Monetary Policy

The Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017, Story 1: Story 1: BIG — Big Interventionist Government — Obamacare and Obamacare Lite — The Progressive Two-Party Tyranny of The Democratic and Republican Parties — Fake Repeal and Fake Replace Is Not Real Repeal of Obamacare and All Obamacare Regulations and Replace With Free Enterprise Individual Health Insurance Capitalist Markets Not Centralized Federal Control and Regulation with Massive Subsidies Of Health Insurance Industry — Collectivists vs Individualists — Replace The C, D, F BIG Progressive Republican Senators and Representatives — The Party’s Over — Videos

Posted on June 27, 2017. Filed under: American History, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, History, Human, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Pro Life, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017 posted as soon as possible

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

National Debt Clock 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

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Image result for cartoons on repeal and replace of obamacare

 

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Story 1: BIG — Big Interventionist Government — Obamacare and Obamacare Lite — The Progressive Two-Party Tyranny of The Democratic and Republican Parties — Fake Repeal and Fake Replace Is Not Real Repeal of Obamacare and All Obamacare Regulations and Replace With Free Enterprise Individual Health Insurance Capitalist Markets Not Centralized Federal Control and Regulation with Massive Subsidies Of Health Insurance Industry — Collectivists vs Individualists —  Videos

Judy Holliday – The Party’s Over

The Party’s Over
The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your
Pretty balloon
And taken the moon away
It’s time to wind up
The masquerade
Just make your mind up
The piper must be paid
The party’s over
The candles flicker and dim
You danced and dreamed
Through the night
It seemed to be right
Just being with him
Now you must wake up
All dreams must end
Take off your makeup
The party’s over
It’s all over
My friend

President Trump Holds Meeting with GOP Senators After Delayed Healthcare Vote 6/27/17

Sen. Rand Paul: Our Bill May Cost More In First 2 Years Than Obamacare Did | TODAY

Republicans delay Senate healthcare vote

Sen. Rand Paul: Senate health care bill needs more Obamacare ‘repeal’

Hume on GOP Health Care Fight: Either Way, Republicans Have a ‘Problem’

Rand Paul: Let’s Repeal Obamacare And Don’t Replace It

Mark Levin’s new book, “Rediscovering Americanism,” an assault on the media and progressives and a call for Americans to take back their country, debuts today at No. 1 on Amazon.

Showing the draw of the New York Times bestselling author and top syndicated radio host, his book is already on the way to becoming another big seller.

“My new book covers a lot of territory — philosophy, history, economics, law, culture, etc. And I look deeply into what is meant by Americanism, republicanism, individualism, capitalism. What do we mean by natural law, unalienable rights, liberty, and property rights? From where do these principles come? Why are they important?” he told Secrets.

It follows in the path of his other books and the nation: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto; Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America; The Liberty Amendments; and Plunder and Deceit.

Secrets reviewed “Rediscovering Americanism”last week and wrote:

In the book, Levin attacks the embrace by the media, politicians, and academia of progressive promises of a “utopia” defined by the end of personal freedom and individuality.

He has a grim name for it: “The Final Outcome.” Levin wrote, “They reject history’s lessons and instead are absorbed with their own conceit and aggrandizement in the relentless pursuit of a diabolical project, the final outcome of which is an oppression of mind and soul.”

Levin added, “the equality they envision but dare not honestly proclaim, is life on the hamster wheel, where one individual is indistinguishable from the next.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/mark-levin-book-condemning-media-progressives-debuts-no-1-amazon/article/2627178

Dems face identity crisis

Democrats are grappling with how to keep their progressive base happy while winning over white working-class voters who left the party in the 2016 elections.

Defections by blue-collar voters cost Democrat Hillary Clinton the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went to President Trump. It was the first time since 1988 that a GOP presidential candidate had won Michigan or Pennsylvania, and the first time since 1984 in Wisconsin.

The fallout has created an identity crisis for a Democratic Party seeking to find its way forward in the post-Obama era.

A string of House special election losses culminating in Democrat Jon Ossoff’s disappointing defeat in Georgia last week has only intensified the scrutiny and second-guessing of Democratic strategy, to say nothing of the hand-wringing by party activists craving a victory.

“I’m not convinced we know what the best thing is for the party right now,” said Democratic strategist Jim Manley. “I’m not convinced we have the answers.”

Democrats trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong are focused on how they’ve seemingly lost a significant part of the Democratic base all while failing to turn out enough progressives.

There are different views about what to do across the party, with some questioning whether the white working-class voters can be won back by a party that seems to be tilting leftward with the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) and other liberal voices.

“I’ve spoken to some folks who think we have to only choose one or the other,” said one former senior aide to President Barack Obama. “And after this election cycle, I think there are some who believe there may be some truth to that.”

A lot depends on whether the party can find the right candidate with the right message, particularly in 2020.

“Democrats need a reason for showing up. Give them a reason to believe, and we won’t be having this discussion,” the former Obama aide said.

Democrats say there is a way to appeal to both progressives and white working-class voters.

“Everybody is being too simplistic,” Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said. “Voters are much more complex.”

Simmons said it’s not a matter of choosing to talk about police violence and climate change or the minimum wage and creating jobs.

Progressives, he said, want Democrats to talk about all of that.

They “want politicians to say something about Black Lives Matter and equality — they also want to know how they’re going to get their kids through college, pay off their house and get a better job,” he said. “The thing that’s most frustrating to me is this either-or dichotomy.”

Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 show Democrats can win over both groups, say some Democrats.

“This crisis is Democrats not realizing their own strengths, or being scared of articulating their core principles, rather than a crisis of having no agenda,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

He said a focus on economics, climate change and being anti-Trump would animate the party.

“These are the places that 2018 candidates need to focus on, because they are ways to distinguish themselves from the GOP and its agenda,” he added. “Then they should continue to use Trump as a unifying theme. Often experts downplay this, but Republicans were very effective at using Obama that way.”

In recent days, particularly since the Ossoff loss, Democrats have been doing a lot of finger-pointing.

There’s been a movement to stop blaming the 2016 presidential election loss on Russia. And there have been calls to cut ties with current Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Some of those calls, within the House, come from lawmakers such as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is worried about losing the white working class.

On the other end of the spectrum, some say Sanders’s bashing of Democrats has only deepened wounds.

“A lot of people are sick of it,” said Manley, a former adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “The mainstream part of the party has had it up to here with what he’s been saying.”

Some Democrats are seeking to build a bridge between the two groups.

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the party will unveil a “strong, bold, sharp-edged and commonsense economic agenda” in the coming weeks.

Addressing both wings of his party, he added, “I’m talking to Bernie Sanders. I’m talking to Joe Manchin. This is going to be really something that Democrats can be proud of, and I’m excited about it.”

Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, is among the most centrist members of Schumer’s conference.

Michael Tyler, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said Democrats will look to expand their support across the party.

He acknowledged in an email to The Hill that in order to win elections, Democrats “have to focus on broadening and turning out our base and on reaching out to Americans who cast ballots for Donald Trump or didn’t vote at all.”

Tyler said Democrats are in the process of rebuilding a party “from an organization whose mission was solely to elect the president of the United States to one that organizes to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, from school board to Senate.”

But it may not be as easy as that, some strategists say.

Asked how the party rebounds and lures both working-class and progressive Democrats, Manley admitted: “I don’t have the faintest idea in this point in time. I’m still trying to digest what happened.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/339577-dems-face-identity-crisis

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The Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017, Story 1: Supreme Court 9-0 Decision Backs President Trump’s Travel Ban With Temporary Stay But Allows Refugees With A “Bona Fide” Relationship With Legal U.S. Residents To Enter U. S. — Will Hear Case In The Fall whether or not the travel ban is constitutional — Videos — Story 2: Supreme Court Rules in 7-2 Decision State Funding For Religious School Can Use Taxpayer Funds For Playground — Videos — Story 3: American People Optimistic As Consumer Confidence Increases — Awaiting The Trump Tax Cut and Total Repeal Of Obamacare — Videos

Posted on June 26, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Insurance, Iraq, Islamic State, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Libya, Life, Media, Medical, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Science, Security, Senate, Social Security, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, United States of America, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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Story 1: Supreme Court 9-0 Decision Backs President Trump’s Travel Ban But Allows Refugees With A “Bona Fide” Relationship With Legal U.S. Residents To Enter U. S. — Will Hear Case In The Fall whether or not the travel ban is constitutional — Videos —

US Supreme Court allows part of Trump travel ban to go into effect – BBC News

Part of Trump’s travel ban will go into effect

Supreme Court travel order decision is a Trump win: Fmr. Rep. Hoekstra

Panel Discusses: Supreme Court Allows Part of Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect

Here’s what the Supreme Court ruling on Trump’s travel ban means

Why the travel ban ruling is a political win for Trump

Hume: Admin is in ‘pretty good shape’ with travel ban case

Supreme Court to Hear Trump’s Travel Ban, Orders Temporary Stay

Varney & Co : Sekulow: Trump travel ruling a huge win for administration : 6/26/2017

It’s an absolutely boffo slam dunk for Trump in SCOTUS travel ban case.

Lionel on SCOTUS Travel Ban Decision Inter Alia

Ben Shapiro: Supreme Court’s decisions on Trump’s travel ban & public funds for churches

The Democrat Vitriol Boomerang! Pres Trump Stronger Than Ever!

Trump claims ‘clear victory’ after Supreme Court says his ‘Muslim’ travel ban can go into effect NOW against people without U.S. ties

  • Supreme Court justices will act on Trump’s travel ban in the fall, and allowed a major part of it to go into effect immediately
  • Refugees and others from six Muslim-majority countries who already have a ‘bona fide relationship’ with legal U.S. residents will be allowed to come
  • While the case is pending, the lower court’s injunction will apply only to those people who have no U.S. ties
  • Rumors also abound in Washington, DC that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, may announce his retirement on Monday
  • Trump and press secretary Sean Spicer both called the outcome a ‘9-0’ decision, although the court didn’t say how large a majority of the justices approved it

President Donald Trump took a victory lap on Monday after the Supreme Court restored most of his executive order banning incoming travel from six terror-prone countries.

‘Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,’ the president said in a statement shortly after the high court ruled. ‘It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.’

The Supreme Court said it will decide in the fall whether or not the travel ban is constitutional. Liberal state attorneys general have argued that it amounts to a religious test for entry into the U.S. since the affected countries all have Muslim majorities.

The court said that while the wheels of justice turn, the Trump administration can enforce the executive order against anyone from those nations who doesn’t already have a ‘bona fide relationship’ with a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

The stopgap measure, announced Monday morning, is largely a victory for Trump, who will be allowed – at least temporarily – to stem the flow of immigrants and refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Trump has said he would put his ban into effect 72 hours after the Supreme Court gives him a green light.

Technically, the justices left a lower court injunction in place, but only for people whose cases mirror those of the original plaintiffs – meaning ‘foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.’

‘All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order],’ the court ruled.

President Donald Trump won a major victory – at least for now – on Monday, as the Supreme Court allowed him to enforce most of his travel ban against people from six terror-prone and Muslim-majority countries

President Donald Trump won a major victory – at least for now – on Monday, as the Supreme Court allowed him to enforce most of his travel ban against people from six terror-prone and Muslim-majority countries

Supreme Court justices decided to limit the reach of a lower court’s injunction against Trump’s travel ban, allowing much of it to take affect – at least until the high court hears the case formally in the fall

There are rumors that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, could announce his retirement from the bench as soon as this week

There are rumors that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, could announce his retirement from the bench as soon as this week

Trump framed the decision as a win for national security, mirroring his claims that controlling travel entries is a vital anti-terror tool.

‘As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm,’ he said Monday. ‘I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.’

‘My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland.’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in an off-camera news briefing that Trump was ‘honored’ by Monday’s result which ‘allowed him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland.’

Like Trump, he referred to the outcome as a ‘9-0’ decision.

Asked how that can be accurate when the Supreme Court did not publish a list of how many justices approved, he said he would check with the White House counsel’s office for clarification.

‘We’ll probably have further guidance for you as it becomes available,’ Spicer said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the travel ban and the Supreme Court ruling, but punted on a question about why the president called it a 9-0 ruling

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the travel ban and the Supreme Court ruling, but punted on a question about why the president called it a 9-0 ruling

PRESIDENT TRUMP REACTS

‘Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.

‘As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.

‘My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.’

The media circus that usually accompanies a Supreme Court decision day was evident this morning in Washington outside the high court

The media circus that usually accompanies a Supreme Court decision day was evident this morning in Washington outside the high court

Trump insisted the decision to lift most of a lower court's 'stay' against his travel ban was a unanimous one, but the administration hasn't substantiated that claim

Trump insisted the decision to lift most of a lower court’s ‘stay’ against his travel ban was a unanimous one, but the administration hasn’t substantiated that claim

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez lashed out at the administration for proposing the ban in the first place.

‘Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is an unconstitutional and un-American assault on our country’s foundation of religious freedom,’ Perez said in a statement.

‘As a nation, our diversity is our greatest strength, and we cannot allow such prejudice to shut the doors of progress. Democrats will continue to fight this hatred every step of the way.’

But Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the ruling ‘an important step towards restoring the separation of powers’ between the White House and the federal courts.

‘We have seen far too often in recent months that the threat to our national security is real and becoming increasingly dangerous,’ he added.

‘Groups like ISIS and al Qaeda seek to sow chaos and destruction in our country, and often operate from war-torn and failed countries while leading their global terror network. It is crucial that we properly vet those seeking to come to America from these locations, and failing to do so puts us all in danger.’

The administration has said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from the six relevant countries.

That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

Trump launched a nationwide controversy by signing an executive order a week after his inauguration, barring the entry of refugees and other travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen; Iraq was removed from a second version that the high court will review

Trump launched a nationwide controversy by signing an executive order a week after his inauguration, barring the entry of refugees and other travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen; Iraq was removed from a second version that the high court will review

The Supreme Court could have a vacancy by the time that autumn session rolls around, if Justice Anthony decides to retire as some expect.

Kennedy did not use the occasion of Monday’s scheduled high court announcements to say he would be stepping down.

But if he does, President Donald Trump will have a second pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy’s departure could also allow conservatives to take firm control of the court.

Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years. Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so.

Washington was abuzz with talk this weekend that President Donald Trump may soon have another chance to nominate a judge to the highest court in the land.

If the speculation pans out, that would give Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration.

The famed 'running of the interns' was a familiar sight on Monday as young staffers to news agencies hurried to bring written case decisions to their reporters and producers

The famed ‘running of the interns’ was a familiar sight on Monday as young staffers to news agencies hurried to bring written case decisions to their reporters and producers

 President Trump’s travel ban will head to the Supreme Court

Kennedy did not address the retirement rumors when he and his clerks gathered over the weekend for a reunion, according to three clerks who were there. The decision to push up the reunion by a year helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to President Trump, declined Monday to join in on the conjecture.

‘That is totally Justice Kennedy’s decision and he has served for 30 years, almost 30 years, with distinction and care on the Court and that is entirely his decision,’ she said on Fox & Friends.

‘I do know that the president, when he appointed Neil Gorsuch, made very clear that at any time that he gets a federal appointment, whether it’s the Supreme Court level of the District courts the circuit courts, he will appoint people who have fidelity to the Constitution, they won’t legislate from the bench, make it up as they go along.’

Conway had declined to say in a Sunday interview whether the president and Kennedy had discussed retirement.

‘I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House, but we’re paying very close attention to these last bit of decisions,’ she said on ABC News.

The original travel ban executive order triggered worldwide outrage as well as protests (above) in the United States like this one at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport

In 2015, Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case legalizing same sex marriage be made legal nationwide. Madeleine Troupe of Houston, Texas, wipes tears of joy after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage on June 26, 2015

In 2015, Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case legalizing same sex marriage be made legal nationwide. Madeleine Troupe of Houston, Texas, wipes tears of joy after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage on June 26, 2015

If Kennedy does retire, that means President Donald Trump would be able to nominate a second justice to the bench. Trump is seen above during the swearing-in of his first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, at the White House on April 10, 2017

Justice Kennedy, who is known as a moderate Republican, was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Since Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, Kennedy has been the key swing vote on a number of 5-4 decisions.

In 2015, Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case whose ruling mandated that same sex marriage be made legal nationwide.

The concluding paragraph of Kennedy’s 28-page majority opinion was even used by many same sex and heterosexual couples alike as their wedding vows.

‘No union is more profound than marriage,’ Kennedy’s opinion says, ‘for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.’

Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so.

Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.

‘Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,’ one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4640028/Supreme-Court-act-travel-ban-Kennedy-retire.html#ixzz4l9IuSa5T

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America’s rising consumer confidence mostly due to the elderly and less-educated

After more than a decade of disappointment, American consumers are now more hopeful than at any point since the housing bubble:

Those who think surveys of expectations have predictive power for spending and saving might therefore conclude the uptick bodes well for America’s growth outlook. However, a closer look at who exactly is excited about the future suggests there is less here than meets the eye.

Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok points out that the improvement in expectations is entirely due to Americans without a college degree, rather than those with greater spending power and higher earning potential. Americans with degrees have been getting steadily less optimistic since mid-2015:

Americans without degrees are as optimistic now as they’ve ever been since the survey began nearly four decades ago. Only the peak of the tech bubble compares. By contrast, Americans with degrees are about as confident in the future as they were in September 2007, when the credit crisis had already begun:

The shift since the election looks even starker if you look at the gap in expectations across the two groups over time. The change since November 2016 is unprecedented:

Slightly less dramatic, but nevertheless revealing, is the change in expectations among younger people, who have their most productive years ahead of them, relative to older people, who do not.

Since the start of 2015, the outlook among the young has deteriorated sharply, albeit from a high base. Meanwhile, the expectations of Americans ages 55 and older have soared in the wake of the election to their highest level in more than fifteen years:

(Those in the prime of their working and spending years have had essentially unchanged expectations since the end of 2014.)

It’s less clear what these changes in “expectations” mean for what people will actually do, however. Consumers across the age and education distribution haven’t changed their views since the election when asked whether it’s a good or bad time to buy big-ticket items such as furniture, televisions, appliances, or cars:

By contrast, Americans seem less inclined to think “now is a good time to buy a house”. This was true across all education groups, although it is particularly severe among those who never made it past high school:

(Americans with better education seem to have appreciated that the best time to buy was when prices bottomed in 2012, and that buying has become steadily less attractive as mortgage rates and house prices have both increased.)

Americans over 35 have had more stable views on the housing market than the young. Those under 35 have become far more pessimistic about housing since 2015:

To recap:

The groups responsible for the aggregate change in sentiment are the least likely to experience big real wage increases and therefore the least likely to boost their spending. Moreover, they appear unwilling to translate their vague optimism about the future into specific expectations about behaviour.

So even if those expectations were reliable guides to the actual choices people make — something strongly debated among forecasters — there is little reason to believe the “Trump bump” in consumer sentiment is a harbinger for sharply rising real spending.

Related links:
NY Fed research implies small business expectations are mostly worthless — FT Alphaville
Global surveys or hard data – which are the fake news? — Gavyn Davies

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2017/05/02/2188069/americas-rising-consumer-confidence-mostly-due-to-the-elderly-and-less-educated/?mhq5j=e1

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The Science, Economics, Politics and Propaganda of Climate Change — Without Energy Life is Brutal and Short — Videos

Posted on June 3, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Climate, Climate Change, Coal, Coal, College, Communications, Congress, Countries, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Fiscal Policy, History, House of Representatives, Human, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Senate, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, United States of America, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Social scientists should never try to predict the future; they have trouble enough predicting the past.”

~James Q. Wilson

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60% Think Senate Should Vote on Paris Climate Accord

Friday, June 02, 2017

Most voters disagree with President Trump’s decision to quit the Paris anti-global warming agreement and think its fate should be decided by the U.S. Senate instead.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 30% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the president’s decision to pull the United States out of the agreement signed by President Obama and the leaders of 194 other nations. Sixty percent (60%) think Trump should submit the treaty to the Senate for an up-or-down vote. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 31-June 1, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/may_2017/60_think_senate_should_vote_on_paris_climate_accord

Voters Don’t Think Feds Do Enough to Fight Global Warming

Thursday, March 23, 2017

President Trump is expected to dismantle President Obama’s climate change policies, but most voters already think the government isn’t doing enough about the problem.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the federal government is now taking the right level of action to fight global warming. Fifty-three percent (53%) think the government is not doing enough, while 21% say it’s doing too much. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 20-21, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/archive/environment_energy_update_archive/voters_don_t_think_feds_do_enough_to_fight_global_warming

 

Voters Question Cost of Paris Climate Deal
in PoliticsFacebookTwitterEmail thisShareThis

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

While voters are evenly divided on the effectiveness of the new international climate change agreement, most think it will increase energy costs here at home, and few are willing to pay those additional costs. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on December 14-15, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC . See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/voters_question_cost_of_paris_climate_deal

 

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, with the weather data he recorded daily while growing up in Fresno, Calif., in the 1960s. CreditRob Culpepper for The New York Times

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Dr. Christy is an outlier on what the vast majority of his colleagues consider to be a matter of consensus: that global warming is both settled science and a dire threat. He regards it as neither. Not that the earth is not heating up. It is, he says, and carbon dioxide spewed from power plants, automobiles and other sources is at least partly responsible.

But in speeches, congressional testimony and peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, he argues that predictions of future warming have been greatly overstated and that humans have weathered warmer stretches without perishing. Dr. Christy’s willingness to publicize his views, often strongly, has also hurt his standing among scientists who tend to be suspicious of those with high profiles. His frequent appearances on Capitol Hill have almost always been at the request of Republican legislators opposed to addressing climate change.

“I detest words like ‘contrarian’ and ‘denier,’ ” he said. “I’m a data-driven climate scientist. Every time I hear that phrase, ‘The science is settled,’ I say I can easily demonstrate that that is false, because this is the climate — right here. The science is not settled.”

Dr. Christy was pointing to a chart comparing seven computer projections of global atmospheric temperatures based on measurements taken by satellites and weather balloons. The projections traced a sharp upward slope; the actual measurements, however, ticked up only slightly.

Such charts — there are others, sometimes less dramatic but more or less accepted by the large majority of climate scientists — are the essence of the divide between that group on one side and Dr. Christy and a handful of other respected scientists on the other.

“Almost anyone would say the temperature rise seen over the last 35 years is less than the latest round of models suggests should have happened,” said Carl Mears, the senior research scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a California firm that analyzes satellite climate readings.

“Where the disagreement comes is that Dr. Christy says the climate models are worthless and that there must be something wrong with the basic model, whereas there are actually a lot of other possibilities,” Dr. Mears said. Among them, he said, are natural variations in the climate and rising trade winds that have helped funnel atmospheric heat into the ocean.

Dr. Christy has drawn the scorn of his colleagues partly because they believe that so much is at stake and that he is providing legitimacy to those who refuse to acknowledge that. If the models are imprecise, they argue, the science behind them is compelling, and it is very likely that the world has only a few decades to stave off potentially catastrophic warming.

And if he is wrong, there is no redo.

“It’s kind of like telling a little girl who’s trying to run across a busy street to catch a school bus to go for it, knowing there’s a substantial chance that she’ll be killed,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “She might make it. But it’s a big gamble to take.”

By contrast, Dr. Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places.

Dr. Christy’s scenario is not completely out of the realm of possibility, his critics say, but it is highly unlikely.

In interviews, prominent scientists, while disagreeing with Dr. Christy, took pains to acknowledge his credentials. They are substantial: Dr. Christy, 63, has researched climate issues for 27 years and was a lead author — in essence, an editor — of a section of the 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the definitive assessment of the state of global warming. With a colleague at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Roy Spencer, he received NASA’s medal for exceptional scientific achievement in 1991 for building a global temperature database.

That model, which concluded that a layer of the atmosphere was unexpectedly cooling, was revised to show slight warming after other scientists documented flaws in its methodology. It has become something of a scientific tit for tat. Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer’s own recalculations scaled back the amount of warming, leading to further assaults on their methodology.

Dr. Christy’s response sits on his bookshelf: a thick stack of yellowed paper with the daily weather data he began recording in Fresno, Calif., in the 1960s. It was his first data set, he said, the foundation of a conviction that “you have to know what’s happening before you know why it’s happening, and that comes back to data.”

Dr. Christy says he became fascinated with weather as a fifth grader when a snowstorm hit Fresno in 1961. By his high school junior year, he had taught himself Fortran, the first widely used programming language, and had programmed a school computer to make weather predictions. After earning a degree in mathematics at California State University, Fresno, he became an evangelical Christian missionary in Kenya, married and returned as pastor of a mission church in South Dakota.

There, as a part-time college math teacher, he found his true calling. He left the pastoral position, earned a doctorate in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois and moved to Alabama.

And while his work has been widely published, he has often been vilified by his peers. Dr. Christy is mentioned, usually critically, in dozens of the so-called Climategate emails that were hacked from the computers of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Center, the British keeper of global temperature records, in 2009.

“John Christy has made a scientific career out of being wrong,” one prominent climate scientist, Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in one 2008 email. “He’s not even a third-rate scientist.”

Another email included a photographic collage showing Dr. Christy and other scientists who question the extent of global warming, some stranded on a tiny ice floe labeled “North Pole” and others buoyed in the sea by a life jacket and a yellow rubber ducky. A cartoon balloon depicts three of them saying, “Global warming is a hoax.”

Some, including those who disagree with Dr. Christy, are dismayed by the treatment.

“Show me two scientists who agree on everything,” said Peter Thorne, a senior researcher at Norway’s Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center who wrote a 2005 research article on climate change with Dr. Christy. “We may disagree over what we are finding, but we should be playing the ball and not the man.”

Dr. Christy has been dismissed in environmental circles as a pawn of the fossil-fuel industry who distorts science to fit his own ideology. (“I don’t take money from industries,” he said.)

He says he worries that his climate stances are affecting his chances of publishing future research and winning grants. The largest of them, a four-year Department of Energy stipend to investigate discrepancies between climate models and real-world data, expires in September.

“There’s a climate establishment,” Dr. Christy said. “And I’m not in it.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/skeptic-of-climate-change-john-christy-finds-himself-a-target-of-suspicion.html?_r=0

The Creator, Fabricator And Proponent Of Global Warming – Maurice Strong

Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” – Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

“It is the responsibility of each human being today to choose between the force of darkness and the force of light. We must therefore transform our attitudes, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior laws of Divine Nature.“ – Maurice Strong, first Secretary General of UNEP

•••

12-l

Discovering Maurice Strong

by John Izzard January 31, 2010

The Yellow Brick Road to Climate Change Like Dorothy, Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve all been dancing down the Yellow Brick Road of “settled science” in search of answers from the Emerald City, only to find that what we suspected all along — the Wizard has been telling us fibs. But who exactly is the Wizard? And where did this seeming-madness all begin?

“Undoubtedly there are many “wizards”, but the man behind the green curtain, the man who managed to get the climate industry to where it is today is a mild mannered character by the name of Maurice Strong. The whole climate change business, and it is a business, started with Mr Strong.” Maurice Strong, a self-confessed socialist, was the man who put the United Nations into the environmental business, being the shadowy-figure behind the UN secretaries general from U Thant to Kofi Annan. Maurice-SstrongHis reign of influence in world affairs lasted from 1962 to 2005. Strong has been variously called “the international man of mystery”, the “new guy in your future” and “a very dangerous ideologue”. Strong made his fortune in the oil and energy business running companies such as Petro Canada, Power Corporation, CalTex Africa, Hydro Canada, the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, Ajax Petroleum, Canadian Industrial Oil and Gas— to name just a few.His private interests always seemed to be in conflict with his public persona and his work on the world stage. Strong’s extensive range of contacts within the power brokers of the world was exceptional. One admirer christened him “the Michelangelo of networking”. Maurice Strong described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology”. In 1972 he organised for U Thant the first Earth Summit, The Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. This led to the formation of UN Environment Program with Maurice Strong at its head. Later, as the UNEP boss he organised the first international expert group meeting on climate change. This led to exotic UN sponsored organizations such at Earth Council and Earth Charter, The World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and later The Commission for World Governance and the UN’s University for Peace.

Strong was the driving force behind the idea of world governance by the United Nations when he dreamt up a world tax on monetary transactions of 0.5% which would have given theUN an annual income of $1.5 trillion. About equal then to the income of the USA. The stumbling block was the Security Council, and their power of veto. He devised a plan to get rid of the Security Council but failed to get it implemented. Then came along the idea that global warming might just be the device to get his World Governance proposal up and running.

In 1989 Maurice Strong was appointed Secretary General of the Earth Summit and in 1992, addressing Earth Summit II in Rio, he told the thousands of climate change delegates: It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburbanhousing — are not sustainable. There goes the Sunday roast, a house to live in, the car, the occasional hamburger and generally, life on earth as we know it. But what Strong didn’t tell the delegates was that he was involved in the purchase of the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, which he bought from Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer who had strong connections with the Bin Laden family. Keep Reading »

https://climatism.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/the-creator-fabricator-and-proponent-of-global-warming-maurice-strong/

 

IPCC Control Calculations of Annual Human CO2 Production For Political Agenda

by DR. TIM BALL on JUNE 1, 2012

in ATMOSPHERE,DATA,OCEANS,THEORY

Almost every aspect of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work is manipulated, selected, and controlled, to prove human CO2 is causing global warming. The objective was to prove the hypothesis, not to perform objective science.

The goal was established by the Club of Rome whose member, Maurice Strong transmitted and translated it into world government policy through the United Nations.

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that .. the threat of global warming.. would fit the bill…. the real enemy, then, is humanity itself….we believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is a real one or….one invented for the purpose.” — Club of Rome

He was assisted by politicians like Al Gore and Tim Wirth. In 1993 the latter did not hide the naked political objective.

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”

They were aided by national weather agencies and bureaucratic scientists with similar political persuasions appointed to the IPCC.

They claimed their goal was achieved in the 2007 IPCC Report which concluded,

“Another unusual aspect of recent climate change is its cause: past climate changes were natural in origin, whereas most of the warming of the past 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

All the CO2 numbers used by the IPCC are very poor estimates and designed to underline the human impact. They are meaningless figures from the total volumes to the annual flows and the human inputs as depicted in the IPCC carbon cycle (diagram).

Human CO2 production is central to the IPCC objective so they control production of the information. Like most things they do it is disclosed, but they know few people realize the significance. Here they explain the process.

—————————————————————–

What is the role of the IPCC in Greenhouse Gas inventories and reporting to the UNFCCC?

A: The IPCC has generated a number of methodology reports on national greenhouse gas inventories with a view to providing internationally acceptable inventory methodologies. The IPCC accepts the responsibility to provide scientific and technical advice on specific questions related to those inventory methods and practices that are contained in these reports, online casino or at the request of the UNFCCC in accordance with established IPCC procedures. The IPCC has set up the Task Force on Inventories (TFI) to run the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Programme (NGGIP) to produce this methodological advice. Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed to use the IPCC Guidelines in reporting to the convention.

How does the IPCC produce its inventory Guidelines?
Utilising IPCC procedures, nominated experts from around the world draft the reports that are then extensively reviewed twice before approval by the IPCC. This process ensures that the widest possible range of views are incorporated into the documents.

——————————————————————

In other words they control the entire process from the methodology, designation of technical advice, establishment of task forces, guidelines for reporting, nomination of experts to produce the reports and final approval of what the reports say. They rely on data from individual UN member nations, but any examination of UN data quickly reveals its inadequacies. For example, look at the countries that claim 99% or higher literacy rate.

IPCC figures for annual CO2 production per nation are equally distorted and wrong. Worse, they have no scientific purpose so they are strictly for the political agenda. Professor Murray Salby shows in this video how the human portion is of no consequence. He demonstrates that variation in natural (non-human) sources of CO2 explain almost all annual changes. He shows how just a 5% variation in these sources is more than the total annual human production.

A partial explanation for the IPCC error is because climate science assumes change and variability are abnormal as the diagram illustrates. They don’t show the error in the estimates of volumes, which in at least three instances, atmosphere, oceans, and vegetation/soil detritus, exceed estimates for total human production. This is true even with IPCC’s claimed annual increase.

IPCC wanted to prove human CO2 was causing global warming as part of their belief that industrialized populations would exhaust all resources and had to be shut down. Their only objective was to show human production was steadily, inexorably increasing. Their calculations predetermine that, because human CO2 production is directly linked to population increase. A population increase guarantees a CO2 increase. It is another of their circular arguments that has no basis in science.

http://drtimball.com/2012/ipcc-control-calculations-of-annual-human-co2-production-for-political-agenda/

Maurice Strong, Climate Crook

The consummate sleazebag, thief and all-round corruptocrat who launched and shaped the UN effort to rid the world of CO2 has died, appropriately enough as his heirs gather in Paris to rob the world blind. Good riddance

maurice strongEditor’s note: Five years ago, Quadrant Online published this profile of Maurice Strong (left), the man who, more than any other, redefined a trace gas as the meal ticket for tens of thousands of climate functionaries — the same people whose light-fingered heirs are today gathered in Paris. To mark his passing, we once again present John Izzard’s profile of the man who did very nicely by costing everyone else dearly.

___________________________________

The Yellow Brick Road to Climate Change

January has certainly been a defining month in the quest for truth about climate change, and the custodians of that “truth” aren’t looking that flash at the moment. Indeed in the month of January some of the major doomsday prophecies unravelled and the prophets themselves seemed to undergo vows of silence. Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong, Tim Flannery — who are never lost for words — seemed, well… totally lost for words!

Like Dorothy, Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve all been dancing down the Yellow Brick Road of “settled science” in search of answers from the Emerald City, only to find that what we suspected all along — the Wizard has been telling us fibs.

But who exactly is the Wizard? And where did this seeming-madness all begin?

Undoubtedly there are many “wizards”, but the man behind the green curtain, the man who managed to get the climate industry to where it is today is a mild mannered character by the name of Maurice Strong. The whole climate change business, and it is a business, started with Mr Strong.

Maurice Strong, a self-confessed socialist, was the man who put the United Nations into the environmental business, being the shadowy-figure behind the UN secretaries general from U Thant to Kofi Annan. His reign of influence in world affairs lasted from 1962 to 2005. Strong has been variously called “the international man of mystery”, the “new guy in your future” and “a very dangerous ideologue”.

Strong made his fortune in the oil and energy business running companies such as Petro Canada, Power Corporation, CalTex Africa, Hydro Canada, the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, Ajax Petroleum, Canadian Industrial Oil and Gas— to name just a few.His private interests always seemed to be in conflict with his public persona and his work on the world stage. Strong’s extensive range of contacts within the power brokers of the world was exceptional. One admirer christened him “the Michelangelo of networking”.

Maurice Strong described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology”.

In 1972 he organised for U Thant the first Earth Summit, The Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. This led to the formation of UN Environment Program with Maurice Strong at its head. Later, as the UNEP boss he organised the first international expert group meeting on climate change.

This led to exotic UN sponsored organizations such at Earth Council and Earth Charter, The World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and later The Commission for World Governance and the UN’s University for Peace. Strong was the driving force behind the idea of world governance by the United Nations when he dreamt up a world tax on monetary transactions of 0.5% which would have given theUN an annual income of $1.5 trillion. About equal then to the income of the USA.

The stumbling block was the Security Council, and their power of veto. He devised a plan to get rid of the Security Council but failed to get it implemented. Then came along the idea that global warming might just be the device to get his World Governance proposal up and running.

In 1989 Maurice Strong was appointed Secretary General of the Earth Summit and in 1992, addressing Earth Summit II in Rio, he told the thousands of climate change delegates:

It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburbanhousing — are not sustainable.

There goes the Sunday roast, a house to live in, the car, the occasional hamburger and generally, life on earth as we know it. But what Strong didn’t tell the delegates was that he was involved in the purchase of the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, which he bought from Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer who had strong connections with the Bin Laden family.

This 200,000 acre cattle property, called the Baca had two hidden secrets. One was that it sat above vast underground water systems, which Strong wanted to remove. He formed the American Water Development Corporation to exploit the water by pumping it out for commercial intent but was stopped by the locals as they feared it would destroy the delicate environment.

The second secret was that Maurice Strong had been told by a mystic that:

The Baca would become the centre for a new planetary order which would evolve from the economic collapse and environmental catastrophes that would sweep the globe in the years to come.

As a result of these revelations Strong created the Manitou Foundation, a New Age institution located at the Baca ranch — above the sacred waters that Strong had been denied permission to pump out. This hocus-pocus continued with the foundation of The Conservation Fund (with financial help of Laurance Rockefeller) to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain. At the Baca ranch there is a circular temple devoted to the world’s mystical and religious movements.

The valley in which the Baca establishment is located is also traditional home for various Navajo tribes. They believe that their ancestors were led underground here by “Ant People” and according to Navajo tradition they were warned of a coming cataclysm by “sky katchinas” (sky spirits). No wonder Strong wanted to buy the Baca.

Meanwhile Maurice was also busy founding the Earth Council Institute in 1992 and recruiting world luminaries such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Shimon Peres, Al Gore and David Rockefeller. In 2000 Earth Charter was formed as a further push by Strong to create a world governing body.

Unfortunately, in 2005, the most powerful man in the push to save of humanity — by steady promotion of the theory of human induced greenhouse gases — was caught with his hand in the till.

Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since.

Strong is believed to have sanctuary in China because of his cousin, Anne Louise Strong, a Marxist who lived with Mao Tse Tung for two years, and when she died in 1970, her funeral was arranged by Premier Chou En-Lai. Anne Louise Strong was a Comintern member — an organization formed in 1919 as the Third International, with one of its aims to use “by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie…”

Maurice Strong, as an 18-year-old Canadian from Manitoba, started work at the United Nations in 1947 as a junior officer in the UN Security Section, living with the UN Treasurer, Noah Monod. Following his exposure for bribery and corruption in the UN’s Oil-for-Food scandal Maurice Strong was stripped of many of his 53 international awards and honours he had collected during his lifetime working in dual role of arch conservationist and ruthless businessman.

The exposure and downfall of climate change’s most powerful wizard? Dorothy and Toto would have loved it!

http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2015/12/discovering-maurice-strong/

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Story 1: President Trump To 23 Members Of NATO “Pay Your Fair Share” — How Much Does NATO Headquarters Building Cost? American Tax Payers Would Like To Know — About $1, 230,000,000 — Videos —

 

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5

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Trump’s full speech at NATO 9/11 memorial

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What is NATO?

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President Trump arrives at NATO summit in Brussels May 25, 2017.

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FULL Event: NATO meeting in Brussels. President Trump speech at NATO summit. May 25, 2017.

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New NATO Headquarters Cost $1.23 Billion

(Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

BY: Daniel Halper
May 25, 2017 11:15 am

President Trump departed from prepared remarks Thursday to comment on the ostentatious new NATO headquarters in Brussels at a dedication ceremony with world leaders.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump said, bringing attention to the glass structure. “I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful.”

In fact, the building cost an astounding $1.23 billion, according to a budget released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Architecture, design, and quality management cost the alliance $129 million alone. Audio visual installations ran $29 million, while construction ran $514 million, the document states.

  • 1,500 personnel from national delegations

  • 1,700 international military and civilian staff

  • 600 staff from NATO agencies

  • frequent visitors, currently some 500 per day

The alliance bragged that the structure is also a “green building for the future.”

“The environment and sustainability have played a major role in the design process. The new building’s energy consumption has been optimized through the use of geothermal and solar energy and advanced lighting systems. Thermal insulation, thermal inertia and solar protection have been incorporated in the design to reduce heating. Rainwater will be used for non-potable water use and the buildings short wings will have green roofs,” the document states.

In his remarks Thursday, Trump took NATO member states to task for not paying their fair share.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” Trump told leaders of the alliance countries.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States — and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves,” he added.

Trump said NATO would be “stronger” in fighting terrorism if member states paid their obligations.

http://freebeacon.com/politics/new-nato-headquarters-cost-1-23-billion/

NATO

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°52′34″N 4°25′19″E

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

Logo
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Motto
Flag Flag of NATO.svg
Formation 4 April 1949; 68 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[2]
Jens Stoltenberg
Petr Pavel
Curtis Scaparrotti
Denis Mercier
Expenses (2015) $866,971 million[3]
Website nato.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO/ˈnt/; French: Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmentalmilitary alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Three NATO members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom) are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and are officially nuclear-weapon states. NATO’s headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons.

NATO is an Alliance that consists of 28 independent member countries across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programmes. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[4] Members’ defence spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP.[5]

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

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zoneover Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War; twice in 2012 by Turkey over the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria;[8] in 2014 by Poland, following the Russian intervention in Crimea;[9] and again by Turkey in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[10]

History

Beginnings

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

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

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union‘s Defence Organization in September 1948.[11] However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism. In addition the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin reiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12] In 1948 European leaders met with U.S. defense, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

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

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

Cold War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

French withdrawal

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

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

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

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

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

France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[42]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk.

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

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[43]

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

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

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCMcruise missiles and Pershing IItheatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[44] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw PactSS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[45] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[46] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[47]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[48] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[49] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern Europeannations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

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

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

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[50]Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[51]Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[51] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[52] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[53] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[54]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][55]

Enlargement and reform

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

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

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogueinitiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. In Istanbul, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[56] At that time the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

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

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

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

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[62] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[63]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[64] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[65][66] Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[67][68] On June 15, 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[69]

At the 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defense.[70] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[71][72][73]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[74]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

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

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

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[75]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[76] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[77][78] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[79] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[80]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[80] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[81] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[82]

Kosovo intervention

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

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[83] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[84] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[85]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[85][86] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[87] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[88]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[89] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[90]

War in Afghanistan

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

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

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[91] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[92]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[93]

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

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

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[94] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[95]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[96] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[97] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[98] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission.

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US ledMNF-I.[99] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[100]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

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

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in Somalia. Russia, China and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[101][102] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[103]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[104] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[105] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[104]

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

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

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[106][107] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[108] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[109] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[110][111][112] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[113] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[114]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[115] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[116][117] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[118] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[119][120] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[121] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[122]

Participating countries

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

Members

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

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

NATO has twenty-eight members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[123][124]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[125] Twelve of these twenty-eight are original members who joined in 1949, while the other sixteen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds. Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[126] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[127]

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed]Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][55]

Enlargement

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

NATO has added 12 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has three candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia. On 2 December 2015, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to invite Montenegro to start accession talks to become the 29th member of the Alliance.[128] On 28 April 2017 the Montenegro’s parliament ratified the accession treaty, and as of that date 27 of 28 NATO members had approved Montenegro’s accession, with Spain’s parliament expected to act in May 2017.[129] In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[130] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[131]Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[132] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[133]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[51] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[134] though they have also been criticised in the West.[135]Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[136] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[137] Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[138]

Partnerships

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

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[139]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[140] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[141] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[142] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[140] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[143]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[144] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[145]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[146] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[147][148]Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[149]

Structures

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

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

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[150] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[151] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017.[152] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[153][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[154] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 28 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 28 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[155] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[156]

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

List of Secretaries General[157]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay  United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak  Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker  Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio  Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns  Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington  United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner  Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes  Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana  Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson  United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo  Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer  Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen  Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg  Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[158]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch  Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck  Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi  Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano  Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts  Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay  Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio  Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani  Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin  Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi  Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis  Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino  Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo  Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero  Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow  United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller  United States 2016–present
Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

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

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

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[159] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

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

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

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

Military structures

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

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, has been Chairman of the NATO Military Committee since 2015

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[160] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[161] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic, since 2015.

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[162] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[163] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

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

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

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europe and its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[164]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[165] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including Eurocorps, I. German/Dutch Corps, Multinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[166]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[167]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on December 1, 2015.[168]

During August 2016 it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland.[169] This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the U.S.) to Estonia.

Criticism and controversy

Goals

While the original goal of NATO was clear – to defend Western Europe from Soviet influence – its post-Soviet goals have long been debated. Members of all participating countries have often noted that the United States spends more on the organization than all other members combined. According to the Huffington Post in 2017: “… it can’t be argued that NATO has served American interests since 1991. For the last 15 years, the U.S. has been engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries. … NATO is a military alliance and one of its members, the United States, has been involved in wars for 15 years.” However, not all US-led invasions have received automatic support. After Article 5 was invoked for the first and only time due to the September 11 attacks, the NATO members showed support for an invasion of Afghanistan but not for one of Iraq. While some countries independently aided the US in Iraq (such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands), others like France and Germany refused. Furthermore, countries had no obligation in terms of numbers and involvement regarding Afghanistan. As such, any country in the alliance was free to contribute whatever served their interests best. The Post article refers to the group as “a group of sovereign nations that will respond to American requests as they see fit”, as well as having “devolved into bilateral relations between the U.S. and each NATO member”.[170]

Opponents have described the organization as a “quasi-imperial, militaristic force” and fear that it’s likely to create problems rather than solve them. Pew Research Center‘s 2016 survey among its member states showed that while most countries viewed NATO positively, most NATO members preferred keeping their military spending the same. The response to whether their country should militarily aid another NATO country if it were to get into a serious military conflict with Russia was also mixed. Only in the US and Canada did more than 50% of the people answer that they should.[171]

See also

References

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

North Atlantic Treaty

Washington D.C. – 4 April 1949The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.

They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.

They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security. They therefore agree to this North Atlantic Treaty :

Article 1

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Article 2

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.

Article 3

In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Article 6

[1]For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France [2], on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Article 7

This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 8

Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.

Article 9

The Parties hereby establish a Council, on which each of them shall be represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty. The Council shall be so organised as to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council shall set up such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary; in particular it shall establish immediately a defence committee which shall recommend measures for the implementation of Articles 3 and 5.

Article 10

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.

Article 11

This Treaty shall be ratified and its provisions carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of the United States of America, which will notify all the other signatories of each deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force between the States which have ratified it as soon as the ratifications of the majority of the signatories, including the ratifications of Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, have been deposited and shall come into effect with respect to other States on the date of the deposit of their ratifications. [3]

Article 12

After the Treaty has been in force for ten years, or at any time thereafter, the Parties shall, if any of them so requests, consult together for the purpose of reviewing the Treaty, having regard for the factors then affecting peace and security in the North Atlantic area, including the development of universal as well as regional arrangements under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 13

After the Treaty has been in force for twenty years, any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the Government of the United States of America, which will inform the Governments of the other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.

Article 14

This Treaty, of which the English and French texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. Duly certified copies will be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of other signatories.

Footnotes

  1. Jump up The definition of the territories to which Article 5 applies was revised by Article 2 of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Greece and Turkey signed on 22 October 1951.
  2. Jump up On 16 January 1963, the North Atlantic Council noted that insofar as the former Algerian Departments of France were concerned, the relevant clauses of this Treaty had become inapplicable as from 3 July 1962.
  3. Jump up Treaty came into force on 24 August 1949, after the deposition of the ratifications of all signatory states.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5

Story 2: NSA Violate The Fourth Amendment Rights of American Citizens — Spying Without Warrants — Nothing New — Congress Will Do Nothing As Usual — Videos 

Image result for NSA buildingsImage result for NSA Spying on Americans without warrants

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OBAMA SECRETLY CONDUCTED ILLEGAL SEARCHES ON AMERICANS FOR YEARS

Published on May 24, 2017

The National Security Agency, under Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts, and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Trump was elected president last fall (according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community).

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database, violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.
“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.

Released Documents Prove Obama’s Administration Routinely Violated Fourth Amendment

Judge Napolitano: Lack Of Outrage Over NSA’s Illegal Searches Is ‘Astounding’

Obama seriously violated the 4th Amendment

NSA Spying On Americans ‘Widespread’ – Let Sec. 702 Expire!

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Networks Blackout Massive Constitutional Violations By Obama’s NSA

FISA Court: Obama’s Politicized NSA “A Very Serious 4th Amend Issue”

Judge Napolitano on a report that the NSA conducted illegal searches under Obama

BREAKING: Obama Era Crime Revealed Under Cover of Fake Russia “Scandal”

Obama Didn’t Need FISA To Spy On Trump – Judge Andrew Napolitano

President Obama went to British intelligence to spy on Trump for him! – Judge Napolitano

FISA Court: Obama’s Politicized NSA “A Very Serious 4th Amend Issue”

Mark Levin On Why Obama May Have Been Spying On Trump

“Whats The Law?” NSA ,CIA “FISA” Electronic Surveillance Act on Americans

Whistleblower: NSA is Tapping Everyone, Even Obama in 2004!

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NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

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10 Scary Surveillance Technologies

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

WATCH |  Circa’s Sara Carter looks at a classified document from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

The FISA court opinion

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries inviolation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

Speaking Wednesday on Fox News, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said there was an apparent effort under the Obama Administration to increase the number of unmaskings of Americans.

“If we determine this to be true, this is an enormous abuse of power,” Paul said. “This will dwarf all other stories.”

“There are hundreds and hundreds of people,” Paul added.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.

“I think it does call into question all those defenses that we kept hearing, that we always have a robust oversight structure and we have culture of adherence to privacy standards,” she added. “And the headline now is they actually haven’t been in compliacne for years and the FISA court itself says in its opinion is that the NSA suffers from a culture of a lack of candor.”

The NSA acknowledged it self-disclosed the mass violations to the court last fall and that in April it took the extraordinary step of suspending the type of searches that were violating the rules, even deleting prior collected data on Americans to avoid any further violations.

“NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target,” the agency said in the statement that was dated April 28 and placed on its Web site without capturing much media or congressional attention.

In question is the collection of what is known as upstream “about data”about an American that is collected even though they were not directly in contact with a foreigner that the NSA was legally allowed to intercept.

The NSA said it doesn’t have the ability to stop collecting ‘about’ information on Americans, “without losing some other important data. ” It, however, said it would stop the practice to “reduce the chance that it would acquire communication of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.”

The NSA said it also plans to “delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

Agency officials called the violations “inadvertent compliance lapses.” But the court and IG documents suggest the NSA had not developed a technological way to comply with the rules they had submitted to the court in 2011.

Officials “explained that NSA query compliance is largely maintained through a series of manual checks” and had not “included the proper limiters” to prevent unlawful searches, the NSA internal watchdog reported in a top secret report in January that was just declassified. A new system is being developed now, officials said.

The NSA conducts thousand of searches a year on data involving Americans and the actual numbers of violations were redacted from the documents Circa reviewed.

But a chart in the report showed there three types of violations, the most frequent being 5.2 percent of the time when NSA Section 702 upstream data on U.S. persons was searched.

The inspector general also found  noncompliance between 0.7 percent and 1.4 percent of the time involving NSA activities in which there was a court order to target an American for spying  but the rules were still not followed. Those activities are known as Section 704 and Section 705 spying.

Review | The NSA inspector general’s highly redacted chart showing privacy violations.

The IG report spared few words for the NSA’s efforts before the disclosure to ensure it was complying with practices, some that date to rules issued in 2008 in the final days of the Bush administration and others that Obama put into effect in 2011.

“We found that the Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed,” the inspector general reported, citing problems ranging from missing requirements for documentation to the failure to complete controls that would ensure “query compliance.”

 

Obama’s NSA rebuked for snooping on Americans; journo says it proves wide pattern

The secret court that oversees government snooping took the Obama administration to task late last year, suggesting it created “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by violating rules the government itself had implemented regarding the surveillance of Americans.

According to top-secret documents made public by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – often referred to as the FISA court – the government admitted that, just days before the 2016 election, NSA analysts were violating surveillance rules on a regular basis. This pattern of overreach, coupled with the timing of the government’s disclosure, resulted in an unusually harsh rebuke of the administration’s practices and principles.

A former CBS journalist suing the federal government for allegedly spying on her said the documents prove the illegal snooping was pervasive and widely abused.

POTENTIAL ‘SMOKING GUN’ SHOWING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SPIED ON TRUMP TEAM, SOURCE SAYS

“Sources of mine have indicated that political players have increasingly devised premises to gather intel on political targets by wrapping them up in ‘incidental’ collection of foreigners, as if by accident,” Sharyl Attkisson, who is pursuing a federal lawsuit the Department of Justice has tried to dismiss, told the Fox News Investigative Unit.

According to the FISA Court opinion, it was on September 26, 2016 that the government submitted an undisclosed number of “certifications” for the court to review. The review process was supposed to be completed within 30 days, or by October 26, 2016.

Just two days before that review was to be completed – and less than two weeks before the 2016 election – the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, designed to protect the internet communications of Americans.

The NSA has suggested these were “inadvertent compliance lapses,” and points out that the agency “self-reported” these problems, meaning they were the ones to bring this issue to the attention of the court.

There was just one problem.

The violations that the government disclosed on October 24, 2016, were based on a report from the NSA’s Inspector General that had been released 10 months earlier, in January 2016. This means that when the government submitted its certifications for review in September, they were likely aware of that IG report – but failed to mention the malpractice going on at the NSA.

The Court at the time blamed an institutional “lack of candor” for the government’s failure to disclose that information weeks earlier, and gave the government until April 28, 2017, to come up with a solution. After failing to come to an agreement, the NSA announced that it was stopping the type of surveillance in question.

The so-called “lapses” among NSA staffers had to do with Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the “upstream” surveillance of what the intelligence community refers to as “about” communications.

REPORT: OBAMA LIED AND OBAMA SPIED

According to the NSA, Section 702 “allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on only specific foreign targets located outside the United States to collect foreign intelligence, including intelligence needed in the fight against international terrorism and cyber threats.”

Upstream surveillance, according to the ACLU, was first disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and “involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic.”

Until the NSA stopped it, the “upstream” snooping program notified them directly if someone inside the U.S. composed an email that contained the email address of a foreign intelligence agent who was being monitored. According to an NSA declaration reportedly made during the Bush administration, these communications did not have to be to or from the foreign agent, they simply had to mention the email address.

According to the FISA Court documents just made public, the notifications sent to the NSA often led to the unmasking of American citizens caught up in monitoring. And as the court pointed out, many of the requests being made to unmask the Americans taking part in these communications were in direct violation of safeguards established by the Obama administration.

According to the FISA Court documents, so-called “minimization procedures” adopted in 2011 to curb unlawful surveillance “have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702.”

And, according to the government’s October 26, 2016 admission, “NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed.”

The suspended surveillance program has been a target of fierce criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as journalists and even Snowden.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told Fox & Friends on Wednesday that the “terrible” program was basically “a back doorway to sort of get at Americans’ privacy without using a warrant.”

When the NSA announced it was stopping certain Section 702 activities, Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said he had raised concerns for years “that this amounted to an end run around the Fourth Amendment.”

Snowden tweeted that the NSA’s actions represented “the most substantive of the post-2013 NSA reforms, if the principle is applied to all other programs.”

Attkisson, who sued to determine who had access to a government IP address that she says was discovered on her CBS work computer during a forensics exam, said she’s concerned the truth will never come out.

“I’m told by sources that it should only take a day or a week, at most, for the intel community to provide [lawmakers with] the details of which Americans, journalists and public officials were ‘incidentally’ surveilled, which ones were unmasked, who requested the unmaskings, when, and for what supposed purpose,” Attkisson said. “Yet months have gone by. I’m afraid that as time passes, any evidence becomes less likely to persist.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/25/obama-s-nsa-rebuked-for-snooping-on-americans-journo-says-it-proves-wide-pattern.html

Release of 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures

August 11, 2016

Today the ODNI, in consultation with the Department of Justice, is releasing in redacted form the current Section 702 Minimization Procedures, as updated in 2015, in keeping with the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community.  These procedures are intended to protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons, as required by the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in connection with the foreign intelligence activities undertaken by the CIA, FBI, NSA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Background

Section 702 was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 , and it authorizes the Attorney General and the DNI to provide to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court annual certifications authorizing the Intelligence Community to target non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States to acquire certain categories of foreign intelligence information. The FAA is a carefully constructed framework that provides the government with the tools necessary to collect vital foreign intelligence information and includes a robust scheme for protecting the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons.  This framework is implemented in part through a detailed set of procedures designed to minimize the acquisition, retention, use and dissemination of U.S. person information acquired under Section 702.

Additional Section 702 certification information, including the 2014 minimization procedures and the FISC’s August 2014 Opinion, was released on IC on the Record Sept. 29, 2015.

The 2015 Minimization Procedures

The 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures were approved by the Attorney General and submitted to the FISC as part of the government’s July 15, 2015, submission of reauthorization certifications pursuant to Section 702.  After thorough consideration, the FISC approved these minimization procedures in its Nov. 6, 2015, Memorandum Opinion and Order (released, in redacted form, in April 2016 on IC on the Record), finding that the minimization procedures comport with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the FAA.

The 2015 Section 702 minimization procedures incorporated certain modifications to the 2014 Section 702 minimization procedures, including changes made to implement recommendations the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board made in its 2014 report reviewing the Section 702 program.  Modifications made in the 2015 minimization procedures include:

  • Improvements to provisions in NSA’s and CIA’s minimization procedures that ensure the preservation of information related to criminal and civil litigation;
  • Enhancements to NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s protections for attorney-client communications;
  • Clarification of NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s 2015 documentation or other requirements with respect to the querying of Section 702 information.

These procedures identified below are released:

https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/post/148797010498/release-of-2015-section-702-minimization

Nets Blackout Massive Constitutional Violations by Obama’s NSA

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

REPORT: Obama lied and Obama spied

A new report out this morning details just how much Obama spied on Americans during his administration and it’s a lot. Even the liberal ACLU organization says these new disclosures are some of the most serious to ever be documented:

CIRCA – The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

Mark Levin wants to know where is the special prosecutor:

Obama spied on journalists and the American people, yet we’re supposed to just ignore that he spied on Trump all because of Trump’s tweet? The media pretends like it’s not a big deal at all and even seems to take Susan Rice at her word that her unmasking of details of the Trump campaign’s communications were appropriate.

Yeah I think we need a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of all of this and pronto.

http://therightscoop.com/report-obama-lied-and-obama-spied/

Story 3: Montana Congressional Candidate Gianforte Will Win Despite Roughing up Aggressive Reporter — Setup of A Political Assassination by Big Lie Media — Videos

Greg Gianforte wins Montana special election

Published on May 25, 2017

The Republican candidate won a seat in the House of Representatives.

Bill Bennet on Gianfortes special election win in Montana

‘Great Win in Montana’, President Trump Praises Greg Gianforte from G7 Summit [VIDEO]

Greg Gianforte Apologizes To reporter Ben jacobs Gianforte Wins Montana Congressional Election

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs vs GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte, Montana, EYE WITNESS CHANGES STORY

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Video

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Published on May 25, 2017

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter
The is Audio of Greg Gianforte attacking Ben Jacobs corroborated by Fox News journalists in the room, who described candidate ‘slamming him to the ground’
Support the Guardian’s fearless journalism by making a contribution or becoming a member

The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies
Read more
“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published by foxnews.com. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin county sheriff’s office said on Wednesday night it had completed its investigation and that Gianforte had been issued with a charge of misdemeanour assault.

“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin county sheriff’s office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault,” sheriff Brian Gootkin said in a statement. “The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault. Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin county justice court between now and June 7, 2017.”

A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the altercation, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions”.

“Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

Scanlon’s account is contradicted by audio of the abortive interview recorded by Jacobs, as well as the Fox News account. The audio does not capture Jacobs being asked to leave or lower his recorder, but does contain an apparent reference to the Guardian’s previous attempts to report on Gianforte. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.

Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance.
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Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance. Photograph: Ben Jacobs for the Guardian
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.

At a press conference on Wednesday evening, sheriff Brian Gootkin said that there had been four witnesses to the altercation, in addition to Gianforte and Jacobs. Gianforte briefly spoke with sheriff’s deputies following the altercation but has not been interviewed. Gootkin said that he was not aware of any video of the incident. He also requested that reporters and members of the public stop calling Gallatin’s 911 dispatch.

According to campaign finance filings, Gootkin donated $250 to Gianforte’s campaign in March. Gootkin’s later statement acknowledged the contribution but said it had “nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete”.

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Reaction to Montana GOP candidate allegedly body-slamming reporter

GOP candidate in Montana charged with assault on reporter

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 899, May 24, 2017, Story 1: Trump Visits Pope and Exchange Gifts and Words of Wisdom — Climate Change Difference — Videos — Story 2: Trump To NATO Countries — Increase Your Military Spending — Videos

Posted on May 24, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Coal, Coal, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, European Union, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hillary Clinton, History, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, IRS, Islam, Italy, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Middle East, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Netherlands, News, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Solar, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

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Story 1: Trump Visits Pope and Exchange Gifts and Words of Wisdom  —  Climate Change Difference — Videos — 

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Trump meets Pope Francis and the media creates faux controversy?

Published on May 24, 2017

Catholic League President Bill Donohue on President Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis.

President Trump Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican 5/24/17

US President Donald Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

Meeting of Pope Francis with President Donald Trump 24 May 2017 HD

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Donald Trump on Climate Change

Donald Trump is not a believer in global warming

DonaldTrump on global warming, climate change, and extreme weather

Pope Francis: Climate change is a problem

The Pope’s encyclical on climate change

Published on Jun 22, 2015

Pope Francis released an encyclical, one of the highest Catholic teachings, on the environment.
Click here for the full story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/pop…
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Pope Lends Weight to G-7 Push to Bind Trump to Climate Deal

May 24, 2017, 3:48 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 6:11 AM CDT
  • G-7 leaders await Trump decision on emission cuts this weekend
  • Francis has called for urgent action to protect environment

Pope Francis and President Trump met face to face at the Vatican for the first time, at Trump’s request. Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli and Alessandro Migliaccio report on ‘Bloomberg Markets.’ (Source: Bloomberg)

Pope Francis joined an international chorus urging Donald Trump to meet U.S. commitments on climate change in talks at the Vatican Wednesday.

Francis gave the U.S. president a copy of his 2015 encyclical calling for urgent, drastic cuts in fossil-fuel emissions after a half-hour meeting in his private study.

Francis’s choice of gift suggests he is adding his voice to those pressing Trump not to renege on the Paris accord, which is the cornerstone of global efforts to limit climate change. The Vatican said in a statement that the talks focused on international affairs and the promotion of peace, with particular emphasis on health care, education and immigration.

“Thank you, thank you,” Trump told Francis as they shook hands after the meeting. “I won’t forget what you said.” Trump has said climate change might be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

For his part, Trump gave Francis a special edition of the works of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Trump met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni later on Wednesday before he travels to Brussels for a NATO meeting. He’ll be back in Italy again on Friday for talks with Group of Seven leaders in Taormina, Sicily. The world’s biggest developed economies are expecting Trump to say whether he’ll keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord during the summit, Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks, said Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron will push Trump over climate during the NATO meeting as part of a coordinated European effort to sway the president, a French government official said on Wednesday morning, adding that he had expected the pope and Gentiloni also to raise the issue. The official said that the questions over what the U.S. will decide have led to unprecedented uncertainty over what the G-7 will be able to say in its final communique.

Members of the Trump administration have been deadlocked over whether the U.S. should uphold the pact, brokered by nearly 200 nations in 2015. Leaders from Germany, China and other nations have pushed for America to stay.

Pressure has also come from business groups, including 280 investors representing more than $17 trillion in assets who released a statement Monday saying climate change must be an “urgent priority” for all G-20 nations. Executives have warned that Trump would put U.S. companies at a disadvantage if he pulled out of the pact.

As the richest nation and the second-largest polluter, U.S. efforts are central to keeping climate change from hitting an irreversible tipping point, unleashing catastrophic floods, droughts and storms, according to researchers. The U.S. has pledged to reduce its emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels under the world’s broadest ever environmental agreement.

The meeting at the Vatican was the first between two leaders who have starkly differing views on a range of issues and was arranged at Trump’s request. Beyond their disagreements on the environment, Francis wants the world’s doors swung open to refugees, while Trump wants fewer of them in America. Income inequality is a serious concern for the pope — the billionaire president plans to rewrite the U.S. tax code to make the wealthy even richer.

Pope Francis Wrestles With Curia, Climate and Trump: QuickTake

For the president, it’s an encounter that may confer some legitimacy as he grapples with a political crisis back home. For Francis, it’s a chance to influence a leader who, for all his stumbles, remains the most powerful person in the world.

“There’s a whole range of issues on which the pope and Trump differ, but the point of their meeting isn’t to forge agreement on them or to change each other’s minds,” papal biographer Austen Ivereigh said in a telephone interview. “The point is to establish a bond of trust, which they can both call on in the future to further their agendas.”

Francis arrived at the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in a Ford Focus and entered the building through a side entrance. Ten minutes later, the president’s motorcade was greeted by Swiss Guards who stood to attention with their halberds and ostrich-plumed helmets. The pope welcomed Trump upstairs in the Sala del Tronetto before the two leaders retired to his private study for a half-hour conversation.

“It was an honor to be with the pope,” Trump told reporters later in the morning. “We had a fantastic meeting,” he added, without addressing a shouted question on whether they discussed climate change.

As well as the text on environmental protection, which Francis said he’s sent to all Roman Catholics, the pope also gave Trump books on family and the joy of the gospel.

“I’ll be reading them,” the president told him.

He also gave Trump a medal made by a Roman artist depicting an olive. The pope told Trump the olive is a symbol of peace.

“That’s so beautiful,” the president said. “We can use peace.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/pope-gives-trump-book-on-protecting-environment-at-vatican-talks

Why Melania and Ivanka Trump stuck to traditional Vatican dress codes when meeting Pope Francis today

The Trumps arrived in Rome last night, and their first engagement this morning was a headliner in the global tour which they are currently part way through; meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils – the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana.

It was a somewhat unexpected move, especially given recent news that Pope Francis is keen to relax the strict dress codes to which women must conform to when attending private papal audiences.

Earlier in the week, Melania and Ivanka raised eyebrows when they met key figures in Saudi Arabia, without wearing headscarves, as Saudi women are required to do by law.  Although there is no such obligation for foreign women to do the same, Donald Trump criticised Michelle Obama when she didn’t cover her head visiting the country in 2015.

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis 
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis  CREDIT: AP POOL

Although the First Lady and First Daughter dressed modestly, they did it in their own way.  Largely, the duo has stuck with their signature takes on power-dressing throughout, wearing white sheath dresses and nipped skirt suits by American labels like Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta, and, in Melania’s case giving a taste of her sense of glamour by stepping off the plane in a flashy gold belt and choosing a jewel-hued gown by Reem Acra for an evening dinner.

Only when Ivanka visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall did she cover her head as is custom for Jewish women when visiting the site- Trump converted to Judaism prior to her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner.

So why the immaculate toeing of the line at the Vatican? As Pope Francis had been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics it was likely deemed to be in everyone’s best interests that today went smoothly – starting with the clothes.

Melania and Ivanka

Traditionally, under Pope Benedict XVI and all those before him, the rule was that women should wear black to meet his Holiness, covering up with full sleeves and a mantilla, the lace veil traditionally worn in the Roman Catholic Church.

Only a handful of Queens and Princesses from Catholic regions are permitted to wear white, according to the traditional “privilège du blanc” or “privilege of the white” rule. When Princess Charlene of Monaco met Pope Francis last January, for example, she exercised the privilege, wearing a chic crepe jacket and white driving gloves with her white mantilla and nude heels.

In the past, anyone who wore white was at risk of offending the privileged few – Cherie Blair did when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, and subsequent headlines about the woman with a ‘grand idea of herself’ were beamed around the world the next day. It’s widely understood, however, that Pope Francis sees himself as a modern Pope, and has now eased the strict dress code once adhered to by The Queen and more.

The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month
The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month

When Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met the Pope in April, she wore a champagne-hued dress by British label Anna Valentine and, despite defying all Vatican dress codes, it wasn’t a faux pas, as his Holiness had welcomed the look.

“Things have become more relaxed over the last few years there are no hard and fast rules,” a spokesperson for the Vatican explained.

Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009
Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009 CREDIT:REUTERS

That said, First Ladies, celebrities, and members of the public still tend to stick to the traditional codes, even if they aren’t officially required to.  Michelle Obama wore a black dress with a mantilla when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, and Amal Clooney wore a sharp black skirt suit with a matching hat when she met Pope Francis in May 2016.

It’s no wonder, in that case, that Melania opted for a traditional lace mantilla, and Ivanka a slightly more modern net veil. If you’re erring on the side of caution, it is surely always the safest bet to stick with tradition.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/people/melania-ivanka-trump-stuck-traditional-vatican-dress-codes-meeting/

Story 2: Trump To NATO Countries — Increase Your Military Spending — Videos

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President Trump & Melania Arrive in Brussels Ahead of NATO Summit 5/24/17

Raw: President Trump in Belgium for Meetings

NATO must ‘step up’ after Manchester attack: Stoltenberg

NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

 NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

In recent months, member nations have strained to show they are ramping up defense spending as Trump has demanded, even though they have been doing so for a few years in response to an aggressive Russia. And while they agree with the chief of the alliance’s most powerful member that NATO can do more to fight terrorism, they say it can be achieved with more of the same; training and mentoring troops in Afghanistan, and equipping local forces in Iraq so they can better fight the Islamic State group themselves.

“They’ll only talk about what he cares about, so really he should come out of this meeting feeling as though NATO responds to him,” said Kristine Berzina, NATO analyst at the German Marshall Fund think tank. “At least that’s what they hope here.”

Indeed, the NATO leaders will agree to join the 68-nation international coalition fighting IS, after Germany and France were no longer raising any objections about announcing the decision on Thursday.

The move is symbolically important, especially since the group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

An anti-terror coordinator may also be named, but most changes will be cosmetic, as NATO allies have no intention of going to war against IS.

“It’s totally out of the question for NATO to engage in any combat operations,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, on the eve of the meeting.

The 28 member nations, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, will renew an old vow to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Still, many are skeptical about this arbitrary bottom line that takes no account of effective military spending where it’s needed most. Germany would have to virtually double its military budget and spend more than Russia.

Putting some meat on the pledge, the leaders will agree to prepare action plans by the end of the year, plotting how to reach 2 percent over the next seven years, and show how they will use the money and contribute troops to NATO operations.

Only five members currently meet the target: Britain, Estonia, debt-laden Greece, Poland and the United States, which spends more on defense than all the other allies combined.

“It’s not fair that we’re paying close to 4 percent and other countries that are more directly affected are paying 1 percent when they’re supposed to be paying 2 percent,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview last month.

Tomas Valasek from the Carnegie Europe think tank says the president’s demands on overdue debts have shaken up the other allies.

“Trump has challenged the idea that active engagement in Europe is a core U.S. interest,” Valasek said. “He appears to regard all foreign relations as zero-sum transactions, in which each contribution to someone else’s security represents a net loss to the United States.”

The Europeans, Valasek said, should respond in two ways: “In the short term, focus on preventing the president from abandoning the alliance and, in the long term, prepare to assume a bigger role in defending the European continent.”

The short working-dinner meeting will be high on symbolism. At the entry to the new premises — a village-sized complex that should be in full use early next year — Trump and Stoltenberg will unveil a piece of the World Trade Center.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, NATO activated its collective defense clause for the first and only time, with member nations pledging to help their beleaguered ally.

Stoltenberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also unveil a part of the Berlin Wall that once divided East and West Germany.

But the ceremonies and symbolism will do little to hide the divisions running through NATO. Trump wants more from the alliance, while countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia want iron-clad assurances that they won’t be left alone should Russia cross their borders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, has purged around 11,000 military personnel from its armed forces since last July’s thwarted coup. Hundreds of western-educated senior officers were removed from posts at NATO, severely weakening the army.

Yet it’s a subject that is almost taboo at NATO headquarters; a national affair to be dealt with internally.

Tensions have also mounted between Erdogan and Merkel since Germany offered asylum to some of the officers. Belgium has publicly warned against any pro-Erdogan rallies during his visit.

Outside the heavily guarded security perimeter near the city’s airport and in downtown Brussels, peace groups have planned rallies of their own.

But, as the Manchester bombing remains fresh in mind, Belgium will remain on security Level 3 — meaning that the threat of an extremist attack “is possible and likely” — as it has since the suicide-bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and subway killed 32 people last year.

https://apnews.com/1e412fe9983747a6a8f94a2356d31f96/NATO-rolls-out-the-red-carpet,-buffs-its-image-for-Trump

Trump’s Anti-Terrorism Call Resonates at NATO After Manchester Attack

May 24, 2017, 11:51 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 12:25 PM CDT
  • Terrorism, defense spending top agenda of Brussels summit
  • France led concerns of wider NATO role fighting Islamic State

U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands to step up the fight against terrorism is set to get a sympathetic hearing from NATO partners when he visits the alliance headquarters for the first time on Thursday.

A deadly bombing in the U.K. this week has given fresh resonance to his call for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to become more engaged in fighting global terrorism. France and Germany, which had resisted an upgrade of NATO’s role in the international coalition against Islamic State, accepted the move on the eve of the summit, according to two officials familiar with the preparations.

Trump’s meeting with fellow NATO leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels, a city he once called a “hellhole,” will go a long way to determining the future strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance. While facing resistance from countries including Italy and Germany to his calls to raise defense spending, he’s likely to find common ground on the shared threat posed by radical Islamist terrorism, and avert fresh tensions with partners already anxious about the Trump administration’s priorities.

The Manchester attack will play a “big role” in the meeting and “drives home the Trump administration’s message that more needs to be done to fight terrorism,” said Kristine Berzina, a Brussels-based fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Message of Unity

The forces tugging at NATO will be symbolized before the summit dinner when the leaders inaugurate a new headquarters. The steel-and-glass complex will feature pieces of the Berlin Wall, whose fall in 1989 marked the West’s victory in the Cold War against Russia, and of the World Trade Center, whose collapse in the 2001 terrorist attacks prompted the only occasion when the alliance has invoked its mutual-defense clause.

At issue for NATO in the Middle East is whether the alliance becomes a full member of the coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. NATO currently plays a supporting role through the use of Airborne Warning and Control System planes and the training of Iraqi soldiers.

Germany and France had expressed concerns that upgrading NATO’s involvement could skew the geographical balance among the existing 68 partners in the coalition and weaken it, according to European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said broad support exists for making the organisation a full member of the coalition and doing so will offer political and practical benefits.

“Many allies would like to see NATO as a full member of the coalition for two reasons,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday. “It sends a strong and clear message of unity in the fight against terrorism” and “will provide a better platform for coordinating the activities of NATO, NATO allies and other partners in the coalition.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on the plane to Brussels from Rome that it would be an “important step.” NATO’s “been an observer. But they’ve become more and more engaged in the actual fight to defeat” Islamic State, he said.

Pope Meeting

The fight against Islamic State will also be at the forefront of the Group of Seven meeting later this week, with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni saying in a statement that leaders “will deliver the strongest possible message of extraordinary and common commitment against terrorism.” Trump even broached the topic with the Pope on his visit to the Vatican, discussing extremism and the radicalization of young people, Tillerson said.

Trump has leverage to gain concessions from Europe both over NATO’s anti-terrorism activities and over allies’ defense expenditure because European officials are genuinely worried about his commitment to the alliance, not least its mutual-defense provision, said Berzina. She said they are keen for Trump to show unequivocal support for collective defense at the summit.

“Because NATO is a consensus-based organization dominated by the U.S., the Europeans can’t just fire back the way they do when acting as European Union members,” Berzina said. “This could lead to concrete results in the near future on Trump’s demands regarding NATO.”

The timing of Thursday’s dinner, at what is for many Europeans the unthinkably early hour of 5:45 p.m., illustrates the American influence on the Alliance.

Brussels, which was targeted in a 2016 terror attack that left 32 dead, is the penultimate stop for Trump on a four-country tour that marks his first overseas trip as U.S. president and that has coincided with a growing political storm at home over possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. The controversy has sparked a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into whether anyone close to Trump colluded with Russia.

On defense expenditure, with the Trump administration pressing Europe to foot more of the common security bill, NATO members intend to draw up annual plans for increased spending. The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of NATO’s overall defense outlays.

In 2014, NATO members set a goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense within a decade and last year in Europe only Estonia, Greece, Poland and the U.K. met the target. The U.S. led in 2016 with defense expenditure of 3.61 percent of GDP.

In a concession to Germany, which has raised defense outlays while rejecting any rush to the 2 percent target and urging smarter spending in Europe, NATO allies aim to allow national plans to include non-military contributions such as development aid that help meet overall security goals.

Amid the pressure from Trump over defense budgets, the EU is drafting plans to spend more of its common budget on defense research, pool procurement and give the arms industry better access to finance.

“I think you can expect the president to be very tough on them,” said Tillerson, who reiterated U.S. support for NATO’s collective defense obligation. “The American people are doing a lot for your security, for our joint security. You need to make sure you’re doing your share for your own security as well.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/trump-s-anti-terror-call-to-resonate-with-nato-after-u-k-attack

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The Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017, Breaking — Story 1: President Donald J. Trump Fires FBI Directory James Comey On Recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Designated Fall Guy — Flynn — Trump Needs To Declassify and Release Complete Transcripts of Flynn Conversations With Russian Ambassador — Hillary Clinton Was The Real National Security Blackmail Risk To United States — Time For Trump To Instruct Attorney General Sessions to Appoint A Special Prosecutor Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out — Videos — Story 3: Russia Celebrates World War II Victory Over Nazi Germany On May 9, 1945 With Display of Military Equipment and 10,000 Marching in Moscow’s Red Square — Videos — Story 4: Will President Trump Win War in Afghanistan By Authorizing 50,000 Additional Troops ? — Is President Trump a Non-interventionist or Interventionist or Neoconservative? — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

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Image result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for president trump fires fbi director james comey may 9, 2017Image result for trump fires james comeyImage result for cartoons trump fires comey fbiImage result for cartoons branco democrats vs republicans over russia colusion with russiaImage result for timeline of l flynn - russia talks

Breaking — Story 1: President Donald J. Trump Fires FBI Directory James Comey On Recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Videos — 

Image result for cartoons trump fires comeyImage result for president trump fires fbi director james comey may 9, 2017

Image result for cartoons trump fires comey

Why did President Trump fire FBI director Comey?

The Real Reason Comey Was Fired

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Napolitano: Many FBI agents felt demeaned by Comey’s actions

Tucker: Comey’s firing was long overdue

Hume: Calling Comey firing a ‘coup’ is hysterical

President Trump to FBI’s James Comey…”You’re Fired!”

BREAKING: President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

The Fox News Specialists 5/9/17 : Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey fired by Trump

Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

BREAKING NEWS: FBI Director James Comey FIRED by President Trump

“JAMES COMEY Should Have Been FIRED”

“DANGER To the Country?” Tucker Weighs In On James Comey’s Testimony

BREAKING NEWS: President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

Trey Gowdy Finds Out FBI Director James Comey Won’t Obey The Law & He’s Pissed

FBI Director James Comey Is Fired by Donald Trump – LIVE STREAM

Trump Says Clinton Will Be in Jail if He’s President

TRUMP FIRES FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY

President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey.

In a statement, Trump says Comey’s firing “will mark a new beginning” for the FBI. The White House says the search for a new FBI director will begin immediately.

Comey’s firing comes days after he testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRUMP_COMEY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-09-17-47-00

Story 2: Democrats Designated Fall Guy — Flynn  — Trump Needs To Declassify and Release Complete Transcripts of Flynn Conversations With Russian Ambassador — Hillary Clinton Was The Real National Security Blackmail Risk To United States — Time For Trump To Instruct Attorney General Session to Appoint A Special Prosecutor Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out — Videos — 

Image result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoons branco general flynn sally yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoons branco general flynn sally yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yates

NSA Received Around 2,000 Requests To Unmask Americans’ Names In 2016

Published on May 9, 2017

If a U.S. citizen is caught up in incidental intelligence collection, that person’s name cannot be revealed unless the intelligence agency that gathered the information agrees to a request to “unmask” that American person’s name. “How many of those requests did you get in 2016?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Admiral Michael Rogers at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. Rogers heads both the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. “I think we’ve publicly acknowledged something – it’s 2,000. I think it’s one thousand nine-hundred and something,” Rogers replied. “How many people can request the unmasking of an American citizen?” Graham continued. “If you’re an authorized recipient of the intelligence – we use two criteria. Number one, the requester must be asking this in the execution of their official duties. It can’t be something that would be neat to know,” Rogers said.

“Number two, the revealing of the U.S. person has to provide context and greater value for the intelligence. Again, it can’t just be, ‘I’m just curious.’” Rogers said a broad group of people can make unmasking requests: “If you are on the authorized distribution for our intelligence reporting, you can ask. It doesn’t mean it gets approved, but you can ask.” Rogers said the national security adviser is normally on the distribution list, and “yes,” there is a record for every unmasking request that is made. Graham told Rogers, “So there’s a record of who made the request to unmask the conversation involving the American citizen. There’s a record of whether or not you granted it.” Rogers agreed with both those statements, but he said there is no record of what the person did with the information once they got it. “There’s also a record of the basis — so why did we say yes,” Rogers added. He said the unmasking is authorized only for the individual who requested it, and that person is told not to share the information.

Graham noted that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. was captured by one of the intelligence agencies: “Assuming he did not have a FISA warrant allowing us to collect on him, it would be a case of incidental collection (from) following the Russian ambassador. Does that make sense?” Graham asked Rogers. “Yes, sir,” Rogers agreed. “We would know how that conversation was revealed and to who (sic) it was revealed,” Graham continued. Rogers said yes – if the unmasking was based on information gathered by the NSA. He noted that the FBI also picks up incidental collection. “OK, so we could either ask the FBI or you,” Graham said. “OK. So somebody took that information that we gained through collection with Flynn and gave it to the Washington Post.” — “And that is a leak, and that is illegal, yes, sir,” Rogers said. He added that he is very concerned about such leaks, and he has warned his employees in writing not to engage in such behavior or they will be held criminally liable.

Graham concluded: “The bottom line here, it is possible for the Congress to find out who requested unmasking of American citizens, who that information was given to, and that is possible for us to know.” Rogers replied, “On the NSA side, that’s part of the ongoing investigation with the primary oversight committees that we’re going through right now.” — “OK,” said Graham. “Do you know if Susan Rice ever asked for an American citizen to be unmasked?” — “I’d have to pull the data, sir, I apologize,” Rogers said. The exchange ended at that point. At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Monday, Sen. Graham asked a similar question: “How did the conversation between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Flynn make it to the Washington Post?” He said he intends to find out.

 Sally Yates testifies on Flynn-Russia contacts

Sean Spicer CONFRONTED on Sally Yates, Trump Mike Flynn Russia Connections 5/8/2017

York: What we still don’t know after Sally Yates’ testimony

Ingraham: Dems desperately wanted to find Trump-Russia link

Brit Hume: Yates testimony ‘didn’t move the ball very much’

John Ashcroft: Yates wasn’t going to give the president his day in court

Sally Yates: We believed Michael Flynn was compromised

Published on May 8, 2017

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate panel Monday saying she notified the White House when she believed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been “compromised.” Yahoo chief investigative reporter Michael Isikoff joined “Red & Blue” for a closer look at the hearing and what we can expect from the investigation down the road.

“U.S. Citizens Names Are Already Unmasked In My Reports” Sally Yates Drops Bombshell During Congress

Sean Spicer Blames Obama For Flynn Clearance

Published on May 8, 2017

At his daily briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer pivots on the Trump administration’s appointment of General Michael Flynn, saying the Obama administration was responsible for Flynn’s security clearance. The Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014, and warned Trump against hiring him.

White House explains Gen. Flynn’s resignation

Trey Gowdy Brilliantly Checkmates The FBI “Hillary Clinton Told You The Truth & Then Lied To Us”

Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn

Spicer: It’s true, Obama wasn’t a fan of Flynn 00:51

Washington (CNN)Then-President Barack Obama warned President-elect Donald Trump in November against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, former Obama administration officials confirmed to CNN Monday.

Obama warned Trump about Flynn during their Oval Office meeting on November 10, days after Trump was elected president.
“Given the importance of the job, the President through there were better people for it, and that Flynn wasn’t up for the job,” a former senior Obama administration official told CNN Monday.
Other former Obama administration officials said then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t think highly of Flynn, and in fact was the person who recommended Flynn’s firing as DNI in 2014. Flynn’s focus was generally limited to terrorism and didn’t know much about many other issues important for the national security adviser job, such as China, the officials said.

RELATED: The many paths from Trump to Russia

But at least one former Obama official disputed that, saying Obama’s concerns were not related to the firing of Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency but rather in the course of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.

“Flynn’s name kept popping up,” according to a senior Obama administration source.

Trump transition officials warned Flynn about Russia communications

The White House confirmed later Monday that Obama raised concerns about Flynn during his Oval Office sitdown with Trump in November.
“It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn’s,” press secretary Sean Spicer said.
He said the concerns shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since Flynn was an “outspoken critic” of the Obama administration’s shortcomings on foreign policy.
Spicer said if the Obama administration was “truly concerned” about Flynn, there are steps it could have taken, including suspending his security clearance.
Flynn previously served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama until he was reportedly forced out of the post 2014 over internal disagreements over policy and management.
Trump did not heed Obama’s counsel on Flynn, bringing aboard the former military intelligence officer who supported Trump during his campaign as his national security adviser. Trump fired Flynn 24 days later when news broke of Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
News of the warning comes as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is set to testify before Congress on Monday about the concerns she expressed to Trump administration officials about Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, namely with Kislyak.
Yates, in her role as acting attorney general, warned White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26 that Flynn was lying when he denied — both publicly and privately — that he discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak. It wasn’t until weeks later that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, only after news surfaced that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak.
trump flynn russia mcenany sot_00001726
Trump: I feel badly for Michael Flynn 01:31
According to five current and former intelligence officials, their concern started around the time Flynn went to Moscow for the 10th anniversary gala of the state-sponsored news agency Russia Today. At that dinner, the former high-ranking intelligence official was seated right next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also had contact with Kislyak after the trip.
Former US officials were highly suspicious of Kislyak and his motives, and there were concerns Flynn didn’t seem to understand the dangers in the conversations, the officials said. As was reported over the weekend, even Trump’s own team was concerned enough to request a CIA profile of the Russian ambassador to help illustrate to Flynn he was taking a big chance in his interactions with Kislyak.
Yates’ testimony on Monday will be the first time she speaks publicly about her warnings to the White House about Flynn.
The Senate and House intelligence committees are continuing to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or people close to the campaign.
Congressional investigators have so far homed in on Flynn, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and Roger Stone, who informally advised Trump during his presidential run.
While Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, he has not abandoned his former national security adviser altogether.
Trump on Monday morning sought to get ahead of Yates’ testimony, taking to Twitter to deflect criticism that he or his administration should have kept Flynn out of the top national security post from the outset.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump said in his first missive.
“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel,” he tweeted.
Flynn began advising Trump on national security in early 2016 and soon became a constant presence by Trump’s side as he crisscrossed the country from rally to rally.
He frequently introduced Trump on the campaign trail, delivering introductory remarks rife with criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Flynn often led Trump supporters in chants of “Lock her up!” as he accused her of corruption and negligence in her use of a private email server.
Trump came to value Flynn not only for his like-minded view of global affairs but for his loyalty throughout the campaign.

Head of Pentagon intelligence agency forced out, officials say

April 30, 2014
The top two officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency said Wednesday that they will retire from those positions in the coming months, part of a leadership shake-up at an agency that is under pressure to trim budgets and shift focus after more than a decade of war, current and former U.S. officials said.Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn is expected to end his tenure as DIA director this summer, about a year before he was scheduled to depart, according to officials who said Flynn faced pressure from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and others in recent months. His deputy, David Shedd, had been in his job since 2010.The moves come at a time when the DIA is in the midst of major changes, including an effort by senior Pentagon officials to expand the agency’s network of spies overseas, improve collection on unfolding crises such as the one in Ukraine, and work more closely with the CIA.

The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, said that their retirements “have been planned for some time” and that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “appreciates the service of these two dedicated and professional leaders.”

Kirby did not indicate when Flynn and Shedd would step down. Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army’s top intelligence officer, is considered a leading candidate to replace Flynn, and she would be the first female DIA director if nominated and confirmed.

Flynn, who served as a top intelligence adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan, arrived at the DIA in July 2012 vowing to accelerate the agency’s overhaul. Asked after a public speech how he would treat employees reluctant to embrace his agenda, Flynn said he would “move them or fire them.”

He drafted a blueprint that called for sending more employees overseas, being more responsive to regional U.S. military commanders, and turning analysts’ attention from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan to a broader array of emerging national security threats.

“I think that Flynn’s efforts to move the organization into a role supporting combatant commanders was spot on and it is where DIA should be heading,” said Fred Kagan, a military historian and unpaid adviser to the DIA. “I think that he was trying to introduce a lot of valuable innovation into the organization.”

Critics said that his management style could be chaotic and that the scope of his plans met resistance from both superiors and subordinates. At the same time, his tenure was marked by significant turbulence, including the fallout from the classified intelligence files leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, as well as other emerging crises.

“His vision in DIA was seen as disruptive,” said a former Pentagon official who worked closely with Flynn. At the DIA, Flynn sought to push DIA analysts and operators “up and out of their cubicles into the field to support war fighters or high-intensity operations,” the former official said. “I’m not sure DIA sees itself as that.”

Flynn clashed with other high-ranking officials, including Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers. Officials said Flynn had opposed Vickers’ efforts to make significant cuts to large intelligence centers established to support the U.S. military’s regional overseas commands. A former CIA operative, Vickers has sought to model the DIA’s training and overseas presence more closely on its civilian counterpart, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The plan has encountered significant opposition on Capitol Hill, particularly from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who have voiced concern over the cost of creating the Defense Clandestine Service, and questioned whether Pentagon spies would end up being used to fill intelligence gaps that are supposed to be handled by the CIA.

Flynn’s departure, which has been rumored for weeks, was set in motion earlier this year when Clapper informed him that the administration had concluded that a leadership change was necessary, officials said. Others described it as a mutual agreement that Flynn would step down.

Flynn was a key player in U.S. military efforts to dismantle insurgent networks in Iraq and Afghanistan, an approach that relied heavily on combining U.S. Special Operations forces with intelligence operatives and analysts.

With McChrystal, Flynn helped to compress a cycle of carrying out raids and then exploiting the intelligence from those operations to find other targets.

In 2010, Flynn rankled many of his counterparts in the intelligence community when he published an article that was sharply critical of the information that spy agencies were assembling in Afghanistan. The effort was so focused on tracking insurgents that U.S. military and diplomatic leaders got little to help them understand the political, economic and cultural issues driving the insurgency.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/head-of-pentagon-intelligence-agency-forced-out-officials-say/2014/04/30/ec15a366-d09d-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html?utm_term=.6f699e24f117

Story 2:  Russia Celebrates World War II Victory Over Nazi Germany On May 9, 1945,  With Display of Military Equipment and 10,000 Marching in Moscow’s Red Square — Videos

Image result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017 putinImage result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017Image result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017 putin

Advanced Russian weaponry rolls through Red Square in Victory Day parade

Published on May 9, 2017

More than 10,000 troops accompanied by military hardware marched across Moscow’s central square on May 9. Unfortunately, cloudy weather meant the ceremonial flyovers had to be canceled. Watch more – https://rbth.com

Russia puts military on display for Victory Day parade

Moscow Victory Day Parade 2017 俄罗斯胜利日阅兵式

Putin warns his Russian army can ‘repel any potential aggression’ as 10,000 troops march through Red Square with terrifying arsenal of missiles in Victory Day parade

  • Huge Victory Day military parade in Moscow involves 10,000 troops and more than 100 units of equipment 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance as well as former Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev
  • The annual Red Square march in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the Second World War
  • Fly-past scrapped due to weather despite attempt to guarantee sunshine by ‘spiking clouds’ with chemicals

Vladimir Putin has warned his Russian army can ‘repel any potential aggression’ after 10,000 troops marched through Red Square with a terrifying arsenal of missiles in a military parade.

The annual march in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin’s modern military might.

Putin was personally taking the salute at the parade involving 10,000 troops and 114 units of military equipment.

The parade gave the first public showing of Tor and Pantsir mobile surface-to-air missile that have been adapted for use in Russia’s Arctic forces, their white-and-black winter camouflage standing out amid the olive drab of other war machines.

‘The armed forces of Russia are capable of repelling any potential aggression,’ Putin told thousands of military personnel.

Plans to send 72 aircraft overhead were defeated by the weather – despite the Kremlin spending £1.3 million to spike the clouds with a chemical cocktail to supposedly guarantee sunshine.

The fly-past was grounded because of low cloud, thwarting Putin’s bid to showcase his air force and honour Russian pilots who have served in Syria.

Scroll down for video

As the sun descended over Moscow, locals were treated to a spectacular fireworks and pyrotechnic display 

As the sun descended over Moscow, locals were treated to a spectacular fireworks and pyrotechnic display

The spectacular fireworks display was to mark the 72nd anniversary of Victory of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War

The spectacular fireworks display was to mark the 72nd anniversary of Victory of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War

Thousands of armed military personnel marched in formation through Red Square on a day of celebrations in Moscow

Thousands of armed military personnel marched in formation through Red Square on a day of celebrations in Moscow

Female servicemen march in formation during the parade this morning. Putin used the event to show off his military might

Female servicemen march in formation during the parade this morning. Putin used the event to show off his military might

Thousands of troops, including servicewomen, saluted as they passed Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured back centre) at the parade

Thousands of troops, including servicewomen, saluted as they passed Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured back centre) at the parade

Dozens of tanks rumbled through Red Square as troops saluted Putin during the massive military parade in Red Square today

As well as tanks and troops, this Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system was driven through Red Square

Snipers were seen on the Kremlin Wall during the Victory Day military parade amid heightened security with Vladimir Putin watching on

Snipers were seen on the Kremlin Wall during the Victory Day military parade amid heightened security with Vladimir Putin watching on

Putin also watched this S-400 Triumf medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system trundle through Red Square

Putin also watched this S-400 Triumf medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system trundle through Red Square

There were similar scenes in St Petersburg, Russia when an estimated 400,000 people walked through the streets carrying pictures of relatives killed in the Second World War

There were similar scenes in St Petersburg, Russia when an estimated 400,000 people walked through the streets carrying pictures of relatives killed in the Second World War

The Russian president was personally taking the salute as at the parade involving 10,000 troops, 114 units of military equipment and 72 aircraft

The Russian president was personally taking the salute as at the parade involving 10,000 troops, 114 units of military equipment and 72 aircraft

The Soviet ‘weather changing’ technology successfully prevented rain on Putin’s parade but failed to disperse the thick low cloud so only a display of armoured vehicles and missile systems went ahead.

Putin told the annual commemoration: ‘We will always guard Russia just as you, the soldiers of the Victory, did.

‘And [we will] strengthen the traditions of patriotism, loyally serving the homeland.

He vowed: ‘There was no, there is no and there will be no force that could ever enslave our people.

‘They fought to the bitter end, defending their homeland, and did what seemed impossible, they turned the bloody wheel of the Second World War back, drove the enemy from our land where it dared to come, crushed Nazism, put an end to its atrocities.

‘And we will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe and the long-awaited peace on the planet.’

Hundreds of servicewomen wearing white skirts and blue military jackets were involved in the mass parade this morning

The military display included this Buk-M2 missile system. But a planned fly-past of 72 aircraft had to be cancelled due to the weather

The military display included this Buk-M2 missile system. But a planned fly-past of 72 aircraft had to be cancelled due to the weather

Dozens of female military personnel wearing white jackets and skirts were involved in the huge rally in Red Square this morning

Dozens of female military personnel wearing white jackets and skirts were involved in the huge rally in Red Square this morning

Columns of troops, servicewomen, tanks and missile systems were on display at Putin's showcase military event today

Columns of troops, servicewomen, tanks and missile systems were on display at Putin’s showcase military event today

The annual event marks the anniversary of the end of the Second World War and sees thousands of military personnel marching through Red Square

The annual event marks the anniversary of the end of the Second World War and sees thousands of military personnel marching through Red Square

Military might: Dozens of missiles and launchers were paraded through Red Square in a terrifying display of Russia's fire power

Military might: Dozens of missiles and launchers were paraded through Red Square in a terrifying display of Russia’s fire power

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles were brought in to the square after a parade by thousands of troops

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles were brought in to the square after a parade by thousands of troops

These Russian T-14 Armata tanks were also driven slowly through Red Square. But the event did not go totally as planned after a fly-past had to be cancelled

These Russian T-14 Armata tanks were also driven slowly through Red Square. But the event did not go totally as planned after a fly-past had to be cancelled

Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured meeting World War Two veterans) personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled

Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured meeting World War Two veterans) personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled

Quick march: Vladimir Putin warned his Russian army can 'repel any potential aggression' after he watched 10,000 soldiers take part in the Victory Day parade

Putin told the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square that the horrors of World War II demonstrate the necessity of countries working together to prevent war

Putin told the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square that the horrors of World War II demonstrate the necessity of countries working together to prevent war

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow to pay tribute to those killed in the Second World War. It followed a massive military parade at the Red Square

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow to pay tribute to those killed in the Second World War. It followed a massive military parade at the Red Square

Russian and Soviet flags were waved while a banner was unfurled reading 'Immortal Regiment ', during the Victory Day event

Russian and Soviet flags were waved while a banner was unfurled reading ‘Immortal Regiment ‘, during the Victory Day event

The Russian president personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled.

This meant no display by Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, which have seen combat action recently in Syria.

A debut Victory Day march was scheduled for schoolchildren in Russia’s new ‘Yunarmia’, a 30,000-strong militarised patriotic movement nicknamed the Putin Youth Army and established by the Defence Ministry.

It was scheduled to begin at 10am in Moscow, 8am London time, with other commemorations held in cities across Russia’s 11 time zones.

On display in Moscow was the the newly developed Tor-M2DT short-range anti-aircraft missile system and the Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system, both designed to operate in the Arctic.

The air display included a first outing at the Victory Day event for the Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, which have seen combat action recently in Syria.

On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank.

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow carrying portraits of relatives they had lost in World War Two

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow carrying portraits of relatives they had lost in World War Two

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (centre) greets guests at a Victory Day reception at the Moscow Kremlin this afternoon

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (centre) greets guests at a Victory Day reception at the Moscow Kremlin this afternoon

Children hold portraits of World War Two soldiers as they attend the Immortal Regiment march in central Moscow today

Children hold portraits of World War Two soldiers as they attend the Immortal Regiment march in central Moscow today

The streets of Moscow were packed with people paying tribute to Russia's war dead. The Immortal Regiment march was part of the Victory Day celebrations

The streets of Moscow were packed with people paying tribute to Russia’s war dead. The Immortal Regiment march was part of the Victory Day celebrations

Two Second World War veterans dance at a traditional meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow today

Two Second World War veterans dance at a traditional meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow today

Vladimir Putin is today staging a vast military parade showcasing Russia's firepower, and hailing as heroes his troops who have seen service in Syria

Vladimir Putin is today staging a vast military parade showcasing Russia’s firepower, and hailing as heroes his troops who have seen service in Syria

A Russian TOR-M2 tactical surface-to-air missile 'Arctic edition' system was also driven through Red Square this morfing

A Russian TOR-M2 tactical surface-to-air missile ‘Arctic edition’ system was also driven through Red Square this morfing

The annual Red Square march and fly-past in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin's modern military might

The annual Red Square march and fly-past in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin’s modern military might

A BTR-82A armoured personnel carrier rolls down Moscow's Red Square carrying military personnel dressed in white armu outfits

A BTR-82A armoured personnel carrier rolls down Moscow’s Red Square carrying military personnel dressed in white armu outfits

On display: Russian servicemen stand atop a T-72B3 main battle tank as the vehicle belches out thick black smoke

On display: Russian servicemen stand atop a T-72B3 main battle tank as the vehicle belches out thick black smoke

Russian servicemen lined up at the start of the parade marking the World War Two anniversary in Moscow this morning

Russian servicemen lined up at the start of the parade marking the World War Two anniversary in Moscow this morning

in Vladivostok, Russia, tens of thousands of people took to the street to take part in the traditional Immortal Regiment march

in Vladivostok, Russia, tens of thousands of people took to the street to take part in the traditional Immortal Regiment march

Russian air force Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said: ‘What makes this year so special is that virtually each and every pilot who will take part in the 9 May flyby in Moscow has fought in Syria, is highly decorated, and will showcase skills that will make many countries salivate.’

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The sombre occasion is a show of respect to the 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians who died during the defeat of the Nazis.

Many Russians were today honouring the dead in their own families by taking part in marches to the Immortal Regiment, holding pictures of relatives who perished in the war.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people waving Russian flags and carrying portraits of Stalin watched tanks roll through Ukraine’s de facto rebel capital Donetsk on Tuesday in celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Russia celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany every May 9 to honor those who fought and died for their country

Russia celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany every May 9 to honor those who fought and died for their country

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) holds a photograph of his father in a naval uniform, as he joins people carrying portraits of relatives who fought in the Second World War

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) holds a photograph of his father in a naval uniform, as he joins people carrying portraits of relatives who fought in the Second World War

Security was tight at the event and snipers could be seen monitoring the parade from outposts surrounding Red Square

Security was tight at the event and snipers could be seen monitoring the parade from outposts surrounding Red Square

President Vladimir Putin was pictured arriving for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow this morning

President Vladimir Putin was pictured arriving for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow this morning

Vladimir Putin took to the stage to tell thousands of soldiers: 'We will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe'

Vladimir Putin took to the stage to tell thousands of soldiers: ‘We will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe’

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. The sombre occasion is a show of respect to the 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians who died during the defeat of the Nazis

This enormous Russian Topol M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher was among a terrifying arsenal of weapons on display

This enormous Russian Topol M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher was among a terrifying arsenal of weapons on display

Russian guards march during the Victory Day military parade. On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank

Russian guards march during the Victory Day military parade. On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank

The display was scheduled to begin at 10am in Moscow, 8am London time, with other commemorations held in cities across Russia’s 11 time zones

A debut Victory Day march was scheduled for schoolchildren in Russia’s new ‘Yunarmia’, a 30,000-strong militarised patriotic movement nicknamed the Putin Youth Army and established by the Defence Ministry

The display of military might used by the Moscow-backed insurgents in their three-year conflict against government forces violated the terms of a long-ignored 2015 peace deal.

Donetsk straddles a demarcation line in the industrial east of Ukraine from which both sides’ big guns were meant to have been withdrawn almost two years ago.

An AFP reporter counted 45 pieces of heavy military equipment – ranging from a lone World War II-era tank to its modern versions used in the current war as well as rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns – roll through the city’s main street.

Donetsk separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko led a march of about 1,000 fighters who held up a long banner painted the black and orange colours of Russia’s patriotic Saint George’s ribbon.

Former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbatchev (centre) was among the VIP guests who watched the parade this morning

Former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbatchev (centre) was among the VIP guests who watched the parade this morning

Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Hero Cities memorial by the Kremlin Wall. He has warned his army can 'repel any aggression'

Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Hero Cities memorial by the Kremlin Wall. He has warned his army can ‘repel any aggression’

The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the war, including 8 million soldiers, and the immense suffering contributes to Victory Day's status as Russia's most important secular holiday

The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the war, including 8 million soldiers, and the immense suffering contributes to Victory Day’s status as Russia’s most important secular holiday

Up to 10,000 servicemen and women lined up in Red Square ahead of the vast military display. Putin attended the event this morning

Up to 10,000 servicemen and women lined up in Red Square ahead of the vast military display. Putin attended the event this morning

Parades were held across Russia's sprawling expanse as well as in the Russia-annexed Crimea Peninsula, but the Red Square parade is the centerpiece of the country's observances

Parades were held across Russia’s sprawling expanse as well as in the Russia-annexed Crimea Peninsula, but the Red Square parade is the centerpiece of the country’s observances

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine, then marching out to make way for a display of military vehicles ranging from armored cars to lumbering Topol ICBM launchers

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine, then marching out to make way for a display of military vehicles ranging from armored cars to lumbering Topol ICBM launchers

Former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev (centre) was given a helping hand as he attended the event today

Former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev (centre) was given a helping hand as he attended the event today

At one point Russian artillery was fired as part of tributes to Russia's war dead. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the Second World War, including 8 million soldiers

At one point Russian artillery was fired as part of tributes to Russia’s war dead. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the Second World War, including 8 million soldiers

Others in the parade carried portraits of warlords killed in Europe’s only war, in which more than 10,000 people have died.

Zakharchenko told the crowd that May 9 ‘is the holiest day for us all’.

On the other side of the frontline Ukrainian authorities have joined European nations in marking the end of World War II on May 8 after its 2014 pro-EU revolution. The decision was meant to underscore Ukraine’s split with Russia and embrace of the West.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told a group of soldiers on Tuesday that ‘we will no longer celebrate this holiday along the Russian scenario.’

But several hundred people carrying photographs of relatives who fought in what the Soviet Union called ‘The Great Patriotic War’ still marched through Kiev on Tuesday.

Many Russians were today honouring the dead in their own families by taking part in marches to the Immortal Regiment, holding pictures of relatives who perished in the war

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other dignitaries as he watched the massive parade this morning

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other dignitaries as he watched the massive parade this morning

Amid heightened security both President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (right) were there to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany

Amid heightened security both President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (right) were there to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany

The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway

The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway

The strongman was using the parade today to showcase Russia's modern military might, with one senior military commander saying it would make foreign foes

The strongman was using the parade today to showcase Russia’s modern military might, with one senior military commander saying it would make foreign foes ‘salivate’.

Preparations: Servicemen gathered in huge numbers before standing to attention as Vladimir Putin arrived this morning

A young child holds red flowers before the parade marking the Second World War anniversary in Moscow this morning

A young child holds red flowers before the parade marking the Second World War anniversary in Moscow this morning

A number of war veterans were invited to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow today

A number of war veterans were invited to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow today

Vladimir Putin was among the high-ranking Russian officials who attended the event, which saw 10,000 troops march through Red Square

Vladimir Putin was among the high-ranking Russian officials who attended the event, which saw 10,000 troops march through Red Square

The event included a performance from a military band. Parades were held across Russia's sprawling expanse

The event included a performance from a military band. Parades were held across Russia’s sprawling expanse

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Col Gen Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, review the troops during a Victory Day military parade marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow's Red Squareniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow’s Red Square

People in Sevastopol, Crimea, carry portraits of late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and World War Two soldiers during the Immortal Regiment march as they celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany

People in Sevastopol, Crimea, carry portraits of late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and World War Two soldiers during the Immortal Regiment march as they celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany

They were confronted by a small group of nationalists who pelted them with several smoke bombs before being restrained by the police.

The atmosphere was calmer on Donetsk’s central Lenin Square.

Entire families watched the hardware roll by and cheered. Some parents dressed up their children in military fatigues.

Lenin Square itself was adorned by a 1960s L-29 Delfin military jet trainer used during the Cold War by nations in central and eastern Europe that were under the Kremlin’s thumb.

A young student came to the rebel parade with a Russian Saint George’s ribbon pinned to his shirt and a bouquet of flowers.

‘I want to see the day when, at the end of our own war, we also get a chance to celebrate Victory Day,’ the 20-year-old told AFP.

‘Our war is almost as long as the Great Patriotic War. It is time to finish it already.’

World War Two veteran Vladimir Ivanov talks to a child during celebrations in Gorky Park marking the 72nd anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany

World War Two veteran Vladimir Ivanov talks to a child during celebrations in Gorky Park marking the 72nd anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany

People carry portraits of relatives who fought in World War Two, and Russian and Soviet flags, during the Immortal Regiment march along the Red Square in Moscow

People carry portraits of relatives who fought in World War Two, and Russian and Soviet flags, during the Immortal Regiment march along the Red Square in Moscow

Russians came out in their thousands to remember the country's war dead, by carrying pictures and portraits of their relatives above their heads

Russians came out in their thousands to remember the country’s war dead, by carrying pictures and portraits of their relatives above their heads

Cadets from the Saint Petersburg Suvorov Military School march and sing in the city's Palace Square during a Victory Day parade

Cadets from the Saint Petersburg Suvorov Military School march and sing in the city’s Palace Square during a Victory Day parade

A pensioner in Ryazan, south east of Moscow, shares a dance with a young women as they celebrate Victory Day

A pensioner in Ryazan, south east of Moscow, shares a dance with a young women as they celebrate Victory Day

Russian young couples dressed in old style military uniform dance at a traditional veterans meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Paratroopers dressed in blue were involved in a huge march on Red Square

Russian young couples dressed in old style military uniform dance at a traditional veterans meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (left). Paratroopers dressed in blue were involved in a huge march on Red Square (right)

: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4487306/Putin-shows-Russia-s-firepower-huge-military-parade.html#ixzz4gbxBg4jf

Story 3: Will President Trump Win War in Afghanistan By Authorizing 40,000 Additional Troops? —  Is President Trump a Noninterventionist or  Interventionist or Neoconservative? — Videos

Sean Spicer Won’t Confirm If President Trump Is Sending Thousands More US Troops To Afghanistan 

Trump Could Send As Many As 5K More Troops To Afghanistan

Pentagon to request thousands more US troops for Afghan : Is it necessary??

Published on May 8, 2017

Pentagon to request thousands more US troops for Afghan: Is it necessary??

he US military will ask the Donald Trump administration next week to deploy thousands more troops to Afghanistan, a senior official says.

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Condoleezza Rice: Increasing Troops In Afghanistan ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’ Without New Strategy | TODAY

U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan

May 8 at 6:30 PM
President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and “start winning” again, said one U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The new strategy, which has the backing of top Cabinet officials, would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants. It would also lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of U.S. military advisers on the battlefield.

The net result of the changes would be to reverse moves by President Barack Obama to steadily limit the U.S. military role in Afghanistan, along with the risk to American troops and the cost of the war effort, more than 15 years after U.S. forces first arrived there.

Spicer says Trump wants to ‘eliminate the threats’ in Afghanistan

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on May 9 said President Trump wants to “eliminate the threats” against the U.S. in Afghanistan. (Reuters)

Trump is expected to make a final call on the strategy before a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels that he plans to attend.

Officials said it is unclear whether Trump, who has spoken little about the United States’ longest war, will look favorably upon expanding the U.S. role in Afghanistan. While he has voiced skepticism about allowing U.S. troops to become bogged down in foreign conflicts, the president has also expressed a desire to be tough on terrorism and has seemed to delight in the use of military force.

“The review is an opportunity to send a message that, yes, the U.S. is going to send more troops, but it’s not to achieve a forever military victory,” said Andrew Wilder, an Afghanistan expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “Rather, it’s to try to bring about a negotiated end to this conflict.”

The new strategy is a product of the U.S. military’s mounting worries that the fragile stalemate with the Taliban has been steadily eroding for years, jeopardizing the survival of an allied government and endangering a key U.S. base for combating militant groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State throughout South Asia.

Even as it moves to the president’s desk, the proposal faces resistance from some senior administration officials who fear a repeat of earlier decisions to intensify military efforts that produced only temporary improvements.

Inside the White House, those opposed to the plan have begun to refer derisively to the strategy as “McMaster’s War,” a reference to H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser. The general, who once led anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan and was one of the architects of President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq, is the driving force behind the new strategy at the White House.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he sees 2017 as “another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops.” (Reuters)

The White House declined to comment.

The plan envisions an increase of at least 3,000 U.S. troops to an existing force of about 8,400. The U.S. force would also be bolstered by requests for matching troops from NATO nations.

But, in keeping with the Trump administration’s desire to empower military decision-making, the Pentagon would have final say on troop levels and how those forces are employed on the battlefield. The plan would also increase spending on Afghanistan’s troubled government in an effort to improve its capacity.

The additional troops and aid spending would add to the fiscal toll of a war that already costs $23 billion annually, a factor Trump advisers expect will weigh heavily in the president’s considerations.

In a break with the past, U.S. officials said that increases in U.S. troop levels and support to the Afghan government and military would be heavily conditioned on the ability of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who heads a fragile unity government, to weed out ineffective military commanders and reduce corruption, both of which have led some aggrieved Afghans to turn to the Taliban as a better alternative.

The question at the heart of the new strategy is whether U.S. and Afghan forces, even if bolstered by new troops and authorities to target the Taliban, can create enough pressure to push the war toward a negotiated settlement. Those opposing the escalation have argued that even the Obama-era surge, which peaked at 100,000, did not result in Taliban concessions in on-again, off-again U.S.-Taliban talks begun in 2011.

That effort eventually crumbled amid U.S. government divisions and resistance from the Afghan government, which feared being cut out of the process. While Pakistan and other governments have sought to foster separate talks in recent years, progress has been scant since the 2016 death of Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in a U.S. airstrike .

Those failures, and his deep-seated desire to end the war before leaving office, led Obama to craft a plan to cut U.S. troop levels to 1,000 before leaving office. In late 2014, he also took away the military’s authority to directly target Taliban leadership, stating that the United States was no longer at war with the insurgent group.

But the Taliban’s advance across Afghanistan, where it has chipped away at government control of rural areas and occasionally seized a major city, eventually compelled Obama to abandon that low troop target.

Obama also loosened rules so U.S. forces could target the Taliban with airstrikes in limited situations, for example when Afghan troops faced danger of being overrun or needed support from American warplanes for major operations.

Under the steps proposed in the new strategy, U.S. aircraft would again be permitted to strike the Taliban in a broader array of situations, allowing for greater air support of Afghan offensives. The new rules would also enable U.S. military advisers to accompany conventional Afghan forces closer to the front lines, similar to the freedom they have with elite Afghan forces in a separate counterterrorism mission.

Similar measures proposed last year by the outgoing U.S. military commander for Afghanistan provoked a backlash among top Pentagon leaders, but this time military leaders including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are supportive.

The new strategy comes at a critical time for Afghan forces, which have taken massive casualties and continue to suffer from corruption and poor leadership. Their vulnerability was exposed last month when a handful of Taliban militants killed 140 soldiers in an assault on a military base in northern Afghanistan.

Even proponents of the plan have modest expectations for what an enhanced military effort, given the Taliban’s strength, can achieve. Rather than stopping the militants from taking over additional territory, officials expect that Afghan forces will at best be able to “hold the line” this year and begin to recapture some key terrain from the Taliban next year.

The goal is to make “incremental progress” in coming years in the hope that those gains will be enough to persuade the Taliban to make concessions that will lead to peace, said a U.S. official familiar with the plan.

Wilder said that the emphasis on using military pressure to reach a political agreement made sense but that there is no guarantee it would work given the diverse objectives of key players in the war, such as the Taliban, the Afghan government, Pakistan, Iran and increasingly Russia.

Even backers of a more robust approach concede that the chances of a major peace deal to end the war are low.

“If we don’t achieve that, Plan B should be to prevent state collapse, which would also require additional military resources,” Wilder said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-poised-to-expand-military-effort-against-taliban-in-afghanistan/2017/05/08/356c4930-33fa-11e7-b412-62beef8121f7_story.html?utm_term=.6129a27bc9db

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The Pronk Pops Show 887, May 5, 2017, Story 1: Labor Participation Rate Falls To 62.9% and Not In Labor Force Rises by 162,000 To 94,375,000 — Need To Get Back To Labor Participation Rate Between 66% to 67% — Do Not Celebrate 4.4% Unemployment Rate! — Not A Wow Number Except For Economics Challenged — Videos — Story 2: Republicans Bailing Out Insurance Companies By Subsidizing Individual Insurance — Republican Party Now For Socialized Medicine! — Videos — Story 3: Senator Rand Paul’s Repeal and Replacement Bill Is The Way To Go — Videos

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