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

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

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

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

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUST NO ONE

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

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

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Medicare For All: What Does it Actually Mean?

DEBUNKED: Medicare for All MYTHS! | Louder With Crowder

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

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

 

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

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

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Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019See the source imageOpinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists

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

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

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

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

President Trump answers questions about Syria, Turkey

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

Turkish forces clash with Kurdish fighters in Syria – BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Armenian Genocide?

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

Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkey-backed rebels capture city from Kurdish control

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

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

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

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

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

Mortar shells land on Turkish side of border with Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkey-backed Syrian forces continue Syrian Kurdish fighters assault

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Erdogan just kept going.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Attorney General William Barr – Notre Dame Speech

Why Has the West Been So Successful?

1. I Am the Lord Your God

2. No Other Gods

Religious Tolerance: Made in America

Were the Founders Religious?

Was America Founded to Be Secular?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

America’s Biggest Issues: Religious Freedom

The Left Ruins Everything

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Jordan Peterson on the Belief in God

Who Dares Say He Believes in God?

On Claiming Belief In God: Discussion with Dennis Prager

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

Donald Trump makes speech to the UN general assembly

The Blaine Amendments: State Constitutions & School Choice

Blaine Amendments and “Sectarian” explained

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down the Blaine Amendment?

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

South Bend, IN

~

Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

– The Washington Times – Thursday, October 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For defending religious liberty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom of religion

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muslim world

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Europe

Religious intolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early steps and attempts in the way of tolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early laws and legal guarantees for religious freedom

Principality of Transylvania

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

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

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

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

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

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

Habsburg rule in Transylvania

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

Netherlands

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

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

Poland

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

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

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

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

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

International

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

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

Contemporary debates

Theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs

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

Secular liberalism

A man posing for a print

Adam Smith argued in favour of freedom of religion.

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

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

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

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

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

Hinduism

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

Judaism

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

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

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

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

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

Christianity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apostasy in Islam

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

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

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

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

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

Secular law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children’s rights

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

International Religious Freedom Day

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

Modern concerns

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

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

Social hostilities and government restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also

References…

Further reading

External links

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

Blaine Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Contents

Proposed federal amendment

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

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

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

The proposed text was:

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

Amendments to state constitutions

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

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

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

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

See also

Notes

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

Further reading

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

External links

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

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

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

 

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Story 1: President Trump Rally In Minneapolis, Minnesota — Videos

FULL RALLY: President Trump rally in Minneapolis, MN

Story 2: Search For The Partisan Democrat CIA Leaker Phony Whistleblower Worked For Joe Biden — Videos —

Bidens Lied About Hunter’s Burisma Pay, Dems Colluded With Ukraine, Reports John Solomon

Second Whistleblower Emerges On President Donald Trump And Ukraine | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

CIA whistleblower: This is an insult to real whistleblowers

US intelligence chief testifies on whistleblower complaint – as it happened

Joe Biden ‘worked with whistleblower when he was vice president’ say White House and intelligence sources – despite CIA analyst’s denial that he had ‘ties’ to any 2020 Dem candidate

  • New report says that CIA whistleblower worked with Biden when he was VP
  • Whistleblower’s attorneys previously denied ties in carefully worded statement
  • Questions are mounting about whistleblower’s possible political bias
  • Person has already been identified as having a Democratic affiliation 
  • IG said person ‘had some type of professional relationship’ with Dem candidate
  • But attorneys for the CIA agent said he had only ever worked as a professional civil servant and had not worked for any political campaign 

The whistleblower accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power worked with Joe Biden when he was vice president, according to a new report.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the CIA whistleblower issued a carefully-worded statement denying that the had a ‘professional’ link to a 2020 Democratic candidate, saying he is an apolitical civil servant.

Now an intelligence source says that it is likely that the unnamed CIA analyst, who is clearly an expert on Ukraine issues, briefed Biden and probably even accompanied him on Air Force Two on one or more of Biden’s six visits to the country.

‘From everything we know about the whistleblower and his work in the executive branch then, there is absolutely no doubt he would have been working with Biden when he was vice president,’ a retired CIA officer told the Washington Examiner.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday evening.

Biden is seen with then-President Barack Obama signing executive orders to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2009. Source say that Biden worked closely with the CIA whistleblower while serving as vice president

Biden is seen with then-President Barack Obama signing executive orders to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2009. Source say that Biden worked closely with the CIA whistleblower while serving as vice president

Trump has accused the whistleblower of having ties to one of his political opponents

Trump has accused the whistleblower of having ties to one of his political opponents

President Trump claims Schiff helped write whistleblower complaint
Separately, a former Trump administration official told the Examiner that Biden’s work on foreign affairs as vice president brought him into close proximity with the whistleblower.

“This person, after working with Biden, may feel defensive towards him because he feels [Biden] is being falsely attacked. Maybe he is even talking to Biden’s staff,” the former official said. “Maybe it is innocent, maybe not.”

The whistleblower’s alleged political bias has become the subject of various accusations following a report that the Intelligence Community Inspector General said that the person ‘worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates.’

The claim of a ‘professional link’ between the CIA agent and a candidate was first made in an article by Washington Examiner columnist and conservative commentator Byron York.

The whistleblower, who alleges misconduct on Trump’s part, had already been identified as having a Democratic party affiliation.

A person with knowledge of the Inspector General (IG) for the Intelligence Community’s recent testimony to the House, was reported by York to have indicated there was an additional ‘professional relationship.’

‘The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,’ a source told the Examiner.

Another source told the paper: ‘The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates.’

After Trump tweeted a link to the Examiner report, the unnamed CIA agent’s attorneys issued a rare public statement claiming that there was a ‘professional relationship’ between the whistleblower and a candidate.

Trump tweeted: ‘This is just the beginning.’ Later on Tuesday he tweeted: ‘The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS.’

But late Wednesday, the lawyers said they wanted to ‘clarify some facts,’ and said in the statement: ‘Our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party.

‘Second, our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch.

‘Third, in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials – not as candidates.’

Rare statement: How the whistleblower's attorneys slapped back at the president

The whisteblower’s attorneys – who did not confirm that the official is a male CIA agent, although that aspect of his identity is already known – went on to slam suggestions that his complaint was not credible and said he had told the inspector general about his career to help establish its credibility.

‘Fourth, the whistleblower voluntarily provided relevant career information to the ICIG in order to facilitate an assessment of the credibility of the complaint,’ the attorneys said.

‘Fifth, as a result, the ICIG concluded – as is well known – that the complaint was both urgent and credible.

Finally, the whistleblower is not the story. To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources. For that reason the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant.’

The combination of a clapback at the president by the attorneys, and a hint of more information about the official’s resume, will only add to the drama surrounding the complaint.

Pointedly, the lawyers called their client ‘whisteblower #1,’ a reference to a report that they have another or possibly even multiple other whistleblowers who are in the process of making complaints.

The IG, Michael Atkinson, had provided vague information in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee in August, writing the whistle-blower had ‘some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.’

The whistle-blower in a complaint alleges that Trump asked the President of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens to help his own 2020 reelection. An unsealed call shows Trump bringing up the Bidens with the Ukrainian president.

Who could it be? Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro Third 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Debate, Houston, USA. A report connected the whistle-blower to one of the 2020 candidates

Who could it be? Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro Third 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Debate, Houston, USA. A report connected the whistle-blower to one of the 2020 candidates

The president has previously gone after the whistle-blower, identified by the New York Times as a CIA officer who has been detailed to the White House at some point, and demanded the right to face his accuser.

The Washington Post reported that House Democrats may interview the whistle-blower at an off-site location to protect their identity, amid concerns it could leak.

In remarks caught on video, Trump said: ‘I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because that’s close to a spy.’ He continued: ‘You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now,’ he said, referencing execution.

A group of 90 national security professionals has applauded an unidentified whistle-blower.

‘While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government. As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing,’ the officials wrote.

‘That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns,’ said the security officials, who served Democratic and Republican presidents.

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

Whistleblower had ‘professional’ tie to 2020 Democratic candidate

In an Aug. 26 letter, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, wrote that the anonymous whistleblower who set off the Trump-Ukraine impeachment fight showed “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”

A few weeks later, news reports said the whistleblower’s possible bias was that he is a registered Democrat. That was all. Incredulous commentary suggested that Republicans who were pushing the bias talking point were so blinded by their own partisanship that they saw simple registration with the Democratic Party as evidence of wrongdoing.

“Give me a break!” tweeted whistleblower lawyer Mark Zaid. “Bias? Seriously?”

Now, however, there is word of more evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part. Under questioning from Republicans during last Friday’s impeachment inquiry interview with Atkinson, the inspector general revealed that the whistleblower’s possible bias was not that he was simply a registered Democrat. It was that he had a significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates currently vying to challenge President Trump in next year’s election.

“The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,” said one person with knowledge of what was said.

“The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates,” said another person with knowledge of what was said.

“What [Atkinson] said was that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and that he had a prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate,” said a third person with knowledge of what was said.

All three sources said Atkinson did not identify the Democratic candidate with whom the whistleblower had a connection. It is unclear what the working or professional relationship between the two was.

In the Aug. 26 letter, Atkinson said that even though there was evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part, “such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible,’ particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.”

Democrats are certain to take that position when Republicans allege that the whistleblower acted out of bias. Indeed, the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a public document, for all to see. One can read it regardless of the whistleblower’s purported bias.

Nevertheless, Republicans will want to know more about the origins of the whistleblower complaint, especially given the unorthodox use of whistleblower law involved. There is more to learn — like who the Democratic candidate is — before Republicans will say they know enough about what happened.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/whistleblower-had-professional-tie-to-2020-democratic-candidate

 

 Story 3: Two Trump Supporters Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges — Videos —

PBS NewsHour full episode October 10, 2019

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – October 10th, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine fixers are arrested trying to flee the U.S. hours after lunching with him and are charged with funneling $350k from mystery Russian businessman to Trump PAC – then pushing to have ambassador to Kiev fired

  • Lev Parnas Igor Fruman assisted Giuliani’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate his theory about the 2016 elections 
  • They are both foreign-born and expected to appear in federal court in Virginia
  • Donated $325,000 to pro-Trump super PAC through an LLC
  • Accused of breaking campaign finance laws and concealing foreign donations 
  • House Intelligence committee called both men to testify about their work with Giuliani in Ukraine but lawyer declined
  • They were subpoenaed on Thursday 
  • The two men had dinner with President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in 2018
  • Giuliani has said both are clients of his 
  • They introduced Giuliani to Ukrainian figures as part of his effort to pursue his theory of foreign election interference
  • The men took steps to hide foreign donor as source behind contributions due to his ‘Russian roots and current political paranoia about it’

A pair of Florida businessmen who worked with Donald Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to promote politically-charged investigations in Ukraine were arrested on federal campaign finance charges as they tried to flee the country, it was revealed Thursday.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were each born in former Soviet republics, assisted Giuliani’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate his theory about the 2016 elections, and also help Giuliani’s effort to dig up dirt on a company tied to the Bidens in Ukraine.

They were arrested at Dulles Airport on a plane to Vienna, Austria, a few hours after they were seen lunching with Giuliani at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C.

At a federal court hearing in Alexandria, VA, Thursday afternoon federal prosecutors said the pair were a flight risk.

U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Parnas and Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail.

The two men cultivated ties with a series of top Republican officials. They had dinner with President Trump at the White House and dined with Donald Trump Jr. in 2018.

Parnas bragged about dining with the president at the White House that year.

Giuliani has said both are clients of his.  While they were sitting in Alexandria Sheriff’s Office cells, the Soviet-born duo were also hit with subpoenas by the House Intelligence Committee.

Parnas and Fruman had lunch with Giuliani Wednesday at Trump’s DC hotel hours before trying to leave the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday in the Southern District of New York, the men are accused of funneling $325,000 from a mystery Russian businessman into America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC in violation of U.S. campaign laws banning foreign donations and efforts to conceal campaign funds.

Flight risk: U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail

Flight risk: U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail

Lev Parnas
Igor Fruman

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested and charged with campaign finance crimes in an indictment unsealed Thursday

Mike Pence, Igor fruman, Lev Parnas, President Trump, and Rudy Giuliani are pictured in an image captured by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Mike Pence, Igor fruman, Lev Parnas, President Trump, and Rudy Giuliani are pictured in an image captured by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Dining at the White House: Lev Parnas bragged that he was a guest of Donald Trump in spring 2018 -

Dining at the White House: Lev Parnas bragged that he was a guest of Donald Trump in spring 2018 –

In addition to helping Trump, the same super PAC spent millions to boost former Texas GOP Rep Pete Sessions, who wrote a letter calling for the firing of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich, who Trump trashed on his infamous July call with the Ukrainian president and who House Democrats want to interview Friday as part of their impeachment probe.

The House Intelligence committee wants both men to testify about their work with Giuliani in Ukraine as part of its impeachment probe into Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.

Their lawyer John Dowd – Trump’s former attorney – has said they won’t provide the information. Amid the standoff, three House committees issued subpoenas for interviews and information.

Dowd hung up on an Associated Press reporter seeking comment. He had previously replied to the Democrat-controlled committee rejecting the subpoenas and writing in comic sans font. He had also accused the Democrats of harassing his clients.

The men were arrested late Wednesday at Dulles airport in Virginia as they were about to fly abroad with one-way tickets to Vienna, according to prosecutors.

U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Giuliani said both Parnas and Fruman were his clients. They assisted his Ukraine investigation

U.S. President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Giuliani said both Parnas and Fruman were his clients. They assisted his Ukraine investigation

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018

Men associated with Giuliani arrested for violating campaign laws
The pair donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, through an LLC, prosecutors say.

Although the indictment mentions only an alleged scheme to violate campaign finance laws, the two men are also connected to a the sprawling Ukraine matter that has President Trump now facing a ramped-up House Democratic impeachment effort.

The Associated Press reported that the two men sought to use their connections to Giuliani to get the Ukrainian state gas company, Naftogaz, to replace members of their board of directors.

The indictment doesn’t mention Giuliani, whose association with Parnas and Fruman was part of his effort to amass potential dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden.

The pair dined with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2018, along with Tommy Hicks Jr., according to a Facebook post that captured the event. Hicks was leading the pro-Trump super PAC at the time and now has a position as co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

They also had dinner with President Trump, and images Parnas posted on Twitter in May thanks the president for an ‘incredible dinner and even better conversation’ at the White House.

He also wrote: ‘!!!! Making America Great!!!!!!!’ and tagged ‘#TRUMP2020.’

An image posted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project shows them pictured with Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, and Giuliani.

They also donated to Florida Sen. Rick Scott and hosted fundraisers for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined by Donald Trump Jr., the Miami Herald reported.

The men are being represented John Dowd, who served as Donald Trump’s lawyer during part of the Mueller probe.

Their company, Global Energy Producers LLC, has been accused of violating campaign finance laws for its six-figure donations to the super PAC.

Chief rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Azman with former Arkansas governor Mike Hackabee - father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders - and 'American friends of Anatevka' Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were pictured in Jerusalem

Chief rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Azman with former Arkansas governor Mike Hackabee – father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders – and ‘American friends of Anatevka’ Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were pictured in Jerusalem

Correia, President Trump, and Igor Fruman on July 4, 2018+11

Correia, President Trump, and Igor Fruman on July 4, 2018

 

Florida men tied to Giuliani arrested on campaign charges

By MICHAEL BIESECKER, MICHAEL BALSAMO, DESMOND BUTLER and ERIC TUCKERan hour ago

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center shows, from left, Donald Trump Jr., Tommy Hicks Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018. Parnas and Fruman were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, on campaign finance violations resulting from a donation to a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection. (The Campaign Legal Center via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s lawyer and the Ukraine investigation were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. The charges relate to a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump’s reelection.

Related Coverage: Trump impeachment inquiry

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested Wednesday trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, according to Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. No destination was disclosed.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The indictments mark the first criminal charges related to the Ukraine controversy. While they do not suggest wrongdoing by the president, they are likely to add fuel to the House impeachment inquiry, raising additional questions about whether those close to Trump and Giuliani sought to use their influence to affect U.S. foreign policy decisions.

Youtube video thumbnail

Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as baseless and politically motivated.

Records show that Parnas and Fruman used wire transfers from a corporate entity to make the $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018. But wire transfer records that became public through a lawsuit show that the corporate entity reported as making the transaction was not the source of the money.

Prosecutors also allege that Parnas urged a congressman to seek the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, at the behest of Ukrainian government officials. That happened about the same time that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for the politician.

The congressman wasn’t identified in court papers, but the donations match campaign finance reports for former Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who lost his re-election bid in November. In May 2018, Parnas posted a photo of himself and his business partner David Correia with Sessions in his Capitol Hill office, with the caption “Hard at work !!”

John Dowd, an attorney for Parnas and Fruman, hung up on an Associated Press reporter seeking comment. Giuliani said he couldn’t comment and that he didn’t represent the men in campaign finance matters.

The men were arrested around 6 p.m. Wednesday and booked at a local jail in Alexandria, Virginia. A court appearance Thursday was delayed as lawyers tried to work out a bail package. Kevin Downing, the lawyer who represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges that he hid millions of dollars that he earned in Ukraine advising politicians there, was representing the men for their initial appearance and declined to comment.

Correia and Andrew Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, were also charged in the case.

Attorney General William Barr had been briefed on the investigation soon after he was confirmed in February, was updated in recent weeks and was made aware Wednesday night that the men were being arrested, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The indictment says Parnas and Fruman “sought to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working” and took steps to conceal it from third parties, including creditors. They created a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers, and “intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of in their own names.”

Prosecutors charge that the two men falsely claimed the contributions came from GEP, which was described as a liquefied natural gas business. At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, the indictment said.

Prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman conspired to make illegal contributions to try to skirt the limit on federal campaign contributions. The men are also accused of making contributions to candidates for state and federal office, joint fundraising committees and independent expenditure committees in the names of other people.

The commitment to raise more than $20,000 for the congressman was made in May and June 2018. The lawmaker had also received about $3 million in independent expenditures from a super political action committee that Parnas and Fruman had been funding. A super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate but isn’t allowed to directly coordinate with the official campaign.

As a result of the donations, Parnas and Fruman had meetings with the congressman and Parnas lobbied him to advocate for removing the ambassador to Ukraine, Berman said. Trump referred to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was indeed recalled to the U.S., as “bad news” in his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Berman said his office “will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct that draws into question the integrity of our political process.” His office had brought unrelated charges against the president’s former legal “fixer” Michael Cohen last year.

The indictment also charges that Kukushkin conspired with the three other defendants to make political contributions, funded by a foreign national, to politicians seeking state and federal office “to gain influence with candidates as to policies that would benefit a future business venture.”

An unnamed foreigner wired $500,000 from a bank account overseas through New York to the defendants for contributions to two candidates for state office in Nevada, the indictment alleges. Foreigners are not permitted to contribute to U.S. elections.

The indictment accuses the four men of also participating in a scheme to acquire retail marijuana licenses through donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states.

The big donation to the Trump-allied PAC in May 2018 was part of a flurry of political spending tied to Parnas and Fruman, with at least $478,000 in donations flowing to GOP campaigns and PACs in little more than two months.

The money enabled the relatively unknown entrepreneurs to quickly gain access to the highest levels of the Republican Party, including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

America First Action said the $325,000 contribution would remain in a separate account while the court cases play out. A spokeswoman, Kelly Sadler, said the committee will “scrupulously comply with the law.”

The AP reported last week that Parnas and Fruman helped arrange a January meeting in New York between Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, and Giuliani, as well as other meetings with top government officials.

Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation were echoed by Trump in the July 25 call with Zelenskiy. That conversation is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry .

House Democrats subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman on Thursday for documents they have refused to produce to three House committees. The panels have also subpoenaed Giuliani.

A whistleblower complaint by an unnamed intelligence official makes reference to “associates” of Giuliani in Ukraine who were attempting to make contact with Zelenskiy’s team, though it’s not clear that refers to Parnas and Fruman. That could put the two men squarely in the middle of the investigation into Giuliani’s activities.

___

Neumeister reported from New York City. Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Brian Slodysko in Washington, Larry Neumeister and Jonathan Lemire in New York and Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Virginia contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/c9125e9ccd894965bbf2860100366779

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1329, September 27, 2019, Story 1: National Chocolate Milk Day — Videos — Story 2: Stopping Nuclear Proliferation — Videos — Story 3: Trump Administration Will Appeal Ruling Barring Indefinite Detention of Illegal Alien Families Thus Ending Catch and Release Under The Flores Agreement — Democrats Want The Invasion of United States To Continue and Citizenship For All Illegal Aliens That Reach The United States — The Majority of American People Want Immigration Laws Enforced and Deportation of All 30-60 Millions Illegal Aliens — American People vs. The REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists) — Videos —

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Story 1: National Chocolate Milk Day — Videos

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NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MILK DAY – September 27

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MILK DAY

Across the country, folks enjoy a tall, frosty glass on National Chocolate Milk Day, which is observed annually on September 27. 

In the late 1680s, an Irish-born physician by the name of Sir Hans Sloane invented the chocolatey beverage. When offered the position of personal physician to an English Duke in Jamaica, Sloane jumped at the opportunity. Jamaica interested the naturalist in him.

While in Jamaica, Sloane encountered a local beverage. The locals mixed cocoa and water together.  However, when Sloane tasted it, he reported the flavor to be nauseating. After some experimentation, the doctor found a way to combine cocoa with milk. The creamy combination made it a more pleasant-tasting drink. Years later, Sloane returned to England with the chocolate recipe in hand. Initially, apothecaries introduced the concoction as a medicine.

Generations later, chocolate milk lovers enjoy their treat a variety of ways.  It can be purchased premixed by the jug or individual serving. For a custom mix, powders and syrups allow us to make it as chocolatey as we like at home.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateMilkDay

Do you use powder, premix or syrup? Today we even have skim, 2% and whole milk. Which do you prefer? Mix up some chocolate milk to drink. Invite a friend to enjoy the celebration with you. Besides, the best way to #CelebrateEveryDay is with others. Share your celebration using #ChocolateMilkDay on social media.

Educators, visit the National Day Calendar® classroom for ways to incorporate this day into your classes.

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MILK DAY HISTORY

National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this sweet beverage holiday.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!

 

National Chocolate Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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There are a variety of dates that have been designated as “Chocolate Day” around the world. The most commonly accepted such date is July 7.[citation needed] Various Chocolate Days have been called Local, National or International/World, including conflicting claims.[citation needed]

The U.S. National Confectioners Association lists four primary chocolate holidays on their calendar[1][improper synthesis?] (Chocolate Day (July 7), two National Chocolate Days (October 28 and December 28), and International Chocolate Day (September 13)[2]), in addition to variants such as National Milk Chocolate Day, National White Chocolate Day, and National Cocoa Day.

International Chocolate Day coincides with the birth date of Milton S. Hershey (September 13, 1857),[3][4][5] founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company.

See also

References

  1. ^ “Candy Holidays”National Confectioners Association. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  2. ^ “Reasons to celebrate chocolate in September”National Confectioners Association. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. ^ “Milton Hershey Biography”Biography.com. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  4. ^ September 2008 dates to celebrateCreative Forecasting20 (7–12): 6. Retrieved 7 July 2014International Chocolate Day – This day celebrates the birth anniversary of Milton Hershey (1857 – 1945)
  5. ^ “Milton Hershey: Happy Birthday”. The Hershey Company. Retrieved 2 October 2017.

Further reading

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

LIVE: UNGA afternoon plenary marks International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

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Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

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Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles
Gorbachev and Reagan sign the INF Treaty.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty.
Type Nuclear disarmament
Signed 8 December 1987, 1:45 p.m.[1]
Location White HouseWashington, D.C.
Effective 1 June 1988
Condition Ratification by the Soviet Union and United States
Expiration 1 February 2019
Signatories
Languages English and Russian
Text of the INF Treaty

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range MissilesRussianДоговор о ликвидации ракет средней и меньшей дальности / ДРСМД, Dogovor o likvidatsiy raket sredney i menshey dalnosti / DRSMD) was an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation). US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on 8 December 1987.[1][2] The United States Senate approved the treaty on 27 May 1988, and Reagan and Gorbachev ratified it on 1 June 1988.[2][3]

The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missilescruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.[4][5] By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.[6]

Amidst continuing growth of China’s missile forces, US President Donald Trump announced on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the US from the treaty, accusing Russia of non-compliance.[7][8] The US formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019,[9] and Russia did so on the following day in response.[10] The US formally withdrew from the treaty on 2 August 2019.[11] On September 4, 2019, President Putin stated that Russia will make new missiles but will not deploy them until the United States does so first. [12]

Contents

Background

In March 1976, the Soviet Union first deployed the RSD-10 Pioneer (called SS-20 Saber in the West) in its European territories, a mobile, concealable intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) containing three nuclear 150-kiloton warheads.[13] The SS-20’s range of 4,700–5,000 kilometers (2,900–3,100 mi) was great enough to reach Western Europe from well within Soviet territory; the range was just below the SALT II minimum range for an intercontinental ballistic missile, 5,500 km (3,400 mi).[14][15][16] The SS-20 replaced aging Soviet systems of the SS-4 Sandal and SS-5 Skean, which were seen to pose a limited threat to Western Europe due to their poor accuracy, limited payload (one warhead), lengthy preparation time, difficulty in being concealed, and immobility (thus exposing them to pre-emptive NATO strikes ahead of a planned attack).[17] Whereas the SS-4 and SS-5 were seen as defensive weapons, the SS-20 was seen as a potential offensive system.[18]

The US, then under President Jimmy Carter, initially considered its strategic nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable aircraft to be adequate counters to the SS-20 and a sufficient deterrent against possible Soviet aggression. In 1977, however, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany argued in a speech that a Western response to the SS-20 deployment should be explored, a call which was echoed by NATO, given a perceived Western disadvantage in European nuclear forces.[16] Leslie H. Gelb, the US Assistant Secretary of State, later recounted that Schmidt’s speech pressured the US into developing a response.[19]

SS-20 launchers

On 12 December 1979, following European pressure for a response to the SS-20, Western foreign and defense ministers meeting in Brussels made the NATO Double-Track Decision.[16] The ministers argued that the Warsaw Pact had “developed a large and growing capability in nuclear systems that directly threaten Western Europe”: “theater” nuclear systems (i.e., tactical nuclear weapons).[20] In describing this “aggravated” situation, the ministers made direct reference to the SS-20 featuring “significant improvements over previous systems in providing greater accuracy, more mobility, and greater range, as well as having multiple warheads”. The ministers also attributed the altered situation to the deployment of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-22M strategic bomber, which they believed to display “much greater performance” than its predecessors. Furthermore, the ministers expressed concern that the Soviet Union had gained an advantage over NATO in “Long-Range Theater Nuclear Forces” (LRTNF), and also significantly increased short-range theater nuclear capacity.[21]

To address these developments, the ministers adopted two policy “tracks” which Joseph Stalin had created in 1941. One thousand theater nuclear warheads, out of 7,400 such warheads, would be removed from Europe and the US would pursue bilateral negotiations with the Soviet Union intended to limit theater nuclear forces. Should these negotiations fail, NATO would modernize its own LRTNF, or intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF), by replacing US Pershing 1a missiles with 108 Pershing II launchers in West Germany and deploying 464 BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs) to BelgiumItaly, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom beginning in December 1983.[15][22][23][24]

Negotiations

Early negotiations: 1981–1983

The Soviet Union and United States agreed to open negotiations and preliminary discussions, named the Preliminary Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Talks,[15] which began in GenevaSwitzerland, in October 1980. On 20 January 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn into office as President after defeating Jimmy Carter in an election. Formal talks began on 30 November 1981, with the US then led by Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union by Leonid Brezhnev. The core of the US negotiating position reflected the principles put forth under Carter: any limits placed on US INF capabilities, both in terms of “ceilings” and “rights”, must be reciprocated with limits on Soviet systems. Additionally, the US insisted that a sufficient verification regime be in place.[25]

Paul Nitze, 1983

Paul Nitze, a longtime hand at defense policy who had participated in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), led the US delegation after being recruited by Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Though Nitze had backed the first SALT treaty, he opposed SALT II and had resigned from the US delegation during its negotiation. Nitze was also then a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, a firmly anti-Soviet group composed of neoconservatives and conservative Republicans.[19][26] Yuli Kvitsinsky, the well-respected second-ranking official at the Soviet embassy in West Germany, headed the Soviet delegation.[18][27][28][29]

On 18 November 1981, shortly before the beginning of formal talks, Reagan made the Zero Option proposal (or the “zero-zero” proposal).[30] The plan called for a hold on US deployment of GLCM and Pershing II systems, reciprocated by Soviet elimination of its SS-4, SS-5, and SS-20 missiles. There appeared to be little chance of the Zero Option being adopted, but the gesture was well received in the European public. In February 1982, US negotiators put forth a draft treaty containing the Zero Option and a global prohibition on intermediate- and short-range missiles, with compliance ensured via a stringent, though unspecific, verification program.[27]

Opinion within the Reagan administration on the Zero Option was mixed. Richard Perle, then the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, was the architect of the plan. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who supported a continued US nuclear presence in Europe, was skeptical of the plan, though eventually accepted it for its value in putting the Soviet Union “on the defensive in the European propaganda war”. Reagan later recounted that the “zero option sprang out of the realities of nuclear politics in Western Europe”.[30] The Soviet Union rejected the plan shortly after the US tabled it in February 1982, arguing that both the US and Soviet Union should be able to retain intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Specifically, Soviet negotiators proposed that the number of INF missiles and aircraft deployed in Europe by one side be capped at 600 by 1985 and 300 by 1990. Concerned that this proposal would force the US to withdraw aircraft from Europe and not deploy INF missiles, given US cooperation with existing British and French deployments, the US proposed “equal rights and limits”—the US would be permitted to match Soviet SS-20 deployments.[27]

Between 1981 and 1983, US and Soviet negotiators gathered for six rounds of talks, each two months in length—a system based on the earlier SALT talks.[27] The US delegation was composed of Nitze, General William F. Burns of the Joint Chiefs of StaffThomas Graham of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), and officials from the US Department of StateOffice of the Secretary of Defense, and US National Security Council. Colonel Norman Clyne, a SALT participant, served as Nitze’s chief of staff.[18][31]

There was little convergence between the two sides over these two years. A US effort to separate the question of nuclear-capable aircraft from that of intermediate-range missiles successfully focused attention on the latter, but little clear progress on the subject was made. In the summer of 1982, Nitze and Kvitsinsky took a “walk in the woods” in the Jura Mountains, away from formal negotiations in Geneva, in an independent attempt to bypass bureaucratic procedures and break the negotiating deadlock.[32][18][33] Nitze later said that his and Kvitsinsky’s goal was to agree to certain concessions that would allow for a summit meeting between Brezhnev and Reagan later in 1982.[34]

Protest in Amsterdam against the nuclear arms race between the US/NATO and the Soviet Union

Nitze’s offer to Kvitsinsky was that the US would forego deployment of the Pershing II and continue deployment of GLCMs, but limited to 75 missile launchers. The Soviet Union, in return, would also have to limit itself to 75 intermediate-range missile launchers in Europe and 90 in Asia. Due to each GLCM launcher containing four GLCMs and each SS-20 launcher containing three warheads, such an agreement would have resulted in the US having 75 more intermediate-range warheads in Europe than the Soviet Union, though SS-20s were seen as more advanced and maneuverable than GLCMs. While Kvitsinsky was skeptical that the plan would be well received in Moscow, Nitze was optimistic about its chances in Washington.[34] The deal ultimately found little traction in either capital. In the US, the Office of the Secretary of Defense opposed Nitze’s proposal, as it opposed any proposal that would allow the Soviet Union to deploy missiles to Europe while blocking US deployments. Nitze’s proposal was relayed by Kvitsinsky to Moscow, where it was also rejected. The plan accordingly was never introduced into formal negotiations.[32][18]

Thomas Graham, a US negotiator, later recalled that Nitze’s “walk in the woods” proposal was primarily of Nitze’s own design and known beforehand only to William F. Burns, another arms control negotiator and representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and Eugene V. Rostow, the director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In a National Security Council meeting following the Nitze-Kvitsinsky walk, the proposal was received positively by the JCS and Reagan. Following protests by Richard Perle, working within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Reagan informed Nitze that he would not back the plan. The State Department, then led by Alexander Haig, also indicated that it would not support Nitze’s plan and preferred a return to the Zero Option proposal.[18][33][34] Nitze argued that one positive consequence of the walk in the woods was that the European public, which had doubted US interest in arms control, became convinced that the US was participating in the INF negotiations in good faith.[34]

In early 1983, US negotiators indicated that they would support a plan beyond the Zero Option if the plan established equal rights and limits for the US and Soviet Union, with such limits valid worldwide, and excluded British and French missile systems (as well as those of any other third party). As a temporary measure, the US negotiators also proposed a cap of 450 deployed INF warheads around the world for both the US and Soviet Union. In response, Soviet negotiators expressed that a plan would have to block all US INF deployments in Europe, cover both missiles and aircraft, include third parties, and focus primarily on Europe for it to gain Soviet backing. In the fall of 1983, just ahead of the scheduled deployment of US Pershing IIs and GLCMs, the US lowered its proposed limit on global INF deployments to 420 missiles, while the Soviet Union proposed “equal reductions”: if the US cancelled the planned deployment of Pershing II and GLCM systems, the Soviet Union would reduce its own INF deployment by 572 warheads. In November 1983, after the first Pershing IIs arrived in West Germany, the Soviet Union walked out of negotiations, as it had warned it would do should the US missile deployments occur.[35]

Restarted negotiations: 1985–1987

Reagan and Gorbachev shake hands after signing the INF Treaty ratification during the Moscow Summit on 1 June 1988.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher played a key role in brokering the negotiations between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1986 to 1987.[36]

In March 1986, negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union resumed, covering not only the INF issue, but also separate discussions on strategic weapons (START I) and space issues (Nuclear and Space Talks). In late 1985, both sides were moving towards limiting INF systems in Europe and Asia. On 15 January 1986, Gorbachev announced a Soviet proposal for a ban on all nuclear weapons by 2000, which included INF missiles in Europe. This was dismissed by the US and countered with a phased reduction of INF launchers in Europe and Asia to none by 1989. There would be no constraints on British and French nuclear forces.[37]

A series of meetings in August and September 1986 culminated in the Reykjavík Summit between Reagan and Gorbachev on 11 and 12 October 1986. Both agreed in principle to remove INF systems from Europe and to equal global limits of 100 INF missile warheads. Gorbachev also proposed deeper and more fundamental changes in the strategic relationship. More detailed negotiations extended throughout 1987, aided by the decision of West Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl in August to unilaterally remove the joint US-West German Pershing 1a systems. Initially, Kohl had opposed the total elimination of the Pershing Missiles, claiming that such a move would increase his nation’s vulnerability to an attack by Warsaw Pact Forces.[38] The treaty text was finally agreed in September 1987. On 8 December 1987, the Treaty was officially signed by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev at a summit in Washington and ratified the following May in a 93-5 vote by the United States Senate.[39][40]

Contents

The treaty prohibits both parties from possessing, producing, or flight-testing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500–5,000 km. Possessing or producing ground-based launchers of those missiles is also prohibited. The ban extends to weapons with both nuclear and conventional warheads, but does not cover air-delivered or sea-based missiles.[41]

Existing weapons had to be destroyed, and a protocol for mutual inspection was agreed upon.[41]

Each party has the right to withdraw from the treaty with six months’ notice, “if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests”.[41]

Timeline

Implementation[edit]

A Soviet inspector examines a BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missile in 1988 prior to its destruction.

Accompanied by their NATO counterparts, Soviet inspectors enter a nuclear weapons storage area at Greenham Common, UK, 1989.

By the treaty’s deadline of 1 June 1991, a total of 2,692 of such weapons had been destroyed, 846 by the US and 1,846 by the Soviet Union.[42] The following specific missiles, their launcher systems, and their transporter vehicles were destroyed:[43]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the United States considered twelve of the post-Soviet states to be inheritors of the treaty obligations (the three Baltic states are considered to preexist their annexation by the Soviet Union). Of the six having inspectable INF facilities on their territories, BelarusKazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine became active participants in the treaty process, while Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, having less significant INF sites, assumed a less active role.[44]

As provided by the treaty, onsite inspections ended in 2001. After that time, compliance was checked primarily by satellites.[45]

Initial skepticism and allegations of treaty violations

In February 2007, the Russian president Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference in which he said the INF Treaty should be revisited to ensure security, as it only restricted Russia and the US but not other countries.[46] The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Yuri Baluyevsky contemporaneously said that Russia was planning to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in response to deployment of adaptable defensive NATO missile system and because other countries were not bound to the treaty.[47]

According to US officials, Russia violated the treaty by testing the SSC-8 cruise missile in 2008.[48] Russia rejected the claim that their SSC-8 missiles violates the treaty, and says that the SSC-8 can travel only up to a maximum of 480 km.[49] In 2013, reports came out that Russia had tested and planned to continue testing two missiles in ways that could violate the terms of the treaty: the SS-25 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and the newer RS-26 ICBM.[50] The US representatives briefed NATO on a Russian nuclear treaty breach again in 2014[51][52] and 2017,[48][53] and in 2018, NATO formally supported the US accusations and accused Russia of breaking the treaty.[11][54] Russia denied the accusation and Putin said it was a pretext for the US to leave the pact.[11] A BBC analysis of the meeting that culminated in the NATO statement said that “NATO allies here share Washington’s concerns and have backed the US position, thankful perhaps that it includes this short grace period during which Russia might change its mind.”[55]

In 2011, Dan Blumenthal of the American Enterprise Institute wrote that the actual Russian problem with the INF was that China is not bound by it and continued to build up their own intermediate-range forces.[56]

According to Russian officials and academic Theodore Postol, the American decision to deploy the missile defense system in Europe was a violation of the treaty as they claim they could be quickly retrofitted with offensive capabilities;[57][58][59] this accusation has in turn been rejected by US and NATO officials and analyst Jeffrey Lewis.[59][60] Russian experts also stated that the US usage of target missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-4, violated the INF Treaty[61] which has also in turn been rejected by US officials.[62]

US withdrawal and termination

The United States declared its intention to withdraw from the treaty on 20 October 2018.[7][63][64] Donald Trump mentioned at a campaign rally that the reason for the pullout was because “they’ve [Russia has] been violating it for many years”.[63] This prompted Putin to state that Russia would not launch first in a nuclear conflict but would “annihilate” any adversary, essentially re-stating the policy of “Mutually Assured Destruction“. Putin claimed Russians killed in such a conflict “will go to heaven as martyrs”.[65]

It was also reported that the United States’ need to counter a Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific, including within South China Sea, was another reason for their move to withdraw, because China is not a signatory to the treaty.[7][63][64] US officials extending back to the Obama period have noted this. For example, Kelly Magsamen, who helped craft the Pentagon’s Asian policy under the Obama administration, said China’s ability to work outside of the INF treaty had vexed policymakers in Washington, long before Trump came into office.[66] A Politico article noted the different responses US officials gave to this issue: “either find ways to bring China into the treaty or develop new American weapons to counter it” or “negotiating a new treaty with that country”.[67] The deployment since 2016 of the DF-26 missile system with a range of 4,000 km meant that US forces as far as Guam can be threatened.[66] The United States Secretary of Defense at the time, Jim Mattis, was quoted stating that “the Chinese are stockpiling missiles because they’re not bound by it at all”.[7] Bringing an ascendant China into the treaty, or into a new comprehensive treaty including other nuclear powers, was further complicated by relationships between China, India and Pakistan.[68]

John R. Bolton holds a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow on 23 October 2018

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said a unilateral US withdrawal would have a negative impact and urged the US to “think thrice before acting”. John R. BoltonUS National Security Advisor, said on Echo of Moscow that recent Chinese statements indicate that it wants Washington to stay in the treaty, while China itself is not bound in a treaty.[66] It’s been estimated that 90% of China’s ground missile arsenal would be outlawed if China were a party to the treaty.[67] Bolton said in an interview with Elena Chernenko from the Russian newspaper Kommersant on 22 October 2018: “we see China, IranNorth Korea all developing capabilities which would violate the treaty if they were parties to it. So the possibility that could have existed fifteen years ago to enlarge the treaty and make it universal today just simply was not practical.”[69]

On 26 October 2018, Russia called but lost a vote to get the UN General Assembly to consider calling on Washington and Moscow to preserve and strengthen the treaty.[70] Russia had proposed a draft resolution in the 193-member General Assembly’s disarmament committee, but missed the 18 October submission deadline[70] so it instead called for a vote on whether the committee should be allowed to consider the draft.[70] On the same day, John R. Bolton said in an interview with Reuters that the INF Treaty was a cold war relic and he wanted to hold strategic talks with Russia about Chinese missile capabilities.[71] China has been suggested to be “the real target of the [pull out]”.[67]

Four days later, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to comply with the treaty at a news conference in Norway saying “The problem is the deployment of new Russian missiles”.[72]

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced on 20 November 2018 that the Kremlin was prepared to discuss INF with Washington but would “retaliate” if the United States withdrew.[73]

Starting on 4 December 2018, the United States said Russia had 60 days to comply with the treaty.[74] On 5 December 2018, Russia responded by revealing their Peresvet combat laser, stating they had been deployed to Russia armed forces as early as 2017 “as part of the state procurement program”.[75]

Russia presented the 9M729 (SSC-8) missile and its technical parameters to foreign military attachés at a military briefing on 23 January 2019, held in what it said was an exercise in transparency it hoped would persuade Washington to stay in the treaty.[76] The Russian Defence Ministry said diplomats from the United States, Britain, France and Germany had been invited to attend the static display of the missile, but they declined to attend.[76] The United States had previously rejected a Russian offer to do so because it said such an exercise would not allow it to verify the true range of its warheads.[76]

The summit between US and Russia on 30 January 2019 failed to find a way to preserve the treaty.[77]

The United States suspended its compliance with the INF Treaty on 2 February 2019 following an announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the day prior. In addition the US said there was a six-month timeline for full withdrawal and INF Treaty termination if the Russian Federation did not come back into compliance within those six months given.[78][68] The same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had also suspended the INF Treaty in a ‘mirror response’ to President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend the treaty, effective that day.[10] The next day, Russia started work on new intermediate range (ballistic) hypersonic missiles along with land based (club kalibr – biryuza) systems (both nuclear armed) in response to the USA announcing it would start to conduct research and development of weapons prohibited under the treaty.[79]

Following the six-month period from 2 February suspension from INF, the United States administration formally announced it had withdrawn from the treaty on 2 August 2019. According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise”.[80] While formally ratifying a treaty requires two-thirds of the Senate to ratify, a number of presidential decisions during the 20th and 21st centuries have set a common legal ground that the President and executive branch can unilaterally withdraw from a treaty without congressional approval, as Congress has rarely acted to stop such actions.[81] On the same day of the withdrawal, the United States Department of Defense announced plans to test a new type of missile, one that would have violated the treaty, from an eastern NATO base. Military leaders stated the need for this new missile as to stay ahead of both Russia and China, in response to Russia’s continued violations.[80]

The US’s withdrawal was backed by several of its NATO allies, citing the years of Russia’s non-compliance with the INF treaty.[80] In response to the withdrawal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov invited the US and NATO “to assess the possibility of declaring the same moratorium on deploying intermediate-range and shorter-range equipment as we have, the same moratorium Vladimir Putin declared, saying that Russia will refrain from deploying these systems when we acquire them unless the American equipment is deployed in certain regions.”[80] This moratorium request was rejected by Stoltenberg who said that it was not credible as Moscow had already deployed such warheads.[82] On August 5, 2019, Russian president Vladimir Putin stated, “As of August 2, 2019 the INF Treaty no longer exists. Our US colleagues sent it to the archives, making it a thing of the past.”[83]

United States test firing a conventionally configured ground-launched medium-range cruise missile on 18 August 2019

On 18 August 2019, the United States conducted a test firing of a missile that would not have been allowed under the treaty.[84][85] The Pentagon said that the data collected and lessons learned from this test would inform its future development of intermediate-range capabilities while the Russian foreign ministry said that it was a cause for regret, and accused the US of escalating military tensions.[84][85]

Reactions to the withdrawal

Numerous prominent nuclear arms control experts, including George ShultzRichard Lugar and Sam Nunn, urged Trump to preserve the treaty.[86] Mikhail Gorbachev commented that Trump’s nuclear treaty withdrawal is “not the work of a great mind” and that “a new arms race has been announced”.[87][88]

The decision was criticized by chairmen of the United States House of Representatives Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services who said that instead of crafting a plan to hold Russia accountable and pressure it into compliance, the Trump administration has offered Putin an easy way out of the treaty and has played right into his hands.[89] Similar arguments were brought previously, on 25 October 2018 by European members of NATO who urged the United States “to try to bring Russia back into compliance with the treaty rather than quit it, seeking to avoid a split in the alliance that Moscow could exploit”.[70]

Stoltenberg has suggested the INF Treaty could be expanded to include countries such as China and India, whose non-inclusion, Stoltenberg said, Russia had previously admonished.[90]

There were contrasting opinions on the withdrawal among American lawmakers. The INF Treaty Compliance Act (H.R. 1249) was introduced to stop the United States from using Government funds to develop missiles prohibited by the treaty.[91][92] while Senators Jim Inhofe and Jim Risch issued statements of support.[93]

On 8 March 2019, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine announced that since the United States and Russian Federation had both pulled out of the INF treaty, it now had the right to develop intermediate-range missiles, citing Russian aggression as a serious threat to the European continent, and the presence of Russian Iskander-M nuclear-capable missile systems in Crimea.[94] Ukraine had about forty percent of Soviet space industry, but never developed a missile with the range to strike Moscow[95] (only having both longer and shorter-ranged missiles). Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said “We need high-precision missiles and we are not going to repeat the mistakes of the Budapest Memorandum“.[95]

After the United States withdrew from the treaty, multiple sources opined that it would allow the country to more effectively counter Russia and China’s missile forces.[96][97][98]

References…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate-Range_Nuclear_Forces_Treaty

Story 3: Trump Administration Will Appeal Ruling Barring Indefinite Detention of Illegal Alien Families Thus Ending Catch and Release Under The Flores Agreement — Democrats Want The Invasion of United States To Continue and Citizenship For All Illegal Aliens That Reach The United States — The Majority of American People Want Immigration Laws Enforced and Deportation of All 30-60 Millions Illegal Aliens — American People vs. The REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists) — Videos

 

Judge blocks effort to extend migrant children’s detention

Carafano: Trump’s Action On Flores Agreement Much More Humane

News Wrap: House challenges Trump on border national emergency

19 States File Lawsuit Against Government Over Flores Settlement Agreement

Trump Administration To Allow Longer Detention Of Migrant Families

Press conference of the U.S. Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Trump administration ends “loophole” immigration rule that could keep kids in detention for longer

Flores Settlement

U.S. judge blocks Trump rule on migrant child detention

By Kristina Cooke

LOS ANGELES, Sept 27 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday blocked a Trump administration rule that would have allowed indefinite detention of migrant families, saying it was inconsistent with a decades-old court settlement that governs conditions for migrant children in U.S. custody.

The 1997 settlement agreement, which originated in 1985 with a complaint brought on behalf of 15-year-old Salvadoran immigrant Jenny L. Flores, set standards for humane treatment of children in detention and ordered their prompt release in most cases.

The Trump administration had hoped a new rule issued on Aug. 23 would replace the settlement, which had been modified over the years to prevent the long-term detention of families. The administration had said its rule would allow families to be held in humane conditions while their U.S. immigration court cases were decided.

The judge disagreed.

“This regulation is inconsistent with one of the primary goals of the Flores Agreement, which is to instate a general policy favoring release and expeditiously place minors ‘in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor’s age and special needs,'” U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles wrote in her ruling.

“The Flores Settlement Agreement remains in effect and has not been terminated,” she wrote.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made cracking down on immigration a hallmark of his presidency, and administration officials have repeatedly referred to the Flores agreement’s standards as “loopholes” that have attracted increasing numbers of mostly Central American families seeking U.S. asylum by forcing authorities to release them into the United States to wait for the outcome of their immigration hearings.

The new regulation would have allowed the administration to hold families indefinitely during court processes that can take months or years because of large court backlogs. It had been due to go into effect next month.

In a court hearing in Los Angeles on Friday, Gee asked Department of Justice Attorney August Flentje how he could argue that the new regulations were not inconsistent with the terms of the Flores agreement.

“Just because you tell me it is night outside, doesn’t mean it is not day,” Gee said.

Lawyers for the Trump administration are expected to appeal. A Department of Justice spokesman said it was “disappointed that the court is continuing to impose the outdated Flores Agreement even after the government has done exactly what the Agreement required: issue a comprehensive rule that will protect vulnerable children, maintain family unity, and ensure due process for those awaiting adjudication of their immigration claims.”

The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Albence, said earlier this week that family detention was just one tool available to the administration as it seeks to end what it calls “catch and release”. A policy that began this year of sending border crossers back to Mexico to wait for their immigration hearings is another, he said.

Albence and other administration officials have said the government would not be able to add to its around 3,300 family detention beds without additional funds being made available by the U.S. Congress. (Reporting by Kristina Cooke in Los Angelese and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler )

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-7514067/U-S-judge-blocks-Trump-rule-migrant-child-detention.html

 

Reno v. Flores

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Reno v. Flores
Seal of the United States Supreme Court

Argued October 13, 1992
Decided March 23, 1993
Full case name Janet Reno, Attorney General, et al. v. Jenny Lisette Flores, et al.
Citations 507 U.S. 292 (more)

113 S. Ct. 1439; 123 L. Ed. 2d 1; 1993 U.S. LEXIS 2399; 61 U.S.L.W. 4237; 93 Cal. Daily Op. Service 2028; 93 Daily Journal DAR 3628; 7 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 73
Case history
Prior 942 F.2d 1352 (9th Cir. 1991); cert. granted, 503 U.S. 905 (1992).
Holding
INS regulation—which provides that alien juveniles detained on suspicion of being deportable may be released only to a parent, legal guardian, or other related adult—accords with both the Due Process Clause and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
Byron White · Harry Blackmun
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O’Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Case opinions
Majority Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, White, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas
Concurrence O’Connor, joined by Souter
Dissent Stevens, joined by Blackmun
Laws applied
8 U.S.C.§ 1252(a)(1)

Janet Reno, Attorney General, et al. v. Jenny Lisette Flores, et al. (Reno v. Flores), 507 U.S. 292 (1993), was a Supreme Court of the United States case that addressed the detention and release of unaccompanied minors.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Immigration and Naturalization Service‘s regulations regarding the release of alien unaccompanied minors did not violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.[1] The Court held that “alien juveniles detained on suspicion of being deportable may be released only to a parent, legal guardian, or other related adult.” The legacy for which Reno v. Flores became known was the subsequent 1997 court-supervised stipulated settlement agreement which is binding on the defendants (the federal government agencies)[2]—the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement or Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) to which both parties in Reno v. Flores agreed in the District Court for Central California (C.D. Cal.).[3][Notes 1] The Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), supervised by C.D. Cal., has set strict national regulations and standards regarding the detention and treatment of minors by federal agencies for over twenty years. It remains in effect until the federal government introduces final regulations to implement the FSA agreement. The FSA governs the policy for the treatment of unaccompanied alien children in federal custody of the legacy INS and its successor—United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the various agencies that operate under the jurisdiction of the DHS. The FSA is supervised by a U.S. district judge in the District Court for Central California.[4]

The litigation originated in the class action lawsuit Flores v. Meese filed on July 11, 1985 by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) and two other organizations on behalf of immigrant minors, including Jenny Lisette Flores, who had been placed in a detention center for male and female adults after being apprehended by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as she attempted to illegally cross the Mexico-United States border.

Under the Flores Settlement and current circumstances, DHS asserts that it generally cannot detain alien children and their parents together for more than brief periods [4]. In his June 20, 2018 executive order, President Trump had directed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the District Court for the Central District of California, to “modify” the Flores agreement to “allow the government to detain alien families together” for longer periods, which would include the time it took for the family’s immigration proceedings and potential “criminal proceedings for unlawful entry into the United States”.[4]:2 In July 9, Judge Gee of the Federal District of California, ruled that there was no basis to amend the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) that “requires children to be released to licensed care programs within 20 days.”[5]

In 2017, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee found that children who were in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection lacked “food, clean water and basic hygiene items” and were sleep-deprived. She ordered the federal government to provide items such as soap and to improve the conditions.[6] The federal government appealed the decision saying that the order forcing them to offer specific items and services exceeded the original Flores agreement. The June 18, 2019 hearing became infamous[7] and caused nation wide outrage when a video of the Department of Justice senior attorney arguing against providing minors with toothbrushes and soap, went viral. The federal government lost their appeal when the 3 judge appeals court upheld Judge Gee’s order on August 15, 2019.[6]

Contents

Background and lower court cases

In 1985, Jenny Lisette Flores, an unaccompanied 15-year-old girl from El Salvador, was apprehended by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after illegally attempting to cross the Mexico-United States border.[8]:1648 The unaccompanied minor was taken to a detention facility where she was held among adults of both sexes, was daily strip searched, and was told she would only be released to the custody of her parents, who, INS suspected, were illegal immigrants.[9]

On July 11, 1985, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and two other organizations, filed a class action lawsuit Flores v. Meese, No. 85-4544 (C.D. Cal.) on behalf of Flores and “all minors apprehended by the INS in the Western Region of the United States”,[3]:1 against U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, challenging the conditions of juvenile detention and alleging that the “defendants’ policies, practices and regulations regarding the detention and release of unaccompanied minors taken into the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the Western Region” were unconstitutional.[3]:1 Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that government’s detention and release policies were in violation of the children’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.[8]:1648[10] The plaintiffs originally directed their complaint at the newly released policy introduced by then director of Western Region of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Harold W. Ezell. Under the new policy—83 Fed. Reg. at 45489—which was introduced on September 6, 1984, a detained immigrant minor “could only be released to a parent or legal guardian”. This resulted in minors, such as Flores, being detained in poor conditions for “lengthy or indefinite” periods of time.[11]:33

In late 1987, the C.D. Cal District Court had “approved a consent decree to which all the parties had agreed, “that settled all claims regarding the detention conditions”.[12]

In 1988, INS issued a new regulation— 8 CFR 242.24—that amended the 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 212 and 242 regarding the Detention and Release of Juveniles. The new INS regulation, known as 242.24, provided for the “release of detained minors only to their parents, close relatives, or legal guardians, except in unusual and compelling circumstances.”[12] The stated purpose of the rule was “to codify the [INS] policy regarding detention and release of juvenile aliens and to provide a single policy for juveniles in both deportation and exclusion proceedings.”[13]

On May 25, 1988, soon after the 8 CFR 242.24 regulation took effect, C.D. Cal District Judge Kelleher in Flores v. Meese, No. CV 85-4544-RJK (Px) rejected it and removed limitations regarding which adults could receive the minors. Judge Kelleher held that all minors have the right to receive a hearing from an immigration judge.[14][15] Judge Kelleher held that 8 CFR 242.24 “violated substantive due process, and ordered modifications to the regulation.”[13] He ruled that “INS release and bond procedures for detained minors in deportation proceedings fell short of the requirements of procedural due process.” He ordered the INS to provide the minors with an “administrative hearing to determine probable cause for his arrest and the need for any restrictions placed upon his release.”[13] The court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs regarding the release conditions.[12][16]:35 This “invalidating the regulatory scheme on due process grounds” and ordered the INS to “release any otherwise eligible juvenile to a parent, guardian, custodian, conservator, or “other responsible adult party”. The District Court also required that the juvenile have a hearing with an immigration judge immediately after their arrest, even if the juvenile did not request it.[12][14]

In Flores v. Meese, 681 F. Supp. 665 (C.D. Cal. 1988), U.S. District Judge Robert J. Kelleher found that the INS policy to strip search children was unconstitutional.[17][Notes 2]

In June 1990, in Flores v. Meese, 934 F.2d 991 (9th Cir. 1990), in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judges John Clifford Wallace and Lloyd D. George, reversed Judge Kelleher’s 1988 ruling. Judge Betty Binns Fletcher dissented.[18][19] In the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges concluded that the INS did not exceed its statutory authority in promulgating 242.24. They ruled that 242.24 did not violate substantive due process, under the Federal Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. They ruled that a remand was necessary with respect to a procedural due process claim (934 F2d 991).

On August 9, 1991, the Ninth Circuit 11-judge en banc majority in Flores v. Meese, overturned its June 1990 panel opinion and affirmed Judge Kelleher’s 1988 ruling against the government citing federal constitutional grounds including due process.[Notes 3][20] They vacated the panel opinion and affirmed the District Court’s order in all respects (942 F2d 1352).[Notes 4][21] According to Judge Dee’s ruling in Flores v. Sessions, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of plaintiffs’ motion to enforce [Paragraph 24A of] the Flores Agreement, holding that nothing in the text, structure, or purpose of the Homeland Security Act (HSA) or Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPRA) renders continued compliance with Paragraph 24A, as it applies to unaccompanied minors, “impermissible.”[22]

On March 23, 1993, the Supreme Court announced judgment in favor of the government, in Janet Reno, Attorney General, et al. v. Jenny Lisette Flores, et al.[23][24] Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Byron WhiteSandra Day O’ConnorAnthony KennedyDavid Souter, and Clarence Thomas, held that the unaccompanied alien children had no constitutional right to be released to someone other than a close relative, nor to automatic review by an immigration judge.[25]

On January 17, 1997 both parties signed the class action settlement agreement in Flores v. RenoThe Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), which is binding on the defendants—the federal government agencies.[2]

USSC Reno v. Flores 1993

…”Where a juvenile has no available parent, close relative, or legal guardian, where the government does not intend to punish the child, and where the conditions of governmental custody are decent and humane, such custody surely does not violate the Constitution. It is rationally connected to a governmental interest in `preserving and promoting the welfare of the child,’ …and is not punitive since it is not excessive in relation to that valid purpose.” …Because this is a facial challenge, the Court rightly focuses on the Juvenile Care Agreement. It is proper to presume that the conditions of confinement are no longer ” `most disturbing,’ …and that the purposes of confinement are no longer the troublesome ones of lack of resources and expertise published in the Federal Register…but rather the plainly legitimate purposes associated with the government’s concern for the welfare of the minors. With those presumptions in place, “the terms and conditions of confinement…are in fact compatible with [legitimate] purposes,” …and the Court finds that the INS program conforms with the Due Process Clause.”

507U.S. 292 (1993) 1993[23]

In Reno v. Flores, the Supreme Court ruled on March 23, 1993 that while “detained children in question had a constitutionally protected interest in freedom from institutional confinement”, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ 1991 decision in Flores v. Meese because the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regulation 8 CFR 242.24 in question, complied with the requirements of due process. The INS regulation—8 CFR 242.24—”generally authorized the release of a detained alien juvenile, in order of preference, to a parent, a legal guardian, or specified close adult relatives of the juvenile, unless the INS determined that detention was required to secure an appearance or to ensure the safety of the juvenile or others”.[23][12] This “meant that in limited circumstances” juveniles could be released to “to another person who executed an agreement to care for the juvenile and to ensure the juvenile’s attendance at future immigration proceedings”. Juveniles who are not released would “generally require” a “suitable placement at a facility which, in accordance with the [1987] consent decree, had to meet specified care standards.”[12][Notes 5][Notes 6]

On March 23, 1993, on certiorari the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government, voting 7–2 to reverse the lower court—the Court of Appeals.[24]:A19 Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Byron WhiteSandra Day O’ConnorAnthony KennedyDavid Souter, and Clarence Thomas, held that the unaccompanied alien children had no constitutional right to be released to someone other than a close relative, nor to automatic review by an immigration judge.[25] In an opinion by Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, White, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas, it was held that the INS policy—242.24—did not violate substantive due process under the Fifth Amendment. While lawyers for the plaintiffs alleged in a “novel” way that children have a fundamental right to liberty, in which a child who has “no available parent, close relative, or legal guardian, and for whom the government was responsible” has the right “to be placed in the custody of a willing and able private custodian rather than the custody of a government-operated or government-selected child care institution.” The Court ruled that if that fundamental right existed, “it would presumably apply to state custody over orphaned and abandoned children as well.” They ruled that “under the circumstances” “continued government custody was rationally connected to a government interest in promoting juveniles’ welfare and was not punitive” and that “there was no constitutional need to meet even a more limited demand for an individualized hearing as to whether private placement would be in a juvenile’s “best interests,” so long as institutional custody was good enough.” The Court held that the INS “did not violate procedural due process, under the Fifth Amendment, through failing to require the INS to determine in the case of each alien juvenile that detention in INS custody would better serve the juvenile’s interests than release to some other “responsible adult,” not providing for automatic review by an immigration judge of initial INS deportability and custody determinations, or failing to set a time period within which an immigration judge hearing, if requested, had to be held.” The Court also held that this was not “beyond the scope of the Attorney General’s discretion” because the INS 242.24 “rationally pursued the lawful purpose of protecting the welfare of such juveniles.”[12][Notes 7][26][Notes 8] It held that the juveniles could be “detained pending deportation hearings pursuant” under 8 CFR § 242.24 which “provides for the release of detained minors only to their parents, close relatives, or legal guardians, except in unusual and compelling circumstances.”[23]

The Supreme Court justices said that in Reno v. Flores, most of the juveniles detained by INS and the Border Patrol at that time [1980s – early 1990s] were “16 or 17 years old”, and had “telephone contact with a responsible adult outside the INS–sometimes a legal services attorney”. They said that due process was “satisfied by giving the detained alien juveniles the right to a hearing before an immigration judge” and that there was no proof at that time “that all of them are too young or too ignorant to exercise that right when the form asking them to assert or waive it is presented.”[27]

Stevens, joined by Blackmun, dissented, expressing the view that the litigation history of the case at hand cast doubt on the good faith of the government’s asserted interest in the welfare of such detained alien juveniles as a justification for 242.24, and demonstrated the complete lack of support, in either evidence or experience, for the government’s contention that detaining such juveniles, when there were “other responsible parties” willing to assume care, somehow protected the interests of those juveniles; an agency’s interest in minimizing administrative costs was a patently inadequate justification for the detention of harmless children, even when the conditions of detention were “good enough”; and 242.24, in providing for the wholesale detention of such juveniles for an indeterminate period without individual hearings, was not authorized by 1252(a)(1), and did not satisfy the federal constitutional demands of due process.[12]

Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA)

On January 28, 1997, during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) and the federal government signed the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement, which is also known as The Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), Flores SettlementFlores v. Reno Agreement.[28] [29][30][31] Following many years of litigation which started with the July 11, 1985 filing of class action lawsuit, Flores v. Meese, and included the Supreme Court case Reno v. Flores which was decided in 1993, the consent decree or settlement was reached in the United States District Court for the Central District of California between the parties. The court-supervised settlement, The Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), continues to overseen by the District Court for the Central District of California. The Flores Agreement has set strict national regulations and standards regarding the detention and treatment of minors in federal custody since then. Among other things, the federal government agreed to keep children in the least restrictive setting possible and to ensure the prompt release of children from immigration detention.[8]:1650

According to September 17, 2018 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, the FSA was “intended as a temporary measure”.[4]:7 By 2001, both parties agreed that the FSA “would remain in effect until 45 days following [the] defendants’ publication of final regulations” governing the treatment of detained, minors.”[4]:7 By 2019, the federal government had “not published any such rules or regulations” so the FSA “continues to govern those agencies that now carry out the functions of the former INS.”[4]:7 With the Flores Settlement in place, the executive branch maintains that it has two options regarding the detention of arriving family units that demonstrate a credible fear of persecution pending the outcome of their removal proceedings in immigration court: (1) generally release family units; or (2) generally separate family units by keeping the parents in detention and releasing the children only.[4]

The Flores Agreement sets nationwide policies and “standards for the detention, release and treatment of minors in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)[31] by prioritizing them for release to the custody of their families and requiring those in federal custody to be placed in the least restrictive environment possible,” according to a 2018 NBC News article.[32]

According to the legal nonprofit Human Rights First, the FSA required that immigration authorities “release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay in order of preference beginning with parents and including other adult relatives as well as licensed programs willing to accept custody”. If a suitable placement is not “immediately available, the government is obligated to place children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate to their “age and any special needs”.[33] The settlement agreement also required that the government “implement standards relating to the care and treatment of children in immigration detention.[33]

The FSA required immigration officials to provide detained minors with “food and drinking water as appropriate”, “medical assistance if minor is in need of emergency services”, “toilets and sinks”, “adequate temperature control and ventilation”, “adequate supervision to protect minors from others”, “contact with family members who were arrested with the minor and separation from unrelated adults whenever possible.”[34]:3-4[29]

Under the settlement agreement, immigration officials agreed to release minors “without unnecessary delay” when detention isn’t required to protect the safety and well-being of the minor or to secure the timely appearance of the minor at a proceeding before immigration authorities, that is, when officials release the minor to a parent or guardian who agree to appear, and the minor is not a flight risk.[31]

The FSA set a “preference ranking for sponsor types” with parents, then legal guardians as first choices then an “adult relative”, an “adult individual or entity designated by the child’s parent or legal guardian”, a “licensed program willing to accept legal custody”, an “adult or entity approved” by Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).[34]:8[3]:10 or sent to a state-licensed facility.[31][35][36]

Immigration officials agreed to provide minors with contact with family members with whom they were arrested, and to “promptly” reunite minors with their families. Efforts to reunify families are to continue as long as the minor is in custody.[31][30][Notes 9][37]

The Flores settlement does, however, require that “Following arrest, the INS shall hold minors in facilities that are safe and sanitary and that are consistent with the INS’s concern for the particular vulnerability of minors” and “…such minor shall be placed temporarily in a licensed program … at least until such time as release can be effected … Or until the minor’s immigration proceedings are concluded, whichever occurs earlier”.[citation needed]

Subsequent history

The parties agreed the litigation would terminate once the government finalized regulations complying with the settlement. Because the government has not yet finalized any such regulations, the litigation is ongoing. Compliance with the settlement has been the subject of criticism and litigation, resulting in extensions and modifications.[34][38] In 2001 the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General concluded “Although the INS has made significant progress since signing the Flores agreement, our review found deficiencies with the implementation of the policies and procedures developed in response to Flores.”[38]

In November 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the Homeland Security Act, which abolished the INS and removed responsibility for unaccompanied alien minors from the Justice Department.[34] The new United States Department of Homeland Security was given responsibility for the apprehension, transfer, and repatriation of illegal aliens while the Office of Refugee Resettlement inside the United States Department of Health and Human Services was given responsibility for the unaccompanied alien minors’ care, placement, and reunification with their parents.[34] In 2005 the Bush administration launched Operation Streamline, which referred all illegal immigrants for prosecution, but exempted those traveling with children.[39]

In 2008, President Bush signed into law the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a reauthorization of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which codified some of the standards in the Flores Agreement. The Act provided for the expedited repatriation of unaccompanied alien minors to contiguous nations Mexico and Canada, while exempting unaccompanied children from El SalvadorGuatemala and Honduras from expedited repatriation in order to provide some protection to victims of human trafficking.[34][35][40][36]

Attempting to comply with the Agreement while keeping families together and coping with the 2014 American immigration crisis, a surge of refugees fleeing violence in Central America, the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama built family detention centers in Pennsylvania and Texas.[41][42][39]

On July 24, 2015, in “Flores v. Johnson” 2015 C.D. Cal., District Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled found that the consent decree applied equally to accompanied and unaccompanied minors and that immigration officials violated the consent decree by refusing to release accompanied minors held in a family detention facility.[16][43][44][36] The government said an average of 20 days was required for adjudication of “credible fear” and “reasonable fear” claims, among the grounds for asylum in the United States, and on August 21, 2015 Judge Gee clarified the “without unnecessary delay” and “promptly” language in the Flores settlement, ruling that holding parents and children for up to 20 days “may fall within the parameters” of the settlement.[43][45][46] Judge Dee ruled that detained children and their parents who were caught crossing the border illegally could not be held more than 20 days, saying that detention centers in Texas, such as the GEO Group‘s privately run Karnes County Residential Center (KCRC) in Karnes City, Texas, and the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, in Taylor, Texas, had failed to meet Flores standards. Gee expanded Flores to cover accompanied and unaccompanied children.[47] Judge Gee ruled that Flores calls on the government to release children “without unnecessary delay”, which she held was within 20 days.[48][49] The court ordered the release of 1700 families that were not flight risks.[42][50][51]

This was a major change to Flores. Dee was an Obama-appointed federal district court judge.[52][53] Judge Dee said that that the defendants’ “blanket no-release policy with respect to minors accompanied by their mothers is a material breach of the Agreement.”[49]

In 2016, in Flores v. Lynch, Ninth Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz, joined by Judges Michael J. Melloy and Ronald M. Gould, reversed in part, finding that the Agreement applied to all detained children but that it did not give their parents any affirmative right of release.[54][16][36][55]

District Judge Gee next issued an enforcement order against the government and, on July 5, 2017, in Flores v. Sessions, Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, joined by Judges A. Wallace Tashima, and Marsha Berzon, affirmed, finding that Congress had not abrogated the Agreement through subsequent legislation.[22][56]:181 Judge Gee ruled that “Congress did not terminate Paragraph 24A of the Flores Settlement with respect to bond hearings for unaccompanied minors” by “[e]nacting the Homeland Security Act (HSA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).”[22] Judge Gee said that the Flores v. Sessions appeal had stemmed from the Flores Settlement Agreement “between the plaintiff class and the federal government that established a nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors in the custody of the INS” and that Paragraph 24A of the Flores Agreement provides that a “minor in deportation proceedings shall be afforded a bond redetermination hearing before an immigration judge.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed Judge Gee’s motion to enforce the Flores Agreement, saying that there was “nothing in the text, structure, or purpose of the HSA or TVPRA” that rendered “continued compliance with Paragraph 24A, as it applies to unaccompanied minors, “impermissible.”[22] Because of the ruling in Flores v. Sessions, ORR is required to “inform all unaccompanied children in staff-secure and secure placements of their right to a bond hearing, and schedule one if requested.”[56]:184

In her July 2017 ruling, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee found that children who were in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection were sleep-deprived because of inadequate conditions and that their food and water was inadequate, and they lacked “basic hygiene items” which was in violation of the Flores Settlement Agreement.[6] She ordered to federal government to provide an itemized list and improve the conditions.[6] The federal government appealed the decision saying that 1997 Flores Agreement did not mention “allowing children to sleep or wash themselves with soap”.

“Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety.”

Judge Marsha S. Berzon. August 15, 2019. 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals[6]

In June 2019, three judges of the Ninth Circuit court of appeals heard the case, 17-56297 Jenny Flores v. William Barr, in which Sarah Fabian, the senior attorney in the Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation requested the Court to overturn Judge Dee’s 2017 order “requiring the government to provide detainees with hygiene items such as soap and toothbrushes in order to comply with the “safe and sanitary conditions” requirement set forth in Flores Settlement. During the June 20, 2019 proceedings, Ninth Circuit Judge William Fletcher said it was “inconceivable” that the United States government would consider it “safe and sanitary” to detain child migrants in conditions where it was “cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminium foil blanket?”[57][58] Fabian said that the Flores agreement mandating “safe and sanitary” conditions for detained migrant children was “vague” which let the federal agencies determine “sanitation protocols.”[7] It was not compulsory for the government to provide toothbrushes, soap or adequate bedding to the minors in their care.[59] Videos of the hearing were widely circulated on social media.[60] One of the justices, Judge A. Wallace Tashima, was detained in an internment camp as a child. According to the Los Angeles Times, the “case stirred nationwide outrage” when videos of the hearing went viral.[6]

On August 15, 2019 the three-judge panel of the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Judge Dee’s 2017 “order requiring immigration authorities to provide minors with adequate food, water, bedding, toothbrushes and soap.”[6]

Trump administration family separation policy

As Presidential candidate, Donald Trump had promised to end what he called the Obama administration’s policy of “catch and release”. It was the second of his top priorities for immigration reform, after walling off Mexico.[61][62] In the first 15 months of the administration of President Trump, nearly 100,000 immigrants apprehended at the United States-Mexico border were released, including more than 37,000 unaccompanied minors and 61,000 family members.[63][64]

On May 26, 2018 Trump tweeted, “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the border into the U.S.”[65] On May 29, 2018 White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller told reporters, “A nation cannot have a principle that there will be no civil or criminal immigration enforcement for somebody traveling with a child. The current immigration and border crisis, and all of the attendant concerns it raises, are the exclusive product of loopholes that Democrats refuse to close,”[65] such as the Flores Settlement Agreement and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.[35]

By June 2018, the Flores Agreement received increased public attention when Trump, his administration, and supporters cited the FSA and Democratic recalcitrance as justification for the Trump administration family separation policy, in which all adults detained at the U.S.–Mexico border were prosecuted and sent to federal jails while children and infants were placed under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).[66] In June 2018 Vox Media summarized the administration’s interpretation of the settlement as since the government “cannot keep parents and children in immigration detention together, it has no choice but to detain parents in immigration detention (after they’ve been criminally prosecuted for illegal entry) and send the children to” DHS as “unaccompanied alien children.”[55] Despite the wording of Flores v. Reno, human rights advocates asserted that no law or court order mandated the separation of children from their families.[65][63][41][44] On June 11, 2018 Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz said in a Dallas public radio interview “There’s a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail.” PolitiFact fact-checked Cruz’s statement, concluding it was “mostly false.”[30] On June 14, 2018, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “The separation of illegal alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close. And these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade. The president is simply enforcing them,” Republican Representative from Wisconsin and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters “What’s happening at the border in the separation of parents and their children is because of a court ruling,” and Republican Senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley tweeted “I want 2 stop the separation of families at the border by repealing the Flores 1997 court decision requiring separation of families.” The New York Times said “there is no decades-old law or court decision that requires” separating migrant children from their parents.[41]

On June 19, 2018 White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short told reporters the Trump administration had sought legislative relief from Congress on the Flores Settlement, saying “In each and every one of our negotiations in the last 18 months, all the immigration bills, we asked for resolution on the Flores settlement that is what we view requires 20 days before you have to release children and basically parents been released with children into society.”[32] According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, President Trump’s June 20, 2018 executive order, had directed directed then-United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the Judge Dolly M. Gee of District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, which oversees the Flores Agreement Settlement, to “modify the agreement” to “allow the government to detain alien families together throughout the duration of the family’s immigration proceedings as well as the pendency of any criminal proceedings for unlawful entry into the United States.[4] The executive order reversed the family separation policy, directing the United States Armed Forces to make room available on military bases for family detention and requested that the District Court for the Central District of California be flexible on the provisions of the settlement requiring state licensing of family detention centers and limiting detention of immigrant children to 20 days, in order to detain families for the duration of their immigration court proceedings.[67][68][69] On July 9, 2018, Gee rejected the request, citing that there was no basis to modify the agreement and pointing out that it is an issue the legislative branch has to solve instead.[70]

On September 7, 2018 federal agencies published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would terminate the FSA “so that ICE may use appropriate facilities to detain family units together during their immigration proceedings, consistent with applicable law.”[71]

On August 23, 2019, the administration issued a rule allowing families to be held in humane conditions while their U.S. immigration court cases were decided. On September 27, a judge blocked the rule, stating: “This regulation is inconsistent with one of the primary goals of the Flores Agreement, which is to instate a general policy favoring release and expeditiously place minors ‘in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor’s age and special needs’”.[72]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ According to the Congressional Research Service January 18, 2017 report, many of the terms of the Flores Settlement Agreement, Flores v. Meese—Stipulated Settlement Agreement (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1997), have been codified at 8 CFR §§236.3, 1236.3.
  2. ^ Flores v. Meese, 934 F.2d 991, 993 (9th Cir. 1990). According to Flores v. Meese, by 1988, migrant juveniles were detained by INS in the Western region in three sectors, Los Angeles, San Diego, and El Centro.] Particularly in the San Diego sector, these juveniles were routinely strip searched by Border Patrol officers at local Border Patrol stations if the INS makes the decision to detain the juvenile. Attorneys for Flores, said that “the INS policy of routinely strip searching juveniles upon their admission to INS facilities, and after all visits with persons other than their attorneys, violate[d] the Fourth Amendment.”
  3. ^ In Flores v. Meese 1991, Judges WallaceCharles E. WigginsMelvin T. Brunetti, and Edward Leavy dissented.
  4. ^ Jenny Lisette Flores, a Minor, by Next Friend Mario Hugh Galvez-Maldonado Dominga Hernandez-Hernandez, a Minor, by Next Friend Jose Saul Mira Alma Yanira Cruz-Aldama, a Minor, by Next Friend Herman Perililo Tanchez v. Edwin Meese, III Immigration & Naturalization Service Harold Ezell, 942 F.2d 1352 (9th Cir. 1991) Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Filed: August 9th, 1991 Precedential Status: Precedential Citations: 942 F.2d 1352 Docket Number: 88-6249 42 F.2d 1352 60 USLW 2125 Jenny Lisette FLORES, a minor, by next friend Mario Hugh GALVEZ-MALDONADO; Dominga Hernandez-Hernandez, a minor, by next friend Jose Saul Mira; Alma Yanira Cruz-Aldama, a minor, by next friend Herman Perililo Tanchez, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Edwin MEESE, III; Immigration & Naturalization Service; Harold Ezell, Defendants-Appellants. No. 88-6249. United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Argued En Banc and Submitted April 18, 1991. Decided August 9, 1991.
  5. ^ This reference includes the March 23, 1993 Concurrence, Syllabus, Dissent, and Opinion.
  6. ^ The Court noted that Reno v. Flore is a “facial challenge to INS regulation 242.24” because the policy has never been applied “in a particular instance”. The District Court invalidated 242.24 a week after it came into effect. When the original lawsuit was filed in 1985, it was directed against the newly released policy introduced in —83 Fed. Reg. at 45489—which was introduced on September 6, 1984 by then director of Western Region of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Harold W. Ezell. Under 83 Fed. Reg. at 45489, a detained immigrant minor “could only be released to a parent or legal guardian”. This resulted in minors, such as Flores, being detained in poor conditions for “lengthy or indefinite” periods of time. The Supreme Court said that “We have before us no findings of fact, indeed no record, concerning the INS’s interpretation of the regulation or the history of its enforcement. We have only the regulation itself and the statement of basis and purpose that accompanied its promulgation. To prevail in such a facial challenge, respondents “must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the [regulation] would be valid.”
  7. ^ The case began with oral arguments on October 13, 1992. Deputy Solicitor General Maureen Mahoney appeared for the government.
  8. ^ The March 23, 1993 syllabus for the USSC case Reno v. Flores said that the respondents in Reno v. Meese, are a “class of alien juveniles arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on suspicion of being deportable.”
  9. ^ According to Snopes, there is “no federal law mandating children and parents be separated at the border; a policy resulting in that outcome was enacted in May 2018.”

References …

External links

  • Text of Flores v. Meese, 681 F. Supp. 665 (C.D. Cal. 1988) is available from: Justia
  • Text of Flores v. Meese, 934 F.2d 991 (9th Cir. 1990) is available from: CourtListener
  • Text of Flores v. Meese, 942 F.2d 1352 (9th Cir. 1992) (en banc) is available from: Cornell

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reno_v._Flores

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1324, September 20, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Approved Sending U.S. Troops To Bolster Saudi Arabia’s Air and Missile Defenses — Videos — Story 2: Partisan Whistle Blower Complaint of Trump Phone Call To World Leader — Just Another Hack Job — Dead on Arrival — Junk Journalism — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into Economy As Business and Investors Demand for Money Increases — Videos — Story 4: Collectivist Climate Change Cult Child Abuser Alarmists — The Green New Steal — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Approved Sending U.S. Troops To Bolster Saudi Arabia’s Air and Missile Defenses — Videos

Pentagon announces troop deployment to Saudi Arabia

US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia

PBS NewsHour full episode September 20, 2019

Pentagon briefs Trump on military options against Iran

POLL: Just 13% Support Trump’s War For Saudi Arabia

Iran Attack on Saudi Arabia Oil Not Slowing Aramco IPO

Saudi Arabia unveils new strategic drone program ‘Saqr 1’

Did Satellites Spot a Secret Drone Hangar in Saudi Arabia?

United States sending troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack

by Reuters
Friday, 20 September 2019 23:57 GMT

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

 U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities, which Washington has squarely blamed on Iran.

The Pentagon said the deployment would involve a moderate number of troops – not numbering thousands – and would be primarily defensive in nature. It also detailed plans to expedite delivery of military equipment to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Reuters has previously reported that the Pentagon was considering sending anti-missile batteries, drones and more fighter jets. The United States is also considering keeping an aircraft carrier in the region indefinitely.

“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news briefing.

“We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.

The Pentagon’s late Friday announcement appeared to close the door to any imminent decision to wage retaliatory strikes against Iran following the attack, which rattled global markets and exposed major gaps in Saudi Arabia’s air defenses.

Trump said earlier on Friday that he believed his military restraint so far showed “strength,” as he instead imposed another round of economic sanctions on Tehran.

“Because the easiest thing I could do, ‘Okay, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.’ … But I’m not looking to do that if I can,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

But the deployment could further aggravate Iran, which has responded to previous U.S. troop deployments this year with apprehension. It denies responsibility for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which has been battling a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE, has claimed responsibility for the strikes.

ATTACK LAUNCHED FROM IRAN?

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated sharply since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports.

For months, Iranian officials issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran were blocked from exporting oil, other countries would not be able to do so either.

However, Iran has denied any role in a series of attacks in recent months, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and strikes claimed by the Houthis.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have fingered southwest Iran as the staging ground for the attack, an assessment based at least in part on still-classified imagery showing Iran appearing to prepare an aerial strike.

They have dismissed Houthi claims that the attacks originated in Yemen.

One of the officials told Reuters the strike may have been authorized by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The United States is wary of getting dragged into another conflict in the Middle East. It has troops positioned in Syria and Iraq, two countries where Iranian influence is strong and Iran-backed forces operate openly.

U.S. officials fear Iran’s proxies might attempt to strike American troops there, something that could easily trigger a broader regional conflict.

Saudi Arabia has said it was attacked by a total of 25 drones and missiles, including Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and “Ya Ali” cruise missiles.

U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said officials were still hammering out the best array of capabilities to defend Saudi Arabia, noting the difficulty combating a swarm of drones.

No single system is going to be able to defend against a threat like that, but a layered system of defensive capabilities would mitigate the risk of swarms of drones or other attacks that may come from Iran,” Dunford said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali, Eric Beech and Mohammad Zargham Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)

http://news.trust.org/item/20190920230811-gljdq

Story 2: Partisan Whistle Blower Complaint of Trump Phone Call To World Leader — Just Another Hack Job — Dead on Arrival — Junk Journalism — Videos

Schiff demands access to Trump whistleblower complaint

Hannity: Media frenzy over unknown ‘promise’ to unknown foreign leader

mr. NSA Inspector General On Whistleblower And President Donald Trump | The Last Word | MSNBC

PBS NewsHour full episode September 19, 2019

McCarthy rips Schiff for politicizing Trump whistleblower complaint

Shields and Brooks on the whistleblower complaint, Saudi oil attack

Whistleblower complaint about President Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter

September 19 at 8:04 PM

A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter, which has set off a struggle between Congress and the executive branch.

The complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a “promise” that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said.

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.

That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

The Democrats’ investigation was launched earlier this month, before revelations that an intelligence official had lodged a complaint with the inspector general. The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that the complaint had to do with a “promise” that Trump made when communicating with a foreign leader.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sept. 19 said a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community met the threshold requiring notification of Congress. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

On Thursday, the inspector general testified behind closed doors to members of the House Intelligence Committee about the whistleblower’s complaint.

Over the course of three hours, Michael Atkinson repeatedly declined to discuss with members the content of the complaint, saying he was not authorized to do so.

He and the members spent much of their time discussing the process Atkinson followed, the statute governing his investigation of the complaint and the nature of an “urgent concern” that he believed it represented, according to a person familiar with the briefing, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“He was being excruciatingly careful about the language he used,” the person said.

What is a whistleblower: How to be a journalist
Whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg take personal risks to expose wrongdoing. (The Washington Post)

Atkinson made clear that he disagreed with a lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who had contradicted the inspector general and found that the whistleblower complaint did not meet the statutory definition of an urgent concern because it involved a matter not under the DNI’s jurisdiction.

Atkinson told the committee that the complaint did not stem from just one conversation, according to two people familiar with his testimony.

Following the meeting, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, warned of legal action if intelligence officials did not share the whistleblower complaint.

Schiff described acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s refusal to share the complaint with Congress as “unprecedented” and said he understood the Justice Department was involved in that decision.

“We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress,” Schiff said, adding: “We’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected.”

Trump has denied doing anything improper. In a tweet Thursday morning, the president wrote, “Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself.

“Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call,” Trump wrote.