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The Pronk Pops Show 1413, March 13, 2020, Story 1: President Trumps Declares A National Emergency — Unleashes Full Power of United States Government — $50 Billion in New Funding To Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic — Videos- Story 2: House Expected To Pass Family First Coronavirus Response Bill Supported By President Trump — Videos –Story 3: United State Stock Market Rallies — Best Day Since 2008 — Consumer Sentiment Beating Expectations At 95.9 — Videos

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Story 1: President Trumps Declares A National Emergency — Unleashes Full Power of United States Government — $50 Billion in New Funding To Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic — Videos

 

BREAKING: Donald Trump declares a national emergency

Trump declares National Emergency over coronavirus

Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus pandemic

Tucker: Regular life is all but suspended

Hannity: Major businesses working with Trump on coronavirus

 

Trump declares virus emergency; Pelosi announces aid deal

President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency in order to free up more money and resources. But he denied any responsibility for delays in making testing available for the new virus, whose spread has roiled markets and disrupted the lives of everyday Americans.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency,” unleashing as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available.

Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the slow rollout of testing.

Late Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the Trump administration for an aid package from Congress that aims at direct relief to Americans — free testing, two weeks of sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Pelosi announced in a letter to colleagues. The House was poised to vote.

The crush of late-day activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus shuttered the capital’s power centers, roiled financial markets and left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating through self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

The White House was under enormous pressure, dealing with the crisis on multiple fronts as it encroached ever closer on the president.

Trump has been known to flout public health advice — eagerly shaking hands during the more than hour-long afternoon event — but acknowledged he “most likely” will be tested now after having been in contact with several officials who have tested positive for the virus. “Fairly soon,” he said.

Still, Trump said officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “We don’t want people without symptoms to go and do that test,” Trump said, adding, “It’s totally unnecessary.”

Additionally, Trump took a number of other actions to bolster energy markets, ease the financial burden for Americans with student loans and give medical professionals additional “flexibility” in treating patients during the public health crisis.

“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.

Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week, is the free testing and sick pay provisions.

Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.

The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people who stay home as a preventative measure or because they’re feeling ill or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship.

Hopes for swiftly passing the package seemed to be fading throughout the day as talks dragged on and Trump dismissed it during as “not doing enough.”

Ahead of Trump’s new conference, Pelosi delivered a statement from the speaker’s balcony at the Capitol imploring the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to “put families first” by backing the effort to provide Americans with relief.

“Our great nation has faced crisis before,” Pelosi said. “And every time, thanks to the courage and optimism of the American people, we have prevailed. Now, working together, we will once again prevail.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin engaged in days of around-the-clock negotiations with cross-town phone calls that continued even as Trump was speaking, both indicating earlier they were close to a deal.

They both promised a third coronavirus package will follow soon, with more aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, which economists fear has already slipped into recession.

The financial markets closed on an upswing after one of the worst nosedives since the 1987 downturn.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to be over it.

Trump said he was gratified that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus, after the pair sat next to each other for an extended period of time last weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. A senior aide to Bolsonaro tested positive.

Trump’s daugher, Ivanka Trump, worked from home Friday after meeting with Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, now in isolation at a hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. White House spokesman Judd Deere said she was evaluated by the White House Medical Unit and it was determined that because she was exhibiting no symptoms she does not need to self-quarantine.

Attorney General William Barr, who also met with the Australian official, was staying home Friday, though he “felt great and wasn’t showing any symptoms,” according to his spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

Several lawmakers, including some close to Trump, have also been exposed to people who tested positive for the virus, and are self-isolating.

Among them are Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, who were at Trump’s club on the weekend. Graham announced Friday that he also met with the Australian official who has now tested positive. And GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who had previously isolated himself after a potential exposure at a conservative conference in Washington, said Friday he met with a Spanish official and is now self-quarantining.

Hospitals welcomed Trump’s emergency declaration, which they and lawmakers in Congress had been requesting. It allows the Health and Human Services Department to temporarily waive certain federal rules that can make it harder for hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to an emergency.

The American Medical Association said the emergency declaration would help ensure America’s health care system has sufficient resources to properly respond to the ongoing outbreak.

Trump has struggled to show he’s on top of the crisis, after giving conflicting descriptions of what the U.S. is doing to combat the virus. On Wednesday he announced he would ban travel to the U.S. from Europe, and on Friday he suggested extending that to the U.K. because of a recent rise in cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, said more tests would be available over the next week, but warned, “We still have a long way to go.”

Fauci said Friday, “There will be many more cases. But we’ll take care of that, and ultimately, as the president said, this will end.”

___

Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani, Alan Fram, Lauran Neergaard, Martin Crutsinger, Laurie Kellman, Michael Balsamo and Kevin Freking in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/83b0c8e168548fd453b0c177dd1f203a

 

Story 2: House Expected Passes Family First Coronavirus Response Bill Supported By President Trump — Videos

House Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill

House approves coronavirus response bill supported by Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will pass coronavirus legislation

Mnuchin: Trump is very interested in putting money into the economy

PBS NewsHour West live episode, March 13, 2020

Story 3: United State Stock Market Rallies — Best Day Since 2008 — Consumer Sentiment Beating Expectations At 95.9 — Videos

The Dow Is Soaring – Here’s Why the Stock Market Is Cheering Trump

Barry Sternlicht: Stock market will make a comeback from coronavirus

El-Erian on markets: ‘It’s getting less scary than it has been for a while’

Cramer’s game plan for the trading week of March 16

Jim Cramer: Not sure this stock market sell-off can be stopped

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The Pronk Pops Show 1408, March 6, 2020, Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate at 3.5% and Labor Participating Rate of 63.4% and 273,000 New Job Created and 95 Million Not In Labor Force in February 2020 — Economy Growing at 2.1% in Fourth Quarter 2019 — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Signs $8.3 Billion Coronavirus Funding Bill and Visit Center for Disease Control (CDC) — Story 3: Vice-President Pence Update of COVID-19 Task Force — The Risk To American People of Getting COVID-19 Is Low — By End of Next Week Over 4 Million COVID-19 Test Kits Will Be Available — Videos

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Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate at 3.5%, U-6 Unemployment Rate at 7.0% and Labor Participating Rate of 63.4% and 273,000 New Job Created and 95 Million Not In Labor Force in February 2020 — Economy Growing at 2.1% in Fourth Quarter 2019 — Videos —

CNBC’s full interview with White House advisor Larry Kudlow on February jobs and coronavirus concern

February jobs report: US employment growth soars

February Jobs Report Beats Expectations, Adds 273,000 New Jobs | MSNBC

Here’s how the coronavirus is already affecting China’s economy

Job growth smashes expectations for February as unemployment falls back to 3.5%

KEY POINTS
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 273,000 in February vs. a 175,000 estimate, while the unemployment rate edged lower to 3.5%.
  • Job gains were widespread, with health care adding 57,000 to lead the way.
  • December and January’s estimates were revised upward by a total of 243,000.

Nonfarm payrolls grew far more than expected in February as companies continued to hire leading into a growing coronavirus scare.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs during the month, while the unemployment rate was 3.5%, matching its lowest level in more than 50 years. An alternative measure of joblessness that counts those not looking for work and holding part-time jobs for economic reasons edged higher to 7%.

The January and February gains tied for best month since May 2018.
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Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for payroll growth of 175,000 and a 3.5% jobless level. Average hourly earnings grew by 3% over the past year, in line with estimates, while the average work week, considered a key measure of productivity, nudged up to 34.4 hours.

There was more good news for the jobs market: The previous two months’ estimates were revised higher by a total of 85,000. December moved up from 147,000 to 184,000, while January went from 225,000 to 273,000. Those revisions brought the three-month average up to a robust 243,000 while the average monthly gain in 2019 was 178,000.

Employment report: payrollsMonthly change, seasonally adjusted, in thousandsJan ’18May ’18Sep ’18Jan ’19May ’19Sep ’19Jan ’200100200300400500Source:BLSDecember 2019184

Despite the strong numbers, Wall Street was heading for more losses stemming from worries over the effects of the coronoavirus outbreak, though Friday’s futures were off their bottom after the report.

“This could be the last perfect employment report the market gets for some time,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank.

Gains were spread across a multitude of sectors as the total employment level hit 158.8 million, near its December 2019 record.

Health care and social assistance led the way in job creation with 57,000 new positions. Food services and drinking places both added 53,000 while government employment grew by 45,000 due to Census hiring and state government education. Construction added 42,000 thanks to continued mild weather, while professional and technical services contributed 32,000 and finance rose by 26,000, part of a 160,000 gain over the past 12 months.

In the survey of households, employment rose by 126,000 while the ranks of the unemployed decreased by 105,000.

“While it’s too early to see the impact of the coronavirus on the labor market, we can say the labor market was in a good place before the virus began to spread,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement firm Indeed. “But the next few months will be a test of just how resilient this labor market is.”

Jobs market still looks strong

The jobs numbers took on particular importance in February as worries intensified over the economic impact from the novel coronavirus, though the report covered the time frame before worries over the disease intensified.

Most of the indicators thus far have shown little damage. Jobless claims remain well within their recent trend, coming in at 216,000 in the latest reading Thursday. Job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas also reported Thursday that planned layoffs actually fell 16% from January. And key ISM readings on both manufacturing and services show companies still plan to hire.

“Now more than ever, we need to focus on the labor market data,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “The consumer has kind of kept things afloat.”

Most of the consumer-related data points have been good, though the reports coming in now largely cover the early stages of the coronavirus scare and the sharp recent stock market volatility.

With the large measure of uncertainty around the disease, its impacts may be felt in increments rather than suddenly. But if cracks begin to form, the first notices likely will come in employment data.

“If we start to handle things the way they’re handled in Italy and South Korea, closing schools and having mandated cancellations of travel and sporting events, I think there’s no way we don’t start to see it in the labor market and in consumer confidence and spending,” Sonders said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/us-jobs-report-february-2020.html

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until	       USDL-20-0379
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, March 6, 2020

Technical information: 
 Household data:	(202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	(202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

	
                    THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- FEBRUARY 2020


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 273,000 in February, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care and social assistance,
food services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and
technical services, and financial activities.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household
survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic
characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and
earnings by industry. For more information about the concepts and statistical
methodology used in these two surveys, see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
at 5.8 million, changed little in February. The unemployment rate has been either
3.5 percent or 3.6 percent for the past 6 months. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians declined to 2.5
percent in February. The rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent),
teenagers (11.0 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Blacks (5.8 percent), and Hispanics
(4.4 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and
A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.1
million, changed little in February and accounted for 19.2 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate remained at 63.4 percent in February. The
employment-population ratio, at 61.1 percent, changed little over the month but was
up by 0.4 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.3 million,
changed little in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they
were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In February, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
little changed from the previous month. These individuals were not in the labor
force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the
prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. 
Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no
jobs were available for them, numbered 405,000 in February, little different
from the previous month. (See Summary table A.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 273,000 in February, after an increase of
the same magnitude in January. In 2019, job growth averaged 178,000 per month. In
February, notable job gains occurred in health care and social assistance, food
services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and technical
services, and financial activities. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care and social assistance increased by 57,000 in February.
Health care added 32,000 jobs, with gains in offices of physicians (+10,000), home
health care services (+10,000), and hospitals (+8,000). Employment in social assistance
increased by 25,000, with a majority of the gain in individual and family services
(+18,000). Over the past 12 months, employment increased by 368,000 in health care and
by 191,000 in social assistance. 

Food services and drinking places added 53,000 jobs in February. Employment in the
industry has increased by 252,000 over the past 7 months, following a lull in job growth
earlier in 2019.

In February, government employment increased by 45,000, led by a gain in state government
education (+16,000). Federal employment increased by 8,000, reflecting the hiring of
7,000 temporary workers for the 2020 Census. 

Construction added 42,000 jobs in February, following a similar gain in January (+49,000).
In 2019, job gains averaged 13,000 per month. In February, employment gains occurred
in specialty trade contractors (+26,000) and residential building (+10,000). 

In February, employment in professional and technical services increased by 32,000. Job
growth occurred in architectural and engineering services (+10,000) and in scientific
research and development services (+5,000). Employment continued to trend up in computer
systems design and related services (+8,000). Over the past 12 months, professional and
technical services has added 285,000 jobs. 

Employment in financial activities increased by 26,000 in February, with gains in real
estate (+8,000) and in credit intermediation and related activities (+6,000). Over the
past 12 months, financial activities has added 160,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade,
retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information, changed little over the
month.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 9 cents to $28.52. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have 
increased by 3.0 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees increased by 8 cents to $23.96 in February. (See tables B-3
and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to
34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 40.7
hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.7
hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised up by 37,000 from
+147,000 to +184,000, and the change for January was revised up by 48,000 from +225,000
to +273,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were
85,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
243,000 per month over the last 3 months.

_____________
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on
Friday, April 3, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).



 

The PDF version of the news release

News release charts

Supplemental Files Table of Contents

Table of Contents

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted(1)
Feb.
2019
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020
Feb.
2019
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020

TOTAL

Civilian noninstitutional population

258,392 259,502 259,628 258,392 259,845 260,020 260,181 259,502 259,628

Civilian labor force

162,793 163,497 164,235 163,047 164,401 164,347 164,556 164,606 164,546

Participation rate

63.0 63.0 63.3 63.1 63.3 63.2 63.2 63.4 63.4

Employed

156,167 156,994 158,017 156,866 158,544 158,536 158,803 158,714 158,759

Employment-population ratio

60.4 60.5 60.9 60.7 61.0 61.0 61.0 61.2 61.1

Unemployed

6,625 6,504 6,218 6,181 5,857 5,811 5,753 5,892 5,787

Unemployment rate

4.1 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.5

Not in labor force

95,599 96,004 95,393 95,345 95,444 95,673 95,625 94,896 95,082

Persons who currently want a job

5,196 5,107 4,973 5,206 4,756 4,832 4,832 4,904 4,962

Men, 16 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

124,965 125,513 125,575 124,965 125,687 125,773 125,852 125,513 125,575

Civilian labor force

86,056 86,331 86,597 86,399 86,901 87,104 87,049 87,088 87,008

Participation rate

68.9 68.8 69.0 69.1 69.1 69.3 69.2 69.4 69.3

Employed

82,311 82,701 83,047 83,066 83,776 84,018 84,034 83,940 83,871

Employment-population ratio

65.9 65.9 66.1 66.5 66.7 66.8 66.8 66.9 66.8

Unemployed

3,745 3,629 3,549 3,333 3,126 3,086 3,015 3,147 3,137

Unemployment rate

4.4 4.2 4.1 3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6

Not in labor force

38,909 39,183 38,979 38,566 38,786 38,669 38,803 38,426 38,568

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

116,513 117,110 117,181 116,513 117,242 117,331 117,413 117,110 117,181

Civilian labor force

83,435 83,600 83,804 83,588 83,911 84,057 84,008 84,087 84,001

Participation rate

71.6 71.4 71.5 71.7 71.6 71.6 71.5 71.8 71.7

Employed

80,117 80,358 80,592 80,677 81,196 81,377 81,390 81,345 81,202

Employment-population ratio

68.8 68.6 68.8 69.2 69.3 69.4 69.3 69.5 69.3

Unemployed

3,318 3,241 3,212 2,911 2,715 2,679 2,618 2,743 2,799

Unemployment rate

4.0 3.9 3.8 3.5 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.3 3.3

Not in labor force

33,078 33,511 33,377 32,925 33,330 33,274 33,405 33,023 33,180

Women, 16 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

133,427 133,988 134,053 133,427 134,158 134,247 134,329 133,988 134,053

Civilian labor force

76,737 77,167 77,638 76,648 77,500 77,243 77,507 77,518 77,538

Participation rate

57.5 57.6 57.9 57.4 57.8 57.5 57.7 57.9 57.8

Employed

73,857 74,292 74,970 73,800 74,769 74,518 74,769 74,774 74,888

Employment-population ratio

55.4 55.4 55.9 55.3 55.7 55.5 55.7 55.8 55.9

Unemployed

2,880 2,874 2,668 2,848 2,731 2,725 2,738 2,744 2,651

Unemployment rate

3.8 3.7 3.4 3.7 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4

Not in labor force

56,690 56,822 56,415 56,779 56,658 57,004 56,822 56,470 56,514

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

125,177 125,770 125,841 125,177 125,907 125,998 126,082 125,770 125,841

Civilian labor force

73,942 74,320 74,768 73,667 74,542 74,291 74,584 74,512 74,501

Participation rate

59.1 59.1 59.4 58.8 59.2 59.0 59.2 59.2 59.2

Employed

71,396 71,785 72,413 71,169 72,130 71,881 72,200 72,097 72,179

Employment-population ratio

57.0 57.1 57.5 56.9 57.3 57.0 57.3 57.3 57.4

Unemployed

2,546 2,535 2,355 2,497 2,411 2,411 2,383 2,415 2,323

Unemployment rate

3.4 3.4 3.1 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.1

Not in labor force

51,235 51,450 51,073 51,511 51,365 51,706 51,498 51,258 51,340

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population

16,702 16,622 16,606 16,702 16,696 16,692 16,686 16,622 16,606

Civilian labor force

5,416 5,578 5,663 5,792 5,948 5,999 5,964 6,007 6,043

Participation rate

32.4 33.6 34.1 34.7 35.6 35.9 35.7 36.1 36.4

Employed

4,655 4,851 5,012 5,019 5,218 5,278 5,213 5,273 5,378

Employment-population ratio

27.9 29.2 30.2 30.1 31.3 31.6 31.2 31.7 32.4

Unemployed

761 727 651 773 730 721 752 734 665

Unemployment rate

14.0 13.0 11.5 13.3 12.3 12.0 12.6 12.2 11.0

Not in labor force

11,286 11,044 10,943 10,909 10,748 10,693 10,722 10,614 10,562

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation; therefore, identical numbers appear in the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted columns.

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, February 27, 2020
BEA 20—07

Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Year 2019 (Second Estimate)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP also increased 2.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was also 2.1 percent. In the second estimate, an upward revision to private inventory investment was offset by a downward revision to nonresidential fixed investment (see “Updates to GDP” on page 2).

Real GDP: Percent change from preceding quarter

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, exports, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased (table 2).

Real GDP growth in the fourth quarter was the same as that in the third. In the fourth quarter, a downturn in imports and an acceleration in government spending were offset by a larger decrease in private inventory investment and a slowdown in PCE.

Current dollar GDP increased 3.5 percent, or $184.2 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $21.73 trillion. In the third quarter, GDP increased 3.8 percent, or $202.3 billion (tables 1 and 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the same increase as in the third quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.3 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.2 percent, compared with an increase of 2.1 percent.

More information on the source data that underlie the estimates is available in the “Key Source Data and Assumptions” file on BEA’s website.

 

Updates to GDP

In the second estimate, the fourth-quarter growth rate in real GDP was unrevised from the advance estimate. Private inventory investment, exports, federal government spending, and residential fixed investment were revised up. These upward revisions were offset by downward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, PCE, state and local government spending, and an upward revision to imports. For more information, see the Technical Note and the “Additional Information” section below.

Advance Estimate Second Estimate
(Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP 2.1 2.1
Current-dollar GDP 3.6 3.5
Gross domestic purchases price index 1.5 1.4
PCE price index 1.6 1.3
PCE price index excluding food and energy 1.3 1.2

For the third quarter of 2019, the percent change in real GDI was revised from 2.1 percent to 1.2 percent based on new third-quarter data from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

 

2019 GDP

Real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2019 (from the 2018 annual level to the 2019 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.9 percent in 2018 (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in 2019 reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, state and local government spending, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP in 2019, compared to 2018, primarily reflected decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and PCE, which were partly offset by accelerations in both state and local and federal government spending. Imports increased less in 2019 than in 2018.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $846.9 billion, in 2019 to a level of $21.43 trillion, compared with an increase of 5.4 percent, or $1,060.8 billion, in 2018 (tables 1 and 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.5 percent in 2019, compared with an increase of 2.4 percent in 2018 (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.1 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.6 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent (table 4).

Measured from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, real GDP increased 2.3 percent during the period. That compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2018. The price index for gross domestic purchases, as measured from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, increased 1.4 percent during 2019. That compared with an increase of 2.2 percent during 2018. The PCE price index increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 1.6 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent (table 6).

*          *          *

Next release, March 26, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Year 2019 (Third Estimate)
Corporate Profits, Fourth Quarter and Year 2019

*          *          *

https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-fourth-quarter-and-year-2019-second-estimate

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Stock market index

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

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

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

Types of indices

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

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

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

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

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

Ethical stock market indices

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presentation of index returns

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

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

Weighting of stocks within an index

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

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

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

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

Criticism of capitalization-weighting

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

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

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

Other stock market index weighting schemes

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

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

Indices and passive investment management

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

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

Lists

References

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

External links

 Media related to Stock market indexes at Wikimedia Commons

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

 

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U.S. Influenza Surveillance System: Purpose and Methods

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance System Components

1. Virologic Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Outpatient Illness Surveillance

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

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

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

Regional baselines for the 2019-2020 influenza season are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Summary of the Geographic Spread of Influenza

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

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

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

4. Hospitalization Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Mortality Surveillance

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

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

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

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

Influenza Surveillance Considerations

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1330, September 30, 2019, Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Indictment and Prosecurtions Coming — Biden Fading Fast —  Videos — Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

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Story 1: The Big Fail: Democrat Coup 2.0 Against Trump and American People Blown — Fear and Trembling Over Justice Department Inspector General’s Report on FISA Abuse in Obama Administration — Spygate Indictments and Prosecutions Coming —  Videos —

See the source image

President Trump on whistleblower

Joe Biden Admits to Getting Ukrainian Prosecutor who Investigated Son Fired

Hannity: Dems are guilty of everything they accuse Trump of

Hunter Biden Situation Could Be ‘Albatross Around Joe Biden’s Neck’ | THE CIRCUS | SHOWTIME

CBN NewsWatch PM: September 30, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — September 30, 2019

President Trump And Allies Focus Attacks On Whistleblower

Pompeo was on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President, source says

Trump focuses anger at whistleblower as impeachment inquiry deepens

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

“BIDEN IS A DISGRACE” President Trump RIPS Joe Biden Over Ukraine Controversy

Tucker: Democrats don’t seem happy about impeachment

Stephen Miller calls whistleblower a ‘partisan hit job’ in fiery interview

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

House Intelligence Committee expects to hear from whistleblower ‘very soon’: Schiff | ABC News

Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Coup’

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

LIVE NOW | Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia

Glenn reveals the facts that the media refuse to share and breaks down the entire Ukraine timeline on the chalkboard. Tune in to watch as Glenn makes yet another complex issue simple. BlazeTV Presents a Glenn Beck Special – Ukraine: The Democrats’ Russia.

 

 

 

‘COUP’: Trump blasts Democrats’ impeachment efforts in tweet

The Trump tweet came about 12 hours after Trump adviser Peter Navarro called the impeachment inquiry an “attempted coup d’etat’
Image: President Elect Trump Continues His "Thank You Tour" In Grand Rapids, Michigan

President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Dec. 9, 2016.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to Barr

Story 2: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Listened In on President Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Videos

Mike Pompeo was on July 25 phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry in which Trump asked Ukraine president to probe Joe Biden

  • Officials told Associated Press that Secretary of State Pompeo was listening 
  • It would be the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the cal
  • President Trump pressed Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden
  • He asked Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Hunter Biden’s role in gas company 

Two U.S. officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine‘s president that is at the center of a whistleblower complaint.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal matter.

It was the first confirmation that a Cabinet official was on the call in which Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

It also increases the number of people known to have first-hand knowledge of a call that has sparked an impeachment inquiry by Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen at United Nations in New York last week

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (seen far left next to Trump), according to two U.S. officials

Pompeo leaves for Italy amid reports he took part in Ukraine call

Pompeo boarded a plane to fly to Italy on Monday.

Joining him aboard the official State Department flight was Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide and Trump supporter.

‘It’s not quite Air Force One, but it’s very close,’ Gorka, who is now a media personality, tweeted.

News of Pompeo’s involvement broke after it was learned that another associate of the president is more deeply ensnared in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family.

With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 ‘text messages, phone records and other communications’ that they referred to as possible evidence.

Sebastian Gorka DrG

@SebGorka

It’s not quite Air Force One.

But it’s very close!

Boarding @SecPompeo’s Air Force Boeing at @Andrews_JBA.

Destination Rome.

Stay Tuned!

http://SebGorka.com 

View image on Twitter

They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates.

McConnell, a steadfast Trump defender, nonetheless swatted down talk that that the GOP-controlled Senate could dodge the matter of impeachment if the House approved charges against Trump.

‘It’s a Senate rule related to impeachment, it would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up,’ McConnell said on CNBC.

FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he'd only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine's president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn't decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE – In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. Giuliani says he’d only cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry if his client agreed. Central to the investigation is the effort by Giuliani to have Ukraine conduct a corruption probe into Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. Trump echoed that request in a July 2019 call with Ukraine’s president. The House Intelligence Committee is leading the inquiry, and Chairman Adam Schiff hasn’t decided if he wants to hear from Giuliani. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

The lawmakers cited claims by Giuliani in a series of TV interviews over the past week

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Committees are seeking documents related to his mission to seek information from Ukraine

President Trump again Monday called his phone call with the President of Ukraine where he urged him to get in touch with Giuliani 'perfect'

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to keep it from probing a company tied to his son

UP TO HERE: 'If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I'll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,' Giuliani said.

UP TO HERE: ‘If (Trump) decides that he wants me to testify of course I’ll testify – even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman,’ Giuliani said.

‘How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.’

Trump took to Twitter to defend anew his phone call with Zelenskiy as ‘perfect’ and to unleash a series of attacks, most strikingly against House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff. 

The Democrat, he suggested, ought to be tried for a capital offense for launching into a paraphrase of Trump during a congressional hearing last week.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,’ the president wrote.

‘It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?’

Trump tweeted repeatedly through the day but was, for the most part, a lonely voice as the White House lacked an organization or process to defend him.

Senior staffers, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were to present Trump this week with options on setting up the West Wing’s response to impeachment, officials said.

A formal war room was unlikely, though some sort of rapid response team was planned to supplement the efforts of Trump and Giuliani.

But Trump was angry over the weekend at both Mulvaney and press secretary Stephanie Grisham for not being able to change the narrative dominating the story, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Democrats have orders from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep momentum going despite a two-week recess that started Friday. 

Staff for three committees are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday to depose Marie ‘Masha’ Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed by the Trump administration earlier this year, and Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as America’s Ukrainian envoy.

Members of intelligence committee on Friday will interview Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who first received the whistleblower’s complaint.

Democrats are driving the proceedings toward what some hope is a vote to impeach, or indict, Trump by year’s end.

They have launched a coordinated messaging and polling strategy aimed at keeping any political backlash in closely divided districts from toppling their House majority.

Meanwhile, an outside group that supports GOP House candidates was starting anti-impeachment digital ads on Monday against three House Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016.

The ads by the Congressional Leadership Fund accuse Reps. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan of ‘tearing us apart,’ and are among the first in which Republicans are trying to use the impeachment issue against Democratic candidates.

However, support across America for impeachment has grown significantly from its level before the House launched its formal inquiry last week.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 47 per cent of registered voters say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47 per cent say he should not.

Just a week before, it was 37 per cent for impeachment and 57 per cent against.

That was before the White House released its rough version of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry.

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

SMOKING TABLET: Rudy Giuliani claims he has 15 texts which will show his Ukraine activities were fully coordinated with the State Department

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham's show on Fox

Rudy Giuliani reiterated previous claims that the State Department asked him to reach out to Ukraine to inquire about Ukrainian investigations, including into Joe and Hunter Biden, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox

LET'S TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

TALK AGAIN: Giuliani shared his texts with U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker

In the CNN poll, 47 per cent said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, up from 41 per cent in May.

Both polls showed dramatic partisan polarization remains on impeachment: most Democrats expressing support, the vast majority of Republicans opposed.

The polls disagreed over whose opinions are changing – Quinnipiac showing increased impeachment support coming more from Democrats, CNN from Republicans.

Schiff said on Sunday that his intelligence panel would hear from the still-secret whistleblower ‘very soon’ but that no date had been set and other details remained to be worked out.

A day after Trump demanded to meet the whistleblower, whom he has repeatedly assailed, he said when asked about the person: ‘Well, we’re trying to find out about a whistleblower,’ who made his perfect call ‘sound terrible.’

The whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said Monday that the person ‘is entitled to anonymity. Law and policy support this, and the individual is not to be retaliated against. Doing so is a violation of federal law.’

Separately, the Justice Department disclosed that Trump recently asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other foreign leaders to help Attorney General William Barr with an investigation of the origins of the Russia investigation that has shadowed his administration for more than two years.

Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Trump made the calls at Barr’s request.

Trump was requesting help for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The investigation outraged Trump, who cast it as a politically motivated ‘witch hunt.’

The Russia probe remains Trump’s motivating factor, according to Tom Bossert, the president’s former homeland security adviser.

‘I honestly believe this president has not gotten his pound of flesh yet from past grievances on the 2016 investigation,’ Bossert said Sunday on ABC.

‘If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.’

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some of The U.S. Trade Deficit With The European Union, Germany and China! — U.S. LNG Competes With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

Posted on July 11, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Autos, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, China, Climate Change, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Euro, European History, European Union, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Language, Law, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Netherlands, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Social Security, South America, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, Trucks, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some U.S. Trade Deficit With European Union and China! — Compete With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos

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President Trump SLAMS Germany, Russia during Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Sec. Stoltenberg

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‘Germany is a captive of Russia’: Trump dresses down NATO’s secretary general and threatens Berlin over its lagging defense spending and energy partnership with Putin’s government

  • Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning after the leader asked him about Vladimir Putin
  • ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO’
  • Merkel told press that her country is ‘independent’ after Trump’s tongue-lashing 
  • President Trump has berated America’s European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations to NATO
  • The complaints come full circle this week at the NATO leaders’ summit 
  • On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump, telling him, ‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe’
  • Tusk said: ‘America appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many’  
  • President Trump tweeted minutes later: NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
  • He told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One that America has plenty of allies and put new pressure on NATO nations to increase their defense spending 

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany‘s energy partnership with Russia and threatened Berlin with U.S. action over the deal that he said is wholly inappropriate.

Trump fumed that ‘Germany is a captive of Russia’ and said the U.S. would ‘have to do something’ in light of the pipeline deal that’s funneling billions of dollars to Moscow.

‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ he charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened.’

Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart’ and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance’s dealings with Russia.

The confrontation stunned the leaders’ senior advisers, including Trump’s secretaries of defense and state. A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S. is supposed to protect Germany when it’s opening its front door to Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany’s energy partnership with Russia after Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart

Stoltenberg inadvertently whipped the U.S. president into a frenzy at an internationally-broadcast breakfast by asking Trump about his upcoming meeting with Putin. Trump responded with a tirade on Germany and its weaknesses and griped, again, about lagging contributions from members of the NATO alliance.

Trump gave Stoltenberg an earful with media present, telling the visibly startled NATO chief, ‘We’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody, and yet, we’re paying a lot of money to protect.’

Trump said that past presidents did not confront America’s allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.

‘I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,’ Trump demanded. ‘Germany is a rich country. They talk about they’re gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem.’

The United States’ more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security group compared to its European allies is ‘very unfair’ to the American taxpayer, he said in a familiar complaint.

‘I don’t think it’s fair to the United States, so we’re going to have to do something, because we’re not gonna put up with it. We can’t put up with it, and it’s inappropriate,’ Trump on Wednesday proclaimed. ‘So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against.’

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country. Germany’s spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower end of the pack.

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation's GDP in 2018. Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country - and nearly three times as much as Germany

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country – and nearly three times as much as Germany

TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' about a gas deal that's funneling billions into Moscow's economy

U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Trump began his Wednesday morning rant by telling Stoltenberg that it’s ‘very sad’ when Germany, France and ‘numerous of the countries go out and then make a pipeline deal with Russia’ and then expect the U.S. to foot the bill for their security.

‘So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,’ Trump said. ‘And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.’

Trump informed Stoltenberg that ‘Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas’ when the deal is fully realized.

‘So you tell me is that appropriate?’ he said. ‘I mean I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should never have never been allowed to have happened.’

Now, he said, ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia…And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not. And I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it.’

Merkel told press in German as she arrived at NATO that her country makes ‘independent decisions,’ according to a translation of her remarks on NATO’s blue arrival carpet by AFP.

‘I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,’ said Merkel, who was born and raised in East Germany, in her native tougue.

She touched on her nation’s communist history, saying. ‘I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.’

The White House said after the president’s remarks went wide that he would hold private talks in the afternoon on the sidelines of the summit with Merkel and then meet separately with France’s president.

Trump told Stoltenberg that the alliance must confront Germany over its gas deal with Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen her on Wednesday during her Cabinet meeting in Berlin. She'll see Trump later today at NATO

Trump said last week at a rally that he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn't commit to protecting Germany from Putin's army

In bringing up the gas deal on Wednesday, Trump returned to an issue he had raised before his trip in an attempt to put Germany on the defensive while simultaneously pushing back on the narrative that it is the U.S. that is cozying up to Moscow.

For much of the past year, it has been Trump who has been under attack for resisting sanctions imposed on Russia for its election interference. His frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his repeated attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe have also been the subject of national and international scrutiny.

But in Brussels, it was Trump who hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give Germany direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow’s leverage

In March, Germany reached a deal to allow Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters. The $11 billion deal immediately outraged Eastern European allies.

Russia has used its oil and gas to pressure and punish its neighbors. In a shock move, the parties announced the deal a day after Germany joined UK in protesting the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels

She will continue talking to Trump after everyone else has gone home as she is hosting the U.S. President in Britain for a two-day visit

The pipeline will send Russian oil and gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Poland and other Eastern European countries fear the pipeline could leave them vulnerable to Russian pressure.

In May, a State Department official weighed in against the project. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk said the pipeline could allow Russia to exert ‘malign influence’ in Europe. But the pipeline company said the project wouldn’t be used to blackmail other countries.

Stoltenberg unequivocally said at a news conference that followed his meeting with Trump that the pipeline deal is ‘a national decision’ and ‘it’s not for NATO to decide.’

‘It’s not for NATO to solve this issue,’ he asserted.

Trump bashed Germany over the pipeline issue at a campaign rally last Thursday in Montana, where he also raised the ally’s defense spending.

‘They go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. They want to protect against Russia, and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia,’ Trump said then.

He said at the rally that he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he could not ensure her nation’s security as a result.

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday

Trump informed Stoltenberg that 'Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas' when the deal is fully realized

Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Trump for his display.

‘I’ve never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany,’ Kerry said in a statement. ‘It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America,’ the former top diplomat said.

 Then Kerry, a 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said of Trump: ‘He is steadily destroying our reputation in the world. He is undermining our interests. He diminishes alliances we built to safeguard an economic and strategic force that has allowed millions of people to live in freedom.

House Speaker Paul Ryan invoked a bygone rule usually cited when members of one party refrain from attacking a president of the other.

‘I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he’s overseas,’ Ryan said.

‘NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been,’ Ryan said in defense of the organization Trump went after.

Germany’s defense minister told CNBC after Trump’s assault on her country on Wednesday that two weeks ago she had occasion to visit the United States and was reassured by her conversations with American lawmakers of the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

‘The president is as the president is. We know him and we can cope with that,’ Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen told CNBC from outside of NATO’s headquarters. ‘This rhetoric also leads us to remember that a lot is at stake.’

Von der Leyen said that generations that came of age after WWII have taken peace for granted. ‘Now, we have to fight for democracy. We have to secure our international order, our peace architecture,’ she said.

It was Trump who had arrived in Brussels on the defense on Tuesday after the EU Council’s head berated him at an off-site event that was attached to the NATO summit.

Trump had signaled in early morning tweets on Tuesday that foreign leaders could expect a reckoning when he sees them this week over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to carry the cost of Europe’s protection.

He was met with an immediate brush-back from European Council chief Donald Tusk, who said at a signing of a joint declaration between the Brussels-based security alliance and the body of EU nations that Trump should be more careful with his taunts.

‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,’ he said in remarks that were addressed to Trump.  ‘And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security.’

Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president, Tusk said: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.’

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

Trump signaled in early morning tweets that foreign leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the 'unfair' burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe's protection. He's seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year's NATO gathering

Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to NATO.

‘We do have a lot of allies. But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens.

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance’s summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades.

Just prior to Tusk’s comments on Tuesday, Trump complained that the United States is bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance’s costs and said that it’s not fair to Americans, especially when the U.S. is getting hosed in economic markets.

‘The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer,’ he griped. ‘On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!’

After Tusk’s slap at him — which the EU Council leader also tweeted at Trump — the president doubled down on his position, saying, ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’

Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States' trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security and their lacking contributions to NATO's defense fund

Tusk fired back at Trump from NATO's new headquarter city of Brussels: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many'

Tusk had acknowledged in his remarks that European countries need to step up their contributions.

‘Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,’ he said.

The EU Council chief assessed that ‘money is important’ yet said that ‘genuine solidarity is even more important.’

‘Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American president’s argument which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and threat the U.S. is almost alone in this struggle,’ he said in a repudiation of Trump’s statements.

Tusk argued that Europe ‘was first to respond on a large scale’ when terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11. He further noted that European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.

But Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House’s South Lawn.

‘NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,’ he said. ‘But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.’

He acknowledged that the relationship between the U.S. and many of its traditional allies had soured in the nearly 18 months since he took office. He said a meeting next week with the Russian president may be the ‘easiest’ leg of his four-nation visit to Europe.

Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House's South Lawn. 'NATO has not treated us fairly...We pay far too much and they pay far too little'

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance's summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades

With Trump in the air, it was his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison who was left to do the talking for him at a news conference where Trump’s flattery of Putin and his disagreements with Merkel and Tusk came up.

Hutchison told reporters that Trump backs Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which specifies that an attack on one is an attack on all.

‘He is committed to Article 5 protection just as it is in he NATO charter,’ she told press who arrived at the NATO summit in advance of the U.S. president.

She also stressed that ‘the importance of unity in NATO is what makes us different’ from other alliances that the U.S. and Europe are a part of.

‘I will say that in all of the disagreements that have happened between President Trump and the United States’ position and the EU,’ Hutchsion said, ‘our allies in NATO have remained steadfastly focused on the NATO issues, and we are in agreement, we are in unity on our security issues, and we are an alliance that has performed better, increasing our capabilities.’

Hutchison said that while Trump is hard on Germany, he believes he is ‘pulling them toward us, not away from us.’

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (second from left) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels with her entourage

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrive at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit

At a news conference just before Hutchison’s, Stoltenberg had thanked Trump for the push as he informally kicking off the 2018 summit.

‘It is clearly having an impact,’ he said. ‘We estimate that European allies and Canada will add an extra $266 billion USD to defense between now and 2024. This is significant.’

Stoltenberg said that eight countries are on track to hit their contribution targets this year compared to three in 2014.

At the presser he said he was confident that leaders would be able to put their differences over trade aside as they have done in the past, because NATO has a good story to tell.

When it comes to defense spending, he said, it is true that the burden sharing has not been fairly distributed. That is why Canada and European nations that are part of the alliance are stepping up their donations.

‘I would not be surprised if we had robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,’ he said. ‘Different views are common between friends and allies.’

Just how robust they would get, even he did not seem to have imagined. The NATO secretary general was pummeled in his Wednesday morning breakfast by a fired-up Trump.

Trump indicated Tuesday that he was chagrined about the United States’ trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security organization NATO and intended to make their contributions to its defense fund the focal point of his conversations in Belgium.

The president directly linked the the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy metal tariffs in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador's assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another. He's pictured here talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June at the G7 summit

Just 16 countries are on track to meet the agreed upon spending obligation of 2 percent GDP, the United States has said, in accordance with a 2014 pact. That’s roughly half of NATO’s 29 members.

In tweets on Monday, President Trump berated the rest for relying on America for protection while at the same time running massive trade deficits with the U.S.

The president directly linked the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy tariffs on metal imports to Western security in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador’s assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another.

‘NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitments,’ Trump said. ‘On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!’

The president put trade on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that he continued to send even after he had departed the U.S. for Belgium.

His trip to Brussels was proving to be a repeat of the testy confrontation he had with leaders from allied nations in June at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.

He butted heads with them on trade in Canada, also, complaining in conversations that NATO is ‘much too costly for the U.S’ and almost as bad as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Belgium, he was due to come face-to-face with Canada’s Justin Trudeau for the first time since senior aides to Trump accused the prime minister of trying to sabotage the American president’s Singapore summit.

He was also assured to have an uncomfortable encounter with Germany’s long-running chancellor, Merkel.

He put on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that kicked off a day that was supposed to be focused on his Supreme Court appointment on Monday

TRUMP’S AGENDA IN BRUSSELS

President Trump arrives in Brussels on Tuesday evening local time July 10.

He begins his Wednesday with a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. His secretaries of defense and state and his national security adviser will also participate in the conversation.

Trump will next meet with the United States’ Brussels missions’ staff and families, as is customary for a U.S. president when visiting foreign countries.

Later on Wednesday he will attend an opening ceremony at the NATO headquarters. There, he will meet privately with unknown heads of government.

He will attend a working dinner that evening with fellow leaders.

Wednesday morning leaders will participate in meeting with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine.

An Afghan strategy session follows.

Trump departs Belgium on Wednesday afternoon for London, where he has a working visit with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with the queen before a weekend in Scotland.

He caps his trip to Europe with a stop in Helsinki, Finland, for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He will also likely to be pressed on a decision to conclude his trip to Europe with a tacked-on stop in Finland to negotiate with NATO nemesis and Russian head of state Putin.

The president who has groused since he was a candidate about NATO burden sharing was expected to put pressure of his own on member nations in Brussels to meet the soft goal of 2 percent GDP for defense spending. The guideline was agreed to by the group years before he took office.

‘The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%,’ Trump harped in a message on Monday.

He has singled out Germany as a violator incessantly. His defense secretary recently put a microscope on spending by the contribution-abiding U.K. in a new twist of the knife, as well.

Trump hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally, in Montana, where he claimed that he told Merkel that he believes Europe is benefited more by the security alliance because of its proximity to Russia than the U.S.

He repeated the charge in tweets on Monday in which he again brought up the EU’s trade deficit with the United States.

A day prior, Hutchison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks.

‘One thing I will say is that in all of the disagreements that we have seen at the G7 and with allies with whom we are now having trade talks and negotiations and tariffs, that has not come up in the NATO context,’ she stated. ‘Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied.’

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

She said prior to the summit that Russia’s ‘malign activities’ and a ‘rising China’ would be the foremost topics.

The president on Friday slapped $34 billion in tariffs on China that were aimed at reducing a trade deficit with the country that the U.S. has also accused of rampant and intentional intellectual property violations. He said Tuesday that he intends to hit Beijing with $200 billion more in penalties.

He is also said to have told France’s Macron that the EU is worse than China on trade in some ways when they met in Canada last month.

The rift over trade and the president’s planned talks with Putin set the stage for more tension in Belgium.

Hucthison pointed out on Sunday that Trump’s way of doing business had been effective, though, pointing to increased contributions to NATO since he took office.

‘NATO really is making progress and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence, and I think that it’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security,’ she said. ‘Every ally is now increasing defense spending.’

Trump’s liaison to NATO said, ‘We’ve had the largest increase in defense spending since the Cold War. And in the year and a half since President Trump has been in office, it has doubled since 2014.

‘So, I think he is making an impact and I think that the Europeans, including Chancellor Merkel just recently who has said we are going to do more,’ she said. ‘We need to do more, it’s the right thing to do and she is encouraging her Bundestag, her parliament, to increase the defense budget so that we will be more fit for purpose in NATO for the fights that we want to deter.’

A day prior, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hucthison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks

Merkel said last month in a speech to parliament that she anticipates ‘very difficult’ talks in Brussels in a reference to the increasingly complicated relationship between Germany and the United States in the era of Donald Trump.

‘It is no secret that the transatlantic alliance is under strain at the moment but we are convinced that the alliance remains central to our common security,’ the European leader stated.

Trump hit back at her on Thursday evening, saying in remarks at a campaign event for a U.S. Senate candidate that Europe is killing America on trade and paying Russia billions for oil and gas all while complaining that it needs protection from Putin and his military.

‘We’re paying anywhere from 70- to 90-percent to protect Europe. And that’s fine. Of course, they kill us on trade. They kill us on other things,’ he proclaimed. ‘So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we’re the schmucks paying for the whole thing.’

The president said he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn’t commit to protecting Germany from Putin’s army.

‘Putin is fine. He’s fine. We’re all people,’ he said. ‘Will I be prepared? I’ve been preparing for this stuff all my life.’

Hutchison said Sunday that she does not agree with the president’s assessment of Putin. She said Trump is right, however, to engage with the former KGB spy who has personally been accused by the U.S. of directing a scheme to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

‘We should be talking to Vladimir Putin and many of our allied nations do as well,’ she said. ‘But it is to try to bring them in the tent instead of just constantly seeing them do these things that are attempting to disrupt us, but will not.’

She claimed on Tuesday at a news conference that Trump was saying at his rally that he was ‘not certain’ that Germany could pay out more money to NATO, not that he was unclear about the United States’ continued ability to protect the ally from Russia. Trump promptly contradicted her Wednesday when he indicated that’s exactly what he meant during his breakfast with Stoltenberg.

Germany’s defense minister, von der Leyen, said Wednesday on CNBC that Trump is right that Germany needs to increase its defense contribution — and said that it has.

The German official said her country also backs Trump’s summit next week with Putin.

‘It is good that he talking to President Putin,’ she said. ‘We have a lot of issues with Russia without question, but it’s good to be in a dialogue.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5941337/Germany-captive-Russia-Trump-dresses-NATOs-secretary-general-Brussels.html

The LNG supply chain

What is LNG ?

LNG, which stands for Liquefied Natural Gas, is natural gas that has been converted to a liquid state by cooling to below -163°C. In this form, it occupies 600 times less space than before cooling, while retaining the same calorific value. This makes transport much easier.

Setting up a LNG chain requires investment in several types of facility:

– Exploration, to detect deposits of natural gas (which are generally discovered during oil exploration operations) and extraction/production

– Storage then liquefaction, to convert the natural gas from “gaseous” to “liquid” form in which it can be transported by tanker

– Transportation by special vessels called LNG tankers

– Storage then regasification, to restore the natural gas to its gaseous form, in which it can be transmitted through pipelines for consumption by end customers.

The differents steps of a LNG supply chain

 

The history of LNG

Natural gas liquefaction was developed in the 19th century by the British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday, who experimented with liquefying several gases, including natural gas. The first liquefaction plant was built in the United States in 1917. The first commercial operation began in 1941, again in the US. In January 1959, a former World War II cargo ship was converted into a tanker, the Methane Pioneer, to carry LNG between Lake Charles (Louisiana, USA) and Canvey Island (UK). Long-distance LNG transportation had become a reality. The 7 deliveries made in the following 14 months suffered only minor technical problems. Following this success, the British Gas Council decided to set up a commercial route between Venezuela and Canvey Island. In 1964, the UK became the first LNG importer, and Algeria the first exporter. Subsequently, several countries became interested in this new supply technique, including France, which built its first LNG terminal at Le Havre in 1965 (dismantled in 1989). The terminals of Fos-Tonkin (1972), Montoir-de-Bretagne (1980), Fos-Cavaou (2010) and Dunkerque (2016) are all part of the strategy to diversify national and European natural gas supplies.

sharelngimports

Share of LNG among the total of natural gas imports in France in 2014

Worldwide, there are currently 26 liquefaction terminals in 16 countries, and 95 regasification terminals in 33 countries. Furthermore, there are plans for several both liquefaction and regasification terminals: if some of these projects  will never be built, other are under construction.

 

The LNG supply chain

A LNG supply chain is made up of 4 interdependent segments: exploration/production, liquefaction, transportation and regasification. Each of these segments has its own specific industrial processes and involves specific rules and participants.

1. Exploration – production

At the heart of this essential activity, specialists analyse geological structure to identify areas that may contain hydrocarbons. They carry out special tests, such as seismic analysis, to confirm their initial assessments. Drilling is undertaken when there is a high probability of discovering gas (or oil). If the well is viable (after a series of tests, measurements and additional drilling), it can go into production.

2. Liquefaction

The natural gas extracted from the deposit is filtered and purified, so as not to damage equipment during the conversion from gas to liquid, and in order to meet the specifications of the importing regions. This means that the liquefaction process produces a natural gas with a methane content close to 100%. Liquefaction plants often consist of several installations arranged in parallel, called “liquefaction trains”. The liquefaction process reduces the volume of gas by a factor of around 600, in other words 1 cubic metre of LNG at -163°C has the same energy content as 600 cubic metres of “gaseous” gas at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure. The density of LNG is around 45% that of water.

3. LNG transportation

LNG tankers are double-hulled ships specially designed to prevent hull leaks and ruptures in the event of accident. The LNG is stored in tanks (generally 4 to 5 per tanker) at a temperature of -163°C and at atmospheric pressure. There are currently 3 types of LNG carrier, each corresponding to a different tank design: membrane tanks, spherical tanks and IHI Prismatic tanks. In 2009, carriers with membrane tanks accounted for more than 60% of world LNG transportation capacity, and more than 85% of orders. This is so far the only technology which allows the construction of large capacity carriers such as the Q-flex (210,000 cu. m.) and Q-max (260,000 cu. m.) vessels.

Chaine-GNL-31

 

Interior of a membrane type tank in an LNG carrier (Source: GTT)

 

4. Storage and regasification

Once received and offloaded, the liquefied natural gas is returned to cryogenic storage tanks – usually varying in capacity from 100,000 to 160,000 cubic meters, depending on the site – where it is kept at a temperature of -163°C prior to regasification. Regasification consists of gradually warming the gas back up to a temperature of over 0°C. It is done under high pressures of 60 to 100 bar, usually in a series of seawater percolation heat exchangers, the most energy efficient technique when water of the right quality is available. An alternative method is to burn some of the gas to provide heat. On its way out of the terminal, the gas undergoes any treatment processes needed to bring its characteristics in line with regulatory and end-user requirements. Its heating value, for example, may be tweaked by altering nitrogen, butane or propane content or blending it with other gases.

 

Exporting and importing countries

image1

The LNG importing countries can be divided into 2 markets: the Atlantic Basin and the Pacific Basin. The Pacific Basin comprises countries along the Pacific and in South Asia (including India). The Atlantic Basin covers Europe, North and West Africa and the Atlantic coast of the American continent.

The Pacific Basin market emerged in the 1990s, at a time when demand in some Asian countries increased significantly (mainly Japan and South Korea). LNG represented an alternative to oil, and the goal was to maintain security of supply even at relatively high cost. The Atlantic Basin market emerged later in the 1990s, for reasons of security of supply and also in anticipation of a fall in some countries’ domestic reserves.

We can note that there are less and less exporting countries. Thus, in 2015 there were 17 exporting countries whereas there were 19 in 2014.

LNG exports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

In contrast to the declining number of exporters, the number of importers is growing. In 2015, there were 34 LNG importing countries. Although it tends to import lower LNG quatities, Japan remains the world’s biggest LNG importer, followed by South Korea. The reason is that those countries – just like a great part of Asia-Pacific region –  are extremely dependent on LNG for their gas consumption.

LNG imports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

https://www.gasinfocus.com/en/focus/the-lng-supply-chain/

 

Trump and Merkel clash at fraught NATO summit

Damon WAKE

,

AFP

US President Donald Trump traded barbs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a tense NATO summit Wednesday after he accused Berlin of being “captive” to Russia and demanded it immediately step up defence spending.

The two-day meet in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance’s most difficult in years, with Europe and the US engaged in a bitter trade spat and Trump demanding that NATO allies “reimburse” Washington for defending the continent.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and Germany had the right to make its own policy choices.

European alliance members were braced for criticism from Trump on defence spending, but his blistering attack on Germany at a breakfast meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg took the summit by surprise.

“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”

Video: Trump Attends NATO Summit Amid Tense Relations With Allies

For more news videos visit Yahoo View.  

Merkel ramped up the febrile atmosphere of the summit with a sharp reply on arriving at NATO HQ.

“I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said.

“I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a “very very good relationship”, their frosty body language suggested otherwise.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an “exchange of views” with Trump.

– ‘Step it up’ –

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

NATO allies agreed at a summit in Wales in 2014 to move towards spending two percent of GDP on defence by 2024. But Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends just 1.24 percent, compared with 3.5 percent for the US.

“These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said.

“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in “very direct language” but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO’s resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

NATO officials and diplomats will try to promote an image of unity at the summit in the face of growing unease about the threat from Russia, but with the row between Merkel and Trump it may prove difficult to paper over the cracks.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday “may be the easiest” part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

– ‘Appreciate your allies’ –

Trump ramped up his rhetoric ahead of the talks, explicitly linking NATO with the transatlantic trade row by saying the EU shut out US business while expecting America to defend it.

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to “appreciate your allies” and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

European diplomats fear a repeat of last month’s divisive G7 in Canada, when Trump clashed with his Western allies before meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at a summit and praising him as “very talented”.

There have been fears that Trump, keen to be seen to make a breakthrough with the Kremlin strongman, might make concessions in his meeting with Putin that would weaken Western unity over issues such as Ukraine and Syria.

US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump’s rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration for the alliance’s future work — which the US is expected to back.

And she said she expected Trump to recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO — Article 5 — which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-slams-captive-germany-nato-summit-081237901.html

NATO Funding and Burdensharing
May 19, 2017 (IN10704)
|
Related Author
Paul Belkin
|
Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs (pbelkin@crs.loc.gov, 7-0220)
President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on May 25, 2017.
This will be the President’s first collective meeting with his counterparts from NATO’s other 27 member states.
President Trump is expected to continue to strongly urge NATO members to increase defense spending and enhance
military capabilities.

For numerous reasons—not least the United States’ status as the world’s preeminent military power—U.S. defense
spending levels long have been significantly higher than those of any other NATO ally. Since NATO’s founding,
successive U.S. Administrations have characterized a steadfast U.S. commitment to NATO as essential to advancing a
key U.S. security interest: peace and stability in Europe. Nevertheless, the relative imbalance in defense spending and
military capabilities within NATO has long fueled concerns about burdensharing and European allies’ reliance on U.S.
defense guarantees.

NATO members contribute to the alliance financially in various ways. The most fundamental way is by funding, in
members’ individual national defense budgets, the deployment of their respective armed forces to support NATO
missions.

NATO member states also fund NATO’s annual budget of about $2.5 billion. National contributions fund the day-to-day
operations of NATO headquarters, as well as some collective NATO military assets and infrastructure. The U.S. share
of these so-called common-funded budgets is currently about 22%, followed by Germany (15%), France (11%), and the
United Kingdom (UK; 10%).

Defense Spending Targets
As signatories of NATO’s founding North Atlantic Treaty, member states commit to “maintain and develop their
individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack” (Article 3) and, in the case of an armed attack against one or
more allies, to take “such action as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the
security of the North Atlantic area” (Article 5). However, decisions about individual national contributions to specific
NATO missions are essentially voluntary.

In 2006, NATO members agreed informally to aim to allocate at least 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to their
national defense budgets annually and to devote at least 20% of national defense expenditure to research and
development and procurement. These targets were formalized at NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit, when the allies pledged
to “halt any decline in defence expenditure” and to “aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade.” The 2%
and 20% spending targets are intended to guide national defense spending by individual NATO members; they do not
refer to contributions made directly to NATO.

Most analysts agree that the 2% spending figure “does not represent any type of critical threshold or ‘tipping point’ in
terms of defence capabilities.” The target is considered politically and symbolically important, however. NATO does
not impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the target.

In 2016, 5 allies met or exceeded the 2% target (Estonia, Greece, Poland, the UK, and the United States); 10 allies met
or exceeded the 20% target (France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, the UK, and the
United States); and 3 allies met both targets (Poland, the UK, and the United States).

NATO figures for 2015 indicate that if every ally were to have met the 2% benchmark, the aggregate sum of NATO
members’ national defense budgets would have increased by about $100 billion (from $891 billion to $989 billion).
Although most analysts agree that such an increase could benefit the alliance significantly, many stress that how
additional resources are invested is equally, if not more, important. Critics note, for example, that an ally spending less
than 2% of GDP on defense could have more modern, effective military capabilities than an ally that meets the 2%
target but allocates most of that funding to personnel costs and relatively little to procurement and modernization.
Defense Spending Trends and Future Prospects
NATO and U.S. officials say they are encouraged that many allies have bolstered their defense budgets in recent years,
largely in response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. According to NATO, in 2016, 23 allies increased defense
spending compared to 2015, in real terms. NATO officials expect at least three more allies (Latvia, Lithuania, and
Romania) to meet the 2% guideline in 2017 or 2018. Other allied governments, including France and Germany, have
reiterated their commitment to meeting the 2% target by 2024.
Nevertheless, ongoing fiscal challenges facing many European governments and broad public skepticism of military
action could impede some allies’ plans to increase defense spending. To help stretch existing defense resources, NATO
and U.S. leaders have called for more progress on allied defense cooperation initiatives, including the joint acquisition
of shared capabilities.

U.S. Policy and Considerations for Congress
U.S. calls for increased allied defense spending are not new, but the Trump Administration has approached the issue
more stridently than its predecessors. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s suggestion in February 2017 that the United
States could moderate its commitment to NATO if spending increases are not forthcoming caused particular concern
within the alliance, given that past U.S. Administrations had never linked spending levels to the U.S. commitment to
NATO to this degree.

Trump Administration officials have acknowledged the upward trend in allied defense spending but also have indicated
that they will continue to seek more specific commitments to achieve NATO targets.
U.S. concerns about defense spending and burdensharing raise several broader policy questions related to the nature and
scope of U.S. commitments to NATO and the appropriate U.S. military presence in Europe that could be of interest to
Congress, including the following:
How does NATO membership advance U.S. national security interests? Some analysts argue that a robust U.S.
commitment to NATO and force presence in Europe continues to advance key U.S. national security interests,
especially given recent Russian aggression in Europe. Others contend that the U.S. commitment to European security
could be scaled back to ensure greater European contributions.

Is the 2% defense spending target the best means to enhance allied military capabilities? Some analysts argue that
NATO should focus more on ensuring more effective defense spending than on increasing aggregate defense spending,
including through pooling and sharing of defense resources. Others counter that effective defense cooperation requires
minimum defense spending levels.

Click to access IN10704.pdf

NATO

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg

Logo
Flag of NATO.svg

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Formation 4 April 1949; 69 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters BrusselsBelgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[1]
Jens Stoltenberg
Air Chief MarshalStuart PeachRoyal Air Force
General Curtis ScaparrottiUnited States Army
Général Denis MercierFrench Air Force
Expenses (2017) US$946 billion[2]
Website NATO.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO /ˈnt/FrenchOrganisation du Traité de l’Atlantique NordOTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.[3][4] NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO Headquarters are located in HarenBrusselsBelgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near MonsBelgium.

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US Supreme Commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia.[5] Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq WarSyrian Civil War, and annexation of Crimea.

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and HerzegovinaGeorgiaMacedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members.[8] An additional 21 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[9] Members’ defense spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP by 2024.[10]

History

Beginnings

Eleven men in suits stand around a large desk at which another man is signing a document.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington, on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States in August 1949.

The Treaty of Brussels was a mutual defence treaty against the Soviet threat at the start of the Cold War. It was signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom. It was the precursor to NATO. The Soviet threat became immediate with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, leading to the creation of a multinational defence organization, the Western Union Defence Organisation, in September 1948.[11] However, the parties were too weak militarily to counter the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevinreiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing in the United States, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12]

In 1948, European leaders met with US defence, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under US Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary GeneralLord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[17]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[18] Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO.[19] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[20]

Cold War

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.[21] Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[22] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia.[23][24] Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[25]

Two soldiers crouch under a tree while a tank sits on a road in front of them.

The German Bundeswehr provided the largest element of the allied land forces guarding the frontier in Central Europe.

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[26] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[27]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[22] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[28][29]

A 1952 US postage stampcommemorating the third anniversary of NATO. Stamps honoring the organization were issued by many member countries.

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[30] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard LangeForeign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[31] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion.[32] One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter PunchOperation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[33]

French withdrawal

A map of France with red and blue markings indicating air force bases as of 1966.

Map of the NATO air bases in France before Charles de Gaulle‘s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle‘s presidency of France.[34] De Gaulle protested against the United States’ strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.[35]

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATO–Warsaw Pact war.[36] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command,[37] and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[38] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?”[39] This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967.[40] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer–Ailleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[41]

When de Gaulle announced his decision to withdraw from the integrated NATO command, President Lyndon Johnson suggested that when de Gaulle “comes rushing down like a locomotive on the track, why the Germans and ourselves, we just stand aside and let him go on by, then we are back together again.”[42] The vision came true. France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[43]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk. US President Richard Nixon talked with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1973.

Détente led to many high level meetings between leaders from both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Wim van Eekelen, Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, greeting US soldiers arriving as they are deployed to NATO bases (1987).

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[44]

A map of Europe showing several countries on the left in blue, while ones on the right are in red. Other unaffiliated countries are in white.

During the Cold War, most of Europe was divided between two alliances. Members of NATO are shown in blue, with members of the Warsaw Pact in red, unaffiliated countries are in grey. Yugoslavia, although communist, had left the Soviet sphere in 1948, while Albania was only a Warsaw Pact member until 1968.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCM cruise missiles and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[45] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[46] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980[citation needed]. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[47] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; Spain’s membership was confirmed by referendum in 1986. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[48]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[49] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[50] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

Two men in suits sit signing documents at a large table in front of their country's flags. Two others stand outside watching them.

Reforms made under Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Warsaw Pact.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[51] Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[52] Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[52] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[53] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[54] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[55]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][56]

Enlargement and reform

A pale yellow building with square columns with three flags hanging in front and soldiers and dignitaries saluting them.

The NATO flag being raised in a ceremony marking Croatia‘s joining of the alliance in 2009.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO–Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. At that time, the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[59] The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21 November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19 June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[60] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[61] Also at the 2004 Istanbul summit, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[62]

Two older Caucasian men in black suits and red ties sit facing each other in a room with green, white, and gold trimmed walls.

Meetings between the government of Viktor Yushchenko and NATO leaders led to the Intensified Dialogue programme.

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[63] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[64]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[65] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[66][67] Following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[68][69]

The Russian intervention in Crimea in 2014 lead to strong condemnation by NATO nations, and Poland invoked Article 4 meetings.[70] At the subsequent 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defence by 2024.[71] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[72][73][74] On 15 June 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[75] Montenegro became the 29th and newest member of NATO on 5 June 2017, amid strong objections from Russia.[76][77]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[78]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

A fighter jet with AV marked on its tail takes off from a mountain runway.

NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctionsagainst the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[79]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[80] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[81][82] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[83] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[84]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[84] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[85] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[86]

Kosovo intervention

Three trucks of soldiers idle on a country road in front of trees and red roofed houses. The rear truck has KFOR painted on is back.

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[87] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[88] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[89]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[89][90] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[91] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[92]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[93] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[94]

War in Afghanistan

A monumental green copper statue of a woman with a torch stands on an island in front of a mainland where a massive plume of gray smoke billows amongst skyscrapers.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[95] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[96]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[97]

A general hands a NATO flag from a soldier on the left to one on the right.

ISAF General David M. Rodriguezat an Italian change of command in Herat.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Talibanal Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[98] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[99]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[100] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[101] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[102] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US led MNF-I.[103] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[104]

Turkey invoked the first Article 4 meetings in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. Turkey also invoked this article twice in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria,[105]and again in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[106]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

A tall plume of black smoke rises from the blue ocean waters next to a large gray battleship and a small black inflatable boat.

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in SomaliaRussiaChina and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[107][108] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[109]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards, beginning with Opération Harmattan by the French Air Force on March 19.

On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[110] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[111] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[110]

Pieces of a destroyed tank, notably the gun turret, lie on a sandy landscape.

Libyan Army Palmaria howitzersdestroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[112][113] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[114] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[115] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[116][117][118] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[119] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[120]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[121] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[122][123] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[124] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[125][126] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[127] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[128]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
A map of Europe with countries in blue, cyan, orange, and yellow based on their NATO affiliation. A world map with countries in blue, cyan, orange, yellow, purple, and green, based on their NATO affiliation.

Members

Twelve men in black suits stand talking in small groups under a backdrop with the words Lisbonne and Lisboa.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-nine members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[129][130]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[131] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed] Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][56] Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[132] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[133]

Enlargement

A map of Europe with countries labeled in shades of blue, green, and yellow based on when they joined NATO.

NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has two candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, who joined NATO in 2009, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[134] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[135] Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[136]though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[137]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[52]NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[138] though they have also been criticised in the West.[139] A June 2016 Levada poll found that 68% of Russians think that deploying NATO troops in the Baltic states and Poland – former Eastern bloc countries bordering Russia – is a threat to Russia.[140] Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[141] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[142]Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[143]

A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.[144]

Partnerships

Hundreds of soldiers in military uniforms stand behind a line on a tarmac with 14 flags held by individuals at the front.

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[145]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[146] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[147] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[148] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[146] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[149]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[150] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[151]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[152] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[153][154] Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[155]

Structures

Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen(left), talk with members of the Norwegian army’s Telemark Battalionin Oslo.

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[156] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[157] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017. The 250,000 square metres (2,700,000 sq ft) complex was designed by Jo Palma and home to a staff of 3800.[158] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[159][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[160] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

The cost of the new headquarters building escalated to about €1.1 billion[161] or $1.23 billion.[162]

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 29 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 29 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[163] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry during the NATO Summit in Newport, 5 September 2014

NATO foreign ministers and Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović have signed a protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO on 19 May 2016

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministersdefence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[164]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

List of Secretaries General[165]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[166]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller United States 2016–present
 Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

A large baroque yellow and gold room with a stage on the left and long tables filled with men and women in suits on the right.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an intergovernmental organization of NATO and associate countries’ elected representatives, meets in London prior to the start of the 2014 Newport summit.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other time during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[167] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defence and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

Military structures

Location of the commands attatched to NATO‘s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), also referred to as Allied Command Operations (ACO)

An older man with a gray beard, red beret, and olive green military suit.

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, was Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2015 to 2018

Three soldiers in camouflage stand in salute while a fourth raises a blue and white flag on a red and white striped flagpole.

NATO flag raising at opening of Exercise Steadfast Jazz at Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in November 2013.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee with the Deputy Chairman, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[168] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[169] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach of the United States, since 2018, and the Deputy Chairman is Steven Shepro of the United States, since 2016.[170]

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[171] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[172] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europeand its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[173]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[174] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including EurocorpsI. German/Dutch CorpsMultinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[175]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[176]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on 1 December 2015.[177] Headquarters Multinational Division South – East (HQ MND-SE) is a North Atlantic Council (NAC) activated NATO military body under operational command (OPCOM) of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) which may be employed and deployed in peacetime, crisis and operations by NATO on the authority of the appropriate NATO Military Authorities by means of an exercise or operational tasking issued in accordance with the Command and Control Technical Arrangement (C2 TA) and standard NATO procedures.

During August 2016, it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland. This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the US) to Estonia.

See also

References

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

Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

 

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(6 Jul 2018) The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing said it would be forced to counterattack in a dispute between the world’s two biggest economies that President Donald Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington increased tariffs at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time (0401 GMT) on 34 billion US dollars worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would be “forced to make a necessary counterattack.” It gave no immediate details but Beijing earlier released a target list of American goods for retaliation including soybeans, electric cars, whiskey, pork and pork products. Ohio pig farmer Brian Watkins expressed the worry that the tariffs would rob him of the majority of his profits. Watkins said he’s worried that a prolonged trade dispute could take the US out of the pork equation as the global market becomes reliant on other countries’ production. He said he thought trade would be a big issue on farmers’ minds as they take to the polls in auturmn.

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U.S. Threatens Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Goods, From Tilapia to Handbags

The trade war with China intensified as the Trump administration outlined tariffs on another $200 billion worth of products. China has already retaliated against the first round of tariffs with its own levies on American goods, including soybeans.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Ana Swanson and Jim Tankersley

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its trade dispute with China on Tuesday, saying it would impose tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese fish, petroleum, chemicals, handbags, textiles and other products if Beijing does not change its trade practices.

The threat comes just days after President Trump imposed levies on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, including robotics, airplane parts and ball bearings. Mr. Trump has said he is prepared to tax as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese products.

On Tuesday, his administration detailed the next list of products that would face Mr. Trump’s wrath unless Beijing folds to Washington’s demands. The White House is pushing China to reduce its trade surplus with the United States, halt intellectual property theft and open its markets to American companies.

Neither side appears eager to blink first. China has responded to Mr. Trump’s initial tariffs with its own equal amount of levies on American goods like pork, steel, cars and fiber optic cable and has said that it is prepared to continue retaliating.

The Chinese government said it would take unspecified countermeasures against new tariffs and renewed its threat to take its complaints to the World Trade Organization, which handles trade disputes.

“The American side’s behavior harms China, harms the world and also harms itself,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

With no official discussions scheduled to settle the trade dispute, it is unclear how or when the differences get resolved. A senior White House official said on Tuesday evening that the administration welcomed China’s engagement and had been “extremely clear” with China about its concerns over its trade practices, but that China had been “nonresponsive.” The official said that the process of imposing tariffs on the new list of goods would take roughly two months, with a public hearing on the tariffs scheduled for Aug. 20 through Aug 23.

The trade war has already started to raise costs for businesses that depend on international supply chains, from manufacturers to retailers, and consumers that purchase their products. The Trump administration said it intended its first wave of tariffs to target industrial products that the Chinese government subsidizes and to minimize the impact to American households.

But as the list of taxed products grows, the number of consumers and businesses that will feel the pinch also increases.

“It gets harder for them to keep it from the shelves of Walmart and Target and Best Buy,” said Mary E. Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It also gets harder for them to continue to hide behind this rationale of hitting China for forced technology transfer.”

The administration’s approach has prompted criticism from lawmakers, particularly those from farm states, who say Mr. Trump is approaching a serious issue in an undisciplined way that could backfire.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that he supported the administration’s effort to crack down on Chinese practices, but the decision to use tariffs was not the proper response.

“Tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach,” Mr. Hatch said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to China’s mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy.”

The White House administration disagrees. Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in a statement that the announcement was “an appropriate response.”

“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products,” he said. “There is no justification for such action.”

For now, the limited tariffs combined with a booming economy seem to be having little impact beyond targeted industries.

Goldman Sachs economists estimated this week that the initial tariffs on Chinese goods would reduce the size of the United States economy by a minimal amount, and said they did not expect the White House to follow through on Mr. Trump’s latest threatened tariffs.

But Federal Reserve officials and others are worried about potential damage from a prolonged trade war. Minutes from the Fed’s June meetingshow business contacts “indicated that plans for capital spending had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy.”

Goldman economists said in a report earlier this month that, if the broader range of tariffs were actually enacted, it would be more damaging because they would hit Americans more quickly in the wallet than the initial round of tariffs.

Economists have also cautioned that the potential damage to the economy could grow if the trade conflict grows. Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said that it was difficult to see a path to cooling off tensions, especially with the highly charged midterm elections approaching in the United States.

“With China in attack mode as well, additional tariffs risk escalating the trade war to a level from which it is becoming increasingly difficult to envision an exit path,” he said.

U.S. LNG, ethanol sellers buoyed by China trade talks

(Reuters) – China’s interest in reducing its trade surplus with the United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and ethanol sales, analysts and energy executives involved in developing new LNG facilities said.

Washington and Beijing stepped back from the brink of a full-blown trade war after talks last week, with the United States appearing to set aside for now its demands that China revamp key planks of its industrial policy.

“China represents an enormous economic opportunity for U.S. LNG and ethanol exports as both products will likely see dramatic demand growth in the coming years, during which time the United States is also expected to dominate global export markets,” Katie Bays, energy analyst at Height Securities in Washington, D.C., said in a note on Tuesday.

Bays estimated that substantial LNG sales commitments could bring in between $20 billion and $30 billion annually and ethanol sales could reach $5 billion to $7 billion annually. She noted, however, that the LNG and ethanol markets are not big enough by themselves to meet President Donald Trump’s goal of reducing the Chinese trade deficit by $200 billion per year.

On Tuesday, Cheniere Energy Inc said its board approved financing for an LNG unit, the first new approval in the United States since 2015. The decision adds a third unit capable of producing 0.7-billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas to its Corpus Christi, Texas, plant.

There are more than two dozen proposed U.S. LNG plants waiting for customer commitments to reach a final investment decision, many of them looking to China for deals.

China overtook South Korea in 2017 as the world’s second biggest buyer of LNG behind Japan. The country, which imported 5.6 billion cubic feet per day last year, is looking to buy more low-cost sources of energy, like gas, to reduce its use of coal and cut pollution.

Charlie Cone, LNG proprietary analyst for energy data provider Genscape, said at least 13 percent of total U.S. LNG cargoes currently go to China. “We expect this number to grow as more U.S. firms sign long-term agreements with Chinese buyers as their nation continues to develop its gas infrastructure,” Cone said.

Bays said a hold on the trade war could drive Chinese customers to sign new LNG contracts with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass or Corpus Christi facilities, Sempra Energy’s Cameron, Freeport LNG, NextDecade Corp’s Rio Grande, or Pembina Pipeline Corp’s Jordan Cove.

“We see it as a positive development,” said William Daughdrill, director of health, safety and environmental matters at Delfin Midstream. The company’s chief executive was in Asia last week pursuing customers, Daughdrill said.

Delfin is proposing a floating LNG facility in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and aiming for a final investment decision as early as this year to go ahead and produce up to 13 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG for export.

“For us, it’s strictly been about marketing to China,” said Greg Vesey, chief executive of LNG Ltd, which is developing an LNG plant in Louisiana and another in Nova Scotia in Canada. It hopes to reach a final investment decision on the U.S. project by year-end and begin exports in 2022, he said.

“If you look at some forecasts for 2035, there are really only two places that have significant increases in LNG imports. Europe goes up about 100 mtpa and China goes up about 200 mtpa,” Vesey said.

Texas LNG, which is proposing a 4-mtpa export facility in Brownsville, Texas, and has five early-stage agreements with Chinese customers, hopes to make a final decision next year, about six months behind its original goal.

“Sentiment in the LNG markets is heating up again,” said Langtry Meyer, co-founder of the company. He added, however, that Texas LNG was not considering developing an import terminal in China, which would likely be needed to expand U.S. exports.

As for ethanol, Bays at Height Securities said ethanol producers like Archer Daniels Midland Co and Green Plains Inc could benefit from negotiations with China given the political importance of corn producers to Trump, coupled with China’s need to increase ethanol imports dramatically to meet its 2020 renewable fuel objectives.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1105, Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Nervous Breakdown Over Right-Wing Extremist?– Videos — Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos — Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Chooses An Outstanding Nominee for Supreme Court Justice — Brett Kavanaugh — Hate America Democrats (HAD) and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Had Hysterical Nervous Breakdown — Panicking Petulent Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Videos

Trump names Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick

Outside Supreme Court, senators and activists react to Trump pick

Chuck Schumer RAILS Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice Nominee

President Trump announces Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court nominee

Hannity: Left will take extreme measures to malign Kavanaugh

Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s SCOTUS pick?

“They’re PANICKING over Brett Kavanaugh??” Ben REACTS to the Left’s SCOTUS Meltdown

Chuck Schumer’s Reaction To Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Will Have You Speechless

How will Democrats and Republicans react to Trump’s SCOTUS nominee?

‘There is no one more qualified or deserving’: Trump picks federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat, setting up ferocious battle with Dems to get him nominated

  • Trump: ‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law’ 
  • Kavanaugh, 53, was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27
  • He served as staff secretary to President George W. Bush at the White House
  • Also played a leading role in drafting Ken Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton
  • Served 10 years on the federal bench, giving Democrats ample material to sift throuh for a deep look into his written opinions
  • Kavanaugh and wife Ashely have two daughters; his all-American look was said to appeal to Trump
  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be worried Kavanaugh will be tough to confirm because of his voluminous paper trail

President Donald Trump named Washington, D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

‘Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,’ Trump said in his announcement.

‘There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,’ the president added.

Video playing bottom right…

President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Trump called Brett Kavanaugh 'one of the sharpest legal minds of our time.' Kavanaugh was joined by his family, wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza, at the announcement

Melania Trump sat next to Judge Kavanaugh's parents during the announcement

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench

Judge Kavanaugh's parents sitting next to first lady Melania Trump

He called Kavanaugh ‘one of the sharpest legal minds of our time’ and urged the Senate to confirm his pick quickly.

The announcement was a family affair. Kavanaugh was joined by his wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza. His parents were at the White House, seated in the audience next to first lady Melania Trump.

‘Mr. President, I am grateful to you, and I’m humbled by your confidence in me,’ Kavanaugh said. ‘Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.’

In his remarks, Kavanaugh touted his strong record with women throughout his career, noting he’s hired a majority of female law clerks and that Elena Kagan, who is now on the Supreme Court, hired him to teach at Harvard.

Kavanaugh also paid tribute to his parents, who were both lawyers.

‘My mom was a trail blazer,’ he said, noting she went to law school when he was 10 years old and became a prosecutor. ‘The president introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh but, to me, that title will always belong to my mom.’

His remarks were filled with stories about his family and his appreciation of them.

He noted both is daughters love sports and joked his young daughter Liza ‘loves sports and she loves to talk.’ He then gave her a high five.

He added that he’s coached both of his daughters’ basketball teams, where he’s called ‘Coach K.’

He and his wife met when they both worked at the Bush White House and their first date was September 10, 2001 – the night before the terrorist attacks.

‘Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and everyone in this building,’ he said of the aftermath. ‘I thank God every day for my family.’

Kavanaugh’s remarks were filled with light-hearted stories like the above, making the audience laugh and showing his all-American appeal that Trump was said to be looking for his pick. His talk was focused on the personable with little conversation on his judicial record.

Judge Kavanaugh's remarks were filled with light-hearted stories about his family

Judge Kavanaugh will replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks after his nomination

But he did make an appeal to the Senate that will confirm him.

‘I will tell each Senator that I revere the constitution,’ he said.

‘My judicial philosophy is straight forward – a judge must be independent and interpret the law, not make the law,’ he said. ‘A judge must interpret the constitution as written.’

‘If confirmed by the Senate I will strive to keep an open mind in every case,’ Kavanaugh noted. ‘And I will always strive to preserve the constitution in the United States.’

Kavanaugh was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

Trump, in his announcement, indicated he wanted a judge that followed his successful first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The president noted Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, clerked for Kennedy. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh also went to the same high school.

Gorsuch’s confirmation is considered one of the major successes of the Trump administration.

But Kavanaugh’s long record – 12 years as a judge, nearly 300 written opinions, a multitude of scholarly articles, a paperwork trail from his time in the Bush White House, and thousands of documents from when he served on the Starr investigation – has raised concerns Democrats will have an embarrassment of riches to use in questions during confirmation hearings, leading to a lengthened process and a tough confirmation vote.

As he did with Gorsuch barely 10 days after taking office last year, the president introduced Kavanaugh to a packed East Room at the White House and challenged the U.S. Senate to confirm his nominee without delay.

The Gorsuch nomination was seen as an even political swap for the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, one rock-ribbed conservative for another.

Replacing Kennedy, often seen as a ‘swing vote’ on tight 5-4 decisions with enormous societal implications, with a conservative nominee is a far weightier exercise.

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

This is Trump's second nomination to the Supreme Court since he became president

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch

The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative

July 10 at 9:45 AM

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Brett Kavanaugh is no David Souter.

President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court made a name for himself as a partisan warrior when he worked for Ken Starr and has proved his reliability as a consistently conservative judge over a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Trump that Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail over a quarter of a century in the public arena would make it harder to confirm him through the narrowly divided Senate than two of the other finalists being considered.

But the same track record that could cause headaches in the next several weeks is exactly what made Kavanaugh so appealing to leaders of the Republican legal establishment, including Federalist Society chief Leonard Leo and White House counsel Don McGahn, who wanted someone they feel confident they can count on for the next generation.

Kavanaugh, who has long been active in the Federalist Society, fits that bill. He was one of Starr’s top bulldogs as the independent counsel investigated Bill Clinton and at times advocated internally for an even more aggressive approach against the Democratic president. Kavanaugh was a lead author of the Starr Report and has acknowledged writing portions that laid out grounds for  impeachment.

He was deeply involved in the exploration of Clinton White House lawyer Vince Foster’s suicide, which Trump suggested in 2016 might have been a murder. Kavanaugh even appeared before the Supreme Court in a bid to subpoena notes taken by a lawyer whom Foster spoke with shortly before he died.

Kavanaugh represented the American relatives of Elián González pro bono as they tried to prevent the boy from being sent back to Cuba, a cause celebre on the right in 1999 and 2000.

He helped defend Jeb Bush’s school voucher plan in the Florida courts and then worked on George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 recount. Then he got a job in the White House Counsel’s Office under Alberto Gonzales, helping pick Bush’s judicial nominees. From there, he was promoted to staff secretary, which gave him more direct access to the president and control of the paper flow into the Oval Office.

Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the appeals court in 2003, but Democrats held up his confirmation for three years because of his polarizing work for Starr. At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called him the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because he seemed to be in the thick of every controversial legal fight that gripped the capital. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed in 2006 as part of a larger deal on nominations by a vote of 57 to 36.

Since joining the court, Kavanaugh has written about 300 opinions —  including key decisions on guns, abortion and regulation. He ruled that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is structured makes it unconstitutional, for instance, and has routinely taken the side of big business in disputes with government.

George H.W. Bush nominated Souter for the Supreme Court in 1990 at the recommendation of then-White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Souter was on the New Hampshire Supreme Court but hadn’t ruled on hot-button issues, so he emerged as a consistently liberal vote once on the high court. No one who knows Kavanaugh doubts that he will pull the court to the right if confirmed.

Based on Kavanaugh’s votes on the D.C. Circuit, a political scientist at Emory University calculates that there is a 55 percent chance that he will be further to the right than Clarence Thomas and an 81 percent chance that he will be to the right of Chief Justice John Roberts: