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The Pronk Pops Show 1343, October 17, 2019, Story 1: United States Negotiates A 5 Day Cease Fire With Turkey and 20 Mile Buffer Zone — Videos — Story 2: Senate Fails To Override Trump’s Veto  of Legislation Approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to Kill His Border Emergency — Videos — Story 3: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Resigns End Of Year — Going Home To Texas — Videos

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Story 1: United States Negotiates A 5 Day Cease Fire With Turkey and 20 Mile Buffer Zone — Videos

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Trump touts ‘incredible’ ceasefire deal with Turkey

Mike Pence: Turkey Will Hold Ceasefire in Syria for 120 Hours – FULL ANNOUNCEMENT

Vice President Pence announces Syria ceasefire

Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence l ABC News

Ceasefire Reportedly Reached Between Turkey And Syria

Trump on ceasefire in Syria: It is a great day for civilization

The Five’ reacts to Trump and Pelosi trading ‘meltdown’ insults

Donald Trump hails five-day ceasefire deal in Syria as ‘a great day for civilization’ and boasts of ‘incredible outcome’ claiming ‘great leader’ Erdogan and the Kurds are happy – but Turkey hits back that they have only agreed to a PAUSE

  • Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey have reached a deal to suspend Ankara’s operations in northern Syria for five days
  • ‘It’s really a great day for civilization,’ Trump said of the agreement 
  • Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent more than four hours meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to get a deal
  • Ceasefire will reportedly last for 120 hours to allow a withdrawal 
  • Turkey will also get a 20 mile buffer on its border that Kurds much avoid 
  • Kurds were not part of the negotiations but Pence said they signed on 
  • ‘They couldn’t get it without a little rough love,’ Trump said of the agreement. ‘This is an incredible outcome’
  • But Turkish officials downplayed agreement and said it’s ‘not a ceasefire’ 

Donald Trump on Thursday hailed an agreement between the United States and Turkey for a five-day cease fire in Syria as a ‘great day for civilization’ as Turkish officials down played the outcome of the deal. 

‘A great day for the Kurds. It’s really a great day for civilization. It’s a great day for civilization,’ Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey reached a deal to suspend Ankara’s operations in northern Syria for five days to allow Kurds time to withdraw to a ‘safe zone’ as part of a cease-fire agreement.

‘The United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,’ Pence announced at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara after protracted negotiations with the Turkish government.

The deal establishes a 20-mile buffer zone on the Turkish border that Kurds would have to avoid – a move that essentially gives Turkey a portion of Syria to control.

Trump praised his team’s work and touted his own role in the matter.

‘They couldn’t get it without a little rough love,’ Trump said in Texas after the deal was announced. The president had threatened Erdogan about the deal, saying he would destroy the Turkish economy with sanctions if he didn’t sign on. ‘This is an incredible outcome.’

But Turkish officials down played the agreement, saying they agreed to suspend operations to let the Kurds withdraw and emphasized it was ‘not a ceasefire.’

‘We will suspend the Peace Spring operation for 120 hours for the PKK/YPG to withdraw. This is not a ceasefire,’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey have reached a deal to suspend Ankara's operations in northern Syria for five day

President Donald Trump said the deal would not have gotten done without 'tough love'

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters gesture as they stand at a back of a truck in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters gesture as they stand at a back of a truck in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria

Trump infuriated members of both political parties – including some of his strongest Republican allies – when he announced earlier this month he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Northern Syria.

He was accused of abandoning the Kurds, who are U.S. allies in the region, and ceding control of the area to Russia.

A week of criticism from Capitol Hill compounded on Wednesday into a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers where Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of having a ‘serious meltdown’ when talking about the issue.

But the president gloried in the agreement on Thursday, calling Erdogan a ‘hell of a leader.’

Vice President Pence outlined the details of the agreement, saying Turkey agreed five-day cease fire in order to let Kurds get out of the ‘safe zone’ and Turkey will have a buffer zone around its border that the Kurds will avoid.

‘Once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire,’ the vice president said.

And he said that Kurdish fighters would honor the deal even as the Kurdish were not part of the negotiations.

‘We have repeated assurances from them that they will be going out,’ he said.

The deal includes a Kurdish withdrawal from a security zone roughly 20 miles south of the Turkish border, which Pence said the Kurds will comply with.

‘Our administration has already been in contact with Syria defense forces and we’ve already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the nearly 20-mile-wide safe zone area south of the Turkish border in Syria,’ Pence noted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rd R), National Security Adviser Robert C. O'Brien (2nd R) and the American Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey (not pictured)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rd R), National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien (2nd R) and the American Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey (not pictured)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the agreement was 'not a cease fire'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the agreement was ‘not a cease fire’

Smoke and fire in the town of Ras al-Ain in Syria as Turkish forces gain ground there

Smoke and fire in the town of Ras al-Ain in Syria as Turkish forces gain ground there

‘We recognize the importance and value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and the Turkish border,’ he said.

Additionally, the U.S. agreed to lift the economic sanctions it imposed on Turkey after the country sent troops into northern Syria once American forces had withdrawn.

The withdrawal of U.S. troops resulted in the Turkish military going ahead with a planned invasion into northeastern Syria, where Kurdish fighters had helped American forces in fighting what was left of ISIS.

‘The United States will not impose any further sanctions on Turkey,’ Pence announced.

And once a permanent cease fire is in effect, the president has agreed to withdraw the economic sanctions that were imposed this last Monday,’ he added.

But the agreement, however, gives Turkey what it wanted with its military incursion Additionally, the country is under no obligation to withdraw its troops under the agreement.

And the sanctions relief means the country will suffer no economic penalty from its military operation.

Trump, however, argued the deal will save lives and praised Turkey for signing it.

‘They’re not going to have to kill millions of people, and millions of people aren’t going to have to kill them,’ he said.

The president acknowledged the opposition to his decision to withdraw U.S. troops , including criticism he faced in his party from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his longtime ally Sen. Lindsey Graham.

‘This outcome is something they’ve been trying to get for ten years, everybody, and they couldn’t get it. Other administrations, and they never would have been able to get it unless you went somewhat unconventional. I guess I’m an unconventional person. I took a lot of heat from a lot of people even some of the people in my own party, but they were there, in the end they were there. They’re all there. Look, this is about the nation. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. This is about our nation,’ Trump said.

He claimed the Kurds were very happy with the outcome.

‘They were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really – well it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives,’ he said.

But not all Republicans celebrated the president’s deal.

In a scathing speech on the Senate floor, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney slammed the agreement, saying ‘the cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally, adding insult to dishonor.’

‘The administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty. Their homes have been burned and their families have been torn apart,’ he added.

‘What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history,’ he said.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney slammed Trump's deal with Turkey as a 'bloodstain' on America

Republican Senator Mitt Romney slammed Trump’s deal with Turkey as a ‘bloodstain’ on America

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives Vice President Mike Pence at Presidential Complex in Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives Vice President Mike Pence at Presidential Complex in Ankara

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he wants 'something even stronger' than the House resolution condemning Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as Republicans have opposed the president's move

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he wants ‘something even stronger’ than the House resolution condemning Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as Republicans have opposed the president’s move

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called for even greater sanctions on Turkey

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called for even greater sanctions on Turkey

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters drive down a street in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters drive down a street in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad

There were fears among some Trump administration officials that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence would not be able to get a deal with Turkey

There were fears among some Trump administration officials that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence would not be able to get a deal with Turkey

Graham said in a statement on Thursday he had a phone call with Trump, who spoke to him from Air Force One as he was in route to Dallas, Texas, after the deal was done.

‘Sounds like we may have made real progress regarding a cease-fire and hopefully sustainable solutions to prevent the reemergence of ISIS, the abandonment of our ally, the Kurds, and other strategic interests of the United States, like the containment of Iran,’ Graham said.

‘I stand ready to continue working with the President to build upon this breakthrough. I also stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure this incursion by Turkey into northeastern Syria ends, hopefully, in a win-win fashion,’ he said. ‘Turkey has legitimate national security concerns within Syria but they cannot be met by invasion and force of arms.’

But there are still signs of dissension among the Republican ranks.

McConnell said Thursday he wants ‘something even stronger’ in the Senate than a House’s resolution that condemned Trump’s decision to with draw U.S. troops from Syria.

‘I believe it’s important that we make a strong forward-looking strategic statement. For that reason my preference would be for something even stronger than the resolution that the House passed yesterday which has some serious weaknesses,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor.

But nothing was raining on Trump’s parade.

Following the news of the deal, Trump tweeted: ‘Great news out of Turkey. News Conference shortly with @VP and @SecPompeo . Thank you to @RTErdogan . Millions of lives will be saved!’

Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Thursday for more than four hours

Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Thursday for more than four hours

President Trump tweeted the deal was 'great news'

President Trump tweeted the deal was ‘great news’

A Syrian woman and a girl, who were displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria, wait to receive a tent and other aid supplies at the Bardarash refugee camp, north of Mosul, Iraq

A Syrian woman and a girl, who were displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria, wait to receive a tent and other aid supplies at the Bardarash refugee camp, north of Mosul, Iraq

The president went on to tweet: ‘This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some ‘tough’ love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!’

He added that millions of lives will be saved.

‘This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!,’ the president wrote.

The vice president touched down in Ankara earlier Thursday alongside Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien as they tried to stop the Syrian civil war descending into a bloody new phase.

His mission came a day after the White House released a letter Trump sent to Erdogan, urging him to make a deal.

‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering people,’ Trump wrote, adding: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.’

The outlook for any deal had appeared bleak after Erdogan briefly toyed with the idea of refusing to meet with Pence at all.

He later relented, but repeatedly insisted he will not stop his assault on the Kurds – America’s former allies in Syria – until he has driven them away from his border.

Trump praised Erdogan for signing on to the agreement.

‘He’s a hell of a leader. And he’s a tough man. He’s a strong man. And he did the right thing, and I really appreciate it, and I will appreciate it in the future,’ he said Thursday.

He said – with the deal in place – Erdogan will likely make his visit to the White House next month.

‘That would be very much open. I would say, yeah, he would come. He did a terrific thing. He’s a leader. He had to make a decision. A lot of people wouldn’t have made that decision because they don’t know. They ultimately would have made it, but what he did was very smart and it was great for the people of Turkey, and they’re lucky it was him making the decision, I will tell you that,’ he said.

Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade northern Syria, and claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days.

‘If anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like – I could certainly release it,’ he said.

‘But I wrote a letter right after that conversation – a very powerful letter. There was never given a green light.’

Vice President Mike Pence carries details of the agreement as he prepares to announce the deal

Vice President Mike Pence carries details of the agreement as he prepares to announce the deal

Syrian National Army (SNA) members hang a Syrian National Army flag as they continue operations against the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terror group, within Turkey's Operation Peace Spring

Syrian National Army (SNA) members hang a Syrian National Army flag as they continue operations against the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terror group, within Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring

Correspondence: The letter reveals how Trump asked Erdogan not to invade northern Syria

 

The letter appears to support the president’s contention that he didn’t give Erdogan his approval for the military campaign.

‘Let’s work out a good deal!’ he wrote. ‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will.’

The president pledged during the 2016 campaign to disentangle America’s military from what he called ‘forever wars’ – longstanding conflicts that the Pentagon has stabilized, often with thousands, or tens of thousands, of servicemen and women.

He used that pledge to justify his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump’s allies in his own party, including Lindsey Graham, turned on him with that decision.

Graham, who has been a Trump ally in fending off the Russia probe, blasted the president for abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, where evangelical leaders have been voicing concern about the risk to minorities including Christians in the region.

‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ Graham vowed. ‘I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey.’

Graham cautioned: ‘This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game.’

Trump responded by claiming the Kurds are not ‘angels.’

‘Syria has a relationship with the Kurds – who by the way are not angels,’ Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday.

‘Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border. And they’ll fight,’ Trump said.

Graham on Thursday called for stricter sanctions against Turkey and introduced legislation that would target Turkish officials, end U.S. military cooperation with the NATO ally and mandate sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system

‘Congress is going to speak with a very firm, singular voice, that we will impose sanctions in the strongest measure possible against this Turkish outrage that will lead to the re-emergence of ISIS, the destruction of an ally, the Kurds and eventually benefit to Iran to the detriment of Israel,’ he said during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to condemn the president’s troop-withdrawal decision, where 129 Republicans joined Democrats to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said hours later that they walked out of a meeting with Trump at the White House when he berated them for their views on Syria.

Pelosi said she witnessed a ‘meltdown,’ with Trump telling her some ISIS fighters were communists, and ‘that must make you happy.’

The White House said in a statement that ‘[t]he President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising.’

The statement claimed Pelosi ‘chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7585159/US-Turkey-agree-deal-five-day-ceasefire.html

 

Vice President Pence said Oct. 17 the United States and Turkey had agreed to a five-day cease-fire in northern Syria to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw. (The Washington Post)
Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:33 p.m. CDT

ISTANBUL — Turkey agreed Thursday to a cease-fire that would suspend its march into Syria and temporarily halt a week of vicious fighting with Kurdish forces, while allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to carve out a long-coveted buffer zone far beyond its borders.

The agreement, announced by Vice President Pence after hours of negotiations, appeared to hand Turkey’s leader most of what he sought when his military launched an assault on northeastern Syria just over a week ago: the expulsion of Syrian Kurdish militias from the border and the removal of a U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Turkey’s vulnerable economy.

Pence said Turkey had agreed to pause its offensive for five days while the United States helped facilitate the withdrawal of ­Kurdish-led forces, called the ­Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from a large swath of territory stretching from Turkey’s border nearly 20 miles south into Syria. After the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, Turkey’s military operation, which began Oct. 9, would be “halted entirely,” Pence said.

The White House agreed to refrain from imposing any new economic sanctions on Turkey and to withdraw sanctions that were imposed earlier this week once “a permanent cease-fire was in effect,” Pence said.

Mapping out Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria
Here’s where chaos unfolded in northern Syria as Turkey launched an invasion following President Trump’s Oct. 6 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the area. (Joyce Lee, William Neff/The Washington Post)

Pence, who negotiated with the Turkish leader at the presidential palace in Ankara, portrayed the agreement as a hard-won victory and credited President Trump’s leadership and Turkey’s friendship for its success. The deal delivered Erdogan concessions he had been unable to win during years of negotiations with the United States and vindicated, in some way, his decision to pursue military action instead.

“It’s a great day for the United States, it’s a great day for Turkey,” Trump told reporters in Texas after Pence’s announcement. “A great day for the Kurds, it’s a great day for civilization,” he added.

Mazloum Kobane Abdi, the commander of the SDF, said in an interview on a Kurdish television channel that “we accepted this agreement, and we will do whatever it takes to make it work.” But the text of the agreement was “just the beginning,” he said, adding that “the Turkish occupation will not continue.”
Pence, Pompeo meet with Turkish president
Vice President Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Oct.17 to persuade him to case the military offensive on northeast Syria. (The Washington Post)

Pence’s whirlwind trip to Turkey came just a week after the start of a military operation that had prompted a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, led to dire warnings about the resurgence of the Islamic State militant group and abruptly caused a humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people were uprooted from their homes. Dozens were killed in battles, on both sides of the border.

The Trump administration was criticized, even by some of its Republican allies, for abandoning the Syrian Kurdish militias, which partnered with the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State. Trump’s erratic statements about the conflict seemed to make matters worse: On Wednesday, he distanced himself from the conflict altogether, saying the fight between Turkey and the Kurds was “over land that has nothing to do with us.”

As Pence met with Erdogan on Thursday, the two men refused to smile, even a little, as their meeting got underway, as if to communicate failure before their negotiation had begun.

But afterward, a Turkish official briefed by participants in the talks said the Turkish side was surprised and relieved at how easy the negotiations were. “We got everything we wanted,” said the official, an adviser to the Foreign Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomacy.

Irritated by White House threats over the past week, Erdogan had prepared for a confrontational meeting, but the mood softened when it became clear the U.S. officials were asking only for what the Turks regarded as token concessions. In return for a brief pause in fighting, there would be no U.S. sanctions and no requirement for a Turkish withdrawal.

The request for a temporary cease-fire seemed to be “face-saving, for the U.S. side,” the official said. “It was as easy a negotiation as we’ve ever had,” the official said.

The agreement — aimed at separating hardened foes in a volatile area of Syria — faces obvious obstacles. The text raised a variety of pressing questions, including whether the combatants would honor their commitments.

But while it averted, at least temporarily, the most serious dispute between Turkey and the United States in years, the agreement faced immediate criticism, including from U.S. lawmakers who earlier in the day had introduced sanctions legislation on their own.

Trump’s actions in Syria had infuriated Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans in the House voted earlier this week in large numbers to rebuke the White House for the troop withdrawal. On Thursday, some of Trump’s most vocal critics on Syria met the news of the cease-fire with open skepticism.

In a floor speech, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) pressed the administration to explain the United States’ future role in the region, the fate of the Kurds and why, in Romney’s view, Turkey will face no consequences after its incursion into Syria

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory,” Romney said. “Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached precipitously to withdraw from Syria and why that decision was reached.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), a co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), called the agreement “a capitulation to Turkey at the expense of our Kurdish allies.”

“The agreement lets Turkey off the hook for slaughtering innocent civilians and the Kurdish troops who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS,” an acronym for the Islamic State, Hassan said in a statement. “Moreover, it does nothing to recapture the hundreds of ISIS soldiers who have already escaped from Kurdish-held prisons.”

Spokesmen for Graham and Van Hollen said they would continue to press the sanctions legislation.

Robert Malley, who served as a senior White House official during the Obama administration and is now president of the International Crisis Group, described the agreement as “a capitulation dressed up as a win.”

He said the Trump administration’s announcement validated the Turkish objective in Syria, “putting a gloss on it and claiming it was a deal reached through negotiations.” Malley said the terms appeared so ambiguous that they made possible renewed violence between Turkey and the Kurds.

The cease-fire agreement does not mention any Turkish withdrawal from Syria, where Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies have moved about 20 miles across the border over a broad width of territory. Although it says a “safe zone” will be established, the agreement also notes that Turkey’s military will take the lead in patrolling it.

Turkey has described the offensive as a counterterrorism operation directed at militants affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for decades.

Just weeks before the incursion, Turkey and the United States had agreed after months of negotiations to jointly patrol a zone that would extend no farther than 8.6 miles into Syria. Turkey’s unhappiness with that agreement, both in terms of the amount of Syrian territory it covered and the extent of Turkish control, was one precipitating factor in the decision to invade.

The deal reached Thursday also does not address Turkish-backed Syrian militias, which have been the vanguard of the invasion. U.S. officials consider those fighters to be extremists, and they have been held responsible by international human rights organizations for numerous violations since they entered Syria, including the extrajudicial killing of Kurdish fighters and civilians. It remained unclear whether Turkey had agreed to withdraw those militias or would be able to do so.

International law prohibits returning refugees to their native land without their permission, and it allows the initial return only of those who originally came from that area. U.S. officials have said that those who have fled over the years from the border region, both Kurds and non-Kurds, amount only to several hundred thousand.

DeYoung and Kim reported from Washington. Sarah Dadouch and Asser Khatab in Beirut and Colby Itkowitz, Missy Ryan, Joby Warrick and Carol Morello in Washington contributed to this report.

 

Story 2: Senate Fails To Override Trump’s Veto  of Legislation Approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to Kill His Border Emergency — Videos

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The Senate Fails to Overcome Trump’s Veto on Border Wall

Senate won’t override Trump’s declaration veto

Trump uses veto power to kill bill that would block his border wall emergency

 

Senate Fails to Override Trump’s Veto, Keeping Border Emergency in Place

The vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override President Trump’s veto, allowing him to continue circumventing Congress to fund the border wall.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday failed to overturn President Trump’s veto of a resolution that would have terminated the national emergency he declared at the southwestern border. The defeat allows Mr. Trump to continue to defy Congress and divert federal funds to the construction of a border wall, his signature campaign promise.

The override attempt, the second such effort this year, failed when it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to nullify a veto. But the 53-to-36 vote reflected concern among lawmakers in both parties about protecting Congress’s power to allocate federal funds and opposition to Mr. Trump’s plans to transfer billions of dollars in military construction money to build the border barrier.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure.

Mr. Trump issued the veto Tuesday night, exactly seven months after using his first presidential veto to turn back a nearly identical resolution. Under the law, Congress can vote on such legislation every six months, and Democrats have used every opportunity to force Republicans to go on the record and choose whether to break with Mr. Trump, defending their prerogatives as legislators, or side with him.

The president declared the national emergency in February, after Democrats and Republicans in Congress rejected his efforts to secure $5 billion for the border wall, including during a 35-day government shutdown in which he repeatedly refused to accept any funding measure that failed to fund the edifice. The declaration, which Democrats have challenged in court, was Mr. Trump’s attempt to unilaterally seize money to pay for it anyway.

The failed attempt to overcome Mr. Trump’s veto comes as lawmakers are grappling with how to designate funds for the administration’s immigration policies, including whether to devote more money to the border wall and replace the funds originally intended for military construction.

Government funds for all agencies will now run out on Nov. 21 after a short-term spending bill passed last month expires and lawmakers are eager to avoid another government shutdown over Mr. Trump’s wall.

But the Senate has yet to approve any of the dozen necessary spending bills, which will need to be reconciled with the House’s versions before Mr. Trump can sign the bills into law.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on Thursday that the Senate would vote on at least one package of appropriations bills next week.

“Congress has fallen badly behind schedule on appropriations,” Mr. McConnell said. “We need to get moving. The country is watching. It’s time to make progress.”

Lawmakers are eager to advance the bills.

“I’m hoping we can move forward,” Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters.

Some of the more contentious bills, including the measure that would fund the Department of Homeland Security, likely face a more contentious path to the president’s desk. Senate Republicans have included $5 billion for Mr. Trump’s wall in that bill while Democrats in both chambers have vowed to vote against any money for the wall.

While White House officials struck a budget agreement with congressional leadership earlier this year, it only set an outline for overall funding levels for military and domestic spending. In recent weeks, both chambers have exchanged offers on how to broadly divide the money among legislation dealing with domestic programs before hammering out the specifics of each of the bills.

Republicans have also objected to efforts from their Democratic counterparts to limit the president’s ability to again transfer money allocated to other agencies to the border wall, arguing that such language would be a violation of the budget agreement.

“I don’t want to say November 21 is a long time, but lots of stuff can happen between now and then,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, who leads the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Homeland Security.

“My bill’s the problem,” she added.

If lawmakers do not resolve the 12 spending bills before Thanksgiving, when the stopgap spending bill expires, a lapse in funding or efforts to pass another short term spending bill could potentially collide with an impeachment trial, which leaders believe could unfold in December.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/us/politics/senate-veto-override-border.html

 

U.S. Senate fails to override Trump veto of bill to end border emergency

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, which he says allows him to redirect federal funds to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, will stay in effect after the U.S. Senate on Thursday failed to override his veto of legislation terminating the executive action.

The Senate voted 53-36 on whether to override the veto that Trump issued on Tuesday of legislation approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to kill his controversial border emergency.

That was well below the two-thirds majority needed in the 100-member chamber to overturn a presidential veto.

This marked the second time since February, when Trump issued the emergency declaration, that Congress failed to override his veto.

Ten Senate Republicans joined with 43 Senate Democrats in the failed veto override attempt.

Trump made the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a central promise of his 2016 presidential campaign to stop the flow of people without immigration documents from coming into the United States.

At the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall, an idea the Mexican government never embraced.

Having failed to build the wall at Mexico’s expense, Trump waged several failed attempts to get the U.S. Congress to provide money for what would cost taxpayers an estimated $25 billion or more for a wall.

As a result, he used his executive powers to shift money from the military budget, including appropriated funds for housing, schools and childcare for soldiers and their families.

Democrats have maintained that the action is illegal as Congress has the constitutional authority to decide how federal funds are spent.

Most Democrats and many Republicans in Congress argue that there are more effective, less expensive ways of controlling the southern border, where large numbers of immigrants from troubled Central American countries and elsewhere arrive each year.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-7586279/U-S-Senate-fails-override-Trump-veto-bill-end-border-emergency.html

 

Story 3: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Resigns End Of Year — Going Home Texas — Videos

Energy Secretary Rick Perry resigns

Rick Perry announces plans to resign as energy secretary

Sec. Rick Perry Explains ‘Expansive Relationship’ With Ukraine: ‘God as My Witness Not Once Was Biden

“The Coolest Job I’ve Ever Had” – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

“My dear DOE family, I’ve said many times that I have the coolest job in the world and a big reason for that has been you, the men and women, who serve alongside me at one of the most innovative places on earth, the Department of Energy. You know, from my first day on the job in March of 2017, you welcomed me with open arms even though you probably didn’t know what to expect from this born-and-bred Texan who had just arrived in Washington, D.C.
But since that time, you and I have worked diligently to advance our DOE mission. And the great thing is, we succeeded and we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible each and every day. You know, some people wake up every day, and they wonder if they’re making a difference. The men and women who work at this Department do not have to worry about that – you are literally changing the world.
So, it’s with profound emotion and gratitude that I am announcing my resignation effective later this year as your Energy Secretary.
There is much work to be done in these upcoming weeks, and I remain fully committed to accomplishing the goals that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of my tenure. And then, I will return to my favorite place in the world, Texas, but I’ll treasure the memories of what we’ve accomplished together.
During my time here at DOE, we pursued a truly “all-of-the-above” strategy. We deployed all of our fuels from renewables to fossil fuels to nuclear energy. We led the world in producing oil and gas and in reducing energy-related carbon emissions at the same time. We achieved the magnificent goal of energy independence. We became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in more than 60 years, offering freedom to our friends and allies from energy coercion by some powerful adversaries out there. And we’re ready to export our energy technology to deliver electricity to more than one billion human beings mired in energy poverty. We strengthened our national security by bolstering our nuclear security. We cleaned up numerous sites as we tackled America’s post-Cold War environmental legacy. We stood up our CESER office to deal with threats to the reliable delivery of electricity. We created an office of Artificial Intelligence to coordinate the amazing work that we’re doing in this game-changing arena.
I’ve been blown away by the amazing work done at what I call the Nation’s crown jewels, our 17 National Labs. I’ve had the opportunity to visit all of them. In my travels abroad, people everywhere wanted to know about this Department, because our footprint and impact is global. And that is a testament to each and every one of you today.
I thank President Trump for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I am so glad that I said “yes.” And I thank all of you my colleagues, my friends, my family for making that opportunity a grand success. May God bless you as you continue to pursue DOE’s great calling and mission. And may God continue to bless this great Country of America.” – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry on why he decided to step down

Watch CNBC’s full interview with outgoing US Energy Secretary Rick Perry

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Rick Perry TRASHES Trump Over Ukraine Call

Rick Perry says he did push Ukraine talks on Trump

Trump says Energy Secretary Rick Perry asked him to call Ukrainian president

Finding Rick Perry: The Missing Secretary Of Energy

Ukraine’s natural gas issues are hard to resolve amid tensions with Russia

Russia Imposes Natural Gas Hike on Ukraine

Apr 2, 2014

Rick Perry QUITS as Energy Secretary 24 hours after revealing Donald Trump told him to talk to Rudy Giuliani about ‘corruption’ in Ukraine

  • Rick Perry will be stepping down from his position as Trump’s Energy secretary
  • He sent a written notification to the president of his impending departure while Donald Trump was traveling on Air Force One Thursday 
  • Just 10 days ago, Perry denied that he would be departing the administration in the near future 
  • Perry said Trump told him this past spring to ‘talk to Rudy’ Giuliani about his concerns regarding Ukrainian corruption 
  • Perry, who has acted as a liaison between Trump and his new Ukrainian counterpart, was attempting to facilitate a meeting between the two 
  • Trump wouldn’t agree to the sit down until Giuliani’s concerns were addressed
  • Perry said Joe Biden was never brought up during  his talks with Giuliani 

He sent a written notification to the president as Trump was traveling aboard Air Force One, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Trump confirmed Perry’s departure and said he was planning to announce the move at his rally Thursday night in Dallas, Texas.

‘We already have his replacement. Rick has done a fantastic job. But it was time,’ Trump told reporters in Texas, adding that his departure would come ‘at the end of the year.’

The president said that he has already has picked Perry’s replacement and will be announcing the new Energy secretary shortly.

‘We have the man that we’re going – in this case it’s a man – that we’re going to be putting in Rick’s place. We’ll be announcing it very shortly,’ he said.

Trump said he wasn’t surprised by Perry’s departure as the Energy secretary had informed him months ago that he was planning to leave the administration to pursue something else.

‘I knew six months ago. He told me at the end of the year he’d like to go and he’s got some ideas about doing something else. He’s a terrific guy,’ Trump lauded Perry.

‘Rick and I have been talking for six months. In fact I thought he might go a bit sooner. But he’s got some very big plans. He’s going to be very successful. We have his successor we’ll announce it pretty soon,’ he continued.

Rick Perry said Donald Trump told him to ‘talk to Rudy’ Giuliani about his concerns regarding Ukrainian corruption before he would agree to a sit down with his new counterpart

 The news come just 10 days after Perry, who has been with Trump since March 2017, denied that he was planning to resign his position in the immediate future.

Trump denied that Perry’s replacement would be Texas Governor Greg Abbott or Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

Perry has found himself at the center of the Ukraine scandal engulfing the presidency after he became one of the top liaisons between Trump and his new Ukrainian counterpart.

The former Texas governor announced earlier this month he was staying with the administration despite the controversy, although he did not rule out leaving at a later date.

‘They’ve been writing the story for at least nine months now,’ he said at the time of the media and his rumored departure. ‘One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month,’ Perry said while traveling in Lithuania.

Politico had reported last week that he was planning to resign at the end of November, citing three anonymous sources.

His departure will add to the extensive and ever-growing list of Trump administration officials who have left the White House.

Perry revealed in an interview published Wednesday night that he was directed by Trump to approach Rudy Giuliani to address the president’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

He told The Wall Street Journal that he contacted Giuliani in the spring to help clear the way for a meeting between the president and his newly elected Ukrainian counterpart.

Although Perry admitted that during his phone call earlier this year Giuliani outlined several potential instances of interference by Ukraine in the 2016 presidential elections, he said the president’s personal attorney never brought up Joe Biden or his family.

He also said he didn’t hear Trump, any of his appointees or the Ukrainian government ever mention probing the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden’s business dealings there.

‘As I recall the conversation, he said, ‘Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,’ Perry said. ”He thinks they’re corrupt and…that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.”

Perry said Giuliani didn’t make any explicit demands on the call.

‘Rudy didn’t say they gotta do X, Y and Z,’ Perry continued in his interview. ‘He just said, ‘You want to know why he ain’t comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here’s the reason.’

The House opened an impeachment inquiry into the president following revelations of a July 25 phone call where Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on his political rival.

Democrats allege the president set a quid pro quo in freezing millions in military aid in exchange for the Ukrainian regime’s investigation into the Bidens.

Perry’s talks and coordination with Giuliani show the widespread reach of the president’s attorney’s involvement in foreign policy. Giuliani is currently being investigation for potential foreign lobbying violations.

Giuliani confirmed his call with Perry and said he was telling the president’s energy secretary to be careful in dealing with Zelensky, who took office in May.

‘Everything I said there I probably said on television 50 times,’ Giuliani told the Journal.

The former New York City Republican mayor has accused Ukraine, under then-President Petro Poroshenko, of interfering in the U.S. elections on Hillary Clinton’s behalf.

Since Zelensky was elected, U.S. officials have been attempting to facilitate a meeting between and his new Ukrainian counterpart.

Perry and Giuliani’s call followed a White House meeting, which included Perry and then-U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker, who resigned last month after revelations of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

In the meeting, Trump’s advisers urged him to meet with Zelensky, but people familiar with the matter said the president told them they needed to resolve Giuliani’s concerns before he would agree to the meeting.

‘Visit with Rudy,’ Perry said the president told him at the time.

Perry has been one of the administration’s top liaisons with the new Ukrainian president, which has put him under intense scrutiny as the president faces impeachment proceedings into whether he abused his power as president to dig up dirt on Biden.

Trump claims his call with Zelensky this summer was ‘perfect,’ and insists it was an attempt to help weed out corruption from the European nation. He also claims he has a duty, as president, to stop corruption, including from the Bidens.

Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, is being investigated in relation to his role in U.S.-Ukraine relations – especially his claims of corruption and election interference by the previous administration there
Hunter Biden accepted a board position with Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2014 – while his father was still serving as Obama’s vice president. He reportedly was paid $50,000 per month in his post at Burisma.

The attorney and lobbyist stepped down from Burisma’s board earlier this year and also announced over the weekend he was leaving his position on the board of a Chinese-backed equity firm where he made millions.

Perry said Trump has dismissed his requests to meet with Zelensky in an effort to show U.S. support for the new administration – which Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment inquiry, said is another potential of a quid pro quo.

Schiff said if Trump were to set an investigation into the Bidens as a condition for meeting with Zelensky, it could be another instance of him using his presidency to attempt to better his chances in 2020.

Perry revealed that Giuliani was also in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Volker and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Perry to Resign as Energy Secretary

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas who has become enmeshed in the Ukraine scandal, said he would resign as secretary of energy.

Rick Perry, the energy secretary, on Thursday in Fort Worth.
CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Rick Perry, the energy secretary who has drawn scrutiny for his role in the controversy surrounding President Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine officials to investigate the son of a political rival, told the president on Thursday that he would resign from the cabinet.

The Perry resignation had been anticipated for several weeks, even before the news emerged of his involvement in efforts to pressure the new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate a company that had worked with Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In the ensuing weeks, Mr. Perry has been drawn deeper into the questions around the pressure campaign on Mr. Zelensky, which has spurred an impeachment inquiry that threatens to engulf Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Mr. Perry told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Wednesday night that he was in contact with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani about Ukraine-related matters at the direction of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Perry has been instrumental in supporting what President Trump has called a policy of American “energy dominance,” which includes increasing the exports of United States fossil fuels to Ukraine and elsewhere.

As energy secretary, Mr. Perry oversaw a sharp increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly liquefied natural gas, and promoted it with a patriotic fervor — even dubbing the fossil fuel “freedom gas” and likening its export to Europe to the United States efforts to liberate the continent during World War II.

“The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” Mr. Perry told reporters in Brussels in May, according to Euractiv.com. “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers,” Mr. Perry said, “it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”

Mr. Perry also led a failed effort to engineer a federal bailout for struggling coal and nuclear power plants. Though the plan ultimately ran afoul of White House advisers, Mr. Perry has continued to maintain that the government still has the option of keeping aging plants operating, even as he asserted that incentives might be a better path forward.

A former Texas governor, Mr. Perry also avoided many of the personal scandals that had bested his counterparts at other agencies. In part because of that, those who know Mr. Perry have said at various points throughout the administration Mr. Trump has considered his energy secretary to fill other cabinet vacancies, including secretary of veterans affairs.

Mr. Trump also considered Mr. Perry, 69, to become his chief of staff after John F. Kelly resigned, and more recently to take over the Department of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation, according to two people close to Mr. Perry.

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The Times in 2015 as a campaign correspondent and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. Previously, she worked at Politico, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. @maggieNYT

Lisa Friedman reports on climate and environmental policy in Washington. A former editor at Climatewire, she has covered nine international climate talks. @LFFriedman

A Guide to Impeachment

    • What Impeachment Is: Impeachment is charging a holder of public office with misconduct. Here are answers to seven key questions about the process.
    • What the Accusation Is: President Trump is accused of breaking the law by pressuring the president of Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election. A second person, this one with “firsthand knowledge” of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, came forward and is now protected as a whistle-blower.
    • What Was Said: The White House released a reconstructed transcript of Mr. Trump’s call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
    • A Visual Timeline: Here are the key figures and dates as Mr. Trump and his allies pressured Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
    • Why Now: A whistle-blower complaint filed in August said that White House officials believed they had witnessed Mr. Trump abuse his power for political gain. Here are 8 takeaways from the complaint.
    • How Trump Responds: The president said the impeachment battle would be “a positive” for his re-election campaign. Mr. Trump has repeatedly referred to the whistle-blower as “crooked” and condemned the news media reporting on the complaint. At the beginning of October, Mr. Trump publicly called on China to examine Mr. Biden as well.

om/2019/10/17/us/politics/rick-perry-energy-secretary-resigns.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.c

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1341, October 15, 2019, Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos — Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos — Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos

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Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos —

Senator Mitch McConnell: Democrats Are ‘Throwing Fairness And Precedent To The Wind’ | NBC News

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

Trump was ‘absolutely right’ to take troops out of Syria: Rand Paul

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump over Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held Syria, saying troop pullout gives Iran a chance to reach Israel’s doorstep and contending worthwhile intervention does NOT make the U.S. world’s policeman

  • McConnell once again expressed his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria  
  • Said the door is ‘wide open’ for resurgence of ISIS
  • Said policy could put Iran on Israel’s ‘door-step’
  • Said standing up for U.S. interests does not make nation the ‘evil empire’
  • Trump has repeatedly complained the nation should not be world’s policeman 
  • At the same time, he blasted House Democrats on impeachment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly confronted President Trump‘s complaint that U.S. troop deployment’s make it the ‘world’s policeman’ and expressed his ‘grave concern’ about Trump’s policy moves in Syria.

McConnell issued the rebuke without directly blaming President Trump for the latest calamity in the region – although he said Trump’s policy threatens to put Iran on Israel’s door-step and fuel a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria in territory that had been controlled by U.S.-allied members of the Kurdish minority, McConnell warned that the ‘door is wide open for resurgence of the Islamic State.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump's contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the 'world's policeman'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump’s contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the ‘world’s policeman’

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said the situation created a power vacuum that could fuel the meddling influence of Russia, and ‘leaving northeastern Syria wide open Iran to extend reach unimpeded all the way from tehran to the door step of our friends in Israel.

He also confronted the view, espoused directly by President Trump, that the U.S. should pull out of the region rather serving as the ‘world’s policeman.’

I want to make something clear, the United States has taken the fight to Syria and Afghanistan because that is where our enemies are, that’s why we’re there. Fighting terrorists, exercising leadership and troubled regions and advancing U.S. interests around the world does not make us an evil empire or the world’s policeman,’ McConnell said.

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces

McConnell shared his 'grave concern' about the situation in Syria

McConnell shared his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted in his floor speech

McConnell had also warned of his ‘grave concern’ in a written statement Monday that did not mention Trump by name. But in his floor speech Tuesday, he included such a reference.

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted.

But even as he challenged the president on a policy that has resulted in the release of ISIS prisoners, led to attacks against key regional allies, and even led to shelling by Turkish forces toward a U.S. troop-held position, he defended the president on impeachment by attacking Democrats.

‘House Democrats are finally indulging in their impeachment obsession. Full steam ahead,’ McConnell warned. ‘I don’t think many of us were expecting to witness a clinic in terms of fairness or due process. But even by their own partisan standards, House Democrats have already found new ways to lower the bar,’ he complained.

McConnell has said he was required by Senate rules to hold a trial should the House impeach Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7577029/Mitch-McConnell-rebukes-Donald-Trump-Turkish-invasion-Kurdish-held-Syria.html

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

Syrians fleeing Turskih advance arrive to the town of Tal Tamr in north Syria, Oct. 14. PHOTO: BADERKHAN AHMAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What a fiasco. Foreign-policy blunders often take months or years to reveal their damaging consequences, but the harm from President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria is playing out almost in real time.

Critics said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would invade northern Syria despite Mr. Trump’s public warnings, and the Turkish strongman did. Critics said our Kurdish allies would strike a deal with Syria’s Bashar Assad to defend themselves, and the Kurds have. Critics said Islamic State prisoners held by the Kurds would be released and scatter to wage jihad again, and they are.

The mess compounded Monday when Mr. Trump authorized sanctions against several Turkish officials and agencies who are “contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” The sanctions include financial measures and barring entry to the U.S. Mr. Trump also said he’s ending trade talks with Turkey and raising steel tariffs to 50%.

Mr. Trump now finds himself back in an economic and diplomatic brawl with Turkey that he said he wanted to avoid. Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to tell Mr. Erdogan, on that famous phone call two Sundays ago, that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate a Turkish invasion against the Kurds and would use air power to stop it? Mr. Erdogan would have had to back down and continue negotiating a Syrian safe zone with the Kurds and the U.S.

Mr. Trump is also making matters worse with his unserious justifications. “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land,” he tweeted Monday. “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”

We suppose the Napoleon line was a joke, but the world is laughing at an American President. Mr. Trump was able to project an image of strength in his early days as he prosecuted the war against ISIS and used force to impose a cost on Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons. But that image has faded as he has indulged his inner Rand Paul and claims at every opportunity that the main goal of his foreign policy is to put an end to “endless wars.”

This is simple-minded isolationism, and it’s a message to the world’s rogues that a U.S. President has little interest in engaging on behalf of American allies or interests. Friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia are quietly dismayed, while Iran, Russia and Hezbollah can’t believe Mr. Trump has so glibly abandoned U.S. commitments and military partners.

By now it’s not unreasonable to conclude that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy can be distilled into two tactics—sanctions and tariffs. Mr. Trump wields them willy-nilly against friend and foe alike as substitutes for diplomacy and the credible threat of military force.

Mr. Trump won’t like to hear it, but the Syrian mess is hurting him at home too. Republicans who have stood by him through the Russia fight and more are questioning his judgment as Commander in Chief in an increasingly dangerous world. With impeachment looming, he can’t afford to alienate more friends.

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

Opinion: Trump’s Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course
As Turkey advances into Syria, foreign powers will increasingly act on the belief that the American executive is both politically weak and intellectually unfocused. Image: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Imageshttps://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-syria-mess-11571095091

TRUMP’S CHAOTIC SYRIA EXIT PUTS ANTI-WAR 2020 DEMOCRATS IN A DELICATE SPOT

THE PENTAGON announced on Monday that the U.S. was pulling all of its troops out of northeastern Syria at President Donald Trump’s direction, completing a withdrawal he had started by Twitter declaration a week earlier. The move further clears the way for a full-on invasion by Turkey, whose soldiers have already been accused of executing noncombatants. In the chaos, hundreds of Islamic State detainees have reportedly escaped.

Trump defended his decision in a series of early-morning tweets on Monday. “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!” he wrote. “Never ending wars will end!”

Trump’s abandonment of eastern Syria and the U.S. military’s Kurdish allies has put progressive Democrats — many of whom also favor withdrawing from overseas military operations — in a delicate spot. Over the past week, they have been trying to thread the needle between condemning Trump for recklessly abandoning an ally and emphasizing that withdrawing U.S. troops should be an eventual policy goal.

Trump’s decision has showcased what a worst-case scenario for expedited military withdrawal could look like, making it harder for progressive Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to press their cases against “endless wars” on the campaign trail. The question of how progressives can go about drawing down U.S. military commitments without repeating Trump’s calamitous actions would be an obvious pick for Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

So far, the Democratic candidates have been critical of Trump but light on specifics about what they would do differently. Last week, Sanders condemned Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, telling reporters that “as somebody who does not want to see American troops bogged down in countries all over the world — you don’t turn your back on allies who have fought and died alongside American troops. You just don’t do that.” But when George Stephanopoulos asked Sunday morning on ABC for Sanders to explain the difference between his and Trump’s approaches, Sanders responded simply that Trump “lies. I don’t.”

Warren’s response was similarly vague. She tweeted that “Trump recklessly betrayed our Kurdish partners” and that “we should bring our troops home, but we need to do so in a way that respects our security.”

Ro Khanna, a Democratic representative from California and co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 campaign, told The Intercept that progressives urgently need to make the case for a “doctrine of responsible withdrawal.”

“I don’t believe that withdrawal from a progressive perspective means a moral indifference to the lives of the places that we leave,” Khanna said in a phone interview. “It’s not an ‘America First’ approach that says our interests and our American lives are the only things that have moral worth. Rather, our withdrawal is based on an understanding of the limitations of American power to shape and restructure societies. It emphasizes the need for effective diplomacy and understands our moral obligations in these places.”

The U.S. should not have withdrawn troops without negotiating a deal that would have kept Turkey from invading Syria, backed by a threat to withhold future arms sales and economic assistance, Khanna told The Intercept. “We could have used all those points of leverage to get their commitment that they wouldn’t slaughter the Kurds.”

Another key difference between Trump’s approach and that of progressives is their level of trust for civil service expertise, Khanna said. “What this shows is that it’s not enough to have a president with certain instincts. Foreign policy requires great expertise. You need a progressive president who understands the importance of military restraint, but who also has the ability to put together an extraordinary foreign policy team to implement the goals that they may have.”

Far from admiring Trump’s approach to Syria, many anti-interventionists and foreign policy experts in D.C. view it as a blueprint for how not to withdraw from a conflict, according to Adam Wunische, a researcher with the Quincy Institute, a new pro-diplomacy, noninterventionist, and nonpartisan think tank.

“What we should have been doing from the very beginning is once we achieved the limited objective of destroying ISIS territory, they should have immediately begun contemplating what kind of peace or settlement could come afterwards,” Wunische told The Intercept. “To my knowledge, the U.S. is one of the only actors that can effectively talk to both the Turks and the Kurds. So they should have been trying to find an acceptable political arrangement for all the parties involved that doesn’t involve an endless, ill-defined military presence for the U.S.”

The Quincy Institute is working on a report outlining a possible plan for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan that would avoid the type of disorder on display in northeastern Syria, Wunische said, though the timing of the report remains unclear.

Throughout the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, a number of candidates have railed against “endless wars.” But in a conversation that has been defined by intricate domestic policy proposals and detailed outlines of how to structure a wealth tax, candidates have said little about the rest of the world and even less about how they would wind down overseas conflicts.

Sanders, for example, has called for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan “as expeditiously as possible.” Warren has said “it’s long past time to bring our troops home, and I would begin to do so immediately.” Joe Biden has said he would bring “American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” but left the door open for a “residual U.S. military presence” that would be “focused on counterterrorism operations.” When asked during a July debate whether he would withdraw from Afghanistan during the first year of his presidency, Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor and Navy Reserve veteran who spent seven months in Afghanistan, answered emphatically in the affirmative.

But aside from seeking a diplomatic solution, candidates have said very little about their policies for ending the war. And as in Syria, stakes for U.S. allies in Afghanistan are high.

A January study by the Rand Corporation found that a “precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan” would have far-reaching consequences. The legitimacy for the U.S.-backed Kabul government would plummet, the report argued, and the Taliban would extend its control and influence. People all across the country would turn to regional militias and rival warlords for basic security.

“I don’t think that anyone, whether they promise it or not, is going to get out of Afghanistan in a week,” said Wuinsche. “What we need to focus on is, what is the political solution that we think is possible, and how do we get there? That requires marshaling all of these different tools of foreign policy, not just the military.”

Kate Kizer, policy director for the D.C.-based advocacy group Win Without War, stressed that one of the most revealing differences between progressives and Trump is how they would treat a conflict’s refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. has accepted historically low numbers of refugees and closed the door on future Syrian immigrants applying for Temporary Protected Status.

“One of the cruelest parts of Trump’s policy is the fact that, in addition to fueling more bloodshed with this decision, he’s also banning any types of civilians who would be fleeing from the conflict,” Kizer said. “In a situation like Syria and even Afghanistan, there’s a way to responsibly withdraw and then there’s a way to cut and run, which is what Trump has shown he has a predilection for. But I’m not sitting here saying that any type of military withdraw will necessarily be bloodless.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/15/syria-troop-withdrawal-trump-democrats/

Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos

RUST NO ONE

Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks

Trump fears the leaks are now coming from the people he chose to serve him—and that only increases the paranoia currently infecting the West Wing.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

At a critical juncture in his presidency, facing a rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Donald Trump is feeling besieged by snitches.

In recent weeks, numerous leaks have appeared in the pages of The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other major papers and news outlets detailing the president’s attempts to enlist foreign leaders to help dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and also aid Trump’s quest to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s concluded investigation. And as is his MO, the media-obsessed president has been fixated on not just the identity of the whistleblower behind the internal complaint that brought this scandal to the fore, but also on who, exactly, has been namelessly feeding intel to the press.

In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

“[Trump] was clearly implying [it, saying] something to the effect of, ‘Oh, gee, I wonder who the source on that could be,’” this source said, referring to the president’s speculation. Bolton, for his part, told The Daily Beast last month that allegations that he was a leaker in Trump’s midst are “flatly incorrect.”

The former national security adviser—who departed the administration last month on awfulmutually bitter terms—is working on a book about his time serving Trump, and has “a lot to dish,” one knowledgeable source noted.

Neither Bolton nor White House spokespeople provided comment for this story. Matt Schlapp, an influential conservative activist with close ties to the White House, said his assumption was that the leaks were coming from “career folks inside who hate Trump” and that the president and his campaign had “14 months of this” to come. As for Bolton, Schlapp said, “He’s smarter than that, although he does aggressively defend himself.”

Indeed, Bolton’s name surfaced Monday before House impeachment inquiry committees, when Hill reportedly testified that he told her to alert the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on an operation with legal implications, the Times reported late Monday. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

“I have not spoken to John about [his comments, as conveyed by Hill],” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. “John is a longtime friend. I have no idea why John is doing this. My best guess is that he’s confused and bought into a false media narrative without bothering to call me about it.”

Regarding Bolton’s reported comment about Mulvaney being involved in this figurative Ukraine “drug deal,” the former New York City mayor insisted that “Mick wasn’t involved in this. I don’t recall having any lengthy conversation with him about this subject… I don’t recall ever having a lengthy conversation [about Ukraine] with John, either.”

Trump has felt under siege from within before, including at various flashpoints of his presidency. For instance, near the end of the Mueller probe, the president became so distrustful and resentful toward Don McGahn, his own White House counsel at the time, he started asking those close to him, “Is [Don] wearing a wire?”

But the current sense that he has been undermined by people whom he brought into his orbit has come at a critical juncture and colored some of the decisions he has made since the whistleblower complaint became public.  The president has openly declared that the whistleblower committed an act of treason. He has attempted to stop prominent advisers—including Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a man who donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration—from testifying to Congress, only to apparently fail. On Monday, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, was on Capitol Hill, where she reportedly told lawmakers that Sondland and Giuliani circumventedthe standard national-security process on high-profile Ukraine matters. The president has struggled to add to his current legal team, and appeared to begin putting some distance between himself and Giuliani last week.

And when outside allies began to talk about constructing a war room to help with impeachment, Trump shot down the concept, in part out of a sense that he couldn’t rely on them to get the message out right. One top White House aide subsequently labeled the idea an exercise by “outside peeps trying to self-aggrandize.”

The impression left on Republicans is one of a president increasingly driven by paranoia and a desire for insularity—and not, necessarily, to his own benefit.

“There is a certain level of frustration that all the sudden the president says something, then Rudy does, and it is not always consistent. There is a frustration that not everybody knows what they should be doing. It is not that they can’t defend the president it is a frustration that they don’t know exactly how they are supposed to defend the president,” said John Brabender, a longtime GOP consultant. “From the president’s perspective, this whole thing is a witch hunt and is outrageous and, therefore, it shouldn’t even need explanation…But with that said, you can’t just be angry. You need a unified communications team.”

According to those who’ve known the president, the sense that a good chunk of the government has never fully accepted his presidency and has actively worked to undermine it has animated much of his activity over the past few weeks. And though they believe he has a point, they also wonder if it is making him functionally incapable of taking the advice of some advisers: to simply ignore impeachment and apply his attention to other facets of governance.

Trump, they add, is preternaturally incapable of ignoring press about him and lingers particularly on leaks that depict atmospherics of his inner sanctum, the West Wing, and his internal well-being.

“In my experience, what he despises is somebody writing that Donald Trump feels under siege and his emotions are this and his thinking is this,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide. “He hates people saying what he is thinking… And one of his most frequent tricks in terms of talking about himself on background [as an anonymous source] is him having the reporter say [he is] someone ‘familiar with the president’s thinking.’”

Nunberg said he had yet to see a blind quote in any recent report that would lead him to believe that Trump is cold-calling reporters. But the president is certainly working the fourth estate. Democratic aides were left shaking their heads last week when they received an email from the White House with the subject line, “Article from President Trump” and a PDF attachment of a Kimberly Strassel Wall Street Journal column.

“He’s apparently so anxious about GOP support in the Senate, he’s taken to sending WSJ columns against the House inquiry,” said a Senate source.

Still, for all of Trump’s grousing and preoccupation with who is and isn’t stabbing him in the back, loyalty has always been a one-way street for this president. Last week, after the news broke that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen tied to Giuliani, were arrested on charges of violating campaign-finance law, a reporter at the White House asked Trump if the former New York mayor was still his personal attorney. The president responded that he didn’t know.

Though the president would later tweet out his support for Giuliani over the weekend, Trump has a long track record for being loyal to and supportive of a longtime associate, friend, or staffer—up until the moment he’s not. Perhaps the quintessential example of this is that of one of the president’s former attorneys, Michael Cohen, who famously turned on Trump after becoming convinced that the president had abandoned him while he was in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors.

Asked by The Daily Beast last week if the president told him that he still had his lawyer’s back—an attorney who further earned the president’s trust by defending Trump during the Mueller investigation—Giuliani let out a big belly-laugh and responded, “There’s nothing, [no knife], in my back.”

“My back feels very comfortable right now,” he added.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-suspects-a-spiteful-john-bolton-is-behind-ukraine-leaks

Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos —

 

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Medicare For All: What Does it Actually Mean?

DEBUNKED: Medicare for All MYTHS! | Louder With Crowder

Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos —

Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup Champions to WH

President Trump Welcomes the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champions

Trump welcomes 2019 Stanley Cup champions to White House

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

WATCH: Trump hosts NHL champions St. Louis Blues at the White House

 

St. Louis Blues visit the White House after Stanley Cup win

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The Pronk Pops Show 1340, October 14, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos — Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Freedom — Videos — Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

Posted on October 18, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Bernie Sanders, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Psychology, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Sciences, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019See the source imageOpinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists04-no-justice-hearing-li-600.jpg (600×429)See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos —

See the source image

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The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

The Kurds are an ancient and noble people who are now the primary “boots on the ground” against ISIS in the Middle East. They are 35 million strong worldwide, the largest people group on earth without their own homeland. In this stirring talk, Stephen Mansfield tells the story of the Kurds and does so, surprisingly, through the lives of three women. Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author who first rose to global attention with his groundbreaking book, The Faith of George W. Bush, a bestseller that Time magazine credited with helping to shape the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He has written celebrated biographies of Barak Obama, Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, Pope Benedict XVI, and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Mansfield’s latest book, The Miracle of the Kurds, is a timely introduction to the Kurdish people that reached bookstores just as Kurdish troops began standing heroically against the evils of ISIS in the Middle East. The book has been named “Book of the Year” by Rudaw, the leading Kurdish news service. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Donald Trump vows to ‘obliterate’ Turkey’s economy if there’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of Kurds in Syria

President Trump answers questions about Syria, Turkey

Erdogan asks Arab League: ‘How many Syrians did you accept?’

Turkish forces clash with Kurdish fighters in Syria – BBC News

Graham rips ex-Obama officials’ criticism of Trump’s Syria pullout

Defense Secretary Esper defends Trump’s removal of troops from Northern Syria

Rand Paul slams GOP ‘war caucus’ criticizing Trump for Syria

Why are Americans surprised Trump withdrew troops from Syria?: Gaetz

After Trump Abandoned Kurds, Turkish Invasion Raises Fear of Kurdish Genocide & ISIS Resurgence

What is the Armenian Genocide?

An Armenian Genocide Survivor’s Story | Lucine Z. Kinoian | TEDxBergenCommunityCollege

Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on

Donald Trump says he is poised to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Erdogan continues military onslaught in Syria – as unrest helps nearly 800 ISIS brides and their children escape from a camp

  • President Trump said Sunday morning that he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey 
  • On Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area 
  • This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria
  • On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia
  • Syrian troops have been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive
  • Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing on Twitter that it’s ‘very smart not to be involved’ in the fighting on the Turkish border
  • More than 130,000 people have been displaced from northeast Syrian border towns as a result of fighting between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish militia 

President Trump says he is in talks with members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Turkish President Erdogan continues his attacks on Kurdish militia just one week after Trump pulled U.S. troops from the area.

‘Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,’ Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning. ‘Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!’

This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria after a shelling by Turkish forces, the region’s Kurdish-led administration said Sunday. Syrian troops have now been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive.

Trump said Saturday that in response to the Turkish invasion, the U.S. will send $50million in emergency financial aid to Syria.

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose 'powerful sanctions' on Turkey

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for 'WORLD PEACE!'

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for ‘WORLD PEACE!’

The Kurdish-led administration said 785 foreigners affiliated with ISIS escaped Ain Issa (pictured), north of Raqqa, where they were being held following Turkish shelling today

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

The money will be sent to assist human rights groups and other organizations to ‘protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights,’ according to a statement released Saturday night by the Office of the Press Secretary.

Trump spoke of the $50million in aid while at the Values Voters Summit’s Faith, family and Freedom gala dinner Saturday night.

‘Other presidents would not be doing that, they’d be spending a lot more money but on things that wouldn’t make you happy,’ he said. ‘The U.S. condemns the persecution of Christians and we pledge our support to Christians all over.’

The statement by the Office of the Press Secretary says the aid money ‘will also go toward increased accountability, removal of explosive remnants of war, community security for stabilization assistance, documenting human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations, and support for survivors of gender-based violence and torture.

‘We hope regional and international partners will continue their contributions as well. ‘Ensuring the freedom and safety of ethnic and religious minorities remains a top priority for this Administration.’

On Sunday, President Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Northern Syria, leaving the America’s Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion, calling it ‘very smart’ for the U.S. to ‘not be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change.’

‘Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?’ he added.

‘Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria. Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no, and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey….’ he wrote.

‘The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!’

On Sunday, Syrian Kurdish officials said they will work with Assad forces to repel Turkish offensive and to liberate areas held by Turkey.

Also on Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that Turkey ‘appears to be ‘ committing war crimes in northern Syria.

‘It’s a very terrible situation over there, a situation caused by the Turks. Despite our opposition, they decided to make this incursion,’ Esper said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Turkey-backed rebels capture city from Kurdish control

On Sunday Trump continued to defend his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing: 'Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change'

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Mortar shells land on Turkish side of border with Syria

The Kurdish-led administration said in a statement Sunday that 785 ISIS-affiliated foreigners had fled a camp at Ain Issa.

In an apparent reference to Turkish-backed rebels, the Kurdish-led administration said ‘mercenaries’ attacked the camp where ‘Daesh elements’ – a reference to Islamic State – in turn attacked camp guards and opened the gates.

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to show people running away from the camp.

Turkey’s cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara’s Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.

Turkey is now facing threats of possible sanctions from the U.S. unless it calls off the incursion.

Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.

France also said today it was ‘worried’ to hear of the report that hundreds of relatives of foreign jihadists had escaped.

‘Of course we are worried about what could happen and that is why we want Turkey… to end as quickly as possible the intervention it has begun,’ government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told France 3 television.

Turkey-backed Syrian forces continue Syrian Kurdish fighters assault

On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia

On Saturday, Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that ISIS will ‘absolutely come back’ with the removal of U.S. troops from Syria.

‘ISIS is not defeated. We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover,’ Mattis told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press when asked if President Trump made the right decision by pulling troops from Northern Syria last week.

‘It’s in a situation of disarray right now,’ Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defense in January, said of the situation between Turkey and Syria. ‘Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks. We’ll have to see if they can maintain the fight against ISIS. It’s going to have an impact. The question is how much.

‘We may want a war over; we may even declare it over. You can pull your troops out as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq, but the ”enemy gets the vote”, we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7568101/Trump-sends-50million-emergency-financial-assistance-Syria.html

David E. Sanger
Syrian army returns to northeast, as Turkey widens invasion
President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four American adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and the Islamic State.

Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests. How this decision happened — springing from an “off-script moment” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in the words of a senior American diplomat — likely will be debated for years by historians, Middle East experts and conspiracy theorists.

But this much already is clear: Mr. Trump ignored months of warnings from his advisers about what calamities likely would ensue if he followed his instincts to pull back from Syria and abandon America’s longtime allies, the Kurds. He had no Plan B, other than to leave. The only surprise is how swiftly it all collapsed around the president and his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team.

Day after day, they have been caught off-guard, offering up differing explanations of what Mr. Trump said to Mr. Erdogan, how the United States and its allies might respond, and even whether Turkey remains an American ally. For a while Mr. Trump said he acted because the Islamic State was already defeated, and because he was committed to terminating “endless wars” by pulling American troops out of the Middle East. By the end of the week he added 2,000 — to Saudi Arabia.

One day he was inviting Mr. Erdogan to visit the White House; the next he was threatening to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it crossed a line that he never defined.

Mr. Erdogan just kept going.

Mr. Trump’s error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared, and then failing to spell out for Mr. Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a dimunition of Turkey’s alliance with the United States and its standing in NATO. He has since threatened both, retroactively. But it is not clear Mr. Erdogan believes either is a real risk.The drama is nowhere near over. Out of necessity, the Kurds switched sides on Sunday, turning their backs on Washington and signing up with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a man the United States has called a war criminal for gassing his own people. At the Pentagon, officials struggled with the right response if Turkish forces — NATO allies — again opened fire on any of the 1,000 or so Americans now preparing to retreat from their positions inside Syria. Those troops are trapped for now, since Turkey has cut off the roads; removing them may require an airlift.

And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

For his part, Mr. Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” he said. (In fact, most do not.)

“This president keeps blindsiding our military and diplomatic leaders and partners with impulsive moves like this that benefit Russia and authoritarian regimes,” said Senator Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat and longtime member of the Armed Services Committee.

“If this president were serious about ending wars and winning peace, he’d actually articulate a strategy that would protect against a re-emergence of ISIS and provide for the safety of our Syrian partners,” Mr. Reed added. “But he has repeatedly failed to do that. Instead, this is another example of Donald Trump creating chaos, undermining U.S. interests, and benefitting Russia and the Assad regime.”

The other major beneficiary is Iran, perhaps Mr. Trump’s most talked-about geo-political foe, which has long supported the Syrian regime and sought freer rein across the country.

But none of that appeared to have been anticipated by Mr. Trump, who has no fondness for briefing books and meetings in the Situation Room intended to game out events two or three moves ahead. Instead, he often talks about the trusting his instincts.

“My gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” he said late last year. He was discussing the Federal Reserve, but could just as easily been talking foreign policy; in 2017 he told a reporter, right after his first meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, that it was his “gut feel” for how to deal with foreign leaders, honed over years in the real estate world, that guided him. “Foreign policy is what I’ll be remembered for,” he said.

But in this case the failure to look around corners has blown up on him at a speed that is rare in foreign policy and national security. The closest analogue may date back to 1950, during Harry Truman’s administration, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson described America’s new “defense perimeter” in a speech, saying it ran from southern Japan through the Philippines. That left out the Korean Peninsula, and two weeks later Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, appeared to have given Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the current North Korean leader, permission to launch his invasion of the South. The bloody stalemate that followed lives with the United States today.

At the time, the United States kept a token force in South Korea, akin to the one parked along the Turkish-Syrian border. And it is impossible to know whether the North Korean attack would have been launched even without Mr. Acheson’s failure to warn about American action if a vulnerable ally was attacked — just as it is impossible to know if Mr. Erdogan would have sent his troops over the border if that phone call, and Mr. Trump’s failure to object, had never happened.

It was Mr. Trump himself who, during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, blamed President Barack Obama for a similar error. “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq,” he said, referring to the 2011 withdrawal. “They shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.”

Even his allies see the parallel. “If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most vociferous defenders in recent years, but among his harshest Republican critics for the Syria decision, said last week.

As James F. Jeffrey, who worked for Mr. Obama as ambassador to Turkey, then to Iraq, and now serves as Mr. Trump’s special envoy for Syria, noted several years ago, it’s debatable whether events would have played out differently if the United States had stayed in Iraq.

Could a residual force have prevented ISIS’s victories?” he asked in a Wall Street Journal essay five years ago. “With troops we would have had better intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq and later ISIS, a more attentive Washington, and no doubt a better-trained Iraqi army. But the common argument that U.S. troops could have produced different Iraqi political outcomes is hogwash. The Iraqi sectarian divides, which ISIS exploited, run deep and were not susceptible to permanent remedy by our troops at their height, let alone by 5,000 trainers under Iraqi restraints.”

Mr. Trump may now be left to make the same argument about Syria: That nothing could have stopped Mr. Erdogan, that the Russians would benefit in any case, that there are other ways to push back at Iran. Perhaps history will side with him.

For now, however, he has given up most of what little leverage he had.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-followed-his-gut-on-syria-calamity-came-fast/ar-AAILbg6#image=AAIqEBq|9

Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., an ardent supporter of President Trump, got the boot on Monday when he tried to sit in on the testimony of a former top National Security Council expert on Russia who was appearing on Capitol Hill as part of the House impeachment inquiry into the president.

Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, attempted to attend the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president, but was told that because he was not a member of the House Intelligence Committee that he had to leave. The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees are conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

A frustrated Gaetz aired his disappointment to reporters after being told he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing, venting his anger over what he says are “selective leaks” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and questioning why he was not allowed to be present during Hill’s testimony. Gaetz added that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was involved in the impeachment inquiry.

“It’s not like I’m on agriculture,” Gaetz said. “What are the Democrats so afraid of?”

Gaetz followed up his comments with a tweet calling the impeachment inquiry a kangaroo court and using one of Trump’s favorite nicknames for the intelligence committee chairman, “Shifty Schiff.”

“Judiciary Chairman [Jerry Nadler] claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago,” Gaetz tweeted. “Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes – my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff.”

Other Republicans closely aligned with Trump continued on Monday to complain about Schiff and his handling of the impeachment inquiry – with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also lambasting the California Democrat for excluding some congressional Republicans from the testimonies and for leaking “cherry-picked” information from the closed-door hearings to the press.

“She was going to come voluntarily but he’s going to subpoena her I believe so he can ask certain questions and again keep those secret except for the certain things that he wants to leak, the cherry-picked information to the American people,” Jordan said of Schiff before Hill’s testimony.

TRUMP SAYS OBAMA ‘HIDING’ FROM QUESTIONS ABOUT BIDENS AND UKRAINE: ‘I THINK HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT’

Lee Wolosky, Hill’s attorney, tweeted on Monday that the former deputy assistant to the president had received a congressional subpoena.

“The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don’t get to see what’s going on in these up in these sessions,” Jordan said.

Hill’s testimony comes ahead of a planned Thursday appearance by Gordon Sondland, Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, and follows the revelation of a cache of text messages from top envoys that provide a vivid account of their work acting as intermediaries around the time Trump urged Ukraine’s new president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, to start investigations into a company linked to the family of a chief Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.

Sondland is set to tell lawmakers that he did understand the administration was offering Zelenskiy a White House visit in exchange for a public statement committing to investigations Trump wanted, according to the person, who demanded anonymity to discuss remarks not yet given.

But Sondland will say he did not know the company being talked about for an investigation, Burisma, was tied to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the person said. Sondland understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicized Trump administration push that was widely shared, the person said.

 

One witness who may not be called before Congress is the still anonymous government whistleblower who touched off the impeachment inquiry. Top Democrats say testimony and evidence coming in from other witnesses, and even the president himself, are backing up the whistleblower’s account of what transpired during Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy.

Lawmakers have also grown deeply concerned about protecting the person from Trump’s threats over the matter and may not wish to risk exposing the whistleblower’s identity.

Schiff said Sunday, “We don’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call, to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.” He added it “may not be necessary” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity as the House gathers evidence.

“Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff said.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republican-rep-matt-gaetz-kicked-out-of-impeachment-inquiry-hearing

Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Liberty — Videos

AG William Barr Nails The Destruction OF America’s Morality by “Militant Secularism”

US Attorney General William Barr – Notre Dame Speech

Why Has the West Been So Successful?

1. I Am the Lord Your God

2. No Other Gods

Religious Tolerance: Made in America

Were the Founders Religious?

Was America Founded to Be Secular?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

America’s Biggest Issues: Religious Freedom

The Left Ruins Everything

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Jordan Peterson on the Belief in God

Who Dares Say He Believes in God?

On Claiming Belief In God: Discussion with Dennis Prager

“Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom” with Donald Trump & Others (Opening)

Donald Trump makes speech to the UN general assembly

The Blaine Amendments: State Constitutions & School Choice

Blaine Amendments and “Sectarian” explained

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down the Blaine Amendment?

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame

South Bend, IN

~

Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Tom, for your kind introduction. Bill and Roger, it’s great to be with you.

Thank you to the Notre Dame Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture for graciously extending an invitation to address you today. I’d also like to express gratitude to Tony de Nicola, whose generous support has shaped – and continues to shape – countless minds through examination of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition.

Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you about religious liberty in America. It’s an important priority in this Administration and for this Department of Justice.

We have set up a task force within the Department with different components that have equities in this area, including the Solicitor General’s Office, the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel, and other offices. We have regular meetings. We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith, or cases where states adopt laws that impinge upon the free exercise of religion.

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety. It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.

In his renowned 1785 pamphlet, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” James Madison described religious liberty as “a right towards men” but “a duty towards the Creator,” and a “duty….precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

It has been over 230 years since that small group of colonial lawyers led a revolution and launched what they viewed as a great experiment, establishing a society fundamentally different than those that had gone before.

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

In the 20th century, our form of free society faced a severe test.

There had always been the question whether a democracy so solicitous of individual freedom could stand up against a regimented totalitarian state.

That question was answered with a resounding “yes” as the United States stood up against and defeated, first fascism, and then communism.

But in the 21st century, we face an entirely different kind of challenge.

The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.

They never thought the main danger to the republic came from external foes. The central question was whether, over the long haul, we could handle freedom. The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.

By and large, the Founding generation’s view of human nature was drawn from the classical Christian tradition.

These practical statesmen understood that individuals, while having the potential for great good, also had the capacity for great evil.

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.

On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Edmund Burke summed up this point in his typically colorful language:

“Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put chains upon their appetites…. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So the Founders decided to take a gamble. They called it a great experiment.

They would leave “the People” broad liberty, limit the coercive power of the government, and place their trust in self-discipline and the virtue of the American people.

In the words of Madison, “We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves…”

This is really what was meant by “self-government.” It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings.

Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves – freely obeying the dictates of inwardly-possessed and commonly-shared moral values. And to control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

As John Adams put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

As Father John Courtney Murray observed, the American tenet was notthat:

“Free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and that its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.”

How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.

From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.

Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.

By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.

Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.

But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

As you all know, over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses. That is more casualities in a year than we experienced during the entire Vietnam War.

I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.

Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of Homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.

We hear much today about our humane values. But, in the final analysis, what undergirds these values? What commands our adherence to them?

What we call “values” today are really nothing more than mere sentimentality, still drawing on the vapor trails of Christianity.

Now, there have been times and places where the traditional moral order has been shaken.

In the past, societies – like the human body – seem to have a self-healing mechanism – a self-correcting mechanism that gets things back on course if things go too far.

The consequences of moral chaos become too pressing. The opinion of decent people rebels. They coalesce and rally against obvious excess. Periods of moral entrenchment follow periods of excess.

This is the idea of the pendulum. We have all thought that after a while the “pendulum will swing back.”

But today we face something different that may mean that we cannot count on the pendulum swinging back.

First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.

One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.

Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

The pervasiveness and power of our high-tech popular culture fuels apostasy in another way. It provides an unprecedented degree of distraction.

Part of the human condition is that there are big questions that should stare us in the face. Are we created or are we purely material accidents? Does our life have any meaning or purpose? But, as Blaise Pascal observed, instead of grappling with these questions, humans can be easily distracted from thinking about the “final things.”

Indeed, we now live in the age of distraction where we can envelop ourselves in a world of digital stimulation and universal connectivity. And we have almost limitless ways of indulging all our physical appetites.

There is another modern phenomenon that suppresses society’s self-corrective mechanisms – that makes it harder for society to restore itself.

In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path that it is on.

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad fconsequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on which we depend.

Interestingly, this idea of the State as the alleviator of bad consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society.  It can be called the system of “macro-morality.”  It is in some ways an inversion of Christian morality.

Christianity teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather on their commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems.

This system allows us to not worry so much about the strictures on our private lives, while we find salvation on the picket-line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by demonstrating for this cause or that.

Something happened recently that crystalized the difference between these moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I did not usually go to in Washington, D.C.  At the end of Mass, the Chairman of the Social Justice Committee got up to give his report to the parish. He pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C. and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide this need. Instead, he recounted all the visits that the Committee had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchen.

A third phenomenon which makes it difficult for the pendulum to swing back is the way law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy.

Law is being used as weapon in a couple of ways.

First, either through legislation but more frequently through judicial interpretation, secularists have been continually seeking to eliminate laws that reflect traditional moral norms.

At first, this involved rolling back laws that prohibited certain kinds of conduct. Thus, the watershed decision legalizing abortion. And since then, the legalization of euthanasia. The list goes on.

More recently, we have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith.

The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.

This reminds me of how some Roman emperors could not leave their loyal Christian subjects in peace but would mandate that they violate their conscience by offering religious sacrifice to the emperor as a god.

Similarly, militant secularists today do not have a live and let live spirit – they are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.

For example, the last Administration sought to force religious employers, including Catholic religious orders, to violate their sincerely held religious views by funding contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in their health plans. Similarly, California has sought to require pro-life pregnancy centers to provide notices of abortion rights.

This refusal to accommodate the free exercise of religion is relatively recent. Just 25 years ago, there was broad consensus in our society that our laws should accommodate religious belief.

In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – RFRA. The purpose of the statute was to promote maximum accommodation to religion when the government adopted broad policies that could impinge on religious practice.

At the time, RFRA was not controversial. It was introduced by Chuck Schumer with 170 cosponsors in the House, and was introduced by Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch with 59 additional cosponsors in the Senate. It passed by voice vote in the House and by a vote of 97-3 in the Senate.

Recently, as the process of secularization has accelerated, RFRA has come under assault, and the idea of religious accommodation has fallen out of favor.

Because this Administration firmly supports accommodation of religion, the battleground has shifted to the states. Some state governments are now attempting to compel religious individuals and entities to subscribe to practices, or to espouse viewpoints, that are incompatible with their religion.

Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools. To me, this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty.

For anyone who has a religious faith, by far the most important part of exercising that faith is the teaching of that religion to our children. The passing on of the faith. There is no greater gift we can give our children and no greater expression of love.

For the government to interfere in that process is a monstrous invasion of religious liberty.

Yet here is where the battle is being joined, and I see the secularists are attacking on three fronts.

The first front relates to the content of public school curriculum. Many states are adopting curriculum that is incompatible with traditional religious principles according to which parents are attempting to raise their children. They often do so without any opt out for religious families.

Thus, for example, New Jersey recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. Similar laws have been passed in California and Illinois. And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

Indeed, in some cases, the schools may not even warn parents about lessons they plan to teach on controversial subjects relating to sexual behavior and relationships.

This puts parents who dissent from the secular orthodoxy to a difficult choice: Try to scrape together the money for private school or home schooling, or allow their children to be inculcated with messages that they fundamentally reject.

A second axis of attack in the realm of education are state policies designed to starve religious schools of generally-available funds and encouraging students to choose secular options.  Montana, for example, created a program that provided tax credits to those who donated to a scholarship program that underprivileged students could use to attend private school.  The point of the program was to provide greater parental and student choice in education and to provide better educations to needy youth.

But Montana expressly excluded religiously-affiliated private schools from the program.  And when that exclusion was challenged in court by parents who wanted to use the scholarships to attend a nondenominational Christian school, the Montana Supreme Court required the state to eliminate the program rather than allow parents to use scholarships for religious schools.

It justified this action by pointing to a provision in Montana’s State Constitution commonly referred to as a “Blaine Amendment.”  Blaine Amendments were passed at a time of rampant anti-Catholic animus in this country, and typically disqualify religious institutions from receiving any direct or indirect payments from a state’s funds.

The case is now in the Supreme Court, and we filed a brief explaining why Montana’s Blaine Amendment violates the First Amendment.

A third kind of assault on religious freedom in education have been recent efforts to use state laws to force religious schools to adhere to secular orthodoxy. For example, right here in Indiana, a teacher sued the Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis for directing the Catholic schools within his diocese that they could not employ teachers in same-sex marriages because the example of those same-sex marriages would undermine the schools’ teaching on the Catholic view of marriage and complementarity between the sexes.

This lawsuit clearly infringes the First Amendment rights of the Archdiocese by interfering both with its expressive association and with its church autonomy. The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the state court making these points, and we hope that the state court will soon dismiss the case.

Taken together, these cases paint a disturbing picture. We see the State requiring local public schools to insert themselves into contentious social debates, without regard for the religious views of their students or parents. In effect, these states are requiring local communities to make their public schools inhospitable to families with traditional religious values; those families are implicitly told that they should conform or leave.

At the same time, pressure is placed on religious schools to abandon their religious convictions. Simply because of their religious character, they are starved of funds – students who would otherwise choose to attend them are told they may only receive scholarships if they turn their sights elsewhere.

Simultaneously, they are threatened in tort and, eventually, will undoubtedly be threatened with denial of accreditation if they adhere to their religious character.  If these measures are successful, those with religious convictions will become still more marginalized.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no hope for moral renewal in our country.

But we cannot sit back and just hope the pendulum is going to swing back toward sanity.

As Catholics, we are committed to the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great.

And we know that the first thing we have to do to promote renewal is to ensure that we are putting our principles into practice in our own personal private lives.

We understand that only by transforming ourselves can we transform the world beyond ourselves.

This is tough work. It is hard to resist the constant seductions of our contemporary society. This is where we need grace, prayer, and the help of our church.

Beyond this, we must place greater emphasis on the moral education of our children.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the faculties to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

The times are hostile to this. Public agencies, including public schools, are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism.

If ever there was a need for a resurgence of Catholic education – and more generally religiously-affiliated schools – it is today.

I think we should do all we can to promote and support authentic Catholic education at all levels.

Finally, as lawyers, we should be particularly active in the struggle that is being waged against religion on the legal plane.

We must be vigilant to resist efforts by the forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon the free exercise of our faith.

I can assure you that, as long as I am Attorney General, the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of our liberties: the freedom to live according to our faith.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today. And God bless you and Notre Dame.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-law-school-and-de-nicola-center-ethics

 

William Barr’s right about left’s designs on religious freedom

– The Washington Times – Thursday, October 17, 2019

As the Caribbean saying goes, “I chucked a rock in the pen and a pig squealed.”

This explains all the frenzied squealing and indignant grunting we heard in response to the speech Attorney General William Barr gave last week to law students at the University of Notre Dame about the increasing hostility toward religious liberty in America.

Mr. Barr raised alarm over “the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today.”

For anyone thinking this is some random force or natural course of history, he jolted a harsh warning.

“This is not decay. It is organized destruction,” he said.

“Secularists and their allies among the ‘progressives’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Anyone who missed the speech should find it and watch it. Anyone with a child in school should print out the speech and send it to him or her — or any of the other 16 genders schools are offering for students these days.

The smorgasbord of gender options inspires snorts of laughter among serious people, vexes anyone who believes in actual science and causes others to scoff and walk away.

But the infidels and infantiles who are running higher education today must be confronted with more than just laughter and dismissal. They are, after all, the ones destroying America by poisoning the minds of children. That is why the attorney general’s speech at Notre Dame is so important.

It is also why so many boars in the media took such offense to the speech and began squealing like a herd of mad swine racing for the lake.

One magazine cried that Mr. Barr is “neck deep in extremist Catholic institutions.”

For defending religious liberty?

Oh my. They make precisely William Barr’s point for him.

A major newspaper opined: “God is now Trump’s co-conspirator.” It was not meant as a compliment, again proving Mr. Barr’s point.

“Is this Barr’s cry for help?” pondered another major newspaper.

All the squealing proved not only Mr. Barr’s point about the rabid intolerance of religious liberty, but also that so many of the “intellectuals” in charge of American magazines and newspapers have already been poisoned by the nonsense and dishonesty dispensed by higher education these days.

These people are not only anti-religion, but they also are anti-science, anti-history and anti-liberty. Alexander Hamilton would weep if he knew the power these people now hold in his beloved republic.

Mr. Hamilton also would have applauded Mr. Barr’s speech. He and all the Founders would have recognized the speech as a flawless continuation of the endless debates they had about the nature of man, liberty and religion.

Picking up on the Founders’ discussion of man’s capacity for both “great good” and “great evil,” Mr. Barr said the “coercive power of government” cannot alone maintain a civil society. There must be other — more free and voluntary — guides of citizens’ behavior.

The notion of self-governance, he said, has dual meaning.

“It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

Particularly alarming to Mr. Barr is the lust with which secular zealots go after personal, private religion.

“Militant secularists today do not have a ‘live and let live’ spirit,” he said. “They are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.”

It is that very lust that leads political monsters to create untamable leviathans like Obamacare, which forces the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their most precious religious convictions.

Is it any surprise, then, to see citizens turn on one another with the same evil lust?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/17/william-barrs-religious-hostility-speech-hits-sque/

 

 

Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion

The attorney general gives a speech on secularism, and the left goes bananas.

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists
Main Street: During a speech at Notre Dame law school on October 11, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr explained how secularists are assaulting religious freedom in an effort to break down traditional moral values and instead impose their own orthodoxy. Image: Robert Franklin/Associated Press

For Notre Dame fans, this football weekend was a twofer. Not only did the Irish beat a longtime rival, the University of Southern California, on Saturday, the campus was treated to a sight it had never before seen: the attorney general of the United States, at a pregame tailgater, serenading faculty, students and fans with his bagpipes.

Turns out that was William Barr’s second performance on campus. The first came at the law school Friday, when he delivered a bracing speech on the role of religion in the American story of freedom.

The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.”

Political ethicist and professional attention seeker Richard Painter tapped out a series of even more furious tweets, here calling the speech the latest episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” there suggesting Mr. Barr isn’t much of a Christian, here again saying Mr. Barr sounded like “vintage Goebbels.” Over at MSNBC, meanwhile, retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told Joy Reid the attorney general is “Torquemada in a business suit,” a reference to the Spanish Inquisition’s grand inquisitor.

This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”

“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage—and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.”

Vincent Phillip Muñoz, a Notre Dame professor, notes there was nothing particularly Catholic about this speech. Like Washington in his Farewell Address, he says, Mr. Barr focused on the irreplaceable role of religion in cultivating the morality citizens need to be capable of self-government.

“The speech wasn’t first and foremost about religious freedom,” says Mr. Muñoz. “It was about the human and social consequences of the new secular morality, and what happens when the state views its citizens not only in purely material terms, but as subjects who can’t really govern themselves.”

Even those who strongly disagree with Mr. Barr ought to have found this an invitation for thoughtful and vigorous debate. But rather than engage, some imply there is something unseemly about an attorney general’s even speaking at a Catholic university. Given the hostility that holding such a conversation engenders on campuses today, perhaps America can count itself fortunate it still has a university where this can happen.

Carter Snead, the law professor who invited Mr. Barr, puts it this way: “At Notre Dame, we are not afraid to explore the hard questions about God, religion and America together in friendship, especially on those matters about which people strongly disagree.”

Freedom of religion

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People praying to Lord Brahma, a Hindu deity, at the Erawan shrineBangkok

Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs.[1]

Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right.[2][3] In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths. Freedom of belief is different. It allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not necessarily allow the right to practice the religion or belief openly and outwardly in a public manner.

History

Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wisdom protects the believers of all religions (Daniel Chodowiecki, 1791)

Historically, freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has also often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, and political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis, literally “protected individuals” professing an officially tolerated non-Muslim religion.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

In Antiquity, a syncretic point of view often allowed communities of traders to operate under their own customs. When street mobs of separate quarters clashed in a Hellenistic or Romancity, the issue was generally perceived to be an infringement of community rights.

Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 BC, and initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout the empire, documenting this on the Cyrus Cylinder.[4][5]

Some of the historical exceptions have been in regions where one of the revealed religions has been in a position of power: Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Others have been where the established order has felt threatened, as shown in the trial of Socrates in 399 BC or where the ruler has been deified, as in Rome, and refusal to offer token sacrifice was similar to refusing to take an oath of allegiance. This was the core for resentment and the persecution of early Christian communities.

Freedom of religious worship was established in the Buddhist Maurya Empire of ancient India by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC, which was encapsulated in the Edicts of Ashoka.

Greek-Jewish clashes at Cyrene in 73 AD and 117 AD and in Alexandria in 115 AD provide examples of cosmopolitan cities as scenes of tumult.

The Romans tolerated most religions, including Judaism and encouraged local subjects to continue worshipping their own gods. They did not however, tolerate Christianity until it was legalised by the Roman emperor Galerius in 311. The Edict of Milan guaranteed freedom of religion in the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which outlawed all religions except Christianity.

Muslim world

Following a period of fighting lasting around a hundred years before 620 AD which mainly involved Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Medina (then known as Yathrib), religious freedom for Muslims, Jews and pagans was declared by Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina. The Islamic Caliphate later guaranteed religious freedom under the conditions that non-Muslim communities accept dhimmi status and their adult males pay the punitive jizya tax instead of the zakat paid by Muslim citizens.[6] Though Dhimmis were not given the same political rights as Muslims, they nevertheless did enjoy equality under the laws of property, contract, and obligation.[7][8][9]

Religious pluralism existed in classical Islamic ethics and Sharia, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early CaliphateAl-AndalusIndian subcontinent, and the Ottoman Millet system.[10][11] In medieval Islamic societies, the qadi (Islamic judges) usually could not interfere in the matters of non-Muslims unless the parties voluntarily choose to be judged according to Islamic law, thus the dhimmi communities living in Islamic states usually had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who would have their own Halakha courts.[12]

Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order.[13] Non-Muslims were allowed to engage in religious practices that were usually forbidden by Islamic law, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork, as well as religious practices which Muslims found repugnant, such as the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous “self-marriage” where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter. According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292–1350), non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices even if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion.[14]

Despite Dhimmis enjoying special statuses under the Caliphates, they were not considered equals, and sporadic persecutions of non-Muslim groups did occur in the history of the Caliphates.[15][16][17]

India

Ancient Jews fleeing from persecution in their homeland 2,500 years ago settled in India and never faced anti-Semitism.[18] Freedom of religion edicts have been found written during Ashoka the Great‘s reign in the 3rd century BC. Freedom to practise, preach and propagate any religion is a constitutional right in Modern India. Most major religious festivals of the main communities are included in the list of national holidays.

Although India is an 80% Hindu country, India is a secular state without any state religions.

Many scholars and intellectuals believe that India’s predominant religion, Hinduism, has long been a most tolerant religion.[19] Rajni Kothari, founder of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies has written, “[India] is a country built on the foundations of a civilisation that is fundamentally non-religious.”[20]

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, said that religious tolerance of ‘Aryabhoomi,’ a reference to India found in the Mahabharata, has been in existence in this country from thousands of years. “Not only Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism which are the native religions but also Christianity and Islam have flourished here. Religious tolerance is inherent in Indian tradition,” the Dalai Lama said.[21]

Freedom of religion in the Indian subcontinent is exemplified by the reign of King Piyadasi (304–232 BC) (Ashoka). One of King Ashoka’s main concerns was to reform governmental institutes and exercise moral principles in his attempt to create a just and humane society. Later he promoted the principles of Buddhism, and the creation of a just, understanding and fair society was held as an important principle for many ancient rulers of this time in the East.

The importance of freedom of worship in India was encapsulated in an inscription of Ashoka:

King Piyadasi (Ashok) dear to the Gods, honours all sects, the ascetics (hermits) or those who dwell at home, he honours them with charity and in other ways. But the King, dear to the Gods, attributes less importance to this charity and these honours than to the vow of seeing the reign of virtues, which constitutes the essential part of them. For all these virtues there is a common source, modesty of speech. That is to say, one must not exalt one’s creed discrediting all others, nor must one degrade these others without legitimate reasons. One must, on the contrary, render to other creeds the honour befitting them.

On the main Asian continent, the Mongols were tolerant of religions. People could worship as they wished freely and openly.

After the arrival of Europeans, Christians in their zeal to convert local as per belief in conversion as service of God, have also been seen to fall into frivolous methods since their arrival, though by and large there are hardly any reports of law and order disturbance from mobs with Christian beliefs, except perhaps in the north eastern region of India.[22]

Freedom of religion in contemporary India is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25 of the nation’s constitution. Accordingly, every citizen of India has a right to profess, practice and propagate their religions peacefully.[23] Vishwa Hindu Parishad counters this argument by saying that evangelical Christians are forcefully (or through money) converting rural, illiterate populations and they are only trying to stop this.

In September 2010, the Indian state of Kerala‘s State Election Commissioner announced that “Religious heads cannot issue calls to vote for members of a particular community or to defeat the nonbelievers”.[24] The Catholic Church comprising Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites used to give clear directions to the faithful on exercising their franchise during elections through pastoral letters issued by bishops or council of bishops. The pastoral letter issued by Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on the eve of the poll urged the faithful to shun atheists.[24]

Even today, most Indians celebrate all religious festivals with equal enthusiasm and respect. Hindu festivals like Deepavali and Holi, Muslim festivals like Eid al-FitrEid-Ul-AdhaMuharram, Christian festivals like Christmas and other festivals like Buddha PurnimaMahavir Jayanti, Gur Purab etc. are celebrated and enjoyed by all Indians.

Europe

Religious intolerance

Nineteenth century allegorical statue on the Congress Column in Belgium depicting religious freedom

Most Roman Catholic kingdoms kept a tight rein on religious expression throughout the Middle Ages. Jews were alternately tolerated and persecuted, the most notable examples of the latter being the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492. Some of those who remained and converted were tried as heretics in the Inquisition for allegedly practicing Judaism in secret. Despite the persecution of Jews, they were the most tolerated non-Catholic faith in Europe.

However, the latter was in part a reaction to the growing movement that became the Reformation. As early as 1380, John Wycliffe in England denied transubstantiation and began his translation of the Bible into English. He was condemned in a Papal Bull in 1410, and all his books were burned.

In 1414, Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher of reformation, was given a safe conduct by the Holy Roman Emperor to attend the Council of Constance. Not entirely trusting in his safety, he made his will before he left. His forebodings proved accurate, and he was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. The Council also decreed that Wycliffe’s remains be disinterred and cast out. This decree was not carried out until 1429.

After the fall of the city of Granada, Spain, in 1492, the Muslim population was promised religious freedom by the Treaty of Granada, but that promise was short-lived. In 1501, Granada’s Muslims were given an ultimatum to either convert to Christianity or to emigrate. The majority converted, but only superficially, continuing to dress and speak as they had before and to secretly practice Islam. The Moriscos (converts to Christianity) were ultimately expelled from Spain between 1609 (Castile) and 1614 (rest of Spain), by Philip III.

Martin Luther published his famous 95 Theses in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. His major aim was theological, summed up in the three basic dogmas of Protestantism:

  • The Bible only is infallible.
  • Every Christian can interpret it.
  • Human sins are so wrongful that no deed or merit, only God’s grace, can lead to salvation.

In consequence, Luther hoped to stop the sale of indulgences and to reform the Church from within. In 1521, he was given the chance to recant at the Diet of Worms before Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. After he refused to recant, he was declared heretic. Partly for his own protection, he was sequestered on the Wartburg in the possessions of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, where he translated the New Testament into German. He was excommunicated by Papal Bull in 1521.

However, the movement continued to gain ground in his absence and spread to Switzerland. Huldrych Zwingli preached reform in Zürich from 1520 to 1523. He opposed the sale of indulgences, celibacy, pilgrimages, pictures, statues, relics, altars, and organs. This culminated in outright war between the Swiss cantons that accepted Protestantism and the Catholics. The Catholics were victorious, and Zwingli was killed in battle in 1531. The Catholic cantons were magnanimous in victory.[citation needed]

The defiance of Papal authority proved contagious, and in 1533, when Henry VIII of England was excommunicated for his divorce and remarriage to Anne Boleyn, he promptly established a state church with bishops appointed by the crown. This was not without internal opposition, and Thomas More, who had been his Lord Chancellor, was executed in 1535 for opposition to Henry.

In 1535, the Swiss canton of Geneva became Protestant. In 1536, the Bernese imposed the reformation on the canton of Vaud by conquest. They sacked the cathedral in Lausanne and destroyed all its art and statuary. John Calvin, who had been active in Geneva was expelled in 1538 in a power struggle, but he was invited back in 1540.

A U.S. postage stamp commemorating religious freedom and the Flushing Remonstrance

The same kind of seesaw back and forth between Protestantism and Catholicism was evident in England when Mary I of England returned that country briefly to the Catholic fold in 1553 and persecuted Protestants. However, her half-sister, Elizabeth I of England was to restore the Church of England in 1558, this time permanently, and began to persecute Catholics again. The King James Bible commissioned by King James I of England and published in 1611 proved a landmark for Protestant worship, with official Catholic forms of worship being banned.

In France, although peace was made between Protestants and Catholics at the Treaty of Saint Germain in 1570, persecution continued, most notably in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day on 24 August 1572, in which thousands of Protestants throughout France were killed. A few years before, at the “Michelade” of Nîmes in 1567, Protestants had massacred the local Catholic clergy.

Early steps and attempts in the way of tolerance

The cross of the war memorial and a menorah coexist in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

The Norman Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II was characterized by its multi-ethnic nature and religious tolerance. Normans, Jews, Muslim Arabs, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards, and native Sicilians lived in harmony.[25][26][failed verification] Rather than exterminate the Muslims of Sicily, Roger II’s grandson Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1215–1250) allowed them to settle on the mainland and build mosques. Not least, he enlisted them in his – Christian – army and even into his personal bodyguards.[27][need quotation to verify][28][need quotation to verify]

Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) enjoyed religious freedom between 1436 and 1520, and became one of the most liberal countries of the Christian world during that period of time. The so-called Basel Compacts of 1436 declared the freedom of religion and peace between Catholics and Utraquists. In 1609 Emperor Rudolf II granted Bohemia greater religious liberty with his Letter of Majesty. The privileged position of the Catholic Church in the Czech kingdom was firmly established after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. Gradually freedom of religion in Bohemian lands came to an end and Protestants fled or were expelled from the country. A devout Catholic, Emperor Ferdinand II forcibly converted Austrian and Bohemian Protestants.[citation needed]

In the meantime, in Germany Philip Melanchthon drafted the Augsburg Confession as a common confession for the Lutherans and the free territories. It was presented to Charles V in 1530.

In the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V agreed to tolerate Lutheranism in 1555 at the Peace of Augsburg. Each state was to take the religion of its prince, but within those states, there was not necessarily religious tolerance. Citizens of other faiths could relocate to a more hospitable environment.

In France, from the 1550s, many attempts to reconcile Catholics and Protestants and to establish tolerance failed because the State was too weak to enforce them. It took the victory of prince Henry IV of France, who had converted into Protestantism, and his accession to the throne, to impose religious tolerance formalized in the Edict of Nantes in 1598. It would remain in force for over 80 years until its revocation in 1685 by Louis XIV of France. Intolerance remained the norm until Louis XVI, who signed the Edict of Versailles (1787), then the constitutional text of 24 December 1789, granting civilian rights to Protestants. The French Revolution then abolished state religion and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

Early laws and legal guarantees for religious freedom

Principality of Transylvania

In 1558, the Transylvanian Diet’s Edict of Torda declared free practice of both Catholicism and Lutheranism. Calvinism, however, was prohibited. Calvinism was included among the accepted religions in 1564. Ten years after the first law, in 1568, the same Diet, under the chairmanship of King of Hungary, and Prince of Transylvania John Sigismund Zápolya (John II.),[29] following the teaching of Ferenc Dávid,[30] the founder of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania,[31] extended the freedom to all religions, declaring that “It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expelling for his religion“. However, it was more than a religious tolerance; it declared the equality of the religions, prohibiting all kinds of acts from authorities or from simple people, which could harm other groups or people because of their religious beliefs. The emergence in social hierarchy wasn’t dependent on the religion of the person thus Transylvania had also Catholic and Protestant monarchs, who all respected the Edict of Torda. The lack of state religion was unique for centuries in Europe. Therefore, the Edict of Torda is considered as the first legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe.[32]

Declaration, by Ferenc Dávid of Religious and Conscience Freedom in the Diet of Torda in 1568, painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch

Act of Religious Tolerance and Freedom of Conscience: His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearings is by the word of God.

— Diet at Torda, 1568 : King John Sigismund[33]

Four religions (CatholicismLutheranismCalvinismUnitarianism) were named as accepted religions (religo recepta), having their representatives in the Transylvanian Diet, while the other religions, like the OrthodoxsSabbatariansand Anabaptists were tolerated churches (religio tolerata), which meant that they had no power in the law making and no veto rights in the Diet, but they were not persecuted in any way. Thanks to the Edict of Torda, from the last decades of the 16th Century Transylvania was the only place in Europe, where so many religions could live together in harmony and without persecution.[34]

This religious freedom ended however for some of the religions of Transylvania in 1638. After this year the Sabbatarians begun to be persecuted, and forced to convert to one of the accepted Christian religions of Transylvania.[35]

Habsburg rule in Transylvania

Also the Unitarians (despite of being one of the “accepted religions”) started to be put under an ever-growing pressure, which culminated after the Habsburg conquest of Transylvania (1691),[36] Also after the Habsburg occupation, the new Austrian masters forced in the middle of the 18th century the Hutterite Anabaptists (who found a safe heaven in 1621 in Transylvania, after the persecution to which they were subjected in the Austrian provinces and Moravia) to convert to Catholicism or to migrate in another country, which finally the Anabaptists did, leaving Transylvania and Hungary for Wallachia, than from there to Russia, and finally in the United States.[37]

Netherlands

In the Union of Utrecht (20 January 1579), personal freedom of religion was declared in the struggle between the Northern Netherlands and Spain. The Union of Utrecht was an important step in the establishment of the Dutch Republic (from 1581 to 1795). Under Calvinist leadership, the Netherlands became the most tolerant country in Europe. It granted asylum to persecuted religious minorities, such as the Huguenots, the Dissenters, and the Jews who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.[38] The establishment of a Jewish community in the Netherlands and New Amsterdam (present-day New York) during the Dutch Republic is an example of religious freedom. When New Amsterdam surrendered to the English in 1664, freedom of religion was guaranteed in the Articles of Capitulation. It benefitted also the Jews who had landed on Manhattan Island in 1654, fleeing Portuguese persecution in Brazil. During the 18th century, other Jewish communities were established at Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and Richmond.[39]

Intolerance of dissident forms of Protestantism also continued, as evidenced by the exodus of the Pilgrims, who sought refuge, first in the Netherlands, and ultimately in America, founding Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620. William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, was involved in a case which had a profound effect upon future American laws and those of England. In a classic case of jury nullification, the jury refused to convict William Penn of preaching a Quaker sermon, which was illegal. Even though the jury was imprisoned for their acquittal, they stood by their decision and helped establish the freedom of religion.[citation needed]

Poland

Original act of the Warsaw Confederation1573. The beginning of religious freedom in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz was issued by the Duke of Greater Poland Boleslaus the Pious on 8 September 1264 in Kalisz. The statute served as the basis for the legal position of Jews in Poland and led to the creation of the Yiddish-speaking autonomous Jewish nation until 1795. The statute granted exclusive jurisdiction of Jewish courts over Jewish matters and established a separate tribunal for matters involving Christians and Jews. Additionally, it guaranteed personal liberties and safety for Jews including freedom of religion, travel, and trade. The statute was ratified by subsequent Polish Kings: Casimir III of Polandin 1334, Casimir IV of Poland in 1453 and Sigismund I of Poland in 1539. Poland freed Jews from direct royal authority, opening up enormous administrative and economic opportunities to them.[40]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The right to worship freely was a basic right given to all inhabitants of the future Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth throughout the 15th and early 16th century, however, complete freedom of religion was officially recognized in 1573 during the Warsaw Confederation. Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth kept religious freedom laws during an era when religious persecution was an everyday occurrence in the rest of Europe.[41]

United States

Most of the early colonies were generally not tolerant of dissident forms of worship, with Maryland being one of the exceptions. For example, Roger Williams found it necessary to found a new colony in Rhode Island to escape persecution in the theocratically dominated colony of Massachusetts. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the most active of the New England persecutors of Quakers, and the persecuting spirit was shared by Plymouth Colony and the colonies along the Connecticut river.[42] In 1660, one of the most notable victims of the religious intolerance was English Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged in Boston, Massachusetts for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony.[42] As one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs, the hanging of Dyer on the Boston gallows marked the beginning of the end of the Puritan theocracy and New England independence from English rule, and in 1661 King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism.[43] Anti-Catholic sentiment appeared in New England with the first Pilgrim and Puritan settlers.[44] In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction.[45] Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried a death penalty.[46] The Pilgrims of New England held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas.[47] Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659.[48] The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by an English appointed governor, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became common in the Boston region.[49]

Freedom of religion was first applied as a principle of government in the founding of the colony of Maryland, founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, in 1634.[50] Fifteen years later (1649), the Maryland Toleration Act, drafted by Lord Baltimore, provided: “No person or persons…shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof.” The Act allowed freedom of worship for all Trinitarian Christians in Maryland, but sentenced to death anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus. The Maryland Toleration Act was repealed during the Cromwellian Era with the assistance of Protestant assemblymen and a new law barring Catholics from openly practicing their religion was passed.[51] In 1657, the Catholic Lord Baltimore regained control after making a deal with the colony’s Protestants, and in 1658 the Act was again passed by the colonial assembly. This time, it would last more than thirty years, until 1692[52] when, after Maryland’s Protestant Revolution of 1689, freedom of religion was again rescinded.[50][53] In addition, in 1704, an Act was passed “to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province”, preventing Catholics from holding political office.[53] Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the American Revolution, when Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (1682) – founded by Protestants Roger Williams, Thomas Hooker, and William Penn, respectively – combined the democratic form of government which had been developed by the Puritans and the Separatist Congregationalists in Massachusetts with religious freedom.[54][55][56][57] These colonies became sanctuaries for persecuted religious minorities. Catholics and later on Jews also had full citizenship and free exercise of their religions.[58][59][60] Williams, Hooker, Penn, and their friends were firmly convinced that freedom of conscience was the will of God. Williams gave the most profound argument: As faith is the free work of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced on a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and state has to be kept.[61] Pennsylvania was the only colony that retained unlimited religious freedom until the foundation of the United States in 1776. It was the inseparable connection between democracy, religious freedom, and the other forms of freedom which became the political and legal basis of the new nation. In particular, Baptists and Presbyterians demanded the disestablishment of state churches – Anglican and Congregationalist – and the protection of religious freedom.[62]

Reiterating Maryland’s and the other colonies’ earlier colonial legislation, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:

[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Those sentiments also found expression in the First Amendment of the national constitution, part of the United States’ Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The United States formally considers religious freedom in its foreign relations. The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which investigates the records of over 200 other nations with respect to religious freedom, and makes recommendations to submit nations with egregious records to ongoing scrutiny and possible economic sanctions. Many human rights organizations have urged the United States to be still more vigorous in imposing sanctions on countries that do not permit or tolerate religious freedom.

Canada

Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Canadian law goes further, requiring that private citizens and companies provide reasonable accommodation to those, for example, with strong religious beliefs. The Canadian Human Rights Act allows an exception to reasonable accommodation with respect to religious dress, such as a Sikh turban, when there is a bona fide occupational requirement, such as a workplace requiring a hard hat.[63] In 2017 the Santo Daime Church Céu do Montréal received religious exemption to use Ayahuasca as a sacrament in their rituals.[64]

International

On 25 November 1981, the United Nations General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. This declaration recognizes freedom of religion as a fundamental human right in accordance with several other instruments of international law.[65]

However, the most substantial binding legal instruments that guarantee the right to freedom of religion that was passed by the international community is the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states in its Article 14: “States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. – States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child. – Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”[66]

Contemporary debates

Theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs

In 1993, the UN’s human rights committee declared that article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.”[67] The committee further stated that “the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views.” Signatories to the convention are barred from “the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers” to recant their beliefs or convert. Despite this, minority religions still are persecuted in many parts of the world.[68][69]

Secular liberalism

A man posing for a print

Adam Smith argued in favour of freedom of religion.

The French philosopher Voltaire noted in his book on English society, Letters on the English, that freedom of religion in a diverse society was deeply important to maintaining peace in that country. That it was also important in understanding why England at that time was more prosperous in comparison to the country’s less religiously tolerant European neighbours.

If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.[70]

Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations (using an argument first put forward by his friend and contemporary David Hume), states that in the long run it is in the best interests of society as a whole and the civil magistrate(government) in particular to allow people to freely choose their own religion, as it helps prevent civil unrest and reduces intolerance. So long as there are enough different religions and/or religious sects operating freely in a society then they are all compelled to moderate their more controversial and violent teachings, so as to be more appealing to more people and so have an easier time attracting new converts. It is this free competition amongst religious sects for converts that ensures stability and tranquillity in the long run.

Smith also points out that laws that prevent religious freedom and seek to preserve the power and belief in a particular religion will, in the long run, only serve to weaken and corrupt that religion, as its leaders and preachers become complacent, disconnected and unpractised in their ability to seek and win over new converts:[71]

The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect tolerated in the society, or where the whole of a large society is divided into two or three great sects; the teachers of each acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent, where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or, perhaps, into as many thousand small sects, of which no one could be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquillity. The teachers of each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides with more adversaries than friends, would be obliged to learn that candour and moderation which are so seldom to be found among the teachers of those great sects.[72]

Hinduism

Hinduism is one of the more broad-minded religions when it comes to religious freedom.[73] It respects the right of everyone to reach God in their own way. Hindus believe in different ways to preach attainment of God and religion as a philosophy and hence respect all religions as equal. One of the famous Hindu sayings about religion is: “Truth is one; sages call it by different names.”[73]

Judaism

Women detained at Western Wall for wearing prayer shawls; photo from Women of the Wall

Judaism includes multiple streams, such as Orthodox, Reform JudaismConservative JudaismReconstructionist JudaismJewish Renewal and Humanistic Judaism. However, Judaism also exists in many forms as a civilization, possessing characteristics known as peoplehood, rather than strictly as a religion.[74] In the Torah, Jews are forbidden to practice idolatry and are commanded to root out pagan and idolatrous practices within their midst, including killing idolaters who sacrifice children to their gods, or engage in immoral activities. However, these laws are not adhered to anymore as Jews have usually lived among a multi-religious community.

After the conquest of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judea by the Roman Empire, a Jewish state did not exist until 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel. For over 1500 years Jewish people lived under pagan, Christian, Muslim, etc. rule. As such Jewish people in some of these states faced persecution. From the pogroms in Europe during the Middle Ages to the establishment of segregated Jewish ghettos during World War II. In the Middle East, Jews were categorised as dhimmi, non- Muslims permitted to live within a Muslim state. Even though given rights within a Muslim state, a dhimmi is still not equal to a Muslim within Muslim society, the same way non-Jewish Israeli citizens are not equal with Jewish citizens in modern-day Israel.

Possibly because of this history of long term persecution, Jews in modernity have been among the most active proponents of religious freedom in the US and abroad and have founded and supported anti-hate institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. Jews are very active in supporting Muslim and other religious groups in the US against discrimination and hate crimes and most Jewish congregations throughout the US and many individual Jews participate in interfaith community projects and programs.

The State of Israel was established for the Jewish diaspora after World War II. While the Israel Declaration of Independence stresses religious freedom as a fundamental principle, in practice the current[timeframe?] government, dominated by the ultra-Orthodox segment of the population has instituted legal barriers for those who do not practice Orthodox Judaism as Jews. However, as a nation state, Israel is very open towards other religions and religious practices, including public Muslim call to prayer chants and Christian prayer bells ringing in Jerusalem. Israel has been evaluated in research by the Pew organization as having “high” government restrictions on religion. The government recognizes only Orthodox Judaism in certain matters of personal status, and marriages can only be performed by religious authorities. The government provides the greatest funding to Orthodox Judaism, even though adherents represent a minority of citizens.[75] Jewish women, including Anat Hoffman, have been arrested at the Western Wall for praying and singing while wearing religious garments the Orthodox feel should be reserved for men. Women of the Wall have organized to promote religious freedom at the Wall.[76] In November 2014, a group of 60 non-Orthodox rabbinical students were told they would not be allowed to pray in the Knesset synagogue because it is reserved for Orthodox. Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, said that he had submitted the request on behalf of the students and saw their shock when the request was denied. He noted: “paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.” MK Dov Lipman expressed the concern that many Knesset workers are unfamiliar with non-Orthodox and American practices and would view “an egalitarian service in the synagogue as an affront.”[77] The non-Orthodox forms of Jewish practice function independently in Israel, except for these issues of praying at the Western Wall.

Christianity

Part of the Oscar Straus Memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring the right to worship

According to the Catholic Church in the Vatican II document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, “the human person has a right to religious freedom”, which is described as “immunity from coercion in civil society”.[78] This principle of religious freedom “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion.”[78] In addition, this right “is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.”[78]

Prior to this, Pope Pius IX had written a document called the Syllabus of ErrorsThe Syllabus was made up of phrases and paraphrases from earlier papal documents, along with index references to them, and presented as a list of “condemned propositions”. It does not explain why each particular proposition is wrong, but it cites earlier documents to which the reader can refer for the Pope’s reasons for saying each proposition is false. Among the statements included in the Syllabus are: “[It is an error to say that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true” (15); “[It is an error to say that] In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship”; “[It is an error to say that] Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship”.[79]

Some Orthodox Christians, especially those living in democratic countries, support religious freedom for all, as evidenced by the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Many Protestant Christian churches, including some BaptistsChurches of ChristSeventh-day Adventist Church and main line churches have a commitment to religious freedoms. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also affirms religious freedom.[80]

However others, such as African scholar Makau Mutua, have argued that Christian insistence on the propagation of their faith to native cultures as an element of religious freedom has resulted in a corresponding denial of religious freedom to native traditions and led to their destruction. As he states in the book produced by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, “Imperial religions have necessarily violated individual conscience and the communal expressions of Africans and their communities by subverting African religions.”[81][82]

In their book Breaking IndiaRajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan discussed the “US Church” funding activities in India, such as the popularly advertised campaigns to “save” poor children by feeding, clothing, and educating them, with the book arguing that the funds collected were being used not so much for the purposes indicated to sponsors, but for indoctrination and conversion activities. They suggest that India is the prime target of a huge enterprise – a “network” of organizations, individuals, and churches – that, they argue, seem intensely devoted to the task of creating a separatist identity, history, and even religion for the vulnerable sections of India. They suggest that this nexus of players includes not only church groups, government bodies, and related organizations, but also private think tanks and academics.[83]

Joel Spring has written about the Christianization of the Roman Empire:

Christianity added new impetus to the expansion of empire. Increasing the arrogance of the imperial project, Christians insisted that the Gospels and the Church were the only valid sources of religious beliefs. Imperialists could claim that they were both civilizing the world and spreading the true religion. By the 5th century, Christianity was thought of as co-extensive with the Imperium romanum. This meant that to be human, as opposed to being a natural slave, was to be “civilized” and Christian. Historian Anthony Pagden argues, “just as the civitas; had now become coterminous with Christianity, so to be human – to be, that is, one who was ‘civil’, and who was able to interpret correctly the law of nature – one had now also to be Christian.” After the fifteenth century, most Western colonialists rationalized the spread of empire with the belief that they were saving a barbaric and pagan world by spreading Christian civilization.[84]

Islam

Conversion to Islam is simple, but Muslims are forbidden to convert from Islam to another religion. Certain Muslim-majority countries are known for their restrictions on religious freedom, highly favoring Muslim citizens over non-Muslim citizens. Other countries[who?] having the same restrictive laws tend to be more liberal when imposing them. Even other Muslim-majority countries are secular and thus do not regulate religious belief.[85][failed verification]

Islamic theologians[who?] quote the Qur’an (“There is no compulsion in religion”[2:256] and “Say: O you who reject faith, I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship…To you be your religion, and to me be mine”[109:1–6], i.e., Sura Al-Kafirun) to show scriptural support for religious freedom.

Quran 2:190–194, referring to the war against Pagans during the Battle of Badr in Medina, indicates that Muslims are only allowed to fight against those who intend to harm them (right of self-defense) and that if their enemies surrender, they must also stop because God does not like those who transgress limits.

In Bukhari:V9 N316, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah narrated that a Bedouin accepted Islam and then when he got a fever he demanded that Muhammad to cancel his pledge (allow him to renounce Islam). Muhammad refused to do so. The Bedouin man repeated his demand once, but Muhammad once again refused. Then, he (the Bedouin) left Medina. Muhammad said, “Madinah is like a pair of bellows (furnace): it expels its impurities and brightens and clear its good.” In this narration, there was no evidence demonstrating that Muhammad ordered the execution of the Bedouin for wanting to renounce Islam.

In addition, Quran 5:3, which is believed to be God’s final revelation to Muhammad, states that Muslims are to fear God and not those who reject Islam, and Quran 53:38–39 states that one is accountable only for one’s own actions. Therefore, it postulates that in Islam, in the matters of practising a religion, it does not relate to a worldly punishment, but rather these actions are accountable to God in the afterlife. Thus, this supports the argument against the execution of apostates in Islam.[86]

However, on the other hand, some Muslims support the practice of executing apostates who leave Islam, as in Bukhari:V4 B52 N260; “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion and separates from the main body of Muslims, kill him.”[87] However, many Muslims believe that this hadith was written in the context of war and therefore Prophet Muhammad stipulated that whichever Muslim rejects his religion, leaves from the main body of Muslims and betrays the Muslims in war should be executed as a punishment for his treachery towards the community of Muslims. So many Muslims believe that this hadith talks about the punishment of Treason.[citation needed]

In Iran, the constitution recognizes four religions whose status is formally protected: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.[88] The constitution, however, also set the groundwork for the institutionalized persecution of Bahá’ís,[89] who have been subjected to arrests, beatings, executions, confiscation and destruction of property, and the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education.[88] There is no freedom of conscience in Iran, as converting from Islam to any other religion is forbidden.

In Egypt, a 16 December 2006 judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt created a clear demarcation between recognized religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – and all other religious beliefs;[90][91] no other religious affiliation is officially admissible.[92]The ruling leaves members of other religious communities, including Bahá’ís, without the ability to obtain the necessary government documents to have rights in their country, essentially denying them of all rights of citizenship.[92] They cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, and passports; they also cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote, among other things.[92] See Egyptian identification card controversy.

Changing religion

Among the most contentious areas of religious freedom is the right of an individual to change or abandon his or her own religion (apostasy), and the right to evangelize individuals seeking to convince others to make such a change.

Other debates have centered around restricting certain kinds of missionary activity by religions. Many Islamic states, and others such as China, severely restrict missionary activities of other religions. Greece, among European countries, has generally looked unfavorably on missionary activities of denominations others than the majority church and proselytizing is constitutionally prohibited.[93]

A different kind of critique of the freedom to propagate religion has come from non-Abrahamic traditions such as the African and Indian. African scholar Makau Mutua criticizes religious evangelism on the ground of cultural annihilation by what he calls “proselytizing universalist faiths” (Chapter 28: Proselytism and Cultural Integrity, p. 652):

…the (human) rights regime incorrectly assumes a level playing field by requiring that African religions compete in the marketplace of ideas. The rights corpus not only forcibly imposes on African religions the obligation to compete – a task for which as nonproselytizing, noncompetitive creeds they are not historically fashioned – but also protects the evangelizing religions in their march towards universalization … it seems inconceivable that the human rights regime would have intended to protect the right of certain religions to destroy others.[94]

Some Indian scholars[95] have similarly argued that the right to propagate religion is not culturally or religiously neutral.

In Sri Lanka, there have been debates regarding a bill on religious freedom that seeks to protect indigenous religious traditions from certain kinds of missionary activities. Debates have also occurred in various states of India regarding similar laws, particularly those that restrict conversions using force, fraud or allurement.

In 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Christian human rights non-governmental organisation which specializes in religious freedom, launched an in-depth report on the human rights abuses faced by individuals who leave Islam for another religion. The report is the product of a year long research project in six different countries. It calls on Muslim nations, the international community, the UN and the international media to resolutely address the serious violations of human rights suffered by apostates.[96]

Apostasy in Islam

Legal opinion on apostasy by the Fatwacommittee at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the highest Islamic institution in the world, concerning the case of a man who converted to Christianity: “Since he left Islam, he will be invited to express his regret. If he does not regret, he will be killed pertaining to rights and obligations of the Islamic law.”

In Islam, apostasy is called “ridda” (“turning back”) and is considered to be a profound insult to God. A person born of Muslim parents that rejects Islam is called a “murtad fitri” (natural apostate), and a person that converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a “murtad milli” (apostate from the community).[97]

In Islamic law (Sharia), the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi’iMaliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi’ascholars.[98]

Ideally, the one performing the execution of an apostate must be an imam.[98] At the same time, all schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that any Muslim can kill an apostate without punishment.[99]

However, while almost all scholars agree about the punishment, many disagree on the allowable time to retract the apostasy. Many scholars push this as far as allowing the apostate until he/she dies, making the death penalty more of a theoretical statement/exercise.[citation needed] S. A. Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur’an.[100]

Secular law

Religious practice may also conflict with secular law, creating debates on religious freedom. For instance, even though polygamy is permitted in Islam, it is prohibited in secular law in many countries. This raises the question of whether prohibiting the practice infringes on the beliefs of certain Muslims. The US and India, both constitutionally secular nations, have taken two different views of this. In India, polygamy is permitted, but only for Muslims, under Muslim Personal Law. In the US, polygamy is prohibited for all. This was a major source of conflict between the early LDS Church and the United States until the Church amended its position on practicing polygamy.

Similar issues have also arisen in the context of the religious use of psychedelic substances by Native American tribes in the United States as well as other Native practices.

In 1955, Chief Justice of California Roger J. Traynor neatly summarized the American position on how freedom of religion cannot imply freedom from law: “Although freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe are absolute, the freedom to act is not.”[101] But with respect to the religious use of animals within secular law and those acts, the US Supreme Court decision in the case of the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah in 1993 upheld the right of Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice, with Justice Anthony Kennedy stating in the decision: “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection” (quoted by Justice Kennedy from the opinion by Justice Burger in Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division 450 U.S. 707 (1981)).[102]

In 2015, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing Same-sex marriage in the United States. When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she became embroiled in the Miller v. Davis lawsuit. Her actions caused attorney and author Roberta Kaplan to state that “Kim Davis is the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate.”[103]

In 1962, the case of Engele v. Vitale went to court over the violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment resulting from a mandatory nondenominational prayer in New York public schools. The Supreme Court ruled in opposition to the state.[104]

In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Abington School District v. Schempp. Edward Schempp sued the school district in Abington over the Pennsylvania law which required students to hear and sometimes read portions of the bible for their daily education. The court ruled in favor of Schempp and the Pennsylvania law was overturned.[105]

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Epperson v. Arkansas. Susan Epperson, a high school teacher in Arkansas sued over a violation of religious freedom. The state had a law banning the teaching of evolution and the school Epperson worked for had provided curriculum which contained evolutionary theory. Epperson had to choose between violating the law or losing her job. The Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Arkansas law because it was unconstitutional.[106]

Children’s rights

The law in Germany provides the term of “religious majority” (Religiöse Mündigkeit) with a minimum age for minors to follow their own religious beliefs even if their parents don’t share those or don’t approve. Children 14 and older have the unrestricted right to enter or exit any religious community. Children 12 and older cannot be compelled to change to a different belief. Children 10 and older have to be heard before their parents change their religious upbringing to a different belief.[107] There are similar laws in Austria[108] and in Switzerland.[109]

International Religious Freedom Day

27 October is International Religious Freedom Day, in commemoration of the execution of the Boston martyrs, a group of Quakers executed by the Puritans on Boston Common for their religious beliefs under the legislature of the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659–1661.[110] The US proclaimed 16 January Religious Freedom Day.[111]

Modern concerns

In its 2011 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated fourteen nations as “countries of particular concern”. The commission chairman commented that these are nations whose conduct marks them as the world’s worst religious freedom violators and human rights abusers. The fourteen nations designated were Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Other nations on the commission’s watchlist include Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela.[112]

There are concerns about the restrictions on public religious dress in some European countries (including the HijabKippah, and Christian cross).[113][114] Article 18 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights limits restrictions on freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs to those necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.[115] Freedom of religion as a legal concept is related to, but not identical with, religious toleration, separation of church and state, or secular state (laïcité).

Social hostilities and government restrictions

Freedom of religion by country (Pew Research Center study, 2009). Light yellow: low restriction; red: very high restriction on freedom of religion.

The Pew Research Center has performed studies on international religious freedom between 2009 and 2015, compiling global data from 16 governmental and non-governmental organizations–including the United Nations, the United States State Department, and Human Rights Watch–and representing over 99.5 percent of the world’s population.[116][117] In 2009, nearly 70 percent of the world’s population lived in countries classified as having heavy restrictions on freedom of religion.[116][117] This concerns restrictions on religion originating from government prohibitions on free speech and religious expression as well as social hostilities undertaken by private individuals, organisations and social groups. Social hostilities were classified by the level of communal violence and religion-related terrorism.

While most countries provided for the protection of religious freedom in their constitutions or laws, only a quarter of those countries were found to fully respect these legal rights in practice. In 75 countries governments limit the efforts of religious groups to proselytise and in 178 countries religious groups must register with the government. In 2013, Pew classified 30% of countries as having restrictions that tend to target religious minorities, and 61% of countries have social hostilities that tend to target religious minorities.[118]

The countries in North and South America reportedly had some of the lowest levels of government and social restrictions on religion, while The Middle East and North Africa were the regions with the highest. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran were the countries that top the list of countries with the overall highest levels of restriction on religion. Topping the Pew government restrictions index were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Egypt, Burma, Maldives, Eritrea, Malaysia and Brunei.

Of the world’s 25 most populous countries, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan had the most restrictions, while Brazil, Japan, Italy, South Africa, the UK, and the US had some of the lowest levels, as measured by Pew.

Vietnam and China were classified as having high government restrictions on religion but were in the moderate or low range when it came to social hostilities. Nigeria, Bangladesh and India were high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions.

Restrictions on religion across the world increased between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center. Restrictions in each of the five major regions of the world increased—including in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, the two regions where overall restrictions previously had been declining. In 2010, Egypt, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Russia, and Yemen were added to the “very high” category of social hostilities.[119] The five highest social hostility scores were for Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Bangladesh.[120] In 2015, Pew published that social hostilities declined in 2013, but the harassment of Jews increased.[118]

In the Palestinian territories, Palestinians face tight restrictions on practicing the freedom of religion due to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In a report published by the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, eyewitnesses reported systematic practices aiming at preventing young men and women from performing their prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. These practices include military orders issued by the Israeli Defense Army commander against specific Palestinians who have an effective role in Jerusalem, interrogating young men, and creating a secret blacklist of people who are prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[121]

See also

References…

Further reading

External links

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

Blaine Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Blaine Amendment was first a failed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-eight of the fifty states adopted provisions of Blaine in their state constitutions. These provisions forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation. They were designed to prohibit aid to parochial schools, especially those operated by the Catholic Church in locations with large immigrant populations.[1] The Blaine Amendment emerged from a growing consensus among 19th-century American Protestants that public education must be free from sectarian or denominational control, while it also reflected nativist tendencies hostile to immigrants.[2]

Contents

Proposed federal amendment

President Ulysses S. Grant (1869–77) in a speech in 1875 to a veteran’s meeting, called for a Constitutional amendment that would mandate free public schools and prohibit the use of public money for sectarian schools. He was echoing nativist sentiments that were strong in his Republican Party.[3][4]

Grant laid out his agenda for “good common school education.” He attacked government support for “sectarian schools” run by religious organizations, and called for the defense of public education “unmixed with sectarian, pagan or atheistical dogmas.” Grant declared that “Church and State” should be “forever separate.” Religion, he said, should be left to families, churches, and private schools devoid of public funds.[5]

After Grant’s speech Republican Congressman James G. Blaine (1830–1893) proposed the amendment to the federal Constitution. Blaine, who actively sought Catholic votes when he ran for president in 1884, believed that possibility of hurtful agitation on the school question should be ended.[6] In 1875, the proposed amendment passed by a vote of 180 to 7 in the House of Representatives, but failed by four votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote in the United States Senate. It never became federal law.

The proposed text was:

No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.

Amendments to state constitutions

Supporters of the proposal then turned their attention to state legislatures, where their efforts met with far greater success. Eventually, all but 10 states (ArkansasConnecticutMaineMarylandNew JerseyNorth CarolinaRhode IslandTennesseeVermont, and West Virginia) passed laws that meet the general criteria for designation as “Blaine amendments,” in that they ban the use of public funds to support sectarian private schools.[7] In some states the provisions in question were included in newly drafted constitutions, rather than adopted as amendments to an existing constitution.

The state Blaine amendments remain in effect in many states.[8][9] In 2012, 46% of voters endorsed a measure repealing Florida’s Blaine amendment. A 60% margin was required for adoption.[10] Voters have also rejected proposals to repeal their state-level Blaine amendments in New York (1967), Michigan (1970), Oregon (1972), Washington state (1975), Alaska (1976), Massachusetts (1986), and Oklahoma (2016).[11][12]

On April 1, 1974, voters in Louisiana approved a new constitution by a margin of 58 to 42 percent,[13] which repealed the Blaine amendment that was part of that state’s 1921 constitution.[14] Louisiana’s current 1974 constitution replaced it with a copy of the federal First Amendment’s no-establishment and free exercise clauses, in Article 1, Sec. 8 of its Declaration of Rights; in Article 8, Sec. 13(a), it also guarantees the provision of free textbooks and “materials of instruction” to all children attending elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana.[15]

Two other states, South Carolina and Utah, have also watered down their “no-aid to religion” constitutional clauses by removing from them the word “indirect,” leaving only a prohibition of direct aid or assistance to religious schools in these states.[16]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  3. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  4. ^ Tyler Anbinder says, “Grant was not an obsessive nativist. He expressed his resentment of immigrants and animus toward Catholicism only rarely. But these sentiments reveal themselves frequently enough in his writings and major actions as general….In the 1850s he joined a Know Nothing lodge and irrationally blamed immigrants for setbacks in his career.” Anbinder, “Ulysses S. Grant, Nativist,” Civil War History 43 (June 1997): 119–41. online
  5. ^ Deforrest (2003)
  6. ^ Steven Green (2010). The Second Disestablishment : Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press. p. 296.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ Olorunnipa, Toluse (November 6, 2012). “Florida voters reject most constitutional amendments, including ‘religious freedom’ proposal”Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  11. ^ “The 27 Statewide Referenda on School Vouchers or Their Variants, 1966-2007”. Americans for Religious Liberty. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ “Oklahoma Public Money for Religious Purposes, State Question 790 (2016)”. Ballotpedia.
  13. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2017-05-28. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  14. ^ Art.4, Sec. 8, Constitution of Louisiana, 1921: “No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such, and no preference shall ever be given, nor any discrimination made against, any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.”
  15. ^ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Louisiana_State__Constitution_(1974).
  16. ^ Article 11, Sec. 4 of the South Carolina Constitution states, “No money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.” And Utah’s constitution says, according to Article 10, Sec. 8, “Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization.” Regina Reaves Hayden, annotated by Steven K. Green, Esq. Stars in the Constitutional Constellation: Federal and State Constitutional Provisions on Church and State. Silver Spring, MD: Americans United Research Foundation, 1993, p. 109, 122.

Further reading

  • Deforrest, Mark Edward. “An Overview and Evaluation of State Blaine Amendments: Origins, Scope, and First Amendment Concerns,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, 2003 in Questia
  • Green, Steven K. “The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered,” 36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 38 (1992)

External links

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

Mr. Barr’s argument has been echoed throughout American history: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people” (John Adams). “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith” (Tocqueville). “In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For ‘not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God’ shall our democracy be founded” (FDR). And so on.

That so many would become unhinged by Mr. Barr’s relatively modest contribution to the genre is highly revealing of the absolutism of secularist opponents determined to marginalize and destroy anyone who dares dissent from their own uncompromising orthodoxy.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1321, September 17, 2019, Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos –Story 2: U.S. Gasoline Prices Rising — Videos — Story 3: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Videos —

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Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos —

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Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

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Iran is trying to pressure US into removing sanctions: Gen. Keane

Saudi Oil Field Attack Originated From Iran, Used Cruise Missiles And Drones | NBC Nightly News

Saudi Arabia to Reportedly Resume 70% of Lost Oil Output

Trump says it’s “looking like” Iran responsible for drone attack | Nine News Australia

Trump Says Tehran Likely Behind Aramco Attack

Would be difficult for Saudi Aramco to list now after oil attack, analyst says | Squawk Box Europe

Saudi Aramco CEO: Oil attack was huge, but we managed to restore capacity

Attack on Saudi Arabia ‘caught us all by surprise’: Strategist | Street Signs Asia

USA: Lethal attack on Iran ‘proportionate’ after Saudi Arabia oil strike – Trump

Sankey: A potential response by Saudi Arabia against Iran would be ‘horrific’ for oil prices

Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities.

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War.

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications.

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites.

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Arabia Implicates Iran in Oil Attacks

Military stops short of explicitly accusing Tehran of carrying out strikes

 

Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki in Riyadh on Wednesday displayed what he describes as an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in an attack on the kingdom’s oil industry. PHOTO: AMR NABIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saudi Arabia said it holds Iran responsible for attacks that debilitated Saudi oil facilities, directly implicating Tehran for the first time but stopping short of explicitly accusing it of conducting the strikes.

Saudi officials have concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a complex assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia, Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen, told reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

He said Saudi Arabia made its judgment based on the direction of the cruise missiles when they struck the facilities and the maximum distance of 435 miles they could travel. The weapons found at the two attack sites also could be traced back to Iran, he said.

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia
Fears of a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran are high following an attack on a critical Saudi oil facility Saturday. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three reasons the U.S. is less likely than it once was to defend Saudi Arabia if that happens. Photo: Associated Press

Iran has denied it carried out the attacks.

At the press briefing, Col. Maliki displayed debris from the attacks, including what the Ministry of Defense described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles. He said Saudi Arabia was still working to determine the launch site and didn’t explicitly say the attacks had been mounted by Iran or from Iranian territory.

The ministry on Wednesday also displayed debris from what it said was an earlier attack on an oil facility in Afif in May.

Col. Maliki said the ministry knew the range of the cruise missiles, which he said were Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles, based on its military assessments and the range of previous attacks.

Cruise missiles have vastly different ranges, with some traveling a couple hundred miles while the U.S.-made Tomahawk missile has a range of more than 1,000 miles. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in 2015 quoted then-Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami as saying the Ya Ali outstripped other Iranian cruise missiles with a range of 435 miles.

Saudi Arabia has largely faced ballistic-missile attacks. Col. Maliki said about 230 ballistic missiles had been fired on the kingdom in recent years, demonstrating the strength of Saudi aerial-defense systems.

The Saudi claims escalate tensions in the region, although Col. Maliki didn’t say whether or how the kingdom would respond against Iran.

Firing Range

Saudi Arabia estimates the range of the missiles that targeted its oil facilities is 435 miles. The range would exclude Yemen, where Iran says Houthi rebels conducted the strikes, as a launch point.

Saudi Arabian targets attacked Saturday

SYRIA

Tehran

435-MILE RANGE

FROM TARGETS

IRAN

IRAQ

SAUDI

ARABIA

Abqaiq facility

Persian

Gulf

Riyadh

U.A.E.

Khurais oil field

Red

Sea

OMAN

YEMEN

Sana’a

300 miles

300 km

Source: Saudi Ministry of Defense

The display of debris instead indicated that Saudi Arabia is trying to build a credible case against Iran that it was behind the attacks, and at the same time, leave room for diplomacy. It called on the international community to hold Iran responsible for its aggressive posture in the region.

“This attack was not against Aramco or Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It was an assault on the international community.”

President Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that he has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

While Mr. Trump didn’t directly link Iran to Saturday’s attacks in his tweet, he said this week that it was “certainly looking” like Iran was responsible.

Later, in comments to reporters in California, Mr. Trump said further details on sanctions would be released in the next 48 hours and he is looking at various other options in responding to the strike.

“There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are waiting for the results of an investigation by the Saudi government before proceeding.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more explicit than Mr. Trump in blaming Iran. Landing in Jeddah ahead of a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. diplomat said Iran had conducted the attack, not its Yemeni proxy, known as the Houthis.

“The intelligence community has high confidence that…these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. Additionally, the flight patterns required to have inflicted the level of damage to the Saudi facilities rule out Yemen as a point of origin, he added.

Mr. Pompeo called the attack an act of war. “We’re blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but any time you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always risk that that could happen.”

Tehran on Wednesday continued to say Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen were behind the strikes on the Aramco facilities. President Hassan Rouhani after a cabinet meeting in Tehran told state media that the U.S. was falsely accusing Iran of the attack to pressure it. The attack was a warning from the Houthis to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a bloody war against the rebels for nearly five years, he said.

Addressing Saudi Arabia, Mr. Rouhani added: “Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region.”

Saturday’s twin attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities knocked out 5.7 million barrels a day of production at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, sending global oil prices higher.

On Tuesday, Saudi officials said they would use reserves to return production to normal levels within weeks and had restored 50% of lost output.

The price of Brent crude—the global benchmark—jumped 15% to $69.02 a barrel on Monday, its largest one-day climb since 1988. It was trading at $64.44 a barrel on Wednesday.

Some Saudi officials were skeptical of the defense ministry’s claims of aerial robustness. The strikes demonstrated a vulnerability in Saudi Arabia’s overstretched air systems, which have been taxed by months of attacks throughout the country, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

The kingdom’s air defenses never had a chance to activate because neither Saudi nor American systems detected the launch of the airstrike on Saturday morning, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The Saudi government recently moved the position of some air-defense systems, Saudi officials said, in order to cope with recent strikes that have hit airports, oil installations, and a desalination plant. Houthi rebels claimed the bombings.

The failure of Saudi and American air defenses to stop Saturday’s attack has raised alarms about the security of facilities that are a key component of the world’s oil supply. The combination of cruise missiles and drones represents a complex attack that would have challenged even the most sophisticated air-defense systems in the world, experts said.

“It looks like the attack was very carefully and thoroughly planned and that great care was taken to construct the attack plan in such a way to evade the air defenses that the Saudis are known to have,” said Bradley Boyer, a defense and energy analyst and retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer.

Saudi Arabia’s air defenses include the American Patriot and Hawk missile systems, which are better suited to shoot down mid- and long-range ballistic missiles, rather than the lighter and lower-flying cruise missiles and drones used in Saturday’s attack. The country also possesses short-range defense systems.

Saudi Arabia has a mixed record in defending itself from missile attacks. In one well-documented case, the country activated its Patriot missile defenses during an attack on the Riyadh airport in November 2017. The government said it shot down the incoming missile. Video footage and other evidence showed the defenses fell short of their targets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-holds-iran-responsible-for-oil-attacks-11568820602

Oil storage tanks
The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plant dramatically cut into global oil supplies. | Amr Nabil/AP Photo

DEFENSE

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid U.S.-Iran tension

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attack Saturday on key Saudi oil infrastructure. On Sunday, senior U.S. officials again said the American government believes there is no doubt Iran was responsible, saying satellite imagery and other intelligence, show the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.

Iran, meanwhile, called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military bases across the Mideast with their arsenal of ballistic missiles.

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out.

The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent U.S. senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence.

“Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. “When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.

Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that’s been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom’s crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world’s daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase.

Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks.

In Washington, President Donald Trump said Sunday evening that he had approved the release of U.S. strategic petroleum reserves “if needed” to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The announcement followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Images from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite examined by the AP showed black char marks at the heart of the Abqaiq plant on Sunday, marks not seen over the prior month. Identical marks are visible on the U.S. imagery. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies in August identified the area with the char marks as the plant’s stabilization area. The center said the area includes “storage tanks and processing and compressor trains — which greatly increases the likelihood of a strike successfully disrupting or destroying its operations.”

The state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, which the kingdom hopes to offer a sliver of in a public stock offering, did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the Saudi attack on Twitter late Saturday, and officials worked to provide evidence for his claim the following day.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones — a charge that Tehran denies.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.”

“The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward ‘maximum lies,’” Mousavi said in a statement.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying the drone attack came from there. Oil-rich Kuwait also said it would increase security around the country’s “vital sites” over the attacks.

Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group’s claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press on Sunday it exploited “vulnerabilities” in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate.

Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats.

Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country’s aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

“Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops,” he said in a video published online with English subtitles.

It wasn’t just Iran making threats. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican close to Trump, suggested retaliatory strikes targeting Iran. “Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

All this comes before the United Nations General Assembly in a little over a week. There’s been speculation of a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the summit’s sidelines, possibly in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear accord over a year ago.

If Iran had a hand in Saturday’s attack, it could be to bolster their position ahead of any talks, analysts say.

“The main point for Iran, in my opinion, is not necessarily to derail a meeting between Trump and Rouhani but to increase its leverage ahead of it,” said Michael Horowitz, the head of intelligence at the Bahrain-based risk management firm Le Beck International. “By carrying out such a major attack, Iran wants to send the message that the only way to decrease tensions is to comply with its demands regarding sanctions relief.”

However, he warned there could be a danger of Iran “overplaying” its hand.

“There will be no political benefit for Trump in a meeting with Rouhani if this meeting sends the message that the U.S. simply surrendered to Iranian demands,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/saudi-oil-attack-iran-1497449

Story 2: U.S. Gasoline Prices Rising — Videos —

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USA: ‘We don’t want to panic’ after Saudi Arabia oil attacks – Trump

 

Story 3: Congress Subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski in Impeachment Probe — No Collusion With Russia — Same Conclusion as Mueller Report — Videos 

Lewandowski becomes first witness to testify in impeachment probe

Lewandowski fires off after grueling 5-hour House testimony

Collins: House Dems trashed procedure to try and get Trump

Jordan, Meadows blast House Dems after Lewandowski hearing

 

Democrats threaten Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with CONTEMPT as he mocks and stonewalls them at first House impeachment hearing – before attorney confronts him with his own words and he admits he is ‘not honest with the media’

  • Corey Lewandowski stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump 
  • I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said  
  • Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee 
  • Trump praised Lewandowski’s opening statement, calling it ‘beautiful’ 
  • Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler charged the president with obstructing House Democrats’ investigation into his administration
  • ‘President Trump now appears to be using the powers of his office to obstruct all investigations by the only branch of the federal government currently capable of holding him accountable,’ Nadler wrote to the White House counsel   
  • White House counsel told committee Lewandowski would not to discuss conversations he had with Trump about government matters
  • White House forbid former aides Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn from testifying 
  • Lewandowski is mulling a New Hampshire Senate bid 
  • Committee counsel Barry Berke tore into his past statements during a late-hearing grilling 

Tuesday’s House hearing with Corey Lewandowksi culminated with angry threats by the Democratic majority to hold him in contempt – and damaging admissions by the former Donald Trump campaign manager that he has been untruthful in national TV interviews.

The fireworks came after a full day of testimony, after House Democrats armed with new rules they pushed through allowed an outside consultant to grill Trump’s combative former campaign head for 30 consecutive minutes.

Lewandowski was for the first time confronted with his past statements on Fox and MSNBC interviews, as well as statements he made in his own book about his interactions with the president.

‘I have no obligation to be candid with the media whatsoever,’ Lewandowski said at one point.

I’m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress,’ he said under questioning by majority counsel Barry Berke, saying he was truthful ‘every time I raised my right hand to God.’

Scroll down for video 

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski was confronted with a clip of himself saying on MSNBC he didn’t ever remember the president ‘ever asking me to get involved with [former attorney general] Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape, or form, ever.’

It was a key moment of alleged obstruction from the Mueller report – where Trump dictated to Lewandowski, a private citizen, a statement he wanted the former attorney general to give while curtailing the special counsel’s investigation.

‘That was not true, was it?’ the Harvard law grad and white collar defense attorney Berke asked him.

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

‘I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they are just as dishonest as everybody else,’ Lewandowski responded.

Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, who during the hearing shut down fellow Democrats efforts to bring maximum pressure on the witness, came down on the witness at the end of the hearing.

‘Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable. It is part of a pattern of a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth,’ the New York Democrat fumed.

‘I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration,’ he warned.

Republicans howled in protest when the Democrats brought in their ringer to conduct intensive questioning at the end of the hearing. Previously, individual members tried to get the former New Hampshire police officer to buckle during five-minute increments of questioning.

In another tense moment with Berke, the lawyer asked him: ‘On national television did you lie about your relationship with the special counsel and whether they sought your interview?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied.

Lewandowski tweeted out a message about the launch of his campaign for senator from New Hampshire during the hearing, irking one Democratic lawmaker who mentioned it.

He got accolades from the president for his early loyal performance, but cracks soon developed in his testimony as the day wore on.

Lewandowski has stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump as the president praised his former campaign manager’s tough stance.

Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which he could also use as a launch pad for a Senate bid.

The former Trump campaign manager offered a strong defense of the president, claiming he was a victim of ‘haters’ and resisted Democrats’ efforts to ask him about his conversations with the president.

The hearing is part of the Democrats’ strategy to prove there is enough evidence to impeach President Trump and they’ve issued a round of subpoena to witnesses from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to help make their case to the American people.

Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski’s more than four hours before the panel had its share of made-for-TV moments as he resisted their efforts to implicate Trump and snapped back at many of their questions.

In one of those moments, he mocked Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, who suggested Lewandowski was ‘ashamed’ to read his own words from Mueller’s report that were projected on a screen in the room.

‘Why don’t you want to read it Mr. Lewandowski?’ the congressman for California asked.

‘I think you should afford me the same privilege you gave Mr. Mueller,’ he responded, referring to Mueller’s June testimony before the committee, where he did not have to read from his report.

‘Are you ashamed of the words you wrote down,’ Swalwell asked.

Lewandowski then called him ‘President Swalwell,’ in his response, alluding to the congressman’s failed presidential bid.

‘President Swalwell – I’m very happy with what I’ve written but you’re welcome to read it if you like,’ he said.

And when Swalwell pressed him if he was ashamed of what he wrote, Lewandowski pushed back: ‘I’m not ashamed of anything in my life. Are you?’

Swalwell also asked about Lewandowski’s testimony to Mueller, where he stated he kept notes from his conversations with President Trump in a safe.

‘It’s a big safe congressman. There’s a lot of guns in there,’ Lewandowski said.

But Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal got in a shot at her own at Lewandowski during her questioning period.

‘You are not yet in the Senate. You are a witness before the Judiciary Committee. Please act like it,’ she told him, referring to speculation he may run for New Hampshire’s Senate seat next year.

The lawmaker from Washington state appeared to rattle Lewandowski when she asked him if he lied to Mueller’s investigators or to the president.

‘Not to the best of my recollection, no,’ he told her.

She then asked him about a tweet from Trump in April, after the Mueller report came out, when the president wrote: ‘Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue.’

‘So the president is wrong that the report is fabricated and totally untrue?,’ Jayapal asked Lewandowski.

‘That’s a question for the president,’ he replied.

‘Did you lie to the president and is the president correct that everything in the report is fabricated?,’ she asked.

‘I won’t comment on private conversations but I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I lied about anything. And I’ve answered it multiple times. I’ve answered your question multiple times,’ Lewandowski replied.

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell's failed presidential bid

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell’s failed presidential bid

The former Trump campaign manager also made some head-scratching comments in his testimony, claiming he never read Mueller’s report and arguing the ‘fake Russian collusion narrative’ is the ‘greatest crime committed’ against the American people.

‘I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said.

Lewandowski also had a contentious back-and-forth with Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.

‘Don’t ask me a question I won’t answer,’ he told her when she pressed him on his conversations with the president.

‘This is House Judiciary – not a house party,’ she shot back.

And when Jackson Lee pressed him to answer a question about a section of Mueller’s report, which was projected on a screen in the hearing room, Lewandowski snapped back: ‘ You’re welcome to read it, congresswoman.’

‘You’re welcome to be stalling, and I’m not going to stall. Either answer the question yes or no,’ Jackson Lee responded.

I will not disclose any conversation I’ve had with the president,’ Lewandowski said. ‘The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversation with the president.’

With Jackson Lee’s five minutes of question time expired, Chairman Jerry Nadler said Lewandowski could answer her last question.

‘I don’t believe there was a question, congressman,’ Lewandowski responded. ‘Just a rant.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7474059/Corey-Lewandowski-House-Judiciary-Committees-formal-impeachment-witness.html

 

Story 4: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Juuling — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

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Electronic Cigarettes: the Facts and the Myths

E-cigarette safety: the facts explained

Stossel: Let Them Vape

Planet of the Vapes: why is there a war on e-cigarettes?

Gov. Cuomo announces ban on flavored e-cigarettes in New York

New York to Ban on Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products | NBC New York

What Vape Shops Have to Say About New York’s Flavored E-Cigarette Ban | NBC New York

New York to ban sale of flavored e-cigarettes | ABC News

New York Governor Cuomo announces ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Trump Wants to Ban Vaping to Protect Melania’s Son

Why Vaping Is Bad For You

Is Vaping Really That Bad for You?

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E-Cigarettes : Welcome Back, Big Tobacco – the fifth estate

Mayo Clinic Minute: Are e-cigarettes safe?

SA: E-cigarette & Vape Marketing Targets Youth

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What Happens To Your Body ● When You VAPE For a Month

What Happened When Prisoners Started Vaping (HBO)

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Teens falling victim to the JUUL effect

10 Things JUUL Doesn’t Want You To Know

VAPE NATION

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Oliver Tree – H3 Podcast #125

I Spent $1000 at a Vape Shop.

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My Friend Teaches me how to VAPE!! (The Right Way)

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[yourUVW=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUCM6P-AnHY]

Refilling Juul Pods: The right way.

How Juul Became A $15 Billion Giant

Is ‘Juuling’ Safe? What’s Really Inside The Popular E-Cigarette | TODAY

Juul CEO to non-smokers: “Don’t vape. Don’t use Juul.”

Juul Labs announces ID verification system to curb underage e-cigarette use

Doctor on vaping: “Nobody is saying that this has value or benefit” for youths

New York becomes the first state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as panel approves Governor Cuomo’s emergency prohibition

  • Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the ban on Tuesday
  • Sale of all flavored vaping products is banned immediately under the rule
  • Vape shop owners say they will go under and smokers will return to cigarettes
  • Advocates of ban say the fruity flavors are getting kids hooked on vaping
  • CDC reports 380 cases of illness and seven deaths linked to vaping cannabis

New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, a move that comes as federal health officials investigate a mysterious surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.

The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors, goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. Use among high-school students went from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Cuomo pointed to vaping flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that he said seemed aimed at young people.

‘We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices,’ he said on public radio Monday.

Vape shop owners say they’re considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote. Several spoke at the meeting to urge council members to reject the ban.

Mike Kruger owns two vape shops in the Albany region and said the ban could force hundreds of businesses like his to close. He said smokers looking to quit will have fewer options under the ban, potentially leading to an increase in the use of traditional tobacco products. As for the breathing illnesses, Kruger said he believes they are the result of people buying black market vape liquid, not the items he sells.

‘We are bypassing the legislative process,’ he said of the ban. Kruger added that many adults seek out the flavored versions. He himself prefers blue raspberry. ‘Vaping has been around for 12 years. And now this.’

Keith Mautner, who owns a vape store in Queens and uses the products himself, estimates that flavored e-cigarettes make up 95% percent of his business. He said state leaders should have cracked down on manufacturers if they were concerned about the products being used by teens.

‘That’s the problem, the manufacturers. It’s not us,’ he said.

Vaping, which many Americans have taken up as an alternative to smoking, has come under increased federal scrutiny following a rash of deaths related to vaping cannabis. Seen above are flavored vaping products in Queens that are now forbidden under the rule

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

The exemption for menthol was criticized by some health groups, who worried young people would switch to that variety. It includes all types of flavored vaping products, including disposable and refillable devices.

Juul Labs, Inc., the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.

Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.

New York becomes the first state to enact the ban. Michigan approved a ban that includes menthol, but not tobacco flavor, but rules for enactment have not yet been put into place. Other states are also considering bans.

The statewide smoking age is going up to 21, after Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year. He also recently signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

The emergency regulation enacted Tuesday will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed. Cuomo has proposed legislation that would put the ban in state law, eliminating the need to renew the ban.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016 but has yet to take the step.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7475005/Panel-approves-ban-sale-flavored-e-cigs-New-York.html

 

What Is Juuling? Everything To Know About The Teen Vaping Trend

It’s all the rage…

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that teen vaping (and Juuling) had reached “epidemic proportions.” A year later? It doesn’t seem as if the obsession among teens has slowed down.

Case in point: This month, eight Wisconsin teenagers were taken to the hospital with extreme coughs, shortness of breath, and fatigue, per CBS News. Doctors suspected that vaping was the cause of these teenagers’ respiratory problems, some of whom were unable to breathe on their own when they were hospitalized.

While it’s unclear what the kids were inhaling that may have caused their lung and breathing issues, some of the teens said that they may have been vaping nicotine and THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana), as Women’s Health reported previously.

But the agency isn’t slowing down when it comes to cracking down on retailers to prevent kids from wanting to vape and getting their hands on Juuls and other vape products. And we’ll get to that.

But first: Why are young adults so into Juuls, and vaping in general? And just how bad is it really for teens’ health? Here, a primer on the controversy.

What is Juuling exactly?

First off, it’s important to note that vaping and Juuling are the same thing. Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don’t even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and make a vapor that can be inhaled.

According to the company’s website, they were designed to help cigarette smokers transition off of smoking. “We envision a world where fewer people use cigarettes, and where people who smoke cigarettes have the tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely, should they so desire,” the website says. It also says in its marketing and social media code that Juul products are “not appropriate or intended for youth.”

However, the vaporizers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they can be charged when plugged into a laptop’s USB slot—making it easy for students to pass them off as flash drives in class.

Why is Juuling so popular?

Between those two design elements, and the fact that the Juul pods come in flavors like crème brulee, cool cucumber, and mango, these e-cigs have become insanely popular with kids. But they’re also popular among adults, given that they were originally designed to help smokers quit, as mentioned.

Just how widespread is the Juul fad, you’re wondering? The Juul vaping device was invented by two Stanford grads in 2007, and has since become the best-selling e-cigarette on the market, capturing 32 percent of the market share, according to Nielsen data. And according to not-yet published data from the FDA, there was a 75 percent increase in overall e-cigarette use (vaping and juuling) among high schoolers in 2018 compared to 2017, per the Washington Post.

However, one Boston doctor told WFXT that teenagers are still buying Juuls online by lying about their age and using a prepaid debit card.

Why is vaping (or Juuling) bad?

Many people use e-cigarettes, like Juuls, because they aren’t made with tar and all the cancer-causing chemicals you’ll find in a tobacco cigarette. Still, a 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teenagers who smoked e-cigarettes had higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than non-smokers.

Although they’re marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, vapes are certainly not risk-free. “This is not a safe alternative,” says Michael Blaiss, MD, the executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Is it safer than a tobacco cigarette? Yes. The problem is that nicotine itself can have major effects.”

“Think of it this way: In comparing e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes, we are comparing e-cigarettes to the deadliest consumer product on the market,” says Christy Sadreameli, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins and spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

Is Juuling more dangerous for kids than for adults?

Vaping can be particularly harmful for children and teenagers. The human lung develops rapidly within a child’s first two years, Dr. Sadreameli says, but it continues to grow until a child is 15 years old, on average.

Exposure to e-cigarette vapor during periods of lung growth and development may be more harmful to the lungs compared to when they’re fully developed, she says. “Teens who are using e-cigarettes themselves may be getting exposed to very high doses of these products,” she says. “We know that e-cigarettes contain extremely dangerous compounds, such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, acrolein (which causes irreversible lung damage), and sometimes harmful substances such as menthol and diacetyl (which can cause a dangerous lung disease called ‘popcorn lung’).”

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a18377132/juuling/

Juuling: The Addictive New Vaping Trend Teens Are Hiding

Here’s what you need to know about Juul, the e-cigarette brand that contains double the nicotine and is vaped from a device that looks like a USB drive.

Forty years ago, nearly 29 percent of high school seniors reported smoking cigarettes daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2018, less than 1 in 25 high schoolers smokes daily.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports a similar decline, with 4.3 percent fewer middle schoolers and 15.8 percent fewer high schoolers admitting to smoking cigarettes between 2011 and 2018.However, as cigarette smoking seems to be on the decline, another method of nicotine use has managed to hook today’s youth.

The same CDC report that discussed the decline of cigarette use revealed an increase in vaping.

In 2018, 4.9 percent of middle schoolers reported using electronic cigarettes, and 20.8 percent of high schoolers reported the same.

 

What parents need to know about Juuling, the vaping device in disguise

When it comes to tobacco use, cigarettes are considered a combusted or burned product. The cigarette has to be lit, the tobacco burned, and the smoke inhaled.

Vaping, on the other hand, involves no combustion or burning. Instead, vaping products release an aerosol that is inhaled.

While many people make the mistake of assuming this aerosol is as harmless as water vapor, it actually consists of fine particles containing toxic chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart diseases.

Vaping devices, which include e-cigarettes and vape pens, were first introduced to the commercial market in 2007. They typically have to be plugged in or powered by battery so a heating component can warm an e-liquid cartridge that then releases the aerosol to be inhaled in the lungs.

“A lot of these cartridges are actually marketed as health products,” Winickoff explained. “They have ‘healthy’ flavors, things like mango and berry that are associated with high antioxidants. But they’re just flavors. There are no actual health benefits.”

The CDCTrusted Source has found that these flavors are a big part of the reason teens are latching onto these products. Even worse, Winickoff told Healthline about a study where 60 percent of kids believed that pods used in Juuls (a specific brand of e-cigarette) were nicotine-free — when the reality is that 99 percent of these products contain nicotine.

In 2018, Juuls accounted for about 40 percent of the e-cigarette market, grossing 150 million in retail sales the last quarter alone. The appeal of this product specifically is that they don’t look like e-cigarettes. Juuls are small, can be mistaken for a USB drive, and are easily concealed in a person’s hand.

In other words, this is a product teens are able to use more discreetly, without drawing as much attention from their parents and teachers.

With the introduction of Juuling, e-cigarette use among teens is on the rise. So much so that both Time and The Washington Post reported on Juuling and what parents need to be aware of.

The risks of e-cigarettes

A large number of people believe e-cigarettes are simply a safer way to consume nicotine, and that nicotine isn’t harmful by itself. But that’s not true.

ResearchTrusted Source has found numerous negative impacts of nicotine alone: on metabolism, increased cancer risks and respiratory problems, as well as more asthma attacks and symptoms experienced by those who vape.

“We know based on Juul’s own published testing that these products contain carcinogens. Group 1 carcinogens — the most potent carcinogens known,” Winickoff revealed.

There’s also another risk that parents should be aware of when it comes to teens and e-cigarette use — the addiction may be harder to kick.

According to AAP, Juul pods contain nearly double the concentration of nicotine compared to other e-cigarette cartridges. This is especially concerning because the risk for addiction is already higher among teens.

Winickoff explained, “The younger the developing brain is exposed to nicotine, the stronger and more rapid the addiction. The earlier you become addicted, the harder it is to quit.”

But that’s not all. According to Winickoff, addiction to nicotine at a young age actually causes brain remodeling, changing the threshold for addiction to other substances.

In other words, kids who use nicotine earlier are more likely to fall in love with other drugs later on.

Tips for talking to kids before they start vaping

The risks of Juuling and vaping for kids are real, making it all the more important for parents to begin addressing these issues before their children decide to try these products.

A licensed clinical psychologist from Connecticut, Dr. Elaine Ducharme, PhD, told Heathline, “Parents really need to start talking to their kids in elementary school about this issue.”

She offered these tips for engaging in those discussions:

  1. Educate yourself first. Get the facts on these products so you know what you’re talking about when you approach the discussion with your kids.
  2. Be a role model. Parents are responsible for shaping many of their children’s ideas and behaviors, so set the tone with your own actions.
  3. Establish a safe environment where your kids can talk about their feelings and opinions without feeling judged.
  4. Really listen and let them tell you what they know.
  5. It can sometimes be helpful to give them something to read that you can then discuss together.
  6. Help them figure out ways to handle situations where they may be pressured to engage in these behaviors.
  7. Create a plan, even specific things for them to say like, “I have asthma and my doctor says I could become very ill if I try this,” or, “I just don’t think it looks cool.”
  8. Help them understand that using willpower to stand up to peers is really hard, but willpower is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Winickoff had this to add, “What the research says about tobacco use, which we can apply to Juuling and vaping, is that parents expressing how they feel about these products — their strong negative opinions — actually can make a difference. Kids may protest, but they do internalize their parent’s belief system.”

Winickoff says this is true even if a parent uses the product themselves. Talking about the negatives of that product, and about how the addiction has taken hold and why parents can’t quit (even though they want to) can still send a strong message to teens about why they shouldn’t start.

Getty Images

How teens purchase and hide Juuls

While the legal age for purchasing these products is 18 in some states and 21 in others, Winickoff explained that many kids are ordering them online — simply checking a box to verify they are of legal age. For this reason, parents should pay attention to their teen’s online purchases and packages that may arrive in the mail.

Juul pods also look very similar to an average USB flash drive. Examine any questionable device closely.

Addressing the nicotine addiction

If you discover that your teen is already Juuling, Winickoff is clear that it’s important to recognize this as more than just a “bad habit.” It’s a medical problem that requires a major response from the family, the child’s pediatrician, and possibly a therapist to help get that teen out from under the nicotine addiction.

“It’s not easy to get kids to stop. Their body craves it. They need it just to get through the day. I can tell you from anecdotal experience just from my office, I’ve had a terrible time getting kids to give up electronic cigarettes. It’s that young brain and extra susceptibility. They’re locked in.”

Ducharme added, “If the situation seems out of control, it’s time to speak with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in working with teens and addictions.”

Currently, there aren’t any addiction programs specifically geared toward teens and nicotine use, which makes prevention and enforcement of existing rules all the more important.

Winickoff recommends advocating for zero-tolerance policies in schools and tobacco-free zones around every school, middle grade through college. He also recommends parents get involved in the Tobacco 21 movement, which aims to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. So far, six states have adopted such laws.

With the help of active and informed parents, yours could be next.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally reported on August 17, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, which includes a medical review by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/juuling-the-new-vaping-trend-thats-twice-as-addictive-as-cigarettes#9

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1316, September 10, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Fires National Security John Bolton — Videos — Story 2: United States Fiscal Year 2019 Budgetary Deficit Exceeds $1,000,000,000,000,000 — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Burdening Future Generation of American Citizens — Tax, Spend, Borrow — Videos — Story 3: United States F-15s and F-35s Bombs ISIS Infested Island in Iraq — Videos — Story 4: Israeli Air Force Bombs Pro-Iranian Shiite Hezbollah Militia Base in Syria — Videos — Story 5: Remembering The Prescient and Wisdom of Ron Paul on Limited Government and the Neoconservatives — Videos

Posted on September 10, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mexico, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, South Korea, Spying, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Story 1: President Trump Fires National Security John Bolton —  Trump’s Non interventionist vs. Bolton’s Interventionist Foreign Policy — Videos

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‘I don’t think it will change a whole lot’ – Ron Paul on Bolton’s resignation

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Ousted National Security advisor John Bolton calls Donald Trump a LIAR for claiming he was fired and insists he resigned, amid claims the pair clashed over president’s plan to host the Taliban at Camp David

  • Trump fired Bolton by tweet just before noon Tuesday in a dramatic and unexpected move
  • He said he ‘disagreed strongly’ with Bolton ‘as did others in the administration’ 
  • Bolton tweeted minutes later, apparently from somewhere on the White House computer network, that Trump blew him off when he tried to resign
  • Other names in the mix: Mick Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair, hostage affairs envoy Robert O’Brien and senior Pompeo adviser Brian Hook
  • President had clashed with Bolton about Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela, and most recently on peace talks with the Taliban
  • Bolton, 70, had been Trump’s top national security aide since April 2018 after the president dispensed with three-star Army general H.R. McMaster
  • He texted ‘I resigned’ to a Fox News Channel host, who read it aloud on the air
  • Shakeup comes just two weeks before the United National General Assembly, where Trump will speak
  • One leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany 

Donald Trump said Tuesday he had ordered his national security advisor, John Bolton, to resign. But the ousted aide quickly insisted he quit first, then called the president’s version of events untrue.

The drama unfolded after months of deteriorating relations between Trump and his hawkish senior aide.

Trump tweeted just before noon that he had asked Bolton for his resignation and thanked him for ‘his services,’ but Bolton quickly shoved back, texting a Fox News Channel host live on air that ‘I resigned,’ then later texting NBC News that the president had never asked him to quit.

‘I offered to resign last night,’ Bolton told NBC in the text message. ‘He never asked for it, directly or indirectly. I slept on it, and resigned this morning.’

Bolton was photographed outside the West Wing on Tuesday morning just before 9:00, standing on the spot where a U.S. Marine is stationed whenever the president is at work – suggesting that Trump was still in the White House residence and didn’t meet with him.

After Trump announced Bolton’s departure, federal agents were seen at his Washington, D.C. home, removing government property including computer equipment and a shredder.

His abrupt departure and its ugly public aftermath was reportedly set off by the two disagreeing over Trump’s plan to host Taliban representatives at Camp David for peace talks last weekend, days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Trump publicly announced the cancellation of the previously unreported peace talk plan on Saturday evening; Bolton’s had strongly opposed dealing with the Taliban face-to-face.

The two had already fallen out over Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela; Bolton previously refused to go on television to defend Trump’s Afghanistan and Russia policies during last month’s G7 summit in France.

 

Over and out: How John Bolton resigns to Donald Trump in a letter which he said was his own initiative but which the president tweeted that he had demanded

Donald Trump and John Bolton became locked in a Twitter war of words over the national security adviser's departure, with Bolton saying he tried to quit and Trump saying he told him to resign; Bolton is pictured Tuesday morning outside the West Wing of the White House at 8:45 a.m.

Donald Trump and John Bolton became locked in a Twitter war of words over the national security adviser’s departure, with Bolton saying he tried to quit and Trump saying he told him to resign; Bolton is pictured Tuesday morning outside the West Wing of the White House at 8:45 a.m.

Federal agents were seen Tuesday at Bolton's home in Washington, D.C., removing equipment and other government property a few hours after he was fired; the gear included a shredder, a multifunction printer and other computer equipment

Federal agents were seen Tuesday at Bolton’s home in Washington, D.C., removing equipment and other government property a few hours after he was fired; the gear included a shredder, a multifunction printer and other computer equipment

This woman was seen carrying a black satchel down Bolton's driveway as agents removed other government property from his home

This woman was seen carrying a black satchel down Bolton’s driveway as agents removed other government property from his home

'I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,' the president said in a tweet. He had been Trump's top national security aide since April 2018, when they were photographed together in the Cabinet Room of the White House

‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ the president said in a tweet. He had been Trump’s top national security aide since April 2018, when they were photographed together in the Cabinet Room of the White House

They spoke Monday before Trump left for a political rally in North Carolina, accoding to a White House official. Bolton claimed Tuesday that the conversation did not focus on a Taliban-related falling-out.

But he sent the White House a two sentence resignation letter Tuesday morning, and Trump tweeted his departure at 11:58 a.m., an hour and a half before Bolton was due to stand beside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin for a rare White House press briefing about a raft of new anti-terrorism sanctions.

A leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; G.renell was an early Trump backer and is seen as 'one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats' in the administration, according to a State Department source

A leading candidate to replace Bolton is Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; G.renell was an early Trump backer and is seen as ‘one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats’ in the administration, according to a State Department source

The two Cabinet members smiled broadly when they were asked if they had been ‘blindsided’ by the sudden departure. ‘I’m never surprised,’ Pompeo grinned.

The president offered no public hint of who might get the job next.

Charles Kupperman, Bolton’s deputy, became acting national security adviser on Tuesday. Bolton said in January that Kupperman ‘has been an advisor to me for more than thirty years.’ That, a White House aide said Tuesday, suggests Trump will quickly sweep him out as part of a National Security Council housecleaning.

Kupperman was already scheduled to be out of the White House in two weeks for an unspecified surgery.

Two White House officials said Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell quickly emerged as a leading candidate to be Trump’s fourth national security adviser in less than three years. One source said the president brought his name up to members of his senior staff shortly after tweeting about Bolton’s dismissal.

Grenell was an early Trump backer and is the administration’s highest ranking openly gay official. A source close to Grenell said Tuesday that he knows ‘how to deliver in a tough post.’ A State Department official speculated that the president might choose him because ‘one of the most reliably hard-charging diplomats’ in the U.S. foreign service.

A different White House official cautioned that since Grenell was Bolton’s chief spokesman at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, he could be seen as ‘fruit from the poisoned tree.’

Bolton was barely three hours away from getting the axe as he checked his phone in front of the West Wing's north doors; he stood where a U.S. Marine is normally positioned whenever the president is in the West Wing, suggesting Trump was still in the residence and didn't meet iwth Bolton before he fired him

Bolton was barely three hours away from getting the axe as he checked his phone in front of the West Wing’s north doors; he stood where a U.S. Marine is normally positioned whenever the president is in the West Wing, suggesting Trump was still in the residence and didn’t meet iwth Bolton before he fired him

Robert Blair, another potential Bolton successor, is a senior adviser to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Blair was in charge of national security programs for the White House Budget Office when Mulvaney was its director.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Blair was in the mix. He did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Bloomberg News reported that other possible replacements for Bolton ‘discussed by Trump associates’ include Robert O’Brien, the president’s envoy for hostage affairs, and senior Pompeo adviser Brian Hook.

A White House aide said Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has expressed a preference for Hook.

It’s unclear what Bolton’s next career move will be.

A Fox News Chanel producer on Tuesday called it ‘unlikely’ that the network will hire him as an on-air pundit.

A source at the Gatestone Institute, an Israel-friendly think tank where he was chairman before coming to the White House, said Tuesday that Bolton was still expected to deliver a previously scheduled luncheon speech to its members on September 18 in New York.