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The Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018, Story 1: Supreme Court Affirms By 5-4 Ruling President Trumps’ Authority To Implement A Travel Ban For Travelers From Certain Muslim Countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia) Plus North Korea and Venezuela To Protect American People’s Safety and Security — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Awards Medal of Honor Posthumously To Army World War II Hero and Veteran — Videos — Story 3: National Debt As Percentage of Gross Domestic Product Exceeds 100 Percent — Highest Level Since World War II — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

See the source imagePresident Donald Trump speaks before he awards the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Garlin Conner as his widow Pauline Conner accepts the posthumous recognition, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Image result for cartoons united states financially broke national debt and unfunded liabilities

See the source imageSee the source imageDemocrats Exploit Border Kids

Story 1: Supreme Court Affirms By 5-4 Ruling President Trumps’ Authority To Implement A Travel Ban For Travelers From Certain Muslim Countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia) Plus North Korea and Venezuela To Protect American People’s Safety and Security — Videos —

Image result for branco cartoons travel ban cartoonSee the source imageSee the source image

 

Supreme Court rules 5-4 to uphold Trump travel ban

Supreme Court ruling upholds Trump’s travel ban

Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban

Supreme Court Upholds President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban In 5-4 Ruling | NBC News

Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban in a 5-4 ruling – Daily Mail

Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump’s travel ban

Muslim activist: Why I agree with Trump’s travel ban

How Trump’s travel ban ended up at the Supreme Court

Tucker vs. group opposing Trump’s revised travel ban

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump Muslim ban case later

Trump defends proposal to ban Muslims entering U.S

 

Trump´s travel ban upheld by US supreme court

The US supreme court has upheld Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries – rejecting a challenge that it discriminated against Muslims or exceeded the president’s authority.

The 5-4 decision is the court’s first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

Mr Trump responded to the decision with a “Wow!” on Twitter.

He later called the decision “a moment of profound vindication” and a “tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution”.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!

In a statement issued by the White House, he said the ruling follows “months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country”.

Mr Trump added that as long as he is president, he will “defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens”.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by his four conservative colleagues. He wrote that presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration. He also rejected the challengers’ claim of anti-Muslim bias.

The US supreme court

The US supreme court

But the judge was careful not to endorse Mr Trump’s provocative statements about immigration in general and Muslims in particular.

“We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

The travel ban has been fully in place since the court declined to block it in December. The justices allowed the policy to take full effect even as the court fight continued and lower courts had ruled it out of bounds.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent that based on the evidence in the case “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus”.

She said her colleagues arrived at the opposite result by “ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens”.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan also dissented.

The policy applies to travellers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

It also affects two non-Muslim countries: blocking travellers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list in April after improving “its identity-management and information sharing practices”, Mr Trump said in a proclamation.

The administration had pointed to the Chad decision to show that the restrictions are premised only on national security concerns.

The challengers, though, argued that the court could just ignore all that has happened, beginning with Mr Trump’s campaign tweets to prevent the entry of Muslims into the United States.

Just a week after he took office in January 2017, Mr Trump announced his first travel ban aimed at seven countries.

That triggered chaos and protests across the US as travellers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours.

Mr Trump tweaked the order after the 9th US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco refused to reinstate the ban.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The next version, unveiled in March 2017, dropped Iraq from the list of covered countries and made it clear the 90-day ban covering Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen did not apply to those travellers who already had visas.

It also eliminated language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics said the changes did not erase the ban’s legal problems.

The current version dates from September and it followed what the administration has called a thorough review by several federal agencies, although it has not shared the review with courts or the public.

Federal trial judges in Hawaii and Maryland had blocked the travel ban from taking effect, finding that the new version looked too much like its predecessors. Those rulings were largely upheld by federal appeals courts in Richmond, Virginia, and San Francisco.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that presidents have frequently used their power to talk to the nation “to espouse the principles of religious freedom and tolerance on which this Nation was founded”.

But he added that presidents and the country have not always lived up “to those inspiring words”.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-5887965/Trump-s-travel-ban-upheld-US-supreme-court.html

 

The Supreme Court Travel Ban Ruling: A Summary

By Hilary HurdYishai Schwartz

Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 2:18 PM

The Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday in Trump v. Hawaii decisively puts to bed the “preliminary injunction” round of litigation over President Trump’s travel ban. In a 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court issued two core holdings: (a) that the latest ban does not exceed the president’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); and (b) that ban does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

The present case deals with the third iteration of the travel ban, “Proclamation No. 9645.” The proclamation replaces two earlier executive orders, each of which was replaced after meeting significant legal challenges. The most recent version is more carefully drafted and appears to be, at least in part, the result of an interagency policy process that included input from the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies.

Shortly after it came into effect, Proclamation 9645 was challenged in federal district court in Hawaii. The challenge was brought by three U.S. nationals whose relatives are from affected countries; by the Muslim Association of Hawaii; and by the state of Hawaii in its capacity as operator of the University of Hawaii system, which recruits students and faculty from affected countries. The district court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, finding that the plaintiffs were “likely to succeed” in full litigation, as the proclamation appeared to violate both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Establishment Clause. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, finding that the proclamation likely violated the INA, but it declined to reach the constitutional question.

Majority Opinion

A. Statutory Claim

Justice Roberts begins the opinion by quickly assuming (without deciding) that the court does indeed have the power to review the challengers’ statutory claims. Jurisdiction, he warns, may be complicated by the doctrine of “consular non-reviewability” (reflecting the fact that visa decisions are “a fundamental act of sovereignty”). Nevertheless, as in a 1993 case (Sale v. Haitian Centers Council), the Supreme Court can proceed by assuming it has jurisdiction—as it will find against the plaintiffs on the merits.

Next, the court turns to the statutory text. §1182(f) of the INA, the court emphasizes, seems to give the president broad discretionary power. The provision empowers the president to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” if he “finds” that entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The court explains that this language “exudes deference” to the president, a deference heightened by the foreign policy and national security context. The court also emphasizes that the statute only mentions a presidential finding of national interest; the statute does not, however, seem to require the president “to explain that finding with sufficient detail to enable judicial review.” Moreover, given the sparse explanations offered in previous exercises of §1182 (such as President Bill Clinton’s 1996 exclusion of Sudanese government and military officials), Trump’s explanation of the ban’s purpose more than suffices.

The court also rejects plaintiffs’ insistence that the proclamation’s open-endedness violates §1182(f)’s “suspension” language (implying a “temporary measure”). Justice Roberts writes that most similar executive orders have not had specific end dates but were “temporary” in that they were linked to a specific problem or circumstance and would presumably be lifted with the addressing of such circumstances. Trump’s ban appears to follow precisely this pattern.

Next, the court rejects claims that the ban violates other provisions of the INA. Plaintiffs had argued that Congress had already legislated specific means to address certain countries’ failure to provide adequate information: Such measures included: (a) Individual consular assessments and requirements that individuals supply such information and (b) a visa waiver program to apply pressure to recalcitrant countries. The Supreme Court concluded, however, that nothing about such measures limits the power that the INA grants the president to apply additional measures if he deems the circumstances require them. Similarly, nothing in the statutory text nor consistent practice limits the use of §1182(f) to “emergency” situations, as the plaintiffs argued.

Finally, the court rejects plaintiffs’ argument that another provision of the INA, §1152(a)(1)(A) (providing that “no person shall … be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of Residence”) limits the president’s broad §1182(f) authority to deny entry based on nationality. §1152’s non-discrimination provision, the court emphasizes, applies simply to the issuance of visas; it has nothing to do with determinations of admissibility—which under the INA is an entirely different stage of the process, subject to an entirely different set of legal rules and standards. Historical practice confirms this: Past executive orders (by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and President Ronald Reagan in 1986) also suspended entry to aliens based on nationality.

B. Constitutional Claim

The Supreme Court then turned to the plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause claim.

First, the court quickly determines that plaintiffs do indeed have standing. While the question of standing based on a nebulous “dignitary” harm to their religion might be debatable, standing based on family separations—caused by the order’s prohibition on travel into the United States from certain countries—is not. Such separations, when based on a possible constitutional violation, are unquestionably a concrete harm sufficient for Article III standing. (Whether the Establishment Clause itself confers a legally protected interest to family members for their relatives’ admission is a separate question, to be decided on the merits.)

After cataloguing a number of explicit statements by the president (and his advisers) connecting a prospective travel ban with animus toward Islam and Muslims, Roberts seems to gently chide the president. Recounting expressions of religious tolerance by a number of presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush, the court notes that “Presidents have frequently used that power to espouse the principles of religious freedom and tolerance on which this Nation was founded. … Yet it cannot be denied that the Federal Government and the Presidents who have carried its laws into effect have—from the Nation’s earliest days—performed unevenly in living up to those inspiring words.” Nevertheless, the court concludes that it is not its place “to denounce the statements” but to determine “the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.”

Unlike traditional Establishment Clause cases (such as “religious displays or school prayer”), the court emphasizes that this case takes place within an arena (that of national security, immigration and foreign policy) that is generally left to the political branches. A different standard of review is therefore necessary. And citing a 1972 case, Kleindienst v. Mandelthe court points out that it generally does not look beyond the “facially legitimate and bona fide” reasons offered by the executive branch in such areas. Such deference is critical, the court explains, in allowing the president the “flexibility” necessary to respond to a rapidly changing immigration and national security landscape. Nevertheless, the court seems to be willing to move a bit beyond Mandel, ruling that “for our purposes today, we assume that we may look behind the face of the Proclamation to the extent of applying rational basis review.” In a footnote, the court clarifies that the “constrained standard of review” represented by rational basis “applies to any constitutional claim concerning the entry of foreign nationals.”

Applying rational basis review, the court agrees to “consider” extrinsic evidence but explains that it will ultimately decide the case based on whether the “policy is plausibly related to the Government’s stated objective” (i.e., protecting the country and improving the vetting processes). Under this lenient standard, the court decisively upholds the policy. The court explains that the policy “is expressly premised on legitimate purposes,” “reflects the results of a worldwide review process undertaken by multiple Cabinet officials and their agencies,” and justifies the inclusion of each country placed on the list.

Moreover, the court concludes that the removal of three Muslim-majority countries (Iraq, Sudan and Chad) from the list, the existence of carve-outs for non-immigrant permanent residents and asylum seekers, and the inclusion of a waiver program all add plausibility to the travel ban’s facially claimed purposes. It emphasizes that, despite the doubts raised by the plaintiffs and the dissenting justices over the “effectiveness and wisdom” of the order, the court “cannot substitute [its] own assessment for the Executive’s predictive judgments on such matters,” particularly in the realm of national security and foreign policy.

Finally, the court forcefully dismisses Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s invocation of Korematsu v. United States in her dissentUnlike the current ban, which simply denies the “privilege” of entry to foreigners based on “facially neutral” policy, the court argues that the forcible relocation of U. S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority.” The comparison, the court insists, is “wholly inapt.” In any case, the court concludes, that the dissent’s reference to Korematsu provides  the opportunity “to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—’has no place in law under the Constitution.’”

Finding that the plaintiffs have not shown a “likelihood of success on the merits”—the legal standard for granting a preliminary injunction—the Court reverses the injunction and remands to the Court of Appeals.

 

Concurrences

Justice Anthony Kennedy

In a short concurrence, Justice Kennedy agrees with the majority opinion that governmental action may be subject to judicial review to determine whether “anything but animus” can explain it, while noting that the question of reviewability is a matter for the lower court to determine on remand. In a tacit acknowledgement of the president’s comments, Justice Kennedy emphasizes that even in those “numerous instances in which the statements and actions of Government officials are not subject to judicial scrutiny or intervention,” those officials are not “free to disregard the Constitution and the rights it proclaims and protects.” He goes on to say that “the very fact that an official may have broad discretion, discretion free from judicial scrutiny, makes it all the more imperative for him or her to adhere to the Constitution and to its meaning and its promise.”

 

Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Thomas’s concurrence briefly addresses the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims but centers on the remedy: a preliminary nationwide injunction awarded by the lower court.

On the merits, Justice Thomas first says that Section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act does not provide any “judicially enforceable limits that constrain the President,” “nor could it” given the president’s “inherent authority to exclude aliens from the country.” Citing Town of Greece v. Galloway, he adds that the Establishment Clause does not create an individual right to be free from all laws that a “reasonable observer” might view as religious or anti-religious; further, the plaintiffs are unable to raise any other First Amendment claim because the alleged discrimination is directed at aliens abroad, not U.S. persons. Finally, he says that the evidence of anti-Muslim discrimination that the plaintiffs proffered was unpersuasive.

The body of Justice Thomas’s concurrence focuses on the remedy that the plaintiffs sought and obtained from the district court: a nationwide injunction. Justice Thomas first emphasizes the negative impact of nationwide injunctions, which first emerged in the 1960s, arguing that they prevent “legal questions from percolating through the federal courts”; promote forum shopping; and make “every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch.” He then questioned the district court’s specific authority to issue such injunctions, concluding that they “appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on equitable relief and the power of Article III courts” because:

  1. No statute expressly grants the district courts the power to issue universal injunctions; and
  2. The court’s inherent constitutional authority is limited by the traditional rules of equity at the time of the founding (Guaranty Trust Co. v. York), which did not provide for universal injunctions.

Justice Thomas goes on to explain why the founding generation viewed equity with suspicion, emphasizing that U.S. courts have traditionally understood judicial power as the “the power to render judgements in individual cases.” (Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Assn.) “As a general rule,” he says, “American courts of equity did not provide relief beyond the parties to the case. If their injunctions advantaged nonparties, that benefit was merely accidental.” He concluded by finding universal injunctions to be both “legally and historically dubious.”

 

Dissents

Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Elena Kagan

Justice Breyer’s dissent considers whether the president’s travel ban was indeed a Muslim ban or a security measure by focusing on the proclamation’s elaborate system of exemptions: both their legal language and their realized application. He writes that if the government were applying the proclamation as written, there would be a strong argument for its lawfulness and resemblances to two prior presidential precedents on points (the 1979 Carter order and the 1986 Reagan proclamation). But there is, he writes, strong evidence that the government is not actually applying the proclamation’s system of exemptions and waivers, raising questions about how “the Government [can] successfully claim that the Proclamation rests on security needs if it is excluding Muslims who satisfy the Proclamation’s own terms.”

Justice Breyer grounds this evaluation of the proclamation’s practical implementation on basis that that no guidance was issued to the secretaries of state or homeland security to decide whether to grant a waiver; only a “miniscule percentage” of immigrant visas were granted for those eligible (only two out of 6,555 eligible in the first month after the proclamation was promulgated); despite the fact that the proclamation does not apply to asylum seekers or refugees, only have a few have been admitted (13 have arrived since 2018, compared with 15,000 in 2016). According to an affidavit filed in a pending case in the Eastern District of New York, a consular officer reportedly said that he did not have the discretion to file waivers at all; another report showed that the U.S. embassy in Djibouti received instructions to grant waivers only in “rare cases of imminent danger.”

Acknowledging that “declarations, anecdotal evidence, facts, and numbers taken from amicus briefs are not judicial factfindings” and that the government did not have the opportunity to contest these figures, Justice Breyer says that that he would send the case back to the district court for further proceedings and would, in the meantime, leave the injunction in effect. However, if pressed to decide the case without further litigation, Justice Breyer concludes that “I would, on balance, find the evidence of antireligious bias … a sufficient basis to set the Proclamation aside.”

 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In a 28-page dissent, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ginsburg, said that the court’s opinion failed to safeguard the fundamental principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment and a “reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

Acknowledging that the court must “take care not to engage in ‘any judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter’s hearts of hearts’” (internal citations omitted), Justice Sotomayor argues that the text of the government’s policy, its operation and available evidence regarding its historical background would suggest a government policy explicitly favoring one religion over another—an action the court has historically recognized as fostering “hatred, disrespect, and even contempt of those who [hold] contrary beliefs.” As evidence of the proclamation’s racial animus, Justice Sotomayor cites President Trump’s 2015 campaign statement (which remained on his website until May 2017); the manner in which Trump characterized the proposal during the election campaign, including analogies he made to President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment policy for Japanese-Americans during World War II; the White House press secretary’s statement following the issuance of the second executive order that the president would continue to deliver on his “most significant campaign promises”; Trump’s tweets after the ban went into effect, including references to the story of Gen. John J. Pershing’s massacre of Muslims in the Philippines; Trump’s retweet of three anti-Muslim videos initially tweeted by a British political party whose mission is to oppose “all alien and destructive politic[al] or religious doctrines, including … Islam”; and the fact that “[d]espite several opportunities to do so, President Trump has never disavowed any of his prior statements about Islam.”

Throughout her opinion, Justice Sotomayor cites the court’s recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, emphasizing that “the Court recently found less pervasive official expressions of hostility and the failure to disavow them to be constitutionally significant.” Justice Sotomayor goes on to say that the majority’s rational-basis review of the proclamation is perplexingly lenient: She would evaluate the travel ban under the heightened scrutiny used in other Establishment Clause cases, “including those involving claims of religious animus or discrimination.”  But, she writes, the proclamation would fail even under rational-basis review because the proclamation is “‘divorced from any factual context from which we could discern a relationship to legitimate state interests’ and ‘its sheer breadth is so continuous with the reasons offered for it.’” She continues: “even a cursory review of the Government’s asserted national-security rationale reveals that the Proclamation is nothing more than ‘a religious gerrymander.’” That the proclamation included minor restrictions on two non-Muslim-majority countries, she argues, is of “no moment.” Not only had Congress already addressed the national security concerns at issue in the proclamation through an extensive scheme embodied in the Immigration and Nationality Act and Visa Waiver Program, but the fact that “the Government’s analysis of the vetting practices of hundreds of countries boiled down to such a short document raises serious questions about the legitimacy of the President’s proclaimed national-security rationale.”

Turning to the remedy sought by the plaintiffs, Justice Sotomayor argues that the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction because they have (1) have shown a likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and (2) demonstrated that the balance of the equities tips in their favor in light of the government’s “nebulous national-security concerns.” She writes, “Although national security is unquestionably an issue of paramount public important, it is not ‘a talisman’ that the Government can use ‘to ward off inconvenient claims’—a ‘label’ used to ‘cover a multitude of sins.’” (quoting Ziglar v. Abbasi)  In contrast to Justice Thomas, who questioned the historical legitimacy of nationwide injunctions that provide remedy to parties external to the suit, Justice Sotomayor emphasizes  the public interest at stake in denying an injunction.

Justice Sotomayor concludes by likening the court’s decision to Korematsu v. U.S.Despite Chief Justice Roberts’s renunciation of the decision, she writes, “The court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.”

https://www.lawfareblog.com/supreme-court-travel-ban-ruling-summary

 

READ: Supreme Court Decision Upholding Trump’s Travel Ban

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban. The court’s majority ruled the ban is “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA,'” referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump’s travel ban by a 5-4 vote.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the ban was “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA,” referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Read the court’s full opinion in the case here:

In his concurrence, Justice Anthony Kennedy referred to the First Amendment protection of freedom of religion and noted that it’s “imperative” for government officials to “adhere to the Constitution and to its meaning and its purposes.”

Read Kennedy’s full concurring opinion here:

In one of two dissenting opinions, Justice Sonia Sotomayor — who was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — said the court’s decision “fails to safeguard” the “principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment.”

“It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a facade of national-security concerns,” Sotomayor wrote.

Read her full dissent here:

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/26/623525875/read-supreme-court-decision-upholding-trumps-travel-ban

Story 2: President Trump Awards Medal of Honor Posthumously To Army World War II Hero and Veteran — Videos —

See the source image

White House Medal of Honor Ceremony (C-SPAN)

Published on Jun 26, 2018
President Trump posthumously awards Medal of Honor to Army First Lt. Garlin Conner. Conner’s widow, Pauline, widow accepts on his behalf. Full video here: https://cs.pn/2tud4U4

 

A remarkable hero: Trump awards WWII Kentucky soldier Medal of Honor

U.S. President Donald Trump is presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to Garlin Conner, a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, for conspicuous gallantry during World War II. (June 26) AP

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President Donald Trump posthumously honored a Kentucky soldier with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday for his actions in World War II.

First Lt. Garlin M. Conner, a native of Albany, Kentucky, and a longtime farmer of the commonwealth soil, has been celebrated as one of the most decorated in soldiers in U.S. history. His honors include the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Star medals, a bronze star and three Purple Hearts for injuries suffered in combat.

But to his widow, Pauline Lyda Wells Conner, the only thing missing was the nation’s highest military award for valor.

More: President Trump honors late WWII veteran Garlin Murl Conner with Medal of Honor

“He was my hero,” Pauline Conner said at a Department of Defense roundtable Monday. “And he still is since he has been gone for the last 20 years … I didn’t think this would happen, I never thought it would happen.”

Tuesday marked the end of more than a two-decade campaign to award him the Medal of Honor since Galin Conner’s death in November 1998.

Armed with nothing but a telephone

It was a snowy and frigid day in Houston, France, on Jan. 24, 1945. Temperatures had dipped to 10 below zero at night, according to an Army account of Conner’s actions.

Conner was serving as an intelligence officer with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Department of Defense historians said he was in the hospital but snuck back to his unit to assist them.

Not long after rejoining his unit, the American troops found themselves under attack by a wave of nearly 600 German soldiers.

Watch: Kentuckian recounts being shot down in WWII and being a POW

You may like: WWII vet, who just turned 100, recalls landing on Normandy Beach

Conner, previously wounded from the other theaters of war he had fought in, volunteered to direct artillery fire against the incoming tanks and troops.

He willingly ran out of the forest, out into the open, armed only with a telephone to call in artillery strikes within 15 feet of his boots to fight off the waves.

“Think about that,” Erik Villard, a digital military historian, said at the Pentagon on Monday. “Running forward with nothing more than a telephone in your hand and facing that wave of Germans and calling in that artillery, the heroism is remarkable.”

‘Reliving his memories’

He went home, back to Kentucky, shortly after the battle. He was given the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military honor, for his actions.

The Army account of Conner’s heroism was quoted a letter written by Lt. Col. Lloyd Ramsey less than a month after the battle, USA TODAY reported.

“He has the Distinguished Service Cross which could have been, I believe, a Congressional Medal of Honor, but he was heading home and we wanted to get him what he deserved before he left,” Ramsey wrote.

Conner, a native of Kentucky, was discharged from the Army on June 22, 1945, shortly after Victory in Europe Day on May 8, according to an Army press release.

Read this: Oldham County WWII vet remembers Normandy invasion

While Pauline Conner told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday that her husband kept many of the horrors of war to himself, she recognized that he carried the weight of that snowy day in France for the rest of his life.

“He’d wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, he’d go outside on the porch and smoke cigarettes,” Pauline Conner remembered. “He was reliving his memories of what had passed.”

Conner died in Albany, Kentucky on Nov. 5, 1998 at age 79, according to the Courier Journal archives.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a moment on Monday afternoon to talk about Galin Conner’s service and sacrifice.

“I’m proud to congratulate Pauline and her family today,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “And I want to thank her for giving our nation the opportunity to salute First Lieutenant Garlin Conner.”

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/26/trump-giving-wwii-kentucky-soldier-garlin-conner-medal-honor/730562002/

Garlin Murl Conner

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Garlin Murl Conner
Garlin Murl Conner.jpg

Garlin Murl Conner in approximately 1945
Born 2 June 1919
Aaron, Kentucky
Died 5 November 1998 (aged 79)
Albany, Kentucky
Resting place Memorial Hill
Cemetery, Albany
 (36.69780°N 85.13170°WCoordinates36.69780°N 85.13170°W)
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank First Lieutenant
Unit K Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment3rd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Battle of Anzio
Awards

Garlin Murl Conner (2 June 1919 – 5 November 1998) was a United States Army technical sergeant and first lieutenant in the Second World War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Stars, and the French Croix de guerre for his heroic actions in Italy and France during the war. During his campaigns, he was wounded seven times. An attempt to upgrade Conner’s Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor, the United States military’s highest decoration for valor, was advanced during 2017. On 29 March 2018, the White House announced[1][2] President Trump would award the Medal of Honor to Garlin Murl Conner in a ceremony at the White House. On 26 June 2018, the president presented the medal to Pauline Conner, his widow.[3]

Biography

Conner was born on 2 June 1919 in Aaron, Kentucky.[4] He was the third child of eleven brothers and sisters. He and four of his brothers served during World War II. He stood at 5 ft 6 in (168 cm).

Military service

Conner was a selectee for the military and entered the U.S. Army on 1 March 1941 in Louisville, Kentucky.[5] He completed his basic training at Fort LewisWashington where he became a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment3rd Infantry Division. After training with his division at Fort Lewis, he was sent with the 3rd Infantry Division division to Camp Ord, California and Fort Pickett, Virginia for further combat training.

On 23 October 1942, Conner and his division departed the United States from Norfolk, Virginia to fight in the European-African-Middle Eastern theater of operations arriving on 8 November for the invasion of French North Africa. He participated in four amphibious assault landings and eight campaigns including the Anzio Campaign in Italy during which he earned his second Silver Star (Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster).[6][7][8] He was promoted to technical sergeant on 13 January 1944. He was discharged on 27 June 1944, and commissioned a second lieutenant on 28 June 1944.[6][9] On 29 December 1944, he was promoted to 1st lieutenant.

Conner was awarded four Silver Stars for gallantry in action: in October 1943, 30 January 1944, 11 September 1944, and 3 February 1945.[6] He was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action on 6 March 1944, in August, and in September 1944.[6][7] He was presented the Distinguished Service Cross from Lieutenant General Alexander Patch, the Commander of the Seventh Army, for extraordinary heroism during a German counterattack with six tanks and 600 infantrymen on 24 January 1945, near Houssen, France.[6] Recently returned to his unit from the the hospital, intelligence staff officer Lt. Conner volunteered to go forward to direct artillery fire against the German counterattack. The enemy got so close that Lt. Conner had to call artillery fire directly on his own position, leading to the death of more than 50 Germans and stopping the assault.

In March 1945, Conner was sent back to the U.S. and was honorably discharged on 22 June 1945.[6]

Post-military and death

Conner married Lyda Pauline Wells on 9 July 1945.[10]

After the war, the Conners lived in Albany, Kentucky. They had one son, Paul, one grandson, and three granddaughters. Conner was in the farming business, working his farm in Albany where he was president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau for seventeen years. He was active in various veterans organizations including the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He was handicapped from his war wounds and from heart surgery in 1979.

Conner died in 1998, and was buried in Memorial Hill Cemetery in Albany.[11] In 2012, the U.S. Army honored Conner by designating a portion of a new maintenance facility at Fort Benning, Georgia as Conner Hall.[12]

Military awards

Conner’s military decorations and awards:

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster

Width-44 purple ribbon with width-4 white stripes on the borders

Arrowhead
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star

Combat Infantryman Badge
Medal of Honor[6][13]
Silver Star w/ three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters[6][7] Bronze Star Medal[6][14] Purple Heart w/ two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters[6][14]
Army Good Conduct Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/
Arrowhead device3/16″ silver star, and three 3/16″ bronze stars[6][8]
World War II Victory Medal French Croix de Guerre[6][15]
Bronze oak leaf cluster

Presidential Unit Citation w/ one bronze oak leaf cluster[16]

Distinguished Service Cross citation

Conner’s Distinguished Service Cross reads:

Name: First Lieutenant Garlin M. Conner
Unit: Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
Place and date: Near Houssen, France, 24 January 1945
G.O. No.: 47, 10 February 1945

Citation:
For extraordinary heroism in action. On 24 January 1945, at 0800 hours, near Houssen, France, Lieutenant Conner ran four hundred yards through the impact area of an intense concentration of enemy artillery fire to direct friendly artillery on a force of six Mark VI tanks and tank destroyers, followed by six hundred fanatical German infantrymen, which was assaulting in full fury the spearhead position held by his Battalion. Unreeling a spool of telephone wire, Lieutenant Conner disregarded shells which exploded twenty-five yards from him, tearing branches from the trees in his path, and plunged in a shallow ditch thirty yards beyond the position of his foremost company. Although the ditch provided inadequate protection from the heavy automatic fire of the advancing enemy infantry, he calmly directed round after round of artillery on the foe from his prone position, hurling them back to the shelter of a dike. For three hours he remained at his OP [observation post] despite wave after wave of German infantry, which surged forward to within five yards of his position. As the last, all-out German assault swept forward, he ordered his artillery to concentrate on his own position, resolved to die if necessary to halt the enemy. Friendly shells exploded within five yards of him, blanketing his position, wounding his one assistant. Yet Lieutenant Conner continued to direct artillery fire on the assault elements swarming around him until the German attack was shattered and broken. By his exemplary heroism, he killed approximately fifty and wounded an estimated one hundred Germans, disintegrated the powerful enemy assault and prevented heavy casualties in his Battalion. Entered military service from Aaron, Kentucky.
By command of Lieutenant General Patch[6]

Medal of Honor campaign

Since 1996, there have been continuous efforts to have Conner’s Distinguished Service Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor. The numerous requests for the change of award required Army approval and were denied by the Army up until 22 October 2015.[6][11] Included in these requests was a comparison of Conner’s actions on 24 January 1945 to Audie Murphy‘s Medal of Honor actions two days later.[6][19] Murphy, one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II,[20] also served in the 3rd Infantry Division.

Through the pictures, medals, and testimony of Conner’s superior officers, including Maj. Gen. Lloyd Ramsey, the story of Conner’s heroic actions more than 50 years earlier in France came back to life. Early on 24 January 1945, Conner’s commanding officer was seeking a volunteer for a dangerous and life threatening mission: Run 400 yards directly toward the enemy while unreeling telephone wire all the way to trenches on the front line. From that point, the volunteer would be able to call in targeting coordinates for mortar fire. Conner and another soldier with him, grabbed the spool of wire and took off amid intense enemy fire. They made it to the ditch, where Conner stayed in contact with his unit for three hours in near-zero-degree weather as a ferocious onslaught of German tanks and infantry bore down on him.[6]

Korean War veteran Richard Chilton, whose uncle Pfc. Gordon W. Roberts served with Conner in combat and was killed in action at Anzio on 31 January 1944, stated in 2015, “My God, he held off 600 Germans and six tanks coming right at him. When they got too close, his commander told him to vacate and instead, he says, ‘Blanket my position.'”[10] The request meant Conner was calling for artillery strikes as he was being overrun, risking his life in order to draw friendly fire that would take out the enemy, too,[10] during which time he directed his men for three hours by telephone. During the action, Conner killed 50 German soldiers with artillery fire and his companion was wounded.[6] Lt. Harold Wigetman a member of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, credited Conner with saving the battalion.[11]

Pauline Conner with the help of Chilton and others,[10] waged a seventeen-year campaign for the Medal of Honor recognition for Garlin, for the 24 January 1945 action. On 11 March 2014, U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled that Pauline had waited too long to submit her most recent request.[11]

There is no doubt that Lt. Conner should have been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. One of the most disappointing regrets of my career is not having the Medal of Honor awarded to the most outstanding soldier I’ve ever had the privilege of commanding.

— Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey, Ret.

In late October 2015, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the parties into mediation. The Army’s Board for Correction of Military Records recommended Connor for the Medal of Honor.[10]

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 which was signed into law by the President on 12 December 2017, includes in an amendment, the “Authorization For Award Of The Medal Of Honor To Garlin M. Conner For Acts of Valor During World War II”, that waives the time limit to award the Medal of Honor to Conner for which he was previously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism on 24 January 1945 in France.[21][22]

On 29 March 2018, The White House announced that President Trump would present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Conner; the presentation took place on 26 June 2018.[2][3][23]

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Normally the fourragère requires two cites. The 3rd Infantry Division was cited one time and awarded the fourragere.

References

  1. Jump up^ “President Trump to award Medal of Honor to World War II hero for repelling German attack”.
  2. Jump up to:ab “President Donald J Trump to Award the Medal of Honor”whitehouse.gov. The White House. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. Jump up to:ab “WWII Soldier’s Widow to Accept Medal of Honor for Late Husband”.
  4. Jump up^ “Conner, G. Murl”Gravesite Locator. U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  5. Jump up^ “Access to Archival Databases”. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  6. Jump up to:abcdefghijklmnopq “Army Board for the Correction of Military Records: AR20150006700”Boards of Review Reading Room. US Department of Defense. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  7. Jump up to:abc “Garlin Murl Conner”Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  8. Jump up to:ab (CMH), U.S. Army Center of Military History. “3d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment – Lineage and Honors – U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH)”history.army.mil.
  9. Jump up^ Baxter, Randall (2013). The Veteran Next Door: Randall Baxter, Volume 1. AuthorHouse. p. 110. ISBN978-1491803806.
  10. Jump up to:abcde Wilson, Greg (4 November 2015). “Battle joined: Army panel backs WWII vet’s posthumous bid for Medal of Honor”. Fox News. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  11. Jump up to:abcd “Second-most decorated WWII soldier won’t get Medal of Honor”CBS News. March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 15,2014.
  12. Jump up^ Rodewig, Cheryl (3 October 2012). “TACOM FMX dedicates buildings”Bayonet & Saber. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  13. Jump up^ 3d Infantry Division (1947). Donald Taggart, ed. History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II. 1115 17th Street NM, Washington 6, DC: Infantry Journal. p. 389. Retrieved 21 March2014.
  14. Jump up to:ab Ridenour, Hugh (Winter 2012). “Garlin M. Conner: The Elusive Medal of Honor”. Register of the Kentucky Historical Society110 (1): 79, 81.
  15. Jump up^ “Rhode Island State Senate 05-R 300”.
  16. Jump up^ “Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1” (PDF). K Company, 7th Infantry Regiment cited for the period 29 February to 1 March 1944, War Department General Order 64-47 / 7th Infantry Regiment cited for the period 22 January to 6 February 1945, War Department General Order 44-45.
  17. Jump up^ [1] DA GO 43, 1950. 3rd Infantry Division awarded under Decision No. 976, 27 July 1945 (cited for the period 15 August 1944 to 6 February 1945)
  18. Jump up^ “Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1” (PDF). Foreign Unit Awards, #50 French Fourragere. Page 21, awarded to 3rd Infantry Division for the period 15 August 1944 to 6 February 1945, DA GO 43-50 (DA GO 43, 1950)
  19. Jump up^ Sergeant Audie Murphy Association, Medal of Honor Citation
  20. Jump up^ “SMA William G. Bainbridge, 4th SMA, passes – The NCO Historical Society – NCOHistory.com”The NCO Historical Society – NCOHistory.com.
  21. Jump up^ Mac, Thornberry, (12 December 2017). “H.R.2810 – 115th Congress (2017-2018): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018”http://www.congress.gov.
  22. Jump up^ Mac, Thornberry, (12 December 2017). “Amendments – H.R.2810 – 115th Congress (2017-2018): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018”http://www.congress.gov.
  23. Jump up^ Seck, Hope Hodge (29 March 2018). “Trump to Award Medal of Honor to World War II Infantryman”. Military.com. Retrieved 29 March 2018.

External links

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

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National Debt by Year Compared to GDP and Major Events

U.S. Debt by Year Since 1929

The national debt is more than $21 trillion. It exceeded that amount on March 15, 2018. It’s greater than the economic output of the entire country. It occurred despite Congressional attempts to cut government spending. These included threats to not raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. debt crisis in 2011. That’s when the U.S. headed toward a debt default. It continued with the fiscal cliff crisis in 2012 and a government shutdown in 2013.

You can’t look at a country’s national debt in isolation. Sometimes expansionary fiscal policy, such as spending and tax cuts, was needed to spur the economy out of recession. Other times, the United States increased military spending to respond to national threats. For more, see Why Is the U.S. Debt So Big?

For those reasons, the national debt by year should be compared to the size of the economy as measured by the gross domestic product. This gives you the debt to GDP ratio. You can use it to compare the national debt to other countries. It also gives you an idea of how likely the country is to pay its debt back.

By spurring economic growth, the government spending or tax cuts that created the national debt can reduce it in later years. That’s because a growing economy will produce more tax revenues to pay back the debt.

For more, see Supply-side Economics.

There are other events that can increase the national debt. For example, the U.S. debt grew after the 9/11 attacks as the country increased military spending to launch the War on Terror. Between FY 2001-FY 2017, it cost $1.9 trillion. This included increases to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration.

National Debt by Year Since 1929:  Compared to Nominal GDP and Major Events

End of Fiscal Year  Debt (as of 9/30, in  billions)  Debt/  GDP  Ratio Major Events by Presidential Term
1929 $17 16% Market crashDepression reduced tax receipts so Hoover raised taxes which worsened depression. Smoot-Hawley tariffs reduced trade.
1930 $16 18%
1931 $17 22%
1932 $19 33%
1933 $23 39%
1934 $27 40% FDR’s New Deal increased both GDP and debt.
1935 $29 39%
1936 $34 40%
1937 $36 39%
1938 $37 43% FDR cut spending to balance budget. Depression returned. He increased debt and GDP to prepare for WW2. Depression ended.
1939 $40 43%
1940 $51 50%
1941 $58 45%
1942 $79 48% US entered WWII. Increased debt and GDP. WW2 end created recession.
1943 $143 70%
1944 $204 91%
1945 $260 114%
1946 $271 119% Truman’s 1st term budgets. Recession as economy adjusted to peacetime.
1947 $257 104%
1948 $252 92%
1949 $253 93%
1950 $257 89% Truman’s 2nd term. Korean War (1950-1953) boosted growth and debt, but created recession when it ended.
1951 $255 74%
1952 $259 72%
1953 $266 68%
1954 $271 70% Eisenhower’s budgets. Recession. Fed raised rates. Worsened recession.
1955 $274 65%
1956 $273 61%
1957 $271 57%
1958 $276 58% Eisenhower’s 2nd term. Recession.
1959 $285 54%
1960 $286 53%
1961 $289 52%
1962 $298 49% JFK budgets. Cuban Missile Crisis. U.S. aided Vietnam coup.
1963 $306 48%
1964 $312 46%
1965 $317 43% LBJ‘s budgets. War on Poverty. Vietnam War. Fed raised rates.
1966 $320 40%
1967 $326 38%
1968 $348 37%
1969 $354 35%
1970 $371 35% Recession. Wage-price controls. OPEC oil embargoNixon ended gold standard. Fed doubled interest rates. Vietnam War ended.
1971 $398 34%
1972 $427 34%
1973 $458 32%
1974 $475 31% Stagflation. Watergate.
1975 $533 32% Ford budgets.
1976* $620 33%
1977 $699 33%
1978 $772 32% Carter budgets.

Volcker raised rate to 20%. Iran oil embargo. Recession.

1979 $827 31%
1980 $908 32%
1981 $998 31%
1982 $1,142 34% Reagan budgets from 1st term. Recession.
1983 $1,377 37%
1984 $1,572 38%
1985 $1,823 41%
1986 $2,125 46% Reagan lowered taxes. S&L Crisis.
1987 $2,340 48%
1988 $2,602 49%
1989 $2,857 50%
1990 $3,233 53% Bush 41 budgets. Desert Storm. Recession. Debt growth slowed.
1991 $3,665 58%
1992 $4,065 61%
1993 $4,411 63%
1994 $4,693 63% Clinton budgets.

Budget Act reduced deficit spending.

1995 $4,974 64%
1996 $5,225 64%
1997 $5,413 62%
1998 $5,526 60% Last Clinton budgets. 9/11 attacks. Recession. Bush added $22.9 billion to FY01 budget for War on Terror.
1999 $5,656 58%
2000 $5,674 54%
2001 $5,807 54%
2002 $6,228 56% First George W. Bush budgets. War on Terror cost $409.2 billion. Bank bailout cost $350 billion. Bush tax cuts.
2003 $6,783 58%
2004 $7,379 59%
2005 $7,933 60%
2006 $8,507 61% War cost $752.2 billion.

Katrina cost $24.7 billion. ARRA added $241.9 billion to FY09 budget.

2007 $9,008 61%
2008 $10,025 67%
2009 $11,910 ($11,000 on Mar 16 and $12,000 on Nov 16) 83%
2010 $13,562 ($13,000 on Jun 1 and $14,000 on Dec 31) 90% Obama Stimulus Act cost $400 billion. Payroll tax holiday ended. War cost $512.6 billion. Great Recession and tax cuts reduced revenue.
2011 $14,790 ($15,000 on Nov 15) 95%
2012 $16,066 ($16,000 on Aug 31) 99%
2013 $16,738  ($17,000 on Oct 17) 100%
2014 $17,824  ($18,000 on Dec 15) 102% War cost $309 billion. QE ended. Strong dollar hurt exports.
2015 $18,151 101%
2016 $19,573 ($19,000 on Jan 29) 105%
2017 $20,245  ($20,000 on Sep 8) 104% Congress raised debt ceiling.
2018 $21,478 (est.) ($21,000 on Mar 15.) 107% Trump tax cuts and spending above sequestration. Congress suspended debt ceiling until 2019.
2019 $22,703 (est.) 108%
2020 $23,901 (est.) 108%
2021 $25,020 (est.) 108%

* 1976 was the final year the fiscal year was July 1. Those years were compared to Q2 GDP for consistency.

Resources for Table

More History

https://www.thebalance.com/national-debt-by-year-compared-to-gdp-and-major-events-3306287

 

U.S. GDP Statistics and How to Use Them

The Five GDP Statistics You Need to Know

woman shopping

Gross domestic product measures a country’s economic output. There are five GDP statistics that give you the best snapshot of the health of the United States economy.

U.S. GDP is the most important economic indicator because it tells you the health of the economy. The U.S. debt to GDP ratio describes whether America produces enough each year to pay off its national debt.  U.S. real GDP corrects for changes in prices. The GDP growth rate measures how fast the economy is growing. U.S. real GDP per capita describes the standard of living of Americans.

 

1. U.S. GDP

U.S. GDP was $19,953,300 in the first quarter of 2018. What exactly does this mean? The gross domestic product of the United States ran at a rate of $19.965 trillion a year from January through March 2018. This statistic is also known as nominal GDP. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis provides this estimate in the National Income and Product Accounts Interactive Data, Table 1.1.5. Gross Domestic Product.

U.S. GDP is the economic output of the entire country. It includes goods and services produced in the United States, regardless of whether the company is foreign or the person providing the service is a U.S. citizen. To find out the total economic output for all American citizens and companies, regardless of their geographic location, you’d want to look at U.S. gross national product, also known as gross national income.

There are four components of GDP:

  1. Personal Consumption Expenditures – All the goods and services produced for household use. This is almost 70 percent of total GDP.
  2. Business Investment – Goods and services purchased by the private sector.
  3. Government Spending – Includes federal, state and local governments.
  4. Net Exports – The dollar value of total exports minus total imports.

 

2. Debt to GDP Ratio

The U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio for Q1 2018 is 105.6 percent. That’s the $21.089 trillion U.S. debt as of March 30, 2018, divided by the $19.965 trillion nominal GDP.  Bond investors use it to determine whether a country has enough income each year to pay off its debt.

This debt level is too high. The World Bank says that debt that’s greater than 77 percent is past the “tipping point.” That’s when holders of the nation’s debt worry that it won’t be repaid. They demand higher interest rates to compensate for the additional risk. When interest rates climb, economic growth slows. That makes it more difficult for the country to repay its debt. The United States has avoided this fate so far because it is one of the strongest economies in the world. 

If you review the national debt by year , you’ll see one other time the debt-to-GDP ratio was this high. That was to fund World War II. Following that, it remained safely below 77 percent until the 2008 financial crisis. The combination of lower taxes and higher government spending pushed the debt-to-GDP ratio to unsafe levels. Even the the economy is growing at a healthy 2-3 percent rate, the government has not reduced the debt. It keeps spending at unsustainable levels.

 

3. Real GDP

U.S. real GDP was $17.386 for Q1 2018. This measure takes nominal GDP and strips out the effects of inflation. That’s why it’s usually lower than nominal GDP.

It’s the best statistic to compare U.S. output year-over-year. That’s why the BEA uses it to calculate the GDP growth rate. It’s also used to calculate GDP per capita.  The BEA provides this date in the NIPA charts, Table 1.1.6. Real Gross Domestic Product, Chained Dollars.

 

4. GDP Growth Rate

The U.S. GDP growth rate was 2.3 percent for Q1 2018. This indicator measures the annualized percent increase in economic output since the last quarter.  It’s the best way to assess U.S. economic growth.   If you look at U.S. GDP history, you’ll see this is a sustainable rate of growth. Current GDP statistics tells you what parts of economy are driving this growth. The outlook for 2018 and beyond is also within this healthy range.

 

5. GDP per Capita

For Q1 2018, the U.S. real GDP per capita was $53,099. This indicator tells you the economic output by person.

To compare the per capita GDP between countries, use purchasing power parity. It levels the playing field between countries. It compares a basket of similar goods, taking out the effects of exchange rates. In 2017, the United States ranks 20th compared to other countries.

https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-gdp-5-latest-statistics-and-how-to-use-them-3306041

Bar Chart of Government Spending by Agency

The bar chart comes directly from the Monthly Treasury Statement published by the U. S. Treasury Department. <—- Click on the chart for more info.

The “Debt Total” bar chart is generated from the Treasury Department’s “Debt Report” found on the Treasury Direct web site. It has links to search the debt for any given date range, and access to debt interest information. It is a direct source to government provided budget information.

$$$ — “Deficit” vs. “Debt”— $$$

Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.

“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If the DEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.

Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site. Check out the CBO’s assessment of the Debt. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it dramatically cuts into our budget.

http://www.federalbudget.com/

 

The 2018 Long-Term Budget Outlook

June 26, 2018
Report
If current laws remain generally unchanged, CBO projects, federal budget deficits and debt would increase over the next 30 years—reaching the highest level of debt relative to GDP in the nation’s history by far.

Summary

At 78 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), federal debt held by the public is now at its highest level since shortly after World War II. If current laws generally remained unchanged, CBO projects, growing budget deficits would boost that debt sharply over the next 30 years; it would approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the next decade and 152 percent by 2048. That amount would be the highest in the nation’s history by far. Moreover, if lawmakers changed current law to maintain certain policies now in place—preventing a significant increase in individual income taxes in 2026, for example—the result would be even larger increases in debt. The prospect of large and growing debt poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges.

In this report, CBO presents its projections of federal spending, revenues, deficits, and debt for the next three decades and describes some possible consequences of those budgetary outcomes. This report’s projections are consistent with the 10-year baseline budget and economic projections that CBO published in the spring of 2018. They extend most of the concepts underlying those projections for an additional 20 years, and they reflect the macroeconomic effects of projected fiscal policy over that 30-year period. All together, they constitute the agency’s extended baseline projections.

CBO’s 10-year and extended baseline projections are not predictions of budgetary outcomes. Rather, they represent the agency’s best assessment of future spending, revenues, deficits, and debt under the assumption that current laws generally remain unchanged. They also give lawmakers a point of comparison from which to measure the effects of proposed legislation.

Why Are Projected Deficits Rising?

In CBO’s projections, the federal budget deficit, relative to the size of the economy, would grow substantially over the next several years, stabilize for a few years, and then grow again over the rest of the 30-year period. In total, deficits would rise from 3.9 percent of GDP in 2018 to 9.5 percent in 2048. (Adjusted to exclude the effects of timing shifts that occur because fiscal year 2018 began on a weekend, the budget deficit in 2018 would be higher, at 4.2 percent of GDP). Those large budget deficits would arise because spending would grow steadily under current law, and revenues would not keep pace with that spending growth.

In particular, over the next 30 years, spending as a share of GDP would increase for Social Security, the major health care programs (primarily Medicare), and interest on the government’s debt. In CBO’s projections, most of the spending growth for Social Security and Medicare results from the aging of the population: As members of the baby-boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) age and as life expectancy continues to rise, the percentage of the population age 65 or older will grow sharply, boosting the number of beneficiaries of those programs. Growth in spending on Medicare and the other major health care programs is also driven by rising health care costs per person. In addition, the federal government’s net interest costs are projected to climb sharply as a percentage of GDP as interest rates rise from their currently low levels and as debt accumulates.

That spending growth would be only partially offset by declining spending for other programs. Mandatory spending other than that for Social Security and the major health care programs—such as spending for federal employees’ pensions and for various income security programs—is projected to decrease as a percentage of GDP. Discretionary spending is projected to decline in most years over the next decade and then roughly stabilize as a percentage of GDP. (Mandatory spending is generally governed by provisions of permanent law, whereas discretionary spending is controlled by annual appropriation acts.)

Revenues, in contrast, would take a different path. They are projected to be roughly flat over the next few years relative to GDP, rise slowly, and then jump in 2026. Revenues would sharply increase that year because most of the provisions of Public Law 115-97 (originally called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and called the 2017 tax act in this report) that directly affect the individual income tax rate are set to expire at the end of calendar year 2025. (The 2017 tax act lowered individual income taxes beginning in 2018.) Thereafter, revenues would continue to rise relative to the size of the economy—although they would not keep pace with spending growth.

The projected growth in revenues beyond 2028 is largely attributable to increases in individual income tax receipts. Those receipts are projected to grow mainly because income would rise more quickly than the price index that is used to adjust tax brackets and other parameters of the tax system. As a result, more income would be pushed into higher tax brackets over time. (Because of provisions of the 2017 tax act, the effect of real bracket creep in this year’s projections is slightly greater than the effect that CBO projected in prior years.) Combined receipts from all other sources are projected to increase slightly as a percentage of GDP.

What Might Happen If Current Laws Remained Unchanged?

Large and growing federal debt over the coming decades would hurt the economy and constrain future budget policy. The amount of debt that is projected under the extended baseline would reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government’s interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis. (In that event, investors would become unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing unless they were compensated with very high interest rates.)

How Does CBO Make Its Long-Term Budget Projections?

CBO’s extended baseline, produced once a year, shows the budget’s long-term path under most of the same assumptions that the agency uses in constructing its 10-year baseline. Both baselines incorporate these assumptions: current laws will generally remain unchanged, mandatory programs will be extended after their authorizations lapse, and spending for Medicare and Social Security will continue as scheduled even if their trust funds are exhausted. CBO makes those assumptions to conform to statutory requirements.

Some projections, such as those for Social Security spending and collections of individual income taxes, incorporate detailed estimates of how people would be affected by particular elements of programs or by the tax code. Other projections reflect past trends and CBO’s assessments of how those trends would evolve if current laws generally remained unchanged.

CBO’s budget projections are built on its demographic and economic projections. CBO estimates that the population will grow more slowly than it has in the past and will be older, on average. CBO also anticipates that if current laws generally did not change, real GDP—that is, GDP with the effects of inflation removed—would increase by 1.9 percent per year, on average, over the next 30 years. That rate is nearly 1 percentage point lower than the annual average growth rate of real GDP over the past 50 years. That expectation of slower economic growth in the future is attributable to several factors—most notably, slower growth of the labor force. Projected growth in output is also held down by the effects of changes in fiscal policy under current law—above all, by the reduction in private investment that is projected to result from rising federal deficits.

How Uncertain Are Those Projections?

If current laws governing taxes and spending remained generally the same, debt would rise as a percentage of GDP over the next 30 years, according to CBO’s central estimate (the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes). That projection is very uncertain, however, so the agency examined in detail how debt would change if four key factors were higher or lower than their levels in the extended baseline. Those four factors are labor force participation, productivity in the economy, interest rates on federal debt, and health care costs per person. Other factors—such as an economic depression, a major war, or unexpected changes in rates of fertility, immigration, or mortality—also could affect the trajectory of debt. Taking into account a range of uncertainty around CBO’s central projections of those four key inputs, CBO concludes that despite the considerable uncertainty of long-term projections, debt as a percentage of GDP would probably be greater—in all likelihood, much greater—than it is today if current laws remained generally unchanged.

How Large Would Changes in Spending or Revenues Need to Be to Reach Certain Goals for Federal Debt?

CBO estimated the size of changes that would be needed to achieve a chosen goal for federal debt. For example, if lawmakers wanted to reduce the amount of debt in 2048 to 41 percent of GDP (its average over the past 50 years), they might cut noninterest spending, increase revenues, or take a combination of both approaches to make changes that equaled 3.0 percent of GDP each year starting in 2019. (In dollar terms, that amount would total about $630 billion in 2019.) If, instead, policymakers wanted debt in 2048 to equal its current share of GDP (78 percent), the necessary changes would be smaller (although still substantial), totaling 1.9 percent of GDP per year (or about $400 billion in 2019). The longer lawmakers waited to act, the larger the policy changes would need to be to reach any particular goal for federal debt.

How Have CBO’s Projections Changed Over the Past Year?

Compared with last year’s projections, CBO’s current projections of debt as a share of GDP are higher through 2041 and lower thereafter. CBO now projects that debt measured as a share of GDP would be 3 percentage points lower in 2047 than it projected last year. (The previous edition of this volume showed projections through 2047.) The increase in debt through 2041 stems primarily from tax and spending legislation enacted since then that boosted projected deficits through 2025—especially the 2017 tax act, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141). In particular, the budgetary effects of the tax act are expected to peak during the middle of the next decade. In later years, the effects are expected to be modest, although their precise magnitudes are uncertain.

Deficits are smaller after 2025 than CBO projected last year because of lower projections as a share of GDP of noninterest spending and because of projections of revenues that are the same or higher than CBO estimated last year. The smaller deficits result in lower debt as a share of GDP after 2041 than CBO projected last year.

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53919

What is the Total National Debt?

National Debt: Strictly speaking, the US national debt is the total of federal, state, and local debt. But people often talk about the debt of the federal government as the “national debt.”

At the end of FY 2017 the US national debt was “guesstimated” to be $23.27 trillion, including federal $20.21 trillion, state $1.18 trillion, and local $1.89 trillion.

Also, see Federal DebtState Debt, and Local Debt.

https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_national_debt_chart.html

Recent US Total National Debt

Chart D.11t: Recent US National Debt

Chart D.12t: Recent US National Debt as Pct GDP

Public Debt in the United States is principally the debt of the federal government.

In 2005 federal debt was about 60 percent of GDP, state government debt was about 6 percent of GDP and local government debt was about 10 percent of GDP.

But in the last ten years the federal debt has almost doubled to 103 percent GDP, while state government debt has stayed at a little over 6 percent GDP and local government debt has increased a little to 10.6 percent GDP.

https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_national_debt_chart.html

US Total Debt Since 1900

Chart D.13t: Total National Debt in 20th Century

Government debt began the 20th century at less than 20 percent of GDP. It jerked above 45 percent as a result of World War I and above 70 percent in the depths of the Great Depression. Debt has breached 100 percent of GDP twice since 1900: during World War II and in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008.

Federal, State, Local Debt in 20th Century

Chart D.14t: Total National Debt by Government Level

At the beginning of the 20th century debt was equally divided between federal and state and local debt, totaling less than 20 percent of GDP. After World War I, the total debt surged to 45% of GDP. But by the mid 1920s debt had declined to below 35 percent of GDP. Then came the Great Depression, boosting total public debt to 70 percent of GDP. World War II boosted federal debt to almost 122 percent of GDP in 1946, with state and local debt adding another 7 percent. For the next 35 years successive governments brought the debt below 50 percent of GDP, but President Reagan increased the federal debt up over 50 perent of GDP, and total debt towards 70 perent to win the Cold War. President Bush increased the debt to fight a war on terror and bail out the banks in the crisis of 2008.

https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_national_debt_chart.html

Your Pension Is a Lie: There’s $210 Trillion Of Liabilities Our Government Can’t Fulfill

In the US, we have two national programs to care for the elderly. Social Security provides a small pension, and Medicare covers medical expenses. All workers pay taxes that supposedly fund the benefits we may someday receive.

The problem is that’s not actually true. Neither of these programs is comprehensive.

The End of Government Entitlements

Living on Social Security benefits alone is a pretty meager existence.

Medicare has deductibles and copayments that can add up quickly. Both programs assume people have their own savings and other resources. Despite this, the programs are crucial to millions of retirees, many of whom work well past 65 just to make ends meet.

Having turned 68 a few days ago, I guess I’m contributing a bit to the trend

Limited though Social Security and Medicare are, we attribute one huge benefit to them: They’re guaranteed. Uncle Sam will always pay them—he promised. And to his credit, Uncle Sam is trying hard to keep his end of the deal.

Uncle Sam’s Debt Nightmare

In fact, Uncle Sam is running up debt to do so. Actually, a massive amount of debt:

Federal debt as a percentage of GDP has almost doubled since the turn of the century. The big jump occurred during the 2007–2009 recession, but the debt has kept growing since then. That’s a consequence of both higher spending and lower GDP growth.

In theory, Social Security and Medicare don’t count here. Their funding goes into separate trust funds. But in reality, the Treasury borrows from the trust funds, so they simply hold more government debt.

Today it looks like this:

  • Debt held by the public: $14.4 trillion
  • Intragovernmental holdings (the trust funds): $5.4 trillion
  • Total public debt: $19.8 trillion

Total GDP is roughly $19.3 trillion, so the federal debt is about equal to one full year of the entire nation’s collective economic output. That total does not also count the $3 trillion-plus of state and local debt, which in almost every other country of the world is included in their national debt numbers.

Including state and local debt in US figures would take our debt-to-GDP above 115%… and rising.

Just wait. We’re only getting started.

$210 Trillion Worth of Unfunded Liabilities

An old statute requires the Treasury to issue an annual financial statement, similar to a corporation’s annual report. The FY 2016 edition is 274 enlightening pages that the government hopes none of us will read.

Among the many tidbits, it contains a table on page 63 that reveals the net present value of the US government’s 75-year future liability for Social Security and Medicare.

That amount exceeds the net present value of the tax revenue designated to pay those benefits by $46.7 trillion. Yes, trillions.

Where will this $46.7 trillion come from? We don’t know.

Future Congresses will have to find it somewhere. This is the fabled “unfunded liability” you hear about from deficit hawks. Similar promises exist to military and civil service retirees and assorted smaller groups, too.

Trying to add them up quickly becomes an exercise in absurdity. They are so huge that it’s hard to believe the government will pay them, promises or not.

Now, I know this is going to come as a shock, but that $46.7 trillion of unfunded liabilities is pretty much a lie. My friend Professor Larry Kotlikoff estimates the unfunded liabilities to be closer to $210 trillion.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmauldin/2017/10/10/your-pension-is-a-lie-theres-210-trillion-of-liabilities-our-government-cant-fulfill/#43e4277065b1

Continued from page 1

Pensions Are a Lie

Many Americans think of “their” Social Security like a contract, similar to insurance benefits or personal property. The money that comes out of our paychecks is labeled FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. We paid in all those years, so it’s just our own money coming back to us.

That’s a perfectly understandable viewpoint. It’s also wrong.

A 1960 Supreme Court case, Flemming vs. Nestor, ruled that Social Security is not insurance or any other kind of property. The law obligates you to make FICA “contributions.

It does not obligate the government to give you anything back. FICA is simply a tax, like income tax or any other. The amount you pay in does figure into your benefit amount, but Congress can change that benefit any time it wishes.

Again, to make this clear: Your Social Security benefits are guaranteed under current law, but Congress reserves the right to change the law. They can give you more, or less, or nothing at all, and your only recourse is the ballot box.

Medicare didn’t yet exist in 1960, but I think Flemming vs. Nestor would apply to it, too. None of us have a “right” to healthcare benefits just because we have paid Medicare taxes all our lives. We are at Washington’s mercy.

I’m not suggesting Congress is about to change anything. My point is about promises. As a moral or political matter, it’s true that Washington promised us all these things. As a legal matter, however, no such promise exists. You can’t sue the government to get what you’re owed because it doesn’t “owe” you anything.

This distinction doesn’t matter right now, but I bet it will someday. If we Baby Boomers figure out ways to stay alive longer, and younger generations don’t accelerate the production of new taxpayers, something will have to give.

If you are dependent on Social Security to fund your retirement, recognize that your future is an unfunded liability—a promise that’s not really a promise because it can change at any time.

Get a Bird’s-Eye View of the Economy with Thoughts from the Frontline

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmauldin/2017/10/10/your-pension-is-a-lie-theres-210-trillion-of-liabilities-our-government-cant-fulfill/2/#5a8250f562cd

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018, Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos — Story 2: FBI Spied On Trump Campaign To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From A Possible Russian Disclosing To Trump Clinton’s 30,000 Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Videos

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Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos —

How Americans may be hurt by trade tariffs

Larry Kudlow on trade with China, North Korea talks

White House moves forward with $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods

US trade partners announce retaliatory tariffs

White House plans to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods

Wall Street will get used to US, China trade tensions: Michael Pillsbury

US, China would both lose from a trade war: Art Laffer

The Legacy of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

Thomas Sowell explains the Great Depression

Milton Friedman – The Great Depression Myth

“Anyone, anyone” teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Europe makes final push for US steel, aluminum tariff exemptions

US trade representative on challenges from China, Mexico

Lighthizer Sees China as a Key Issue

U.S. Trade Policy Priorities: Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross On President Trump’s New Tariffs | CNBC

US companies are being shut out of the Chinese market: Gordon Chang

Canada’s Trudeau Calls U.S. Steel Tariffs ‘Unacceptable’

U.S. to hit Canada with tariffs on aluminum and steel

Canada to impose tariff ‘countermeasures’ on U.S., says Chrystia Freeland

Trump tariffs could ‘destroy’ EU’s steel industry

Trump adviser Kudlow fears auto tariffs could kill jobs

Tariffs are designed to defend American technology: Peter Navarro

Trump Goes Ahead With China Tariffs

How did China become an economic powerhouse?

How the US can compete against China

China’s “Made in China 2025” embraces Germany’s “Industry 4.0”

Max Baucus Says Tariffs Won’t Slow Down `Made in China 2025′

If China is ok, the world economy is ok

Why Chinese Manufacturing Wins

Milton Friedman – Free Trade

Ten Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers

Milton Friedman – Free Trade Vs Protectionism

Milton Friedman – Free Trade (Q&A) Part 1

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers

Thiel: Need to rethink tariffs in light of trade deficit with China

Peter Navarro: All we’re looking for is fair, reciprocal trade

Peter Navarro: Steel and aluminum industries are ‘on life support’

Meet the Trump trade adviser whose tariff policy is about to be tested

Trump tariff is a tax, and I don’t like taxes: Ron Paul

 

US to impose steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico

Heather SCOTT, with Jurgen Hecker in Paris

,

AFP
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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it will impose harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, Mexico at midnight (0400 GMT Friday) — another move sure to anger Washington’s trading partners.

The announcement by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was sure to cast a long shadow over a meeting of finance ministers from the world’s Group of Seven top economies that opens later in the day in Canada.

Ross said talks with the EU had failed to reach a satisfactory agreement to convince Washington to continue the exemption from the tariffs imposed in March.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Canada and Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement are “taking longer than we had hoped” and there is no “precise date” for concluding them, so their exemption also will be removed, Ross told reporters.

The announcement was confirmed by presidential proclamation shortly after Ross addressed reporters.

Despite weeks of talks with his EU counterparts, Ross said the US was not willing to meet the European demand that the EU be “exempted permanently and unconditionally from these tariffs.”

“We had discussions with the European Commission and while we made some progress, they also did not get to the point where it was warranted either to continue the temporary exemption or have a permanent exemption,” Ross said.

Ross downplayed the threats of retaliation from those countries, but said talks can continue even amid the dispute to try to find a solution.

And President Donald Trump has the authority to alter the tariffs or impose quotas or “do anything he wishes at any point” — allowing “potential flexibility” to resolve the issue.

Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum using a national security justification, which Ross said encompasses a broad array of economic issues.

South Korea negotiated a steel quota, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have arranged for “limitations on the volume they can ship to the US in lieu of tariffs,” Ross said.

“We believe that this combined package achieves the original objectives we set out, which was to constrict imports to a level to allow those industries that operate domestically to do so on a self-sustaining basis going forward.”

– Not a western –

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned before the announcement that the EU would take “all necessary measures” if the US imposed the tariffs.

“World trade is not a gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Le Maire quipped, referring to a 1957 western movie

“It’s not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end,” he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be “unjustified, unjustifiable and dangerous”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU would respond in a “firm and united” manner to the tariffs.

“We want to be exempt from these tariffs” which were “not compatible” with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Merkel told a press conference with Portuguese premier Antonio Costa in Lisbon.

Video: US Moves Forward With Tariffs on Chinese Imports

For more news videos visit Yahoo View

Non-tariff barriers to trade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) or sometimes called “Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs)” are trade barriers that restrict imports or exports of goods or services through mechanisms other than the simple imposition of tariffs. The SADC says, “a Non-Tariff Barrier is any obstacle to international trade that is not an import or export duty. They may take the form of import quotas, subsidies, customs delays, technical barriers, or other systems preventing or impeding trade.”[1] According to the World Trade Organisation, non-tariff barriers to trade include import licensing, rules for valuation of goods at customs, pre-shipment inspections, rules of origin (‘made in’), and trade prepared investment measures.[2]

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers

Professor Alan Deardorff characterises[3] NTB policies under three headings: Purposes, Examples, and Consequences

Policy Purpose Examples Potential Consequences
Protectionist policies To help domestic firms and enterprises at the expense of other countries. Import quotas; local content requirements; public procurement practices Challenges levied at WTO and other trade forums
Assistance policies To help domestic firms and enterprises, but not at the expense of other countries. Domestic subsidies; antidumping laws; industry bailouts. Adversely affected countries may respond to protect themselves (i.e.,imposing countervailing duties and subsidies).
Nonprotectionist policies To protect the health and safety of people, animals, and plants; to protect or improve the environment. Licensing, packaging, and labeling requirements; sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules; food, plant and animal inspections; import bans based on objectionable fishing or harvesting methods. Limited formal consequences lead to efforts to establish common standards or mutual recognition of different standards.

There are several different variants of division of non-tariff barriers. Some scholars divide between internal taxes, administrative barriers, health and sanitary regulations and government procurement policies. Others divide non-tariff barriers into more categories such as specific limitations on trade, customs and administrative entry procedures, standards, government participation in trade, charges on import, and other categories.

The first category includes methods to directly import restrictions for protection of certain sectors of national industries: licensing and allocation of import quotas, antidumping and countervailing duties, import deposits, so-called voluntary export restraints, countervailing duties, the system of minimum import prices, etc. Under second category follow methods that are not directly aimed at restricting foreign trade and more related to the administrative bureaucracy, whose actions, however, restrict trade, for example: customs procedures, technical standards and norms, sanitary and veterinary standards, requirements for labeling and packaging, bottling, etc. The third category consists of methods that are not directly aimed at restricting the import or promoting the export, but the effects of which often lead to this result.

The non-tariff barriers can include wide variety of restrictions to trade. Here are some example of the popular NTBs.

Licenses

The most common instruments of direct regulation of imports (and sometimes export) are licenses and quotas. Almost all industrialized countries apply these non-tariff methods. The license system requires that a state (through specially authorized office) issues permits for foreign trade transactions of import and export commodities included in the lists of licensed merchandises. Product licensing can take many forms and procedures. The main types of licenses are general license that permits unrestricted importation or exportation of goods included in the lists for a certain period of time; and one-time license for a certain product importer (exporter) to import (or export). One-time license indicates a quantity of goods, its cost, its country of origin (or destination), and in some cases also customs point through which import (or export) of goods should be carried out. The use of licensing systems as an instrument for foreign trade regulation is based on a number of international level standards agreements. In particular, these agreements include some provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) / World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures.

Quotas

Licensing of foreign trade is closely related to quantitative restrictions – quotas – on imports and exports of certain goods. A quota is a limitation in value or in physical terms, imposed on import and export of certain goods for a certain period of time. This category includes global quotas in respect to specific countries, seasonal quotas, and so-called “voluntary” export restraints. Quantitative controls on foreign trade transactions carried out through one-time license.

Quantitative restriction on imports and exports is a direct administrative form of government regulation of foreign trade. Licenses and quotas limit the independence of enterprises with a regard to entering foreign markets, narrowing the range of countries, which may be entered into transaction for certain commodities, regulate the number and range of goods permitted for import and export. However, the system of licensing and quota imports and exports, establishing firm control over foreign trade in certain goods, in many cases turns out to be more flexible and effective than economic instruments of foreign trade regulation. This can be explained by the fact, that licensing and quota systems are an important instrument of trade regulation of the vast majority of the world.

The consequence of this trade barrier is normally reflected in the consumers’ loss because of higher prices and limited selection of goods as well as in the companies that employ the imported materials in the production process, increasing their costs. An import quota can be unilateral, levied by the country without negotiations with exporting country, and bilateral or multilateral, when it is imposed after negotiations and agreement with exporting country. An export quota is a restricted amount of goods that can leave the country. There are different reasons for imposing of export quota by the country, which can be the guarantee of the supply of the products that are in shortage in the domestic market, manipulation of the prices on the international level, and the control of goods strategically important for the country. In some cases, the importing countries request exporting countries to impose voluntary export restraints.

Agreement on a “voluntary” export restraint

In the past decade,[when?] a widespread practice of concluding agreements on the “voluntary” export restrictions and the establishment of import minimum prices imposed by leading Western nations upon weaker in economical or political sense exporters. The specifics of these types of restrictions is the establishment of unconventional techniques when the trade barriers of importing country, are introduced at the border of the exporting and not importing country. Thus, the agreement on “voluntary” export restraints is imposed on the exporter under the threat of sanctions to limit the export of certain goods in the importing country. Similarly, the establishment of minimum import prices should be strictly observed by the exporting firms in contracts with the importers of the country that has set such prices. In the case of reduction of export prices below the minimum level, the importing country imposes anti-dumping duty, which could lead to withdrawal from the market. “Voluntary” export agreements affect trade in textiles, footwear, dairy products, consumer electronics, cars, machine tools, etc.

Problems arise when the quotas are distributed between countries because it is necessary to ensure that products from one country are not diverted in violation of quotas set out in second country. Import quotas are not necessarily designed to protect domestic producers. For example, Japan, maintains quotas on many agricultural products it does not produce. Quotas on imports is a leverage when negotiating the sales of Japanese exports, as well as avoiding excessive dependence on any other country in respect of necessary food, supplies of which may decrease in case of bad weather or political conditions.

Export quotas can be set in order to provide domestic consumers with sufficient stocks of goods at low prices, to prevent the depletion of natural resources, as well as to increase export prices by restricting supply to foreign markets. Such restrictions (through agreements on various types of goods) allow producing countries to use quotas for such commodities as coffee and oil; as the result, prices for these products increased in importing countries.

A quota can be a tariff rate quota, global quota, discriminating quota, and export quota.

Embargo

Embargo is a specific type of quotas prohibiting the trade. As well as quotas, embargoes may be imposed on imports or exports of particular goods, regardless of destination, in respect of certain goods supplied to specific countries, or in respect of all goods shipped to certain countries. Although the embargo is usually introduced for political purposes, the consequences, in essence, could be economic.

Standards

Standards take a special place among non-tariff barriers. Countries usually impose standards on classification, labeling and testing of products in order to be able to sell domestic products, but also to block sales of products of foreign manufacture. These standards are sometimes entered under the pretext of protecting the safety and health of local populations.

Administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance

Among the methods of non-tariff regulation should be mentioned administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance, which increase uncertainty and the cost of maintaining inventory. For example, even though Turkey is in the European Customs Union, transport of Turkish goods to the European Union is subject to extensive administrative overheads that Turkey estimates cost it three billion euros a year.[4]

Import deposits

Another example of foreign trade regulations is import deposits. Import deposits is a form of deposit, which the importer must pay the bank for a definite period of time (non-interest bearing deposit) in an amount equal to all or part of the cost of imported goods.

At the national level, administrative regulation of capital movements is carried out mainly within a framework of bilateral agreements, which include a clear definition of the legal regime, the procedure for the admission of investments and investors. It is determined by mode (fair and equitable, national, most-favored-nation), order of nationalization and compensation, transfer profits and capital repatriation and dispute resolution.

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls occupy a special place among the non-tariff regulatory instruments of foreign economic activity. Foreign exchange restrictions constitute the regulation of transactions of residents and nonresidents with currency and other currency values. Also an important part of the mechanism of control of foreign economic activity is the establishment of the national currency against foreign currencies.

History

The transition from tariffs to non-tariff barriers

One of the reasons why industrialized countries have moved from tariffs to NTBs is the fact that developed countries have sources of income other than tariffs. Historically, in the formation of nation-states, governments had to get funding. They received it through the introduction of tariffs. This explains the fact that most developing countries still rely on tariffs as a way to finance their spending. Developed countries can afford not to depend on tariffs, at the same time developing NTBs as a possible way of international trade regulation. The second reason for the transition to NTBs is that these tariffs can be used to support weak industries or compensation of industries, which have been affected negatively by the reduction of tariffs. The third reason for the popularity of NTBs is the ability of interest groups to influence the process in the absence of opportunities to obtain government support for the tariffs.

Non-tariff barriers today

With the exception of export subsidies and quotas, NTBs are most similar to the tariffs. Tariffs for goods production were reduced during the eight rounds of negotiations in the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). After lowering of tariffs, the principle of protectionism demanded the introduction of new NTBs such as technical barriers to trade (TBT). According to statements made at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 2005), the use of NTBs, based on the amount and control of price levels has decreased significantly from 45% in 1994 to 15% in 2004, while use of other NTBs increased from 55% in 1994 to 85% in 2004.

Increasing consumer demand for safe and environment friendly products also have had their impact on increasing popularity of TBT. Many NTBs are governed by WTO agreements, which originated in the Uruguay Round (the TBT Agreement, SPS Measures Agreement, the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing), as well as GATT articles. NTBs in the field of services have become as important as in the field of usual trade.

Most of the NTB can be defined as protectionist measures, unless they are related to difficulties in the market, such as externalities and information asymmetries between consumers and producers of goods. An example of this is safety standards and labeling requirements.

The need to protect sensitive to import industries, as well as a wide range of trade restrictions, available to the governments of industrialized countries, forcing them to resort to use the NTB, and putting serious obstacles to international trade and world economic growth. Thus, NTBs can be referred as a new form of protection which has replaced tariffs as an old form of protection.

Addressing Non-Tariff Barriers

The scarcity of information on non-tariff barriers is a major problem to the competitiveness of developing countries. As a result, the International Trade Centre conducted national surveys and began publishing a series of technical papers on non-tariff barriers faced in developing countries. By 2015 it launched the NTM Business Surveys website listing non-tariff barriers from company perspectives.

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

  1. Specific Limitations on Trade:
    1. Import Licensing requirements
    2. Proportion restrictions of foreign domestic goods (local content requirements)
    3. Minimum import price limits
    4. Fees
    5. Embargoes
  2. Customs and Administrative Entry Procedures:
    1. Valuation systems
    2. Anti-dumping practices other than punitive tariffs
    3. Tariff classifications
    4. Documentation requirements
    5. Fees
  3. Standards:
    1. Standard disparities
    2. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
    3. Intergovernmental acceptances of testing methods and standards
    4. Packaging, labeling, and marking
  4. Government Participation in Trade:
    1. Government procurement policies
    2. Export subsidies
    3. Countervailing duties
    4. Domestic assistance programs
  5. Charges on imports:
    1. Prior import deposit subsidies
    2. Administrative fees
    3. Special supplementary duties
    4. Import credit discrimination
    5. Variable levies
    6. Border taxes
  6. Others:
    1. Voluntary export restraints
    2. Orderly marketing agreements

Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

Non-tariff barriers to trade can be the following:

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Evans, G., Newnham, J., Dictionary of International Relations; Penguin Books, 1998
  • Filanlyason, J., Zakher M., The GATT and the regulation of Trade Barriers: Regime Dynamic and Functions; International Organization, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1981
  • Frieden, J., Lake, D., International political economy: perspectives on global power and wealth, London: Routledge, 1995
  • Mansfield, E., Busch, M., The political economy of Non-tariff barriers: a cross national analysis; International Organization, Vol. 49, No. 4, 1995
  • Oatley,T., International political economy: interests and institutions in the global economy; Harlow: Longman, 2007
  • Roorbach, G., Tariffs and Trade Barriers in Relation to International Trade; Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol. 15, No 2, 1993
  • Yu, Zhihao, A model of Substitution of Non-Tariff Barriers for Tariffs; The Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2000
  • World Trade Organization Website, Non-tariff barriers: red tape, etc.; http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm9_e.htm

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-tariff_barriers_to_trade

Mexico aims tariffs at Trump country, sees NAFTA complications

By Michael O’Boyle and Frank Jack Daniel
Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico hit back fast on U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday, targeting products from congressional districts that President Donald Trump’s Republican party is fighting to retain in November elections.

Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the tit-for-tat measures would complicate talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that underpins trade between the neighbors.

The spat meant it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal to revamp NAFTA before Mexico’s July 1 presidential election, though he underlined the continent had not entered a trade war.

“A trade war is when there is an escalation of conflict. In this case, it is simply a response to a first action,” Guajardo told Mexican radio.

“We should stick to the clearly defined battlefield, where the response is appropriate and proportional.”

Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses as well as steel – products from U.S. heartland states that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

The country reacted right after Washington said in the morning it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

“It sends a clear message that this kind of thing does not benefit anybody,” Guajardo said of the Mexican retaliation.

“Because, in the end, the effect will fall on voters and citizens that live in districts where the people have a voice and vote in the (U.S.) Congress.”

Mexico said it was imposing “equivalent” tariffs, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections in November. The measures will be in place until the U.S. government drops its tariffs, Mexico’s government said.

MEXICO WITH THE WORLD

Guajardo said retaliation was aimed at products chosen to hit districts with important lawmakers who had been warning Trump not to mess with Mexico. He estimated the U.S. tariffs would affect $4 billion in trade between the two countries.

“It is a sad day for international trade,” Guajardo said. “But hey, the decision was made, and we always said that we were going to be ready to react.”

In 2011, Mexico successfully used a similar list of mostly agricultural products to push Washington into letting Mexican truckers on U.S. highways.

Trump’s Republicans are fighting to retain control of Congress in mid-term elections. Their majority in the House of Representatives is seen as vulnerable.

Pork exporter Iowa, where incumbent Republican Rod Blum faces a Democratic challenge, is an example of a place Mexico’s reaction could hurt.

Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells. It is the top buyer of U.S. aluminum and the second-biggest buyer of U.S. steel, Guajardo’s ministry said.

The countermeasures will hit U.S. hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke by phone after the U.S. announcement. Canada pledged to fight back with its own measures.

Trump threatened to rip up the NAFTA deal during his election campaign but agreed to renegotiate early in his term. Still, since talks began nine months ago, he has repeatedly said he could walk away from NAFTA if it is not redone to his liking.

“The difference between a year and four, five months ago is that it seems the world looked and said ‘poor Mexico,” Guajardo said. “Now, Mexico is facing these threats together with the world.”

(Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; additional reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; editing by Dave Graham, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/mexico-hits-back-u-steel-aluminum-tariffs-equivalent-142649163.html

Story 2: DOJ/FBI Spied On Trump Campaign and American People To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From The Possibility of Russia Disclosing To Trump Campaign Clinton’s Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Russia Did Not Disclose There Leverage or Blackmail Material Because They Thought Clinton Would Win — Videos

FBI Trump campaign spying allegations: How much did Obama know?

Dan Bongino slams efforts to debunk Trump’s ‘spygate’ claims

Trey Gowdy on ‘spygate’ controversy, Adam Schiff’s remarks

Hannity: Why not un-recuse yourself immediately, Sessions?

Gowdy faces backlash over remarks about FBI, Trump campaign

Tucker: Trump has convinced Dems to destroy themselves

Where in the World Was Barack Obama?

Somehow the former commander-in-chief is largely absent from the political spying drama.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation.
Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation. PHOTO: NAM Y. HUH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Donald Trump tweets today: “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!” And what does the man who was serving at the time as the FBI’s ultimate boss have to say about all this?

Perhaps it’s a good moment to get the whole story from our 44th President. He should now have time to discuss his administration’s surveillance of affiliates of a presidential campaign because he has just prevailed in a contentious dispute.

The Associated Press reports, “Plan for Obama Presidential Center advances over protests.” According to the AP:

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago took a major step forward Thursday with a city commission’s decision to sign off on the project after hours of testimony from both supporters and opponents of the project.

The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal to build former President Barack Obama’s center in Jackson Park on the city’s South Side. The action came over protests from opponents who want an agreement that local residents will benefit from the $500 million project.

“Community residents have no ownership, no say-so, no input,” said Devondrick Jeffers. “We know this is a huge investment in the community, but it’s not truly an investment if residents don’t benefit from this as well.”

However, Obama Presidential Center supporters cheered the plans for the presidential center, saying it would bring job opportunities to the area and foster economic development.

Since his name is on the door, there really was no way for Mr. Obama to avoid being at the center of this story. But in a somewhat larger story he has remained largely—and strangely—absent.

“‘Bigger Than Watergate’? Both Sides Say Yes, but for Different Reasons” is the headline on a New York Times story about our current President and the federal investigation of suspected collusion with Russia. The Times reports that both Mr. Trump and his political adversaries like using the Watergate analogy:

Mr. Trump was referring to what he deems a deep-state conspiracy to get him. His detractors are referring to the various scandals swirling around Mr. Trump.

Watergate has long been the touchstone for modern American scandal, the mountain of misconduct against which all others are judged. In the 44 years since Richard M. Nixon resigned, virtually every political investigation has been likened to the one that brought down a president, the suffix “gate” applied to all sorts of public flaps, no matter how significant or trivial.

But rarely has the comparison been as intense and persistent as during the 16 months since Mr. Trump took office — a comparison deployed by both sides in hopes of shaping the narrative of wrongdoing. What started out as an inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election has mushroomed into questions of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, abuse of power, illicit spying, hush money, tax fraud, money laundering and influence peddling.

Many of those questions remain unanswered but we do know that the “deep state” referenced by the Times did have a boss in 2016. Yet Mr. Obama doesn’t show up in this story until the ninth paragraph. Those inclined toward Watergate analogies will say that it was some time before the break-in was connected to Richard Nixon, and of course we have no idea at this point whether the current controversy will end up being a Trump scandal, an Obama scandal or a permanently murky partisan battleground.

But since this controversy goes to the core of our democratic process, Americans desperately want clarity. How and why exactly did leaders of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies end up focusing on a domestic political campaign? The latestessential reading from the Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel gets to the heart of the matter:

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened.

By this point it seems clear that Mr. Obama didn’t think much of the theory that Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians. But presumably he learned quite a bit about his government’s efforts to investigate it. It’s not clear what an FBI official meant in 2016 when texting that President Obama “wants to know everything we’re doing.” But we can assume that the President was fairly well-informed about the law enforcement agencies reporting to him. Therefore let’s hear from him in detail the full history of how the government came to investigate the presidential campaign of the party out of power.

If he doesn’t know, then it would seem a public explanation is also in order—about his management, and about just how far the “deep state” went without specific presidential approval.

***

Noteworthy

Save This Endangered Species
“High-impact startups: America’s herd of gazelles seems to be thinning,” AEI.org, May 17

Other Than That, The Stories Were Accurate?
“At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

“Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant ‘jeopardizing his life.’ Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.”

— Matti Friedman op-ed in the New York Times, May 16

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-in-the-world-was-barack-obama-1526674870

 

Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied

FBI Director James Comey at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2015. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Trey Gowdy and Marco Rubio evidently paid little attention to testimony before their own committees on how Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.Well, well, well. The bipartisan Beltway establishment has apparently had its fill of this “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative — the same narrative the same establishment has lustily peddled for nearly two years. The Obama administration recklessly chose to deploy the government’s awesome counterintelligence powers to investigate — and, more to the point, to smear — its political opposition as a Kremlin confederate. Now that this ploy has blown up on the Justice Department and the FBI, these agencies — the ones that went out of their way, and outside their guidelines, to announce to the world that the Trump campaign was under investigation — want you to know the president and his campaign were not investigated at all, no siree.

What could possibly have made you imagine such a thing?

And so, to douse the controversy with cold water, dutifully stepping forward in fine bipartisan fettle are the Obama administration’s top intelligence official and two influential Capitol Hill Republicans who evidently pay little attention to major testimony before their own committees.

Former National Intelligence director James Clapper was first to the scene of the blaze. Clapper concedes that, well, yes, the FBI did run an informant — “spy” is such an icky word — at Trump campaign officials; but you must understand that this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross his heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, they only used an informant because — bet you didn’t know this — doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation.

Me? I’m thinking the tens of thousands of convicts serving lengthy sentences due to the penetration of their schemes by informants would beg to differ. (Mr. Gambino, I assure you, this was just for you own good . . .) In any event, I’ll leave it to the reader to imagine the Democrats’ response if, say, the Bush administration had run a covert intelligence operative against Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign’s co-chairman. I’m sure David Axelrod, Chuck Schumer, the New York Times, and Rachel Maddow would chirp that “all is forgiven” once they heard Republicans punctiliously parse the nuances between investigating campaign officials versus the campaign proper; between “spies,” “informants,” and other government-directed covert operatives.

Sure!

Senator Rubio

Then there are Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), General Clapper’s fellow fire extinguishers.

Rubio is a member in good standing of that Washington pillar, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has had about as much interest in scrutinizing the highly irregular actions of intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the Clinton and Russia probes as Gowdy’s Benghazi committee had in revisiting Republican ardor for Obama’s unprovoked war on Moammar Qaddafi. (That would be: roughly zero interest.)

Rubio told ABC News that he has seen “no evidence” that the FBI was gathering information about the Trump campaign. Rather, agents “were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning.” The senator elaborated that “when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that.”

Gee, senator, when you were carefully perusing the evidence of what the FBI was doing, did you ever sneak a peek at what the FBI said it was doing?

May I suggest, for example, the stunning public testimony by then-director James Comey on March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee — perhaps Representative Gowdy, who sits on that committee, could lend you the transcript, since he appears not to be using it. Just so we’re clear, this is not an obscure scrap of evidence buried within volumes of testimony. It is the testimony that launched the Mueller probe, and that sets (or, better, fails to set) the parameters of that probe — a flaw the nation has been discussing for a year.

Comey’s House testimony was breathtaking, not just because it confirmed the existence of a classified counterintelligence investigation, but because of what the bureau’s then-director said about the Trump campaign (my italics):

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. . . .

That is an unambiguous declaration that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign. That is why, for nearly two years, Washington has been entranced by the specter of “Trump collusion with Russia,” not “Papadopoulos collusion with Russia.” A campaign, of course, is an entity that acts through the individuals associated with it. But Comey went to extraordinary lengths to announce that the FBI was not merely zeroing in on individuals of varying ranks in the campaign; the main question was whether the Trump campaign itself — the entity — had “coordinated” in Russia’s espionage operation.

Representative Gowdy

Gowdy’s fire truck pulled into Fox News Tuesday night for an interview by Martha MacCallum. An able lawyer, the congressman is suddenly on a mission to protect the Justice Department and the FBI from further criticism. So, when Ms. MacCallum posed the question about the FBI spying on the Trump campaign, Gowdy deftly changed the subject: Rather than address the campaign, he repeatedly insisted that Donald Trump personally was never the “target” of the FBI’s investigation. The only “target,” Gowdy maintains, was Russia.

This is a dodge on at least two levels.

First, to repeat, the question raised by the FBI’s use of an informant is whether the bureau was investigating the Trump campaign. We’ll come momentarily to the closely connected question of whether Trump can be airbrushed out of his own campaign — I suspect the impossibility of this feat is why Gowdy is resistant to discussing the Trump campaign at all.

It is a diversion for Gowdy to prattle on about how Trump himself was not a “target” of the Russia investigation. As we’ve repeatedly observed (and as Gowdy acknowledged in the interview), the Trump-Russia probe is a counterintelligence investigation. An accomplished prosecutor, Gowdy well knows that “target” is a term of art in criminal investigations, denoting a suspect who is likely to be indicted. The term is inapposite to counterintelligence investigations, which are not about building criminal cases but about divining and thwarting the provocative schemes of hostile foreign powers. In that sense, and in no other, the foreign power at issue — here, Russia — is always the “target” of a counterintelligence probe; but it is never a “target” in the technical criminal-investigation sense in which Gowdy used the term . . . unless you think we are going to indict a country.

Apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about ‘targets’ is gibberish.

Moreover, even if we stick to the criminal-investigation sense of “target,” Gowdy knows it is misleading to emphasize that Trump is not one. Just a few short weeks ago, Gowdy was heard pooh-poohing as “meaningless” media reporting that Trump had been advised he was not a “target” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe (which is the current iteration of the Russia investigation). As the congressman quite correctly pointed out, if Trump is a subject of the investigation — another criminal-law term of art, denoting a person whose conduct is under scrutiny, but who may or may not be indicted — it should be of little comfort that he is not a “target”; depending on how the evidence shakes out, a subject can become a target in the blink of an eye.

So, apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about “targets” is gibberish. Since the Obama administration was using its counterintelligence powers (FISA surveillance, national-security letters, unmasking identities in intelligence reporting, all bolstered by the use of at least one covert informant), the political-spying issue boils down to whether the Trump campaign was being monitored. Whether Trump himself was apt to be indicted, and whether threats posed by Russia were the FBI’s focus, are beside the point; in a counterintelligence case, an indictment is never the objective, and a foreign power is always the focus.

Withholding Information from Trump

Second, if Gowdy has been paying attention, he must know that, precisely because the Trump campaign was under investigation, top FBI officials had qualms of conscience over Comey’s plan to give Trump a misleading assurance that he personally was not under investigation. If this has slipped Gowdy mind, perhaps Rubio could lend him the transcript of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in particular, a section Rubio seems not to remember, either.

A little background. On January 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA director John Brennan, and NSA chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation. Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–acting attorney general Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Biden, and national-security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Ms. Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in her CYA memo-to-file about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. Indeed, we now know that Obama’s Justice Department had already commenced FISA surveillance on Trump campaign figures, and that it was preparing to return to the FISA court to seek renewal of the surveillance warrants. We also know that at least one informant was still deployed. And we know that the FBI withheld information about the investigation from the congressional “Gang of Eight” during quarterly briefings from July 2106 through early March 2017. (See Comey testimony March 20, 2017, questioning by Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.).) Director Comey said Congress’s most trusted leaders were not apprised of the investigation because “it was a matter of such sensitivity.” Putting aside that the need to alert Congress to sensitive matters is exactly why there is a Gang of Eight, the palpable reason why the matter was deemed too “sensitive” for disclosure was that it involved the incumbent administration’s investigation of the opposition campaign.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign. But just as important, they wanted the investigation — an “insurance policy” that promised to hamstring Trump’s presidency — to continue.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign.

So, how to accomplish these objectives? Plainly, the plan called for Comey to put the new president at ease by telling him he was not a suspect. This would not have been a credible assurance if Comey had informed Trump that his campaign had been under investigation for months, suspected of coordinating in Russia’s cyber-espionage operation. So, information would be withheld. The intelligence chiefs would tell Trump only about Russia’s espionage, not about the Trump campaign’s suspected “coordination” with the Kremlin. Then, Comey would apprise Trump about only a sliver of the Steele dossier — just the lurid story about peeing prostitutes, not the dossier’s principal allegations of a traitorous Trump-Russia conspiracy.

As I’ve previously recounted, this did not sit well with everyone at the FBI. Shortly before he met with Trump, Comey consulted his top FBI advisers about the plan to tell Trump he was not a suspect. There was an objection from one of Comey’s top advisers — we don’t know which one. Comey recounted this disagreement for the Senate Intelligence Committee (my italics):

One of the members of the leadership team had a view that, although it was technically true [that] we did not have a counterintelligence file case open on then-President-elect Trump[,] . . . because we’re looking at the potential . . . coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was . . . President-elect Trump’s campaignthis person’s view wasinevitably, [Trump’s] behavior, [Trump’s] conduct will fall within the scope of that work.

Representative Gowdy and Senator Rubio might want to read that testimony over a few times.

They might note that Comey did not talk about “potential coordination between Carter Page or Paul Manafort and Russia.” The director was unambiguous: The FBI was investigating “potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.” With due respect to Gowdy, the FBI did not regard Russia as the “target”; to the contrary, Comey said the focus of the investigation was whether Donald Trump’s campaign had coordinated in Russia’s election interference. And perspicaciously, Comey’s unidentified adviser connected the dots: Because (a) the FBI’s investigation was about the campaign, and (b) the campaign was Trump’s campaign, it was necessarily true that (c) Trump’s own conduct was under FBI scrutiny.

Director Comey’s reliance on the trivial administrative fact that the FBI had not written Trump’s name on the investigative file did not change the reality that Trump, manifestly, was a subject of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, there would be no conceivable justification for Special Counsel Mueller to be pushing to interview the president of the United States. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, Trump’s political opponents would not have spent the last 18 months accusing him of obstruction and demanding that Mueller be permitted to finish his work.

In the interview with Ms. MacCallum, Representative Gowdy further confused matters by stressing Trump’s observation, in a phone conversation with Comey on March 30, 2017, that it would be good to find out if underlings in his campaign had done anything wrong. This, according to Gowdy, means Trump should be pleased, rather than outraged, by what the FBI did: By steering an informant at three campaign officials, we’re to believe that the bureau was doing exactly what Trump suggested.

Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation.

Such a specious argument. So disappointing to hear it from someone who clearly knows better.

First, the informant reportedly began approaching campaign officials in July 2016. It was nine months later, well after the election, when President Trump told Comey that if would be good if the FBI uncovered any wrongdoing by his “satellites.” Trump was not endorsing spying during the campaign; the campaign was long over. The president was saying that it would be worth continuing the FBI’s Russia investigation in order to root out any thus-far-undiscovered wrongdoing — but only if the FBI informed the public that Trump was not a suspect (an announcement Comey declined to make).

Second, Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation. As we’ve seen, Comey testified multiple times that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for possible coordination with Russia. The bureau was not, as Gowdy suggests, merely investigating a few campaign officials for suspicious contacts with Russia unrelated to the campaign.

The Steele Dossier and FISA Surveillance

That brings us to a final point. In support of the neon-flashing fact that the Trump campaign was under investigation when the Obama administration ran an informant at it, there is much more than former Director Comey’s testimony.

Probes conducted by both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee have established that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain FISA-court warrants against Carter Page. The dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research project (a fact withheld from the FISA court), was essential to the required probable-cause showing; the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, testified that without the dossier there would have been no warrant.

So . . . what did the dossier say? The lion’s share of it — the part Director Comey omitted from his briefing of Trump — alleged that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to corrupt the election, including by hacking and publicizing Democratic-party emails.

We also know, thanks to more testimony by Director Comey, that dossier information was presented to the FISA court because the Justice Department and the FBI found former British spy Christopher Steele to be reliable (even if they could not corroborate Steele’s unidentified Russian sources). That is, the FBI and Justice Department believed Steele’s claim that the Trump campaign was willfully complicit in Russia’s treachery.

It is a major investigative step to seek surveillance warrants from the FISA court. Unlike using an informant, for which no court authorization is necessary, applications for FISA surveillance require approvals at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI. After going through that elaborate process, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI presented to the court the dossier’s allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.

If that was their position under oath before a secret United States court, why would anyone conceivably believe that it was not their position when they ran an informant at members of the campaign they were investigating?

To be sure, no sensible person argues that the FBI should refrain from investigating individuals suspected of acting as clandestine agents of a hostile foreign power. The question is: How should such an investigation proceed in a democratic republic whose norms forbid an incumbent administration, in the absence of strong evidence of egregious misconduct, from directing its counterintelligence and law-enforcement powers against its political opposition?

That norm was flouted by the Justice Department and the FBI, under the direction of the Obama administration’s senior political leadership. Representative Gowdy, Senator Rubio, and General Clapper maintain that the Justice Department and the FBI were just doing what we should expect them to do, and that we should applaud them. But this claim is based on the easily refuted fiction that the Justice Department and FBI were not investigating the Trump campaign. The claim also ignores the stubborn fact that, if all the Obama administration had been trying to do was check out a few bad apples with suspicious Russia ties, this could easily have been done by alerting the Trump campaign and asking for its help.

Instead, Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1074, May 9, 2018, Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos — Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — Videos

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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

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Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos —

Who is Gina Haspel?

Why The Torture Report Matters

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STEVEN CROWDER WATERBOARDED FOR CHRISTMAS!!

Donald Trump On Waterboarding: ‘I Love It’ | MSNBC

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John McCain on Waterboarding

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Mass Incarceration, Visualized

Gina Haspel confirmation hearing highlights

Watch live: CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies in Senate hearing

Sen. Feinstein GRILLS Gina Haspel at CIA Senate confirmation hearing May 9, 2018

Sen. Collins Questions Gina Haspel at CIA Senate confirmation hearing May 9, 2018

Sen. Harris GRILLS Gina Haspel at CIA Senate confirmation hearing May 9, 2018

Rubio On Haspel: “You Embody Everything That I Respect & Admire About The Men & Women” Of The CIA

CIA nominee Gina Haspel defends reputation at hearing

Sen. Wyden GRILLS Gina Haspel at CIA Senate confirmation hearing May 9, 2018

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Gina Haspel testifies in Senate confirmation hearing

Cotton: Gina Haspel has been keeping US safe for 30 years

Trump nominates Gina Haspel for CIA director

Media goes after Trump’s CIA pick Gina Haspel

Obama’s CIA chief defends Trump’s pick

James Clapper: I support Trump’s pick for CIA director

Oliver North speaks out in support of CIA pick Gina Haspel

The Ingraham Angle: Rips Press Coverage of Melania, Stormy and CIA Pick

The Journal Editorial Report 5/5/18:TRUMP NOMINEE FOR CIA DIRECTOR

‘Haspel supervised waterboarding!’ CIA veteran detained for asking about US torture program

If Gina Haspel Is Confirmed at CIA, the U.S. Would Be Giving Other Nations Green Light to Torture

Former CIA Officer Defends Torture Programme He Designed

Michael Scheuer – America and Islam After Iraq

Dr. Michael Scheuer: I Hope POTUS Withdraws From The Iran Deal

Michael Scheuer calls congress on their “BULLSH*T!”

Stunningly frank exchange between Michael Scheuer and panel

Michael Scheuer saying some really terrible things about innocent people and torture

Michael Scheuer – The Future of Al Qaeda’s Influence

Michael Scheuer – Terrorism and Homeland Security

Michael Scheuer – Imperial Hubris: Losing the War on Terror

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Gina Haspel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gina Haspel
Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg
Acting Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
April 26, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Herself
Preceded by Mike Pompeo
6th Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
February 2, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by David Cohen
Acting Director of the
National Clandestine Service
In office
February 28, 2013 – May 7, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by John Bennett
Succeeded by Frank Archibald
Personal details
Born Gina Cheri Walker
October 1, 1956 (age 61)
Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jeff Haspel (divorced)
Education University of Kentucky
University of Louisville (BA)
Awards Presidential Rank Award
Donovan Award
Intelligence Medal of Merit

Gina Cheri Haspel (née Walker;[1] born October 1, 1956[2]) is a fascist torturer and an American intelligence officer serving as the Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since April 26, 2018,[3] while holding the official title of Deputy Director.[4][5][6]

She became Acting Director following her predecessor Mike Pompeo‘s resignation to become United States Secretary of State. Haspel has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become the permanent CIA Director. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first female CIA Director having already been the second female CIA Deputy Director.[5][6][7][8][9]

Haspel has attracted controversy for her role as chief of a CIAblack site in Thailand in 2002 in which prisoners were tortured.[10][11][12][13]

Early life

Haspel was born Gina Cheri Walker in 1956[1] in Ashland, Kentucky.[14][15] Her father served in the United States Air Force.[15] She has four siblings.[15]

Haspel attended high school in the United Kingdom.[15] She was a student at the University of Kentucky for three years and transferred for her senior year to the University of Louisville, where she graduated in May 1978[2] with a BA degree in languages and journalism.[15] From 1980-1981, she worked as a civilian library coordinator at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.[2][16][17]

Career

Career timeline published by the CIA for Gina Haspel

Early CIA career

Haspel joined the CIA in January 1985 as a reports officer.[1][18] She held several undercover overseas positions, for many of which she was station chief.[19][20] Her first field assignment was from 1987-1989 in Ethiopia,[18][21] Central Eurasia,[18] Turkey,[1] followed by several assignments in Europe and Central Eurasia from 1990-2001.[18][14]

From 2001-2003, her position was listed as Deputy Group Chief, Counterterrorism Center.[18]

Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that are considered by many to be torture although those methods were deemed legal at the time by agency lawyers. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as station chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.[14]

From 2004-2005, Haspel was Deputy Chief of the National Resources Division.[21][18]

After the service in Thailand, she served as an operations officer in Counterterrorism Center near Washington, D.C.[18] She later served as the CIA’s station chief in London and, in 2011, New York.[14][22]

National Clandestine Service leadership

Haspel served as the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and Chief of Staff for the Director of the National Clandestine Service.[20]

In 2005, Haspel was the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service. In his memoir, Rodriguez wrote that Haspel had drafted a cable in 2005 ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapesmade at the black site in Thailand in response to mounting public scrutiny of the program.[14][23]

In 2013, John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Haspel as acting Director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe.[24] However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program.[25] Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate.[14][22]

Deputy Director of the CIA

On February 2, 2017, President Donald Trump appointed Haspel Deputy Director of the CIA,[26] a position that does not require Senate confirmation.[19] In an official statement released that day, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes(R-CA) said:[27]

With more than thirty years of service to the CIA and extensive overseas experience, Gina has worked closely with the House Intelligence Committee and has impressed us with her dedication, forthrightness, and her deep commitment to the Intelligence Community. She is undoubtedly the right person for the job, and the Committee looks forward to working with her in the future.

On February 8, 2017, several members of the Senateintelligence committee urged Trump to reconsider his appointment of Haspel as Deputy Director.[28] Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) quoted colleagues Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who were on the committee:

I am especially concerned by reports that this individual was involved in the unauthorized destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, which documented the CIA’s use of torture against two CIA detainees. My colleagues Senators Wyden and Heinrich have stated that classified information details why the newly appointed Deputy Director is ‘unsuitable’ for the position and have requested that this information be declassified. I join their request.

On February 15, 2017, Spencer Ackerman reported on psychologists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, the architects of the enhanced interrogation program that was designed to break Zubaydah and was subsequently used on other detainees at the CIA’s secret prisons around the world. Jessen and Mitchell are being sued by Sulaiman Abdulla Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Obaid Ullah over torture designed by the psychologists. Jessen and Mitchell are seeking to compel Haspel, and her colleague James Cotsana, to testify on their behalf.[29][30]

Nomination as Director

On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Haspel to be the CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo—whom he tapped to become the new Secretary of State.[31] Should Haspel be confirmed by the Senate,[32] she would become the first woman to serve as permanent CIA director (Meroe Park served as Executive Director from 2013-2017 and acting director for three days in January 2017).[33][34]Robert Baer, who supervised Haspel at the Central Intelligence Agency, found her to be “smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed.”[35]

Republican Senator Rand Paul stated that he would oppose the nomination saying “To really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be head of the CIA? I mean, how could you trust somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA? To read of her glee during the waterboarding is just absolutely appalling.”[36] Soon after Paul made this statement, the allegation that Haspel mocked those being interrogated was retracted. Doug Stafford, an aide for Rand Paul, said, “According to multiple published, undisputed accounts, she oversaw a black site and she further destroyed evidence of torture. This should preclude her from ever running the CIA.”[37]

Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain called on Haspel to provide a detailed account of her participation in the CIA’s detention program from 2001-2009, including whether she directed the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and to clarify her role in the 2005 destruction of interrogation videotapes.[38][39][40] McCain has been a staunch opponent of torture in the Senate, having been tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. McCain further called upon Haspel to commit to declassifying the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

Multiple senators have criticized the CIA for what they believe is selectivity in declassifying superficial and positive information about her career to generate positive coverage, while simultaneously refusing to declassify any “meaningful” information about her career.[41][42]

Torture and destruction of evidence controversy

Memo on Gina Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of tapes

Haspel has been criticized for using torture during her career at the CIA, and for involvement in destroying records of such torture.[43]

In late October 2002, Haspel became a chief of base for a “black site” CIA torture prison located in Thailand.[44][45] She worked at a site that was codenamed “Cat’s Eye”, which would later become known as the place where suspected al Qaedaterrorist members Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were detained and tortured with waterboarding.[19][23] In early February 2017, The New York Times and ProPublica reported that these waterboardings were both conducted under Haspel.[46][47] In March 2018, U.S. officials said that Haspel was not involved in the torture of Zubaydah, as she only became chief of base after Zubaydah was tortured. ProPublica and The New York Times issued corrections to their stories but noted that Haspel was involved in the torture of al-Nashiri.[45][46] Haspel played a role in the destruction of 92 interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations.[48][45][49]

On December 17, 2014, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) pressed criminal charges against unidentified CIA operatives, after the US Senate Select Committee published its report on torture by US intelligence agencies. On June 7, 2017, the ECCHR called on the Public Prosecutor General of Germany to issue an arrest warrant against Haspel over claims she oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects. The accusation against her is centered on the case of Saudi national Abu Zubaydah.[50][51][52]Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described Haspel as “quite literally a war criminal.”[53][54]

On May 1, 2018, Spencer Ackerman, writing in The Daily Beast, reported that former CIA analyst Gail Helt had been told that some of the controversial torture recordings had not been destroyed, after all.[55] On May 9, 2018, the day prior to her confirmation vote, The New York Times reported [56] that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, architect of the 9/11 attacks and victim of various forms of torture, requested to submit six paragraphs of information for the Senate committee to review before its vote. The contents of these paragraphs, and whether they implicate Haspel directly in Mohammed’s torture, are still not publicly known.

Awards and recognition

Haspel has received a number of awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism,[57] the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award.[20]

Personal life

Haspel married Jeff Haspel, who served in the United States Army, circa 1976; they were divorced by 1985.[1][15][58] Haspel currently lives in Ashburn, Virginia.[59] She does not use social media.[15] Haspel is unmarried and has no children.[2]

See also

References

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

Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — “The Path to 9/11” — Disney Caved To Clinton and Democratic Politician Pressure — Videos

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Video Shows Bill Clinton Talking Bin Laden Just Before 9/11

Bill Clinton on bin Laden: ‘I nearly got him’

Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Bill Clinton on Osama Bin Laden in the 90’s & 911

Former CIA Officer Defends Torture Programme He Designed

Michael Scheuer drops truth about Trump Russia story and BBC cut him off

Michael Scheuer on “Inside 9/11”

Dr. Michael Scheuer: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speech, Emmanuel Macron & More…

Dr. Michael Scheuer Weighs In On President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet Picks

‘I Had Chance To Kill Osama Bin Laden,’ Bill Clinton Said – TOI

Newsmax Prime | Michael Scheuer discusses how his book was found in Bin Laden’s compound

Osama Bin Laden’s Bookshelf Had One Of Michael Scheuer’s Books

Ex-CIA Agent: America creates its own enemies

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Conversations With History – Michael Scheuer

Blocking The Path To 9/11 Trailer

PATH TO 9-11: The scene they didn’t want you to see

The Controversy over “The Path to 9/11” tv show

“Blocking the Path to 9/11”

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” part 1

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 2

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 3

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 4

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 5

ABC’s Path to 9/11, Part 2

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

Thomas H. Kean, Dec. 5, 2005
Thomas H. Kean, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, delivers remarks during a news conference to issue a final assessment of progress on the commission’s recommendations in Washington, in this Dec. 5, 2005 file photo. The controversial ABC film,\”The Path to 9/11,\” was sold as \”based on the 9/11 Commission Report.\” Kean was on board as an executive producer for the film to certify it’s authenticity.

Who was blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’?

Over the past few years, perhaps no film controversy has inspired more outrage from conservatives than the Walt Disney Company’s handling of the ambitious 2006 miniseries “The Path to 9/11.” In the wake of Michael Moore’s 2004 anti-Bush documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the 2003 CBS biopic “The Reagans,” the Disney censorship fiasco has been a frequent bone of contention on right-wing blogs, AM talk radio and other media outlets. In addition to making cuts in its ABC-TV telefilm after complaints from political forces, the company also shelved plans for a subsequent DVD release.

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

Now the imbroglio has been revived for a direct-to-video documentary called “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’,” produced by right-wing rabble-rouser David Bossie and directed by former radio host John Ziegler. On its surface, the new video is a fascinating piece of behind-the-scenes investigative work. But, like the original telefilm and its quashing by the Clinton camp, it is not without its own political intrigue. Indeed, “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11′” raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma.

The new documentary, currently available for sale on its website, will soon be offered at other locations, with plans also calling for select theatrical screenings in Southern California to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks next month. Last week, the film’s worldwide premiere at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles drew a sold-out crowd that gave it a lengthy standing ovation.

Ziegler, who first raised questions about “Path’s” forced cuts and its cancelled DVD release on his radio show, is hopeful that his newest work will expose the machinations of Disney, Clinton and the Hollywood left.

“This is a conservative film, and that means there’s automatically two and a half strikes against it,” he said. Still, he believes his examination of the controversy should “hit a nerve” with others, and he’s still astounded Disney “decided to take a dive on their own movie” in order to placate the Clintons. According to Ziegler, Disney’s executives believed their liberal bona fides were so strong that they never suspected they’d be accused of a right-wing hit job and were “totally shocked” when Clinton’s camp complained. (Disney’s Iger has contributed to many Democrats running for office, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and has also donated to a handful of Republican candidates. Iger’s wife, former cable news anchor Willow Bay, is a top editorial executive at the decidedly leftist Huffington Post.)

https://www.politico.com/story/2008/08/who-was-blocking-the-path-to-9-11-012671

The Path to 9/11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Path to 9/11
Genre Drama, History
Screenplay by Cyrus Nowrasteh
Directed by David L. Cunningham
Starring Harvey Keitel
Donnie Wahlberg
Stephen Root
Barclay Hope
Patricia Heaton
Shirley Douglas
Penny Johnson Jerald
Dan Lauria
Amy Madigan
Michael Murphy
Trevor White
William Sadler
Shaun Toub
Theme music composer John Cameron
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Marc Platt
Cyrus Nowrasteh
Cinematography Joel Ransom
Running time 240 minutes
Production company(s) Marc Platt Productions
Touchstone Television
Budget $40,000,000 USD
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 10 – September 11, 2006

The Path to 9/11 is a two-part miniseries that aired in the United States on ABC television on September 10 – 11, 2006, and also in other countries. The film dramatizes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York Cityand the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The film was written by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh,[1] and directed by David L. Cunningham; it stars Harvey Keitel and Donnie Wahlberg.[2] The film was controversial for its alleged misrepresentation of events and people[3] and required last-minute editing before broadcast.[4] ABC spent $40 million on the project, but The Path to 9/11 was beaten in the ratings by an NFLgame.[5]

Plot

The miniseries presented a dramatization of the sequence of events leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States, starting from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and up to the minutes after its collapse in 2001. The movie takes the point of view of two main protagonists: John P. O’Neill, and a composite Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, “Kirk”. O’Neill was the real-life Special Agent in charge of Al Qaeda investigations at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He died in the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11 shortly after retiring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and taking the position of Director of Security for the World Trade Center. The composite CIA agent “Kirk” is shown dealing with various American allies, especially Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, in Afghanistan. In addition, “Patricia”, a CIA headquarters analyst, represents the views of the rank and file at CIA headquarters. The miniseries features dramatizations of various incidents summarized in the 9/11 Commission Report and represented in high-level discussions held in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The final hour of the movie dramatizes the events of 9/11, including a recreation of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Tom Burnett‘s calls to his wife, and John Miller’s reporting near the scene of the attacks. The film concludes with information about the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, as well as the performance evaluation the Commission gave the government when it reconvened in 2005.

Production history

According to ABC, the movie is based on the “9/11 Commission Report and other sources”,[6] including interviews and news accounts.[7] The first indication that ABC was running a miniseries appeared in a brief article in the New York Post.[8] In it, the producers identified shooting locations and revealed that Harvey Keitel would play John O’Neill. At the time, ABC had a working name of Untitled Commission Report and the producers used the working title Untitled History Project, with the project beginning filming in July 2005 and scheduled to end post production by January 2006. Preview screenings were made in May for foreign broadcasters.[9] The film was first publicly announced at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in July.[citation needed]

According to Advertising Age, the miniseries was a personal project of ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson, who began to look for a producer shortly after reading the 9/11 Commission Report.

The White House asked the major networks for airtime to present a Presidential Address to the nation. The interruption delayed the broadcast of the second half of Path to 9/11 by approximately 20 minutes in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Otherwise, the movie aired without any interruption.

Filming was conducted in MoroccoNew York CityTorontoHamilton, Ontario[10] and Washington, D. C. The production was one of the few allowed to film at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia.[11]

Controversy and criticisms

ABC received a range of criticism from terrorism experts and people portrayed in the film that The Path to 9/11 contained false scenes, distorted events and misrepresented actions of people, with ABC receiving letters from Richard Clarke, Chief Executive Officer Bruce R. Lindsey of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Douglas J. Band, Counselor to President Clinton, Samuel R. BergerMadeleine AlbrightJohn Beug, Democratic Representatives John Conyers Jr.John DingellJane Harman and Louise Slaughter and others.[12] Before the miniseries aired, some screeners of The Path to 9/11 asserted that certain scenes misrepresented the real-life events upon which they were said to be based, and that some scenes were complete fabrications.

9/11 Commission members

Members of the 9/11 Commission criticized the accuracy of the film.[13] 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, the ranking Republican, served as both a consultant and as a co-executive producer.[14] Shortly before the film’s release, Kean said, “People in both parties didn’t particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren’t going to love this one”.[14] In response to one particular scene, Kean told an interviewer he “was all right with the made-up scene” where Clinton administration is accused of blocking a chance to kill bin Laden, saying “I don’t think the facts are clear.”[15] Just weeks before the broadcast he “asked for changes that would address complaints raised by the former Clinton aides and that ABC is considering his request.”[16]

Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste said that the miniseries misrepresented facts presented in the 9/11 Commission report.[17]

Advance viewing copies selectively distributed

The extensive pre-broadcast controversy over the film was based on content that was present in viewing copies sent to conservative political groups, talk show hosts and bloggers, including radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, and conservative movie critic Michael Medved.[18] The office of former President Clinton repeatedly requested a preview copy, but was denied one,[19] as was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.[20] However, a version was shown at a Washington DC screening to members and guests of the National Press Club,[21] and to attendees of the Midwest Security and Police Conference in Chicago.[22]

According to Jay Carson, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, Clinton’s office requested a copy of the movie so that they could view it before it aired, but the request was denied.[23] However, Limbaugh has at least partially disputed this, claiming that Ben-Veniste and others saw the film before him.[24] Carson has also stated that Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger had also requested a copy and had also not received them.[25]

This prompted Albright and Berger to write letters [26][27][28] to ABC asking why they had not received copies and why ABC have chosen to run a movie whose accuracy is highly in question.

In addition to requesting an answer, Albright also stated the following reason for wanting a copy:

For example, one scene apparently portrays me as refusing to support a missile strike against bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistanis; it further asserts that I notified the Pakistanis of the strike over the objections of our military. Neither of these assertions is true. In fact, The 9/11 Commission Report states (page 117), “Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.”[26]

Criticisms of historical inaccuracy by FBI consultants

Two FBI agents refused advisory roles on the film, with one criticizing the film for creating a work of fiction and claiming it was inaccurate. Thomas E. Nicoletti had been hired by the filmmakers as a consultant, but quit[29] because “There were so many inaccuracies…I’m well aware of what’s dramatic license and what’s historical inaccuracy,” Nicoletti said. “And this had a lot of historical inaccuracy.'”[30]

Dan Coleman, who retired from the FBI in 2004, said he also was concerned when he read the script in the summer of 2005 after being approached by producers about being a technical advisor. He described, “They sent me the script, and I read it and told them they had to be kidding,” Coleman said. “I wanted my friends at the FBI to still speak to me.” Coleman went on to express a belief in ghosts as a reason for not accepting the advisory role—he did not want to be “haunted” by deceased colleagues who were falsely portrayed.[30]

Alleged assassination opportunities not used by Clinton

Critics claim many inaccuracies in the film, including the depiction of the Clinton administration. For example in one scene, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is portrayed as unwilling to approve a plan to take out a surrounded Osama bin Laden. He leaves it to former CIA Director George Tenet to decide if he will take responsibility. In the original version of the film,[31] Berger hangs up the phone on Tenet, and Tenet calls off the operation. No reliable verification of this event has ever been discovered. In fact, even Richard Miniter — a conservative author and critic of the Clinton administration — was quoted as saying

“The idea that someone had bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there’s zero factual basis for that.”[32]

Nowrasteh has said that the abrupt hang-up portrayed was not in the script and was instead improvised. It was later removed from the version shown in the United States.[33] Moreover, Nowrasteh maintains that a certain amount of dramatic license must be allotted in the process writing a dramatic script with a historical underpinning (see docudrama and biopic). Although the precise conversations depicted in the script may never have taken place, the general tone and content of events depicted in The Path to 9/11 are alleged true. Nowrasteh has said that the film “dramatizes the frequent opportunities the administration had in the 90’s to stop bin Laden in his tracks but lacked the will to do so.” [34] When asked if he thought of the script as a “historical document,” Nowrasteh has responded:

No, but I stand by the original version of the movie, and I stand by the edited version… There has to be conflation of events. The most obvious problem any dramatist faces is that of sheer length. I had to collapse the events of eight and a half years into five hours. I don’t know any other way to do it except collapse, conflate, and condense.[35]

Anti-terrorism expert Richard Clarke said the film was “180 degrees from what happened”[17] and made the following criticisms of the film:[36]

  1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan to have spotted bin Laden. (When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Nowrasteh stated, “I’ve interviewed CIA agents who have told me otherwise. But that is the one concession we made. [In the original,] we had a CIA agent on the ground near bin Laden’s compound—inside the wall even—and we took that out for the final presentation.”[35])
  2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern AllianceAhmed Shah Massoud, was nowhere near the alleged bin Laden camp and therefore could not have seen Osama bin Laden.
  3. Contrary to the movie, Tenet actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced, and there would be no way to independently confirm bin Laden’s presence in the target area by the time an already launched cruise missile would have reached it.

A member of the 9/11 Commission, Richard Ben-Veniste also stated that the scene depicting Berger hanging up the phone on Tenet is fictional.[37]

Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Unit during the Clinton administration, a critic of President George W. Bush‘s Iraq policy, says it was not Berger who canceled assaults on bin Laden, but rather Clarke on Clinton’s behalf. Scheuer states, “Mr. Clarke, of course, was at the center of Mr. Clinton’s advisers, who resolutely refused to order the CIA to kill bin Laden. In spring 1998, I briefed Mr. Clarke and senior CIA, Department of Defense, and FBI officers on a plan to kidnap bin Laden. Mr. Clarke’s reaction was that “it was just a thinly disguised attempt to assassinate bin Laden.” I replied that if he wanted bin Laden dead, we could do the job quickly. Mr. Clarke’s response was that the president did not want bin Laden assassinated, and that we had no authority to do so”.[38]

On May 13, 2012, the former Deputy Director of the Counter-Terrorism branch of the CIA, Hank Crumpton, relayed his experiences that verified both Scheumer and Path to 9/11’s account regarding Clinton’s failure to stop Bin Laden when he had the chance in a CBS 60 minutes interview. In it, he specifically cited that they had been led to a small village near Khandahar, saw evidence of Bin Laden’s presence (security detail, a convoy, and Bin Laden himself exiting the vehicle) and immediately alerted the White House upon the optics being beamed towards to the CIA headquarters, but were ordered to stand down and abort the operation due to it taking several hours to arm and launch the TLAMs, and requested that they give his exact location five to six hours from then, and the White House wasn’t willing to allow the Afghan CIA agents to attack the compound directly.[39][40]

Berger scene

Besides criticism of an inaccurate script, other fictional and inaccurate scenes were created by the cast. In the film, CIA agents who have infiltrated bin Laden’s Afghan compound try to put an assassin named Kirk (Donnie Wahlberg) in contact with National Security Advisor Sandy Berger (Kevin Dunn); Berger, who was later convicted of illegally removing and destroying documents regarding the subject from the National Archives,[41] is portrayed as “dithering” before hanging up on the agents.[42] The scene was strongly contradicted by both Berger and the 9/11 Commission, including commission member Richard Ben-Veniste.[42][43][44][45][46]

Former Secretary of State Albright questions her portrayal

Another scene in question supposedly portrays Madeleine Albright refusing to shoot missiles at Osama bin Laden without authority from Pakistan and eventually getting “permission” from them against the military’s wishes. Albright insists that this is completely inaccurate.[47][48] As Secretary of State, Albright had no involvement in military decisions.

Inaccuracies regarding airline travel

In the opening scene of the film, American Airlines is depicted as ignoring a security warning regarding hijacker Mohammed Atta. The airline involved was actually U.S. Airways.[49]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report: “While Atta had been selected by CAPPS [a security warning at a U.S. Airway ticket counter] in Portland [Maine] three members of… [Atta’s] hijacking team – Suqami, Wail al Shehri, and Waleed al Shehri – were selected [at an American Airline counter] in Boston. Their selection affected only the handling of their checked bags, not their screening at the checkpoint. All five men cleared the checkpoint and made their way to the gate for American 11.” [50] The incorrect depiction of location and airline may be justified as “time compression and compositing”, as described in the film’s disclaimer, or it may be an example of careless writing and sloppy fact-checking.

As a result of the inaccuracy, American Airlines stated they planned to pull all advertising from the ABC network and were considering legal action.[51]

Clinton responds

Clinton pointedly refutted [sic] several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

“The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely,” the four-page letter said.[52]

Senate Democrats’ letter to ABC

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan sent a letter to Robert A. Iger, the President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Their letter includes the following statement:

Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

“The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.”[53]

Scholastic Press announcement

Scholastic Press, which had a deal with ABC to distribute “educational materials” based on the movie, pulled the materials in question from their website on September 7, substituting them with materials focusing on “critical thinking and media literacy skills”.[54]

Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic Press, had this to say on the matter:

After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues… at the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.[54]

Responses from cast and crew

Harvey Keitel, who plays John P. O’Neill—the lead role in the film, said he was told that the script was “history” project, but “it turned out not all the facts were correct” and by the time ABC tried to “heal the problem” it was “too late.”[55] In an interview two weeks before the film was to air he said more scenes needed to be corrected because “you cannot cross the line from a conflation of events to a distortion of the event.”[55] Keitel also said there was “discussion” and “argument” on-set during the filming about what was truthful and what was not, and that he disagreed with certain decisions.[55]

Producer Marc Platt has acknowledged that the script was based in part on a book co-written by a Bush administration official. The book, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It was co-written by John Miller, who serves as the assistant director of public affairs for the FBI.[56]

Cyrus Nowrasteh, script writer for the film, said it was “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”[57]

Response from Barbara Bodine

On September 8, former Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine complained in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed about her portrayal in the film: “According to the mythmakers, a battle ensued between a cop obsessed with tracking down Osama bin Laden and a bureaucrat more concerned with the feelings of the host government than the fate of Americans and the realities of terrorism. I know this is false. I was there. I was the ambassador.”[58] The ABC miniseries compressed Bodine’s role to a single extended scene, suggesting she was dismissive, hostile, and vulgar toward FBI investigator John O’Neill from the moment of his October 2000 arrival in Yemen (see USS Cole bombing).

Television actress Patricia Heaton, who played Bodine and who has her own independent ABC development deal, did not comment on the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11 nor its worldwide broadcast on September 10–11, 2006.[citation needed]

Errors and other criticism

In addition to the fictionalized scenes and misrepresentations, preview copies contained several smaller errors that prompted criticism that the film is sloppy in its fidelity to facts. For example, a caption in the film misspelled Madeleine Albright’s name.[59][not in citation given]Another example is a scene portraying a warning popping up on a computer when Mohamed Atta boarded American Airlines Flight 11 in Boston. The scene was factually inaccurate; Atta actually boarded a connecting U.S. Airways flight in Bangor, Maine.[60]

During production of the movie, there was a controversy in the Toronto media over the use of discarded medical charts and records as document props. The Privacy Commissioner for the province of Ontario launched an investigation and the producers destroyed footage including the garbage and sent all remaining documents to a shredding service for disposal.[61]

Republican William Bennett joined those saying there is “no reason to falsify the record” or “falsify conversations”. During an appearance on CNN he called on ABC to correct the inaccuracies of the show and for fellow conservatives to join him in such a demand.[62]

On December 22, 2006 Media Matters for America named ABC as “Misinformer” of 2006 for, among other things in The Path to 9/11, calling it:

a two-part miniseries that placed the blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Clinton administration and whitewashed some of the Bush administration’s failures leading up to the attacks.[63][63]

Advertising discrepancies

While in the U.S. the film was marketed as a loose dramatization of events based on the 9/11 Commission Report, television advertising for the film in countries outside the U.S. called the film the “Official True Story”.[64] Further, an Australian TV listing called the film “the story of exactly what happened”, which later changed to “The thrilling dramatised investigation” as the airing time drew near.[65]

Allegation of non-profit involvement

Allegations of religious involvement surfaced in 2006, when journalist Max Blumenthal commented on David Loren Cunningham and his former links to the international mission organization Youth With A Mission. David is the son of Youth With A Mission founder Loren Cunningham. This connection to Youth With A Mission, and past allegations of a political agenda within the organization, were mentioned by Blumenthal. He also noted the previous intentions of David Cunningham to ‘revolutionize’ film and television by founding an auxiliary group within Youth With A Mission called TFI (The Film Institute). Youth With A Mission International Chairman Lynn Green acknowledged the allegations, yet rebutted these concerns, insisting that the organization, “had nothing to do with financing the film, nor did any YWAM personnel have any influence on the content of the film.”[66][67][68]

Support for The Path to 9/11

Responses from the right

Prior to its broadcast, conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt described as “a very accurate docudrama” and claimed the controversy by suggesting that what they call “the deep anger of the Clinton political machine” or the “narcissistic whining of the Clinton coterie” amounts to “self-serving complaints,” to “an irrelevant diversion,” to a “repellent” “hissy fit”.[69] Brent Bozell wrote, also before it was broadcast, that both “Clinton and Bush officials come under fire, and if it seems more anti-Clinton, that’s only because they were in office a lot longer than Team Bush before 9-11. Indeed, the film drives home the point that from our enemies’ perspective, it’s irrelevant who is in the White House. They simply want to kill Americans and destroy America. The film doesn’t play favorites, and the Bush administration takes its lumps as well.” [70] Hewitt added that the “program is not primarily about the Clinton stewardship—or lack thereof—of the national security. It is not even secondarily about that. Rather the mini-series is the first attempt — very successful — to convey to American television viewers what we are up against: The fanaticism, the maniacal evil, the energy and the genius for mayhem of the enemy.”[69]

To date, the miniseries has not been released on DVD. Writer and producer Cyrus Nowrasteh said that a stalled release is not due to lack of interest but rather political pressure, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2007 they were protecting Bill Clinton‘s presidential legacy and shielding Hillary Clinton from criticism for her 2008 presidential campaign.[71][72] According to the LA Times, an ABC spokeswoman reached September 4, 2007 said that the company “has no release date at this time,” and she declined to comment further.[71]

Documentary revisits controversy

In August, 2008, talk show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler and producer David Bossie of Citizens United premiered a documentary co-produced, written and directed by Ziegler entitled Blocking The Path to 9/11, which revisits the political controversy behind the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11.[73][74][75] Through interviews with the Path to 9/11 filmmakers and others, news clips regarding the controversy, and footage from the miniseries itself, the documentary argues not only that accusations of the filmmakers’ covert political agenda were unfounded, but that they were generated by Clinton-era politicians concerned that the miniseries tarnished their political legacy, and were reported uncritically by bloggers and a biased news media. The documentary also asserts that Disney/ABC ultimately shelved plans to release a DVD of the miniseries as a result of pressure from the political left, specifically the Clintons themselves. As noted in the documentary, Disney/ABC denies this and claims the decision not to release a DVD was purely a business decision.[76]

Jeffrey Ressner of The Politico, wrote Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11 mirrored The Path to 9/11 because it “raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma”.[77]

Awards

  • 2007 Emmy Award: Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • 2007 Emmy Award nominations: Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Main Title Design; Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score); Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special;
  • 2007 American Cinema Editors Eddie Award: Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Commercial Television

Ratings in the United States

During the first night of the original broadcast in the United States, The Path to 9/11 was beat by NBC‘s Sunday Night Football with 20.7 million watching the game, with Path tying a rerun of the film 9/11 shown on CBS with 13 million viewers.[5][78][79] During its second night, The Path to 9/11 was again beat by an NFL doubleheader, this time the premiere of Monday Night Football on ESPN, with 10.5 million households watching those games, and The Path to 9/11 coming in second.[80]

Ratings
Shown/Network Rating Share
Sunday Night Football (NBC) 15.1 23
Path to 9/11 (ABC) 8.2 12
9/11 (CBS) 8.2 12

Cast

Broadcasting

United States

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm–10:45 pm (shortened from 11 pm) at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:00 pm–9:00 pm at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2 (continued): September 11, 2006 at 9:20 pm – 10:17 pm at EDT on ABC (After President Bush National Address) (See exception)

ABC’s broadcasts though originally planned to be shown “with limited commercial interruption” were aired with no commercials, since the network was unable to obtain sponsorship.[81] The broadcasts were also watched in Canada, where the network is available on cable and satellite.

Part 2 of the miniseries, also uninterrupted, aired in the San Diego, California market on KGTV nearly a week later, on September 16, 2006, from 8:30pm–10:30 pm.[citation needed]

Australia

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:30 pm on Channel Seven
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:30 pm on Channel Seven

Belgium

  • Part 1: September 13, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 2: September 20, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 1: August 20, 2008 at 9:10 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 2: August 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 3: August 20, 2008 at 10:50 pm on RTL-TVI

Croatia

  • Part 1: March 6, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV
  • Part 2: March 13, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV

Finland

  • Part 1: November 11, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 2: November 18, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 3: November 25, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 4: December 2, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 5: December 9, 2007 on MTV3

In Finland the miniseries was shown in five parts as distinct from normal two.

India

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio

Italy

  • Part 1 & 2: March 13, 2007 on Sky

Japan

  • Part 1 & 2: January 14, 2007 at 8:00 pm on Wowow
  • Synopsis: September 13, 2009, from 9:00 pm – 10:54 pm on TV Asahi

New Zealand

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One

Norway

  • Part 1: January 3, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 2: January 4, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 1: September 12, 2008 on TVNorge

South Africa

  • Part 1: September 11, 2007 on M-Net
  • Part 2: September 11, 2007 on M-Net

Spain

  • Part 1: September 12, 2007 at 10.00 pm on Antena 3
  • Part 2: September 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm on Antena 3

United Kingdom

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm on BBC2
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:30 pm on BBC2

BBC2’s broadcasts were also watched in IrelandBelgium and the Netherlands, where the channel is available on cable.

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Path_to_9/11

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017: Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean — Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos — Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in the Pacific Ocean

What could happen if NKorea tests hydrogen bomb over ocean?

Kim Jong-un makes unprecedented statement at Trump as N. Korea suggests future …

Panel on Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘Dotard’ and ‘Frightened Dog’ #DonaldTrump #NorthKorea

“Rocket Man” : North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘a Frightened Dog’ and ‘Dotard’

Putin warns US, North Korea on verge of conflict

Hydrogen Bomb vs. Atomic Bomb: What’s The Difference?

North Korea nuclear test: Hydrogen bomb ‘missile-ready’ – BBC News

Fareed Zakaria on North Korea hints at detonating H-Bomb in Pacific. #Breaking #FareedZakaria

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM?

Why North Korea Can’t Build An ICBM (yet)

 

People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

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Rand Paul Goes Off On Obamacare “Repeal”

Senator: Graham-Cassidy not an Obamacare repeal

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) On Latest Obamacare Effort: This Is Not Repeal – The Five

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEIL CAVUTO (9/14/2017)

 

Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

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The Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos — Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

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Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos —

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

President Trump signs new Russia sanctions, questions whether bill interferes with foreign policy 

BREAKING NEWS 8/2/17 PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL

January 3, 2017: Sen. Tom Cotton joined Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News

Trump Signs Sanctions Bill – Another Deep State Victory

Real Bipartisanship: Republicans And Democrats Unite For New Cold War

Germany growing sick of US sanctions on Russia

Russians See Sanctions Regime as a Blessing in Disguise

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

In a pair of statements, the president said parts of the law violate the Constitution.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill placing new sanctions on Russia — but in a statement, he claimed multiple aspects of the legislation violate the Constitution.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, limit the president’s power to lift the sanctions without congressional approval and were initially resisted by the administration.

In one of two statements released almost simultaneously Wednesday morning by the White House, Trump said he supports the law’s efforts to crack down on the actions of Iran, North Korea and Russia. But the White House protested what it sees as congressional encroachment on the president’s power in foreign affairs.

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said in one statement. “My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”

The president’s second statement included a stepped-up defense of his own administration’s foreign policy and input on the legislation. Trump said that “despite its problems,” he had signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.” The statement characterized the governments of Iran and North Korea as “rogue regimes,” a label he did not apply to the Russian government.

Even as he continues to label Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” the statement went further in acknowledging the intrusion than Trump has in the past.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” the statement said.

Still, Trump was quick to push back on what he views as congressional overreach.

“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said, in reference to congressional Republicans’ latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” the president continued. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a leading architect of the sanctions bill, told reporters he was not concerned about Trump’s statement, though he said he had not yet seen it.

“Both countries talk privately in ways that are very different from how they talk publicly,” the Tennessee Republican said of U.S.-Russia relations. “But this was a necessary step that we took, and I’m glad we took it.”

In addition to allowing lawmakers to handcuff Trump on any future changes to Russia sanctions, the legislation converts some existing sanctions from executive orders into law, making them more difficult to roll back, and imposes new sanctions focused on Moscow’s reported cyber-meddling in the November election. The legislation’s Iran and North Korea sanctions were broadly popular in both parties and with the Trump administration.

Although White House officials asserted that some of the preferred changes to the legislation were included before its final passage last week, the administration had long underscored its opposition to provisions that will impede Trump’s ability to warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way that they did, neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”

Still, Tillerson added, “we can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship” with Russia.

Even as Trump criticized the measure, he added that “I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s waiting periods to ensure that Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.”

That apparent concession by Trump did not assuage Democratic concerns about his signing statement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California warned in a statement that Trump’s interpretation of the sanctions bill “raises serious questions about whether his administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”

And some Republicans who played a key role in the sanctions package raised their own alarms.

“Look, whether it was President Bush, President Obama, or President Trump, I’ve never been a fan of signing statements,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. “I think they’re a way for any president to usurp the role of the legislative branch. And that’s why I’ve always been concerned, regardless of who issued them, on any matter.”

The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. The House passed the sanctions by a vote of 419-3, and the Senate cleared it 98-2 — making any presidential veto futile and sure to be overridden.

With multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, a veto also would have been politically disastrous.

After weeks of waffling, the White House confirmed over the weekend that Trump would sign the bill.

The White House still sought to characterize the bill as a win, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement on Friday that Trump “negotiated regarding critical elements of it” and decided to sign it “based on its responsiveness to his negotiations.”

The statement Wednesday also contained a warning — not to Russia, but to Congress.

“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President,” Trump said. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-signs-bipartisan-russia-sanctions-bill-241242

 

Furious Trump signs Russian sanctions into law – then issues tirade against ‘unconstitutional’ bill and boasts his billions show why Congress shouldn’t stop him making deals with Putin

  • President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran
  • The White House did not organize a ceremony of any kind for it
  • Trump said in a statement he signed the bill for the sake of ‘national unity’ 
  • The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill
  • It passed Congress overwhelmingly with veto-proof majorities
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and the president were not ‘very happy’ about the sanctions bill 

President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers – but at the same time issued a furious statement calling it ‘flawed’.

He signed the bill, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly said he wasn’t happy about, in private.

Then the White House sent out statement by the president revealing the depths of his unhappiness and boasting that his billions showed he was far better at deal-making than Congress.

Trump said despite some changes, ‘the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.’

He called parts of it ‘unconstitutional’ and signaled fresh tensions with Republicans by criticizing their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers

‘Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.

‘The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,’ Trump said in a statement.

‘Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.’

In a message to Congress in response to the bill, Trump singled out provisions his lawyers considers in conflict with Supreme Court case law – and asserts his own latitude to carry out the law as he sees fit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn't happy with the bill

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn’t happy with the bill

‘My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions,’ the president said in one point – in language certain to irk lawmakers who consider the law much more than a preference.

‘My administration … expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,’ he said.

The president also complained about what he said were ‘clearly unconstitutional provisions’ in the legislation relating to presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

 White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed the signing on Fox News.

The bill passed Congress by overwhelming margins sufficient to override a presidential veto. The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill.

The bill contains language meant to prevent the president from lifting them without approval from Congress – provisions that got drafted amid concerns Trump would lift or limit sanctions amid his frequent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and desire to improve ties between the two powers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters he shared misgivings with the president, as they try to improve relations with Russia.

‘Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,’ Tillerson said. ‘We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.’

The FBI and congressional intelligence panels are probing Trump campaign connections to Russians during the election.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Trump during the campaign repeatedly called for better relations with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government backed a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

Despite communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin capped off by two one-on-one meetings in Europe, Trump has struggled to meet his goal.

Putin said last weekend that Russia would expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions legislation.

I’M WORTH BILLIONS – I CAN MAKE BETTER DEALS THAN CONGRESS

Today, I signed into law the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,’ which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

In his statement about the bill, Trump highlighted a series of concerns about the legislation. Had he vetoed it, Congress could have easily overridden him.

‘Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies,’ Trump complained.

‘My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.’

 Russia hawk Sen. John McCain of Arizona responded in a statement: ‘I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The enactment of this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that the United States will hold nations accountable for aggressive and destabilizing behavior that threatens our national interests and those of our allies and partners.’

McCain also called out Trump’s signing statement. ‘The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice,’ he wrote.

“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4754014/President-Donald-Trump-signs-Russia-sanctions-bill.html#ixzz4ocylqTKe

 

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with President Trump for the first time during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this month. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

MOSCOW — The last time the Kremlin forced a sweeping reduction of local staff at the American Embassy in Moscow, a young diplomat named Steven Pifer found himself working four days a week on arms control, as usual. But on the fifth day, he navigated the capital in a big truck to move furniture or haul mammoth grocery loads.

The entire staff of the embassy, except the ambassador, was assigned one day each week to grunt work called All Purpose Duty, Mr. Pifer recalled in an interview on Monday, when they shed their dark suits and polished loafers to mow the lawns, fix the plumbing, cook in the cafeteria and even clean the toilets.

That was a last hurrah for the Cold War in 1986, and although the embassy now functions on a far more complex scale, many current and former diplomats expect a similar effort in the wake of President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Sunday that the United States diplomatic mission in Russia must shed 755 employees by Sept. 1.

“The attitude in the embassy was if they think that they will shut us down, we will show them,” said Mr. Pifer, who went on to become an American ambassador to Ukraine and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “I think the embassy will adapt this time, too.”

Russia demanded that the United States reduce its diplomatic staff to equal the 455 Russian diplomats working in the United States, including at the mission to the United Nations. That means cutting about 60 percent of a work force estimated at 1,200 to 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom are Russians.

Given the continuing deterioration in relations between the two countries, core functions like political and military analysis will be preserved, along with espionage, experts said, while programs that involve cooperation on everything from trade to culture to science are likely to be reduced or eliminated.

Besides the State Department, a dizzying array of American government agencies have employees at the embassy, including the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce as well as NASA and the Library of Congress.

The other area expected to take a heavy hit will be public services, like issuing visas to Russian travelers to the United States, which is likely to slow to a glacial pace.

The Russian staff can be broken down into two broad categories: specialists who help individual departments in the embassy like public relations, and basic service workers employed as security guards, drivers, janitors, electricians and a host of other maintenance functions.

As of 2013, the latest year for which public records are available, there were 1,279 staff members working in the American Embassy in Moscow and in consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a report by the Inspector General’s Office. Of those, 934 were not Americans, including 652 basic service workers. The numbers are believed to have stayed roughly the same.

Russian staff members working in various departments like the political or economic section often provide the embassy’s institutional memory, because they stay on the job for years while American diplomats rotate every two or three years. (If the Russian employees stay for at least 15 years, they are eligible for special immigration visas to the United States and their salaries are high by Russian standards.)

It is the Russians who tend to notice nuances in domestic news coverage or in Mr. Putin’s speeches, or who direct diplomats toward public events or responsible journalists. The Russian employees provide continuity, an American diplomat who recently left Moscow said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Gen. Bruce McClintock, the American Defense attaché from 2014 to 2016 and now a RAND Corporation analyst, said Russian employees were often more effective in organizing meetings with government officials, while experienced translators ensured that the positions of both sides were clear in often complex discussions.

Russia had already chipped away at embassy programs, anyway, he noted. In 2013, it shuttered USAID, for example, and in 2014, in response to the West’s cutting off military cooperation after the Ukraine crisis, it closed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Although the work continued, it was much harder to coordinate because its 10 employees had departed, said General McClintock.

Russian nationals are not given the security clearances needed to work in the more clandestine branches of the embassy. Indeed, in the chancellery itself, no Russians worked above the fourth floor in the roughly 10-story building, former Russian employees said.

The American Embassy, which held a staff meeting on Monday to confirm the news to its employees, refused to comment on the events, while in Washington the State Department would say only that it was studying the Russian government’s request.

The general hostility toward the United States means Moscow was already considered a hardship post for American diplomats, and the new measures will lower morale further, diplomats said.

Russian employees are confused and do not yet understand how the changes will be carried out, a former Russian employee now working outside the country said, adding with dark humor that Stalin used to say there were no irreplaceable people.

Russian employees who worked for specialized departments feel especially vulnerable because they carry a certain stigma in Russia’s current nationalistic mood. Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor who was the American ambassador from 2012 to 2014, remembered trying to help find work for 70 Russians who were let go when the Kremlin closed the USAID office.

It was especially hard because “many Russian companies would not consider hiring these ‘tainted’ people,” he said in an email.

In recent years, local employees have come under increasing pressure from the Russian security service, the F.S.B., according to current and former employees. Russians escorting delegations of American musicians around the country were harassed, for example, or some in Moscow returned home from work to find agents sitting in their living rooms, demanding that they inform on their employers, they said.

Mr. Pifer said American diplomats who lived through the 1986 clampdown learned all kinds of things about Soviet life that they would not have otherwise.

One of his colleagues, who had to navigate customs, wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek diplomatic cable titled “The 29 Steps Needed to Clear a Container of Furniture,” detailing every stamp issued on every piece of paper. The cable was a huge hit back in Washington, he said.

In previous spats with the United States or the West in general, Mr. Putin often chose measures that hurt Russians the most, not least because Russia’s limited economic reach globally means it does not have many options.

Angered over sanctions imposed by Congress under the Magnitsky Act in 2012, he banned Americans from adopting Russian children. When the West imposed economic and military sanctions after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, he barred a broad array of food imports, forcing up prices and limiting the options for Russian consumers.

This time, hundreds of Russians will lose their jobs and Russian travelers hoping to visit the United States are likely to wait months for visas. Some 50 Russians were employed in the consular section that processes visas, according to the inspector general’s report.

“I don’t think Mr. Putin is terribly worried about this,” Mr. Collins said, noting the presidential election looming in March. “As he is running for election, it is comfortable for him to show that he can stand up to the Americans and to protect Russian interests and that is what he is doing.”

Outside the embassy on Monday, many of those emerging from the visa section suggested the Russian measures could only make a bad situation worse. Anecdotal evidence suggested that on both sides, what used to take weeks had already slowed to months.

Shavkat Butaev, 50, who works for a company that helps Russians get visas, said rejections were way up, too. “It was never like this before. Fifty, 60 people get rejected every day,” he said.

Oleg Smirnov, an 18-year-old student studying in the United States to become a psychiatrist, said that he had hoped President Trump would improve relations and that he was worried about possible fallout on immigration policy.

“These mutual sanctions look like a game played with water guns,” he said

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/world/europe/russia-sanctions-embassy.html

Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

Trump announces new immigration policy

Published on Aug 2, 2017

President Trump announced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act on Aug. 2, which aims to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million green cards granted per year.

 

Pres Trump and Sens Cotton and Perdue Introduce “The Raise Act”. Excellent!

August 2, 2017: Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue Answer Questions about the RAISE Act at the White House

 

Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

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Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

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Why Free Markets Work: Milton Friedman on Political Economy (1996)

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income

 

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

President Trump on Wednesday teamed up with two conservative Republican senators to roll out new legislation aimed at dramatically curbing legal immigration to the United States, a key Trump campaign promise.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) have been working with White House officials to revise and expand a bill released earlier this year that would halve the number of people who receive legal permanent residence over a decade.

The senators joined Trump at a White House ceremony to announce the measure.

The president told reporters in the Roosevelt Room that the measure “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
They say the legislation would move the United States to a “merit-based” immigration system and away from the current model, which is largely based on family ties.
The measure reflects Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, when he argued that the spike in legal immigration over the past several decades has taken job opportunities away from American citizens and threatened national security.
“As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that’s why we are here today,” he said, adding the measure would “reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”
Trump met with Cotton and Perdue in March to discuss the legislation, known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act.
The bill would mark a dramatic change in U.S. immigration laws, and could open up a nasty internal fight among Republicans.

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences currently given to extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens seeking green cards, and it would cap the number of accepted refugees at 50,000 — half of the Obama administration’s target for 2017.

It would also end the State Department’s Diversity visa lottery, which the senators say is “plagued with fraud.” The program had been allotted 50,000 visas for the 2018 fiscal year.

About 1 million immigrants receive green cards per year.

Conservative outside groups immediately praised the legislation and called for the Senate to vote on the bill.

“The RAISE Act helps realize President Trump’s vision of making America great again by making immigration great again as well. It provides a pathway for a modern, smarter immigration system while protecting those Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, added that the Cotton-Perdue bill will “do more than any other action to fulfill” Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration.

The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, however, where it’s expected to get pushback from Democrats as well as GOP senators who oppose strict limits on legal immigration and want a broader reform effort that would address the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

If Cotton and Perdue can get GOP leadership to bring the legislation up for a vote, supporters will need to cobble together 60 senators, including at least eight Democrats or independents, to agree to start debate on the legislation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a handful of Republicans — including GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dean Heller (Nev.) — have been working on bills this year to allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to, at least temporarily, remain in the country legally.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been granted temporary reprieves from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it does not confer legal status on immigrants.

Cotton and Perdue would need to win over their votes, as well as Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment, was critical of their earlier bill.

The White House roll out could give the legislation a boost of momentum, but the earlier version of the Cotton-Perdue bill garnered zero cosponsors.

Critics of the measure say it would devastate families’ effort to reunite with their overseas relatives while providing few economic benefits.

“If this is an acknowledgement that our immigration system is broken, the Trump administration and these senators are right, but this is the wrong way to fix it,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Cutting legal immigration for the sake of cutting immigration would cause irreparable harm to the American worker and their family.”

“Congress should focus on stopping illegal immigration – not on restricting the legal immigration that grows our economy,” said John Feinblatt, president of the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg-backed group New American Economy.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/344924-trump-gop-senators-unveil-measure-to-cut-legal-immigration

Sen. Cotton Officially Introduces RAISE Act

PUBLISHED:

Thu, FEB 16th 2017 @ 9:40am EST

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has officially introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, S. 354, in the Senate. The bill would reduce legal immigration by up to 50% by ending future chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.

Roy Beck, President and Founder of NumbersUSA responded saying, “the RAISE Act has a number — S. 354 — and one that we will do all possible to ensure that lives on through history as one of the great achievements of this period of our country.”

The RAISE Act would:

  • End the Visa Lottery
  • Limit annual refugee admissions to 50,000
  • End chain migration
  • Reduce the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants from 480,000 to 88,000 by prioritizing nuclear family
  • Add a nonimmigrant visa for parents of adult U.S. citizens (W-Visa)
    • 5-year renewable visa
    • No work authorization or ability to receive public benefits

The RAISE Act would reduce legal immigration to the United States by 50% in an effort to diminish its impact on vulnerable American workers. First, it eliminates the visa lottery and limits refugee admissions to 50,000 per year, removing the ability of the President to unilaterally adjust upward refugee admissions. Further, it eliminates chain migration by limiting family-sponsored immigration to the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

While U.S. citizens maintain the ability to sponsor nuclear family members without numerical limitation, the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigration is reduced from 480,000 to 88,000 to account for the elimination of the extended-family categories. Finally, a new nonimmigrant visa category is created for parents of adult U.S. citizens. Under this new category, sponsored alien parents would receive a renewable 5-year visa, but must be financially independent or supported financially by the adult son or daughter, as the visa does not authorize the alien to work or receive any form of public benefit.

https://www.numbersusa.com/news/sen-cotton-officially-introduces-raise-act

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 936, Story 1:Obama Spy Scandal: Obama Administration Officials Including National Security Adviser Rice, CIA Director Brennan and United Nations Ambassador Power Spied On American People and Trump Campaign By Massive Unmasking Using Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — An Abuse of Power and Felonies Under U.S. Law — Videos

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Image result for cartoons obama, rice, brennan spied on trump and american peopleImage result for rice, power, brennan unmasking of americans

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Story 1:Obama Spy Scandal: Obama Administration Officials Including National Security Adviser Rice, CIA Director Brennan and United Nations Ambassador Power Spied On American People and Trump Campaign By Massive Unmasking Using Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — An Abuse of Power and Felonies Under U.S. Law — Videos

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Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying

The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department’s national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. The intelligence community isn’t due to report on compliance issues for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration, until next spring.

The NSA says that the missteps amount to a small number — less than 1 percent — when compared to the hundreds of thousands of specific phone numbers and email addresses the agencies intercepted through the so-called Section 702 warrantless spying program created by Congress in late 2008.

“Quite simply, a compliance program that never finds an incident is not a robust compliance program,” said Michael Halbig, the NSA’s chief spokesman. “The National Security Agency has in place a strong compliance program that identifies incidents, reports them to external overseers, and then develops appropriate solutions to remedy any incidents.”

But critics say the memos undercut the intelligence community’s claim that it has robust protections for Americans incidentally intercepted under the program.

“Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,” said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. “The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.”

Section 702 empowers the NSA to spy on foreign powers and to retain and use certain intercepted data that was incidentally collected on Americans under strict privacy protections. Wrongly collected information is supposed to be immediately destroyed.

The Hill reviewed the new ACLU documents as well as compliance memos released by the NSA inspector general and identified more than 90 incidents where violations specifically cited an impact on Americans. Many incidents involved multiple persons, multiple violations or extended periods of time.

For instance, the government admitted improperly searching the NSA’s foreign intercept data on multiple occasions, including one instance in which an analyst ran the same search query about an American “every work day” for a period between 2013 and 2014.

There also were several instances in which Americans’ unmasked names were improperly shared inside the intelligence community without being redacted, a violation of the so-called minimization procedures that Obama loosened in 2011 that are supposed to protect Americans’ identity from disclosure when they are intercepted without a warrant. Numerous times improperly unmasked information about Americans had to be recalled and purged after the fact, the memos stated.

“CIA and FBI received unminimized data from many Section 702-tasked facilities and at times are thus required to conduct similar purges,” one report noted.

“NSA issued a report which included the name of a United States person whose identity was not foreign intelligence,” said one typical incident report from 2015, which said the NSA eventually discovered the error and “recalled” the information.

Likewise, the FBI disclosed three instances between December 2013 and February 2014 of “improper disseminations of U.S. persons identities.”

The NSA also admitted it was slow in some cases to notify fellow intelligence agencies when it wrongly disseminated information about Americans. The law requires a notification within five days, but some took as long as 131 business days and the average was 19 days, the memos show.

U.S. intelligence officials directly familiar with the violations told The Hill that the memos confirm that the intelligence agencies have routinely policed, fixed and self-disclosed to the nation’s intelligence court thousands of minor procedural and more serious privacy infractions that have impacted both Americans and foreigners alike since the warrantless spying program was created by Congress in late 2008.

Alexander Joel, who leads the Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Transparency under the director of national intelligence, said the documents chronicle episodes that have been reported to Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for years in real time and are a tribute to the multiple layers of oversight inside the intelligence community.

“We take every compliance incident very seriously and continually strive to improve compliance through our oversight regime and as evidence by our reporting requirements to the FISC and Congress,” he told The Hill. “That said, we believe that, particularly when compared with the overall level of activity, the compliance incident rate is very low.”
The FBI said it believes it has adequate oversight to protect Americans’ privacy, while signaling it will be pushing Congress hard this fall to renew the Section 702 law before it expires.

“The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” the bureau said in a statement to The Hill. “When Congress enacted Section 702, it built in comprehensive oversight and compliance procedures that involve all three branches of government. These procedures are robust and effective in identifying compliance incidents. The documents released on July 11, 2017 clearly show the FBI’s extensive efforts to follow the law, and to identify, report, and remedy compliance matters.

“Section 702 is vital to the safety and security of the American people. It is one of the most valuable tools the Intelligence Community has, and therefore, is used with the utmost care by the men and women of the FBI so as to not jeopardize future utility. As such, we continually evaluate our internal policies and procedures to further reduce the number of these compliance matters.”

The new documents show that the NSA has, on occasion, exempted itself from its legal obligation to destroy all domestic communications that were improperly intercepted.

Under the law, the NSA is supposed to destroy any intercept if it determines the data was domestically gathered, meaning someone was intercepted on U.S. soil without a warrant when the agency thought they were still overseas. The NSA, however, has said previously it created “destruction waivers” to keep such intercepts in certain cases.

The new documents confirm the NSA has in fact issued such waivers and that it uncovered in 2012 a significant violation in which the waivers were improperly used and the infraction was slow to be reported to the court.

“In light of related filings being presented to the Court at the same time this incident was discovered and the significance of the incident, DOJ should have reported this incident under the our immediate notification process,” then-Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote the FISA court in Aug. 28, 2012, about the episode, according to one memo released through FOIA.

The NSA declined to say how often destruction waivers are given. But Joel, of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has supervised such waivers and affirmed they are “consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and the statutory requirements of Section 702.”

Other violations cited in the memos:

  • Numerous “overcollection incidents” in which the NSA gathered information about foreigners or Americans it wasn’t entitled to intercept
  • “Isolated instances in which NSA may not have complied with the documentation requests” justifying intercepts or searches of intercepted data.
  • The misuse of “overly broad” queries or specific U.S. person terms to search through NSA data.
  • Failures to timely purge NSA databases of improperly collected intelligence, such as a 2014 incident in which “NSA reported a gap in its purge discovery processes.”

In annual and quarterly compliance reports that have been released in recent years, U.S. intelligence agencies have estimated the number of Section 702 violations has averaged between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent of the total number of “taskings.” A tasking is an intelligence term that reflects a request to intercept a specific phone number or email address.

The NSA now targets more than 100,000 individuals a year under Section 702 for foreign spying, and some individual targets get multiple taskings, officials said.

“The actual number of compliance incidents remains classified but from the publicly available data it is irrefutable that the number is in the thousands since Section 702 was fully implemented by 2009,” said a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The increasing transparency on Section 702 violations is having an impact on both critics and supporters of a law that is up for renewal in Congress at the end of this year. Of concern are the instances in which Americans’ data is incidentally collected and then misused.

Retired House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, a Republican who strongly supported the NSA warrantless spying program when it started under President George W. Bush, said he now fears it has now become too big and intrusive.

“If I were still in Congress today, I might vote with the people today to shut the program down or curtail it,” Hoekstra, who has been tapped by Trump to be ambassador to the Netherlands, said in an interview.

“One percent or less sounds great, but the truth is 1 percent of my credit card charges don’t come back wrong every month. And in my mind one percent is pretty sloppy when it can impact Americans’ privacy.”

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343785-newly-declassified-memos-detail-extent-of-improper-obama-era-nsa

 

Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying

The Obama administration’s illegal spying may have been worse than Watergate.

In 1972, some employees of President Nixon’s re-election committee were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters to plant a bug. This led to Nixon’s resignation and probably would have led to his felony prosecution had he not been pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.

But if a single bugging of the political opposition is enough to bring down a presidency — and maybe lead to an unprecedented criminal prosecution of a former president — then what are we to make of the recently unveiled Obama administration program of massively spying on political opponents in violation of clearly established law?

Because that’s what was unveiled last week.

When the FBI wants to wiretap a domestic suspect, it goes to court for a warrant. But when listening in on foreigners, the National Security Agency hoovers up a vast amount of stuff in bulk: Conversations between foreigners, conversations between Americans and foreigners, conversations between Americans who mention foreigners, and sometimes just plain old conversations between Americans.

There are supposed to be strict safeguards on who can access the information, on how it can be used and on protecting American citizens’ privacy — because the NSA is forbidden by law from engaging in domestic spying. These safeguards were ignored wholesale under the Obama administration, and to many Republicans, it is no coincidence that intelligence leaks damaged Democrats’ political opponents in the 2016 election.

A report from journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter last week, based on recently declassified documents, exposed what went on. As Solomon and Carter write:

More than 5%, or one out of every 20, searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards President Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa. …

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor,” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. …  The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

As former anti-terrorism prosecutor and national security expert Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, this is a very serious abuse. And potentially a crime. If such material were leaked to the press for political advantage, that’s another crime.

McCarthy observes: “Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.”

 Will the Justice Department investigate and prosecute former Obama officials? It seems hard to imagine. But then, so did Nixon’s resignation, when the Watergate burglary was first discovered.

This debacle also raises serious questions about the viability of our existing “intelligence community.” In the post-World War II era, we gave massive power to the national security apparatus. In part, that power was granted in the belief that professionalism and patriotism would lead people in those agencies to refuse to let their work be used for partisan political purposes.

It now seems apparent that we overestimated the patriotism and professionalism of the people in these agencies, who allowed them to be politically weaponized by the Obama administration. That being true, if we value democracy, can we permit them to exist in their current form?

That’s a decision that President Trump and Congress will have to face. Ironically, they may be afraid to — for fear that intelligence agencies will engage in further targeted political leaks.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/30/obama-admin-illegal-spying-worse-than-watergate-glenn-reynolds-column/102284058/

 

 

Declassified Memos Show Obama’s NSA Spied On Americans Way More Than You Thought

Back in May the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency (NSA), under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.   

“The October 26, 2016 Notice disclosed that an NSA Inspector General (IG) review…indicated that, with greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S.-person identifiers to query the result of Internet “upstream” collection, even though NSA’s section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queriesthis disclosure gave the Court substantial concern.”