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The Pronk Pops 1007, November 28, 2017, Story 1: North Korea Launches Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) — Flies 50 Miles High Toward Japan — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Big Push To Pass Something In The Senate — Tax Cut Yes, Tax Reform No — Something Maybe — Videos — Story 3: Repeal Government Control and Regulation of Internet — Let Consumer Sovereignty and Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign — Videos — Story 4: Obama Appointed Inspector General Charles McCullough Found 22 Top Secret and Beyond In Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails with Over 2,100 Containing Classified Information — Extremely Reckless Said Clapper — Clinton and Campaign Lied To American People — Prosecute Now! — The Statute of Limits Runs Out In February 2018 — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Story 1: North Korea Launches Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) — Flies 50 Miles Toward Japan — Videos —

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Mattis: North Korean missile launch ‘went higher’ than previous tests

North Korea celebrates ICBM launch, harsh sanctions promised

US sanctions may not be enough to stop North Korea

Fox News confirms North Korea fires ballistic missile

Japanese Coverage Of North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch

 

North Korea ICBM test may show Washington within range.

by Reuters
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 03:06 GMT

 

* N.Korean missile test first since September

* Missile reached altitude of at least 4,000 km – officials

* Some scientists say Washington D.C. may now be within range

* N.Korea announcement 0330GMT-Yonhap cites N.Korean media

* For multimedia coverage of North Korea https://www.reuters.com/north-korea/

By Christine Kim and Phil Stewart

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – North Korea launched what officials said was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew high into space before landing near Japan on Wednesday, showing Pyongyang may now be able to reach Washington, D.C. with its weapons.

The missile test, North Korea’s first since mid-September, came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions.

North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its leader, Kim Jong Un, in defiance of international sanctions. Trump has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States.

The South Korean military said the missile reached an altitude of around 4,500 km (2,800 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 960 km (600 miles) before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials all agreed it was likely an ICBM but it did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.

“It went higher frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Trump spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In, with all three leaders reaffirming their commitment to combat the North Korean threat.

“It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

President Moon told Trump during their call that North Korea’s missile technology seemed to have improved, a spokesman for the South Korean leader’s office said.

Trump, who was briefed on the missile while it was in flight, said it did not change his administration’s approach to North Korea, which has included new curbs to hurt trade between China and North Korea.

ALL OPTIONS

Washington has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Other than carrying out existing U.N. sanctions, “the international community must take additional measures to enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic” traveling to North Korea, Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the launch, which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned.

“This is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions and shows complete disregard for the united view of the international community,” his spokesman said in a statement.

North Korea will make an announcement at 0330 GMT, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing North Korean media which gave no further details.

U.S. EAST COAST IN RANGE?

An official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they presumed the missile was a Hwasong-14 – a two-stage ICBM North Korea tested twice in July.

Japanese officials said the missile flew for 53 minutes and broke up before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

“If these numbers are correct, then if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 13,000 km (8,100 miles) … Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.

However, it was unclear how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, and it was uncertain if it could carry a large nuclear warhead that far, the nonprofit science advocacy group added.

Either way, experts believe North Korea will soon have the ability to threaten the continental United States, if it doesn’t already.

“We don’t have to like it, but we’re going to have to learn to live with North Korea’s ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons,” said Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies.

Minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response, the South Korean military said.

South Korea’s Moon said the launch had been anticipated and the government had been preparing for it. There was no choice but for countries to keep applying pressure and sanctions against North Korea, he added.

“The situation could get out of control if North Korea perfects its ICBM technology,” Moon said, according to the Blue House after a national security council meeting.

“North Korea shouldn’t miscalculate the situation and threaten South Korea with a nuclear weapon, which could elicit a possible pre-emptive strike by the United States.”

U.S. stocks briefly pared gains on the news but the S&P 500 index was up almost 1 percent at the close and Asian markets largely shrugged off the news.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in September, following a missile it fired that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on Sept. 15 and far out into the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea has said its weapons programs are a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.”

A U.S. government source said the U.S. assessment was the launch was the latest in a well-calculated and serious series of tests to develop and perfect North Korea missile systems rather than any response to Trump.

Trump has traded insults and threats with Kim and warned in September that the United States would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

(Reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul, Linda Sieg, William Mallard, Timothy Kelly in Tokyo, Mark Hosenball, John Walcott, Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, David Brunnstrom and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Grant McCool, Michael Perry & Simon Cameron-Moore)

http://news.trust.org/item/20171128192754-trq9s

Trump says North Korea missile launch ‘a situation that we will handle’

WASHINGTON, Nov 28 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States “will take care of” the North Korea issue after its latest missile launch, and that the basic U.S. approach to dealing with Pyongyang will not change.

Trump has tightened sanctions on North Korea and pressured China to do more to help rein in Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear ambitions. North Korea fired what the U.S. Pentagon said appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan on Wednesday.

Trump said the missile launch did not change what he called the “very serious” U.S. approach, a week after he put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries that Washington says support terrorism.

“I will only tell you that we will take care of it… It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Republican congressional leaders at the White House.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was also at the meeting, said the ICBM launch was a higher trajectory than any test conducted thus far by North Korea and called it part of a research and development effort.

“It went higher frankly than any previous shots they have taken,” Mattis said.

He said South Korea retaliated by firing some pinpoint missiles into the water to show North Korea that the U.S. ally would not be rattled by Pyongyang’s launch.

North Korea has said its weapons program is a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Grant McCool)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-5126451/Trump-says-North-Korea-missile-launch-situation-handle.html#ixzz4zmdW5hXm

Story 2: President Trump’s Big Push To Pass Something In The Senate — Tax Cut Yes, Tax Reform No — Something Maybe — Videos —

The Senate could kill tax reform: Here’s how

Senate Budget Committee passes GOP tax reform bill

Senate Tax Drama Intensifies As Bill Faces Key Panel Vote

Senate progressed a lot on tax reform: Sen. Daines

Trump pushes skeptical Republicans on tax plan

Rep. Kevin Brady on Senate Proposal Eliminates State And Local Tax Deductions. #TaxReform #GOP

Changes to Senate GOP tax plan may benefit Trump

Tax reform hangs in balance in critical week for GOP

Senate tax drama intensifies as bill moves toward key vote

 

Senator John McCain of Arizona arrived for a vote at the Capitol on Monday. While he has praised the process of the Senate tax bill, some believe he could still vote against it. CreditJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Once again, it could all come down to Senator John McCain.

After sinking his party’s hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act this year with a dramatic thumbs-down, the fate of a tax overhaul may now sit in the hands of the Republican from Arizona. In recent days, Mr. McCain has been fairly tight-lipped about his views on the tax proposal speeding through the Senate, saying he sees some problems with the existing bill but is waiting for a final plan before making a decision.

Asked about what concerned him about the Senate tax bill this week, Mr. McCain replied tersely: “A lot of things.”

Even those who know Mr. McCain best are unsure how he will vote, but if history is any guide, Republicans have reason to worry.

Mr. McCain has voted against big tax cuts before, including two that passed under another Republican president: George W. Bush. In that case, he bucked the majority of his party on the grounds that the 2001 and 2003 cuts overwhelmingly benefited the rich — a widespread criticism of the current Senate legislation and the bill that has already passed the House. Mr. McCain is also a deficit hawk and could find it hard to swallow a tax cut that will add around $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years.

With their slim majority in the Senate, Republicans can lose no more than two votes, and several others are on the fence.

“I don’t know,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, policy adviser to Mr. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said when asked how his former boss would vote on the tax overhaul. “For most people there are going to be things in there they don’t like and the question is what is preferable, the status quo or the bill.”

In 2001, as Republicans forged ahead with a $1.35 trillion tax cut, Mr. McCain became one of two Republican senators to vote against the bill’s passage. He said he could not accept that changes to the bill lowered the top individual tax rate to 35 percent and delayed tax relief for married couples.

“We had an opportunity to provide much more tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans,” Mr. McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor. “But I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”

Two years later, Mr. McCain voted against another round of tax cuts. In his remarks in 2003, Mr. McCain again cast doubt on the need to use “billions of federal dollars to cut taxes for our nation’s wealthiest.” The deal breaker that time was that his fellow lawmakers would pass such cuts while rejecting legislation that would have allowed members of the military to get tax breaks on profits from selling their homes.

“Politics ruled the day,” he said ruefully.

But Mr. McCain had been a tax cut skeptic well before those votes. After Republicans swept control of Congress in 1994, he was fretting about being fiscally responsible and urged his fellow lawmakers to heed the lessons of President Ronald Reagan.

“I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the ’80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we’ve got a debt that we’ve got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense,” Mr. McCain said.

During his first run for president, Mr. McCain was the candidate of fiscal responsibility rather than tax relief. When debating George W. Bush during the 2000 Republican primary, it was clear that Mr. McCain did not think that the budget surplus should be spent on tax cuts.

GRAPHIC

Which Republican Senators Might Oppose the Tax Bill, and Why

Senate leaders would need to win over several Republican senators to pass a tax overhaul.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

“We ought to pay down the debt, and we also ought to make Social Security solvent,” he said.

More recently, Mr. McCain has been toeing the party line on taxes.

In 2006, Mr. McCain supported extending the Bush tax cuts on the basis that letting them expire would represent a tax increase.

The tax plan that Mr. McCain crafted in 2008 during his presidential run against Barack Obama was even more mainstream Republican. He called for lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, phasing out the alternative minimum taxand doubling the value of exemptions for each dependent to $7,000 from $3,500.

The current Senate version has some similar strands, though it goes much further in giving tax breaks to businesses. The Senate bill cuts the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent, phases out the alternative minimum tax for both individuals and businesses, and creates more favorable tax treatment for so-called pass-through businesses. On the individual side, it roughly doubles the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly to $24,000 from $12,700 and increases the value of some other tax breaks, such as the child tax credit.

These days Mr. McCain seems far more concerned with the virtues of bipartisanship and “regular order,” insisting that both parties should have the chance to debate tax legislation and offer changes to any bill. His biggest priority remains robust military spending, and some have speculated that Mr. McCain could be wary that tax cuts would mean less revenue for the military and more debt for the nation.

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and longtime adviser to Mr. McCain, said that if lawmakers mean what they have said over the years about fiscal restraint, they should oppose this tax bill.

“We’re about to find out the degree to which that viewpoint about fiscal discipline was political rhetoric or fundamental principle,” Mr. Schmidt said. “If it was political rhetoric, then this bill will pass. If those statements were principle based, then this bill will fail.”

There have been some signals that Mr. McCain could be on board despite his public reticence to embrace the bill. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain pointed to his recent comments praising the process.

Still, some supporters of the tax bill have been concerned that Mr. McCain, along with Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, could vote against the legislation, possibly to spite President Trump, whom they have all been critical of, and criticized by.

Grover Norquist, the head of the anti-tax Americans for Tax Reform, said that he is hopeful that Mr. McCain will put his differences with Mr. Trump aside and get behind a tax bill that he thinks would be good for the party and the economy.

“You want to be the guy who is bigger than any personal fight,” said Mr. Norquist, who suggested that Mr. McCain voted against the 2001 tax cuts because he disliked Mr. Bush.

As for Mr. McCain’s penchant for going his own way, Mr. Norquist said he thought the senator had already proved himself.

“I think McCain did the maverick thing on health care, so if there are dues for the maverick club, he paid them this year big time,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/us/politics/republican-victory-may-rest-once-again-with-mccain-this-time-on-taxes.html

 

Senate committee advances GOP tax bill, moving closer to floor vote

  • The Senate Budget Committee advances the Republican tax bill.
  • In a party-line vote, the GOP moved one step closer to a floor vote later this week.
  • Bob Corker and Ron Johnson, who had concerns about the bill, voted to advance it.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is greeted by applause from (L-R) Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) during an event at the Capitol to celebrate the passing of the tax reform bill November 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Senate Budget Committee advances tax bill  

The Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday approved the Republican tax bill, a crucial procedural step toward a vote by the full chamber later this week.

With the party-line 12-11 vote to advance the plan, Republicans overcame one possible roadblock in their push to chop tax rates for businesses and individuals by the end of the year.

Two GOP members of the panel had separate concerns that threatened to upend the bill’s momentum. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., wants a “trigger” to raise revenues should the bill’s economic growth effects not go far enough to make up for the nearly $1.5 trillion in estimated tax cuts over 10 years. The senator had fears about expanding budget deficits and suggested Monday that he could vote “no” to advance the proposal.

In a statement Tuesday, Corker said he backed the bill after reaching a tentative deal on a “trigger” to “ensure greater fiscal responsibility should economic growth estimates not be realized.” The senator added that the proposal needs to be finalized but said he is “encouraged.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN

Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sought to further reduce the tax burden on pass-through businesses, which pay individual rates. He argued that those businesses got worse treatment under the plan than corporations, which would see their tax rate chopped to 20 percent from 35 percent.

Both senators ended up voting to advance the bill. Johnson later said he got assurances that his concerns would be addressed either in the Senate bill or in a joint bill with the House.

Senators going to the hearing were greeted by protesters shouting “Shame!” and “Kill the bill!”

Republican Senate leaders want to pass the plan later this week. As it holds 52 seats, the GOP can lose only two votes and still approve the bill under special budget rules, assuming all Democrats and independents oppose it.

Though the fiscal trigger earned Corker’s support, other senators quickly criticized the measure.

“I am not going to vote to implement automatic tax increases on the American people. If I do that, consider me drunk. I’m not voting for that,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said, according to Bloomberg.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said, “It’s not in our best interest to have a mechanism that would create a tax increase,” Bloomberg reported.

Shortly before the budget committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “challenging exercise” to get enough support to pass the bill.

“Think of sitting there with a Rubik’s Cube trying to get to 50 [votes],” the Kentucky Republican told reporters. “And we do have a few members who have concerns and we’re trying to address them. And we know we will not be able to go forward until we get 50 people satisfied, and that’s what we’re working on.”

The Senate proposal would temporarily cut many individual income taxes while permanently reducing the corporate rate. It would also change or eliminate some popular deductions.

Multiple other senators have expressed similar concerns to those of Corker and Johnson.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday after a meeting with McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump said, “I think we’re going to get it passed.” The president added that he expects “lots of adjustments” before a final plan gets approved. He did not specify what those adjustments would be.

At a Senate GOP lunch earlier in the day, Trump “underscored the importance” of passing a tax bill, according to McConnell.

Trump later described the meeting as “phenomenal,” “very special” and a “love fest.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/senate-budget-committee-advances-gop-tax-bill-moving-closer-to-floor-vote.html

Deal-making moves Senate Republicans closer to passage of tax reform bill

https://uw-media.usatoday.com/video/embed/107075882?sitelabel=reimagine&platform=desktop&continuousplay=true&placement=uw-smallarticleattophtml5&pagetype=story

The White House and congressional leaders released a framework for tax changes, but many key details have been left to tax committees. Here’s how that process is working. Jeff Dionise, Ramon Padilla, Paul Singer and Herbert Jackson, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans moved closer Tuesday to passing a bill to overhaul the nation’s tax system after leaders began winning over potential opponents through a series of deals to resolve their concerns.

For Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, worried that the tax bill would increase the federal deficit, it was the promise of a legislative “trigger” that would repeal the tax cuts if deficits appeared.

For Maine Sen. Susan Collins, it was the promise that separate legislation would be considered to offset the increase in health insurance premiums that is expected if the tax bill eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans emerged from a one-hour meeting with President Trump feeling optimistic that the tax-reform bill would pass in the next few days but acknowledged that the vote will likely be close.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the process of wrangling enough votes for passage as “a challenging exercise.”

“I think I’m sitting there with a Rubik’s cube trying to get to 50 (votes),” he said.

More: Trump signals changes are coming to tax bill as new study says those at the bottom are hurt

Tax-reform is a top priority of Trump and congressional Republicans, who are pushing to get the bill approved before the end of the year. Because Republicans hold a bare 52-48 margin in the Senate, they can afford to lose no more than two of their own members if the bill is to pass.

The legislation took an important step forward on Tuesday when it cleared the Senate Budget Committee in a party-line 12-11 vote. The committee voted to combine the tax-reform bill with language that would open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.

The measure is now headed to the Senate floor, where a final vote could come as early as this week.

The bill’s prospects appeared to improve significantly with Corker’s announcement that he was likely to support the legislation.

Corker previously had said he would oppose any tax bill that would raise the deficit. But after the meeting with Trump, Corker said he would support the bill if it included a trigger that would rescind the tax cuts if they caused a hike in the deficit. He did not provide details of the language.

 “I think we’ve come to a pretty good place,” Corker said. “The White House is all fine with this.”

Collins, who has met repeatedly with GOP leaders and with Trump to air her concerns, said she has secured an agreement in which a bipartisan health-insurance bill by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., would be considered along with legislation she has filed with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The Collins-Nelson bill would provide $3 billion to $5 billion in seed money to create high-risk insurance pools to help insure people with pre-existing conditions and other high medical costs.

According to Collins, the agreement calls for the two bills to be considered and signed into law before Congress considers a conference committee report on the tax-reform bill.

That would help offset the insurance premium increases that are anticipated if Congress eliminates the Obamacare provision that everyone must buy insurance. Eliminating the so-called “individual mandate” is part of the GOP tax package.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Trump signaled his support for passing the Alexander-Murray bipartisan bill and the Collins-Nelson legislation on high-risk pools, several senators said.

Trump “said that he understood the need to have something to offset the premium increases and appeared very open to the combination of Alexander-Murray and Collins-Nelson,” Collins said.

More: Republican tax overhaul clears the House, but Senate passage could prove to be the real test

More: Winners and losers in the tax bill that passed the House

Collins said she also intends to offer an amendment on the Senate floor that would reinstate the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000, similar to a provision that is included in the House bill. Collins said there is widespread support for the amendment among Senate Republicans because it would provide tax benefits to middle-class families.

Collins said she is still undecided about the tax bill. But, “We’re making some progress, and that is encouraging to me,” she said.

Another positive sign for Republicans was the tone of Tuesday’s meeting, which included a back-and-forth between Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, another member with concerns about the bill.

“It was very respectful,” said Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho. “Both of them were well-schooled.”

Risch said the mood was “very different” from a previous session between Senate Republicans and Trump before a failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Asked about his interaction with Trump, Johnson said, “He wants to encourage me to get to yes. And that’s what I want to do.”

McConnell criticized Democratic congressional leaders who cancelled a scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon with GOP leadership and Trump at the White House, saying that it demonstrated a lack of seriousness.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they decided not to attend the meeting after Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he couldn’t see how a deal could be struck between Democrats and Republicans and the White House.

The Democratic leaders said they would be interested instead in meeting with their GOP congressional counterparts.

But McConnell’s spokeswoman rejected that idea. Antonia Ferrier said McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan had not set any meeting with Schumer and Pelosi.

“They’re in the minority. They go and meet with the president of the United States,” she said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/28/trump-heads-capitol-hill-talk-tax-cuts-senate-republicans/898409001/

The Latest: Senate Budget panel advances tax package

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Republican tax overhaul legislation (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

The Senate Budget Committee has advanced a sweeping tax package to the full Senate, handing GOP leaders a victory as they try to pass the nation’s first tax overhaul in 31 years.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, speaks about tax reform as Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., listen Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, speaks about tax reform as Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., left, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., listen Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The committee voted 12 to 11 to advance the bill. Two committee Republicans had said they were considering voting against the measure. But after President Donald Trump personally lobbied Republican senators at the Capitol Tuesday, the committee passed the bill with little fanfare other than a few protesters who tried to disrupt the committee meeting.

GOP leaders hope to have the full Senate take up the bill later this week. The tax package blends a sharp reduction in top corporate and business tax rates with more modest relief for individuals.

__

3:05 p.m.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she has won support to amend the Senate’s sweeping tax bill allow homeowners to deduct at least a portion of their local property taxes on their federal tax returns.

President Donald Trump attended a Senate Republican luncheon Tuesday in an effort to persuade senators to support the tax package. Afterward, Collins said Trump and other GOP leaders agreed to the property tax provision.

The current Senate bill completely repeals the state and local tax deduction, which helps reduce the tax bills of more than 43 million families. Collins said the Senate bill would be amended to allow homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, which is similar to a provision in the House-passed bill.

__

12:55 p.m.

A group of moderate Senate Democrats are asking Republicans to work with them to refashion their tax bill into legislation they say would truly help the middle class.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who led the group, tells Republicans: “We can get you to 70” votes on a bill.

Democrats weren’t included in the crafting of the tax overhaul legislation, and they have attacked it as benefiting big corporations and the wealthy.

Several of the moderates had been actively courted by President Donald Trump on the tax overhaul in recent weeks, invited to meetings and dinners at the White House and trips with Trump on his plane.

Manchin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are from states easily carried by Trump in the 2016 election. They are up for re-election next year.

___

10:30 a.m.

The House’s chief tax-writer says ending the “Obamacare” requirement that everyone have health insurance – an element of the Senate bill – is a move the House also is likely to accept.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, made his comments Tuesday as Senate Republican leaders pushed to pass their bill this week. It would eventually have to be reconciled with the tax measure recently passed by the House.

Brady has previously said that repealing the so-called individual mandate under the Obama health care law was politically risky. But he told the American Enterprise Institute that “the House has always been strongly supportive of eliminating that forced tax.”

He said, “We’re going to let the Senate process go forward, encourage the Senate to deliver a good pro-growth product.”

__

3:26 a.m.

Republicans are struggling to win over resistant GOP senators to a sweeping tax bill that President Donald Trump and their party have set as a vital political goal.

Trump, who has assured lawmakers there will be changes, is traveling to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to personally lobby Republican senators. Senate GOP leaders hope to pass the bill this week.

Anxious to pass a tax overhaul package by year’s end with an eye to the 2018 elections, Trump and the GOP leaders scrambled Monday to make changes to the Senate version to woo the Republican holdouts. Republicans have only two votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a 52-48 edge, and anticipate Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie, if needed.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., speaks, as she is accompanied by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., left, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a news conference about their hopes for a bipartisan approach to tax reform, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., left, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks about tax reform, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5125805/The-Latest-Moderate-Dems-ask-GOP-negotiate-taxes.html#ixzz4zmz8XFIc

 

Story 3: Repeal Government Control and Regulation of The Internet — Let Consumer Sovereignty and Free Enterprise Market Capital Reign — Videos

US regulator says Silicon Valley is threat to internet

AFP
Federal Communication Commission chairman Ajit Pai argues that internet platforms like Twitter represent a threat to online freedom of speech
Federal Communication Commission chairman Ajit Pai argues that internet platforms like Twitter represent a threat to online freedom of speech (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)re

Washington (AFP) – A top US regulator, defending an effort to roll back so-called “net neutrality” rules, said Tuesday that large internet platforms represent the biggest threat to online freedom because they routinely block “content they don’t like.”

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai delivered remarks days after unveiling a proposal to reverse a hotly contested 2015 rule requiring broadband firms to treat all online traffic equally.

Pai said internet platforms — he singled out Twitter — play a more significant role than broadband operators in determining what internet users see.

“Despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what internet content consumers can see, recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see,” Pai said.

“These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.”

The blunt remarks appeared to confirm a tougher atmosphere in Washington for Silicon Valley firms after years of close ties.

Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, offered an example of Twitter’s decision to block a video by a Republican candidate “because it featured a pro-life message,” referring to the politician’s claim of the “sale of baby body parts.”

He said Twitter “appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” Pai said.

“This conduct is many things, but it isn’t fighting for an open internet.”

Pai said online platforms are “secretly editing certain users’ comments” and “caving to repressive foreign governments’ demands to block certain speech” which would be considered “repugnant” in the United States.

“In this way, edge providers are a much bigger actual threat to an open internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint,” Pai said.

The dispute over net neutrality has been the subject of several court battles, with backers arguing strong rules are needed to guard against powerful broadband firms like Comcast and AT&T acting as “gatekeepers” that can punish rivals.

Pai said the debate on “net neutrality” appears driven by Silicon Valley firms’ business interests.

“These companies want to place much tougher regulations on broadband providers than they are willing to have placed upon themselves,” he said.

“They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these Internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-regulator-says-silicon-valley-threat-internet-213205410.html

 

 

Like Y2K, the Net neutrality crisis is way overhyped

ERIC THAYER/NEW YORK TIMES
Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

As the Federal Communications Commission nears a fateful decision on network neutrality, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Y2K all over again.

You may remember Dec. 31, 1999. That’s the last time the Internet was expected to die, because millions of computers were going to crash when their internal clocks failed to turn over to the year 2000. I sat in the Globe’s newsroom, waiting for the end. Nothing happened. It was quite a letdown.

Now here comes another “apocalypse.” On Dec 14, the FCC is expected to abandon the Obama administration’s policy on so-called Net neutrality, in which the government forces Internet providers to treat all data equally. Activists say it’s the end of the Internet as we know it, with giant Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T free to block or slow down access to key online services unless they’re paid extra to let the data flow.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/11/28/like-net-neutrality-crisis-way-overhyped/ChcyXjEsM5QyMIfYa09vWO/story.html

Story 4: Obama Appointed Inspect General Charles McCullough Found 22 Top Secret and Beyond In Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails with Over 2,100 Containing Classified Information — Extremely Reckless Said Clapper — Clinton and Campaign Lied To American People — Prosecute Now! — The Statute of Limits Runs Out In February 2018 — Videos

See the source image

Ex-inspector general: Blowback came from Clinton allies

“The Public Was MISLED!!” Tucker Interviews Fmr Intelligence IG About Hillary Investigation

Clinton emails contained classified material – U.S. inspector

Wikileaks Explodes! MSNBC/WSJ/NYTimes/WashPost! Media Blackout Ending! Chelsea Comes Clean!

WIKILEAKS FINALLY DID IT…SHE’S DONE

8 Signs Hillary Clinton Will Be Arrested And Charged Soon

JUST IN …HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS ORDERS FOR IMMEDIATE ARREST OF HILLARY CLINTON

Proof Hillary Clinton is Guilty

Clinton: ” I did not email any classified material”

Hillary Clinton vs. James Comey: Email Scandal Supercut

BLOWBACK: MARINE DEMANDS SAME TREATMENT as HILLARY “No Prosecution”

Tucker Carlson Tonight 11/28/17 – Tucker Carlson Tonight November 28, 2017 Fox News

Obama-Appointed Federal Inspector Threatened By Clinton Campaign Over Email Investigation

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Content originally published at iBankCoin.com,

An Obama appointed government watchdog central to the Hillary Clinton email investigation says that he, his family and his office faced an ‘intense backlash‘ from Clinton allies, who threatened him over findings that Clinton mishandled classified information.

Former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III.

Former Inspector General Charles McCullough III told Fox News Chief Intel correspondent Catherine Herridge that he was under intense pressure from senior officials on the left – with one Clinton campaign official threatening that he and another government investigator would be immediately fired under a Hillary Clinton presidency:

“It was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired – with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen.” –Charles McCullough III

As a refresher, over 2,100 classified emails were sent over Clinton’s personal server, which was used exclusively for government business. Despite this, former FBI Director James Comey – who had drafted Clinton’s exoneration letter months before reviewing evidence in the case – recommended that the DOJ not prosecute the case.

McCullough was recommended to Obama by then-Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who told McCullough that Clinton’s conduct was “extremely reckless,” adding “the campaign … will have heartburn about that.”

Via Fox News:

He [McCullough] said Clapper’s Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election – in late December 2015 or early 2016. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.”

 

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

Egregious violations

In January 2016, McCullough told Republicans on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees that emails classified above “Top Secret” had been passed through the former secretary of state’s private, unsecure server – such as an email about Benghazi she sent to daughter Chelsea Clinton (using pseudonym Diane Reynolds) on the night of September 11th, 2012 from ‘@clintonemail.com’ which not only divulged highly classified military intel over a non-government server vulnerable to foreign surveillance – it also revealed that the Obama administration knew that an “Al Queda-like group” was responsible for the attack.

One wonders what Chelsea’s security clearance was at the time?

Instead of informing the American public that radical Islam was responsible for the attack, the Obama administration fabricated a story – peddling the lie that anger over an anti-Islamic YouTube video resulted in the attack, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of an innocent man.

Hillary knew it was an “Al Qeda-like group” hours after it happened when she told Chelsea (“Diane Reynolds”) top secret information. pic.twitter.com/LiOJj3jck1

— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) July 15, 2017


As one of a handful of people who reviewed the 22 Top Secret Clinton emails deemed too classified to ever see the light of day, McCullough says “There was a very good reason to withhold those emails … there would have been harm to national security,” adding “sources and methods, lives and operations” could be put at risk. According to Fox, some of those email exchanges were considered Special Access Privelage (SAP), or “above top secret.”

What’s interesting about that, is an anonymous 4chan poster known as “FBI Anon” – whose breadcrumbs of information have been largely correct, posted on July 2, 2016 that Clinton had “SAP level programs on her server, which if made public, would literally cause an uprising and possibly foreign declarations of war.”

Then, on October 16, 2016 – three weeks before former FBI Director Comey cleared Clintin, “FBI Anon” elaborated on SAP programs and made an unverified claim about Clinton:

A Special Access Program is an intelligence program classified above top-secret. They are held on closed servers at secret locations. The only way to get one is if you are specifically read on to a program, have a need to know, then you must physically go to a location and pass through several layers of security to even look at the program. A good example in non-classified terms would be the locations and operations of our intelligence operatives around the glove, or our missile silo locations. SAP is granted on a need to know basis, and Hillary did not have any need to know any of the programs on her server. All I can tell you about the SAPs is that Hillary had them, and she did not have proper authority to have any of them. They were leaked to her by someone, and she did sell them to overseas donors. Possessing them alone makes her guilty of treason.” –FBI Anon

Turncoat?

In response to McCullough’s findings, Democrats turned their backs on the Obama-appointed Inspector General for doing his job.

“All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,” McCullough said, adding “And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

McCullough told Fox of “an effort… certainly on the part of the campaign to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here.”

Damage Control

As the Clinton campaign geared up for the 2016 election, WikiLeaks documents reveal that Hillary’s inner circle was already starting to spin the investigation – writing in an August 2015 email that “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.”

McCullough was critical of this response, telling Fox “There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here.”

In response to the Inspector General’s pushback, seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his counterpart at the State Department, raising concerns over the impartiality of the Clinton email investigation. McCullough, however, was not arriving at any conclusions himself – he was simply passing along the findings of individual government agencies on appropriate classifications assigned to the emails.

Fox News reports:

McCullough described one confrontation with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office just six weeks before the election, amid pressure to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

 

“I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

 

As Election Day approached, McCullough said the threats went further, singling out him and another senior government investigator on the email case.

Inquiries sent by Fox to both Feinstein and Clapper were not returned at the time of publication.

Watch:

Herridge: “Was there an effort to deliberately mislead the public about [@HillaryClinton] classified emails?”
McCullough: “Absolutely.”

Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow § Subscribe to our YouTube channel

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-28/obama-appointed-federal-inspector-threatened-clinton-campaign-over-email-investigati

areful. There are people out to get you.’”

But the former inspector general, with responsibility for the 17 intelligence agencies, said the executive who recommended him to the Obama administration for the job – then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – was also disturbed by the independent Clinton email findings.

“[Clapper] said, ‘This is extremely reckless.’ And he mentioned something about — the campaign … will have heartburn about that,” McCullough said.

He said Clapper’s Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election – in late December 2015 or early 2016. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.”

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

As one of the few people who viewed the 22 top secret Clinton emails deemed too classified to release under any circumstances, the former IG said, “There was a very good reason to withhold those emails … there would have been harm to national security.” McCullough went further, telling Fox News that “sources and methods, lives and operations” could be put at risk.

Some of those email exchanges contained Special Access Program (SAP) information characterized by intel experts as “above top secret.”

“I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

– Former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III

WikiLeaks documents show the campaign was formulating talking points as the review of 30,000 Clinton emails was ongoing.

The campaign team wrote in August 2015 that “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.”

McCullough was critical of the campaign’s response, as the classified review had barely begun. “There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign, to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here,” McCullough said.

In March 2016, seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart, saying they had serious questions about the impartiality of the Clinton email review. However, McCullough was not making the decisions on what material in Clinton’s emails was classified — he was passing along the findings of the individual agencies who got the intelligence and have final say on classification.

“I think there was certainly a coordinated strategy,” McCullough said.

McCullough described one confrontation with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office just six weeks before the election, amid pressure to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

“I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

As Election Day approached, McCullough said the threats went further, singling out him and another senior government investigator on the email case.

“It was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired — with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen,” he said.

McCullough said he was just trying to do his job, which requires independence. “I was, in this context, a whistleblower. I was explaining to Congress — I was doing exactly what they had expected me to do. Exactly what I promised them I would do during my confirmation hearing,” he said. “… This was a political matter, and all of a sudden I was the enemy.”

He said pressures also increased early on from Clinton’s former team at the State Department, especially top official Patrick Kennedy.

“State Department management didn’t want us there,” McCullough said. “We knew we had had a security problem at this point. We had a possible compromise.”

Speaking about the case more than a year after the FBI probe concluded, McCullough in his interview also addressed the possibility that a more cooperative State Department and Clinton campaign might have precluded the FBI’s involvement from the start.

“Had they come in with the server willingly, without having us to refer this to the bureau … maybe we could have worked with the State Department,” he said.

More than 2,100 classified emails passed through Clinton’s personal server, which was used exclusively for government business. No one has been charged.

Asked what would have happened to him if he had done such a thing, McCullough said: “I’d be sitting in Leavenworth right now.”

Fox News asked a Clinton campaign spokesman, Feinstein’s office and Clapper for comment. There was no immediate response.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/11/27/blowback-clinton-campaign-planned-to-fire-me-over-email-probe-obama-intel-watchdog-says.html

650. Length of Limitations Period

Current federal law contains a single statute prescribing a general period of limitations, as well as several statutes that provide longer periods for specific offenses.

Section 3282 of Title 18, United States Code, is the statute of general application. It states that, “(e)xcept as otherwise expressly provided by law,” a prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed.

Section 3281 of Title 18 deals with capital offenses and provides that an indictment for an offense “punishable by death” may be filed at any time. Despite the invalidity of some former federal statutory death penalty provisions, it is arguable that the unlimited time period remains applicable to those statutes that formerly carried that penalty. See United States v. Helmich, 521 F. Supp. 1246 (M.D.Fla. 1981), aff’d on other grounds, 704 F.2d 547 (11th Cir. 1983); see Matter of Extradition of Kraiselburd, 786 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1986).

Section 3286 of Title 18, United States Code, provides for an eight (8) year statute of limitations for the non-capital offenses under certain terrorism offenses. These offenses include: 18 U.S.C. §§ 32 (aircraft destruction), 37 (airport violence), 112 (assaults upon diplomats and internationally protected persons), 351 (violent crimes against Congresspersons or Cabinet officers), 1116 (murder of diplomats and internationally protected persons), 1203 (hostage taking), 1361 (willful injury to government property), 1751 (violent crimes against the President), 2280 (maritime violence), 2281 (maritime platform violence), 2332 (terrorist acts abroad against United States nationals), 2332a (use of weapons of mass destruction), 2332b (acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries), or 2340A (torture) or 49 U.S.C. §§  46502 (aircraft piracy), 46504 (interference with flight crew), 46505 (carrying a weapon or explosive on an aircraft), or 46506 (certain crimes committed aboard an aircraft). Section 3286 first became effective on September 13, 1994, and was applicable to any relevant offense committed on or after September 15, 1989. In 1996, the new 18 U.S.C. § 2332b was added to the statute.

Section 3293 of Title 18, United States Code, provides for a ten (10) year statute of limitations for certain financial institution offenses which involve violations of, or conspiracy to violate, (1) 18 U.S.C. §§  215, 656, 657, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1014, 1033, or 1344; (2) 18 U.S.C. §§  1342 or 1343 if the offense affects a financial institution; or (3) 18 U.S.C. §  1963 to the extent that the racketeering activity involves a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.

Section 3294 of Title 18, United States Code, provides a twenty (20) year statute of limitations for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 668 involving the theft of major art work.

Section 3295 of Title 18, United States Code, which was enacted on April 24, 1996, provides for a 10 year statute of limitations for certain non-capital arson or use-of-explosives offenses under 18 U.S.C. §§  81 or 844(f), (h), or (i). (Section 844(i) had a seven year statute of limitations period for offenses committed on or after September 13, 1989, but before April 24, 1996.) See this Manual at 1445.

A one year statute of limitations is provided for criminal contempt under 18 U.S.C. § 402 (see 18 U.S.C. § 3285).

Section 507(a) of Title 17 provides that no criminal proceeding shall be maintained under Title 17 (relating to copyrights) unless commenced within three years after the cause of action arose.

Section 6531 of Title 26 provides that prosecutions for violation of the internal revenue laws shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense, except for eight enumerated categories of offenses as to which a six-year limitations period is made applicable. See this Manual at 658.

Section 3291 of Title 18 provides that prosecutions for violations of nationality, citizenship, and passport laws, or a conspiracy to violate such laws, shall be commenced within ten years after the commission of the offense. Section 19 of the Internal Security Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 1005, provides a ten-year limitations period for prosecutions under the espionage statutes, 18 U.S.C. Secs. 792 to 794.

Section 2278 of Title 42 provides a similar ten-year period for prosecution of restricted data offenses under the atomic energy laws, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2274 to 2276.

Section 783(e) of Title 50 provides that a prosecution for an offense under that section, part of the Subversive Activities Control Act, shall be instituted within ten years after the commission of the offense.

[cited in USAM 9-18.000]

https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-650-length-limitations-period

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017, Story 1: Downsizing Big Government By Abolishing The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Internal Revenue Service, Fannie May & Freddie Mac, and Departments of Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation For Starters — Neither Big Government Democratic or Republican Parties  Will Do This — Two Party Tyranny —  Time for New Political Party — Repeal Dodd-Frank Law — Videos — Story 2: Competition Lowers Prices and Provides Greater Choice and Quality — Net Neutrality Is Government Controlling, Licensing, Regulating, and Taxing of The Internet Including Prices and Content — Repeal Net Neutrality In December 2017 — Let Consumer Sovereignty with Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign –Videos

Posted on November 27, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Downsizing Big Government By Abolishing The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Internal Revenue Service, Fannie May & Freddie Mac, and Departments of Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation For Starters — Neither Big Government Democratic or Republican Parties  Will Do This — Two Party Tyranny —  Time for New Political Party — Repeal Dodd-Frank Law — Videos —

Lawsuit filed to determine CFPB acting director

Showdown over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leader

Mick Mulvaney CFPB Press Brief. Very Interesting.

Consumer Head Responds To Calls For His Removal (Exclusive) | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually hurting consumer lending?

Republicans Propose Cutting Funds To Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Forbes On Fox

Who Benefits From a Dodd-Frank Regulation Reboot?

Tom Easton on Dodd-Frank: “A Terrible Law”

Trump takes aim at Dodd-Frank

What is all the Dodd Frank talk really about?

Janet Yellen on Dodd-Frank: ‘I wouldn’t want to see the clock turned back’

Greenspan: Repeal Dodd-Frank, Return to Square One

Ralph Nader on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

Can the government ever be too big? How much spending is enough spending? And if there can be too much spending, where is that point? William Voegeli, Senior Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, explores these complex questions and offers some clear answers.

There Is Only One Way Out of Poverty

How Housing Policy Caused the Financial Crisis

How This Government Agency Hurts Us All

The Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Mick Mulvaney Trashes Consumer Protection Agency At January Confirmation Hearing | NBC News

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Downsizing the Federal Government

John Stossel – Downsizing Government

Uncommon Knowledge: John Stossel on Why the Media Hates Business and Why Governments Fail

Dan Mitchell Commenting on Downsizing Government and Federal Bureaucracy

Types of Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #16

The real truth about the 2008 financial crisis | Brian S. Wesbury | TEDxCountyLineRoad

he Financial Crisis of 2008 – the most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression (Documentary)

Dennis Prager’s Top 10 Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse

Why You’ve Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920 | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

 

Peter J. Wallison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Wallison
Peter Wallison 1986.jpg
White House Counsel
In office
May 23, 1986 – March 20, 1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Fred Fielding
Succeeded by Arthur Culvahouse
Personal details
Born June 6, 1941 (age 76)
New York CityNew YorkU.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Frieda Wallison
Children 3
Education Harvard University(BALLB)
[1]

Peter J. Wallison (born June 6, 1941) is a lawyer and the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He specializes in financial markets deregulation. He was White House Counselduring the Tower Commission‘s inquiry into the Iran Contra Affair.[1] He was a dissenting member of the 2010 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, frequent commentator in the mass media on the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and wrote Hidden in Plain Sight (2015) about the crisis and its legacy.

Personal

Wallison was born in New York City, and educated at the Capitol Page School and Harvard University (A.B. 1963, LL.B. 1966), where he was President of the Young Republicans.[2] He was admitted to the bar of New York state in 1967.[3][4]

Emanuel Celler appointed him a United States House of Representatives Page when he was about 14, and he served for most of his high school years. The Democrats controlled the patronage, but assigned some pages, such as Wallison, to the minority party. This experience helped him become a Republican.[2]

He was a Rockefeller Republican before becoming a Reagan Republican.

On November 24, 1966, he married the former Frieda Koslow (born in New York January 15, 1943, A.B. Smith College 1963, LL.B. Harvard Law School 1966 admitted to New York bar in 1967, D.C. bar 1982). They have three children, Ethan S., Jeremy L., Rebecca K. Mrs. Wallison develops real estate in Snowmass, Colorado.[5][6][7][8][9]

They split their time between homes in Colorado and in Washington, D.C.

Career

Other

In 1999, Wallison told New York Times reporter Steven A. Holmes that the expansion of mortgage loans by reducing the amount borrowers have to put down and extending loans to so-called subprime borrowers was creating a situation where Fannie Mae was taking on significantly more risk. “From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” he said. “If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”[10] The article pointed out that the Clinton Administration had put pressure on Fannie Mae to lower standards “to expand loans among low and moderate income people.”

Wallison gave a eulogy at a memorial service for Don Regan in June 2003.[2]

Wallison’s writing on the cause of the Financial crisis of 2007–08 have brought much comment. In December, 2011, the New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera stated that Wallison had “almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Maccaused the financial crisis.” [11] Calling it “a big lie,” Nocera suggested that Wallison had engaged in a deliberate deception. Economist Paul Krugman has also accused Wallison of deception,[12] criticizing him for—among other things—attacking Fannie and Freddie in a magazine article just a year before the subprime mortgage collapse for not doing a “better job of providing affordable home financing to a neglected portion of the mortgage market.” This neglected portion consisted of “African-American … Hispanic”, and “low-income borrowers”.[13][14][15] Wallison cites New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson exposing how “Democratic political operative Jim Johnson turned Fannie Mae into a political machine”, and dismisses the exoneration of the GSEs as “the big lie.”[16]

Memberships

Writings

“Elitist Protection Consumers Don’t Need”The Washington Post. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
“Obama Voted ‘Present’ on Mortgage Reform. The only banking ‘deregulation’ in recent years was that of Fan and Fred”Opinion Journal. 2008-10-15. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“How Paulson Would Save Fannie Mae”The Wall Street Journal. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
“Reagan and McCain”American Spectator. 2008-01-08. Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“What We Pre-Empted – Today’s world would be far worse if Saddam were still in power”Opinion JournalWall Street Journal. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“Reagan, Iraq, and Neoconservatism”American Spectator. 2004-04-16. Archived from the original on 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“Bush’s Reagan Moment”The New York Times. 2003-10-26. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-13.

References

Story 2: Competition Lowers Prices and Provides Greater Choice and Quality — Net Neutrality Is Government Controlling, Licensing, Regulating, and Taxing of The Internet Including Prices and Content — Repeal Net Neutrality In December 2017 — Let Consumer Sovereignty with Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign –Videos

FCC chairman: Repealing net neutrality will benefit the market

How will rolling back net neutrality affect consumers? You’ll have to read the fine print.

What is Net Neutrality?

The Truth About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is Orwellian

The Truth About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Explained

Net Neutrality: What You Absolutely Need to Know and What No One’s Telling You

FCC’s Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a “Solution That Won’t Work to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist”

George Gilder: Net Neutrality Is a ‘Ludicrous’ Idea That Will Shrink the Economy

Two Minutes on Why Net Neutrality is Terrible – Mark Cuban Explains

Net Neutrality Neuters the Internet

Net Neutrality is a disaster. The better the name of the legislation the scarier it is.

The pitfalls of Title I versus II Net Neutrality and other oxymorons to fear ‒ Lionel

The Lies of Net Neutrality

Peter Klein: The Net Neutrality Lie

Net Neutrality Explained. Simply and Accurately!

The Truth About ‘Net Neutrality,’ The Left, And Google

I play in the intersection of law and technology.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

As soon as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intention to roll back Obama’s net neutrality rules, the Left’s net neutrality faithful began chanting their well-worn mantras about “big corporations” taking over the internet. Their mantras are based on fear mongering, not fact.

Shutterstock

In their net neutrality fairy tale, internet service providers (ISPs) are the ‘big bad wolf,’ bent on creating paid ‘fast lanes’ and blocking the websites of entrepreneurs (who invariably work out of their garages). It sounds like a frightful tale, except that ISPs have never offered paid fast lanes or blocked small business owners’ web sites (run out of garages or otherwise). Meanwhile, the biggest baddest wolf the world has ever known — Google — swallowed the internet ecosystem whole and spit out its bones.

According to Democratic leaders in the Senate, net neutrality is the principle that “what you read, see or watch online shouldn’t be favored, blocked or slowed down based on where that content is coming from.” Google became the world’s largest corporation by trampling on this principle while the Left cheered (or turned a blind eye) .

For one, Google uses its monopoly position in internet search markets to systematically favor its own products in its search results. People might think that Google’s search service uses an objective algorithm that gives them the most relevant responses to their search inquiries. What really happens is that Google shows its own products in the most prominent positions on the screen in order to artificially divert traffic from rival services to Google’s own. As former Google designer Tristan Harris describes it, “if you control the menu, you control the choices.”

Second, Google uses its monopoly position in mobile operating systems (Android is dominant worldwide) to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search and over consumer data collection by:

  • Forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google’s Chrome browser and set Google Search as the default search service on their devices as a condition to licensing Google’s proprietary apps,
  • Blocking manufacturers from selling mobile devices that use competing operating systems that are based on Android’s supposedly “open source” code (like Amazon’s Kindle Fire), and
  • Giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices (a form of paid prioritization).

Google uses these tactics to ‘control the menu’ on the vast majority of the world’s mobile devices like Google controls the menu on its search products themselves.

Third, Google uses its dominant position in internet advertising to favor its own search and advertising services. A substantial portion of Google’s revenue from search advertising comes from a limited number of third-parties with whom Google has exclusive deals. For a decade, these deals required third-parties to:

  • Refuse to source search ads from Google’s competitors,
  • Take a minimum number of ads from Google and reserve premium space for Google search ads, and
  • Obtain approval from Google before making any changes to the display of competing search ads.

None of these Google practices are consistent with the Left’s net neutrality principles or fair competition. In 2012, staff at the Federal Trade Commission concluded that Google’s anticompetitive conduct had strengthened its monopolies and caused “real harm to consumers and to innovation” that “will have lasting negative effects on consumer welfare.” Yet the Obama administration decided to focus its energy on ISPs while letting Google run wild. Obama appointees at the FTC gave short shrift to the findings of the agency’s professional staff while the Obama-led Federal Communications Commission exempted Google’s monopolies from the current net neutrality rules.

The results were predictable: Google is now the largest company in the world and has unprecedented power to control what we read, see, or watch online. Rather than reign Google in, the net neutrality rules the Left wants to preserve have served to strengthen Google’s control over the media.

The current net neutrality debate is just “fighting the last war.” It’s time to have an honest conversation about today’s real internet monopolies and the future of a free media in this country.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcampbell/2017/05/03/the-truth-about-net-neutrality-the-left-and-google/#40c2c6583745

Q&A-Explaining the fight over U.S. ‘net neutrality’ regulations

WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to vote on Dec. 14 to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules championed by former President Barack Obama.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal would repeal rules that bar internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

Here are some questions and answers about net neutrality and the FCC’s plans.

What is in the proposal and what happens next?

The FCC, an independent U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, TV, wire, satellite and cable, has three Republican commissioners including Pai and two Democrats and is all but certain to approve Pai’s proposal. That would undo regulations put in place in 2015 at Democrat Obama’s urging that treat ISPs like public utilities to guarantee the open nature of the internet. It would also roll back the FCC’s significant oversight over the providers and their conduct.

Pai’s proposal would require ISPs to disclose if they allow content blocking, slowing though so-called throttling, or paid prioritization in which a third-party owner pays an ISP to have their content move more quickly. It would also eliminate the internet conduct standard that gives the FCC broad discretion to bar ISP practices it deems improper.

The new rules could into effect as early as January, although a court challenge is expected.

What does this mean for consumers?

Consumers could see changes, but any shift would likely take a long time. A major concern raised by consumer advocates is that ISPs could block or slow traffic to websites or services of their choosing, playing an outsized role in what users can and cannot access. Providers could also give preferential treatment to their own content or websites that pay extra fees, consumer advocates said.

ISPs could impede video streaming services and consumers’ ability to make free or inexpensive phone calls over the internet, advocates said.

The nonprofit Consumers Union said a repeal could lead to higher consumer prices for existing internet access and speeds. The telecommunications industry trade group USTelecom, which represents some leading ISPs, disputed that idea and said broadband prices in the United States had been trending downward before the Obama-era rules, and repealing the regulations would allow that to continue.

What businesses support the repeal?

ISPs including AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc favored a repeal.

USTelecom said Pai’s move would boost broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades. It said the 2015 rules applied utility-style regulations designed for the 1930s telephone system to ISPs but no other internet companies. It said repealing the rules would strengthen consumer protections by giving authority regarding the internet to a single U.S. regulator, the Federal Trade Commission.

What businesses oppose the repeal?

The Internet Association, representing major technology firms, had urged the FCC to retain the 2015 regulations. The group includes Google parent Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, video streaming service Netflix Inc, Microsoft Corp, ride-hailing company Uber, reviews business Yelp Inc, payments company PayPal Holdings Inc and others.

The group said the 2015 rules protect a “virtuous circle” of innovation that helps the broader U.S. economy as businesses turn to cloud-based technology. It added that Pai’s plan would subject startups to discrimination from ISP-owned or preferred content.

The group said paid prioritization would cause a “cable-ization” of the internet in which businesses that provide content, application or services would have to negotiate carriage deals on ISP networks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-5109217/Q-A-Explaining-fight-U-S-net-neutrality-regulations.html#ixzz4zg9qbV1G

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1005, Story 1: The Fed’s Great Unwind or Rolling Over Into 21st Century Greatest Depression — Videos — Story 2: Will President Trump Be The Next President Hoover? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

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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

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Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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 Story 1: The Fed’s Great Unwind or Rolling Over Into 21st Century Greatest Depression — Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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What’s the Truth About the First Thanksgiving?

Ben Shapiro: The Truth About Thanksgiving

Monetary and Fiscal Policy: Crash Course Government and Politics #48

Fiscal Policy and Stimulus: Crash Course Economics #8

What’s all the Yellen About? Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Crash Course Economics #10

Recession, Hyperinflation, and Stagflation: Crash Course Econ #13

Yellen resigns as Fed chair

Who Is Janet Yellen? In Two and a Half Minutes

BREAKING NEWS]Yellen, denied second term as fed chair, announces resignation

[BREAKING NEWS]Yellen, denied second term as fed chair, announces resignation Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said Monday she will leave the central bank once her term as chair ends in February, wrapping up a pivotal tenure in which the Fed began to reverse its extraordinary, decadelong…

Fed expected to wind down $4.2 trillion balance sheet

How the Constitution Has Been Twisted to Undermine the Free Market | Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

The Most Persistent Economic Fallacy of All Time!

Mark Thornton: Can the Fed Unwind?

Fake Economic News | Walter Block

Who Bears the Burden of Government Debt? | Robert P. Murphy

Milton Friedman: Why soaking the rich won’t work.

Milton Friedman proves why welfare can’t work

Milton Friedman: The Rise of Socialism is Absurd

The Great Unwind: What Happens to the Markets When the Economy Stumbles Again

Published on Jul 21, 2015

Stock market returns and economic forecasts are being distorted by a few big myths that are likely to be proven wrong in the near future. It is widely believed that the American economy has fully recovered and has reached escape velocity where it will be able to sustain momentum without stimulus. This belief has led the majority of forecasters to conclude that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates this year and will continue hiking through the end of 2016. At the same time they believe that foreign central banks will fight slowing growth abroad with unlimited U.S. style quantitative easing, thereby pushing the U.S. dollar to new heights, and gold and oil to new lows. Their conclusion: U.S. stock markets will continue to lead the world. But what if these assumptions are dead wrong? What if the signs of growth were really just the direct result of Fed stimulus, which will disappear if the Fed raises rates? Recent economic data has been so dismal that savvy economists are drawing parallels with 2008, the year of the last crash. What if it’s not just the weather? If the Fed shocks the markets by keeping rates at zero for far longer than expected, the markets will unwind trades based on these false assumptions. This is where Peter Schiff and Euro Pacific Capital have ideas that you need to hear. Peter Schiff is a world renown investor and author who has made his reputation by seeing things that few other analysts can. He sees huge problems ahead for the U.S. economy and potentially a reversal of the U.S. dollar rally of the past year. He will discuss the inability for the Fed to dispose of its gargantuan $4 trillion balance sheet without sparking a financial collapse. He will also discuss opportunities in foreign, non-dollar, and precious metals investing. Ignore his advice at your own peril.

How Will the Fed Reduce Its Balance Sheet?

Whiteboard Economics: The Fed’s Balance Sheet Unwind

Rothbard on Mises & Friedman at Mont Pèlerin

Ayn Rand meets Ludwig von Mises – Milton Friedman

Rothbard on Ayn Rand

Milton Friedman on Money / Monetary Policy (Federal Reserve) Part 1

Milton Friedman on Money / Monetary Policy (Federal Reserve) Part 2

Milton Friedman – Monetary Revolutions

Milton Friedman – Is tax reform possible?

Milton Friedman – The role of government in a free society

 

Fed officials fear financial market ‘imbalances’ and possibility of ‘sharp reversal’ in prices

  • Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate some worry about rising financial markets.
  • The meeting minutes also included a discussion about possibly changing the central bank’s approach to addressing inflation.

Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Fed: Rate increase likely warrented soon

Federal Reserve officials expressed largely optimistic views of economic growth at their most recent meeting but also started to worry that financial market prices are getting out of hand and posing a danger to the economy.

Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate members with almost universally positive views on growth — the labor market, consumer spending and manufacturing all were showing solid gains. While there were disagreements on the pace of inflation, and even a discussion about changing the Fed’s approach to price stability, the sentiment otherwise was largely positive.

Moreover, they said the picture could get even better if Congress lowers corporate taxes as part of the reform plan making its way through the Senate.

“In their discussion of the economic situation and the outlook, meeting participants agreed that information received since the FOMC met in September indicated that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions,” the minutes stated.

However, when it came to evaluating market conditions, the talk took a more cautious tone.

Stocks have been on a tear throughout 2017, setting a series of record highs and adding trillions in value. That’s come both on the heels of stronger corporate earnings and hopes that the tax reform plan, which would take the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, becomes a reality.

Some members feared what would happen if the market suddenly took a hit.

“In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances,” the minutes said. “They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.”

Concerns about the surge in stocks are not new at the Fed, but most officials have downplayed the idea that the market is in a bubble. Wall Street also has been at odds about the market, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch warning of a market top coming in 2018 though Goldman Sachs has predicted another big year.

Some members said the bull market was justified by a continued low “neutral” rate of interest that is neither overly restrictive nor accommodative to growth.

And there also was mention of “regulatory changes” that had helped “an appreciable strengthening of capital and liquidity positions in the financial sector over recent years,” which made the system less prone to shocks or sudden market drops.

President Donald Trump has taken a three-pronged approach to economic growth and frequently boasts of the stock market gains. In addition to tax reform, he has cut business regulations and is expected in the coming months to unveil a plan to boost infrastructure spending.

During the year, economic growth has increased, with GDP gaining 3.1 percent and 3 percent the past two quarters and on track to be around the same level in the fourth quarter.

FOMC members noted multiple areas of positive developments. The labor market is “operating at or above full employment,” GDP is likely to “grow at a pace exceeding that of potential output,” and even inflation has been slowed only by “temporary or idiosyncratic factors.”

But on inflation, the consensus was weaker, with some members disagreeing with the notion that all the softness was due to issues that would fade.

Other members, though, thought the Fed could be in danger of waiting too long for inflation to rise and could risk further instability in the financial markets. Several members said the upcoming data would be critical in determining whether they felt the Fed was close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

A “couple” members even suggested the Fed tweak its approach to inflation, moving away from the 2 percent goal and toward a more nebulous “gradually rising path” in prices instead.

As a matter of policy, the committee chose not to hike rates at the meeting, as expected, but members indicated that gradual rate hikes are likely in the future. Markets are assigning a nearly 100 percent probability to a December rate hike, though only factoring in one or two so far for 2018.

Also at the meeting, members discussed the well-publicized reduction of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Under the plan, the central bank is letting a capped level of proceeds from the bonds it owns run off each month. Fed officials agreed the program thus far has run smoothly.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/fomc-minutes–fed-officials-fear-market-imbalances-possible-effects-of-sharp-reversal-in-prices.html

It’s begun: Fed’s unwinding of its epic balance sheet officially showing up in the data

  • Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities.
  • That’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

The Fed’s campaign to reduce its $4.4 trillion balance sheet is now taking effect and showing up in the data.

Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities. It’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

It’s just the leading edge of more to come as the Fed gradually ramps up its effort to “normalize” its balance sheet. The Fed hasn’t explicitly said what level it’s aiming for, only that it will ramp up its sales of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to a point where it eventually is reducing them at a clip of $50 billion a month.

The decline in mortgage-backed securities, which is already taking place, should begin showing up in the data next month.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/03/its-begun-feds-unwinding-of-its-epic-balance-sheet-officially-showing-up-in-the-data.html

 

Story 2: Will President Trump Be The Next President Hoover? — Videos

Reagan Budget Director Stockman Thrashes GOP Tax Bill as ‘Ideological Imposter’ of ‘81 Bill

The Deep State and the Donald | David Stockman

The Curse of Economic Nationalism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Steve Banon “Economic Nationalism Is What Binds Us Together!”

Steve Bannon: What Built America Was Economic Nationalism (60 Minutes Interview)

Myth-Busters: The Truth About Hoover & FDR

Milton Friedman on the Great Depression, Bank Runs & the Federal Reserve

Milton Friedman Explains the Cause of the Great Depression

Did FDR End the Great Depression?

The Legacy of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

The Hawley-Smoot Tariff in Under 5 Minutes – Hasty History

The Smoot Hawley Tariff Act

Hoover and the Great Depression

Hoover and Roosevelt

The 1928 Election Explained

Coolidge: The Best President You Don’t Know

Rothbard on the ‘best’ US president

The Current State of World Affairs | Murray N. Rothbard

Murray Rothbard Where Did The Free Markets Go?

Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman pre1971

Murray Rothbard: The Truth About Taxes

What I Learned from Murray Rothbard | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Bank of America sees end of bull market coming in 2018: Here’s how it will happen

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts “capitulation” for the bull market in 2018, with the S&P 500 peaking at 2,863.
  • Strategist Michael Hartnett said the firm is prepared to “downgrade risk aggressively” once it sees the triggers in place.
  • A shift from passive to active in investor allocations would be one of the signs that the rally is about over.

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Doug Kantor | AFP | Getty Images

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees a scary good news-bad news scenario unfolding in 2018: A solid push higher in the first half followed by all sorts of potential trouble after.

The S&P 500 would peak out around 2,863 in the scenario, or about 11 percent higher than Monday’s close. Bond yields are expected to rise, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hitting 2.75 percent as global GDP growth reaches 3.8 percent.

That setting assumes three things: the “last vestiges” of stimulus from the Fed and other central banks, the passage of tax reform in Congress, and “full investor capitulation into risk assets” on better-than-expected corporate earnings.

After that, though, things get considerably sketchier as the second-longest bull market in history runs into trouble.

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street's Michael Arone

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street’s Michael Arone  

“We believe the air in risk assets is getting thinner and thinner, but the Big Top in price is still ahead of us,” Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofAML, said in a report for clients. “We will downgrade risk aggressively once we see excess positioning, profits and policy.”

Indicators that market positioning has gotten out of hand and signaling a fall would include active funds attracting more money than passive (there’s a $476 billion gap this year in favor of passive), and portfolio allocation for equities exceeding 63 percent, a level currently at 61 percent.

Hartnett pointed out that the current bull will be the longest in history if it continues to Aug. 22, 2018, while the outperformance of stocks versus bonds, at seven years running, would be the longest streak since 1929.

The forecast is predicated on three core beliefs: The first is the aforementioned capitulation; the second an expectation of “peak positioning, profits and policy” that “will engender peak asset price returns” and a low in volatility; and, finally, an expectation that higher inflation and corporate debt along with tighter monetary policy will roil the corporate bond market, a critical prong of the risk asset rally.

“The game changer is wage inflation, which on our forecasts is likely to become more visible,” said Hartnett, who projects that salaries could rise 3.5 percent and push the consumer price index up 2.5 percent and convince the Fed that it’s close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

However, that cuts both ways: Should wage inflation again fail to materialize, Hartnett said “the era of excess liquidity” continues, bond yields would fall and the Nasdaq tech barometer would go “exponential.” That would signal a bubble that might not end until 2019, when a bear market would be triggered by “hostile Fed hiking, Occupy Silicon Valley and War on Inequality politics.”

“Big Top” trades favor technology, homebuilders, Japanese banks and the dollar against the Swiss franc.

BofAML’s forecast comes as Goldman Sachs released a price target of 2,850 for the S&P 500, after a comparatively bearish 2016 call for 2,400 that was passed six months ago.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/bank-of-america-bull-market-ending-in-2018-how-it-will-happen.html

Will Donald Trump be Herbert Hoover all over again?


President-elect Donald Trump. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
 Opinion writer November 11, 2016

As a Donald Trump victory became clear Tuesday night, the ghost of Herbert Hoover paid a visit to Trump’s election night party in New York.

In the Fox News coverage playing on screens in the ballroom, Megyn Kelly turned to Karl Rove. “It didn’t happen under Reagan or the Bushes. When was the last time a Republican president had a Republican Congress?”

“1928,” Rove answered.

“Incredible,” Kelly said.

Yes, quite: Republicans actually had unified control for four years under George W. Bush, and for two years under Dwight Eisenhower, as Rove amended when I followed up with him.

Expecting a celebration, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a letter to his daughter to help her cope with Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss.

But the 1928 comparison is instructive. It’s the last time a Republican president enjoyed anything like the majority Trump will have, particularly in the House.

And how did that work out for them?

Hoover took over in a time of general prosperity but stagnant wages and vast income inequality. Populists in Congress proposed dramatic increases in tariffs to help the struggling agricultural sector, the equivalent of today’s beleaguered blue-collar workers.

The proposal divided Republicans in Congress and Hoover before they produced the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, setting off retaliation, freezing international trade, contributing to the Great Depression and accelerating a ruinous cycle of nationalism around the world.

Hoover’s ghost should haunt the GOP right now. A populist, protectionist president has come to power at a time of long-depressed wages and vast inequality. He threatens to implement tariffs of 45 percent against China and 35 percent against Mexico, and he’s about to collide with free-traders and pro-business interests in his own party.

If they jettison Trump’s agenda and proceed with business as usual, they risk inflaming Trump’s already-furious followers. If they do what Trump has promised, there will be chaos as they pursue what amounts to a mission impossible: enacting a huge tax cut, making enormous spending increases on infrastructure and the military and cutting the debt in half — all without touching Social Security and Medicare.

And they’ll be without a mutual foil to unite them. President Obama will be out of office, Hillary Clinton defeated, Harry Reid retired. With unified control, Republicans now own every issue — health care, the economy, national security — and Democrats, who narrowly won the popular vote and are supported by exit polls showing tepid support for many of Trump’s policy priorities, have little incentive to cooperate.

 Some early signs show Trump won’t hesitate to disappoint supporters, including his statement Friday that, after talking with Obama, he no longer favors repealing all of Obamacare.

Drain the swamp? Trump has packed his transition team with a who’s who of the K Street lobbying trade, according to Politico. Among those in charge of staffing the new administration are people who have lobbied for or represented Altria, Visa, Anthem, Coca-Cola, General Electric, HSBC, Pfizer, PhRMA, United Airlines, Southern Company, Dow Chemical, Rosemont Copper Company, Boeing, Duke Energy and Nucor.

My colleague Catherine Ho reports that Trump’s win “is likely to be a boon to the lobbying business,” as businesses try to counteract the uncertainty with more lobbyists.

The Trump-proposed ban on Muslims entering the country? As The Post’s Jose A. DelReal reported, the Trump campaign removed that policy’s web page Thursday, then restored it after the reporter’s inquiries.

That wall on the Mexican border? “Going to take a while,” Trump lieutenant Rudy Giuliani said Thursday, suggesting “he can do it by executive order by just reprogramming money within the immigration service.”

“Reprogramming” money away from . . . deportation? Truly building the wall would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and require approval from Congress.

The “lock her up” crowd may also be disappointed. Chris Christie said “politics are over now.”

On that same question, however, Giuliani said prosecuting Clinton would be “a presidential decision” — an extraordinary departure from the American tradition of removing the president from prosecutorial decisions, particularly since President Nixon tried to block the Justice Department’s Watergate probe in 1973.

The Trump transition sounded another Nixonian note when Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigault told a conservative website that Trump is keeping an enemies list.

The conflicting signals suggest Trump himself hasn’t settled on his course. His gracious victory speech was about reaching out to the opposition, but Breitbart News, whose once and future leader ran the campaign, has been whipping up racial fears (“Shock Video Shows White Man Viciously Beaten in Chicago After Election”).

On Thursday night, the president-elect tweeted that “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Friday morning he reconsidered: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

Trump’s internal tension is understandable. He can leave supporters disillusioned, or he can keep his promises — and send us all back to 1928.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/will-donald-trump-be-herbert-hoover-all-over-again/2016/11/11/8e533600-a820-11e6-8042-f4d111c862d1_story.html?utm_term=.15c6a091b1f6

Jamie Dimon says he would bet on Trump being a one-term president

  • The JPMorgan CEO said he’d bet on Trump being a one-term president.
  • That said, he thinks a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.
  • Dimon has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, but has been more active on range of business and economic issues.

Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

David A. Grogan | CNBC
Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U.S. president in 2021 and advised Democrats to come up with a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.

Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, “If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate … or Trump will win again” and have second four-year term.

Dimon, who in the past has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the November 2016 election of Trump to lobby lawmakers on range of business and economic issues, including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.

Jamie Dimon: There's a huge vaccuum if business isn't involved in policy

Jamie Dimon: There’s a huge vacuum if business isn’t involved in policy  

In December, Dimon became chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs who take their views to government policy makers.

Dimon, 61, touched briefly on range of topics, from Americas political climate and tax system to discrimination in the workplace and against black people.

He also commented on foreign affairs, saying, for example, “We should never be rude to a neighbor like Mexico.”

He also cautioned that the political weakness of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is bad for all of us. Talks on forming a governing coalition including Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union collapsed earlier this week, casting doubt on her future after 12 years in power.

Dimon is in his 12th year as CEO of JPMorgan, which is the biggest bank in the U.S. by assets

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/jamie-dimon-says-he-would-bet-on-trump-being-a-one-term-president.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s Address to South Korea’s National Assembly — Great Speech — Americans and Koreans Loved It — Every Breath You Take — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Tells It Like It Is — Does Not Blame China For Hugh Trade Deficits But Past Administrations — Videos — Story 3: Republican Party Senate Bill Wants To Delay Tax Cuts To 2019 Instead of Cutting Spending Now — Need New Political Party Advocating Balanced Budgets, Broad Based Consumption Tax,and Term Limits — Voters Will Stay Home Election Day, November 6, 2018 If Congress Does Not Completely Repeal Obamacare and Enact Fundamental Reform of Tax System — Videos — Story 4: Alabama Republican Candidate for Senator, Roy Moore, Accused of Sexual Misconduct in 1979 — Desperate Democratic Dirt — Let The Voters of Alabama Decide — Accusations Are Not Evidence — Videos

Posted on November 9, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Senate, Social Security, Tax Policy, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 8, 2017.

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U.S. National Debt Clock

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Story 1: President Trump’s Address to South Korea’s National Assembly — Great Speech — Americans and Koreans Loved It — Every Breath You Take — Videos —

MUST SEE President Trump’s Unforgettable Speech to South Korean National Assembly 11/7/17

Trump’s speech to South Korea’s parliament (full)

President Trump to North Korea: Do not underestimate us

North Korea responds to Trump’s personal attack

ALERT: Trump’s Massive Warning Has North Korea Shaking, This Is Urgent

The Police – Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you
Oh can’t you see
You belong to me
My poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you
Since you’ve gone I been lost without a trace
I dream at night I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying baby, baby, please
Oh can’t you see
You belong to me
My poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you
Every move you make
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
I’ll be watching you
(Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take)
I’ll be watching you
(Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay)
I’ll be watching you
(Every move you make, every vow you break, every smile you fake, every claim you stake)
I’ll be watching you
(Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay)
I’ll be watching you
(Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take)
I’ll be watching you
(Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay)
I’ll be watching you
Songwriters: Gordon Sumner

 

Full Text of President Trump’s Remarks to the South Korean National Assembly


U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 8, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 8, 2017.

November 07, 2017

Remarks by President Trump to the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea | Seoul, Republic of Korea

National Assembly Building

Seoul, Republic of Korea

11:24 A.M. KST

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Assembly Speaker Chung, distinguished members of this Assembly, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for the extraordinary privilege to speak in this great chamber and to address your people on behalf of the people of the United States of America.

In our short time in your country, Melania and I have been awed by its ancient and modern wonders, and we are deeply moved by the warmth of your welcome.

Last night, President and Mrs. Moon showed us incredible hospitality in a beautiful reception at the Blue House. We had productive discussions on increasing military cooperation and improving the trade relationship between our nations on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.

Through this entire visit, it has been both our pleasure and our honor to create and celebrate a long friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea.

This alliance between our nations was forged in the crucible of war, and strengthened by the trials of history. From the Inchon landings to Pork Chop Hill, American and South Korean soldiers have fought together, sacrificed together, and triumphed together.

Almost 67 years ago, in the spring of 1951, they recaptured what remained of this city where we are gathered so proudly today. It was the second time in a year that our combined forces took on steep casualties to retake this capital from the communists.

Over the next weeks and months, the men soldiered through steep mountains and bloody, bloody battles. Driven back at times, they willed their way north to form the line that today divides the oppressed and the free. And there, American and South Korean troops have remained together holding that line for nearly seven decades. (Applause.)

By the time the armistice was signed in 1953, more than 36,000 Americans had died in the Korean War, with more than 100,000 others very badly wounded. They are heroes, and we honor them. We also honor and remember the terrible price the people of your country paid for their freedom. You lost hundreds of thousands of brave soldiers and countless innocent civilians in that gruesome war.

Much of this great city of Seoul was reduced to rubble. Large portions of the country were scarred — severely, severely hurt — by this horrible war. The economy of this nation was demolished.

But as the entire world knows, over the next two generations something miraculous happened on the southern half of this peninsula. Family by family, city by city, the people of South Korea built this country into what is today one of the great nations of the world. And I congratulate you. (Applause.) In less than one lifetime, South Korea climbed from total devastation to among the wealthiest nations on Earth.

Today, your economy is more than 350 times larger than what it was in 1960. Trade has increased 1,900 times. Life expectancy has risen from just 53 years to more than 82 years today.

Like Korea, and since my election exactly one year ago today, I celebrate with you. (Applause.) The United States is going through something of a miracle itself. Our stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. We are defeating ISIS. We are strengthening our judiciary, including a brilliant Supreme Court justice, and on, and on, and on.

Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets. In addition, we have nuclear submarines appropriately positioned. The United States, under my administration, is completely rebuilding its military and is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to the newest and finest military equipment anywhere in the world being built, right now. I want peace through strength. (Applause.)

We are helping the Republic of Korea far beyond what any other country has ever done. And, in the end, we will work things out far better than anybody understands or can even appreciate. I know that the Republic of Korea, which has become a tremendously successful nation, will be a faithful ally of the United States very long into the future. (Applause.)

What you have built is truly an inspiration. Your economic transformation was linked to a political one. The proud, sovereign, and independent people of your nation demanded the right to govern themselves. You secured free parliamentary elections in 1988, the same year you hosted your first Olympics.

after, you elected your first civilian president in more than three decades. And when the Republic you won faced financial crisis, you lined up by the millions to give your most prized possessions — your wedding rings, heirlooms, and gold “luck keys” — to restore the promise of a better future for your children. (Applause.)

Your wealth is measured in more than money — it is measured in achievements of the mind and achievements of spirit. Over the last several decades, your scientists of engineers — have engineered so many magnificent things. You’ve pushed the boundaries of technology, pioneered miraculous medical treatments, and emerged as leaders in unlocking the mysteries of our universe.

Korean authors penned roughly 40,000 books this year. Korean musicians fill concert halls all around the world. Young Korean students graduate from college at the highest rates of any country. And Korean golfers are some of the best on Earth. (Applause.)

fact — and you know what I’m going to say — the Women’s U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer, Sung-hyun Park. An eighth of the top 10 players were from Korea. And the top four golfers — one, two, three, four — the top four were from Korea. Congratulations. (Applause.) Congratulations. And that’s something. That is really something.

Here in Seoul, architectural wonders like the Sixty-Three Building and the Lotte World Tower — very beautiful — grace the sky and house the workers of many growing industries.

citizens now help to feed the hungry, fight terrorism, and solve problems all over the world. And in a few months, you will host the world and you will do a magnificent job at the 23rd Olympic Winter Games. Good luck. (Applause.)

The Korean miracle extends exactly as far as the armies of free nations advanced in 1953 — 24 miles to the north. There, it stops; it all comes to an end. Dead stop. The flourishing ends, and the prison state of North Korea sadly begins.

Workers in North Korea labor grueling hours in unbearable conditions for almost no pay. Recently, the entire working population was ordered to work for 70 days straight, or else pay for a day of rest.

Families live in homes without plumbing, and fewer than half have electricity. Parents bribe teachers in hopes of saving their sons and daughters from forced labor. More than a million North Koreans died of famine in the 1990s, and more continue to die of hunger today.

Among children under the age of five, nearly 30 percent of afflicted — and are afflicted by stunted growth due to malnutrition. And yet, in 2012 and 2013, the regime spent an estimated $200 million — or almost half the money that it allocated to improve living standards for its people — to instead build even more monuments, towers, and statues to glorify its dictators.

What remains of the meager harvest of the North Korean economy is distributed according to perceived loyalty to a twisted regime. Far from valuing its people as equal citizens, this cruel dictatorship measures them, scores them, and ranks them based on the most arbitrary indications of their allegiance to the state. Those who score the highest in loyalty may live in the capital city. Those who score the lowest starve. A small infraction by one citizen, such as accidently staining a picture of the tyrant printed in a discarded newspaper, can wreck the social credit rank of his entire family for many decades.

An estimated 100,000 North Koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor, and enduring torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis.

In one known instance, a 9-year-old boy was imprisoned for 10 years because his grandfather was accused of treason. In another, a student was beaten in school for forgetting a single detail about the life of Kim Jong-un.

Soldiers have kidnapped foreigners and forced them to work as language tutors for North Korean spies.

In the part of Korea that was a stronghold for Christianity before the war, Christians and other people of faith who are found praying or holding a religious book of any kind are now detained, tortured, and in many cases, even executed.

North Korean women are forced to abort babies that are considered ethnically inferior. And if these babies are born, the newborns are murdered.

One woman’s baby born to a Chinese father was taken away in a bucket. The guards said it did not “deserve to live because it was impure.”

So why would China feel an obligation to help North Korea?

The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported aboard as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea.

To attempt to flee is a crime punishable by death. One person who escaped remarked, “When I think about it now, I was not a human being. I was more like an animal. Only after leaving North Korea did I realize what life was supposed to be.”

And so, on this peninsula, we have watched the results of a tragic experiment in a laboratory of history. It is a tale of one people, but two Koreas. One Korea in which the people took control of their lives and their country, and chose a future of freedom and justice, of civilization, and incredible achievement. And another Korea in which leaders imprison their people under the banner of tyranny, fascism, and oppression. The result of this experiment are in, and they are totally conclusive.

When the Korean War began in 1950, the two Koreas were approximately equal in GDP per capita. But by the 1990s, South Korea’s wealth had surpassed North Korea’s by more than 10 times. And today, the South’s economy is over 40 times larger. You started the same a short while ago, and now you’re 40 times larger. You’re doing something right.

Considering the misery wrought by the North Korean dictatorship, it is no surprise that it has been forced to take increasingly desperate measures to prevent its people from understanding this brutal contrast.

Because the regime fears the truth above all else, it forbids virtually all contact with the outside world. Not just my speech today, but even the most commonplace facts of South Korean life are forbidden knowledge to the North Korean people. Western and South Korean music is banned. Possession of foreign media is a crime punishable by death. Citizens spy on fellow citizens, their homes are subject to search at any time, and their every action is subject to surveillance. In place of a vibrant society, the people of North Korea are bombarded by state propaganda practically every waking hour of the day.

North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.

The more successful South Korea becomes, the more decisively you discredit the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime.

In this way, the very existence of a thriving South Korean republic threatens the very survival of the North Korean dictatorship.

This city and this assembly are living proof that a free and independent Korea not only can, but does stand strong, sovereign, and proud among the nations of the world. (Applause.)

Here, the strength of the nation does not come from the false glory of a tyrant. It comes from the true and powerful glory of a strong and great people — the people of the Republic of Korea — a Korean people who are free to live, to flourish, to worship, to love, to build, and to grow their own destiny.

In this Republic, the people have done what no dictator ever could — you took, with the help of the United States, responsibility for yourselves and ownership of your future. You had a dream — a Korean dream — and you built that dream into a great reality.

In so doing, you performed the miracle on the Hahn that we see all around us, from the stunning skyline of Seoul to the plains and peaks of this beautiful landscape. You have done it freely, you have done it happily, and you have done it in your own very beautiful way.

This reality — this wonderful place — your success is the greatest cause of anxiety, alarm, and even panic to the North Korean regime. That is why the Kim regime seeks conflict abroad — to distract from total failure that they suffer at home.

Since the so-called armistice, there have been hundreds of North Korean attacks on Americans and South Koreans. These attacks have included the capture and torture of the brave American soldiers of the USS Pueblo, repeated assaults on American helicopters, and the 1969 drowning [downing] of a U.S. surveillance plane that killed 31 American servicemen. The regime has made numerous lethal incursions in South Korea, attempted to assassinate senior leaders, attacked South Korean ships, and tortured Otto Warmbier, ultimately leading to that fine young man’s death.

All the while, the regime has pursued nuclear weapons with the deluded hope that it could blackmail its way to the ultimate objective. And that objective we are not going to let it have. We are not going to let it have. All of Korea is under that spell, divided in half. South Korea will never allow what’s going on in North Korea to continue to happen.

The North Korean regime has pursued its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of every assurance, agreement, and commitment it has made to the United States and its allies. It’s broken all of those commitments. After promising to freeze its plutonium program in 1994, it repeated [reaped] the benefits of the deal and then — and then immediately continued its illicit nuclear activities.

In 2005, after years of diplomacy, the dictatorship agreed to ultimately abandon its nuclear programs and return to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation. But it never did. And worse, it tested the very weapons it said it was going to give up. In 2009, the United States gave negotiations yet another chance, and offered North Korea the open hand of engagement. The regime responded by sinking a South Korean Navy ship, killing 46 Korean sailors. To this day, it continues to launch missiles over the sovereign territory of Japan and all other neighbors, test nuclear devices, and develop ICBMs to threaten the United States itself. The regime has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness. This would be a fatal miscalculation. This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past.

Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty.

We did not choose to draw here, on this peninsula — (applause) — this magnificent peninsula — the thin line of civilization that runs around the world and down through time. But here it was drawn, and here it remains to this day. It is the line between peace and war, between decency and depravity, between law and tyranny, between hope and total despair. It is a line that has been drawn many times, in many places, throughout history. To hold that line is a choice free nations have always had to make. We have learned together the high cost of weakness and the high stakes of its defense.

America’s men and women in uniform have given their lives in the fight against Nazism, imperialism, Communism and terrorism.

America does not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will never run from it. History is filled with discarded regimes that have foolishly tested America’s resolve.

Anyone who doubts the strength or determination of the United States should look to our past, and you will doubt it no longer. We will not permit America or our allies to be blackmailed or attacked. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated. And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here, on this ground, we fought and died so hard to secure. (Applause.)

That is why I have come here, to the heart of a free and flourishing Korea, with a message for the peace-loving nations of the world: The time for excuses is over. Now is the time for strength. If you want peace, you must stand strong at all times. (Applause.) The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens with nuclear devastation.

All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea — to deny it and any form — any form of it. You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept. We call on every nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology.

It is our responsibility and our duty to confront this danger together — because the longer we wait, the greater the danger grows, and the fewer the options become. (Applause.) And to those nations that choose to ignore this threat, or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience.

I also have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship: The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.

North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves. Yet, despite every crime you have committed against God and man, you are ready to offer, and we will do that — we will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable, and total denuclearization. (Applause.)

A sky-top view of this peninsula shows a nation of dazzling light in the South and a mass of impenetrable darkness in the North. We seek a future of light, prosperity, and peace. But we are only prepared to discuss this brighter path for North Korea if its leaders cease their threats and dismantle their nuclear program.

The sinister regime of North Korea is right about only one thing: The Korean people do have a glorious destiny, but they could not be more wrong about what that destiny looks like. The destiny of the Korean people is not to suffer in the bondage of oppression, but to thrive in the glory of freedom. (Applause.)

What South Koreans have achieved on this peninsula is more than a victory for your nation. It is a victory for every nation that believes in the human spirit. And it is our hope that, someday soon, all of your brothers and sisters of the North will be able to enjoy the fullest of life intended by God.

Your republic shows us all of what is possible. In just a few decades, with only the hard work, courage, and talents of your people, you turned this war-torn land into a nation blessed with wealth, rich in culture, and deep in spirit. You built a home where all families can flourish and where all children can shine and be happy.

This Korea stands strong and tall among the great community of independent, confident, and peace-loving nations. We are nations that respect our citizens, cherish our liberty, treasure our sovereignty, and control our own destiny. We affirm the dignity of every person and embrace the full potential of every soul. And we are always prepared to defend the vital interests of our people against the cruel ambition of tyrants.

Together, we dream of a Korea that is free, a peninsula that is safe, and families that are reunited once again. We dream of highways connecting North and South, of cousins embracing cousins, and this nuclear nightmare replaced with the beautiful promise of peace.

Until that day comes, we stand strong and alert. Our eyes are fixed to the North, and our hearts praying for the day when all Koreans can live in freedom. (Applause.)

Thank you. (Applause.) God Bless You. God Bless the Korean people. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

END

https://www.voanews.com/a/text-of-trump-speech-to-south-korean-national-assembly-/4106294.html

Story 2: President Trump Tells It Like It Is — Does Not Blame China For Hugh Trade Deficits But Past Administrations — China Must Work On The Denuclearization of North Korea — Videos

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Story 3: Republican Party Senate Bill Wants To Delay Tax Cuts To 2019 Instead of Cutting Spending Now — Need New Political Party Advocating Balanced Budgets, Broad Based Consumption Tax, and Term Limits — Voters Will Stay Home Election Day, November 6, 2018 If Congress Does Not Completely Repeal Obamacare and Enact Fundamental Reform of Tax System — Videos —

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Here’s what’s in the Senate Republican tax plan

  • The Senate plan contains some key differences from the one working its way through the House.
  • The plan would chop the corporate tax rate and make broad tweaks to the individual tax system.

Jacob Pramuk | Ylan Mui

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senate tax bill has seven tax brackets, say sources  

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a plan which would chop the corporate tax rate and make broad tweaks to the individual tax system. It contains key differences from a bill working its way through the House.

GOP senators contend the tax system overhaul will ease the burden on middle-income Americans while encouraging companies to boost hiring and wages.

Trimming the tax burden on businesses and individuals has long been a Republican goal. With unified control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, the GOP aims to pass a tax reform plan this year, despite lingering challenges.

Issues facing GOP lawmakers include budget deficits generated by the deep cuts, opposition from blue-state House Republicans and backlash from Democrats who say the proposals will not go far enough to help middle-class workers.

Here are some of the key features of the Senate plan, much of which was outlined by the Senate Finance Committee:

  • The proposal chops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. It would delay the change until 2019, a source told CNBC. In the House bill, that measure would take effect next year.
  • The Senate plan would keep seven individual income tax brackets, a source told CNBC. A 12 percent bracket would replace the current 15 percent, while the top rate would get cut slightly to 38.5 percent. The House plan would reduce the number of brackets to four.
  • Like the House bill, the Senate proposal would nearly double the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.
  • The Senate plan would eliminate federal deductions for state and local taxes. The House bill also has this.
  • It would not change the mortgage interest deduction, which allows deductions on interest for up to $1 million in mortgage debt. The House bill caps that figure at $500,000.
  • It keeps popular tax breaks for 401(k) retirement accounts and charitable contributions.
  • It aims to reduce the burden on pass-through businesses by adding a deduction.
  • The Senate plan increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,650.
  • The proposal doubles the exemption for the estate tax, or so-called death tax, but does not eliminate it. The House plan repeals the estate tax after six years.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted Thursday to advance its tax bill. Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, made changes to the proposal ahead of the vote.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Thursday said the full House would vote on the proposal next week.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee aims to start marking up, or debating and amending, a bill next week.

If the Senate and House pass separate tax bills, lawmakers will have to reconcile them. Republicans have set an end-of-the-year target to overhaul the U.S. tax system.

If three GOP senators oppose the plan, the chamber cannot pass it, assuming all Democrats and independents vote against it.

House lawmakers are searching for ways to reduce the budget deficits created by the bill to make it comply with budget rules. A tax proposal cannot add more than $1.5 trillion in deficits over 10 years under budget guidelines recently set by the Senate and House.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/09/senate-republicans-release-tax-reform-plan.html

 

Senate GOP plan would delay corporate tax cut, protect mortgage interest deduction

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on Nov. 9 that the tax process is “very complicated,” with senators, House members and President Trump all wanting different priorities included. (Jordan Frasier/The Washington Post)

 November 9 at 3:40 PM

Senate Republicans are forging their own path on the effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code, offering a plan Thursday that would delay President Trump’s top business priority and blow up House Republicans’ carefully crafted compromise on property tax deductions.GOP Senate leaders unveiled a tax package that would delay cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent until 2019. That’s a major departure from Trump’s insistence on immediate tax cuts that he says are necessary to spur the economy.The one-year delay would lower the cost of the tax bill by more than $100 billion, and negotiators are trying to preserve as much revenue as they can for other changes. But it could also delay companies moving back to the United States from overseas or prompt them to hold off on other decisions as they wait for the corporate rate to fall.It was one of many trade-offs that Senate leaders made as they tried to craft a bill that would lower taxes but also add no more than $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years. Still, a number of changes are expected to be made as lawmakers begin debating the measure next week. The bill as currently constructed does not comply with Senate rules that prohibit certain legislation from adding to the deficit after 10 years.This could force Republicans to make some of the taxcuts temporary, though those decisions have not yet been made.

From left: Republicans House SpeakerPaul Ryan, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Melina Mara/The Washington Post) (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Senate Republicans briefed White House officials on the one-year delay, and Trump administration officials said they would accept such a provision. To try to prod companies into expansion next year, the Senate bill would allow companies to immediately deduct all capital investments in 2018. Companies would be allowed to immediately expense these investments for five years.

The emerging Senate bill comes as the GOP’s broader tax cut effort comes into sharper focus. With the House likely to pass its version of the House bill as soon as next week, Republicans are making progress advancing Trump’s top legislative priority.

But before the tax cut bills can become law, the House and Senate must pass matching versions of the legislation, and a number of differences remain.

“We know we have more work yet to be done, but this is a historic step,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “Will there be some differences? Of course, that’s the legislative process. We welcome that.”

In a move that could cause major tension in the House, the Senate bill would prohibit Americans from deducting state and local income and property taxes from their federal bills, a change which could raise taxes overall for Americans in high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey, California, Oregon, and Illinois.

The Senate’s approach to state and local deductions is at odds with the tax bill in the House, where Republicans settled on a compromise — scrapping some of the state and local deduction but still allowing a deduction of up to $10,000 on property taxes — after GOP lawmakers from high-tax states revolted against an initial House plan to scrap the deduction entirely.

The proposal to eliminate that deduction in both the Senate and House bill would only apply to individuals and families, while businesses would still be allowed to deduct state and local taxes, as these would be protected as a business expense. The discrepancy could further inflame Democrats, who have criticized the GOP tax cut effort as offering too many benefits for companies and stripping benefits away from individuals and families.

“Senate Republicans are doubling down on their gamble with middle class family budgets to pay for massive handouts to big corporations and tax cheats,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore).

The Senate bill also eliminates the personal exemption many Americans take to lower their taxable income, but it does expand the child tax credit and nearly doubles the “standard deduction.”

The Senate plan would also keep the mortgage interest deduction largely intact, capped at the current level of $1 million, according to a Republican official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. In the House bill, people would only be allowed to deduct interest payments on their first $500,000 worth of home loans, a proposal that generated fierce opposition from the housing industry.

The Senate bill would also make changes to the estate tax, a levy placed only on very large estates when they’re inherited from their deceased owner. The House bill would eliminate the estate tax, but the Senate bill would stop short of that. It would essentially double the size of estates that are exempt from being taxed, but it would not jettison the provision completely.

The Senate bill would also continue allowing people to deduct payments on student loan interest and to deduct some medical expenses — a provision dropped from the House plan that could lead to significantly higher taxes for many households, particularly for the elderly.

The Senate bill will propose to lower tax rates across income levels as a way to lower tax bills for most Americans, Senate Finance Committee aides said.

The package as currently constructed, however, has significant problems.

Senate Finance Committee aides said they planned to make adjustments to the legislation because it likely does not comply with Senate rules that prohibit certain bills from adding to the debt after 10 years. This could require them to allow the tax cuts to expire after a number of years.

Republicans control 52 votes in the 100-seat Senate, meaning they can only lose two members if they want to pass a bill without Democratic support. A 50-50 tie would go to Republicans, as Vice President Pence would cast the tiebreaking vote.

It’s because of that delicate majority that many White House officials expect a tax bill — if it eventually becomes law — to more closely resemble the Senate bill. Senate Republicans will work to resolve differences among themselves in the next few weeks, but major changes made in the House could upend any agreement.

Senate lawmakers also must grapple with strict rules that regulate how a tax-cut bill is designed. To use special Senate procedures to get around a filibuster from Democrats, Republicans must write a bill that does not add more than $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years.

Republicans, such as Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and James Lankford (Okla.), have said they would not support a tax plan that adds too much to the debt, creating a bloc of votes that would be able to kill the bill if they aren’t appeased.

House Republican leaders are facing difficult decisions as they try to advance their tax bill. On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans voted to advance their bill out of committee. The vote, which clears the bill to advance to the House floor, included revisions meant to eliminate a $74 billion shortfall and address other issues complicating the bill’s passage.

To offset the various revenue-losing provisions introduced Thursday, House tax writers opted to increase tax rates on foreign assets moved back to the United States by multinational corporations. The previous five percent tax on fixed assets would rise to seven percent, while a 12 percent tax on cash held abroad would jump to 14 percent.

The House revisions would also direct further benefits to middle-class taxpayers. It would restore the Child Adoption Tax Credit left out of the previous version and allow for a deduction of moving expenses available to active-duty military members. The Child Adoption Tax Credit is also included in the Senate bill.

Other changes in the House bill are directed at businesses, including a further rate reduction for certain qualified “pass-through” firms that send their earnings to their owners to be taxed as individual income.

Another revision to the House bill that Brady released Thursday appears to dramatically change the rules on what sort of political activities a tax-exempt nonprofit organization may engage in. Language that applied only to religious organizations, giving them a freer hand to speak out on political campaigns, was broadened in the new amendment to include all 501(c) (3) organizations.

The stock market fell Thursday after The Washington Post reported that the Senate bill included a one-year delay, with investors worried that it could force companies to hold back expansion plans. But White House officials signaled they were willing to accept a one-year delay if it meant the bill would eventually become law.

There are other notable differences between the Senate and House bills.

In a break from the House plan, which kept the top marginal income tax rate at the current 39.6 percent, the Senate bill would slightly lower it to 38.5 percent — a win for advocates of supply-side economic theory who argue a lower top rate will grow the economy.

The Senate bill will retain seven income brackets for families, while the House bill proposes collapsing the existing seven brackets down to four.

The House bill would immediately cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, offer families a five-year “flexibility credit” of $300 per parent, and expand the child tax credit. It would also collapse the seven income tax brackets paid by families and individuals down to four brackets, only taxing income above $1 million at the highest rate of 39.6 percent.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/senate-gop-plan-would-delay-corporate-tax-cut-until-2019-breaking-with-trump/2017/11/09/92ea07ec-c55d-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.8e2bb4b399b9

Both the Senate and House tax bills would make the child tax credit more generous. While the Senate version is somewhat more favorable to the middle class, both would disproportionately favor high earners.CreditAndrew Burton/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, acknowledged on Friday that the Republican tax plan might result in a tax hike for some working Americans, saying he “misspoke” days earlier when he said that “nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase” under the Senate bill.

“I misspoke on that,” Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in an interview on Friday with The New York Times. “You can’t guarantee that absolutely no one sees a tax increase, but what we are doing is targeting levels of income and looking at the average in those levels and the average will be tax relief for the average taxpayer in each of those segments.”

The Senate bill unveiled on Thursday would raise taxes on millions of middle-class families, according to a preliminary New York Times analysis. The plan would also disproportionately benefit high earners and corporations. Still, middle-class earners would fare better under the Senate proposal than its counterpart in the House, the analysis found.

The Senate Finance Committee bill would, on average, cut taxes for people at every income level. But, as Mr. McConnell alluded to in his revised remarks, those benefits would vary widely within income brackets, depending on the specific circumstances of individuals and households, and many would pay more than under existing rules.

Republican lawmakers have been in a dash to devise — and pass — a tax overhaul that would mark their most significant achievement since taking control of Congress. President Trump and Republican leaders have outlined two main objectives for the rewrite: cutting taxes for American businesses and for the middle class. The legislation reduces tax rates on individuals and businesses, while eliminating some tax breaks to make up for lost revenues. It is meant to accelerate economic growth and increase wages for workers.

Continue reading the main story

The Times analysis, using the open-source software TaxBrain, found that roughly one-quarter of families in the middle class would see their taxes increase in 2018, by about $1,000 on average. By 2026, the share seeing an increase would rise slightly, to about one-third, and the average increase would rise to about $1,600. For the majority of middle-class families that receive a tax cut, the average savings would be about $1,300 in 2018 and $1,700 in 2026.

HOW MUCH WOULD PEOPLE SAVE?

People across income brackets would see savings from the Senate plan in 2018. But for many in the middle class, the savings would be relatively small. The table below shows the average savings, by income, for those who would receive a tax cut.

  • Under $30,000:

    $180

  • $30,000-$50,000:

    $600

  • $50,000-$75,000:

    $976

  • $75,000-$100,000:

    $1,277

  • $100,000-$200,000:

    $2,113

  • $200,000-$500,000:

    $4,121

  • More than $500,000:

    $28,313

The Times analysis defines the middle class broadly as those earning between two-thirds and twice the median household income, or about $50,000 to $160,000 per year for a family of three. To focus on families, the analysis excluded individual filers and households headed by people 65 or older and is adjusted for the size of each household.

Under the House bill, The Times has found, about half of middle-class families would pay more in taxes in 2026.

The analysis did not seek to calculate how workers might benefit from a steep cut in the corporate tax rate, which both the Senate and House bills would reduce to 20 percent from a top rate of 35 percent today, or project how the bills might increase economic growth and, with it, Americans’ wages.

On Friday, the independent Tax Foundation released an analysis of the plan’s growth effects. It projected that the Senate bill would increase gross domestic product by 3.7 percent over the next decade and raise wages by 2.9 percent across the economy.

For taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year, the Senate bill offers a more limited upside and downside than the House bill.

The Senate bill is less likely than the House bill to yield tax increases for high-income Americans, in part because it cuts the top marginal personal tax rate, while the House bill creates a so-called “bubble rate” that would actually raise taxes on many high-salaried workers.

The Senate measure would also produce a smaller average tax windfall for high earners than the House version, in part by offering less generous benefits for owners of businesses known as pass-throughs, which are not organized as corporations.

Under the Senate plan, “Americans are especially likely to face a tax increase if they have a smaller family, have mostly wage income instead of investment income, or claim some of the many deductions that the bill repeals, like those for state and local taxes and employee business expenses,” said Lily Batchelder, a professor and tax specialist at New York University Law School, who worked on economic policy in the Obama administration. “They are increasing taxes on many in the middle class, while concentrating their tax cuts on the wealthy.”

The Senate bill appears much better for the very wealthy than it is for the somewhat wealthy. About half of families earning between two and three times the median income — or about $160,000 to $240,000 for a family of three — would pay more in 2018 than under existing law. But among the richest families, those earning more than about $500,000 for a family of three, nearly 90 percent would get a tax cut.

The findings come with an important caveat: The Senate bill, as written, appears unable to muster the 60 votes needed to avoid a Democratic filibuster, meaning Republicans will need to amend it to comply with the budget reconciliation rules and allow permit passage by a simple majority. Those changes could likely include putting expiration dates on some of the bill’s major provisions, which could make the final version of the bill look less favorable to the middle class, particularly in later years.

The Times’s figures are based on an analysis of Census Bureau data using a tax model from the Open Source Policy Center, a Washington research organization affiliated with the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Because the analysis is based on publicly available data, not actual tax records, it may not capture all the intricacies of Americans’ household finances.

The Senate bill differs sharply from the House version in its approach to cutting taxes on businesses. But when it comes to taxes on individuals and families, the bills are more similar than different. Both would double the standard deduction while eliminating a raft of deductions and credits. Both would make the child tax credit more generous. Both would restructure federal income tax brackets to impose lower marginal tax rates at most income levels, although the Senate approach, unlike the House version, doesn’t eliminate two brackets entirely.

The Senate bill includes features that would make its plan more favorable to the middle class. It preserves some popular tax deductions and credits that the House bill initially would have eliminated, and it makes the child tax credit somewhat more generous and widely available. On the other hand, the Senate bill, unlike the House version, would eliminate the deduction for property taxes, which could lead to higher federal taxes for homeowners in areas with high property tax rates or expensive housing markets.

Aparna Mathur, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, said senators could improve the bill with further changes, such as expanding the earned-income tax credit and extending the benefits of the child tax credit to more low-income taxpayers. “We clearly need to do more to help the lowest-income families,” she said. “At the same time, we can engage in more base broadening for the highest-income households, perhaps by eliminating and not just capping the mortgage-interest deduction.”

The Times analysis found that roughly one-fifth of the Senate bill’s cuts in 2018 would go to families and individuals earning $1 million or more, and close to half would go to people earning at least $200,000. Between 10 million and 15 million taxpayers earning less than $100,000 a year would pay more than under existing law.

Families earning more than $1 million a year would see their after-tax income rise by about 1.7 percent in 2018 compared with what they would make under current law, nearly triple the gains enjoyed by those earning less than $200,000.

Over all, the Senate bill would cut individual income taxes by about $30 billion in 2018, and by $900 billion over the next decade, according to Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. And most people in all income groups would see a tax cut, although the cuts would be modest for most lower earners.

Story 4: Alabama Republican Candidate for Senator, Roy Moore, Accused of Sexual Misconduct in 1979 — Desperate Democratic Dirt — Let The Voters of Alabama Decide — Accusations Are Not Evidence — Videos

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 November 9 at 12:52 PM


Leigh Corfman, left, in a photo from 1979, when she was about 14. At right, from top, Wendy Miller around age 16, Debbie Wesson Gibson around age 17 and Gloria Thacker Deason around age 18. (Family photos)

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”


This undated family photo shows Leigh Corfman with her mother, Nancy Wells, around 1979 when Corfman was about 14 years old. (Family Photo)

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.

The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.”

After The Post published this story Thursday afternoon, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and a handful of other GOP senators said Moore must step aside if Corfman’s account is true.

According to campaign reports, none of the women has donated to or worked for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, or his rivals in the Republican primary, including Sen. Luther Strange, whom he defeated this fall in a runoff election.

Corfman, 53, who works as a customer service representative at a payday loan business, says she has voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including for Donald Trump in 2016. She says she thought of confronting Moore personally for years, and almost came forward publicly during his first campaign for state Supreme Court in 2000, but decided against it. Her two children were still in school then and she worried about how it would affect them. She also was concerned that her background — three divorces and a messy financial history — might undermine her credibility.

“There is no one here that doesn’t know that I’m not an angel,” Corfman says, referring to her home town of Gadsden.

Corfman described her story consistently in six interviews with The Post. The Post confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records. Moore’s office was down the hall from the courtroom.

Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.

“I have prayed over this,” Corfman says, explaining why she decided to tell her story now. “All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”

This account is based on interviews with more than 30 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he served as an assistant district attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama, where he grew up.

****

Moore was 30 and single when he joined the district attorney’s office, his first government job after attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, serving in Vietnam, graduating from law school and working briefly as a lawyer in private practice in Gadsden, the county seat.

By his account, chronicled in his book “So Help Me God,” Moore spent his time as a prosecutor convicting “murderers, rapists, thieves and drug pushers.” He writes that it was “around this time that I fashioned a plaque of The Ten Commandments on two redwood tablets.”

“I believed that many of the young criminals whom I had to prosecute would not have committed criminal acts if they had been taught these rules as children,” Moore writes.

Outside work, Moore writes that he spent his free time building rooms onto a mobile home in Gallant, a rural area about 25 miles west of Gadsden.

According to colleagues and others who knew him at the time, Moore was rarely seen socializing outside work. He spent one season coaching the Gallant Girls, a softball team that his teenage sister had joined, said several women who played on the team. He spent time working out at the Gadsden YMCA, according to people who encountered him there. And he often walked, usually alone, around the newly opened Gadsden Mall — 6 feet tall and well-dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, say several women who worked there at the time.

Corfman describes herself as a little lost — “a typical 14-year-old kid of a divorced family” — when she says she first met Moore that day in 1979 outside the courtroom. She says she felt flattered that a grown man was paying attention to her.

“He was charming and smiley,” she says.

After her mother went into the courtroom, Corfman says, Moore asked her where she went to school, what she liked to do and whether he could call her sometime. She remembers giving him her number and says he called not long after. She says she talked to Moore on her phone in her bedroom, and they made plans for him to pick her up at Alcott Road and Riley Street, around the corner from her house.

“I was kind of giddy, excited, you know? An older guy, you know?” Corfman says, adding that her only sexual experience at that point had been kissing boys her age.

She says that it was dark and cold when he picked her up, and that she thought they were going out to eat. Instead, she says, he drove her to his house, which seemed “far, far away.”

“I remember the further I got from my house, the more nervous I got,” Corfman says.

She remembers an unpaved driveway. She remembers going inside and him giving her alcohol on this visit or the next, and that at some point she told him she was 14. She says they sat and talked. She remembers that Moore told her she was pretty, put his arm around her and kissed her, and that she began to feel nervous and asked him to take her home, which she says he did.

Soon after, she says, he called again, and picked her up again at the same spot.

“This was a new experience, and it was exciting and fun and scary,” Corfman says, explaining why she went back. “It was just like this roller-coaster ride you’ve not been on.”

She says that Moore drove her back to the same house after dark, and that before long she was lying on a blanket on the floor. She remembers Moore disappearing into another room and coming out with nothing on but “tight white” underwear.

She remembers that Moore kissed her, that he took off her pants and shirt, and that he touched her through her bra and underpants. She says that he guided her hand to his underwear and that she yanked her hand back.

“I wasn’t ready for that — I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one,” Corfman says.

She remembers thinking, “I don’t want to do this” and “I need to get out of here.” She says that she got dressed and asked Moore to take her home, and that he did.

The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16. Under Alabama law in 1979, and today, a person who is at least 19 years old who has sexual contact with someone between 12 and 16 years old has committed sexual abuse in the second degree. Sexual contact is defined as touching of sexual or intimate parts. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The law then and now also includes a section on enticing a child younger than 16 to enter a home with the purpose of proposing sexual intercourse or fondling of sexual and genital parts. That is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for bringing felony charges involving sexual abuse of a minor in 1979 would have run out three years later, and the time frame for filing a civil complaint would have ended when the alleged victim turned 21, according to Child USA, a nonprofit research and advocacy group at the University of Pennsylvania.

Corfman never filed a police report or a civil suit.

She says that after their last encounter, Moore called again, but that she found an excuse to avoid seeing him. She says that at some point during or soon after her meetings with Moore, she told two friends in vague terms that she was seeing an older man.

Betsy Davis, who remains friendly with Corfman and now lives in Los Angeles, says she clearly remembers Corfman talking about seeing an older man named Roy Moore when they were teenagers. She says Corfman described an encounter in which the older man wore nothing but tight white underwear. She says she was firm with Corfman that seeing someone as old as Moore was out of bounds.

“I remember talking to her and telling her it’s not a good idea,” Davis says. “Because we were so young.”

A second friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job, has a similar memory of a teenage Corfman telling her about seeing an older man.

After talking to her friends, Corfman says, she began to feel that she had done something wrong and kept it a secret for years.

“I felt responsible,” she says. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”

She says that her teenage life became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.

As the years went on, Corfman says, she did not share her story about Moore partly because of the trouble in her life. She has had three divorces and financial problems. While living in Arizona, she and her second husband started a screen-printing business that fell into debt. They filed for bankruptcy protection three times, once in 1991 with $139,689 in unpaid claims brought by the Internal Revenue Service and other creditors, according to court records.

In 2005, Corfman paid a fine for driving a boat without lights. In 2010, she was working at a convenience store when she was charged with a misdemeanor for selling beer to a minor. The charge was dismissed, court records show.

****

This undated photo shows Gloria Thacker Deason when she was about 18. (Family photo)

The three other women who spoke to The Post say that Moore asked them on dates when they were between 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.

Gloria Thacker Deason says she was 18 and Moore was 32 when they met in 1979 at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at the jewelry counter of a department store called Pizitz. She says she was attending Gadsden State Community College and still living at home.

“My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,” says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North Carolina. “She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought he was good husband material.”

Deason says that they dated off and on for several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and hugging.

“He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury,” Deason says, referring to the country singer and the British rocker.

She says that Moore would pick her up for dates at the mall or at college basketball games, where she was a cheerleader. She remembers changing out of her uniform before they went out for dinners at a pizzeria called Mater’s, where she says Moore would order bottles of Mateus Rosé, or at a Chinese restaurant, where she says he would order her tropical cocktails at a time when she believes she was younger than 19, the legal drinking age.

“If Mother had known that, she would have had a hissy fit,” says Deason, who says she turned 19 in May 1979, after she and Moore started dating.

This undated family photo shows Wendy Miller around the time she was 16. (Family photo)

Around the same time that Deason says she met Moore at the jewelry counter, Wendy Miller says that Moore approached her at the mall, where she would spend time with her mom, who worked at a photo booth there. Miller says this was in 1979, when she was 16.

She says that Moore’s face was familiar because she had first met him two years before, when she was dressed as an elf and working as a Santa’s helper at the mall. She says that Moore told her she looked pretty, and that two years later, he began asking her out on dates in the presence of her mother at the photo booth. She says she had a boyfriend at the time, and declined.

Her mother, Martha Brackett, says she refused to grant Moore permission to date her 16-year-old daughter.

“I’d say, ‘You’re too old for her . . . let’s not rob the cradle,’ ” Brackett recalls telling Moore.

Miller, who is now 54 and still lives in Alabama, says she was “flattered by the attention.”

“Now that I’ve gotten older,” she says, “the idea that a grown man would want to take out a teenager, that’s disgusting to me.”

This undated family photo shows Debbie Wesson Gibson when she was about 17. (Family photo)

Debbie Wesson Gibson says that she was 17 in the spring of 1981 when Moore spoke to her Etowah High School civics class about serving as the assistant district attorney. She says that when he asked her out, she asked her mother what she would say if she wanted to date a 34-year-old man. Gibson says her mother asked her who the man was, and when Gibson said “Roy Moore,” her mother said, “I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the world.”

Among locals in Gadsden, a town of about 47,000 back then, Moore “had this godlike, almost deity status — he was a hometown boy made good,” Gibson says, “West Point and so forth.”

Gibson says that they dated for two to three months, and that he took her to his house, read her poetry and played his guitar. She says he kissed her once in his bedroom and once by the pool at a local country club.

“Looking back, I’m glad nothing bad happened,” says Gibson, who now lives in Florida. “As a mother of daughters, I realize that our age difference at that time made our dating inappropriate.”

****

By 1982, Moore was by his own account in his book causing a stir in the district attorney’s office for his willingness to criticize the workings of the local legal system. He convened a grand jury to look into what he alleged were funding problems in the sheriff’s office. In response, Moore writes, the state bar association investigated him for going against the advice of the district attorney, an inquiry that was dismissed.

Soon after, Moore quit and began his first political campaign for the county’s circuit court judge position. He lost overwhelmingly, and left Alabama shortly thereafter, heading to Texas, where he says in his book that he trained as a kickboxer, and to Australia, where he says he lived on a ranch for a year wrangling cattle.

He returned to Gadsden in 1984 and went into private law practice. In 1985, at age 38, he married Kayla Kisor, who was 24. The two are still married.

A few years later, Moore began his rise in Alabama politics and into the national spotlight.

In 1992, he became a circuit court judge and hung his wooden Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom.

In 2000, he was elected chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, and he soon installed a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument in the judicial building.

In 2003, he was dismissed from the bench for ignoring a federal court order to remove the monument, and became known nationally as “The Ten Commandments Judge.”

Moore was again elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012, and was again dismissed for ignoring a judicial order, this time for instructing probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Roy Moore, a 2018 U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, shared remarks at the Values Voter Summit on Oct. 13. (C-SPAN)

All of this has made Moore a hero to many Alabama voters, who consider him a stalwart Christian willing to stand up for their values. In a September Republican primary for the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Moore defeated the appointed sitting senator, Luther Strange, who was backed by President Trump and other party leaders in Washington. Moore faces the Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, in a special election scheduled for Dec. 12.

On a visit home in the mid-1990s to see her mother and stepfather in Alabama, Corfman says, she saw Moore’s photo in the Gadsden Times.

“ ‘Mother, do you remember this guy?’ ” Wells says Corfman said at the time.

That’s when Corfman told her, Wells recalls. Her daughter said that not long after the court hearing in 1979, Moore took her to his house. Wells says that her daughter conveyed to her that Moore had behaved inappropriately.

“I was horrified,” Wells says.

Years later, Corfman says, she saw a segment about Moore on ABC News’s “Good Morning America.” She says she threw up.

There were times, Corfman says, she thought about confronting Moore. At one point during the late 1990s, she says, she became so angry that she drove to the parking lot outside Moore’s office at the county courthouse in Gadsden. She sat there for a while, she says, rehearsing what she might say to him.

“ ‘Remember me?’ ” she imagined herself saying.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.4b18e033f463

 

Roy Moore’s full statement on teen sex encounter allegation

Roy Moore
Roy Moore ((Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com))

The Roy Moore campaign this afternoon released this statement in response to an article from The Washington Post claiming the U.S. Senate candidate had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when Moore was 32.

Here is the statement:

Today, the Judge Roy Moore Campaign for U.S. Senate issued a statement responding to yet another baseless political attack by the Washington Post, a paper that has endorsed Judge Moore’s opponent. Moore campaign chair Bill Armistead released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:

“Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake.  National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last ditch Hail Mary.

Roy Moore accused of sexual encounter with teen in 1979

Roy Moore accused of sexual encounter with teen in 1979

Three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.

“The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign.  In fact, just two days ago, the Foundation for Moral Law sent a retraction demand to the Post for the false stories they wrote about the Judge’s work and compensation.  But apparently, there is no end to what the Post will allege.

“The Judge has been married to Kayla for nearly 33 years, has 4 children, and 5 grandchildren.  He has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice.  He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage.  After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now. 

“Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead.  So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the U.S. Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country’s most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind.

“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.”

On Thursday, Judge Moore called the allegations by the Post “completely false and a desperate political attack.”

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/roy_moores_full_statement_of_t.html

Doug Jones: “Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges”

By John Sharp

The Democratic opponent of Republican Roy Moore during the Dec. 12 general election had a simple eight word response Thursday to allegations that the former judge behaved inappropriately with teenage girls in the late 1970s.

Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges,” the Doug Jones campaign emailed to AL.com hours after The Washington Post’s report that alleges Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor and pursued three other teenage girls.

Moore is accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32 years old.

Moore’s campaign released a statement earlier in the day, calling the allegations the “very definition of fake news.”

The Jones campaign’s statement underscored a day of limited commenting from politicians in Alabama. Republicans like Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she was waiting on more facts about the allegations, while U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said that “if the allegations are true,” Moore does not belong in the Senate.

Jones, in the 24 hours leading up The Washington Post’s article, had been been calling on the former judge to debate him. Moore declined to appear in a debate sponsored by WHNT-TV in Huntsville and Reckon by AL.com.

Moore, before the publication of The Washington Post article, held a rather comfortable lead in recent polling over Jones, a former U.S. District Attorney from Birmingham. A Raycom News Network poll had Moore leading Jones by 11 percent. Other polling, in recent weeks, has had the race somewhere near 6 to 8 percent in favor of Moore.

Said Moore’s campaign: “Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead.  So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the U.S. Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country’s most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind.”

http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2017/11/doug_jones_roy_moore_needs_to.html

Roy Moore scandal in Alabama might slow Bannon’s insurgency, GOP leaders hope

Jon Ward

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks at a rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore, September 2017. (Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP)

The explosive allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore may have an unintended casualty: Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump who is leading an insurgency against the GOP establishment.

At least, that’s what Bannon’s chief target, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is hoping.

When Bannon first backed Moore in the Republican Senate primary in Alabama, it looked like a shrewd move. Moore led in the polls by double digits in the runoff with Sen. Luther Strange, who’d been appointed to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

And Bannon was looking for a way to establish himself as a kingmaker, after leaving his post as senior White House adviser to President Trump.

When Bannon endorsed Moore, he told allies that he wasn’t opposing Strange — whom Trump backed — to spite the president.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore greets supporters, Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. (Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP)

His real target was McConnell, he said, and he expanded on this theme in a highly publicized interview with “60 Minutes” in early September.

Days before Moore beat Strange in the primary runoff, Bannon said that those who wished to defeat Moore “cannot take the righteousness … people like Judge Moore represent.”

Moore’s decisive primary win helped cement the idea that Bannon was now a powerful figure on the right whose endorsement would be key for Republican candidates. It was a step toward wresting control of the GOP from McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

McConnell’s allies hit back in late October. An outside group that supports the Senate leader, the Senate Leadership Fund, began criticizing Bannon on Twitter and said it planned to run ads in Republican primaries against Bannon-endorsed candidates, such as Kelli Ward in Arizona.

“Bannon’s well-documented, toxic views and alt-right paper trail could become a liability for candidates who are perceived as closely tied to him,” SLF President Steven Law told the Washington Post at the time.

On Thursday, McConnell and his Republican Senate colleagues were quick to distance themselves from Moore after the Post reported on four women who allege that Moore pursued them and initiated sexual contact when they were teenagers. One woman was 14 at the time, another 16.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” McConnell said in a statement on behalf of all Senate Republicans.

Moore will face off against Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 special election.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., didn’t qualify or hedge his comments; he said unequivocally that Moore should drop his candidacy. “He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of,” McCain said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters about allegations made against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Nov. 9, 2017. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

McConnell allies wasted no time in piling on to make sure that Bannon’s name was dragged into the uproar over the allegations against Moore.

“Dear GOP, send your thank you cards to the Breitbart embassy attn: Steve Bannon,” tweeted Josh Holmes, a former McConnell chief of staff.

Holmes went further in a comment to the Post: “If it’s true, the GOP doesn’t have any place for pedophiles and he should step down immediately.”

And the SLF foreshadowed a possible line of attack in future campaign ads, contrasting Senate Republicans with Bannon’s Breitbart News, which defended Moore against the allegations.

SLF linked to a clip of Breitbart’s Joel Pollak downplaying the allegations against Moore.

“He’s being accused of relationships with teenagers. Now to me that’s not accurate,” Pollak said. “The 16-year old and the 18-year old have no business in that story because those are women of legal age of consent.”

SLF tweeted: “While Senate Republicans fight for @realDonaldTrump’s tax reform, Bannon’s @BreitbartNews is arguing the age of consent for teens.”

Bannon did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/roy-moore-scandal-alabama-might-slow-bannons-insurgency-gop-leaders-hope-223029129.html

What Is the Age of Consent in Alabama?

In Alabama, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16. Generally, a person over the age of 16 can consent to sex with anyone else who is over the age of 16.

What Are Some Issues With Age of Consent in Alabama?

Age of consent is incredibly important in Alabama. An individual who is 19 years old or older has sexual contact with someone who is younger than 16 but older than 12 has committed sexual abuse. If a person over the age of 16 has sex with a person under that age, they have committed second-degree rape, provided they are more than two years older than their partner. The law is not clear as to what would happen if both partners are between the age of 12 and 16. However, it does say that a person under the age of 14 cannot be prosecuted as an adult. Moreover, having sex with a person under the age of 12 is rape in the first degree.

Are There Any Exceptions to Age of Consent?

No. In Alabama law, there are no recognized exceptions to age of consent.

Are There Any Defenses to Age of Consent?

Not really. This type of statutory rape is a strict liability offense, meaning that even if a defendant had a good faith belief or made an honest mistake as to an individual’s age, they will still be criminally liable.

Homosexual Age of Consent in Alabama

In Alabama, there are laws on the books which make all homosexual intercourse, regardless of the age of the partners, illegal. However, the United States Supreme Court held in 2003 that state laws prohibiting consensual, private, homosexual conduct between adults are unconstitutional. With this law still on the books, it is not clear what the age of consent for homosexual conduct in Alabama is. However, it is probable that a state court would default to the age of consent for heterosexual conduct, assuming that the state legislature does not clarify the issue.

Should I Seek Legal Advice?

If you believe you may have violated Alabama’s age of consent laws, you should seek legal advice immediately. Violating these laws carry severe criminal and civil penalties. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights, and if necessary, zealously represent you in a court of law.

https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/alabama-age-of-consent-lawyers.html?redesigned=1

What is the 2017 Age of Consent in Alabama?

The Alabama legal Age of Consent for sexual contact is 16 years old. There are a total of A total of thirty one states have set their age of consent at 16, the lowest age of consent in any state.

In Alabama, a person 19 years old or older who subjects another person to sexual contact who is less than 16 years old, but more than 12 years old is charged with sexual abuse. Someone 16 or older who has intercourse with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 who is at least two years younger then they are can be charged with second-degree rape.

Alabama has no Close-in-age Exemption

There are no set close-in-age exemptions or “Romeo and Juliet laws” to Alabama’s age of consent. This means that anyone who engages in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent in Alabama is liable for prosecution, including people only a few years older then their sexual partner and even two individuals who are both under the age of consent.

What is the Age of Consent?

AL Legal Age of Consent, 2016 and 2017

The Age of Consent is the age at which a person is deemed by Alabama law to be capable of consenting to, and engaging in, sexual acts. Anyone who engages in sexual activity of any type with a partner under the applicable Age of Consent is breaking the law and can be charged with crimes ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony (statutory rape) depending on the jurisdiction in which they are prosecuted. Alabama’s specific laws on the Age of Consent can be found above.

What happens if I violate the Alabama Age of Consent?

If you engage in sexual activity with a minor who is under the Alabama Age of Consent of 16, you can be prosecuted under Alabama sexual abuse laws  and charged with crimes ranging from sexual assault to first degree rape, regardless of whether or not the sexual acts were consensual. Depending on the charges, conviction can carry penalties ranging from one to fifty years in prison and registration as a sex offender .

What happens if I travel to a state where the Age of Consent is lower?

In most states, the travel or transportation of a minor over state lines with the intention of engaging in sexual activity is in itself a severe misdemeanor or felony. As a result, it is generally not possible to evade a state’s age of consent rules by travelling to a different state.

https://www.age-of-consent.info/states/Alabama

What is the Alabama Age of Consent?

The Alabama Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Alabama are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.

Alabama statutory rape law is violated when an individual over age 18 (or 16 or older if the victim is at least 2 years younger than the offender) engages in sexual intercourse with a person over the age of 12 and under age 16. The offender commits the crime of sodomy If an individual age 16 or older engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16 and older than 12.

View list of sexual assault laws & punishments in Alabama 

Alabama has a close-in-age exemption. A close in age exemption, also known as “Romeo and Juliet law”, is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.

Depending on the situation, the Alabama close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.


Age of Consent across the United States

The Age of Consent ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years old across the United States. Click the map to view any state’s age of consent laws.

Age Of Consent:

16 years old

17 years old

18 years old


The age of consent in Alabama is based on the following statutes from the Alabama criminal code:

Alabama Age Of Consent Law:
13A-6-70: (c) A person is deemed incapable of consent if he is: (1) Less than 16 years old...

13A-6-67 : (a) A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the second degree if: ...
(2) He, being 19 years old or older, subjects another person to sexual intercourse who is less than 16 years old, but more than 12 years old.

13A-6-62 (a) A person commits the crime of rape in the second degree if: ...
(1) Being 16 years old or older, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 and more than 12 years old; provided, however, the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex.

13A-6-64 : (a) A person commits the crime of sodomy in the second degree if: ...
(1) He, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old.

13A-6-81 : A person commits the crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years if:
(a) He or she is a school employee and engages in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student, regardless of whether the student is male or female. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section.

(b) As used in this section, sex act means sexual intercourse with any penetration, however slight; emission is not required.

(c) As used in this section, deviant sexual intercourse means any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

(d) The crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student is a Class B felony.

13A-6-82 : A person commits the crime of a school employee having sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years if:
(a) He or she is a school employee and engaging in sexual intercourse with a student, regardless of whether the student is male or female. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section.

(b) As used in this section, sexual intercourse means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a student, done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party. The term includes soliciting or harassing a student to perform a sex act.

(c) The crime of a school employee having sexual intercourse with a student is a Class A misdemeanor.

Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Alabama

Alabama has ten statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Alabama Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Alabama equivalent of that charge.

The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim. Click any charge for more detailed information.

Criminal Charge Severity Punishment
Electronic solicitation of a child Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.
Enticing child to enter vehicle, house, etc., for immoral purposes Class C felony No less than one year and one day and no more than 10 years.
Facilitating solicitation of unlawful sexual conduct with a child Class C felony No less than one year and one day and no more than 10 years.
Rape- second degree Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.
School employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.
Sexual abuse of child under 12 Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.
Sexual abuse- first degree Class A misdemeanor Up to one (1) year and a fine up to $6,000.00
Sexual abuse- second degree Class C felony No less than one year and one day and no more than 10 years.
Sodomy- second degree Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.
Transmitting obscene material to a child by computer Class B felony No less than two years and no more than 20 years.

https://www.ageofconsent.net/states/alabama

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The Pronk Pops Show 997, November 7, 2017, Story 1: Communist Chinese Connection To Trade — Nuclear Proliferation — and — Terrorism (TNT) — Peace or War — China Must Destroy North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missiles or Face The Consequences of Overthrow of Communist Party — U.S.Complete Embargo on All Chinese Trade and Investment — Story 2: President Trump Meets With Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Moon Jai-in As U.S. Navy Flexes Air Power — All Options Are On The Table — Video — Story 3: Saudi Arab On The Brink of War With Lebanon Controlled By Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah — Saudi Arab Blames Iran For Yemen Missile Attack — Purge and Roundup of Royal Prince Continues — Videos —

Posted on November 8, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Cartoons, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Japan, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, MIssiles, Movies, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trucks, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

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Image result for hina's Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitutionImage result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for trump meets japanes prime ministerImage result for President Donald Trump President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seul, South Korea

Saudi Arabia arrests princes, ministers for corruption

Story 1: Communist Chinese Connection To Trade Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism (TNT) — Peace or War — Destroy North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missiles or Face The Consequences of Overthrow of Communist Party — Total Complete Embargo on All Chinese Trade and Investment —

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Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

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Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

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Donald Trump arrives in Beijing President to tell China ‘get tough on North Korea threat’

Why Trump needs to work with China to stop North Korea from attaining nukes

Trump in Beijing and US-China trade

North Korea Crisis: Trump Threatens to Stop U.S. Trade With China. Could He?

Here’s Who Could Lose the Most in a U.S.-China Trade War

What would a U.S.-China trade war look like? | CNBC Explains

Understanding the Chinese mindset

China and Democracy

The Future of China and the Chinese Communist Party | China Uncensored

Who Would Win a US-China Trade War? | China Uncensored

Chinese Leaders Fear Military Revolt | China Uncensored

Why China Fears Japan’s Military | China Uncensored

North Korea “Fatal Mistake” WW3 Nuclear Invasion

North Korea War Countdown Initiated ~ Urgent Warning

WHY & HOW CHINA HELPED NORTH KOREA IN DEVELOPING ITS NUCLEAR ARSENAL?

How Does North Korea Have Nuclear Weapons?

Who Are The World’s Nuclear Watchdogs?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

[youtyube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTSTddC4O2c]

How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?

Nuclear Proliferation

‘THE BOMB” NEW PBS Documentary about the history of nuclear weapons!!

Published on Jul 23, 2017
The Bomb is a 2015 American documentary film about the history of nuclear weapons, from theoretical scientific considerations at the very beginning, to their first use on August 6, 1945,to their global political implications in the present-day.The two-hour PBS film was written and directed by Rushmore DeNooyer, who noted the project took a year and a half to complete, since much of the film footage and images was only recently declassified by the United States Department of Defense. According to DeNooyer, “It wouldn’t take very many bombs to really change life on Earth, … The idea that there are thousands of them sitting around is pretty scary. I don’t think people today realize that. They don’t think about it. I don’t think they are scared. But in a way, they should be. Mark Dawidziak, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, summarized the film as follows: “The Bomb moves swiftly to cover Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War, the arms race, the Red Scare, the witch hunt, the Cuban Missile Crisis, test-ban treaties, the “Star Wars” initiative, the anti-nuke movement, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of new nuclear threats. According to historian Richard Rhodes, “The invention [of ‘The Bomb’] was a millennial change in human history: for the first time, we were now capable of our own destruction, as a species…

How Does China’s Government Work?

TED – China’s Political System

Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

It’s a standard assumption in the West: As a society progresses, it eventually becomes a capitalist, multi-party democracy. Right? Eric X. Li, a Chinese investor and political scientist, begs to differ. In this provocative, boundary-pushing talk, he asks his audience to consider that there’s more than one way to run a succesful modern nation. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

Xi Jinping: Why are we called Communist Party of China?

China congress: Xi Jinping declares ‘new era’ for China – BBC News

China’s Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitution

Published on Oct 24, 2017
China’s ruling Communist Party has voted to enshrine Xi Jinping’s name and ideology in its constitution, elevating him to the level of founder Mao Zedong. The unanimous vote to incorporate “Xi Jinping Thought” happened at the end of the Communist Party congress, China’s most important political meeting. Mr Xi has steadily increased his grip on power since becoming leader in 2012. This move means that any challenge to Mr Xi will now be seen as a threat to Communist Party rule. More than 2,000 delegates gathered in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People for the final approval process to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” into the Communist Party constitution of China. At the end of the process, delegates were asked if they had any objections, to which they responded with loud cries of “none”, reported journalists at the scene.

How Xi Jinping Went From Feeding Pigs to Ruling China

China Just Sent a Chilling Warning to North Korea About The United States

 

North Korea Is SCREWED After China Issues Brutal Threat Of What Will Happen If They Hit U.S.

 

Published on Aug 15, 2017
China Just Sent a Chilling Warning to North Korea About The United States
The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack is Trump’s biggest test of leadership yet – but another country might actually end up calling the shots. And Trump, to be fair, has been warning us about China for years. But I’m willing to bet that even he didn’t see this coming.
Fact is, aside from being deadly, brutal, and destructive, war is also expensive. And if you can’t afford to do it, you probably shouldn’t start it.
Or join it, for that matter. It’s why China has unofficially leaked a government policy for the world to see – that if North Korea attacks the US, China will remain neutral.
But if the US attacks first, China will join the war. Which means, put bluntly, that the only way World War III doesn’t start is for North Korea to hit us first. Which is unacceptable. About as unacceptable as World War III.China really put Trump in a bind.
Breitbart reports:
The Communist Party organization Global Times [published] an editorial declaring that China would remain neutral if North Korea starts a war but intervene on North Korea’s behalf if the U.S. and South Korea attempt a preemptive strike.
The Chinese government may eventually seek some diplomatic wiggle room by insisting the Global Times is but a newspaper printing an editorial, and the piece is written in the style of newspaper editors lecturing officials about what they “should” do, but China’s state-run media is a mouthpiece for its authoritarian government.If it sounds complicated, it’s really not. The Chinese government is run by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party owns and runs the Global Times. Therefore, whatever the Global Times prints is what the Communist Party wants it to print.
But it’s still a newspaper, of course, which means that, if the world – or, sometimes, the Chinese themselves – really don’t like a policy, the government can pretend that the newspaper just got the story wrong.
It’s an easy way to test a policy before you pass it. Or, in this case, an easy way to tell the world what you’re going to do, without all the trouble of officially telling the world what you’re going to do.
Fact is, China can’t really afford this war – Breitbart lists off several reasons, including tensions with India, Japan, and all the work securing the South China Sea. The Korea thing is just one more brick on an already heavy pile. But their way out of it forces Donald Trump to let the US get hit first.

‘Welcome to China! I love you!’: Beijing schoolchildren thrill Trump with Peking opera performance after private tour of the Forbidden City and tea with China’s Xi and Madame Peng

  • Trump landed Wednesday in China for meetings with President Xi Jinping
  • School children waving American flags greeted him at the airport in Beijing
  • President and first lady took in an extra special performance of Peking opera during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on for him by Xi
  •  President has touted his close relationship with Xi, calling it ‘outstanding’
  • But he says that won’t stop him from getting tough with China over trade 
  • North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda as it did when pair met in April 
  • Last year when he visited China, Obama was prevented from using his stairs to deplane Air Force One in a major snub
  • Trump didn’t have that problem: Chinese authorities had a rolling staircase tall enough to reach the front door of the plane

President Donald Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday evening in Beijing during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on for him by China‘s Xi Jinping.

Xi had the production staged in the former imperial palace that is now a museum just for Trump’s visit.

‘Welcome to China! I love you!’ a group of children who were part of the performance told the U.S. president when it was finished.

The president and first lady Melania Trump ended their evening with a dinner in another section of the Forbidden City with the Chinese leader and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan.

'Welcome to China! I love you!' a group of children who were part of a Peking opera performance told the U.S. president this evening in Beijing

Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on by Chinese President Xi Jinping. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are seen here in the Forbidden City with Xi and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan

The Trumps are at a private dinner now with Xi and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan

SPECIAL MOMENT: The president and first lady share a fond moment after their arrival in the Forbidden City

President Trump tours the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City with his wife, Xi and Peng

Trump viewed a clock on a "musical clock with country scene," a "gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers," and a "clock with lifting tower," according to a placard bearing an English and Chinese-language descriptions of the items

Trump viewed a clock on a “musical clock with country scene,” a “gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers,” and a “clock with lifting tower,” according to a placard bearing an English and Chinese-language descriptions of the items

After the tour, the presidents and the first ladies of the US and China watched a special performance of Peking opera that was staged for Trump's visit

After the tour, the presidents and the first ladies of the US and China watched a special performance of Peking opera that was staged for Trump’s visit

A military honor guard and flag-waving schoolchildren greeted Trump when he arrived Wednesday afternoon in China, the third country in his 12-day Asia tour.

U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad met Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, after Air Force One stopped on the tarmac in Beijing.

Trump deplaned from Air Force One without incident, avoiding the embarrassment Barack Obama suffered a year ago as he landed in China during the annual Group of 20 summit.

Obama was humiliated when he had to exit from the belly of the aircraft because authorities didn’t approve a staircase tall enough for him to walk out of the front exit of the plane.

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft’s door on Wednesday. 

WARM REUNION: Trump and Xi greeted each other like old friends on Wednesday in the Forbidden City

Trump was especially interested in a clock with lifting tour during his tour of an artifacts restoration center in the Forbidden City.  'Unbelievable,' he said

Trump and Xi watch the Peking opera from the Hall of Character Cultivation in the Forbidden City

Trump and Xi watch the Peking opera from the Hall of Character Cultivation in the Forbidden City

The U.S. president was delighted as children in yellow and red costumes danced on stage with peacock feathers

As Trump left the performance, the told inquiring reporters, 'We’re having a great time, thank you'

Trump hopped in his motorcade and sped through Beijing to the Forbidden City, where he had tea with his Chinese counterpart, whom he had entertained at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club in April, and the first lady of sprawling Asian country that is home to 1.4 billion people.

After a warm reunion over tea, Chinese president Xi Jinping led the Trumps to the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City to participate in an artifact restoration.

Trump was intrigued by a ‘musical clock with country scene’ and a ‘gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers,’ according to English-language placards.

Viewing a ‘clock with lifting tower, Trump said it was ‘unbelievable.’

Once Trump had moved on to another room, Tillerson entered with the rest of the U.S. delegation, including Branstad. The diplomat was eager to know more about the artifacts, asking many questions as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster milled about the room.

The two first couples next watched a performance of Peking opera, a distinctively Chinese art form that combines music, mime, dance and acrobatics.

Posing for pictures with the cast when the opera had concluded, Trump told them the extravagant show was ‘beautiful!’

Children waving American flags greet the Trumps as they arrive at the Beijing airport

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

The Forbidden City, now a major tourist attraction, has its roots in the 15th Century and was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty through 1912.

On the agenda for Trump during his Beijing visit are requests for a hardline approach to economically paralyzing North Korea, and talks aimed at shrinking America’s massive trade deficit with China.

Last year the Chinese sold $347 billion more in goods to the U.S. than America sold into the world’s largest communist nation.

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump left South Korea on Wednesday after delivering a speech to the country’s National Assembly. He said in a tweet Wednesday morning that he was looking forward to again seeing Xi, ‘who is just off his great political victory.’

He said Monday inJapan that he’s fond of Xi, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him.

But he won’t allow their mutual affection to cloud his judgement, Trump asserted, as he pledged to take ‘very, very strong action’ against China and other countries that have been treating the United States ‘unfairly’ in the trade arena.

‘He represents China. I represent the United States,’ Trump said at a news conference in Tokyo.

On the way to Beijing, a senior White House official told reporters that the president plans to keep up his habit of tweeting while he’s in China, even though Chinese citizens can’t do it.

‘The president will tweet whatever he wants,’ the official said. ‘That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?’

‘So long as he can access his Twitter account – because Twitter is banned in China along with Facebook and most of the other social media. I’m sure we’ve got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen. But it is noteworthy that none of the major western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China.’

On Tuesday in Seoul, Trump pressured Xi’s government to totally isolate Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old despot across the border, during remarks in Seoul.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

All responsible nations must cut off North Korea’s cash flow by imposing and enforcing international sanctions on Kim and his government, Trump declared, singling out China and Russia, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

‘It’s time to act with urgency and with great determination,’ the U.S. president said in a joint press conference with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Beijing is the third destination on a five-nation hustle across eastern Asia.

As with every other stop on this trip, North Korea is expected to dominate Xi and Trump’s discussions.

But in Beijing, more than anywhere else during the visit, Trump – a former titan of real estate – is also under pressure to address the regional trade practices that he said as a candidate he would fix.

Trump pounded China for alleged currency manipulation in the presidential election last year that unexpectedly put him in power. He’s said as recently as February that the Chinese were ‘grand champions’ at the economic trick.

By artificially devaluing its currency, the yuan, Beijing has been able to been able to lower the price of its exports, ‘stealing’ American jobs, Trump has said.

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

His assessment was rejected by the International Monetary Fund last year, and Trump’s own administration has shied away from shackling China with the designation.

Since his April summit with Xi, the U.S. president has also backed off his verbal assault.

‘The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding,’ Trump said after less than a day of talks with the Chinese president and his representatives.

‘We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.’

Days later Trump was still gushing about his weekend in Florida with Xi in what amounted to a total about-face of his previous criticisms.

‘Now what am I going to do? Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?’ he asked rhetorically in an interview with Fox & Friends.

Trump said later that month that it wouldn’t make sense to label Xi’s country a currency manipulator after the Chinese leader offered to assist the U.S. in its efforts to constrain North Korea.

‘Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!’ Trump tweeted.

China’s stepped up efforts to choke off Kim Jong-un’s finances has not kept Trump from complaining about the gross trade deficit between the two countries, nor has it had an immediate effect on the United States’ enforcement of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo late last month that the U.S. loses ‘hundreds of billions a year’ a year to China.

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

‘We lose with almost every country, we have massive deficits,’ the billionaire president insisted. ‘We can’t allow the world to look at us as a whipping post. Not gonna happen, anymore.’

Monday, at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump told a reporter who asked how his administration plans to enforce its mandate of a ‘free and open’ Indo-Asia Pacific without riling up China, a major power on the continent, that he would not allow the communist country to take advantage of the U.S.

‘You will be seeing things of countries that have been treating the United States and the United States worker and companies…our country, and our workers very unfairly, you will be seeing that the United States will take very, very strong action,’ Trump said.

The legal work is mostly finished, he revealed. ‘And you’re going to see a very big difference, and it’s going to happen very soon. Because the United States, by many countries, has been treated very, very unfairly when it comes to trade.’

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

The administration believes that China is behind as much as $600 million in IP theft through forced technology transfers.

China’s Commerce Ministry has called the probe ‘irresponsible’ and ‘not objective.’ Beijing would almost certainly bring additional U.S. action before the World Trade Organization.

But Trump could unilaterally impose tariffs on Beijing through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 if USTR determines that China is engaging in ‘unfair trade practices’ – a powerful weapon if he decides to use it.

Trump has been hesitant to act against Beijing so long as Xi goes along with his plans to suffocate North Korea’s nuclear ambition.

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

At a briefing with reporters on Sunday evening in Tokyo, a senior White House official insisted that the economic and security concerns of the Trump administration are wholly separate issues when it comes to North Korea and trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific.

‘The United States isn’t going to barter away our interests on the trade front in order to make gains doing what the entire world has, more or less, obligated itself to do, and that is to contain and confront the threat from North Korea,’ the official asserted. ‘So I don’t see a comingling of those two issues.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5060593/Trump-tours-Forbidden-City-takes-opera-China.html#ixzz4xt5UopYC

 

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
China
Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Simplified Chinese 中国特色社会主义
Traditional Chinese 中國特色社會主義

Socialism with Chinese characteristics, meaning Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions, is the official ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC), claimed to be based upon scientific socialism. The term means Mao Zedong ThoughtDeng Xiaoping TheoryThree RepresentsScientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought; that is, if you want to introduce socialism with Chinese characteristics in practice you have to implement, for instance, Xi Jinping Thought (which is a set of Marxist policies to implement socialism).

Primary stage of socialism

During Mao era

The concept of a primary stage of socialism was conceived before China introduced economic reforms.[1] When discussing the necessity of commodity relations at the First Zhengzhou Conference (2–10 November 1958) Mao Zedong—the Chairman of the CPC’s Central Committee—said that China was in the “initial stage of socialism” [1] Mao never elaborated on the idea; his successors were left to do this.[1]

After Mao’s death

On 5 May 1978, the article “Putting into Effect the Socialist Principle of Distribution According to Work”, elaborated on the idea that China was still at the first stage of reaching pure communism[2] and that it had not become a truly socialist society.[2] It is said[by whom?] that the article was written on the orders of Deng Xiaoping, so as to “criticize and repudiate” the beliefs of the communist left.[3] The term reappeared at the 6th plenum of the 11th Central Committee on 27 June 1981 in the document, “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party since the Founding of the PRC”.[4] Hu Yaobang, the CPC’s general secretary, used the term in his report to the 12th CPC National Congress on 1 September 1982.[4] It was not until the “Resolution Concerning the Guiding Principle in Building Socialist Spiritual Civilization” at the 6th plenum of the 12th Central Committee that the term was used in the defense of the economic reforms which were being introduced.[4]

At the 13th CPC National Congress, acting CPC General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, on behalf of the 12th Central Committee, delivered the report “Advance Along the Road of Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.[5] He wrote that China was a socialist society, but that socialism in China was in its primary stage;[5] a Chinese peculiarity which was due to the undeveloped state of the country’s productive forces.[5] During this phase of development, Zhao recommended introducing a planned commodity economy on the basis of public ownership.[5] The main failure of the communist right, according to Zhao, was that they failed to acknowledge that China could reach socialism by bypassing capitalism. The main failure of the communist left was that they held the “utopian position” that China could bypass the primary stage of socialism, in which the productive forces are to be modernized.[6]On 25 October 1987, Zhao further expounded on the concept of the primary stage of socialism, and said that the Party line was to follow “One Center, Two Basic Points”; the central focus of the Chinese state was economic development, but that this should occur simultaneously through centralized political control (i.e., the Four Cardinal Principles) and upholding the policy of reform and opening up.[4]

CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin further elaborated on the concept ten years later; first during a speech to the Central Party School on 29 May 1997 and again in his report to the 15th CPC National Congress on 12 September 1997.[4] According to Jiang, the 3rd plenum of the 11th Central Committee correctly analyzed and formulated a scientifically correct program for the problems facing China and socialism.[4] In Jiang’s words, the primary stage of socialism was an “undeveloped stage”.[4] The fundamental task of socialism is to develop the productive forces, therefore the main aim during the primary stage should be the further development of the national productive forces.[4] The primary contradiction in Chinese society during the primary stage of socialism is “the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of production”.[4] This contradiction will remain until China has completed the process of primary stage of socialism, and because of it, economic development should remain the CPC’s main focus during this stage.[4]

Jiang elaborated on three points to develop the primary stage of socialism.[7] The first—to develop a socialist economy with Chinese characteristics—meant developing the economy by emancipating and modernizing the forces of production while developing a market economy.[7] The second—building socialist politics with Chinese characteristics—meant “managing state affairs according to the law”, developing socialist democracy under the CPC and making the “people the masters of the country”.[7] The third point—building socialist culture with Chinese characteristics—meant turning Marxism into the guide to train the people so as to give them “high ideals, moral integrity, a good education, and a strong sense of discipline, and developing a national scientific, and popular socialist culture geared to the needs of modernization, of the world, and of the future.”[7]

When asked how long the primary stage of socialism would last, Zhao replied, “[i]t will be at least 100 years … [before] socialist modernization will have been in the main accomplished.”[8] The state constitution states that “China will be in the primary stage of socialism for a long time to come”.[9] As with Zhao, Jiang believed that it would take at least 100 years to reach a more advanced stage.[4]

Socialist market economy

Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the Chinese economic reforms, did not believe that the market economy was synonymous with capitalism or that planning was synonymous with socialism.[11] During his southern tour, he said, “planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity”.[11]

Ideological justification

In the 1980s it became evident to Chinese economists that the Marxist theory of the law of value—understood as the expression of the labor theory of value—could not serve as the basis of China’s pricing system.[12] They concluded that Marx never intended his theory of law of value to work “as an expression of ‘concretized labor time’ “.[12] Marx’s notion of “prices of production” was meaningless to the Soviet-styled planned economies since price formations were according to Marx established by markets.[13] Soviet planners had used the law of value as a basis to rationalize prices in the planned economy.[14] According to Soviet sources, prices were “planned with an eye to the … basic requirements of the law of value.”[14] However, the primary fault with the Soviet interpretation was that they tried to calibrate prices without a competitive market since, according to Marx, competitive markets allowed for an equilibrium of profit rates which led to an increase in the prices of production.[15] The rejection of the Soviet interpretation of the law of value led to the acceptance of the idea that China was still in the “primary stage of socialism”.[14] The basic argument was that conditions envisaged by Marx for reaching the socialist stage of development did not yet exist in China.[14]

Mao said that the imposition of “progressive relations of production” would revolutionize production.[16] His successor’s rejection of this view has, according to A. James Gregor, thwarted the ideological continuity of Maoism—officially “Mao Zedong Thought“.[16] Classical Marxism had argued that a socialist revolution would only take place in advanced capitalist societies, and its success would signal the transition from a capitalist commodity-based economy to a “product economy” in which goods would be distributed for people’s need and not for profit.[16] If because of a lack of a coherent explanation in the chance of failure this revolution did not occur, the revolutionaries would be forced to take over the responsibilities of the bourgeoisie.[16] Thus Chinese communists are looking for a new Marxist theory of development.[16] Party theorist Luo Rongqu recognized that the founders of Marxism had never “formulated any systematic theory on the development of the non-Western world”, and said that the Communist Party should “establish their own synthesized theoretical framework to study the problem of modern development.”[17] According to A. James Gregor, the implication of this stance “is that Chinese Marxism is currently in a state of profound theoretical discontinuity.”[18]

Private ownership

The concept of private ownership is rooted in classical Marxism.[19] Because China adopted socialism when it was a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country, it is in the primary stage of socialism.[19] Because of this, certain policies and system characteristics—such as commodity production for the market, the existence of a private sector and the reliance of the profit motive in enterprise management—were changed.[19] These changes were allowed as long as they improve productivity and modernize the means of production, and thus further develop socialism.[19] According to this perspective, Mao’s leftist belief that China could advance to full socialism immediately by bypassing capitalism is considered false.[19]

The CPC still considers private ownership to be non-socialist.[20] However, according to party theorists, the existence and growth of private ownership does not necessarily undermine socialism and promote capitalism in China.[20] It is argued that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—the founders of communism—never proposed the immediate abolishment of private ownership.[20] According to Engel’s book Principles of Communism, the proletariat can only abolish private ownership when the necessary conditions have been met.[20] In the phase before the abolishment of private ownership, Engels proposed progressive taxation, high inheritance taxes and compulsory bond purchases to restrict private property while using the competitive powers of state-owned enterprises to expand the public sector.[20]Marx and Engels proposed similar measures in the Communist Manifesto in regards to advanced countries, but since China was economically undeveloped, party theorists called for flexibility regarding the CPC’s handling of private property.[20] According to party theorist Liu Shuiyuan, the New Economic Policy program initiated by Soviet authorities in the aftermath of the war communism program is a good example of flexibility by socialist authorities.[20]

Party theorist Li Xuai said that private ownership inevitably involves capitalist exploitation.[20] However, Li regards private property and exploitation as necessary in the primary stage of socialism, claiming that capitalism in its primary stage uses remnants of the old society to build itself.[20] Sun Liancheng and Lin Huiyong said that Marx and Engels, in their interpretation of the Communist Manifesto, criticized private ownership when it was owned solely by the bourgeoisie but not individual ownership in which everyone owns the means of production and hence cannot be exploited by others.[21] Individual ownership is consistent with socialism since Marx wrote that post-capitalist society would entail the rebuilding of “associated social individual ownership”.[22]

Criticism

According to writer and researcher Huang Yasheng and many others, the economic theory in China is not socialism with Chinese characteristics but the opposite—capitalism with Chinese characteristics.[23]

See also

References

Citations

  1. Jump up to:a b c Li 1995, p. 400.
  2. Jump up to:a b He 2001, p. 385.
  3. Jump up^ He 2001, pp. 385–386.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k He 2001, p. 386.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d Li 1995, p. 399.
  6. Jump up^ Schram 1989, p. 204.
  7. Jump up to:a b c d He 2001, p. 387.
  8. Jump up^ Vogel 2011, p. 589.
  9. Jump up^ 2nd session of the 9th National People’s Congress (14 March 2004). “Constitution of the People’s Republic of China”Government of the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved 14 January2013.
  10. Jump up^ Deng, Xiaoping (30 June 1984). “Building a Socialism with a specifically Chinese character”People’s DailyCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China. Retrieved 13 January2013.
  11. Jump up to:a b Staff writer (3 February 2012). “Market fundamentalism’ is unpractical”People’s DailyCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  12. Jump up to:a b Gregor 1999, p. 114.
  13. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 114–116.
  14. Jump up to:a b c d Gregor 1999, p. 116.
  15. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 115–116.
  16. Jump up to:a b c d e Gregor 1999, p. 117.
  17. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 117–118.
  18. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, p. 118.
  19. Jump up to:a b c d e Hsu 1991, p. 11.
  20. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Hsu 1991, p. 65.
  21. Jump up^ Hsu 1991, pp. 65–66.
  22. Jump up^ Hsu 1991, p. 66.
  23. Jump up^http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/economics/public-economics-and-public-policy/capitalism-chinese-characteristics-entrepreneurship-and-state?format=HB

Sources

Further reading

  • A. James Gregor. Marxism and the Making of China. A Doctrinal History. Palgrave Macmillan. 2014

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

Story 2: President Trump Meets With Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Moon Jai-in As U.S. Navy Flexes Air Power — All Options Are On The Table — Let’s Make A Deal North Korea — Video —

Image result for President Donald Trump President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seul, South KoreaImage result for trump meets japanes prime ministerImage result for trump meets japanes prime minister

Trump’s South Korea speech, in 3 minutes

Trump’s speech to South Korea’s parliament (full)

Is Trump softening his stance on North Korea?

Trump urges N Korea to ‘come to the table’

Trump Calls On North Korea To “Make A Deal” – Full News Conference In Seoul

President Trump Receives a Military Briefing on North Korea from Top Generals 11/7/17

President Trump Has Lunch with U.S. Troops in South Korea (Camp Humphreys) 11/6/17

Donald Trump in South Korea, Gives hint of Handling North Korea in Some different way.

President Trump meeting with President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea. Nov 7, 2017

President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea

Trump arrives in South Korea amid tensions with North

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump is officially welcomed to Seoul, Republic of Korea.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrives in South Korea. November 7, 2017.

Is Melania Trump’s coat for South Korea fashion hit or miss?

Warning: China Russia Saudi Arabia & Iran To Use Yuan For Trading Oil Next Step Is WW3

High Alert: For The First Time In 13 Years, U.S. Deploys 7 Aircraft Carriers Simultaneously

For The First Time In 13 Years, U.S. Deploys 7 Aircraft Carriers Simultaneously

The US has simultaneously deployed 7 of the 11 U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers for the first time in over a decade according to the US Naval Institute. The three aircraft carriers with full air wings and strike groups positioned in the Western Pacific are the following: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76); USS Nimitz (CVN-68); USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Another four are conducting “short training missions as part of training operations or workups ahead of deployment”. Two out of four are operating in Eastern Pacific – USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) – and the remaining two are operating in the Atlantic, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

What 3 US Supercarriers in the Asia-Pacific Means for N. Korea

High Alert: 3 US Carrier Strike Groups Enter Asia-Pacific Ahead of Trump Visit

President Trump Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan. Tokyo. Nov 6, 2017.

President Trump attends state banquet hosted by Japanese PM. President Trump in Japan.

President Trump Participates in a Working Lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan

Trump and Abe meet at a golf course in Japan

President Trump Plays Golf with Prime Minister Abe in Japan 11/5/17

Trump abruptly talking negotiations, not threats in Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Softening his aggressive rhetoric, at least for the moment, President Donald Trump stood on South Korean soil Tuesday and urged North Korea to come to the negotiating table. It’s time, he said, for the North to “make a deal” to rein in its nuclear weapons program.

It was a striking shift in tone for the president, who for months has issued increasingly dire threats to answer any hostile North Korean action with “fire and fury.” On Tuesday, his first day on the Korean Peninsula as president, Trump said he’d seen “a lot of progress” in dealing with Pyongyang, though he stopped short of saying whether he wanted direct diplomatic talks.

“It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world,” Trump said at a news conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. “I do see certain movement.”

Trump was winding down his visit to Seoul on Wednesday with an address to South Korea’s National Assembly, where he was expected to outline his view of dangers posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The next stop on his five-nation Asian tour: Beijing, where he will press China to constrict the North’s economic lifeblood.

President Donald Trump says he believes he sees a lot of progress on the North Korean issue. Trump also urged North Korea to ‘come to the table and make a deal.’ He spoke during a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Nov. 7)

Ever the showman, Trump teased that he had a surprise in store for Wednesday, saying at a Tuesday evening banquet that he had an “exciting day” planned — “for many reasons that people will find out.” He did not elaborate.

Overall, the president sounded an optimistic note on disagreements with the North, saying confidently, if vaguely: “Ultimately, it’ll all work out.” Whether the shift in rhetoric signaled a change in policy or diplomatic strategy remained uncertain.

Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director in Washington for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said it could simply be Trump projecting “what he most recently heard” from Moon and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

“I expect he heard from both Prime Minister Abe and President Moon the need to give diplomacy a chance,” Fitzpatrick said. “Of course, it’s not the first time he has talked about engaging with North Korea. The issue has been one of timing. Now is a good time, during a pause in missile testing.”

North Korea has fired off more than a dozen missiles this year but none in nearly two months. But analysts caution against reading too much into the pause.

There’s no public sign of any diplomatic progress between Washington and Pyongyang. U.S. officials say the back channel between the State Department and the North Korean mission at the United Nations in New York remains intact, but contacts have not been substantive other than achieving the release of American college student Otto Warmbier in June. He died days after his repatriation to the U.S.

Still, Trump’s conciliatory comments would be welcome in South Korea, where both the government and the wider population have been unnerved by the president’s threats against the North.

Trump did note the United States’ military options, mentioning that three aircraft carrier groups and a nuclear submarine had been deployed to the region. But he said “we hope to God we never have to use” the arsenal. And he accused North Korea’s Kim Jong Un of “threatening millions and millions of lives, so needlessly.”

Moon, who has been eager to solidify a friendship with Trump, said he hoped the president’s visit would be a turning point in the standoff with North Korea.

The president began his day with a visit to Camp Humphreys, a joint US-Korean military base where he shook hands with American and Korean service members and ate lunch with troops in a large mess hall. The visit was intended to underscore the countries’ ties and South Korea’s commitment to contributing to its own defense.

When he leaves South Korea, Trump flies to Beijing for what the White House sees as the centerpiece of his five-nation Asia trip.

China is North Korea’s largest trade partner, and Trump is expected to press its leaders to curtail their dealings with Pyongyang and to expel North Korean workers from its borders. Trump has praised China for adopting tough United Nations sanctions against North Korea but has urged it to do more.

“I want to just say that President Xi — where we will be tomorrow, China — has been very helpful. We’ll find out how helpful soon,” Trump said. “But he really has been very, very helpful. So China is out trying very hard to solve the problem with North Korea.”

Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday will meet and have dinner with Xi Jinping and his wife and receive a private tour of The Forbidden City, Beijing’s ancient imperial palace. White House officials point to the leaders’ successful summit in Florida this spring, an event in part defined by Trump telling his Chinese counterpart about the missile strike he had ordered on Syria while the two men enjoyed chocolate cake. But experts in the region suggest that Xi will have the advantage over Trump.

“Trump keeps portraying his relationship with XI as great pals but that’s wildly naive,” said Mike Chinoy, a non-resident senior fellow at the US-China Institute at the University of Southern California. “The Chinese have figured out how to play Trump: flatter him. And there’s nothing the Chinese do better than wow foreign diplomats.”

___

Associated Press writers Matthew Pennington, Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey contributed from Washington.

___

https://apnews.com/19aece3ccf5c4c9496a777497379e709/In-Seoul,-Trump-calls-for-North-Korea-to-%22make-a-deal%22

EXCLUSIVE: We are ready for anything – don’t mess with our Hornets. Admiral in charge of supercarrier which will sail for North Korea’s doorstep sends message to Kim Jong-Un as Trump touches down in Seoul

  • DailyMailTV joined the Rear Admiral and crew of the USS Carl Vinson as the huge warship left its port in San Diego for a series of exercises ahead of its deployment
  • The Vinson will sail for the Western Pacific to relieve the USS Ronald Reagan and be one of two carrier strike groups in the region amid ongoing tensions with North Korea
  • Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the vessel and its ferocious armament of planes and escort of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser
  • Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel are fighter aircraft such as the $70million F/A-18 Super Hornet – capable of reaching Mach 1.8 (1,190mph) with a massive armament of bombs and missiles
  • In a message to Kim Jong-Un Rear Admiral Fuller said: ‘He needs to think very carefully on how he works with us, he needs to understand that we have capabilities that no other country has.’
  • The supercarrier has more than 3,500 crew which swells to 5,300 when the air wing is on board – the warship was used to transport Osama bin Laden’s body for its burial at sea in 2011
  • President Trump embarked on his 12-day trip to Asia, arriving on Sunday in Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests

The twin engines of the F/A-18 Super Hornet build into a roar and the $70million supersonic jet is catapulted from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson with an ear-splitting blast.

The aircraft disappears off the bow of the enormous nuclear-powered super carrier in a haze of steam, the bright glow of its engines disappearing into the distance.

This is one of the planes the man in charge of the supercarrier wants Kim Jong-Un to fear – because the Vinson is due to set sail for waters close to North Korea.

President Trump arrives in South Korea Monday night putting him on Kim’s doorstep as tensions mount over the ‘little Rocket Man’s’ escalating nuclear threat.

Now one of the president’s most important commanders tells DailyMailTV that his sailors are ready for anything – and that Kim needs to ‘think carefully’ when Carrier Strike Group One is in his waters.

Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the Vinson, its ferocious armament of planes, and its escort of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser.

Don't mess with our Hornets: DailyMailTV witnessed the incredible sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft USS Carl Vinson as they put its four aircraft catapults through their paces. Its aircraft include the Hornet and Super Hornets and the EA-18 Growler (pictured) electronic attack aircraft, which jams enemy radar systems 

Don’t mess with our Hornets: DailyMailTV witnessed the incredible sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft USS Carl Vinson as they put its four aircraft catapults through their paces. Its aircraft include the Hornet and Super Hornets and the EA-18 Growler (pictured) electronic attack aircraft, which jams enemy radar systems

Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel, the twin engines of the F/A-18C Hornet were heard roaring off as the $70 million aircraft was catapulted off the deck. The strike fighter aircraft, which can reach Mach 1.8 (1,190mph), disappeared off the bow of the super carrier in a haze of steam

Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel, the twin engines of the F/A-18C Hornet were heard roaring off as the $70 million aircraft was catapulted off the deck. The strike fighter aircraft, which can reach Mach 1.8 (1,190mph), disappeared off the bow of the super carrier in a haze of steam

Preparation: Before liftoff, Navy crew work diligently to complete the complex tasks

Mini tractors tow the F/A18s into place and the Top Gun pilots ready the jets for take off

Commander Brian 'Convict' Felloney gets ready for take-off. The decorated pilot has more than 620 carrier landings on his record, and was a Top Gun instructor on a previous deployment

This is how the Vinson deploys: In May the supercarrier was photographed from the air as it and the whole strike group got an escort from two South Korean destroyers, the Sejong the Great and the Yang Manchun. The Carl Vinson's U.S. Navy escorts were the USS Lake Champlain, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Stethem

This is how the Vinson deploys: In May the supercarrier was photographed from the air as it and the whole strike group got an escort from two South Korean destroyers, the Sejong the Great and the Yang Manchun. The Carl Vinson’s U.S. Navy escorts were the USS Lake Champlain, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Stethem

In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV Rear Admiral Fuller says his strike group is ‘ready and in a direct message to Kim says: ‘He knows the capabilities we have.

‘Right now there are three aircraft carriers there, when we go through there – if we go off the coast [of North Korea] depending on our operations – he needs to think very carefully on how he works with us, he needs to understand that we have capabilities that no other country has.’

Standing on the deck of the Vinson, those capabilities are in no doubt.

DailyMailTV joined the Rear Admiral and crew of the Vinson as the huge warship left its port in San Diego for a series of exercises ahead of its deployment.

The ship raised its two 60,000lb anchors and set sail from Naval Air Station North Island, in Coronado.

Capable of reaching more than 30 knots (35mph) the Nimitz-class supercarrier – one of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Fleet – headed out into the Pacific Ocean.

DailyMailTV witnessed the awesome sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft warship put its four aircraft catapults through their paces.

Four giant elevators brought aircraft up from the hangar deep below the 4.5 acre flight deck as Super Hornets lined up on deck to be catapulted into the air – just like in a real war.

The USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are both in the region amid ongoing tensions with North Korea. The Vinson will relieve the USS Ronald Reagan, keeping two carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific.

The ship is the same vessel that was used to transport Osama bin Laden’s body for its burial at sea in 2011.

Last week it was reported that the USS Nimitz had left the Middle East and is also heading to the Pacific to join the US Navy’s 7th Fleet area of operations.

Rear Admiral John Fuller (pictured above in the flag bridge aboard the ship) Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the Vinson. He said his strike group is 'ready' and in a direct message to Kim said: 'He knows the capabilities we have'

All hands on deck: One of the most important man on the flight deck is Lieutenant Commander Erick Stroud (pictured) who serves as the Aircraft Handling Officer (ACHO) - also called the handler or mangler and manages the movement and positioning of aircraft

President Trump will visit Asia for the first time when he leaves Washington D.C. on Friday for a 12-day trip which will include China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

The might of the Vinson is part of his message to the region’s leaders – that America has its allies’ backs, and its enemies should be afraid.

The Rear Admiral said: ‘There happens to be three carriers there that are gonna be working together for a while. This is good timing for us.

‘We’re going to go out to provide presence, stability, we’re going to go work with our partners and allies, we’re going to try to foment rules, laws and norms of theater.’

North Korea has not test-launched a missile in over a month, but has continued its threats on Guam and last week even threatened to detonate a nuclear weapon above ground.

Fuller, 52, the son of a retired Army colonel, said the ‘scheduled short cycle’ deployment is the Vinson’s ‘opportunity’.

‘I just know the Carl Vinson strike group is going to do the training to be ready to do what we’re called to do,’ he said.

Petty Officer 3rd class Joseph Newman, a 42-year-old nine-year veteran of the US Navy from Evansville, Indiana, is in charge of communications on the flight deck

‘We’re gonna go prepare our forces and our team to make sure that whatever missions they call us to do, so this provides perspective, Korea is one possible contingency plan that the aircraft carrier strike group is supposed to support.’

The Rear Admiral said the ‘beauty’ of what a carrier strike group brings is to project ‘awesome’ power at sea.

‘We don’t have to ask permission to go to some other land to operate our forces, we have the opportunity to use the seas to maneuver freely and we have the capability to project power from the sea as required.

‘But it is also a very stabilizing thing for our friends and allies that this capability is there as needed, we have the will power to use it and we have the proficiency to use it well.’

The Rear Admiral insists, however that the Navy’s first line of defense is to ‘promote peace’, adding: ‘My job is to make sure if they decide to use the capabilities an aircraft carrier and a strike group has, that we’re prepared to deliver those.

‘The civilian policy maker will do what they feel is in the best interests.

‘But I owe it to the parents of my sailors to make sure we’re ready.’

On deck getting ready is a complex task. Mini tractors tow the F/A18s into place and the Top Gun pilots ready the jets for take off.

Commanding Officer of the Vinson, Captain Doug ‘V8’ Verissimo gives the order and the jets roar into action.

Jet blast deflector (JBD) operator ABE3 Jasper Evans, who is known as a ‘Green Jersey’ describes the ‘intense’ moment a F/A-18 takes off.

His job is to raise the JBD to protect his shipmates from the searing heat of a jet engine.

‘Whenever the aircraft is getting ready to launch they throttle up and I raise the JBD so that no one behind can get burnt or blown away off the flight deck,’ he explained.

‘It gets really hot up here, really intense. But we’re fully protected, we wear float coats, flight deck pants and jersey, and a helmet and goggles.’

Evans, 27, is in his fourth year with the US Navy. Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, he has just one year left to complete his service.

Donald Trump kicked off his 12-day Asian trip in Japan on Sunday. The President met with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests

He has been on two long deployments overseas and is used to the strict routine of life at sea.

‘Everything is routine on a ship, you wake up at a certain time, go eat breakfast and get ready for when they call flight operations and we come upstairs on the flight deck, we suit up and get ready to launch the aircraft.

‘A work day ends at 10 or 11 o’clock and it repeats – very long days.’

The flight deck is awash with dedicated crewmen like Evans wearing different colored jerseys.

Green jerseys operate the JBDs, aircraft handlers wear yellow jerseys, blue jerseys work in the hangar bay and purple jerseys refuel the aircraft, while red jerseys handle aviation ordinance and crash and salvage.

The whole manic scene is watched over by white jerseys.

Interior Communications Electrician Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Newman from Evansville, Indiana is in charge of communications on the flight deck.

Everyday is routine on the ship as Navy crew are expected to wake up early in the morning, eat breakfast, get ready, arrive on the flight deck, suit up, and prepare to launch the aircraft. A typical work day ends at 10pm or 11pm

The flight deck is awash with dedicated crewmen wearing different colored jerseys. Green jerseys (center) operate the jet blast deflectors, and aircraft handlers wear yellow jerseys (right) 

‘I take care of all the maintenance of the cameras, the comms systems and the deck lighting as well as the lights up on the island,’ he explains.

Blue jerseys work in the hangar bay and purple jerseys refuel the aircraft, while red jerseys handle aviation ordinance and crash and salvage. The Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers are moved up to the flight desk on huge aircraft elevators

Four giant elevators brought aircraft up from the hangar deep below the 4.5 acre flight deck as Super Hornets lined up on deck to be catapulted into the air - just like in a real war

‘I also take care of the ‘meat ball’, [a gray boom that displays lights that pilots use to help during the final seconds of landing].

‘You’ll hear the pilots say they’re on the ball as they come in to land. We also take care of all the sound power headsets that the crew use to communicate, we keep things running.

‘It’s a big job, up here in V2 and air department and we also have ICs downstairs in combat systems.’

Newman is a 42-year-old nine-year veteran of the US Navy and has served on the Vinson for six years.

‘I joined late, I did apartment maintenance before this.’

But perhaps the most important man on the flight deck is Lieutenant Commander Erick Stroud.

Stroud is the Aircraft Handling Officer (ACHO) – also called the handler or mangler and manages the movement and positioning of aircraft.

Stroud, 42, a married father of four from Griffin, Georgia, said the most important part of the preparations is keeping his flight deck clean and free of foreign objects.

‘I don’t want to be associated with damaging a $70million aircraft so we go to the extreme to make sure we’re prepared,’ he said.

The ship operates four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornets, one squadron of EA-18G Growlers, and Seahawk helicopters for transportation and maritime patrols 

Also on board is a squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft - designed to detect jets, ships and other vehicles from long distances 

Also on board is a squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft – designed to detect jets, ships and other vehicles from long distances

There are more than 3,500 crew on the Vinson which swells to 5,300 when the full air wing is on embarked, as it was in this 2011 photograph. The warship – call sign 'Gold Eagle' - can operate for up to 20 years without refueling since it is nuclear-powered

Speaking from his control room – a buzz of phone calls and radio chatter – just off the flight deck, he added: ‘This is the nucleus of aviation and flight operations, I control the entire flight deck as well as movement in the hangar bay and all the people involved, we have about 600 people working in those two areas and we integrate with the squadrons, that’s about 500 people.

‘That’s 1,100 people working together seamlessly to make this all happen.’

DON’T MESS WITH OUR SUPER HORNETS

The twin-engine strike fighter aircraft were first introduced to the US Navy in 1999 to replace the F-14 Tomcat, made famous in the hit movie Top Gun.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet can reach Mach 1.8, which is equivalent to 1,190mph at 40,000 ft.

On the Vinson they operate alongside the older Hornet and the related Growler. 

The Super Hornets’ armament includes: 

One M61A1/A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon

The strike fighter has 11 hard points on its wings and under the main fuselage which can carry a mixture of:

Missiles: Four AIM 9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles

Two AIM 7 Sparrow/ (2) AIM-120 AMRAAM

One Standoff Land Attack Missile

One AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile

One HARM (Anti-Radiation Missile) – designed to destroy enemy radar systems

Maverick air to ground missiles: Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW); Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

Bombs: Paveway laser guided bomb; JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions); freefall bombs; mines.

As of 2011, 500 Super Hornets have been built on single-seat (F/A-18E) and twin-seat (F/A-18F) variations.

Source: US NAVY 

 Stroud keeps an eye on two large digital status boards showing the movements of aircraft on the flight deck but he also uses an old school ‘Ouija Board’ – a scaled replica of the flight deck on which templates of aircraft are moved around based on messages radioed in from spotters.

The lieutenant commander, a 25-year veteran, has four catapults to launch aircraft at his disposal as well as four arresting cables to recover the aircraft.

He moves the aircraft up from the hangar bay in the guts of the ship on four giant elevators.

When planes make an arrested landing, pilots aim to hit the No 3 cable of four arrested cables numbered 1-4 from aft to forward.

Their performance goes up on a board so it gets competitive.

But crew safety is of utmost importance.

Stroud explains: ‘There’s a red and white foul line, which is said to be drawn in blood, because you have to judge where the aircraft is coming in and everybody has to stand on the opposite side of the line.

‘If an aircraft is coming in and you get one of the tall guys level with the wing on the wrong side of the line, it’ll take his head off and we’ll have a body to clean up.

‘When we get into that level of complacency, where we get into the same routine every day, launching planes and recovering planes, that one second of being inattentive is dangerous.

‘You have to keep your head on a swivel no matter what.’

Everyone on the Vinson seems on point inside the 3,000 room hull underneath the flight deck.

There are several cafeterias, nine gyms, a Starbucks-style coffee shop and ‘luxury’ state rooms for ‘Distinguished Visitors’.

Since it is nuclear-powered, the Vinson – call sign ‘Gold Eagle’ – can operate for up to 20 years without refueling. It also has anti-submarine capabilities.

The seal of the ship is an eagle with extended wings, carrying a banner in its beak.

The Latin phrase ‘Vis Per Mare’ -‘Strength through the Sea’ – is inscribed on the banner.

The ship operates four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornets, one squadron of EA-18G Growlers – which disrupt enemy radar – one squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft, as well as a compliment of C2-A Greyhound transport planes and Seahawk helicopters.

There are more than 3,500 crew on the Vinson, which swells to 5,300 when the air wing is on board, which means working seven days a week with shifts often lasting 12 hours or more. But few complain about living on the floating city.

The massive warship has a 3,000-room hull below the flight deck which includes several cafeterias, nine gyms, a Starbucks-style coffee shop and 'luxury' state rooms for 'Distinguished Visitors'

On a daily average, the Navy spends around $60,000 feeding sailors and on Sunday, they serve a special brunch meal which includes Belgian waffles or some shrimp

On a daily average, the Navy spends around $60,000 feeding sailors and on Sunday, they serve a special brunch meal which includes Belgian waffles or some shrimp

In addition to the gym facilities, sailors also have the opportunity to take Zumba and spin classes, weight-lifting and functional fitness classes and even rowing club

‘On a daily average we spend around $60,000 to feed the crew, which is roughly about 15-20 pallets worth of food.

‘A special day for us is Sunday, we do a brunch we serve things like Belgian waffles, some shrimp, a special chance to give the sailors a chance to refresh for the next week.’

After filling up a lot of the sailors like to keep fit. Dan Larrell is in charge of putting them through their paces in the ship’s nine gyms.

‘I am a fitness director, if you imagine this warship as a large 24 hour fitness, we have 4,500 sailors and we treat them all as our clients,’ he explains.

Larrell says as well as running and maintaining the gyms he puts together the fitness schedule and offers Zumba and spin classes, weight-lifting and functional fitness classes and even rowing club.

‘Any sailor on any watch on any schedule can come to our classes,’ he added.

‘What’s really incredible is that we not only get the younger sailors at our classes but we get the captain of the ship, the XO [executive officer] of the ship and the admiral of the ship, when I train them… it’s the first time in a very long time someone is telling them what to do. It’s my time to make them work a little bit harder.’

Running the Vinson, let alone a whole Carrier Strike Group, is a huge undertaking and one that Fuller doesn’t take lightly.

He says he’s incredibly ‘honored and humbled’ to be in the position he’s in.

‘I never expected that I would have the opportunity to lead such an awesome fighting force and such an awesome group of sailors. It hasn’t even really sunk in, I’m just amazed I get this chance here. I am exceptionally proud of that.’

And the commander says America should be equally proud of the US Navy’s achievements.

He said: ‘The most awesome thing we have is some of the best people in America who volunteered to help protect and promote prosperity for our American citizens and then with those great people we have fantastic equipment and systems that allow us to project power from the sea for sustained periods of time in ways no other country can.’

Soon the Vinson will be in Kim’s waters – and those people and equipment could be tested as never before.

Story 3: Saudi Arab On The Brink of Proxy War With Lebanon Paritally Controlled By Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah — Saudi Arab Blames Iran For Yemen Missile Attack — Purge and Roundup of Royal Prince Continues — Videos —

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Published on Nov 7, 2017
A senior Saudi minister has accused Lebanon of declaring war against the kingdom. The minister for Persian Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan also accused the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah of committing acts of aggression and attacking the Saudi kingdom without further elaborations. He then urged the Lebanese government to realize the risks of Hezbollah actions. Al-Sabhan made the comments in reaction to criticism Riyadh has been facing over the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Hariri made the announcement in a statement broadcast on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV. On Sunday, Hezbollah chief Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and other Lebanese officials accused Riyadh of forcing Hariri to quit in a bid to create tensions in Lebanon.

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Hariri’s resignation came as a surprise. The fact that he did it from Riyadh, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world, sent shockwaves through the region. His resignation shatters a delicate deal that put him in a coalition government after a two-year political vacuum. It is not the first time a Lebanese government has collapsed- it happened in 2005, 2011 and 2013. The country’s political structure requires that the President must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia Muslim. Last year Lebanon’s parliament swore in a new cabinet dominated by Hezbollah and its allies – in a major victory for the Shia, Iran-backed group. Add to that, Hezbolllah’s military wing has been racking up victories in Syria, building up its arsenal, and steadily increasing its influence at home, and that’s upset some, including Saudi Arabia So, what’s next? And will Lebanon again become the battleground for other peoples’ wars?

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From the conflicts in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘a groups for hegemony is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. But for all the religious discourse permeating the conflict, much of its roots are political, not religious. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it? Full episode from the Great Decisions PBS series: http://www.greatdecisionsonpbs.com/ Visit our website for more information: http://www.fpa.org/ Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor David Strathairn and produced by the Foreign Policy Association, each half-hour episode of the Great Decisions documentary series tackles a different challenge facing America today. This episode first aired in January 2015.

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Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the arrest of four government ministers and 11 royal princes hours after he was named the head of a new anti-corruption committee. Billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has stakes in major U.S. companies like Apple and Twitter, was among those arrested. Gary Sick, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, joins Hari Sreenivasan.

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A senior Saudi prince and seven other officials have been killed in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Yemen, state media report. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir province, was returning from an inspection tour when his aircraft came down near Abha late on Sunday, the interior ministry said. It did not give a cause for the crash. But it came hours after a major purge of the kingdom’s political and business leadership. An anti-corruption body led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, ordered the detentions of dozens of people, including 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers. Analysts see the unprecedented move as an attempt to cement the power of the heir to the throne.

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Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war, deepening crisis

People walk next to a poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanon has been thrust to the center of regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.

Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah.

Faulting the Hariri-led administration for failing to take action against Hezbollah during a year in office, Sabhan said “there are those who will stop (Hezbollah) and make it return to the caves of South Lebanon”, the heartland of the Shi‘ite community.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, he added: “Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return.”

He did not spell out what action Saudi Arabia might take against Lebanon, a country with a weak and heavily indebted state that is still rebuilding from its 1975-90 civil war and where one-in-four people is a Syrian refugee.

There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah is both a military and a political organization that is represented in the Lebanese parliament and in the Hariri-led coalition government formed last year.

Its powerful guerrilla army is widely seen as stronger than the Lebanese army, and has played a major role in the war in neighboring Syria, another theater of Saudi-Iranian rivalry where Hezbollah has fought in support of the government.

Lebanese authorities said on Monday the country’s financial institutions could cope with Hariri’s resignation and the stability of the Lebanese pound was not at risk.

But the cash price of Lebanon’s U.S. dollar-denominated bonds fell, with longer-dated maturities suffering hefty losses as investors took a dim view of the medium- to longer-term outlook for Lebanon.

A poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, hangs along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. The Arabic on the poster reads, “With you forever”. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

HARIRI FREE TO TRAVEL, SAUDI FM SAYS

Hariri cited a plot to assassinate him during his unexpected resignation speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia which caught even his aides off guard. He also slammed Hezbollah and Iran, accusing them of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said he will not comment on Hariri’s speech, calling it a “Saudi statement” and saying Riyadh had forced Hariri to resign.

The sudden nature of Hariri’s resignation generated speculation in Lebanon that his family’s Saudi construction business had been caught up in an anti-corruption purge and he had been coerced into resigning.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said it was “nonsense” to suggest Hariri had been coerced into quitting in a CNN interview on Monday. Hariri had quit because Hezbollah had been “calling the shots” in the government, he said. Hariri, a Saudi citizen, was free to leave the country at any time, he said.

Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, a senior member of Hariri’s political party, said he was under the impression Hariri would return to Beirut within days.

A meeting between Saudi King Salman and Hariri in Riyadh on Monday proved “rumors” wrong, he said – an apparent reference to speculation that Hariri was detained or forced to quit.

Earlier on Monday, President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, appealed for national unity.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another political ally of Hezbollah, said in a televised statement after meeting Aoun it was too early to talk about forming a new government.

The crisis could re-aggravate tensions between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims and afflict Lebanese government with paralysis once again. All of the sides have called for calm and there has been no sign of unrest since Hariri’s resignation.

The Hariri-led government took office last year in a political deal that made Aoun president. The deal ended years of deadlock, and last month it produced Lebanon’s first budget since 2005.

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after meeting in Beirut the top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, who described the coalition as “a victory” and “great success” afterwards.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-missiles-yemen/saudi-led-forces-close-air-sea-and-land-access-to-yemen-idUSKBN1D60I8

Saudi Arabia Blames Iran for Missile Attack

Yemeni rebels’ missile intercepted near Riyadh was made in Iran, Saudis say; Iran denies involvement

Smoke from an alleged Saudi-led airstrike on the Yemeni capital, San'a, on Sunday.
Smoke from an alleged Saudi-led airstrike on the Yemeni capital, San’a, on Sunday. PHOTO: ARHAB/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Yemeni rebels’ missile attack on the Saudi capital on Saturday could be considered an Iranian act of war, Saudi Arabia said, in a statement likely to intensify tensions between the archrivals.

Saudi Arabia intercepted the ballistic missile east of Riyadh’s main airport after it flew more than 500 miles from Yemen. It was fired by Houthi rebels, who are seen by Saudi Arabia as proxies of Iran.

The Saudi-led military coalition that has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than 2½ years “considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Debris from the missile showed it was made in Iran, the statement said, adding that the coalition “reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner, in accordance with international law and based on the right of self-defense.”

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, dismissed the claim.

“We are not basically capable of transferring missiles to Yemen,” he said Sunday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Houthi missiles, he said, are homegrown.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, on Monday called Saudi accusations against Iran “unfair, irresponsible, destructive and provocative,” according to a state television news website. He advised the kingdom to stop its assault on Yemen to pave the way for peace talks.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that Saudi Arabia was bombing Yemen and killing thousands of innocent people and spreading famine.

The kingdom “is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilizing behavior and risky provocations,” he said. “It blames Iran for the consequences.”

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Iranian intervention in the region was undermining security and repeated that Saudi Arabia had the right to respond.

The Houthis, who in the past have presented missiles as domestically sourced, have fired dozens at Saudi Arabia since the coalition began a campaign to oust them from Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2015.

The range of some, like the “Volcano H2” the group fired Saturday, has increased markedly in 2017, putting significant Saudi population centers and energy infrastructure within range.

Saudi Arabia, which controls Yemeni airspace and oversees shipping traffic through its ports, said all land, sea and air borders with the country would be closed temporarily to address the missile threat, although humanitarian supplies would still be allowed in.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni Muslim power in the region, and Iran, its main Shiite rival, have risen in recent days. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a close Saudi ally, resigned Saturday, blaming Iran for destabilizing the region and saying his life was under threat.

Saudi Arabia has more aggressively confronted Iran under 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who orchestrated Saudi involvement in Yemen.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-blames-iran-for-missile-attack-1509955160

Saudi Crackdown Targets Up to $800 Billion in Assets

Authorities detain more prominent businessmen, freeze bank accounts

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, has said tackling corruption is necessary to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, has said tackling corruption is necessary to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.PHOTO: SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/REUTERS

The Saudi government is aiming to confiscate cash and other assets worth as much as $800 billion in its broadening crackdown on alleged corruption among the kingdom’s elite, according to people familiar with the matter.

Several prominent businessmen are among those who have been arrested in the days since Saudi authorities launched the crackdown on Saturday, by detaining more than 60 princes, officials and other prominent Saudis, according to those people and others.

The country’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, said late Tuesday that it has frozen the bank accounts of “persons of interest” and said the move is “in response to the Attorney General’s request pending the legal cases against them.”

The purge is the most extensive of the kingdom’s elite in recent history. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, was named heir to the throne in Juneand has moved to consolidate power. He has said that tackling corruption at the highest level is necessary to overhaul what has long been an oil-dependent economy.

The crackdown could also help replenish state coffers. The government has said that assets accumulated through corruption will become state property, and people familiar with the matter say the government estimates the value of assets it can reclaim at up to 3 trillion Saudi riyal, or $800 billion.

“They reckon that they could get around 2 to 3 trillion riyals from these people. That’s the number they are talking about,” said a person close to the government.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince: Three Things to Know
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as crown prince, replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as first in line to the throne. WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains who he is, and what this means for the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the broader region. Photo: Getty Images. (Originally Published June 21, 2017)

Much of that money is abroad, which will complicate efforts to reclaim it, people familiar with the matter said. But even a portion of that amount could help Saudi Arabia’s finances. A prolonged period of low oil prices forced the government to borrow money on the international bond market and to draw extensively from the country’s foreign reserves, which dropped from $730 billion at their peak in 2014 to $487.6 billion in August, the latest available government data.

Who Has Been Promoted, Who Has Been Detained in Saudi Arabia

Under King Salman, many senior princes have been sidelined from power or detained, according to people familiar with the matter. Here are a few of the important moves.

King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud

The founder of modern Saudi Arabia, who ruled from 1932

to 1953

Detained

Promoted

Other direct descendant

LINE OF SUCCESSION

King Salman bin

Abdulaziz

King 2015-present

He is the sixth brother in a row to assume the throne. He became king in 2015 and in June appointed his own son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his heir.

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah

Prince al-Waleed

bin Talal

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman

He is one of the world’s richest men. Through his firm Kingdom Holding Co., he has invested in Apple, Twitter, and Citigroup. He was detained on Nov. 4.

Previous head of the elite Saudi Arabian National Guard

Previous crown prince

The 32-year-old prince has ascended to a position of unrivaled power since his father became king, and oversees most key policy areas in the country, from the economy to defense. He is the architect of the ambitious plan to end the kingdom’s dependence on oil. As minister of defense, he launched Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. He became crown prince in June.

Prince Mohammed, a former powerful minister of interior, was removed from the position of crown prince in June and replaced by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a younger cousin. His ouster faced some resistance within the royal family

He is the politically influential son of the previous monarch, King Abdullah. He was fired and detained on Nov. 4.

Prince Abdulaziz bin

Saud bin Nayef

New minister of interior

He was appointed as minister of interior in June. He belongs to the same branch of the royal family as Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the ousted crown prince.

Note: not all descendants represented

Sources: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; staff reports.

The arrests were ordered by a newly established anticorruption agency headed by Prince Mohammed.

The crown prince “needs cash to fund the government’s investment plans,” political risk advisory firm Eurasia Group said in a note on Monday. “It was becoming increasingly clear that additional revenue is needed to improve the economy’s performance. The government will also strike deals with businessmen and royals to avoid arrest, but only as part of a greater commitment to the local economy.”

Spokespeople for the Saudi government didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce, Majid al Qasabi, on Tuesday sought to reassure the private sector that the corruption investigation wouldn’t interfere with normal business operations.

The procedures and investigations undertaken by the anticorruption agency won’t affect ongoing business or projects, he said.

Running LowSaudi Arabia is heavily dependent on oilexports, and government revenues havetaken a hit as crude prices have tumbled inrecent years.THE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
.trillion riyalsOil revenueOther revenue2006’08’10’12’14’160.000.250.500.751.001.251.50

In its statement on Tuesday, the Saudi central bank said that individual accounts had been frozen, not corporate accounts. “It is business as usual for both banks and corporates,” the central bank said.

The central bank sent a list of hundreds of names to lenders, asking them to freeze any accounts linked to them, according to people familiar with the matter.

“These are just the initial stages of either asset freezes or arrests. More people are expected to be impacted as the investigation unfolds,” said a Saudi official.

The government earlier this week vowed that it would arrest more people as part of the corruption investigation, which began around three years ago.

As a precautionary measure, authorities have banned a large number of people from traveling outside the country, among them hundreds of royals and people connected to those arrested, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co., spoke at a conference in Chicago in 2013.
Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co., spoke at a conference in Chicago in 2013. PHOTO: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

The government hasn’t officially named the people who were detained.

They include billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the most widely known members of the Saudi royal family and a major investor in companies including Apple Inc., Twitter Inc. and Citigroup Inc. He faces allegations of money laundering, bribery and extortion, according to a senior Saudi official. A representative of Prince al-Waleed didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to people familiar with the investigation, those detained over the weekend also include Bakr bin Ladin, the chairman of the construction giant Saudi Binladin Group. A spokesman for Saudi Binladin didn’t respond to request for comment.

Saudi Binladin, the biggest construction firm in the Gulf region, flourished as one of the government’s preferred builders during the boom years in the oil-rich country, winning a high-profile contract to expand the grounds of the Great Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. The people familiar with the investigation said Mr. bin Ladin faces allegations of bribery in connection with that project.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-expands-crackdown-on-elite-1510062385

A resignation, detentions and missiles: 24 hours that shook the Middle East

Trump voices ‘great confidence’ in Saudi Arabia amid royal purge

President Trump on Monday gave a vote of confidence to the leadership of Saudi Arabia amid a royal family purge that has rocked the Middle East.

“I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing,” Trump tweeted while traveling in Asia. “Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!”

The president appeared to lend his endorsement to this weekend’s arrests of 11 members of the Saudi royal family, which authorities there described as a crackdown against corruption.

The mass arrests amounted to the most sweeping purge of the Saudi ruling elite in the country’s modern history. Advisers, ministers and businessmen were also taken into custody on orders from a newly formed anti-corruption committee.

Regional observers see the round-up as one of the most dramatic moves yet by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to consolidate power.

The crown prince, 32, has taken over several key government posts over the past two years while pushing aside rivals as he seeks to position himself as the next leader of the oil-rich kingdom.

He also heads the anti-corruption panel.

Among those arrested were Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, a son of the late King Abdullah and head of the National Guard, and the kingdom’s wealthiest investor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Mohammad bin Salman has pushed the hidebound kingdom to implement reforms while cozying up to the U.S., a top Saudi ally.

The crown prince, who is a son of King Salman, has also formed a relationship with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Kushner made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia last month, where U.S. officials said he intended to discuss Middle East peace.

Saudi Arabia was the site of Trump’s first trip abroad as president, a visit Mohammad bin Salman was said to have helped arrange.

Trump also has ties to bin Talal, who helped bail him out of financial trouble in the 1990s. The investor was part of a group that purchased New York’s Plaza Hotel from Trump as well as the real-estate mogul’s yacht.

No one should ever have to negotiate between getting lifesaving care or accessing their prescriptions.

Their relationship took a turn for the worse in 2015, when bin Talal bashedTrump’s campaign rhetoric and called on him to drop out of the presidential race.

“Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money,” Trump responded on Twitter. “Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/359036-trump-voices-great-confidence-in-saudi-arabia-amid-royal-purge

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