ‘And President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from the democratically-elected president of Taiwan and it becomes something of a thing in the media.’

Earnest referred to Pence’s statements today and the conflicting portrait presented in the Washington Post. The publication claimed Trump had been planning the move since before he became the Republican nominee for president.

‘It’s unclear exactly what this strategic effort is, what the aim of this strategic effort is,’ the Obama spokesman said. ‘And it’s unclear exactly what potential benefit could be experienced by the United States, China or Taiwan. But I’ll leave that to them to explain.’

Trump responded to criticism of the phone call with an attack on China

Trump responded to criticism of the phone call with an attack on China

China rebuked Trump through the official publication of its Communist Party for taking the call – the first conversation between a U.S. leader and Taiwan since 1979.

The overseas edition of the People’s Daily said ‘creating troubles for the China-U.S. relationship is creating troubles for the U.S. itself’ and Trump ‘would greatly reduce the chance to achieve the goal of making America great again’ if he continues down this path.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said Monday that his county had launched ‘stern representations with the relevant side in the U.S.’ but would not say who officials spoke to, Reuters said.

‘I think it’s easy to understand “the relevant side,” ‘ Lu stated. ‘In fact, China has maintained contacts and communication with the team of President-elect Trump.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4002692/White-House-rebuke-Trump-Taiwan-phone-call-Obama-administration-says-s-baffled-speak-country-s-president.html#ixzz4S6b7Tpqs

Donald Trump’s Message Sparks Anger in China

President-elect’s Taiwan call, tweets signal his approach will be more adversarial

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the phone with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump at her office in Taipei on Dec. 3. ENLARGE
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the phone with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump at her office in Taipei on Dec. 3. PHOTO:TAIWAN PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE/REUTERS

The exchange signaled a new and potentially more adversarial relationship between the world’s two largest economies, as Mr. Trump moves to follow through on his campaign-trail promises to challenge China’s trade and currency policies.

Chinese officials late Friday and early Saturday played down Mr. Trump’s precedent-breaking phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, which a transition official said had been arranged by Bob Dole, the former Republican senator and presidential nominee. The call went beyond pleasantries and included a discussion about China and stability in the Asia-Pacific, according to a person familiar with the call. The Chinese directed their ire at Taiwan and not at Mr. Trump.

But they signaled their displeasure with a series of Twitter posts Mr. Trump leveled at China over the weekend, as he criticized its currency policies and military presence in the South China Sea.

In a packed press briefing Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang suggested that Beijing had made its unhappiness directly known to members of Mr. Trump’s team.

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s leading newspaper, said in a front-page commentary in Monday’s overseas editions that “Trump and his transition team ought to recognize that creating trouble for China-U.S. relations is just creating trouble for the U.S. itself.” It criticized Mr. Trump’s tweets for portraying the phone call “as not a big deal” and warned that if such “petty tricks” are allowed to go unanswered, Beijing could expect to see more of these provocations once he’s in office.

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize China over its economic and military policies. China’s Foreign Ministry’s response to the tweets suggested that Beijing had made its displeasure known directly to Mr. Trump’s team. Photo: Getty Images

Mr. Dole, in an interview, said the law firm he is affiliated with does work with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., and that the firm played a role in arranging the phone call. “It’s fair to say that we may have had some influence,” Mr. Dole said.

U.S.-China experts said both Mr. Trump and Beijing appear to be trying to establish boundaries for a new relationship between the countries, which is expected to be more adversarial than that favored by President Barack Obama since 2009.

At the White House, officials fielded multiple calls from Chinese officials over the weekend in which China complained about Mr. Trump’s actions and said it needs stability and predictability in its relationship with the U.S., a senior Obama administration official said.

The Chinese also were seeking guidance on Mr. Trump’s policy intentions, and White House officials said they didn’t know what they are, the administration official said.

“What you have seen in the past eight years is possibly too much predictability” from the U.S. in its approach to China, said Christopher Johnson, a former senior China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. “A little unpredictability is a good thing, but too much is scary. There’s a fine line there between good unpredictability and scary, and that’s the balance that has to be found.”

A man reads a newspaper with the headline that reads ‘U.S. President-elect Donald Trump delivers a mighty shock to America’ at a newsstand in Beijing on Nov. 10.ENLARGE
A man reads a newspaper with the headline that reads ‘U.S. President-elect Donald Trump delivers a mighty shock to America’ at a newsstand in Beijing on Nov. 10. PHOTO: ANDY WONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

After Mr. Trump becomes president on Jan. 20, his first real test with China could arise in mid-April. That’s when the Treasury Department is required to make public a “currency” report that details the behavior of other nations. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to label China a “currency manipulator,” a designation that would require negotiations between both countries and could be a step toward penalizing Beijing. Such talks could reset the way they engage with each other.

On Sunday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence declined to say during an interview on NBC whether Mr. Trump would label China as a currency manipulator. Jason Miller, a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s transition operation, declined on Monday to expand on Mr. Pence’s comments.

Mr. Trump hammered China during the campaign for its currency and trade policies, and threatened to impose tariffs of between 35% and 45% on Chinese exports to the U.S. It was unclear if he would soften those pledges once elected, but his Friday call with Ms. Tsai brought questions about his approach to China into sharper focus.

Messrs. Trump and Pence described the conversation between Mr. Trump and Ms. Tsai as a congratulatory call initiated by Taiwan. But during the discussion with Taiwan’s leader, which lasted for about 12 minutes, Mr. Trump stressed to Ms. Tsai that his top priority is the U.S. economy, said the person familiar with the call.

“The conversation was about regional stability,” said the person, adding the call was planned weeks in advance. It marked the first of its kind since at least 1979, when the U.S. established formal relations with Beijing.

The terse exchanges between an incoming U.S. president and the country with the world’s second-largest economy have, over the course of 72 hours, broken from more than a decade of fragile diplomacy, experts said.

A rise in U.S.-China tensions before Mr. Trump takes office could shape any cooperation between the two countries on high-stakes issues. It comes amid growing alarm over the nuclear threat from North Korea, for which Mr. Trump will need China’s help to resolve.

Mr. Trump’s call with Ms. Tsai and subsequent tweets accusing China of currency manipulation, over-taxing U.S. imports and building “a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea” have generated a “tremendous amount of uncertainty” in Beijing, said David Dollar, the Treasury Department’s economic and financial emissary to China during Mr. Obama’s first term.

“Some of the issues with China are best settled quietly and confidentially,” Mr. Dollar said. “If the whole policy is diplomacy-by-tweet, it’s hard to think that’s going to meet U.S. objectives.”

A number of conservatives, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have cheered Mr. Trump’s engagement with Taiwan. Mr. Cotton said it was a sign that the U.S. wasn’t going to be complacent anymore over China’s behavior. During the campaign, Mr. Trump complained about Beijing’s ability to lure U.S. manufacturers to relocate to China, a message that resonated with voters in Rust Belt states that helped sweep Mr. Trump to victory. For some observers, his confrontation with China is a welcome change.

Last Friday morning, Mr. Trump’s secretary received a call at Trump Tower from Ms. Tsai and patched her through to the president-elect, according to people familiar with the call. It was 10 a.m. in New York and 11 p.m. in Taipei. Ms. Tsai had a prepared set of talking points and was surrounded by Taiwan’s foreign minister, David Lee, as well as two top National Security Council officials and her spokesman, Alex Huang.

Stephen Yates, a former national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney who worked as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, said that for at least a week Ms. Tsai’s name was on Mr. Trump’s list of foreign leaders whom he would speak with by phone.

“To my knowledge, Taiwan was on that list early, and it took some time to arrange,” said Mr. Yates, who is seen as a candidate for a post on Mr. Trump’s national security team. “It was a message in the sense that Donald Trump is not necessarily going to be told what he can or can’t do because a foreign leader says so. That’s exactly the kind of thing that millions of Americans detest about Washington,” said Mr. Yates, who currently is visiting Taiwan for meetings with senior officials.

“If it’s going to cause some pain, then so be it,” he said.

He said the call didn’t necessarily signal a change in policy or strategy on Taiwan, which didn’t rank among the top global challenges for the incoming administration.

“Definitely, there was preparation so the president-elect was not blindsided that there might be reaction from China, from China experts, from the State Department and the White House,” he said. “I don’t think any part of the Trump team is looking for a military conflict. But I also don’t think you have to walk on eggshells to get anything out of Beijing.”

Mr. Yates played a role in introducing the strongest-ever statement of support for Taiwan in the Republican Party’s platform at its national convention this year. The platform incorporated for the first time the “six assurances” given by President Ronald Reagan to Taiwan in 1982. Those include a pledge not to set a date for ending arms sales.

Mr. Trump’s complaints about China are often focused on its economy, which has for decades relied on the purchasing power of consumers in other countries, particularly the U.S.

Mr. Trump used Twitter on Sunday to complain that China “heavily” taxes U.S. products entering their country, but that the U.S. doesn’t tax Chinese imports. China does impose a tariff, a sort of import tax, ranging between 5% and 9.7%, on many products.

The U.S. in many cases charges a tariff on imports from China and many other countries, ranging between 2.5% and 2.9%. Mr. Trump has in the past floated the idea of imposing a tariff against China more than ten times larger.

While Mr. Trump has appeared to soften some of his other campaign stances, on issues such as climate change and torture of terrorism suspects, he has not backed off his calls to more aggressively challenge Beijing.

His approach in recent days “could force the Chinese to feel they have to respond,” saidMichael Auslin, a resident scholar in Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Auslin said China could decide to take any number of steps, including putting “another 1,000 missiles across the [Taiwan] strait.” It also could signal that it will back away from recent United Nations sanctions against North Korea, or launch a round of cyberattacks against U.S. agencies.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-message-sparks-anger-in-china-1480989202

Donald Trump Shuffles the Ideological Deck

The president-elect’s moves so far don’t adhere to strict conservative or outsider themes

President-elect Donald Trump, shown in Head of the Harbor, N.Y., over the weekend, hasn’t shown a clear ideological bent so far.
President-elect Donald Trump, shown in Head of the Harbor, N.Y., over the weekend, hasn’t shown a clear ideological bent so far. PHOTO:EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

If President Barack Obama sought to usher America into a postracial era, it is increasingly apparent that President-elect Donald Trump is opening the door to the postideological era.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible to identify a clear ideological bent in the incoming president’s early moves. It’s probably a mistake to try, because the definitions of left and right, liberal and conservative, are being scrambled right before our eyes.

Some Trump moves so far track with his populist outsider campaign image. Others are moves a conventional conservative could make. Some on his team would have been comfortable picks by any standard-issue Republican; some could as easily have been made by a Democratic president-elect.

President-elect Donald Trump has offered few clues for his choice of who will become his Secretary of State. With an expanding list of candidates, the confusion makes it difficult to discern how his foreign policy will be run when he is president. Photo: AP

The emerging picture suggests only two safe predictions about the Trump presidency. The first is that there will be a continuing struggle between the populist Donald Trump, who battles the corporate world and its love of free markets above all else, and the more conventionally Republican Donald Trump, who is comfortable with the leaders of that same corporate, free-market-loving world.

The second safe prediction is that there are no safe predictions. At a Harvard University postelection conference last week, Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio said the president-elect can’t be viewed through traditional “ideological lenses.”

“Donald Trump is postideological,” he said. “His movement transcends ideology in a lot of respects.”

This also shows why the 2016 presidential election was disruptive in ways that extend well beyond Mr. Trump’s victory, momentous as that event was. We have just witnessed that rarest of things, a realigning election, in which the coalitions and prevailing ideological lines within both political parties have been shaken up and are going to be put back together in new patterns.

Mr. Trump won with the votes of blue-collar whites who once were reliably Democratic, and without the votes of many in the business world who once were reliably Republican. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million, but her attempt to bridge the Democrats’ rising liberal wing of Bernie Sanders and the moderate wing still embodied by her husband, Bill Clinton, left everybody a bit dissatisfied. Both parties have to reconsider their ideological and geographical coalitions.

This discombobulated terrain is seen in the Trump transition. On the personnel front, it’s easiest to see the populist side of the president-elect in his choice of the antiestablishment firebrand Stephen Bannon to continue serving as a senior counselor.

But there have been some other appointments of figures known more for challenging convention than for adhering to it. Rep. Mike Pompeo brings the unlikely background of tea-party favorite into his new role as director of central intelligence. Sen. Jeff Sessions, tapped to be attorney general, is a member of the insiders’ club of the U.S. Senate, but on issues such as immigration, he has been more of an outside agitator. Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, broke with the intelligence mainstream with his outspoken views of Islam.

Other appointments are completely mainstream, and even bipartisan. Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin brings the kind of Wall Street background that presidents of both parties have traditionally favored in that role, and he has a longer history of helping Democrats than of helping Republicans. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, picked to be ambassador to the United Nations, and Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus could have fit comfortably into the administration of any of the mainstream Republicans Mr. Trump defeated.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are traditional ideological conservatives, naturally wary of government power, but incoming Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has shown he knows how to take advantage of government power to protect industries in which he has invested.

After publicly shaming Carrier Corp. throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump announced a deal on Thursday with the company’s parent to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana in exchange for state tax breaks. Is this model repeatable with other companies? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer. Photo: Getty

It’s equally hard to find a straight ideological line in early policy moves. The early emphasis on overturning the Affordable Care Act is entirely in keeping with putting a priority in overturning what conservatives call government overreach. But the move to save jobs in Indiana by convincing Carrier Corp. to stop plans to move an assembly line to Mexico was a classic use of government power—both through economic incentives and threats of reprisal made explicit in a Twitter shout-out Friday night—to try to dictate decisions in the marketplace.

On the foreign-policy front, some conservative national-security thinkers cheer Mr. Trump’s decision to hold a conversation with the president of Taiwan and thereby shake up decades of American policy protocol and risk the ire of China. But those same conservatives are aghast at the prospect of a cozy Trump relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

None of this is conventional, but, for Mr. Trump, that may be the point. If there is a discernible Trump ideology, it may be simply to display strength, whether in staring down a corporate chief executive or the Chinese government. That doesn’t make Trump world very predictable—which also seems to be how the president-elect likes it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-shuffles-the-ideological-deck-1480955194

 

Story 2: Ben Carson Selected By Trump For Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Controversy Erupts — Videos

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Trump taps Ben Carson for HUD secretary

Controversy erupts over Dr. Ben Carson pick as HUD secretary

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