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The Pronk Pops Show 1147, September 26, 2018, Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump Chairs and Addresses The Security Council and Accuses China Of Meddling In U.S. 2018 Elections — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Long Awaited Press Conference — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Increases Federal Funds Target Rate By Quarter-Percentage Point to Range of 2 to 2.25 Percent– Videos

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Image result for President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.See the source imageImage result for fed increases fed funds rate by .25 september 26, 2018 See the source image

 

 

Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump Chairs and Addresses The Security Council and Accuses China Of Meddling In U.S. 2018 Elections — Videos —

See the source image

President Trump SHOCKING Speech Chairs the UN Security Council Meeting

President Trump Accuses China Of Meddling In 2018 Elections In U.N. Security Council Speech | TIME

FULL: President Trump Speech at UN Security Council (9/26/18)

Who was Trump’s UN security council address designed for?

Amb. Nikki Haley: World leaders respect Trump, love his honesty

Trump to world leaders: China out to meddle in 2018 election

Taking center stage at the United Nations, President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused China of trying to interfere in the upcoming U.S. congressional elections because it opposes his tough trade policies. The White House provided scant evidence of anything akin to the level of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” Trump said as he chaired the U.N. Security Council for the first time. He made his accusation against the backdrop of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the last election to help him and amid concerns that this November’s elections also could be vulnerable.

Asked later what evidence he had, Trump said there was “plenty” but didn’t provide details. Instead, he zeroed in on China’s propaganda efforts to flood the heartland with ads and statements against Trump’s hundreds of billions of dollars in punishing tariffs

Trump added: “I don’t like it when they attack our farmers and I don’t like it when they put out false messages. But beside that, we learned that they are trying to meddle in our elections and we’re not going to let that happen just as we’re not going to let that happen with Russia.”

China’s foreign minister shrugged when he heard Trump’s statement via translation at the Security Council.

“We do not and will not interfere in any countries’ domestic affairs,” said Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China, and we call on other countries to also observe the purposes of the U.N. charter and not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.”

President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. Left is United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

A senior Trump administration official who briefed reporters about Trump’s comments said China was stepping up covert and overt activities to punish those who support Trump’s tough trade stance and interfere in the political system. The only specifics given by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were that China is hurting farmers and workers in states and districts that voted for Trump.

The official said China stifles free speech on U.S. campuses and punishes or rewards businesses, think tanks, movie studios and political candidates for criticizing or supporting Chinese politics. The official added that more information would be declassified in coming days and that Vice President Mike Pence was expected to speak on the issue next week.

Democrats on the House intelligence committee requested information from the Trump administration on the Chinese efforts.

Trump leveled his charge against China amid a whirlwind day of diplomacy at the United Nations, where he had meetings with Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Britain’s Theresa May. Alongside Netanyahu, Trump offered his most explicit endorsement yet of the two-state solution to bring an end to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The president also used his moment chairing the Security Council meeting on nuclear proliferation to issue a strong warning to nuclear-aspirant Iran, which he deemed the “world’s leading sponsor of terror” fueling “conflict around the region and far beyond.”

Trump, in his meeting with Abe, warned China again that “they can’t get involved with our elections,” strong rhetoric that stood in stark contrast to his reluctance to acknowledge or condemn Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies and refused to chastise Russia’s Vladimir Putin during their summer summit in Helsinki.

There is extensive evidence linking Russia to attempts to penetrate U.S. elections systems and to influence U.S. voters. Facebook announced in July that it had uncovered “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to influence U.S. politics on its platforms. Thirty-two accounts were removed from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in “coordinated” political behavior and appeared to be fake. Nearly 300,000 people followed at least one of the accounts.

Microsoft also said it had discovered that a fake domain had been set up as the landing page for phishing attacks by a hacking group believed to have links to Russian intelligence. A Microsoft spokesman said Monday that additional analysis had confirmed that the attempted attacks occurred in late 2017 and targeted multiple accounts associated with the offices of two legislators running for re-election.

With the elections less than two months away, U.S. intelligence and election-protection officials have not cited any specific, credible Chinese efforts.

Officials say China’s cyber-espionage operations targeting U.S. defense and commerce have been formidable, however. And Trump’s claim comes amid an escalation of tensions between Washington and Beijing, spurred by their growing trade dispute.

Each imposed tariff increases on the other’s goods Monday, and Beijing accused the Trump administration of bullying. A Chinese official said China cannot hold talks on ending the trade dispute while the U.S. “holds a knife” to Beijing’s neck by hiking tariffs. Trump later tweeted out a photo of an advertising insert called “China Watch,” saying China was placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers to make it look like news.

U.S. intelligence officials have said they are not now seeing the intensity of Russian intervention registered in 2016 and are also concerned about activity by China, Iran and North Korea. Trump’s statement caught lawmakers and some national security officials off guard as Beijing has not been singled out as the most worrisome foe.

“I haven’t received any briefing on this and would have if it was a serious threat,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House intelligence committee. “If the president really wants to protect elections, there are many bipartisan bills he could support.”

Thomas Rid, a Johns Hopkins cybersecurity expert, said, “I am not aware of any evidence of Chinese interference in the midterm elections.” He added: “Chinese influence operations tend to be more subtle, less public, and business-related.”

China has been accused of interfering in an election before, although not in the United States. Cybersecurity firm Fire Eye released a report in July describing “active compromises of multiple Cambodia entities related to the country’s electoral system,” including the National Election Commission, before the country’s July 29 general elections.

The hackers’ methods matched a Chinese-linked hacking group tied to multiple cyber operations that have breached U.S. defense contractors, universities and engineering and maritime technology development firms.

“I’ve seen zero evidence in our own monitoring work that China is doing anything like that,” said Jake Williams, president of Rendition Infosec, a Georgia cybersecurity firm, “and none of the people in industry I share threat intelligence with have had a whisper of that.”

___

AP writers Frank Bajak in Boston and Colleen Long, Mary Clare Jalonick, Deb Riechmann and Tami Abdollah in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Miller at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, at U.N. Headquarters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, at U.N. Headquarters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, at U.N. Headquarters. At right are are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National security adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Story 2: President Trump’s Long Awaited Press Conference — Videos

Trump: Kavanaugh accusations are a con job

Trump: UNGA was ‘laughing with me,’ not at me

President Donald J. Trump is hosting a press conference and taking questions

Watch Live: Donald Trump holds press conference in New York, amid Kavanaugh scrutiny

President Trump’s full news conference

President Trump press conference after day at U.N.

President Trump holds press conference

Steyn: Female reporters don’t need Jim Acosta’s help

 

Key takeaways from Trump’s marathon press conference

During a rare solo press conference Wednesday spanning an hour and twenty-two minutes, President Trump sounded off on issues including Brett Kavanaugh, Rod Rosenstein, North Korea and peace in the Middle East.

One big thing: Trump said he’s had “a lot of false charges” made against him and called sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a “big fat con job.” The president declined to respond on whether he believed the accusers, saying Democrats and the third accuser’s lawyer are using the allegations to personally harm Brett Kavanaugh.

On Brett Kavanaugh: Trump says he’s open to “changing [his] mind” about his Supreme Court pick if evidence from Kavanaugh’s upcoming hearing is compelling.

  • Trump said, when asked if he thought the women accusing Kavanaugh were liars, that he’d see what happens during Thursday’s hearings. “It’s possible they could be convincing.”
  • In a tense exchange with the president, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump to call on a female correspondent during his press conference and answer questions on Kavanaugh.

On Kavanaugh’s public perception: “In this case you’re guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very, very dangerous standard for our country.”

  • In continuing his attack on Democrats, Trump said “George Washington would be voted against 100% by Schumer and the con artists.”
  • “Somebody could come and say, ’30 years ago, 25 years ago, 10 years ago, he did a horrible thing… And honestly, it’s a very dangerous period in our country and it’s being perpetrated by very evil people. Some of them are democrats, I must say, because some of them know that this is a game that they’re playing.”

On whether he’ll watch Kavanaugh’s hearing: “I want to watch. I want to see. I hope can watch. I’m meeting with a lot of countries tomorrow, but I will certainly in some form be able to watch.”

  • On the term “con job”: Trump said he’s used “much worse” language than con job before. “That’s, like, probably the nicest phrase I’ve ever used.”

On the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: When asked if he planned on firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump said “we’ll see,” but his “preference would be to keep him.”

On the media: “I think ABC, CBS, NBC, The [New York] Times, The Washington Post, they’re all going to endorse me, because if they don’t, they’re going out of business. Can you imagine if you didn’t have me?”

On North Korea and Kim Jong-un: If I wasn’t elected, you’d be in a war….You would’ve had a war and you would’ve lost millions, not thousands, millions of people.”

On United Nations members laughing at him: “That’s fake news, that’s fake news. It was covered that way…They were not laughing at me, they were laughing with me.”

On soybeans and farmers: Trump called farmers “patriots” and said his policies are creating growth for the soybean industry, but they’ve fallen 12% year to year.

On Middle East negotiations: “If the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that’s okay with me. If they want two states, that’s okay with me…I want to see if I can get a deal done so that people don’t get killed anymore.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments.

https://www.axios.com/trump-kavanaugh-allegations-con-job-4c0ea23f-7ea8-4743-80a1-620c0b403972.html

Story 3: Federal Reserve Increases Federal Funds Target Rate By Quarter-Percentage Point to Range of 2 to 2.25 Percent– Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

LIVE: Fed Chair Jerome Powell Holds Press Conference – Sept. 26, 2018

Today News – Fed raises rates and says more coming, brushing off Trump jabs

Fed hikes interest rates, economic forecast

Daily News – Fed raised interest rates and said more, beating Trump jabs

Will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates in December?

Fox Business

Published on Sep 6, 2018

What Higher Fed Interest Rates Mean for You

How Interest Rates Are Set: The Fed’s New Tools Explained

Wall Street Journal

Published on Sep 17, 2015

 

Fed hikes interest rates amid rising inflation

By The FedFOXBusiness

Fed raises rates for third time in 2018

The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by another quarter-percentage point. FBN’s Edward Lawrence with more.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised short-term interest rates for the third time this year.

The U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) increased its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point, setting a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent, and continued to forecast one more rate hike in 2018.

The policy-setting board also removed the word “accommodative” from its statement to describe their position on interest rates. The move indicates that the Fed, encouraged by rising inflation and strong U.S. hiring, is inching closer to the end of the current rate-hike cycle.

During a press conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the removal of “accommodative” does not signal a change in the Fed’s policy plans. Rather, it indicates that the FOMC is moving in line with its expected path, he said.

Most policymakers expect to hold steady on interest rates sometime in 2020, which would leave the federal funds rate in a range of 3.25 percent to 3.5 percent. The long-run rate is estimated to be 3 percent.

Officials have been rolling back accommodative monetary policies initially employed after the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed has indicated it will continue to gradually raise rates at least through 2019, a strategy used to prevent the economy from growing too fast and keep prices from spiking. The decision to raise rates Wednesday was the eighth hike since 2015. It also began to process of winding down its massive portfolio of government debt and mortgage-backed securities in late 2017.

More from FOX Business

Investors have expected the Fed to increase the federal funds rate a total of four times this year with the next rate hike likely in December. The Fed forecast an additional three rate increases in 2019 and one in 2020.

Economists believe U.S. economic conditions will allow the Fed to remain on track. The Fed raised its estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 3.1 percent this year, and it sees unemployment falling to a rate of 3.5 percent in 2019.

Powell said more companies have raised concerns about new import tariffs, but the global trade dispute has yet to impact economic numbers. Widespread tariffs over the long term would be a negative development for the U.S. economy, he added.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow estimate has called for economic growthOpens a New Window. of 4.4 percent in the third quarter, which would mark the second consecutive quarter of gains over 4 percent. In August, wages posted their largest annual gain since 2009, while the unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent, near its lowest level since 2000.

Fed officials affirmed their outlook that inflation will remain near a target of 2 percent annual growth through 2021. The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, has hit the central bank’s target three times this year.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/federal-reserve-interest-rate-hike-inflation

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1141, September 17, 2018, Story 1: Remnants of Slow Moving Tropical Storm Florence — Flooding and Cleanup With Roads and Airports Closed and Electrical Outages Widespread — 31 Deaths — Looting — Stay Home and Safe — Here Comes The Sun — Videos — Story 2: High Tech Lynching 2.0 By Desperate Democrats Delaying Confirmation Vote of Judge Brett Kavanaugh With An Allegation of Sexual Assault In High School Over 35 Years Ago By Professor Christine Ford — False and Faulty Eyewitness Memory — Allegations Are Not Evidence and Way Beyond The Statue of Limitations — Uncertainty, Bias, Confidence Problems With Eyewitness Testimony — Senate Hearing Scheduled For September 24 — Kavanaugh Confirmed Soon — Resistance Is Futile — Videos — Story 3: South Korean President Moon Meets North Korean Chairman Kim Tuesday for 2018 Summit Meeting — Denuclearization of Korea On Agenda —  U.S. Accuses Russia of Violating U.N. Sanctions On North Korea — Videos

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Story 1: Remnants of Slow Moving Tropical Storm Florence — Flooding and Cleanup With Roads and Airports Closed and Electrical Outages Widespread — 23 Deaths — Looting — Stay Home and Safe — Here Comes The Sun — Videos —

Post-Florence, could we see Category 6 hurricanes in the future?

Florence death toll rises as floodwaters surge in Carolinas

Biggest flooding in North Carolina, USA (Sept 17, 2018)

Hurricane Florence Death Toll Rises As New Evacuations Ordered | TODAY

Watch Live: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper gives update on Florence | September 17, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Slow-moving storm brings ‘tremendous’ flooding to eastern U.S.

Tracking Florence: Flooding cleanup already underway

Hurricane Florence Causes At Least 18 Deaths

Hurricane Looters Just Got Priceless Surprise As Florence Rips Through North Carolina

Flooding from Hurricane Florence’s remnants the biggest concern

Hurricane Florence: Drone video captures devastating flooding across North Carolina

Officials report Florence-related death in South Carolina

All-Day Rescues As Tropical Storm Florence Ravages North Carolina | NBC Nightly News

The Weather Channel’s hurricane graphics are blowing our minds

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles Tribute

Thousands of people line up for water and food as rising floodwaters cut off an entire North Carolina city to create an ‘island’ as death toll from storm Florence rises to 17

  • Storm Florence lashed the south east of the US on Thursday and hit thousands in North Carolina on Sunday
  • Officials plan to airlift food and water to thousands holed up in the cut off coastal city of Wilmington, NC 
  • So far over 400 people have been rescued from the area, which has no power and has become an island
  • Residents have been waiting for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water
  • The death toll has now hit 17 after a mother and her baby died in Wilmington and woman was hit by tree 

Thousands have been cut off by rising floodwaters as storm Florence batters North Carolina, bringing the death toll to 17.

Officials plan to airlift food and water to thousands holed up in the coastal city of Wilmington, which has been totally cut off from the rest of the state.

So far more than 400 people have been rescued from the area, which has no power and has been described as an island.

Residents have been waiting for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water. Police are guarding the doors, only letting in 10 people at a time to avoid rushes and overcrowding.

Residents have been waiting for hours outside stores and restaurants in North Carolina for basic necessities like water. Police are guarding the doors, only letting in 10 people at a time

Residents have been waiting for hours outside stores and restaurants in North Carolina for basic necessities like water. Police are guarding the doors, only letting in 10 people at a time

Thousands have been cut off by rising floodwaters as storm Florence battered North Carolina, bringing the death toll to 17. Pictured: Emerald Isle in NC

People wait in line to buy food and supplies at one of the few places open in Wilmington North Carolina after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday

People wait in line to buy food and supplies at one of the few places open in Wilmington North Carolina after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday

Officials have warned evacuated residents to stay away amid fears of further flash flooding over the next two days. Pictured: Flooding in South Carolina

A tree rests atop a home on Queens Road West in Charlotte, NC on Sunday as heavy rains and wind continued to batter the US

Marcus Dipaola helps five-year-old Ember Kelly off a rescue boat carrying her sisters and mother from rising flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, in Leland, North Carolina

Marcus Dipaola helps five-year-old Ember Kelly off a rescue boat carrying her sisters and mother from rising flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, in Leland, North Carolina

Florence: What is an extra-tropical cyclone?

Florence is expected to weaken on Monday before re-intensifying as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone Tuesday and Wednesday

Extratropical cyclones have cold air at their core, and derive their energy from the release of potential energy when cold and warm air masses interact.

These storms always have one or more fronts connected to them, and can occur over land or ocean.

An extratropical cyclone can have winds as weak as a tropical depression, or as strong as a hurricane.

Officials have warned evacuated residents to stay away amid fears of further flash flooding over the next two days.

Wilmington has a population of 120,000 but it is not clear how many chose not to leave before the storm hit.

‘Do not come here,’ New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White said.

‘Our roads are flooded, there is no access into Wilmington…We want you home, but you can’t come yet.’

Hurricane Florence, downgraded to a tropical depression, claimed more lives on Sunday, with at least 17 people confirmed dead.

Florence is expected to weaken on Monday before re-intensifying as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone Tuesday and Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

The tropical depression continues to produce widespread heavy rains over parts of North Carolina and north-eastern South Carolina into western Virginia and flash flooding will continue over portions of the western mid-Atlantic region, it said.

Florence is located about 145 miles (230 km) west-northwest of Greensboro, North Carolina packing maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour.

Dallas Perdue leaves a Lowe's Foods store in Wilmington, N.C., after storm Florence traveled through the area Sunday

The Waffle House outside of downtown Wilmington, NC was open on Sunday as thousands became stranded from the rest of the state

The Waffle House outside of downtown Wilmington, NC was open on Sunday as thousands became stranded from the rest of the state

An abandoned car's hazard lights continue to flash as it sits submerged in a rising flood waters during pre-dawn hours after Hurricane Florence struck in Wilmington, North Carolina

An abandoned car’s hazard lights continue to flash as it sits submerged in a rising flood waters during pre-dawn hours after Hurricane Florence struck in Wilmington, North Carolina

A view of a gas station with its roof blown off as Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington, North Carolina

On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Corrections posted pictures of prisoners preparing sandbags to defend their facilities from flooding

Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to evacuate the inmates from several prisons, with a spokesman saying: 'In the past, it’s been safer to leave them there.' Pictured: Sandbanks outside a South Carolina prison

Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to evacuate the inmates from several prisons, with a spokesman saying: ‘In the past, it’s been safer to leave them there.’ Pictured: Sandbanks outside a South Carolina prison

‘Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina… but we’re also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out,’ Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday on Fox News.

About 70 miles away from Wilmington, residents near the Lumber River stepped from their homes directly into boats floating in their front yards.

River forecasts showed the scene could be repeated in towns as far as 250 miles inland as waters rise for days.

Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and South Carolina in the bull’s-eye.

On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Corrections posted pictures of prisoners preparing sandbags to defend their facilities from flooding.

Bryan Stirling, director of the department, chose not to evacuate the inmates from several prisons, with a spokesman saying: ‘In the past, it’s been safer to leave them there.’

Cars try to navigate a flooded road leading to Interstate 40 in Castle Hayne, NC, after damage from Hurricane Florence cut off access to Wilmington

Cars try to navigate a flooded road leading to Interstate 40 in Castle Hayne, NC, after damage from Hurricane Florence cut off access to Wilmington

Meanwhile, half way around the world, Typhoon Mangkhut barreled into southern China on Sunday after lashing the Philippines with strong winds and heavy rain that left dozens dead.

More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China’s southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades.

In North Carolina, fears of what could be the worst flooding in the state’s history led officials to order tens of thousands to evacuate, though it wasn’t clear how many had fled or even could.

President Donald Trump said federal emergency workers, first responders and law enforcement officials were ‘working really hard.’ As the storm ‘begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear. Very Professional!’ he declared in a tweet.

The storm’s death toll climbed to 17 when authorities said a 3-month-old child was killed when a tree fell on a mobile home in North Carolina. Three people died in weather-related traffic accidents, officials said.

Victor Merlos was overjoyed to find a store open for business in Wilmington since he had about 20 relatives staying at his apartment, which still had power. He spent more than $500 on cereal, eggs, soft drinks and other necessities, plus beer.

‘I have everything I need for my whole family,’ said Merlos. Nearby, a Waffle House restaurant limited breakfast customers to one biscuit and one drink, all take-out, with the price of $2 per item.

Kenneth Campbell had donned waterproof waders intending to check out his home in Lumberton , but he didn’t bother when he saw the Coast Guard and murky waters in his neighborhood.

‘I’m not going to waste my time. I already know,’ he said.

As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups were monitoring the threat from gigantic hog and poultry farms located in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

Victor Merlos loads supplies he bought at a Harris Teeter grocery store, one of the few places open in Wilmington, N.C., after storm Florence traveled through the area Sunday

The floodwaters of McAlpine Creek along Randolph Road in Charlotte, N.C., are seen on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018

A man walks along the street with his dog as people return to their houses after the passing of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, US September 16, 2018

A man walks along the street with his dog as people return to their houses after the passing of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, US September 16, 2018

Motorists drive through floodwaters in Hampstead, N.C. Sunday as Tropical Storm Florence continued to pelt the area with rain and wind

Motorists drive through floodwaters in Hampstead, N.C. Sunday as Tropical Storm Florence continued to pelt the area with rain and wind

A boat sits in a backyard after the passing of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina on Sunday

A boat sits in a backyard after the passing of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina on Sunday

The industrial-scale farms contain vast pits of animal feces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters. In past hurricanes, flooding at dozens of farms also left hundreds of thousands of dead hogs, chickens and other decomposing livestock bobbing in floodwaters.

Some stream gauges used to monitor river levels failed when they became submerged, but others showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to at or near record levels. The Defense Department said about 13,500 military personnel were assigned to help relief efforts.

Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000.

Near the flooded-out town of New Bern , where about 455 people had to be rescued from the swirling flood waters, water completely surrounded churches, businesses and homes. In the neighboring town of Trenton, downtown streets were turned to creeks full of brown water.

The rain was unrelenting in Cheraw, a town of about 6,000 people in northeastern South Carolina. Streets were flooded and Police Chief Keith Thomas warned people not to drive, but the local food and gas store had customers.

‘As you can tell, they’re not listening to me,’ he said.

On Sunday the death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical depression climbed to 15 when a 23-year-old man drowned after a pickup truck flipped into a drainage ditch along a flooded road in South Carolina.

Earlier, authorities said two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator in their South Carolina home during the storm.

Before and after photos show the floodwater level before on September 14 and after Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on September 16, 2018
Before and after photos show the floodwater level before on September 14 and after Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on September 16, 2018
Before and after photos show the floodwater level before on September 14 and after Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on September 16, 2018
Within two days floodwater consumed the base of a home in New Bern, North Carolina. Pictured Friday and then Sunday
Within two days floodwater consumed the base of a home in New Bern, North Carolina. Pictured Friday and then Sunday
Within two days floodwater consumed the base of a home in New Bern, North Carolina. Pictured Friday and then Sunday
Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sunday 

Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sunday

A member of the US Coast Guard walks down Mill Creek Road checking houses after tropical depression Florence hit Newport North Carolina Saturday

A man wades across a bridge flooded by Hurricane Florence in Pollocksville, North Carolina, Sunday

A man wades across a bridge flooded by Hurricane Florence in Pollocksville, North Carolina, Sunday

A home is seen in floodwaters from Hurricane Florence in Marion, South Carolina Sunday

Members of the Nebraska Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team help load an elderly resident onto a bus as they evacuate an assisted living facility to a church as a precaution against potential flooding Saturday 

A home is damaged after a large tree fell on it Sunday in Wilmington, North Carolina. So far, 15 deaths have been reported

A home is damaged after a large tree fell on it Sunday in Wilmington, North Carolina. So far, 15 deaths have been reported

A sailboat is shoved up against a house and a collapsed garage Saturday, September 15 after heavy wind and rain from Florence

The North Carolina fatalities also include three who died ‘due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,’ the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said 63-year-old Mark Carter King and 61-year-old Debra Collins Rion were killed by breathing in carbon monoxide.

Their bodies were found in a Loris home Saturday afternoon, but they likely died the day before as the heavy rains and winds from former hurricane-turned-Tropical Depression Florence were moving onshore.

Governor Roy Cooper says the storm has ‘never been more dangerous’ than it is now for areas extending from Fayetteville and Lumberton, across the Sandhills, to the central part of North Carolina and into the mountains.

About 740,000 homes and businesses remained without power in the Carolinas, and utilities said some could be out for weeks.

Sunday’s heavy rains have made major roads, including parts of the I-95, impassable.

Roads were quickly submerged on Sunday morning and blocked off by police cars and fire trucks. Some drivers in raised trucks slowly navigated the flooding while others made U-turns and looked for other routes. Smaller country roads were washed over with water as streams and rivers nearby burst their banks, leaving drivers at risk of being trapped.

The roads were fairly busy as drivers attempted to return home to assess damage on areas where areas where evacuation orders were lifted.

Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, but North and South Carolina were in the bull’s-eye.

The head of Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said officials were still focused on finding and rescuing people.

‘We’ll get through this. It’ll be ugly but we’ll get through it,’ he told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet The Press.

Long said:  ‘Well, unfortunately, the event is still unfolding for the next 48 hours.’

Two people in a canoe paddle through a street that was flooded by Hurricane Florence Saturday north of New Bern, North Carolina 

A Corvette sits damaged after a large tree fell on it Sunday in Wilmington, North Carolina 

Maggie Belgie of The Cajun Navy carries a child evacuating a flooding trailer community during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina Saturday

Maggie Belgie of The Cajun Navy carries a child evacuating a flooding trailer community during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina Saturday

A downed tree uprooted by Hurricane Florence lies next to homes in New Bern, North Carolina Saturday

A downed tree uprooted by Hurricane Florence lies next to homes in New Bern, North Carolina Saturday

Robert Dolman walks past a Cadillac that has been crushed by a tree Sunday in North Carolina 

Robert Dolman walks past a Cadillac that has been crushed by a tree Sunday in North Carolina

The next stage of the disaster comes with widespread river flooding, pictured a Coast Guard member Saturday 

The next stage of the disaster comes with widespread river flooding, pictured a Coast Guard member Saturday

US Marine Corp aid in evacuating  the local populace in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Saturday 

US Marine Corp aid in evacuating  the local populace in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Saturday

Apartment complex are evacuated due to Hurricane Florence

Officials on Sunday warned rivers were swelling toward record levels, forecasters now warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities.

Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000

On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for parts of the state that will make the rebuilding process easier for residents in some counties.

Trump, who plans a visit to the region next week, tweeted his ‘deepest sympathies and warmth’ to the families and friends of those who had lost their lives.

Saturday afternoon, the White House released a photo of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence receiving a phone briefing on disaster response efforts.

John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile from the river. Rain-soaked furniture workers helped him quickly empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse in a low-lying strip mall.

‘It’s the first time we’ve ever had to move anything like this,’ Rose said. ‘If the river rises to the level they say it’s going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water.’

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received an emergency preparedness update call on Hurricane Florence in the Treaty Room of the White House on Saturday

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received an emergency preparedness update call on Hurricane Florence in the Treaty Room of the White House on Saturday

The next stage of the disaster comes with widespread river flooding – which could make history in North Carolina

An updated map from Sunday morning shows Florence’s status

Certain areas of North Carolina are experiencing record-breaking major flooding

A Sunday morning map shows the three to five inches of rain in parts of North and South Carolina

A woman leaves a flooded home with her dog in a neighborhood inundated by water in Lumberton on Sunday

A woman leaves a flooded home with her dog in a neighborhood inundated by water in Lumberton on Sunday

A partially submerged car is pictured on a flooded street after Hurricane Florence struck Piney Green, North Carolina Sunday

A partially submerged car is pictured on a flooded street after Hurricane Florence struck Piney Green, North Carolina Sunday

Albie Lewis, right, a FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, talks with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper aboard a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft after surveying the damage done by Hurricane Florence on Sunday

On U.S. Route 401 nearby, rain rose in ditches and around unharvested tobacco crops along the road. Ponds had begun to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway churned with muddy, brown water.

Farther along the Cape Fear River, grass and trees lining the banks were partly submerged, still well below a highway bridge crossing it.

‘It’s hard to believe it’s going to get that high,’ says Elizabeth Machado, who came to the bridge to check on the river.

Fayetteville’s city officials, meanwhile, got help from the Nebraska Task Force One search and rescue team to evacuate 140 residents of an assisted-living facility in Fayetteville to a safer location at a church.

Already, more than two feet of rain has fallen in places, and forecasters are saying there could be an additional 1½ feet before Sunday is out.

‘I cannot overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren’t watching for them, you are risking your life,’ Gov. Roy Cooper said.

A pickup truck drives on a flooded road past a farm house that is surrounded by flooded fields from tropical storm Florence in Hyde County, North Carolina, Saturday

A pickup truck drives on a flooded road past a farm house that is surrounded by flooded fields from tropical storm Florence in Hyde County, North Carolina, Saturday

Resident Joseph Eudi looks at flood debris and storm damage from Hurricane Florence at a home on East Front Street in New Bern, North Carolina, Saturday 

Rescue personnel help a flood victim and her animals to dry land from heavy rains from Florence in North Carolina

Rescue personnel help a flood victim and her animals to dry land from heavy rains from Florence in North Carolina

Officials were warning residents not only to stay off the roads but also to avoid using GPS systems.

‘As conditions change, GPS navigation systems are not keeping up with the road closures and are directing people onto roads that are confirmed closed and/or flooded,’ the state Transportation Department said on Twitter.

Florence weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday and was crawling west at 8 mph. At 5am, the storm was centered about 20 miles southwest of Columbia, South Carolina. Its winds were down to 35 mph.

In Goldsboro, North Carolina, home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, roads that frequently flood were already closed Saturday by rushing water.

Dozens of electric repair trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast. Hundreds of thousands of outages have been reported.

A creek that feeds into the Neuse was rushing over a road near Phil Eubanks’ home Saturday. Another creek backed up into their basement Friday, but based on past experience Eubanks and his wife think the worst is over for them.

‘I didn’t sleep last night. It was creeping up those steps’ from the basement, said his jittery wife, Ellen. ‘It came up. It went down today. I think we’re OK.’

Coast Guard FN Tyler Elliott, from Louisville, Kentucky, helps rescue one of ten beagles from a flooded home in Columbus North Carolina Sunday

Coast Guard FN Tyler Elliott, from Louisville, Kentucky, helps rescue one of ten beagles from a flooded home in Columbus North Carolina Sunday

Members of the Coast Guard help a stranded motorist in the flood waters caused by Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina, Sunday 

Members of the Coast Guard help a stranded motorist in the flood waters caused by Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina, Sunday

Roger Hedgepeth is assisted along with his dog Bodie by members of the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday 

Hedgepeth wears a life jacket and holds his dog Bodie while being moved to higher ground Sunday 

A Dillon County rescue crew boat works in a flooded area near a stuck car in Latta, South Carolina, on Sunday 

A Dillon County rescue crew boat works in a flooded area near a stuck car in Latta, South Carolina, on Sunday

A man is pictured walking through a flooded street after Florence struck Piney Green, North Carolina

A man is pictured walking through a flooded street after Florence struck Piney Green, North Carolina

On Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina. Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the Sutton Plant and that contaminated storm water likely flowed into the plant’s cooling pond.

Sutton was mothballed in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills. The ash left behind when coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.

In New Bern, along the coast, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers used inflatable boats to reach people Saturday.

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued by boat from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sgt. Johan Mackie, whose team used a phone app to locate people in distress.

‘Amazing. They did awesome,’ said Knox, who was stranded with seven others.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people were safely rescued in the town of 30,000 residents. She called damage to thousands of buildings ‘heart-wrenching.’

Ernestine Crumpler, 80, is helped by members of the Nebraska Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team as they evacuate an assisted living facility to a church as a precaution against potential flooding the city could see

Resident Alice Tolson steps over storm debris that washed up from the Neuse River at her home on East Front Street in New Bern

Residents of an assisted living facility sit on a bus as they are evacuated Saturday in North Carolina

A 40-foot yacht lies in the yard of a storm-damaged home on East Front Street in New Bern, North Carolina Saturday

The boat washed up with storm surge and debris from Hurricane Florence

Spirits were high, though, at the Trent Park Elementary School in New Bern, where 44-year-old Cathy Yolanda Wright took shelter after being rescued from her flooded home Saturday. Wright, who sings in the choir at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist, led residents at the shelter in an energetic singalong.

People clapped and shouted, ‘Amen!’ and ‘Thank you, Lord.’

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

Coast Guard helicopters took off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars.

The Marines rescued about 20 civilians from floodwaters near Camp Lejeune, using Humvees and amphibious assault vehicles, the base reported.

The dead included a mother and baby killed by a falling tree in Wilmington, North Carolina. South Carolina recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a tree that fell across a highway.

Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, authorities said. A husband and wife died in a storm-linked house fire, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling while packing to evacuate.

Trenton, North Carolina, is pictured Sunday inundated with floodwaters from Florence 

A closed sign hangs from the front door of the Blue Flour bakery on Main St. in Columbia, S.C. as the remnants of Hurricane Florence slowly move across the East Coast

Story 2: High Tech Lynching 2.0 By Desperate Democrats Delaying Confirmation Vote of Judge Brett Kavanaugh With An Allegation of Sexual Assault In High School Over 35 Years Ago By Professor Christine Ford — False and Faulty Eyewitness Memory — Allegations Are Not Evidence and Way Beyond The Statue of Limitations — Uncertainty, Bias, Confidence Problems With Eyewitness Testimony — Senate Hearing Scheduled For September 24 — Kavanaugh Confirmed Soon — Resistance Is Futile — Videos —

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LEVIN: Some important questions about Dianne Feinstein’s referral of Brett Kavanaugh letter to FBI

Democrats threaten to delay hearings for SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Ted Cruz: Dems Delaying Kavanaugh Confirmation Because They Want to ‘Re-Litigate’ 2016 Election

Scott Adams – False Memories, Brett Kavanaugh, Peacocks, Lie Detectors, and the Simulation

How reliable is eyewitness testimony?

Scott Fraser: The problem with eyewitness testimony

Why eyewitnesses fail | Thomas Albright | TEDxSanDiego

How memory plays us: Elizabeth Loftus at TEDxOrangeCoast

The Power of Suggestion: How to Implant False Memories

Implanting False Memories

Is Your Memory Just an Illusion? | A Tua Memória é Apenas Uma Ilusão? | Julia Shaw | TEDxPorto

How False Memories Corrupt Our Identities, Politics, and Justice System | Julia Shaw | TEDxBergen

Time To Rethink Evil | Julia Shaw | TEDxOxford

Resistance is Futile!

KAVANAUGH ACCUSER IS AN ANTI-TRUMP LEFTIST WHO ATTENDED WOMEN’S MARCH, DONATED TO DNC

Attempt to derail nomination is a blatant political ploy

Judge Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford is an anti-Trump leftist who participated in the Women’s March and donated to the DNC, revelations that make the attempt to delay Kavanaugh’s nomination look increasingly like a desperate political ploy.

Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University in California, accused Kavanaugh of holding her down on a bed and groping her at a house party in Maryland in the early 80’s when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford was 15.

Ford asserts that the attack was so severe, she thought Kavanaugh was going to “inadvertently” kill her, claiming, “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

The professor says that the assault only came to a stop when a third person, Mark Judge, intervened and jumped on top of them.

However, Judge has completely denied that the incident ever took place. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was also first made aware of the allegations back in July but concealed all information relating to them for weeks.

It has since emerged that Ford has a history of left-wing political activism;

– She signed a letter attacking Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, asserting that it was “violating fundamental human rights”.

– Ford attended a women’s march event and even wore a version of the infamous “pussy hat” made to look like a brain.

null

– Records show that Ford donated to the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Friends Of Bernie Sanders.

– Perhaps in an attempt to hide her motives, Ford scrubbed her social media presence before the allegations came to light.

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Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸

@RealSaavedra

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has donated money to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Friends Of Bernie Sanders.

Despite top Democrats calling for the vote on Kavanaugh to be postponed until Ford’s claims can be properly vetted, the FBI has refused to open an investigation.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) office also sent out a letter on Friday morning on behalf of 65 women who knew Kavanaugh when he was in high school asserting, “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July,” a Republican spokesperson for Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said Sunday. “If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier.”

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https://www.infowars.com/kavanaugh-accuser-is-an-anti-trump-leftist-who-attended-womens-march-donated-to-dnc/

Rejoice, Democrats: Your Next High-Tech Lynching Has Arrived!

 

California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

Kavanaugh and his accuser offer to testify as allegation roils Washington

Christine Blasey Ford is willing to testify after her letter leaked alleging Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.

September 16 at 10:28 PM

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.

Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.

In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, the White House sent The Post a statement Kavanaugh issued last week, when the outlines of Ford’s account became public: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Through a White House spokesman, Kavanaugh declined to comment further on Ford’s allegation and did not respond to questions about whether he knew her during high school. The White House had no additional comment.

Kavanaugh denies making unwanted sexual advances as an adult

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh denied committing sexual or physical harassment as an adult when asked by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) on Sept. 5. 

Reached by email Sunday, Judge declined to comment. In an interview Friday with The Weekly Standard, before Ford’s name was known, he denied that any such incident occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge said. He told the New York Times that Kavanaugh was a “brilliant student” who loved sports and was not “into anything crazy or illegal.”

Christine Ford is a professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University, training graduate students in clinical psychology. Her work has been widely published in academic journals.

She contacted The Post through a tip line in early July, when it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of possible nominees to replace retiring justice Anthony M. Kennedy but before Trump announced his name publicly. A registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations, she contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, around the same time. In late July, she sent a letter via Eshoo’s office to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

In the letter, which was read to The Post, Ford described the incident and said she expected her story to be kept confidential. She signed the letter as Christine Blasey, the name she uses professionally.

Though Ford had contacted The Post, she declined to speak on the record for weeks as she grappled with concerns about what going public would mean for her and her family — and what she said was her duty as a citizen to tell the story.

She engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. On the advice of Katz, who said she believed Ford would be attacked as a liar if she came forward, Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August. The results, which Katz provided to The Post, concluded that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.

By late August, Ford had decided not to come forward, calculating that doing so would upend her life and probably would not affect Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said.

Her story leaked anyway. On Wednesday, the Intercept reported that Feinstein had a letter describing an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school and that Feinstein was refusing to share it with her Democratic colleagues.

Feinstein soon released a statement: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” she wrote. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

The FBI redacted Ford’s name and sent the letter to the White House to be included in Kavanaugh’s background file, according to a Judiciary Committee aide. The White House sent it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, making it available to all senators.

As pressure grew, the New York Times reported that the incident involved “possible sexual misconduct.”

By then, Ford had begun to fear she would be exposed. People were clearly learning her identity: A BuzzFeed reporter visited her at her home and tried to speak to her as she was leaving a classroom where she teaches graduate students. Another reporter called her colleagues to ask about her.

On Friday, the New Yorker reported the letter’s contents but did not reveal Ford’s identity. Soon after, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) released a letter from 65 women who say they knew Kavanaugh when he attended high school from 1979 to 1983 at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys school in North Bethesda.

“Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity,” the women wrote. “In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day.”

As the story snowballed, Ford said, she heard people repeating inaccuracies about her and, with the visits from reporters, felt her privacy being chipped away. Her calculation changed.

“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she said, explaining her decision to come forward. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”

Katz said she believes Feinstein honored Ford’s request to keep her allegation confidential, but “regrettably others did not.”

“Victims must have the right to decide whether to come forward, especially in a political environment that is as ruthless as this one,” Katz said. “She will now face vicious attacks by those who support this nominee.”

After so many years, Ford said, she does not remember some key details of the incident. She said she believes it occurred in the summer of 1982, when she was 15, around the end of her sophomore year at the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda. Kavanaugh would have been 17 at the end of his junior year at Georgetown Prep.

At the time, Ford said, she knew Kavanaugh and Judge as “friendly acquaintances” in the private-school social circles of suburban Maryland. Her Holton-Arms friends mostly hung out with boys from the Landon School, she said, but for a period of several months socialized regularly with students from Georgetown Prep.

Ford said she does not remember how the gathering came together the night of the incident. She said she often spent time in the summer at the Columbia Country Club pool in Chevy Chase, where in those pre-cellphone days, teenagers learned about gatherings via word of mouth. She also doesn’t recall who owned the house or how she got there.

Ford said she remembers that it was in Montgomery County, not far from the country club, and that no parents were home at the time. Ford named two other teenagers who she said were at the party. Those individuals did not respond to messages on Sunday morning.

She said she recalls a small family room where she and a handful of others drank beer together that night. She said that each person had one beer but that Kavanaugh and Judge had started drinking earlier and were heavily intoxicated.

In his senior-class yearbook entry at Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh made several references to drinking, claiming membership to the “Beach Week Ralph Club” and “Keg City Club.” He and Judge are pictured together at the beach in a photo in the yearbook.

Judge is a filmmaker and author who has written for the Daily Callerthe Weekly Standard and The Post. He chronicled his recovery from alcoholism in “Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk,” which described his own blackout drinking and a culture of partying among students at his high school, renamed in the book “Loyola Prep.” Kavanaugh is not mentioned in the book, but a passage about partying at the beach one summer makes glancing reference to a “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who “puked in someone’s car the other night” and “passed out on his way back from a party.”

Through the White House, Kavanaugh did not respond to a question about whether the name was a pseudonym for him.

Ford said that on the night of the party, she left the family room to use the bathroom, which was at the top of a narrow stairway. She doesn’t remember whether Kavanaugh and Judge were behind her or already upstairs, but she remembers being pushed into a bedroom and then onto a bed. Rock-and-roll music was playing with the volume turned up high, she said.

She alleges that Kavanaugh — who played football and basketball at Georgetown Prep — held her down with the weight of his body and fumbled with her clothes, seemingly hindered by his intoxication. Judge stood across the room, she said, and both boys were laughing “maniacally.” She said she yelled, hoping that someone downstairs would hear her over the music, and Kavanaugh clapped his hand over her mouth to silence her.

At one point, she said, Judge jumped on top of them, and she tried unsuccessfully to wriggle free. Then Judge jumped on them again, toppling them, and she broke away, she said.

She said she locked herself in the bathroom and listened until she heard the boys “going down the stairs, hitting the walls.” She said that after five or 10 minutes, she unlocked the door and made her way through the living room and outside. She isn’t sure how she got home.

Ford said she has not spoken with Kavanaugh since that night. And she told no one at the time what had happened to her. She was terrified, she said, that she would be in trouble if her parents realized she had been at a party where teenagers were drinking, and she worried they might figure it out even if she did not tell them.

“My biggest fear was, do I look like someone just attacked me?” she said. She said she recalled thinking: “I’m not ever telling anyone this. This is nothing, it didn’t happen, and he didn’t rape me.”

Years later, after going through psychotherapy, Ford said, she came to understand the incident as a trauma with lasting impact on her life.

“I think it derailed me substantially for four or five years,” she said. She struggled academically and socially, she said, and was unable to have healthy relationships with men. “I was very ill-equipped to forge those kinds of relationships.”

She also said that in the longer term, it contributed to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms with which she has struggled.

She married her husband in 2002. Early in their relationship, she told him she had been a victim of physical abuse, he said. A decade later, he learned the details of that alleged abuse when the therapist asked her to tell the story, he said.

He said he expects that some people, upon hearing his wife’s account, will believe that Kavanaugh’s high school behavior has no bearing upon his fitness for the nation’s high court. He disagrees.

“I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong,” Russell Ford said. “If they don’t have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that’s a problem. So I think it’s relevant. Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.”

Beth Reinhard, Seung Min Kim, Alice Crites and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/california-professor-writer-of-confidential-brett-kavanaugh-letter-speaks-out-about-her-allegation-of-sexual-assault/2018/09/16/46982194-b846-11e8-94eb-3bd52dfe917b_story.html?utm_term=.cdf2d19dcf91

 

Mark Judge, the other man named in Christine Ford’s Brett Kavanaugh allegations, explained

Ford alleges Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her — and that he played along.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 4, 2018, in Washington, DC.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The sexual assault allegation from Christine Blasey Ford that have upended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing aren’t just about Kavanaugh. They also mention a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford says was in the room when the assault took place: Mark Judge.

Ford describes Judge as watching Kavanaugh’s alleged assault, occasionally egging him on, and eventually jumping on top of her and Kavanaugh — a move that allowed her to escape.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations as “completely false.” Judge denied themto the Weekly Standard on Friday. (He declined to comment to the Washington Post for its article published Sunday.)

Judge was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland and is now a conservative writer who has written for publications such as the Daily Caller and the American Spectator.

He’s floated some controversial ideas in his writings — including asking in 2006 whether gay people are perverts and longing for the days when President George W. Bush could give his wife, Laura, a “loving but firm pat on the backside in public” as a show that he “knew who was boss.” He’s also the author of several books, including one recounting his teenage years of alcoholism and addiction.

He is now at the center of the brewing storm over Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while at a party during the early 1980s, when they were both in high school. The accusations could derail confirmation of President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination, which Democrats have asked to be delayed, even as many Republicans and the White House seem determined to forge ahead.

Ford alleges that Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her — and that he played along

Ford alleges that at sometime during the early 1980s, she was at a party when Kavanaugh and Judge, both drunk, corralled her into a bedroom. Ford says that while Judge watched, Kavanaugh “pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding her body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it,” according to an account written by Emma Brown at the Washington Post, who interviewed Ford.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/17/17870642/mark-judge-brett-kavanaugh-friend-christine-ford

 

 

Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re ready to testify _ but how?

Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of a decades-old sexual assault both indicated Monday they would be willing to testify to a Senate panel as the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee shifted from seemingly painless to problematic.

However, top Republicans seemed to be trying to limit any new testimony by Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, to telephone interviews. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he was trying to arrange to hear Ford in “an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner.”

The Iowa Republican said standard procedure for late-breaking information would involve follow-up phone calls with “at least” Kavanaugh and Ford. No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas backed him, lauding Grassley for seeking a process that “respects confidentiality.”

Kavanaugh was seen arriving at the White House, with no immediate reason given, while all 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Grassley asking him to postpone a scheduled Thursday vote on the nominee to give the FBI more time to investigate.

Democrats and some Republican senators have expressed concern over Ford’s private-turned-public accusation that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when both were teenagers at high schools in suburban Maryland.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser “should not be insulted.” Conway adds: “She should not be ignored. She should testify under oath and she should do it on Capitol Hill.” (Sept. 17)

Kavanaugh released a new statement calling the allegation “completely false” and saying he “had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself” on Sunday to The Washington Post.

“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” Kavanaugh said.

Debra S. Katz, the attorney for the accuser, said Ford was willing to tell her story publicly to the Judiciary panel but no lawmakers had yet contacted her. Katz denied that Ford, a Democrat, was politically motivated.

“She believes that if it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped,” Katz told NBC’s “Today.” Explaining Ford’s initial reluctance to come forward, Katz said, “No one in their right mind regardless of their motives would want to inject themselves into this process and face the kind of violation that she will be subjected to by those who want this nominee to go though.”

The Judiciary Democrats, in their letter to Chairman Grassley of Iowa, said serious questions have been raised about Kavanaugh’s “record, truthfulness and character.”

Currently a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, widely viewed as the nation’s second most powerful court, Kavanaugh seemed to be on a smooth confirmation track until the new allegation emerged.

Kavanaugh, 53, “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegation when it came out anonymously last week.

“This has not changed,” said White House spokesman Kerri Kupec on Monday. “Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement.”

Still, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said of Ford: “She should not be insulted. She should not be ignored. She should testify under oath, and she should do it on Capitol Hill.”

Conway, who said she had discussed the situation with Trump, said both Ford and Kavanaugh should testify, but made clear it was up to the Judiciary Committee. She said Sen. Lindsey Graham had told her it could happen as soon as Tuesday and the White House will “respect the process.”

Stressing that Kavanaugh had already testified and undergone FBI background checks, Conway said: “I think you have to weigh this testimonial evidence from Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh along with the considerable body of evidence that is already there about the judge’s temperament and qualifications and character.”

Initially the sexual misconduct allegation was conveyed in a private letter, without revealing Ford’s name. With a name and disturbing details, the accusation raised the prospect of congressional Republicans defending Trump’s nominee ahead of midterm elections featuring an unprecedented number of female candidates and informed in part by the #MeToo movement.

Ford said Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” she says — corralled her in a bedroom at a Maryland party in the early 1980s when she was around 15 and Kavanaugh was around 17. She says Kavanaugh groped her over her clothes, grinded his body against hers and tried to take off her one-piece swimsuit and the outfit she wore over it. Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream, she says, and she escaped when the friend, Mark Judge, jumped on them.

Kavanaugh attended a private school for boys in Maryland while Ford attended a nearby school.

A split over the nomination seemed to be emerging among the GOP.

Two committee Republicans — all on the GOP side are men — Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said they wanted to hear more from Ford. Flake went as far as to say he was “not comfortable” voting for Kavanaugh for the time being.

A potential “no” vote from Flake would complicate the judge’s prospects because Republicans control the committee by just 11-10.

A Republican not on the committee, Bob Corker of Tennessee, said the vote should be postponed until the committee heard from Ford. GOP Maine Sen. Susan Collins tweeted that she wanted Kavanaugh and Ford to both testify under oath to the committee, but when she was contacted Sunday by CNN she wouldn’t say if the vote should be postponed.

Grassley said that so far, the Judiciary committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, has refused to help schedule telephone interviews. A committee spokesman had said Sunday that Grassley was trying to arrange those phone calls but only for aides to Grassley and Feinstein before Thursday’s scheduled vote.

The allegation against Kavanaugh first came to light late last week in the form of a letter that had been for some time in the possession of Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee and one of its four female members. On Sunday, the Post published an interview with Ford.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, 51, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

In the interview, Ford says she didn’t reveal what had happened until 2012, when she and her husband sought couples therapy. Ford’s husband, Russell Ford, said he recalled his wife using Kavanaugh’s last name and expressing concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might someday be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Grassley could invite Ford to testify, likely in closed session before Thursday. Kavanaugh would also probably be asked to appear before senators. The panel would also likely seek testimony from Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate who Ford says jumped on top of her. Judge has denied that the incident happened.

With Republicans narrowly controlling the Senate 51-49, the views of Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would be key.

Both are under enormous pressure from outside groups who want them to oppose Kavanaugh on grounds that as a justice he could vote to undercut the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

___

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/3ce01c061d2d4d6a8b1bc8c71de220ba/Kavanaugh’s-accuser-willing-to-talk-to-Congress,-lawyer-says

Eyewitness testimony

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Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander or victim gives in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed; however, this is not always the case. This recollection is used as evidence to show what happened from a witness’ point of view. Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but has recently come under attack as forensics can now support psychologists in their claim that memories and individual perceptions can be unreliable, manipulated, and biased. Due to this, many countries and states within the US are now attempting to make changes in how eyewitness testimony is presented in court. Eyewitness testimony is a specialized focus within cognitive psychology.

 

Reliability

Psychologists have probed the reliability of eyewitness testimony since the beginning of the 20th century.[1] One prominent pioneer was Hugo Münsterberg, whose controversial book On the Witness Stand (1908) demonstrated the fallibility of eyewitness accounts, but met with fierce criticism, particularly in legal circles.[2] His ideas did, however, gain popularity with the public.[3] Decades later, DNA testing would clear individuals convicted on the basis of errant eyewitness testimony. Studies by Scheck, Neufel, and Dwyer showed that many DNA-based exonerations involved eyewitness evidence.[4]

In the 1970s and ’80s, Bob Buckhout showed inter alia that eyewitness conditions can, at least within ethical and other constraints, be simulated on university campuses,[2] and that large numbers of people can be mistaken: “Nearly 2,000 witnesses can be wrong” was the title of one paper.[5]

The mechanisms by which flaws enter eyewitness testimony are varied and can be quite subtle.

One way is a person’s memory being influenced by things seen or heard after the crime occurred. This distortion is known as the post-event misinformation effect (Loftus and Palmer, 1974). After a crime occurs and an eyewitness comes forward, law enforcement tries to gather as much information as they can to avoid the influence that may come from the environment, such as the media. Many times when the crime is surrounded by much publicity, an eyewitness may experience source misattribution. Source misattribution occurs when a witness is incorrect about where or when they have the memory from. If a witness cannot correctly identify the source of their retrieved memory, the witness is seen as not reliable.

While some witnesses see the entirety of a crime happen in front of them, some witness only part of a crime. These witnesses are more likely to experience confirmation bias. Witness expectations are to blame for the distortion that may come from confirmation bias. For example, Lindholm and Christianson (1998) found that witnesses of a mock crime who did not witness the whole crime, nevertheless testified to what they expected would have happened. These expectations are normally similar across individuals due to the details of the environment.

Evaluating the credibility of eye-witness testimony falls on all individual jurors when such evidence is offered as testimony in a trial in the United States.[6] Research has shown that mock juries are often unable to distinguish between a false and accurate eyewitness testimony. “Jurors” often appear to correlate the confidence level of the witness with the accuracy of their testimony. An overview of this research by Laub and Bornstein shows this to be an inaccurate gauge of accuracy.[7]

Research

Research on eyewitness testimony looks at systematic variables or estimator variables. Estimator variables are characteristics of the witness, event, testimony, or testimony evaluators. Systematic variables are variables that are, or have the possibility of, being controlled by the criminal justice system. Both sets of variables can be manipulated and studied during research, but only system variables can be controlled in actual procedure.[1]

Estimator variables

Age of Witness

Among children, suggestibility can be very high. Suggestibility is the term used when a witness accepts information after the actual event and incorporates it into the memory of the event itself. Children’s developmental level (generally correlated with age) causes them to be more easily influenced by leading questions, misinformation, and other post-event details. Compared to older children, preschool-age children are more likely to fall victim to suggestions without the ability to focus solely on the facts of what happened.[8]

In addition, a recent meta-analysis found that older adults (over age 65) tend to be more susceptible to memory distortion brought about by misleading post-event information, compared to young adults.[9]

Reconstructive memory

Many of the early studies of memory demonstrated how memories can fail to be accurate records of experiences. Because jurors and judges do not have access to the original event, it is important to know whether a testimony is based on actual experience or not.[10]

In a 1932 study, Frederic Bartlett demonstrated how serial reproduction of a story distorted accuracy in recalling information. He told participants a complicated Native American story and had them repeat it over a series of intervals. With each repetition, the stories were altered. Even when participants recalled accurate information, they filled in gaps with information that would fit their personal experiences. His work showed long term memory to be adaptable.[11] Bartlett viewed schemas as a major cause of this occurrence. People attempt to place past events into existing representations of the world, making the memory more coherent. Instead of remembering precise details about commonplace occurrences, a schema is developed. A schema is a generalization formed mentally based on experience.[12] The common use of these schemas suggests that memory is not an identical reproduction of experience, but a combination of actual events with already existing schemas. Bartlett summarized this issue, explaining

[M]emory is personal, not because of some intangible and hypothetical persisting ‘self ’, which receives and maintains innumerable traces, restimulating them whenever it needs; but because the mechanism of adult human memory demands an organisation of ‘schemata’ depending upon an interplay of appetites, instincts, interests and ideas peculiar to any given subject. Thus if, as in some pathological cases, these active sources of the ‘schemata’ get cut off from one another, the peculiar personal attributes of what is remembered fail to appear.[13]

Further research of schemas shows memories that are inconsistent with a schema decay faster than those that match up with a schema. Tuckey and Brewer found pieces of information that were inconsistent with a typical robbery decayed much faster than those that were schema consistent over a 12-week period, unless the information stood out as being extremely unusual. The use of schemas has been shown to increase the accuracy of recall of schema-consistent information but this comes at the cost of decreased recall of schema-inconsistent information.[14]

Misinformation effect

Elizabeth Loftus is one of the leading psychologists in the field of eyewitness testimony. She provided extensive research on this topic, revolutionizing the field with her bold stance that challenges the credibility of eyewitness testimony in court. She suggests that memory is not reliable and goes to great lengths to provide support for her arguments. She mainly focuses on the integration of misinformation with the original memory, forming a new memory. Some of her most convincing experiments support this claim:

  1. In one of her experiments, Loftus demonstrates that false verbal Information can integrate with original memory. Participants were presented with either truthful information or misleading information, and overall it showed that even the false information verbally presented became part of the memory after the participant was asked to recall details. This happens because of one of two reasons. First, it can alter the memory, incorporating the misinformation in with the actual, true memory. Second, the original memory and new information may both reside in memory in turn creating two conflicting ideas that compete in recall.[15]
  2. Loftus conducted more experiments to prove the reliability of expert psychological testimony versus the accepted basic eyewitness testimony. It was found that jurors who hear about a violent crime are more likely to convict a defendant than of one from a nonviolent crime. To reduce this tendency for a juror to quickly accuse, and perhaps wrongly accuse, choosing to utilize expert psychological testimony causes the juror to critically appraise the eyewitness testimony, instead of quickly reaching a faulty verdict.[16]
  3. Also, it has been shown that intelligence and gender has a role in the ability of accurate memory recall. Participants were measured in eyewitness performance in two areas: 1) the ability to resist adding misinformation to the memory and 2) accuracy of recalling the incident and person. It showed that when a woman was recalling information about a woman, the resistance to false details was higher and the recall was more accurate. If a man was recalling an incident involving a man, similarly the recall was more accurate. However, when dealing with opposite genders, the participants gave into the suggestibility (misinformation) more easily and demonstrated less accuracy.[17]
  4. Facial recognition is a good indicator of how easily memories can be manipulated. In this specific experiment, if a misleading feature was presented, more than a third of the participants recalled that detail. With a specific detail, almost 70% of people claimed that it had been there, when it had not been present.[18]

Systematic variables

Type of questioning

As early as 1900, psychologists like Alfred Binet recorded how the phrasing of questioning during an investigation could alter witness response. Binet believed people were highly susceptible to suggestion, and called for a better approach to questioning witnesses.[19]

Studies conducted by Crombag (1996) discovered that in an incident involving a crew attempting to return to the airport but were unable to maintain flight and crashed into an 11-story apartment building. Though no cameras caught the moment of impact on film, many news stations covered the tragedy with footage taken after impact.[20] Ten months after the event, the researchers interviewed people about the crash. According to theories about flashbulb memory, the intense shock of the event should have made the memory of the event incredibly accurate. This same logic is often applied to those who witness a criminal act. To test this assumption, participants were asked questions that planted false information about the event. Fifty-five percent of subjects reported having watched the moment of impact on television, and recalled the moment the plane broke out in flames-even though it was impossible for them to have seen either of these occurrences. One researcher remarked, “[V]ery critical sense would have made our subjects realize that the implanted information could not possibly be true. We are still at a loss as to why so few of them realized this.”

A survey of research on the matter confirm eyewitness testimony consistently changes over time and based on the type of questioning.[21] The approach investigators and lawyers take in their questioning has repeatedly shown to alter eyewitness response. One study showed changing certain words and phrases resulted in an increase in overall estimations of witnesses.[22]

Improving eyewitness testimony

Law enforcement, legal professions, and psychologists have worked together in attempts to make eyewitness testimony more reliable and accurate. Geiselman, Fisher, MacKinnon, and Holland saw much improvement in eyewitness memory with an interview procedure they referred to as the cognitive interview. The approach focuses on making witness aware of all events surrounding a crime without generating false memories or inventing details. In this tactic, the interviewer builds a rapport with the witness before asking any questions.[23] They then allow the witness to provide an open ended account of the situation. The interviewer then asks follow up questions to clarify the witness’ account, reminding the witness it is acceptable to be unsure and move on.[1] This approach guides the witness over a rigid protocol. When implemented correctly, the CI showed more accuracy and efficiency without additional incorrect information being generated.[24]

Currently, this is the U.S. Department of Justice’s suggested method for law enforcement officials to use in obtaining information from witnesses.[25] Programs training officers in this method have been developed outside the U.S. in many European countries, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.[26]

While some analysis of police interviewing technique reveals this change towards CI interviewing is not put into effect by many officials in the U.S.A. and the U.K., it is still considered to be the most effective means of decreasing error in eyewitness testimony.[1][27]

Procedural reforms

Experts debate what changes need to occur in the legal process in response to research on inaccuracy of eyewitness testimony.

Jury guidelines

It has been suggested that the jury be given a checklist to evaluate eyewitness testimony when given in court. R. J. Shafer offers this checklist for evaluating eyewitness testimony:

  • How well could the eyewitness observe the thing he reports? Were his senses equal to the observation? Was his physical location suitable to sight, hearing, touch? Did he have the proper social ability to observe: did he understand the language, have other expertise required (e.g., law, military)?
  • When did he report in relation to his observation? Soon? Much later?
  • Are there additional clues to intended veracity? Was he indifferent on the subject reported, thus probably not intending distortion? Did he make statements damaging to himself, thus probably not seeking to distort? Did he give incidental or casual information, almost certainly not intended to mislead?
  • Do his statements seem inherently improbable: e.g., contrary to human nature, or in conflict with what we know?
  • Remember that some types of information are easier to observe and report on than others.
  • Are there inner contradictions in the testimony? [28]

Judge guidelines

In 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court created new rules for the admissibility of eyewitness testimony in court. The new rules require judges to explain to jurors any influences that may heighten the risk for error in the testimony. The rules are part of nationwide court reform that attempts to improve the validity of eyewitness testimony and lower the rate of false conviction.[29]

See also

References

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

False memory

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false memory is a psychological phenomenon where a person recalls something that did not happen. There is a growing body of evidence that false memories are created whenever memories are recalled.[1][2][3][4]

False memory is often considered regarding childhood sexual abuse.[5][6][7][8] This phenomenon was initially investigated by psychological pioneers Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud. Freud wrote The Aetiology of Hysteria, where he discussed repressed memories of childhood sexual trauma in their relation to hysteria.[9] Elizabeth Loftus has, since her debuting research project in 1974,[10] been a lead researcher in memory recovery and false memories.

False memory syndrome recognizes false memory as a prevalent part of one’s life in which it affects the person’s mentality and day-to-day life. False memory syndrome differs from false memory in that the syndrome is heavily influential in the orientation of a person’s life, while false memory can occur without this significant effect. The syndrome takes effect because the person believes the influential memory to be true.[11] However, its research is controversial and the syndrome is excluded from identification as a mental disorder and, therefore, is also excluded from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. False memory is an important part of psychological research because of the ties it has to a large number of mental disorders, such as PTSD.[12]

Manipulation of memory recall through language

In 1974, Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer conducted a study to investigate the effects of language on the development of false memory. The experiment involved two separate studies.

In the first test, 45 participants were randomly assigned to watch different videos of a car accident, in which separate videos had shown collisions at 20 miles per hour, 30 miles per hour, and 40 miles per hour. Afterwards, participants filled out a survey. The survey asked the question, “About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?” The question always asked the same thing, except the verb used to describe the collision varied. Rather than “smashed”, other verbs used included “bumped”, “collided”, “hit”, or “contacted”. Participants estimated collisions of all speeds to average between 35 miles per hour to just below 40 miles per hour. If actual speed were the main factor in estimate, it could be assumed that participants would have lower estimates for lower speed collisions. Instead, the word being used to describe the collision seemed to better predict the estimate in speed rather than the speed itself.[10]

The second experiment also showed participants videos of a car accident, but the critical thing was the verbiage of the follow-up questionnaire. 150 participants were randomly assigned to three conditions. Those in the first condition were asked the same question as the first study using the verb “smashed”. The second group was asked the same question as the first study, replacing “smashed” with “hit”. The final group was not asked about the speed of the crashed cars. The researchers then asked the participants if they had seen any broken glass, knowing that there was no broken glass in the video. The responses to this question had shown that the difference between whether broken glass was recalled or not heavily depended on the verb used. A larger sum of participants in the “smashed” group declared that there was broken glass.

In this study, the first point brought up in discussion is that the words used to phrase a question can heavily influence the response given.[10] Second, the study indicates that the phrasing of a question can give expectations to previously ignored details, and therefore, a misconstruction of our memory recall. This indication supports false memory as an existing phenomenon.

Article adjustment on eyewitness report

Loftus’ meta-analysis on language manipulation studies suggested the phenomenon effects taking hold on the recall process and products of the human memory. Even the smallest adjustment in a question, such as the article preceding the supposed memory, could alter the responses. For example, having asked someone if they’d seen “the” stop sign, rather than “a” stop sign, provided the respondent with a presupposition that there was a stop sign in the scene. This presupposition increased the number of people responding that they had indeed seen the stop sign.

Adjective implications on eyewitness report

Select adjectives can imply characteristics about an object. Including said adjectives in a prompt can alter participant responses. Harris’ 1973[citation needed] study looks at the differences in answers on the height of a basketball player. Respondents were randomly assigned to have either answered to, “How tall was the basketball player?” or “How short was the basketball player?” Rather than asking participants simply for the height of the basketball player, they used adjectives that had an implication for the numerical results. The difference in height averages that were predicted was 10 inches (250 mm). The adjective provided in a sentence can cause a respondent to exaggerate.

Word lists

One can trigger false memories by presenting subjects a continuous list of words. When subjects were presented with a second type of the list and asked if the words had appeared on the previous list, they find that the subjects did not recognize the list correctly. When the words on the two lists were semantically related to each other (e.g. sleep/bed), it was more likely that the subjects did not remember the first list correctly and created false memories (Anisfeld & Knapp).[13]

Staged naturalistic events

Subjects were invited in an office and were told to wait there. After this they had to recall the inventory of the visited office. Subjects recognized objects consistent with the “office schema” although they did not appear in the office. (Brewer & Treyens, 1981)[13]

Response to meta-analysis

It has been argued[by whom?] that Loftus and Palmer did not control for outside factors coming from individual participants, such as participants’ emotions or alcohol intake, along with many other factors. Despite criticisms such as this, this particular study is extremely relevant to legal cases regarding false memory. The Loftus and Palmer automobile study allowed for the Devlin Committee to create the Devlin Report, which suggested that eyewitness testimony is not reliable standing on its own.

Reliability of memory recall

Presuppositions

Presuppositions are an implication through chosen language. If a person is asked, “What shade of blue was the wallet?” The questioner is, in translation, saying, “The wallet was blue. What shade was it?” The question’s phrasing provides the respondent with a supposed “fact”. This presupposition provides two separate effects: true effect and false effect.

True effect says that the object implied to have existed does exist. With that, the respondent’s recall is strengthened, more readily available, and easier to extrapolate from. In true effect, presuppositions make a detail more readily recalled. For example, it would be less likely that a respondent would remember a wallet was blue if the prompt did not say that it was blue. False effect is that the object implied to have existed never was present. Despite this, the respondent is convinced otherwise and allows it to manipulate their memory. It can also alter responses to later questions to keep consistency. Regardless of the effect being true or false, the respondent is attempting to conform to the supplied information, because they assume it to be true.[citation needed]

Construction hypothesis

Construction hypothesis has major implications for explanations on the malleability of memory. Upon asking a respondent a question that provides a presupposition, the respondent will provide a recall in accordance with the presupposition (if accepted to exist in the first place). The respondent will recall the object or detail. The construction hypothesis says that if a true piece of information being provided can alter a respondent’s answer, then so can a false piece of information.[14]

Skeleton theory

Loftus developed the skeleton theory after having run an experiment involving 150 subjects from the University of Washington.[citation needed][15] The skeleton theory explains the idea of how a memory is recalled, which is split into two categories: the acquisition processes and the retrieval processes.

The acquisition processes are in three separate steps. First, upon the original encounter, the observer selects a stimulus to focus on. The information that the observer can focus on compared to the information in the situation is very small. In other words, a lot is going on around us and we only pick up on a small portion. Therefore, the observer must make a selection on the focal point. Second, our visual perception must be translated into statements and descriptions. The statements represent a collection of concepts and objects; they are the link between the event occurrence and the recall. Third, the perceptions are subject to any “external” information being provided before or after the interpretation. This subsequent set of information can alter recall.

The retrieval processes come in two steps. First, the memory and imagery is regenerated. This perception is subject to what foci the observer has selected, along with the information provided before or after the observation. Second, the linking is initiated by a statement response, “painting a picture” to make sense of what was observed. This retrieval process results in either an accurate memory or a false memory.

Relational processing

Memory retrieval has been associated with the brain’s relational processing. In associating two events (in reference to false memory, say tying a testimony to a prior event), there are verbatim and gist representations. Verbatim matches to the individual occurrences (i.e. I do not like dogs because when I was five a chihuahua bit me) and gist matches to general inferences (i.e. I do not like dogs because they are mean). Keeping in line with the fuzzy-trace theory, which suggests false memories are stored in gist representations (which retrieves both true and false recall), Storbeck & Clore (2005) wanted to see how change in mood affected the retrieval of false memories. After using the measure of a word association tool called the Deese–Roediger–McDermott paradigm, the subjects’ moods were manipulated. Moods were either oriented towards being more positive, more negative, or were left unmanipulated. Findings suggested that a more negative mood made critical details, stored in gist representation, less accessible.[16] This would imply that false memories are less likely to occur when a subject was in a worse mood.

Therapy-induced memory recovery

Recovery strategies

Memories recovered through therapy have become more difficult to distinguish between simply being repressed or having existed in the first place. Therapists have used strategies such as hypnotherapy, repeated questioning, and bibliotherapy. These strategies may provoke the recovery of nonexistent events or inaccurate memories.[7][17][18][19] A recent report indicates that similar strategies may have produced false memories in several therapies in the century before the modern controversy on the topic which took place in the 1980s and 1990s.[20] In The Myth of Repressed Memory: False memories and allegations of Sexual AbuseElizabeth Loftus writes about how easy it is for her as a therapist to mold people’s memories, or prompt them to recall a nonexistent broken glass.[21]

For her there are different possibilities to create false therapy-induced memory. One is the unintentional suggestions of therapists. For example, a therapist might tell their client that, on the basis of their symptoms, it is quite likely that they had been abused as a child. Once this “diagnosis” is made, the therapist sometimes urges the patient to pursue the recalcitrant memories. It is a problem resulting from the fact that people create their own social reality with external information.[22]

Laurence and Perry conducted a study testing the ability to induce memory recall through hypnosis. Subjects were put into a hypnotic state and later woken up. Observers suggested that the subjects were woken up by a loud noise. Nearly half of the subjects being tested concluded that this was true, despite it being false. Although, by therapeutically altering the subject’s state, they may have been led to believe that what they were being told was true.[23] Because of this, the respondent has a false recall.

A 1989 study focusing on hypnotizability and false memory separated accurate and inaccurate memories recalled. In open-ended question formation, 11.5% of subjects recalled the false event suggested by observers. In a multiple-choice format, no participants claimed the false event had happened. This result led to the conclusion that hypnotic suggestions produce shifts in focus, awareness, and attention. Despite this, subjects do not mix fantasy up with reality.[9]

Therapy-induced memory recovery is a prevalent subcategory of memory recall prompting discussion of false memory syndrome. This phenomenon is loosely defined, and not a part of the DSM. However, the syndrome suggests that false memory can be declared a syndrome when recall of a false or inaccurate memory takes great effect on your life. This false memory can completely alter the orientation of your personality and lifestyle.[9]

The “lost-in-the-mall” technique is another recovery strategy. This is essentially a repeated suggestion pattern. The person whose memory is to be recovered is persistently said to have gone through an experience even if it may have not happened. This strategy can cause the person to recall the event as having occurred, despite its falsehood.[24]

Legal cases

Therapy-induced memory recovery has made frequent appearances in legal cases, particularly those regarding sexual abuse.[citation needed] Therapists can often aid in creating a false memory in a victim’s mind, intentionally or unintentionally. They will associate a patient’s behavior with the fact that they have been a victim of sexual abuse, thus helping the memory occur. They use memory enhancement techniques such as hypnosis dream analysis to extract memories of sexual abuse from victims. According to the FMSF (False Memory Syndrome Foundation), these memories are false and are produced in the very act of searching for and employing them in a life narrative. In Ramona v. Isabella,[citation needed] two therapists wrongly prompted a recall that their patient, Holly Ramona, had been sexually abused by her father. It was suggested that the therapist, Isabella, had implanted the memory in Ramona after use of the hypnotic drug sodium amytal. After a nearly unanimous decision, Isabella had been declared negligent towards Holly Ramona. This 1994 legal issue played a massive role in shedding light on the possibility of false memories’ occurrences.

In another legal case where false memories were used, they helped a man to be acquitted of his charges. Joseph Pacely had been accused of breaking into a woman’s home with the intent to sexually assault her. The woman had given her description of the assailant to police shortly after the crime had happened. During the trial, memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus testified that memory is fallible and there were many emotions that played a part in the woman’s description given to police. Loftus has published many studies consistent with her testimony.[14][25][26] These studies suggest that memories can easily be changed around and sometimes eyewitness testimonies are not as reliable as many believe.

Another notable case of Maxine Berry, Maxine grew up in the custody of her mother, who opposed the father having contact with her (Berry & Berry, 2001). When the father expressed his desire to attend his daughter’s high school graduation, the mother enrolled Maxine in therapy, ostensibly to deal with the stress of seeing her father. The therapist pressed Maxine to recover memories of sex abuse by her father. Maxine broke down under the pressure and had to be psychiatrically hospitalized. She had her tubes tied, so she would not have children and repeat the cycle of abuse. With the support of her husband and primary care physician, Maxine eventually realized that her memories were false and filed a suit for malpractice. The suit brought to light the mother’s manipulation of mental health professionals to convince Maxine that she had been sexually abused by her father. In February 1997 Jennifer Gerrietts, Argus Leader, South Dakota Maxine Berry, sued her therapists and clinic that treated her from 1992-1995 and, she says, made her falsely believe she had been sexually and physically abused as a child when no such abuse ever occurred. The lawsuit, filed in February 1997 in Minnehaha Co. Circuit Court South Dakota, states that therapist Lynda O’Connor-Davis had an improper relationship with Berry, both during and after her treatment. The suit also names psychologist Vail Williams, psychiatrist Dr. William Fuller and Charter Hospital and Charter Counseling Center as defendants. Berry and her husband settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.[citation needed]

Although there have been many legal cases in which false memory appears to have been a factor, this does not ease the process of distinguishing between false memory and real recall. Sound therapeutic strategy can help this differentiation, by either avoiding known controversial strategies or to disclosing controversy to a subject.[7][9][27] In each case, the recovered memory therapy was declared inadmissible and not scientifically sound. The fact that recovered memories cannot necessarily distinguish between true and false meant the quality of evidence was weakened and the cases concluded against the therapists. The objection to therapeutic recovery techniques has been argued by comparing the ethics of memory elimination techniques such as electroconvulsive therapy.[19]

Harold Merskey published a paper on the ethical issues of recovered-memory therapy.[27] He suggests that if a patient had pre-existing severe issues in their life, it is likely that “deterioration” will occur to a relatively severe extent upon memory recall. This deterioration is a physical parallel to the emotional trauma being surfaced. There may be tears, writhing, or many other forms of physical disturbance. The occurrence of physical deterioration in memory recall coming from a patient with relatively minor issues prior to therapy could be an indication of the recalled memory’s potential falsehood.[27]

In children

If a child experienced abuse, it is not typical for them to disclose the details of the event when confronted in an open-ended manner.[28] Trying to indirectly prompt a memory recall can lead to the conflict of source attribution, as if repeatedly questioned the child might try to recall a memory to satisfy a question. The stress being put on the child can make recovering an accurate memory more difficult.[5] Some people hypothesise that as the child continuously attempts to remember a memory, they are building a larger file of sources that the memory could be derived from, potentially including sources other than genuine memories. Children that have never been abused but undergo similar response-eliciting techniques can disclose events that never occurred.[28] If one concludes that the child’s recalled memory is false, it is a type I error. Assuming the child did not recall an existing memory, it is a type II error.

One of children’s most notable setbacks in memory recall is source misattribution. Source misattribution is the flaw in deciphering between potential origins of a memory. The source could come from an actual occurring perception, or it can come from an induced and imagined event. Younger children, preschoolers in particular, find it more difficult to discriminate between the two.[29] Lindsay & Johnson (1987) concluded that even children approaching adolescence struggle with this, as well as recalling an existent memory as a witness. Children are significantly more likely to confuse a source between being invented or existent.[30]

Commonly held false memories

The Bologna station clock, subject of a collective false memory

Similar false memories are sometimes shared by multiple people.[31][32] One such false memory is that the name of the Berenstain Bears was once spelled Berenstein.[33][34] Another example consists of false memories of a 1990s movie titled Shazaam starring comedian Sinbad as a genie, which may be a conflation of memories of the comedian wearing a genie costume during a TV presentation of Sinbad the Sailor movies in 1994,[31][35] and a similarly named 1996 film Kazaam featuring a genie played by Shaquille O’Neal.[31]

A 2010 study examined people who were familiar with the clock at Bologna Centrale railway station, which had been damaged in the Bologna massacre bombing in August 1980. In the study, 92% falsely remembered that the clock had remained stopped since the bombing; in fact, the clock was repaired shortly after the attack but was again stopped 16 years later as a symbolic commemoration of it.[32]

In 2010 the phenomenon of collective false memory was dubbed the “Mandela effect” by self-described “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome, in reference to a false memory she reports of the death of South African leader Nelson Mandela in the 1980s (when he was in fact still alive), which she claims is shared by “perhaps thousands” of other people.[36] Broome has speculated about alternate realities as an explanation, but most commentators suggest that these are instead examples of false memories shaped by similar factors affecting multiple people,[37][38][31][39][34][40][41] such as social reinforcement of incorrect memories,[42][43] or false news reports and misleading photographs influencing the formation of memories based on them.[44][43]

See also

  • False memory syndrome, a condition in which a person’s identity and relationships are affected by strongly believed but false memories of traumatic experiences.
  • Source-monitoring error, an effect in which memories are incorrectly attributed to different experiences than the ones that caused them.
  • Misinformation effect, false memories caused by exposure to misleading information presented between the encoding of an event and its subsequent recall.
  • Confabulation, the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories without the conscious intention to deceive.
  • Repressed memory, the idea that traumatic memories can be repressed and also potentially brought back through therapy.
  • Jamais vu, the feeling of unfamiliarity with recognised memories.
  • Cryptomnesia, a memory that is not recognised as such.

Notes …

References

Further reading

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

 Story 3: South Korean President Moon Meets North Korean Chairman Kim Tuesday for 2018 Summit Meeting — Denuclearization of Korea On Agenda —  U.S. Accuses Russia of Violating U.N. Sanctions On North Korea — Videos

Predictions on Third Inter-Korean Summit

LIVE/NEWSCENTER] 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Pyeongyang D-1: Latest from Main Press Center

Detailed schedule of 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Pyeongyang

Live: Moon Jae-in leaves Seoul for Pyongyang summit韩国总统离开首尔前往会见金正恩

Moon Jae-in, the Republic of Korea president, is leaving Seoul for Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Un, the top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), who will greet him at the airport in the DPRK capital.

S. Korean business leaders to attend inter-Korean summit

UN: US accuses Russia of N. Korean ‘sanctions violations’

UN Security Council to hold urgent meeting on Monday on North Korea sanctions implementation

Two Koreas hold high-stakes summit with nuclear talks in jeopardy

By Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is set to cross the heavily militarised border on Tuesday for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to cement a breakthrough in faltering nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

The inter-Korean summit will be a litmus test for another meeting Kim has recently proposed to U.S. President Donald Trump, giving clues to whether Kim is serious about denuclearisation, a commitment he made at their first encounter in June.

Trump has asked Moon to be “chief negotiator” between himself and Kim, according to Moon’s aides, after Trump cancelled a trip to Pyongyang by his secretary of state last month.

“I’d like to have frank dialogue with Chairman Kim on how to find a point of contact between U.S. demands for denuclearisation and North Korea’s demands for ending hostile relations and security guarantees,” Moon told a meeting with senior secretaries on Monday.

Moon, himself the offspring of a family displaced by the 1950-53 Korean War, will fly into the North’s capital of Pyongyang, landing at 10 a.m. (0300 GMT), his chief of staff Im Jong-seok told a news briefing on Monday. He is expected to be greeted by Kim before an official welcoming ceremony.

The two leaders will sit down for formal talks after lunch, which will be followed by a musical performance and welcome dinner.

Accompanying corporate executives, including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee and the chiefs of SK Group and LG Group, will meet with North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong Nam in charge of economic affairs, Im said.

On Wednesday, Moon and Kim are expected to unveil a joint statement, and a separate military pact designed to defuse tensions and prevent armed clashes, Im said.

Moon will return home early Thursday.

‘EVERYTHING IN BLANK’

Moon is hoping to help jumpstart nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, by engineering a proposal that combines a concrete framework for the North’s denuclearisation and a joint declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War, Seoul officials said.

The war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving U.S.-led U.N. forces including South Korea technically still at war with the North.

But U.S. officials remain “unenthusiastic” about declaring an end to the war without any substantial action toward denuclearisation from the North, Seoul officials said.

South Korea is pinning high hopes on Kim’s remarks to Moon’s special envoys earlier this month that he wants to achieve denuclearisation within Trump’s first term in office ending in early 2021, the first time line he has given.

Agreeing on a timetable is a core task for Moon, as it would induce U.S. action, said Lee Jung-chul, a professor at Soongsil University in Seoul.

“Given U.S. scepticism that South Korea may have oversold Kim’s willingness to denuclearise, how President Moon delivers his sincerity toward denuclearisation to Trump would be a key factor for the fate of their second summit,” Lee told a forum on Monday in Seoul.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/two-koreas-hold-high-stakes-summit-nuclear-talks-150704972.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1115, Story 1: War of Words: Islamic Republic of Iran Major General Qassem Soleimani Warns United States and Trump — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos — Story 2: Vice President Pence Talks Turkey: Free Pastor or Face U.S. Sanctions — Release Now — Videos — Story 2: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos — Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

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You may start the war but we will end it: Soleimani warns Trump

Who is Qasem Soleimani?

Iran’s revolutionary guard explained

Is this Iranian the most powerful man in Iraq? – Newsnight

President Trump: U.S. Won’t Stand For Iranian President’s ‘Demented Words’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Sebastian Gorka: Trump understands how fragile Iran is

Iranian President Warns Trump Not To ‘Play With The Lion’s Tail’

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

US vs Iran – Strait of Hormuz

The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

10 Differences Between Shia and Sunni Muslims

 

Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Threatens United States Again — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos

Trump Tower in ruins? Iranian special forces leader warns Trump that war ‘will destroy everything you own’ and boasted that ‘nation of martyrdom’ can strike U.S. military

  • Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would ‘destroy everything you own’
  • The boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike the president’s real estate properties
  • Soleimani said U.S. military in the Red Sea area are not secure: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him’
  • Trump softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal
  • That came after he warned Iran’s president that he would ‘SUFFER CONSEQUENCES’ for threatening the U.S.

The general in charge of Iran‘s elite paramilitary Quds Forces warned Donald Trumpon Thursday that war with the Islamist country would eliminate his entire net worth, suggesting terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike his real estate properties.

‘You know that this war will destroy everything you own,’ Major General Qassem Soleimani said during a speech in the central Iranian city of Hamedan.

He also said the Red Sea is not secure while U.S. troops are deployed in the area: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him.’

‘We are near you, where you can’t even imagine … Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,’ he boasted.

Iranian Quds Forces commander Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would 'destroy everything you own'

Trump had already softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal

The latest Iranian boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Tehran's military are prepared to strike the president's real estate properties

‘You have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic.’

Iran this week dismissed a warning from Trump that Tehran risked dire consequences if it made threats against the United States.

Trump softened his threatening tone on Tuesday, just two days after he blasted an allcaps warning about ‘consequences’ for Tehran’s anti-U.S. rhetoric.

Addressing the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Trump took credit for pulling the U.S. out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear accord, but said his administration stands ready for Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate would be an appetizing target for America's enemies

The president warned Iran's president Sunday night not to provoke him

The president warned Iran’s president Sunday night not to provoke him

‘We’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster,’ he said.

Late Sunday night he tweeted to Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.’

Rouhani had claimed that ‘Iran is the mother of all peace’ before warning Trump that ‘war with Iran is the mother of all wars.’

‘Don’t play with fire, or you will regret [it],’ the Iranian leader continued. ‘Iranian people are the master and they will never bow to anyone.’

Iran President warns Trump not to take military action

Soleimani, who as Quds Force commander is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations, put his disdain for Trump in more personal terms.

‘Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls,’ he said Thursday.

His threat directed at U.S. troops in the Red Sea area came as Saudi Arabia said it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the strategic shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb, following an attack on two oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemen, where a U.S-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for three years, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

 

ww.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5995587/Iranian-special-forces-leader-warns-Trump-war-destroy-own.html

 

Qasem Soleimani

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Sardar
Qasem Soleimani
Sardar Qasem Soleimani-01.jpg
Native name قاسم سلیمانی
Nickname(s) Haj Qasem” (among supporters)[1]

“The Shadow Commander” (in the West)[2][3][4][5][6]

Born 11 March 1957 (age 61)
Qanat-e MalekKermanImperial State of Iran
Allegiance Iran
Service/branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service 1979–present
Rank Major general
Unit Quds Force
Commands held 41st Tharallah Division of Kerman
Quds Force
Battles/wars

show

See battles
Awards Fath Medal.jpg Fath Medal of Honor (3)[14]

Qasem Soleimani (Persianقاسم سلیمانی‎, born 11 March 1957) is an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and since 1998 commander of its Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.[15]

A veteran military officer of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s with a humble background, he has been active in many conflicts in the rest of the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, while maintaining a very low profile. His methods have been a blend of military and financial assistance to Shiite allies and hard-nosed strategic diplomacy. It has long provided military assistance to anti-Saddam Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.[16]

 

Background

Soleimani was born in Qanat-e Malek village, Rabor CountyKerman Province, to an impoverished peasant family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help repay a debt his father owed. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization.[17] When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms and attending the sermons of a traveling preacher by the name of Hojjat Kamyab – a protege of Ayatollah Khomeini.[18]

Military Career

Soleimani joined the Revolutionary war Guard (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini take power. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly. Early in his career as a guardsman, he was stationed in northwestern Iran, and participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in West Azerbaijan Province.[18]

On 22 September 1980, when Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran, setting off the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Suleimani joined the battlefield serving as the leader of a military company, consisting of men from Kerman whom he personally assembled and trained.[19] He quickly earned a reputation for bravery,[20] and rose through the ranks because of his role in the successful operations in retaking the lands Iraq had occupied, eventually becoming the commander of the 41st Sarallah Division while still in his 20s, participating in most major operations. He was mostly stationed at the southern front[19][21] He was heavily injured in Operation Tariq-ol-Qods. In a 1990 interview, he mentions Operation Fath-ol-Mobin as “the best” operation he participated in and “very memorable”, due to its difficulties yet positive outcome.[22] He was also engaged in leading and organizing irregular warfare missions deep inside Iraq carried out by the Ramadan Headquarters. It was at this point that Suleimani established relations with Kurdish Iraqi leaders and the Shia Badr Organization, both of which opposed to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[19]

On July 17, 1985, Soleimani opposed the IRGC leadership’s plan to deploy forces to two islands in western Arvandroud (Shatt al-Arab).[23]

After the war, during the 1990s, he was an IRGC commander in Kerman Province.[21] In this region, which is relatively close to Afghanistan, Afghan-grown opium travels to Turkey and onto Europe. Soleimani’s military experience helped him earn a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking.[18]

During the 1999 student revolt in Tehran, Soleiman was one of the IRGC officers who signed a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. The letter stated that if Khatami did not crush the student rebellion the military would, and might also launch a coup against Khatami.[18][24]

Command of Quds Force

The exact date of his appointment as commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force is not clear, but Ali Alfoneh cites it as between 10 September 1997 and 21 March 1998.[17] He was considered one of the possible successors to the post of commander of the IRGC, when General Yahya Rahim Safavi left this post in 2007. In 2008, he led a group of Iranian investigators looking into the death of Imad Mughniyah. Soleimani helped arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and Mahdi Army in March 2008.[25]

Following the September 11 attacks of 2001, Ryan Crocker, a senior State Department official in the United States, flew to Geneva to meet with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shia Afghanis.[18] This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when George W Bush named Iran as part of the “Axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.[18]

In 2009, a leaked report stated that General Soleimani met Christopher R. Hill and General Raymond T. Odierno (America’s two most senior officials in Baghdad at the time) in the office of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (who has known General Soleimani for decades). Hill and General Odierno denied the occurrence of the meeting.[26]

On 24 January 2011, Soleimani was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[21][27] Khamenei is described as having a close relationship with him, helping him financially and has called Soleimani a “living martyr”.[18]

Soleimani has been described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat Western influence and promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.[18] In Iraq, as the commander of the Quds force, he is believed to have strongly influenced the organization of the Iraqi government, notably supporting the election of previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.[18][28] Soleimani has even been described as being “Iran’s very own Erwin Rommel“.[29]

According to some sources, Soleimani is the principal leader and architect of the military wing of the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah since his appointment as Quds commander in 1998.[18]

Syrian Civil War

A map of Al-Qusayr and its environs. The Al-Qusayr offensive was allegedly masterminded by Soleimani[30]

According to several sources, including Riad Hijab, a former Syrian premier who defected in August 2012, he is also one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[18][28] In the later half of 2012, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war, when Iranians became deeply concerned about the Assad government’s lack of ability to fight the opposition, and the fallout to the Islamic Republic if the Syrian government fell. He is reported to have coordinated the war from a base in Damascus at which a Lebanese Hezbollah commander and an Iraqi Shiite militia coordinator have been mobilized, in addition to Syrian and Iranian officers. Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani, the Basij’s former deputy commander helps to run irregular militias that Soleimani hopes to continue the fight if Assad falls.[18] Under Soleimani the command has “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications”. According to a Middle Eastern security official Dexter Filkins talked to, thousands of Quds Force and Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Syria are “spread out across the entire country.”[18] The retaking of Qusayr in May 2013 from Syrian rebels was, according to John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, “orchestrated” by Soleimani.[18]

He is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.[31] The details of his involvement however are little known but many events from the training of government allied militias and coordination of decisive military offensives[18] to the sighting of Iranian UAVs & spy-drones in Syria, strongly suggest that his command (the Quds force) is heavily involved in many aspects of the civil war.[18] In a visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday 29 Jan 2015, Soleimani laid wreaths at the graves of the slain Hezbollah members, including Emad Mughniyah, the son of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah which strengthens some possibilities about his role in Hezbollah military reaction on Israel.[32]

Soleimani helped in formation of the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria.

In October 2015, it was reported that he had been instrumental in devising during his visit to Moscow in July 2015 the Russian-Iranian-Syrian offensive in October 2015.[33]

War on ISIS in Iraq

The east of Saladin Province in Iraq where Qasem Soleimani was involved in breaking the Siege of Amirli by ISIS[34]

Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amerli, to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIS.[35][36] According to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes”. The US acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed arm groups—at the same time that was present on the battlefield.[37][38]

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.[9] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin province where ISIS had laid siege to an important city.[34] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani’s command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias but also the Kurdish in the battle of Amirli,[39] not only providing liaisons for intelligence sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to “providing expertise”.[40]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar, he was reportedly “present on the battlefield”. Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as “fearless”—one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.[41]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning & execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit[42][43]

Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization [an official Iraqi political party whose military wing is one of the largest armed forces in the country] highlighted the pivotal role of General Qasem Soleimani in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, maintaining that if it were not for Iran, Heidar al-Ebadi’s government would have been a government-in-exile right now.[44] and he added there would be no Iraq if Gen. Soleimani hadn’t helped us.[45]

There were reports by some Western sources that Soleimani has been seriously wounded in action against ISIL in Samarra. The claim was rejected by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.[46]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, gifting it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL performed its most infamous massacre at Camp Speicher. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015.[43] Soleimani is directing the operations on the eastern flank from a village about 35 miles from Tikrit called Albu Rayash, captured over the weekend. The offensive is the biggest military operation in the Salahuddin region since last summer, when ISIS fighters killed hundreds of Iraq army soldiers who had abandoned their military base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015

In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad’s forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah.[47][48][49]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help. Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian–Russian alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. “Putin reportedly told the envoy ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. Gen. Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria.[48]

Operations in Aleppo

Map of the offensive.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Soleimani, who assumed overall command in the Aleppo offensives of 2015,[citation needed] had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east.[56] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. Soleimani reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers).[57]

It is unclear whether or not the General sustained possibly grave injuries, but in response to reports about his injury[58] during the southwest Aleppo operation, he is quoted as saying, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”.[59]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside,[60] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off rebel’s main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. “Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area”, he said.[61] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo, though the exact date of the photos is unknown.[62][63]

Operations in 2017

In late March 2017, Soleimani was seen in the northern Hama Governorate countryside, reportedly aiding Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan in repelling a major rebel offensive.[13]

CIA’s chief, Mike Pompeo, said that he sent Soleimani and other Iranian leaders a letter holding them responsible for any attacks on US interests by forces under their control. According to Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide for the country’s supreme leader, Soleimani ignored the letter when it was handed over to him while he was in the Abu Kamal offensive against ISIL, saying “I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people.”[64][65]

In popular culture

General Soleimani in civil dress during a public ceremony in 2013

He is said to have a calm presence about him,[66] carry himself “inconspicuously and rarely raises his voice”, exhibiting “understated charisma“.[20] In Western sources, Qassem Suleimani’s personality has been compared to the fictional characters KarlaKeyser Söze,[20] and Scarlet Pimpernel.[67]

The 2016 award-winning movie Bodyguard, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, was inspired by Soleimani’s activities.[68]

The 2016 Persian book Noble Comrades 17: Hajj Qassem, written by Ali Akbari Mozdabadi, contains memoirs of Qassem Soleimani.[69]

Hadi Al-Ameri the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq says about him: “If Qasem Soleimani was not present in Iraq, Haidar al-Ibadi should form his cabinet out of Iraqi borders”.[70]

In politics

In 1999, Soleimani, along with other senior IRGC commanders, signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami regarding the student protests in July. They wrote “Dear Mr. Khatami, how long do we have to shed tears, sorrow over the events, practice democracy by chaos and insults, and have revolutionary patience at the expense of sabotaging the system? Dear president, if you don’t make a revolutionary decision and act according to your Islamic and national missions, tomorrow will be so late and irrecoverable that cannot be even imagined.”[71]

Iranian media reported in 2012 that he might be replaced as the commander of Quds Force in order to allow him to run in the 2013 presidential election.[72] He reportedly refused to be nominated for the election.[71] According to BBC, in 2015 a campaign started among conservative bloggers for Soleimani to stand for 2017 presidential election.[73] In 2016, he was speculated as a possible candidate,[71][74] however in a statement published on 15 September 2016, he called speculations about his candidacy as “divisive reports by the enemies” and said he will “always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”.[75]

Personal life

Qasem Soleimani is from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh died in 2013.[76] He comes from a family of nine and has five sisters and one brother, Sohrab, who lived and worked with Soleimani in his youth.[77] Sohrab Soleimani is a warden and former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization. U.S. put sanctions on him in April 2017 “for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons”.[78]

Soleimani has Dan in karate and was a fitness trainer in his youth. He has four children: two sons and two daughters.[79]

Sanctions

In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.[80] On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the United States along with Syrian president Bashar Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government.[81]

On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria”.[82] The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.[83] Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 due to the same grounds cited by the European Union.[84]

He is listed by the United States as a known terrorist, which forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with him.[25][85] The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also includes a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding Assad’s government. The list also includes Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb.[86]

See also

References

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

Quds Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Quds Force
سپاه قدس
Seal of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.svg
Active 1980–present
Country Iran
Branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Type Special operations force
Role Special operations
Size Classified (estimate: 15,000)
Engagements Iran–Iraq War
1982 Lebanon War
Bosnian War
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
Battle for Herat
Balochistan conflict
Iran–PJAK conflict
Syrian Civil War
2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Military intervention against ISIL

Commanders
Commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani

The Quds Force[1] (Persianسپاه قدس‎ sepāh-e qods) is a special forces unit of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations.[2] The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of IranAli Khamenei.[3][4] Its commander is Major General Qasem Soleimani[5] and his deputy was Hossein Hamadani.[6] While “little is reliably known” about the force,[7] as of 2007, its size was estimated at 15,000 troops.[8]The United States has designated the Quds Force a supporter of terrorism since 2007.[9]

 

History and mission

The Quds Force was created during the Iran–Iraq War as a special unit from the broader IRGC forces. Both during and after the war, it provided support to the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein. In 1982, a Quds unit was deployed to Lebanon, where it assisted in the genesis of Hezbollah.[10] The Force also expanded its operations into neighboring Afghanistan, most notably aiding Abdul Ali Mazari‘s Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat in the 1980s against the government of Mohammad Najibullah. It then began funding and supporting Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance against the Taliban.[11] However, in recent years, the Quds Force is alleged to have been helping and guiding the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] There were also reports of the unit lending support to Bosnian Muslims fighting the Bosnian Serbs during the Yugoslav wars.[19][20][21]

According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helped fund the Quds Force while he was stationed at the Ramazan garrison near Iraq, during the late 1980s.[22]

In January 2010, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the mission of the Quds Force was expanded and the Force along with Hezbollah started a new campaign of attacks targeting not only the US and Israel but also other Western bodies.[23]

Organization

8 directorates of Quds Force Operations

The force is described as “active in dozens of countries”.[7] According to former U.S. Army intelligence officer David Dionisi, the Quds force is organized into eight different directorates based on geographic location:[24]

According to journalist Dexter Filkins, the force’s members are “divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets”, and the force is divided into branches focusing on “intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and special operations. Members are chosen both for their skill and “allegiance to the doctrine of the Islamic Revolution”.[25]

In addition, Dionisi asserts in his book American Hiroshima that the Iranian Quds Force headquarters for operations in Iraq was moved in 2004 to the Iran-Iraq border in order to better supervise activities in Iraq.[24] The Quds Force also has a headquarters in the former compound of the U.S. Embassy, which was overrun in 1979.[26]

According to Filkins and American General Stanley A. McChrystal, it was the Quds Force that “flooded” Iraq with “explosively formed projectiles” which fire a molten copper slug able to penetrate armor, and which accounted for “nearly 20%” of American combat deaths in Iraq (i.e. hundreds of soldiers).[25] In September 2007, a few years after the publication of American Hiroshima: The Reasons Why and a Call to Strengthen America’s Democracy in July 2006, General David Petraeus reported to Congress that the Quds Force had left Iraq. Petraeus said, “The Quds Force itself, we believe, by and large, those individuals have been pulled out of the country, as have the Lebanese Hezbollah trainers that were being used to augment that activity.”[27]

On July 7, 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersh wrote an article in The New Yorker revealing that President Bush had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to conduct cross-border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against the Quds Force and “high-value targets”.[28] “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change”, a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups”.[28]

Size

The size of the Quds Force is unknown, with some experts believing that Quds Force numbers no more than 2,000 people, with 800 core operatives, and others saying that it could number anywhere from 3,000 to 50,000.[29][30][31]

Outside analysis

While it reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, there are debates over how independently Quds Force operates.[29]

Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism (and editor of Islamism Digest), believes the unit is not independent: “Quds Force, although it’s a highly specialized department, it is subject to strict, iron-clad military discipline. It’s completely controlled by the military hierarchy of the IRGC, and the IRGC is very tightly controlled by the highest levels of the administration in Iran.”[32]

According to a Los Angeles Times report,[29] in Abedin’s view, “[I]t’s a very capable force—their people are extremely talented, [and] they tend to be the best people in the IRGC”.[32]

Activities

The Quds Force trains and equips foreign Islamic revolutionary groups around the Middle East. The paramilitary instruction provided by the Quds Force typically occurs in Iran or Sudan. Foreign recruits are transported from their home countries to Iran to receive training. The Quds Force sometimes plays a more direct role in the military operations of the forces it trains, including pre-attack planning and other operation-specific military advice.[24]

Afghanistan

Since 1979, Iran had supported the Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat forces against the Afghan government of Mohammad Najibullah. When Najibullah stepped down as President in 1992, Iran continued supporting Hezbe Wahdat against other Afghan militia groups. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996, Hezbe Wahdat had lost its founder and main leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, so the group joined Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance. Iran began supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, who were backed by Pakistan and the Arab world.[33] In 1999, after several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Iran nearly got into a war with the Taliban.[34][35] The Quds Force reportedly fought alongside the United States and the Northern Alliance in the Battle for Herat. However, in recent years Iran is accused of helping and training the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13] Iranian-made weapons, including powerful explosive devices are often found inside Afghanistan.[14][16][17][18]

We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard‘s core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed… Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don’t have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That’s why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it’s more than weapons; it’s money; it’s also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well.[15]

In March 2012, Najibullah Kabuli, leader of the National Participation Front (NPF) of Afghanistan, accused three senior leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of plotting to assassinate him.[36] Some members of the Afghan Parliament accuses Iran of setting up Taliban bases in several Iranian cities, and that “Iran is directly involved in fanning ethniclinguistic and sectarian tensions in Afghanistan.”[37] There are reports about Iran’s Revolutionary Guards training Afghans inside Iran to carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.[38]

Currently, the Revolutionary Guards recruit young people for terrorist activities in Afghanistan and try to revive the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar and Taliban groups[38]

— Syed Kamal, a self-confessed agent for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and member of Sipah-i-Mohmmad

India

Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, Delhi Police at the time contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement.[39] This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the February 13 bomb attack in the capital.[39]

United States

On 11 October 2011, the Obama Administration revealed the United States Government’s allegations that the Quds Force was involved with the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir, which also entailed plans to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies located in Washington, D.C.[40][41][42]

South America

It’s been reported that Iran has been increasing its presence in Latin America through Venezuela. Little is known publicly what their objectives are in the region, but in 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced Iran for meddling in “subversive activities” using Quds Forces. However, Iran claims it is merely “ensuring the survival of the regime” by propagating regional influence.

Iraq

The Quds Force has been described as the Iranian “unit deployed to challenge the United States presence” in Iraq following the U.S. invasion of that country, which put “165,000 American troops along [Iran’s] western border,” adding to the American troops already in Iran’s eastern neighbor Afghanistan.[43]

The force “operated throughout Iraq, arming, aiding, and abetting Shiite militias”—i.e., the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in IraqDawa, and the Mahdi Army—”all” of which “had close ties to Iran, some dating back decades” as part of their struggle against Saddam Hussein‘s oppressive Arab nationalist regime.[43]

In November 2006, with sectarian violence in Iraq increasing, U.S. General John Abizaid accused the Quds Force of supporting “Shi’a death squads” even while the government of Iran pledges support in stabilization.[44] Similarly, in July 2007, Major General Kevin Bergner of the U.S. Army alleged that members of the Quds Force aided in the planning of a raid on U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Karbala in January 2007.[45]

Former CIA officer Robert Baer asserts the Quds Force uses couriers for all sensitive communications.[46]

2006 detainment in Iraq

On 24 December 2006, the New York Times reported that at least four Iranians were captured by American troops in Iraq in the previous few days. According to the article, the U.S. government suspected that two of them were members of Quds Force, which would be some of the first physical proof of Quds Force activity in Iraq.[47] According to The Pentagon, the alleged the Quds Force members were “involved in the transfer of IED technologies from Iran to Iraq”.[48] The two men had entered Iraq legally, although they were not accredited diplomats. Iraqi officials believed that the evidence against the men was only circumstantial, but on 29 December, and under U.S. pressure, the Iraqi government ordered the men to leave Iraq. They were driven back to Iran that day.[49] In mid-January 2007 it was said that the two alleged Quds force officers seized by American forces were Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chizari and Col. Abu Amad Davari. According to the Washington Post. Chizari is the third highest officer of Quds Force, making him the highest-ranked Iranian to ever allegedly be held by the United States.[50]

American newspaper The New York Sun reported that the documents described the Quds Force as not only cooperating with Shi’a death squads, but also with fighters related to al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna. It said that the Quds Force had studied the Iraq situation in a similar manner to the U.S. Iraq Study Group, and had concluded that they must increase efforts with Sunni and Shiite groups in order to counter the influence of Sunni states.[51]

U.S. raid on Iranian liaison office

On 11 January 2007, U.S. forces raided and detained five employees of the Iranian liaison office in Irbil, Iraq. The U.S. military says the five detainees are connected to the Quds Force.[52][53] The operation has drawn protests from the regional Kurdish government while the Russian government called the detainments unacceptable.[54]

Alireza Nourizadeh, a political analyst at Voice of America, states that their arrests are causing concern in Iranian intelligence because the five alleged officials are knowledgeable of a wide range of Quds Force and Iranian activities in Iraq.[55] According to American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, one of the men in custody is Quds Force’s director of operations.[56]

Iranian and Iraqi officials have maintained the detained men were part of a diplomatic mission in the city of ErbilIraq.[57] The five Iranian detainees were still being held at a U.S. prison in Iraq as of 8 July 2007.[58] The U.S. says they are “still being interrogated” and that it has “no plans to free them while they are seen as a security risk in Iraq”.[59] Iran says the detainees “are kidnapped diplomats” and that “they are held as hostages”.[60]

On 9 July 2009, the five detained diplomats in question were released from U.S. custody to Iraqi officials.[61]

Allegations of involvement in Karbala attack

On 20 January 2007, a group of gunmen attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, captured four American soldiers, and subsequently killed them. The attackers passed through an Iraqi checkpoint at around 5 pm, a total of five black GMC Suburbans, similar to those driven by U.S. security and diplomatic officials. They were also wearing American military uniforms and spoke fluent English. Because of the sophistication of the attack, some analysts have suggested that only a group like the Quds Force would be able to plan and carry out such an action.[62] Former CIA officer Robert Baer also suggested that the five Americans were killed by the Quds Force in revenge for the Americans holding five Iranians since the January 11 raid in Irbil.[63] It was reported that the U.S. military is investigating whether or not the attackers were trained by Iranian officials; however, no evidence besides the sophistication of the attack has yet been presented.[64]

On 2 July 2007, the U.S. military said that information from captured Hezbollah fighter Ali Moussa Dakdouk established a link between the Quds Force and the Karbala raid. The U.S. military claims Dakdouk worked as a liaison between Quds force operatives and the Shia group that carried out the raid. According to the United States, Dakdouk said that the Shia group “could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force”.[65]

Allegations of support for Iraqi militants

In June 2007, U.S. General Ray Odierno asserted that Iranian support for these Shia militia increased as the United States itself implemented the 2007 “troop surge“.[66] Two different studies have maintained that approximately half of all foreign insurgents entering Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.[67]

In December 2009 evidence uncovered during an investigation by The Guardian newspaper and Guardian Films linked the Quds Force to the kidnappings of five Britons from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007. Four of the hostages, Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec Maclachlan, and Alan McMenemy, were killed. Peter Moore was released on 30 December 2009. The investigation uncovered evidence that Moore, 37, a computer expert from Lincoln was targeted because he was installing a system for the Iraqi Government that would show how a vast amount of international aid was diverted to Iran’s militia groups in Iraq. One of the alleged groups funded by the Quds force directly is the Righteous League, which emerged in 2006 and has stayed largely in the shadows as a proxy of the Quds Force. Shia cleric and leading figure of the Righteous League, Qais al-Khazali, was handed over by the U.S. military for release by the Iraqi government on 29 December 2009 as part of the deal that led to the release of Moore.[68]

Allegations by U.S. President Bush

In a 14 February 2007 news conference U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his claim that the Quds Force was causing unrest in Iraq, stating:

I can say with certainty that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops. And I’d like to repeat, I do not know whether or not the Quds Force was ordered from the top echelons of government. But my point is what’s worse – them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening? And so we will continue to protect our troops. … to say it [this claim] is provoking Iran is just a wrong way to characterize the Commander-in-Chief’s decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm’s way. And I will continue to do so. … Whether Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds force to do this, I don’t think we know. But we do know that they’re there, and I intend to do something about it. And I’ve asked our commanders to do something about it. And we’re going to protect our troops. … I don’t think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds Force, go do this, but we know it’s a vital part of the Iranian government. …What matters is, is that we’re responding. The idea that somehow we’re manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous. … My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we’re going to do something about it, pure and simple. … does this mean you’re trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I’m trying to protect our troops.[69]

Mohsen Sazegara, who was a high-ranking Tehran official before turning against the government, has argued that Ahmadinejad does not control the Guards outside of Iran. “Not only the foreign ministry of Iran; even the president does not know what the Revolutionary Guards does outside of Iran. They directly report to the leader”, he said, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.[70] Although Ali Khamenei is the ultimate person in charge of the Quds Force, George Bush did not mention him.[71] According to Richard Clarke, “Quds force reports directly to the Supreme Ayatollah, through the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary guards.”[71]

Detainment of alleged bomb smuggler

On 20 September 2007, the U.S. military arrested an Iranian during a raid on a hotel in Sulaimaniyah, a city in the Kurdish-controlled north. The military accused the Iranian of being a member of the elite Quds Force and smuggling powerful roadside bombs, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, into Iraq. The military said intelligence reports asserted the suspect was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign fighters into Iraq as well.[72]

On 22 September 2007, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani criticized the United States for arresting the Iranian and called for his immediate release. Talabani argued he is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in the Kurdish Region and stated Iraqi and Kurdish regional government representatives were aware of the man’s presence in the country. “I express to you our outrage for these American forces arresting this Iranian civil official visitor without informing or cooperating with the government of the Kurdistan region, which means insult and disregard for its rights”, Talabani wrote in a “letter of resentment” to Ryan CrockerU.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Gen. David Petraeus.[73]

Allegations of 2007 market attack

On 24 November 2007, US military officials accused an Iranian special group of placing a bomb in a bird box that blew up at a popular animal market in central Baghdad. “The group’s purpose was to make it appear Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack”, Admiral Smith said. He further emphasized there was “no evidence Iran ordered the attack”.[74] In May 2008, Iraq said it had no evidence that Iran was supporting militants on Iraqi soil.[75] Al-Sadr spokesman Al-Ubaydi said the presence of Iranian weapons in Iraq is “quite normal,” since “they are bought and sold and any party can buy them.”[76]

Allegations of ties to Al-Qaeda

According to reports produced by Agence France-Presse (AFP), The Jerusalem Post, and Al Arabiya, at the request of a member of the United States’ House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in 2011 Congressional counter-terrorism advisor Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, LLC produced a report on Iran’s alleged ties to Al-Qaeda that was distributed to members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus.[77][78][79] Titled “The al-Qa’ida-Qods Force Nexus: Scratching the Surface of a Known Unknown”, a redacted version of Smith’s report is available online via the blog site owned by American military geostrategist and The Pentagon’s New Map author Thomas P.M. Barnett.[80] The report’s Issue Summary section explains: “This report focuses on the history of Iran’s relationship with al-Qa’ida, and briefly addresses potential implications of these ties. Additionally, its author provides a list of recommended action items for Members of the United States Congress, as well as a list of questions that may help Members develop a better understanding of this issue through interactions with defense and intelligence officials”. A member of the Quds Force was alleged arrested with 21 other suspects in the attack on the Israeli and United States embassies on 14 March 2012 in Azerbaijan.

Combat against Islamic State

The Quds force’s leader, Gen Qasem Soleimani was involved with both the planning as well as the execution of the operation to expell ISIL from Tikrit

In 2014, Quds Force was deployed into Iraq to lead Iranian action against ISIL. Iran sent three Quds Force battalions to help the Iraqi government repel ISIL’s 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.[81] Over 40 officers participated in the Second Battle of Tikrit (March 2015), including the leader of the force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani who took a leading role in the operation.

Syria

IRGC Commander Jafari announced on 16 September 2012 that Quds Force “were present” in Syria.[82]

Coinciding with the Geneva II Conference on Syria in 2014, Iran boosted its presence in Syria with several “hundred” military specialists, including senior commanders from the Quds Force, according to Iranian sources and security experts. While recently retired senior IRGC commander told that there were at least 60 to 70 Quds force commanders on the ground in Syria at any given time.[83] The primary role of these forces is to gather intelligence and manage the logistics of the battle for the Syrian Government.[83][84]

In November 2015 the Quds Force conducted a successful rescue mission of a Russian bomber pilot who was shot down by a Turkish fighter. Commander of Quds Force of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Major General Qasem Soleimani got in touch with his Russian counterparts and said that a special unit had been formed and was ready for the rescue operation. He also explained that the squad was made up of men from the Lebanese “Hezbollah” and soldiers from the Syrian Special Forces, who had undergone special training under the guidance of Iranian instructors. Apart from this fact, the Syrian soldiers were familiar with the terrain. The general assumed command of the ground operation and Russian aircraft had to carry out air cover and enable satellite surveillance. Once the location of the Russian pilot was determined via satellite through the built-in GPS device, it became clear that the pilot was located six kilometers behind the front line between the Syrian army forces and the opposition forces. The Special squad that entered the territory controlled by militants was not only able to save the Russian pilot, but also destroy all of the remaining terrorists there who had the most modern weapons in their possession. All of the 24 fighters not only survived, but also returned to their base without injuries.[85]

In May 2018, Quds forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights allegedly fired around 20 projectiles towards Israeli army positions without causing damage or casualties.[86] Israel responded with airstrikes against Iranian bases in Syria.[87] At least twenty-three fighters, among them 18 foreigners, were reportedly killed in the strikes.[88]

Germany

In January 2018, German authorities conducted raids in Baden-WürttembergNorth Rhine-WestphaliaBavaria and Berlin, searching homes and businesses belonging to ten alleged Iranian Quds Force members, suspected of spying on Israeli and Jewish targets.[89]

Designation as a terrorist organization

The United States Department of the Treasury designated the Quds Force under Executive Order 13224 for providing material support to US-designated terrorist organizations on 25 October 2007, prohibiting transactions between the group and U.S. citizens, and freezing any assets under U.S. jurisdiction.[9] The Government of Canada designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization on 17 December 2012.[90] Egypt’s nominations included the organization.[91]

See also

References

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

Story 2: Vice President Pence Talks Turkey: Free Pastor or Face U.S. Sanctions — Release Now — Videos

See the source image

Pence: US to Sanction Turkey Unless Pastor Freed

Vice President Pence: ‘Deep Concern’ About Americans Held in Turkey

Senators seek sanctions until Turkey frees Pastor Brunson

Turkey Refuses to Release Jailed American Pastor

US pastor facing terrorism charges in Turkey

Erdogan spokesman says United States will not achieve results by threatening Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday the U.S. administration will not achieve its desired results by threatening Turkey, after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of sanctions unless Ankara freed an American pastor.

“The United States must reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a written statement.

Trump demands Turkey ‘immediately’ release US pastor

US President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, "is suffering greatly" during detention in TurkeyUS President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, “is suffering greatly” during detention in Turkey

President Donald Trump on Thursday demanded Turkey free a detained American pastor, warning the United States was ready to impose “large sanctions” against its NATO ally.

“He is suffering greatly,” Trump said of 50-year-old pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in detention for almost two years. “This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!”

Brunson ran a protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir when he was detained in October 2016 on terrorism-related charges.

Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest on Wednesday, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was “not enough.”

The Trump administration — which is broadly supported by powerful US evangelicals — has made defending Christians abroad a tenet of its foreign policy.

“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being,” Trump said.

The escalating war of words between Washington and Ankara risks worsening already poor ties, which hold enormous military and economic importance for both countries.

The United States has long used bases in Turkey for operations across the Middle East, but relations have been strained by Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Brunson still faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups Turkey deems terrorist organizations. One is led by the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, while the other is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

His next hearing is set for October 12.

The pastor denies the charges and his defense team argues the case is built on questionable witness statements that should never have been brought to court.

Earlier Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said “there is no credible evidence” against Brunson.

Last week a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would require the United States to reject international loans to Turkey until Brunson and other Americans are freed or the harassment against them ends.

“I find it difficult to see how this relationship moves forward… if the Turkish government continues to detain Pastor Brunson as well as locally employed staff, journalists, and civil servants,” Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said at the time.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5996073/Trump-demands-Turkey-immediately-release-US-pastor.html

Story 3: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos —

Jordan, Meadows explain filing for Rosenstein impeachment

GOP lawmakers introduce articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein

Trump allies move to impeach Rosenstein

Dershowitz on the case against impeaching Rosenstein

BREAKING: Republicans Introduce Articles Of Impeachment Against Rosenstein

Gowdy: Voters deserve justice system without politics

Paul Ryan: I do not support impeaching Rosenstein

House Republicans introduce articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein

Full exchange between Rep. Jim Jordan and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (C-SPAN)

Jordan on calls to impeach Rosenstein, wrestling probe

Rosenstein responds to GOP impeachment threats

Ex-DOJ attorney: Rosenstein should have already been fired

Will Trump fire Rosenstein?

Sources: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Is Prepared To Be Fired | MSNBC

Rep. Ron DeSantis on the push to impeach Rosenstein

Articles of impeachment filed against Rod Rosenstein

Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry

Fox News’s Napolitano: Trump tweets are a ‘treasure trove’ for Mueller

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller knows President Trump‘s tweets are a “treasure trove” for his probe into whether the president obstructed justice.

“Mueller knows that those tweets are a treasure trove and a window into Trump’s thinking,” Napolitano said on Fox News’s “Outnumbered.”

“Did the president send messages to people of threats, or rewards, via his tweets? People who he knew or expected would be interviewed by Bob Mueller?” Napolitano said. “And if he did, was he engaging in witness tampering?”

Napolitano’s comments came shortly after a new New York Times reportthat said Mueller is reviewing Trump’s tweets as part of his investigation into whether he obstructed justice.

The Times reported that Mueller is focusing on Trump’s tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, each of whom the president has repeatedly criticized on Twitter. 

Among other things, Trump has tweeted and said in interviews that he would not have nominated Sessions as attorney general if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer in Mueller’s Russia probe, said in a statement in response to the report.

The report from the Times comes only a few days after Giulani told Bloomberg News that he suggested to Mueller that Trump would sit for an interview only if Mueller agreed to rule out questions about obstruction of justice. 

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/399056-fox-news-napolitano-trumps-tweets-are-a-treasure-trove-for-mueller

Like the Rest of Us, Mueller Is Obsessing Over Trump’s Tweets

By 

That smile won’t last once he starts reading Trump’s tweets. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Somewhere on the long list of reasons that Donald Trump is president is his early embrace of Twitter. First, Trump used it to promote himself as a brilliant businessman (which he’s not); then, as a medium to attack political opponents (which he’s good at); and now, as a way to communicate with the world as president (which is making most people crazy).

Ironically, now, according to the New York Times, there’s at least a small chance that Twitter could also lead to his demise. On Thursday, the paper reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing Trump’s tweets as he investigates the president for obstruction of justice.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

The report goes on to cite Mueller’s desire to “question the president about the tweets.” Among the missives in question are those targeting Sessions in July of 2017. These were sent at the same time, Mueller has learned, that Trump was privately pressuring Sessions to resign so he could be replaced with someone who would not recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Mueller is also interested in Trump’s attacks on Comey, which include a veiled threat about taped conversations between the two men. Such “tapes” do not exist, Trump later admitted.

While none of these tweets alone are believed to amount to obstruction of justice, they’re thought to be a part of Mueller’s plan to build a case that Trump was on a broad mission to interfere with the investigation.

Trump’s lawyers continue to insist that he’s done nothing outside of the scope of his power, though. And anyway, Rudy Giuliani told the Times, “If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/special-counsel-mueller-is-examining-trumps-tweets.html

 

 

 

 

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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

Posted on June 27, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iraq, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Libya, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, North Korea, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Second Amendment, Security, Social Security, Somalia, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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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

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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

Story 3: United States National Debt As Percentage of U.S. Gross Domestic Product Exceeds 100 Percent By 2028! — Highest Level Since World War II — Videos

Image result for cartoons united states financially broke

Donald Trump’s $20 Trillion Problem

Paul Ryan says Congress will take up entitlement spending in 2018

 

U.S. Debt Clock.org

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

See the source image

See the source image

$20,000,000,000,000 in Debt and Rising

Trey Gowdy Laughs as He Reveals the Country is COMPLETELY SCREWED Financially!

Published on Oct 16, 2017

How to Solve America’s Spending Problem

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John Williams – Fed Flirting With Massive Sell-off in Dollar

John Williams – US Deficit Is Beyond Control

Former Reagan budget director on national debt nearing $20T

David Stockman discusses why he disagrees with President Trump’s tariffs against China

Top 10 Countries With The Most External Debt

What is U.S. Debt? – P2: Comparing Debt to GDP

Published on Jan 2, 2012

America’s Debt Crisis Explained

Published on Feb 24, 2014

The National Debt Scam

How Big Is the U.S. Debt?

Published on Feb 11, 2011

Where Does the Federal Government Get All That Money?

Milton Friedman – A Limit On Spending

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Milton Friedman: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

US Debt & Unfunded Liabilities-Where we are going-Dr. Yaron Brook

Does Government Have a Revenue or Spending Problem?

Published on Apr 25, 2012

What Are the Dangers of Too Much Debt?

Published on Mar 20, 2012

What If the National Debt Were Your Debt?

Published on Mar 26, 2012

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

Published on May 10, 2010

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

Published on Feb 9, 2013

Could USA Default On Its Debt? Mike Maloney

Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff on the Implications of Rising National Debt

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.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018, Story 1: Stopping A Nuclear Arms Race in Far East and Middle East By Starting The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in The Korean Peninsula — Trump and Kim Momentous Beginning In Stopping Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorist Nuclear Attacks  — Videos — Story 2: U.S. Maximum Pressure on China’s Unfair Trade Barriers, Subsidies and Tariffs and Chinese Communist Maximum Pressure on North Korea To Dismantle Nuclear Weapons and Missiles — Videos

Posted on June 12, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, China, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mike Pompeo, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Stopping A Nuclear Arms Race in Far East and Middle East By Starting The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in The Korean Peninsula — Trump and Kim Momentous Beginning In Stopping Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorist Nuclear Attack  — Videos

I’ve studied nuclear war for 35 years — you should be worried. | Brian Toon | TEDxMileHigh

Trump: We want to denuclearize the entire peninsula

Trump: Sometimes I felt foolish for North Korea rhetoric

Woolsey: Trump keeps the North Koreans off balance

Ingraham: Pride, bitterness, refusal to give peace a chance

What does “denuclearization” mean?

Gen. Jack Keane on Kim Jong Un’s denuclearization promise

Tucker Carlson Tonight 6.12 .2018 | Tucker Carlson Fox News June 12, 2018 Breaking News

Breaking down the fallout from the Trump-Kim summit

Trump Leaves Singapore After Summit with Kim

The historic Trump-Kim Singapore summit, in about 2 minutes

President Donald Trump Holds Press Conference After Historic Summit With Kim Jong Un | TIME

South Koreans weigh in on the Trump-Kim summit

Trump celebrates historic summit with NoKo’s Kim Jong Un

Trump celebrates historic summit with NoKo’s Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un commits to ‘complete denuclearization’

Gorka: Singapore summit went beyond all expectations

Trump and Kim hold surprise document signing during summit

Hannity: Obvious that White House felt good after Kim meeting

Hannity: Trump’s peace through strength strategy works

Dr. Sue Mi Terry on Trump, Kim signing historic document

Lt. Col. Davis: Great play by Trump to suspend SoKo drills

Amb. Vershbow: Summit won’t advance denuclearization process

Tara Maller on the problems with the Trump-Kim agreement

‘I do trust him’: Trump reflects on Kim meeting

Ben Shapiro criticizes Trump’s praise of Kim Jong Un

2018 United States–North Korea Singapore Summit: History Made, World Focus and Media Reaction

Gen. Keane: Summit is getting off on the right foot

Kurtz: The hypocrisy in the Trump-Kim coverage

Steyn: Kim-Trump meeting is ‘upside down summit’

This Video Will Change Your Perception of North Korea

Trump arrives in Singapore for summit with North Korea

What to know about North Korea and its weapons programs

With the Trump-Kim summit about to get underway in Singapore here is what we know about the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs.

Who is in charge of North Korea’s military?
Kim Jong Un is the 33-year-old “Supreme Leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea. He is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He inherited his position as North Korea’s leader following the death of his father Kim Jong Il in December 2011. North Korea is the world’s only hereditary communist dictatorship: Kim Jong Un’s grandfather was the founder of North Korea.

How large is North Korea’s military?
The Pentagon estimates that North Korea’s army has more than 1 million soldiers, making it the fourth largest army in the world. Some 4 to 5 percent of North Korea’s 24 million people serve on active military duty and another 25 to 30 percent of the population serve in some reserve military capacity.

What is the DMZ?
DMZ stands for the Demilitarized Zone that divides North Korea and South Korea. The 2.5-mile-wide DMZ stretches for 160 miles along the Korean Peninsula and is a buffer zone created by the 1953 Armistice that halted the Korean War. While the zone itself is demilitarized, the areas beyond it on both sides of the border are some of the most militarized in the world. Panmunjom is the Joint Security Area where occasional meetings are held by representatives of North Korea and the United Nations Command.

Is the North Korean military a threat?
Most of North Korea’s military equipment dates to the Cold War-era and was obtained from the Soviet Union and China. But the large size of its military poses a continual standing threat to South Korea, since 70 percent of its ground forces half its air and navy forces are stationed within 60 miles of the DMZ. And North Korea has been working for the last decade to develop a nuclear weapons program and long-range ballistic missile program.

What is a ballistic missile?
A ballistic missile uses propulsion to launch it into an upward trajectory and then it falls to the earth on its own toward a target using gravity. The use of ballistic to describe these missiles comes from the physics term “ballistic trajectory” that describes the boosted launch and fall to earth by gravity.

What does ICBM stand for?
ICBM stands for intercontinental ballistic missile, a guided missile capable of traveling more than 3,418 miles to deliver a nuclear warhead. ICBMs are usually multi-stage rockets used to boost a payload into a sub-orbital trajectory. At that point, the nuclear warhead inside the payload would re-enter the atmosphere using a guidance system to strike its intended target.

Does North Korea have an ICBM?
Yes. In 2017 North Korea conducted three ICBM tests, the first time they had demonstrated that long range missile capability. The first two tests on July 4 and July 28 were carried out using a new two-stage missile similar to the KN-17 missile that had achieved a high altitude when tested in mid-May. prior to these launches there had been little indication that nation was close to testing this type of missile. The third missile test in November was with a new larger type of ICBM that North Korea called the Hwasong 15. That missile reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, the highest missile test to date, and traveled for 50 minutes, the longest duration flight ever conducted by North Korea.

How many missiles does North Korea possess?
The Pentagon estimates that North Korea has about 200 launchers that can be used to fire short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. It estimates North Korea has fewer than 100 launchers for various versions of the SCUD missile that can travel from 200 to 600 miles. And fewer than 50 launchers for its medium-range No Dong missile that can travel 800 miles. The Pentagon estimates North Korea also has fewer than 50 launchers for intermediate range missiles like the Musudan and KN-11 that can travel up to 2,000 miles.

Can North Korean missiles reach the United States?
Yes. According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea’s recently tested ICBM can traveled 2,800 miles into space. Experts fear that if they angled the trajectory of that missile, it could potentially travel as far as Washington, D.C., or New York.

Why are North Korea’s missile launches a provocation?
Over the past decade North Korea has continued to conduct missile tests and launches in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions barring it from conducting a ballistic missile program.

Does North Korea have nuclear weapons?
Yes. North Korea has a small arsenal of small nuclear weapons as proven by its six nuclear tests. As of last summer, U.S. intelligence believes that North Korea has enough nuclear fissile material for as many as 60 nuclear weapons based on the amount of enriched uranium and separated plutonium it possesses.

Does North Korea have miniaturized nuclear warheads?
No, but it is working toward its stated goal of placing a nuclear warhead small enough to be placed atop an ICBM that could target the United States. In September, 2017 North Korea conducted it’s largest underground nuclear test to date that it claimed was a hydrogen bomb. U.S. intelligence later confirmed that was likely the case.

Where are the closest American troops?
There are 28,500 American troops permanently stationed in South Korea as part of the U.S. security commitment to South Korea after the Korean War. There are there also 54,000 American troops in Japan, the largest number of American forces in Japan are stationed on the island of Okinawa.

What other countries in the region have nuclear weapons?
North Korea is bordered by Russia and China, both which have nuclear weapons arsenals. Russia currently has 1,796 nuclear warheads, a legacy from the Soviet Union’s Cold War arsenal. China does not make available information about its nuclear weapons program, but various think tanks estimate it has 260 nuclear warheads. The Pentagon believes China has between 75 and 100 nuclear-capable ICBMs.

Can the United States defend against a North Korean missile attack?
The United States has a layered missile defense system designed to track and intercept a missile launch from North Korea. It includes missile interceptors aboard Navy ships in the Pacific and large ground-based interceptors located in Alaska and California. However, the viability of the large interceptors has been routinely questioned since they became operational nearly a decade ago. In late May, the Missile Defense Agency successfully tested an interceptor that targeted an ICBM test missile fired from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

What is THAAD?
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a missile defense shield designed to intercept short and medium range missiles. In April, the United States deployed THAAD to South Korea for the first time, a long-planned move agreed to last summer after a series of North Korean missile tests. The United States has also placed the THAAD system in Guam, which could be the maximum reach for some of North Korea’s long-range missiles.

ABC News’ Jack Arnholz and Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/north-korea-weapons-programs/story?id=45971921

BAN THE BOMB 

What nuclear weapons does North Korea have and has Kim Jong-un agreed to ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’?

In a joint text issued by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader had committed to a ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’

KIM Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, had previously threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the West and its allies but has now committed to a denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula after the Singapore summit

The North Korean dictator had accelerated the country’s nuclear weapons programme under his rule but he has now met with US President Donald Trump and agreed to the removal of nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula.

 A North Korea test launch of a Hwasong-12 missile

REUTERS
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A North Korea test launch of a Hwasong-12 missile

What is the latest on the nuclear situation in North Korea?

On April 21, 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the reclusive nation is suspending long-range nuclear missile tests and shutting its test site.

At the Singapore summit on June 11 between Trump and Kim the two leaders agreed to start the denuclearisation “very quickly”.

Trump said the meeting had gone “better than anyone could have expected”.

He told reporters: “It is a tremendous honour, and I have no doubt we will have a terrific relationship.”

Kim said: “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we’ve overcome all of them, and we are here today”, to which Trump replied “that’s true”.

Kim added: “There were moments when we covered our ears and eyes, but we have overcome them to arrive here.”

After a working lunch, the two leaders signed an unspecified agreement, with Trump promising they would start the denuclearisation process “very, very quickly”.

“We are going to sign this historic agreement,” says Kim. “The world will see a major change.”

In the agreement, Kim committed to “complete denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula”.

 Satellite images show activity at a North Korea nuke site

PLANET/ QUARTZ
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Satellite images show activity at a North Korea nuke site

What nuclear weapons does North Korea have?

In July 2017, North Korea successfully launched the country’s first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which had the capability of reaching US territory.

The Pentagon, the US military headquarters, believes North Korea has around 200 missile launchers across the country, which can be used to fire short and medium-range missiles.

The most likely target of such a missile launch would be South Korea, Japan, Australia and possibly US territories in the Pacific Ocean.

Revised estimates suggest the total number of missiles the rogue state has is believed to be between 13 and 21.

And the regime is estimated to have at least four nuclear warheads.

Satellite images of Jong-un’s main missile test site in August 2017 revealed North Korea’s weapons were more powerful than initially thought.

On November 28, 2017, North Korea launched ICBM Hwasong-15 – which is a new nuclear missile capable of hitting anywhere on the planet.

 Trump and Kim have agreed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Trump and Kim have agreed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula

READ MORE: Could World War 3 happen? How North Korea and Kim Jong-un could cause a nuclear apocalypse


Why have tensions between North Korea and the US escalated?

Here’s how the relationship between the US President and North Korean leader has changed since the beginning of 2017:

2018

2017

 North Korea parades nukes through the street at parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
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North Korea parades nukes through the street at parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born

Could North Korea launch a nuclear strike on the UK?

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea’s missiles can “threaten everywhere in the world”.

The pariah state claimed a nuclear test in September 2017 – its most powerful yet – was a sophisticated 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb small enough to be carried on a missile.

The regime has successfully tested two Hwasong-14 long-range rockets over the Pacific Ocean causing significant concern for Japan – a crucial American ally.

The intercontinental ballistic missile is said to have a potential range of more than 10,000 kilometres or 6,200 miles.

If that were true, London would fall within its strike zone. The UK capital is 5,388 miles from Pyongyang.

100 kiloton H-bomb blast on central London would dwarf the US nukes dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Experts say 130,000 people would be killed instantly and all brick and concrete buildings within a mile of the epicentre would be destroyed.

Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon had previously warned that Britain is at risk from North Korea’s long-range nuclear missile programme as some cities are closer than American targets.

 Relations are improving between the North and South

REUTERS
6
Relations are improving between the North and Southhttps://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2497570/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-kim-jong-un-denuclearisation-trump-singapore/

Trump and Kim Jong-un sign ‘historic document’: What the joint statement says in full

  • The statement was signed by the two leaders after they met in Singapore 
  • In the document President Trump gave security guarantees to North Korea
  • Kim Jong-un committed to ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’

After their historic meeting in SingaporeDonald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a ‘historic document’. 

In the statement, the US president committed to ‘provide security guarantees’ to North Korean while Kim Jong-un declared his ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’. 

Reaction to the joint statement was greeted with cheers by people in South Korea watching the events unfold.

China, North Korea’s backer, said the two nations were ‘creating a new history’.

Here is the full text of the statement the two leaders issued:

Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump sign the statement after their meeting in Singapore 

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump sign the statement after their meeting in Singapore

Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

President Trump shows off a signed copy of the statement with his and Kim Jong-un's signatures on the bottom

President Trump shows off a signed copy of the statement with his and Kim Jong-un’s signatures on the bottom

Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit – the first in history – was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

DONALD J. TRUMP President of the United States of America

KIM JONG UN Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

June 12, 2018 Sentosa Island Singapore

How the world reacted to the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

The meeting and the joint statement issued by the two adversaries, who until recently were trading insults, has been warming welcomed around the world.

South Koreans watching on television at train stations and other public places broke out into applause while a one-page extra edition of a Japanese newspaper was snapped up commuters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: ‘Hopes for peace on the long-divided Korean Peninsula, however, remain tempered by the many failed attempts in the past.

‘The United States and North Korea have been in a state of antagonism for more than half a century.

South Koreans watching the summit on television begin clapping as they watch the meeting of the two leaders in Singapore 

South Koreans watching the summit on television begin clapping as they watch the meeting of the two leaders in Singapore

‘Today, that the two countries’ highest leaders can sit together and have equal talks, has important and positive meaning, and is creating a new history.’

An editorial in the official English-language China Daily emphasized China’s role in bringing Trump and Kim together. It called on them to maintain the positive momentum.

‘This would not only reward all those who have spared no efforts in their attempts to make their meeting a reality, it would also enable both to hail it as a success,’ the editorial read.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says his country will reopen its embassy in Pyongyang.

The two countries were embroiled in a diplomatic row after the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half brother, in 2017.

At a train station in Seoul, the South Korean capital, people cheered and applauded as televisions screens broadcast the Trump-Kim handshake live.

Japan’s largest newspaper, the Yomiuri, printed a special edition in both Japanese and English that was distributed for free in major cities 90 minutes after the meeting began.

World reaction to the meeting of Trump and Kim has been warm, with China emphasising its role in bringing then together

Passers-by outside a Tokyo train station snapped up 500 copies in a flash, excited to have a souvenir of the historic event.

They generally welcomed the meeting as a good first step but wondered if any progress would be made on the fate of Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

‘My biggest concern is the abduction issue, then the nuclear and missile,’ said 70-year-old retiree Tomoaki Kenmotsu.

‘I have no idea how much the abduction issue is being taken up at the summit, but I hope it will be a good start for that issue too.’

The hard work remains to come, said Momoko Shimada, a 20-year-old student: ‘After the handshake and political show will be the real action. I believe that won’t be easy.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5833839/Trump-Kim-Jong-sign-historic-document-joint-statement-says-full.html

‘We’re ready to write a new chapter between our two nations’: Trump declares victory, boasting that he TRUSTS Kim Jong-un and persuaded him to sign a ‘very comprehensive’ agreement for ‘complete denuclearization’ after nearly 5 HOURS of meetings

  • Donald Trump told reporters in Singapore that he expects Kim Jong-un to uphold his part of a landmark agreement that requires him to destroy his entire nuclear weapons and missile programs
  • Trump said he addressed human rights with the North Korean dictator and said economic sanctions will remain as long as Pyongyang is a major abuser
  • Sanctions relief also depends on Kim’s follow-through on denuclearization
  • ‘Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case,’ Trump declared, saying he had been up for more than 25 hours to oversee the negotiations
  • Trump said joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises will end and called them ‘provocative’ to the North, but hs spun that decision as an economic one, not as a negotiated concession
  • The press conference began with the playing of a video, first in Korean and then in English, that Trump said his delegation showed Kim on an iPad to encourage him to choose the right path 
  • Trump said he spotted inviting-looking beaches in the footage, and said: ‘Look at that beach, wouldn’t that make a great condo? … Think of it from a real estate perspective!’ 
  • Trump called Kim’s stockpile ‘a very substantial arsenal’ but predicted he would be tearing it up
  • He said ‘we’re much further along than I would have thought,’ and projected a time when the two nations have exchanged ambassadors and he has personally visited Pyongyang and invited Kim to the White House
  • In an interview taped before the summit, Trump told ABC News of his North Korean adversary that ‘I think he trusts me, and I trust him’

 

Trump, Kim claim big summit success, but details are scant

Claiming success at their whirlwind summit, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Singapore Tuesday, praising their face-to-face progress toward ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Yet Trump faced pointed questions at home about whether he got little and gave away much — including an agreement to halt U.S. military exercises with South Korea.

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim had come together for an unprecedented U.S.-North Korea meeting that seemed unthinkable months earlier when the two nations traded insults and nuclear threats. The gathering of the two unpredictable leaders marked a striking gamble by the American president to grant Kim long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North’s nuclear program.

Both leaders expressed optimism throughout roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thanking Kim afterward “for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people.” Kim, for his part, said the leaders had “decided to leave the past behind” and promised: “The world will see a major change.”

Soon, Kim was on a plane headed home, while a clearly ebullient Trump held forth for more than an hour before the press on what he styled as a historic achievement to avert the prospect of nuclear war. Along the way, Trump tossed out pronouncements on U.S. alliances, human rights, and the nature of the accord that he and Kim had signed.

Then he was off to Guam on the way back to the U.S.

The details of how and when the North would denuclearize appear yet to be determined, as are the nature of the unspecified “protections” Trump is pledging to Kim and his government.

During his press conference, Trump acknowledged that denuclearization won’t happen overnight. But he contended, “Once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over,” an analysis that has proven faulty in the past despite inspection efforts.

Light on specifics, the Singapore accord largely amounts to an agreement to continue discussions, echoing previous public statements and commitments. It does not, for instance, include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the U.S. and North Korea.

Nor does it include a striking concession by Trump, who told reporters he would freeze U.S. military “war games” with ally South Korea while negotiations between the U.S. and the North continue. Trump cast that decision as a cost-saving measure, but also called the exercises “inappropriate” while talks continue. North Korea has long objected to the drills as a security threat.

It was unclear whether South Korea was aware of Trump’s decision before he announced it publicly. U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement Tuesday it was unaware of any policy change. Trump phoned South Korean President Moon Jae-in after leaving Singapore to brief him on the discussions.

Trump also said he’d obtained a separate concession from Kim to demolish a missile engine testing site, though it was just one site of many connected to the nuclear program.

As Trump took a victory lap on the world stage, experts and allies struggled to account for what Trump and Kim had agreed to — and whether this agreement could actually be the first of its kind not to be broken by the North Koreans.

North Korea is believed to possess more than 50 nuclear warheads, with its atomic program spread across more than 100 sites constructed over decades to evade international inspections. Trump insisted that strong verification of denuclearization would be included in a final agreement, saying it was a detail his team would begin sorting out with the North Koreans next week.

The agreement’s language on North Korea’s nuclear program was similar to what the leaders of North and South Korea came up with at their own summit in April. Trump and Kim referred back to the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, which contained a weak commitment to denuclearization but no specifics on how to achieve it.

Between handshakes, a White House invitation, and even an impromptu tour of “The Beast,” the famed U.S. presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications, Trump sought to build a personal connection with Kim and said they have a “very good” relationship.

The U.S. president brushed off questions about his public embrace of the autocrat whose people have been oppressed for decades. He added that Otto Warmbier, an American who died last year just days after his release from imprisonment in North Korea, “did not die in vain” because his death helped bring about the nuclear talks.

In the run-up to Tuesday’s historic face-to-face with Kim, Trump has appeared unconcerned about the implications of feting an authoritarian leader accused by the U.S. of ordering the public assassination of his half brother with a nerve agent, executing his uncle by firing squad and presiding over a notorious gulag estimated to hold 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners.

In their joint statement, the two leaders promised to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula. Trump has dangled the prospect of economic investment in the North as a sweetener for giving up its nuclear weapons. The longtime property developer-turned-politician later mused about the potential value of condos on the country’s beachfront real estate.

The formal document-signing, which also included an agreement to work to repatriate remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action from the Korean War, followed a series of meetings at a luxury Singapore resort.

Ahead of the meeting Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected — Tuesday evening — raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

Aware that the eyes of the world were on a moment many people never expected to see, Kim said many of those watching would think it was a scene from a “science fiction movie.”

Critics of the summit leapt at the leaders’ handshake and the moonlight stroll Kim took Monday night along the glittering Singapore waterfront, saying it was further evidence that Trump was helping legitimize Kim on the world stage.

“It’s a huge win for Kim Jong Un, who now — if nothing else — has the prestige and propaganda coup of meeting one on one with the president, while armed with a nuclear deterrent,” said Michael Kovrig, a northeast Asia specialist at the International Crisis Group in Washington.

Trump responded that he embracing diplomacy with Kim in hopes of saving as many as 30 million lives.

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions for years as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

https://apnews.com/2d80cb7d512c49978e69853a7daa4d5c/Trump,-Kim-claim-big-summit-success,-but-details-are-scant

Trump and Kim agree to more talks but fail to produce nuclear disarmament plan

Trump and Kim agree to more talks but fail to produce nuclear disarmament plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump sign an agreement resulting from their historic June 12 summit on Sentosa island in Singapore. (Handout / Getty Images)

President Trump wrapped up his improbable summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, vowing to “start a new history” with the nuclear-armed nation after signing a vaguely worded agreement that contained no concrete plan for disarmament.

Later, at a 65-minute news conference, Trump said he had agreed to North Korea’s longtime demands to stop joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea. The war games have been a mainstay of the U.S. alliance with Seoul for decades.

Trump said halting the drills would save “a lot of money” and he called them “provocative,” the complaint North Korea often made. He also said he hopes eventually to withdraw the 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, although not as part of the current agreement with Kim.

In only the second full solo news conference of his presidency, Trump said he had been awake for 25 hours — he turns 72 on Thursday — but that he was bullish about his day of diplomacy with the young autocrat from Pyongyang.

He lavished praise on Kim as a “great talent,” denied concerns about treating him as an equal and painted a rosy picture of North Korea’s potential future — one laid out in a bizarre, propaganda-style video that the White House had prepared for the North Korean leader.

Asked why he trusted a ruler who had murdered family members and jailed thousands of political prisoners, Trump lauded Kim for taking over the regime at age 26, when his father died in 2011, and being “able to run it, and run it tough.”

While Trump repeatedly portrayed his two-page agreement with Kim as “comprehensive,” it contained little new except a commitment by both sides to continue diplomatic engagement, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leading the U.S. side in future talks.
That is no small achievement considering that the two leaders were threatening each other with nuclear war last summer. But it was far less than the ambitious arms control deal Trump hoped to gain when he agreed to the summit in March.
The document instead reiterated the same vague North Korean commitment to denuclearize that Kim made after he met South Korea’s president in April, but it offered no specifics of how or when any disarmament might take place.
“We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done,” Trump said, adding it would “take a long time” to wind down the nuclear weapons program. Until recently, Trump had demanded Pyongyang quickly dismantle its vast nuclear infrastructure.
A person familiar with the working-level talks that set the final stage for Tuesday’s summit said the U.S. team had pushed for a commitment from Kim to denuclearize by 2020, when the next U.S. presidential election will be underway.
North Korea’s representatives balked at the demand for a deadline, the person said.
The signed agreement, which was released by the White House, says North Korea will “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It does not offer the pledge of “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” that Pompeo had insisted was the U.S. objective.
A verifiable and permanent disarmament agreement would require North Korea to let international inspectors in to collect records, monitor sites and ensure it does not cheat. Pyongyang expelled United Nations nuclear inspectors nearly a decade ago and Tuesday’s agreement does not mention bringing them back.
The agreement was weaker than the pledge North Korea made in 2005, during an ultimately unsuccessful bout of nuclear diplomacy, when it committed itself to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”
The regime instead tested its first nuclear device the following year. It has conducted five underground tests since then, most recently in September. It is believed to have assembled at least two dozen warheads.
In a largely symbolic U.S. gain, North Korea committed itself to the “immediate repatriation” of any remains it had identified of U.S. soldiers and prisoners of war from the Korean War, which ended 65 years ago. Trump said families had implored him for help on that painful issue.
Tuesday’s agreement does not mention North Korea’s gruesome record of human rights abuses, including a vast internal gulag of prison camps. Asked if he had raised the problem with Kim, Trump said they had discussed it “relatively briefly” because their talks chiefly focused on nuclear weapons.
He suggested that human rights in North Korea, which the U.N. has accused of “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” did not differ greatly from other nations.
“I believe it’s a rough situation over there, there’s no question about it,” he said. “It’s rough in a lot of places by the way.”

But Trump suggested that negative publicity about the death last year of Otto Warmbier, a college student from Ohio who was returned home in a coma from a North Korean prison, had helped pave the way for the diplomatic thaw.

“Otto did not die in vain,” Trump said. “He had a lot to do with us being here today.”

Trump denied that he was lending legitimacy to the oppressive leader of a long-marginalized regime by standing shoulder to shoulder with him. He said sitting at the table with Kim wasn’t a concession.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place,” he said. “All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals I’m great at it.”

In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in heralded the agreement, saying, “It will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on Earth.”

Moon’s statement did not address Trump’s decision to cancel joint military exercises, a crucial part of the close military alliance that emerged from the 1950-’53 Korean War. The exercises involve life-fire drills, bomber flyovers, computer simulations and other operations.

It was not clear if Trump had told Moon of his decision. A defense ministry spokesman said officials were still seeking the “exact meaning and intention” about the exercises, South Korean media reported.

Independent analysts praised the continued diplomacy with North Korea but most found little to like in the agreement and Trump’s concession on military exercises.

“It doesn’t say anything,” Joseph Yun, a former senior U.S. diplomat and special representative for North Korea policy, said on CNN.

Olivia Enos, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, said the decision to suspend military exercises was “concerning” because they help project U.S. strength in the region.

“The joint military exercises … is about more than just countering the North Korean threat,” she said.

Ellen Tauscher, a former member of Congress from California who served as undersecretary of State for arms control in the Obama administration, tweeted that Trump was “conned” by Kim.

“China has to be thrilled with Kim’s haul in Singapore,” Tauscher said. She said Trump had agreed to end valuable military exercises in exchange “for promises by a lying despot of ‘denuclearization’ in [a] bilateral, unverifiable agreement.”

Abraham M. Denmark, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for East Asia, said Trump gave up the exercises “for little new and nothing in return.”

“Kim got a huge propaganda win and a metric ton of legitimacy,” he said on Twitter. “The silver lining is that dialogue will continue, and where there is diplomacy there is hope.”

Others also expressed hope. Nuclear disarmament “can and will come, if we focus on transforming a relationship that has been deeply hostile, unremittingly hostile,” said John Delury, an associate professor at Yonsei University in Seoul and an expert on the Koreas and China.

To convince Kim to eventually give up his nuclear weapons, Trump said he played for him on an iPad a U.S. government-produced video that looked like a Hollywood movie trailer about an action hero.

“When a man is presented with a chance that may never be repeated, what will he choose?” a narrator said in the video, which was played at the press conference. “The world will be watching, listening, anticipating, hoping. Will this leader choose to advance his country … be the hero of his people?”

7:15 a.m.: This article was updated with quotes from analysts.

3:50 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the news conference.

3:34 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the news conference.

This article was originally published at 2:02 a.m.

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-trump-summit-react-20180612-story.html

Today’s Nuclear North Korea Is Yesterday’s China: Lessons From History

North Korea’s recent successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have put Pyongyang on the cusp of having the means to credibly threaten the continental United States with a nuclear strike. The Trump administration has vowed to “not allow” North Korea to continue on its “destructive path” but so far has not put forth specific new policies to stop Pyongyang. Since the latest test, several senior administration officials have stepped up their rhetoric, labeling the DPRK as the most urgent threat facing the United States and stating that it is “unimaginable” to allow North Korea to have the capability to attack the U.S. mainland.

As U.S. policymakers ponder how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, it is important to remember that we are not in uncharted territory. The United States found itself in a similar situation more than 50 years ago, when faced with the prospect of Maoist China going nuclear. Then as now, experts questioned if rational decision makers were behind the nuclear controls of a reclusive communist state and military options — no matter how risky — were seriously considered. Despite initially having great fears about the prospect of a nuclear China, both the Kennedy and the Johnson administrations came to realize that China’s modest nuclear arsenal failed to alter the underlying balance of power in East Asia or undermine the confidence of U.S. allies in the credibility of Washington’s security guarantees. And even though nuclear-armed China continued to champion global revolutionary causes and provide direct military assistance to North Vietnam against the United States, Chinese rhetoric on nuclear weapons gradually moderated and began to show evidence of calculated restraint vis-à-vis the United States.

A Rogue China   

n December of 1960, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warned that, “[China’s] arrogant self-confidence, revolutionary fervor, and distorted view of the world may lead [Beijing] to miscalculate risks. This danger would be heightened if Communist China achieved a nuclear weapons capability.” Revolutionary fervor aside, the same assessment could be written about North Korea today. North Korea continues to be one of the most isolated regimes in the world, run by the mercurial Kim Jong-un. In addition, the country engages in kidnappings and assassinations, hurls utterly bizarre imprecations against the United States, and regularly threatens preemptive nuclear strikes against South Korea. When observing North Korea from afar it is easy to mistake it for an exceptional case of obdurate despotism.

As the NIE suggests, however, the same rogue state description fit the profile of China in the 1960s. Throughout the decade, Chinese leaders routinely dismissed the dangers of nuclear war and would stress the inevitable victory of the “people’s war” against U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism. At the same time, Chinese leaders greatly exaggerated the capabilities of their own nuclear program and downplayed the risks posed by potential counter force strikes against the Chinese mainland.

In reality, China’s belligerent rhetoric was a strategic bluff to compensate for the great disparity between China and the two superpowers in nuclear capabilities. When looking today at uncannily similar boasts by North Korean state press that their country is now “a strong nuclear power state” and has “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world” it is important to remember that North Korea continues to have a small nuclear arsenal, has no second strike capability, and will never be able to shift the military power balance in the region on its own. North Korean saber rattling is a screen to deflect from the regime’s weakness and fear of the future.

North Korea’s Nuclear Doctrine

The DPRK does not have a publicly available official nuclear doctrine, which leaves analysts the sole option of piecing together a strategy from open-source statements. Kim Jong-un has spoken about the importance of breaking the “nuclear monopoly” held by the United States. Pyongyang has stated that it has a “no first use” policy and that it is in favor of complete global disarmament. Despite the “no first use” language, North Korea has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes against either the United States or South Korea. Since pulling out of the Six Party Talks, North Korea has effectively rejected efforts to denuclearize the North Korean peninsula.

North Korea’s commentary on nuclear weapons closely parallels China’s official positions on nuclear weapons during the 1960s. Following China’s first nuclear test in 1964, Beijing also stressed three points: China’s goal for developing nuclear weapons was “to break the superpower monopoly;” China holds a “no first use” policy; and that China supports the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Despite the cautious public stance, China was vehemently opposed to the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) and did not moderate its hostile position toward nonproliferation until its nuclear program reached a more mature stage in the 1970s. China’s record suggests that North Korea is purposely adopting a hostile stance to compensate for the overall weakness of the North Korean arsenal.

Dealing with North Korea Effectively  

As William Burr and Jeffrey T. Richelson document in Whether to “Strangle the Baby in the Cradle”: The United States and the Chinese Nuclear Program, 1960-64, John F. Kennedy viewed a potential Chinese nuclear test as “likely to be historically the most significant and worst event of the 1960s.” The Kennedy Administration was so concerned about the specter of a nuclear China that every measure from direct U.S. strikes to parachuting Chinese Nationalist commandos from Taiwan was considered. Kennedy even authorized officials to approach America’s archrival, the Soviet Union, regarding joint preventive action against China.

Kennedy was hardly alone in his fears that a nuclear China was the greatest threat to world peace. As the Cultural Revolution unfolded, the U.S. Navy was concerned that China would quickly gain submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology and would launch them in a way to fake a Soviet strike, triggering a global nuclear war. (See Lyle J. Goldstein in When China Was a ‘Rogue State’: The Impact of China’s Nuclear Weapons Program on US-China Relations during the 1960s.)  To counter this putative threat, the Navy recommended the sinking of China’s first missile-armed submarine on its maiden voyage. Not only did these fears border on paranoia, they greatly exaggerated China’s technological capabilities. In the case of SLBMs, China would not test its first submarine-launched missile until 1982. The press was also highly critical of Mao possessing nuclear weapons and called for military action to curtail Beijing’s nuclear ambitions.

Kennedy’s fears over the prospect of China going nuclear were not shared by everyone in government. The State Department’s Policy Planning Council produced an influential study that questioned the consequence of China’s nuclear test. The study argued that the Chinese nuclear arsenal could not pose a major threat to the United States and would hardly alter the balance of power in the region. Moreover, China’s nuclear arsenal was vulnerable to a U.S. counter force strike. Hence, a nuclear China would not feel emboldened to further challenge the United States. Although initially controversial, proponents of this view eventually won out in the Johnson administration.

The report acknowledged that there could be some adverse political ramifications of a Chinese nuclear test (i.e., proliferation), but they could be addressed by U.S. reassurances to its allies. Indeed, even though in the wake of China’s first nuclear test Japan expressed a strong desire to develop its own bomb, the Johnson administration was able to provide security reassurances combined with diplomatic pressure to dissuade Tokyo from going down the nuclear path. In the subsequent years, the United States applied similar pressure to block Taiwan and South Korea from going forward with their own nuclear weapons programs.

If China’s nuclear program did not pose a serious threat to the United States in the 1960s, then there is even less reason to fear North Korea’s today. Even with improvements in North Korean missile capabilities, the United States and its allies still enjoy an overwhelming military and economic advantage over the North. Just as during the 1960s, the United States simply needs to be public and credible in its reassurances to its regional allies and partners. Any North Korean effort to split the U.S.-ROK alliance will fail if the United States continues to provide a broad security guarantee to South Korea. As long as the Trump administration continues to offer its public support to Japan, Tokyo too will feel that there is no need for drastic action.

Lastly the United States needs to forcefully come out against the linkage of the North Korean nuclear question with unrelated issues in the U.S.-China relationship to address Taiwanese concerns that Washington will trade away the de facto independence of the island in exchange for Chinese assistance in reigning in North Korea. It has become clear that either due to a lack of leverage or deliberate unwillingness, Beijing will not apply the necessary level of pressure to compel Pyongyang to reverse course. The United States should not fall into the trap of expanding the scope of talks in the hope of eliciting additional Chinese cooperation on North Korea.

Conclusion

After the 1964 Chinese nuclear test, President Johnson used trade controls and extra intelligence monitoring to slow down the pace of China’s nuclear development. Despite continued apprehension, the U.S. learned to live with China’s nuclear program. This was made possible in large part due to swift and credible U.S. reassurances to key regional allies such as Japan. Over time, as Chinese leaders decided to shift strategies and pursue greater engagement with the Western world, China’s nuclear positions underwent a gradual evolution. North Korea is not China, but a similar policy of strategic patience combined with robust security assurances to South Korea and Japan is the best bet for getting North Korea back to the negotiating table. The alternative is untenable.

Yevgen Sautin is a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University working on a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/08/todays-nuclear-north-korea-is-yesterdays-china-lessons-from-history/

 

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