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The Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017, Story 1: Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma is History — Storm Surge and Rain Floods Jacksonville, Miami, Naples , Charleston and Many Others –Wind and Flood Damage In Billions — More Than 25 Dead and Over 7 Million Without Electrical Power — Looting — Videos — Story 2: Bannon on Sixty Minutes — Republican Leadership Promises Not Kept — Firing of FBI Director Comey — A Big Mistake — DACA May Lead To Republican Civil War — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939,  August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

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

Image result for tropical storm irma Image result for hurricane irma advisory as on 5 pm Monday Sep 11, 2017Image result for steve bannon 60 minutes

Image result for jacksonvill3e flooding due to Hurricane Irma

Flooding In Jacksonville After Hurricane Irma | NBC News

Irma updates: Flash flood emergency for downtown Jacksonville CNN Breaking News Live

Hurricane Irma Live Tracking Updates Today 9/11/2017 – Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion

Flood Waters In Jacksonville, Florida At A 53-Year High

Irma’s storm surge historic for Jacksonville area

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Miami gets hit harder than expected by Hurricane Irma

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HURRICANE IRMA VS FLORIDA (INSANE FOOTAGE) STORM SURGE WARNING

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MOST SHOCKING : Live Footage as Hurricane Irma SLAMS Florida , #irma, #hurricane irma florida

LOOTERS IN THE HURRICANE : MOST CRAZIEST Footage EVER Of Florida Hurricane Irma (SEP. 10, 2017)

Hurricane Irma: Nearly half of Florida in the dark, Tampa takes pounding

The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 mph with additional weakening expected. As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles northeast of Tampa and moving north-northwest near 15 mph.

Irma continues its slog north along Florida’s western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal.

Forecasters say they expert Irma’s center to stay inland over Florida and then move into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

They also expect Irma to weaken further into a tropical storm over far northern Florida or southern Georgia on Monday as it speeds up its forward motion. The hurricane center says the storm is still life-threatening with dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rains.

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses — and counting — have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.

Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone.

There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state.

The county administrator in the Florida Keys says crews will begin house to house searches Monday morning, looking for people who need help and assessing damage from Hurricane Irma.

Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi says relief will arrive on a C-130 military plane Monday morning at the Key West International Airport.

Once it’s light out, they’ll check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities.

Gastesi says they are “prepared for the worst.”

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning in Cudjoe Key.

But The Associated Press has been texting with John Huston, who has been riding out the storm in his house on Key Largo, on the Atlantic side of the island, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Every few minutes during the height of the storm, he sent another dispatch.

He described whiteout conditions, with howling winds that sucked dry the gulf side of the narrow island, where the tide is usually 8 feet deep. He kept his humor though, texting to “send cold beer” at one point. Now he sees furniture floating down the street with small boats.

He says the storm surge was at least 6 feet deep on his island, 76 miles from Irma’s eye. He can see now that structures survived, but the storm left a big mess at ground level.

Irma set all sorts of records for brute strength before crashing into Florida, flattening islands in the Caribbean and swamping the Florida Keys.

It finally hit the mainland as a big wide beast, but not quite as monstrous as once feared. The once-Category 5 storm lost some of its power on the northern Cuba coast.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HURRICANE_IRMA_THE_LATEST?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-09-11-07-05-11

Florida picks up the pieces of Irma’s devastation: 7.2million left without power and at least seven dead after hurricane beat a path across the state before being downgraded to a tropical storm

  • Irma weakened to a tropical storm on Monday, as it continued to pummel northern Florida 
  • The storm is expected to move into Georgia later today, where Atlanta has been put on a tropical storm warning for the first time ever and schools are closed for the day 
  • More than 4,000 flights were cancelled on Monday, mostly out of Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa’s airports  
  • About 7.2 million people are without power and it could take a few days to by fully restored 
  • Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys early Sunday morning then pushed up the Gulf Coast
  • The National Hurricane Center said water levels in Naples rose 7ft in just 90 minutes with substantial flooding
  • Seven deaths reported in Florida so far but officials admit they do not have a definitive number of fatalities yet
  • The storm has toppled cranes, swallowed streets and ripped the roofs off homes  
  • Nearly seven million people had been told to leave their homes in mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders
  • More than 200,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast 
  • The storm has already claimed at least 25 lives across the Caribbean since it took hold earlier in the week 

The first Floridians are returning home today to survey the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma.

The powerful hurricane made landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys as a category 4 storm and then made it’s way up the Golf Coast – knocking out power to some 7.2million people in the southeast, swamping downtown Miami with storm surge and blowing the roofs off homes.

More than 200,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast.

As of Monday morning, the storm was still pummeling northern Florida but had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Irma’s maximum sustained winds were down to 60 mph as the storm was about 50 miles south-southeast of Albany’ Georgia Monday afternoon. It’s moving at 17 mph.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia should keep getting soaked, with rain totals eventually accumulating to 8 to 15 inches. Isolated parts of central Georgia, eastern Alabama and southern South Carolina may get up to 10 inches of rain.

So far, the storm is believed to have caused seven deaths – including two in the Florida Keys, which was under mandatory evacuation.

But this morning, Florida Director of Emergency Management Bryan Koon said he could not confirm or deny reports of multiple deaths or extensive damage, admitting: ‘I don’t have any numbers on fatalities at this point.’

Scroll down for video 

A person walks through the flooded streets of a trailer park in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida

Marie Powell surveys damage to her property at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Tommy Nevitt carries Miranda Abbott, 6, through floodwater caused by Hurricane Irma on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida on Monday

Debris from destroyed mobile sit in the Naples Estates mobile home park in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida Monday, September 11, 2017

Kelly McClenthen returns to see the flood damage to her home with her boyfriend Daniel Harrison in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

Wrecked boats that have come ashore are pictured in Coconut Grove following Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, U.S., September 11, 2017

The Sunrise Motel remains flooded after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

Water rises in a neighborhood after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Florida Monday, September 11, 2017

Floodwaters surround a marina in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida 

Floodwaters surround a marina in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida

Hurricane Irma will cross into Georgia on Monday, bringing heavy wind and rain to the state 

A van remains in a sinkhole on Monday  in Winter Springs, Florida after Hurricane Irma passed through the state

People walk around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through Miami, Florida on Monday

A man walks by damage from Hurricane Irma at Sundance Marine in Palm Shores, Florida, Monday, September 11, 2017

Boats sit on the bottom in the north Florida panhandle community of Shell Point Beach as Hurricane Irma pulls the water out September 11, 2017 in Crawfordville, Florida

Downed power lines are seen in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

The roof of a gas station is shown damaged by Hurricane Irma winds on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

A gas station is shown damaged by Hurricane Irma winds on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Pedestrians try to walk as waves crash at The Battery as Tropical Storm Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

This satellite image shows Tropical Storm Irma as it moves up Florida's West Coast Monday morning

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there’s damage across the state caused by Hurricane Irma and it’s still too dangerous for residents to go outside or return from evacuation.

Scott said Monday on Fox News that he’s concerned about flooding now unfolding in Jacksonville and the amount of damage in the Florida Keys. The governor will be flying out of Mobile, Alabama, on a U.S. Coast Guard plane down to the Keys where he plans to inspect the extent of the damage there.

Scott asked Floridians to be patient and warned that roads are impassable and that there are downed power lines.

A Fort Lauderdale police officer holds the paw of his K-9 as the two take a nap during the storm on Sunday 

While Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm over Florida, it still has winds near hurricane force.

Jacksonville, Florida, authorities are telling residents near the St. Johns river to leave quickly as floodwaters rise.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office warned people in evacuation zones A and B along the St. Johns River to ‘Get out NOW.’

They say river is at historic flood levels and likely to get worse at high tide around 2pm.

On its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office told those who need help evacuating to ‘put a white flag in front of your house. A t-shirt, anything white.’

Rescue teams were ready to deploy.

The storm surge flooding in downtown Jacksonville has already exceeded a record set during a 1965 hurricane by at least a foot. A river gauge downtown in the Atlantic Coast city measured 3 feet above flood stage.

John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, says crews have pulled 46 people from flooded homes by early Monday and an undetermined number are still stranded as the area’s creeks and ponds are getting record flooding.

Ward says between 400 and 500 homes received severe flood damage but there have been no serious injuries or deaths.

To the south, winds knocked a utility pole and power lines onto a sheriff’s cruiser late Sunday in Polk County, illustrating the dangerous conditions for emergency personnel. A deputy and a paramedic, who had just escorted an elderly patient to safety, were trapped for two hours until a crew could free them. Both were unhurt.

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

A man walks through a flooded street in a rural area the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A tree blocks a road after it was downed by winds from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

People take photos of boats that have come ashore in Coconut Grove following Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, on Monday

Partially submerged boats caused by Hurricane Irma sit in the water in a marina in downtown Miami, Florida on Monday

People wade through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

People wade through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Kelly McClenthen walks through her flooded neighborhood, as she returns to see the damage to her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Florida on Monday

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

Street flooding is prevalent on the Southbank of downtown as Hurricane Irma passes by in Jacksonville, Florida on Monday

A fire truck is shown in a flooded area in the wake of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida 

The entirety of the Florida Keys was under evacuation during Irma but an estimated 10,000 stuck around to weather the storm 

Above, another flooded neighborhood in Key Largo, Florida on Monday 

A pickup truck drives through a flooded area of Key Largo, Florida on Monday 

The winds ripped the roofs off of these two homes in Key Largo, Florida, as seen on Monday

The heavy winds left many of the trees in Key Largo, Florida barren after the storm 

And more than 120 homes were being evacuated early Monday in Orange County, just outside the city of Orlando, as floodwaters started to pour in. Firefighters and the National Guard were going door-to-door and using boats to ferry families to safety. A few miles away, 30 others had to be evacuated when a 60-foot sinkhole opened up under an apartment building. No injuries were reported in either case.

Much of central Florida, including Orlando, suffered significant damage as Irma blew through Sunday night and into Monday morning.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said Monday morning that there’s been widespread damage and significant power loss throughout the area.

Jacobs said approximately 300,000 residents in Orlando are without power. She also said 60 per cent of the fire stations are operating on backup generators and dispatchers received 1,381 calls between Sunday at midnight and 5:45 a.m. Monday morning.

Residents are being asked to minimize usage such as flushing toilets, bathing, along with washing dishes and laundry.

SeaTow workers attempt to save a damaged motor yacht in the Pompano Beach, Florida on Monday, following the passing of Hurricane Irma

A driver guides his pickup truck through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A driver guides his pickup truck through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A man walks through Hurricane Irma floodwaters on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A man walks through Hurricane Irma floodwaters on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

People move around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

People move around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

ouis Castro picks up a coconut downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

ouis Castro picks up a coconut downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Members of the Bonita Springs Fire Department set off to survey damage in a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Members of the Bonita Springs Fire Department set off to survey damage in a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Some street flooding persists on Biscayne Boulevard after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo. After losing power late Sunday, he made it through the worst of the storm shaken but unhurt.

‘The hurricane winds lashed the shutters violently, throughout the night,’ he wrote in a text message, ‘making sleep impossible.’

As morning broke, he couldn’t open the electric shutters to see outside.

‘It’s so dark in here,’ he said.

Nearly 5.8 million homes and businesses across Florida lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. More than 125,000 were in the dark in Georgia.

Downtown Savannah was getting soaked Monday morning, with winds just strong enough to rustle treetops and shake small branches onto the roads. Impacts from the storm were expected throughout the day.

People walk through flooded streets the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A Miami Beach Police officer watches residents attempting to return to their homes after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

Mike Getman (left) and Rob Beaton (right), residents of the north Florida community of Shell Point Beach, walk the newly exposed Gulf bottom as Hurricane Irma pulls the water out on September 11, 2017 in Crawfordville, Florida

Neighbors emerge from their homes to get a first look at the damage to their neighborhood caused by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

A women stands near trees downed by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

A women stands near trees downed by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Zachary Harrison, his fiance Cheyanne O'Donnell and their three children, Jaiden, 14, Jackson, 9, and Ella, 10-months, get their first look at the damage to their neighborhood caused by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

A large tree is seen laying on top of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

A large tree is seen laying on top of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

The National Weather Service said the threat of storm surge had decreased Monday along Georgia’s 100 miles of coast, but flooding rains could still cause swollen rivers, streams and creeks to overflow.

Officials say at least one tornado has been reported in coastal Georgia as strong winds and drenching rains from Tropical Storm Irma hammer the state.

The National Weather Service also issued a flash-flood emergency for Charleston,  South Carolina as heavy rains begin to move into areas already flooding by ocean surge from Tropical Storm Irma.

Irma has now knocked out power to around 190,000 customers in South Carolina.

Firefighters on one of South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island are staying inside until the worst weather from Tropical Storm Irma passes.

Irma’s center was about 105 miles north of Tampa when forecasters announced it had weakened to a tropical storm. However, they warned its maximum sustained winds were 70 mph, and the storm was still producing higher gusts.

The monster storm, which arrived in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, has toppled at least three constructions cranes – two over downtown Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale.

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area had feared a first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921, but the storm weakened to a Category 2 as it approached that area.

A Florida Highway Patrol vehicle drives by part of a roof and ceiling torn off of a nearby home from the high winds from Hurricane Irma at an intersection on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

A Florida Highway Patrol vehicle drives by part of a roof and ceiling torn off of a nearby home from the high winds from Hurricane Irma at an intersection on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Above, another view of downed trees in Miami, Florida on Monday  

Above, another view of downed trees in Miami, Florida on Monday

A couple leave their flooded home the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Myers, Florida

A couple leave their flooded home the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Myers, Florida

A home with a religious message taped to the front door sits apparently undamaged just hours after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

A home with a religious message taped to the front door sits apparently undamaged just hours after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

Cars make their away through a flooded street the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Hurricane Irma whips an aluminum carport in the north Florida panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Monday

Above, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida 

A fallen palm tree and a roof litters a street as Rick Freedman checks his neighborhood's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

The front staircase sits damaged as Rick Freedman surveys the aftermath on his home with his parrot Mango from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

Hotel guests are served breakfast by lamplight as the power remains off at the Courtyard by Marriott one day after Hurricane Irma struck the state on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been, but warned residents that dangerous storm surge continued. He also described downed power lines and other debris.

Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ Buckhorn said ‘What we thought was going to be a punch in the face was a glancing blow.’

Buckhorn did say there are a lot of downed power lines and debris.

He said Tampa’s officials have vehicles positioned ‘to be sure that when that surge comes in we can keep people out of the streets.’

He said he expected power to be out for some sections of Tampa for at least a couple more days.

Meanwhile, rescue efforts ramped up in the evacuated neighborhood near Orlando as Guardsmen in helmets and fatigues rolled through standing water in a high-clearance vehicle. Firefighters rescued a puppy from one of the homes there and leashed the anxious dog to the front of one of their trucks to give it water and snacks.

As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to survey the damage, but authorities warned that conditions remain dangerous and asked people not to venture outside because of a curfew.

Sedat Esenbahar carries his bird Maxiy after checking out of at the Courtyard by Marriott, where he stayed during Hurricane Irma on Monday

Sedat Esenbahar carries his bird Maxiy after checking out of at the Courtyard by Marriott, where he stayed during Hurricane Irma on Monday

Seat Turtle Overshight Protection co-founder Richard WhiteCloud works to recover and re-bury sea turtle eggs that were destroyed during Hurricane Irma along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Monday 

Seat Turtle Overshight Protection co-founder Richard WhiteCloud works to recover and re-bury sea turtle eggs that were destroyed during Hurricane Irma along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Monday

A bicycle rack is half buried in blown sand at Fort Lauderdale Beach the day after Hurricane Irma slammed into the state on Monday

A homeless man lays on a bench on Historic River Street on Monday in Savannah, Georgia 

Evacuees, from left, Dennis Larios, Odaliz Larios, Jennifer Larios and Kevin Renoso, wait to leave the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Tony Lobato works on removing tree branches and debris downed in the early morning hours by Hurricane Irma from his home on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

Tony Lobato works on removing tree branches and debris downed in the early morning hours by Hurricane Irma from his home on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

Sam Parish wades through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Miami downtown residents return home after evacuating before Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

Road crews clear debris after Hurricane Irma passed through on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Kristen Bell sings for Hurricane Irma evacuees

Actress Kristen Bell says she’s ‘singing in a hurricane’ while riding out Irma in Florida.

The ‘Frozen’ star is in Orlando filming a movie and staying at a hotel at the Walt Disney World resort. She stopped by an Orlando middle school that was serving as a shelter and belted out songs from ‘Frozen.’

Back at the hotel, Bell posted pictures on Instagram of her singing with one guest and dining with a group of seniors.

Bell also helped out the parents of ‘Frozen’ co-star Josh Gad by securing them a room at the hotel.

Bell tells Sacramento, California, station KMAX-TV – where her father is news director – that the experience is her version of one of her favorite movies, ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’

Actress Kristen Bell performed at a shelter during Hurricane Irma on Sunday, belting out songs from the movie Frozen

Irma has so far claimed seven lives so far in the U.S.

Two of the people killed were in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. One of the bodies was found in a Shark Key home while another man was killed when he lost control of a truck carrying a generator.

A sheriff’s deputy and corrections officer were killed in a two-car crash in Hardee county during heavy rains.

Hardee County Sheriff’s deputy and mother-of-one Julie Bridges and Hardee Correctional Institute sergeant Joseph Ossman crashed and died around 60 miles from Saratosa.

Another victim was killed in Miami-Dade county from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator while one person died in a car crash in Orange County.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday that one storm-related death has been confirmed in Worth County, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Atlanta. She had no further details.

In the Caribbean, at least 37 were people were killed during Irma’s destructive trek across exclusive islands known as the vacation playground for the rich. Ten of those deaths were in Cube.

Randy Bresnik took this picture of Hurricane Jose's eye from the International Space Station

Hurricane Irma, taken by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, seen from the International Space Station.

INSIDE THE EYE OF HURRICANE JOSE – Taken by Randy Bresnik aboard the ISS – ‘A walk inside the Eye of #Jose. Just amazing to see through the eye to the surface!’

Bridges, one of the people killed during the hurricane, had been collecting supplies to keep helping civilians when she collided with Ossman, 53, who had been going to work.

‘She worked the shelter all night and was going home to retrieve some more items and then go back to the shelter,’ Hardee County Sheriff Arnold Lanier told the Herald-Advocate.

The wreck was reported at 6.53am, having been found at the intersection of Old Crewsville Road and SR 66 in Zolfo Springs. No other vehicles or people were involved.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, and has not yet ruled whether the winds and rain caused by Irma at the time of the crash directly influenced the accident.

Bridges was a mother of an eight-year-old boy and a member of the sheriff’s Honor Guard. Ossman, meanwhile, had been working at the Hardee Correctional Institute for 21 years.

‘We are heartbroken by this loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fellow officers at this time,’ Corrections Secretary Julie Jones told the Miami Herald.

They were not the only people to die amid the deluge.

Evacuees leave the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Tony Loduca walks back to his apartment past a roof whose tiles where torn off from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

A roof is strewn across a home's lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday
A roof is strewn across a home’s lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor’s damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

Brian Baker, of Valrico, Florida, cuts up an Oak tree that fell across Falling Leaves Drive after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on Monday in Valrico, Florida

Wind from Hurricane Irma whip the flags on City Hall, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, in Savannah, Georgia
Wind from Hurricane Irma whip the flags on City Hall, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, in Savannah, Georgia

A large tree is seen laying in the front yard of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida 

Ducks swim through a street the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida. Hurricane Irma made another landfall near Naples yesterday after inundating the Florida Keys

People inspect their neighborhood that was flooded by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Men clear debris from a roadway the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Another man was killed after tropical-storm-strength winds caused him to lose control of the truck he was driving through Monroe County, which contains Key West. He had been carrying a generator, local officials told ABC News.

And an elderly man died of natural causes while sheltering in a school in the city of Marathon on the Keys, Larry Kahn, an editor for FlKeysNews.com, said.

‘He was staying in one of the classrooms,’ Khan explained. ‘Police came up, along with a couple of nurses who are here, actually, got everyone out of the room and sealed it off.’

Those deaths come after Irma claimed at least 25 lives in the Caribbean as it swept over several countries, destroying entire islands. Yesterday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the confirmed death toll on the Caribbean island of St Maarten had increased to four.

In one of the largest U.S. evacuations, nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. More than 200,000 people waited in shelters across Florida.

An overnight curfew was imposed in Miami to stop opportunistic looters taking advantage of the countless coastal homes that now stand abandoned.

But at least 32 people have been arrested across Florida for trying to loot the empty businesses and homes.

Two people burst into an Orlando sporting store and allegedly stole guns, before facing off with SWAT in a standoff. Shocking videos also emerged of gangs trying to break into stores and take advantage of deserted properties.

Bryan Koon, Florida’s emergency management director, said late Sunday that authorities had only scattered information about damage.

‘I’ve not heard of catastrophic damage. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means it hasn’t gotten to us yet,’ Koon said.

Pedestrians walk by a flooded car on a street as Tropical Storm Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday 

A pet owner protects her dog as pedestrians prepare for waves crashing over The Battery as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

Mattson Wiksell picks up debris at Waterfront Park as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

Mattson Wiksell picks up debris at Waterfront Park as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

A man takes pictures as people prepare for huge wave crashing over The Battery as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

In the low-lying Keys, appliances and furniture were seen floating away, and Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said the ocean waters were filled with navigation hazards, including sunken boats.

The county administrator, Roman Gastesi, said crews would begin house-to-house searches Monday morning to check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities. Gastesi says they are ‘prepared for the worst.’

About 30,000 people heeded orders to leave the Keys as the storm closed in, but about 10,000 refused, in part because, to many storm-hardened residents, staying behind in the face of danger is a point of pride.

Koon said it was likely they did not have power or water and that there would have been ‘fairly significant impact to homes’.

‘It is obvious we need to get in there, assess the damage and figure out what we need to do for helping those folks,’ he said.

John Huston, who stayed in his Key Largo home, watched his yard flood even before the arrival of high tide.

‘Small boats floating down the street next to furniture and refrigerators. Very noisy,’ he said by text message. ‘Shingles are coming off.’

As the nation’s eyes turned to follow Irma up the west coast of Florida, the Keys began to take in the immensity of the damage done.

Another victim of the storm was claimed when his truck (pictured) was swept off the road and into a tree in Monroe County. He has not yet been named

People drive through a neighborhood that was flooded by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Workers from Orange County rescue make a final check of an area on a flooded street after they were called to rescue residents from their homes during Hurricane Irma on Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

An abandoned car that was stranded in storm surge remains on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard one day after Hurricane Irma slamed into the southern part of the state on September 11, 2017

Florida responded with the launch of a massive airborne relief mission by Monroe County Emergency Management, whose director, Martin Senterfitt, called the damage done to the Keys a ‘humanitarian crisis.’

He promised disaster mortuary teams, as well as C-130 cargo planes, which United States Air Force special operations pilots are testing flights around the massive storm. Also on the mission will be Air National Guard flights of more C-130s, backed up by squadrons of helicopters. They are expected to start arriving early Monday morning.

The first load will head to Florida Keys Marathon Airport. As it can handle about two C-130 planes at a time, the plan is to land two every two hours, keeping a steady flow of good.

‘The help is on its way,’ Senterfitt said, adding: ‘We’re going to get more aid than we’ve ever seen in our lives.’

It has been difficult to determine the extent of damage Hurricane Irma caused in the Florida Keys due to difficulties with communication.

The Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Key West to provide emergency services.

An update from Monroe County describes ‘an astounding recovery effort’ taking place in the Florida Keys.

The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier will be anchored off Key West to provide emergency services, and three other Navy vessels are en route.

Officials said the National Guard has arrived in the island chain, and state transportation officials have cleared six of 42 bridges as safe for travel. However, roads remain closed because of debris, and fuel is still a concern. There is no water, power or cell service in the Keys.

Irma once was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 mph (300 kph). For days, forecasters had warned Irma was taking dead aim at Florida. Irma made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key, not far from Key West. It then rounded Florida’s southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed north.

Meanwhile, an Atlanta airport official says there’ve been around 800 cancellations due to the threat of Irma, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil says the airport will still be operational Monday and will monitor storm conditions.

Gobeil says the airport created an overflow parking plan to allow planes unable to land in areas such as Florida to park at the airport in Atlanta.

Miami International Airport has announced it will be closed today and there has been no confirmation flights will resume on Tuesday.

Orlando International Airport closed Saturday and won’t reopen to passenger traffic until after Irma has passed, a damage assessment has been completed, necessary recovery efforts made and the airlines are consulted to determine when best to resume operations.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport says on its website it has no timetable yet to reopen. Its last flights were Friday. Tampa International Airport also is closed as Hurricane Irma moves up the Florida peninsula.

Airlines are preparing their recovery schedules, which may take several days to execute.

As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move out of Florida, work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline. Hurricane Irma caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped of their tanks, and/or filled gas cans to power generators. This led to outages at various gas stations throughout Florida and neighboring states, and it could take a week for supply conditions to return to normal.

Suppliers face an uphill battle in the coming days, trying to keep gas stations supplied, as Florida evacuees return home in large numbers after the storm. Gas stations not located along major highways should have an easier time keeping supplies, as residents are no longer ‘panic pumping’, since the storm is no longer a threat. Refueling gas stations along major evacuation routes will be a top priority, as it was before the storm. Motorists are still likely to find long lines, which could lead to temporary outages, due to the surge in demand.

Heavy westbound traffic comes to a stop at a back up on I-4 near the Celebration exit as Florida residents attempt to make their way back home after evacuating Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Steve Slonan inspects a friend's home after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

: A man walks through a flooded street in a rural part of Naples the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A family leaves their flooded home in a rural area the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A swamped boat off Watson Island marina after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

A damaged boat is seen at the Dinner Key marina after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

‘Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully,’ said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. ‘First, ensure you know there are no major hazards at home or along your travel route. Expect congestion on the roadways, as the first few days after the storm will be the busiest. Pay close attention to traffic reports. Ensure you have a full tank of gas before you hit the road. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. Bring a gas can in case you run out of fuel. It is not safe to drive with a full gas can inside an enclosed vehicle.’

President Donald Trump said last night that the U.S. may have gotten a ‘little bit lucky’ after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed west along Florida’s coast.

He said Irma might not have been quite as destructive as a result, but that things will play out over the next several hours. Trump added that Irma would cost ‘a lot of money’ but he wasn’t thinking about that because ‘right now, we’re worried about lives, not cost.’

He declared a major disaster in the state of Florida, making federal aid available to people affected by Hurricane Irma in nine counties already hit by the storm.

The federal help includes temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover in the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

With no gas stations open anywhere in the area, motorists running low on fuel stop at an on ramp to westbound I-4 and get a few gallons of gas from Javier Franqui, a Florida Department of Transportation Road Ranger, on September 11, 2017 in Lake Helen, Florida

With no gas stations open anywhere in the area, motorists running low on fuel stop at an on ramp to westbound I-4 to refuel from tanks strapped to their vehicle's roof on September 11, 2017 in Lake Helen, Florida

Debris is shown strewn along a roadway in the wake of powerful Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Isamorada, a village encompassing six of the Florida Keys

A road is partially blocked by a tree downed in the high winds from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

Residents make their way across a flooded street after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Florida Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

Lawrence Buckmen rides his motorcycle through Hurricane Irma flood waters on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

Lawrence Buckmen rides his motorcycle through Hurricane Irma flood waters on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

The crumbled canopy of a gas station damaged by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 11, 2017

A patient is evacuated by boat from the St. Vincent's Medical Center after floodwaters from Hurricane Irma covered the first floor of the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

A patient is evacuated by boat from the St. Vincent’s Medical Center after floodwaters from Hurricane Irma covered the first floor of the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

A lamp post is wrapped around a car in the wake of Hurricane Irma in Kissimmee, Florida September 11, 2017

Federal funding also is available to governments and non-profit organizations for emergencies in all 67 Florida counties. For the first 30 days, that money will cover 100 percent of the costs of some emergency responses.

As Irma swept over the country, people trapped in its midst told DailyMail.com of the drama they were enduring. One of them was lifelong Floridian Jacqueline Cobb of Pembroke Pines, which is near Miami.

She had been forced to bunker down in a school as it was the only shelter she could find for people with special needs, like her friend Stephen Herndon who has problems with his autonomic nervous system that can cause severe nosebleeds, fainting and overheating.

She had originally found a hotel for them to stay in, but it canceled their booking, saying that the lack of impact windows and a backup generator meant they had to shut down.

Cobb helped out as a Red Cross volunteer in Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but says Irma is on another level. ‘It was nothing like this, because Hurricane Andrew was a smaller, more compact hurricane, so you could get away from it,’ she said.

‘We did not feel the wrath, so to speak, in the northern part of the county, but in the southern part it was a battle field. It was completely decimated, some houses were completely destroyed, others were partially damaged.’

Cobb and her friend are safe in her shelter, but a shocking text message left her worried about her home and neighbors.

‘I received a code red tornado alert,’ she said. ‘I have a two-story townhouse and there is a three-and-a-half-ton air conditioner on the rooftop. I’m on a lake in the first house, so If the tornado rips that off, it will open up my house and let water into the building,’ she said.

Heavy rainfall is predicted to continue falling through Tuesday, even as Irma moves on, breaks up and dissipates

Also in the line of the storm was British tourist Stephanie Jay, who took shelter in Naples with her husband Elliot and their two-year-old daughter Isabella.

The family, from St Albans outside London, had enjoyed a week’s holiday in Miami until they were unceremoniously evicted from their hotel.

‘We went down to reception to ask what was happening and were told to pack our bags and move out of the hotel,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘They weren’t very helpful considering they knew we were very worried, especially as we don’t know many people in Florida… They clearly didn’t want us to be there and made our one night there very difficult.’

‘We tried to get out of Florida but all the flights were booked and we knew they would be closing the airport so didn’t want to be stranded with a two year old,’ she said.

Instead, they spent a night in Naples with a friend before heading to Bradenton, south of Tampa. That has left them in the path of the oncoming Irma – but they are remaining positive and hope to return home as planned next week.

In more serious trouble were a pair of would-be sailors who called Martin County Sheriff’s Office for help after they remained on their boat in the storm – even though they could not swim.

‘MCSO Marine Rescue and Strike Teams are launching into treacherous waters to begin a marine rescue of two people who remained on their boat near the causeway,’ a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

‘The mariners say they are unable to swim. We will keep you posted on this. Please pray for the safety of our brave first responders.’

Video later showed the paid being led off their boat safely onto the docks.

Reader Jenny Williams sent in this photograph from her Saratosa neighborhood where she and many of her neighbors had decided to weather out the storm

Key West's streets started to flood as Hurricane Irma struck the area. Even with the eye 15-20 miles out, winds and rain had made it too dangerous to drive

Water levels rose rapidly in Naples (above) from Hurricane Irma's storm surge with a reported a seven foot rise of water in just 90 minutes. The storm kept its top sustained wind speed of 110 mph yesterday

People tend to a car that flipped over on Cape Coral Parkway during Hurricane Irma last night in Cape Coral

A tree is seen toppled onto a pickup truck in Miami after being battered by Irma's winds. Flying debris is an omnipresent danger for those outside in the terrifying weather

Dramatic pictures have emerged showing the moment Hurricane Irma's powerful 130mph winds ripped the roof off a Miami home

Dramatic pictures have emerged showing the moment Hurricane Irma's powerful 130mph winds ripped the roof off a Miami home

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Irma made initial landfall at 9:10am on the Florida Keys, which are now the subject of a massive relief effort. Five people have been confirmed dead in the disaster

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Irma made initial landfall at 9:10am on the Florida Keys, which are now the subject of a massive relief effort. Five people have been confirmed dead in the disaster

Irma tore down a construction crane atop a skyscraper high over Miami

The crane can also be seen here. Cranes are designed to withstand strong winds and twist like weather vanes to reduce resistance, but Irma was too much

Palm Bay officer Dustin Terkoski walks over debris from a partially collapsed two-story home at Palm Point Subdivision in Brevard County

Large waves produced by Hurricane Irma crash all the way over the top of Anglins Fishing Pier in Fort Lauderdale as Irma picks up steam in the area

Large waves produced by Hurricane Irma crash all the way over the top of Anglins Fishing Pier in Fort Lauderdale as Irma picks up steam in the area

Recently planted palm trees lie strewn across the road as Hurricane Irma passes through Miami Beach

At least 32 people have been arrested across Florida for trying to loot empty businesses and homes that have been evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Irma

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4872940/The-sun-rises-devastation-wreaked-Irma-Florida.html#ixzz4sP9v0kAu

Story 2: Bannon on Sixty Minutes — Republican Leadership Promises Not Kept — Firing of FBI Director Comey — A Big Mistake — DACA May Lead To Republican Civil War — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017, Part 2 of 2, Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

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Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Part 2 of 2 Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

FULL. President Trump speech on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri. August 30, 2017.

Special Report with Bret Baier 8/30/17 – Special Report Fox News August 30, 2017 TRUMP TAX REFORM

Destroy Trump Media – President Trump Pitches Tax Reform Plan – Kellyanne Conway – Hannity

President Trump’s tax plan

Will US Markets Finally Get Tax Reform – 29 Aug 17 | Gazunda

Keiser Report: The bizarre decade (E1117)

Ben Shapiro: Donald Trump outlines his tax reform plan (audio from 08-31-2017)

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part I

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part II

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Fate of Tax Cuts and Tax Reform

How Trump’s tax plan impacts average Americans

Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Alienates His Base

Cohn Says White House Is Concerned About U.S. Wages

Gary Cohn on the Trump administration taking on tax loopholes

As White House Cracks Show, Are Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn Headed Out? | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Gary Cohn’s take on tax reform

Limbaugh Airs Montage Of The ‘3 LIES’ Media Said After Trump’s Tax Speech

Trump’s tax cuts will be done before Thanksgiving: Grover Norquist

Donald Trump Is To Give Speech On Tax Reform But He Has No Tax Reform Plan | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Mark Levin: Donald Trump gave a good speech on tax reform (August 30 2017)

Why U.S. Tax Reform Isn’t Likely in 2017

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Honda – “Impossible Dream” Power of Dreams Advert Full

 

Trump’s Tax Reform Plan Targets Middle-Class Tax Complexity

Policy director at Competitive Enterprise Institute

President Trump visited Missouri to talk about tax reform, stressing simplicity and middle-class tax relief and “plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

Noting the elimination of “dozens of loopholes,” special interest carve-outs, and the reduction of brackets and rates that Congress achieved three decades ago, Trump said, “the foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker — and pro-American.”

We’re about to re-enter Obamacare repeal-style complexity and venom, but it’s important, I think, for the public to see the tax reform debate as something other than a campaign to benefit business. The U.S. does have comparatively high corporate tax rates. And the Econ 101 lesson on tax incidence shows that consumers pay much of the corporate tax, not the company.

It’s probable some Democrats would like to reform the tax code, especially come 2016, but the zero-tolerance of Trump, such as that seen at the Commonwealth Club when Sen. Diane Feinstein was barely favorable toward him, prevails.

But things can turn on a dime, as the response, likely bipartisan, to Hurricane Harvey may further show. And separately the controversial debt limit needs to be addressed no matter what (hopefully with parallel cuts in regulatory costs), and that debate will influence the trajectory of tax reform.

My broader point here though is is that taxation is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the complexity of regulatory compliance. The economy marinates in compliance burdens to service noble ends, but sometimes serve regulators instead. Trump characterized the Internal Revenue Service’s unfairness to the typical taxpayer like this:

The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instructions. Today, that basic form has one hundred pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff. The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests. And most importantly, this is wrong.

There’s solid backup for what Trump’s talking about in terms of pubic burdens, even if some are disinclined  to reckon with it, or if their allegiances require professing public disdain for corporations (one of the great democratizing forces in human history, but that’s another story).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees, I think, that Trump’s example of the IRS is a good one. In the course of a project I have of compiling examples of government proclamationsthat are not laws from Congress, nor even formal regulations from agencies, but instead “memoranda” and “guidance,” the IRS emerged as a leading “offender.”

A September 2016 GAO report called  “Regulatory Guidance Processes: Treasury and OMB Need to Reevaluate Long-standing Exemptions of Tax Regulations and Guidance,” looked at the Internal Revenue Service’s hierarchy of law, regulations, guidance, and explanatory material with respect to communicating interpretation of tax laws to the public.

It’s an eye-opener.

A pyramid diagram presented by GAO was topped by the Internal Revenue Code, as passed by Congress. Beneath that, in widening stages, one finds “Treasury Regulations,” “Internal Revenue Bulletins,” (IRB), “Written Determinations,” and “Other IRS Publications and Information.” The IRS regards the bulletins as generally authoritative, while determinations tend to apply to individual taxpayers.

That’s a lot of public guidance, difficult to absorb.

As the GAO explains:

Treasury and IRS are among the largest generators of federal agency regulations and they issue thousands of other forms of taxpayer guidance. IRS publishes tax regulations and other guidance in the weekly IRB. Each annual volume of the IRB contains about 2,000 pages of regulations and other guidance documents.

From 2013 to 2015, each annual Internal Revenue Bulletin edition contained some 300 guidance documents; back in 2002-2008, about 500.

When one sees such document proliferation from the IRS, an impartial observer might surmise the time for tax reform and simplification has arrived.

Likewise, when regulatory guidance multiplies that applies to various sectors—like finance, Internet, health care—one might similarly conclude the time has come for Congress to enact regulatory liberalization. Trump mentioned cutting the overall federal regulatory burden in the Missouri speech, too.

We knew it all along, but paying taxes also requires paying a lot of attention to regulations. In more ways than one, tax reform and regulatory reform go hand in hand.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2017/08/30/trumps-tax-reform-plan-targets-middle-class-tax-complexity/#31fda3736ef8

Ann Coulter goes off on Trump over taxes, saying he delivered his ‘worst, most tone-deaf speech’

Conservative author Ann Coulter rebuked President Donald Trump over his speech on Wednesday in which he rolled out the broad outline of his tax reform plan.

In a slew of tweets on Wednesday, the firebrand conservative pundit said the president’s focus on simplifying the tax code and lowering business taxes to 15% was missing an opportunity to prioritize some of his more incendiary, but unique, policy objectives, including building a southern border wall and deporting immigrants living in the US without permission.

This isn’t a “once in a lifetime” shot at tax cuts! EVERY GOP cuts taxes! This is “once in a lifetime” shot to save US: Wall & deportations!

Bush cut taxes! Did it create millions of jobs? Nope. The rich pocketed their tax cut & sent jobs abroad, hired guest workers. F– them.

It’s so obvious Trump’s only getting polite applause for tax cuts. Want to get the crowd hollering, @realDonaldTrump? Talk about THE WALL!

It’s like Night of the Living Dead watching our beloved @realDonaldTrump go to DC & start babbling the same old GOP nonsense on tax cuts.

Tax cuts are a 2d term issue. 1st term: BUILD THE WALL, End DACA, Deport Illegals, No Refugees, No Muslims, Immigrn Moratorium. SAVE USA!

Cutting taxes doesn’t do a damn thing for wages if you allow businesses to keep bringing in cheap foreign labor!

To create jobs for AMERICANS, no more cheap foreign workers, CUT REGULATIONS & cut corporate taxes. (NOT income taxes.)

Coulter particularly singled out the similarities between Trump’s plan and a hypothetical plan that other Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would’ve put forward.

This speech could have been given by Jeb! — except even he wouldn’t have talked about the govt helping yuppie women with child care costs.

Oh stop pretending this is about letting “families” keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street.

Indeed, beyond the prominent former Wall Street figures playing key roles in overhauling the tax code, Trump’s administration has absorbed some financial figures from Bush’s policy world.

Notably, Bush’s former senior policy director Justin Muzinich joined the Treasury Department in March to work closely with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on “major policy initiatives” and on tax reform.

Over the past several months, Coulter has increasingly criticized Trump and mocked him on social media and in interviews, saying that he has not fulfilled his anti-immigration campaign promises.

“The millions of people who haven’t voted for 30 years and came out to vote for Trump, thinking, ‘Finally, here’s somebody who cares about us’ — Nope!” Coulter told The Daily Beast after former chief strategist Steve Bannon left the White House earlier this month. “Republicans, Democrats — doesn’t matter. Jeb exclamation point, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton — doesn’t matter. Goldman Sachs is running the country.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/ann-coulter-trump-taxes-speech-2017-8

 

Who Pays Income Taxes?

The charts below illustrate the share of taxes paid by income percentiles for Tax Year 2014, the most recent set of data available from the IRS. NTUF has broken down the federal share of income taxes by gross income to show how much each bracket contributes yearly.

For more information:

 

https://e.infogr.am/38b876d9-6c59-4a84-8b02-1ed223f6a454?src=embed

https://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/who-pays-income-taxes

Trump Hits The Road To Promote Tax Cuts (Details To Come)

President Trump participates in a tax overhaul kickoff event at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump called for a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code during a visit to Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon. The speech came a day after Trump’s trip to Harvey-hit Texas and is the first in what is expected to be a series of traveling sales pitches on taxes from the president.

But the White House is not ready to spell out what the rewrite will look like or what kind of price tag it will carry. Trump spoke in broad terms about creating a tax system that favors middle-class Americans and keeps business in the U.S.

“First and foremost our tax system should benefit loyal, hardworking Americans and their families. That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code, eliminate special-interest loopholes,” he said.

Trump called on Congress to join him and “unite in the name of common sense and the name of common good” to create jobs and improve America’s “competitive advantage.”

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done, and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have been meeting regularly with Republican congressional leaders to discuss tax policy. Thus far, though, they’ve committed only to a vague statement of principles that calls for lower tax rates on both individuals and businesses. Cohn said it will be up to lawmakers to fill in the details.

“We’ve got a great, I would say, skeleton,” Cohn told reporters earlier this month. “We need the Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward. And it’s our objective to do that between now and the end of the year.”

With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the presidency, supporters have described this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the tax code in accordance with GOP principles. But after Trump’s insistence on swift, ultimately unsuccessful bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some observers are skeptical that Trump has the patience or discipline to see a tax overhaul through to completion.

Mnuchin insists tax cuts are now Trump’s No. 1 priority.

“He’s going to go on the road,” Mnuchin said. “The president is 100 percent supportive of us passing legislation this year.”

The White House has been promising such a sales campaign for weeks, only to see much of August consumed with controversy over the president’s Charlottesville, Va., remarks and his intraparty carping with fellow Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

“Earlier in the year I said I thought we’d get it done by August, and I was wrong,” the Treasury secretary said. “I am now going to say that I’m very hopeful, and I think we can get this done by the end of the year, but we will continue to revisit it.”

“The president’s leadership on this is critical,” said a senior White House official who briefed reporters on the Springfield trip. “Everybody involved understands that and believes that. And he is ready to really take this conversation where it belongs and that’s the heartland of America.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The president now feels that it’s the right time to begin engaging directly with the American people on tax reform,” he said.

The administration argues the current tax code is too complicated and rates are too high to encourage investment in the U.S.

“We are not competitive with the rest of the world on the business tax and on the personal income tax,” Cohn said.

Neither the White House nor congressional leaders have spelled out how much lower tax rates should go, nor have they specified how the government would make up the lost revenue. They’re counting on faster economic growth to help close the gap. They’ve also promised to eliminate unspecified tax “loopholes,” which Trump called out multiple times in his speech on Wednesday.

Back in April, the White House proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent while reducing the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. That’s broadly similar to a proposal Trump put forward during the presidential campaign. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said at the time 78 percent of the tax savings in Trump’s campaign plan would go to people on the top 20 percent of the income ladder. (Nearly a quarter would go to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.)

The campaign plan was also forecast to reduce government revenue by more than $6 trillion over a decade — a gap that would be difficult to erase through growth and loophole closings.

The White House has said it wants to preserve deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings and mortgage interest.

One popular tax break that could be on the chopping block is the deduction for state and local taxes. That’s one of the biggest loopholes in the tax code. Eliminating it would boost federal revenues by an estimated $1.3 trillion over a decade. The tax break is particularly popular with residents in the Northeast and West Coast, typically blue states with relatively high tax rates.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., favored a so-called border adjustment tax on imports as another way to raise revenue and offset the cost of income tax cuts. But lawmakers ultimately scrapped that idea after consultation with the administration.

Senate Republicans plan to use a procedural tactic to prevent Democrats from blocking the tax overhaul with a filibuster. Under Senate rules, though, any measure passed with that tactic must not add to the federal deficit for more than 10 years.

This presents a choice for Republicans: Go with a more modest tax cut that can be offset by growth and closing loopholes, or opt for a more ambitious cut but allow it to sunset after a decade.

For all the challenges, GOP lawmakers are under political pressure to pass something they can brand as “tax reform.” Otherwise, they’ll have to face voters in 2018 with little to show for two years of single-party rule.

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/30/547114024/trump-hits-the-road-to-promote-tax-cuts-details-to-come

 

Trump’s Fill-in-the-Blanks Tax Reform Plan

The president is leaving the details to Republicans in Congress. Only they haven’t figured them out yet, either.

Alex Brandon / AP

notable

On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Missouri to expand on the need for tax reform, to lay the groundwork for a major legislative push in Congress this fall. But more than anything else, what Trump’s speech revealed was that despite months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Republicans aren’t much closer to enacting the most significant overhaul of the tax code in 30 years than they were back in April.

Trump was pitching a plan that doesn’t exist and demanding votes for a bill that hasn’t been written. If anything, the address the president delivered was even less detailed than the skimpy blueprint the White House issued in the spring. The most specific item Trump mentioned—a 15 percent corporate tax rate, down from the current 35 percent—is something that Republican tax-writers on Capitol Hill believe is impossible to achieve under the parameters with which they must work. He talked in broad terms about simplifying the code so that it’s easier for people to file their taxes, removing unspecified special interest loopholes, and encouraging businesses to bring back profits they’ve parked overseas—all policies that have been central to GOP proposals for years and offer little indication of the particular direction the party plans to go.

This was a bully pulpit speech. Having laid down his principles, Trump is once again leaving the dirty work to Congress, a strategy that even he seemed to acknowledge was as risky as it is politically necessary. “I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me? Do you understand?” he warned at one point, a none-too-subtle reference to his recent hectoring over the GOP’s failure to deliver on health care.

To the delight of Republican leaders, the one lawmaker Trump singled out for pressure was not one of their own; for the first time in weeks, the president picked on a Democrat, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who is up for reelection in a state he won easily in November. If McCaskill doesn’t vote for tax reform—whatever it turns out to be—“you have to vote her out of office,” Trump demanded of the crowd.

Top Republicans were evidently pleased with the speech, or at least with the fact that the president stuck to the message they were told beforehand he would deliver. Within minutes after it ended, statements (undoubtedly prewritten) flowed in with glowing reviews. “President Trump is taking the case for tax reform straight to Main Street,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “We are united in our determination to get this done.” Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said his remarks were “excellent.” Even members of Trump’s Cabinet that have no role in tax reform, like Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, or in domestic politics whatsoever, like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, chimed in with praise.Yet while Trump talked at length about the need for tax reform, he said little about how Republicans would get it done. And that’s because they still don’t know themselves. GOP leaders haven’t made several crucial decisions. Will the legislation be a revenue-neutral tax reform that fully offsets the reduction in rates by eliminating costly—and popular—exemptions and deductions? Or will it be a more straightforward tax cut, that would likely have to expire within a decade to comply with Senate rules? How low will they try to push down the corporate rate? About all they’ve determined is that 15 percent is too low, but will it be closer to 20 percent or 25 percent? And on, and on.
The Ways and Means Committee is currently writing the tax bill, but the only timeline they’ve set is to get it done by the end of 2018. The longer they take to write it, however, the less realistic that deadline becomes. And as I explainedearlier this month, Republicans must first pass a budget before they can even get to tax reform, which, to this point, has been no easy task.These unresolved details have also tripped up Trump’s messaging toward Democrats. Does he want their support, or are Republicans planning to do it alone as they tried to do on health care? In his speech, the president started out by saying he wanted to work with both parties to enact tax reform. Later on, however, he attacked Democrats as “obstructionists” and called out McCaskill. By the end, he was back where he began, saying tax reform was an issue on which lawmakers should put aside partisanship.Democrats say there’s been no outreach from the administration on taxes, and they’ve noted that Republicans are, for now, planning to use the same budget reconciliation process on tax reform that they used in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That would allow them to skirt a Democratic filibuster and pass tax reform with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Unlike Obamacare repeal, some Democrats have expressed a willingness to work with the administration on taxes, so long as the GOP plan is not skewed to benefit the wealthy. With so few details, they were unimpressed with Trump’s speech in Missouri. “Stepping to the podium to declare that we need tax reform does not signal leadership on this issue; rather, doing so without offering any proposals on how to achieve it is an abdication,” said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat. “If the president is serious about tax reform, he should focus on the how, not the why.”Trump is not a detail-oriented president. That much is clear. But while he may be able to stick to broad strokes in rally-the-public speeches and leave the rest to Congress, his party will eventually have to make the tough decisions about who’s going to pay more, who gets to pay less, and by how much. Until that happens, tax reform isn’t going anywhere.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/trumps-fill-in-the-blanks-tax-reform-plan/538509/

Trump’s populist message on taxes comes with heavy dose of corporate rate cuts

Trump’s speech didn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

08/30/2017 01:59 PM EDT

Updated 08/30/2017 04:08 PM EDT

Trump maintained that a new tax system was crucial to ushering in a new prosperity in the U.S., in a speech that White House officials acknowledged beforehand would be light on policy details.

“Instead of exporting our jobs, we will export our goods. Our jobs will both stay here in America and come back to America. We’ll have it both ways,” Trump said at a Springfield, Mo., manufacturer, adding that millions of people would move from welfare to work and “will love earning a big fat beautiful paycheck.”

“We believe that ordinary Americans know better than Washington how to spend their own money and we want to help them take home as much of their money as possible and then spend it,” he said. “So they’ll keep their money, they’ll spend their money, they’ll buy our product.”

But Trump’s speech also underscored just how big a challenge he and a Republican Congress will face in pulling off a true overhaul of the tax code. The president only briefly touched on policy details, saying that businesses would “ideally” be taxed at a top rate of 15 percent and that the tax code would contain incentives for child care — a top priority of his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done,” Trump said. “And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?”

Trump’s speech was aimed at showing that Republicans have the message down on tax reform, but lawmakers have yet to confront the monumental task of turning the rhetoric into reality.

Senior White House officials this week repeatedly billed the president’s speech as an address focused on why tax reform needs to happen, not how it will materialize. That’s the sort of big-picture cover on taxes that Trump didn’t offer congressional leaders in their doomed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

But while congressional leaders undoubtedly welcome the president making the broad case for a tax revamp, Trump’s speech doesn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

Republicans still have to figure out how to pass a budget this fall, a process that will play a big role in deciding how generous a tax plan they can write. They also have to decide whether tax changes should be permanent or temporary, or a mix of the two, and whether their plan should be a net tax cut that would add to the deficit.

And that’s before they will feel the full brunt of a massive lobbying push on what would be the first major tax overhaul in more than 30 years. Already, GOP lawmakers are starting to hear from industries that might be the losers in a tax overhaul, such as big corporations that don’t want a minimum tax on foreign earnings and a retirement sector wary of potential changes to savings plans.

The hurdles won’t be limited to policy, either, after a summer that saw both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue grow increasingly wary of the other as the GOP’s health care efforts imploded. Republicans on Capitol Hill steamed privately in July that Trump’s obsession with White House infighting and the Russia controversy was a major factor in the death of the repeal effort. They’re crossing their fingers that he won’t be so easily distracted on tax reform.

 

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on his tax plan

 August 31 at 3:00 AM
The Fact Checker’s round-up of five fishy claims made by President Trump in his speech on Aug. 30. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday delivered an address on his “principles” for a tax plan in Springfield, Mo., though he provided few details. He also shifted from extolling how well the economy is doing to language that suggested the United States was suffering terribly. As usual, some of the president’s  facts and figures were a bit fishy, so here’s a roundup of 10 of his claims.

“In the last 10 years, our economy has grown at only around 2 percent a year.”

This is misleading. By going back 10 years, Trump includes the worst recession since the Great Depression, which brings down the 10-year average. This chart shows that that quarterly average since the recession was well above 2 percent, even hitting 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014. The GDP growth rate for the United States averaged 3.22 percent from 1947 to 2017.


Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“We just announced that we hit 3 percent in GDP. Just came out. And on a yearly basis, as you know, the last administration, during an eight-year period, never hit 3 percent.

Trump plays some sleight-of-hand with the numbers. He first cites an annualized quarterly figure — 3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017 — and then compares it to what appears to be calendar-year figures for former president Barack Obama.

As the chart above shows, the economy grew better than 3 percent in eight quarters during Obama’s presidency, most recently in the third quarter of 2016. (Technically, this is known as “annualized quarterly change” or SAAR — seasonally adjusted at annual rate.) Trump gets his terminology wrong, using the phrase “yearly basis,” which could mean from the third quarter of 2015 to the the third quarter of 2016, in which case Obama easily exceeded 3 percent numerous times. On an annual basis, Obama’s best year was 2015, when annual growth was 2.6 percent.

“If we achieve sustained 3 percent growth, that means 12 million new jobs and $10 trillion of new economic activity over the next decade. That’s some numbers.”

With this statement, Trump downgrades promises he made during the 2016 campaign — he said he would achieve 4 percent GDP growth and 25 million jobs over 10 years.

“In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instruction. Today, that basic form has 100 pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff.”

Trump is correct that in 1935, the basic 1040 individual income tax form had two pages of instructions, but this claim needs historical context.

There are many reasons the instructions were so simple back then — including that just about 4 percent of the population paid the federal individual income tax. In 1935, the individual income tax largely was a tax on the wealthy. In fact, the top rate in 1935 was 63 percent — and President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised it to 75 percent later that year.

This changed with World War II. “Driven by staggering revenue needs, lawmakers in both parties agreed to raise taxes on everyone: rich, poor, and — especially — the middle class,” wrote Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project.

“The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.”

This is misleading. The 90 percent figure he is referring to includes people using tax software, such as Turbo Tax, which helps people file their taxes on their own. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2016 report, 54 percent of individual taxpayers pay preparers and about 40 percent of individual taxpayers use software that costs about $50 or more.

Yet later during the speech, he made it sound as if the “professional help” is only referring to hired accountants: “That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code … and allow the vast majority of our citizens to file their taxes on a single, simple page without having to hire an accountant.”

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago. It eliminated dozens of loopholes and special interest tax breaks, reduced the number of tax brackets from 15 to two, and lowered tax rates for both individuals and businesses. At the time it was really something special … In 1986, Ronald Reagan led the world by cutting our corporate tax rate to 34 percent. That was below the average rate for developed countries at the time. Everybody thought that was a monumental thing that happened. But then, under this pro-America system, our economy boomed. It just went beautifully right through the roof. The middle class thrived, and median family income increased.”

Trump heaped praise on Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986, which simplified tax brackets and eliminated tax shelters; it also lowered the top individual tax rate to 28 percent but raised the capital gains rate to the same level, giving them parity. But this is a rather strange flip-flop because Trump always has been a fierce critic of the bill, blaming it repeatedly for the savings and loan crisis, a decline in real estate investing and the 1990-1991 recession.

“This tax act was just an absolute catastrophe for the country, for the real estate industry, and I really hope that something can be done,” Trump told Congress in 1991. In a television interview with Joan Rivers, he said: “What caused the savings and loan crisis was the 1986 tax law change. It was a disaster. It took all of the incentives away from investors.”

Trump also frequently attacked one of the Democratic sponsors of the bill, Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), such as in a Wall Street Journal commentary in 1999. “Mr. Bradley’s last big idea to be enacted into legislation was also one of the worst ideas in recent history,” Trump wrote, saying Bradley was responsible for the elimination of a tax shelter for real estate investments. (He said the good parts of the bill could be attributed to Reagan.)

“We lost the jobs. We lost the taxes. They closed the buildings. They closed the plants and factories. We got nothing but unemployment. We got nothing.”

As Trump frequently notes, the unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent — the lowest level in 16 years. So this overwrought language seems misplaced.

“We have gone from a tax rate that is lower than our economic competitors, to one that is more than 60 percent higher. … In other words, foreign companies have more than a 60 percent tax advantage over American companies.”

The United States certainly has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world, currently pegged as high as 39.1 percent when including state taxes. (The federal rate is 35 percent.) Trump says it is 60 percent higher than “our economic competitors,” comparing 39.1 percent to the average rate for the other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is 25.5 percent when not weighted for GDP. (It is 29.6 percent when weighted for GDP.)

But the official rate does not necessarily tell the whole story. What also matters is the actual tax a company pays, after deductions and tax benefits. That is known as the effective tax rate, which can be calculated differently depending on the survey. According to the Congressional Research Service, the effective rate for the United States is 27.1 percent, compared to an effective GDP-weighted average of 27.7 percent for the OECD. “Although the U.S. statutory tax rate is higher, the average effective rate is about the same, and the marginal rate on new investment is only slightly higher,” the CRS says.

The Congressional Budget Office, when it examined the issue, said the U.S. effective tax rate was 18.6 percent, which it said was among the highest of the biggest economic powers, the Group of 20.

Trump, naturally, used the numbers that suggest the difference is really huge.

“Today, we are still taxing our businesses at 35 percent, and it’s way more than that. And think of it, in some cases, way above 40 percent when you include state and local taxes in various states. The United States is now behind France, behind Germany, behind Canada, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and many other nations.”

As we noted, the statutory federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, making the United States the highest among G-20 countries, including the countries Trump listed. But the effective corporate tax rate in the United States in 2012 was 18.6 percent, making it the fourth highest among G-20 countries, behind Argentina, Japan and Britain, according to the CBO.

“Because of our high tax rate and horrible, outdated, bureaucratic rules, large companies that do business overseas will often park their profits offshore to avoid paying a high United States tax if the money is brought back home. So they leave the money over there. The amount of money we’re talking about is anywhere from $3 trillion to $5 trillion.”

There are no official, current numbers on the profits held overseas by U.S. companies, just estimates. The White House would not respond to a query on where Trump is getting these numbers, but his high-end figure appears to be an exaggeration. The Internal Revenue Service in 2012 said the figure was $2.3 trillion, and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it had risen to $2.6 trillion in 2015. There are other estimates as well, but none top $2.8 trillion, according to PolitiFact.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/08/31/fact-checking-president-trumps-speech-on-his-tax-plan/?utm_term=.8ea0dc0c4d24

 

Story 2: Revised Second Estimate of Real GDP Growth in Second Quarter of 2017 Is 3 Percent — Videos

Economic growth hits 3% in Q2

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Nightly Business Report – August 30, 2017

Can Trump’s plan double U.S. economic growth?

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Real GDP Per Capita and the Standard of Living

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
BEA 17—42

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables, contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa Mataloni: (301) 278-9083 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Kate Pinard: (301) 278-9417 (Corporate Profits) cpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (301) 278-9003 (News Media) Jeannine.Aversa@bea.gov
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2017 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2017 (Preliminary Estimate)
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the second quarter of
2017 (table 1), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the
first quarter, real GDP increased 1.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the
"advance" estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6
percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth
remains the same; increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and in nonresidential fixed
investment were larger than previously estimated. These increases were partly offset by a larger
decrease in state and local government spending (see "Updates to GDP" below).

Real GDP: Percent Change from Preceding Quarter
Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an
increase of 2.7 percent (revised) in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental
measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the
second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the first quarter (table 1).

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

The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected upturns in private inventory
investment and federal government spending and an acceleration in PCE that were partly offset by
downturns in residential fixed investment and state and local government spending and a deceleration
in exports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.0 percent, or $189.0 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $19,246.7
billion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 3.3 percent, or $152.2 billion (table 1 and table
3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent,
compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index
increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent (appendix table A).


Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised up from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions
to PCE and to nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to state
and local government spending. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed "Key Source
Data and Assumptions" file is also posted for each release.  For information on updates to GDP, see the
“Additional Information” section that follows.

                                    Advance Estimate        Second Estimate
			           (Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP                                  2.6                  3.0
Current-dollar GDP                        3.6                  4.0
Real GDI                                   …                   2.9
Average of Real GDP and Real GDI           …                   3.0
Gross domestic purchases price index      0.8                  0.8
PCE price index                           0.3                  0.3


For the first quarter of 2017, the percent change in real GDI was revised from 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent
based on revised first-quarter tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
program.

Corporate Profits (table 12)

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital
consumption adjustment) increased $26.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of
$46.2 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $29.4 billion in the second quarter, compared with
a decrease of $40.7 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased
$64.8 billion, compared with an increase of $3.8 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits
decreased $8.6 billion, compared with a decrease of $9.3 billion. This measure is calculated as the
difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the
second quarter, receipts increased $8.5 billion, and payments increased $17.1 billion.





                                       *          *          *




                           Next release:  September 28, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
                     Gross Domestic Product:  Second Quarter 2017 (Third Estimate)
                      Corporate Profits:  Second Quarter 2017 (Revised Estimate)




                                       Additional Information

Resources

Additional resources available at www.bea.gov:
•	Stay informed about BEA developments by reading the BEA blog, signing up for BEA’s email
        subscription service, or following BEA on Twitter @BEA_News.
•	Historical time series for these estimates can be accessed in BEA’s Interactive Data Application.
•	Access BEA data by registering for BEA’s Data Application Programming Interface (API).
•	For more on BEA’s statistics, see our monthly online journal, the Survey of Current Business.
•	BEA's news release scheduleNIPA Handbook:  Concepts and Methods of the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts

Definitions

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy
less the value of the goods and services used up in production. GDP is also equal to the sum of personal
consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, net exports of goods and services, and
government consumption expenditures and gross investment.

Gross domestic income (GDI) is the sum of incomes earned and costs incurred in the production of GDP.
In national economic accounting, GDP and GDI are conceptually equal. In practice, GDP and GDI differ
because they are constructed using largely independent source data. Real GDI is calculated by deflating
gross domestic income using the GDP price index as the deflator, and is therefore conceptually
equivalent to real GDP.

Current-dollar estimates are valued in the prices of the period when the transactions occurred—that is,
at “market value.” Also referred to as “nominal estimates” or as “current-price estimates.”
Real values are inflation-adjusted estimates—that is, estimates that exclude the effects of price changes.
The gross domestic purchases price index measures the prices of final goods and services purchased by
U.S. residents.

The personal consumption expenditure price index measures the prices paid for the goods and services
purchased by, or on the behalf of, “persons.”

Profits from current production, referred to as corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment
(IVA) and capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj) in the NIPAs, is a measure of the net income of
corporations before deducting income taxes that is consistent with the value of goods and services
measured in GDP. The IVA and CCAdj are adjustments that convert inventory withdrawals and
depreciation of fixed assets reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to the current-cost economic
measures used in the national income and product accounts.

For more definitions, see the Glossary: National Income and Product Accounts.


Statistical conventions

Annual rates. Quarterly values are expressed at seasonally-adjusted annual rates (SAAR), unless
otherwise specified. Dollar changes are calculated as the difference between these SAAR values. For
detail, see the FAQ “Why does BEA publish estimates at annual rates?”

Percent changes in quarterly series are calculated from unrounded data and are displayed at annual
rates, unless otherwise specified. For details, see the FAQ “How is average annual growth calculated?”

Quantities and prices. Quantities, or “real” volume measures, and prices are expressed as index
numbers with a specified reference year equal to 100 (currently 2009). Quantity and price indexes are
calculated using a Fisher-chained weighted formula that incorporates weights from two adjacent
periods (quarters for quarterly data and annuals for annual data). “Real” dollar series are calculated by
multiplying the published quantity index by the current dollar value in the reference year (2009) and
then dividing by 100. Percent changes calculated from real quantity indexes and chained-dollar levels
are conceptually the same; any differences are due to rounding.

Chained-dollar values are not additive because the relative weights for a given period differ from those
of the reference year. In tables that display chained-dollar values, a “residual” line shows the difference
between the sum of detailed chained-dollar series and its corresponding aggregate.


Updates to GDP

BEA releases three vintages of the current quarterly estimate for GDP:  "Advance" estimates are
released near the end of the first month following the end of the quarter and are based on source data
that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency; “second” and “third” estimates
are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively, and are based on more detailed
and more comprehensive data as they become available.

Annual and comprehensive updates are typically released in late July. Annual updates generally cover at
least the 3 most recent calendar years (and their associated quarters) and incorporate newly available
major annual source data as well as some changes in methods and definitions to improve the accounts.
Comprehensive (or benchmark) updates are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major
periodic source data, as well as major conceptual improvements.
The table below shows the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real GDP between
different estimate vintages, without regard to sign.

Vintage                               Average Revision Without Regard to Sign
                                         (percentage points, annual rates)
Advance to second                                     0.5
Advance to third                                      0.6
Second to third                                       0.2
Advance to latest                                     1.1
Note - Based on estimates from 1993 through 2015. For more information on GDP
updates, see Revision Information on the BEA Web site.

The larger average revision from the advance to the latest estimate reflects the fact that periodic
comprehensive updates include major statistical and methodological improvements.

Unlike GDP, an advance current quarterly estimate of GDI is not released because data on domestic
profits and on net interest of domestic industries are not available. For fourth quarter estimates, these
data are not available until the third estimate.

https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2017/gdp2q17_2nd.htm

 

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Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884, May 1, 2017

Image result for total eclipseImage result for branco cartoon on resignation of steve bannon

Story 1: Eclipse Totality — Moon Shadow — Here Comes The Sun — The Primary Cause of Climate Change —

Cat Stevens – Moon Shadow (1970)

 

 

Cat Stevens – Moonshadow Lyrics

[Chorus:]
Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow—
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow—And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more.And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more.[Chorus]And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more.And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk…Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?[Chorus]
Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.
Songwriters: YUSUF ISLAM, CAT STEVENS

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Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles Tribute

Here Comes the Sun: A Tribute to George Harrison by Paul Simon, Crosby and Grahm Nash

Beatles – Here Comes The Sun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

 

Read more: Beatles – Here Comes The Sun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Story 2: Bannon Breitbart Banishment– Interventionist War Mongering Generals and Political Establishment Winning — Trump Just Another Big Government Liberal Democrat Presidents (Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson) — Videos —

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his programme. Zero. They’re going to try to moderate him.”

~ Stephen Bannon

 

Image result for steve bannon and donald j. trump

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Bannon, backed by billionaire, prepares to go to war

Win McNamee / AP

Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.
  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go “thermonuclear” against “globalists”that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.
  • Watch for Breitbart’s Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.

Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.

  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go “thermonuclear” against “globalists”that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.
  • Watch for Breitbart’s Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.

https://www.axios.com/bannons-next-move-2474479917.html

Steve Bannon, the ousted White House chief strategist, is reportedly considering starting a television network which would allow him to “go nuclear” as he settles vendettas with moderate advisers in the White House and pressures President Donald Trump to pursue a populist agenda of economic nationalism.

Allies of Mr Bannon compared him to a “tiger freed from his cage,” suggesting things would get “ugly” as he targets the Republican establishment and what he calls “West Wing Democrats”.

The departure of Mr Bannon came amid one of Mr Trump’s worst weeks as president.

He and first lady Melania Trump decided not to participate in the annual Kennedy Center Honours event celebrating American culture after a backlash from those being honoured. The White House said the first couple were pulling out to “allow the honourees to celebrate without any political distraction”.

I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S

Meanwhile, a host of charities canceled annual fundraising events at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. They included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the American  Cancer Society.

Mr Bannon’s possible TV network would be intended as a rival to Fox News, the Rupert Murdoch-owned channel which has been supportive of Mr Trump, but which Mr Bannon now regards as too moderate,  Axios reported.

Immediately after his departure on Friday he re-assumed control of Breitbart, the influential right-wing news website he steered before joining Mr Trump’s campaign last year. Mr Bannon said he was “going to war for Trump,” which appeared to mean the original hard line policies pursued during the campaign.

Mr Bannon’s new venture would probably be funded by Bob Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire and conservative mega-donor, who has previously backed both Breitbart and Mr Trump. Mr Mercer and Mr Bannon met last week to discus plans for after his White House exit. The following evening Mr Mercer had dinner with the president.

On the outsideMr Bannon will target a ring of presidential advisers sometimes known as the “globalists”. It includes Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, with whom Mr Bannon appeared to have lost a battle over putting more troops in Afghanistan.

Also in the firing line are Republican leaders in Congress such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans who Mr Bannon blames for stalling Mr Trump’s agenda, including funding for the border wall, and failing to overturn Obamacare.

Mr Bannon has few allies left within the White House promoting his agenda of economic nationalism. There was speculation that the few who remain, including senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, and deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, could be purged by John Kelly, the new chief of staff who is seeking to bring order to the chaotic administration.

Mr Kelly’s authority over the White House was boosted by Mr Bannon’s departure. A triumvirate of military generals – Mr Kelly, Mr McMaster, and Defence Secretary James Mattis – now hold extraordinary sway within the administration.

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser and friend of Mr Bannon, said:  “It’s a tough pill to swallow because you have a Republican West Wing that’s filled with generals and Democrats. It would feel like the twilight zone.”

In a candid first interview after leaving, Mr Bannon told the Weekly Standard: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his programme. Zero. They’re going to try to moderate him.”

Mr Bannon added: “I feel jacked up. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. It’s Bannon the Barbarian. I am definitely going to crush the opposition. I built a f****** machine at Breitbart. We’re about to rev that machine up.”

A friend of Mr Bannon told The Atlantic: “Steve is now unchained. He’s going nuclear. You have no idea. This is gonna be really f****** bad.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/steve-bannon-apos-nuclear-west-171613803.html

Story 3: The Democrat Party of Slavery, Segregation, Ku Klux Klan, and White Supremacy Rewrites History By Tearing Down Confederate Soldier Monument Statues  That They Put Up — Admit It —  Democrats Are Racists That Play Race Cards — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos —

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

~George Santayana

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RIOTERS BEWARE: LIBERAL PROTESTERS ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE WHAT JEFF SESSIONS DID SECONDS AGO

 

Tearing Down Monuments of War – Is Destroying the Legacy of American Heroes Right or Wrong?

Credit Denise Sanders/The Baltimore Sun, via Associated Press

Recent news involving Al Sharpton criticizing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Museum, and the arrest of Antifa protester Takiyah Thompson who helped topple a Confederate statue, has many liberals applauding and many conservatives decrying the death of American Patriotism.  Who’s right and who’s wrong?  Is it repairing injustice or perpetuating the hate?

The Left’s Argument: Glorification of the Immoral

The left’s argument is that to bring public glory to Confederate, Nazi or Colonial figures of history, who were decidedly immoral in conscience, is our right as a progressive society. The first amendment guaranteeing freedom of expression doesn’t apply to public statues, which supposedly reflect the modern public’s appreciation of the American heritage of old. We keep their statues because, in theory, we agree with these depictions of heroism. We feel they represent us as a state, as a federal republic, and as Americans.

First amendment rights do not protect the right of public exhibition—rather, the right to privately exercise free speech and pay honor to any historical figure of choice behind closed doors or in a gathering of peers, with land owners that reflect the views of the party.

Not surprisingly, Nazis and other white supremacists are finding it difficult to book public venues because their ideology is offensive to most Americans. Corporations that own these venues usually don’t court public controversy for any reason, and so citing first amendment rights does not apply in this case.

If Antifa’s concluding solution to dissenters of the left is ever to invade the private properties of white supremacists, they would be exhibiting behavior like the Nazi Gestapo—the very evil they claim to fight against. However, the demonstrations have not reached that point yet.  Thus far the argument is that “we” don’t want symbols of segregation or slavery in the public eye.

The Right’s Argument: Cultural Marxism

The right’s argument is that removing these figures is un-American, treasonous and seditious—especially since Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Robert E. Lee, are all important figures in American history and they’re all at threat of being torn down.  Yes, many historical figures were slave owners and were, in the case of people like Harry Truman and FDR, full blown unlikable racists who spoke disparagingly of blacks and other non-whites.

Should this necessitate removal from a public square because it is little more than an offensive exhibition, as is burning the flag, or burning copies of the Quran?

The reason why such violent demonstrators are being called “communists” is not simply as a name dropping slur. Conservatives are referring to a pattern in history called Cultural Marxism.

The very definition of Cultural Marxism is the belief that all modern human behavior stems from the culture society allows—and that all culture is malleable, and easy to shape if only society takes a firm hand in censoring thoughts and statements contrary to public decency.

Cultural Marxism has a historical pattern of “modern societies” destroying icons and imagery of the past, particularly in destroying public statues, or even in destroying the legacy of historical, fictional or religious figures—a need for modern society to reject the old doctrines and old way of life in favor of a new and greater morality.

Some have gone so far to say that Cultural Marxism is the intentional destruction of all “holy things” an old society has accomplished, from legacies to traditional schools of thought, to even the gradual molding of individual preferences towards a State model worthy of following.

The Historical Perspective of Destroying Statues

Subversify and other third party progressives take an unemotional approach to the argument, and one based on a largely historical perspective. We know for example:

1. The dead are conscious of nothing. It doesn’t hurt Andrew Jackson’s feelings that he’s not on the $20 bill. It doesn’t concern Jefferson or Washington in the least, that people 200 years removed find their lifestyles offensive. This is merely the progression of modern society—and old society will never be in sync with the modern world because it hasn’t progressed to our state of civilized behavior, our compassion and humanity, learned by experience, a gradual process that takes literally hundreds of years.

2. It is common behavior among all revolutionaries to destroy the statues, legacies and icons of old figures that no longer serve a political purpose. This is nothing new—liberal radicals in Russia did the same on the early 20th century, as did revolutionaries in the French Revolution, and all the way down to ISIS in modern times. These people would not be revolutionaries if they “fought with honor” and tried to be nice to all those wonderful dead people.

3. In an ideal world, there would be no monuments to war heroes because nobody would ever see the value of resorting to war. The pacifist argument is that we should never think of a man who has resorted to war, resorted to murdering other people for his political purposes, as anyone deserving of special honor.  He did what had to be done, according to his perspective, not what he was proud of doing.

One may argue that violence is a necessary evil, such as protecting against home invaders, serial killers and gang warfare. That may be so, but at no point has anyone erected a monument saluting Bob for shooting his next door neighbor after a break-in attempt.

Wars, at the very best, are failures of human communication. Horrific “final solutions” that leaders take because they have run out of all other reasonable options. The aim of any so-called humanist should be to promote peace, find other options to violence, and negotiate a compromise so that we can all live one more day without gunning each other down in cold blood.

There may be no real advantage to removing statues, besides appeasing an angry mob—especially since the news media is what actually riles people up to commit violence in the first place. People only know how to respond to any situation after hearing a news narrative that demonstrates a “call to action” that makes sense.

We the Subversives, in opposition to the 1% and the oppression of the poor, will not violently intervene to oppose the removal of statues consecrating dead men and their dead wars. We can only imagine that Jefferson himself, and Washington himself, would be far less concerned with their legacies and far more concerned with the survival of the United States of America—especially as it faces its greatest divisionary war yet.

Instead, we will only remind the radicals of society that if you’re going to censure war criminals and morally repugnant men and women of yesterday, don’t forget to do the same to men and women today who are equally flawed.

Destroy the legacies of men who invaded other countries and killed civilians for profit and political advantage. Stop paying homage to public figures who align themselves with political parties that are morally reprehensible, whether because of election corruption, or because their own history is steeped in racism, slavery advocacy, white supremacy and resisting a progressive society.

Subversify remains adamantly opposed to both Republican and Democratic parties and any other ideology that promotes hate and an oligarchian society.

 

The Late Mitchell Warren is the author of The End of the Magical Kingdom series, a fairy tale parody / political satire dealing with issues of politics, religion and individual responsibility.

http://subversify.com/2017/08/16/tearing-down-monuments-of-war-is-destroying-the-legacy-of-american-heroes-right-or-wrong/

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from the University of Texas campus in Austin early on Monday. CreditEric Gay/Associated Press

With little warning, the University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate monuments from its campus overnight, 10 days before classes are set to begin.

Work to remove statues of two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, and the Confederate cabinet member John Reagan began late Sunday and continued into the early morning. A statue of James Stephen Hogg, Texas’ 20th governor, was also being removed.

The university’s president, Greg Fenves, explained that the decision had been made after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., this month opened his eyes to what the statues represented. One woman was killed and dozens more injured after white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park.

In a letter to the Texas campus’s community, Mr. Fenves wrote that after the events in Charlottesville, it had become clear to him “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

He said the statues’ historical and cultural significance was compromised by what they symbolized, and noted that they were erected in the midst of Jim Crow and segregation and that they represented “the subjugation of African-Americans.”

“The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history,” Mr. Fenves wrote. “But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”

A university spokesman, J. B. Bird, said Monday that the school had chosen to remove the statues at night “for public safety and to cause the least disruption to the university community.”

The statues were the latest to be removed this year, mostly after the events in Charlottesville. In April and May, at night and under guard, New Orleans removed four Confederate statues that had been the subject of controversy for years. Last week, Baltimore removed four statues in the middle of the night, in a swift operation similar to the one in Austin. On Saturday, Duke University in Durham, N.C., removed a statue of Lee from a campus chapel, days after protesters toppled a Confederate statue at the Durham County Courthouse.

The removals have been accompanied by a new wave of opposition to the statues. On Saturday, a Houston man was taken into custody near a monument to Richard W. Dowling, a Confederate commander, in the city’s Hermann Park after a park ranger reported finding the man in possession of materials that could be used to make an explosive device.

The man, Andrew Schneck, 25, was charged with attempting to damage or destroy federal property, according to Abe Martinez, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of Texas.

According to a criminal complaint released by the United States attorney’s office, Mr. Schneck told the ranger that he wanted to harm the statue and did not “like that guy.”

Meanwhile, the University of Houston announced Monday that it would be changing the name of a campus residence hall, the Calhoun Lofts, to the more innocuous “University Lofts.” Although the housing unit was not originally named for John C. Calhoun, the seventh vice-president and a strong defender of slavery, the school said that it was changing the name “in the wake of recent events, and out of sensitivity to our diverse student community.”

In Austin, three of the statues will be added to the collection of a campus historical center, where they will join a Jefferson Davis statue that was taken down in 2015 after a white supremacist killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C. The statue of Mr. Hogg was removed because it was a part of the broader exhibit, not because the university had ideological objections to its presence on campus, Mr. Bird said. The university is looking to find a new place for it on campus.

General Johnston was appointed to his post by Jefferson Davis in 1861 and given command of the Confederate army’s western department. He was killed in the battle of Shiloh in 1862. After resigning a congressional seat in the lead-up to the Civil War, Mr. Reagan served as the Confederacy’s postmaster general.

Austin is the Texas university system’s flagship campus. The school’s history, like that of many southern institutions, is intimately linked with the history of the Confederacy. A task force assembled to study the statues in 2015 said that removing the statue of Mr. Reagan might “put a target” on other buildings or spaces that honor Texans who fought in the Confederate army. The report noted that those Texans would include much of the university’s founding generation, including George Washington Littlefield, a regent and benefactor who commissioned the statues.

 

Story 4: Barcelona Terrorist Killed — Videos

Police Kill Man Suspected Of Deadly Barcelona Van Attack, The Fugitive Was Wearing Bomb Belt | TIME

Barcelona Terrorist being shot dead by police in Cambrils

Barcelona terror attack: How it happened

Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

 

Hero policewoman kills FOUR jihadists wearing fake suicide vests made from Coke cans

  • Five ISIS jihadis were shot dead in a beach resort attack launched eight hours after 13 died in Barcelona
  • Jihadis in fake suicide belts gunned down by police in beach resort of Cambrils on the Costa Dorada at 1 am
  • A wounded extremist clambered to his feet and climbed crash barrier before he was killed with 15 bullets
  • Catalan police officer managed to shoot dead four of the five suspects using a handgun and saved partner
  • Yesterday a terrorist in a van launched murderous rampage on Barcelona’s packed Las Ramblas promenade
  • He fled the scene and police are now hunting for Moroccan-born Moussa Oukabir, 18, who rented the vehicle
  • Fellow young Moroccans Mohamed Hychami, Younes Abouyaaqoub and Said Aallaa now also on the run
  • Two attacks linked and police say 12-strong terror cell’s bomb factory packed with gas canisters exploded 

A hero policewoman surrounded by drugged-up jihadis wearing ‘Coke can’ suicide vests killed four out of five of them herself and saved an injured colleague, it was revealed today.

The terrorists carrying knives and an axe bailed out of their overturned Audi A3 used to plough into crowds on the seafront in Cambrils on the Costa Dorada at 1am today, killing a woman, 61, from Zaragoza, and injuring six others.

Two police officers were on a routine foot patrol when one was hit by the car and within seconds her partner pulled out a handgun and killed four of them as they charged her.

The fifth terrorist ran into a park and was gunned down minutes later by a policeman – but clambered to his feet with a smile on his face and ran at armed officers who eventually needed 15 bullets to kill him.

Today Catalan police chief Josep Luis Trapero confirmed a single officer, who was meant to be on holiday this week, killed four of the terrorists and said: ‘To kill four people, even if you are a professional, is not easy to digest’, adding the officer was now receiving psychological support.

Eight hours earlier a ‘linked’ ISIS van assault on the packed Los Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona killed 13 including a three-year-old girl and injured at least 100 victims from 34 different countries.

Fitzroy Davies, from Wolverhampton, described how officers gunned down one of the Cambrils jihadis and filmed the moment he rose to his feet in a scene he compared to a ‘horror film’.

He said: ‘He must have been on drugs. He took the first round of shots he fell on the floor, and then within two seconds, I thought I was watching a film, one of them horror films, the guy just stood up. He was taunting, smiling, laughing and he carried on walking to the police, and then they gave it to him again, a couple more shots and then he fell to the ground’.

He said that his suicide belt ‘looked fake’, adding: ‘It looked like he was wearing Coke cans on him’.

ISIS has been feeding its fighters cheap super-amphetamine pills called Captagon, used to induce euphoria and increase adrenaline during their murderous missions.

Shocking video footage shows bodies strewn across the ground in the seaside town 

This is the moment a jihadi (pictured centre) in a fake suicide vest is finally shot dead - seconds after he was gunned down and got up again to walk towards police

The jihadi in a fake suicide vest walsk up and down the street ranting at police

He was shot and fell down - only to get up again

Witnesses described how he stood up like a monster in a horror film before being shot again

The terrorist gunned down twice lies dead on the ground - four of the five jihadis were shot dead by the same hero policeman, it emerged today

The killers, wearing fake explosive belts and clutching knives, bailed out of the shattered Audi and were seen smiling and shouting taunts at police shot them dead in the street at around 1am local time

Moroccan-born Moussa Oukabir, 18, who lives in Barcelona, has been named as a suspect in the Las Ramblas attack after reportedly stealing his brother's ID to rent the van and is still on the run

Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir (pictured), Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa (pictured), Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami (pictured) and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub (pictured), over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured

Police are hunting (left to right) terror quartet Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia

The van used to plough into crowds in Barcelona is towed away by police in the early hours of this morning with the driver still believed to be at large

Spanish security forces escort a friend of two Moroccan-born brothers linked to the Barcelona plot after arresting him in the town of Ripoll, Catalonia

Spanish security forces escort a friend of two Moroccan-born brothers linked to the Barcelona plot after arresting him in the town of Ripoll, Catalonia

The terror began in Barcelona yesterday and spread to Cambrils overnight and police believe the terror cell has a safe house in Alcanar and has links to Moroccan brothers from Ripoll

The terror began in Barcelona yesterday afternoon and spread to Cambrils overnight and police believe the terror cell has a safe house in Alcanar and has links to Moroccan brothers from Ripoll. The coast south of Barcelona has a reputation as a hotbed for terrorists and a key meeting to plan 9/11 was held a few miles from Cambrils

Multiple gunshots heard after sirens near house party in Cambrils

THE TERRORISTS KILLED AND SUSPECTS ARRESTED AFTER THE BARCELONA ATTACKS

As of Friday morning, four people have been arrested and six people have been killed in connection with the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambril.

The four arrested include one Spanish and one Moroccan national.

One man handed himself into police on Thursday evening: This is Driss Oukabir, 28, a Moroccan national living in Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona.

He claims he is not connected and that his identity documents had been stolen by his younger brother.

Moussa Oukabir, 18, is now being hunted by police, thought to have been the driver of the van on Las Ramblas that killed 13 and injured 100.

Thursday also saw one man arrested in Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, where the gas explosion in a house is being investigated.

One man died in this explosion, who has since been linked to the attacks last night.

Police believe the house where the explosion took place was being used as a bomb factory by the terrorists.

The third arrest, a man of unknown nationality, was also made in Ripoll, on Friday morning.

He is reportedly the driver of a Ford Focus which smashed though a police checkpoint on Thursday.

The driver fled the scene, leaving behind the car in which police found the car’s owner stabbed to death.

Five men wearing fake suicide belts were shot dead by police after they launched a second terrorist attack in Cambrils, 70 miles southwest of Barcelona at 1am Friday morning, injuring seven people by driving an Audi A3 into crowds on the seafront.

Eight hours earlier an ISIS jihadi drove a van at 60mph through crowds of people on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas promenade – Spain’s busiest tourist street – which was ‘jam-packed’ with holidaymakers and locals.

Police are today hunting for Europe’s most wanted man Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan-born teenager believed to have been the driver. He fled on foot and it is unclear if he joined the Cambrils attack. Three of his young friends are also on the run.

His brother Driss’ ID was used to rent up to three vans including the one in the attack but he has handed himself into police and denied any involvement. He is among four people arrested.

Police are linking the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks and believe the terror cell with up to 12 members had a base in the resort town of Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, where a house-cum-bomb factory packed with gas canisters was destroyed in an explosion on Wednesday killing one man and injuring another.

Five jihadis have been shot dead and four men including Driss Oukabir, 28, have been arrested.

A fourth suspect was gunned down in his car as he rammed officers at a roadblock in Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona. But Spanish media said he may have been the victim of a hijacking because he also had knife wounds.

As ISIS terrorists caused carnage in one of Europe’s great cities once again, it emerged today:

  • 13 were killed and at least 100 injured after an ISIS jihadi used a white Fiat van as a weapon on Los Ramblas, Barcelona at 4pm yesterday;
  • The driver flees the scene after driving at 60mph along 500 yards of road swerving to hit men, women and children including dozens of tourists;
  • Fugitive Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan-born teenager, is Europe’s most wanted man and is believed to have been the driver of the van; Three other Moroccans Mohamed Hychami, 24, Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, and Said Aallaa, 18, are also on the run;
  • Moussa may have rented up to three vehicles using his brother Driss’ ID and his 28-year-old older sibling has since handed himself in to police and is among four suspects arrested, including some mutual friends;
  • At 1am a second terror attack takes place in Cambrils, a seaside resort around 70 miles from Barcelona. An Audi A3 with five jihadis on board ploughs through crowds killing one woman and injuring six more including a policeman. Their car turns over and they bail out with knives before being shot dead by police in the street;
  • Police say a house in Alcanar, further along the Costa Dorada from Barcelona, exploded on Wednesday killing one man. They say it was packed with gas canisters and contained maps of Barcelona and is now understood to be the terror cell’s headquarters and bomb factory;
  • A man was shot dead in the town of Sant Just Desvern close to Barcelona after he drove at a road block. Police now believe he was a not a terrorist either fleeing the city in fear or may have been the victim of a hijacking;
  • ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which are strikingly similar to attacks in LondonBerlin, Stockholm and Nice, where rented vehicles were used as weapons;
  • CIA warned Spanish police two months ago that Barcelona faced an imminent attack;

Families fled for their lives yesterday when suspected Islamic State terrorists mowed down dozens in a hotspot for British holidaymakers.

More than 100 men, women and children were mowed down and their broken bodies lay in pools of blood on the famous Las Ramblas street at 4pm yesterday, where 13 are confirmed dead.

Prams and toys lay among the carnage alongside tourists’ ‘selfie sticks’, discarded in the chaos as families fled the terror attack.

Shops, bars and restaurants packed with tourists and locals were abandoned with drinks, half-eaten meals and ice creams abandoned on the tables.

Pictures from their Alcanar bomb factory show more than 20 butane gas canisters scattered in the rubble and detectives found paperwork suggesting an attack in Barcelona was imminent.

It was unclear whether the house was deliberately destroyed to hide evidence or whether an accidental detonation forced the cell to rush through an improvised van attack. One person pulled from the rubble of the house was among four people so far arrested for the plot.

The attack in the coastal town began when a van hit pedestrians near the port area, leaving seven people including a police officer injured. The van then overturned and the attackers, now on foot, were shot by police as they attempted to leave the scene. It was unclear whether they were armed.

Spain's King Felipe VI (C), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont applaud after observing a minute of silence for the victims in Barcelona today

Spain’s King Felipe VI (C), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont applaud after observing a minute of silence for the victims in Barcelona today

Huge crowds gathered at Plaza de Catalunya, which sits at the top of Los Ramblas, to observe a minute's silence that turned into applause 

Huge crowds gathered at Plaza de Catalunya, which sits at the top of Los Ramblas, to observe a minute’s silence that turned into applause

Crowds have returned to the scene of yesterday's terror attack to remember those killed or injured by the rampaging van

Crowds have returned to the scene of yesterday’s terror attack to remember those killed or injured by the rampaging van

Flowers and candles are starting to be laid at the top of Los Ramblas today as the city comes to terms with the shocking attack

Flowers and candles are starting to be laid at the top of Los Ramblas today as the city comes to terms with the shocking attack

Mourners in Barcelona were in tears and clinging to eachother for support as they surveyed the scene of devastation today

Large units of police are patrolling Los Ramblas today as tourists and local returned to the area where 13 died yesterday

In Cambrils - the scene of the second terror attack - armed police are patrolling the streets and blood was being washed from the cobbled streets

In Cambrils - the scene of the second terror attack - armed police are patrolling the streets and blood was being washed from the cobbled streets

A crowd in Barcelona’s main square defiantly shouted “not afraid” today following a minute’s silence attended by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI, held for the victims of a double vehicle attack.

Standing silent in the Plaza de Catalunya, Rajoy joined the king and Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalonia region where Barcelona is located, in mourning the victims of attacks that left 13 dead and more than 100 injured.

At loggerheads as the separatist Catalan government attempts to break away from Spain, Rajoy and Puigdemont put their differences aside as they held the minute of silence in the square near the scene of the Barcelona attack.

Just after, crowds at the square broke out in loud applause, shouting “I’m not afraid.”

Dramatic video posted online showed bystanders walking casually towards police cars before gunshots rang out, sending them leaping for safety on the beach below the raised roadway.

A second video shows four bodies lying on and near the road, apparently some way from the overturned vehicle, which is not in shot. The suspected suicide belts can be seen around the waists of the dead men.

A Spanish man filmed three of the terrorists as they lay dead on the ground, saying: ‘Look, there are two dead lying there on the floor. Sons of bitches, they were wearing explosives. No there are three of them. They were wearing explosives. Sons of bitches!’

Markel Artabe, a 20-year-old restaurant worker, said he was on the seaside promenade when he heard what he initially thought were fireworks, but soon realised were gunshots.

He said he saw someone lying on the ground ‘with a gunshot in the head’. The victim’s friends were crying out ‘help’, he added.

Joan Marc Serra Salinas, a 21-year-old waiter, said he heard many gunshots.

‘And shouting. And more shouting. I jumped onto the beach and didn’t move,’ he said.

A spokesman for the regional government in Catalonia said: ‘The suspected terrorists were driving an Audi A3 and ran down several people, until they crashed into a Mossos d’Esquadra patrol and the shootout began.’

As the Cambrils attack began police warned locals to stay inside – and many locked themselves inside hotels and bars.

Six people including a police officer were injured in the Cambrils attack, in the province of Tarragona. One was today in a critical condition in hospital, with another two seriously injured.

Four of the terrorists were killed immediately in the shootout and the fifth was shot and later arrested after being located by police in a helicopter. He later died from his injuries.

The regional police tweeted: ‘We are working with the hypothesis that the crimes in Cambrils are a terrorist attack. We have taken down those presumed responsible.We confirm that the 5th terrorist taken down in Cambrils, who was injured, has died.’

Driss Oukabir (pictured) has been arrested by police, according to local media reports. The Guardia Civil previously said the van used in the attack was rented by Oukabir in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada

One of the arrested suspects is believed to be Driss Oukabir

Driss Oukabir (pictured) has been arrested by police, according to local media reports. The Guardia Civil previously said the van used in the attack was rented by Oukabir in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada

Police officers rushed to the seaside resort to carry out an operation and ended up shooting the five terror suspects dead

Seven members of the public including a policeman were hurt in the new attack in Cambrils, 70 miles from Barcelona, which saw the jihadis’ car overturn before armed police gunned down the suspects

Seven members of the public including a policeman were hurt in the new attack in Cambrils, 70 miles from Barcelona, which saw the jihadis’ car overturn before armed police gunned down the suspects

Five terrorists were shot dead by police in the resort of Cambrils, south of Barcelona, as they carried out a new terror attack

Police officers and forensic personnel begin a search of the vehicle driven by the suspected Jihadists, who were quickly shot dead after the car flipped in the road

Police officers and forensic personnel begin a search of the vehicle driven by the suspected Jihadists, who were quickly shot dead after the car flipped in the road

The attack in the coastal town began when a van hit pedestrians near the port area, leaving seven people including a police officer injured

In Barcelona, a hired van (pictured), registered to rental company Telefurgo, rammed into scores of holidaymakers and their children. The crumpled van is pictured as a body lies on the ground

In Barcelona, a hired van (pictured), registered to rental company Telefurgo, rammed into scores of holidaymakers and their children. The crumpled van is pictured as a body lies on the ground

Horrifying images of the aftermath show an elderly couple were among the injured after the van ploughed into pedestrians on the busy Barcelona street

Horrifying images of the aftermath show an elderly couple were among the injured after the van ploughed into pedestrians on the busy Barcelona street

Police were seen arresting a suspect

They arrested a man earlier on Thursday

Stills from a video showing a man being arrested by Spanish police in Barcelona after the suspected terror attack in the heart of the city

There are harrowing scenes in Barcelona after a van was driven into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in the heart of the city. Thirteen people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured as armed police swarm the streets

How the Barcelona attack unfolded: Map shows the route the terrorist took as he ploughed into scores of holidaymakers

In a day of chaos and carnage that saw the deadliest Islamic terror attack in Spain since the 2004 Madrid bombings that killed 192, the biggest loss of life was in Barcelona.

The lone terrorist swerved his van onto the paved walkway of Las Ramblas and ploughed on for hundreds of yards. By the time he came to a halt, 13 people were dead and more than 100 more injured. Three Germans, a Greek and a Belgian were among the dead. More than 20 French nationals are believed to have been injured.

A five-year-old Irish boy suffered a broken leg when his family was caught up in the terror attack in Barcelona.

The boy’s father also has leg injuries after a van was driven into innocent people in Las Ramblas, one of the busiest avenues in the Spanish city.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said: ‘They are not life-threatening, I’m relieved to say. But in a way it’s a miracle that more Irish people weren’t involved, given that there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year.’

ISIS hits Europe with yet another marauding vehicle attack

The attack is the sixth time in a year that Islamic fanatics have used vehicles to kill pedestrians in Europe – with more than 100 dead.

· On July 14 last year, a truck was driven into crowds in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 86 revellers.

· On December 19, 12 died in Berlin when a truck smashed through a Christmas market in the German capital.

· On March 22 this year, five died after Khalid Masood drove into crowds on Westminster Bridge in Central London.

· On April 7, a fanatic drove a truck into pedestrians in Stockholm, killing five.

· On June 3, eight died when three attackers in a van mowed down passers-by on London Bridge (pictured above) before stabbing others nearby.

The father and son were part a family of four, including the mother and a daughter, and are understood to have been on a trip to celebrate the boy’s birthday. The youngster suffered a broken femur.

Spanish police initially named their prime suspect in the attack as the man they said hired the van, Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old Morocco-born man living in the town of Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona.

However hours later he apparently presented himself at a police station in Ripoll and claimed his 18-year-old brother Moussa had stolen his papers to hire the van.

Disturbing comments posted on social network Kiwi by an account carrying Moussa Oukabir’s name and photograph makes reference to killing all infidels.

Driss was the second of the two people arrested, while Moussa remained unaccounted for this morning.

Horrifying pictures and video from the scene of the Las Ramblas attack show armed police and paramedics rushing around the busy promenade in the centre of the city, as victims lie hurt in the street.

Josep Lluis Trapero, the head of the regional police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, said the attack was designed ‘to kill as many people as possible’.

A witness called Angel said he saw the attacker close up and described him as ‘a young man, maximum 25 years old, chestnut brown hair and skinny.’

Others described him as about 5ft 6in tall and wearing a blue and white striped top.

Another witness, Isaac, said: ‘The person was accelerating. He mounted the pavement to run people over. We saw the van passing by running people over at 50 miles an hour. It was as if it was driving through a field of corn.’

A taxi driver told Catalan TV station TV3: ‘The van was doing zigzags knocking over everyone he could. It was shocking.’

Aamer Anwar was walking down Las Ramblas at the time, which he said was ‘jam-packed’ with tourists.

He told Sky News: ‘All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.’

Briton Steve Garrett was in a nearby market and sheltered in a bakery with several others after streams of people ran inside.

Mr Garrett told the BBC: ‘A very large number of people ran into the market area in a big kind of way, lots of screaming, lots of shouting.

‘Obviously coming from England it was reminding me a great deal of what happened in London, so we were very concerned about what might be going on next.’

Mr Garrett said a ‘second wave’ of people then entered the market, followed by armed police.

He said: ‘They seemed to sweep through the market area. They seemed to be looking for someone. They were going very carefully, very cautiously, stall to stall.’

Another witness told Sky News: ‘It was quite terrifying. All of a sudden scores of people ran towards us, hysterical, children hysterical… first of all they said someone had been shot.

‘All of a sudden a second wave of people came down the street, we just ran, I lost my husband in the melee. The shops went into lockdown mode.’

She added: ‘We really had no idea what was going on other than that we needed to get ourselves out of there very quickly… there was just hundreds of people running away very quickly.’

'Bomb factory' blast: A home in Alcanar which exploded on Wednesday leaving butane gas canisters strewn in the rubble was linked to the terror cell, say police, who believe it was being used to make explosives. One man died in the blast and people were hurt

‘Bomb factory’ blast: A home in Alcanar which exploded on Wednesday leaving butane gas canisters strewn in the rubble was linked to the terror cell, say police, who believe it was being used to make explosives. One man died in the blast and people were hurt

Police are linking the terror attack in Barcelona to an explosion at a home 125 miles south of the city, which is believed to have been caused by canisters filled with butane

Police are linking the terror attack in Barcelona to an explosion at a home 125 miles south of the city, which is believed to have been caused by canisters filled with butane

Investigators have confirmed that yesterday's explosion is being linked to the terror attack in Barcelona 

Investigators have confirmed that yesterday’s explosion is being linked to the terror attack in Barcelona

BRITISH ACTRESS ‘WAS FORCED TO HIDE IN FREEZER’

Laila Roussa dramatically live tweeter her experience as the horrifying attack unfolded in Barcelona

Laila Roussa dramatically live tweeter her experience as the horrifying attack unfolded in Barcelona

Actress Laila Rouass has dramatically live tweeted her experience ‘hiding in a restaurant freezer’ after being caught up in the horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona.

The wife of snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, 46, took to Twitter amid the brutal terror attack which is believed to have claimed the lives of 13 people and wounded 100 others.

Tweeting directly in the middle of the attack, the former Holby City star said: ‘In the middle of the attack. Hiding in a restaurant freezer. Happened so fast. Praying for the safety of everyone here x.’

And in a later tweet, the star, from Stepney in London, posted: ‘Gunshots just heard. Armed police running down the street looking for someone.’

In a series of further tweets she added: ‘The whole of Las Ramblas and surrounding roads in lock down with armed police everywhere,’ and ‘hearing one person has been shot.’

Friend of Mrs Rouass and fellow actor Douglas Henshall tweeted a message of support to the former Holby City star.

He said: ‘F*** sake Laila stay safe. X’.

Tom Gueller, who lives on an adjoining road, was forced to flee the scene when he saw the van hurtling through the crowds.

He told BBC’s PM: ‘I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that.

‘I ran away, I mean I live near, I had to run back about 50 metres or so and go up to my flat and obviously see what’s happening on the road from my balcony.’

Asked about the van, he said: ‘It wasn’t slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas.’

Police chief Trapero told a news conference: ‘At 16.50 a van entered the pedestrian area of the Rambla, and drove for many meters, running over hundreds of people.

‘Many of them were injured and it caused the death of 13 people. The driver got out of the van and ran away. There was no shouting, no phrases which sometimes accompany such attacks. Witnesses called the emergency services and gave a description.

‘The Mossos began Operation Cage, an anti-terrorist operation throughout Catalonia. There is no evidence that the person who left the van was armed. We do not believe he was armed, at least visibly.

‘We entered all of the bars and establishments of the area to check nobody was hiding. This was clearly a terrorist attack with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

‘It is believed to be connected with a second incident – the explosion of a house in Alcanar. We received an alert of an explosion where one person has died and others were injured.

‘A part of the building collapsed. We are linking these two incidents. I cannot give further details as we are still working on the investigation.

At least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, Barcelona's busiest tourist area

At least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s busiest tourist area

Eyewitnesses said swarms of people were running for their lives with one woman desperately screaming out for her child. The van can be seen with a crumpled bonnet as people lie motionless on the pavement

Eyewitnesses said swarms of people were running for their lives with one woman desperately screaming out for her child. The van can be seen with a crumpled bonnet as people lie motionless on the pavement

Footage had emerged of heavily armed police swarming the area, searching for the attackers. Witnesses said the area was swamped with terror cops and plain clothed officers ‘within 30 seconds’ 

Footage had emerged of heavily armed police swarming the area, searching for the attackers. Witnesses said the area was swamped with terror cops and plain clothed officers ‘within 30 seconds’

‘This led to the arrest of two people directly implicated in this attack. This does not mean that the two people under arrest are those who carried out the attack in Barcelona – but they are connected to the attack.

‘Neither of them was the person driving the van. Neither of them has any convictions for terrorism. One is from Melilla [a Spanish enclave in north Africa] and the other is Moroccan.

‘One person was arrested in Alcanar and the other, a Moroccan, in Ripoll.’

World leaders were quick to condemn the bloodbath, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May saying Britain ‘stands with Spain against terror’ in response to the tragic news.

She added: ‘My thoughts are with the victims of the terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident. The UK stands with Spain against terror.’

US President Donald Trump condemned the attack and promised to do ‘whatever is necessary to help’ the Spanish.

As news of the atrocity was breaking, US First Lady Melania Trump tweeted: ‘Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona’.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, tweeted: ‘My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.’

Mr Khan added: ‘London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.’

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau says a moment of silence will be held in the city’s main square at noon today ‘to show that we are not scared and we are more united that ever’.

Many of those injured were seriously hurt, and Catalonia’s interior minister Joaquim Forn said he thought it ‘very possible’ that the number of dead will rise.

Pedestrians treated on ground after truck crashes into crowd

A woman lies injured on the pavement as paramedics offer treatment just moments after the van ploughed into pedestrians on Thursday 

A woman lies injured on the pavement as paramedics offer treatment just moments after the van ploughed into pedestrians on Thursday

Police have confirmed that at least 100 people are injured, with Catalonia's interior minister Joaquim Forn saying it is 'very possible' that the number of dead will rise

Police have confirmed that at least 100 people are injured, with Catalonia’s interior minister Joaquim Forn saying it is ‘very possible’ that the number of dead will rise

Victims lie in the street after the van attack in Barcelona

The attack has claimed 13 lives and left more than 100 injured

Victims lie in the street after the van attack in Barcelona, which has claimed 13 lives and left more than 100 injured

Armed police on the streets of Barcelona following Thursday's atrocity, which saw a van plough into crowds of pedestrians in the city's tourist area

Armed police on the streets of Barcelona following Thursday’s atrocity, which saw a van plough into crowds of pedestrians in the city’s tourist area

Armed policemen arrive in a cordoned-off area after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona, killing at least 13 people yesterday 

Armed policemen arrive in a cordoned-off area after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona, killing at least 13 people yesterday

The confusion and carnage was added to when a white Ford Focus car rammed police at a roadblock that had been set up to try and capture the fugitive terrorists, injuring three officers including a woman who suffered a broken leg.

The driver was shot dead after what was described as an exchange of fire, however officials last night sought to downplay the link to the terror plot.

Police chief Mr Trapero told his press conference: ‘He is a Spanish national and at the moment we have no indication he is linked to these other people.’

One of the terrorists ran on foot after carrying out the attack in the centre of Barcelona, which is typically packed with tourists 

One of the terrorists ran on foot after carrying out the attack in the centre of Barcelona, which is typically packed with tourists

People gather round a victim after the van drove into a crowd in Barcelona 

People flee after the van drove into crowds in centre of Barcelona 

People flee after the van drove into crowds in centre of Barcelona which left at least 13 people dead and more than 100 injured

The scene in Barcelona on Thursday as emergency services rush to help after Barcelona was attacked by suspected terrorists

The scene in Barcelona on Thursday as emergency services rush to help after Barcelona was attacked by suspected terrorists

Injured people are treated at the scene in Las Ramblas, Barcelona after the horrific attack. Right: People trapped in a shop under police guard

The civil guard has said the van used in the attack was rented in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada, which is around 15 miles by road from the scene of the killings.

A second van was found parked in the town of Vic, which is around 50 miles north of Barcelona. Police believe it was meant to be used as a getaway vehicle.

Local newspaper El Periodico said the CIA had warned local police two months ago that La Rambla could be the scene of a terrorist attack.

The incident has taken place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe’s top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.

A man sits on the pavement with his head in his hands after the tragic attack, now being treated as a terrorist incident

A man sits on the pavement with his head in his hands after the tragic attack, now being treated as a terrorist incident

People taking refuge in a shop near Las Ramblas in Barcelona after fleeing the busy promenade after the attack on Thursday 

People taking refuge in a shop near Las Ramblas in Barcelona after fleeing the busy promenade after the attack on Thursday

People are guided out of a fast food restaurant by police after the attack in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon 

People are guided out of a fast food restaurant by police after the attack in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon

The most wanted man in Europe: Manhunt for 18-year-old Barcelona terror suspect ‘who stole his brother’s identity and talked about killing infidels on social media’ 

Police are still hunting the teenager thought to have been behind the Barcelona terror attack which killed 13 and injured more than 100 people.

Moussa Oukabir, 18, is believed to have stolen his older brother’s identity documents to rent the white Renault van which ploughed into pedestrians on a busy street popular with tourists.

The teenager, said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan heritage, had previously written about ‘killing infidels’ in a chilling online post.

His brother Driss Oukabir, 28, was initially named as a suspect but later handed himself to a police station in Ripoll, a town to the north of Barcelona, not far from the French border.

The older brother, whose identity document is said to have been found in the van, was reportedly arrested after he told police his brother took his ID documents.

Moussa Oukabir is being hunted by police after his brother said he stole his ID to rent a van used in the Barcelona terror attack

Driss Oukabir was initially named as a suspect. It is understood his ID was found in the van used in the attack. He later said his younger brother stole his ID to rent the van

Police circulated the image of Driss Oukabir, 28, (right) saying he had rented a van used in the attack – but he later accused his brother Moussa (left) of stealing his ID documents to rent at least one van

An account with Moussa Oukabir's name and photograph posted on social media that, on his first day ruling the world, he would 'kill the infidels' and 'let Muslims follow the religion'

An account with Moussa Oukabir’s name and photograph posted on social media that, on his first day ruling the world, he would ‘kill the infidels’ and ‘let Muslims follow the religion’

On the run: Spanish police are now looking for the teenager in connection with yesterday's attack, which killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100

On the run: Spanish police are now looking for the teenager in connection with yesterday’s attack, which killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100

Moussa can be seen smiling and posing in images on his social media accounts, which he also used to air hatred for non-Muslims.

The teenager, reportedly a resident of Barcelona, posted on social network Kiwi that, if he was king of the world, his first act would be to ‘kill the infidels’.

After Moussa’s brother and another suspect were detained yesterday, police arrested a third person, a 34-year-old Moroccan, in Ripoll today. Moussa however is still on the run.

A security expert told the New York Times that police believe three vans were hired using the elder Oukabir brother’s ID, after the plotters were unable to hire a larger truck.

Little is yet known about Moussa, although his brother is thought to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. He is said to have come to Spain via Marseille in the south of France.

In the aftermath of the attack police circulated an image of the elder Oukabir, a Catalan resident of Moroccan origin, saying he had rented out a second van thought to be intended as a getaway vehicle – where his documents were found.

But police sources said Driss later handed himself in at a police station in Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona, claiming his brother had stolen his documents, leading to police now focusing on finding Moussa.

On Friday morning, a third person was arrested by police investigating the attacks – also in the city of Ripoll.

Moussa pulling typical teenage poses on social media, where he also posted about hatred for non-Muslims

Moussa is said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan origin. His brother is understood to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala

Moussa is said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan origin. His brother is understood to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala

Authorities tow the van which ploughed into the crowd on Las Ramblas on Thursday

Authorities tow the van which ploughed into the crowd on Las Ramblas on Thursday

Damage: The front of the van can be seen destroyed in these images taken late last night

Damage: The front of the van can be seen destroyed in these images taken late last night

Hunted: The driver of the van is still on the run, but it is not known who was behind the wheel

Hunted: The driver of the van is still on the run, but it is not known who was behind the wheel

Spanish police has linked Thursday's attack to an explosion that killed at least one person in a Alcanar, 120 miles south of the Barcelona

Spanish police has linked Thursday’s attack to an explosion that killed at least one person in a Alcanar, 120 miles south of the Barcelona

Police officers rushed over to treat what is believed to be an officer after a driver in a Ford Focus drove through a roadblock 

British boy, seven, among those missing after Barcelona massacre as death toll from attacks rises to 14 and photos emerge of Las Ramblas victims – including Italian father killed while shielding his son 

Desperate families of those missing after the Spanish terror attacks searched for their loved ones on Friday as the death toll rose to 14 and the first victims were identified.

Seven-year-old Julian Cadman, who was born in Kent but moved to Australia three years ago, was named among the missing by his cousin who posted an appeal online after the boy’s mother, Jom, was listed as being in a serious condition in hospital by Spanish authorities.

His father, Andrew, is currently flying from Sydney to Spain to help in the search for his missing son without knowing whether the boy is dead or alive.

Meanwhile Heidi Nunes, from California, also appealed for information about her husband Jared Tucker, 43, on Friday after they got separated during the attack while out shopping.

Elsewhere the first of those killed in the ISIS attack on Las Ramblas were named as Italians Bruno Gulotta and Luca Russo, Belgian mother-of-two Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, and 57-year-old Spaniard Fransisco Lopez Rodriguez.

A three-year-old Spanish boy from Llimiana was also killed in the attack, the town’s mayor said. He was with his mother, grandmother, sister and aunt who was injured trying to save him.

It came as the death toll from both the Barcelona and Cambrils attack was raised to 14, while 130 people were confirmed injured, including 17 in critical condition and 30 in serious condition.

Julian Cadman, seven, believed to be from Britain, is missing after the terror attack in Barcelona has his family appeal for news

Julian was pictured enjoying his holiday in Barcelona just hours before the attack took place. British authorities have confirmed 'a small number of citizens' were caught up in the attack, but would not say if they were among the injured or dead

Julian was pictured enjoying his holiday in Barcelona just hours before the attack took place. British authorities have confirmed ‘a small number of citizens’ were caught up in the attack, but would not say if they were among the injured or dead

Luca Russo, 25, an engineer from Padua, in Italy, was also confirmed among the dead. He was on holiday at the time of the attack alongside his girlfriend Marta Scomazzon

Luca Russo, 25, an engineer from Padua, in Italy, was also confirmed among the dead. He was on holiday at the time of the attack alongside his girlfriend Marta Scomazzon

Miss Scomazzon (pictured with boyfriend Luca before the attack) was left with a broken collarbone after being hit, Italian media reported on Friday

Miss Scomazzon (pictured with boyfriend Luca before the attack) was left with a broken collarbone after being hit, Italian media reported on Friday

Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, from Belgium, has been identified as being among the dead. Authorities said she was on holiday with her husband and sons when she was run down and killed

Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, from Belgium, has been identified as being among the dead. Authorities said she was on holiday with her husband and sons when she was run down and killed

Spanish authorities say 57-year-old  Francisco Lopez Rodriguez (pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack) died on the spot after being hit by ISIS terrorists. He was earlier reported as missing

Spanish authorities say 57-year-old  Francisco Lopez Rodriguez (pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack) died on the spot after being hit by ISIS terrorists. He was earlier reported as missing

Heidi Nunes, from California, said online that her husband Jared Tucker, 43, is missing after the pair got separated on Las Ramblas during the attack. Rex Tillerson has confirmed one American death and said the State Department is 'still confirming the deaths and injuries of others', without giving specific details

Heidi Nunes, from California, said online that her husband Jared Tucker, 43, is missing after the pair got separated on Las Ramblas during the attack

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities are ‘urgently looking into reports’ of a dual-nationality child believed to be missing in Spain, and confirmed that ‘a number of British nationals’ were caught up in the attack.

Mrs May gave no indication if those Britons were among those wounded or killed.

Mr Gulotta, a computer salesman from Legnano, in northern Italy, was crushed to death in the Barcelona attack as he walked along holding his six-year-old son’s hand.

His wife, Martina, said he died kneeling down to shield their son and seven-month-old daughter from the van, according to boss Pino Bruno, who claimed to have spoken with her.

Meanwhile Belgian authorities named Mrs Vanbockrijck, from Tongeren, as among the dead, saying she was on holiday with her husband and sons at the time.

Spanish authorities said Mr Rodriguez, who was pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack, died on the spot after being hit by the terrorist’s van. He was earlier reported as missing.

Seven-year-old Julian Cadman’s grandmother Norma Canaveral told MailOnline: ‘We are just so worried. I am just waiting for news, hoping for good news.’

The 66-year-old, from London, said: ‘I don’t know what to say. His mother is in the hospital, she’s ok, but she became separated from Julian and we don’t know where he is. All we can do it wait.’

Julian was born in Kent and attended the Chiddingstone Nursery before moving to Sydney three years ago with his parents Jom and Andrew Cadman.

Andrew is from Australia and Jom is originally from The Philippines.

Driss Oukabir, 28, the brother of the suspected van driver, lives in Ripoll where he handed himself over to police on Thursday, while another man was also arrested there 

Driss Oukabir, 28, the brother of the suspected van driver, lives in Ripoll where he handed himself over to police on Thursday, while another man was also arrested there

King Felipe VI (centre), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (to his left), and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont (to his right) led a minute of silence in Barcelona on Friday for the victims of the attack

Thousands gathered in Catalonia Square in the centre of the city in order to honour the 13 people who died in the city, and another woman who passed away on Friday after being struck in a second attack in Cambrils

Thousands gathered in Catalonia Square in the centre of the city in order to honour the 13 people who died in the city, and another woman who passed away on Friday after being struck in a second attack in Cambrils

Women on Las Ramblas, the street where the attack took place, break down in tears as they remember victims of the attack

Women on Las Ramblas, the street where the attack took place, break down in tears as they remember victims of the attack

Jom is in hospital in Barcelona as she recovers from yesterday’s attack on Las Ramblas. Julian is still missing. Andrew has flown from Sydney to Spain.

Norma, who is Jom’s cousin, but is called ‘granny’ by Julian, said her daughter Christabel Juguilon had been calling relatives to find out what has happened to Julian.

Her other daughter Norie-Jean, Jom’s niece, added: ‘I saw the post about Julian being missing on Facebook this morning but we don’t know any more.

‘Julian’s a really sweet boy. He loves to dance, he’s a lovely, bubbly boy.’

Appeals for the missing came as two Spaniards, three Germans and one Belgian were identified among the dead, according to Spanish media.

The two Spainards were reported to be a man and boy who were related and came from the Rubí neighbourhood of Barcelona.

Meanwhile citizens from America, Australia, Ireland, France, Greece, Hong Kong and the Netherlands were confirmed among the more than 100 people injured.

A six-year-old girl, also of unknown nationality, is in serious condition in hospital after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage, theNew York Times reports.

Norman and Pederlita Putot, who were born in the Philippines but lived in Ireland, were named by RTE as among those caught up in the attack along with their two Irish-born children.

Their five-year-old son, who was not named, suffered a broken leg in the attack and is now in hospital along with his father, who suffered knee injuries.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: ‘It’s a miracle that more Irish people weren’t involved, given that there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year.

‘At the moment, you can safely say that over 300,000 Irish people are in Spain, today as we speak.

‘This is not just an attack on Spain or on Barcelona, but it’s an attack on the way we live as European citizens in the free world.’

French authorities have confirmed the largest number of injuries so far, saying 26 of its citizens were among those hurt with 11 in serious condition.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, said two citizens were in critical condition following the attack, two more were injured, and a total of 16 Australians were caught up in the attack.

Belgium’s foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed one citizen had been killed and another two injured, including one in serious condition.

Meanwhile Greek authorities said three people had been injured, identifying them as a woman and her two children, though the extent of their injuries is unclear.

Chinese authorities said one person from Hong Kong was among those hurt, while the US also confirmed and American suffered minor injuries.

Three Dutch are also among the injured, though it is not known how badly.

Five Cubans were identified among the injured on Friday as the country’s embassy in Spain said four were hurt in Barcelona and a fifth received minor injuries in the Cambrils attack that wounded a total of seven people, including a police officer.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4800282/PICTURED-Moroccan-man-rented-Barcelona-van.html#ixzz4qQj9MlJu

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The Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos — Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 30 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

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Image result for cartoon mueller investigate russia trump collusionImage result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

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Legal Immigration

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Illegal Alien Invasion of United States

For Every 1 Apprehension A Minimum of 3 Get Away

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Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos —

TRUMP BREAKING NEWS 8/3/17 WSJ: MUELLER IMPANELS GRAND JURY IN RUSSIA PROBE

Report: Mueller empowers grand jury in Russia investigation

Trump attorney: Grand jury not a surprise, not unusual

Mueller using grand jury as part of Russia investigation

Senators Take Action to Protect Robert Mueller’s Trump Investigation

Mary Clare Jalonick / AP
10:54 AM ET

(WASHINGTON) — Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job, putting forth new legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.

The bill would apply retroactively to May 17, 2017 — the day Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

“It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations,” Tillis said in a statement. “A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation’s system of check and balances.”

Mueller was appointed as special counsel following Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller, who was Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, has assembled a team of prosecutors and lawyers with experience in financial fraud, national security and organized crime to investigate contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Trump has been critical of Mueller since his appointment, and the president’s legal team is looking into potential conflicts surrounding the team Mueller has hired, including the backgrounds of members and political contributions by some members of his team to Hillary Clinton. He has also publicly warned Mueller that he would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances.

Mueller has strong support on Capitol Hill. Senators in both parties have expressed concerns that Trump may try to fire Mueller and have warned him not to do so.

“Ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation,” Coons said.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another member of the judiciary panel, said last week that he was working on a similar bill that would prevent the firing of a special counsel without judicial review. Graham said then that firing Mueller “would precipitate a firestorm that would be unprecedented in proportions.”

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also working on Graham’s legislation, according to Booker’s office. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has yet to signal support for either measure.

The Tillis and Coons bill would allow review after the special counsel had been dismissed. If the panel found there was no good cause for the counsel’s removal, the person would be immediately reinstated. The legislation would also codify existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause, such as a violation of departmental policies.

In addition, only the attorney general or the most senior Justice Department official in charge of the matter could fire the special counsel.

In the case of the current investigation, Rosenstein is charged with Mueller’s fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation.

http://time.com/4885770/robert-mueller-investigation-senate-legislation/

 

Exclusive: top FBI officials could testify against Trump

The acting head of the bureau told top officials to prepare.

Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.

McCabe has told colleagues that he too is a potential witness in the probe of whether Trump broke the law by trying to thwart the FBI’s Russia investigation and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Two senior federal law enforcement officials have told me that the new revelations illustrate why they believe the potential case against Trump is stronger than outsiders have thought.

“What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case,” a senior law enforcement official said. “You are going to have the [former] FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what [James Comey] has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.”

Trump and his supporters have long argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the special counsel to bring an obstruction case against Trump. The case would rely on the word of one man versus another, that of the president of the United States versus the FBI director he fired. But this was never the case.

Including Comey, as many as 10, and possibly more, of the nation’s most senior law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned as part of the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to two government investigators with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Comey’s notes on his conversations could also be used as evidence, according to many reports.

The White House declined to comment. First contacted by email by on July 27, White House spokesperson Kelly Love responded late Wednesday saying, “This would be a question for outside counsel.” Love did not name which of the president’s many lawyers to contact. Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for the president, did not respond to a phone message Wednesday evening. The FBI also declined to comment.

FBI agents are experienced witnesses who routinely testify in high-pressure cases. Plus, the FBI itself is a rare public institution that is widely respected and trusted by the American public. The witness list and breadth of possible evidence, including notes Comey and several other senior FBI officials made at the time, could add up to a much stronger obstruction of justice case than Trump ever could have imagined.

Among those who McCabe and other law enforcement officials have privately believed are potential witnesses are six of the highest-ranking officials of the agency: They include McCabe himself; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff; James Baker, the general counsel of the FBI; David Bowdich, who as the FBI’s associate director is the agency’s third-highest official; and Carl Ghattas, the head of the FBI’s national security division and a legal adviser to McCabe. McCabe was deputy director of the FBI until May, when he became acting director after President Trump fired Comey.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and a third senior Justice Department official are believed by law enforcement officials to be crucial fact witnesses in the obstruction probe. Their testimony is likely to support Comey and harm Trump, according to investigators and outside experts.

Mueller’s case is looking stronger than Trump surrogates say

In May, Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate whether Trump colluded with the Russian government to help defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. A related area of inquiry for the special counsel is whether Trump obstructed justice when he allegedly asked Comey to shut down his inquiry of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump made sure he and Comey were alone when he allegedly pressured the then-FBI director to curtail the FBI’s Russia investigation. At a private White House dinner on January 27, Trump allegedly pressed Comey to pledge his personal loyalty. The dinner came right after the president learned Flynn was under criminal investigation.

Later, on February 14, Trump allegedly leaned on Comey privately in an Oval Office meeting to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. Comey did not drop the investigation or take other steps Trump requested that the then-director of the FBI felt were improper. Trump then fired Comey on May 9.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s pressure on Comey to shut down his investigation — combined with other efforts to thwart the investigation, including firing Comey — are an obstruction of justice. As such, Comey is the central witness against Trump in any such obstruction investigation. That Trump was ordinarily alone with Comey when these various incidents occurred has led Trump and his surrogates to argue that it would be difficult for any obstruction of justice case to be brought because it would be based solely on Comey’s word.

“We have to keep in mind that is one person’s record of what happened,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said on Fox News in one typical comment repeated by White House surrogates. “The only two people who know what happened in these meeting are the president and James Comey.”

But even though Trump took great pains to try to be alone with Comey when they spoke, Comey regularly spoke to the six high-ranking FBI managers, often right after a distressing conversation with Trump about the Russia probe.

Comey spoke to these FBI officials almost always within 24 to 48 hours after such a contact took place, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials. A person familiar with the matter told me they know for certain there were at least eight such conversations — and likely more than a dozen — that Comey had with these high-ranking FBI managers, sometimes one on one, sometimes in groups of several officials. More than one such meeting was longer than an hour.

And in at least one previously unreported instance — that of a phone conversation between the president and Comey, during which Trump pressed Comey to say that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation — Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, was present for the entirety of the phone call.

Trump had unexpectedly called Comey while Comey was in a meeting with Rybicki. As Trump and the then-FBI director spoke, Rybicki stayed put and listened to the entirety of Comey’s side of the conversation, according to Comey’s testimony to Congress and a senior federal law enforcement official.

In addition, Comey often emailed Rybicki accounts of his troublesome discussions with Trump about the Russia investigation — if not immediately after, sometimes the same day, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.

Baker, the FBI general counsel, took methodical notes during his discussions with Comey and others in the FBI hierarchy about Trump’s efforts to thwart the FBI’s investigation, according to these same sources.

Law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned

I interviewed current and former law enforcement officials, including some who, though not directly involved in the investigation, have held key positions working for independent counsels or special prosecutors investigating earlier presidents. They told me they agree with McCabe’s assertions that the senior FBI managers are almost certainly to be questioned for any investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.

Sam Buell, a Duke University law professor who has previously served as a federal prosecutor in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Houston, similarly told me that Mueller will almost certainly interview all six senior FBI officials that Comey confided in, as well as Sessions and Rosenstein: “In any high-stakes matter, you are going to want to talk to anyone in the vicinity of a conversation. It doesn’t mean that they end up as trial witness. But at an investigative stage, you are going to talk to all of these people. You want their stories locked in. You want to know if what they have to say would help you or hurt you.”

John Keker, who during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations prosecuted retired Lt. Oliver North for the Iran-Contra special prosecutor, explained to me: “Think of any crime. The defense might make the case that the accuser made it up. The questions for the witness are: ‘Did you just make this up?’ ‘Are you just saying this now?’ ‘Why didn’t you say something before?’ ‘Whom did you say something to? Did you write it down?’

“But if they told people when it happens, it makes their story more plausible. It helps their credibility. In this case, the people Comey told were multiple senior FBI officials.”

Other evidence is there too

In addition to the actual testimony of Comey and nine other senior federal law enforcement officials against the president, there is other related corroboratory evidence created as a result of those conversations. And this could bolster any potential obstruction of justice case against Trump.

There are Comey’s now-famous notes, which are careful, meticulous accounts of his meetings with the president. They are powerful not only for their detail but even for the atmospherics that tell a compelling story, according to people who have read portions of them.

Explaining why he took these notes, Comey told Congress: “I knew that there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself but also to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative function. … [I]t was a combination of circumstances, subject matter, and the particular person.”

FBI agents and managers are inveterate note takers. It is part of the culture of the FBI. Several of the senior FBI managers Comey consulted with are also attorneys, who have similar traditions of memorializing important matters by taking careful and contemporaneous notes.

“That’s the culture of the FBI — you habitually document everything you do,” Lauren C. Anderson, a former senior FBI official who worked for the bureau for 29 years, told the New York Times, explaining why Comey made notes of his crucial conversations with the president. Her comments also would appear to explain why other senior FBI managers might have made similar sets of notes about their conversations with Comey.

Although it is unclear which FBI managers took notes and which did not, at least one person familiar with the matter said that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, made detailed notes of virtually every conversation with Comey or others about the Russia probe.

Those notes by Baker are crucial to investigators because Baker was a lively participant in discussions about whether to inform the Justice Department of the president’s pressure on Comey to end the Flynn investigation. During discussions about whether Comey or the Justice Department should give in to Trump’s request to say the investigation had not focused on him, Baker was the primary and strongest proponent that they not do so.

The potential testimony by Comey, McCabe, and so many other FBI witnesses could prove damning to Trump for other reasons. FBI agents and their managers are more than just highly credible witnesses. In the course of a typical FBI agent’s career, he or she works closely with federal prosecutors in making cases based on the testimony of witnesses first interviewed by the agent, and often testifies as a witness in cases, some dozens of times in the course of a career.

While most major governmental institutions have, according to most polls and surveys, faced some of their lowest ratings ever, the American public still retains strong confidence in its FBI. A November 2015 Pew Research national survey found that 68 percent of all Americans viewed the FBI favorably. Only four other federal agencies ranked higher: the US Postal Service, the National Park Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and NASA.

Even Trump allies could hurt Trump

Comey testified to Congress that he shared with senior managers of the FBI the president’s efforts to thwart the bureau’s Russia investigation. But he did not inform the Justice Department of those efforts prior to Trump firing him. A major reason he didn’t do so, Comey said, was because the FBI’s leaders told him, “Look, it’s your word against the president’s. There’s no way to corroborate this.”

But Comey testified that during a private meeting with Sessions about another matter — “the president’s concerns about leaks” — he took the opportunity “to implore the attorney general to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me.” Comey told Sessions that leaving him alone with Trump “was inappropriate and should never happen again.” Comey said that Sessions “did not reply at all, his body language suggesting he was helpless or unwilling to do anything.”

Comey also testified that he expressed similar concerns to Rosenstein: “I explained my serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting, especially with the FBI.”

In his own testimony to Congress, Sessions sharply disputed Comey’s claim that he said or did nothing when Comey raised these concerns, saying he told Comey “that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to follow department policies regarding appropriate contact with the White House.”

But more importantly, while taking issue with that one aspect of the story, Sessions largely corroborated Comey’s account under oath — about how uncomfortable the then-FBI director felt with the president’s interactions with the FBI. Sessions is a Trump loyalist, the first US senator to endorse Trump, and the Trump administration’s attorney general — this only enhances his credibility as a witness whose testimony would harm Trump. (Of course, that relationship is now severely strained.) That Sessions recommended Comey’s firing as FBI director also, ironically, enhances his credibility as a corroboratory witness of Comey’s and against the president.

Rosenstein is yet to be heard from.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/3/16084246/mueller-obstruction-case-stronger-trump-surrogates

Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 20 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

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Immigration battle brewing in the GOP

Republicans are barreling toward a fight over immigration policy that could expose deep divisions in the party.

A renewed push by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) to crack down on legal immigration is threatening to pit President Trump, who endorsed their legislation, against GOP senators who want broader reforms.

The bill, which got a White House rollout on Wednesday, would fundamentally overhaul the immigration system. It would curtail the number of legal immigrants admitted into the country, cutting the total roughly in half.

The legislation, supporters say, would help enshrine a shift in Republican Party politics that was prominent in Trump’s campaign rhetoric, where he frequently warned that immigrants were taking American jobs.”As a candidate I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects American workers and tax payers,” Trump said at the White House while standing next to Cotton and Perdue.

The measure faces a difficult path to 60 votes in the Senate, which would require the support of at least eight Democrats, not to mention every GOP senator — a scenario that appears highly unlikely.

Pressed Wednesday about how the bill could pass Congress, White House aide Stephen Miller said the legislation represented a “major promise” to Americans.

“This is what President Trump campaigned on. He talked about it throughout the campaign, throughout the transition, and since coming into office,” said Miller, who was formerly a staffer for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the Senate’s most vocal immigration hawks who is now attorney general.

But many in the GOP are opposed to reshaping the party’s immigration policies in Trump’s image

Critics of Trump’s approach fear opposition to immigration reform will damage the party’s long-term electoral chances, given the nation’s growing Latino and Asian populations. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won 65 percent of the Latino and Asian vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to exit polling.

There are already early signs of pushback from multiple factions within the Senate GOP conference to the legal immigration limits, including members who are worried about the impact on businesses.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said there could be an “awful lot” in the bill that he could support but warned against limiting his state’s labor pool.

“Dairy farmers need migrant labors. … So we really need to take a look at the reality of the situation,” Johnson, who has close ties to the business community, told reporters. “I don’t want to limit what our economy needs.”

Cotton, responding to some of his colleague’s criticism, noted the legislation wouldn’t touch the guest worker program, which allows immigrants to temporarily come into the country.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), part of the “Gang of Eight” that helped craft the 2013 immigration bill, ripped the Cotton–Perdue proposal within hours of its White House rollout.

“If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant workforce,” Graham said.

He added he is worried the legislation “incentivizes more illegal immigration,” saying “after dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.”

Illustrating the wider disagreement in the GOP about immigration policy, Graham has worked on two bills this year with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would allow undocumented immigrants brought into country as children to remain here legally, at least temporarily.

GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have signed on to at least one of Graham’s bills. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is currently undergoing treatment for brain cancer, also signaled earlier this year that he was opposed to attempts to crack down on legal immigration.

The Cotton–Perdue bill seems likely to rekindle the long-running debate over which section of the party — those who want broader immigration reforms or the protectionist strain that rose to new prominence with Trump — has the public’s support.

The legislation would curb the number of green cards, which give immigrants permanent residence, issued each year and establishes a “merit-based” points system for individuals who want to come into the country.

Cotton and Perdue will have to walk a political tightrope to get their bill enacted. They will be under pressure from moderate GOP senators and Democrats to make fundamental revisions to their bill, but any move to make it more lenient toward or address undocumented immigration could erode conservative support.

Perdue said for the moment he is focused on trying to garner support for the legislation.

“We have had conversations with them. We’ve met with [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley. … We know we’re going to work it through committee and go regular order, obviously. What we’re trying to do right now is garner support inside the Senate,” he said, when asked if he has talked to GOP leadership.

The bill could face its first test in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have a two-seat advantage. Graham and Flake are both members of the committee and signaled concern about an earlier version of the legislation rolled out in February.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, is working on a border security bill that is expected to include some immigration components. That legislation is expected to unveiled on Thursday.

Asked if his legislation could be wrapped in with border security, Perdue said he wants the bill to move on its own.

“What we’ve done in the past with these immigration issues is we keep adding on and adding on and adding on. I think this one stands on its own merit,” he said.

Republican lawmakers have shown little appetite for another big debate on immigration.

But once Trump makes a decision on the 750,000 immigrants who are protected from deportation by former President Barack Obama‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, they might not be able to avoid one.

Johnson warned against trying to package the legislation into a broader immigration bill.

“I don’t think we do a very good job at it. … If you demand comprehensive, you pretty well limit what you can accomplish,” he said.

Moderate GOP senators and Democrats will also be under pressure from conservative outside groups, not to mention the White House, to support the Cotton–Perdue bill.

Perdue noted that while it was early, he was hopeful that he would be able to win some Democratic backing for the bill.

“We’re trying to now get coordinated and start moving out to develop Republican and Democratic support,” he said. “I just think that we’ve got an opportunity to get some bipartisan support.”

There are 10 Senate Democrats running for reelection in states Trump won in 2016, and those members could face pressure to support tougher immigration laws.

“Ultimately members of Congress will have a choice to make … and whatever happens as a result of that would be somewhat predictable,” Miller said.

But Democratic senators are showing no immediate signs of being willing to support the bill. The earlier version of the legislation, introduced in February, garnered zero cosponsors.

“Instead of focusing on xenophobic half measures, the Trump administration should support comprehensive immigration reform and help create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are our family members, neighbors, co-workers and friends,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“Still shocking to see senior WH staff misunderstand American values,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter. “I just realized I should be more specific. I’m talking about Miller.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/345052-immigration-battle-brewing-in-the-gop

RAISE Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAISE Act
Great Seal of the United States
Full title Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act
Introduced in 115th United States Congress
Introduced on February 13, 2017
Sponsored by Tom Cotton and David Perdue
Legislative history

The RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act is a bill introduced in the United States Senate in 2017. Co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the bill seeks to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery. The bill received the support of President Donald Trump, who promoted a revised version of the bill in August 2017, but was opposed by Democrats, immigrant rights groups, and some Republicans.

History

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who introduced the bill to the Senate on February 13, 2017, as S. 354.[1][2][3] The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[2]

On August 2, 2017, Cotton introduced a revised version of the bill, designated S. 1720; this bill was also referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] President Donald Trump, along with Cotton and Perdue, announced it at the White House.[5] Within the Trump White House, Trump advisers Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon promoted and helped shape the bill.[6] The odds of the bill being enacted are seen as remote.[3][7][6] The bill has not attracted any additional co-sponsors, and Republican leaders in Congress have no plans to vote on immigration in 2017.[8]

Provisions and analysis

The bill would cut the legal immigration by half, reducing the number of green cards from more than 1 million to about 500,000.[3] The bill would also remove pathways for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for permanent lawful residency status in the U.S., limiting the family path to spouses and minor children.[7] The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery.[3]

In promoting the legislation, Trump administration officials contend that the bill would increase economic growth and increase wages.[9][10][11] This contention was challenged by economists,[10] who “overwhelmingly predict” that cuts in immigration would have a negative impact on GDP growth.[11] In April 2017, a group of more than 1,400 economists, with views ranging across the political spectrum, sent an open letter to Trump noting the “near universal agreement” on “the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring” and urging him not to seek immigration cuts.[11] Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh said that the legislation “would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards. Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.”[3]

The “only evidence that the administration has cited as justifying its proposals” is the work of economist George Borjas,[12] who has defended the bill, arguing that it “makes sense” and that “low-skill immigration, which would likely suffer the largest cuts in the proposed bill, imposes costs on taxpayers and it imposes costs on low-skill workers already here.”[13] Other economists have sharply contested Borjas’s conclusions; economist Giovanni Peri stated that “The average American worker is more likely to lose than to gain from immigration restrictions” and “most studies put the negative impact on low-skilled wages closer to zero,”[12] and Michael Clemens argues that Borjas’s position is based on a study with critical flaws.[14][15]

Support and opposition

The bill and Trump’s support for it was hailed by groups favoring restrictive immigration policies, such as NumbersUSA[3] and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[16] The bill was also seen as likely to appeal to anti-immigration Republican base voters.[17]

The bill is opposed by Democrats as well as some Republicans.[7] Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said that “Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy.”[7] Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called the bill “nothing but a series of nativist talking points and regurgitated campaign rhetoric that completely fails to move our nation forward toward real reform.”[3] Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the proposal would be “devastating” to South Carolina’s economy.[18] The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigrant rights groups both condemned the legislation.[3]

The National Immigration Law Center called the bill “cruel and un-American” and issued a statement saying that it would “devastate families, eliminating the traditional and long-accepted means by which family members such as grandparents, mothers, fathers and siblings are able to reunite with their families who have emigrated to the United States.”[16] The technology industry immigration-policy advocacy group FWD.us said the bill, if enacted, “would severely harm the economy and actually depress wages for Americans.”[16] The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and NAFSA: Association of International Educators also oppose the bill, describing it as flawed and a step backward.[16] The Anti-Defamation League also opposed the legislation, calling it “cruel, anti-family and un-American.”[19]

References

 

 

  1. ADL slams Trump-backed GOP plan on immigration as ‘cruel, un-American’, Times of Israel/Associated Press (August 3, 2017).

 

 

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

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 939,  August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938,  August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937,  July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936,  July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935,  July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933,  July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932,  July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931,  July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

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

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Image result for RAISE ACT immigration

Image result for Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. charts on numbers 

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

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

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

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

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

Trump Signs Sanctions Bill – Another Deep State Victory

Real Bipartisanship: Republicans And Democrats Unite For New Cold War

Germany growing sick of US sanctions on Russia

Russians See Sanctions Regime as a Blessing in Disguise

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump announces new immigration policy

Published on Aug 2, 2017

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

 

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

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

 

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

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

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

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income

 

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

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

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

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

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

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

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

About 1 million immigrants receive green cards per year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen. Cotton Officially Introduces RAISE Act

PUBLISHED:

Thu, FEB 16th 2017 @ 9:40am EST

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

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

The RAISE Act would:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017: Story 1: Vice-President On The Trump Doctrine In Speech Delivered From Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Sign Sanctions Bill For Russia, North Korea, and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — Story 3: Washington War Fever with Neocon Republicans and Progressive Democrats United Against Russia — Masking Incompetency — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 938,  August 1, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

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Vice President Pence Speaks to Troops from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Published on Jul 31, 2017

Vice President Pence Speaks to troops from Estonia, Latvia, USA and Lithuania during Visit to Eastern Europe, the Baltic’s…

How Trump Will Reshape Foreign Policy

Gen. Jack Keane on what the ‘Trump Doctrine’ might be

Experts Agree: Trump Is Planning Limited North Korean Strike Next Month

What Fake News Won’t Admit: Trump Is A Foreign Policy Genius and International Media Superstar

Lionel Nation Live Stream: The World Pivots Towards War and the Fake News MSM Go Full Mooch

Vice President Mike Pence Arrives in Montenegro as Part of Tour of Baltic States

 

The Trump Doctrine is easy to understand — Just look at his background

Foreign policy experts all over Washington seem completely stupefied when it comes to understanding President Trump’s national security goals. And for a long time, I was one of them.

In happy hours all over town where we love to gather, some experts would describe Trump’s approach as “uneducated,”“unsophisticated” or even “unprofessional.”

Rubbish. They just can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t share their often overly polished and overly sophisticated perspectives. I should know, it’s my profession.

The simple fact is this: you don’t need a Ph.D. from Yale or Cambridge to understand Trump’s vision for America’s place in the world—you just need to take the time to study his background.

He doesn’t care about your foreign policy schools of thoughts, deep historical perspective or game-theory workshops. He just wants the best “deals” for America. Period. End of story.

Washington’s foreign policy brain trust would be wise to take heed the words of a 900-year-old Jedi master named Yoda: “Unlearn what you have learned”.

Understanding the Trump Doctrine is child’s play—just don’t overthink it.

Put away your Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz or just war theory training because President Trump has his own ideas when it comes to global affairs.

Our new president is very different than almost any other we can remember in modern times.

He does not have the professorial pontification skills or deeply intellectual mindset of Barack Obama. Nor does he have the government experience of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson or JFK.

Trump is cut from a different cloth—he’s a street fighter and certainly not a slick, ivy league educated foreign policy expert.

The Donald is a rough and tumble, school of hard knocks, New York City businessman. He doesn’t care about your foreign policy schools of thoughts, deep historical perspective or game-theory workshops. He just wants the best “deals” for America. Period. End of story.

All of this is exactly what the American people voted for. Something different—with the old models of thinking being clearly rejected. And we need to make our peace with it.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t sophisticated or doesn’t have a sense of vision when it comes to international affairs.

In fact, Trump has his own loosely crafted foreign policy playbook, based on his own success and failures as a New York City businessman, entrepreneur and branding genius.

Our new president is taking his business acumen and applying it on a global stage. He has, at least in my opinion, what can be best described as a foreign policy balance sheet in his head. Trump looks at where he thinks America is “winning,” code for where Washington’s interests are moving forward, and losing, where America’s interests are not being served. And he tackles the ‘losses’ on that balance sheet with ruthless efficiency.

And that all makes Trump’s global agenda, one in which he takes on the toughest of problems—problems that have been festering for decades—a very hard task, but one that is worth pursuing.

Taking on China over North Korea will be an immense challenge—creating tensions in a relationship with the two biggest global economies and militaries. Taking on trade deals that many times were not always in America’s best interests might be even harder. Asking our allies to spend more towards our common defense won’t be easy. But who said change ever was?

Making all of this even more difficult is when people misinterpret the president’s own words or cherry pick his ideas to change his message, all in an effort to take him down.

Will Trump abandon NATO, leave South Korea on its own to confront a nuclear North Korea and withdraw to some sort of fortress America? Never.

Again, his past clues you into his thinking. Like any CEO, our president is using his background in business to strike the best terms for the nation in its relationships. And just like any CEO, he is not going to break a signed deal, like alliances with key partners the world over – that’s bad for the business of the nation. But he will try to ask for a little more—just like many of us do in our own lives and business deals. Shocker.

What unnerves people is the patented Trump approach—blunt and straightforward—and almost never politically correct in how he sometimes goes about striking a deal. That will get smoothed out in the months and years to come, just like many other presidents in the past. The stature of the office, the highest in the land, has that impact on the occupant.

But Trump is not going to change his core thinking or personality—that much is clear.

World leaders at the G-20 should already understand by now who our president is and his approach.

Trump is not going to coddle you, make you feel all warm and fuzzy when you do something against America’s national interests—he is not Barack Obama. He’s going to tell you in his own Trumpian way he is not impressed—and press you to change your position. And he might even do it on Twitter. And the media will go crazy over it, only amplifying the power of his message.

In fact, there might be a foreign policy vision that personifies the Trump Doctrine after all: mega-realism on steroids—and it’s what the American people asked for. Trump has stayed true to what he said he would do in foreign affairs, and it’s simple to understand, you just have to see the world through his own training and life experience—not yours.

Let Yoda be your guide.

Harry J. Kazianis (@grecianformula) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by former President Richard M. Nixon.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/07/trump-doctrine-is-easy-to-understand-just-look-at-his-background.html

VOICE

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him,” Dwight D. Eisenhower observed in 1952. Managing the future’s course is no small task, but in foreign policy the development and execution of sound strategy are a leader’s best hope. In January, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, we warned in Foreign Policy that Trump’s approach to foreign policy was dangerously nearsighted and posed unacceptable risks to national security. Absent a course correction, a trainwreck is all but assured.

Six months later, there is little indication that the president and his advisors have developed the kind of strategy — what academics call “grand strategy” and pundits refer to as “doctrine” — designed to impose America’s will on the world, rather than vice versa. Indeed, it seems there will never be a Trump doctrine. In resisting the careful patience required to develop and execute a purposive course of action over time, the administration’s method of policymaking is explicitly anti-strategic.

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During Whirlwind Week in Washington, VP Pence Comforts…

What White House infighting?

This deficiency results from three operational and philosophical principles that orient the president’s decision-making: a focus on short-term wins rather than longer-term strategic foresight; a “zero-sum” worldview where all gains are relative and reciprocity is absent; and a rejection of values-based policymaking. The shortcomings of this approach — which we dubbed “tactical transactionalism” — are already apparent in the Trump administration’s foreign-policy record to date.

First, Trump has made no secret of his desire to “win,” a worldview that privileges short-term, tactical triumphs.

Nowhere was this attitude more evident than in Trump’s decision to fire off 59 cruise missiles in retaliation for a Syrian government chemical weapons attack. Although administration officials herald this decision in public and private as a signal accomplishment of Trump’s foreign policy, the strike actually had little effect: The targeted airfield was operational again within days, and the attack’s muddled rationale obscured any intended signal to American adversaries. Nonetheless, the arresting images of U.S. Navy destroyers launching missiles remain the most vivid exemplar of the Trump administration’s foreign policy in its first six months.

This short-termism was also apparent in the initial enthusiastic response to the Gulf crisis that began on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and announced a blockade on the country. Trump, eager to claim a win from his trip to the Middle East, tweeted his support for the move. Even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to take a more strategic view of the crisis — recognizing the centrality of the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar to the U.S.-led counter-Islamic State campaign — Trump undermined his chief diplomat with bravado, doubling down on his criticism of Qatar and asserting, “If we ever needed another military base, you have other countries that would gladly build it.” Unsurprisingly, when the secretary of state attempted a well-publicized diplomatic effort to find a regional solution, U.S. partners refused to participate.

Though well suited to splashy successes — or at least the tweetable impression of them — a tactical-transactional approach blinds the president to the second- and third-order effects of his actions, making sound strategy nearly impossible.

Second, the Trump foreign policy is characterized by a zero-sum worldview: Every win for another country is a loss for the United States, and Washington’s best bet is to out-negotiate both allies and adversaries at every turn. Cooperation, according to the perspective explicitly articulated by top advisors H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, emerges only when narrow self-interests exactly align.

In an illustration of this principle, on his fourth day in office, Trump signed an executive order that withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. He did so after expressing a series of deep misunderstandings about the TPP’s likely impact on jobs and wages, its power over U.S. decision-making, and its inability to deal with Chinese and Japanese currency manipulation. In its place, Trump has promised to “fix” America’s trade relations with all of its trading partners through bilateral deals. “Wait till you see what we’re going to do on trade,” Trump boasted this week to the New York Times, without offering any supporting details (as always). Meanwhile, the TPP, the text of which overwhelmingly reflected American preferences, is now being redrafted without American participation; meanwhile, China is advancing its own trade agenda through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The zero-sum perspective even extends to U.S. allies, which the president views more as competitors than enduring strategic partners. Despite Seoul’s vital role in addressing the North Korean nuclear crisis — undoubtedly the national security issue atop Trump’s agenda — the president has threatened to terminate the American bilateral trade agreement with South Korea and tried to renege on the U.S. commitment to pay for the THAAD anti-missile defense system.

By ignoring the multidimensional nature of international politics and denying the value of reciprocity, this relentless unilateralism denies the United States critical cooperative tools in countering threats and seizing opportunities.

Finally, tactical transactionalism is devoid of moral or ethical considerations.

President Trump has demonstrated an intuitive adoration for authoritarian leaders.

President Trump has demonstrated an intuitive adoration for authoritarian leaders. In April, he praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a habitual human rights abuser, for doing a “fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” Later in the month, he called Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to congratulate him, telling the man behind the deaths of thousands of his own citizens: “I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.… Keep up good work. You are doing an amazing job.” Perhaps most dramatically, he called North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a “pretty smart cookie,” whom he would be “honored” to meet.Though it may enhance the unpredictability Trump prizes, a foreign policy unmoored from values results in a foreign policy oriented exclusively — and nihilistically — around pursuit of the “best deal.”

Over the past six months, in the wake of Trump’s cruise missile strikes in Syria and again with soaring speeches in Saudi Arabia and Poland, foreign-policy analysts have attempted to weave the administration’s actions into a coherent strategic doctrine. Senior administration officials are in on the game as well, with various factions vying to impose their strategic vision of “America First” in a bizarre, latter-day Kennan sweepstakes. But for all the op-ed ink that’s been spilled, these attempts are little more than a fool’s errand.

Even if analysts and advisors could impose intellectual coherence on Trump’s constellation of instincts and predilections, tactical transactionalism all but guarantees the inconsistent translation of those preferences into policy.

Even Trump’s well-documented antipathy toward American allies is not a reliable guide to his actual conduct of foreign relations: Despite decades of bashing both Japan and Germany, over the past six months, Trump has embraced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who cleverly came bearing golden golf clubs to Trump Tower in New York last November — while spurning German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Moreover, the administration lacks the capacity to implement any strategic vision — particularly one that requires the use of non-hard-power tools. Military officials have wisely emphasized that lasting solutions to the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and even Yemen are primarily the responsibility and role of the State Department. But the State Department itself has been gutted and demoralized. The White House’s fiscal year 2018 budget request was a paltry $37.6 billion for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (a 33 percent decrease over the previous budget) and $639 billion for the Department of Defense (representing a 10 percent increase). Tillerson has also refused to fill an unprecedented number of senior diplomatic posts and ambassadorships, claiming that it would be pointless until the State Department had been fully reorganized.

To some extent, the inability of the Trump administration to develop and execute grand strategy has resulted in an astounding degree of continuity with Barack Obama-era foreign policies. Despite Trump’s pronouncement that Obama’s “strategic patience” with North Korea is over, the “peaceful pressure” policy is not discernibly distinct. Similarly, the administration’s still-secret strategy to defeat the Islamic State clearly entails tactical intensification but remains strategically similar to the Obama approach.

While surely desirable in some instances, stability is not necessarily the best response to a dynamic world.

While surely desirable in some instances, stability is not necessarily the best response to a dynamic world.Without a grand strategy, the United States cannot seize the initiative on the world stage and, simply by default, will cede ground to hostile powers, as the effects of a reactive foreign policy accrue exponentially over time. The unpredictability that Trump prizes has already injected uncertainty into America’s alliances, as international partners question whether Washington can be trusted to uphold its security commitments. Around the world, public opinion is turning against the United States, and foreign capitals can be expected to reorient their foreign policies accordingly.Come fall, the administration will likely release a wave of strategy documents, from the overarching National Security Strategy to more specific ones like the Nuclear Posture Review. These documents may provide the fleeting illusion of strategy, but they cannot elide a fundamental truth: So long as Trump’s tactical transactionalism governs the formation of U.S. foreign policy, the United States is condemned to be the object, rather than the agent, of history.

Rebecca Friedman Lissner is a Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Micah Zenko is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

Story 2: President Trump Will Sign Sanctions Bill For Russia, North Korea, and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos

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US Senate approves Iran, Russia, North Korea sanctions

Trump will sign bill imposing stiff sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump said he would sign a series of bills that will impose stiff financial sanctions on Russia.

The announcement comes after Congress this week overwhelmingly approved packages to punish Moscow for allegedly meddling in U.S. elections.

After Congress approved the sanctions, Moscow said it was reducing the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia in retaliation.

In a statement late Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had “reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”

The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. It also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Before Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.

“Over the last eight months what price has Russia paid for attacking our elections?” McCain asked. “Very little.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy in Russia to reduce the number of its diplomats by Sept. 1. Russia will also close down the embassy’s recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

Meanwhile, some European countries expressed concerns that the measures targeting Russia’s energy sector would harm its businesses involved in piping Russian natural gas. Germany’s foreign minister said his country wouldn’t accept the U.S. sanctions against Russia being applied to European companies.

A spokesman for the European Commission said Friday that European officials will be watching the U.S. effort closely, vowing to “remain vigilant.”

The North Korea sanctions are intended to thwart Pyongyang’s ambition for nuclear weapons by cutting off access to the cash the reclusive nation needs to follow through with its plans. The bill prohibits ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against it from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports.

Goods produced by North Korea’s forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the bill.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country’s Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/28/trump-to-sign-bill-levying-sanctions-on-russia-iran-and-north-korea-white-house-says.html

How U.S. Sanctions Are Working (Or Not) in 5 Countries

Jul 31, 2017

Sanctions are back in the news — though if you’re President Donald Trump, that’s not a good thing. Here’s a look at the current state of U.S. sanctions on a few key countries and how they’re faring.

Russia

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a new round of sanctions against Russia, targeting its intelligence, energy, defense, mining and railway industries. The U.S. has had sanctions in place against Russia since the 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, but this latest round also hits Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Sanctions take years to have full effect—in the short term, they’re mainly a shot across the bow (and one to which Putin has already retaliated). But you don’t often see a Republican-led Congress using sanctions as a shot across the bow of a Republican president.

Near-universal support from Congress (the sanctions bill passed the Senate by a 98-2 margin; the House of Representatives went 419-3) undermines Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift sanctions against Russia—compromising the traditional power of the president to lead the country’s foreign policy (if Trump wants to try to lift these sanctions, Congress has 30 days to approve or reject this request). The bipartisan bill had been held up by ferocious White House lobbying, but the realization has since set in that the bill will pass, even if Congress has to override a presidential veto. Trump still says that accusations his campaign colluded with the Russian government are “fake news.” Fake or not, concerns about his relations with Russia are beginning to have real impact on policy.

North Korea

While the Russia component of the bill is receiving the lion’s share of media attention, it also ramps up penalties against North Korea (in addition to Iran—see below). The U.S. has kept sanctions on the North Koreans since the Korean War. Not that they’ve done much beyond adding to the misery inside a country where 41 percent of people are undernourished and more than 70 percent depend on food aid. The Kim dynasty remains in power and continues to develop the country’s nuclear program. In fact, U.S. intelligence revised estimates just this week to say that Pyongyang could develop the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental US within a year. Some experts believe an ICBM tested on Friday could already put U.S. cities at risk.

But recent North Korea sanctions have also ricocheted on China, North Korea’s primary benefactor and link to the outside world. More than 90 percent of North Korea’s trade volume comes from China, not to mention most of its food and energy. North Korea uses Chinese banks to fund transactions throughout the rest of the world, and recent rounds of sanctions have targeted those Chinese banks and companies. Trump continues to complain that Beijing should place more pressure on the Kim regime; this is one way to add more encouragement. It’s highly unlikely to be enough to change Beijing’s mind though, given Chinese fears of extreme instability on the Korean peninsula.

Iran

Sanctions on Iran, on the other hand, have shown some results, because unlike North Korea, Iran wants a deeper commercial and political engagement with the rest of the world. Cutting off access to global markets and investments, as well as freezing $56 billion in assets, hit the country hard. Iran had hoped that signing the 2015 nuclear deal would breathe new life into its economy by allowing it to return to oil markets, and it has—though not by as much as moderates like President Hassan Rouhani had hoped.

Iran is still being kept in the cold despite the nuclear deal because the U.S. has retained sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missiles program, human rights abuses, and state sponsorship of groups like Hezbollah that Washington considers terrorist organizations. The country’s also being held back by plummeting oil prices: when Iran first signed the 2013 interim deal that would ultimately become the nuclear deal we know today, oil was selling at $111 and Iran was producing about 2.8 million barrels a day. Today, it’s producing nearly 4 millionbarrels daily, but oil is only selling at just over $50. Sometimes, the free market can be crueler than sanctions.

Syria

U.S. sanctions against Syria have been in place since 2004, long before the country descended into civil war. The Bush and Obama administrations accused the Assad regime of supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction, and undermining the U.S. in neighboring Iraq.

But instituting country-wide sanctions gets harder when the country in question is falling apart. The latest round have been more precisely targeted: following Assad’s use of sarin gas against civilian populations, the U.S. government levied sanctions against 271 Syrian individuals who work for the government agency making chemical weapons in April 2017. Members of Assad’s family saw their U.S. assets frozen in May. A strength of sanctions is that they can be aimed directly at individual sectors and officials, limiting damage to ordinary citizens and creating incentives for more cooperative behavior. But that advantage isn’t worth much when the government in question is already fighting for its life.

Cuba

More than 80 percent of Americans (not to mention a majority of Republicans) supported lifting the Cuban travel embargo back in 2015; 58 percent of Americans favored reestablishing diplomatic relations. Despite that, Trump has rolled back some of those Obama provisions by limiting commerce with Cuban businesses affiliated with the military, which owns almost all of the island’s retail chains and hotels. Trump has also ordered that any American who wants to visit the island for “educational” purposes must do so through a licensed tour group. The embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open.

The U.S. has been sanctioning Cuba in one form or another since the Dwight Eisenhower administration in the late 1950s. John F. Kennedy expanded sanctions further, and they remained in place for more than 50 years until Obama eased many restrictions. Over the decades, Cuba estimates that the U.S. embargo has cost the country nearly $117 billion, yet the island is still governed by Raul Castro following his brother’s death in November.

The lesson of sanctions: context is everything. About 10 years ago, I wrote a book called The J-Curve, where I envisioned all the countries in the world plotted on an X-Y axis.

On the far left of the curve are countries like North Korea and Cuba, whose regimes are stable precisely because they’re closed off from the rest of the world. On the far right of the curve are open countries like Germany and the U.S., whose governments are stable precisely because they engage with the rest of the world. Sanctions generally shift countries further left along the curve; sometimes, if the sanctions are significant enough, they can shift the entire curve downwards for a single country.

Put another way: a government like Syria’s that is fighting for its life will always have bigger problems than sanctions guiding its choices. But when sanctions are imposed on governments that feel safer outside the international system like those in North Korea and Cuba (i.e. on the far left of the J-Curve), the penalties are unlikely to bring about change — especially when they can rely on a deep-pocketed patron. (Cuba has recently opened mainly because the friendly Chavista government in Venezuela seems fated to join the Soviet Union on the ash heap of history.)

A larger country on the left-hand side of the J-curve like Russia is more vulnerable to its own economic shortcomings than to Western sanctions. But pressure on a country like Iran (also on the left side of the J-Curve, but near the dip), one that wants to plug into international commerce but that remains small enough to isolate, has more potential for success.

http://time.com/4875370/sanctions-russia-north-korea-iran-donald-trump/

Russia sanctions bill heads to Trump after Senate approval

 July 27

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted decisively on Thursday to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations.Never in doubt, however, was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The provisions were included to assuage concerns among lawmakers that the president’s push for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin.The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both are veto proof numbers as the White House has wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law.The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017. The Senate voted decisively to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations. The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. McCain said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

“Over the last eight months what price has Russia paid for attacking our elections?” McCain asked. “Very little.”

Trump had privately expressed frustration over Congress’ ability to limit or override the power of the president on national security matters, according to Trump administration officials and advisers. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.

But faced with heavy bipartisan support for the bill in the House and Senate, the president has little choice but to sign the bill into law. Trump’s communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, suggested earlier Thursday on CNN’s New Day that Trump might veto the bill and “negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that would be a serious mistake and called Scaramucci’s remark an “off-handed comment.” If Trump rejected the bill, Corker said, Congress would overrule him.

“I cannot imagine anybody is seriously thinking about vetoing this bill,” said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It’s not good for any president — and most governors don’t like to veto things that are going to be overridden. It shows a diminishment of their authority. I just don’t think that’s a good way to start off as president.”

Still, signing a bill that penalizes Russia’s election interference would mark a significant shift for Trump. He’s repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia sought to tip the election in his favor. And he’s blasted as a “witch hunt” investigations into the extent of Russia’s interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

The 184-page bill seeks to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia’s energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow’s benefit. The bill raised the threshold for when U.S. firms would be prohibited from being part of energy projects that also included Russian businesses.

Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia’s energy sec