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Story 1: Senate Majority Leader McConnell Commits To Passing Tax Reduction and Reform This Year Maybe — Best Efforts Only — Otherwise President Trump Will Run Against Congress in 2018 and Steve Bannon Will Find Candidates To Primary All Republicans Not on Trump Team — — 2017 Values Summit — Merry Christmas –Videos — 

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Strauss–Howe generational theory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Strauss–Howe generational theory, created by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history. Strauss and Howe laid the groundwork for their theory in their 1991 book Generations, which discusses the history of the United States as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584.[1] In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, the authors expanded the theory to focus on a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras in American history.[2] They have since expanded on the concept in a variety of publications.

The theory was developed to describe the history of the United States, including the 13 colonies and their British antecedents, and this is where the most detailed research has been done.[original research?] However, the authors have also examined generational trends elsewhere in the world and described similar cycles in several developed countries.[3]

In a 2009 article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eric Hoover called the authors pioneers in a burgeoning industry of consultants, speakers and researchers focused on generations.[4] Academic response to the theory has been mixed—some applauding Strauss and Howe for their “bold and imaginative thesis”, and others criticizing the theory.[5][6] Criticism has focused on the lack of rigorous empirical evidence for their claims,[7] and a perception that aspects of the argument gloss over real differences within the population.[6]

History

William Strauss and Neil Howe’s partnership began in the late 1980s when they began writing their first book Generations, which discusses the history of the United States as a succession of generational biographies. Each had written on generational topics: Strauss on Baby Boomers and the Vietnam War draft, and Howe on the G.I. Generation and federal entitlement programs.[8] Strauss co-wrote two books with Lawrence Baskir about how the Vietnam War affected the Baby Boomers (Chance and Circumstance: The Draft the War and The Vietnam Generation (1978) and Reconciliation after Vietnam (1977)). Neil Howe studied what he believed to be the US’s entitlement attitude of the 1980s and co-authored On Borrowed Time: How America’s entitlement ego puts America’s future at risk of Bankruptcyin 1988 with Peter George Peterson.[9] The authors’ interest in generations as a broader topic emerged after they met in Washington, D.C., and began discussing the connections between each of their previous works.[10]

They wondered why Boomers and G.I.s had developed such different ways of looking at the world, and what it was about these generations’ experiences growing up that prompted their different outlooks. They also wondered whether any previous generations had acted along similar lines, and their research discussed historical analogues to the current generations. The two ultimately described a recurring pattern in Anglo-American history of four generational types, each with a distinct collective persona, and a corresponding cycle of four different types of era, each with a distinct mood. The groundwork for this theory was laid out in Generations in 1991. Strauss and Howe expanded on their theory and updated the terminology in The Fourth Turning in 1997.[8][11] Generations helped popularize the idea that people in a particular age group tend to share a distinct set of beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors because they all grow up and come of age during a particular period in history.[6]

In their books Generations (1991) and The Fourth Turning (1997), Strauss and Howe discussed the generation gap between Baby Boomers and their parents and predicted there would be no such generation gap between Millennials and their elders. In 2000, they published Millennials Rising. A 2000 New York Times book review for this book titled: What’s the Matter With Kids Today? Not a Thing, described the message of Millennials Rising as “we boomers are raising a cohort of kids who are smarter, more industrious and better behaved than any generation before”, saying the book complimented the Baby Boomer cohort by complimenting their parenting skills.[12][13][14]

In the mid-1990s, the authors began receiving inquiries about how their generational research could be applied to strategic problems in organizations. Strauss and Howe were quickly established as pioneers in a growing field, and started speaking frequently about their work at events and conferences.[6] In 1999, Strauss and Howe founded LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking and consulting company built on their generational theory. As LifeCourse partners, they have offered keynote speeches, consulting services, and customized communications to corporate, nonprofit, government, and education clients. They have also written six books in which they assert that the Millennial Generation is transforming various sectors, including schools, colleges, entertainment, and the workplace.[promotional language]

On December 18, 2007, William Strauss died at the age of 60 from pancreatic cancer.[15] Neil Howe continues to expand LifeCourse Associates and to write books and articles on a variety of generational topics. Each year Mr. Howe gives about 60 speeches, often followed by customized workshops, at colleges, elementary schools, and corporations.[6] Neil Howe is a public policy adviser to the Blackstone Group, senior adviser to the Concord Coalition, and senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[16]

Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to President Trump is a prominent proponent of the theory. As a documentary filmmaker Bannon discussed the details of Strauss-Howe generational theory in Generation Zero. According to historian David Kaiser, who was consulted for the film, Generation Zero “focused on the key aspect of their theory, the idea that every 80 years American history has been marked by a crisis, or ‘fourth turning’, that destroyed an old order and created a new one”. Kaiser said Bannon is “very familiar with Strauss and Howe’s theory of crisis, and has been thinking about how to use it to achieve particular goals for quite a while.”[17][18][19] A February 2017 article from Business Insider titled: “Steve Bannon’s obsession with a dark theory of history should be worrisome”, commented: “Bannon seems to be trying to bring about the ‘Fourth Turning’.”[20]

Works

Strauss and Howe’s work combines history with prophecy. They provided historical information regarding living and past generations and made various predictions. Many of their predictions were regarding the Millennial Generation, who were young children when they began their work, thus lacking significant historical data. In their first book Generations (1991), Strauss and Howe describe the history of the US as a succession of Anglo-American generational biographies from 1584 to the present, and they describe a theorized recurring generational cycle in American history. The authors posit a pattern of four repeating phases, generational types and a recurring cycle of spiritual awakenings and secular crises, from the founding colonials of America through the present day.[1][21]

Strauss and Howe followed in 1993 with their second book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?, which was published while Gen Xers were young adults. The book examines the generation born between 1961 and 1981, “Gen-Xers” (which they called “13ers”, describing them as the thirteenth generation since the US became a nation). The book asserts that 13ers’ location in history as under protected children during the Consciousness Revolution explains their pragmatic attitude. They describe Gen Xers as growing up during a time when society was less focused on children and more focused on adults and their self-actualization.[22][23][24]

In 1997, the authors published The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, which expanded on the ideas presented in Generations and extended their cycles back into the early 15th century. The authors began the use of more colorful names for generational archetypes – e.g. “Civics” became “Heroes” (which they applied to the Millennial Generation), “Adaptives” became “Artists” – and of the terms “Turning” and “Saeculum” for the generational cycles. The title is a reference to what their first book called a Crisis period, which they expected to recur soon after the turn of the millennium.[2]

In 2000, the two authors published Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. This work discussed the personality of the Millennial Generation, whose oldest members were described as the high school graduating class of the year 2000. In this 2000 book, Strauss and Howe asserted that Millennial teens and young adults were recasting the image of youth from “downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged”. They credited increased parental attention and protection for these positive changes. They asserted Millennials are held to higher standards than adults apply to themselves and that they’re a lot less vulgar and violent than the teen culture older people produce for them. They described them as less sexually charged and as ushering in a new sexual modesty, with increasing belief that sex should be saved for marriage and a return to conservative family values. They predicted that over the following decade, Millennials would transform what it means to be young. According to the authors, Millennials could emerge as the next “Great Generation”. The book was described as an optimistic, feel-good book for the parents of the Millennial Generation, predominantly the Baby Boomers.[25][26][27]

Defining a generation

Strauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years or about the length of one phase of life: childhoodyoung adulthoodmidlife, and old age. Generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. In this view, members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults and they share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation would also share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation.[28]

Strauss and Howe say they based their definition of a generation on the work of various writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists such as José Ortega y GassetKarl MannheimJohn Stuart MillÉmile LittréAuguste Comte, and François Mentré.[29]

Generational archetypes and turnings

Generations by year of birth according to Strauss–Howe
Late Medieval Saeculum
Reformation Saeculum (104 years)
  • Reformation Generation (1483–1511) (P)
  • Reprisal Generation (1512–1540) (N)
  • Elizabethan Generation (1541–1565) (H)
  • Parliamentary Generation (1566–1587) (A)
New World Saeculum (112 years)
  • Puritan Generation (1588–1617) (P)
  • Cavalier Generation (1618–1647) (N)
  • Glorious Generation (1648–1673) (H)
  • Enlightenment Generation (1674–1700) (A)
Revolutionary Saeculum (90 years)
  • Awakening Generation (1701–1723) (P)
  • Liberty Generation (1724–1741) (N)
  • Republican Generation (1742–1766) (H)
  • Compromise Generation (1767–1791) (A)
Civil War Saeculum (67 years)
Great Power Saeculum (82 years)
Millennial Saeculum (age 74 years in 2017)
Key: Prophet (P), Nomad (N), Hero (H), Artist (A)

Turnings

While writing Generations, Strauss and Howe described a theorized pattern in the historical generations they examined, which they say revolved around generational events which they call turnings. In Generations, and in greater detail in The Fourth Turning, they describe a four-stage cycle of social or mood eras which they call “turnings”. The turnings include: “The High”, “The Awakening”, “The Unraveling” and “The Crisis”.[21]

High

According to Strauss and Howe, the First Turning is a High, which occurs after a Crisis. During The High institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, though those outside the majoritarian center often feel stifled by the conformity.[36]

According to the authors, the most recent First Turning in the US was the post-World War II American High, beginning in 1946 and ending with the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.[37]

Awakening

According to the theory, the Second Turning is an Awakening. This is an era when institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Just when society is reaching its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of social discipline and want to recapture a sense of “self-awareness”, “spirituality” and “personal authenticity”. Young activists look back at the previous High as an era of cultural and spiritual poverty.[38]

Strauss & Howe say the US’s most recent Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution,” which spanned from the campus and inner-city revolts of the mid-1960s to the tax revolts of the early 1980s.[39]

Unraveling

According to Strauss and Howe, the Third Turning is an Unraveling. The mood of this era they say is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. The authors say Highs come after Crises, when society wants to coalesce and build and avoid the death and destruction of the previous crisis. Unravelings come after Awakenings, when society wants to atomize and enjoy.[40] They say the most recent Unraveling in the US began in the 1980s and includes the Long Boom and Culture War.[21]

Crisis

According to the authors, the Fourth Turning is a Crisis. This is an era of destruction, often involving war, in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival. After the crisis, civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.[41]

The authors say the previous Fourth Turning in the US began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and climaxed with the end of World War II. The G.I. Generation (which they call a Hero archetype, born 1901 to 1924) came of age during this era. They say their confidence, optimism, and collective outlook epitomized the mood of that era.[42] The authors assert the Millennial Generation (which they also describe as a Hero archetype, born 1981 to 2004) show many similar traits to those of the G.I. youth, which they describe as including: rising civic engagement, improving behavior, and collective confidence.[43]

Cycle

The authors describe each turning as lasting about 20–22 years. Four turnings make up a full cycle of about 80 to 90 years,[44] which the authors term a saeculum, after the Latin word meaning both “a long human life” and “a natural century”.[45]

Generational change drives the cycle of turnings and determines its periodicity. As each generation ages into the next life phase (and a new social role) society’s mood and behavior fundamentally changes, giving rise to a new turning. Therefore, a symbiotic relationship exists between historical events and generational personas. Historical events shape generations in childhood and young adulthood; then, as parents and leaders in midlife and old age, generations in turn shape history.[46]

Each of the four turnings has a distinct mood that recurs every saeculum. Strauss and Howe describe these turnings as the “seasons of history”. At one extreme is the Awakening, which is analogous to summer, and at the other extreme is the Crisis, which is analogous to winter. The turnings in between are transitional seasons, similar to autumn and spring.[47] Strauss and Howe have discussed 26 theorized turnings over 7 saecula in Anglo-American history, from the year 1435 through today.

At the heart of Strauss & Howe’s ideas is a basic alternation between two different types of eras, Crises and Awakenings. Both of these are defining eras in which people observe that historic events are radically altering their social environment.[48] Crises are periods marked by major secular upheaval, when society focuses on reorganizing the outer world of institutions and public behavior (they say the last American Crisis was the period spanning the Great Depression and World War II). Awakenings are periods marked by cultural or religious renewal, when society focuses on changing the inner world of values and private behavior (the last American Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s).[49]

During Crises, great peril provokes a societal consensus, an ethic of personal sacrifice, and strong institutional order. During Awakenings, an ethic of individualism emerges, and the institutional order is attacked by new social ideals and spiritual agendas.[50] According to the authors, about every eighty to ninety years—the length of a long human life—a national Crisis occurs in American society. Roughly halfway to the next Crisis, a cultural Awakening occurs (historically, these have often been called Great Awakenings).[49]

In describing this cycle of Crises and Awakenings, Strauss and Howe draw from the work of other historians and social scientists who have also discussed long cycles in American and European history. The Strauss–Howe cycle of Crises corresponds with long cycles of war identified by such scholars as Arnold J. ToynbeeQuincy Wright, and L. L. Ferrar Jr., and with geopolitical cycles identified by William R. Thompson and George Modelski.[51] Strauss and Howe say their cycle of Awakenings corresponds with Anthony Wallace‘s work on revitalization movements;[52] they also say recurring Crises and Awakenings correspond with two-stroke cycles in politics (Walter Dean BurnhamArthur Schlesinger Sr. and Jr.), foreign affairs (Frank L. Klingberg), and the economy (Nikolai Kondratieff) as well as with long-term oscillations in crime and substance abuse.[53]

Archetypes

The authors say two different types of eras and two formative age locations associated with them (childhood and young adulthood) produce four generational archetypes that repeat sequentially, in rhythm with the cycle of Crises and Awakenings. In Generations, Strauss and Howe refer to these four archetypes as Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive.[54] In The Fourth Turning (1997) they change this terminology to Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist.[55] They say the generations in each archetype not only share a similar age-location in history, they also share some basic attitudes towards family, risk, culture and values, and civic engagement. In essence, generations shaped by similar early-life experiences develop similar collective personas and follow similar life-trajectories.[56] To date, Strauss and Howe have described 25 generations in Anglo-American history, each with a corresponding archetype. The authors describe the archetypes as follows:

Prophet

Abraham Lincoln, born in 1809. Strauss and Howe would identify him as a member of the Transcendental generation.

Prophet generations enter childhood during a High, a time of rejuvenated community life and consensus around a new societal order. Prophets grow up as the increasingly indulged children of this post-Crisis era, come of age as self-absorbed young crusaders of an Awakening, focus on morals and principles in midlife, and emerge as elders guiding another Crisis.[57]

Nomad

Nomad generations enter childhood during an Awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when young adults are passionately attacking the established institutional order. Nomads grow up as under-protected children during this Awakening, come of age as alienated, post-Awakening adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders during a Crisis, and age into resilient post-Crisis elders.[57]

Hero

Young adults fighting in World War II were born in the early part of the 20th century, like PT109 commander LTJGJohn F. Kennedy (b. 1917). They are part of the G.I. Generation, which follows the Hero archetype.

Hero generations enter childhood after an Awakeningduring an Unraveling, a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, and laissez faire. Heroes grow up as increasingly protected post-Awakening children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists during a Crisis, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders attacked by another Awakening.[57]

Artist

Artist generations enter childhood after an Unraveling, during a Crisis, a time when great dangers cut down social and political complexity in favor of public consensus, aggressive institutions, and an ethic of personal sacrifice. Artists grow up overprotected by adults preoccupied with the Crisis, come of age as the socialized and conformist young adults of a post-Crisis world, break out as process-oriented midlife leaders during an Awakening, and age into thoughtful post-Awakening elders.[57]

Summary

  • An average life is 80 years, and consists of four periods of ~20 years
    • Childhood → Young adult → Midlife → Elderhood
  • A generation is an aggregate of people born every ~20 years
    • Baby Boomers → Gen X → Millennials → Post-Millennials (“Homeland Generation”)
  • Each generation experiences “four turnings” every ~80y
    • High → Awakening → Unraveling → Crisis
  • A generation is considered “dominant” or “recessive” according to the turning experienced as young adults. But as a youth generation comes of age and defines its collective persona an opposing generational archetype is in its midlife peak of power.
    • Dominant: independent behavior + attitudes in defining an era
    • Recessive: dependent role in defining an era
  • Dominant Generations
    • Prophet: Awakening as young adults. Awakening, defined: Institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy
    • Hero: Crisis as young adults. Crisis, defined: Institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival
  • Recessive Generations
    • Nomad: Unraveling as young adults. Unraveling, defined: Institutions are weak and distrusted, individualism is strong and flourishing
    • Artist: High [when they become] young adults. High, defined: Institutions are strong and individualism is weak

Timing of generations and turnings

Generation Generation Archetype Generation Year Span Entered childhood in a Turning Year Span
Late Medieval Saeculum
Arthurian Generation Hero (Civic) 1433-1460 (27) 3rd Turning: Unraveling: Retreat from France 1435-1459 (24)0
Humanist Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1461–1482 (21) 4th Turning: Crisis: War of the Roses 1459–1497 (28)
Reformation Saeculum (107)
Reformation Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1483–1511 (28) 1st Turning: High: Tudor Renaissance 1497–1517 (30)
Reprisal Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1512–1540 (28) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Protestant Reformation 1517-1542 (25)
Elizabethan Generation Hero (Civic) 1541–1565 (24) 3rd Turning: Unraveling: Intolerance and Martyrdom 1542–1569 (27)
Parliamentary Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1566–1587 (21) 4th Turning: Crisis: Armada Crisis 1569–1594 (25)
New World Saeculum (110)
Puritan Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1588–1617 (29) 1st Turning: High: Merrie England 1594–1621 (27)
Cavalier Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1618–1647 (29) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Puritan Awakening 1621–1649 (26)
Glorious Generation Hero (Civic) 1648–1673 (25) 3rd Turing: Unraveling: Reaction and Restoration 1649–1675 (26)
Enlightenment Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1674–1700 (26) 4th Turning: Crisis: Salem Witch Trials/King Philip’s War/
Glorious Revolution/War of the Spanish Succession
1675–1704 (29)
Revolutionary Saeculum (90)
Awakening Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1701–1723 (22) 1st Turning: High: Augustan Age of Empire 1704–1727 (23)
Liberty Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1724–1741 (17) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Great Awakening 1727–1746 (19)
Republican Generation Hero (Civic) 1742–1766 (24) 3rd Turning: Unraveling: French and Indian War 1746–1773 (27)
Compromise Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1767–1791 (24) 4th Turning: Crisis: American Revolution 1773–1794 (21)
Civil War Saeculum (71)
Transcendental Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1792–1821 (29) 1st Turning: High: Era of Good Feeling 1794–1822 (28)
Gilded Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1822–1842 (20) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Transcendental Awakening 1822–1844 (22)
Hero (Civic)1 3rd Turning: Unraveling: Mexican War and Sectionalism 1844–1860 (16)
Progressive Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1843–1859 (16) 4th Turning: Crisis: American Civil War 1860–1865 (5)
Great Power Saeculum (81)
Missionary Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1860–1882 (22) 1st Turning: High: Reconstruction/Gilded Age 1865–1886 (21)
Lost Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1883–1900 (17) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Missionary Awakening 1886–1908 (22)
G.I. Generation Hero (Civic) 1901–1924 (23) 3rd Turning: Unraveling: World War I/Prohibition 1908–1929 (21)
Silent Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1925–1942 (17) 4th Turning: Crisis: Great Depression/World War II 1929–1946 (17)
Millennial Saeculum (age 74)
Baby Boom Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1943–1960 (17)[58] 1st Turning: High: Superpower America 1946–1964 (18)
13th Generation (Generation X)2 Nomad (Reactive) 1961–1981 (20) 2nd Turning: Awakening: Consciousness Revolution 1964–1984 (20)
Millennial Generation (Generation Y)3 Hero (Civic) 1982–2004 (22) 3rd Turning: Unraveling: Culture WarsPostmodernism 1984–2008 (24)
Homeland Generation (Generation Z)4 Artist (Adaptive) 2005–present (age 12) 4th Turning: Crisis: Great Recession/War on Terror/Sustainability[citation needed] 2008-

Note (0): Strauss and Howe base the turning start and end dates not on the generational birth year span, but when the prior generation is entering adulthood. A generation “coming of age” is signaled by a “triggering event” that marks the turning point and the ending of one turning and the beginning of the new. For example, the “triggering event” that marked the coming of age for the Baby Boom Generation was the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. This marked the end of a first turning and the beginning of a second turning. This is why turning start and end dates don’t match up exactly with the generational birth years, but they tend to start and end a few years after the generational year spans. This also explains why a generation is described to have “entered childhood” during a particular turning, rather than “born during” a particular turning.

Note (1): According to Strauss and Howe their generational types have appeared in Anglo-American history in a fixed order for more than 500 years, with one hiccup in the Civil War Saeculum. They say the reason for this is because according to the chart, the Civil War came about ten years too early; the adult generations allowed the worst aspects of their generational personalities to come through; and the Progressives grew up scarred rather than ennobled.

Note (2): Strauss and Howe use the name “13th Generation” instead of the more widely accepted “Generation X” in their book, which was published mere weeks before Douglas Coupland‘s Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture was. The generation is so numbered because it is the thirteenth generation alive since American Independence (counting back until Benjamin Franklin’s).[23]

Note (3): Although there is as yet no universally accepted name for this generation, “Millennials” (a name Strauss and Howe coined) is becoming widely accepted. Other names used in reference to it include Generation Y (as it is the generation following Generation X) and “The Net Generation”.

Note (4): New Silent Generation was a proposed holding name used by Howe and Strauss in their demographic history of America, Generations, to describe the generation whose birth years began somewhere in the mid-2000s and the ending point will be around the mid-2020s. Howe now refers to this generation (most likely currently being born) as the Homeland Generation.[6]

Note (5): There is no consistent agreement among participants on the Fourth Turning message board that 9/11 and the War on Terror lie fully within a Crisis era. The absence of any attempt to constrict consumer spending through taxes or rationing and the tax cuts of the time suggest that any Crisis Era may have begun, if at all, later, as after Hurricane Katrina or the Financial Meltdown of 2008.

The basic length of both generations and turnings—about twenty years—derives from longstanding socially and biologically determined phases of life.[who?] This is the reason it has remained relatively constant over centuries.[59] Some have argued that rapid increases in technology in recent decades are shortening the length of a generation.[60] According to Strauss and Howe, however, this is not the case. As long as the transition to adulthood occurs around age 20, the transition to midlife around age 40, and the transition to old age around age 60, they say the basic length of both generations and turnings will remain the same.[59]

In their book, The Fourth Turning, however, Strauss and Howe say that the precise boundaries of generations and turnings are erratic. The generational rhythm is not like certain simple, inorganic cycles in physics or astronomy, where time and periodicity can be predicted to the second. Instead, it resembles the complex, organic cycles of biology, where basic intervals endure but precise timing is difficult to predict. Strauss and Howe compare the saecular rhythm to the four seasons, which they say similarly occur in the same order, but with slightly varying timing. Just as winter may come sooner or later, and be more or less severe in any given year, the same is true of a Fourth Turning in any given saeculum.[61]

Current position of the US in the cycle

According to Strauss and Howe, there are many potential threats that could feed a growing sense of public urgency as the Fourth Turning progresses, including a terrorist attack, a financial collapse, a major war, a crisis of nuclear proliferation, an environmental crisis, an energy shortage, or new civil wars. The generational cycle cannot explain the role or timing of these individual threats. Nor can it account for the great events of history, like the bombing of Pearl HarborPresident Kennedy’s assassination, or 9/11. What the generational cycle can do, according to Strauss and Howe, is explain how society is likely to respond to these events in different eras. It is the response, not the initial event, which defines an era according to the theory. According to Strauss and Howe, the crisis period lasts for approximately 20 years.[62][21]

Critical reception

The Strauss and Howe retelling of history through a generational lens has received mixed reviews. Many reviewers have praised the authors’ books and theory for their ambition, erudition and accessibility. Former U.S Vice President Al Gore (who graduated from Harvard University with Mr. Strauss) called Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 the most stimulating book on American history he’d ever read. He even sent a copy to each member of Congress.[6] The theory has been influential in the fields of generational studies, marketing, and business management literature. However, it has also been criticized by several historians and some political scientists and journalists, as being overly-deterministic, non-falsifiable, and unsupported by rigorous evidence.[63][64][65]

Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069

After the publication of their first book Generations, Martin Keller, professor of history at Brandeis University, said that the authors “had done their homework”. He said that their theory could be seen as pop-sociology and that it would “come in for a lot more criticism as history. But it’s almost always true that the broader you cast your net, the more holes it’s going to have. And I admire [the authors’] boldness.”[66] Harvard sociologist David Riesman said the book showed an “impressive grasp of a great many theoretical and historical bits and pieces”. The Times Literary Supplement called it “fascinating,” but also, “about as vague and plausible as astrological predictions.”[67] Publishers Weekly, though, called Generations “as woolly as a newspaper horoscope“.[6]

The Fourth Turning

In his review for the Boston Globe, historian David Kaiser called The Fourth Turning “a provocative and immensely entertaining outline of American history”. “Strauss and Howe have taken a gamble”, argued Kaiser. “If the United States calmly makes it to 2015, their work will end up in the ashcan of history, but if they are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.”[68] Kaiser has since argued that Strauss and Howe’s predictions of coming crisis seems to have occurred, citing events such as 9/11,[69] the 2008 financial crisis,[70] and the recent political gridlock.[71]

Kaiser has incorporated Strauss and Howe’s theory in two historical works of his own, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War (2000), and No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War (2014).[72][73] New York Times book reviewer Michael Lind wrote that The Fourth Turning (1997) was vague and verged into the realm of pseudoscience.[65] Lind said that the theory is essentially “non-falsifiable” and “mystifying,” although he believed the authors did have some insights into modern American history.

13th Gen

In 1993, Andrew Leonard reviewed the book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?. He wrote “as the authors (Strauss and Howe) relentlessly attack the iniquitous ‘child-abusive culture’ of the 1960s and ’70s and exult in heaping insult after insult on their own generation — they caricature Baby Boomers as countercultural, long-haired, sex-obsessed hedonists — their real agenda begins to surface. That agenda becomes clear in part of their wish list for how the 13th generation may influence the future: “13ers will reverse the frenzied and centrifugal cultural directions of their younger years. They will clean up entertainment, de-diversify the culture, reinvent core symbols of national unity, reaffirm rituals of family and neighborhood bonding, and re-erect barriers to cushion communities from unwanted upheaval.”[74]

Again in 1993, writing for the Globe and Mail, Jim Cormier reviewed the same book: “self-described boomers Howe and Strauss add no profound layer of analysis to previous pop press observations. But in cobbling together a more extensive overview of the problems and concerns of the group they call the 13ers, they’ve created a valuable primer for other fogeys who are feeling seriously out of touch.” Cormier believed that the authors “raised as many new questions as answers about the generation that doesn’t want to be a generation. But at least they’ve made an honest, empathetic and good-humoured effort to bridge the bitter gap between the twentysomethings and fortysomethings.”[75]

In 1993, Charles Laurence at the London Daily Telegraph wrote that, in 13th Gen, Strauss and Howe offered this youth generation “a relatively neutral definition as the 13th American generation from the Founding Fathers,”.[76] According to Alexander Ferron’s review in Eye Magazine, “13th Gen is best read as the work of two top-level historians. While its agenda is the 13th generation, it can also be seen as an incredibly well-written and exhaustive history of America from 1960 to 1981–examining the era through everything except the traditional historical subjects (war, politics, famine, etc).”[77]

In 2011, Jon D. Miller, at the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (funded by the National Science Foundation)[78] wrote that Strauss and Howe’s 1961 to 1981 birth year definition of “Generation X” (13th Gen) has been widely used in popular and academic literature.[79]

Millennials Rising

David Brooks reviewed the follow-up book about the next generation titled Millennials Rising (2000). “Millennials” is a term coined by Strauss and Howe.[80] Brooks wrote: “This is not a good book, if by good you mean the kind of book in which the authors have rigorously sifted the evidence and carefully supported their assertions with data. But it is a very good bad book. It’s stuffed with interesting nuggets. It’s brightly written. And if you get away from the generational mumbo jumbo, it illuminates changes that really do seem to be taking place.”[63] Further, Mr. Brooks wrote that the generations aren’t treated equally: “Basically, it sounds as if America has two greatest generations at either end of the age scale and two crummiest in the middle”.[63]

In 2001, reviewer Dina Gomez wrote in NEA Today that Strauss and Howe make their case “convincingly,” with “intriguing analysis of popular culture.” While conceding that the book “over-generalizes”, Gomez also argues that it is “hard to resist the book’s hopeful vision for our children and future.”[81]

Millennials Rising ascribes seven “core traits” to the Millennial cohort, which are: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. A 2009, Chronicle of Higher Education report commented Howe and Strauss based these core traits on a “hodgepodge of anecdotes, statistics, and pop-culture references” and on surveys of approximately 600 high-school seniors from Fairfax County, Virginia, an affluent county with median household income approximately twice the national average. The report described Millennials Rising as a “good-news revolution” making “sweeping predictions” and as describing Millennials as “rule followers who were engaged, optimistic, and downright pleasant”, commenting the book gave educators and “tens of millions of parents, a warm feeling. Who wouldn’t want to hear that their kids are special?”[82]

General

In 1991, Jonathan Alter wrote in Newsweek that the book Generations was a “provocative, erudite and engaging analysis of the rhythms of American life”. However, he believed it was also “an elaborate historical horoscope that will never withstand scholarly scrutiny.” He continued, “these sequential ‘peer personalities’ are often silly, but the book provides reams of fresh evidence that American history is indeed cyclical, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and others have long argued.” But he complained, “The generational boundaries are plainly arbitrary. The authors lump together everyone born from 1943 through the end of 1960 (Baby Boomers), a group whose two extremes have little in common. And the predictions are facile and reckless.” He concluded: “However fun and informative, the truth about generational generalizations is that they’re generally unsatisfactory.”[83] Arthur E. Levine, a former president of the Teachers College of Columbia University said “Generational images are stereotypes. There are some differences that stand out, but there are more similarities between students of the past and the present. But if you wrote a book saying that, how interesting would it be?”[6]

In response to criticism that they stereotype or generalize all members of a generation the authors have said, “We’ve never tried to say that any individual generation is going to be monochromatic. It’ll obviously include all kinds of people. But as you look at generations as social units, we consider it to be at least as powerful and, in our view, far more powerful than other social groupings such as economic class, race, sex, religion and political parties.”[84]

Gerald Pershall wrote in 1991: “Generations is guaranteed to attract pop history and pop social science buffs. Among professional historians, it faces a tougher sell. Period specialists will resist the idea that their period is akin to several others. Sweeping theories of history are long out of fashion in the halls of ivy, and the authors’ lack of academic standing won’t help their cause. Their generational quartet is “just too wooden” and “just too neat,” says one Yale historian. “Prediction is for prophets,” scoffed William McLoughlin (a former history professor at Brown), who said it is wrong to think that “if you put enough data together and have enough charts and graphs, you’ve made history into a science.” He also said the book might get a friendlier reception in sociology and political science departments than the science department.[64]

Sociologist David Riesman and political scientist Richard Neustadt offered strong, if qualified, praise. Riesman found in the work an “impressive grasp of a great many theoretical and historical bits and pieces” and Neustadt said Strauss and Howe “are asking damned important questions, and I honor them.”[64]

In 1991, professor and New York Times writer Jay Dolan critiqued Generations for not talking more about class, race and sex, to which Neil Howe replied that they “are probably generalizations not even as effective as a generation to say something about how people think and behave. One of the things to understand is that most historians never look at history in terms of generations. They prefer to tell history as a seamless row of 55-year-old leaders who always tend to think and behave the same way — but they don’t and they never have. If you look at the way America’s 55-year-old leaders were acting in the 1960s — you know, the ebullient and confidence of the JFKs and LBJs and Hubert Humphreys — and compare them with today’s leaders in Congress — the indecision, the lack of sure-footedness — I think you would have to agree that 55-year-olds do not always act the same way and you’re dealing with powerful generational forces at work that explain why one generation of war veterans, war heroes, and another generation which came of age in very different circumstances tend to have very different instincts about acting in the world.”[84]

Responding to criticisms in 1991, Bill Strauss accepted that some historians might not like their theory, which they presented as a new paradigm for looking at American history, that filled a need for a unifying vision of American history:

People are looking for a new way to connect themselves to the larger story of America. That is the problem. We’ve felt adrift over the past 10 years, and we think that the way history has been presented over the past couple of decades has been more in terms of the little pieces and people are not as interested in the little pieces now. They’re looking for a unifying vision. We haven’t had unifying visions of the story of America for decades now, and we’re trying to provide it in this book.

The kinds of historians who are drawn to our book — and I’m sure it will be very controversial among academics because we are presenting something that is so new — but the kinds who are drawn to it are the ones who themselves have focused on the human life cycle rather than just the sequential series of events. Some good examples of that are Morton Keller up at Brandeis and David Hackett Fischer. These are people who have noticed the power in not just generations, but the shifts that have happened over time in the way Americans have treated children and older people and have tried to link that to the broader currents of history.[84]

In 2006, Frank Giancola wrote an article in Human Resource Planning that stated “the emphasis on generational differences is not generally borne out by empirical research, despite its popularity”.[85]

In 2016 an article was published that explains the differences in generations, observed with the employer’s position, through the development of working conditions, initiated by the employer.[86] This development is due to the competition of firms on the job market for receiving more highly skilled workers. New working conditions as a product on the market have a classic product life-cycle and when they become widespread standard expectations of employees change accordingly.

One criticism of Strauss and Howe’s theory, and the field of “generational studies” in general, is that conclusions are overly broad and do not reflect the reality of every person in each generation regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or genetic information[87] For example, Hoover cited the case of Millennials by writing that “commentators have tended to slap the Millennial label on white, affluent teenagers who accomplish great things as they grow up in the suburbs, who confront anxiety when applying to super-selective colleges, and who multitask with ease as their helicopter parents hover reassuringly above them. The label tends not to appear in renderings of teenagers who happen to be minorities, or poor, or who have never won a spelling bee. Nor does the term often refer to students from big cities and small towns that are nothing like Fairfax County, Va. Or who lack technological know-how. Or who struggle to complete high school. Or who never even consider college. Or who commit crimes. Or who suffer from too little parental support. Or who drop out of college. Aren’t they Millennials, too?”[6]

In their 2000 book Millennials Rising Strauss and Howe brought attention to the Millennial children of immigrants in the United States, “who face daunting challenges.”[88] They wrote “one-third have no health insurance, live below the poverty line and live in overcrowded housing”.[88]

In a 2017 article from Quartz two journalists commented on Strauss–Howe generational theory saying: “the theory is too vague to be proven wrong, and has not been taken seriously by most professional historians. But it is superficially compelling, and plots out to some degree how America’s history has unfolded since its founding”.[19]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

 

Story 2: President Trump Addresses 2017 Values Summit — Merry Christmas — Videos —

Donald Trump at Values Voter Summit: We’re Saying MERRY CHRISTMAS Again!

President Trump Delivers Remarks to the 2017 Values Voter Summit

Kellyanne Conway Takes Questions at the Values Summit in Washington DC

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Bill Bennett with a Very Pro-Trump Speech. Value Voters Summit!

Laura Ingraham Speaks at the Values Summit in Washington DC.

Watch Phil Robertson Preach! Values Voters Summit

Dana Loesch Full Speech! Values Voter Summit

Rep Mark Meadows Speech. Values Voters Summit

Lila Rose speaks at the 2017 Values Voter Summit

Steve Scalise Speech! Values Voters Summit!

Michele Bachmann! A Full on Sermon! Values Voters Summit!

Judge Roy Moore Full Speech! Values Voter Summit

Sebastian Gorka Full Speech! Values Voter Summit

Steve Bannon Speaking at the Values Summit in Washington DC.

 

 

LIBERTY SCORECARD

List of A, B and C+ Scoring

Republican Senators Supporting Trump

 

 

 

 

GOP doesn’t have a clue — but Bannon does

Steve Bannon Hit List of Liberty Scorecard F Rated

Republican Senators Not Supporting Trump

MemberPartyStateLiberty Score®Years in DCNext ElectionPDF

Jeff Flake

Senator
Jeff Flake

AZ F 53% 2018

Dan Sullivan

Senator
Dan Sullivan

AKF 53% 2020

Pat Roberts

Senator
Pat Roberts

KS F 53% 20 2020

John Barrasso

Senator
John Barrasso

WY F 52% 2018

Todd Young

Senator
Todd Young

IN-F 50% 2022

Rob Portman

Senator
Rob Portman

OH F 49% 2022

Bill Cassidy

 

Senator
Bill Cassidy

LA F 47% 2020

Bob Corker

Senator
Bob Corker

TN F 47% 10 2018

John Thune

Senator
John Thune

SD F 44% 12 2022

Mitch McConnell

Senator
Mitch McConnell

KY F 42% 32 2020

Cory Gardner

Senator
Cory Gardner

CO F 42% 2020

Roy Blunt

Senator
Roy Blunt

MO F 41% 2022

John Cornyn

Senator
John Cornyn

TX F 40% 14 2020

Richard Burr

Senator
Richard Burr

NC F 40% 12 2022

Thom Tillis

Senator
Thom Tillis

NC F 37% 2020

Lindsey Graham

Senator
Lindsey Graham

SC F 33% 14 2020

John McCain

Senator
John McCain

AZ F 33% 30 2022

Mike Rounds

Senator
Mike Rounds

SD F 32% 2020

Shelley Capito

Senator
Shelley Capito

WV F 32% 16 2020

Orrin Hatch

Senator
Orrin Hatch

UT F 31% 40 2018

Johnny Isakson

Senator
Johnny Isakson

GA F 31% 12 2022

Roger Wicker

Senator
Roger Wicker

MS F 30% 2018

John Hoeven

Senator
John Hoeven

ND F 26% 2022

Thad Cochran

Senator
Thad Cochran

MS F 24% 38 2020

Lisa Murkowski

Senator
Lisa Murkowski

AK F 22% 14 2022

 

 

 

Trump White House fed up with the Senate

With tax cuts on the line, ‘We look at the Senate and go: ‘What the hell is going on?’” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

President Donald Trump is pictured with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. | AP Photo
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held an unusual 40-minute unity press conference, intended to sooth a jittery party that’s watched Trump attack “Mitch M” for failing on health care reform. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo
President Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell stood side-by-side at the White House Monday afternoon to declare they’re “together totally” and “very united” heading into this fall’s tax reform battle.

But behind the scenes, Trump, his administration and even some senators are increasingly worried that taxes will go the way of Obamacare repeal in the Senate: Months of bickering ending in extreme embarrassment.

The debate hasn’t even started on the GOP’s plan, yet some senators are pushing their own tax proposals, while others are increasingly emboldened to defy the Republican president. It’s a dangerous mix considering that McConnell can only lose two votes assuming Democrats band together in opposition.

“We look at the Senate and go: ‘What the hell is going on?’” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview Friday.

“The House passed health care, the House has already passed its budget, which is the first step of tax reform. The Senate hasn’t done any of that. Hell, the Senate can’t pass any of our confirmations,” Mulvaney fumed in an interview, slapping a table for emphasis. “You ask me if the Republican-controlled Senate is an impediment to the administration’s agenda: All I can tell you is so far, the answer’s yes.”

The revulsion for the Senate’s age-old traditions and byzantine procedure boiled over in public repeatedly on Monday. Trump complained in front of TV cameras that the Senate is “not getting the job done” and said he sees where Steve Bannon — his former chief strategist now planning to run primary challengers against incumbent Republican senators — “is coming from.”

And House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), when asked Monday to name the biggest impediment to tax reform, replied: “You ever heard of the United States Senate before?”

Shortly after, Trump and McConnell held an unusual 40-minute unity press conference, intended to sooth a jittery party that’s watched Trump attack “Mitch M” for failing on health care reform and McConnell assert that Trump had “excessive expectations” for Congress. Trump suggested he would try to get Bannon to back off on some of McConnell’s incumbents, and McConnell sought to keep the tax reform critics at bay after Trump said he wants it done this year.

“We’re gonna get this job done and the goal is to get it done by the end of the year,” McConnell said after lunching with the president. The meeting had been long-planned, but the impromptu press conference was Trump’s idea, two sources familiar with the event said.

McConnell is expected to hold a vote this week on the budget — a precondition for tax reform — and GOP aides expect it to pass. That will relieve some of the pressure on the chamber, which has been receiving flak nonstop from donors, House members and the president since the health care implosion this summer.

Administration officials are hoping that frustration produces enough pressure to force the Senate to pass tax reform. But already, there are signs of trouble.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is so skeptical that the Senate can enact the GOP’s tax framework that he’s begun pitching his own tax plans to colleagues. It would shift the burden of corporate taxes onto shareholders and allow individuals to opt out of the existing tax code and into a system without the confusing array of tax preferences and deductions that people can now choose.

It’s radically different from what congressional leaders and the president proposed. But Johnson said in an interview that leadership’s plan “is going to be very difficult to pass. We’ve already seen with the outline now, with the principles given, that’s going to be a challenge.”

“I don’t want to be a problem child here, but what I’m offering is a plan B,” Johnson added. “If they can’t get the votes … I’ve got an alternative.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) brushed off any negativity about the Senate’s work, insisting that he never thought the party’s agenda is “off track.” But he said the sniping from Mulvaney and Ryan — and skepticism from some Republican senators about the prospects for tax reform — is not helpful.

“I don’t think that sort of thing is very constructive myself,” Cornyn said Monday.

The House is sure to labor to pass tax reform, too. Members from high-tax states are already rebelling against plans to gut the deduction for state and local taxes. But two White House officials said the most serious concerns are in the Senate.

“I was really not happy that this Congress couldn’t control its own members and get to a winning vote on health care,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). “This tax code is something we’ve got to do. We’ve got to do that this year. It’s a test of the Republican majority.”

But like with health care, the tax reform process is moving more slowly than many Republicans would like. There’s no bill yet, for starters. And White House officials have deliberately left some policy details vague because they’re unsure what it will take for various senators to get on board and want to leave their options open, one of these people said.

The White House officials expect a multitude of demands from Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) regarding the deficit, and from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on middle-class tax cuts. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, perhaps the most endangered Republican senator on the ballot next year, is expected to have his own asks.

Other moderate Republicans senators are expected to hold major sway as well, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Another wild card is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who’s voted against past tax cuts and cast the decisive vote against Obamacare repeal.

“We’re expecting to have to make some deals here,” one official said.

Rattled that many senators are still on the fence, the Koch network encouraged their donors at a recent retreat to call Republican senators and push them to vote for tax reform. Vice President Mike Pence told donors at the Koch summit that they thought they could persuade Paul and that Trump planned to travel more to win wavering senators over.

And after working for months on an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that went nowhere, senators say they feel more urgency than they ever have on taxes.

“If you just stand there you get run over,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “I don’t want to see what happened to us on health care happen to us on tax reform. Which is basically, we analyze it until we are paralyzed.”

If that happens again, Republicans are warning of dire consequences: Losing the House and possibly the Senate, and inviting a new wave of ire at incumbents. In an urgent plea over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) even suggested on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that if the party can’t pass tax reform and repeal Obamacare within the next few months, “it will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it.”

People close to Trump said the White House isn’t there yet.

“We don’t get into leadership races down here,” Mulvaney said. But maybe, he suggested, the pressure on McConnell and “the Senate’s failure to pass health care might actually help us to get tax reform passed. Because I think they know they need to get something done.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/16/trump-senate-taxes-republicans-243839

 

Trump, McConnell: Republican tax plan could bleed into next year

Updated 

President Donald Trump on Monday raised the possibility that Republicans may fall short of their goal of rewriting the tax code by the end of this year.

“I would like to see it be done this year,” he told reporters. “But don’t forget it took years for the Reagan administration to get taxes done — I’ve been here for nine months.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, appearing alongside Trump at a White House news conference, also tamped down the bullish timeline laid out by some administration officials and congressional leaders.

“The goal is to get it done this calendar year, but it is important to remember that Obama signed Obamacare in March of year two [of his first term], Obama signed Dodd-Frank in July of year two,” McConnell said.

“We’re going to get this job done, and the goal is to get it done by the end of the year,” said McConnell.

Their comments are a rare acknowledgment by Republican leaders that their plans to rewrite the code may take longer than anticipated. They’re anxious to complete work on the code, their top legislative priority, by the close of this year, before next year’s midterm elections begin to loom. Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan even raised the possibility of lawmakers working until this Christmas on a plan.

Speaking separately Monday in an interview with a Milwaukee-area radio station, Ryan was far more confident lawmakers would remain on schedule, predicting the House will pass its version of the plan within weeks.

“We’ll mark it up and pass it — so by early November, we’ll get it out of the House, we’ll send it to the Senate,” he told WTMJ. “The goal: Get law in December so that we wake up with New Year’s and a new tax code in 2018.”

Although Republicans have not yet released a detailed plan, they’ve already run into a number of hurdles, including objections by some blue-state Republicans that their plans to scrap a long-standing deduction for state and local taxes will mean tax hikes on their constituents. Republicans are now massaging those provisions.

In the Senate, lawmakers have signaled a willingness to go their own way on a number of issues, including how to tax corporations, whether to dump the estate tax and how much any plan should cost.

Republicans have also been stung by an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center showing the top 1 percent of earners would be the biggest winners under their proposal, which Republicans released in framework form last month.

“We are doing minor adjustments,” Trump told reporters. “We want to make sure that the middle class is the biggest beneficiary of the tax cuts.”

The next step for Republicans is agreeing on a budget, which will determine how much they can spend on their tax proposal. The Senate aims to approve this week its plan penciling in $1.5 trillion for tax cuts, which would have to be merged with a competing House proposal calling for a deficit-neutral tax rewrite as well as accompanying spending cuts.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/16/trump-mcconnell-tax-plan-243833

Story 3: Prowling Pedophile Predator Pack —  Friends of Clinton, Epstein and Weinstein — War on Women By Dirty Deviant Democrats — Filthy Rich Too Big To Arrest? — Videos

Image result for BillJeffrey Epstein and harvey weinstein

Image result for lJeffrey Epstein , bill clinton and harvey weinstein

Hollywood sex scandal expands beyond Harvey Weinstein

SETH MACFARLANE AND FOUR HOLLYWOOD STARS WARNED US ABOUT HARVEY WEINSTEIN YEARS AGO

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Hollywood Was Quick To Attack Trump, But Matt Damon Protected Harvey Weinstein

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Tucker Rips Hollywood, They Protected Harvey Weinstein for Years!

Mark Steyn: Clinton Democrats, Weinstein have much in common

Emma Thompson: Harvey Weinstein ‘top of harassment ladder’ – BBC Newsnight

Ann Coulter Talks Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Bob Corker

Harvey Weinstein May Not Go Down Alone — Money Trail Leads to Michael Moore and Quentin Tarantino

Rush Limbaugh 10/16/2017 | Leftists Try to Shift Blame from Harvey and Bill Clinton to Trump

#WoodyAllen Abandons What’s Left of His Perv-Skeevy Sense of Decency and Defends #HarveyWeinstein

Actress Jessica Barth on Her Encounter with Harvey Weinstein

Actress: Weinstein chased me around room naked

CNN Asks Why Are The Obamas Silent On Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein – Crackin’ Jokes Amidst Sexual Harassment Allegations | TMZ TV

Harvey Weinstein Accuser Describes Harrowing Encounter: He ‘Began Pleasuring Himself’

Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie Say Harvey Weinstein Also Harassed Them | TMZ News

Gwyneth Paltrow and Dave on Harvey Weinstein, Late Show, November 25, 1998

Harvey Weinstein’s New Accuser: He Begged Me to Watch Him Masturbate at Sundance | TMZ

Rob Schneider Says He Was Sexually Harassed by Director, Harvey Weinstein’s Not Only One | TMZ

Jennifer Lawrence BLASTS Harvey Weinstein & More Stars Speak Out

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Bill Clinton & Jeffrey Epstein: Politics + Sex Slave Connections

Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein have a friendship that has caused speculation about pedophilia and sexual relationships that took place on Epstein’s island. After underage sex slaves were linked to Jeffrey Epstein, and with Epstein acting as a major donor to political campaigns of Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Conchita Sarnoff discusses her investigation into powerful and perverted influence at the highest levels , in this highlight from Buzzsaw hosted by Sean Stone.

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The Clinton Pedophilia Connection

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Donald Trump exposes Bill Clinton’s trips with Jeffrey Epstein’s “Pedophile Island”

LOOK AT BILL CLINTON’S FACE as TRUMP Lays Down The Truth About Bill’s Sexual Assaults to Many Women

 

British actress becomes fifth woman to accuse Weinstein of rape

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British actress Lysette Anthony has told police that Harvey Weinstein raped her, the Sunday Times reported, becoming the fifth woman to level such accusations against the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

The 54-year-old actress, who currently appears in British soap Hollyoaks, told Metropolitan Police last week that she had originally met Weinstein in New York, and agreed to meet him later at his rented house in London, according to the paper.

“The next thing I knew he was half undressed and he grabbed me. It was the last thing I expected and I fled,” she told the Times.

Anthony, who appeared in Woody Allen’s 1992 film “Husbands and Wives”, said that Weinstein then began stalking her, turning up unannounced at her house.

“He pushed me inside and rammed me against the coat rack,” she said of the attack in the 1980s. “He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. Finally I just gave up.”

Harvey Weinstein faces another rape claim

Harvey Weinstein faces another rape claim

Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein on Saturday amid mounting accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape.

An avalanche of claims have surfaced since the publication last week of an explosive New York Times report alleging a history of abusive behaviour by Weinstein dating back decades.

The producer’s wife, English fashion designer Georgina Chapman, has said she plans to divorce him.

Weinstein’s films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes, according to The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded after selling Miramax.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4981326/British-actress-fifth-women-accuse-Weinstein-rape.html

 

High-Powered Sex Abusers: Too Big To Fail

CONCHITA SARNOFF

Executive Director, Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking

Abuse of power, influence peddling, non-disclosure agreements, sexual favors, pay offs, terrified victims, and the inability to control sexual urges that stem from the dark side of man, all seem to be a running theme in the distinct cases of Hollywood’s, Harvey Weinstein and Wall Street’s infamous hedge fund manager, Jeffrey Epstein.

Both men–exceptionally intelligent, rich, respected marketing geniuses and armed with powerful friends and political allies such as the Clinton’s, seem to be above the law irrespective of their legal wrongdoings.  Yes, the violations committed by Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Epstein are different.  Mr. Weinstein has never been accused of sexually violating a minor unlike Mr. Epstein.  Epstein pled guilty to two counts of Solicitation of Prostitution with a Minor, in 2007, after a two-year federal investigation was shut down.  Mr. Epstein also has 2 pending cases in New York and Florida, twelve years after the criminal case closed.

Anyone who enjoys history knows that it tends to repeat itself.  In fact, it is exhaustively documented that some absolute monarchs and modern day dictators, given all power to rule, have all but declared themselves gods.  Three in particular come to mind— Emperor Caligula, nee Gaius Augustus Germanicus who ruled over the 3rd Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte, the 19th Century’s Emperor of the French, and Adolf Hitler, Germany’s 20th Century, demonic ruler.

In 1887, British historian and moralist First Baron John Emerich Edward Acton, coined the phrase when expressing his opinion to Bishop Mandell Creighton about “Great men are always bad men.” He went on to explain, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Perhaps Lord Acton was on to something.  The question to ask in 21st Century America is:  How can corporations, Civil Society, and the Department of Justice help curtail productive, powerful, successful executives and marketing geniuses such as Messrs. Weinstein and Epstein from harming young people in vulnerable positions?   Since two categories of laws exist, federal and state, should more legislation be enacted–by federal and state legislators–to protect the most vulnerable populations, men and women, in the United States?

Mr. Weinstein’s act of contrition seemed believable and resolute when he gave his public statement last week concerning his misconduct.  In a statement to The New York Times he said, “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.  I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office—or out of it. To anyone.   I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.  I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”

In contrast to Mr. Weinstein’s public repentance and honesty, Jeffrey Epstein has never apologized for his actions.  On the contrary, when asked by a New York Post reporter in 2011 about serving time for solicitation with a minor, Epstein was not the least bit remorseful.

Mr. Epstein told the reporter, “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an offender.  It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”  This statement was in spite of him being advised to sign a Non- Prosecution Agreement. He pled guilty to 2 counts of prostitution with a minor ad served 13 months in a state jail followed by 18 months under house arrest, In Palm Beach.  When he was released he traveled to New York where he maintains a vast residence in Manhattan. He was forced to register as a sexual offender and designated a level 3. Level 3 is the highest risk category that poses a threat to public safety. Two dozen victims trafficked for sex testified against Mr. Epstein and his principal procurers.  Yet he still believes he is not a predator.  Perhaps Mr. Epstein does not understand that sexually abusing a child usually destroys the child’s psyche forever? Perhaps it does not concern Mr. Epstein to be identified as a registered sex offender, level 3?  After all, money begets power which most always precipitates forgiveness.

Last week in a surprising act of departure, The New York Times called on Mr. Weinstein to, “release women from any non-disclosure agreements.”

Should the news organization follow the same course of action and request Mr. Epstein release his victims from any non-disclosure agreements? In Epstein’s case, thousands of court files detailing the egregiousness of the sexual abuse cases have been heavily redacted and mostly sealed to the media and public.  Court files containing important evidence and hundreds of depositions given by victims and law enforcement remain under seal.  After all, Mr. Epstein’s cases represent far more egregious crimes against dozens of women than Mr. Weinstein’s case has thus far. Crimes committed by Mr. Epstein against dozens of underage victims, some as young as 12, that scarred them permanently.

According to the New York Times report, several striking similarities between the two cases show that in proper mogul fashion, Messrs. Weinstein and Epstein paid off dozens of allegations of sexual harassment for years before their cases were brought to light.  Both hired the best and brightest attorneys to represent them.

It’s interesting to note the difference in style of the principal attorneys representing each mogul.  One of Mr. Epstein’s lead attorneys was former Harvard University law professor, Alan Dershowitz.  Mr. Dershowitz was a close friend and lead attorney. In 2014, Mr. Dershowitz was accused by one of the victim’s, Virginia Louise Roberts, of sexual molestation when she was a minor.

In Mr. Weinstein’s case, the recent resignation of his Los Angeles attorney, Ms. Lisa Bloom, an outspoken and respected feminist and Ms. Gloria Allred’s daughter, left a lot to the imagination. No doubt the truth–in its entirety–will surface eventually.

Two more attorneys represent Mr. Weinstein. Charles Harder and New York’s, David Boies, continue to work on the case.  Mr. Boies, coincidentally, recently represented Virginia Louise Roberts-Giuffre.  The same victim who accused Mr. Dershowitz of sexually molesting her as a minor. Mr. Boies took on the defamation case Virginia Louise Giuffre vs. Ghislaine Maxwell, pro bono, in September 2015.

Ms. Roberts-Giuffre accused Ms. Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s former companion, of multiple felonies including child sex trafficking.  Mr. Boies managed to settle the defamation case against Ms. Maxwell for an undisclosed amount at the eleventh hour just before the 2016 presidential elections.  Ms. Maxwell was identified as the principal procurer in dozens of court files.

Unlike the two victims, Virginia Louise Roberts-Giuffre and Lauren O’Connor, who inculpated Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, there are countless unknown victims of sexual abuse and harassment who refuse to come forward given the challenges women confront when testifying against rich and powerful sexual predators.  An accurate description of this dilemma was described in Ms. O’Connor’s memo, “I am a 28-year-old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64-year-old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

It is not surprising that so many victims prefer silence over the indignity, public shame of disclosure, unbalanced wheels of power and justice, and unremitting obstacles brought forth during a sexual crime investigation.  All of these daunting elements deter many victims, men and women, from ‘blowing the whistle.’  When it comes to the rich and famous, the powerful adage still holds: “The rich can get away with murder.”   While Mr. Weinstein was disgraced when he was let go by the Weinstein’s Company Board, on account of the sexual harassment charges, Mr. Epstein did not suffer any professional damage or humiliation.  Mr. Epstein continues to trade and invest his client’s money on Wall Street and other markets, his assets–domestic and off-shore–remain unfrozen, and he walks the streets freely, without any consequences and short of the $5 million dollars he had to pay three victims for restitution last month.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/12/high-powered-sex-abusers-too-big-to-fail/

The ‘sex slave’ scandal that exposed pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein

Modal TriggerThe ‘sex slave’ scandal that exposed pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein

In 2005, the world was introduced to reclusive billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, friend to princes and an American president, a power broker with the darkest of secrets: He was also a pedophile, accused of recruiting dozens of underage girls into a sex-slave network, buying their silence and moving along, although he has been convicted of only one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Visitors to his private Caribbean island, known as “Orgy Island,” have included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Stephen Hawking.

According to a 2011 court filing by alleged Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, she saw Clinton and Prince Andrew on the island but never saw the former president do anything improper. Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was a minor, a charge Buckingham Palace denies.

“Epstein lives less than one mile away from me in Palm Beach,” author James Patterson tells The Post. In the 11 years since Epstein was investigated and charged by the Palm Beach police department, ultimately copping a plea and serving 13 months on one charge of soliciting prostitution from a 14-year-old girl, Patterson has remained obsessed with the case.

“He’s a fascinating character to read about,” Patterson says. “What is he thinking? Who is he?”

Patterson’s new book, “Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice That Money Can Buy,” is an attempt to answer such questions. Co-authored with John Connolly and Tim Malloy, the book contains detailed police interviews with girls who alleged sexual abuse by Epstein and others in his circle. Giuffre alleged that Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, abused her. Ghislaine Maxwell has denied allegations of enabling abuse.

Epstein has spent the bulk of his adult life cultivating relationships with the world’s most powerful men. Flight logs show that from 2001 to 2003, Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s private plane, dubbed “The Lolita Express” by the press, 26 times. After Epstein’s arrest in July 2006, federal tax records show Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation that year.

Bill Clinton in 1994.AP

Epstein was also a regular visitor to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, and the two were friends. According to the Daily Mail, Trump was a frequent dinner guest at Epstein’s home, which was often full of barely dressed models. In 2003, New York magazine reported that Trump also attended a dinner party at Epstein’s honoring Bill Clinton.

Last year, The Guardian reported that Epstein’s “little black book” contained contact numbers for A-listers including Tony Blair, Naomi Campbell, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson.

In a 2006 court filing, Palm Beach police noted that a search of Epstein’s home uncovered two hidden cameras. The Mirror reported that in 2015, a 6-year-old civil lawsuit filed by “Jane Doe No. 3,” believed to be the now-married Giuffre, alleged that Epstein wired his mansion with hidden cameras, secretly recording orgies involving his prominent friends and underage girls. The ultimate purpose: blackmail, according to court papers.

Britain’s Prince Andrew in 2012AP

“Jane Doe No. 3” also alleged that she had been forced to have sex with “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders.”

“We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives,” Patterson says.

“The reader has to ask: Was justice done here or not?”

Epstein, now 63, has always been something of an international man of mystery. Born in Brooklyn, he had a middle-class upbringing: His father worked for the Parks Department, and his parents stressed hard work and education.

‘We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives.’

 – James Patterson

Epstein was brilliant, skipping two grades and graduating Lafayette High School in 1969. He attended Cooper Union but dropped out in 1971 and by 1973 was teaching calculus and physics at Dalton, where he tutored the son of a Bear Stearns exec. Soon, Epstein applied his facility with numbers on Wall Street but left Bear Stearns under a cloud in 1981. He formed his own business, J. Epstein & Co.

The bar for entry at the new firm was high. According to a 2002 profile in New York magazine, Epstein only took on clients who turned over $1 billion, at minimum, for him to manage. Clients also had to pay a flat fee and sign power of attorney over to Epstein, allowing him to do whatever he saw fit with their money.

Still, no one knew exactly what Epstein did, or how he was able to amass a personal billion-dollar-plus fortune. In addition to a block-long, nine-story mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Epstein owns the $6.8 million mansion in Palm Beach, an $18 million property in New Mexico, the 70-acre private Caribbean island, a helicopter, a Gulfstream IV and a Boeing 727.

“My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won’t get a straight answer from him,” one high-level investor told New York magazine. “He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I’ve also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It’s like looking at the Wizard of Oz — there may be less there than meets the eye.”

Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach homeSplash News

“He’s very enigmatic,” Rosa Monckton told Vanity Fair in 2003. Monckton was the former British CEO of Tiffany & Co. and confidante to the late Princess Diana. She was also a close friend of Epstein’s since the 1980s. “He never reveals his hand . . . He’s a classic iceberg. What you see is not what you get.”

Both profiles intimated that Epstein had a predilection for young women but never went further. In the New York magazine piece, Trump said Epstein’s self-professed image as a loner, an egghead and a teetotaler was not wholly accurate.

Donald Trump in 1990AP

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years,” Trump said. “Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Three years after that profile ran, Palm Beach Police Officer Michele Pagan got a disturbing message. A woman reported that her 14-year-old stepdaughter confided to a friend that she’d had sex with an older man for money. The man’s name was Jeff, and he lived in a mansion on a cul-de-sac.

Pagan persuaded the woman to bring her stepdaughter down to be interviewed. In his book, Patterson calls the girl Mary. And Mary, like so many of the other girls who eventually talked, came from the little-known working-class areas surrounding Palm Beach.

A friend of a friend, Mary said, told her she could make hundreds of dollars in one hour, just for massaging some middle-aged guy’s feet. Lots of other girls had been doing it, some three times a week.

Mary claimed she had been driven to the mansion on El Brillo Way, where a female staffer escorted her up a pink-carpeted staircase, then into a room with a massage table, an armoire topped with sex toys and a photo of a little girl pulling her underwear off.

Ghislaine MaxwellGetty Images

Epstein entered the room, wearing only a towel, Mary said.

“He took off the towel,” Mary told Pagan. “He was a really built guy. But his wee-wee was very tiny.”

Mary said Epstein got on the table and barked orders at her. She told police she was alone in the room with him, terrified.

Pagan wrote the following in her incident report:

“She removed her pants, leaving her thong panties on. She straddled his back, whereby her exposed buttocks were touching Epstein’s exposed buttocks. Epstein then turned to his side and started to rub his penis in an up-and-down motion. Epstein pulled out a purple vibrator and began to massage Mary’s vaginal area.”

Palm Beach assigned six more detectives to the investigation. They conducted a “trash pull” of Epstein’s garbage, sifting through paper with phone numbers, used condoms, toothbrushes, worn underwear. In one pull, police found a piece of paper with Mary’s phone number on it, along with the number of the person who recruited her.

On Sept. 11, 2005, detectives got another break. Alison, as she’s called in the book, told Detective Joe Recarey that she had been going to Epstein’s house since she was 16. Alison had been working at the Wellington Green Mall, saving up for a trip to Maine, when a friend told her, “You can get a plane ticket in two hours . . . We can go give this guy a massage and he’ll pay $200,” according to her statement to the police.

Alison told Recarey that she visited Epstein hundreds of times. She said he had bought her a new 2005 Dodge Neon, plane tickets, and gave her spending money. Alison said he even asked her to emancipate from her parents so she could live with him full-time as his “sex slave.”

She said Epstein slowly escalated his sexual requests, and despite Alison’s insistence that they never have intercourse, alleged, “This one time . . . he bent me over the table and put himself in me. Without my permission.”

Alison then asked if what Epstein had done to her was rape and spoke of her abject fear of him.

An abridged version of her witness statement, as recounted in the book:

Alison: Before I say anything else . . . um, is there a possibility that I’m gonna have to go to court or anything?
Recarey: I mean, what he did to you is a crime. I’m not gonna lie to you.
Alison: Would you consider it rape, what he did?
Recarey: If he put himself inside you without permission . . . That, that is a crime. That is a crime.
Alison: I don’t want my family to find out about this . . . ’Cause Jeffrey’s gonna get me. You guys realize that, right? . . . I’m not safe now. I’m not safe.
Recarey: Why do you say you’re not safe? Has he said he’s hurt people before?
Alison: Well, I’ve heard him make threats to people on the telephone, yeah. Of course.
Recarey: You’re gonna die? You’re gonna break your legs? Or —
Alison: All of the above!

Alison also told Recarey that Epstein got so violent with her that he ripped out her hair and threw her around. “I mean,” she said, “there’s been nights that I walked out of there barely able to walk, um, from him being so rough.”

Two months later, Recarey interviewed Epstein’s former house manager of 11 years, documented in his probable-cause affidavit as Mr. Alessi. “Alessi stated Epstein receives three massages a day . . . towards the end of his employment, the masseuses . . . appeared to be 16 or 17 years of age at the most . . . [Alessi] would have to wash off a massager/vibrator and a long rubber penis, which were in the sink after the massage.”

Another house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, told Recarey that very young girls were giving Epstein massages at least twice a day, and in one instance, Epstein had Rodriguez deliver one dozen roses to Mary, at her high school.

In May 2006, the Palm Beach Police Department filed a probable-cause affidavit, asking prosecutors to charge Epstein with four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor — a second-degree felony — and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a 14-year-old minor, also a second-degree felony.

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court.

Palm Beach prosecutors said the evidence was weak, and after presenting the case to a grand jury, Epstein was charged with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. In 2008, he pleaded guilty and nominally served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail: Epstein spent one day a week there, the other six out on “work release.”

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court. As of 2015, Epstein had settled multiple such cases.

Giuffre has sued Ghislaine Maxwell in Manhattan federal court, charging defamation — saying Maxwell stated Giuffre lied about Maxwell’s recruitment of her and other underage girls. Epstein has been called upon to testify in court this month, on Oct. 20.

The true number of Epstein’s victims may never be known.

He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, not that it fazes him.

“I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’ ” Epstein told The Post in 2011. “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

http://nypost.com/2016/10/09/the-sex-slave-scandal-that-exposed-pedophile-billionaire-jeffrey-epstein/

Bill Clinton & Jeffrey Epstein: Politics + Sex Slave Connections

The Billionaire Pedophile Who Could Bring Down Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Billionaire sicko Jeffrey Epstein was long thought to be ammo against the Clintons—until a lurid new lawsuit accused Trump of raping one of Epstein’s girls himself.

For Jeffrey Epstein and his famous friends, the Aughts were a simpler time, when the businessmen, academics, and celebrities who counted themselves among the playboy philanthropist’s inner circle could freely enjoy the fruits of his extreme wealth and connections.

Epstein’s little black book and flight logs read like a virtual Who’s Who: Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Larry Summers, Kevin Spacey, Prince Andrew, and Naomi Campbell all hitched rides on Epstein’s private planes. Socialites and distinguished scientists went to visit Epstein’s island in St. Thomas, and cavorted at epic dinner parties at his palatial townhouse—then the largest privately owned residence in New York, as he liked to brag. There, they picked at elaborate meals catered by celebrity chefs like Rocco DiSpirito, marvelled at Epstein’s opulent decor, and noted the pack of very, very young model-types with whom Epstein always seemed to surround himself.

But a darker story was going on underneath the glamour. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting sex from an underage girl and quietly paid settlements to scores of alleged victims who said he serially molested them. But the girls kept coming out of the woodwork—in 2014, another young woman filed a lawsuit claiming that Epstein used her as a sex slave for his powerful friends—and that she’d been at parties on his private island with former President Clinton.

And just last week, yet another “Jane Doe” filed a suit in New York accusing Epstein and Donald Trump of raping her at a series of sex parties when she was only 13.

Trump has denied Jane Doe’s claims and his reps have said he barely knew Epstein—even though New York media in the ’90s regularly chronicled his comings-and-goings at Epstein’s Upper East Side palace, and even though Epstein had 14 private numbers for Trump and his family in his little black book. Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton have remained mum about their ties to the Palm Beach pedophile—despite evidence that shows Bill was one of the most famous and frequent passengers on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” and that Epstein donated money to the Clinton Foundation even after his conviction.

For months, talking heads have wondered whether Trump would use Epstein and his girls as a weapon against Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Less than a year before Florida police began investigating Jeffrey Epstein for the alleged rape and abuse of scores of young girls, the questionable billionaire responded to a call on Edge—an online club where navel-gazing intellectuals and academics meet to pose questions to one another—for a “bit of wisdom, some rule of nature… that you’ve noticed in the universe that might as well be named after you.”

“Epstein’s First Law,” he wrote, “Know when you are winning.”

“Epstein’s Second Law: The key question is not what can I gain but what do I have to lose.”

What the 63-year-old Ralph Lauren lookalike had to lose was his perverted double life. According to law-enforcement officials and alleged victims, between the years 1998 and 2007—and possibly even earlier—he ran a particularly vile pyramid scheme that involved paying minors around $200 at a time to perform sexual massages nearly every day and then recruit even younger girls to do the same. (“The more you do, the more you are paid,” one said.) During these massages, girls as young as 13 told police they were instructed to get undressed. Epstein would masturbate or penetrate them, they said—with his finger, or a vibrator, or his allegedly egg-shaped penis.

By the time Epstein was arrested in 2008, police in Palm Beach County, Florida, had already spent months monitoring his movements, rifling through his trash, and interviewing potential victims and witnesses. Police reported to prosecutors that they had gathered enough evidence to charge the money manager with several felonies: lewd and lascivious molestation and four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. Epstein’s freedom, his wealth, his little black book full of famous folk—including princes, presidents, and prime ministers—all were seemingly at stake.

So Epstein did what the mega-rich do in these situations: hired star attorneys Gerald Lefcourt and Alan Dershowitz, who defended their client vigorously, reportedly having witnesses followed and discrediting the alleged victims by offering their MySpace pages as evidence of supposed drug use and scandalous behavior.

Prosecutors said Epstein’s dream team made successful prosecution unlikely. “Our judgment in this case, based on the evidence known at the time, was that it was better to have a billionaire serve time in jail, register as a sex offender, and pay his victims restitution than risk a trial with a reduced likelihood of success,” U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta explained in a 2011 letter.

And so, despite a decade of alleged serial sexual abuse and rape of an unknowable number of girls, some as many as 100 times according to court filings, the notoriously secretive financier was offered a deal. For the alleged systematic victimization of young girls—most of whom were plucked by Epstein’s assistants from Palm Beach’s poorer neighborhoods and groomed to adore or acquiesce to him—he was slapped with a 2008 conviction on a single charge of soliciting a minor; and sentenced to an 18-month stay in a Palm Beach county jail—of which he served only 13 months and was allowed to leave six days out of every week for “work release.” He also agreed to a few dozen confidential, out-of-court payoffs to his accusers, the most recent of which was finalized in 2011.

Epstein’s “potential co-conspirators,” as the U.S. Attorney called them—women who allegedly procured girls for Epstein—also received immunity from prosecution as a condition of the 2007 agreement that enraged the local police force for its leniency. As of 2015, according to The Guardian, two of these women had changed their names, and were operating businesses out of a building owned by Epstein’s brother, where it was alleged in court documents that Epstein had housed young women.

Though Epstein must register as a sex offender for life, and arguably suffer the world’s most revolting Google presence, he has seemingly retained his collection of elite academic and media friends as well as his fortune. Since his release in 2009, Epstein has gone about his business, running a mysterious money management firm (clients unknown, income unknown, investments and activities unknown) from his private 70-acre island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and spending time at his Uptown stone mansion. The palace was gifted to Epstein, some say, by its previous owner—Epstein’s guardian angel and the founder of The Limited Inc., Leslie Wexner.

From his plush perch, Epstein continues to dismiss any notions that he should be viewed as the child rapist that victims and Florida police say he is.

“I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’” he told the New York Post in 2011, shortly after a New York judge classified him as a level 3 offender, or “a threat to public safety.”

“It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel,” Epstein said.

But for the wealthy and famous in Epstein’s orbit, his conviction has meant suspicion by association.

In December 2014, just as the Palm Beach lawsuits were winding down, another alleged victim emerged and her claims were salacious: Epstein, she said, had loaned her out as an underage sex slave to his famous friends—including Britain’s Prince Andrew and Epstein defense attorney Dershowitz (both men denied the charges). Coming forward in Britain’s Daily Mail in 2011, Virginia Roberts Guiffre—called Jane Doe #3 in a related lawsuit (PDF)—claimed that Epstein and his “girlfriend,” alleged madame Ghislaine Maxwell, forced her to have sex with the pair’s powerful pals and gather intel that Epstein could later use. In court documents, Guiffre testified, “Epstein and Maxwell also told me that they wanted me to produce things for them in addition to performing sex on the men. They told me to pay attention to the details about what the men wanted so I could report back to them.”

Guiffre noted that Epstein appeared to be collecting information on Prince Andrew—particularly on his alleged foot fetish—and claimed, “Epstein also trafficked me for sexual purposes to other powerful men, including politicians and powerful business executives. Epstein required me to describe the sexual events I had with these men presumably so that he could potentially blackmail them. I am still very fearful of these men today.”

A judge threw out Guiffre’s motion in 2015, but Guiffre stands by her claims and is suing Ghislaine Maxwell, whom she claims acted as Epstein’s madam.

Meanwhile, the men named by Guiffre seem eager for her to go away. “It’s as if I’ve been waterboarded for 15 months,” Dershowitz told the Boston Globeafter the settlement of a defamation case related to Guiffre’s claims. “This has taken a terrible toll on my family, on my friends…” Buckingham Palace has also denied the allegations against Prince Andrew, calling them “categorically untrue.”

UPDATE: This April, Giuffre’s lawyers withdrew her allegations against Dershowitz and said that it was a “mistake” to have filed the accusations in the first place. A federal judge later struck her allegations against Dershowitz from the court record. At Dershowitz’s request, Louis Freeh, the former head of the FBI, also conducted an independent investigation of her claims and published a statement noting, “Our investigation found no evidence to support the accusations of sexual misconduct against Professor Dershowitz.”

In her lawsuit, Guiffre had claimed that during trips to Epstein’s private island, she’d also encountered another very famous person: former President Bill Clinton. Guiffre alleges the former U.S. president visited Epstein’s “Orgy Island” when there were underage girls present, but added that she never had sex with him and never saw him have sex with any of the young women.

Still, it’s these sorts of allegations that have journalists and Clinton-haters circling. Just last month, pundits on MSNBC’s Morning Joe were speculating about Bill Clinton’s oft-discussed friendship with Epstein and whether it would be the go-to play for a Trump campaign looking to combat Hillary Clinton’s claims that Trump is bad for women.

Requests for comment to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Clinton Foundation were not returned.

The former president, who flew on the “The Lolita Express”at least 26 timesfrom 2001 to 2003, has never addressed his ties with Epstein, a onetime major Democratic donor, according to Federal Election Commission records, who also gave millions to the Clinton Foundation even after his arrest for abusing underage girls. “I invest in people—be it politics or science. It’s what I do,” Epstein has reportedly said to friends.

“There’s a 100 percent chance [Trump] is going there,” said former McCain strategist Steve Schmidt on Morning Joe, referring to Clinton’s friendship with the pervy moneyman.

***

Still, Trump may not want to actually “go there” in light of the new federal lawsuit against him.

Just last week, Trump’s own connections to Epstein made headlines when a Jane Doe claimed that the presumptive Republican nominee and his financier pal raped her on several occasions when she was 13 years old.

The allegations are explosive. And the circumstances surrounding them are very, very strange.

According to the complaint, filed in a Manhattan federal court, one of Epstein’s assistants approached Jane Doe as she waited for a bus at the New York Port Authority terminal and offered the teenager money and contacts that could lead to a modeling contract if she came to a party at Epstein’s house. Jane Doe says she attended several parties at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, and supposedly had sexual contact with Donald Trump at four of them. The fourth and final time she attended a party with Trump, she alleges he tied her to a bed with pantyhose, raped her, then beat her and threatened to kill her and her family if she told a soul.

This is the second time the woman has brought a suit against Trump and Epstein. The first, which she filed herself this April in California using the name Katie Johnson, was dismissed for failure to bring a claim under the civil-rights law under which she had filed suit. Calls to the phone number listed on the original suit were never answered, with no way to leave a voicemail. The plaintiff’s reported address in Twentynine Palms was a one-bedroom, one-bath home belonging to 72-year-old David Stacey, who had died on Oct. 9, and public records show no evidence of a Katie Johnson living at the property. Neighbors told RadarOnline that squatters had overrun the home while Stacey was hospitalized, and a real-estate agent reported the home had been turned over to the bank by April.

“The allegations are not only categorically false, but disgusting at the highest level and clearly framed to solicit media attention or, perhaps, are simply politically motivated,” Trump told RadarOnline, responding to the original lawsuit. “There is absolutely no merit to these allegations. Period.”

The new complaint charges that Trump’s denial amounts to defamation. This time, Johnson also has a declaration from a woman who claims to be a corroborating witness, known in the suit as Tiffany Doe. According to her statement, Tiffany was 22 when she lured Johnson to Epstein’s home and witnessed Johnson’s alleged rape firsthand.

Johnson has a number of non-anonymous supporters, though it’s a cast of characters who do little to allay Trump’s assertion that her claim was brought solely to influence the election.

According to a lengthy article on the site Jezebel, some eight months before Johnson filed her California lawsuit against Epstein and Trump, a man named Al Taylor—who claimed to be the “PR person” for something called the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas—reached out to a reporter at Gawker to shop a video recording of Johnson and her rape story. Taylor, who identified himself to The Daily Beast as “a friend” to Johnson, claims to have met her at a party where she revealed her alleged childhood assault by Trump. In a video published in part on Jezebel, a woman claiming to be Katie Johnson appears—wearing a blond wig, her face pixelated and her voice disguised. In it, she details the allegations of rape.

When The Daily Beast asked Taylor for a copy of the video, Taylor suggested it was still for sale. “I heard it would be worth $1 million,” Taylor said, claiming the proceeds from the sale would go to Johnson’s protection.

“We’ve got her in hiding,” he said.

Taylor has coincidentally been the subject of Epstein-related news before. In 2011, Taylor, at first freelance producing for The Jerry Springer Show then working alone, claimed to have made a million-dollar deal with Casey Anthony for an interview after the Florida woman’s acquittal in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter. When the interview didn’t happen, Taylor retained the services of Spencer Kuvin, a Palm Beach lawyer who also represented three Epstein victims. Taylor says he met Kuvin during an attempt to interview his Epstein clients. They settled with Epstein out of court and declined to be interviewed by Taylor.

But Taylor wasn’t the only party working to get the tape and Katie Johnson’s story to the media. According to Jezebel, Steve Baer, described in National Review as “a conservative activist and major, if secretive, donor to the conservative movement,” lobbied their reporter to publish Johnson’s claims. Baer is also, according to Jezebel, the father of Chandler Smith, an Ohio woman who happens to be the co-founder of an organization called Vote Trump Get Dumped, a campaign that urges ladies to withhold sex from Trump supporters. “Until Trump is defeated, we don’t date, sleep with, or canoodle with Trump supporters,” the group’s manifesto reads.

When Johnson’s case was thrown out in California, Taylor says he began looking for an attorney to file a new case for his “friend.” They approached Brad Edwards, the lawyer who has represented a number of Epstein victims through settlements—and who is now representing Virginia Roberts Guiffre in her claim against Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell as well as four alleged victims in the case against the federal government.

“I will say I’ve never represented [Johnson] and I won’t be representing her,” Edwards told The Daily Beast.

Edwards couldn’t comment on the conversations he had with Johnson or her representatives, citing attorney-client privilege. Concerning Trump’s involvement in Epstein’s illicit affairs, Edwards said he hadn’t seen any evidence that would implicate the GOP nominee and described Trump as “extremely helpful and honest,” during questioning.

When Edwards declined to take the case, Taylor told the website GossipExtrathey were shopping for representation. That’s how Johnson’s current attorney, Tom Meagher, says he found his client.

Meagher is a patent attorney in New Jersey who openly admits, “I’ve never taken on accusations like this,” but says he was drawn to Johnson’s story and believes her “100 percent.” In an effort to get media attention for Johnson’s case, Meagher attended a May fundraiser in Lawrenceville, New Jersey—thrown to pay off the debt incurred by Chris Christie’s failed presidential campaign, and one at which Donald Trump spoke. Described as “a protester” by a local reporter, Meagher confirms he was removed by security after holding up a sign that read: “Ask Trump About Katie Johnson.”

“I don’t have a view on the race,” Meagher now tells The Daily Beast. “I did before the matter, but now I’m apolitical so I can focus on my client.”

Concerning the timing of the lawsuit, Meagher says: “Of course, she does not want her rapist to be president.”

Despite several requests, The Daily Beast was not able to speak with Katie Johnson or Tiffany Doe. When asked whether any evidence of their claims existed outside of the Doe declarations, Taylor said Tiffany kept a journal of Epstein contacts. “She has all the goods,” Taylor said, but would not elaborate and said future names would only be released in response to a scandal on par with Donald Trump’s political ascent.

But Mike Fisten, a retired Miami-Dade homicide detective who worked as a private investigator in several Epstein-related cases, is skeptical about the new claims.

Fisten says Epstein had in effect two lives: “a business life and deviant pedphile life.” To find out which friends were involved in which life, Fisten carried a book with photos of Epstein’s contacts. In hundreds of interviews with hundreds of witnesses, he said no one has ever identified Trump as being involved in any kind of sexual activity with underage girls. In fact, Fisten recalls learning in the early 2000s that members of Trump’s private Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, complained that Epstein was often accompanied by very young girls–“a different girl every week”—each of whom he would refer to as “his niece.” Fisten says he offered to look at Tiffany Doe’s book to vet her free of charge, but Taylor and Meagher declined.

Emails to the Trump Organization and the campaign for this story were not returned, but Trump’s attorney Alan Garten has repeatedly denied any relationship between his client and Epstein, other than Epstein’s Mar-a-Lago membership.

Still, it’s clear that Trump’s association with Epstein runs deeper than just pool days at Mar-a-Lago.

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. Calling him a “terrific guy,” Trump continued, “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

According to a 2003 profile in Vanity Fair and New York gossip rags that covered the goings-on of Epstein and his famous friends in the late ’90s, Trump would attend dinner parties at the 71st Street mansion. In April 1999, The Mail spotted Trump among the guests at a dinner Epstein threw in honor of Prince Andrew. In 2000, they reported he attended a “hookers and pimps” Halloween party. New York magazine reported Trump’s attendance at a 2003 dinner party thrown in honor of Bill Clinton. Magician David Blaine entertained the “barely clad models” with card tricks, but Clinton never appeared.

“I often see Donald Trump and there are loads of models coming and going, mostly at night,” a neighbor told The Mail on Sunday in 2000.

Then there is the black book, in which Epstein lists 14 phone numbers for Trump, including ones for his future wife Melania. Police evidence shows Trump has called Epstein, flown on Epstein’s plane, and eaten in Epstein’s Florida home.

Garten did not return a request for comment on these connections.

“Mr. Trump’s only connection with Mr. Epstein was that Mr. Epstein was one of thousands of people who has visited Mar-a-Lago,” the Trump attorney told a BuzzFeed reporter in 2015. “That’s it. Mr. Trump has NEVER been accused of having any involvement or even having any knowledge of any of Mr. Epstein’s conduct by anyone.”

That was true until last week. And while the media has been hesitant to report on Katie Johnson’s accusations, stories have emerged in recent days in outlets like the New York Daily News and Gothamist and more may be in the works: Johnson’s attorney says he taped an interview with ABC News and sources spoken to for this story said they had been contacted by other national news organizations.

Johnson will likely have her day in court, but—perhaps ironically, given Trump’s habit of “just asking” about conspiracy theories while claiming he’s not endorsing them—the veracity of her claims may not matter. True or not, they bring to light a number of disturbing questions about Epstein and his pre-Palm Beach days—ones both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will likely have to address.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-billionaire-pedophile-who-could-bring-down-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey WeinsteinCBE (born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer and former film studio executive. He and his brother Bob Weinstein co-founded Miramax, which produced several popular independent filmsincluding Pulp FictionClerksThe Crying Game, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape.[1] Harvey won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals, including The ProducersBilly Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.[2]

Weinstein and his brother Bob were co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company from 2005 to 2017. In October 2017, following numerous allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape against him, Harvey Weinstein was fired by his company’s board of directors,[3] and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[4]

Education and early career

Weinstein was born in the Flushing section of the New York City borough of Queens,[5] to a Jewish family.[6] His parents were Max Weinstein, a diamond cutter,[7] and Miriam (née Postel).[7][8] He grew up with his younger brother, Bob Weinstein, in a housing co-op named Electchester in New York City. He graduated from John Bowne High School and the University at Buffalo,[9][10] and received an honorarySUNYDoctorate of Humane Lettersin a ceremony at Buffalo in 2000.[11] Weinstein, his brother Bob, and Corky Burger independently produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of the 1970s.[9][12]

Film career

1970s: Early work and creation of Miramax

Both Weinstein brothers had grown up with a passion for movies, and they nurtured a desire to enter the film industry. In the late 1970s, using profits from their concert promotion business, the brothers created a small independent film distribution company named Miramax, named after their parents, Miriam and Max.[8] The company’s first releases were primarily music-oriented concert films such as Paul McCartney‘s Rockshow.[13]

1980s: Success with arthouse and independent films

In the early 1980s, Miramax acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for the human rights organization Amnesty International. Working closely with Martin Lewis, the producer of the original films, the Weinstein brothers edited the two films into one movie tailored for the American market. The resulting film was released as The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball in May 1982, and it became Miramax’s first hit. The movie raised considerable sums for Amnesty International and was credited by Amnesty with having helped to raise its profile in the United States.[9][12]

Weinstein at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival

The Weinsteins slowly built upon this success throughout the 1980s with arthouse films that achieved critical attention and modest commercial success. Harvey Weinstein and Miramax gained wider attention in 1988 with the release of Errol Morris‘ documentary The Thin Blue Line, which detailed the struggle of Randall Adams, a wrongfully convicted inmate sentenced to death row. The publicity that soon surrounded the case resulted in Adams’ release and nationwide publicity for Miramax. In 1989, their successful launch release of Steven Soderbergh‘s Sex, Lies, and Videotape propelled Miramax to become the most successful independent studio in America.[14]

Also in 1989, Miramax released two arthouse films, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and director Pedro Almodóvar‘s film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, both of which the MPAArating board gave an X-rating, effectively stopping nationwide release for these films. Weinstein sued the MPAA over the rating system. His lawsuit was later thrown out, but the MPAA introduced the NC-17 rating two months later.[15]

1990s–2000s: Further success, Disney ownership deal

Miramax continued to grow its library of films and directors until, in 1993, after the success of The Crying GameDisney offered the Weinsteins $80 million for ownership of Miramax.[16] The brothers agreed to the deal that would cement their Hollywood clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company, and the next year Miramax released their first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction, and distributed the popular independent film Clerks.

Miramax won its first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1997 with the victory of The English Patient. (Pulp Fiction was nominated in 1995 but lost to Forrest Gump).[17] This started a string of critical successes that included Good Will Hunting(1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), both of which won several awards, including numerous Academy Awards.[18][19][20][21]

2005–2017: The Weinstein Company

Weinstein in 2010

The Weinstein brothers left Miramax on September 30, 2005 to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company, with several other media executives, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Colin Vaines, who had successfully run the production department at Miramax for ten years.[22] In February 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore took legal action against the Weinstein brothers, claiming he was owed $2.7 million in profits for his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which he said had been denied to him by “Hollywood accounting tricks”.[23] In February 2012, Moore dropped the lawsuit for an undisclosed settlement.[24]

Managerial style and controversies

While lauded for opening up the independent film market and making it financially viable, Weinstein has been criticized by some for the techniques he has allegedly applied in his business dealings. Peter Biskind‘s book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film[9] details criticism of Miramax’s release history and editing of Asian films, such as Shaolin SoccerHero, and Princess Mononoke. There is a rumor that when Harvey Weinstein was charged with handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, director Hayao Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the mail. Attached to the blade was a stark message: “No cuts.” Miyazaki commented on the incident: “Actually, my producer did that. Although I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts. I defeated him.”[25] Weinstein has always insisted that such editing was done in the interest of creating the most financially viable film. “I’m not cutting for fun,” Harvey Weinstein said in an interview. “I’m cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies.”[12][26]

Another example cited by Biskind was Phillip Noyce‘s The Quiet American (2002), whose release Weinstein delayed following the September 11 attacks owing to audience reaction in test screenings to the film’s critical tone towards America’s past foreign policy. After being told the film would go straight to video, Noyce planned to screen the film in Toronto International Film Festival in order to mobilize critics to pressure Miramax to release it theatrically. Weinstein decided to screen the film at the Festival only after he was lobbied by star Michael Caine, who threatened to boycott publicity for another film he had made for Miramax. The Quiet American received mostly positive reviews at the festival, and Miramax eventually released the film theatrically, but it was alleged that Miramax did not make a major effort to promote the film for Academy Award consideration, though Caine was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.[9]

Weinstein has also cultivated a reputation for ruthlessness and fits of anger. According to Biskind, Weinstein once put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock while throwing him out of a party. On another occasion, Weinstein excoriated director Julie Taymor and her husband during a disagreement over a test screening of her movie Frida.[12]

In a 2004 newspaper article, in New York magazine, Weinstein appeared somewhat repentant for his often aggressive discussions with directors and producers.[27] However, a Newsweek story on October 13, 2008, criticized Weinstein, who was accused of “hassling Sydney Pollack on his deathbed” about the release of the film The Reader. After Weinstein offered $1 million to charity if the accusation could be proven, journalist Nikki Finke published an email sent by Scott Rudin on August 22 asserting that Weinstein “harassed” Anthony Minghella‘s widow and a bedridden Pollack until Pollack’s family asked him to stop.[28][29]

In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding a 1977 charge that he had drugged and raped a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pleaded guilty before fleeing the country.[30] Weinstein, whose company had distributed a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime,[31] prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski’s guilty plea indicated that his action was a crime, and that several other serious charges were pending.[32]

In Oscar acceptance speeches since 1966, Weinstein was thanked a total of 34 times by actors and actresses – just as many times as God, and second only to Steven Spielberg with 43 mentions.[33]

Activism

Weinstein has been active on issues such as poverty, AIDSjuvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. He serves on the Board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit that targets poverty, and co-chaired one of its annual benefits.[34] He is critical of the lack of gun control laws and universal health care in the United States.[35]

Weinstein is a longtime supporter and contributor to the Democratic Party including the campaigns of President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry.[36] He supported Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign,[37] and in 2012, he hosted an election fundraiser for President Obama at his home in Westport, Connecticut.[38]

Sexual assault allegations

In October 2017, The New York Times[39][40] and The New Yorker[3] reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein,[41] who denied any non-consensual sex. As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company[42], expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[4] his wife Georgina Chapman left him,[43] and leading figures in politics whom he had supported denounced him.[44]

On October 8, 2017, The Weinstein Company’s board fired Harvey Weinstein, following numerous allegations of his sexual misconduct.[45]

On October 12, 2017 Hachette Book Group dropped the imprint for Weinstein Books. [46]

Personal life

Weinstein has been married twice. In 1987, he married his assistant Eve Chilton. They divorced in 2004.[27][47] They had three children: Remy (previously Lily) (born 1995), Emma (born 1998), and Ruth (born 2002).[48] In 2007, he married English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman.[49] They have a daughter, India Pearl (born 2010),[50] and a son, Dashiell[51] (born 2013).[52]

Honors

On April 19, 2004, Weinstein was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry. The award is “honorary” because Weinstein is not a citizen of a Commonwealth country.[53]

On March 2, 2012, Weinstein was made a knight of the French Legion of Honour, in recognition of Miramax’s efforts to increase the presence and popularity of foreign films in the United States.[54]

Selected filmography

Television.svgThis film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

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

Jeffrey Epstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein at Harvard University.jpg

Epstein at Harvard University
Born Jeffrey Edward Epstein
January 20, 1953 (age 64)
BrooklynNew YorkU.S.
Residence Little Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands
Palm Beach, Florida
New York City
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Occupation Financier
Owner, Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation

Jeffrey Edward Epstein (born January 20, 1953) is an American financier and registeredsex offender in the United States.[1] He worked at Bear Stearns early in his career and then formed his own firm, J. Epstein & Co. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, for which he served 13 months in prison.[2] He lives in the US Virgin Islands.

Early life

Epstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a middle-class Jewish family. His father worked for New York City’s parks.[3]

Epstein attended Lafayette High School. He attended classes at Cooper Union from 1969 to 1971 and later at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU. He left without a degree.[citation needed]

Career

Epstein taught calculus and physics at the Dalton School in Manhattan from 1973 to 1975.[4] Among his students was a son of Alan C. Greenberg, chairman of Bear Stearns.[3]

In 1976, Epstein started work as an options trader at Bear Stearns,[4] where he worked in the special products division, advising high-net-worth clients on tax strategies.[4] Proving successful in his financial career, in 1980 Epstein became a partner at Bear Stearns.[4]

In 1982, Epstein founded his own financial management firm, J. Epstein & Co., managing the assets of clients with more than $1 billion in net worth. In 1987, Leslie Wexner, founder and chairman of Ohio-based The Limited chain of women’s clothing stores, became a well-known client.[4] Wexner acquired Abercrombie & Fitch the following year. In 1992 he converted a private school on the Upper East Side into an enormous residence. Epstein later bought that property, in the wealthiest part of Manhattan. In 1996, Epstein changed the name of his firm to the Financial Trust Company and, for tax advantages, based it on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.[4]

In 2003, Epstein bid to acquire New York magazine. Other bidders were advertising executive Donny Deutsch, investor Nelson Peltzmedia mogul and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, who had the New York Daily News, and film producer Harvey Weinstein. They were ultimately outbid by Bruce Wasserstein, a longtime Wall Street investor, who paid $55 million.[5]

In 2004, Epstein and Zuckerman committed up to $25 million to finance Radar, a celebrity and pop culture magazine founded by Maer Roshan. Epstein and Zuckerman were equal partners in the venture. Roshan, as its editor-in-chief, retained a small ownership stake.[6]

Residences

Epstein’s New York home is reputedly the largest private residence in Manhattan;[7] it was originally built as the Birch Wathen School. The 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2), 9-story mansion is just off Fifth Avenue and overlooks the Frick Collection. The financier’s other properties include a villa in Palm Beach, Florida; an apartment in Paris; a 10,000-acre ranch with a hilltop mansion in Stanley, New Mexico;[8][9] and a private island near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Little Saint James that includes a mansion and guest houses.

Science philanthropy

In 2000 he established the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, which funds science research and education. Prior to 2003, Epstein’s foundation funded Martin Nowak’s research at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In May 2003, Epstein established the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University with a $30 million gift to the university.[10] Under the direction of Martin Nowak, the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics is a graduate department that studies the evolution of molecular biology with the use of mathematics, focusing on diseases such as cancer, HIV and other viruses.[4][11]

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has also funded genetic research leading towards advances in such fields as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, colitis and Crohn’s disease. Epstein has given funds to the American Cancer Society, for projects such as circulating tumor cell technology, a blood test to identify genetic mutations to anti-inhibitor cancer drugs.[12]

Through such philanthropy, Epstein has associated with many well-known scientific figures, such as Gerald EdelmanMurray Gell-MannStephen HawkingKip ThorneLawrence KraussLee Smolin and Gregory Benford.[4][13][14] In 2006, Epstein’s foundations sponsored a conference on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands with Hawking, Krauss, and Nobel laureates Gerard ‘t HooftDavid Gross and Frank Wilczek, covering such topics as unified gravity theory, neuroscience, the origins of language and global threats to the Earth.[14]

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has backed research into artificial intelligence; it had been supporting Marvin Minsky at MIT (until his death) and is supporting Ben Goertzel in Hong Kong.[15][16]

The extent of Epstein’s claimed philanthropy is unknown. This foundation fails to disclose information which other charities routinely disclose. Concerns have been raised over this lack of transparency, and in 2015 the New York Attorney General has reported as trying to get information.[17]

Criminal proceedings

In March 2005, a woman contacted Palm Beach, Florida police and alleged that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. There she was paid $300 to strip and massage Epstein.[9] She had undressed, but left the encounter wearing her underwear.[18]

Police started an 11-month undercover investigation of Epstein, followed by a search of his home. The FBI also became involved in the investigation.[7] Subsequently, the police alleged that Epstein had paid several escorts to perform sexual acts on him. Interviews with five alleged victims and 17 witnesses under oath, a high school transcript, and other items they found in Epstein’s trash and home allegedly showed that some of the girls involved were under 18.[19] The police search of Epstein’s home found large numbers of photos of girls throughout the house, some of whom the police had interviewed in the course of their investigation.[18]

The International Business Times reported that papers filed in a 2006 lawsuit alleged that Epstein installed concealed cameras in numerous places on his property to record sexual activity with underage girls by prominent people for criminal purposes such as blackmail.[20]Epstein allegedly “loaned” girls to powerful people to ingratiate himself with them and also to gain possible blackmail information.[7] In 2015, evidence came to light that one of the powerful men at Epstein’s mansion may have been Prince Andrew of the UK.[7]

A former employee told the police that Epstein would receive massages three times a day.[18] Eventually the FBI received accounts from about 40 girls whose allegations of molestation by Epstein included overlapping details.[7]

The Guardian said, “Despite this, the US government eventually agreed to allow Epstein to plead guilty to just one count of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl under Florida state law. … Epstein agreed not to contest civil claims brought by the 40 women identified by the FBI, but escaped a prosecution that could have seen him jailed for the rest of his life. … Prosecutors agreed not to bring far more serious federal charges against Epstein, and not to charge “potential co-conspirators”, including four named individuals.”[7]

In May 2006, Palm Beach police filed a probable cause affidavit saying that Epstein should be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one molestation count.[18]

His team of defense lawyers included Gerald LefcourtAlan Dershowitz and later Ken Starr.[9] Epstein passed a polygraph test in which he was asked whether he knew of the underage status of the girls.[21]

After the federal government agreed to charging Epstein on one count under state law, the prosecution convened a grand jury. Former chief of Palm Beach police Michael Reiter later wrote to State Attorney Barry Krischer to complain of the state’s “highly unusual” conduct and asked him to remove himself from the case.[9] The grand jury returned a single charge of felony solicitation of prostitution,[22] to which Epstein pleaded not guilty in August 2006.[23]

Sentencing

In June 2008, after Epstein pleaded guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14,[24] he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served 13 months before being released. At release, he was registered in New York State as a level three (high risk of re-offense) sex offender, a lifelong designation.[25][26]

Reactions

After the accusations became public, several persons and institutions returned donations which they had received from Epstein, including Eliot SpitzerBill Richardson,[11] and the Palm Beach Police Department.[19]Harvard University announced that it would not return any money.[11] Various charitable donations that Epstein had made to finance children’s education were also questioned.[24]

On June 18, 2010, Epstein’s former house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, was sentenced to 18 months incarceration after being convicted on an obstruction charge for failing to turn over to police, and subsequently trying to sell, a journal in which he had recorded Epstein’s activities. FBI Special Agent Christina Pryor reviewed the material and agreed it was information “that would have been extremely useful in investigating and prosecuting the case, including names and contact information of material witnesses and additional victims”.[27][28]

Suit against federal government re: plea deal

In a separate case, on April 7, 2015, Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that the allegations made by Virginia Roberts against Prince Andrew had no bearing on a current (and longrunning) lawsuit by alleged victims seeking to reopen Epstein’s non-prosecution plea agreement with the federal government; he ordered it to be struck from the record.[29] There was an effort to add Roberts and another woman as plaintiffs to that case. Judge Marra made no ruling as to whether claims by Roberts are true or false.[30] Marra specifically said that Roberts may later give evidence when the case comes to court.[31]

Civil proceedings

On February 6, 2008, an anonymous Virginia woman filed a $50 million civil lawsuit[32] in federal court against Epstein, alleging that when she was a 16-year-old minor in 2004–2005, she was “recruited to give Epstein a massage”. She claims she was taken to his mansion, where he exposed himself and had sexual intercourse with her, and paid her $200 immediately afterward.[22] A similar $50 million suit was filed in March 2008 by a different woman, who was represented by the same lawyer.[33] These and several similar lawsuits were dismissed. [34]

All other lawsuits were settled by Epstein out of court.[35] Epstein has made many out-of-court settlements with alleged victims and, as of January 2015, some cases remain open.[34]

A December 30, 2014, federal civil suit was filed in Florida against the United States for violations of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by the Department of Justice’s agreement to Epstein’s limited 2008 plea; the suit also accuses Alan Dershowitz of sexually abusing a minor provided by Epstein.[36] (See Two Jane Does v. United States.) The allegations against Dershowitz were stricken by the judge and eliminated from the case because he said they were outside the intent of the suit to re-open the plea agreement.[29][37] A document filed in court alleges that Epstein ran a “sexual abuse ring”, and lent underage girls to “prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders”.[38]

Another woman, identified by the pseudonym “Katie Johnson”,[39] filed a lawsuit in California federal court on April 26, 2016, accusing Epstein and real estate businessman Donald Trump (now President of the United States) of raping her in 1994, when she was 13 years old.[40][41][42] At the time of filing, Trump was campaigning to become the Republican Party candidate for the office of U.S. President. Judges Ronnie Abrams and James C. Francis IV presided over the case against Epstein and Trump.[43]

The suit, which Johnson had filed without counsel, was dismissed on technical grounds after the court determined that the address listed for “Katie Johnson” was a foreclosed abandoned home whose resident had died and the provided telephone contact information was also not a functioning contact.[40] The woman (now using the pseudonym “Jane Doe”) filed a new lawsuit in June 2016, this time in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She excluded some of her previous accusations, such as that Trump threw money for an abortion at her and that he called Epstein a “Jew bastard”.[44]

Following a delay caused by the accuser failing to show that the defendants had been served with formal notice of the suit,[45] the suit was voluntarily dismissed on September 16.[46] The woman’s lawyer said she would re-file the lawsuit and would provide an additional witness to substantiate the claims.[47]

On September 30, 2016, the woman re-filed the lawsuit in New York, with an additional witness identified by the pseudonym “Joan Doe”.[48][49] There was no further information available on the allegations outside the claims made anonymously by the two women. They were not made available for contact by the press.[40] Civil rights lawyer and legal analyst Lisa Bloom wrote in a June 2016 blog post for the Huffington Post that the claims by the anonymous individuals were credible enough to warrant further investigation.[42] Journalist Jon Swaine reported in The Guardian in July 2016 that the “Katie Johnson” lawsuits appeared to be orchestrated by Norm Lubow, a former producer on The Jerry Springer Show. He described Lubow as “an eccentric anti-Trump campaigner with a record of making outlandish claims about celebrities”.[50]

The woman failed to appear at a press conference announced by her attorneys, saying she was fearful because of threats. She granted an interview to The Daily Mail together with Bloom (whom the Daily Mail identified as her lawyer) and permitted photographs. Soon after that, the woman dropped her lawsuit against Epstein and Trump on November 4, 2016.[39][51][52] The Daily Mail said their reporters were aware of the woman’s identity but were honoring her request to protect her privacy and not release her name. Her attorneys said the woman dropped her suit out of fear, based on having received “numerous threats” against her life.[39]

Virginia Roberts lawsuits

In January 2015, a 31-year-old American woman, Virginia Roberts, alleged in a sworn affidavit that at the age of 17, she had been held as a sex slave by Epstein. She further alleged that he had trafficked her to several people, including Prince Andrew and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. Roberts also claimed that Epstein and others had physically and sexually abused her.[53]

Rogers alleged that the FBI may have been involved in a cover-up.[54] She said she had served as Epstein’s sex slave from 1999 to 2002 and had recruited other under-age girls.[55] Prince Andrew, Epstein and Dershowitz all denied having had sex with Roberts. Dershowitz took legal action over the allegations.[56][57][58] A diary purported to belong to Roberts was published online.[59][60] Epstein made a settlement with Roberts out of court, as he did in several other lawsuits.[7]

The BBC television series Panorama planned an investigation of the scandal.[61] As of 2016 these claims had not been tested in any law court.[62]

Personal life

In September 2002, Epstein flew Bill ClintonKevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa in his private Boeing 727.[4][63]

Epstein is also a longtime friend of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and has partied with celebrities such as Katie CouricGeorge StephanopoulosCharlie Rose, and Woody Allen.[64]

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

Steve Pieczenik

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Steve R. Pieczenik
Born December 7, 1943 (age 73)
HavanaCuba
Occupation Author, publisher, civil servant, psychiatrist
Nationality American
Genre Militaryspy
Website
http://www.stevepieczenik.com/

 

Steve R. Pieczenik (/pəˈɛnɪk/; born December 7, 1943) is an American science fiction writer, former United States Department of State official, psychiatrist, and publisher.

Early life and education

Pieczenik was born in Cuba of Jewish parents from Russia and Poland and was raised in France.[1] His father, a doctor from Dombrovicz who studied and worked in Toulouse, France,[2] fled Poland before World War II. His mother, a Russian Jew from Białystok, Poland,[2]fled Europe after many of her family members were killed. The couple met in Portugal, where both had fled ahead of the Nazi invaders.[2] Pieczenik was born in Cuba in 1943.[2][3] After living in Toulouse for six years, Pieczenik’s family migrated to the United States, where they settled in the Harlem area[2] of New York CityNew York.[4] Steve Pieczenik was 8 years old when his parents received their entry visa to the United States.[2]

Pieczenik is a classical pianist and wrote a full-length musical at the age of 8.[3]

Pieczenik is a Harvard University-trained psychiatrist and has a doctorate in international relations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[2]

Pieczenik’s autobiography notes that he attended Booker T. Washington High School in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Pieczenik received a full scholarship to Cornell University at the age of 16.[2] According to Pieczenik, he received a BA degree in Pre-Medicine and Psychology from Cornell in 1964, and later attended Cornell University Medical College. He attained his PhD in international relations from MIT while studying at Harvard Medical School.[3] Pieczenik claims to be the first psychiatrist ever to receive a PhD focusing on international relations.[4]

While performing his psychiatry residency at Harvard, he was awarded the Harry E. Solomon award for his paper titled: “The hierarchy of ego-defense mechanisms in foreign policy decision making”.[2]

An article written by Pieczenik, “Psychological dimensions of international dependency”, appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 132(4), Apr 1975, 428-431.[5]

Professional life

Pieczenik was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry KissingerCyrus Vance and James Baker.[2] His expertise includes foreign policy, international crisis management and psychological warfare.[6] He served the presidential administrations of Gerald FordJimmy CarterRonald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the capacity of deputy assistant secretary.[7]

In 1974, Pieczenik joined the United States Department of State as a consultant to help in the restructuring of its Office for the Prevention of Terrorism.[1]

In 1976, Pieczenik was made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for management.[1][4][8][9]

At the Department of State, he served as a “specialist on hostage taking”.[10] He has been credited with devising successful negotiating strategies and tactics used in several high-profile hostage situations, including the 1976 TWA Flight 355 hostage situation and the 1977 kidnapping of the son of Cyprus’ president.[1] He was involved in negotiations for the release of Aldo Moro after Moro was kidnapped.[11] As a renowned psychiatrist, he was utilized as a press source for early information on the mental state of the hostages involved in the Iran hostage crisis after they were freed.[12] In 1977, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Mary McGrory described Stephen Pieczenik as “one of the most ‘brilliantly competent’ men in the field of terrorism”.[13] He worked “side by side” with Police Chief Maurice J. Cullinane in the Washington, D.C. command center of Mayor Walter Washington during the 1977 Hanafi Siege.[14] In 1978, Pieczenik was known as “a psychiatrist and political scientist in the U.S. Department of State whose credentials and experiences are probably unique among officials handling terrorist situations”.[1]

On September 17, 1978 the Camp David Accords were signed. Pieczenik was at the secret Camp David negotiations leading up to the signing of the Accords. He worked out strategy and tactics based on psychopolitical dynamics. He correctly predicted that given their common backgrounds, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin would get along.[2]

In 1979, he resigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State over the handling of the Iranian hostage crisis.[3]

In the early 1980s, Pieczenik wrote an article for The Washington Post in which he claimed to have heard a senior U.S. official in the Department of State Operations Center give permission for the attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979.[15]

Pieczenik got to know Syrian President Hafez al-Assad well during his 20 years in the Department of State.[2]

In 1982, Pieczenik was mentioned in an article in The New York Times as “a psychiatrist who has treated C.I.A. employees”.[16]

In 2001, Pieczenik operated as chief executive officer of Strategic Intelligence Associates, a consulting firm.[17]

Pieczenik has been affiliated in a professional capacity as a psychiatrist with the National Institute of Mental Health.[18]

Pieczenik has consulted with the United States Institute of Peace and the RAND Corporation.[19]

Pieczenik began mentorship of Drew Paul, founder of Blabor.com.[20] Blabor.com is now the production company responsible for Pieczenik’s web and media releases.[21][22]

As recently as October 6, 2012, Pieczenik was listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).[23] According to Internet Archive, his name was removed from the CFR roster sometime between October 6 and November 18, 2012.[24] Publicly, Pieczenik no longer appears as a member of the CFR.[25]

Pieczenik is fluent in five languages, including Russian, Spanish and French.[1][2][3]

Pieczenik has lectured at the National Defense University.[6]

Writing ventures

Pieczenik has made a number of ventures into fiction, as an author (of State of Emergency and a number of other books)[26] and as a business partner of Tom Clancy for several series of novels.[27]

He studied medicine and writing, beginning with drama and poetry. But eventually “I turned to fiction because it allows me to address reality as it is or could be.”[2]

Pieczenik received a listed credit as co-creator for both Tom Clancy’s Op-Center and Tom Clancy’s Net Force, two best-selling series of novels, as a result of a business relationship with Tom Clancy. He was not directly involved in writing books in these series, but “assembled a team” including the ghost-writer who did author the novels, and someone to handle the “packaging” of the novels.[27][28] The Op-Center series alone had earned more than 28 million dollars in net profit for the partnership by 2003.[27] Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes was released in 2014 by St. Martins Press.

Books he has authored include novel Mind Palace (1985), novel Blood Heat (1989), self-help My Life Is Great! (1990) and paper-back edition Hidden Passions (1991), novel Maximum Vigilance (1993), novel Pax Pacifica (1995), novel State Of Emergency (1999), novel My Beloved Talleyrand (2005).[29] He’s also credited under the pseudonym Alexander Court for writing the novels Active Measures (2001), and Active Pursuit (2002).[30]

Pieczenik has had at least two articles published in the American Intelligence Journal, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Military Intelligence Association.[31]

In September 2010, John Neustadt was recognized by Elsevier as being one of the Top Ten Cited Authors in 2007 and 2008 for his article, “Mitochondrial dysfunction and molecular pathways of disease.” This article was co-authored with Pieczenik.[32]

Pieczenik is the co-author of the published textbook, Foundations and Applications of Medical Biochemistry in Clinical Practice.[32]

Controversies

In 1992, Pieczenik told Newsday that in his professional opinion, President [George H. W.] Bush was “clinically depressed”. As a result, he was brought up on an ethics charge before the American Psychiatric Association and reprimanded. He subsequently quit the APA.[3]

He calls himself a “maverick troublemaker. You make your own rules. You pay the consequences.”[3]

The role he played in the negotiations to bring about the release of Aldo Moro, an Italian politician kidnapped by the Red Brigades, is fraught with controversy.[citation needed]

In 2013, Pieczenik spoke on Alex Jones’s radio show denying the Sandy Hook shooting ever occurred, labeling it a “false flag”[33] operation.

References

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The Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017: Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean — Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos — Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Image result for branco cartoons on repeal of obamacareImage result for branco cartoons on repeal of obamacare

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in the Pacific Ocean

What could happen if NKorea tests hydrogen bomb over ocean?

Kim Jong-un makes unprecedented statement at Trump as N. Korea suggests future …

Panel on Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘Dotard’ and ‘Frightened Dog’ #DonaldTrump #NorthKorea

“Rocket Man” : North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘a Frightened Dog’ and ‘Dotard’

Putin warns US, North Korea on verge of conflict

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Fareed Zakaria on North Korea hints at detonating H-Bomb in Pacific. #Breaking #FareedZakaria

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

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People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

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Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916, June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915, June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914, June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

Trump: China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions

Trump hints at ending US trade with all North Korea partners | Time To Play Trump Card

WHY NORTH KOREA IS TESTING MISSILES & NUKES? TOP 5 REASONS

Inside North Korea Newest Documentary (2017)

North Korea DARKEST SECRETS 2017 Deepest Secrets Revealed for the First Time

China Pulls Trade From North Korea! Russia RESPONDS BY Increasing Trade by 73%!

John Bolton calls for ‘sweeping’ set of sanctions on China

United Nations funding mechanism needs to be changed: John Bolton

John Bolton: We are at a ‘crisis point’ with North Korea

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

Former CIA Director James Woolsey: North Korea Has Been Able To Hit Power Grid For Years | CNBC

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

Peters: People don’t understand how desperate North Korea is

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

Chinese sanctions will help US trade deficit, but could backfire: Andrew Peek

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

Lou Dobbs : Is China helping North Korea create nuclear missiles? : 5/30/2017

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

Trump unplugging Chinese banks will end China’s economy: Gordon Chang

BREAKING: Putin To Trump – I will arm your enemies if you send arms to mine

What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

Why China Supports North Korea

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017, Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos — Story 2: Will American People Form A New Political Party ? Yes — American Independence Party? When? — 2024 When Over 50% Are Independents — No Longer Believe Democratic or Republican Parties Represent Their Interests/Concerns — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos — Story 4: Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

Posted on August 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Budgetary Policy, Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Science, Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for cartoons more sanctions on north koreaImage result for cartoons on 2020 presidential electionsImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for cartoons 2020 presidential raceImage result for o cartoons 2020 presidential race

 

Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos —

Image result for branco cartoons more sanctions on north korea

United Nations bans key North Korea exports over missile tests

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Amb. Nikki Haley: Sanctions are a ‘gut punch’ to North Korea

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Sen. Lindsay Graham: Time for new approach on North Korea

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton Calls For Military Option On North Korea

John Bolton: We’re running out of time on North Korea

Is America prepared for a confrontation with North Korea?

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How Big of a Threat is North Korea?

 

U.N. Security Council Approves New Sanctions on North Korea

By Chas Danner

Image
The unanimous vote on Saturday. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council has approved a U.S.-drafted resolution to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, in response to its escalating nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs. The new sanctions, which received unanimous support from the council on Saturday, will impose a full ban on roughly a third of North Korean exports, denying them more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

The sanctions are the seventh set to be imposed on North Korea since its first nuclear-weapon test in 2006, but the first international measure to be taken against the regime since President Trump took office. The resolution comes a little more than a week after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that was capable of reaching the mainland U.S. It also received the crucial support of China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, and one of the countries that can veto any U.N. Security Council resolution.

In fact, Politico reports that the sanctions negotiations with China, which started following North Korea’s first successful test of an ICBM on July 4, succeeded in derailing a Trump-administration plan to open a trade investigation targeting China. That plan, which Trump and White House officials hinted at last weekend, was apparently due to be announced on Friday. Assuming the Politico report is accurate, staving off the White House represents a rare win for the State Department against other factions in the Trump administration. It also, for now, denies the White House a chance to test whether or not a trade war with China would be a smart way to protect the U.S. from a North Korean nuclear missile.

“This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation,” U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley declared before the U.N. Security Council vote on Saturday. Per the resolution, North Korea can no longer export coal, iron, lead, seafood, and a few other materials. New joint ventures with the country are also prohibited, as are new investments in existing ventures, and more North Korean individuals and entities have been added to the preexisting U.N. sanctions blacklist, which freezes assets and travel.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, declared on Saturday that the new resolution demonstrates that the world is “united in its position regarding the nuclear position on the Korean peninsula,” and said that China was glad that the U.S. said it was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang or reunification of the two Koreas. North Korea’s denuclearization (which is not very likely) is still a top U.S. priority, however. The U.S. will also continue to conduct its annual military exercises with South Korea, while both China and Russia reiterated their opposition to the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile-defense system in South Korea, though that issue did not prevent them from supporting the final resolution.

The resolution does not, as the U.S. originally had sought, cut the amount of oil being delivered to North Korea, but the U.S. was apparently able to overcome the initial objections of China and Russia. All involved stressed that they saw the sanctions as a way to force North Korea to the negotiating table over its nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs, but the successful implementation of this — or any — new sanctions on the country will rely almost exclusively on China following through on its end.

Sanctions against North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sanctions against North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, have been imposed by various countries and international bodies. The current sanctions are largely concerned with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006.

United Nations sanctions

A North Korea cargo ship at the dock in Nampo

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.[1]

Resolution 1718 in 2006 demanded that North Korea cease nuclear testing and prohibited the export to North Korea of some military supplies and luxury goods.[2][3] A Sanctions Committee is established, supported by a Panel of Experts that issue annual reports.[4][5][6]

Resolution 1874, passed after the second nuclear test in 2009, broadened the arms embargo. Member states were encouraged to inspect ships and destroy any cargo suspected being related to the nuclear weapons program.[3][1]

Resolution 2087, passed in January 2013 after a satellite launch, strengthened previous sanctions by clarifying a state’s right to seize and destroy cargo suspected of heading to or from North Korea for purposes of military research and development.[3][1]

Resolution 2094 was passed in March 2013 after the third nuclear test. It imposed sanctions on money transfers and aimed to shut North Korea out of the international financial system.[3][1]

Resolution 2270, passed in March 2016 after the fourth nuclear test, further strengthened sanctions.[7] It banned the export of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals. The export of coal and iron were also banned, with an exemption for transactions that were purely for “livelihood purposes”.[8][1]

Resolution 2321, passed in November 2016, capped North Korea’s coal exports and banned exports of copper, nickel, zinc, and silver.[9][10] In February 2017, a UN panel said that 116 of 193 member states had yet not submitted a report on their implementation of these sanctions, though China had.[11] Also in February 2017, China announced it would ban all imports of coal for the rest of the year.[12]

United States sanctions

In February 2016, President Obama enacted the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, which passed the House of Representatives and the Senate with nearly unanimous support.[3] This law:

  • requires the President to sanction entities found to have contributed to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, arms trade, human rights abuses or other illegal activities.[3]
  • imposes mandatory sanctions for entities involved in North Korea’s mineral or metal trades, which comprise a large part of North Korea’s foreign exports.[3]
  • requires the US Treasury Department to determine whether North Korea should be listed as a “primary money laundering concern,” which would trigger tough new financial restrictions.[3]
  • imposes new sanctions authorities related to North Korean human rights abuses and violations of cybersecurity.[3]

This followed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013 which the Senate failed to pass.

South Korean sanctions

South Korea imposed sanctions against North Korea following the 2010 sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan. These sanctions, known as the May 24 measures, included:[3]

  • banning North Korean ships from South Korean territorial waters.[3]
  • suspending inter-Korean trade except at the Kaesong Industrial Zone.[3]
  • banning most cultural exchanges.[3]

In 2016 President Park Geun-hye ordered the Kaesong complex shut in retaliation for the nuclear test in January and the rocket launch in February.[3]

Japanese sanctions

In 2016, Japan’s sanctions against North Korea included:[3]

  • banning remittances, except those made for humanitarian purposes and less than 100,000 yen in value.[3]
  • freezing assets of suspect individuals and organisations in Japan.
  • prohibiting North Korean citizens from entering Japan.[3]
  • renewing the ban on North Korean ships entering Japanese ports and extending it to include other ships that have visited North Korea.[3]
  • banning nuclear and missile technicians who have been to North Korea from entering Japan.[13]

European Union

The European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. These include:[3]

  • an embargo on arms and related materiel.[3]
  • banning the export of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea.
  • banning the trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the North Korean government.[3]
  • banning the import of minerals from North Korea, with some exemptions for coal and iron ore.
  • banning exports of luxury goods.[3]
  • restrictions on financial support for trade with North Korea.[3]
  • restrictions on investment and financial activities.[3]
  • inspections and monitoring of cargoes imported to and exported from North Korea.[3]
  • prohibiting certain North Korean individuals from entering the EU.[14]

Assessment

A report by the United Nations Panel of Experts stated that North Korea was covertly trading in arms and minerals in defiance of the sanctions.[15]

The academic John Delury has described the sanctions as futile and counterproductive. He has argued that they are unenforceable and unlikely to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.[16]

On the other hand, Sung-Yoon Lee, Professor in Korean Studies at the Fletcher School, and Joshua Stanton, advocate continued tightening of sanctions, targeting Pyongyang’s systemic vulnerabilities, including blocking the regime’s “offshore hard currency reserves and income with financial sanctions, including secondary sanctions against its foreign enablers. This would significantly diminish, if not altogether deny, Kim the means to pay his military, security forces and elites that repress the North Korean public”.[17][18]

References

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More Voters Voting Independent, Want Competitive Third-Party

Monday, August 07, 2017

Voters are more receptive to a political third party than they have been in recent years, and more than half now say they have voted for a candidate independent of the two major parties. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 1-2, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Questions – Third Party – August 1-2, 2017

See Toplines
See Crosstabs
Platinum Page

National Survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters

Conducted August 1-2, 2017
By Rasmussen Reports

 

1* Would it be good or bad for the United States if there was a truly competitive third political party? Or would it make no political difference?

 

2* Have you ever voted for an independent candidate not affiliated with either major party?

 

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/august_2017/questions_third_party_august_1_2_2017

 

Voters See Republicans As Bigger Roadblock Than Democrats For Trump

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Voters are now more likely to believe Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem for President Trump than Democrats are.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters believe congressional Republicans are a bigger problem for the president, while 36% believe Democrats are the bigger problem. A sizable 22% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20 & 23, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/july_2017/voters_see_republicans_as_bigger_roadblock_than_democrats_for_trump

 

Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos —

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PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman)
PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman) 
 – The Washington Times – Saturday, August 5, 2017

White House renovators didn’t waste any time overhauling the West Wing once President Trump left for a 17-day vacation Friday.

Renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue began hardly an hour after Mr. Trump boarded Air Force One en route to Bedminster, New Jersey, according to his social media manager, Dan Scavino. The president is scheduled to spend the next two and a half weeks at his golf resort there as the White House receives a well deserved makeover.

Mr. Scavino tweeted a picture of the Oval Office being emptied hardly an hour after Air Force One left Joint Base Andrews on Friday, and on Saturday he shared a photograph of the White House’s historic Resolute desk being removed for renovation.

The White House announced earlier in the week that the West Wing will undergo extensive renovations in Mr. Trump’s absence, including upgrades to the facility’s 27-year-old air-conditioning and heating systems, as well as the installation of new wiring, paint and carpets.

“Due to the 24/7, 365-day use a year, the estimated age of the system based off of usage is 81 years old,” deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters Thursday.

“I doubt that you would want to come to work on a hot summer day when the air-conditioning wasn’t working,” she said Friday.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/5/white-house-renovations-begin-trump-starts-17-day-/

Now that President Trump has left the White House and kicked off his 17-day getaway to his golf course in New Jersey, renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are going full-steam ahead.

Dan Scavino Jr., the president’s director of social media, tweeted on Friday a photo of an empty Oval Office with a step ladder near the fireplace.

“Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse,” he captioned the photo. “One hour after Air Force One is wheels up??the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.”

Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse. One hour after Air Force One is wheels up🛫the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.

White House set for renovations as Trump takes first vacation

Trump denies he called White House a ‘dump’

As ABC News previously reported, the West Wing will be cleared out for several weeks for much-needed repairs.

Work has already begun on White House grounds to replace the 27-year-old heating and cooling system, the second stage of a renovation that started under the Obama administration.

Other work includes painting and new carpeting in the West Wing and refurbishments in the Oval Office. All of the renovations will be conducted by General Service Administration designers.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to deny a golf.com report that while speaking with members at the Trump National Golf Club, he said the White House is a “dump.”

“I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” he tweeted. “But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE.”

I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen. But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE

ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-staffer-tweets-photo-white-house-renovations-kicking-053405552–abc-news-topstories.html

 

Story 4 Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

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SEYMOUR HERSH: SPY CHIEFS INVENTED RUSSIA-COLLUSION STORY

Famous journalist claims they lied to Obama and lied about Trump

GARTH KANT

 

The entire Russia collusion story was a fiction made up by intelligence chiefs who lied about President Trump, and lied to President Obama and the media, according to a person on a just-released audio recording who is almost certainly legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Further, the person who recorded the audio is almost certainly financier Ed Butowsky, who hired private investigator Rod Wheeler to investigate the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last July.

Wheeler filed a defamation lawsuit against Butowsky and Fox News on Tuesday over a story the network retracted about the investigation.

 

WND did some digging and discovered those identical words appear on the audio recording, apparently verifying they were spoken by Hersh and taped by Butowsky. Judging by a report in the Washington Post, the conversation happened during, or before, February.

The audio was first posted late Tuesday afternoon on a site called Big League Politics then went viral after it was linked on Twitter by WikiLeaks.

Hersh, himself, acknowledged speaking with Butkowsy, during an NPR interview Monday in which he referred to the Seth Rich angle as gossip and said Butowsky “took two and two and made 45 out of it.”

But Hersh did not disavow what he said about the Russia collusion narrative.

On the recording, the reporter called the entire story that the Trump presidential campaign and transition team colluded with Russia “a Brennan operation.”

Hersh accused former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and current NSA Director Michael Rogers of peddling “disinformation” and misleading Obama and the press.

And he dded, “Trump’s not wrong to think they all f—ing lied about him.”

Hersh suggested Rogers falsely told the press that American intelligence agencies even knew who in the Russian military intelligence service “leaked it,” in apparent reference to the hacked Democratic emails that embarrassed the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

He also dismissively called Brennan an “a—hole,” Rogers a “f—ing moron” and Clapper “sort of a better guy but not a rocket scientist.”

Hersh ascribed a simple motive to the subterfuge by the top spies: They wanted to keep their jobs by assuring Clinton won the presidential election.

“With Trump they’re gone. You know, they’re done – they’re going to live on their pensions, they’re not going to make it.”

Hersh also explained why the story came to dominate the news cycle, portraying his colleagues in the establishment media as, essentially, too gullible.

“I worked at the New York Times for years and they have smart guys but they are totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (unintelligible) tells them something they actually believe it,” he said.

And, speaking of those highly placed sources, he said, “These guys run the f—ing Times.”

Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for exposing the My Lai massacre and has become one of the nation’s best-known and most-accomplished investigative reporters.

According to his biography in the New Yorker, in addition to Hersh’s Pulitzer, his journalism and publishing awards include five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

Hersh made on-the-record comments critical of the Russia collusion story to The Intercept on Jan. 25, flatly saying he did not believe the assessment by the intelligence community that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a hacking campaign designed to elect Trump.

He also blasted the major media for uncritically accepting the claims by Obama’s intelligence officials as facts.

“The way they (the media) behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff.”

Hersh told the Intercept that if he had been covering the story, “I would have made Brennan into a buffoon. A yapping buffoon in the last few days. Instead, everything is reported seriously.”

The reporter zeroed in on questionable aspects of the intelligence assessment that would become highly relevant when Brennan and Clapper finally testified before congressional committees months after the inauguration of Trump.

“What does an assessment mean?,” asked Hersh. “It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it?”

He continued, “And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief.”

Hersh’s critique of the flimsiness of the intelligent assessment parallels the analysis made by a prominent former CIA analyst after Clapper revealed during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on May 8, that it was not true that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had compiled, and agreed with, the findings.

As WND reported, Clapper not only revealed that just three agencies, the NSA, FBI and CIA, were involved in the assessment.

He also revealed that those agencies did not do the assessment themselves.

The analysis and conclusion were made by an irregular and hand-picked panel of what were called experts, who actually may have been, according to former CIA officer Fred Fleitz, highly politicized.

Fleitz served in U.S. national security positions for 25 years at the CIA, DIA, Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff.

As someone intimately familiar with the inner workings of the intelligence community, Fleitz penned an article for Fox News on May 12, that spelled out what really happened.

He had written previously that when the U.S. Intelligence Community issued an ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ (ICA) on January 6, 2017, that found Russia deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump’s candidacy, he “was suspicious because it reached unusually clear judgments on a politically explosive issue with no dissenting views.”

Fleitz was then surprised to hear Clapper explain in his May testimony that two dozen or so “seasoned experts” were “handpicked” from the contributing agencies and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.)

Wrote Fleitz, “This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.”

Describing just how unusual that was, he said, “Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure.”

Furthermore, “The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization.”

Fleitz also noted that former FBI Director James Comey had testified that the report’s conclusion of Russian interference was based on logic, not evidence.

“So we now know,” surmised the former CIA officer, “this was a subjective judgment made by a hand-picked group of intelligence analysts.”

“One has to ask how these hand-picked analysts were picked. Who picked them? Who was excluded?”

Fleitz called it a major problem that “the process gave John Brennan, CIA’s hyper-partisan former director, enormous influence over the drafting of the ICA.”

“Given Brennan’s scathing criticism of Mr. Trump before and after the election, he should have had no role whatsoever in the drafting of this assessment. Instead, Brennan probably selected the CIA analysts who worked on the ICA and reviewed and approved their conclusions.”

In other words, it seems Fleitz thought it not impossible that Brennan rigged the report to arrive at the conclusion he wanted.

Which makes Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on May 24, all the more relevant, because even though he testified he saw no evidence of collusion, the former CIA director admitted it was he who set in motion the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians.

Fleitz wants Congress to investigate the spies. He wrote:

“The unusual way that the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment was drafted raises major questions as to whether it was rigged by the Obama administration to produce conclusions that would discredit the election outcome and Mr. Trump’s presidency. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees therefore should add investigations of whether this ICA was politicized to their investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/seymour-hersh-spy-chiefs-invented-russia-collusion-story/#GCyp3JGqpJvbUcrE.99

 

Seymour Hersh audio transcript revealing Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

As reported by many alternative news websites, and as ignored by many corrupt mainstream media news outlets, audio recently emerged of award winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh stating that Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

You can listen to the audio here, or the transcript of the audio is provided below:

“I’ll tell you what I know. All I know comes off an FBI report. Don’t ask me how – you can figure out – you’ve been around long enough. I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew. The kid was not an IT expert, but he learned stuff. He was a data programmer, but he learned stuff.

He’s living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lives – I’m sure you know – there’s been about 8 or 9 or 10 violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun. And the kid’s hands – I’m sure you know – his hands are marked up, the cops included he fought off the people, tried to run and they shot him twice in the back with a .22 small caliber, and then the kids that did it ran – they got scared – didn’t take his wallet.

Okay, so what the cops do then, and here’s what nobody knows, what I’m telling you – or maybe you know something about it – when you have a death like that, DC cops, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find. If he’s dead you don’t need a warrant, but most cops get a warrant because they don’t know if the guy has a room-mate. You need a warrant, so they get a warrant.

They go in the house, and they can’t do much with his computer, it’s password. The cops don’t know much about it. So the DC cops, they have a cyber unit in DC and they’re more sophisticated. They come and look at it. The idea is maybe he’s had a series of exchanges with somebody who says ‘I’m going to kill you, you mother ****er over a girl’ or… And they can’t get in. The cyber guys are a little better, but they can’t make sense of it, so they call the FBI cyber unit. The DC unit, the Washington field office is a hot s*** unit. The guy running the Washington field office, he’s like a three star at an army base. he’s ready for four. You know what I mean – he’s gong to go for a top job. There’s a cyber unit there that’s excellent.

What you get in a warrant – the public information you get in a warrant – doesn’t include the affidavit underlying why you’re going in – what the reason was. That’s almost never available. I can tell you that. The existence of a warrant is a public document 99% of the time.

So, and the same morning they call in the feds. The feds get through and here’s what they find. This is according to the FBI report. What they find is he makes contact.

First of all, you have to know some basic facts. One of the basic facts is that there are no DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 21st or 22nd, the last email from either one of those groups.

And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring/early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks. That’s in his computer, and he makes contact. Now, I have to be careful because I met Julian ten twelve years… I stay the f*** away from people like that. You know, he’s invited me, when I’m in London I always get a message, “Come see me at the Ecuadorian embassy.” F*** you, I ain’t going there. I got enough trouble without getting photographed. He’s under total surveillance by everybody.

Anyway, they found what he had done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails, some juicy emails from the DNC. And you know, by the way all this s*** about the DNC, you know, whatever happened the democrats themselves wrote this s***, you know what I mean. All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said, “I want money.”

Then later Wikileaks did get the password. He had a DropBox – a protected DropBox – which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be an IT wizard. He was certainly, he was not a dumb kid.

They got access to the DropBox. He also – this is also in the FBI report – he also let people know with whom he was dealing. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also… The word was passed according to the NSA report, “I also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems.” Okay. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know whether he…

Anyway, Wikileaks got access, and before he was killed. I can tell you right now. Brennan’s1 an asshole. I’ve known all these people for years. Clapper2 sort of a (illegible) guy but not a rocket scientist. The NSA guy’s a f***ing moron. And the trouble with all those guys is the only way they’re going to make it to, you know, get hired by SAI (illegible) and delivered some fat cat contract is if Hillary stayed in. With Trump they’re gone. They’re done. They’re going to live on they’re pension. They’re not going to make it. And I got to tell you, guys in that job, they don’t want to live on their pension. They want to be on boards making six hundred thousand bucks.

I have somebody on the inside. I’ve been around a long time and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful. He’s a very high level guy. He’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business, long form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole f***king thing began.

It’s a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation operation f***ing the f***ing president. And at one point they even started telling the press, they were back-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press – f***ing c***sucker Rogers3 – was telling the press that we even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. I mean all bulls***.

I worked for the New York Times for f***ing years. The trouble with the New York Times is they have smart guys but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (illegible) told them something, they actually believe it. I was hired by the Times to write about, go after the war, the Vietnam war in 72, because they were just locked in, so that’s what the Times is. These guys run the f***ing Times.

And Trump’s not willing to… I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better Press Secretary. Trump’s not willing to think they all f***ing lied about him.”

– – – – – – – – – –

This is arguably the biggest scandal in decades, and yet despite the magnitude of the scandal, it’s a sad reflection on just how corrupt and anti-American the mainstream media has become that the majority of them will attempt to cover this story up.

Everyone needs to share this story far and wide. Tell your friends. Tell everyone you know. Sydney Hersh, arguably the greatest investigative journalist of the last five decades, has stated:

* Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.
* Obama’s intelligence chiefs, led by John Brennan, ran a disinformation campaign to mislead the American public.

#DrainTheSwamp

 

Murder of Seth Rich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Murder of Seth Rich
Date July 10, 2016
Time 4:20 a.m. EST (approximate)
Location Bloomingdale neighborhood
(Ward 5Washington, D.C.)
Cause Shooting
Outcome Under investigation by D.C. police
Inquiries Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Coroner Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington D.C.

Seth Conrad Rich (January 3, 1989 – July 10, 2016) was an American employee for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdaleneighborhood of Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] As of May 2017 the shooting is still under investigation by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.[4]

The murder spawned several right-wingconspiracy theories about the crime, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to U.S. intelligence that concluded the leaked DNC emails were part of 2016 U.S. elections interference.[5][6][7] These theories were debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5] The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times,[10]Los Angeles Times,[11] and The Washington Post.[12]

Rich’s parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, with their spokesperson calling them “sociopaths” and “disgusting”.[13][14][15] They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News,[16] and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used.[6][15][16] The investigator admitted he had no evidence to back up his claims, and Fox News issued a retraction.[5][6][17]

Seth Rich’s early life and career

Rich grew up in a Jewish family, in Omaha, Nebraska.[18][19][20] He volunteered for the Nebraska Democratic Party, interned for Senator Ben Nelson, was active in Jewish outreach,[21] and worked with the United States Census Bureau.[22][23] In 2011, he graduated from Creighton University with a degree in political science.[24][23] He moved to Washington, D.C. to work for pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.[23] In 2014 he began working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the Voter Expansion Data Director. One of his tasks at the DNC was the development of a computer application to help voters locate polling stations.[2][25][26]

Shooting and death

On Sunday, July 10, 2016, Rich was shot about a block from his apartment in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[27][28][29]

Earlier that night he had been at Lou’s City Bar, a sports pub 1.8 miles from his apartment, in Columbia Heights, where he was a regular customer. He left when the bar was closing, at about 1:30 or 1:45 a.m.[30][31] Police were alerted to gunfire at 4:20 a.m. by an automated gunfire locator.[29][32] Within approximately one minute after the gun shots, police officers found Rich with multiple gunshot wounds, in a conscious and breathing state.[33] He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.[34][35][36] According to police, he died from two shots to the back[27][28] and may have been killed in an attempted robbery, noting that the neighborhood had recently been plagued by robberies.[27] Rich’s mother told NBC‘s Washington affiliate WRC-TV, “There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything… They didn’t finish robbing him, they just took his life.”[37] The police told the family they had found a surveillance videotape showing a glimpse of the legs of two people who could possibly be the killers.[30]

Aftermath

On the day after the shooting, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement mourning his loss and praising Rich’s work to support voter rights.[32][38] Two days after the shooting, Hillary Clinton spoke of his death during a speech advocating limiting the availability of guns.[2][19]

Bike rack and plaque outside the DNC headquaters

In October 2016, a plaque and bike rack outside the DNC headquarters were dedicated to Rich’s memory.[38] In September 2016, Rich’s parents and girlfriend appeared on the syndicatedtelevision show Crime Watch Daily to speak about the murder case.[39][40] In February 2017, the Beth El Synagogue in Omaha named after Rich an existing scholarship that helps Jewish children attend summer camps.[41]

The Rich family accepted the pro bono public relations services of Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman in September 2016.[11] The Rich family and Burkman held a joint press conference on the murder in November 2016.[11][42] In January 2017, Burkman launched an advertising campaign in Northwest D.C. searching for information regarding Seth Rich’s death. This included billboard advertisements and canvassing with flyers.[43][44] In late February, Burkman told media outlets he had a lead that the Russian government was involved in Rich’s death,[45] and the Rich family distanced itself from Burkman.[46] On March 19, 2017, Rich’s brother, Aaron, started a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise $200,000 for private investigation, public outreach activities, and a reward fund.[47] On March 24, Burkman started “The Profiling Project” with some forensics students at George Washington University, an independent investigative attempt to solve the murder of Seth Rich.[48][49] On June 20, 2017, the Profiling Project said that the conspiracy theories surrounding the death were unfounded, and published a report which speculated that the murder was caused by a serial killer.[50]

According to the Rich family spokesman, a Fox News contributor and financial adviser Ed Butowsky contacted the Rich family and recommended having former homicide detective and Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler investigate Seth Rich’s murder. The family gave Wheeler permission to investigate, though they did not hire him.[15][51] Instead, Wheeler’s investigation was financed by Butowsky himself.[52] NBC News reported that Butowsky initially denied involvement in the case, though he later told CNN he was involved in Wheeler’s investigation by offering financial support.[53][54] Butowsky told Dallas News that he advised the Rich family to hire a private investigator, and that they then chose to hire Wheeler.[53] After Wheeler asserted links between Rich and Wikileaks in a Fox affiliate interview on May 15, 2017—an assertion he later backpedaled from[55]—the family spokesman said that the family regretted working with Wheeler.[4] Wheeler then sued Fox News on August 1, 2017, for mental anguish and emotional distress, alleging that he had been misquoted in a story that was then published on the urging of President Donald J. Trump[56]

Rewards

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) posted its customary reward of $25,000 for information about the death.[2][33]

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks announced a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder leading to a conviction,[57][58][59] although Rich’s family said they were unable to verify this reward offer.[60] When making the offer for the reward, WikiLeaks said their offer should not be taken as implying Rich had been involved in leaking information to them.[2]

In November 2016, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman stated he was personally offering a $100,000 reward in addition to those announced by the police department and WikiLeaks, and he added another $5,000 to his offer in December and another $25,000 in January.[60][61][30] Burkman said he hoped the money would help “get to the truth of what happened here and will either debunk the conspiracy theories or validate them”.[62]

American businessman and investor, Martin Shkreli offered $100,000 for information leading to the murderer.[63]

Conspiracy theories

Origins

Genesis

The murder stoked right-wingconspiracy theories that arose days after Rich’s death,[64][65][66] including an unsubstantiated claim that his murder was connected to the DNC email leak of 2016.[4] A post on Twitter before Rich’s memorial service originated the idea that he was killed related to a political assassination.[64] Subsequently the conspiracy theory was publicized on Reddit and then on the website Heat Street, later popularized by Donald Trump political adviser Roger Stone via his Twitter account.[64] Reddit users attempted to tie the homicide to prior “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy theories.[65] On July 13, 2016, conspiracy website WhatDoesItMean.com promoted a similar conspiracy theory.[66]

WikiLeaks statements

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the police had no information suggesting a connection between Rich’s death and data obtained by WikLeaks.[2]Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, fueled speculation of a connection when, unbidden, he brought up the case.[30][67] People who worked with Rich said he was not an expert computer hacker helping to leak information to foreigners. Andrew Therriault, a data scientist who had mentored Rich, said although he had recently been working as a programmer, this “wasn’t his background”, and another co-worker said Rich was very upset when he heard hackers associated with Russian intelligence services had broken into the DNC computers and could be interfering with the election.[30]

Spread by social media and right wing

These conspiracy theories were promoted by Mike CernovichSean HannityGeraldo RiveraKim DotcomPaul Joseph WatsonNewt GingrichJack Posobiec, and others.[68][69][70]

The same venues that fomented the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory helped to promulgate the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories,[71][72][11] and each shared similar features.[73][74][75] Both were promoted by individuals subcribing to far-right politics,[76] and by campaign officials and individuals appointed to senior-level national security roles by Donald Trump.[77][78][79] After prior coordination on Facebook, each theory was spread on Twitter by automated bots using a branded hashtag, with the goal of becoming a trending topic.[71] Both the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory were spread in the sub reddit forum promoting Donald Trump, called “The Donald”.[80] In both conspiracy theories, the promoters attempted to shift the burden of proof — asking others to attempt to disprove their claims, without citing substantiated evidence.[52]Slate called the claims about Seth Rich a “PizzaGate-like conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death”,[81]The Huffington Post described it as “the ‘alt-right’ idiocy of Pizzagate all over again”,[75]NPR‘s David Folkenflik said Fox News coverage of it “evokes the pizza-gate terrible allegations utterly unfounded”,[82] and Margaret Sullivan wrote for The Washington Post: “The Seth Rich lie has become the new Comet Ping Pong … Crazy, baseless and dangerous.”[83]

Debunking

The conspiracy theories have been debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5]

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia described the murder as related to a bungled attempted at theft.[5] Police further debunked claims by Rod Wheeler, and made a statement saying: “the assertions put forward by Mr. Wheeler are unfounded.”[5] The FBI told PolitiFact.com that the MPD was investigating the homicide.[8]

A representative of the Rich’s family members, Brad Bauman, disputed the notion of conspiracy theorists that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in looking into the homicide.[5] Bauman stated: “The FBI is not now and has never been a party to this investigation.”[5]

FactCheck.org analyzed statements by Newt Gingrich related to the conspiracy theory, where Gingrich said Rich “apparently was assassinated” subsequent to “having given WikiLeaks something like … 53,000 [DNC] emails and 17,000 attachments”.[5] FactCheck.org determined this claim was “unsupported” and determined “there’s no evidence for his claim.”[5]

PolitiFact.com rated the assertion Rich gave emails to WikiLeaks as a “baseless claim”.[6] They called the claim “an unfounded conspiracy theory”.[6] PolitiFact.com analyzed the claims by Gingrich and rated their false nature as “Pants on Fire!”[6] PolitiFact.com concluded: “Gingrich and others are talking about an unfounded conspiracy theory as if it’s a matter of fact. It is far from it. We rate his claim Pants on Fire.”[6] In a separate analysis, PolitiFact.com concluded: “There’s no evidence there’s any link between Rich and WikiLeaks. The FBI has indirectly denied investigating the case, which Washington police consider a robbery gone wrong.”[8]

Snopes.com looked into the matter and stated: “We were able to confirm the FBI is not investigating Rich’s murder — it is an MPD investigation… All claims made by Mr. Wheeler are false and take fake news to a whole new level. The family deserves better and everyday MPD continues to work diligently to solve this case.”[9] Snopes rated the claim “DNC staffer Seth Rich sent ‘thousands of leaked e-mails’ to WikiLeaks before he was murdered.” as “False”.[9]

The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times.[10]The New York Times cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the persistence of false claims, concluding: “fake news dies hard”.[10]The Los Angeles Times called the conspiracy theories “unsubstantiated rumors”.[11]

The Washington Post cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the power of fake news to spread virally online.[12] The paper used the example as a case study of the persistence of fake news, and found that television news media can be a soft target for such false stories.[12]The Washington Post further found that the proliferation of fake news via Facebook had decreased, but remained powerful on Twitter due to spread via online bots.[12] They found that the conspiracy theories with the largest potential to spread on the Internet were those that held attraction for both the alt-right movements and the political left wing.[12]The Washington Post concluded that even if a particular false story had been sufficiently debunked, such fact-checking was unable to stop the spread of the falsehoods online.[12]

Fox News retracted reporting

Uncorroborated story

On May 15, 2017, Fox 5 DC (WTTG) reported the uncorroborated and later largely retracted[84] claims by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective, that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up;[85][84] claims that were never independently verified by Fox.[86] The next day, Fox News published a lead story on its website and provided extensive coverage on its cable news channel about what it later said were Wheeler’s uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich;[87][88][89] in the lead story Fox News removed from their website a few days later, they stated that Wheeler’s claims had been “corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News.”[90][91][92] In reporting these claims, the Fox News report re-ignited conspiracy theories about the killing.[73][93][94] According to NPR, within a day of the original Fox report, “Google searches for Rich had overtaken searches for James Comey, even amid continuous news about the former FBI director’s conversations with Trump.”[52]The Washington Post noted Fox News chose to lead with this story at a time when most other media outlets were covering Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russia.[88]

Other news organizations revealed Wheeler was a Donald Trump supporter, a paid Fox News contributor, and according to NBC News had “developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women”.[93][95][4]The Washington Post noted it is “rare for a news organization to have such a close relationship with the people it is covering”, as Wheeler was “playing three roles at once: as a Fox source, as a paid contributor to the network and as a supposedly independent investigator of the murder”.[73] When Wheeler appeared on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News shows, these multiple roles were not disclosed to viewers.[73] Seth Rich’s family had hired Wheeler to investigate Rich’s death; after Wheeler’s Fox News interview on May 15, 2017, Brad Bauman, a communications professional and pro bono spokesman for the Rich family, said the family was asking Fox News and the Fox affiliate to retract their reports and apologize for damaging their son’s legacy.[4]

The family spokesperson, the Washington, D.C. police department, the Washington, D.C. mayor’s office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case all disputed Wheeler’s claims.[93][96] The family said, “We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”[93] Bauman criticized Fox News for its reporting, saying he believed that the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: “I think there’s a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda.”[9]

Later that day, Wheeler told CNN he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks.[84] Wheeler claimed that Fox had presented his quotes misleadingly and that he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter.[84][52] Despite this, Sean Hannity’s show and Fox & Friends continued to promote the conspiracy theory for the remainder of the week.[97][98] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Geraldo Rivera took part in spreading the conspiracy.[98][99][100] Hannity had on his program Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who said the organization filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, and from the Metropolitan Police.[101] Sean Hannity furthermore promoted the uncorroborated claims of Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand resident sought by the United States on fraud charges who claimed without evidence that Rich had been in contact with him before his death.[102] Fox News host Julie Roginsky was critical of the conspiracy theory peddlers, stating on Twitter and on her television show: “The exploitation of a dead man whose family has begged conspiracy theorists to stop is really egregious. Please stop.”[103] Fox News was also criticized by conservative outlets, such as the Weekly Standard,[104]National Review,[105][106] and Red State,[107][108][109] and conservative columnists, such as Jennifer Rubin,[110] Michael Gerson,[111] and John Podhoretz.[112]

Cease and desist letter and retraction

On May 19, 2017, an attorney for the Rich family sent a cease and desist letter to Wheeler.[16]

Fox News issued a retraction of the story on May 23, 2017 and removed the original article, and did not apologize or specify what went wrong or how it did so.[17][113][114] Despite this, Hannity, who pushed the theory, remained unapologetic, saying “I retracted nothing” and “I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[115][102][114] In their May 23 statement, Fox News said,

The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.[115]

The Poynter Institute said that the retraction was “woefully inadequate”, noting that,

The two-paragraph statement, published under the “politics” category on the network’s website, doesn’t say what about Fox News’ reporting was inaccurate (that its original source backed away from his claim that he had information showing Rich was in touch with Wikileaks). It doesn’t replace the bad information with accurate information (that police believe Rich was murdered during a robbery). It doesn’t specify who in the organization is being held accountable. And the correction doesn’t appear on the original story to explain why it was removed, nor has it been shared in the on-air forums where the inaccurate story was promoted. As of this writing, the original URL displays a 404 error. Fox News isn’t even acknowledging to people who click the link to the original story that it’s been retracted.[116]

On May 23, 2017, Sean Hannity stated on his television program that he would cease discussing the issue.[117] Hannity said his decision to cease commenting on the matter was related to the family of the murder victim: “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing the matter at this time.”[117] In the same statement wherein he promised to cease discussion of the topic, he vowed to pursue facts in the future: “I promise you I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[117] Several advertisers including Crowne Plaza HotelsCars.comLeesa MattressUSAAPeloton and Casper Sleep pulled their marketing from his program on Fox News.[118][119][120] Crowne Plaza Hotels later said that it was not their policy to advertise on political commentary shows, and had not been aware of their sponsorship of the show.[121] USAA soon returned to advertising on Fox News after receiving customer input.[122]

Wheeler lawsuit

On August 1, 2017, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator hired by Butowsky who was the first to claim links between Seth Rich’s murder and the DNC hack on Fox, but who later appeared to retract his claims, filed a lawsuit (Case 1:17-cv-05807 Southern District of New York), in which 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky are named as defendants, stating that quotes attributed to him in the original Fox News piece were fabricated. The lawsuit also alleges that the fabricated quotes were included in the Fox News story at the urging of the Trump White House.[123][124]

Text messages and audio apparently supporting this assertion were included in the filing of the lawsuit. About a month before the story was aired on Fox News, Wheeler and Butowsky met at the White House with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to review the planned story on Seth Rich’s murder. After talking to Wheeler and Butowsky, Zimmerman sent Wheeler a draft of a story without any quotes from Wheeler on May 11th. On May 14th Butowsky texted Wheeler saying “Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.” Butowsky also left a voicemail for Wheeler which said “We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do.”[124] Butowsky said Seymour Hersch confirmed a link between Rich and the FBI. Hersch confirmed the conversation with Butowsky but told NPR the link was “gossip” and that Butowsky exaggerated its significance.[125]

In an email to Fox News Bukowsky also wrote about the purpose behind the Seth Rich story: “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion (between) Trump and the Russians.” He also instructed Wheeler that “[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Zimmerman’s] work prove that the Russians didn’t hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections (…) If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest.”[124]

When the story aired on Fox News, it included supposed quotes from Wheeler and was written as if the accusations against the DNC came from him. Wheeler alleges that the quotes were fabricated and should not have been attributed to him.[123]

In later recordings Butowsky admits to Wheeler that the claims being attributed to him were false but says that “One day you’re going to win an award for having said those things you didn’t say.” He also says “I know that’s not true, if I’m under oath, I would say I never heard him say that.”[124]

Family’s reaction

In May 2017, Aaron issued a statement saying “We simply want to find his killers and grieve. Instead, we are stuck having to constantly fight against non-facts, baseless allegations, and general stupidity to defend my brother’s name and legacy.”[4]

The family spokesperson said “At this point, only people with transparent political agendas or sociopaths are still perpetuating Seth Rich conspiracies.”[126]

His parents authored a piece in The Washington Post on May 23, 2017 titled: “We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder,” in which they wrote:

We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.[13]

See also

References

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

Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh (born April 8, 1937) is an American investigative journalist and political writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a longtime contributor to The New Yorkermagazine on national security matters and has also written for the London Review of Books since 2013.[5][6]

Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. In 2004, he notably reported on the US military‘s mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and five George Polk Awards. In 2004, he received the George Orwell Award.[7]

Early years

Hersh was born on April 8, 1937[8] in Chicago to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to the US from Lithuania and Poland and ran a dry-cleaning shop in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a history degree, Hersh found himself struggling to find a job. He began working at Walgreens before being accepted into University of Chicago Law School but was soon expelled for poor grades.[9]After returning for a short time to Walgreens, Hersh began his career in journalism as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in 1959. He later became a correspondent for United Press International in South Dakota. In 1963, he went on to become a Chicago and Washington correspondent for the Associated Press. While working in Washington Hersh first met and befriended I. F. Stone, whose I. F. Stone’s Weekly would serve as an initial inspiration for Hersh’s later work. It was during this time that Hersh began to form his investigative style, often walking out of regimented press briefings at the Pentagon and seeking out one-on-one interviews with high-ranking officers. After a falling out with the editors at the AP when they insisted on watering down a story about the US government’s work on biological and chemical weapons, Hersh left the AP and sold his story to The New Republic. During the 1968 presidential election, he served as press secretary for the campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy.

After leaving the McCarthy campaign, Hersh returned to journalism as a freelancer covering the Vietnam War. In 1969, Hersh received a tip from Geoffrey Cowan of The Village Voice regarding an Army lieutenant being court-martialled for killing civilians in Vietnam. His subsequent investigation, sold to the Dispatch News Service, was run in thirty-three newspapers and exposed the My Lai massacre, winning him the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.[9][10]

In 1972, Hersh was hired as a reporter for the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he served from 1972 to 1975 and again in 1979. Hersh reported on the Watergate scandal, though most of the credit for that story went to Carl Bernstein and Hersh’s longtime rival Bob Woodward. Nonetheless, Hersh’s Watergate investigations led him in 1983 to the publication of The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, a damning portrait of Henry Kissinger that won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 1975, Hersh was active in the investigation and reporting of Project Azorian (which he called Project Jennifer), the CIA‘s clandestine effort to raise a Soviet submarine using the Howard Hughes‘ Glomar Explorer. This was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2015) dollars.

After the New York Times

His 1983 book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House won him the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography. In 1985, Hersh contributed to the PBS television documentary Buying the Bomb. In 1993 Hersh became a regular contributor to The New Yorker.[11]

Hersh has appeared regularly on the syndicated television news program Democracy Now![12]

Selected stories

My Lai Massacre

On November 12, 1969, Hersh reported the story of the My Lai Massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians were murdered by US soldiers in March 1968.[13] The report prompted widespread condemnation around the world and reduced public support for the Vietnam War in the United States. The explosive news of the massacre fueled the outrage of the US peace movement, which demanded the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. Hersh wrote about the massacre and its cover-up in My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath (1970) and Cover-up: The Army’s Secret Investigation of the Massacre at My Lai 4 (1972). For My Lai 4, Hersh traveled across the United States and interviewed nearly 50 members of the Charlie Company.[14]A movie called “Interviews with My Lai Veterans” won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subjects in 1971. A movie was also produced, based on this book, by Italian director Paolo Bertola in 2009.[15]

Project Jennifer

In early 1974, Hersh had planned to publish a story on “Project Jennifer” (later revealed to be named Project Azorian and Operation Matador), a covert CIA project to recover a sunken Soviet navy submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. CIA director William Colby discussed the operation with Hersh in 1974, but obtained his promise not to publish while the operation was active. Bill KovachThe New York Times Washington, D.C. bureau chief at the time, said in 2005 that the government offered a convincing argument to delay publication in early 1974—exposure at that time, while the project was ongoing, “would have caused an international incident”. The NYT eventually published Hersh’s account on March 19, 1975, after a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and included a five-paragraph explanation of the many twists and turns in the path to publication. It is unclear what, if any, action was taken by the Soviet Union after learning of the story. It was later revealed that the leaks prevented a second recovery attempt of the submarine after a small portion of it was raised in the summer of 1974.[16]

Korean Air Flight 007

In The Target Is Destroyed (1986), Hersh alleged that the shooting down of Korean Air Flight 007 in September 1983 by the Soviet Union was due to a combination of Soviet incompetence and United States intelligence operations intended to confuse Soviet responses.

Later releases of government information confirmed that there was a PSYOPS campaign against the Soviet Union that had been in place from the first few months of the Reagan administration. This campaign included the largest US Pacific Fleet exercise ever held, in April to May 1983.

Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Maxwell

In The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (1991), Hersh wrote that Nicholas Davies, the foreign editor of The Daily Mirror, had tipped off the Israeli embassy in London about Mordechai Vanunu. Vanunu had given information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program first to The Sunday Times and later to the Sunday Mirror. At the time, the Sunday Mirror and its sibling newspaper, the Daily Mirror were owned by media magnate Robert Maxwell who was alleged to have had contacts with Israel’s intelligence services. According to Hersh, Davies had also worked for the Mossad. Vanunu was later lured by Mossad from London to Rome, kidnapped, returned to Israel, and sentenced to 18 years in jail. Davies and Maxwell published an anti-Vanunu story that was claimed by critics to be part of a disinformation campaign on behalf of the Israeli government.[17]

Hersh repeated the allegations during a press conference held in London to publicize his book. No British newspaper would publish the allegations because of Maxwell’s famed litigiousness. However, two British MPs raised the matter in the House of Commons, which meant that British newspapers were able to report what had been said without fear of being sued for libel. Maxwell called the claims “ludicrous, a total invention”. He fired Davies shortly thereafter.[18]

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

Hersh strongly criticized Bill Clinton‘s decision to destroy, on August 20, 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Al-Shifa, the largest pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, accounted for half the country’s domestically produced medicines.[19]

Iraq

Hersh has written a series of articles for The New Yorker magazine detailing military and security matters surrounding the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In March 2002, he described the planning process for a new invasion of Iraq that he alleged had been on-going since the end of the First Gulf War, under the leadership of Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Fried and other neo-conservatives. In a 2004 article, he alleged that Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld circumvented the normal intelligence analysis function of the CIA in their quest to make the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Another article, “Lunch with the Chairman”, led Richard Perle, a subject of the article, to call Hersh the “closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.”[20]

A March 7, 2007, article entitled, “The Redirection” described a recent shift in the George W. Bush administration‘s Iraq policy, the goal of which Hersh said was to “contain” Iran. Hersh asserted that “a by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”[21]

In May 2004, Hersh published a series of articles which described the treatment of detainees by US military police at Abu Ghraib prison near BaghdadIraq.[22] The articles included allegations that private military contractorscontributed to prisoner mistreatment and that intelligence agencies such as the CIA ordered torture in order to break prisoners for interrogations. They also alleged that torture was a usual practice in other US-run prisons as well, e.g., in Bagram Theater Internment Facility and Guantanamo. In subsequent articles, Hersh wrote that the abuses were part of a secret interrogation program, known as “Copper Green“. According to Hersh’s sources, the program was expanded to Iraq with the direct approval of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both in an attempt to deal with the growing insurgency there and as part of “Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.”[23] Much of his material for these articles was based on the Army’s own internal investigations.[24]

Scott Ritter, a disaffected former arms inspector, asserted in his October 19, 2005 interview with Seymour Hersh that the US policy to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power started with US president George H. W. Bushin August 1990. Ritter concluded from public remarks by President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that the Iraq sanctions would only be lifted when Hussein was removed from power. The justification for sanctions was disarmament. The CIA offered the opinion that containing Hussein for six months would result in the collapse of his regime. According to Hersh, this policy resulted in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.[25]

Iran

In January 2005, Hersh alleged that the US was conducting covert operations in Iran to identify targets for possible strikes. Hersh also wrote that Pakistan and the United States had struck a “Khan-for-Iran” deal in which Washingtonwould look the other way at Pakistan’s nuclear transgressions and not demand handing over of its infamous nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan, in return for Islamabad‘s cooperation in neutralizing Iran’s nuclear plans. This was also denied by officials of the governments of the US and Pakistan.

In the April 17, 2006 issue of The New Yorker,[26] Hersh wrote that the Bush administration had plans for an air strike on Iran. Of particular note in his article was that a US nuclear first strike (possibly using the B61-11 bunker-busternuclear weapon) is under consideration to eliminate underground Iranian uranium enrichment facilities. In response, President Bush cited Hersh’s reportage as “wild speculation.” [27]

When, in October 2007, he was asked about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton‘s hawkish views on Iran, Hersh stated that Jewish donations were the main reason for these:

During one journalism conference, Hersh stated that after the Strait of Hormuz incident, members of the Bush administration met in vice president Dick Cheney‘s office to consider methods of initiating a war with Iran. One idea considered was staging a false flag operation involving the use of Navy SEALs dressed as Iranian PT boaters who would engage in a firefight with US ships. According to Hersh this proposed provocation was rejected. Hersh’s allegation has not been verified.[29]

Lebanon

In August 2006, in an article in The New Yorker, Hersh wrote that the White House gave the green light for the Israeli government to execute an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Supposedly, communication between the Israeligovernment and the US government about this came as early as two months in advance of the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others by Hezbollah prior to the 2006 Lebanon War in July 2006.[30] The US government denied these allegations.[31]

Killing of Osama bin Laden 

In September 2013, during an interview with The Guardian, Hersh commented that the 2011 raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was “one big lie, not one word of it is true”. He said that the Obama administration lies systematically, and that American media outlets are reluctant to challenge the administration, saying “It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]”.[32] Hersh later clarified that he didn’t dispute Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan, and rather meant that the lying began in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death.[33]

On May 10, 2015, Hersh published the 10,000-word article “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” in the London Review of Books (LRB) on the fourth anniversary of the Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden (Operation Neptune Spear). It immediately went viral, crashing the LRB website.[34] Hersh outlined with extensive quoting of both named and unnamed sources the background to how bin Laden’s presence in Abbotabad came to be known to the U.S. government and how the SEAL raid was in fact known to the Pakistanis and had ISI cooperation. Hersh alleges the U.S. government’s narrative was in fact an elaborate cover story meant to conceal Pakistan’s relationship with the Al Qaeda leader and to yield maximum political payoff for President Barack Obama in the runup to the 2012 election season:

The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.[35]

Operation Neptune Spear is often contrasted[citation needed] with a low point—Operation Eagle Claw, the botched 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran ordered by President Jimmy Carter that killed eight troops and freed no captured Americans.

The official U.S. version is that bin Laden’s location at Abbottabad was identified by the CIA by tracking an al-Qaeda courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Hersh reports that in August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer walked into the office of Jonathan Bank, the CIA station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad and betrayed the secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for part of the $25 million reward, and has since been relocated with his family to Washington and is a consultant to the CIA. The ISI had captured bin Laden in 2006; he had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains. The ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him. Bin Laden was very ill and was living as prisoner under ISI control in the garrison town of Abbottabad less than two miles from Pakistan’s National Military Academy at Kakul (equivalent of United States Military Academy at West Point). The Saudi government also knew about Osama’s presence in Abbottabad and had advised the Pakistanis to keep him as a prisoner and gave financial assistance. Major Amir Aziz, a Pakistani Army doctor, was ordered to move near his compound to provide treatment. Aziz was also given a share of the $25 million reward because he got the DNA sample which conclusively proved that it was bin Laden. A real casualty in the whole affair was the doctor named Shakil Afridi. His perfectly legitimate hepatitis B vaccination programme was claimed to be the way the US obtained bin Laden’s DNA. Afridi became the sacrificial lamb because the US wanted to protect its real CIA informant, Amir Aziz, who had been held by the Pakistanis. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years by the Pakistanis. Other vaccination programmes were canceled once this lie was put forth.[35]

Hersh writes that the Pakistan Army and intelligence service was warned about the U.S. Navy SEALs’ raid and made sure that the two helicopters carrying the SEALs to Abbottabad crossed Pakistani airspace without triggering an alarm: “The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders—General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI—were never informed of the US mission.”[35] The report also states that Pakistani officials knew about the raid before it happened in May 2011 and instructed those monitoring bin Laden’s compound to allow the SEALs to conduct the operation unobstructed.

Since his killing in 2011, the U.S. media has reported that bin Laden was given a perfunctory naval funeral off the deck of an aircraft carrier, to prevent any gravesite from becoming a symbol of martyrdom. According to Hersh’s account of the assassination, bin Laden’s corpse never made it to the USS Carl Vinson, because it had been torn apart by automatic fire at point-blank range before the CIA took whatever shreds were left: “Some members of the SEAL team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” And bin Laden’s wives and children were never turned over to the Americans for questioning.

Hersh’s story drew harsh criticism from media commentators and officials. Peter Bergen disputed Hersh’s contentions, saying they “defy common sense”;[36] Hersh responded that Bergen simply “views himself as the trustee of all things Bin Laden”.[37] A similar dismissal of Hersh’s account came from former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.[38] A former intelligence official who had direct knowledge of the operation speculated that the Pakistanis, who were furious that the operation took place without being detected by them, were behind the false story as a way to save face.[39]

Others criticized the press response. In an article for the Columbia Journalism ReviewTrevor Timm wrote that “barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his [Hersh’s] claims”, and observed that Slate, for example, “ran five hit jobs on Hersh within 36 hours”.[40]

On May 12, the Pakistan-based journalist Amir Mir disclosed that the “walk-in” who had provided the CIA with the information about bin Laden’s whereabouts was Brigadier Usman Khalid of ISI.[41][42]

On May 20, a former CIA officer, Philip Giraldi, opined in The American Conservative that he found Hersh’s story credible:

Syrian Civil War

During the Syrian Civil War US President Obama argued in a 2012 speech that a chemical attack in Syria would constitute crossing a “red line” and that this would trigger a US military intervention against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[44]

After this speech, and prior to the chemical attacks in Ghoutachemical weapons were suspected to have been used in at least four attacks in the country.[45] On 23 March 2013, the Syrian government requested the UN to send inspectors in order to investigate an incident in the town of Khan al-Assal, where it said opposition forces had used chlorine-filled rockets.[46] However, on 25 April US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated that US intelligence showed the Assad government was likely to have used chemical weapons – specifically sarin gas.[47]

On 8 December 2013, the London Review of Books published “Whose Sarin?”, in which Hersh argued that President Obama had “omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts” in his assertion during his televised speech of 10 September that the Syrian government had been responsible for the use of sarin gas in the Ghouta chemical attack of 21 August 2013 against a rebel-held district of Damascus.[48] In particular, Hersh wrote of anonymous intelligence sources telling him that the Syrian army was not the only agency with access to sarin, referring to the Al-Nusra Front Jihadist group, and that, during the period before the Ghouta attack, secretly implanted sensors at the country’s known bases had not detected suspicious movements suggesting a forthcoming chemical attack in the period.[48]

On 22 December 2015, the London Review of Books published Hersh’s article “Military to Military”[49] in which he exposed the divide between the US top brass and the politicians in the White House when it came to dealing with Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. Hersh reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States Department of Defense has indirectly supported Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad with quality intelligence in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups, providing said intelligence via GermanyIsrael and Russia – to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also writes the military even undermined a US effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joint Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the US arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally Russia, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Saudi ArabiaQatar and Turkey over their support of extremist groups in Syria. These countries had armed extremists with modern weapons – which gave them the upper hand in subduing the Syrian Army – and resulted in huge territorial losses by 2013. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government supported Jabhat al-Nusra. The US JCS reported the Erdogan government were “doing the same for Islamic State” in order to disrupt the balance in the Middle East. The Turkish government refused to halt the flow of foreign militants going through Turkey.[50][51]

On 25 June 2017, Welt am Sonntag published Hersh’s article “Trump’s Red Line”[52] in which he claimed to expose the divide between the US ‘intelligence community’ and Donald Trump, the President of the United States, over the alleged ‘sarin attack’ at the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib on 4 April 2017 … ‘Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.’ A chat conversation delivered to Hersh by his informants and published by Welt am Sonntag, “We got a fuckin‘ problem”[53] seems to evidence much upset on the part of at least one ‘American soldier’ in Syria in conversations with an American ‘security advisor’ as well. However, at least one journalist accused Hersh of sloppy journalism: “Hersh based his case on a tiny number of anonymous sources, presented no other evidence to support his case, and ignored or dismissed evidence that countered the alternative narrative he was trying to build.”[54]

Criticism

Kennedy research

Hersh’s 1997 book about John F. KennedyThe Dark Side of Camelot, made a number of controversial assertions about the former president, including that he had had a “first marriage” to a woman named Durie Malcolm that was never terminated, that he had been a semi-regular narcotics user, and that he had a close working relationship with mob boss Sam Giancana which supposedly included vote fraud in one or two crucial states in the 1960 presidential election. For many of these allegations, Hersh relied only on hearsay collected decades after the event. In a Los Angeles Times review, Edward Jay Epstein cast doubt on these and other assertions, writing, “this book turns out to be, alas, more about the deficiencies of investigative journalism than about the deficiencies of John F. Kennedy.”[55] Responding to the book, historian and former Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called Hersh “the most gullible investigative reporter I’ve ever encountered.”[56]

A month before the publication of The Dark Side of Camelot, newspapers, including USA Today, reported Hersh’s announcement that he had removed from the galleys, at the last minute, a segment about legal documents allegedly containing JFK’s signature.[57] The documents signed by “John F. Kennedy” included a provision, in 1960, for a trust fund to be set up for the institutionalized mother of Marilyn Monroe.[58][59] A paralegal named Lawrence Cusack had shared them with Hersh and encouraged the author to discuss them in the book.[58] Shortly before Hersh’s publicized announcement, federal investigators began probing Cusack’s sale of the documents at auction.[58] After The Dark Side of Camelot became a bestseller, Cusack was convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan of forging the documents and sentenced to a long prison term.[60] In 1997 the Kennedy family denied Cusack’s claim that his late father had been an attorney who had represented JFK in 1960.[58]

Use of anonymous sources

There has been sustained criticism of Hersh’s use of anonymous sources.[55][61][62] Critics, including Edward Jay Epstein and Amir Taheri, say he is over-reliant on them.[55][61][62] Taheri, for example, when reviewing Hersh’s Chain of Command (2004), complained:

As soon as he has made an assertion he cites a ‘source’ to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances. […] By my count Hersh has anonymous ‘sources’ inside 30 foreign governments and virtually every department of the U.S. government.[61]

In response to an article in The New Yorker in which Hersh alleged that the U.S. government was planning a strike on IranU.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan G. Whitman said, “This reporter has a solid and well-earned reputation for making dramatic assertions based on thinly sourced, unverifiable anonymous sources.”[63]

David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, maintains that he is aware of the identity of all of Hersh’s unnamed sources, telling the Columbia Journalism Review that “I know every single source that is in his pieces. … Every ‘retired intelligence officer,’ every general with reason to know, and all those phrases that one has to use, alas, by necessity, I say, ‘Who is it? What’s his interest?’ We talk it through.”[64]

Speeches

In an interview with New York magazine, Hersh made a distinction between the standards of strict factual accuracy for his print reporting and the leeway he allows himself in speeches, in which he may talk informally about stories still being worked on or blur information to protect his sources. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people. … I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”[62]

Some of Hersh’s speeches concerning the Iraq War have described violent incidents involving U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2004, during the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, he alleged that American troops sexually assaulted young boys:

Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has. They’re in total terror it’s going to come out.[62]

In a subsequent interview with New York magazine, Hersh regretted that “I actually didn’t quite say what I wanted to say correctly. … It wasn’t that inaccurate, but it was misstated. The next thing I know, it was all over the blogs. And I just realized then, the power of—and so you have to try and be more careful.”[62] In Chain of Command, he wrote that one of the witness statements he had read described the rape of a boy by a foreign contract interpreter at Abu Ghraib, during which a woman took pictures.[62]

Link between the US government and Fatah al-Islam

In March 2007, Hersh asserted in a New Yorker piece that the United States and Saudi governments were funding the terrorist organization Fatah al-Islam through aid to Lebanese Sunni Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[65] Following the publication of the story, journalist Emmanuel Sivan in Beirut wrote that Hersh put forth the allegation without any reliable sources.[66][67]

Morarji Desai libel suit

Hersh wrote in his 1983 book The Price of Power that former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai had been paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Desai called the allegation “a scandalous and malicious lie” and filed a $50 million libel suit against Hersh. By the time the case went to trial Desai, by then 93, was too ill to attend. CIA director Richard Helms and Henry Kissinger testified under oath that at no time did Desai act in any capacity for the CIA, paid or otherwise. A Chicago jury ruled in favor of Hersh, saying Desai did not provide sufficient evidence that Hersh had published the information with intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth, either of which must be proven in a libel suit.[68][69]

Controversy

On August 1, 2017, Hersh was interviewed by National Public Radio for a story on a lawsuit related to an investigation into the 2016 death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. In the interview, Hersh denied a claim by investigator Ed Butowsky that Hersh had said he’d spoken to a Federal Bureau of Investigation source who confirmed the existence of information on Rich’s laptop computer showing he had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. In the NPR interview, Hersh dismissed the claim as “gossip.”[70]

Later that same day, a purported audio recording of Hersh was made public, in which he states that his “high level” and “unbelievably accurate” source provided him with information from an FBI report confirming Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. Hersh has not publicly denied the authenticity of the recording, nor his alleged statements on it.[71]

Awards, honors and associations

His journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize, the 2004 National Council of Teachers of English George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, two National Magazine Awards, 5 George Polk Awards – making him that award’s most honored laureate – and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting: