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The Pronk Pops Show 1321, September 17, 2019,Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos –Story 2: U.S. Gasoline Prices Rising — Videos — Story 3: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Videos —

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Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos —

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Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

See the source image

Iran is trying to pressure US into removing sanctions: Gen. Keane

Saudi Oil Field Attack Originated From Iran, Used Cruise Missiles And Drones | NBC Nightly News

Saudi Arabia to Reportedly Resume 70% of Lost Oil Output

Trump says it’s “looking like” Iran responsible for drone attack | Nine News Australia

Trump Says Tehran Likely Behind Aramco Attack

Would be difficult for Saudi Aramco to list now after oil attack, analyst says | Squawk Box Europe

Saudi Aramco CEO: Oil attack was huge, but we managed to restore capacity

Attack on Saudi Arabia ‘caught us all by surprise’: Strategist | Street Signs Asia

USA: Lethal attack on Iran ‘proportionate’ after Saudi Arabia oil strike – Trump

Sankey: A potential response by Saudi Arabia against Iran would be ‘horrific’ for oil prices

Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities.

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War.

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications.

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites.

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Arabia Implicates Iran in Oil Attacks

Military stops short of explicitly accusing Tehran of carrying out strikes

 

Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki in Riyadh on Wednesday displayed what he describes as an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in an attack on the kingdom’s oil industry. PHOTO: AMR NABIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saudi Arabia said it holds Iran responsible for attacks that debilitated Saudi oil facilities, directly implicating Tehran for the first time but stopping short of explicitly accusing it of conducting the strikes.

Saudi officials have concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a complex assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia, Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen, told reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

He said Saudi Arabia made its judgment based on the direction of the cruise missiles when they struck the facilities and the maximum distance of 435 miles they could travel. The weapons found at the two attack sites also could be traced back to Iran, he said.

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Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia
Fears of a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran are high following an attack on a critical Saudi oil facility Saturday. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three reasons the U.S. is less likely than it once was to defend Saudi Arabia if that happens. Photo: Associated Press

Iran has denied it carried out the attacks.

At the press briefing, Col. Maliki displayed debris from the attacks, including what the Ministry of Defense described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles. He said Saudi Arabia was still working to determine the launch site and didn’t explicitly say the attacks had been mounted by Iran or from Iranian territory.

The ministry on Wednesday also displayed debris from what it said was an earlier attack on an oil facility in Afif in May.

Col. Maliki said the ministry knew the range of the cruise missiles, which he said were Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles, based on its military assessments and the range of previous attacks.

Cruise missiles have vastly different ranges, with some traveling a couple hundred miles while the U.S.-made Tomahawk missile has a range of more than 1,000 miles. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in 2015 quoted then-Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami as saying the Ya Ali outstripped other Iranian cruise missiles with a range of 435 miles.

Saudi Arabia has largely faced ballistic-missile attacks. Col. Maliki said about 230 ballistic missiles had been fired on the kingdom in recent years, demonstrating the strength of Saudi aerial-defense systems.

The Saudi claims escalate tensions in the region, although Col. Maliki didn’t say whether or how the kingdom would respond against Iran.

Firing Range

Saudi Arabia estimates the range of the missiles that targeted its oil facilities is 435 miles. The range would exclude Yemen, where Iran says Houthi rebels conducted the strikes, as a launch point.

Saudi Arabian targets attacked Saturday

SYRIA

Tehran

435-MILE RANGE

FROM TARGETS

IRAN

IRAQ

SAUDI

ARABIA

Abqaiq facility

Persian

Gulf

Riyadh

U.A.E.

Khurais oil field

Red

Sea

OMAN

YEMEN

Sana’a

300 miles

300 km

Source: Saudi Ministry of Defense

The display of debris instead indicated that Saudi Arabia is trying to build a credible case against Iran that it was behind the attacks, and at the same time, leave room for diplomacy. It called on the international community to hold Iran responsible for its aggressive posture in the region.

“This attack was not against Aramco or Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It was an assault on the international community.”

President Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that he has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

While Mr. Trump didn’t directly link Iran to Saturday’s attacks in his tweet, he said this week that it was “certainly looking” like Iran was responsible.

Later, in comments to reporters in California, Mr. Trump said further details on sanctions would be released in the next 48 hours and he is looking at various other options in responding to the strike.

“There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are waiting for the results of an investigation by the Saudi government before proceeding.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more explicit than Mr. Trump in blaming Iran. Landing in Jeddah ahead of a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. diplomat said Iran had conducted the attack, not its Yemeni proxy, known as the Houthis.

“The intelligence community has high confidence that…these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. Additionally, the flight patterns required to have inflicted the level of damage to the Saudi facilities rule out Yemen as a point of origin, he added.

Mr. Pompeo called the attack an act of war. “We’re blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but any time you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always risk that that could happen.”

Tehran on Wednesday continued to say Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen were behind the strikes on the Aramco facilities. President Hassan Rouhani after a cabinet meeting in Tehran told state media that the U.S. was falsely accusing Iran of the attack to pressure it. The attack was a warning from the Houthis to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a bloody war against the rebels for nearly five years, he said.

Addressing Saudi Arabia, Mr. Rouhani added: “Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region.”

Saturday’s twin attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities knocked out 5.7 million barrels a day of production at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, sending global oil prices higher.

On Tuesday, Saudi officials said they would use reserves to return production to normal levels within weeks and had restored 50% of lost output.

The price of Brent crude—the global benchmark—jumped 15% to $69.02 a barrel on Monday, its largest one-day climb since 1988. It was trading at $64.44 a barrel on Wednesday.

Some Saudi officials were skeptical of the defense ministry’s claims of aerial robustness. The strikes demonstrated a vulnerability in Saudi Arabia’s overstretched air systems, which have been taxed by months of attacks throughout the country, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

The kingdom’s air defenses never had a chance to activate because neither Saudi nor American systems detected the launch of the airstrike on Saturday morning, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The Saudi government recently moved the position of some air-defense systems, Saudi officials said, in order to cope with recent strikes that have hit airports, oil installations, and a desalination plant. Houthi rebels claimed the bombings.

The failure of Saudi and American air defenses to stop Saturday’s attack has raised alarms about the security of facilities that are a key component of the world’s oil supply. The combination of cruise missiles and drones represents a complex attack that would have challenged even the most sophisticated air-defense systems in the world, experts said.

“It looks like the attack was very carefully and thoroughly planned and that great care was taken to construct the attack plan in such a way to evade the air defenses that the Saudis are known to have,” said Bradley Boyer, a defense and energy analyst and retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer.

Saudi Arabia’s air defenses include the American Patriot and Hawk missile systems, which are better suited to shoot down mid- and long-range ballistic missiles, rather than the lighter and lower-flying cruise missiles and drones used in Saturday’s attack. The country also possesses short-range defense systems.

Saudi Arabia has a mixed record in defending itself from missile attacks. In one well-documented case, the country activated its Patriot missile defenses during an attack on the Riyadh airport in November 2017. The government said it shot down the incoming missile. Video footage and other evidence showed the defenses fell short of their targets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-holds-iran-responsible-for-oil-attacks-11568820602

Oil storage tanks
The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plant dramatically cut into global oil supplies. | Amr Nabil/AP Photo

DEFENSE

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid U.S.-Iran tension

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attack Saturday on key Saudi oil infrastructure. On Sunday, senior U.S. officials again said the American government believes there is no doubt Iran was responsible, saying satellite imagery and other intelligence, show the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.

Iran, meanwhile, called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military bases across the Mideast with their arsenal of ballistic missiles.

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out.

The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent U.S. senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence.

“Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. “When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.

Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that’s been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom’s crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world’s daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase.

Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks.

In Washington, President Donald Trump said Sunday evening that he had approved the release of U.S. strategic petroleum reserves “if needed” to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The announcement followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Images from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite examined by the AP showed black char marks at the heart of the Abqaiq plant on Sunday, marks not seen over the prior month. Identical marks are visible on the U.S. imagery. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies in August identified the area with the char marks as the plant’s stabilization area. The center said the area includes “storage tanks and processing and compressor trains — which greatly increases the likelihood of a strike successfully disrupting or destroying its operations.”

The state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, which the kingdom hopes to offer a sliver of in a public stock offering, did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the Saudi attack on Twitter late Saturday, and officials worked to provide evidence for his claim the following day.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones — a charge that Tehran denies.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.”

“The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward ‘maximum lies,’” Mousavi said in a statement.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying the drone attack came from there. Oil-rich Kuwait also said it would increase security around the country’s “vital sites” over the attacks.

Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group’s claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press on Sunday it exploited “vulnerabilities” in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate.

Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats.

Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country’s aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

“Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops,” he said in a video published online with English subtitles.

It wasn’t just Iran making threats. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican close to Trump, suggested retaliatory strikes targeting Iran. “Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

All this comes before the United Nations General Assembly in a little over a week. There’s been speculation of a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the summit’s sidelines, possibly in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear accord over a year ago.

If Iran had a hand in Saturday’s attack, it could be to bolster their position ahead of any talks, analysts say.

“The main point for Iran, in my opinion, is not necessarily to derail a meeting between Trump and Rouhani but to increase its leverage ahead of it,” said Michael Horowitz, the head of intelligence at the Bahrain-based risk management firm Le Beck International. “By carrying out such a major attack, Iran wants to send the message that the only way to decrease tensions is to comply with its demands regarding sanctions relief.”

However, he warned there could be a danger of Iran “overplaying” its hand.

“There will be no political benefit for Trump in a meeting with Rouhani if this meeting sends the message that the U.S. simply surrendered to Iranian demands,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/saudi-oil-attack-iran-1497449

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Story 3: Congress Subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski in Impeachment Probe — No Collusion With Russia — Same Conclusion as Mueller Report — Videos 

Lewandowski becomes first witness to testify in impeachment probe

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Collins: House Dems trashed procedure to try and get Trump

Jordan, Meadows blast House Dems after Lewandowski hearing

 

Democrats threaten Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with CONTEMPT as he mocks and stonewalls them at first House impeachment hearing – before attorney confronts him with his own words and he admits he is ‘not honest with the media’

  • Corey Lewandowski stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump 
  • I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said  
  • Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee 
  • Trump praised Lewandowski’s opening statement, calling it ‘beautiful’ 
  • Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler charged the president with obstructing House Democrats’ investigation into his administration
  • ‘President Trump now appears to be using the powers of his office to obstruct all investigations by the only branch of the federal government currently capable of holding him accountable,’ Nadler wrote to the White House counsel   
  • White House counsel told committee Lewandowski would not to discuss conversations he had with Trump about government matters
  • White House forbid former aides Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn from testifying 
  • Lewandowski is mulling a New Hampshire Senate bid 
  • Committee counsel Barry Berke tore into his past statements during a late-hearing grilling 

Tuesday’s House hearing with Corey Lewandowksi culminated with angry threats by the Democratic majority to hold him in contempt – and damaging admissions by the former Donald Trump campaign manager that he has been untruthful in national TV interviews.

The fireworks came after a full day of testimony, after House Democrats armed with new rules they pushed through allowed an outside consultant to grill Trump’s combative former campaign head for 30 consecutive minutes.

Lewandowski was for the first time confronted with his past statements on Fox and MSNBC interviews, as well as statements he made in his own book about his interactions with the president.

‘I have no obligation to be candid with the media whatsoever,’ Lewandowski said at one point.

I’m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress,’ he said under questioning by majority counsel Barry Berke, saying he was truthful ‘every time I raised my right hand to God.’

Scroll down for video 

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski was confronted with a clip of himself saying on MSNBC he didn’t ever remember the president ‘ever asking me to get involved with [former attorney general] Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape, or form, ever.’

It was a key moment of alleged obstruction from the Mueller report – where Trump dictated to Lewandowski, a private citizen, a statement he wanted the former attorney general to give while curtailing the special counsel’s investigation.

‘That was not true, was it?’ the Harvard law grad and white collar defense attorney Berke asked him.

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

‘I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they are just as dishonest as everybody else,’ Lewandowski responded.

Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, who during the hearing shut down fellow Democrats efforts to bring maximum pressure on the witness, came down on the witness at the end of the hearing.

‘Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable. It is part of a pattern of a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth,’ the New York Democrat fumed.

‘I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration,’ he warned.

Republicans howled in protest when the Democrats brought in their ringer to conduct intensive questioning at the end of the hearing. Previously, individual members tried to get the former New Hampshire police officer to buckle during five-minute increments of questioning.

In another tense moment with Berke, the lawyer asked him: ‘On national television did you lie about your relationship with the special counsel and whether they sought your interview?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied.

Lewandowski tweeted out a message about the launch of his campaign for senator from New Hampshire during the hearing, irking one Democratic lawmaker who mentioned it.

He got accolades from the president for his early loyal performance, but cracks soon developed in his testimony as the day wore on.

Lewandowski has stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump as the president praised his former campaign manager’s tough stance.

Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which he could also use as a launch pad for a Senate bid.

The former Trump campaign manager offered a strong defense of the president, claiming he was a victim of ‘haters’ and resisted Democrats’ efforts to ask him about his conversations with the president.

The hearing is part of the Democrats’ strategy to prove there is enough evidence to impeach President Trump and they’ve issued a round of subpoena to witnesses from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to help make their case to the American people.

Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski’s more than four hours before the panel had its share of made-for-TV moments as he resisted their efforts to implicate Trump and snapped back at many of their questions.

In one of those moments, he mocked Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, who suggested Lewandowski was ‘ashamed’ to read his own words from Mueller’s report that were projected on a screen in the room.

‘Why don’t you want to read it Mr. Lewandowski?’ the congressman for California asked.

‘I think you should afford me the same privilege you gave Mr. Mueller,’ he responded, referring to Mueller’s June testimony before the committee, where he did not have to read from his report.

‘Are you ashamed of the words you wrote down,’ Swalwell asked.

Lewandowski then called him ‘President Swalwell,’ in his response, alluding to the congressman’s failed presidential bid.

‘President Swalwell – I’m very happy with what I’ve written but you’re welcome to read it if you like,’ he said.

And when Swalwell pressed him if he was ashamed of what he wrote, Lewandowski pushed back: ‘I’m not ashamed of anything in my life. Are you?’

Swalwell also asked about Lewandowski’s testimony to Mueller, where he stated he kept notes from his conversations with President Trump in a safe.

‘It’s a big safe congressman. There’s a lot of guns in there,’ Lewandowski said.

But Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal got in a shot at her own at Lewandowski during her questioning period.

‘You are not yet in the Senate. You are a witness before the Judiciary Committee. Please act like it,’ she told him, referring to speculation he may run for New Hampshire’s Senate seat next year.

The lawmaker from Washington state appeared to rattle Lewandowski when she asked him if he lied to Mueller’s investigators or to the president.

‘Not to the best of my recollection, no,’ he told her.

She then asked him about a tweet from Trump in April, after the Mueller report came out, when the president wrote: ‘Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue.’

‘So the president is wrong that the report is fabricated and totally untrue?,’ Jayapal asked Lewandowski.

‘That’s a question for the president,’ he replied.

‘Did you lie to the president and is the president correct that everything in the report is fabricated?,’ she asked.

‘I won’t comment on private conversations but I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I lied about anything. And I’ve answered it multiple times. I’ve answered your question multiple times,’ Lewandowski replied.

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell's failed presidential bid

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell’s failed presidential bid

The former Trump campaign manager also made some head-scratching comments in his testimony, claiming he never read Mueller’s report and arguing the ‘fake Russian collusion narrative’ is the ‘greatest crime committed’ against the American people.

‘I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said.

Lewandowski also had a contentious back-and-forth with Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.

‘Don’t ask me a question I won’t answer,’ he told her when she pressed him on his conversations with the president.

‘This is House Judiciary – not a house party,’ she shot back.

And when Jackson Lee pressed him to answer a question about a section of sMueller’s report, which was projected on a screen in the hearing room, Lewandowski snapped back: ‘ You’re welcome to read it, congresswoman.’

‘You’re welcome to be stalling, and I’m not going to stall. Either answer the question yes or no,’ Jackson Lee responded.

‘I will not disclose any conversation I’ve had with the president,’ Lewandowski said. ‘The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversation with the president.’

With Jackson Lee’s five minutes of question time expired, Chairman Jerry Nadler said Lewandowski could answer her last question.

‘I don’t believe there was a question, congressman,’ Lewandowski responded. ‘Just a rant.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7474059/Corey-Lewandowski-House-Judiciary-Committees-formal-impeachment-witness.html

 

Story 4: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Juuling — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

What’s Worse: Vaping or Smoking?

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Stossel: Let Them Vape

Planet of the Vapes: why is there a war on e-cigarettes?

Gov. Cuomo announces ban on flavored e-cigarettes in New York

New York to Ban on Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products | NBC New York

What Vape Shops Have to Say About New York’s Flavored E-Cigarette Ban | NBC New York

New York to ban sale of flavored e-cigarettes | ABC News

New York Governor Cuomo announces ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Trump Wants to Ban Vaping to Protect Melania’s Son

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Is Vaping Really That Bad for You?

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Seduction of Smoking – Are E Cigarettes Less Harmful? | E-Cigs Documentary | Documental

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Mayo Clinic Minute: Are e-cigarettes safe?

SA: E-cigarette & Vape Marketing Targets Youth

MORE Anti-vape ads…

Truth Anti Smoking/Vaping Ads Are AWFUL

Inside The Heated Battle Over Juul: Creating Teen Addicts Or Saving Lives? | Think | NBC News

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Can Juul Pods Really Destroy an iPhone?

What Happens To Your Body ● When You VAPE For a Month

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10 Things JUUL Doesn’t Want You To Know

VAPE NATION

Ethan Klein vs Oliver Tree

Oliver Tree – H3 Podcast #125

I Spent $1000 at a Vape Shop.

Biggest Vape Cloud Wins $10,000

JUUL TIPS AND TRICKS

My Friend Teaches me how to VAPE!! (The Right Way)

I got a New VAPE to Blow BIGGER Clouds…

Learning how to JUUL from my little brother!

[yourUVW=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUCM6P-AnHY]

Refilling Juul Pods: The right way.

How Juul Became A $15 Billion Giant

Is ‘Juuling’ Safe? What’s Really Inside The Popular E-Cigarette | TODAY

Juul CEO to non-smokers: “Don’t vape. Don’t use Juul.”

Juul Labs announces ID verification system to curb underage e-cigarette use

Doctor on vaping: “Nobody is saying that this has value or benefit” for youths

New York becomes the first state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as panel approves Governor Cuomo’s emergency prohibition

  • Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the ban on Tuesday
  • Sale of all flavored vaping products is banned immediately under the rule
  • Vape shop owners say they will go under and smokers will return to cigarettes
  • Advocates of ban say the fruity flavors are getting kids hooked on vaping
  • CDC reports 380 cases of illness and seven deaths linked to vaping cannabis

New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, a move that comes as federal health officials investigate a mysterious surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.

The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors, goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. Use among high-school students went from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Cuomo pointed to vaping flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that he said seemed aimed at young people.

‘We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices,’ he said on public radio Monday.

Vape shop owners say they’re considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote. Several spoke at the meeting to urge council members to reject the ban.

Mike Kruger owns two vape shops in the Albany region and said the ban could force hundreds of businesses like his to close. He said smokers looking to quit will have fewer options under the ban, potentially leading to an increase in the use of traditional tobacco products. As for the breathing illnesses, Kruger said he believes they are the result of people buying black market vape liquid, not the items he sells.

‘We are bypassing the legislative process,’ he said of the ban. Kruger added that many adults seek out the flavored versions. He himself prefers blue raspberry. ‘Vaping has been around for 12 years. And now this.’

Keith Mautner, who owns a vape store in Queens and uses the products himself, estimates that flavored e-cigarettes make up 95% percent of his business. He said state leaders should have cracked down on manufacturers if they were concerned about the products being used by teens.

‘That’s the problem, the manufacturers. It’s not us,’ he said.

Vaping, which many Americans have taken up as an alternative to smoking, has come under increased federal scrutiny following a rash of deaths related to vaping cannabis. Seen above are flavored vaping products in Queens that are now forbidden under the rule

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

The exemption for menthol was criticized by some health groups, who worried young people would switch to that variety. It includes all types of flavored vaping products, including disposable and refillable devices.

Juul Labs, Inc., the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.

Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.

New York becomes the first state to enact the ban. Michigan approved a ban that includes menthol, but not tobacco flavor, but rules for enactment have not yet been put into place. Other states are also considering bans.

The statewide smoking age is going up to 21, after Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year. He also recently signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

The emergency regulation enacted Tuesday will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed. Cuomo has proposed legislation that would put the ban in state law, eliminating the need to renew the ban.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016 but has yet to take the step.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7475005/Panel-approves-ban-sale-flavored-e-cigs-New-York.html

 

What Is Juuling? Everything To Know About The Teen Vaping Trend

It’s all the rage…

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that teen vaping (and Juuling) had reached “epidemic proportions.” A year later? It doesn’t seem as if the obsession among teens has slowed down.

Case in point: This month, eight Wisconsin teenagers were taken to the hospital with extreme coughs, shortness of breath, and fatigue, per CBS News. Doctors suspected that vaping was the cause of these teenagers’ respiratory problems, some of whom were unable to breathe on their own when they were hospitalized.

While it’s unclear what the kids were inhaling that may have caused their lung and breathing issues, some of the teens said that they may have been vaping nicotine and THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana), as Women’s Health reported previously.

Those kids are certainly not the only ones hooked on vaping. Per the FDA report released last year, there was a 75 percent increase in use among teens in 2018 compared to 2017.

But the agency isn’t slowing down when it comes to cracking down on retailers to prevent kids from wanting to vape and getting their hands on Juuls and other vape products. And we’ll get to that.

But first: Why are young adults so into Juuls, and vaping in general? And just how bad is it really for teens’ health? Here, a primer on the controversy.

What is Juuling exactly?

First off, it’s important to note that vaping and Juuling are the same thing. Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don’t even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and make a vapor that can be inhaled.

According to the company’s website, they were designed to help cigarette smokers transition off of smoking. “We envision a world where fewer people use cigarettes, and where people who smoke cigarettes have the tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely, should they so desire,” the website says. It also says in its marketing and social media code that Juul products are “not appropriate or intended for youth.”

However, the vaporizers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they can be charged when plugged into a laptop’s USB slot—making it easy for students to pass them off as flash drives in class.

Why is Juuling so popular?

Between those two design elements, and the fact that the Juul pods come in flavors like crème brulee, cool cucumber, and mango, these e-cigs have become insanely popular with kids. But they’re also popular among adults, given that they were originally designed to help smokers quit, as mentioned.

Just how widespread is the Juul fad, you’re wondering? The Juul vaping device was invented by two Stanford grads in 2007, and has since become the best-selling e-cigarette on the market, capturing 32 percent of the market share, according to Nielsen data. And according to not-yet published data from the FDA, there was a 75 percent increase in overall e-cigarette use (vaping and juuling) among high schoolers in 2018 compared to 2017, per the Washington Post.

However, one Boston doctor told WFXT that teenagers are still buying Juuls online by lying about their age and using a prepaid debit card.

Why is vaping (or Juuling) bad?

Many people use e-cigarettes, like Juuls, because they aren’t made with tar and all the cancer-causing chemicals you’ll find in a tobacco cigarette. Still, a 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teenagers who smoked e-cigarettes had higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than non-smokers.

Although they’re marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, vapes are certainly not risk-free. “This is not a safe alternative,” says Michael Blaiss, MD, the executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Is it safer than a tobacco cigarette? Yes. The problem is that nicotine itself can have major effects.”

“Think of it this way: In comparing e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes, we are comparing e-cigarettes to the deadliest consumer product on the market,” says Christy Sadreameli, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins and spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

Is Juuling more dangerous for kids than for adults?

Vaping can be particularly harmful for children and teenagers. The human lung develops rapidly within a child’s first two years, Dr. Sadreameli says, but it continues to grow until a child is 15 years old, on average.

Exposure to e-cigarette vapor during periods of lung growth and development may be more harmful to the lungs compared to when they’re fully developed, she says. “Teens who are using e-cigarettes themselves may be getting exposed to very high doses of these products,” she says. “We know that e-cigarettes contain extremely dangerous compounds, such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, acrolein (which causes irreversible lung damage), and sometimes harmful substances such as menthol and diacetyl (which can cause a dangerous lung disease called ‘popcorn lung’).”

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a18377132/juuling/

Juuling: The Addictive New Vaping Trend Teens Are Hiding

Here’s what you need to know about Juul, the e-cigarette brand that contains double the nicotine and is vaped from a device that looks like a USB drive.Share on Pinterest

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Forty years ago, nearly 29 percent of high school seniors reported smoking cigarettes daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2018, less than 1 in 25 high schoolers smokes daily.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports a similar decline, with 4.3 percent fewer middle schoolers and 15.8 percent fewer high schoolers admitting to smoking cigarettes between 2011 and 2018.

However, as cigarette smoking seems to be on the decline, another method of nicotine use has managed to hook today’s youth.

The same CDC report that discussed the decline of cigarette use revealed an increase in vaping.

In 2018, 4.9 percent of middle schoolers reported using electronic cigarettes, and 20.8 percent of high schoolers reported the same.

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What parents need to know about Juuling, the vaping device in disguise

When it comes to tobacco use, cigarettes are considered a combusted or burned product. The cigarette has to be lit, the tobacco burned, and the smoke inhaled.

Vaping, on the other hand, involves no combustion or burning. Instead, vaping products release an aerosol that is inhaled.

While many people make the mistake of assuming this aerosol is as harmless as water vapor, it actually consists of fine particles containing toxic chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart diseases.

Vaping devices, which include e-cigarettes and vape pens, were first introduced to the commercial market in 2007. They typically have to be plugged in or powered by battery so a heating component can warm an e-liquid cartridge that then releases the aerosol to be inhaled in the lungs.

“A lot of these cartridges are actually marketed as health products,” Winickoff explained. “They have ‘healthy’ flavors, things like mango and berry that are associated with high antioxidants. But they’re just flavors. There are no actual health benefits.”

The CDCTrusted Source has found that these flavors are a big part of the reason teens are latching onto these products. Even worse, Winickoff told Healthline about a study where 60 percent of kids believed that pods used in Juuls (a specific brand of e-cigarette) were nicotine-free — when the reality is that 99 percent of these products contain nicotine.

In 2018, Juuls accounted for about 40 percent of the e-cigarette market, grossing 150 million in retail sales the last quarter alone. The appeal of this product specifically is that they don’t look like e-cigarettes. Juuls are small, can be mistaken for a USB drive, and are easily concealed in a person’s hand.

In other words, this is a product teens are able to use more discreetly, without drawing as much attention from their parents and teachers.

With the introduction of Juuling, e-cigarette use among teens is on the rise. So much so that both Time and The Washington Post reported on Juuling and what parents need to be aware of.

The risks of e-cigarettes

A large number of people believe e-cigarettes are simply a safer way to consume nicotine, and that nicotine isn’t harmful by itself. But that’s not true.

ResearchTrusted Source has found numerous negative impacts of nicotine alone: on metabolism, increased cancer risks and respiratory problems, as well as more asthma attacks and symptoms experienced by those who vape.

“We know based on Juul’s own published testing that these products contain carcinogens. Group 1 carcinogens — the most potent carcinogens known,” Winickoff revealed.

There’s also another risk that parents should be aware of when it comes to teens and e-cigarette use — the addiction may be harder to kick.

According to AAP, Juul pods contain nearly double the concentration of nicotine compared to other e-cigarette cartridges. This is especially concerning because the risk for addiction is already higher among teens.

Winickoff explained, “The younger the developing brain is exposed to nicotine, the stronger and more rapid the addiction. The earlier you become addicted, the harder it is to quit.”

But that’s not all. According to Winickoff, addiction to nicotine at a young age actually causes brain remodeling, changing the threshold for addiction to other substances.

In other words, kids who use nicotine earlier are more likely to fall in love with other drugs later on.

Tips for talking to kids before they start vaping

The risks of Juuling and vaping for kids are real, making it all the more important for parents to begin addressing these issues before their children decide to try these products.

A licensed clinical psychologist from Connecticut, Dr. Elaine Ducharme, PhD, told Heathline, “Parents really need to start talking to their kids in elementary school about this issue.”

She offered these tips for engaging in those discussions:

  1. Educate yourself first. Get the facts on these products so you know what you’re talking about when you approach the discussion with your kids.
  2. Be a role model. Parents are responsible for shaping many of their children’s ideas and behaviors, so set the tone with your own actions.
  3. Establish a safe environment where your kids can talk about their feelings and opinions without feeling judged.
  4. Really listen and let them tell you what they know.
  5. It can sometimes be helpful to give them something to read that you can then discuss together.
  6. Help them figure out ways to handle situations where they may be pressured to engage in these behaviors.
  7. Create a plan, even specific things for them to say like, “I have asthma and my doctor says I could become very ill if I try this,” or, “I just don’t think it looks cool.”
  8. Help them understand that using willpower to stand up to peers is really hard, but willpower is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Winickoff had this to add, “What the research says about tobacco use, which we can apply to Juuling and vaping, is that parents expressing how they feel about these products — their strong negative opinions — actually can make a difference. Kids may protest, but they do internalize their parent’s belief system.”

Winickoff says this is true even if a parent uses the product themselves. Talking about the negatives of that product, and about how the addiction has taken hold and why parents can’t quit (even though they want to) can still send a strong message to teens about why they shouldn’t start.

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How teens purchase and hide Juuls

While the legal age for purchasing these products is 18 in some states and 21 in others, Winickoff explained that many kids are ordering them online — simply checking a box to verify they are of legal age. For this reason, parents should pay attention to their teen’s online purchases and packages that may arrive in the mail.

Juul pods also look very similar to an average USB flash drive. Examine any questionable device closely.

Addressing the nicotine addiction

If you discover that your teen is already Juuling, Winickoff is clear that it’s important to recognize this as more than just a “bad habit.” It’s a medical problem that requires a major response from the family, the child’s pediatrician, and possibly a therapist to help get that teen out from under the nicotine addiction.

“It’s not easy to get kids to stop. Their body craves it. They need it just to get through the day. I can tell you from anecdotal experience just from my office, I’ve had a terrible time getting kids to give up electronic cigarettes. It’s that young brain and extra susceptibility. They’re locked in.”

Ducharme added, “If the situation seems out of control, it’s time to speak with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in working with teens and addictions.”

Currently, there aren’t any addiction programs specifically geared toward teens and nicotine use, which makes prevention and enforcement of existing rules all the more important.

Winickoff recommends advocating for zero-tolerance policies in schools and tobacco-free zones around every school, middle grade through college. He also recommends parents get involved in the Tobacco 21 movement, which aims to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. So far, six states have adopted such laws.

With the help of active and informed parents, yours could be next.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally reported on August 17, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, which includes a medical review by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/juuling-the-new-vaping-trend-thats-twice-as-addictive-as-cigarettes#9

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1320, September 16, 2019, Story 1: Oil Prices Spike After Iran Backed Houthi Rebel Drone Strike on Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Oil Refinery and Shut Down of Oil Production– United States Accuses Iran For The Drone Attack With Evidence — Videos — Story 2: Morally Bankrupt New York Times Smear Campaign of Lies Against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — No Victim and No Witnesses — Big Lie Media — Junk Journalism — Videos — Story 3: U.S. Federal Government Record Government Spending Exceeds $4 Trillion and Rising — Videos —

Posted on September 19, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Anthropology, Banking System, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Psychology, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Science, Social Sciences, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on IranSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Story 1: Oil Prices Spike After Iran Backed Houthi Rebel Drone Strike on Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Oil Refinery and Oil Field and Shut Down of Oil Production– Videos

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

Senior U.S. official says missiles fired on Saudi oil plant were launched from Iran

President Trump: Looks like Iran was responsible for Saudi oil attack

US says Iran attacked Saudi oil refineries, Yemen rebels say they did – so who was it? | ABC News

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

Fears for global oil prices after drone attack on Saudi refineries | Nine News Australia

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa visits the White House amid Trump’s push for an international pressure campaign against Iran.

Gidley on Iran agenda, Kavanaugh attacks, Lewandowski testimony

Questions raised about whether Iran is to blame for Saudi Arabia attack

 

Pompeo: Iran to blame for Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

Yemen’s Houthi group vows to strike 300 targets in Saudi Arabia, UAE

Saudi Arabia: major fire at world’s largest oil refinery after drone attack

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Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities. 

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War. 

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications. 

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites. 

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile 

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

 

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

The technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market

Smoke billowed from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, where attacks sparked fires Saturday. PHOTO:-/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Saturday’s attack on a critical Saudi oil facility will almost certainly rock the world energy market in the short term, but it also carries disturbing long-term implications.

Ever since the dual 1970s oil crises, energy security officials have fretted about a deliberate strike on one of the critical choke points of energy production and transport. Sea lanes such as the Strait of Hormuz usually feature in such speculation. The facility in question at Abqaiq is perhaps more critical and vulnerable. The Wall Street Journal reported that 5.7 million barrels a day of output, or some 5% of world supply, had been taken offline as a result.

To illustrate the importance of Abqaiq in the oil market’s consciousness, an unsuccessful terrorist attack in 2006 using explosive-laden vehicles sent oil prices more than $2.00 a barrel higher. Saudi Arabia is known to spend billions of dollars annually protecting ports, pipelines and processing facilities, and it is the only major oil producer to maintain some spare output. Yet the nature of the attack, which Iranian-supported Houthi fighters from Yemen claimed was the result of an attack by their forces, shows that protecting such facilities may be far more difficult today. U.S. officials blamed Iran and U.S. and Saudi officials were investigating the possibility that another Iranian-backed group carried out all or part of the attack using cruise missiles launched from Iraq. Iranian officials on Sunday denied responsibility for the attacks.

There are countries that even today see their output ebb and flow as a result of militant activity, most notably Nigeria and Libya. Others, such as Venezuela, are in chronic decline due to political turmoil. Such news affects the oil price at the margin but is hardly shocking.

Deliberate attacks by actual military forces have been far rarer, with the exception of the 1980s “Tanker War” involving Iraq, Iran and the vessels of other regional producers such as Kuwait. When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, removing its production from the market and putting Saudi Arabia’s massive crude output under threat, prices more than doubled over two months.

Yet Saturday’s attack could be more significant than that. Technology from drones to cyberattacks are available to groups like the Houthis, possibly with support from Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran. That major energy producer, facing sanctions but still shipping some oil, has both a political and financial incentive to weaken Saudi Arabia. The fact that the actions ostensibly were taken by a nonstate actor, though, limits the response that the U.S. or Saudi Arabia can take. Attempting to further punish Iran is a double-edged sword, given that pinching its main source of revenue, also oil, would further inflame prices.

While the redundancies in Saudi oil infrastructure mean that output may be restored as soon as Monday, the attack could build in a premium to oil prices that has long been absent due to complacency. Indeed, traders may now need to factor in new risks that threaten to take not hundreds of thousands but millions of barrels off the market at a time. U.S. shale production may have upended the world energy market with nimble output, but the market’s reaction time is several months, not days or weeks, and nowhere near enough to replace several million barrels.

After the smoke clears and markets calm down, the technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-oil-attack-this-is-the-big-one-11568480576

Iran-backed militants admit drone swarm strike on world’s largest oil processing plant in Saudi and at second nearby facility sparking huge fires as tensions reach boiling point following tanker attacks

  • Drone attacks sparked fires at Aramco oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia today
  • Attacks took place at 4:00am at world’s largest oil processing plant Abqaiq
  • The Saudi interior ministry said the fires have now been brought under control 
  • Iran-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for attacks in Buqyaq and Khurais 
  • Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco's Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company's largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company’s largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14+26

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen's Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen’s Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Yahia Sarie announced that the Houthi’s were taking responsibility for the attacks on Saturday in a televised address carried by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel.

He said the Houthis sent 10 drones to attack an oil processing facility in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field, warning that attacks by the rebels against the kingdom would only get worse if the war in Yemen continues.

Sarie said: ‘The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us.’

Iran denies supplying the Houthis with weapons, although the U.N., the West and Gulf Arab nations say Tehran does. Drone models nearly identical to those used by Iran have been used in the conflict in Yemen.

The attacks highlight how the increasingly advanced weaponry of the Iran-linked Huthi rebels – from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones – poses a serious threat to oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter.

A military spokesman for Yemen's Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today's attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

Saudi Arabia’s oil production and exports have been disrupted, three sources familiar with the matter have said.

One of the sources said the attacks have impacted 5 million barrels per day of oil production – almost half the kingdom’s current output. The source did not elaborate.

Saudi Aramco operates the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilisation plant in the world at Abqaiq, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The plant has a crude oil processing capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day.

Authorities have not reported on casualties. A witness nearby said at least 15 ambulances were seen in the area and there was a heavy security presence around Abqaiq.

The attack will likely heighten tensions further across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq as ‘the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world.’

The facility, which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants.

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control+26

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7463189/Drone-attacks-spark-huge-fires-two-Saudi-oil-refineries.html

Saudi Arabia Shuts Down About Half Its Oil Output After Drone Strikes

Shutdown amounts to a loss of some five million barrels a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude

Smoke billowing after a fire at a Saudi Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. PHOTO: VIDEOS OBTAINED BY REUTERS/REUTERS

Coordinated drone strikes on the heart of the Saudi oil industry forced the kingdom to shut down half its crude production on Saturday, people familiar with the matter said, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.

Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of the kingdom’s national oil company.

President Trump called Saudi Arabia’s day-to-day ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Saturday and said the U.S. was ready to “cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability,” according to the Saudi Press Agency, the official news service.

Prince Mohammed told Mr. Trump that Saudi Arabia “is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” according to the agency.

The attacks happened a few days before world leaders are set to gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where President Trump has said he is interested in meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions. Iran didn’t react to the attacks on Saturday, and officials have said Mr. Rouhani won’t meet with Mr. Trump until the U.S. lifts sanctions imposed after the president pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal.

Saturday’s attack was the largest yet claimed by the Houthis in terms of its overall impact on the Saudi economy, thrusting the petroleum industry into crisis in the world’s largest exporter of oil. The attack hit hundreds of miles away from their Yemen stronghold.

“The attack has been quite surprising for the mere amount of damage it caused,” said Fabian Hinz, an arms researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“We have seen quite a few drone and missile attacks against Saudi infrastructure, but in most cases the actual damage caused has been quite minimal,” said Mr. Hinz.

The Saudi government called the strikes a terrorist attack and said it was investigating.

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen
Yemen’s Houthi rebels are using armed drones with startling success. WSJ reporters describe their increasing sophistication and recent confirmed attacks. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Analysts cautioned against accepting the Houthi claim of responsibility at face value. An attack in May on a Saudi oil-pumping station, which Saudi officials initially blamed on the Houthis and Iran, later turned out to have been launched by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

Saudi officials aren’t sure the attack emanated from Yemen and were discussing on Saturday the possibility that the attack came from the north, according to people familiar with the matter.

Saudi oil officials said they were rushing to contain the damage as fires raged in two major oil facilities. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, held an emergency board meeting on Saturday to manage the unfolding crisis, the people familiar with the matter said.

Disruptions in Saudi oil production could have ripple effects through the global economy, as the kingdom exports more crude petroleum than any other country.

Saudi officials are discussing drawing down their oil stocks to sell to foreign customers to ensure that world oil supplies aren’t disrupted, the people familiar with the matter said. The people said Saudi officials were trying to restore the production soon but gave no firm timetable.

The attacks hit Hijra Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, which produces about 1.5 million barrels a day. They also hit Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, processing seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, about 8% of the world’s total.

The damage at Abqaiq has knock-on effects throughout the kingdom’s oil fields because it is a collection point for much of its industry, turning crude oil into specific grades requested by customers. The Ghawar field, the world’s largest, and Shaybah, which produces one million barrels a day, also reported disruptions because of Abqaiq’s problems, said the people familiar with the matter.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2014 during a civil war. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has fought a war to unseat the Houthis and reinstate a government supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other regional powers.

In recent months the Houthis, along with Iranian-backed armed groups in Iraq, have intensified a campaign of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, launching more than a dozen attacks at Saudi airports, a desalination plant and oil infrastructure. Suspected Houthi ordnance originating from the Yemeni border is launched at Saudi Arabia several times a week, a U.S. official said.

The strikes have put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s air defenses, as the Saudi government says it has shot down multiple drones and missiles.

Big OilKhurais, which was disrupted in a drone strike,is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil fields.Oil field productionSource: International Energy Agency
GhawarSafaniyaKhuraisShaybahManifa0 million barrels a day2468

The increasing sophistication of the drone and missile attacks this year have shown deepening cooperation between the Houthis and Iran as Tehran has sought ways to apply pressure on their Saudi and American adversaries, according to U.S. officials and analysts. The Iranian government denies controlling the Houthi movement.

A U.N. panel last year said there were “strong indications” that Iran was the source of Houthi missile and drone technology but didn’t directly accuse the Tehran government of providing the weaponry itself. It said Iran has failed to take the necessary measures to prevent such transfers.

Saturday’s attack also came amid a sharp escalation of hostilities in neighboring Yemen after a Saudi airstrike killed more than 100 people at a detention center on Sept. 1.

“We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand and be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue,” a Houthi spokesman said Saturday.

The strikes complicate U.N. and U.S. efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people over the last four years. U.S. officials had quietly attempted to launch a back channel to the Houthis.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The drone attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. The country’s rulers recently replaced Aramco’s chairman and the kingdom’s oil minister.

Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

The damage to Aramco facilities could affect investor appetite to buy into the company and its ultimate valuation, said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh, a privately funded think tank.

But Aramco, the world’s most profitable firm, could also use this crisis to demonstrate its growing push for transparency and keep potential investors abreast of developments, said Mr. Sfakianakis, a former adviser to the kingdom’s finance ministry.

“There will be short term concern…The latest IPO announcement is being watched by all,” he said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/drone-strikes-spark-fires-at-saudi-oil-facilities-11568443375

Country comparison Iran vs Saudi Arabia

Gouvernement
Annual GDP [+] 2018 452,275M.$ chart 782,483M.$ 2018 Annual GDP [+]
GDP per capita [+] 2018 5,529$ chart 23,219$ 2018 GDP per capita [+]
Debt [+] 2017 170,342 chart 149,279 2018 Debt [+]
Debt (%GDP) [+] 2017 39.53% chart 19.08% 2018 Debt (%GDP) [+]
Debt Per Capita [+] 2017 2,092$ chart 4,430$ 2018 Debt Per Capita [+]
Deficit (M.$) [+] 2017 -7,828 chart -36,267 2018 Deficit (M.$) [+]
Deficit (%GDP) [+] 2017 -1.82% chart -4.64% 2018 Deficit (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 83,377.9 chart 274,773.5 2018 Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 16,325.6 chart 26,706.2 2008 Education Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2017 20.04% chart 19.26% 2008 Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+] 2016 17,868.7 chart 25,107.5 2016 Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+]
Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+] 2016 22.60% chart 10.06% 2016 Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+]
Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2018 12,064.5 chart 68,660.7 2018 Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2018 15.78% chart 24.59% 2018 Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Expenditure (%GDP) [+] 2017 19.35% chart 35.12% 2018 Expenditure (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure Per Capita [+] 2017 1,024$ chart 8,154$ 2018 Expenditure Per Capita [+]
Education Expenditure P.C [+] 2017 201$ chart 1,036$ 2008 Education Expenditure P.C [+]
Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+] 2016 226$ chart 778$ 2016 Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+]
Defence Expenditure P.C. [+] 2018 147$ chart 2,037$ 2018 Defence Expenditure P.C. [+]
A1 04/13/2018 Moody’s Rating [+]
A- 02/17/2016 S&P Rating [+]
Fitch Rating [+] 04/24/2006 B+ A+ 04/30/2019 Fitch Rating [+]
Corruption Index [+] 2018 28 chart 49 2018 Corruption Index [+]
Competitiveness Ranking [+] 2018 89º chart 39º 2018 Competitiveness Ranking [+]
Fragile States Index [+] 2018 84.3 chart 70.2 2018 Fragile States Index [+]
RTI Raking [+] 09/28/2018 99º
Innovation Ranking [+] 2018 65º chart 61º 2018 Innovation Ranking [+]
Labour
Unemployment rate [+] 2017Q1 12.5% chart 5.6% 2016Q2 Unemployment rate [+]
Unemployed [+] 2017Q1 3,199 m. chart 699 m. 2016Q2 Unemployed [+]
NMW [+] 2011 319.0 $ chart 800.0 $ 2013 NMW [+]
Human Capital Ranking [+] 2017 104º chart 82º 2017 Human Capital Ranking [+]
Markets
US Dollar exchange rate [+] 05/14/2018 42,000.0000 chart 3.7500 05/14/2018 US Dollar exchange rate [+]
1.28% 09/19/2019 Stock ExchangeYTD % [+]
Business
Doing Business [+] 2019 128º chart 92º 2019 Doing Business [+]
Passengers vehicles Year [+] December 2017 1,592,282 chart 438,421 December 2017 Passengers vehicles Year [+]
Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+] December 2017 21.11 chart 16.84 December 2017 Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+]
Motor vehicle production [+] 2018 1,342,000
Vehicles / 1,000 people [+] 2015 177.79 chart 212.79 2015 Vehicles / 1,000 people [+]
Taxes
5.00% 01/01/2018 Standard VAT [+]
0% 2018 Top tax rate + SSC [+]
Trade
Exports [+] 2017 91,000.0 M.$ chart 218,374.0 M.$ 2017 Exports [+]
Exports % GDP [+] 2017 21.13% chart 31.71% 2017 Exports % GDP [+]
Imports [+] 2017 49,000.0 M.$ chart 134,520.0 M.$ 2017 Imports [+]
Imports % GDP [+] 2017 11.38% chart 19.54% 2017 Imports % GDP [+]
Trade balance [+] 2017 42,000.0 M.$ chart 83,854.0 M.$ 2017 Trade balance [+]
Trade balance % GDP [+] 2017 9.75% chart 12.18% 2017 Trade balance % GDP [+]
Socio-Demography
Density [+] 2018 47 chart 16 2018 Density [+]
Global Peace Ranking [+] 2019 139º chart 129º 2019 Global Peace Ranking [+]
Remittance received (M.$) [+] 2017 1,378.8 chart 286.5 2017 Remittance received (M.$) [+]
% Immigrant [+] 2017 3.31% chart 37.43% 2017 % Immigrant [+]
% Emigrant [+] 2017 1.44% chart 0.86% 2017 % Emigrant [+]
Birth Rate [+] 2017 15.92‰ chart 19.19‰ 2017 Birth Rate [+]
Remittance sent (M.$) [+] 2017 296.0 chart 46,724.6 2017 Remittance sent (M.$) [+]
Crude death rate [+] 2017 4.49‰ chart 3.58‰ 2017 Crude death rate [+]
Fertility Rate [+] 2017 1.64 chart 2.49 2017 Fertility Rate [+]
Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+] 2015 4.12 chart 1.50 2015 Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+]
Population [+] 2018 81,800,269 chart 33,699,947 2018 Population [+]
Immigrant stock [+] 2017 2,699,155 chart 12,185,284 2017 Immigrant stock [+]
Emigrant stock [+] 2017 1,170,491 chart 278,912 2017 Emigrant stock [+]
HDI [+] 2017 0.798 chart 0.853 2017 HDI [+]
Gender Gap Ranking [+] 2018 142º chart 141º 2018 Gender Gap Ranking [+]
Life expectancy [+] 2017 76.15 chart 74.72 2017 Life expectancy [+]
Number of homicides [+] 2015 3,259 chart 472 2015 Number of homicides [+]
Energy and Environment
CO2 Tons per capita [+] 2017 8.27 chart 19.39 2017 CO2 Tons per capita [+]

196519651970197019751975198019801985198519901990199519952000200020052005201020102015201520,000,00020,000,00040,000,00040,000,00060,000,00060,000,00080,000,00080,000,000IranIranSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

Iran Saudi Arabia
1960 21,906,914 4,086,539
1961 22,480,372 4,218,853
1962 23,071,315 4,362,786
1963 23,680,258 4,516,533
1964 24,307,860 4,677,298
1965 24,954,873 4,843,635
1966 25,624,373 5,015,357
1967 26,317,783 5,195,135
1968 27,032,571 5,387,828
1969 27,764,924 5,599,904
1970 28,513,866 5,836,389
1971 29,281,591 6,100,626
1972 30,075,297 6,392,970
1973 30,905,707 6,711,923
1974 31,786,471 7,054,532
1975 32,729,772 7,419,493
1976 33,733,961 7,802,926
1977 34,803,045 8,207,697
1978 35,960,805 8,646,845
1979 37,237,137 9,137,927
1980 39,291,000 9,320,000
1981 40,826,000 9,786,000
1982 42,420,000 10,276,000
1983 44,077,000 10,790,000
1984 45,798,000 11,330,000
1985 47,587,000 11,897,000
1986 49,445,000 12,492,000
1987 50,662,000 13,118,000
1988 51,909,000 13,774,000
1989 53,187,000 14,463,000
1990 54,496,000 15,187,000
1991 55,837,000 15,947,000
1992 56,656,000 16,948,000
1993 57,488,000 17,277,000
1994 58,331,000 17,701,000
1995 59,187,000 18,136,000
1996 60,055,000 18,581,000
1997 61,070,000 19,037,000
1998 62,103,000 19,504,000
1999 63,152,000 19,983,000
2000 64,219,000 20,474,000
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2006 70,496,000 24,122,000
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2011 75,150,000 28,376,000
2012 76,038,000 29,196,000
2013 76,942,000 29,994,000
2014 78,470,000 30,770,000
2015 79,476,000 31,016,000
2016 80,460,000 31,743,000
2017 81,423,000 32,552,000
2018 81,800,269 33,699,947
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

 

 

Story 2: Morally Bankrupt New York Time Smear Campaign of Lies Against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — No Victim and No Witnesses — Big Lie Media — Junk Journalism — — Videos —

See the source image

Trump Urgest Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Hemingway accuses NYT of hiding facts, using ‘gossip’ to smear Kavanaugh

Trump calls for NY Times staff to resign over Kavanaugh story

Sen. Tillis on New York Times Kavanaugh report

New York Times faces intense scrutiny over Kavanaugh article

Tucker: New York Times revives attacks on Kavanaugh

Ingraham: Democrats’ smash and smear campaign

Bongino blasts NYT’s ‘disgraceful’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Ben Shapiro blasts The New York Times’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Gowdy compares impeaching Kavanaugh to ‘political death penalty’

Gutfeld on the latest New York Times scandal

Trump demands DOJ ‘rescue’ Kavanaugh as fresh allegations emerge

Napolitano on new questions surrounding Kavanaugh accuser’s motivation

New video raises questions about Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

Graham: Kavanaugh impeachment based on this is ‘dead on arrival’

‘Squad’ member to introduce Kavanaugh impeachment resolution

Why the Times bungled so badly in its latest Kavanaugh smear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I wrote a column Sunday torching The New York Times for its latest attempt to attack Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I had no idea how quickly its story would fall apart. Explaining how and why is now in order.

The primary reason is that the anti-conservative bias within the Times organization is now so overwhelming that, at least on the continually troubled opinion side, there is simply no one in the loop who isn’t already positive Kavanaugh is a sexual predator — no one both able and willing (which, given today’s culture of fear regarding the #MeToo subject matter, may have been the more daunting hurdle) to express skepticism about a story that seeks to prove what everyone there already “knows” to be true.

I saw an obvious red flag before I even read the story. Liberals on Twitter were immediately excited by these “bombshell” revelations about Kavanaugh in an article that was innocuously titled as a piece on Yale University’s culture at the time when he and his “accuser” went there. That is obviously not how a story with legitimate new damning information would have been framed, even on a weekend.

As it turns out, there was very good reason why the two Times reporters, who are promoting a book about Kavanaugh’s past, were forced to go that very circuitous route to sneak in their extremely flimsy allegations.

It turns out the Times’ news editors had reportedly declined to run their “revelations” as a news story due to lack of evidence, just like The Washington Post had done, correctly, a year ago.

Then comes the issue of the “country club” aspect of an exclusive place like the Times filled with alleged journalistic elites. These two reporters are obviously respected colleagues of everyone in the decision-making roles, and they are naturally going to be given far wider latitude and trust than an outside author.

Surely that had to be part of the reason the Times somehow allowed one of the book’s authors to write a totally outrageous tweet for the outlet about her own story, which the paper had to then delete. That tweet, on its own, should discredit the book’s co-author, as it could not be more obvious evidence of someone who already had her conclusion about the case and simply went about desperately — and mostly unsuccessfully — trying to find some actual evidence to substantiate it.

Connected to this is the extraordinary arrogance of people who work at the Times. In my direct experience, they truly believe that if a story comes from a Times reporter that it must be the gospel truth, unless God herself declares it not to be, and even then they will only send it out for a quick fact-check.

Then there is the increasing challenge that, thanks to having gone to a subscription model and with the advent of Twitter, the Times is becoming beholden to its very liberal base of most passionate customers.

As several recent episodes have shown, the Times is now often edited by the whims of liberal Twitter, and surely anxiety over potentially pissing off this group by either censoring potentially negative Kavanaugh information, or, even worse, making him seem potentially innocent, had to play at least a subconscious role here.

This last point is likely the cause of one of the many egregious mistakes in the piece. While it has still not gotten widespread news media coverage, the Times absurdly censored its own story by omitting what is very likely the most substantive nugget of new information in their book.

It turns out that Leland Keyser, friend of Christine Ford (Kavanaugh’s first and primary accuser) — whom Ford claimed was the only other girl at the infamous pool party — gave the authors her first major interview.

Keyser, who was once married to Democratic operative Bob Beckel, told them that Ford’s story “makes no sense,” that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in the allegation and that she was targeted by Ford allies in an effort to get her to lie by backing up Ford’s uncorroborated account.

Now THAT is a real bombshell but one that clearly conflicts with the preferred liberal narrative of this entire fiasco in which both the Times and the two reporters are invested.

All of this has backfired spectacularly, and has given President Donald Trump yet another data point in his quest to paint every negative report about him and his administration “Fake News!”

Unless the culture at the Times and other mainstream outlets dramatically changes (spoiler alert: It will not), this kind of thing is only going to continue.

John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite.com, from which this was adapted.

https://nypost.com/2019/09/17/why-the-times-bungled-so-badly-in-its-latest-kavanaugh-smear/

Alleged Victim In New York Times Kavanaugh Story Denies Any Recollection Of Incident

New York Times reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly are out with a new book that attempts to buttress the unsubstantiated claims deployed last year against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation” is neither a look at the education of Brett Kavanaugh nor an investigation. They admit they found no evidence to support the claims made by Christine Blasey Ford or Debbie Ramirez, although they say their “gut reaction” to the allegations is that they are true. They generously concede that their “gut” tells them that Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick’s claims are not true, citing the lack of corroboration.

The “lack of corroboration” standard was unevenly held to by the authors. Blasey Ford’s four witnesses all denied knowledge of the party at which her alleged assault took place. Ramirez went from telling Ronan Farrow “I don’t have any stories about Brett Kavanaugh and sexual misconduct,” to telling friends of an incident for which she “couldn’t be sure” Kavanaugh was involved, to now being the centerpiece of the Pogebrin and Kelly book. Ramirez also had no eyewitness support for her story that allegedly took place at a well-attended party, even after friendly media outlets contacted some 75 classmates trying to find corroboration. Both women had the support of many friends and activists, however.

The only supposedly new claim made in the book isn’t new and comes from Democrat attorney Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s with whom he has a long and contentious history. In the words of the Yale Daily News, they were “pitted” against each other during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s when Kavanaugh worked for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Stier defended President Bill Clinton, whose legal troubles began when a woman accused him of exposing himself to her in hotel room she had been brought to. Clinton later settled with the woman for $850,000 and, due to a contempt of court citation for misleading testimony, ended up losing his law license for five years. Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.

In any case, Stier’s claim, which even two Democratic senators’ offices didn’t find particularly worthwhile, was that he had seen an inebriated Kavanaugh, pants-down, at a freshman-year party. Stier’s claim to the staffers, we’re told, was that other people at the party put Kavanaugh’s genitalia into the hands of a classmate. Another unnamed person alleged said that he or she might have remembered hearing that the female student had transferred out of her college because of Kavanaugh, “though exactly why was unclear.”

The reporters, who describe Democrats in glowing terms and Republicans otherwise, say that Stier is a “respected thought leader” in the defense of the federal bureaucracy. They don’t mention his history of working for the Clintons. As for the victim? They say she “has refused to discuss the incident, though several of her friends said she does not recall it.”

To repeat: Several of her friends said she does not recall it.

So to summarize, the only new claim in the new book is that a Democratic attorney told two senators that he saw an incident where a third party allegedly did something to Kavanaugh and the young woman. In their book, the authors are upset that this claim didn’t lead to a massive FBI investigation, although they don’t explain why they think it should have.

Pogebrin and Kelly left the victim’s denial out of their New York Times story. It is unclear why the reporters and editors allowed the story to be published without this salient fact that they conceded, albeit briefly, in their own book.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor.

The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, September 4, 2018. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The New York Times had a significant story to tell about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s this: In a new book, the Times reporters produced new evidence that profoundly undermined the central claims against Kavanaugh. Leland Keyser — Christine Blasey Ford’s friend and the person Ford herself testified was also at the party where Ford claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her — has stated on the record that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in Ford’s story.

Not only does she not recall the specific party at issue, she doesn’t recall “any others like it.” Moreover, Keyser maintains this recollection in spite of a determined effort by old friends to get her to change her testimony — a pressure campaign that Keyser admirably resisted.

In other words, “Never mind.” But even that editor’s note is incomplete. It turns out that Max Stier served as one of Bill Clinton’s lawyers during the Starr investigation, a fact that’s at least relevant to the existence of partisan bias.

But for sheer malice nothing can match the speed and ferocity with which reporters accepted the facially ludicrous rape story pushed by Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick. She claimed that she saw Kavanaugh “waiting his turn” for a gang rape and spiking punch to facilitate gang rapes. The story was never remotely plausible, but that didn’t stop media figures from shaming anyone who expressed public doubts on Twitter.

Trump Urges Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Perhaps the nadir of the whole affair is when Vox helped “explain the news” by publishing a piece arguing that the John Hughes movie Sixteen Candles provided “important context” for the Kavanaugh allegations. In the 1980s, you see, there was a different “cultural understanding” about gang rape.

Against this backdrop, the Democrats calling for impeaching Kavanaugh — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris — are disgracing themselves. The claims against Kavanaugh never stood up to scrutiny, and the evidence that has emerged since the hearings last fall has only served to undercut further the claims against him.

In a speech earlier this year, Ford’s attorney Debra Katz admitted to the partisanship that at least in part motivated her client: They wanted to put an “asterisk” next to his name. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade,” she said, “we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

By Susan Crabtree – RCP Staff

September 17, 2019

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

On Sunday, the New York Times walked back and significantly revised the latest incendiary allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but the unusual correction to a central part of its bombshell story seemed to mean little to the field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

Sen. Kamala Harris had “pinned” her weekend reaction to the story — a call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment — to the top of her Twitter page, the social media equivalent of running a banner headline about a position on a high-priority issue.

Harris’ Tweet was still there by Monday night, without qualification, despite a fierce bipartisan backlash against the Times’ initial reporting of the uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegation, and the Gray Lady’s clumsy efforts to correct its original reporting about it.

The controversy began Saturday when the Times ran a “news analysis” piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh.”

The wide-ranging story included a seemingly new allegation — that a Kavanaugh classmate at Yale, nonprofit CEO Max Stier, “saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”

Late Sunday, the Times updated the Kavanaugh story with an “editor’s note” acknowledging that the alleged victim of the incident had declined to be interviewed and several friends had said she did not recall the alleged misconduct.

The Times only added that note after The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway, who had an advance copy of the book, flagged the glaring omission in the Times reporting.

Pogrebin and Kelly on Monday night blamed their editors for cutting the critical pieces of exculpatory information from the story. They said they had included the details about the victim declining to be interviewed for the story and her friends saying she didn’t recall the incident, along with the woman’s name. Pogrebin said their editors decided against using the woman’s name and in “the haste” of trying to close the editorial process edited out all of the information about the woman, instead of just her name. The pair did not say why they didn’t object.

Pogrebin and Kelly are hardly new to the editing process. Pogrebin has been a Times reporter since 1995, and her mother, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, is a founding editor of Ms. magazine, a liberal feminist publication created in the early 1970s. Kelly has been covering business and finance for 20 years, including a decade at the Wall Street Journal.

“We certainly never intended to mislead in any way. We wanted to give as full a story as possible,” Pogrebin told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Monday evening.

But that wasn’t the only hole in the story. The piece also omitted relevant information about Stier’s work during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal as a member of Bill Clinton’s defense team at the law firm Williams & Connolly.

And it included a strangely constructed attribution that wouldn’t pass most major newsrooms’ standards when reporting on a sexual assault allegation against a major public figure. In the piece, the reporters wrote: “We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.” But they did not indicate what type of “officials,” government or otherwise, those sources are.

Several liberal commentators across a variety of media, from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to National Public Radio and at least one host on “The View,” spent Monday blasting the Times’ report as a particularly egregious example of journalistic malfeasance.

Despite the widespread criticism of the piece, Harris and other 2020 Democrats who spent the weekend calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment based on the new report, aren’t dialing back their demands or even acknowledging the Times’ correction of the very story that sparked those demands.

In fact, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer jumped into the fray to call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment on Monday after the Times issued the correction.

“The @GOP is so hell bent on guaranteeing a conservative court, they are willing to overlook serious allegations on sexual misconduct and perjury,” he tweeted Monday. “The system is broken.”

RealClearPolitics reached out to spokespersons for Harris, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, all of whom called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment over the weekend after the Times’ story broke. None of the campaigns responded.

In fact, Harris continued to attack Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Twitter Monday morning, the day after the Times issued its correction.

The Times also did not respond to an RCP inquiry on how it planned to restore its credibility, whether any reporter or editor would be fired over the failings and where the breakdown in journalistic standards occurred that allowed the seemingly new but uncorroborated allegation to be published.

Since the Times’ corrected the piece, President Trump has lambasted the paper, firing off multiple tweets calling the new efforts to force Kavanaugh off the court “lies and fake news,” and encouraging lawsuits against the paper.

At a campaign rally in New Mexico Monday night, he assailed the paper once again, calling for the resignation of “everybody at the New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh smear story.”

The president was in the rare position of following a bipartisan outpouring of outrage over the story, as well as the correction, which for some journalists raised more questions about the process that led to the material’s publication than it answered.

Early Monday, MSNBC’s anti-Trump host Joe Scarborough said it was a “stunning decision to leave that central [lack of corroboration] fact out of an article filled with damning accusations.”

Liberal Yale law professor Scott Shapiro called it an “outrageous omission” and appeared to promote a boycott of the paper over the issue.

“Would love to see my fellow liberals who routinely threaten to unsubscribe to the NYT to make the same threat now,” he tweeted.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik asserted that having the alleged victim corroborate the story was a central and necessary part of any reporting on the incident.

“One can argue that the failure to remember, given her intoxication, is not dispositive,” he tweeted. “One can’t argue, however, that that fact didn’t need to be in the Kavanaugh story from the outset.”

“The View’s” self-described moderate, Abby Huntsman, denounced the Times’ report as “sloppy and lazy” and congratulated the paper for helping Trump get re-elected.

Conservative media critics cited the Times’ reporting as proof that the media is working hand-in-glove with Democrats to relentlessly and falsely attack Republicans.

“Omitting these facts from the @nytimes story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice I can recall,” tweeted National Review’s John McCormack.

The controversy also played into the hands of some of Kavanaugh’s staunchest supporters. Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that reportedly spent $10 million backing the Supreme Court nominee last year, called the Times’ reporting of uncorroborated accusations a part of several “shameful attempts to reignite baseless smears about Kavanaugh.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who ran Kavanaugh’s tumultuous Judiciary Committee confirmation process last year, on Twitter pointed out that no one from the Times’ had reached out to his office for the story and his office had not received an allegation against Kavanaugh “like the one referenced over the weekend.”

The Iowa Republican later Monday disputed the references to the alleged incident as a “new allegation.” Instead, during a speech on the Senate floor he said the report amounts to “barely a third-hand rumor” and the type of reckless, uncorroborated reporting that is having a corrosive impact on the country’s democratic process.

“These writers – can you believe this? – these writers didn’t even speak to the man whom they claim originally recounted this rumor. What’s left are only layers and layers of decades-old hearsay. No more corroboration, no more verification, not even anything from the accuser himself.”

Referencing the New York Times’ slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” Grassley said journalism has hit a new, Trump-era low.

“When did this stuff I described become something fit to print by the supposed American paper of record?” he asked. “The sad consequences of this article are a misinformed public, a greater divide in our own discourse, and a deeper lack of faith in our news media.”

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ White House/national political correspondent.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/09/17/2020_dems_assail_kavanaugh_despite_nyt_story_correction__141272.html

 

Story 3: U.S. Federal Government Record Spending Exceeds $4 Trillion and Rising — Videos

$4,155,323,000,000: Federal Spending Sets Record Through August

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 13, 2019 | 12:48 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government spent a record $4,155,323,000,000 in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 (October through August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Thursday.

While spending a record $4,155,323,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $1,067,156,000,000.

The most the federal government had ever spent in the first eleven months of a fiscal year before this one was in fiscal 2018 when the Treasury spent $3,951,247,170,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).

Total federal tax revenues in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 equaled $3,088,167,000,00. That was more than the $3,037,420,180,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in total taxes in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018, but less than the $3,099,536,720,000 in total taxes (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2017.

The Treasury also collected less in individual income taxes in the first eleven months of this year ($1,534,886,000,000) than it did in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018 ($1,548,213,460,000 in constant August 2019 dollars).

According to Table 3 in the Monthly Treasury Statement, the Department of Health and Human Services spent the most of any federal agency in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 ($1,138,456,000,000), the Social Security Administration spent the second most ($1,013,175,000,000), and the Department of Defense-Military Programs spent the third most ($601,137,000,000).

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/4155323000000-federal-spending-sets-record-through-august

 

 

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Kyle Bass

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Kyle Bass
J Kyle Bass.JPG

J. Kyle Bass
Born September 7, 1969 (age 49)

Residence Dallas, TexasUnited States
Nationality American
Alma mater Texas Christian University (B.B.A.)
Occupation Founder & Chief Investment Officer,
Hayman Capital Management

J. Kyle Bass (born September 7, 1969) is an American hedge fund manager. He is the founder and principal of Hayman Capital Management, L.P., a Dallas-based hedge fund focused on global events.[1]

In 2008, Bass successfully predicted and effectively bet against the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis by purchasing credit default swaps on subprime securities which, in turn, increased in value when the real estate bubble burst.[2]

Despite his early success in predicting subprime mortgages, he has received criticism for subsequent poor performance of investments.[3] Bass has made prominent bets based on predictions of debt crisis in Japan and European sovereign debt, and shorted the Chinese yuan premised on a predicted collapse in the Chinese banking system. His fund has also challenged patents held by drug companies and shorted their stocks. His Japanese and European strategies have not been major successes and the Chinese yuan short led to severe losses for his fund in 2017.[4][5] The drug patent challenge campaign fizzled after several legal setbacks.[6]

Contents

Early life

Bass was born on September 7, 1969, in Miami, Florida, where his father managed the Fontainebleau Hotel. His father later moved the family to Dallas, Texas where he managed the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.[7] Bass attended Texas Christian University on an academic and Division I diving scholarship. In 1992, Bass graduated with honors, earning a B.B.A. in finance with a concentration in real estate.[8]

Career

Before founding Hayman Capital Management in 2005, Bass briefly worked at Prudential Securities from 1992-1994 before joining Bear Stearns in 1994.[9] At Bear Stearns, he rose through the ranks rapidly, becoming a senior managing director at the age of 28 – among the youngest in the firm’s history to carry such a title.[2][8]

In 2001, he joined Legg Mason, signing a five-year deal to form the firm’s first institutional equity office in Texas. Bass told his hiring managers, “In five years and one day, I [will] be launching my own firm.”[9] While at Legg Mason, Bass advised hedge funds and other institutional clients on special situation investment strategies.[2]

In December 2005, when Legg Mason sold the portion of the business where he worked, Bass left Legg Mason and started Hayman Capital Management to serve as the investment manager to a “global special situations” hedge fund that he planned to launch. Bass launched Hayman Capital Management, L.P. with $33 million in assets under management – $5 million he had saved on his own and the balance he had raised from outside investors.[9] Shortly after launching the hedge fund in February 2006, Bass became convinced that there was a residential real-estate bubble in the United States one of the few investors to successfully predict and benefit from the subprime mortgage crisis, bringing him notoriety in the financial services industry.

In 2007, Bass testified as an expert witness before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises. During his testimony, he addressed: i) the role of credit rating agencies in the structured finance market and ii) policy measures that could be taken to minimize inherent conflicts of interest between rating agencies and issuers.[10]

In 2010, Bass testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. During his testimony, he addressed his analysis of the factors that caused the crisis.

After enjoying success in predicting the subprime mortgage crisis and moderate success with debt in Greece and Japan, Bass would make a string of poor bets, leading to a dramatic downsizing of his fund. In April 2014, Bass was among a very few defenders of GM for its failure to address a defect that had been tied to 13 deaths. Hayman at the time owned eight million shares of G.M., making it Hayman’s single biggest holding,[11] Coming to the defense of GM, Bass said on CNBC that of the 13 passengers who had died owing to the defect, 12 “either weren’t wearing their seatbelt or were under the influence of alcohol.” [12] Bass admitted in a late 2014 interview that it had been “a tough year” for Hayman due to owning a lot of GM stock, which was the fund’s biggest position in 2014.[13]

After the losing year in 2014, investor’s pulled out nearly a quarter of Hayman’s capital and the firm was forced to liquidate most of its stock holdings.[14] Bass called 2015 one of his fund’s worst years.[15] By early 2019, Hayman had $423.6 million in discretionary assets under management, down from $2.3 billion at the end of 2014.[16]

Fund performance

The long term performance of Hayman Capital’s flagship fund is described by the New York Post as “small caliber”.[14] In the period from 2008 to mid-2015, the flagship fund experienced a very modest annualized performance of 1.56%.[14] The flagship fund had a tremendously successful year in 2007, having gained 212%, based on the subprime mortgage meltdown bet that brought fame to Bass.[14] The fund also gained 16% in 2012 based on bets on Greek debt. The fund lost 1.4% in 2014 and suffered its worst year in 2017 with a 19% loss (in contrast to a 19% surge of the S&P 500) due to Hayman’s misplaced short on a collapse in the Chinese yuan.[14][5]

Investment positions

Subprime mortgages

Bass first began formulating his subprime strategy after he met with an investment banker from New York while attending a wedding in Spain where they discussed how and why the Subprime Mezzanine CDO business existed.[17][18] After returning to the US, Bass hired several private investigators to determine the ease of obtaining a mortgage. Bass spent a significant amount of time studying the residential mortgage market and performed research to identify which residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) composed of low-quality mortgages were most likely to default. This investment thesis was expressed by purchasing credit default swaps against the securitizations he deemed to be most unstable, which essentially was a manner of shorting the bonds using synthetic instruments. After purchasing the positions for his flagship fund in 2006, Bass raised additional capital for a special fund dedicated exclusively to capitalizing on the opportunity that existed in the market place. Bass managed or advised over $4 billion of positions in subprime RMBS.

In December 2007, after a wave of foreclosures had swept across the US, Bass was featured on Bloomberg TV as making a fortune betting against these subprime securities.

Europe and Japanese debt “doomsday”

After the subprime debt crisis occurred, Bass decided that it was the symptom of a more significant problem with debt and made predictions about debt “doomsday” in Europe and Japan. In 2009 he warned about the possibility of defaults by major countries over the next 3 years.[19] As of 2010, 10-15% of his portfolio was involved in bets against European and Japanese sovereign debts.[20] He went as far predicted that 2012 would be a “doomsday year” for Europe and spoke of a looming breakup of the Eurozone, which, he declared, would lead to defaults in Japan and the United States. He stated in June 2012, “Europe goes first, then Japan and finally the United States.”[21]

Bass has since 2012 also predicted a “full blown crisis” in Japan describing its approach to financing debt as a Ponzi scheme similar to Bernie Madoff‘s investment scam. Most experts have disagreed with his analysis.[22][23] Cullen Roche criticized Bass’s Japan analysis in August 2010, noting that Bass comparing Japan to the EU was an error, since their monetary systems are wildly different. Roche stated “people still fail to understand that a nation with monetary sovereignty that is the supplier of currency in a floating exchange rate system never has a problem funding itself.”[24] In May 2012, Business Insider agreed, faulting Bass’s analysis, since debt-to-GDP ratios do not reflect the interest rate or credit risk of a nation. The Business Insider noted that in a nation that borrows its own currency, public spending finances borrowing.[25]

He has been vocal in public appearances about future calamities stemming from financial meltdown. September 14, 2011, Bass maintained on CNBC that Greece’s only way out of its debt mess was a restructuring. Bass noted that despite the strife it would bring to Greece it was the only measure the nation could take. He added that within a year all of Europe would be in default as well.[26] In a speech reported on January 1, 2014, he assured the audience of his confidence that the next few years would be rife with turmoil, including the eruption of major wars. In his speech, he claimed that with the growing debt and inability to pay it off, eventually social unrest will lead to violent outbreaks. Bass finished his speech stating “War is coming – just as it has throughout history.” [27]

Chinese banking collapse

Starting in July 2015, Bass made a multiyear bet against the Chinese yuan based on a predicted banking collapse in China.[28] Bass would close out his position against the Chinese currency in early 2019 when the predicted devaluation of the currency didn’t occur.[28]

Bass argued in 2015 that the Chinese banking system was undercapitalized and its foreign reserves would be insufficient in a crisis. Bass predicted a hard landing for the Chinese economy following a bank crisis and a severe devaluation of the Chinese currency, variously given as “somewhere between 15%-20%” and “30 to 40 percent”.[29][30]

Hayman suffered its worst year in 2017 with a loss of 19% due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan.[5]

Drug patent challenge campaign

Bass has attempted to profit from filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.[31][32] After 2 years of setbacks in his effort, Bass by 2017 ended his patent challenges.[6]

In 2015, Bass organized the Coalition For Affordable Drugs (CFAD) to use the inter partes review (IPR) process to challenge patent validity.[33][34] When he initiated this practice in January 2015, he claimed that his motive was to encourage competition in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and thus bring down prices.[35]

Bass filed a total of 35 patent challenges, in collaboration with Erich Spangenberg who has been called “the world’s most notorious patent troll”,[3] including 33 filed by CFAD and two filed by Bass personally on a not-for-profit basis.[36]

In June 2015, Celgene received permission from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to file a motion seeking sanctions against the CFAD for allegedly abusing the patent-review process. The Wall Street Journal noted that this development was “being closely watched because it raises the possibility that patent officials may put an end” to Bass’s patent-challenge scheme. Celgene also told the patent office, through counsel, that CFAD had threatened to challenge its patents unless Celgene met CFAD’s demands.[37]

In October 2016, Bass prevailed in the case, with USPTO invalidating the two Celgene Corp patents related to its cancer drugs Revlimid, Pomalyst, and Thalomid at issue.[38] However, one year later Celgene was able to convince the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to re-hear the case.[39]

Political relationships

Trump administration

Bass is described by a ProPublica story as a friend of Tommy Hicks Jr, a private investor, who was a hunting buddy to Donald Trump Jr. and had further ties to the Trump administration.[40] According to the investigative story on improper links between Hicks and the Trump administration, Hicks had obtained a hearing for Bass with high level officials at an interagency meeting at the Treasury Department to air views on China.[40] This meeting was at the time Bass held a large short position counting on the fall of the Chinese currency.[40]

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

The BBC has described Bass as having a “good relationship” with Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.[41] In February 2014, Bass said that Argentinian bonds represented a profitable opportunity and called Argentina most “interesting” nation for investments. He was virtually alone in this assessment, with one observer noting the poor state of the Argentine economy. The IB Times noted that the country had “cheated creditors seven times since it gained independence from Spain in 1816,” most recently defaulting on its debt in 1989.[42] When the Argentine government defaulted on its debt in July 2014, Bass supported the move and criticized the bondholders, notably Elliott Management and Aurelius Capital, that, with the support of U.S. federal judge Thomas Griesa, had held out for full payment. Echoing Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, he called these creditors “vultures,” said that they were “holding up 42 million people from progress,” and were holding Argentina for “ransom”.[43] On August 27, 2014, Bass accused Elliott’s Paul Singer of “holding poor countries as hostages,” prompting The New York Post to comment in an editorial the next day that Bass had “sounded more like Argentina’s leftist economy minister Axel Kicillof than a US hedge-fund manager.” [44]

Philanthropy

Bass serves on the board or in an advisory role for a number of charities and organizations.

He has advised the University of Texas System Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), a public university endowment since 2010.

He also current serves or has served on the board of a number of organizations including the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Advisory Group for the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management, Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation, Business Executives for National Security, Comeback America Initiative, Troops First Foundation and Capital for Kids.[45][46][47][48][49][50]

References …

External links

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


China has been seeking to turn American spies for decades. But the rules of the game have changed. About 10 years ago, Charity Wright was a young U.S. military linguist training at the elite Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at a base called the Presidio in Monterey, California. Like many of her peers, Wright relied on taxis to visit the city. There were usually a few waiting outside the base’s gate. She’d been assigned to the institute’s Mandarin program, so she felt lucky to frequently find herself in the cab of an old man who told her he’d emigrated from China years ago. He was inquisitive in a way she found charming at first, letting her practice her new language skills as he asked about her background and family. After several months, though, she grew suspicious. The old man seemed to have an unusually good memory, and his questions were becoming more specific: Where is it that your father works? What will you be doing for the military once you graduate?Wright had been briefed on the possibility of foreign intelligence operatives collecting information on the institute’s trainees, building profiles for potential recruitment, given that many of them would move on to careers in intelligence. She reported the man to an officer at the base. Not long after, she heard that he’d been arrested and that there had been a crackdown in Monterey on a suspected Chinese spy ring.

Wright went on to spend five years as a cryptologic language analyst with the National Security Agency, assessing communications intercepts from China. Now she works in private-sector cybersecurity. As a reservist, she still holds a U.S. government clearance that allows her access to classified secrets. And she’s still the target of what she suspects are Chinese espionage efforts. Only these days, the agents don’t approach her in person. They get in touch the same way they reached Kevin Mallory: online. She gets messages through LinkedIn and other social-media sites proposing various opportunities in China: a contract with a consulting firm, a trip to speak at a conference for a generous stipend. The offers seem tempting, but this type of outreach comes straight from the Chinese-spy playbook. “I’ve heard that they can be very convincing, and by the time you fly over, they’ve got you in their lair,” Wright told me.

The tactics she saw from the old man in Monterey were “cut and dry HUMINT,” or human intelligence, she said. They were old school. But those tactics have been amplified by the tools of the social-media age, which allow intelligence officers to reach out to their targets en masse from China, where there’s no risk of getting caught. Meanwhile, intelligence experts tell me, Chinese intelligence officers have only been getting better at the traditional skills involved in persuading a target to turn on his or her country.

Donald Trump has made getting tough on China a central aspect of his foreign policy. He has focused on a trade war and tariffs aimed at rectifying what he portrays as an unfair economic playing field—earlier this month, the U.S. designated China as a currency manipulator—while holding onto the idea that China’s powerful leader, Xi Jinping, can be an ally and a friend. U.S. political and business leaders for decades pushed the idea that embracing trade with China would help to normalize its behavior, but Beijing’s aggressive espionage efforts have fueled an emerging bipartisan consensus in Washington that the hope was misplaced. Since 2017, the DOJ has brought at least a dozen cases against alleged agents and spies for conducting cyber- and economic espionage on behalf of China. “The hope was, as they develop, as they become more wealthy, as they start being a part of the club of developed nations, they’re going to change their behavior—once they get closer to the top, they’re going to operate by our rules,” John Demers told me. “What we’ve seen instead is [China] becoming better resourced and more methodical about the theft of information.”

For the past 20 years, America’s intelligence community’s top priority has been counterterrorism. A generation of operations officers and analysts has been geared more toward finding and killing America’s enemies and preventing extremist attacks than toward the more patient and strategic work that comes with peer competition and counterintelligence. If America is indeed entering an era of “great power” conflict with China, then the crux of the struggle will likely take place not on a battlefield, but in the race for information, at least for now. And here China is using an age-old human frailty to gain advantage in the competition with its more powerful adversary: greed. U.S. officials have been warning companies and research institutions not just of the strings that might be attached to Chinese money, but of the danger of corrupted employees turned spies. They are also worried about current and former U.S. officials who have been entrusted with protecting the nation’s secrets.


When I told William Evanina, America’s top counterintelligence official, Wright’s story about the cab driver in Monterey, he replied: “Of course.”

Spy rings operating out of taxis are relatively unoriginal, he told me, and have long been an issue around U.S. military and intelligence installations. An FBI and CIA veteran who is now the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Evanina has a suspicious mind—and perhaps one of the country’s worst Uber ratings. He sees the risk of intelligence collection and hidden cameras in any hired car, he told me, and if a driver ever tries to make small talk, he immediately shuts it down.

Knowing someone’s background can help an intelligence agency build a profile for potential recruitment. The person might have medical bills piling up, a parent in debt, a sibling in jail, or an infidelity that exposes him or her to blackmail. What really worries Evanina is that so much of this information can now be obtained online, legally and illegally. People can ignore Uber drivers all they want, but a good hacker or even someone savvy at mining social media might be able to track down targets’ financial records, their political views, profiles of their family members, and their upcoming travel plans. “It makes it so damn easy,” he said.

Security breaches happen with alarming regularity. Capital One announced in July that a data breach had exposed about 100 million people in America. During one of my conversations with Wright, she mused that whatever information the old man in the taxi might have wanted to glean from her, all that and much more may have been revealed in the 2015 breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In that sophisticated attack, widely believed to have been carried out by state-sponsored Chinese hackers, an enormous batch of data was stolen, including detailed information the government collects as part of the process of approving security clearances. The stolen information contained “probing questions about an applicant’s personal finances, past substance abuse, and psychiatric care,” according to Wired, as well as “everything from lie detector results to notes about whether an applicant engages in risky sexual behavior.”

Russia, the U.S. adversary that is often included with China in discussions of “near peer” conflict, has a modus operandi when it comes to recruiting spies that is similar to America’s, Evanina said. While some of their intelligence efforts, such as election interference, are loud and aggressive and seemingly unconcerned with being discovered, Russians are careful and targeted when trying to turn a well-placed asset. Russia tends to have veteran intelligence operatives make contact in person and proceed with care and patience. “Their worst-case scenario is getting caught,” Evanina told me. “They take pride in their HUMINT operations. They’re very targeted. They take extra time to increase the percentage of success. Whereas the Chinese don’t care.” (This doesn’t mean that the Chinese can’t also be targeted and discreet when needed, he added.)

“What you have is an intelligence officer sitting in Beijing,” he said. “And he can send out 30,000 emails a day. And if he gets 300 replies, that’s a high-yield, low-risk intelligence operation.” Concerning those who have left government for the private sector—and who sometimes keep their clearance to continue doing sensitive government work—it can be hard to know where to draw the line. Evanina said China will sometimes wait years to target former officials: “Your Spidey sense goes down.” But “your memory is not erased”—that is, they’ve still got the information the Chinese want.

(Alicia Tatone)

Often, Chinese spies don’t even have to look too hard. Many of those who have left U.S. intelligence jobs reveal on their LinkedIn profiles which agencies they worked for and the countries and topics on which they focused. If they still have a government clearance, they might advertise that too. Buried in the questionnaire Evanina filled out for his Senate confirmation is a question asking whether he had any plans for a career after government. “I currently have no plans subsequent to completing government service,” he wrote. When I asked him about this, he admitted that this is becoming less common among intelligence officials his age. (He’s 52.) “All of my friends are leaving like crazy now because they have kids in college,” he said. “The money is [better]. It’s hard to say no.”

If a former intelligence officer lands a job at a prominent government contractor, such as Booz Allen Hamilton or DynCorp International, he or she can expect to be well compensated. But others find themselves in less lucrative posts, or try to strike out on their own. Evanina told me that Chinese intelligence operatives pose online as Chinese professors, think-tank experts, or executives. They usually propose a trip to China as a business opportunity. “Especially the ones who have retired from the CIA, DIA, and are now contractors—they have to make the bucks,” Evanina said. “And a lot of times that’s in China. And they get compromised.”

Once a target is in China, Chinese operatives might try to get the person to start passing over sensitive information in degrees. The first request could be for information that doesn’t seem like a big deal. But by then the trap is set. “When they get that [first] envelope, it’s being photographed. And then they can blackmail you. And then you’re being sucked in,” Evanina said. “One document becomes 10 documents becomes 15 documents. And then you have to rationalize that in your mind: I am not a spy, because they’re forcing me to do this.”

In the cases of Mallory, Hansen, and Lee, Evanina said, the lure wasn’t ideology. It was money. Money was also the lure in two similar cases, in which suspects were convicted of lesser charges than espionage. Both apparently began their relationship with Chinese intelligence officers while still employed in sensitive U.S. government jobs.

In 2016, Kun Shan Chun, a veteran FBI employee who had a top-secret security clearance, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of China. Prosecutors said that while working for the agency in New York he sent his Chinese handler, “at minimum, information regarding the FBI’s personnel, structure, technological capabilities, general information regarding the FBI’s surveillance strategies, and certain categories of surveillance targets.” And in April, Candace Claiborne, a former State Department employee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to the criminal complaint, Claiborne, who had served in a number of posts overseas including China, and held a top-secret security clearance, did not report her contacts with suspected Chinese agents, who provided her and a co-conspirator with “tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits,” including New Year’s gifts, international travel and vacations, fashion-school tuition, rent, and cash payments. In exchange, Claiborne provided copies of State Department documents and analysis, prosecutors said.

Evanina’s office in Bethesda, Maryland, features a so-called Wall of Shame, on which hang the photographs of dozens of convicted American traitors—a testament to the struggles that have always plagued the U.S. intelligence community. The Cold War, for example, was marked by disastrous leaks from people such as the CIA officer Aldrich Ames and the FBI agent Robert Hanssen. Larry Chin, a CIA translator, was arrested in 1985 on charges of selling classified information to China over the course of three decades. That came during the so-called Year of the Spy, as the FBI made a series of high-profile arrests of U.S. government officials spying for the Soviet Union, Israel, and even Ghana. The Wall of Shame is currently being renovated, and when it’s unveiled in the fall, it will feature several new faces.Whenever a current or former U.S. intelligence officer has been turned, it takes years to assess the full repercussions. “We have to mitigate that damage for sometimes a decade,” Evanina said.


Two decades ago, Chinese intelligence officers were largely seen as relatively amateurish, even sloppy, a former U.S. intelligence official who spent years focusing on China told me. Usually, their English was poor. They were clumsy. They used predictable covers. Chinese military intelligence officers masquerading as civilians often failed to hide a military bearing and could come across as almost laughably uptight. Typically their main targets tended to be of Chinese descent. In recent years, however, Chinese intelligence officers have become more sophisticated—they can come across as suave, personable, even genteel. Their manners can be fluid. Their English is usually good. “Now this is the norm,” the former official said, speaking with me on condition of anonymity due to security concerns. “They really have learned quite a bit and grown up.”

Rodney Faraon, a former senior analyst at the CIA, told me that the Mallory and Hansen cases show just how far China’s espionage services have come. “They’ve broadened their tactics to go beyond relatively easy targets, from recruiting among the ethnically Chinese community to a much more diverse set of human assets,” he said. “In a sense, they’ve become more traditional.”

In his recently published bookTo Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence, James Olson, a veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service and its former chief of counterintelligence, breaks down the basics of China’s espionage services and how they operate. The Ministry of State Security (MSS), its main service, focuses on overseas intelligence. The Ministry of Public Security focuses on domestic intelligence, but also has agents abroad. The People’s Liberation Army, which focuses on military intelligence, “has defined its role broadly and has competed with the MSS in a widerange of economic, political, and technological intelligence collection operations overseas, in addition to its more traditional military targeting.” Olson adds that “the PLA has been responsible for the bulk” of China’s cyberespionage, though the MSS may also be expanding in this realm. Both the MSS and PLA, meanwhile, “make regular use of diplomatic, commercial, journalistic, and student covers for their operations in the United States. They aggressively use Chinese travelers to the US, especially business representatives, academics, scientists, students, and tourists, to supplement their intelligence collection. US intelligence experts have been amazed at how voracious the Chinese have been in their collection activity.”

If veteran American spies are vulnerable to Chinese espionage, U.S. companies may be faring even worse. In some cases, targeting the private sector and targeting U.S. national security can mix. A former U.S. security official, who now works for a prominent American aviation company that is involved in highly sensitive U.S. government projects, told me that the company had a suspected intelligence collector linked to China in its midst. “I would say that he’s had tradecraft training,” this person said, speaking anonymously due to an ongoing law-enforcement investigation.The former security official was hired by the company to monitor such threats, and initially found the lack of effective prevention measures and training at the company jarring. “When I walked in and got the briefing here, I thought it was a joke … Now we do take some measures to protect against [insider threats], but in a sense it’s fox in a henhouse,” this person said. “We as an industry are woefully inadequate at protecting ourselves from a foreign-intelligence threat.”

In a sense, going after American spies and government officials is fair game in the intelligence world. The U.S. does the same against the Chinese. “Intelligence operations are universal, with every country—other than a few isolated island-states who are concerned mainly with the danger of approaching cyclones—engaging in them, to one degree or another,” Loch K. Johnson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, the author of Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States, and one of America’s foremost intelligence scholars, told me in an email. He added that while almost every nation fields capabilities to both collect information about its adversaries and defend itself against espionage, a much smaller number have meaningful networks for covert action, which he described as “secret propaganda; political and economic manipulation; even paramilitary activities.” Both America and China count themselves among this group.

“The United States used propaganda, political, and economic ops during the Cold War and (somewhat less aggressively) since. China returns [the] favor,” Johnson said. “Both are major powers and have a full complement of intelligence capabilities, aimed at each other and other significant targets around the world. This means that the United States (like China in reverse) is constantly trying to learn what China is doing when it comes to military, economic, political, and cultural activities, since they may impinge upon U.S. interests in Asia and elsewhere.” To that end, the U.S. uses signals intelligence, geospatial intelligence, and HUMINT, Johnson said, “all aided by a diligent searching through the available (and voluminous) [open-source intelligence] materials for background.”

But he noted a key difference between the two countries: China’s aggressive approach to economic espionage. These Chinese efforts are partly what have prompted U.S. officials and politicians to turn to a newly popular refrain that China’s not playing by the rules. U.S. officials insist that American intelligence agencies do not target foreign companies with the aim of helping domestic ones. (The line between American spying on foreign companies to advance the country’s economic and strategic interests and whether that spying helps U.S. companies can be blurry.) “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of—or give intelligence we collect to—U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” James Clapper, then the director of national intelligence, said in 2013, amid revelations that the NSA had spied on foreign companies.Dennis Wilder, who retired as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for East Asia and the Pacific in 2016, told me that the Chinese approach to espionage is defined by the fact that its leaders have long seen America as an existential threat. “This is a constant theme in Chinese intelligence—that we’re not just out to steal secrets, we’re not just out to protect ourselves, that the real American goal is the end of Chinese Communism, just as that was the goal with the Soviet Union,” he said.
Wilder, who still travels to the country as the director of an initiative for U.S.-China dialogue at Georgetown University, told me that Chinese officials regularly bring up past American covert action such as the CIA’s ill-fated support for the independence movement in Tibet beginning in the 1950s, and its infiltration of agents into China via Taiwan. And they still see an American hand in events such as the protests in Hong Kong today. “So we’re all sitting here scratching our heads and saying, ‘Do they really believe we’re behind Hong Kong? And the answer is, yes they do. They really believe that the fundamental American goal is the destruction and demise of Chinese Communism,” he said. “Now, if you believe that the other guy is bent on your destruction, then it’s kind of anything goes. So for the Chinese, stealing, espionage, cyberespionage against American corporations for the good of the Chinese state, are just part and parcel of the need for survival against this very formidable enemy.”China denies that it is spying against the U.S.  on the scale alleged by American officials. When presented with the details of this story, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., Fang Hong, said via email that she had no knowledge of the cases involving Mallory, Hansen, Lee, and others. “China has always fully respected the sovereignty of all countries and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,” she said. Fang also disparaged U.S. attempts to root out Chinese spies, citing a quote commonly attributed to a great American writer. U.S. views on Chinese espionage, she remarked, “remind me of what Mark Twain said: ‘To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’”
Fang continued, “U.S. officials’ accusations against Chinese students and researchers are groundless. Guided by the zero-sum-game mentality and ill intentions to contain China, people and institutions in the U.S. have been fabricating such absurd pretexts as ‘espionage’ as an excuse to harass them and make groundless allegations.”

She added that innocent people had been framed in some cases and that “such false accusations severely undermine China-U.S. people-to-people exchanges, and scientific and technological cooperation.”

The litany of cases the DOJ has brought over the past year or so underscores the comprehensive quality of China’s espionage efforts: a former General Electric engineer charged with theft of trade secrets related to gas and steam turbines (he has pleaded not guilty); an American and a Chinese citizen charged with attempting to steal trade secrets related to plastics (the American has pleaded not guilty and the Chinese defendant, as of March 2019, had yet to appear in a U.S. court); a state-owned Chinese chip-making company and a Taiwanese company that makes semiconductors charged with stealing from an American competitor(the chipmaker has pleaded not guilty); two Chinese hackers charged with targeting intellectual property (China denied the “slanderous” economic espionage charges). In Senate testimony in July, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the agency has “probably about 1,000 plus investigations all across the country involving attempted theft of U.S. intellectual property … almost all leading back to China.”

Demers, the national-security official at the Justice Department, told me that China uses the same tactics and even some of the same intelligence officers in its espionage efforts against America’s private sector. “What it shows is how seriously the Chinese government takes their intellectual-property-theft efforts, because they’re really using the crown jewels of their intelligence community and their most sophisticated and well-honed tradecraft,” he said.Some of the trade secrets China is accused of stealing seem simply aimed to help a specific company or industry. Often, however, the distinction between a Chinese company and the Chinese state is not clear-cut. Chinese law mandates that all corporations cooperate with the government on national security. This was one concern U.S. officials cited after announcing indictments against the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei earlier this year; the Trump administration has banned U.S. companies from doing business with it. (Huawei has pleaded not guilty to attempted U.S. trade-theft allegations.)Demers told me that China uses economic espionage as a form of “R&D,” or research and development. “They also have very talented, smart people who are using their resources in legitimate ways, which is, I think, some of the frustration that folks have right now—that you could do this differently. You could fight fair, right? You’re not the 80-pound weakling who has to throw dirt in somebody’s eye to get ahead.”
The open business climate between America and China—the sort of climate that did not exist between America and the Soviet Union during the Cold War—makes addressing Chinese espionage trickier: China is both a rival and a top trade partner. The economic and research relationship between the two countries benefits them both. At the same time, Chinese immigrants and visitors to America risk being unfairly targeted if U.S. officials fail to find the right balance, which would cast a chill on legitimate exchange between the two countries while raising the specter of American overreactions during past struggles, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. As U.S. officials warn about the Chinese espionage threat and the U.S. intelligence community reorients to face it, they must be careful not to undermine the American values—openness, civil liberty, enterprise—that remain perhaps the country’s greatest advantage over China.Rodney Faraon, who worked on the President’s Daily Briefing team at the CIA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and is now a partner at Crumpton Group, a business intelligence firm, told me that it will take a major push not just from America’s intelligence agencies but from the U.S. government overall to find the right strategy. And despite the Trump administration’s combative stance on trade negotiations and other issues, this has yet to happen. “The approach must be whole of government and must involve the private sector,” Faraon said. “The Chinese use and value intelligence better than we do, seeing its applicability in nearly every aspect of private and public life—military, social, commercial. We have been slow to recognize this for ourselves.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/inside-us-china-espionage-war/595747/

Story 3: Big Brother Is Watching Every Move You Make With Social Credit System — Chinese Communist Control  Digital Dictatorship Surveillance State — From Authoritarian to Totalitarian State — Socialist Serfs —   Videos

The Police – Every Breath You Take (Official Music Video)

The Police – Every breath you take lyrics

Social surveillance in China – Credit or control? | DW Documentary

China’s Secret File on Everyone

Big Brother is watching you: How China is ranking its citizens

Exposing China’s Digital Dystopian Dictatorship | Foreign Correspondent

A Look Inside China’s Social Credit System | NBC News Now

Hong Kong police fire live round warning shot and use water cannon on protesters

China ranks ‘good’ and ‘bad’ citizens with ‘social credit’ system

China Expert Gordon Chang On Its Social Credit Rating System & Surveillance State

China’s TERRIFYING Social Credit System

Inside China’s High-Tech Dystopia

China Social Credit System: Beijing plans to go full on Big Brother in 2020 – TomoNews

China’s “Social Credit System” Has Caused More Than Just Public Shaming (HBO)

Chinese “Social Credit System” rewards Obedient Citizens – Infowars News 12/24

China’s Secret Plan to Control the Internet | China Uncensored

20 Years Ago, This Changed China Forever: Here Are 5 Ways | China Uncensored

Big Brother: China Edition!

1984 Introduction

What is 1984?

 

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system

In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system
[Images: Rawf8/iStock; zhudifeng/iStock]

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

It can also award points for charitable donations or even taking one’s own parents to the doctor.

Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.

China’s social credit system has been characterized in one pithy tweet as “authoritarianism, gamified.”

Authoritarianism, gamified. https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/10/in-china-your-credit-score-is-now-affected-by-your-political-opinions-and-your-friends-political-opinions/  ht @VitalikButerin @FrankPasquale

In China, Your Credit Score Is Now Affected By Your Political Opinions – And Your Friends’ Politi…

China just introduced a universal credit score, where everybody is measured as a number between 350 and 950. But this credit score isn’t just affected by how well you manage credit – it also reflects…

privateinternetaccess.com

At present, some parts of the social credit system are in force nationwide and others are local and limited (there are 40 or so pilot projects operated by local governments and at least six run by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent).

Beijing maintains two nationwide lists, called the blacklist and the red list—the former consisting of people who have transgressed, and the latter people who have stayed out of trouble (a “red list” is the Communist version of a white list.) These lists are publicly searchable on a government website called China Credit.

The Chinese government also shares lists with technology platforms. So, for example, if someone criticizes the government on Weibo, their kids might be ineligible for acceptance to an elite school.

Public shaming is also part of China’s social credit system. Pictures of blacklisted people in one city were shown between videos on TikTok in a trial, and the addresses of blacklisted citizens were shown on a map on WeChat.

Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system.

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you. On the other hand, a Facebook post showing you doing yoga might save you money. (Insurance companies have to demonstrate that social media evidence points to risk, and not be based on discrimination of any kind—they can’t use social posts to alter premiums based on race or disability, for example.)

The use of social media is an extension of the lifestyle questions typically asked when applying for life insurance, such as questions about whether you engage in rock climbing or other adventure sports. Saying “no,” but then posting pictures of yourself free-soloing El Capitan, could count as a “yes.”

PATRONSCAN

A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers. PatronScan is a subsidiary of the Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, and its products are now on sale in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year. (PatronScan Australia keeps a separate system.)

Judgment about what kind of behavior qualifies for inclusion on a PatronScan list is up to the bar owners and managers. Individual bar owners can ignore the ban, if they like. Data on non-offending customers is deleted in 90 days or less. Also: PatronScan enables bars to keep a “private” list that is not shared with other bars, but on which bad customers can be kept for up to five years.

PatronScan does have an “appeals” process, but it’s up to the company to grant or deny those appeals.

UBER AND AIRBNB

Thanks to the sharing economy, the options for travel have been extended far beyond taxis and hotels. Uber and Airbnb are leaders in providing transportation and accommodation for travelers. But there are many similar ride-sharing and peer-to-peer accommodations companies providing similar services.

Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.

Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property. Airbnb’s competitors have similar policies.

It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service.

WHATSAPP

You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app.

WhatsApp is small potatoes in the United States. But in much of the world, it’s the main form of electronic communication. Not being allowed to use WhatsApp in some countries is as punishing as not being allowed to use the telephone system in America.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOCIAL CREDIT, ANYWAY?

Nobody likes antisocial, violent, rude, unhealthy, reckless, selfish, or deadbeat behavior. What’s wrong with using new technology to encourage everyone to behave?

The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights.

Social credit systems are an end-run around the pesky complications of the legal system. Unlike China’s government policy, the social credit system emerging in the U.S. is enforced by private companies. If the public objects to how these laws are enforced, it can’t elect new rule-makers.

An increasing number of societal “privileges” related to transportation, accommodations, communications, and the rates we pay for services (like insurance) are either controlled by technology companies or affected by how we use technology services. And Silicon Valley’s rules for being allowed to use their services are getting stricter.

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements.

 

Story 4: Live Fire Used in Hong Kong Protest —  Videos —

Pence urges China to respect HK laws amid protest | The Straits Times

The many faces of the Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests turn violent as police fire live ammunition

Hong Kong protests turn violent as police use water cannons

Violence escalates on the streets of Hong Kong | DW News

Hong Kong: Police fire live round for first time as violence intensifies

Facts tell: Did Hong Kong police point guns at civilian? 香港警察槍指平民?

Hong Kong protesters throw bricks and petrol bombs at riot police

Hong Kong police arrest 29 after clashes, more protests planned

Hong Kong conflict causing schisms within families

Steve Bannon: If There Is Another Tiananmen in Hong Kong, the CCP Will Collapse | Zooming I

The messages behind Hong Kong’s foreign flags

Hong Kong protesters fight back with TENNIS RACQUETS to volley back tear gas after police opened fire with live bullets for the first time during weeks of demonstrations

  • Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with metal poles and sports equipment to protect themselves 
  • An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent clashes between police and proteters
  • Police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstrations which have rocked Hong Kong 

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas while police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstrations.

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with metal poles and sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city.

An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent clashes on Sunday with officers caught isolated by masked youths wielding sticks and throwing rocks.

Tensions escalated when police began hoisting warning flags before firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd, who reacted angrily by throwing bricks and molotov cocktails.

In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms. ‘According to my understanding, just now a gunshot was fired by a colleague,’ Superintendent Leung Kwok Win told the press.

‘My initial understanding was that it was a uniformed policeman who fired his gun.’

Scroll down for video

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas after police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstration

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas after police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstration

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city

A Hong Kong police officer fired at least one gunshot Sunday, the first time a live round has been used during three months of protests. Above: Officers point their guns at protesters on the streets of Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

A Hong Kong police officer fired at least one gunshot Sunday, the first time a live round has been used during three months of protests. Above: Officers point their guns at protesters on the streets of Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

There has been a worrying change in the methods being used by city police to break up the crowds, with one instance where several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said

There has been a worrying change in the methods being used by city police to break up the crowds, with one instance where several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said

A protester clad in a gas mask and other protective gear throws a brick at police during a clash at an anti-government rally in Tsuen Wan district to the north of the Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on Sunday

Another protestor, wearing the symbolic yellow helmet, is held down by two officers in riot gear as the police force clears out a street previously held by protestors

Another protestor, wearing the symbolic yellow helmet, is held down by two officers in riot gear as the police force clears out a street previously held by protestors

Tens of thousands of protesters skirmished with police in Hong Kong for a second straight day on Sunday following a pro-democracy march in an outlying district. After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Above: A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at police

Tens of thousands of protesters skirmished with police in Hong Kong for a second straight day on Sunday following a pro-democracy march in an outlying district. After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Above: A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at police

Flames from molotov cocktails and petrol bombs linger on the road and pavement after anti-extradition bill protesters clashed with riot police during a protest to demand democracy and political reforms, at Tsuen Wan, in Hong Kong this evening

Flames from molotov cocktails and petrol bombs linger on the road and pavement after anti-extradition bill protesters clashed with riot police during a protest to demand democracy and political reforms, at Tsuen Wan, in Hong Kong this evening

A makeshift barricade of bollards and railings separates protestors from police officers as night falls across Hong Kong

A makeshift barricade of bollards and railings separates protestors from police officers as night falls across Hong Kong

It was unclear where the shot was aimed, but it was the first live round fired since the protests started three months ago.

The Hong Kong Free Press reported that three officers drew pistols in Tsuen Wan, a built up north of the main city, as two ‘got on their knees’ to beg the officers not to fire any shots.

There was a sense of chaos across swathes of the Kowloon peninsula, over the harbour from the main island of Hong Kong, with police sirens blaring, tear gas wafting throughout densely populated areas and running clashes on the streets.

The skirmishes between police and tens of thousands of protesters occurred for a second straight day yesterday following a pro-democracy march from a sports stadium in Kwai Fong to Tsuen Wan.

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police.

One woman looked undeterred by a police officer clutching a baton as she faced him while holding a purple umbrella above her head

One woman looked undeterred by a police officer clutching a baton as she faced him while holding a purple umbrella above her head

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police. Above: Police fire tear gas at protesters

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police. Above: Police fire tear gas at protesters

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police 

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police. Above: Riot police aim their guns at protesters

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police. Above: Riot police aim their guns at protesters

Police also carried riot shields and wore body armour, helmets and gas masks to defend against projectiles which were hurled at them in response to their tear gas

Some protesters wore protective gear including helmets and gas masks to guard against tear gas volleys by police. One mn (right) appeared to be holding his own weapon

Some protesters wore protective gear including helmets and gas masks to guard against tear gas volleys by police. One mn (right) appeared to be holding his own weapon

The demonstrators were not deterred by police as they charged towards them. Their defiance was despite multiple warnings by the Chinese government that the protests must stop

The demonstrators were not deterred by police as they charged towards them. Their defiance was despite multiple warnings by the Chinese government that the protests must stop

Some police drew their weapons as the clashes with protesters escalated. Sunday's reported gunshots were the first in the three months of pro-democracy protests

Some police drew their weapons as the clashes with protesters escalated. Sunday’s reported gunshots were the first in the three months of pro-democracy protests

Multiple photographers surrounded one officer with clutching his gun as they looked to record what was going on

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police.

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police.

Prior to the skirmishes, tens of thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters marched in the rain in Hong Kong’s latest pro-democracy demonstration.

Many filled Tsuen Wan Park, the endpoint of the rally, chanting, ‘Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,’ the South China Morning Post newspaper said.

What do Hong Kong protesters want?

Apart from the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong demonstrators have listed five demands and have continued to urge the government to respond to them.

These five demands are:

1. A complete withdrawal of the extradition bill

2. A retraction from the government to its characterisation that the protesters were ‘rioters’

3. Unconditional and immediate release of protesters who were arrested and charges against them dropped

4. Establishment of an independent enquiry to investigate police violence during clashes

5. Genuine universal suffrage

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. 

The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering.

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming.

‘We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,’ he said.

‘If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,’ Sung said.

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China, but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement.

Protesters say they are fighting the erosion of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement under which the former British colony returned to China in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. 

The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.

Beijing has sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills just over the border.

The Chinese Government has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement.

The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies.

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

As photographers took pictures, a Hong Kong officers were seen with their guns out as they clashed with protesters againAs photographers took pictures, a Hong Kong officers were seen with their guns out as they clashed with protesters again

Demonstrators also carried lasers which they shined into the eyes of police in an effort to hit back against their volleys of tear gas

One protester who was caught by police looked up fearfully at an officer as they tended to injuries he had suffered in clashes

The officer appeared to shine a light into the man's eyes while others stood guard around him as others continued to protest

The officer appeared to shine a light into the man’s eyes while others stood guard around him as others continued to protest

Riot police successfully detain one protester who is seen lying on their stomach with their hands on the wet road as officers talk to each other

Riot police successfully detain one protester who is seen lying on their stomach with their hands on the wet road as officers talk to each other

Hong Kong was filled with clouds of tear gas as the sun began to go down in the region and protesters stayed on the streets

Hong Kong was filled with clouds of tear gas as the sun began to go down in the region and protesters stayed on the streets

Some were armed with metal bars and wore helmets, goggles and gas masks for protection. Others wore body armour, including one man whose arms and chest were covered in protective gear

Some were armed with metal bars and wore helmets, goggles and gas masks for protection. Others wore body armour, including one man whose arms and chest were covered in protective gear

Lines of police were matched by masses of protesters who stood behind makeshift barriers. Many of those protesting wore yellow helmets and held umbrellas aloft

Lines of police were matched by masses of protesters who stood behind makeshift barriers. Many of those protesting wore yellow helmets and held umbrellas aloft

Bamboo poles were left strewn over the street as protesters tried to build barricades to push back the police in Tsuen Wan

Bamboo poles were left strewn over the street as protesters tried to build barricades to push back the police in Tsuen Wan 

Many protesters filled Tsuen Wan Park, the endpoint of the rally, chanting, 'Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,' the South China Morning Post newspaper said

Some protesters, undeterred by the robust police response, threw projectiles including Molotov cocktails at police

Some protesters, undeterred by the robust police response, threw projectiles including Molotov cocktails at police

Other protesters were seen cowering in the streets of Tsuen Wan while wearing gas masks and helmets and holding umbrellas

Other protesters were seen cowering in the streets of Tsuen Wan while wearing gas masks and helmets and holding umbrellas

Some rioters were detained by police, including one woman who cowered on the floor with her head bowed as two officers with shields and batons stood over her

Some rioters were detained by police, including one woman who cowered on the floor with her head bowed as two officers with shields and batons stood over her

The protesters filled Hong Kong's streets, with thousands holding umbrellas over their heads both as protection against the rain and as a reference to the original 'Umbrella Movement' in 2014

The protesters filled Hong Kong’s streets, with thousands holding umbrellas over their heads both as protection against the rain and as a reference to the original ‘Umbrella Movement’ in 2014 

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. The Chinese-ruled city's rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering

Protesters were not afraid to have physical clashes with police as they were seen fighting with officers. Above: One policeman crouches on the floor as a protester stands over him with a metal bar

Protesters were not afraid to have physical clashes with police as they were seen fighting with officers. Above: One policeman crouches on the floor as a protester stands over him with a metal bar

Despite the defiance of protesters, a seemingly-endless stream of police filled the streets to deal with demonstrations

Despite the defiance of protesters, a seemingly-endless stream of police filled the streets to deal with demonstrations

Many of those clashes with officers were dressed in helmets and face coverings and some had makeshift weapons

Many of those clashes with officers were dressed in helmets and face coverings and some had makeshift weapons

As well as clashing with police, a hoard of protesters were seen breaking into and trashing a restaurant in Tsuen Wan

As well as clashing with police, a hoard of protesters were seen breaking into and trashing a restaurant in Tsuen Wan

After smashing windows, protesters were seen standing amid upturned tables and chairs and shards of broken glass

After smashing windows, protesters were seen standing amid upturned tables and chairs and shards of broken glass

Some protesters used metal poles to smash the window of a shop run by mainland Chinese people where Mahjong - a traditional Chinese domino-like tile game - can be played. The tactics are likely to further anger the Chinese government

Some protesters used metal poles to smash the window of a shop run by mainland Chinese people where Mahjong – a traditional Chinese domino-like tile game – can be played. The tactics are likely to further anger the Chinese government

After the windows were smashed, people inside huddled in a doorway while one man sitting at a table appeared to be crying

After the windows were smashed, people inside huddled in a doorway while one man sitting at a table appeared to be crying

Worried-looking Hong Kong residents stood and watched the protesters break into the shop. The residents have witnessed three months of ongoing protests

Worried-looking Hong Kong residents stood and watched the protesters break into the shop. The residents have witnessed three months of ongoing protests

In another Mahjong venue, broken glass was pictured scattered over the floor while a man peered through a doorway at the back of the room

Police facing protesters were backed up by trucks firing water cannon which helped to knock down makeshift barricades

Police facing protesters were backed up by trucks firing water cannon which helped to knock down makeshift barricades

Officers were seen walking through the streets behind and  head of police vans as protesters massed up ahead of them

Officers were seen walking through the streets behind and  head of police vans as protesters massed up ahead of them

A petrol bomb thrown on the road  by a protester lands next to police officers who keep a safe distance from leaping flames

A petrol bomb thrown on the road  by a protester lands next to police officers who keep a safe distance from leaping flames

Bricks thrown by protesters are seen near tear gas fired by the police during violent clashes between officers and those on the streets

Bricks thrown by protesters are seen near tear gas fired by the police during violent clashes between officers and those on the streets

One protester holds an umbrella as they react to the haze of tear gas which hung over the streets of Hong Kong for much of the day

One protester holds an umbrella as they react to the haze of tear gas which hung over the streets of Hong Kong for much of the day

A second rally of a few hundred, some of them family members of police, was also held on Sunday afternoon.

One relative, who said she was the wife of an officer, said they had received enough criticism. ‘I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium.’

‘I really want you to know even if the whole world spits on you, we as family members will not,’ she said, giving her surname only as Si.

Police said they would launch a ‘dispersal operation’ soon.

‘Some radical protesters have removed railings … and set up barricades with water-filled barriers, bamboo sticks, traffic cones and other objects,’ they said in a statement. ‘Such acts neglect the safety of citizens and road users, paralysing traffic in the vicinity.

‘Remember, your job is to serve Hong Kong residents, not be the enemies of Hong Kong.’

The city’s officers are often the focus of protesters’ anger because of their perceived heavy-handling of the rallies.

The neighbouring gambling territory of Macau, a former Portuguese colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1999, elected former legislature head Ho Iat Seng as its leader on Sunday – the sole approved candidate.

One defiant-looking man is detained by officers as they continue to try to deal with the ongoing protests which have rocked Hong Kong

One defiant-looking man is detained by officers as they continue to try to deal with the ongoing protests which have rocked Hong Kong

One protester held an egg above his head as he prepares to launch it at police while others cower behind him

One protester held an egg above his head as he prepares to launch it at police while others cower behind him

One protester held a tennis racket as he and others fled from a tear gas canister. Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

One protester held a tennis racket as he and others fled from a tear gas canister. Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

A demonstrator uses a slingshot as they clash with riot police during Sunday's protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

A demonstrator uses a slingshot as they clash with riot police during Sunday’s protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

Protesters who were not cowed by tear gas from police used slingshots to fire bricks back at them. Many wore gas masks to guard against tear gas

Protesters who were not cowed by tear gas from police used slingshots to fire bricks back at them. Many wore gas masks to guard against tear gas

This man wearing a gas mask had a closed umbrella in one hand and some kind of inflatable in the other as he faced the police

This man wearing a gas mask had a closed umbrella in one hand and some kind of inflatable in the other as he faced the police

Protesters constructed barricades from road barriers and wooden pallets as they faced police amid a cloud of tear gas which had been fired by officers

Protesters constructed barricades from road barriers and wooden pallets as they faced police amid a cloud of tear gas which had been fired by officers

An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with a water cannon clears the road from a barricade set up by protesters during an anti-government rally in Kwai Fung and Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with a water cannon clears the road from a barricade set up by protesters during an anti-government rally in Kwai Fung and Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Some protesters wore gas masks to protect against a barrage of tear gas from police in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Some protesters wore gas masks to protect against a barrage of tear gas from police in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Many crouched behind makeshift barriers while others watched the clashes from inside a glass-panelled walkway above

Many crouched behind makeshift barriers while others watched the clashes from inside a glass-panelled walkway above

Riot police wearing gas masks and armed with batons walked in front of a water cannon truck as they continued to respond to the ongoing protests

Riot police wearing gas masks and armed with batons walked in front of a water cannon truck as they continued to respond to the ongoing protests

Some protesters threw slightly less dangerous projectiles at police, in the form of eggs. One man (above) was pictured throwing an egg and he had a plentiful supply behind him

Some protesters threw slightly less dangerous projectiles at police, in the form of eggs. One man (above) was pictured throwing an egg and he had a plentiful supply behind him

Even though most protesters engaging in clashes with police were wearing as masks, officers continued to fire volleys of tear gas at them

Even though most protesters engaging in clashes with police were wearing as masks, officers continued to fire volleys of tear gas at them

Battle lines drawn: protesters and police faced each other in the street in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. Demonstrators stood behind makeshift barricades while officers held up riot shields

Battle lines drawn: protesters and police faced each other in the street in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. Demonstrators stood behind makeshift barricades while officers held up riot shields

One protester used spray paint to scrawl on the wall 'Absolute power corrupts absolutely' - a chilling hint that the Chinese government may impose a further crackdown on protesters

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub's airport. But Sunday's clashes again brought more violence. Above: A man helps a fellow protester as he falls to the floor amid the heavy use of tear gas by police

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub’s airport. But Sunday’s clashes again brought more violence. Above: A man helps a fellow protester as he falls to the floor amid the heavy use of tear gas by police

One man defiantly waved his middle finger at police as he stood behind makeshift barricades and others cowered in the face of tear gas

One man defiantly waved his middle finger at police as he stood behind makeshift barricades and others cowered in the face of tear gas

Some officers appeared to be in plain clothes as they clashed with protesters for the second straight day in what has been three months of ongoing protests

Some officers appeared to be in plain clothes as they clashed with protesters for the second straight day in what has been three months of ongoing protests

Amid the use of tear gas by police, protesters were pictured running away while wearing gas masks and holding umbrellas

Amid the use of tear gas by police, protesters were pictured running away while wearing gas masks and holding umbrellas

Children were pictured with their parents during some of yesterday's protests as thousands of people took to the streets

Children were pictured with their parents during some of yesterday’s protests as thousands of people took to the streets

Protesters were armed with metal poles and even tennis rackets as dozens of people watched the clashes with police from a walkway above the street

Protesters were armed with metal poles and even tennis rackets as dozens of people watched the clashes with police from a walkway above the street

Protesters broke into restaurants during clashes. Above: A group of six men use metal poles to smash the glass of one venue

Protesters broke into restaurants during clashes. Above: A group of six men use metal poles to smash the glass of one venue

One protester reaches out at what appears to be a tear gas canister as it sprays out gas intended to subdue protesters

One protester reaches out at what appears to be a tear gas canister as it sprays out gas intended to subdue protesters

Ho, who has deep ties to China, is expected to cement Beijing’s control over the ‘special administrative region’, the same status given to Hong Kong, and distance it from the unrest there.

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes in Hong Kong – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters.

Saturday’s clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood.

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub’s airport.

Demonstrations started against a bill that would have allowed extradition to China, but have bled into wider calls for democracy and police accountability in the semi-autonomous city.

Protesters say Hong Kong’s unique freedoms are in jeopardy as Beijing tightens its political choke hold on the city.

Police fired volleys of tear gas throughout clashes with demonstrators as they attempted to quell the ongoing protests

Police fired volleys of tear gas throughout clashes with demonstrators as they attempted to quell the ongoing protests

Protesters wearing helmets, gas masks and gloves wield makeshift weapons. Others hold lasers and shine them at police

Protesters wearing helmets, gas masks and gloves wield makeshift weapons. Others hold lasers and shine them at police

Violent clashes between police and protesters saw officers wielding their batons and riot shields as their opponents held makeshift weapons

Violent clashes between police and protesters saw officers wielding their batons and riot shields as their opponents held makeshift weapons

A protester holds his arm out as a policeman prepares to hit him with his baton. The protests have seen further violence descend onto the streets of Hong Kong

A protester holds his arm out as a policeman prepares to hit him with his baton. The protests have seen further violence descend onto the streets of Hong Kong

Some police were dressed in plain clothes as they clashed with demonstrators. Above: An officer cries out as a protester smashes a metal bar against his shield

Some police were dressed in plain clothes as they clashed with demonstrators. Above: An officer cries out as a protester smashes a metal bar against his shield

Some protesters directed laser pens towards police as the streets were filled with thousands of people in Hong Kong

Some protesters directed laser pens towards police as the streets were filled with thousands of people in Hong Kong

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming. 'We know this is the last chance to fight for 'one country, two systems', otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,' he said. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading 'corrupt police return eyes to victims' as demonstrators march in the rain

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming. ‘We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,’ he said. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading ‘corrupt police return eyes to victims’ as demonstrators march in the rain

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during the protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during the protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR - the city's metro - is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an 'exclusive' service to ferry protesters to rallies

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies

The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1. Above: Protesters march from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

 The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1. Above: Protesters march from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

Some protesters were seen holding U.S. flags as they join marchers heading from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan, further north

Some protesters were seen holding U.S. flags as they join marchers heading from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan, further north

One woman, who said she was the wife of an officer, said the police had received enough criticism. 'I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium'. Above: Riot police officers stand guard as protesters march in Tsuen Wan

One woman, who said she was the wife of an officer, said the police had received enough criticism. ‘I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium’. Above: Riot police officers stand guard as protesters march in Tsuen Wan

In Tsuen Wan, demonstrators marched through the area, including one man who was seen in a yellow helmet and military vest

In Tsuen Wan, demonstrators marched through the area, including one man who was seen in a yellow helmet and military vest

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed 'white terror' by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather yesterday in Hong Kong

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather yesterday in Hong Kong 

Demonstrators also removed road barriers during their march during through Kwai Fong, in Hong Kong yesterday

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters

Saturday's clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood

Saturday’s clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood

On Friday, tens of thousands of people had held hands across Hong Kong in a dazzling, neon-framed recreation of a pro-democracy ‘Baltic Way’ protest against Soviet rule three decades ago.

The city’s skyscraper-studded harbour-front as well as several busy shopping districts were lined with peaceful protesters, many wearing surgical masks to hide their identity and holding Hong Kong flags or mobile phones with lights shining.

The human chain was another creative demonstration in the rolling protests which have tipped Hong Kong into an unprecedented political crisis.

Chinese state media says Hong Kong’s ‘toxic’ textbooks lead to protests

Chinese state newspaper has suggested that the cause of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong is the city’s education system, particularly its textbooks.

Tung Chee-hwa, the city’s first Chief Executive, has confessed that the General Education system in Hong Kong was a failure and the young generations became ‘problematic’ as a result, claimed People’s Daily in a column today.

The op-ed, penned by Professor Gu Minggang, said Hong Kong needed to reflect on its entire education system.

Protesters hold hands to form a human chain during a rally to call for political reforms in Hong Kong on August 23. Chinese media accused that the city's 'biased' and 'erroneous' textbooks had brought up a generation of 'useless youngsters'

The author said: ‘After Hong Kong returned to the arms of the motherland, the first and foremost issue to resolve should be to establish the concept of the country. The problem is, how many educators in Hong Kong have this notion?’

On Wednesday, China’s Guancha.cn called the General Education textbook in Hong Kong ‘toxic’, ‘biased’ and ‘erroneous’.

Citing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing newspaper Wenweipo, Guancha.cn accused the textbook of encouraging pupils to hate police, promoting Occupy Central campaign and twisting facts.

The article said that the textbook had become a political propaganda and brought up a generation of ‘useless youngsters’.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7394069/Hong-Kong-protesters-fight-tennis-racquets.html

Story 5: Three Way Tie In Race For 2020 Democratic Presidential Canidate — Biden, Sander and Warren — Videos

Biden plunges, tied with Warren and Sanders in new national poll

Joe Biden Doesn’t Know What State He Is In

Published on Aug 24, 2019
In Keene, N.H., former Vice President Joe Biden told a press gaggle that he loves being in Vermont when asked about his time in Keene on 8/24/19. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment below to share your thoughts on the video.

3-Way Lead as Dem 2020 Picture Shifts

Today

Sanders and Warren rise; Biden drops

West Long Branch, NJ – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden are currently bunched together in the national Democratic presidential preference contest. Movement in the latest Monmouth University Poll – positive for Warren and Sanders, negative for Biden – suggests the 2020 presidential nomination process may be entering a volatile stage.  The poll results also suggest that liberal voters are starting to take a closer look at a wider range of candidates, while moderates are focusing on those with the highest name recognition.  Another key finding that could contribute to growing volatility in the race is confusion over “Medicare for All.” Most say support for this policy is an important factor in choosing a Democratic nominee, but voters actually prefer a public option over a single payer plan.

The poll finds a virtual three-way tie among Sanders (20%), Warren (20%), and Biden (19%) in the presidential nomination preferences of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters across the country. Compared to Monmouth’s June poll, these results represent an increase in support for both Sanders (up from 14%) and Warren (up from 15%), and a significant drop for Biden (down from 32%).

Results for the rest of the field are fairly stable compared to two months ago. These candidates include California Sen. Kamala Harris at 8% support (identical to 8% in June), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at 4% (2% in June), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 4% (5% in June), entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3% (2% in June), former cabinet secretary Julián Castro at 2% (<1% in June), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 2% (3% in June), and author Marianne Williamson at 2% (1% in June). Support for the remaining 13 candidates included in the preference poll registered only 1% or less.

Biden has suffered an across the board decline in his support since June.  He lost ground with white Democrats (from 32% to 18%) and voters of color (from 33% to 19%), among voters without a college degree (from 35% to 18%) and college graduates (from 28% to 20%), with both men (from 38% to 24%) and women (from 29% to 16%), and among voters under 50 years old (from 21% to 6%) as well as voters aged 50 and over (from 42% to 33%).  Most of Biden’s lost support in these groups shifted almost equally toward Sanders and Warren.

“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile.  Liberal voters are starting to cast about for a candidate they can identify with.  Moderate voters, who have been paying less attention, seem to be expressing doubts about Biden. But they are swinging more toward one of the left-leaning contenders with high name recognition rather than toward a lesser known candidate who might be more in line with them politically,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.  He added, “It’s important to keep in mind this is just one snapshot from one poll.  But it does raise warning signs of increased churning in the Democratic nomination contest now that voters are starting to pay closer attention.”

Biden lost support over the past two months among Democrats who call themselves moderate or conservative (from 40% to 22%) with the shift among these voters accruing to both Sanders (from 10% to 20%) and Warren (from 6% to 16%).  Biden also lost support among liberals (from 24% to 15%), but this group’s backing has scattered to a variety of other candidates. Sanders has picked up a few points among liberal voters (from 17% to 21%) while Warren has held fairly steady (from 25% to 24%).  Also, Harris has not budged with this group (from 10% to 11%) and Buttigieg has slipped slightly (from 8% to 5%).  However, the aggregate support for four other candidates – namely Booker, Castro, Williamson and Yang – has gone up a total of 8 points among liberal Democrats (from 8% to 16% for the four combined).

The Monmouth poll also finds that Biden has lost his small edge in the early states where Democrats will cast ballots from February through Super Tuesday. His even larger lead in the later states has vanished as well.  Biden (20%), Warren (20%), Sanders (16%), and Harris (12%) are all in the top tier among voters in the early states. Biden has slipped by 6 points since June and Warren has gained 5 points over the same time span.  Early state support for Sanders and Harris has not changed much.  In the later states, Biden’s support has plummeted from 38% in June to 17% now, while both Warren (from 16% to 20%) and Sanders (from 13% to 23%) have made gains.

“Biden’s drop in support is coming disproportionately from later states that have less impact on the process. But if this trend continues it could spell trouble for him in the early states if it undermines his claim to being the most electable candidate.  This could benefit someone like Harris, who remains competitive in the early states and could use a strong showing there to propel her into the top tier.  Based on the current data, though, Warren looks like the candidate with the greatest momentum right now,” said Murray.

2020 DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT by state primary schedule *
EARLY STATES OTHER STATES
Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19 Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19
Elizabeth Warren 20% 15% 9% 20% 16% 11%
Joe Biden 20% 26% 26% 17% 38% 38%
Bernie Sanders 16% 15% 14% 23% 13% 16%
Kamala Harris 12% 11% 14% 5% 5% 8%
Cory Booker 2% 3% <1% 5% 1% 1%
Pete Buttigieg 4% 4% 6% 4% 6% 6%
Andrew Yang 5% 3% 2% 2% 1% 0%
Julián Castro 2% 1% 1% 2% <1% 0%
Beto O’Rourke 3% 6% 3% 1% 1% 4%
Marianne Williamson 1% 1% 1% 3% 1% 1%
  * Early states include those scheduled to or likely to hold a 
primary/caucus event in February 2020 or on Super Tuesday (March 3rd).

Warren has seen her personal ratings improve steadily over the past few months.  She currently earns a 65% favorable and 13% unfavorable rating, up from 60%-14% in May, the last time Monmouth tracked the 2020 candidate ratings.  At the same, time Biden has seen his ratings drop to 66% favorable and 25% unfavorable, from 74%-17% three months ago. The ratings for Sanders have been comparatively more stable at 64% favorable and 24% unfavorable compared with 65%-21% in Monmouth’s May poll.

At least 2-in-3 Democratic voters can now recognize the names of 11 candidates Monmouth has been tracking in terms of voter favorability since January.  Most have seen a small uptick in basic name recognition over the past three months of between 5 and 13 percentage points. The exceptions are Biden and Sanders on one hand, both of whom have been universally familiar to Democratic voters since the beginning of the campaign, and Williamson on the other hand, whose name recognition shot up 19 points from 48% in May to 67% in the current poll.  In Williamson’s case, though, the increased notoriety has led to a rise in negative views, currently earning her a 14% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating, which is down from an evenly divided 10%-10% rating in May.

Other candidates who have seen a downturn in their ratings are Harris at 56% favorable and 17% unfavorable (from 58%-9% in May) and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 27% favorable and 18% unfavorable (from 32%-10% in May).  Those who have seen a slight improvement in their ratings are Booker at 49% favorable and 14% unfavorable (from 41%-13% in May), Buttigieg at 43% favorable and 14% unfavorable (from 35%-11% in May), and Yang at 24% favorable and 12% unfavorable (from 12%-13% in May).  Candidates who are holding relatively steady are Castro at 35% favorable and 13% unfavorable (from 28%-10% in May) and O’Rourke at 39% favorable and 20% unfavorable (from 40%-19% in May).

2020 CANDIDATE OPINION AMONG DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
Net favorability rating: Aug ‘19 May ‘19 Apr ‘19 Mar ‘19 Jan ‘19
Elizabeth Warren +52 +46 +32 +30 +40
Joe Biden +41 +57 +56 +63 +71
Bernie Sanders +40 +44 +44 +53 +49
Kamala Harris +39 +49 +40 +42 +33
Cory Booker +35 +28 +24 +31 +33
Pete Buttigieg +29 +24 +29 n/a +2
Julián Castro +22 +18 n/a n/a +15
Beto O’Rourke +19 +21 +31 +26 +32
Andrew Yang +12 –1 n/a n/a 0
Amy Klobuchar +9 +22 +14 +13 +15
Marianne Williamson –11 0 n/a +4 n/a
     

The two most recent entrants in the crowded field earn net negative ratings. Former naval officer and Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak has a negative 5% favorable and 11% unfavorable rating with 53% name recognition.  Former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who has spent heavily on advertising since getting into the race, earns a 9% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating with 70% name recognition.

On the issue of health care, 58% of party voters say it is very important to them that the Democrats nominate someone who supports “Medicare for All.”  Another 23% say it is somewhat important, 10% say it is not important, and 9% are unsure. However, it is not clear that Medicare for All means the same thing to all voters.  When asked specifically about what type of health insurance system they prefer, 53% of Democratic voters say they want a system that offers an opt in to Medicare while retaining the private insurance market. Just 22% say they want to move to a system where Medicare for All replaces private insurance. Another 7% prefer to keep insurance private for people under 65 but regulate the costs and 11% want to leave the system basically as it is now.

Those who prefer a public option are divided into two camps that include 18% who would like to move to a universal public insurance system eventually and 33% who say that there should always be the choice of private coverage.  In other words, only 4-in-10 Democrats want to get rid of the private insurance market when the 22% who want Medicare for All now are combined with the 18% who would like to move to a universal public system at some point in the future.

“We asked the public option question in our Iowa poll earlier this month and got a lot of flak from Medicare for All advocates who claim that polls show widespread support for their idea.  It seems from these results, though, the term has a wide range of meanings among Democratic voters. Many conflate the public-only program name with a public option.  There is a lot more nuance in public opinion on this issue that could become problematic for proponents as voters become more familiar with what Medicare for All actually entails,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 16 to 20, 2019 with 800 adults in the United States. Results in this release are based on 298 registered voters who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, which has a +/- 5.7 percentage point sampling margin of error.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-13 previously released.]

14.I know the 2020 election is far away, but who would you support for the Democratic nomination for president if the candidates were the following? [INCLUDES LEANERS] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  TREND:
(with leaners)
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Bernie Sanders 20% 14% 15% 20% 25% 16%
Elizabeth Warren 20% 15% 10% 6% 8% 8%
Joe Biden 19% 32% 33% 27% 28% 29%
Kamala Harris 8% 8% 11% 8% 10% 11%
Cory Booker 4% 2% 1% 2% 5% 4%
Pete Buttigieg 4% 5% 6% 8% <1% 0%
Andrew Yang 3% 2% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Julián Castro 2% <1% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Beto O’Rourke 2% 3% 4% 4% 6% 7%
Marianne Williamson 2% 1% 1% <1% <1% n/a
Bill de Blasio 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% n/a
Tulsi Gabbard 1% 1% 1% 0% <1% 1%
Amy Klobuchar 1% 1% 3% 1% 3% 2%
Michael Bennet <1% 0% <1% 0% <1% n/a
Steve Bullock <1% 0% 0% 0% 0% n/a
Kirsten Gillibrand <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 1%
Joe Sestak <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Tom Steyer <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
John Delaney 0% 0% <1% 0% 0% <1%
Jay Inslee * 0% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1%
Wayne Messam 0% 0% 0% <1% n/a n/a
Seth Moulton * 0% 0% 0% <1% n/a n/a
Tim Ryan 0% <1% <1% 0% n/a n/a
(VOL) Other 1% 0% <1% 3% 5% 8%
(VOL) No one <1% 1% 2% 3% <1% 3%
(VOL) Undecided 10% 11% 9% 14% 8% 9%
 (n) (298) (306) (334) (330) (310) (313)

* The poll was conducted before Inslee and Moulton dropped out of the race.

15.I’m going to read you the names of some people who are running for president in 2020.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion. If you have not heard of the person, just let me know. [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  TREND: Favorable Unfavorable No
opinion
Not
heard of
(n)
Former Vice President Joe Biden 66% 25% 8% 1% (298)
   — May 2019 74% 17% 7% 1% (334)
   — April  2019 72% 16% 12% 1% (330)
   — March  2019 76% 13% 9% 2% (310)
   — January  2019 80% 9% 8% 3% (313)
           
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders 64% 24% 10% 2% (298)
   — May 2019 65% 21% 12% 2% (334)
   — April  2019 65% 21% 13% 1% (330)
   — March  2019 70% 17% 10% 3% (310)
   — January  2019 68% 19% 9% 4% (313)
           
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 65% 13% 16% 7% (298)
   — May 2019 60% 14% 14% 12% (334)
   — April  2019 51% 19% 18% 12% (330)
   — March  2019 49% 19% 15% 17% (310)
   — January  2019 57% 17% 16% 11% (313)
           
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke 39% 20% 26% 15% (298)
   — May 2019 40% 19% 20% 22% (334)
   — April  2019 43% 12% 22% 23% (330)
   — March  2019 38% 12% 21% 29% (310)
   — January  2019 41% 9% 23% 27% (313)
           
California Senator Kamala Harris 56% 17% 16% 11% (298)
   — May 2019 58% 9% 15% 18% (334)
   — April  2019 50% 10% 19% 21% (330)
   — March  2019 53% 11% 16% 20% (310)
   — January  2019 46% 13% 21% 20% (313)
           
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar 27% 18% 34% 20% (298)
   — May 2019 32% 10% 28% 30% (334)
   — April  2019 27% 13% 28% 32% (330)
   — March  201