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The Pronk Pops Show 1367, December 3, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Trade Deal With Communist China After 2020 Election — Videos –Story 2: Going, Going, Gone – Larry Page and Sergey Brin — Sundar Pichai Takes Over — Videos — Story 3: Going, Going, Gone — Kamala Harris — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1367 December 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1365 November 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1363 November 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1349 October 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1348 October 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump Trade Deal With Communist China After 2020 Election — No Dead Line For Deal — More Tariffs on China on December 15, 2019 — Videos —

Trump’s NATO comments revamp China trade tensions

Trump Says China Trade Deal Is Based on One Thing

Futures erase gains after Trump’s comments on China and trade deal

China Hits Back at U.S. for Supporting Hong Kong

Expect the U.S. to devalue its currency to deal with China trade issues: Ken Courtis

US and China edging towards a trade deal, says Trump

Where 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand On Trade War With China | NBC News Now

Forever war: US and China struggle to defuse trade conflict

Trump: China will probably try to delay trade deal until US election

The Crisis in Hong Kong

 

Dow Jones plunges 400 points as Donald Trump says ‘I have no deadline’ for a trade deal with China and that he could for 2020 election to strike one

  • Global stocks took a tumble amid pessimism over a standoff between the U.S. and China when it comes to resolving their trade war
  • On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index fell more than 400 points and the Nasdaq was down by more than 90 points 
  • President Trump appeared to downplay the chances for a deal to end soon 
  • ‘In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election,’ he said
  • U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened 

Wall Street shares tumbled Tuesday after Donald Trump said he could wait until after next year’s presidential election to strike a trade deal with China.

Trump appeared to downplay the chances for a deal to end the U.S.-China trade war before the end of the year and even said it could wait until after the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking in London where he is attending a NATO summit, Trump said that the only limiting factor to reaching an agreement with China is whether he wants to make a deal.

Asked about his previous goal of reaching an agreement by years’ end, Trump told reporters, ‘I have no deadline, no.’

‘In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election,’ he added. He has previously suggested that China wanted to wait until after the election to negotiate a deal.

‘I’m doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It’s not if they want to make it,’ the president said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. ‘It’s if I want to make it. We’ll see what happens. But I’m doing a well if I want to make a deal. I don’t know if I want to make it.’

His intervention caused a Wall Street sell-off with the Dow Jones index losing a maximum of 411 points, and thew Nasdq falling by as much as 97 points,

Technology companies, which do a lot of business with China, stocks led the declines. Apple sank 2.5%.

Investors were also disappointed that the U.S. proposed tariffs on French goods, a day after announcing taxes on steel and aluminum imports from Chile and Argentina.

Surprise: 'I'm doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It's not if they want to make it, Donald Trump said - sending markets tumbling

Surprise: ‘I’m doing very well in a deal with China, if I want to make it. If I want to make. It’s not if they want to make it, Donald Trump said – sending markets tumbling

President Donald Trump - at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - downplayed chances for an to the U.S.-China trade war soon

President Donald Trump – at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg – downplayed chances for an to the U.S.-China trade war soon

Around the world, Trump caused a sell off. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3% to 5,770, while Britain’s FTSE 100 tumbled nearly 1% 7,216. Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 13,045.

Tensions between the two nations flared anew last week after Trump signed legislation expressing U.S. support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

Investors have been hoping that the world´s two biggest economies can make progress toward at least staving off new tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on $160 billion worth of Chinese products, including smartphones and laptops.

The Trump administration has also proposed tariffs on $2.4 billion in goods in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

France´s finance minister threatened a ‘strong European riposte’ if the U.S. follows through on a proposal to hit French cheese, Champagne, handbags and other products with tariffs of up to 100%.

The move is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and Europe – and set the stage for a likely tense meeting Tuesday between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.

In Asia, tensions had already flared after China retaliated for U.S. support of protesters in Hong Kong, putting investors in a selling mood. Asian regional markets are generally hurt by declines in trade and the slowdown in the Chinese economy that might cause.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.6% to finish at 23,379.81. Australia´s S&P/ASX 200 slid 2.2% to 6,712.30. South Korea´s Kospi declined 0.4% to 2,084.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2% to 26,391.30, while the Shanghai Composite recovered earlier losses to inch up 0.3% to 2,884.70.

Last week, Trump said ‘We´re in the final throes of a very important deal.’

Earlier, China had made goodwill gestures, issuing improved guidelines for protection of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property and lifting a five-year ban on American poultry.

Then Trump’s comments Tuesday seemed to suggest that a breakthrough might not come anytime soon.

It’s been a year and a half since Trump declared that ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win.’

But his war with China has dragged on and on, with each side imposing – and raising – import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. Those taxes are paid by companies that import those goods.

These importers must either absorb those higher costs or pass them on to customers in the form of price increases.

Negotiators have met 13 times. Truces have come and gone. Predictions of peace have proved premature.

For now, at least, the reality remains: The United States is taxing more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, and Beijing is retaliating with tariffs on $120 billion of American products. Not since the 1930s has the world seen such intense trade warfare.

The two sides are fighting over allegations that China has deployed predatory tactics in its drive to achieve global dominance in such advanced technologies as quantum computing and electric cars. The administration asserts, and many China analysts agree, that these tactics include stealing sensitive technology, unfairly subsidizing their own firms and forcing foreign companies to hand over trade secrets as the price of admission to China’s market.

Trump said a deal could wait until after the 2020 election6

Trump said a deal could wait until after the 2020 election

U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened

U.S. stocks also took a tumble when the market opened

On Oct. 11, Trump had announced what he cast as a breakthrough: Beijing had agreed to buy far more U.S. farm products – as much as $50 billion worth annually, the administration said – and to better protect intellectual property. In return, the United States suspended plans to raise tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese goods.

Even though this so-called Phase 1 deal left the thorniest issues for future negotiations, the two sides still haven’t managed to finalize it.

‘It now looks likely that a Phase 1 deal will be rather limited in scope, hardly resolving the broader trade-related uncertainty that continues to cloud business sentiment in both countries,’ said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist who formerly led the China division at the International Monetary Fund.

Beijing has been reluctant to make the kind of substantive policy reforms that would satisfy the Trump administration. Doing so would likely require scaling back China’s aspirations for technological supremacy, which it sees as crucial to its prosperity.

The prolonged trade war has been inflicting economic damage. Factories have cut purchases and investments because they don’t know whether or when Trump will lift his tariffs or which countries he might target next.

The president’s sudden move Monday to take action against Argentina and Brazil underscored how unpredictable his policies are. Last year, he had agreed to exempt the two countries from tariffs on steel and aluminum. But he reversed that decision in a tweet Monday morning, accusing Argentina and Brazil of manipulating their currencies lower to give their exporters a price advantage. In fact, their currencies are plunging because their economies are in crisis.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ratcheted up tensions with Europe by announcing plans to impose tariffs of up to 100% on cheese, Champagne and lipstick and other imports from France to protest a French digital services tax.

The administration is also readying taxes on $7.5 billion worth of European Union imports in a dispute over illegal EU subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The tariffs and the uncertainty they generate have hurt the U.S. manufacturing sector, which many economists say is already in recession. On Monday, a private survey found that American factory output had fallen for the fourth straight month.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7750245/Asian-shares-slip-Europe-mixed-amid-US-China-trade-tensions.html

Story 2: Going, Going, Gone – Larry Page and Sergey Brin — Sundar Pichai Takes Over — Videos

Larry Page to step down as Alphabet CEO, Pichai to take over

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s I/O 2017 keynote

Alphabet CEO Larry Page to Step Down, Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Take Over

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Larry Page

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt leaving Alphabet board

Larry Page: ‘I chose Google so Sergey chose Alphabet’ | Fortune

Where’s Google going next? | Larry Page

Mar 21, 2014

Larry Page steps down as CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai to take over

KEY POINTS
  • Alphabet CEO Larry Page will step down from the role and Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over, adding to his current responsibilities. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated.
  • Page and Brin said in a blog post that “it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure.”
  • Page became CEO of Alphabet after Google restructured to form the parent company in 2015. He had previously been CEO of Google.

Sundar Pichai to replace Larry Page as Alphabet CEO

Alphabet CEO Larry Page announced Tuesday that he will step down from the position. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of the parent company in addition to his current role. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated.

close dialog
ALL NEW
TONIGHT 10P ET

Alphabet’s stock was up as much as 0.8% after hours.

“With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure,” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”

Page became CEO of Alphabet in 2015 when Google reorganized to form the new parent company to oversee its “Other Bets” outside of its main search and digital ads businesses. Page had previously served as CEO of Google. Under the new structure, Pichai became CEO of Google after effectively runningmuch of the business as Page had taken a step back to focus on big picture endeavors. Pichai had previously led Android and Chrome at the company.

Both Page and Brin will remain “actively involved” as members of Alphabet’s board, according to the letter. The co-founders still have controlling voting shares of the company. Page holds about 5.8% of Alphabet shares, Brin controls about 5.6% and Pichai holds about 0.1%, ensuring the new CEO may still be challenged by the company’s founders. Google said its voting structure is not changing in light of the announcement.

Alphabet may need to lean more heavily on its other bets, which include companies like Waymo and Verily, as its core digital advertising business run by Google shows signs of slowing down. Google showed slowing ad revenue in its first quarter of 2019 and lower profit compared to the previous year during the third quarter. The company has still struggled to generate significant revenue in hardware, although its cloud business is growing.

LIVE, NEWS-MAKING DISCUSSIONS
UNIQUE, IN-PERSON EXPERIENCES

Page and Pichai have overseen the company during a tumultuous few years as Google employees have voiced their discontent with company policies. Thousands of Google employees walked out of offices around the world last year to protest a $90 million exit package Google reportedly paid to former Android leader Andy Rubin despite finding sexual misconduct claims against him to be credible, a New York Times investigation revealed. Alphabet’s board has opened an investigation into how executives have handled claims of sexual misconduct, CNBC reported last month.

Google has been forced to back off of certain projects have pushback from employees. In 2018, Google’s cloud chief at the time said the company would not renew its contract with the Department of Defense after it was set to expire in March 2019. The decision followed a petition signed by thousands of employees urging Pichai to keep Google out of the “business of war.” Google employees have also urged the company to back off its plans to build a censored search engine for China after The Intercept reported on the plans cryptically called Project Dragonfly.

More recently, a group of former Google employees known as the “Thanksgiving Four” have claimed their pre-holiday dismissal amounted to retaliation for their attempts to organize workers. The former employees have promised to file charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming unfair labor practices. Google denies any retaliation and has insisted the workers were let go for sharing confidential documents and breaching security.

Here is the full letter from Page and Brin:

Our very first founders’ letter in our 2004 S-1 began:

“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. Throughout Google’s evolution as a privately held company, we have managed Google differently. We have also emphasized an atmosphere of creativity and challenge, which has helped us provide unbiased, accurate and free access to information for those who rely on us around the world.”

We believe those central tenets are still true today. The company is not conventional and continues to make ambitious bets on new technology, especially with our Alphabet structure. Creativity and challenge remain as ever-present as before, if not more so, and are increasingly applied to a variety of fields such as machine learning, energy efficiency and transportation. Nonetheless, Google’s core service—providing unbiased, accurate, and free access to information—remains at the heart of the company.

However, since we wrote our first founders’ letter, the company has evolved and matured. Within Google, there are all the popular consumer services that followed Search, such as Maps, Photos, and YouTube; a global ecosystem of devices powered by our Android and Chrome platforms, including our own Made by Google devices; Google Cloud, including GCP and G Suite; and of course a base of fundamental technologies around machine learning, cloud computing, and software engineering. It’s an honor that billions of people have chosen to make these products central to their lives—this is a trust and responsibility that Google will always work to live up to.

And structurally, the company evolved into Alphabet in 2015. As we said in the Alphabet founding letter in 2015:

“Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence.”

Since we wrote that, hundreds of Phoenix residents are now being driven around in Waymo cars—many without drivers! Wing became the first drone company to make commercial deliveries to consumers in the U.S. And Verily and Calico are doing important work, through a number of great partnerships with other healthcare companies. Some of our “Other Bets” have their own boards with independent members, and outside investors.

Those are just a few examples of technology companies that we have formed within Alphabet, in addition to investment subsidiaries GV and Capital G, which have supported hundreds more. Together with all of Google’s services, this forms a colorful tapestry of bets in technology across a range of industries—all with the goal of helping people and tackling major challenges.

Our second founders’ letter began:

“Google was born in 1998. If it were a person, it would have started elementary school late last summer (around August 19), and today it would have just about finished the first grade.”

Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost. While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!

Sundar brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day. He’s worked closely with us for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet Board of Directors. He shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology. There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.

We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions—a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets. We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/03/larry-page-steps-down-as-ceo-of-alphabet.html

Larry Page

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Larry Page
Larry Page in the European Parliament, 17.06.2009 (cropped).jpg

Page in 2009
Born
Lawrence Edward Page

March 26, 1973 (age 46)

Residence Palo Alto, California, U.S.[1][2]
Alma mater University of Michigan (BS)
Stanford University (MS)
Occupation
Known for Co-founding Google, Alphabet Inc. and PageRank
Salary One-dollar salary
Net worth US$55.8 billion[3] (2019)

Lawrence Edward Page[4] (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for being one of the co-founders of Google along with Sergey Brin.[1][5]

Page was the chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) until stepping down on December 3, 2019. After stepping aside as Google CEO in August 2001, in favor of Eric Schmidt, he re-assumed the role in April 2011. He announced his intention to step aside a second time in July 2015, to become CEO of Alphabet, under which Google’s assets would be reorganized. Under Page, Alphabet is seeking to deliver major advancements in a variety of industries.[6]

As of October 2019, Page is the 9th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $55.8 billion.[7] Forbes placed him 10th in the list “Billionaires 2019”.[8]

Page is the co-inventor of PageRank, a well-known search ranking algorithm for Google, which he wrote with Brin.[16] Page received the Marconi Prize in 2004 with Brin.[17]

Contents

Early life and education

Page was born on March 26, 1973,[18] in Lansing, Michigan.[19] His father is Jewish;[20] his maternal grandfather later made aliyah to Israel.[21] However he does not declare to follow any formal religion.[20][22] His father, Carl Victor Page, Sr., earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan, when the field was being established, and BBC reporter Will Smale has described him as a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence”.[23] He was a computer science professor at Michigan State University and Page’s mother, Gloria, was an instructor in computer programming at Lyman Briggs College of Michigan State University.[24][23][25]

During an interview, Page recalled his childhood, noting that his house “was usually a mess, with computers, science, and technology magazines and Popular Science magazines all over the place”, an environment in which he immersed himself.[26] Page was an avid reader during his youth, writing in his 2013 Google founders letter: “I remember spending a huge amount of time pouring [sic] over books and magazines”.[27] According to writer Nicholas Carlson, the combined influence of Page’s home atmosphere and his attentive parents “fostered creativity and invention”. Page also played flute and studied music composition while growing up. He attended the renowned music summer camp – Interlochen Arts Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. Page has mentioned that his musical education inspired his impatience and obsession with speed in computing. “In some sense, I feel like music training led to the high-speed legacy of Google for me”. In an interview Page said that “In music, you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing” and that “If you think about it from a music point of view, if you’re a percussionist, you hit something, it’s got to happen in milliseconds, fractions of a second”.[9][28]

Page was first attracted to computers when he was six years old, as he was able to “play with the stuff lying around”—first-generation personal computers—that had been left by his mother and father.[24] He became the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor“.[29] His older brother also taught him to take things apart and before long he was taking “everything in his house apart to see how it worked”. He said that “from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology and business. Probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually.”[29]

Page attended the Okemos Montessori School (now called Montessori Radmoor) in Okemos, Michigan, from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991. He attended Interlochen Center for the Artsas a saxophonist for two summers while in high school. Page holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University.[30] While at the University of Michigan, Page created an inkjet printer made of Lego bricks (literally a line plotter), after he thought it possible to print large posters cheaply with the use of inkjet cartridges—Page reverse-engineered the ink cartridge, and built all of the electronics and mechanics to drive it.[24] Page served as the president of the Beta Epsilon chapter of the Eta Kappa Nu fraternity,[31] and was a member of the 1993 “Maize & Blue” University of Michigan Solar Car team.[32] As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, he proposed that the school replace its bus system with a personal rapid transit system, which is essentially a driverless monorail with separate cars for every passenger.[9] He also developed a business plan for a company that would use software to build a music synthesizer during this time.[28]

PhD studies and research

After enrolling in a computer science PhD program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor, Terry Winograd, encouraged him to pursue the idea, and Page recalled in 2008 that it was the best advice he had ever received.[33] He also considered doing research on telepresence and self-driving cars during this time.[34][35][36][37]

Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages linked to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks as valuable information for that page. The role of citations in academic publishing would also become pertinent for the research.[37]Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford PhD student, would soon join Page’s research project, nicknamed “BackRub.”[37] Together, the pair authored a research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”, which became one of the most downloaded scientific documents in the history of the Internet at the time.[24][35]

John Battelle, co-founder of Wired magazine, wrote that Page had reasoned that the:

… entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation—after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it “the Web would become a more valuable place.”[37]

Battelle further described how Page and Brin began working together on the project:

At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler. The idea’s complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. “I talked to lots of research groups” around the school, Brin recalls, “and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry.”[37]

Search engine development

To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones.[37] The algorithm relied on a new technology that analyzed the relevance of the backlinks that connected one web page to another.[38]

Combining their ideas, the pair began utilizing Page’s dormitory room as a machine laboratory, and extracted spare parts from inexpensive computers to create a device that they used to connect the not nascent search engine with Stanford’s broadband campus network.[37] After filling Page’s room with equipment, they then converted Brin’s dorm room into an office and programming center, where they tested their new search engine designs on the Web. The rapid growth of their project caused Stanford’s computing infrastructure to experience problems.[39]

Page and Sergey Brin by Graziano Origa

Page and Brin used the former’s basic HTML programming skills to set up a simple search page for users, as they did not have a web page developer to create anything visually elaborate. They also began using any computer part they could find to assemble the necessary computing power to handle searches by multiple users. As their search engine grew in popularity among Stanford users, it required additional servers to process the queries. In August 1996, the initial version of Google, still on the Stanford University website, was made available to Internet users.[37]

The mathematical website interlinking that the PageRankalgorithm facilitates, illustrated by size-percentage correlation of the circles. The algorithm was named after Page himself.

By early 1997, the BackRub page described the state as follows:

Some Rough Statistics (from August 29, 1996)

Total indexable HTML URLs: 75.2306 Million

Total content downloaded: 207.022 gigabytes

BackRub is written in Java and Python and runs on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux. The primary database is kept on a Sun Ultra series II with 28GB of disk. Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg have provided a great deal of very talented implementation help. Sergey Brin has also been very involved and deserves many thanks.

— Larry Page page@cs.stanford.edu[40]

BackRub already exhibited the rudimentary functions and characteristics of a search engine: a query input was entered and it provided a list of backlinks ranked by importance. Page recalled: “We realized that we had a querying tool. It gave you a good overall ranking of pages and ordering of follow-up pages.”[41] Page said that in mid-1998 they finally realized the further potential of their project: “Pretty soon, we had 10,000 searches a day. And we figured, maybe this is really real.”[39]

Some compared Page and Brin’s vision to the impact of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of modern printing:

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced Europe to the mechanical printing press, printing Bibles for mass consumption. The technology allowed for books and manuscripts – originally replicated by hand – to be printed at a much faster rate, thus spreading knowledge and helping to usher in the European Renaissance … Google has done a similar job.[42]

The comparison was also noted by the authors of The Google Story: “Not since Gutenberg … has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”[43] Also, not long after the two “cooked up their new engine for web searches, they began thinking about information that was at the time beyond the web,” such as digitizing books and expanding health information.[39]

Google

Page in the early days of Google

1998–2010

Founding

Mark Malseed wrote in a 2003 feature story:

Soliciting funds from faculty members, family and friends, Brin and Page scraped together enough to buy some servers and rent that famous garage in Menlo Park. … [soon after], Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a $100,000 check to “Google, Inc.” The only problem was, “Google, Inc.” did not yet exist—the company hadn’t yet been incorporated. For two weeks, as they handled the paperwork, the young men had nowhere to deposit the money.[44]

In 1998,[45] Brin and Page incorporated Google, Inc.[46] with the initial domain name of “Googol,” derived from a number that consists of one followed by one hundred zeros—representing the vast amount of data that the search engine was intended to explore. Following inception, Page appointed himself as CEO, while Brin, named Google’s co-founder, served as Google’s president.[9] Writer Nicholas Carlson wrote in 2014:

While Google is often thought of as the invention of two young computer whizzes—Sergey and Larry, Larry and Sergey—the truth is that Google is a creation of Larry Page, helped along by Sergey Brin.[9]

The pair’s mission was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”[47] With a US$1-million loan from friends and family, the inaugural team moved into a Mountain View office by the start of 2000. In 1999, Page experimented with smaller servers so Google could fit more into each square meter of the third-party warehouses the company rented for their servers. This eventually led to a search engine that ran much faster than Google’s competitors at the time.[9]

By June 2000, Google had indexed one billion Internet URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), making it the most comprehensive search engine on the Web at the time. The company cited NEC Research Institute data in its June 26 press release, stating that “there are more than 1 billion web pages online today,” with Google “providing access to 560 million full-text indexed web pages and 500 million partially indexed URLs.”[48]

Early management style

During his first tenure as CEO, Page embarked on an attempt to fire all of Google’s project managers in 2001. Page’s plan involved all of Google’s engineers reporting to a VP of engineering, who would then report directly to him—Page explained that he didn’t like non-engineers supervising engineers due to their limited technical knowledge.[9] Page even documented his management tenets for his team to use as a reference:

  • Don’t delegate: Do everything you can yourself to make things go faster.
  • Don’t get in the way if you’re not adding value. Let the people actually doing the work talk to each other while you go do something else.
  • Don’t be a bureaucrat.
  • Ideas are more important than age. Just because someone is junior doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect and cooperation.
  • The worst thing you can do is stop someone from doing something by saying, “No. Period.” If you say no, you have to help them find a better way to get it done.[9]

Even though Page’s new model was unsustainable and led to disgruntlement among the affected employees, his issue with engineers being managed by non-engineering staff gained traction more broadly. Eventually, the practice of only instating engineers into the management roles of engineering teams was established as a standard across Silicon Valley.[49]

Page also believed that the faster Google’s search engine returned answers, the more it would be used. He fretted over milliseconds and pushed his engineers—from those who developed algorithms to those who built data centers—to think about lag times. He also pushed for keeping Google’s home page famously sparse in its design because it would help the search results load faster.[28]

2001–2011

Changes in management and expansion

Before Silicon Valley’s two most prominent investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, agreed to invest a combined total of $50 million in Google, they applied pressure on Page to step down as CEO so that a more experienced leader could build a “world-class management team.” Page eventually became amenable to the idea after meeting with other technology CEOs, including Steve Jobs and Intel’s Andrew GroveEric Schmidt, who had been hired as Chairman of Google in March 2001, left his full-time position as the CEO of Novell to take the same role at Google in August of the same year, and Page moved aside to assume the President of Products role.[9]

Under Schmidt’s leadership, Google underwent a period of major growth and expansion, which included its initial public offering (IPO) on August 20, 2004. He always acted in consultation with Page and Brin when he embarked on initiatives such as the hiring of an executive team and the creation of a sales force management system. Page remained the boss at Google in the eyes of the employees, as he gave final approval on all new hires, and it was Page who provided the signature for the IPO, the latter making him a billionaire at the age of 30.[9]

Page led the acquisition of Android for $50 million in 2005 to fulfill his ambition to place handheld computers in the possession of consumers so that they could access Google anywhere. The purchase was made without Schmidt’s knowledge, but the CEO was not perturbed by the relatively small acquisition. Page became passionate about Android, and spent large amounts of time with Android CEO and cofounder Andy Rubin. By September 2008, T-Mobile launched the G1, the first phone using Android software and, by 2010, 17.2% of the handset market consisted of Android sales, overtaking Apple for the first time. Android became the world’s most popular mobile operating system shortly afterward.[9]

Assumption of CEO position at Google

Following a January 2011 announcement,[50] Page officially became the chief executive of Google on April 4, 2011, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman.[51] By this time, Google had over $180 billion market capitalization and more than 24,000 employees.[52]

After Schmidt announced the end of his tenure as CEO on January 20, 2011, he jokingly tweeted on Twitter: “Adult-supervision no longer needed.” Quartz organizational management reporter, Max Nisen, described the decade prior to Page’s second appointment as Google’s CEO as his “lost decade.” While Page continued to exert a significant influence at Google during this time, overseeing product development and other operations, he became increasingly disconnected and less responsive over time.[9][49]

2011–2013

As Google’s new CEO, Page’s two key goals were the development of greater autonomy for the executives overseeing the most important divisions, and higher levels of collaboration, communication and unity among the teams. Page also formed what the media called the “L-Team,” a group of senior vice-presidents who reported directly to him and worked in close proximity to his office for a portion of the working week.[53] Additionally, he reorganized the company’s senior management, placing a CEO-like manager at the top of Google’s most important product divisions, including YouTube, AdWords, and Google Search.[9]

In accordance with a more cohesive team environment, Page declared a new “zero tolerance for fighting” policy that contrasted with his approach during the early days of Google, when he would use his harsh and intense arguments with Brin as an exemplar for senior management. Page had changed his thinking during his time away from the CEO role, as he eventually arrived at the conclusion that his greatly ambitious goals required a harmonious team dynamic. As part of Page’s collaborative rejuvenation process, Google’s products and applications were consolidated and underwent an aesthetic overhaul.[49][54]

Changes and consolidation process

At least 70 of Google’s products, features and services were eventually shut down by March 2013, while the appearance and nature of the remaining ones were unified.[55][56] Jon Wiley, lead designer of Google Search at the time, codenamed Page’s redesign overhaul, which officially commenced on April 4, 2011, “Project Kennedy,” based on Page’s use of the term “moonshots” to describe ambitious projects in a January 2013 Wired interview.[54][57] An initiative named “Kanna” previously attempted to create a uniform design aesthetic for Google’s range of products, but it was too difficult at that point in the company’s history for one team to drive such change. Matias Duarte, senior director of the Android user experience at the time that “Kennedy” started, explained in 2013 that “Google passionately cares about design.” Page proceeded to consult with the Google Creative Lab design team, based in New York City, to find an answer to his question of what a “cohesive vision” of Google might look like.[54]

The eventual results of “Kennedy,” which were progressively rolled out from June 2011 until January 2013, were described by The Verge technology publication as focused upon “refinement, white space, cleanliness, elasticity, usefulness, and most of all simplicity.” The final products were aligned with Page’s aim for a consistent suite of products that can “move fast,” and “Kennedy” was called a “design revolution” by Duarte. Page’s “UXA” (user/graphics interface) design team then emerged from the “Kennedy” project, tasked with “designing and developing a true UI framework that transforms Google’s application software into a beautiful, mature, accessible and consistent platform for its users.” Unspoken of in public, the small UXA unit was designed to ensure that “Kennedy” became an “institution.”[54]

Acquisition strategy and new products

When acquiring products and companies for Google, Page asked whether the business acquisition passed the toothbrush test as an initial qualifier, asking the question “Is it something you will use once or twice a day, and does it make your life better?”. This approach looked for usefulness above profitability, and long-term potential over near-term financial gain, which has been noted as rare in business acquiring processes.[58][59][60]

With Facebook’s influence rapidly expanding during the start of Page’s second tenure, he finally responded to the intensive competition with Google’s own social network, Google+, in mid-2011. After several delays, the social network was released through a very limited field test and was led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s then senior vice president of social.[61]

In August 2011, Page announced that Google would spend $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility.[62] The purchase was primarily motivated by Google’s need to secure patents to protect Android from lawsuits by companies including Apple Inc.[9] Page wrote on Google’s official blog on August 15, 2011 that “companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The United States Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community”… Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies”.[63][64] In 2014, Page sold Motorola Mobility for $2.9 billion to Personal Computer maker, Lenovo which represented a loss in value of $9.5 billion over two years.[65]

Page also ventured into hardware and Google unveiled the Chromebook in May 2012. The hardware product was a laptop that ran on a Google operating system, Chrome OS.[66]

2013–2015

In January 2013, Page participated in a rare interview with Wired, in which writer Steven Levy discussed Page’s “10X” mentality—Google employees are expected to create products and services that are at least 10 times better than those of its competitors—in the introductory blurbAstro Teller, the head of Google X, explained to Levy that 10X is “just core to who he [Page] is,” while Page’s “focus is on where the next 10X will come from.”[57] In his interview with Levy, Page referred to the success of YouTube and Android as examples of “crazy” ideas that investors were not initially interested in, saying: “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”[57] Page also stated that he was “very happy” with the status of Google+, and discussed concerns over the Internet in relation to the SOPA bill and an International Telecommunication Union proposal that had been recently introduced:

… I do think the Internet’s under much greater attack than it has been in the past. Governments are now afraid of the Internet because of the Middle East stuff, and so they’re a little more willing to listen to what I see as a lot of commercial interests that just want to make money by restricting people’s freedoms. But they’ve also seen a tremendous user reaction, like the backlash against SOPA. I think that governments fight users’ freedoms at their own peril.[57]

At the May 2013 I/O developers conference in San Francisco, Page delivered a keynote address and said that “We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity … Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist” and that he was “sad the Web isn’t advancing as fast as it should be” citing a perceived focus on negativity and zero sum games among some in the technology sector as a cause for that.[67] In response to an audience question, Page noted an issue that Google had been experiencing with Microsoft, whereby the latter made its Outlook program interoperable with Google, but did not allow for backward compatibility—he referred to Microsoft’s practice as “milking off.” During the question-and-answer section of his keynote, Page expressed interest in Burning Man, which Brin had previously praised—it was a motivating factor for the latter during Schmidt’s hiring process, as Brin liked that Schmidt had attended the week-long annual event.[9][68][69]

In September 2013, Page launched the independent Calico initiative, a R&D project in the field of biotechnology. Google announced that Calico seeks to innovate and make improvements in the field of human health, and appointed Art Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board and former CEO of Genentech, to be the new division’s CEO. Page’s official statement read: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”[70]

Page participated in a March 2014 TedX conference that was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The presentation was scripted by Page’s chief PR executive Rachel Whetstone, and Google’s CMO Lorraine Twohill, and a demonstration of an artificially intelligent computer program was displayed on a large screen.[9] Page responded to a question about corporations, noting that corporations largely get a “bad rap”, which he stated was because they were probably doing the same incremental things they were doing “50 or 20 years ago”. He went on to juxtapose that kind of incremental approach to his vision of Google counteracting calcification through driving technology innovation at a high rate. Page mentioned Elon Musk and SpaceX:

He [Musk] wants to go to Mars to back up humanity. That’s a worthy goal. We have a lot of employees at Google who’ve become pretty wealthy. You’re working because you want to change the world and make it better … I’d like for us to help out more than we are.[71]

Page also mentioned Nikola Tesla with regard to invention and commercialization:

Invention is not enough. [Nikola] Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. [You have to] combine both things … invention and innovation focus, plus … a company that can really commercialize things and get them to people.[72]

Page announced a major management restructure in October 2014 so that he would no longer need to be responsible for day-to-day product-related decision making. In a memo, Page said that Google’s core businesses would be able to progress in a typical manner, while he could focus on the next generation of ambitious projects, including Google X initiatives; access and energy, including Google Fiber; smart-home automation through Nest Labs; and biotechnology innovations under Calico.[73] Page maintained that he would continue as the unofficial “chief product officer.”[56] Subsequent to the announcement, the executives in charge of Google’s core products reported to then Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who reported directly to Page.[73][74][75][76]

In a November 2014 interview, Page stated that he prioritized the maintenance of his “deep knowledge” of Google’s products and breadth of projects, as it had been a key motivating factor for team members. In relation to his then role as the company’s CEO, Page said: “I think my job as CEO—I feel like it’s always to be pushing people ahead.”[56]

On August 10, 2015, Page announced on Google’s official blog that Google had restructured into a number of subsidiaries of a new holding company known as Alphabet Inc with Page becoming CEO of Alphabet Inc and Sundar Pichai assuming the position of CEO of Google Inc. In his announcement, Page described the planned holding company as follows:[77]

Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. … Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.

As well as explaining the origin of the company’s name:

We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!

Page wrote that the motivation behind the reorganization is to make Google “cleaner and more accountable.” He also wrote that there was a desire to improve “the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing,” and to allow greater control of unrelated companies previously within the Google ecosystem.[77][78][79]

Page has not been on any press conferences since 2015 and has not presented at product launches or earnings calls since 2013. The Bloomberg Businessweek termed the reorganization into Alphabet as a clever retirement plan allowing Page to retain control over Google, at the same time relinquishing all responsibilities over it. Executives at Alphabet describe Page as a “futurist”, highly detached from day-to-day business dealings and more focused on moon-shot projects. While some managers of Alphabet companies speak of Page as intensely involved, others say that his rare office check-ins are “akin to a royal visit”.[80]

2019

On December 3, 2019 Larry Page announced that he will step down from the position of Alphabet CEO and would be replaced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai will also continue as Google CEO. Page and Google co-founder and Alphabet president Sergey Bryn announced the change in a joint blog post, “With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”[81]

Other interests

Page is an investor in Tesla Motors.[82] He has invested in renewable energy technology, and with the help of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, promotes the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars[83][84][85][86] and other alternative energy investments.[87] He is also a strategic backer in the Opener startup which is developing aerial vehicles for consumer travel.[88]

Page is also interested in the socio-economic effects of advanced intelligent systems and how advanced digital technologies can be used to create abundance (as described in Peter Diamandis’ book), provide for people’s needs, shorten the workweek, and mitigate the potential detrimental effects of technological unemployment.[89][90]

Page also helped to set up Singularity University, a transhumanist think-tank.[91] Google is one of the institution’s corporate founders[92] and still funds scholarships at Singularity University.[93]

Personal life

In 2007, Page married Lucinda Southworth on Necker Island, the Caribbean island owned by Richard Branson.[94] Southworth is a research scientist and the sister of actress and model Carrie Southworth.[95] Page and Southworth have two children, born in 2009 and 2011.[96][97]

On February 18, 2005, Page bought a 9,000 square feet (840 m2Spanish Colonial Revival architecture house in Palo Alto, California designed by American artistic polymath Pedro Joseph de Lemos, a former curator of the Stanford Art Museum and founder of the Carmel Art Institute, after the historic building had been on the market for years with an asking price of US$7.95 million. A two-story stucco archway spans the driveway and the home features intricate stucco work, as well as stone and tile in California Arts and Crafts movement style built to resemble de Lemos’s family’s castle in Spain. The hacienda was constructed between 1931 and 1941 by de Lemos.[98][99][100][101][102] It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.[103]

Page’s superyacht ‘Senses’, docked in Helsinki

In 2009 Page began purchasing properties and tearing down homes adjacent to his home in Palo Alto to make room for a large ecohouse. The existing buildings were “deconstructed” and the materials donated for reuse. The ecohouse was designed to “minimize the impact on the environment.” Page worked with an arborist to replace some trees that were in poor health with others that used less water to maintain. Page also applied for Green Point Certification, with points given for use of recycled and low or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials and for a roof garden with solar panels. The house’s exterior features zinc cladding and plenty of windows, including a wall of sliding-glass doors in the rear. It includes eco-friendly elements such as permeable paving in the parking court and a pervious path through the trees on the property. The 6,000-square-foot (560m²) house also observes other green home design features such as organic architecture building materials and low volatile organic compound paint.[104][105][106][107]

In 2011, Page bought the $45-million 193-foot (59m) superyacht ‘Senses’, which is equipped with a helipad, gym, multi-level sun decks, ten luxury suites, a crew of 14 and interior design by French designer Philippe Starck.[108]‘Senses’ has extensive ocean exploration capabilities, the superyacht was created to explore the world’s oceans in comfort and it carries a comprehensive inventory of equipment for that purpose.[109] ‘Senses’ was built by Fr. Schweers Shipyard in (Germany) at their Berne shipyard. ‘Senses’ features a displacement steel hull and a steel/aluminium superstructure, with teak decks. ‘Senses’ is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces the free surface effect and results in a smoother cruising experience underway.[110]

Page announced on his Google+ profile in May 2013 that his right vocal cord is paralyzed from a cold that he contracted the previous summer, while his left cord was paralyzed in 1999.[111] Page explained that he has been suffering from a vocal cord issue for 14 years, and, as of his May 2013 post, doctors were unable to identify the exact cause. The Google+ post also revealed that Page had donated a considerable sum of money to a vocal-cord nerve-function research program at the Voice Health Institute in Boston, US. The program, at Massachusetts General Hospital, is led by Steven Zeitels, the Eugene B. Casey Professor of Laryngeal Surgery. An anonymous source stated that the donation exceeded $20 million.[112]

In October 2013, Business Insider reported that Page’s paralyzed vocal cords are caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and prevented him from undertaking Google quarterly earnings conference calls for an indefinite period.[113]

In November 2014, Page’s family foundation, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Fund, reportedly holding assets in excess of a billion dollars at the end of 2013, gave $15 million to aid the effort against the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Page wrote on his Google+ page that “My wife and I just donated $15 million … Our hearts go out to everyone affected.”[114][115][116][117]

Awards and accolades

1998–2009

  • PC Magazine has praised Google as among the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People’s Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards.”[118]
  • In 2002, Page was named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow[citation needed] and along with Brin, was named by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Technology Review publication as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35, as part of its yearly TR100 listing (changed to “TR35” after 2005).[119]
  • In 2003, both Page and Brin received a MBA from IE Business School, in an honorary capacity, “for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses.”[120]
  • In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation‘s prize and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation’s president, congratulated the two men for “their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today.”.[121]
  • Page and Brin were also Award Recipients and National Finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003.[122]
  • Also in 2004, X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee of their board[123] and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.[citation needed]
  • In 2005, Brin and Page were elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[124]
  • In 2008 Page received the Communication Award from King Felipe at the Princess of Asturias Awards on behalf of Google.[125]

2009–present

  • In 2009, Page received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan during a graduation commencement ceremony.[126] In 2011, he was ranked 24th on the Forbes list of billionaires, and as the 11th richest person in the U.S.[1]
  • In 2015, Page’s “Powerful People” profile on the Forbes site states that Google is “the most influential company of the digital era”.[127]
  • As of July 2014, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 17th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $32.7 billion.[128]
  • At the completion of 2014, Fortune magazine named Page its “Businessperson of the Year,” declaring him “the world’s most daring CEO”.[129]
  • In October 2015, Page was named number one in Forbes‘ “America’s Most Popular Chief Executives”, as voted by Google’s employees.[130]
  • In August 2017, Page was awarded honorary citizenship of Agrigento, Italy.[131]

References …

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

Sundar Pichai

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Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai (cropped).jpg
Born
Pichai Sundararajan

June 10, 1972 (age 47)

Alma mater Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Stanford University
The Wharton School
Salary US$1,881,066 (2018)US$1,333,557 (2017)[1]

US$199.7 million[2] (2016)

Title CEO of Google
Board member of
Spouse(s) Anjali Pichai
Children 2
Parents
  • Regunatha Pichai (father)
  • Lakshmi Pichai (mother)
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Pichai Sundararajan (born June 10, 1972[5]), also known as Sundar Pichai (/ˈsʊndɑːrpɪˈ/), is an Indian American business executive.[6] He is an engineer and the chief executive officer (CEO) of Google LLC.[7][8][9]Formerly the Product Chief of Google, Pichai’s current role was announced on August 10, 2015, as part of the restructuring process that made Alphabet Inc. into Google’s parent company,[10] and he assumed the position on October 2, 2015.[11] On December 3, 2019, he became the CEO of Alphabet Inc.[12]

Early life and education

Pichai was born in MaduraiTamil Nadu, India.[13][14] His mother Lakshmi was a stenographer and his father, Regunatha Pichai was an electrical engineer at GEC, the British conglomerate. His father also had a manufacturing plant that produced electrical components.[15][16] Pichai grew up in a two-room apartment in Ashok NagarChennai.[15]

Pichai completed schooling in Jawahar Vidyalaya, a Central Board of Secondary Education school in Ashok Nagar, Chennai and completed the Class XII from Vana Vani school in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.[17][18] He earned his degree from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering and is a distinguished alumnus from that institution.[19] He holds an M.S. from Stanford University in material sciences and engineering, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,[20] where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, respectively.[21][22]

Career

Pichai speaking at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Pichai worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.[23] Pichai joined Google in 2004, where he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google’s client software products, including Google Chrome[24] and Chrome OS, as well as being largely responsible for Google Drive. He went on to oversee the development of other applications such as Gmail and Google Maps.[25][26] On November 19, 2009, Pichai gave a demonstration of Chrome OS; the Chromebook was released for trial and testing in 2011, and released to the public in 2012.[27] On May 20, 2010, he announced the open-sourcing of the new video codec VP8 by Google and introduced the new video format, WebM.[28]

On March 13, 2013, Pichai added Android to the list of Google products that he oversees. Android was formerly managed by Andy Rubin.[29] He was a director of Jive Software from April 2011 to July 30, 2013.[30][31][32] Pichai was selected to become the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015[10] after previously being appointed Product Chief by CEO, Larry Page. On October 24, 2015 he stepped into the new position at the completion of the formation of Alphabet Inc., the new holding company for the Google company family.[11][32][33]

Pichai had been suggested as a contender for Microsoft‘s CEO in 2014, a position that was eventually given to Satya Nadella.[34][35]

In August 2017, Pichai drew publicity for firing a Google employee who wrote a ten-page manifesto criticizing the company’s diversity policies and arguing that “distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership”.[36][37][38][39] While noting that the manifesto raised a number of issues that are open to debate, Pichai said in a memo to Google employees that “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK”.[40]

In December 2017, Pichai was a speaker at the World Internet Conference in China, where he stated that “a lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies. There are many small and medium-sized businesses in China who take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China.”[41][42]

U.S. Congress testimony

On December 11, 2018, Pichai testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on a wide range of Google-related issues such as the alleged, potential political bias on Google’s platforms, the company’s plans for a censored search app in China, and its privacy practices.[43] Pichai, in response, stated that Google employees cannot influence search results. He also stated that Google users can opt out of having gheir data collected and that “there are no current plans for a censored search engine” in China.[44] Wireds Issie Lapowsky characterized Pichai’s appearance before the committee as one “major missed opportunity,” since, as he wrote, its members “staked out opposite sides of a partisan battle,” and presented to the public “a foreboding reminder of Congress’s continued technological ignorance.”[45]

Personal life

Pichai is married to Anjali Pichai and has two children.[8] Pichai’s interests include football and cricket.[46][47]

References…

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

Story 3: Going, Going, Gone — Kamala Harris — Videos

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‘One of the hardest decisions of my life’: Kamala Harris ends once-promising campaign

The California senator took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination.

Harris told aides of her intentions in an all-staff call on Tuesday, and a person familiar with the conversation said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state later this month, she was running dangerously low on cash — lacking the resources to air TV ads in Iowa — and her staff was gripped by long-running internal turmoil.

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue .”

Harris, who spent Thanksgiving in Iowa with family, took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination. A Harris campaign aide said the expected impeachment trial in January further complicated the situation.

She made the decision Monday after discussions with her family and senior aides. Harris will travel to the early states this week to thank staff and supporters for their dedication to the campaign.

The senator did not bow out without taking a parting shot at her billionaire and self-funding rivals who made late entrances into the race this summer and fall.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” Harris said in a video explaining her decision to drop out. “And as the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.”

Her candidacy got one of its first major breaks in the first Democratic debate in June, when Harris pulled off a blistering ambush of former Vice President Joe Biden over his previous stance on busing, which prompted another review of his record on race issues. Harris’ performance sent her soaring in the polls, and the campaign raised $2 million in the 24 hours following the debate.

But the attack ultimately blew back on Harris when her own stance on busing came under scrutiny in the days after. Her sharp rise in the polls did not last long, with Harris skidding into fifth place and registering in the single digits by September. When she dropped out Tuesday, her RealClearPolitics national polling average was hovering just above 3 percent.

Throughout the campaign, Harris had never been steady on health care, many voters’ stated key issue. Harris spent months backtracking following an ill-fated moment in a CNN town hall in which she said, “let’s eliminate all that,” when asked whether she supported a health care plan that got rid of private insurance.

Her stumbles on the issue continued into the fall, as Harris waffled on whether she backed the kind of single-payer, “Medicare for All” plan championed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, or more incremental change, an opening her opponents seized on.

In addition to health care, voters complained that they were unable to pin Harris down on a host of other issues. And Harris shied away some from what could have been one of her greatest strengths — her time spent as a prosecutor and attorney general in California — as her prosecutorial record became a liability with a Democratic base that has turned sharply left on issues of criminal justice.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a low-polling Democratic wildcard, weaponized Harris’ prosecutorial record against her in a later debate, lambasting Harris with a set of somewhat misleading and out-of-context accusations. But Harris did not mount a full-throated defense in the moment, only reiterating that she was proud of her time as a prosecutor.

The campaign also struggled to bring in small-dollar donations, creating a greater reliance on the kind of big-money fundraisers some of Harris’ rivals have sworn off, and resulting in less-than-savory headlines about small controversies like her initial plan to skip a climate change town hall in favor of a fundraiser. (Harris later said she was unaware of the scheduling conflict, and attended the town hall.)

Harris further struggled with the question of electability — concerns that have also gripped other competitors in the historically diverse field — as she addressed voters afraid the country might not be ready for a female president of color. From the earliest days of the campaign, Harris was subject to conspiracy theories that ricocheted around social media, even giving way to a reprisal of the same birtherism smears that plagued former President Barack Obama.

In the spring, prior to Harris’ debate stage spat with Biden, she was forced to deftly maneuver suggestions from fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus that her becoming Biden’s running mate would make for a “dream ticket.” After the debate, Harris allies ripped the Biden campaign for suggesting that she let her ambition get the best of her in leveling the busing broadside.

Still, she was unable to make significant inroads with black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc, in the same way that Biden has, despite running neck and neck with the former vice president in endorsements from members of the CBC.

Recent weeks have carried numerous warning signs of a derailed campaign, with Harris abruptly shuttering much of the campaign’s New Hampshire operation as the senator focused squarely on Iowa. She laid off staff rather than recalibrating her resources and hoped a top-three finish in Iowa could propel her to a win in South Carolina.

Harris’ financial struggles likely would have been compounded by the possibility of an impeachment trial in the beginning of the year, which will keep her and her fellow rivals in the Senate in Washington and off the campaign trail in the crucial weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses and potentially even the New Hampshire primary.

But in her video message Tuesday, Harris pledged to stay in the fight against Trump.

“I want to be clear,” she said. “Although I am no longer running for president, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are. I know you will too. So let’s do that together.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/03/kamala-harris-drops-out-out-of-presidential-race-074902

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1357, November 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Addresses The New York Economic Club — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Addresses The Economic Club of New York — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos

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Remarks by President Trump at the Economic Club of New York | New York, NY

New York Hilton Midtown
New York, New York

12:09 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much, Barbara.  So sad that this is live.  She said it’s live.  (Laughter.)  It’s always live.  There’s always somebody with a phone.  It becomes live.  Ask a lot of politicians that are no longer in politics.

I want to thank Marie-Josée Kravis for your incredible leadership of the club.  It’s an honor to be here.  It is wonderful also to be back in New York with so many friends and distinguished leaders in business, in finance, academia, and, I have to add, in real estate.  All my real estate friends are here.

I’m especially grateful for, and to, your longtime club members, because it’s a club with a tremendous reputation.  And somebody doing a absolutely incredible job as Director of the National Economic Council, a friend of mine who I got on — I’ve been hearing this voice for 35 years; it’s driving me crazy: Larry Kudlow.  (Applause.)  Always calm.  Always cool.  And he’s just Larry, and he’s terrific — I’ll tell you that.

Three years ago, I came to speak before this storied forum as a candidate for President.  And at that time, America was stuck in a failed recovery and saddled with a bleak economic future.  And it was bleak.  Under the last administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost; almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force, and jobs were not exactly what you would call plentiful; and 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.

In 2016, the Department of Labor predicted that Americans would continue dropping out of the workforce in record numbers.  They predicted and projected a decade of sluggish growth, and they expected unemployment over 5 percent — and, really, 6, 7, and even, in some cases, 8 percent — for many years to come.  The so-called experts said the Americans had no choice but to accept stagnation, decay, and a shrinking middle class as the new normal.  That was said all the time.  In short, the American people were told to sit back and accept a slow, inevitable decline.

But I never believed for one moment that our magnificent nation was destined for a diminished future.  I knew that our destiny was in our own hands; that we could choose to reject a future of America and, really, look at a future of American decline unacceptable, and to build a future of American dominance, which is what I wanted.  It couldn’t be any other way, or I would have never done this.  I refused to accept that Americans had to lower their expectations or give up on their dreams.  America is the single greatest country in the world, and I knew that working together we could make it even greater.

In 2016, I stood before you supremely confident in what our people could achieve if government stopped punishing American workers and started promoting American workers and American companies.  Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals, and an economic policy that put America’s interest last, and a very deep last at that.

I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy, and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.  And that’s what’s happening.

Today, I’m proud to stand before you as President of the United States to report that we have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin.  We have ended — (applause) — thank you.  I was waiting for that.  Thank you.  I was waiting for that.  (Laughter.)  I almost didn’t get it.

We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on American industry, and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.

I did this despite a near-record number of rate increases and quantitative tightening by the Federal Reserve since I won the election — eight increases in total — which were, in my opinion, far too fast an increase and far too slow a decrease.  Because remember, we are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan — known as negative interest.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Give me some of that.  (Laughter.)  Give me some of that money.  I want some of that money.  Our Federal Reserve doesn’t let us do it.

I don’t say — (applause) — thank you.  Thank you.  The smart people are clapping.  Only the smart people are clapping.

I don’t say that’s good for the world — I’m not President of the world; I’m President of our country — but we are competing against these other countries nonetheless, and the Federal Reserve doesn’t let us play at that game.  It puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.

Yet, in the face of this reality, our economic policies have ushered in an unprecedented tide of prosperity surging all throughout the nation.  We’re paying interest.  By other comparisons, we’re paying, actually, high interest.  We should be paying, by far, the lowest interest, and yet we’re doing better than any nation, by far, on Earth.  The extraordinary numbers tell the story.

Back in 2016, before I took office, the Congressional Budget Office projected that fewer than 2 million jobs would be created by this time in 2019.  Instead, my administration has created nearly 7 million jobs, and going up rapidly.  We beat predictions — (applause) — thank you.  We beat predictions more than three times the highest estimate that I saw during the campaign.  Nobody thought it was even possible to get close to a 7 million number.  Two million was maxed out, if you were lucky and if you did a great job.

Unemployment has recently achieved the lowest rate in 51 years.  African American unemployment, Hispanic American unemployment, and Asian American unemployment, have all reached the lowest rates in history.  Women’s unemployment, the best numbers in 71 years.  We expect that that number of 71 years — which isn’t good compared to the other numbers, is it?  But women also will soon be “historic,” we think.

Blue-collar jobs are leading the way in our middle class boom.  We’ve added 25,000 mining jobs, 128,000 energy jobs, and 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs.  And manufacturing was supposed to be dead in our country.  You would need, according to a past administration representative at the highest level of that past administration — you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs.  Well, we brought them back, and we brought them back to over 600,000 manufacturing jobs as of today.  (Applause.)  And those are very important jobs.

Nearly 7 million people have been lifted off, very importantly, food stamps.  Seven million people off of food stamps.  (Applause.)  And we’re getting Americans off of welfare and back into the workforce.  (Applause.)  Nearly 2.5 million Americans have risen out of poverty.  That’s a record.  The rate of African American and Hispanic American families in poverty has plummeted to the lowest level ever recorded, by far.  (Applause.)  And most of you people wouldn’t know these numbers because most of you aren’t very active in the market.  (Laughter.)

But since my election, the S&P 500 is up over 45 percent, the Dow Jones is up over 50 percent, and the NASDAQ is up 60 percent, slightly more.  (Applause.)  And if we had a Federal Reserve that worked with us, you could have added another 25 percent to each one of those numbers — I guarantee you that.  (Laughter and applause.)  That doesn’t happen.  But we all make mistakes, don’t we?  Not too often.  We do make them on occasion.

American markets have vastly outpaced the rest of the world.  This exceptional growth is boosting 401(k)s, pensions, and college savings accounts for millions and millions of hardworking families.  You hear so much about inequality and all of the differences and all of the problems.  The single biggest benefactors of what we’ve done are middle-class workers and low-income families.  It’s been amazing, actually.

Altogether, we’ve added nearly $10 trillion of new value to our economy.  That’s in a short period of time.  Remember, I only use numbers from the time of the election because I can’t go to January 20th.  It’s not fair.   We picked up tremendous stock market and economic numbers.  They actually went wild the day after I won.  I think that should be attributed to us, not attributed to somebody else, because it would’ve gone in the opposite direction.  (Applause.)  It would’ve gone in the opposite direction had the other result taken place, which, fortunately, it didn’t.

Last year, GDP growth matched the fastest rate in more than a decade, and it was the best of the G7 countries by far.  By far.  (Applause.)

Perhaps most importantly — after years of stagnation and decline — American wages, salaries, and incomes are rising very fast.  Median household income is now at the highest level in the history of our country.  (Applause.)

The average median income under President Bush rose only $400 over an eight-year period.  Under President Obama, it rose $975 over an eight-year period.  And under my administration, it rose $5,000 over slightly more than just two and a half years.  That’s a big difference.  (Applause.)

And if you remember, President Obama was paying zero percent interest for a long period of time, while we’re paying a much higher rate of interest.  But in addition to the $5,000, we have to add $2,200 for the tax cuts — average tax cuts — and $2,000 to $3,000 for regulatory and energy cuts.  So that would be a total of almost $10,000 versus $400 and versus $975.  So, that’s something.

So you have, over eight years, you have $400.  Over eight years, you have $975.  Over two and a half years — we’re almost up to three — but this was done and calculated only as of two and a half, and it’s only gone up since then — we’re at almost $10,000.

So, our consumers, because of this, are in the best shape, probably, in the history of our country.  And I think it’s going to be very long lasting.  Very, very long lasting.

This also allows me the latitude and timing to take some of the horrible, incompetent, just terrible trade deals that have been made over the years, and make them great.  It’s like “Make America Great Again” — make the trade deals great.  I don’t know if I can use the word “again.”  Make them great. Period.  Because I don’t think they were ever any good.  (Laughter.)  I haven’t seen it.  We were great and then we weren’t so great, but we’re great again.

And, by the way, on jobs — just now — I’m glad this is today because, just now, they just announced we have the highest number of people working in our country in the history of our country.  Almost 160 million people.  We’ve never been close to that number.  (Applause.)

So, we’ve achieved this stunning turnaround because we’ve adopted a new economic policy that finally puts America first.  As President, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition.  We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry, growth and prosperity.  Factories and businesses will always find a home.  It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country, or right here in our country, our beloved USA.  And that’s where we want them to stay, and be, and move to.  (Applause.)

If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on Earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft, or start a business.  We want companies to move to America, stay in America, and hire American workers.  My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete, and to win.

For many years, our leaders in Washington did the exact opposite.  They imposed the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world.  So high that people couldn’t even understand what they were doing and they would leave.  Very, very smart executives didn’t want to leave, but they would leave, sending our jobs and everything else all a flutter.  They waged an unethical regulatory assault on the American people.  They tried to shut down American energy.  And, by the way, they’re still trying.

You want to see energy shut down?  Take a look at what I’m competing against on the other side.  I don’t think they even believe in energy.  So far, I haven’t found any form of energy that’s acceptable to them.  I think they think the factories are just going to work without energy, don’t they?  (Laughter.) They don’t have a clue, these people.  But I don’t want to mention it yet.  (Laughter.)  I want to wait a little bit longer.  Let them go a little bit further so they can’t take it back, because as a campaign, I like it.  I like it very much.  (Applause.)  Let them keep talking.  Every time they talk, I say, “Boy, this looks like it might be easier than I anticipated.”  (Laughter.)

They passed the disastrous trade deals that encouraged the shuttering of American plants and the offshoring of American jobs by the millions.  In short, the failed political class sold out American workers, sold out American prosperity, and sold out the American Dream.

This was the alarming situation I was elected to end.  And ending, it’s never that easy.  And you see that.  You do have people that want to keep it going that way, but they’re losing and they’re losing now rapidly and fast.  Those days are gone, and we’re not going back.

As you know, one of the key insights of economics is the power of incentives.  Unlike past leaders, my goal is to ensure that this power works for America’s favor and for America’s workers and for America’s companies.  We want the incentives created by our tax, trade, regulatory, and energy policies to be pro-growth, pro-worker, and 100 percent pro-American.  And more is yet to come.

If we take back the House in 2020 and retain the Senate and the White House, you will see things that even this room — and you’ve experienced a lot of great times over the last two and a half years, but even you will be surprised to see.  We have tremendous economic potential.  We have tremendous potential.  We have tremendous economic potential.

At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history.  We provided massive relief for working families, saving $2,000 a year for a typical family of four.  To bring jobs back, we lowered our business tax rate from the highest tax rate in the developed world down to a very competitive number.  Not quite the lowest, but getting close.  And we may even be able to get there one day not too — in the not-too-distant future.

And, by the way, we’re taking in more tax revenue with these greatly reduced rates — 21 percent.  And it was 39 percent, but when you added everything else, it was well into the 40s, and you couldn’t bring your money back, because that was prohibitive.  Both ministerially and from an economic standpoint, the rate was so high.  But we brought it down to a level that we’re very proud of and we think we can bring it down still more.  And yet, we’re raising — we have more tax revenues coming into our Treasury than we’ve ever had before.  That tells you something right there.

Since then, nearly $1 trillion have returned to our shores where that money belongs.  Couldn’t get it back.  No matter what you did, you couldn’t do it.  It was not only the rate being so high, but the bureaucracy, the documents, the signings.  Nobody could do it.

To promote investment in distressed American communities, our tax plan created nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones, which are one of the biggest successes that you’ve ever seen.  I don’t think there has ever been anything like it.  Worked with Tim Scott — Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina — and many of the great senators that we do work with and, frankly, Congress, and we passed something that nobody thought was possible to get passed, and nobody thought it could ever work the way it is.

Capital gains on long-term investments are now taxed in an Opportunity Zone at zero, and money is flooding in.  Investment is pouring into these long-neglected communities.  The government wasn’t putting money in; nobody was.  They were dying.  And now tremendous — they call it “neighborhood push.”  It’s incredible what’s happening.  It’s one of the — it’s not spoken of by the fake news media, but they should speak about it, because I will tell you, it’s one of the great successes that we’ve all had.  And it’s employing tremendous numbers of people.  And you have communities that were down and totally out, and they’re reviving like nobody has ever seen.  Opportunity Zones.  Remember those two words.

We believe in no American left behind, and we understand the enormous power of investment, capital, and opportunity to revitalize communities and bring hope where it is needed the most.

To liberate our economy, my administration launched the biggest, boldest, and most ambitious campaign to reduce regulation.  Nobody has ever come close.  No administration has ever come close.  In two and a half years, we’ve done far more than any other administration, whether it was four years, eight years, or in one case, more than eight years.  Nobody has come close to doing what we’ve done with regulations.  (Applause.)

And I happen to think, as great as the tax cut was — the largest in our history — I really happen to think that the regulation cuts may have had an even bigger impact on the economy.  And it was quicker because we were able to do them very early in the administration — earlier than the tax cuts.

Within days of taking office, I issued an executive order to end the outstanding, horrible federal intrusions that you saw — it was an onslaught — into business, into people’s lives.  And it was really done by unelected bureaucrats.  They were really accountable, and nobody held them accountable.  And sometimes, it’s not pleasant to hold them accountable, but I do it.  I do it.  And we had no choice, because we were going nowhere, fast.

My order required that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.  But instead of two for one, we have now eliminated nine for one.  And we think that, within the next six months, it will be close to twenty for one instead of two for one.  (Applause.)

And it sounds like a lot, but you have no idea, when you look at the piles and piles and piles of regulation, on each one of our — our great Secretaries, we’ve had some — we have some great people working here.  But you go into rooms that are half the size of this, and they would literally be stacked to the ceiling with regulations.  Nobody has ever seen anything like it.  And we have actually, I think, a fairly long way to go.  We need regulation, but it has to be smart regulation.

Highways were taking 20 years to get built, to get approved.  You’d put in a application; 20, 21 years later, they’d reject it.  It would cost many, many times more — 25, 30, 40 times more.  But they were taking 20 years.  We’re trying to get that down to one.  And it may get rejected, and that’s okay.  But you haven’t spent 20 years on environmental impact statements in order to build a simple highway or roadway that’s desperately needed.

So we have it down close to one year.  We want to hit the one-year number.  And if it doesn’t work, we’re going to reject it.  But it’s going to be rejected fast.  Swiftly.  But mostly, it’s not going to be rejected.

We ended the ridiculous Waters of the United States rule.  What a beautiful name.  The name was beautiful.  The act was a disaster.  It didn’t allow you to do anything.  When I signed it, I said, “You know, Waters of the United States — what could be a more beautiful title?  I’m going to get killed when I sign this.”  To kill it.  I had to kill it.  It was — it made land development prohibitive.  It made impossible situations for farmers, for everybody.  And I had 35 people in my office — farmers, and builders, and ranchers, and others.  Strong people, very strong — men and women — and almost all of them were crying.  They said, “You’ve given our life back.”  These laws were horrible.  They took away everything.  You would have a puddle in your land, and they would call it — you were under river control, you were under lake control, for what is called a “puddle.”  You couldn’t get anywhere near it.  And if you did, you’d literally be arrested.

We’re streamlining approvals for critical infrastructure.  Our regulatory roadblock [rollback] is also leading to major price reductions in healthcare and prescription drugs.  We’ve gotten the prescription drugs down.  First time in 53 years that prescription drug prices have gone down.

And if we had help from the Democrats, which we do not have — you possibly have noticed that — (laughter) — we would have — we would be able to cut prescription drugs by 30, 40, and 50 percent.  I’ve told some of the governors — Ron DeSantis in Florida — “Go buy them from other countries.  I’m okay with it.  I’m going to give them an executive order,” because Canada and other countries sell the exact same drug from the exact same factory for sometimes 50, 60, and 70 percent less than we do.

And rather than going through the political charade and all of the things where — the middleman — I hope we don’t have any middlemen in here, because somebody is not going to like me too much.  (Laughter.)  We have a middleman — any middlemen?  I think they have to be the richest people in the world, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  They make far more than the drug companies, in most cases.  But I said, “Buy it from other companies — countries.  You go out to other countries.”

And what’s happening already is the companies are coming back, and they want to make great deals, because now I’m giving the right to governors to go to Canada, go to England, go all over — go all over Europe, where the prices are so much less.  Because we were forced to pay for all research and development, and they didn’t pick up any of the cost.  Ridiculous rules.  So unfair to our country.  I said, “Buy them from other countries and pass along the savings.”  The savings will be staggering.  And we’re starting that program.  But as soon as we start that program, watch what happens with the drug prices.  They’ll come down over here.  Because it’s the same companies that make the drugs.  The exact same companies.  Hard to believe.

Altogether, our regulatory cuts, as mentioned, save American households thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

The foundation of American liberty and prosperity has always been the rule of law.  Throughout history, economies have failed when the rule of law is abandoned.  That’s why we must protect the constitutional rule of law in our country at all costs.  (Applause.)  So important.  We’ve got some lawless people in some very high positions.  They’re lawless.

For this reason, we have now appointed, as of today, 161 — and fully approved — brand-new federal judges, court of appeals judges, to interpret our Constitution as written.  (Applause.)  That will soon be 182 judges.  And, as you know, two Supreme Court justices, who are great gentlemen, both — both fully in and making some very big decisions, even today, as we speak.  The 161, 162 that we have now — we’ll be at 182 within two months.  And then we normalize, meaning we go through the normal system.

When I came into office, one of the first things I said was, “How many federal judges do I have to appoint?”  Because I always heard it was the single-most important thing a President can do — federal judges and Supreme Court justices.  They said, “Sir, you have 142.”  I said, “What?”  Because I was always told you would never have any.  Maybe you’d have one or two, maybe three if the previous President wasn’t doing a good job.  But they said, “You have 142.”  I said, “You have to be kidding.”  And we did.  We had 142.  And we’ve added to that through different things.  And we will be at 182.  That will be a record.  Nobody has ever done that before.  It was shocking.  But I just want to say: Thank you very much, President Obama.  We appreciate it very much, for the 142.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And I’m sure his party is thrilled with him.  But if they aren’t, they won’t say anything.  Don’t worry about it.

Thanks to these and other policies, last year, the World Economic Forum recognized the United States as the globe’s most competitive economy.  We’ve put it back into this position where we are competitive like no other nation.

To fuel our economic boom, we are bolding — and boldly pursuing American energy independence.  And you see that in the Middle East, where ships are at great danger.  And they keep saying, “What happened to the American ships?”  They don’t see too many American ships over there anymore.  Do you notice that?

We stopped the radical crusade to dismantle U.S. energy production and empower rogue regimes.  We withdrew from the one-sided, horrible, horrible, economically unfair, “close your businesses down within three years,” “don’t frack, don’t drill, we don’t want any energy” — the horrible Paris Climate Accord that killed American jobs and shielded foreign polluters.  It was a disaster for this country.  Ask them, “How are they doing in Paris with your Paris Accord?”  Not too good.

And I will tell you, when I signed — that was another one — Clean Waters of the United States — well, the Paris Accord, too — and I said, “This is going to take guts.”  I just closed my eyes and I signed it.  (Laughter.)  I got one day of a big hit from some of the radical-left newspapers.  And then after that, everybody thanks me.  They thank me so profusely.  You’re talking about trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction would have been done to our country with the Paris Climate Accord.

And it is so unfair.  It doesn’t kick in for China until 2030.  Russia goes back into the 1990s, where the base year was the dirtiest year ever in the world.  India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation.  I said, “We’re a developing nation, too.”  (Laughter.)  “Why aren’t we…” Under the WTO, China is called a “developing nation.”  So we wrote them a letter recently; Larry knows it.  I’m not sure Larry liked the idea too much, but he went along with it.  (Laughter.)  We wrote them a very tough letter, Larry, and we said —

MR. KUDLOW:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  What?

MR. KUDLOW:  I wrote the letter.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, Larry wrote it.  (Laughs.)  He said — (Laughter.)  Boy, you hopped on that bandwagon quickly, didn’t you?  (Laughter.)  That’s okay.  But we wrote them a letter and we said, much more strongly than the letter, that — not fair to have China as a developing nation.  One of the reasons they’ve taken advantage of us is because of that.  And we’re considered the big, fat cow.  And no longer.  No longer.  We have a lot of things to work out.

And I will say this: Because they know that I’m very tentative on the WTO, we’re winning cases for the first time.  We just won a 7.5 billion-dollar case.  We never won cases.  They’d rule against us because they said, “Hey, don’t worry about the United States.  They’re the stupid people.  Don’t worry.  Rule against them.”  Keep rule- — we had case after case.  Now, we’re winning cases, because they really think that I’ll do something very powerful, which we have the right to do.  And they’re right when they think that way.  And we’re winning a lot of cases at the WTO level, we never — that we never even would have thought of winning before.

America is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas on the entire planet Earth.  Net energy imports — (applause) — net energy imports — this is so great — set a historic low; it’s a 58-year low, but that’s only because they only go back 58 years, meaning, I assume if it’s low now, it’s lower than it used to be, unless something happened that’s very strange back then.  But it’s at a historic low.  We are now a net exporter of natural gas, and we recently became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products for the first time in our country’s history.  It’s a big thing.  (Applause.)

According to the Council of Economic Advisers, the astonishing increase in production, made possible by the shale revolution, saves Americans $2,500 for a family of four in lowering electric bills and prices at the pump.  And the number is actually now even higher than that.

My administration is also restoring the principle that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation.  These are great jobs.  These are brilliant, great people that know how to manufacture.  These people were under-appreciated and under-taken care of.  But we take care of them.  We cherish them.

Past leaders wrote off American manufacturing as dead, but their policies were the ones that were actually killing it.  We killed manufacturing.  That’s why we were losing all those jobs, because we made it impossible to manufacture.  We opened it all up.

After losing — and this is a number that’s hard to believe, and I’ve been saying it for three years, and I know it’s right because the fake news has never corrected me.  If it was wrong, it would have been headlines: “Trump made a mistake.”  But they can’t say it.  After losing 60,000 — can you believe that? — factories under the previous two administrations, America is now gaining over 10,000 brand-new, beautiful factories, and many, many more than that want to come back in.  Because under my administration, we’re producing jobs and incentives for these companies to come back.  I’m calling, as an example, Prime Minister Abe of Japan.  And I say, “Mr. Prime Minister, Shinzo, we have a tremendous problem.  We have big deficits with your country.  You’ve got to start building plants.”  He’s building many, many car plants now in the United States that he would’ve never built here if you didn’t have this kind of a President.  And he’s very happy to be doing it.

But they’re all coming back to the United States.  They want to be where the action is.  Very simple: They want to be where the action is.  This is where the action is.  There’s nobody close.  There’s no country close.

When I meet with the leaders of countries, as they come in — kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators — I meet them all.  (Laughter.)  Anybody who wants to come in — dictators, it’s okay, come on in.  Whatever is good for the United States.  We want to help our people.  But the first thing they say to me almost always: “Congratulations on your economy.”  They all say it.  “Congratulations, it’s incredible what’s happened to your country.  It’s incredible what’s happened to your economy.”  First thing they say in almost every instance.

But central to this comeback is a series of bold initiatives to reform a broken system of international trade.  We want thriving commerce with as many countries as possible, but trade must be fair, and to me, it must be my favorite word, “reciprocal.”  It’s not reciprocal.  We’re getting it to be much more reciprocal.

The American market is the most valuable and coveted market anywhere in the world.  Those who want access must play by the rules, and they have to respect our game and our laws, and they have to treat our workers and businesses fairly — not the way they’ve been treating them over the last 25 years.  America will not be taken advantage of anymore.  (Applause.)

Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers.  Impossible.  And I’ll be honest: European Union — very, very difficult.  The barriers they have up are terrible.  Terrible.  In many ways, worse than China.

We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply: What’s good for them is good for us.  If they want to charge us, we charge them.  It’s a very simple thing.  Even people that aren’t well versed in what we all do say — I went to a couple of senators — went to Lindsey Graham.  I said, “Lindsey, let me ask you.  What do you think of that?  They’re charging us 100 percent.  We’ll charge them…”  “That makes sense to me.”  It really does.  It makes sense to everybody because it’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries.  There are certain countries that the average tariff is over 100 percent.  And we charge them nothing.  And then they call it “fair trade.”  That’s not fair trade; that’s stupid trade.  (Laughter.)  Of course, this will be subject to regaining the House, to be able to do these things.

Nowhere has the change in U.S. strategy been more vital or dramatic than in our dealings with respect to China.  Before my election, Washington politicians stood by and did nothing while China ransacked our companies, stole our intellectual property, subsidized their industries at the expense of ours, and dumped their products in a deliberate strategy to close American factories all across our land.

For many years, Americans — leaders have just sat back.  Maybe they didn’t understand what was going on.  It’s impossible to believe that.  But they just let it happen.  And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse.  And now we’ve changed it.  It’s changed a lot.  I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but it’s changed a lot.

In particular, since China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001, no one has manipulated numbers better or taken advantage of the United States more.  And I won’t use this word, “cheated.”  I will not say the word, “cheated.”  But nobody has cheated better than China, but I will not say that.  (Laughter.)  We’ll say that off the record, okay?  And there’s only about 600 cameras back there.  In fact, that is a big group up there.  Good.  I hope you use it because it’s true.  And they understand it’s true.

And I don’t blame China, by the way.  I blame our leaders, because we should’ve been doing what they were doing.  They did it to use.  We didn’t do it to them.  We were defenseless.  We had no leadership.  This was for a long time.  This is long beyond the Obama administration.

So I don’t blame them.  I said this to President Xi.  I was making a big speech in China.  I had 5,000 people in front of me and I was talking about how bad China was.  And I said, “This is not going over well.”  (Laughter.)  I was in Beijing — this massive hall.  And I looked down at President Xi.  He was sitting right where Larry is.  He was not as imposing a figure as Larry Kudlow, but he was quite imposing.  (Laughter.)  And I said — I said, “You know, I think he’s getting very angry.”  And I then I realized, “Hmm, how do we save this?  This is going to be a disastrous afternoon.”  (Laughter.)  And I said, “But I don’t blame China.  I blame our leaders.”  And then I realized, that’s true.  I blame our leaders for allowing it to happen.  I’ve told that to you and many people many times.

But the theft of American jobs and American wealth is over.  They understand that.  My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses.  We are taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for.  We’re not paying.  China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent and they’re pouring tremendous amounts of cash into their system.

They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century.  Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make a deal.  We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal.  We’re close.

A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen.  It could happen soon.  But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies, because we’ve been hit very hard.  We’d have deficits for many years — go back many years — $500 billion a year.  Not million.  Five hundred million dollars a year is a lot.  Five hundred billion dollars a year in trade deficits with China.  And we have it with many other countries, just not nearly as large.  China probably makes up almost 60 percent of our deficits.

We also renegotiated the last administration’s failed trade agreement with South Korea.  It was a terrible agreement.  Our new agreement doubles the number of American cars that can be sold to South Korea under the U.S. standards, and it keeps America’s 25 percent import tax, known as the “chicken tax,” on small trucks, which was all ready to disappear.  It was going to disappear.

The deal from the previous administration was projected by them to add 250,000 jobs, and they were right.  It did add 250,000 jobs.  Unfortunately, the jobs went to South Korea, not to the United States.  That’s what we got stuck with.

We also struck a deal, which is historic, with Japan — it’s just partial because we’re having very tough negotiations and strong negotiations with Japan — to substantially reduce barriers for American agriculture and facilitate $40 billion in digital trade and agricultural purchases.  That deal was signed, and it’s a great deal but it’s only phase one of the Japan deal, too.

A lot of these leaders don’t like me too much, folks.  When you hear that I’m not so popular in various countries, please don’t accept that as, “Gee, he doesn’t have a good personality.”  Just realize what I’m trying to do for you.  It’s about time.  Okay?  Please.  (Applause.)

They recently came out with a poll that President Obama is much more popular in Germany than I am.  I said, “Guess what?  He should be.  He should be.”  (Laughter.)  The day I’m more popular than him, you know I’m not doing my job.  Let’s put it that way.  (Applause.)  Because we’re treated very badly by countries.  They take advantage of us, and they have for many, many years.  It’s hard to break that cycle.  But we’re breaking it and we’re getting along with them, believe it or not.  We’re actually — I think they respect us far more today than they ever have, if you want to know the truth.

We’re replacing one of the worst trade deals ever in history, NAFTA, with a brand-new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — a historic win for American farmers, energy producers, and manufacturers.  And the reason it’s such a good deal for us is, I said, “Listen, if you don’t sign this deal, we’re going to charge you tariffs on your product coming into the United States, including all of those cars that are now manufactured in Mexico.”  Thirty percent of our business was lost over the last 20 years.  It went to Mexico.  And I said, “So, if you don’t sign it — so it’s a good agreement, we’re going to just charge you tariffs.”  And they signed everything we wanted.

The USMCA will create up to half a million American jobs and add at least 1.2 percent more to our total GDP.  And it should be much higher than that.  Yet, Democrats in Washington would rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts — which are going absolutely nowhere; don’t worry about it — than pass the USMCA and deliver real stuff for the American workers.  It’s a great bill — USMCA.  And put pressure on the Democrats.  There’s tremendous pressure already.  And, most of them, if you had a vote today, I think most of them would actually vote for it.  But Nancy Pelosi — Nervous Nancy — has to put it out there and sign.  And if she doesn’t, she’s doing her party a tremendous disservice, and she’s doing this country a tremendous disservice.

As we create millions of new jobs, we are also transforming lives.  Under the last administration, nearly 1.8 million Americans in their prime-working years simply gave up — they gave up — looking for work altogether and dropped out of the labor force.  Under my administration, 2 million prime-age Americans have come off the sidelines already — people that we thought maybe would never work again — and they’ve fully rejoined the labor force.  Something we’re very proud of.  (Applause.)

And this includes a group that was having a hard time from the day of our Founders — the day they signed, these people have had a hard time.  They’re former inmates — people that went to jail — who are getting a fresh start thanks to the landmark criminal justice reform bill that I signed into law, but maybe equally so because the economy is so good.  They’re coming out of jail now and they’re getting jobs.

And I will tell you, the people that have been hiring them — and I get reports — they cannot believe how good they’ve been, and obviously, not in all cases.  But it’s incredible.  First time they’ve ever had an opportunity.  They get out of jail, and they end up with a great job.  And they cherish the job more than you would, more than I would.  They cherish — they can’t believe what happened to them.  And they’re doing a phenomenal job.  First time it’s ever happened in the history of our country.  It’s really terrific.  (Applause.)

When we say, “Hire American,” we mean hire all Americans.  By focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government, we’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers.  Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected.  That’s a tremendous number.  People were working two jobs, and three jobs, and making less money than they made 21 years ago.  That was the stat.

A record number of Americans are quitting the job that they have to take a job they like even better.  They like the job better.  They like getting up in the morning, like we all do.  They like going to work.  And they have something that they can do, and they’re getting paid more money for it, which is something that’s probably never happened before in this country to the extent it’s happened now.

This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about and all the things that I’m mentioning today.

Real weekly wages for the lowest-paid earners have grown more in the first three years of my administration than in the entire decade before my election — and decade and much more than that.

Since the election, real wages have gone up 3.2 percent for the median American worker.  But for the bottom income group, real wages are soaring — a number that’s never happened before — 9 percent.  And that means you might make a couple of bucks less in your companies.  You know what?  That’s okay.  That’s okay.  This is a great thing for our country when you talk about equality.  This is a great thing for our country.

Our tight labor market is helping them the most.  Yet, Democrats in Washington want to erase these gains through an extreme policy of open borders, flooding the labor market, and driving down incomes for the poorest Americans, and driving crime right through the roof.  They want nothing to do with looking at the people that are coming in.  And some very, very bad people are trying to get in.

But we’re building the wall.  It’s going up rapidly.  We have tremendous help from Mexico, despite what you read.  It was a terrible thing that you read over the last period of a few days, but also, over the last years.

But they have 27,000 soldiers on our border now protecting us from people coming into our country.  And because of that, I’m not tariffing Mexican goods.  So, it works out well for everyone.  But we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers.  And they play by different rules than our people.  If our people speak rudely to a person coming in, it means they get the electric chair.  It’s a very unfair situation.  Our border — our border is so — our laws are so bad — our immigration laws.  It’s so sad.

We have what’s called loopholes.  Many loopholes.  I could fix them in 15 minutes, but the Democrats don’t want to fix them, for two reasons: They don’t want to give us a win.  And, honestly, I think they maybe just don’t care.  And it would solve all of the problems and you wouldn’t need Mexico’s help.  But we want to thank Mexico.  We want to thank the President.

And I’ve likewise offered a lot of help because they have a tremendous problem with the cartels in their country — a problem like nobody would believe, where the cartels are almost ruling a country.  And I am offering to the President of Mexico the ultimate hand.  And he and I have a very good relationship, and let’s ultimately see what happens.  But those cartels are horrible — what they’re doing.  You see it every day.  All you have to do is turn on the news.

I want people to come to our country, but they must come in legally and they must come through a system of merit.

We now know all of our obligations.  Our moral obligation is to the American workers, and we’re committed to helping them climb that great ladder of success.  To equip them with the skills they need, we launched the Pledge to America’s Workers.  Three hundred and sixty-seven private sector partners are providing more than 14 million skills and career-training opportunities for U.S. workers.

And I have to say, I’m very proud of her.  My daughter Ivanka, that’s all she wants to talk about.  I say, “Ivanka, can we please talk about something else?”  “No, Dad.  I met today with Walmart.  They’re taking a million people.  I met…”  She is — she wants to make these people have great lives.  And when she started this two and a half years ago, her goal was 500,000 jobs.  She’s now created 14 million jobs and they’re being trained by these great companies — the greatest companies in the world.  Because the government can’t train them.  It’s a great thing.  (Applause.)

So, Jared is here and you’ll thank — you’ll thank Ivanka.  She’s done an amazing job.  Fourteen million from 500,000.  We’re at 14 million and going up.

Today, the world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and proud and prosperous America.  The world is a better place because of it also.

But everything that we have achieved is under threat from the left-wing ideology that demands absolute conformity, relentless regulation, and a top-down control of the entire U.S economy.

Far-left politicians in our nation’s Capitol want a massive government takeover of healthcare; they want to give government bureaucrats domination over every aspect of your business and your life; they want to eliminate American oil and natural gas; they want to enlist us in global projects designed to redistribute American wealth and kill American jobs all over our nation.

Washington’s Democrats and their radical agenda of socialism would demolish our economy, reinstate the avalanche of regulations that I have already ended, decimate the middle class, and totally bankrupt our nation.  As long as I’m President, America will never be a socialist country.  (Applause.)

We are reawakening the majestic spirit of enterprise and exploration, discovery, and all of the other things that we need to create that exceptional character that our nation is developing now more than at any time in the past.

We’re a nation of unbridled pioneers, and adventurers, and risk-takers.  We inherit the legacy of courageous, free, and independent souls who ventured across oceans, braved the wilderness, settled the frontiers, tamed the Wild West, and raised up towering cities of concrete, iron, and steel.

Our American ancestors produced miracles of science, lost — this is (inaudible) — lost so many lives, but launched revolutions in technology, created groundbreaking new industries, built the railroads that linked our cities, fashioned the skyscrapers that touched the clouds, and gave us the most prosperous nation to ever exist on the face of the Earth.

This is our American heritage.  This is who we are.  This is who we will forever be.

We believe in the dignity of work and the nobility of each and every American worker.  We believe the future is forged in the mind of the American inventor, the soul of the American craftsman, the heart of the American entrepreneur, and the faith of the American investor.  We know that there is nothing we cannot achieve as one team, one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

With everyone here today, and millions of patriots across our land, we are making America stronger, prouder, and greater than ever before.  And, ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

MS. VAN ALLEN:  Thank you, Mr. President, for your insights and the great work that you do, sir.

We’ll now move to the question-and-answer portion of our program.  Our two very able questioners today are Mr. John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation, and Mr. Mark Gallogly, Managing Principal of Centerbridge Partners.  Mr. Hess, you have the first question.

MR. HESS:  Mr. President, welcome back to New York.  Mr. President, you’ve been a tough negotiator to address unfair trading practices and ensure that U.S. businesses get fair treatment.  But there’s a growing consensus that the trade war has a cost and is weighing on our economic growth and capital spending.  As you know, capital spending in the United States, last year, was up 10 percent.  This year, it’s flat.

While you mentioned in your speech significant progress that has been made on several fronts, a number of industrial sectors have recently been hurt: manufacturing, automotive, and oil.  What are your plans to address these economic headwinds?

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Thank you, John.  They haven’t been hurt.  You know, they were totally down.  Now they are a little bit down because a little big, perhaps, the uncertainty of trade wars.  But there is no uncertainty.  We’re the bank that everyone wants to take from.  We’re the source that everybody needs and everybody wants all over the world.  The real cost, John, would be if we did nothing.  The cost of doing nothing was killing us, as a country — our national debt and so many other things.  But it was killing us.

So when I — when you say, “Gee, let’s just…” — because perhaps this is an assumption based on the question — “Gee, let’s just keep it the way it is with China,” that would be the real cost.  We can’t do that.

One of the things I was able to do with China: As an example — we’ve taken in — I mean, we’ll soon be up to $100 billion in tariffs.  And you haven’t seen inflation and you haven’t seen, in many cases, price increases.

Our farmers — because I have a very good relationship with our farmers — our great American farmers — I call them “patriots” — they were hurt very badly by China because China targeted them because they were my vote.  The whole middle of the country — it’s a beautiful thing to see, I will say.  But they targeted them.

And I said to Sonny Perdue, our Secretary of Agriculture, “Sonny, how much is it?”  And he said, “The year before last, it was $12 billion, and this year it’s $16 billion in orders.”  I said, “That’s okay, Sonny.  We’re going to give them $28 billion.  We’re going to take it right out of the tariffs.  And, hopefully, the farmers will say, “Thank you very much, China.”

And we spread — distributed, two years, $28 billion around to China — around from China, into our farmers and farms and ranchers and all of the people that were targeted.  So, I would say, in a rough manner, “by China.”  I would say in a very rough manner.  And now China is coming back.  And as you know, they’re already starting big buys — very big buys.  And the farmers are very happy.

The incredible thing with the farmers is they don’t want a subsidy, they don’t want a handout.  But in this case, I thought it was something that I wanted to do, and I was able to do it — $28 billion.  And after that, we had tremendous amounts of the billions left over that we could use.  Actually, we could use it for tax reductions.  We could distribute it to people.

And again, if we don’t make a deal with China — look, I had a deal.  We had a deal.  This gentleman can tell you, we were so close to a deal.  The hard points were negotiated: opening up China, intellectual property, all sorts of tremendous penalties.

And then, one day, we get a call — seven months ago, we get a call, they’d like to see us.  And we saw them, and they explained why they can’t do three or four things that were already agreed to.  And I said, “Okay.  Hey, look, I’m in the real estate business in New York.  I’ve heard that before.”  (Laughter.)  Sadly.  It wasn’t like, “Oh, gee, I’m so shocked.”  But I was a little surprised.  You know, it’s China.  They’re not supposed to do that.  But they did.  And I’ll tell you what: I’ll bet you they wished they didn’t do it.

Then I put on 25 percent tariffs on everything coming in — on the first $250 billion of product.  It’s going to 15 percent very soon.  And I tell this to Larry, I tell it to everybody: If we don’t make a deal, we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs.  They’re going to be raised very substantially.

And that’s going to be true for other countries that mistreat us too, because we’ve been mistreated by so many countries.  It’s hard to believe.  There are a few that haven’t mistreated us.  And, you know, I can’t blame them, if you can get away with it.  This is why I blame our past leadership.  I don’t know how it’s gotten this way.  So, we’ll have a trade deficit of — over the last, you know, long period of time, close to $800 billion.  Whoever heard of this?  Eight hundred billion dollars of trade deficit.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

So, we’re changing it rapidly.  It takes a while.  You have statutory constraint.  You have — in some cases, you take it to one phase, and then you have to, by law, wait six months before you can go to phase two, and phase three, and phase four.  But we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress.  And we are respected on — on many fronts.

We rebuilt our military, John, which is very important.  You know, we can all talk about trade, we can all talk about judges, we can all talk about everything we’re doing.  But if we don’t have a military in this world today — you saw what we did with al-Baghdadi last week.  And we have the greatest military force on Earth.  It was depleted when I took over.  We have to spend money on the military, otherwise — you know, it’s wonderful to have budgets, but if we don’t rebuild our military — and we have rebuilt it: $700 billion; $716 billion, the second year; and $738 billion this year.  And our military will be at a level that nobody can even come close to competing with.

And that’s where we have to be.  We had a military that was so depleted, so bad.  The planes were so old; many of them didn’t fly.  I could tell you stories about ammunition.  They didn’t have ammunition.  We had a real problem.  Well, we have to do that; otherwise, everything we talk about doesn’t matter because we have some very big, very powerful players.

I’m not talking about radical Islam; I’m talking about beyond radical Islam.  We have to look at the even bigger picture.  But we handle radical Islamic terrorism.  In addition, we wiped out ISIS, and now we’d like to bring our people back home.  We kept the oil.  You know, we kept the oil.  (Applause.)   We want to bring our people back home.  (Applause.)

When I took over, three years ago, ISIS was all over various parts of the Middle East.  I’d show you a map.  It was put as a certain color, and that color was very predominant.  And now that color doesn’t exist.  Now, you’re going to have offshoots, and they’ll start building up again.  And it would be nice if other countries could handle it, but maybe they won’t.  But we’ve decimated ISIS and captured many.  But we’ve decimated ISIS, and we’re going to have to keep it that way.  That’s why we got the leader, al-Baghdadi, who, when you saw those orange jumpsuits with the cutting off of the heads standing on the beach — many young men, in this case — that was all Baghdadi.

And we also got his second.  They had just taken a man.  He just became second.  Well, he got it, too.  And guess what?  We have our eye on his third.  His third has got a lot of problems because we know where he is, too.  (Laughter.)  So we have to keep it that way; otherwise, we’re going to continue to have problems.

You look at what’s happened in Europe.  I mean, what’s going on in Europe is very sad when you look at what’s taken place in Europe.  So, they have to be able to straighten out their own problems.  But, John, we’ve rebuilt our military.

Our manufacturing is coming back at a very, very strong pitch.  It’s a little bit down from where it was last year.  But last year, we’re doing record numbers.  It’s coming back very, very powerfully.  And our country is really strong.  And I think one of the things that we can all talk about is the $10,000 per consumer, per person.  But per consumer.  When you look at that, I think, really, we’re going to go forward because our consumer is so strong, and never been strong like this.  So we’re in great shape for the future.  Thank you, John.

MR. HESS:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

MR. GALLOGLY:  Mr. President, all the folks in the room are business leaders.  Business works hard to think through and mitigate risk.  How do you think about risk as it relates to trade policy and to, really, big issues like climate change?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know, climate change is a very complex issue.  I consider myself to be, in many ways, an environmentalist, believe it or not.  When I build buildings, I did the best environmental impact statements.  I was — you know, I know the game better than anybody.  And I used to go and see my consultants that I was paying a lot of money — environmental consultants.  They’d be up in Albany.  And I’d say, “What are they doing up here?”  Well, they were trying to make it more difficult so we’d have to hire them and pay them even more money than we were paying them now.  And I know what it is.

But to me, it’s clean air and crystal-clean, clear water. And we have now the cleanest air we’ve ever had in our country, meaning, over the last 40 years.  I guess, 200 years ago was cleaner, but there was nothing around.  Right?  I’m not sure that it was much cleaner, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  But I want clean air.  I want clean water, environmentally.

If you take a look, we discussed the Paris Climate Accord.  That would just put us out of business.  We’re sending money all over.  We’re doing things that are unnecessary.  It would’ve been a catastrophe.

So I want — I’m very much into climate.  But I want the cleanest air on the planet and I want to have — I have to have clean air — water.  And, you know, when people ask the question — your part of the question about climate — I always say: You know, I have a little problem.  We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States.  And you compare that to some of the other countries like China, like India, like Russia, like many other countries that absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they’re dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way.  Isn’t amazing it ends up in Los Angeles?  (Laughter.)  Oh, what a — what a mess that is.

But when you see this happening, it’s — nobody wants to talk about it.  They want to talk about our country.  We have to do this.  We have can’t have planes any longer.  We can’t have cows any longer.  We can’t have anything.  I said, “What about China?”  I don’t think they’re going to subscribe to a poor student coming up with 12 — you know, I actually heard the other day, some pretty good politician.  I’ve seen him around for a long time.  Nice white hair.  Everything is like central casting.  You could put the guy in a movie.

He was talking.  I don’t know if he believes this — but he was a Democrat — he said, “We have 11 years.”  It’s the first time I’ve heard it; I heard 12.  But now, see, it’s been a year, so now they think we have 11 years to live.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know, folks.  I think these people have gone totally loco.  (Laughter.)

But we are — you know, they will kill our industry.  They don’t want oil.  I mean, go to Texas.  Tell Texas there will be no more drilling, there will be no more oil and gas.  We’ll put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.  We won’t fuel our factories.  And now you’re talking about millions and millions of people, and you’re talking about a country that couldn’t even exist.

These people — I almost don’t know.  Is this politics?  Because I think it’s bad politics.  I think it’s bad politics.  But we have to be very careful.  And, you know, recently I walked into a meeting and I was with a group of people that I’ve, you know, generally I didn’t like.  I never liked them. It’s a certain group of people.  I have my likes and dislikes, and my — (laughter) —

And I walked into a room.  There are a couple of hundred people — very substantial people.  And I said, “Listen, I don’t have to make a long speech.  Here’s the story: I don’t like you. You don’t like me.  You have no choice but to vote for me.  And you will do whatever you have to do.”  And they said, “Yes, sir. We will.  We will.  We think you’re doing a great job.”

The truth is, look, you have no choice, because the people we’re running against are crazy.  (Laughter.)  They’re crazy.  (Applause.)

And I have to say this: I don’t think there is that much.  I think the biggest risk is the election, I’ll be honest.  I think the biggest risk — because I actually believe some of these people mean what they say.  I really believe that.  And it’s just not — it’s just not acceptable.  We have a very important election coming up.  I think we’re going to do very well.  I think we’re going to win it.  I think we’re going to win it, hopefully, easily.  But it doesn’t matter as long as we win it by a vote.

But it’s going to be something very important for all of you.  I have to say, I have great respect for what all of you have done.  I know so many of you.  And we want to keep it going that way.  Our country is strong.  Our country is great.  Our economy is probably the best it’s ever been.  And we want to keep it that way.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-economic-club-new-york-new-york-ny/

 

 

Economic Club of New York

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Economic Club of New York
Economic Club of New York Logo.jpg
Formation 1907
Founder J. W. Beatson
Purpose Study and discussion of social, economic and political questions
Headquarters New YorkNY
Chairman
Marie-Josée Kravis
President
Barbara M. Van Allen
Website www.econclubny.org

The Economic Club of New York is a U.S. nonprofit and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to promoting the study and discussion of social, economic and political questions.

 

History

The Economic Club of New York was founded in 1907 by J. W. Beatson, Secretary of the National Economic League in Boston, and four business leaders from New York City. Its founders sought to follow the successful example of the Economic Clubs of Boston, Providence, Worcester, Portland, Springfield, and New Haven with the aim of bringing business people and others together for discussions of economic, social and other public issues in a non-partisan forum.[1] For many years, the Economic Club of New York was affiliated with the League for Political Education; their first president Robert Erskine Ely was also director of the League.[2]

Operation

The main activity of the Economic Club of New York is to regularly host prestigious guest speakers at its member (and their guests)-only dinners and luncheons. However, these presentations are open to the news media to help foster public discussion of issues important to the general public as well those in business and public life. These speaker programs are the focal point of large dinner meetings, or occasionally luncheons, in the ballroom of a major hotel in Manhattan. The format is geared to serious discussion. There is no entertainment, no presentations, and no extraneous business. The focus is on the Guest of Honor and the speaking program. As defined by the Club’s founders, the issues for discussion were ones of “live and practical interest” and speakers were to be of national reputation.[3]

Speakers

The Club has been host to more than 1,200 speakers and the stature, caliber, and variety of speakers has become a guiding principle. The audiences have heard from current, and past presidents of the United States including Woodrow WilsonWilliam H. TaftHerbert HooverDwight D. EisenhowerJohn F. KennedyRichard NixonRonald ReaganGeorge H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Among the many distinguished foreign leaders to address the Club have been Winston ChurchillMikhail GorbachevIndira GandhiMargaret ThatcherYitzak RabinCorizon Aquino, and Zhu Rongji.[4]

Other Guests of Honor have included central bankers, justices of the Supreme Court, secretaries general of the United Nations, governors and heads of international business enterprises, as well as many key cabinet members, military leaders, ambassadors, and scientists.[4]

Presentations are followed by a questions period in which Club members, selected in advance and seated on the dais, will query the speaker. There are no constraints placed on what speakers may say during their presentation. Questioners are not constrained either.

Club speakers often use the platform to put forth their agendas to members and the media. On December 14, 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy made his famous remarks calling for a sharp cut in tax rates and reform of the tax system in order to grow the economy. In part, he said:

In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.[5]

Honor Roll of Speakers hide
Over the years, the Club has been host to over 1,000 prominent leaders and figures on the national and international stage.A partial listing from their honor roll of speakers follows:[6]
King Abdullah, III Dag Hammarskjold George A. Papandreou
Dean Acheson Phillip Hammond George Pataki
Giovanni Agnelli Stephen Harper Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Corazon C. Aquino W. Averell Harriman Peter G. Peterson
Sheila C. Bair William Randolph Hearst General (Ret) David H. Petraeus
James A. Baker, III Felipe Calderon Hinojosa Harvey L. Pitt
Steve Ballmer Reid Hoffman Karl Otto Pohl
Menachem Begin Herbert C. Hoover Ruth Porat
Lloyd Bentsen Charles Evans Hughes Ian Read
Ben S. Bernanke Edward Hyman Ronald Reagan
Jeff Bezos Jeffrey R. Immelt Donald Regan
Lloyd Blankfein Robert Kaplan Walter P. Reuther
Alan S. Blinder Margaret Keane Condoleezza Rice
Michael R. Bloomberg Anthony M. Kennedy Elliot L. Richardson
Roger Blough John F. Kennedy Edward V. Rickenbacker
John A. Boehner Robert F. Kennedy David Rockefeller
Clare Boothe Li Keqiang John D. Rockefeller, III
Erskine Bowles Nikita S. Khrushchev Nelson Rockefeller
Bill Bradley Mervyn A. King Ginni Rometty
Lael Brainard Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick Zhu Rongji
Louis D. Brandeis Henry Kissinger Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
William Jennings Bryan Edward I. Koch Robert E. Rubin
Zbigniew Brzezinski Lawrence Kudlow David M. Rubenstein
James L. Buckley Christine Lagarde Dean Rusk
Warren E. Burger Fiorello H. LaGuardia Paul Ryan
George H.W. Bush Melvin Laird Anwar Sadat
George W. Bush Arthur Levitt Carlos Salinas de Gortari
Nicholas Murray Butler Jacob J. Lew Paul Sarbanes
Michel Camdessus Walter Lippman Antonin Scalia
Fernando Henrique Cardoso Henry R. Luce Mary L. Schapiro
Andrew Carnegie Jack Ma Eric Schmidt
Mark J. Carney John Major Dan Schulman
Robert J. Carr David Malpass Brent Scowcroft
Jimmy Carter Paul Martin William W. Scranton
Stephen Case William McChesney Martin, Jr. Yitzhak Shamir
William J. Casey Larry Merlo Masaaki Shirakawa
Richard B. Cheney William G. McAdoo George Shultz
Brian Chesky John McCain Ben Silbermann
Jacques Chirac William J. McDonough Adam Silver
Jean Chretien Doug McMillon Alan Simpson
Winston Churchill Robert S. McNamara Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
Mark Clark Anastas Mikoyan Jan Smets
Lucius D. Clay G. William Miller John W. Snow
William Colby Francois Mitterrand John W. Snyder
John B. Connally Walter Mondale Gene B. Sperling
Felipe Calderon Henry Morgenthau Herbert Stein
Jay Clayton Daniel Patrick Moynihan George M. Steinbrenner
Hillary Clinton Robert S. Mueller, III Randall Stephenson
Charlie Cook Brian Mulroney Robert S. Strauss
Michael Corbat Edmund S. Muskie Lawrence H. Summers
Francesco Cossigna Richard B. Myers William H. Taft
Christopher Cox Satya Nadella John A. Thain
Mario Cuomo Richard E. Neal U Thant
Carlos Salinas de Gortari B.K. Nehru Margaret Thatcher
Douglas Dillon Adam Neumann Peter Thiel
Jamie Dimon Enrique Peña Nieto Craig Thompson
Barry Diller Richard Nixon Hans Tietmeyer
Elizabeth Dole Paul H. O’Neill Juan T. Trippe
Valdis Dombrovskis Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Jean-Claude Trichet
Robert J. Dole Michael Oxley Pierre Elliott Trudeau
William H. Donaldson Justin P.J. Trudeau
Alec Douglas-Home Donald Trump
Mario Draghi C. H. Tung
William C. Dudley Stansfield Turner
Willem F. Duisenberg Peter V. Uberroth
John Foster Dulles Paul A. Volcker
Dwight D. Eisenhower Caspar Weinberger
Ludwig Erhard Mary Jo White
David Farr Christine Todd Whitman
Martin S. Feldstein John C. Williams
Gerald R. Ford Wendell L. Willkie
Henry H. Fowler Harold Wilson
Stuart Fraser Woodrow Wilson
Kenneth C. Frazier James D. Wolfensohn
J. William Fulbright Gao Xi-Qing
Indira Gandhi Janet L. Yellen
Timothy F. Geithner Lee Kuan Yew
Newt Gingrich Ernesto Zedillo
Rudolph Giuliani
Arthur J. Goldberg
Barry Goldwater
Mikhail Gorbachev
Roger Goodell
J. Peter Grace
Phil Gramm
Alan Greenspan

Chairmen

The Chairman of the Board is the chief executive officer of the Club and presides at meetings of the Club and the Board, and has general charge of the business and affairs of the Club. The first chairman was A. Barton Hepburn, who served from 1907 to 1909. Hepburn was U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1892 to 1893 and later president of the Chase National Bank. Other notable chairmen included: Wendell L. Willkie (1938 to 1940), the Republican Party nominee for president in 1940; radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff (1940-1942); James P. Warburg (1934 to 1936), financial advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Rand V. Araskog (1987 to 1990), former CEO of ITT Corp.; Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (1979 to 1980), former CEO and President of Pfizer, Inc. for whom the Duke University engineering school is named and Barbara H. Franklin (2003-2007), one of the first women graduates of Harvard Business School. She also served as s United States Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. BushWilliam C. Dudley, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, served as chair from 2010-2016. The immediate past Chair is Terry J. Lundgren, retired President and Chairman of Macys, Inc.[7] The current chair is Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Presidents

The president is the chief operating officer of the Club. The Club has had only six presidents since its founding over a century ago. They were: Robert Erskine ElyEdwin A. Locke, Jr.Raymond K. Price, Jr.;[8] Paul W. Bateman;[9] Jan Hopkins, and the current President, Barbara M. Van Allen.[10]

Barbara Van Allen is the current President of the Economic Club of New York. Immediately prior to becoming President, she ran her own boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder outreach and government affairs. Over the course of her career, she served in senior leadership roles with award-winning results in the non-profit, trade association, corporate and government sectors based in New York, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.

While working in Washington, DC she served as senior director of communications and stakeholder relations for an association representing the audit profession (CAQ); as senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Mortgage Bankers Association, and as chief marketing officer for SourceAmerica.

Earlier in her career she served in senior management positions in New York with ITT Corporation and Cushman & Wakefield. She began her career on Capitol Hill where she rose to become senior legislative adviser to former Rep. Beverly B. Byron of Maryland while attending graduate school at night.

Ms. Van Allen graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She holds an MBA in marketing from New York University and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University. Ms. Van Allen has served on various nonprofit boards and committees in New York City and Washington, DC and currently serves on the Governing Board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Anacostia, Washington, DC. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She and her husband Peter C. Van Allen have two children, Caroline K. Van Allen and Peter C. Van Allen Jr.

References

External links

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

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Economics

Just over a month remains before the United States is scheduled to impose a new round of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. On Dec. 15, Washington is expected to slap a 15% duty on a wide variety of consumer goods, including footwear, apparel and other accessories.

As such, businesses, investors and consumers have been keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s speech today at the Economic Club of New York, where he addressed trade relations with foreign countries, as well as providing an update on the ongoing trade war with China and whether a “phase one” deal could soon put an end to tit-for-tat tariffs.

Here, FN rounds up the five takeaways from Trump’s much-anticipated speech.

On the “phase one” trade deal with China:

“My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for. We’re not paying; China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent, and they’re poring tremendous amounts of cash into their system. They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century. Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make the deal. We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal. We’re close. A significant ‘phase one’ trade deal with China could happen. [It] could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies because we’ve been hit very hard.”

On moving production back to the U.S.:

“As president, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition. We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry growth and prosperity. Factories and businesses will always find a home. It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country or right here in our country, our beloved USA — and that’s where we want them to stay and be and move to. If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft or start a business. We want companies to move to America, stay in America and hire American workers. My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete and to win.”

On the state of the U.S. job market:

“When we say hire American, we mean hire all Americans by focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government. We’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers. Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected — that’s a tremendous number. People were working two jobs and three jobs and making less money than they made 21 years ago — that was the stat. A record number of Americans are quitting the job they had to take the job they like even better … This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers, who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about.”

On the U.S.’s trade relationship with other countries:

“Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers. Impossible and, I’ll be honest, the European Union [is] very, very difficult. The barriers are terrible. Terrible. In many ways, worse than China. We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply what’s good for them is good for us. They wanna judge us, we judge them — it’s a very simple thing. … It’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries. There are certain countries where the average tariff is 100%, and we charge them nothing. And then they call it fair trade. That’s not fair trade. That’s stupid trade.”

On the broader U.S. economy:

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin. We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on [the] American industry and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before. … Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals and an economic policy that put America’s interest last — and a very deep last at that. I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.”

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Trump Puts Economic Growth at Center of His 2020 Campaign

 Updated on 
  • President has built his case for re-election around economy
  • Repeats criticism of Fed for not cutting rates more quickly
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump laid out the central pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday, telling the Economic Club of New York that his policies have generated a boom in growth and jobs.

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin,” Trump told guests at the New York Hilton.

The president’s remarks were closely watched on Wall Street for any signals about the future of the U.S. economy, including prospects for a limited trade agreement with China or any indication he’s worried about a slowdown. Trump routinely touts his handling of the economy, which he says is enjoying its fifth year of uninterrupted expansion and near record-low unemployment thanks to his trade, tax and deregulation policies.

Trump laced his speech with criticism of “far left” and “radical” Democrats, whose policies he said would bankrupt the nation and hurt the middle class. He criticized the opposition party’s proposals on energy and climate change.

“You have no choice because the people we are running against are crazy,” Trump said.

Trump said he reversed policies imposed by his predecessors that restrained the economy. He faulted regulations and trade deals advanced by other presidents and said the “political class sold out American workers.”

The economy expanded at a 1.9% pace in the third quarter and unemployment is close to its lowest in a half-century, government data showed last week. While manufacturing has been hurt by the U.S.-China trade war, consumers continue to spend in a sign voters are still confident about the economy. A Bloomberg Economics model sees the chances of an election-year recession at just 26%.

The president said China is “dying” to make a trade deal with the U.S. and the first step of a broader agreement is close to being completed. “We’re close — a significant phase one deal could happen, could happen soon,” he said.

Trump said he’s not popular in some countries because he’s a tough negotiator on trade.

“Just realize what I’m trying to do for you,” he said. “It’s about time.”

The president took credit for the 2017 GOP tax cuts that Democrats said benefited the wealthiest Americans. “At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his criticism of the Federal Reserve, which he has repeatedly blasted for not cutting interest rates sooner and more drastically.

When Trump got only a smattering of applause after praising negative interest rates in other countries, the president said: “Thank you, thank you — only the smart people are clapping.”

Trump also said that India and China were taking advantage of the U.S. by being designated developing countries.

“We’re a developing country, too,” Trump said.

Trump has frequently pointed to indicators including unemployment and stock-market highs to argue that he should not be impeached. The House will begin public hearings Wednesday in its probe of Trump’s effort to force Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals.

“How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 28.

Trump said his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement boosted the U.S. economy. He called the pact unfair to the U.S. “Trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction to our economy would have been done,” he said.

U.S. presidents and policy makers are regular speakers at the Economic Club, which draws its membership from major corporations, banks and investment companies, academia and other prominent nonprofits.

In a March 2008 speech to the group, President George W. Bush attempted to calm investors on the brink of the financial crisis by touting an emergency loan for Bear Stearns Cos. The investment bank ultimately collapsed and was sold to JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Markets have recently see-sawed in response to mixed messages from Washington and Beijing over how much tariffs would be lowered as part of a so-called “phase one” trade deal between the countries.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter that unspecified reports about the U.S.’s willingness to lift tariffs were “incorrect,” but added that talks with China are progressing “very nicely” and that leaders in Beijing want a deal “much more than I do.”

— With assistance by Katia Dmitrieva

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-12/trump-puts-economic-growth-at-center-of-his-2020-re-election-bid

 

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

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Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019See the source imageOpinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists04-no-justice-hearing-li-600.jpg (600×429)See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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

See the source image

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

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

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

President Trump answers questions about Syria, Turkey

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

Turkish forces clash with Kurdish fighters in Syria – BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Armenian Genocide?

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

Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkey-backed rebels capture city from Kurdish control

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

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

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

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

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

Mortar shells land on Turkish side of border with Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkey-backed Syrian forces continue Syrian Kurdish fighters assault

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Erdogan just kept going.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Attorney General William Barr – Notre Dame Speech

Why Has the West Been So Successful?

1. I Am the Lord Your God

2. No Other Gods

Religious Tolerance: Made in America

Were the Founders Religious?

Was America Founded to Be Secular?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

America’s Biggest Issues: Religious Freedom

The Left Ruins Everything

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Jordan Peterson on the Belief in God

Who Dares Say He Believes in God?

On Claiming Belief In God: Discussion with Dennis Prager

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

Donald Trump makes speech to the UN general assembly

The Blaine Amendments: State Constitutions & School Choice

Blaine Amendments and “Sectarian” explained

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down the Blaine Amendment?

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

South Bend, IN

~

Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

– The Washington Times – Thursday, October 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For defending religious liberty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom of religion

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muslim world

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Europe

Religious intolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early steps and attempts in the way of tolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early laws and legal guarantees for religious freedom

Principality of Transylvania

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

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

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

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

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

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

Habsburg rule in Transylvania

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

Netherlands

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

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

Poland

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

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

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

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

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

International

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

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

Contemporary debates

Theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs

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

Secular liberalism

A man posing for a print

Adam Smith argued in favour of freedom of religion.

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

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

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

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

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

Hinduism

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

Judaism

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

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

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

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

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

Christianity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apostasy in Islam

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

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

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

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

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

Secular law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children’s rights

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

International Religious Freedom Day

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

Modern concerns

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

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

Social hostilities and government restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also

References…

Further reading

External links

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

Blaine Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Contents

Proposed federal amendment

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

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

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

The proposed text was:

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

Amendments to state constitutions

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

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

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

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

See also

Notes

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

Further reading

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

External links

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

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

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1335, October 7, 2019, Story 1: United States and North Korea Talks Broken Down For Now — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Bring The Troops Home from Syria — Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Videos

Posted on October 13, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Eating, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, Obesity, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump Will Bring The U.S. Troops Home from Northeastern Syria — Neocon Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Trump Ending the Endless Intervention in The Middle East — Long Overdue — Videos

Graham compares Trump to Obama, calls his strategy a ‘big win for ISIS’

Republicans slam Trump over withdrawal of troops from Syria

Trump issues dire warning to Turkey over Syria invasion

Trump’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria may fail: Analyst

US presence in northeast Syria amid Turkey threat

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

The challenge for US with Russia in Syria

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Here’s why the Russian Orthodox Church is deeply connected to the Syrian War

Top two lawmakers blast Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria

by Reuters
Monday, 7 October 2019 18:06 GMT

The top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Monday condemned the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, which critics fear could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area.

“This decision poses a dire threat to regional security and stability, and sends a dangerous message to Iran and Russia, as well as our allies, that the United States is no longer a trusted partner,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement calling on Trump to “reverse this dangerous decision.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.” (Reporting by Makini Brice, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert)

Trump sends strong, conflicting signals on Syria, Turkey

By LITA C. BALDOR, MATTHEW LEE and ROBERT BURNS28 minutes ago

FILE – In this Wednesday, July 11, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as they arrive together for a family photo at a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The White House says Turkey will soon invade Northern Syria, casting uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. against in a campaign against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing unusually wide criticism, President Donald Trump sent out strong but conflicting signals on the “endless war” in Syria and Middle East on Monday. He declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Kurds who have fought alongside Americans for years but then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with U.S. troops. Trump’s decision appeared to be the latest example of an approach to foreign policy that critics condemn as impulsive, that is sometimes reversed and frequently is untethered to the advice of his national security aides.

Pentagon and State Department officials held out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and Turkey had reached an apparent accommodation of Turkish concerns about the presence of Kurdish fighters, seen in Turkey as a threat. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border. As part of that work, barriers designed to defend the Kurds were dismantled amid assurances that Turkey would not invade.

 

Youtube video thumbnail

Graham said Turkey’s NATO membership should be suspended if it attacks into northeastern Turkey, potentially annihilating Kurdish fighters who acted as a U.S. proxy army in a five-year fight to eliminate the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate. Graham, who had talked Trump out of a withdrawal from Syria last December, said letting Turkey invade would be a mistake of historic proportion.

“It’s going to lead to ISIS reemergence,” he told Fox News.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat the Islamic State. Trump entered the White House in 2017 intent on getting out of Syria, and even before the counter-IS military campaign reclaimed the last militant strongholds early this year, he declared victory and said troops would leave.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill to the late Sunday night announcement prompted Trump to recast his decision but with renewed bombast, portraying it as a threat to strangle Turkey if it carries out its announced intent to invade.

Officials suggested that Trump’s threats against Turkey on Monday morning were reactions to the overwhelming criticism of his earlier announcement that the U.S. would withdraw troops and get them out of the way of the Turkish forces. That announcement came after Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One official described a botched effort by the White House on Sunday night, putting out a statement that appeared aimed at making Trump look bold for ending a war. The official said attempts by the Pentagon and State Department to make the statement stronger in its opposition to Turkey’s military action were unsuccessful. But in what the official described as a “exercise in damage control” Monday morning, the Pentagon made it clear to the Turkish military that “there will be a major break in relations if you do this.”

The official added that Erdogan appeared to be reconsidering his earlier resolve because he was relatively quiet Monday. But the official cautioned that even if pressure from the U.S. and Europe succeeds in getting Erdogan to back down, the damage done to relations with the Kurds may be irreparable.

An official familiar with the Erdogan call said the Turkish president was “ranting” at Trump, saying the safe zone was not working and that Turkey couldn’t trust the U.S. military to do what was needed. And in reaction, Trump said the U.S. wanted no part of an invasion and would withdraw troops.

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into U.S. relations with European allies. A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity on a sensitive topic, said France wasn’t informed ahead of time. A Foreign Ministry statement warned Turkey to avoid any action that would harm the international coalition against the Islamic State and noted the Kurds had been essential allies, but entirely omitted any mention of the United States.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the U.S. action, telling reporters that Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the U.S. was still trying to discourage it. Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.

Among the first to leave were about 30 U.S. troops from two outposts who would be in the immediate area of a Turkish invasion. It’s unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 U.S. forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there is no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a major boost to Russia’s position there.

He added that other allies in the region, including the Kurds, will “look at this withdrawal as U.S. unwillingness to stand up for its rights and maintain its alliances in the region.”

Trump’s move came at a pivotal moment of his presidency. House Democrats are marching forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking negative information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, from foreign countries.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said early Monday on “Fox & Friends” that he had not been briefed by the president about the decision and he had concerns.

“I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us,” he said, adding that, “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”

Former Trump administration officials also expressed alarm.

Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. “must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. … Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

___

With contributions from Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Lori Hinnant in Paris.

https://apnews.com/ac3115b4eb564288a03a5b8be868d2e5

American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War

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American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Part of the military intervention against ISIL (Operation Inherent Resolve),
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Secretary Kerry Shakes Hands With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Before Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on Syria (21785218013).jpgKurdish YPG Fighter (22806739779).jpg
Top: Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on SyriaBottom: Kurdish YPJ soldier
Date 22 September 2014 – present
(5 years, 2 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Result Ongoing operations

Belligerents
Coalition of foreign countries
Seal of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.svg CJTF–OIR
Air war and ground forces

Airstrikes only

Local ground forces
Flag of Syrian Democratic Forces.svg Syrian Democratic Forces

Limited involvement’
Iraqi Kurdistan

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]
[16][17][18]


 al-Qaeda

 Turkistan Islamic Party[29]


 Ahrar al-Sham (Nov. 2014 airstrikes, intentionality disputed)[30][31]

 Syrian Arab Republic (limited 2017–2018 strikes)[32]
Iran (limited aircraft shoot downs)[33][34]
Supported by:
Russia
Commanders and leaders
United States Donald Trump(since 20 January 2017)
United States Barack Obama(until 20 January 2017)
United States Chuck Hagel (until 2015)
United States Ashton Carter (until 2017)
United States James Mattis (until 2019)
United States Patrick M. Shanahan (since 2019)
United States Gen. Lloyd Austin
United States Gen. James L. Terry
United States Gen. Joseph Votel
United States Gen.Stephen J. Townsend
United States Gen. Paul E. Funk II
DenmarkLars Løkke Rasmussen
Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Netherlands Mark Rutte
United KingdomBoris Johnson(since 24 July 2019)
United KingdomTheresa May(13 July 2016 – 24 July 2019)
United KingdomDavid Cameron(until 13 July 2016)
United Kingdom Stephen Hillier
Australia Tony Abbott
Australia Malcolm Turnbull
Australia Trevor Jones
Australia David Johnston
France Emmanuel Macron (since 14 May 2017)
France François Hollande (until 14 May 2017)
France Jean-Yves Le Drian
France Pierre de Villiers
Germany Angela Merkel
Germany Ursula von der Leyen
Germany Volker Wieker
Jordan King Abdullah II
Jordan Abdullah Ensour
Saudi Arabia King Salman
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Al Saud (Died 2015)
Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
Morocco King Mohammed VI
Morocco Abdelilah Benkirane
Morocco Bouchaib Arroub
United Arab Emirates Khalifa Al Nahyan
Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Qatar Tamim Al Thani
Qatar Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah
Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Salih Muslim Muhammad
Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani
Canada Stephen Harper (until November 2015)
Canada Justin Trudeau (until February 2016)
Canada Thomas J. Lawson (until February 2016)Canada Yvan Blondin (until February 2016)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader)[41]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri 
(Deputy Leader of ISIL)[42][43]
 Abu Mohammad al-Adnani  (Spokesperson)
 Abu Ayman al-Iraqi  (Head of Military Shura)[44][45]
 Abu Suleiman  (Replacement Military Chief)[45]
 Abu Ali al-Anbari  (Deputy, Syria)
 Akram Qirbash 
(Top ISIL judge)[43]
 Abu Omar al-Shishani  (Chief commander in Syria) [46][47][48][49]
 Abu Sayyaf  (Senior ISIL economic manager)[50]
 Abu Khattab al-Kurdi  (Commander of the assault on Kobanî)[51][52]


 Abu Khayr al-Masri  (al-Qaeda deputy leader)[53][54]
 Abu Jaber Shaykh (Emir of Tahrir al-Sham, 2017–present)
 Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Leader of the al-Nusra Front)
 Abu Humam al-Shami (al-Nusra Military Chief)[55]
 Abu Hajer al-Homsi  (top al-Nusra military commander)[56]
 Abu Firas al-Suri  (al-Nusra Spokesman)[57][58]
 Abu Muhammed al Ansari 
(al-Nusra Emir of the Idlib Province)
 Ahmad Salama Mabruk  (al-Nusra senior commander)[59]
 Muhsin al-Fadhli  (Leader of Khorasan)[60][61][62]
 Sanafi al-Nasr [63]
 David Drugeon [61][64]
Flag of Jund al-Aqsa.svg Said Arif  (Jund al-Aqsa Military Chief)[26]
 Abu Omar al-Turkistani  (TIP and al-Nusra military commander)[29]


 Abu Jaber Shaykh (2014–2015)[65][66]

 Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (2015–2017)[67]

Syria Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria)
Strength
Coalition forces: Coalition forces-air

Coalition forces-ground


Local forces

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:


al-Qaeda:


Ahrar al-Sham:

Syrian Arab Republic:

Casualties and losses
United States United States:
8 servicemen killed (5 non-hostile)[108][109][110]
2 government contractors killed
F-16 crashed[111]
V-22 Osprey crashed[112]
drones lost[113][114]
Jordan Jordan:
serviceman executed[115]
1 F-16 crashed[116]
United Kingdom United Kingdom:
1 serviceman killed (non hostile)[117]
SAS operators wounded[118]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:
At least 9,145 killed [119]
(per SOHR)


 al-Qaeda:

 Jaysh al-Sunna:
10 killed (per SOHR)[119]


 Ahrar al-Sham:

3 killed (per SOHR)[119][121][122]

 Syrian Arab Republic:
169 soldiers and militiamen killed (per SOHR)[119]
15-100+ Russian mercenaries killed[123][124][125]
4 tanks destroyed[126]
11+ aircraft destroyed[127][128]
SAM batteries destroyed[129]Iran 2 armed drones shot down
4,036 civilians killed by Coalition airstrikes in Syria (Per Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)[119]
[130] 5,900+ civilians killed by ISIL in Syria [131]
Over 420,000 civilians displaced or fled to other countries[132][133]
Number of militants killed possibly higher, due to them covering up their losses.[134]

The American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War refers to the United States-led support of Syrian opposition and the Federation of Northern Syria during the course of the Syrian Civil War and active military involvement led by the United States and its allies — the militaries of the United KingdomFranceJordanTurkeyCanadaAustralia and more — against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front since 2014. Since early 2017, the U.S. and other Coalition partners have also targeted the Syrian government and its allies via airstrikes and aircraft shoot-downs.

During the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, the U.S. initially supplied the rebels of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid—including food rations and pickup trucks—but quickly began providing training, money, and intelligence to selected Syrian rebel commanders. At least two U.S. programs attempted to assist the Syrian rebels. One was a 2014 Pentagon program that planned to train and equip 15,000 rebels to fight ISIL, which was canceled in 2015 after spending $500 million and producing only a few dozen fighters.[135] A simultaneous $1 billion covert program called Timber Sycamore ran by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was more successful, but was decimated by Russian bombing and canceled in mid-2017 by the Trump administration.[135]

The Obama administration began surveillance missions on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant‘s positions in Syria in September 2014.[136] On 22 September 2014, the U.S., BahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began to attack ISIL forces inside Syria,[15][137] as well as the Khorasan group in the Idlib Governorate west of Aleppo and the al-Nusra Front around Raqqa,[21][138] as part of the multinational military intervention against ISIL. As of August 2017, the coalition had flown 168,000 sorties in both Syria and Iraq (mostly against ISIL), with a roughly 45/55 split between the two, respectively.[35] As of late 2015, coalition planes were dropping or launching an average of 67 bombs or missiles a day.[139] The American-led air campaign inflicted heavy losses on ISIL and, alongside special forces operations, artillery strikes, and material and intelligence support to the SDF, catalyzed the loss of the bulk of ISIL’s Syrian territory by March 2019.

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government[140] and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May–June 2017 and February 2018.

In mid-January 2018, the Trump administration indicated its intention to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to counter Iran’s influence and oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.[141] In early September 2018, the U.S. began implementing a new strategy that sought to indefinitely extend the military effort, launching a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives in Syria.[142] However, on 19 December, President Trump unilaterally ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000–2,500 American ground troops in Syria, which was initially set to take place in a 90-day period and to be completed in 2019. The announcement shifted the scope of American interests in the conflict from what was an increasingly open-ended presence to a sudden draw-down. The fear of a power vacuum from a premature U.S. pullout from Syria drew consternation from both American officials and allies, particularly in regards to the potential of imperiling the Kurds in the face of Turkish opportunism, potentially giving Russia and Iran geopolitical wins, and the unintended consequence of allowing breathing room for extremist and terrorist groups operating in Syria to regroup and reorganize.[143][144][145]

After European allies initially refused to commit additional personnel to replace U.S. troops in Syria,[146] and with proliferating concerns over a potential power vacuum, the U.S. announced on 22 February 2019 that instead of a total withdrawal, a contingency force of around 400 American troops would remain garrisoned in Syria indefinitely post-withdrawal, marking a return to a policy of open-ended American military presence in the country.[147] By June 2019, the U.S., led by special anti-ISIL envoy James Jeffrey, had renewed its demands for European allies to compensate for the reduced American ground presence in a joint manner.[148]

The intervention was conducted with strong domestic support; according to Gallup polling in 2014, 61% of Americans supported intervention against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, while 30% were opposed, and 9% undecided.[149] A larger CCGA poll taken in 2016 showed that 72% of Americans supported “conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups in Syria”, while 58% also supported “sending special operations forces into Syria to fight violent Islamic extremist groups.” Additionally, a slim majority (52%) supported “enforcing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, including bombing Syrian air defenses.” However, only 26% supported “sending arms and other supplies to anti-government rebel groups in Syria.”[150]

Background

United States diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks have been seen as showing that regime change in Syria may have been a covert foreign policy goal of the U.S. government in the years leading up to the civil war, even during the period when President Barack Obama was publicly engaging with Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. A 2006 memorandum by U.S. diplomat William Roebuck of the embassy in Damascus stated:

We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as…the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising. These proposals will need to be fleshed out and converted into real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities. Many of our suggestions underline using Public Diplomacy and more indirect means to send messages that influence the inner circle.

According to Seymour Hersh and activist Robert Naiman, Roebuck, who went on to be charge d’affairs of the Libyan embassy under Obama, also considered the advantages of promoting religious sectarianism in Syria.[151][152]

Following the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, protests in Syria against the Assad administration were violently suppressed and a civil war began.[153] By 2012 there were several armed opposition groups operating in the country, including the Free Syrian Army, formed in July 2011 by officers who defected from the Syrian Armed Forces. In 2012, the al-Nusra Front was established by the Islamic State of Iraq as the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria. The al-Nusra Front was eclipsed by its own creator, and al-Qaeda severed its ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle.[154]

Military situation in the Syrian Civil War as of April 9, 2019.

 Controlled by Syrian Arab Republic
 Controlled by North Syria Federation (SDF)
 Controlled by the Syrian opposition and Ahrar al-Sham
 Controlled by Turkey and TFSA
 Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)
 Controlled by Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra)

(For a more detailed, up-to-date, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

Pre-coalition arming and training of the Syrian opposition

At the direction of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was put in charge the operations worth about $1 billion annually to arm anti-government forces in Syria,[155][156][157][158] an operation which formally began in 2013, more than two years after the start of the civil war in 2011. Prior to 2013, the CIA only supplied certain rebel groups of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid, but later began providing training, funding, and intelligence to selected rebel commanders.[159][160][161] Although a former intelligence adviser who spoke to journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria in collaboration with “the UK [United Kingdom], Saudi Arabia and Qatar” since 2012 or 2011,[162] the first confirmed CIA weapons arrived in Spring 2014: “There were just a handful, delivered to only one rebel group carefully vetted by the CIA”. The group, Harakat Hazm, or the Steadfast Movement, showed off the new weapons system by posting the first successful strike on YouTube in April.[163] Another of the groups being vetted was the Islamist Army of Mujahedeen, formed in January 2014 specifically to combat ISIL.[163][164] However, there were indications that the Army of Mujahedeen was still being vetted in September 2014.[165]

In addition to the covert CIA program,[166] on 17 September 2014 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize the executive branch to overtly train and equip Syrian rebels against ISIL forces, at a cost of $500 million.