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he Pronk Pops Show 1292, July 18, 2019, Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos — Story 2: House of Representatives Bipartisan Vote of 332 to 94 Not To Impeach President Trump — Videos –Story 3: President Trump Rally in North Carolina — New Politically Correct Chant — Send Them All Home — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

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Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos —

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Ted Cruz Grills Top Google Exec on Censorship of PragerU

Dennis Prager Testifies Before the U.S. Senate on Big Tech Censorship

Big Tech Is Big Brother

The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know

What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Who Are the Racists?

Illegal Immigration: It’s About Power

Sen. Cruz Slams Google’s Monopoly, Calls It ‘Unprecedented’

Sen. Cruz Questions Victims of Censorship on Google’s Bias

Sen. Cruz Grills Google Executive on Alleged Censorship Bias

Behind PragerU’s fight against alleged Google censorship

Carolla and Prager ask: What if we all stopped apologizing?

GOOGLE CLASSIFIES CONSERVATIVE CONTENT AS PORNOGRAPHY, CLAIMS FOX NEWS GUEST DENNIS PRAGER

The founder of Prager University, an unaccredited conservative media organization, appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.

Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager appeared on Fox News Tuesday morning just hours before he is set to accuse Google of political bias in testimony before members of Congress in Washington. Prager claims the Silicon Valley tech giants, but specifically Google, are gaming their algorithms against conservative content. He said dozens of PragerU’s 5-minute videos on topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to the founding of Israel have been banned by the search giant and YouTube parent company as “pornography.” Prager claimed the group’s 300-plus videos get more than one billion views annually, but that about 60 of the wide variety of right-wing, historical videos are on Google’s “restricted” list.

“That means, if you block pornography you cannot see a discussion of Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg,” Prager told the Fox & Friends hosts Tuesday morning as an example of a topic in which he will testify. “It’s beyond belief.”

“Google classifies that as porno?” co-host Steve Doocy asked.

“Yes, yes, that is correct,” Prager said. “Why?” replied a stunned Ainsley Earhardt.

“Because we’re conservative,” Prager replied.

Prager University is not an accredited academic institution and offers no diplomas or certifications. It is, despite its name, a non-profit organization that creates frequently provocative political videos and advertisements from a conservative viewpoint.

Prager said a video describing how “human beings are even more precious than animals” was also placed on Google’s restricted list. “If you block pornography in your home you can’t see my video on why human life is precious. I’m not even talking about abortion, although that obviously should be allowed as well,” he said.

Another video featuring Fox News contributor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel is also on the restricted list, Prager added.

The 70-year-old Prager discussed freedom of speech more broadly, saying he is old enough to remember when “liberals were defending real Nazis,” citing the Supreme Court ruling between the heavily Jewish Illinois village of Skokie and the National Socialist Party of America in the 1970s. Prager said the U.S. is currently engaged in a “non-violent civil war … between the left and the rest of the country.”

“Liberals and the left have almost nothing in common but liberals are cowed by the left and that’s the tragedy,” he noted.

Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade both predicted how they think this week’s Big Tech “conservative bias” hearings will go, with Kilmeade warning Prager they’re bringing out the “big guns” in terms of legal teams. Doocy predicted, “You know what they’re going to say: the algorithm.”

“That’s fine, then you have a terrible algorithm, I mean that is hilarious,” Prager replied. He then compared that defense to the driver of an automatic transmission vehicle running over children and blaming the car. “It’s an absurdity if they say it’s the algorithm, they created the algorithm let them reveal the algorithm to the public.”

dennis prager university google pornography
The founder of the conservative, unaccredited Prager University organization appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.SCREENSHOT: FOX NEWS

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

vative Leader

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants Google to explain why it disbanded an advisory council after Google employees objected to including the president of The Heritage Foundation. Pictured: Cruz speaks Tuesday during his subcommittee hearing on Google and censorship. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out a Google vice president Tuesday afternoon for the tech giant’s decision to dissolve an advisory council on artificial intelligence after inviting Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to join the panel.

Cruz asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, about the worldwide internet company’s disbanding of the advisory council after Google employees objected to including the head of the leading conservative think tank.

“You worked at The Heritage Foundation, I believe you said,” Cruz told Bhatia during a hearing held by the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. “Do you consider The Heritage Foundation to be some fringe organization?”

Bhatia replied that he considered Heritage to be a conservative organization.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

“So 2,500 Google employees signed a petition to have Ms. James removed from the council and they said, quote, ‘By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of its inclusion in this decision making, this is unacceptable,’” Cruz said.

The formal name of Google’s short-lived panel was the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

The petition accused James of being “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant,” and said, “In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.”

“Google, in response to this, dissolved the entire committee,” Cruz said to Bhatia. “Do you understand when you see that kind of bias, saying, ‘A conservative African-American woman’s views are not valid and not worthy of inclusion,’ that the American people would say, ‘These guys are silencing voices they disagree with’?”

James, who is black, overcame racial discrimination in Virginia as a girl and eventually became an educator and top state and federal government official before being named president of The Heritage Foundation, where she had been a trustee for more than a decade.

Bhatia told Cruz, chairman of the subcommittee, that the 2,500 employees who objected to James did not make up a large percentage of the Google workforce.

“Senator, the 2,500 amounts to something around 2% of the Google employees,” Bhatia said.

“But Google acted on their recommendation. You dissolved the committee,” Cruz replied.

>>> Commentary: Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals

Bhatia disagreed.

“No, Senator, we did not,” he said. “What happened in that situation is that it’s a committee that consisted of a number of members; as time progressed, a number of members of the committee other than Ms. James decided to fall off the committee, to withdraw from the committee.”

Cruz continued to press the issue.

“Is this your testimony, Mr. Bhatia? Because I’m finding this difficult to credit. Is it your testimony that Google did not dissolve the committee because your employees were mad that anyone right of center was included?”

The Google vice president answered Cruz by saying the company pulled the plug on the advisory council because executives didn’t see it going anywhere.

“We dissolved the committee, Senator. I think we were clear at the end of the day that it was not going to be viable to continue the council given what we were seeing happen with other members of the committee,” Bhatia said.

Heritage’s James discussed the experience in an April op-ed for The Washington Post, writing that “the Google employees didn’t just attempt to remove me; they greeted the news of my appointment to the council with name-calling and character assassination.”

“They called me anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ and a bigot. That was an odd one, because I’m a 69-year-old black woman who grew up fighting segregation,” James added.

Referring to Google’s decision to end the panel, James wrote, “The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob.”

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

2 Senators Call for Investigation Into Big Tech’s Censorship

Two of the country’s staunchest big tech critics are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies’ perceived censorship practices.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter exercise lots of influence on Americans and they also use their tools to censor some content while amplifying others, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote in a letter Monday to the Federal Trade Commission. They are asking the agency to open a public probe into the impact such policies have on people.

dailycallerlogo“Companies that are this big and that have the potential to threaten democracy this much should not be allowed to curate content entirely without any transparency,” they wrote. “These companies can greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have not accountability to voters.”

They added: “They are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.” Cruz and Hawley are two of the biggest Republican critics of Google and Facebook, both of which are consistently accused of discriminating against conservative content.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

Hawley, for his part, introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act in June that aims to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies immunity only if they can show they are politically neutral. Section 230 was passed in 1996, when the internet was in its infancy.

Other Republicans are taking a more critical stance against big tech companies as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, is dinging Google for not doing enough to protect children.

“Things would change tomorrow if you could get sued,” Graham said during a congressional hearing on July 9 dealing with online dangers to kids. YouTube is under pressure to turn off its recommendation systems for videos featuring kids after reports showed potential predators were abusing the feature.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

 

Story 3: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina — New Improved Politically Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

Speech: Donald Trump Holds a Political Rally in Greenville, North Carolina – July 17, 2019

FULL RALLY: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina

President Trump delivers remarks on immigration, “The Squad,” during campaign rally

President Trump Talks About Antifa & Andy Ngo at NC Rally

WATCH LIVE: Trump holds campaign rally in North Carolina amid racist tweets controversy

Trump disavows ‘send her back’ chant at North Carolina rally

Trump rally in Greenville comes amid controversy

[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIDK7pwzTgE]

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1287, July 10, 2019, Part 1: Story 1: Federal Reserve Will Cut the Federal Funds Target Rate Range in July By .25% or 25 Basis Points If Second Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Rate of Growth Falls Below 3% — Otherwise No Change in Federal Funds Rate Target Range — Huge Uncertainty Generated By Rapidly Growing Annual Deficits in Federal Government Spending Resulting in Rising National Debt Approaching $23,000,000,000,000 and Unfunded Liabilities and and Obligations Over $230,000,000,000,000! — Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere — Beyond Bubbles — U.S. Government Bankrupt Now! — Make It Rain on The Blockchain — Trust and Truth — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1281 June 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

 

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Story 1: Federal Reserve Will Cut the Federal Funds Target Rate Range in July By .25% or 25 Basis Points If Second Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Rate of Growth Falls Below 3% — Otherwise No Change in Federal Funds Rate Target Range — Huge Uncertainty Generated By Rapidly Growing Annual Deficits in Federal Government Spending Resulting in Rising National Debt Approaching $23,000,000,000,000 and Unfunded Liabilities and and Obligations Over $230,000,000,000,000! — Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere — Beyond Bubbles — Make It Rain on The Blockchain — Trust and Truth — Videos

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Fed Chair Jerome Powell testifies before Congress

Streamed live on Jul 10, 2019

House Financial Services Committee holds hearing on “Monetary Policy & the State of the Economy.” Fed Chair Powell testifies. All eyes will be on Powell when he testifies before a House panel on monetary policy in the first of his 2-day semiannual testimony to Congress. Investors are looking to Powell for what to expect at the next policy meeting at the end of July. FOX Business Network (FBN) is a financial news channel delivering real-time information across all platforms that impact both Main Street and Wall Street. Headquartered in New York — the business capital of the world — FBN launched in October 2007 and is the leading business network on television, topping CNBC in Business Day viewers for the second consecutive year. T he network is available in more than 80 million homes in all markets across the United States. Owned by FOX, FBN has bureaus in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and London.

 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Senate testimony on monetary policy – 07/11/2019

Streamed live on Jul 11, 2019

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on the monetary policy and the U.S. economy.

Economy can sustain lower jobless rate than we thought, says Fed’s Powell

Larry Kudlow: AOC ‘nailed it’ with questions to Fed chair

Cryptocurrencies rally despite Trump’s rebuke | Money Talks

Fed keeps interest rates steady, signals possible cuts in 2019

Streamed live on Jun 19, 2019

Federal Open Market Cmte announces Fed Funds Interest Rates will remain unchanged.

The Pension Bomb

10 Myths About Government Debt

What Will Cause The Next Recession – Robert Shiller On Human Behavior

Economic Collapse Warning! $222 Trillion Dollar True Size Of Government Debt & Stock Market CRASH!

Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff on the Implications of Rising National Debt

Public Choice Theory: Why Government Often Fails

Howard Marks | The Impact of Debt, Demographics, and Unfunded Liabilities

Santelli Exchange: Underfunded pension liabilities

Bill Bonner Interview: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come

Published on Sep 16, 2015

MoneyWeek’s editor in chief Merryn Somerset Webb talks to Bill Bonner about economic cycles and the ‘cashless society’. Click here to find out how it could affect you: http://pro1.moneyweek.com/434014/

The Upcoming Financial Crisis That Will Dwarf That of 2008 – Expect Civil Unrest

Best Documentary of the Housing Market Crash (of 2019?) | Inside the Meltdown | Behind the Big Short

Exodus out of high tax states with unfunded pensions?

N.J. pension crisis explained with popsicle sticks

A Misalignment of Interests: The Politics of Pension Funding (Pension Pursuit)

A Thunderhead: Pensions and Unfunded Liabilities

Deficits, Debts and Unfunded Liabilities: The Consequences of Excessive Government Spending

Published on May 10, 2010

Huge budget deficits and record levels of national debt are getting a lot of attention, but this video explains that unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs are Americas real red-ink challenge. More important, this CF&P mini-documentary reveals that deficits and debt are symptoms of the real problem of an excessive burden of government spending. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Facebook’s plan to control the global financial system

Bitcoin vs. Gold Peter Schiff debates Max Keiser

Keiser Report: #DropGold: Peter Schiff Responds (E1381)

Digital Currency’s Role in the Future of Central Banks

Christine Lagarde: ‘Central Bank digital currency is coming alive’

Digital Currency Has Real Value — Here’s Why | CNBC

Japan made bitcoin a legal currency – now it’s more popular than ever | CNBC Reports

Blockchain and Crypto: Past, Present, and Future | Douglas Pepe | TEDxRanneySchool

Mr Bitcoin: “I don’t want money, I don’t want fame!” BBC News

Is This Man the Inventor of Bitcoin?

Blockchain Expert Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty | WIRED

How does a blockchain work – Simply Explained

Bitcoin: Beyond The Bubble – Full Documentary

Scott Adams’ Guide To Blockchain: The Technology That Will Change Everything

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How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott

TED

Published on Sep 16, 2016

What is the blockchain? If you don’t know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works. Don Tapscott is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and holds the potential to transform money, business, government and society. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

What is Blockchain

Published on Jun 9, 2016

Blockchain explained. Shai Rubin, CTO of Citi Innovation Lab, explains in an easy and simple way the basics of blockchain.

Blockchains: how can they be used?

19 Industries The Blockchain Will Disrupt

How the blockchain will radically transform the economy | Bettina Warburg

Blockchain is Eating Wall Street | Alex Tapscott | TEDxSanFrancisco

How to Use Blockchain to Create a Better Future | Brian Condenanza | TEDxHautLacSchool

Our Lives in a Blockchain-Powered Smart Economy | Eddy Travia | TEDxINSEAD

Is Bitcoin the Future of Money? Peter Schiff vs. Erik Voorhees

The Convergence of Blockchain, Machine Learning, and the Cloud | Steve Lund | TEDxBYU

The Value Revolution: How Blockchain Will Change Money & the World | Galia Benartzi | TEDxWhiteCity

Blockchain Technology Explained (2 Hour Course)

How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes (Technical)

How Bitcoin Works Under the Hood

Why crypto regulation is doomed to fail | Marit Hansen | TEDxKielUniversity

Bitcoin scares central banks. Here’s why

George Gilder: Forget Cloud Computing, Blockchain is the Future

Why central banks are experimenting with blockchain

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Why Public Policy Always Ends in Disaster

It’s Hormeggedon! What Happens When Public Policy Passes the Point of No Return

Bill Bonner Interview: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come

Bill Bonner on the financial markets WORLD.MINDS INTERVIEW

Jim Simons on His Formula for Improving Math Education

Billionaire James Simons: Quantitative Investment Strategy, Career and Trading (2019)

Renaissance Man — Jim Simons

Billionaire Mathematician – Numberphile

The mathematician who cracked Wall Street | Jim Simons

James H. Simons: Mathematics, Common Sense and Good Luck

By appearing to buckle to Trump on rates, is the Fed chief creating problems down the road?

By appearing to buckle to Trump on rates, is the Fed chief creating problems down the road?
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference in Washington on June 19. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

In signaling that the Federal Reserve is almost certain to cut interest rates at the end of this month, Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell may have given President Trump what he wants.

But the central bank now looks more vulnerable to criticism that it is caving to political pressures that will only grow as the election cycle heats up.

Powell, in testimony to lawmakers Wednesday, essentially argued that heightened uncertainty, from trade tensions and slowing global economic growth, along with low inflation, was enough to justify a cut in interest rates.

Historically, the Fed has lowered rates to ward off recession or when it sees substantial risks of a downturn.

The U.S. economy expanded at a nearly 3% pace last year and, although it has slowed in recent months, the Fed and most private forecasters see growth continuing at a decent rate. The latest jobs report for June showed hiring remains strong, and Trump recently agreed to a ceasefire in the trade war with China, tenuous as it may be.For those reasons, Powell’s remarks Wednesday came as a pleasant surprise to financial markets. Stocks rose to record highs.

Lowering the rate by a quarter point later this month may help borrowers a little. The Fed’s main rate is a benchmark for credit cards, auto loans and other short-term consumer lending, but long-term rates such as mortgages already have dropped in anticipation of a Fed rate cut, meaning it’s unlikely to provide much of a boost to the housing market or the broader economy.

“We’ve already gotten 90% of the benefit; it’s already priced into the market,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Investors are expecting at least one more quarter-point rate cut after July, and some even two. Powell and his colleagues at the Fed will have their hands full managing investors’ expectations on future rate reductions, so they don’t set themselves up for a sharp fall.

“The issue that the Fed is going to run into … is just like parenting,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. “They can’t bend every time the markets throw a tantrum. At some point, you’ve got to put your foot down.”

Market expectations aside, Powell’s bigger challenge is likely to come from Trump. The president has been publicly hammering Powell to lower interest rates. Trump has criticized the Fed for raising rates four times last year, and no one thinks he will be satisfied if the Fed drops its benchmark rate by a quarter point on July 31, as it’s now expected to do.

Trump and his economic team have pressed the Fed to slash rates by a full point, and Trump isn’t likely to stop jawboning the Fed in the coming months.

Some economic experts say Trump already has succeeded in getting into the heads of Fed decision makers.

“Powell does seem to be going a little bit out of his way to reverse the rate hikes made last year,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director and chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York. “The president’s like another active member of the Fed board in the room. I wouldn’t tell him no, would you?”

Rupkey and some other Fed watchers say Powell is moving a bit too early in readying rate cuts, especially with job growth still running very strong. Only a few months ago, the Fed’s stance on interest rates was to wait and see.

“Should they cut rates at this time? Absolutely not!” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at Economic Outlook Group. “There is no economic justification to take that step now.

“For one, there is little to suggest this business cycle [is] struggling. The softness we see in some data points have little to do with economic fundamentals. The trade war with China and the havoc it has caused to global supply chain are the primary reasons those sectors have weakened.”

But other analysts argue that there’s good reason for the shift in the Fed’s posture. According to minutes from their last meeting in June, released Wednesday, Fed policymakers were feeling that the downside risks to the economy “had increased significantly over recent weeks.”

And in his testimony Wednesday to the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said that since May, crosscurrents that seemed to moderate earlier in the year “have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty.” Among other concerns, he said, business spending, trade and manufacturing activity have slowed.

“The issue really is more now on the business side where we see business confidence and business investment weakening a bit,” he told lawmakers, adding that there’s rising risk as well to consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity. “Household confidence has remained high, but over time uncertainty can cause households to hold back as well.”

Powell, sensitive to the political pressures bearing on the Fed, took pains in his prepared remarks to defend the integrity of the central bank and the basis for its policymaking.

“Congress has given us an important degree of independence so that we can effectively pursue our statutory goals based on objective analysis and data,” Powell said as he began his testimony.

Trump has reportedly considered firing Powell or demoting him, although it’s not clear whether the president has the legal authority to do so. Powell reiterated Wednesday that the law is on his side and that he intends to serve the full four-year term as Fed chair, which he assumed in February 2018.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have cautioned Trump against taking steps to remove Powell as Fed leader. And on Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers sought to drive home that point.

“Mr. Chairman, if you got a call from the president today or tomorrow, and he said, ‘I’m firing you. Pack up. It’s time to go,’ what would you do?” asked Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Financial Services Committee.

“Well, of course I would not do that,” Powell responded, to which Waters added, “I can’t hear you,” eliciting laughter.

But the president’s unusually persistent and heavy pressure on the Fed is anything but a laughing matter.

Alan Blinder, a Fed vice chairman in the mid-1990s, said the concern about the bank’s independence stemming from the president’s attacks was such that it could legitimately be a factor in a Fed decision not to raise rates.

Apart from the potential harm to its credibility, a more immediate risk for the Fed in cutting rates is that it could limit the central bank’s arsenal in fighting the next recession. The Fed’s main benchmark rate is less than 2.5%, low by historical standards.

In response to lawmakers’ questioning, Powell said the resumption of trade talks between the United States and China was a “constructive step” but that doesn’t really change the outlook.

“I would say that the bottom line for me is that the uncertainties around global growth and trade continue to weigh on the outlook.”

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-jerome-powell-interest-rates-20190710-story.html

July 10, 2019

Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress

Chair Jerome H. Powell

Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

 

Chair Powell submitted identical remarks to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, on July 11, 2019.

Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member McHenry, and other members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the Federal Reserve’s semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress.

Let me start by saying that my colleagues and I strongly support the goals of maximum employment and price stability that Congress has set for monetary policy. We are committed to providing clear explanations about our policies and activities. Congress has given us an important degree of independence so that we can effectively pursue our statutory goals based on objective analysis and data. We appreciate that our independence brings with it an obligation for transparency so that you and the public can hold us accountable.

Today I will review the current economic situation and outlook before turning to monetary policy. I will also provide an update of our ongoing public review of our framework for setting monetary policy.

Current Economic Situation and Outlook 
The economy performed reasonably well over the first half of 2019, and the current expansion is now in its 11th year. However, inflation has been running below the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) symmetric 2 percent objective, and crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have been weighing on economic activity and the outlook.

The labor market remains healthy. Job gains averaged 172,000 per month from January through June. This number is lower than the average of 223,000 a month last year but above the pace needed to provide jobs for new workers entering the labor force. Consequently, the unemployment rate moved down from 3.9 percent in December to 3.7 percent in June, close to its lowest level in 50 years. Job openings remain plentiful, and employers are increasingly willing to hire workers with fewer skills and train them. As a result, the benefits of a strong job market have been more widely shared in recent years. Indeed, wage gains have been greater for lower-skilled workers. That said, individuals in some demographic groups and in certain parts of the country continue to face challenges. For example, unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics remain well above the rates for whites and Asians. Likewise, the share of the population with a job is higher in urban areas than in rural communities, and this gap widened over the past decade. A box in the July Monetary Policy Report provides a comparison of employment and wage gains over the current expansion for individuals with different levels of education.

Gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, similar to last year’s pace. This strong reading was driven largely by net exports and inventories—components that are not generally reliable indicators of ongoing momentum. The more reliable drivers of growth in the economy are consumer spending and business investment. While growth in consumer spending was weak in the first quarter, incoming data show that it has bounced back and is now running at a solid pace. However, growth in business investment seems to have slowed notably, and overall growth in the second quarter appears to have moderated. The slowdown in business fixed investment may reflect concerns about trade tensions and slower growth in the global economy. In addition, housing investment and manufacturing output declined in the first quarter and appear to have decreased again in the second quarter.

After running close to our 2 percent objective over much of last year, overall consumer price inflation, measured by the 12-month change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), declined earlier this year and stood at 1.5 percent in May. The 12-month change in core PCE inflation, which excludes food and energy prices and tends to be a better indicator of future inflation, has also come down this year and was 1.6 percent in May.

Our baseline outlook is for economic growth to remain solid, labor markets to stay strong, and inflation to move back up over time to the Committee’s 2 percent objective. However, uncertainties about the outlook have increased in recent months. In particular, economic momentum appears to have slowed in some major foreign economies, and that weakness could affect the U.S. economy. Moreover, a number of government policy issues have yet to be resolved, including trade developments, the federal debt ceiling, and Brexit. And there is a risk that weak inflation will be even more persistent than we currently anticipate. We are carefully monitoring these developments, and we will continue to assess their implications for the U.S economic outlook and inflation.

The nation also continues to confront important longer-run challenges. Labor force participation by those in their prime working years is now lower in the United States than in most other nations with comparable economies. As I mentioned, there are troubling labor market disparities across demographic groups and different parts of the country. The relative stagnation of middle and lower incomes and low levels of upward mobility for lower-income families are also ongoing concerns. In addition, finding ways to boost productivity growth, which leads to rising wages and living standards over the longer term, should remain a high national priority. And I remain concerned about the longer-term effects of high and rising federal debt, which can restrain private investment and, in turn, reduce productivity and overall economic growth. The longer-run vitality of the U.S. economy would benefit from efforts to address these issues.

Monetary Policy 
Against this backdrop, the FOMC maintained the target range for the federal funds rate at 2‑1/4 to 2-1/2 percent in the first half of this year. At our January, March, and May meetings, we stated that we would be patient as we determined what future adjustments to the federal funds rate might be appropriate to support our goals of maximum employment and price stability.

At the time of our May meeting, we were mindful of the ongoing crosscurrents from global growth and trade, but there was tentative evidence that these crosscurrents were moderating. The latest data from China and Europe were encouraging, and there were reports of progress in trade negotiations with China. Our continued patient stance seemed appropriate, and the Committee saw no strong case for adjusting our policy rate.

Since our May meeting, however, these crosscurrents have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty. Apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture report heightened concerns over trade developments. Growth indicators from around the world have disappointed on net, raising concerns that weakness in the global economy will continue to affect the U.S. economy. These concerns may have contributed to the drop in business confidence in some recent surveys and may have started to show through to incoming data.

In our June meeting statement, we indicated that, in light of increased uncertainties about the economic outlook and muted inflation pressures, we would closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would act as appropriate to sustain the expansion. Many FOMC participants saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had strengthened. Since then, based on incoming data and other developments, it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook. Inflation pressures remain muted.

The FOMC has made a number of important decisions this year about our framework for implementing monetary policy and our plans for completing the reduction of the Fed’s securities holdings. At our January meeting, we decided to continue to implement monetary policy using our current policy regime with ample reserves, and emphasized that we are prepared to adjust any of the details for completing balance sheet normalization in light of economic and financial developments. At our March meeting, we communicated our intention to slow, starting in May, the decline in the Fed’s aggregate securities holdings and to end the reduction in these holdings in September. The July Monetary Policy Report provides details on these decisions.

The July Monetary Policy Report also includes an update on monetary policy rules. The FOMC routinely looks at monetary policy rules that recommend a level for the federal funds rate based on inflation and unemployment rates. I continue to find these rules helpful, although using these rules requires careful judgment.

We are conducting a public review of our monetary policy strategy, tools, and communications—the first review of its kind for the FOMC. Our motivation is to consider ways to improve the Committee’s current policy framework and to best position the Fed to achieve maximum employment and price stability. The review has started with outreach to and consultation with a broad range of people and groups through a series of Fed Listens events. The FOMC will consider questions related to the review at upcoming meetings. We will publicly report the outcome of our discussions.

Thank you. I am happy to respond to your questions.

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Last Update: July 10, 2019

Blockchain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Blockchain formation. The main chain (black) consists of the longest series of blocks from the genesis block (green) to the current block. Orphan blocks (purple) exist outside of the main chain.

blockchain,[1][2][3] originally block chain,[4][5] is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography.[1][6] Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block,[6] a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree).

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault toleranceDecentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

Blockchain was invented by a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains that are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is considered a type of payment rail.[9] Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Sources such as Computerworld called the marketing of such blockchains without a proper security model “snake oil“.[10]

Contents

History

Bitcoin transactions (January 2009 – September 2017)

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[6][11] They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block.[6][12]

The first blockchain was conceptualized by a person (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto improved the design in an important way using a Hashcash-like method to add blocks to the chain without requiring them to be signed by a trusted party.[6] The design was implemented the following year by Nakamoto as a core component of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network.[1]

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20 GB (gigabytes).[13] In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30 GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50 GB to 100 GB in size.

The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016.

Smart contracts that run on a blockchain, for example ones that “creat[e] invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates that automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”[1] require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain.”[14]

According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase.[15] Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

In May 2018, Gartner found that only 1% of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only 8% of CIOs were in the short-term ‘planning or [looking at] active experimentation with blockchain’.[16]

Structure

A blockchain is a decentralizeddistributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.[1][17] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions independently and relatively inexpensively.[18] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[19] Such a design facilitates robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. A blockchain has been described as a value-exchange protocol.[20] A blockchain can maintain title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree.[1] Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain.[1] This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.[21]

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher score can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks.[21] Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They keep only the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and are given incentives to extend with new blocks rather than overwrite old blocks. Therefore, the probability of an entry becoming superseded decreases exponentially[22] as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low.[1][23]:ch. 08[24] For example, bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system, where the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.[25]

Block time

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain. Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds. By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[citation needed]

Hard forks

hard fork is a rule change such that the software validating according to the old rules will see the blocks produced according to the new rules as invalid. In case of a hard fork, all nodes meant to work in accordance with the new rules need to upgrade their software.

If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to “make whole” the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code. In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment. Alternatively, to prevent a permanent split, a majority of nodes using the new software may return to the old rules, as was the case of bitcoin split on 12 March 2013.[26]

Decentralization

By storing data across its peer-to-peer network, the blockchain eliminates a number of risks that come with data being held centrally.[1] The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]

Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized “official” copy exists and no user is “trusted” more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[21] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[23]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[27] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[21] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[28]

Openness

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[29][30][31][32][33] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term “blockchain” may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[34] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[35]:30–31 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[29][31] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that “many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases,” and “without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion.”[10][36]

Permissionless

The great advantage to an open, permissionless, or public, blockchain network is that guarding against bad actors is not required and no access control is needed.[22] This means that applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.[22]

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”.

Financial companies have not prioritised decentralized blockchains.[citation needed]

In 2016, venture capital investment for blockchain-related projects was weakening in the USA but increasing in China.[37] Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use open (public) blockchains. As of April 2018, bitcoin has the highest market capitalization.

Permissioned (private) blockchain

Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network.[38] In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[citation needed] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of ‘consortium’ blockchains.[39][better source needed]

Disadvantages of private blockchain

Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that “There is also no need for a ’51 percent’ attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished.”[10] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 2007–08, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[40][41] and “the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It’s unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing power — it’s time consuming and expensive.”[10] He also said, “Within a private blockchain there is also no ‘race’; there’s no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases.”[10]

Blockchain analysis

The analysis of public blockchains has become increasingly important with the popularity of bitcoinEthereumlitecoin and other cryptocurrencies.[42] A blockchain, if it is public, provides anyone who wants access to observe and analyse the chain data, given one has the know-how. The process of understanding and accessing the flow of crypto has been an issue for many cryptocurrencies, crypto-exchanges and banks.[43][44] The reason for this is accusations of blockchain enabled cryptocurrencies enabling illicit dark market trade of drugs, weapons, money laundering etc.[45] A common belief has been that cryptocurrency is private and untraceable, thus leading many actors to use it for illegal purposes. This is changing and now specialised tech-companies provide blockchain tracking services, making crypto exchanges, law-enforcement and banks more aware of what is happening with crypto funds and fiat crypto exchanges. The development, some argue, has led criminals to prioritise use of new cryptos such as Monero.[46][47][48] The question is about public accessibility of blockchain data and the personal privacy of the very same data. It is a key debate in cryptocurrency and ultimately in blockchain.[49]

Uses

Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. There are a few operational products maturing from proof of concept by late 2016.[37] Businesses have been thus far reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.[50]

Cryptocurrencies

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are both based on blockchain. On 8 May 2018 Facebook confirmed that it is opening a new blockchain group[51] which will be headed by David Marcus who previously was in charge of Messenger. According to The Verge Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency for facilitating payments on the platform.[52]

Smart contracts

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[53] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[54]

Financial services

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking,[55][56][57] and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.[58]

Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.[59]

Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.[60][61]

Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.[62]

Video games

A blockchain game CryptoKitties, launched in November 2017.[63] The game made headlines in December 2017 when a cryptokitty character – an in-game virtual pet – was sold for more than US$100,000.[64] CryptoKitties illustrated scalability problems for games on Ethereum when it created significant congestion on the Ethereum network with about 30% of all Ethereum transactions being for the game.[65]

Cryptokitties also demonstrated how blockchains can be used to catalog game assets (digital assets).[66]

Supply chain

There are a number of efforts and industry organizations working to employ blockchains in supply chain logistics and supply chain management.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) works to develop open standards for supply chains.[citation needed]

Everledger is one of the inaugural clients of IBM’s blockchain-based tracking service.[67]

Walmart and IBM are running a trial to use a blockchain-backed system for supply chain monitoring — all nodes of the blockchain are administered by Walmart and are located on the IBM cloud.[68]

Hyperledger Grid develops open components for blockchain supply chain solutions.[69][70]

Other uses

Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users[71] or musicians.[72] In 2017, IBM partnered with ASCAP and PRS for Music to adopt blockchain technology in music distribution.[73] Imogen Heap‘s Mycelia service has also been proposed as blockchain-based alternative “that gives artists more control over how their songs and associated data circulate among fans and other musicians.”[74][75]

New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insuranceparametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[76][77] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[78] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[79][80]

Other designs include:

  • Hyperledger is a cross-industry collaborative effort from the Linux Foundation to support blockchain-based distributed ledgers, with projects under this initiative including Hyperledger Burrow (by Monax) and Hyperledger Fabric (spearheaded by IBM)[81]
  • Quorum – a permissionable private blockchain by JPMorgan Chase with private storage, used for contract applications[82]
  • Tezos, decentralized voting.[35]:94
  • Proof of Existence is an online service that verifies the existence of computer files as of a specific time[83]

Types

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks — public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

Public blockchains

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an Internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[84][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

Private blockchains

A private blockchain is permissioned.[38] One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

This type of blockchains can be considered a middle-ground for companies that are interested in the blockchain technology in general but are not comfortable with a level of control offered by public networks. Typically, they seek to incorporate blockchain into their accounting and record-keeping procedures without sacrificing autonomy and running the risk of exposing sensitive data to the public internet.[citation needed]

Hybrid blockchains

A hybrid blockchain[85] simply explained is a combination between different characteristics both public and private blockchains have by design. It allows to determine what information stays private and what information is made public. Further decentralization in relation to primarily centralized private blockchains can be achieved in various ways. Instead of keeping transactions inside their own network of community run or private nodes, the hash (with or without payload) can be posted on completely decentralized blockchains such as bitcoin. Dragonchain uses Interchain[86] to host transactions on other blockchains. This allows users to operate on different blockchains, where they can selectively share data or business logic. Other blockchains like Wanchain use interoperability mechanisms such as bridges.[87][88] By submitting the hash of a transaction (with or without the sensitive business logic) on public blockchains like bitcoin or Ethereum, some of the privacy and blockchain concerns are resolved, as no personal identifiable information is stored on a public blockchain. Depending on the hybrid blockchain its architecture, multicloud solutions allow to store data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation and other geographical limitations while also leveraging bitcoin’s global hashpower to decentralize transactions.

Academic research

Blockchain panel discussion at the first IEEE Computer Society TechIgnite conference

In October 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, with funding from MIT alumni, provided undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology access to $100 of bitcoin. The adoption rates, as studied by Catalini and Tucker (2016), revealed that when people who typically adopt technologies early are given delayed access, they tend to reject the technology.[89]

Energy use of proof-of-work blockchains

External video
 Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hypeHyun Song ShinBank for International Settlements, 2:48[90]
 Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies: Burn It With Fire, Nicholas Weaver, Berkeley School of Information, 49:47, lecture begins at 3:05[91]

The Bank for International Settlements has criticized the public proof-of-work blockchains for high energy consumption.[92][90][93]

Nicholas Weaver, of the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley examines blockchain’s online security, and the energy efficiency of proof-of-work public blockchains, and in both cases finds it grossly inadequate.[91][94]

Journals

In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, Ledger, was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016.[95] The journal covers aspects of mathematicscomputer scienceengineeringlaweconomics and philosophy that relate to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[96][97]

The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[98]

See also

References …

Further reading

  •  Media related to Blockchain at Wikimedia Commons

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

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners

Ameer Rosic

3 years ago
Was ist Blockchain-Technologie

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners

[Updated – Mar 01 2019]

Is Blockchain Technology the New Internet?

The blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention – the brainchild of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. But since then, it has evolved into something greater, and the main question every single person is asking is: What is Blockchain?

By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Originally devised for the digital currencyBitcoin, (Buy Bitcoin) the tech community has now found other potential uses for the technology.

In thisguide, we are going to explain to you what the blockchain technology is, and what its properties are that make it so unique. So, we hope you enjoy this, What Is Blockchain Guide. And if you already know what blockchain is and want to become a blockchain developer please check out our in-depth blockchain tutorial and create your very first blockchain.

What is Blockchain Technology?

What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016).

A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, a time-stamped series of immutable record of data that is managed by cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data (i.e. block) are secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).

So, what is so special about it and why are we saying that it has industry disrupting capabilities?

The blockchain network has no central authority — it is the very definition of a democratized system. Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the information in it is open for anyone and everyone to see. Hence, anything that is built on the blockchain is by its very nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.

Blockchain Explained

A blockchain carries no transaction cost. (An infrastructure cost yes, but no transaction cost.) The blockchain is a simple yet ingenious way of passing information from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. One party to a transaction initiates the process by creating a block. This block is verified by thousands, perhaps millions of computers distributed around the net. The verified block is added to a chain, which is stored across the net, creating not just a unique record, but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances. That is virtually impossible. Bitcoin uses this model for monetary transactions, but it can be deployed in many others ways.

Blockchain is the most disruptive invention since the Internet itself

Think of a railway company. We buy tickets on an app or the web. The credit card company takes a cut for processing the transaction. With blockchain, not only can the railway operator save on credit card processing fees, it can move the entire ticketing process to the blockchain. The two parties in the transaction are the railway company and the passenger. The ticket is a block, which will be added to a ticket blockchain. Just as a monetary transaction on blockchain is a unique, independently verifiable and unfalsifiable record (like Bitcoin), so can your ticket be. Incidentally, the final ticket blockchain is also a record of all transactions for, say, a certain train route, or even the entire train network, comprising every ticket ever sold, every journey ever taken.

But the key here is this: it’s free. Not only can the blockchain transfer and store money, but it can also replace all processes and business models which rely on charging a small fee for a transaction. Or any other transaction between two parties.

Here is another example. The gig economy hub Fivver charges 0.5 dollars on a 5 transaction between individuals buying and selling services. Using blockchain technology the transaction is free. Ergo, Fivver will cease to exist. So will auction houses and any other business entity based on the market-maker principle.

Even recent entrants like Uber and AirBnB are threatened by blockchain technology. All you need to do is encode the transactional information for a car ride or an overnight stay, and again you have a perfectly safe way that disrupts the business model of the companies which have just begun to challenge the traditional economy. We are not just cutting out the fee-processing middle man, we are also eliminating the need for the match-making platform.

Because blockchain transactions are free, you can charge minuscule amounts, say 1/100 of a cent for a video view or article read. Why should I pay The Economist or National Geographic an annual subscription fee if I can pay per article on Facebook or my favorite chat app. Again, remember that blockchain transactions carry no transaction cost. You can charge for anything in any amount without worrying about third parties cutting into your profits.

Blockchain may make selling recorded music profitable again for artists by cutting out music companies and distributors like Apple or Spotify. The music you buy could even be encoded in the blockchain itself, making it a cloud archive for any song purchased. Because the amounts charged can be so small, subscription and streaming services will become irrelevant.

It goes further. Ebooks could be fitted with blockchain code. Instead of Amazon taking a cut, and the credit card company earning money on the sale, the books would circulate in encoded form and a successful blockchain transaction would transfer money to the author and unlock the book. Transfer ALL the money to the author, not just meager royalties. You could do this on a book review website like Goodreads, or on your own website. The marketplace Amazon is then unnecessary. Successful iterations could even include reviews and other third-party information about the book.

In the financial world the applications are more obvious and the revolutionary changes more imminent. Blockchains will change the way stock exchanges work, loans are bundled, and insurances contracted. They will eliminate bank accounts and practically all services offered by banks. Almost every financial institution will go bankrupt or be forced to change fundamentally, once the advantages of a safe ledger without transaction fees is widely understood and implemented. After all, the financial system is built on taking a small cut of your money for the privilege of facilitating a transaction. Bankers will become mere advisers, not gatekeepers of money. Stockbrokers will no longer be able to earn commissions and the buy/sell spread will disappear.

How Does Blockchain Work?

Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.

Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.

To go in deeper with the Google spreadsheet analogy, I would like you to read this piece from a blockchain specialist.


What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand“The traditional way of sharing documents with collaboration is to send a Microsoft Word document to another recipient, and ask them to make revisions to it. The problem with that scenario is that you need to wait until receiving a return copy before you can see or make other changes because you are locked out of editing it until the other person is done with it. That’s how databases work today. Two owners can’t be messing with the same record at once.That’s how banks maintain money balances and transfers; they briefly lock access (or decrease the balance) while they make a transfer, then update the other side, then re-open access (or update again).With Google Docs (or Google Sheets), both parties have access to the same document at the same time, and the single version of that document is always visible to both of them. It is like a shared ledger, but it is a shared document. The distributed part comes into play when sharing involves a number of people.

Imagine the number of legal documents that should be used that way. Instead of passing them to each other, losing track of versions, and not being in sync with the other version, why can’t *all* business documents become shared instead of transferred back and forth? So many types of legal contracts would be ideal for that kind of workflow. You don’t need a blockchain to share documents, but the shared documents analogy is a powerful one.” – William Mougayar, Venture advisor, 4x entrepreneur, marketer, strategist and blockchain specialist

The reason why the blockchain has gained so much admiration is that:

  • It is not owned by a single entity, hence it is decentralized
  • The data is cryptographically stored inside
  • The blockchain is immutable, so no one can tamper with the data that is inside the blockchain
  • The blockchain is transparent so one can track the data if they want to

The Three Pillars of Blockchain Technology

The three main properties of Blockchain Technology which has helped it gain widespread acclaim are as follows:

  • Decentralization
  • Transparency
  • Immutability

Pillar #1: Decentralization

Before Bitcoin and BitTorrent came along, we were more used to centralized services. The idea is very simple. You have a centralized entity which stored all the data and you’d have to interact solely with this entity to get whatever information you required.

Another example of a centralized system is banks. They store all your money, and the only way that you can pay someone is by going through the bank.

The traditional client-server model is a perfect example of this:

What is Blockchain

When you google search for something, you send a query to the server who then gets back at you with the relevant information. That is simple client-server.

Now, centralized systems have treated us well for many years, however, they have several vulnerabilities.

  • Firstly, because they are centralized, all the data is stored in one spot. This makes them easy target spots for potential hackers.
  • If the centralized system were to go through a software upgrade, it would halt the entire system
  • What if the centralized entity somehow shut down for whatever reason? That way nobody will be able to access the information that it possesses
  • Worst case scenario, what if this entity gets corrupted and malicious? If that happens then all the data that is inside the blockchain will be compromised.

So, what happens if we just take this centralized entity away?

In a decentralized system, the information is not stored by one single entity. In fact, everyone in the network owns the information.

In a decentralized network, if you wanted to interact with your friend then you can do so directly without going through a third party. That was the main ideology behind Bitcoins. You and only you alone are in charge of your money. You can send your money to anyone you want without having to go through a bank.

blockchain

Pillar #2: Transparency

One of the most interesting and misunderstood concepts in blockchain technology is “transparency.” Some people say that blockchain gives you privacy while some say that it is transparent. Why do you think that happens?

Well… a person’s identity is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address. So, if you were to look up a person’s transaction history, you will not see “Bob sent 1 BTC” instead you will see “1MF1bhsFLkBzzz9vpFYEmvwT2TbyCt7NZJ sent 1 BTC”.

The following snapshot of Ethereum transactions will show you what we mean:

Ethereum transactions

So, while the person’s real identity is secure, you will still see all the transactions that were done by their public address. This level of transparency has never existed before within a financial system. It adds that extra, and much needed, level of accountability which is required by some of these biggest institutions.

Speaking purely from the point of view of cryptocurrency, if you know the public address of one of these big companies, you can simply pop it in an explorer and look at all the transactions that they have engaged in. This forces them to be honest, something that they have never had to deal with before.

However, that’s not the best use-case. We are pretty sure that most of these companies won’t transact using cryptocurrencies, and even if they do, they won’t do ALL their transactions using cryptocurrencies. However, what if the blockchain technology was integrated…say in their supply chain?

You can see why something like this can be very helpful for the finance industry right?

Pillar #3: Immutability

Immutability, in the context of the blockchain, means that once something has been entered into the blockchain, it cannot be tampered with.

Can you imagine how valuable this will be for financial institutes?

Imagine how many embezzlement cases can be nipped in the bud if people know that they can’t “work the books” and fiddle around with company accounts.

The reason why the blockchain gets this property is that of cryptographic hash function.

In simple terms, hashing means taking an input string of any length and giving out an output of a fixed length. In the context of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the transactions are taken as an input and run through a hashing algorithm (bitcoin uses SHA-256) which gives an output of a fixed length.

Let’s see how the hashing process works. We are going to put in certain inputs. For this exercise, we are going to use the SHA-256 (Secure Hashing Algorithm 256).

hashing

As you can see, in the case of SHA-256, no matter how big or small your input is, the output will always have a fixed 256-bits length. This becomes critical when you are dealing with a huge amount of data and transactions. So basically, instead of remembering the input data which could be huge, you can just remember the hash and keep track.

A cryptographic hash function is a special class of hash functions which has various properties making it ideal for cryptography. There are certain properties that a cryptographic hash function needs to have in order to be considered secure. You can read about those in detail in our guide on hashing.

There is just one property that we want you to focus on today. It is called the “Avalanche Effect.”

What does that mean?

Even if you make a small change in your input, the changes that will be reflected in the hash will be huge. Let’s test it out using SHA-256:

blockchain hashing

You see that? Even though you just changed the case of the first alphabet of the input, look at how much that has affected the output hash. Now, let’s go back to our previous point when we were looking at blockchain architecture. What we said was:

The blockchain is a linked list which contains data and a hash pointer which points to its previous block, hence creating the chain. What is a hash pointer? A hash pointer is similar to a pointer, but instead of just containing the address of the previous block it also contains the hash of the data inside the previous block.

This one small tweak is what makes blockchains so amazingly reliable and trailblazing.

Imagine this for a second, a hacker attacks block 3 and tries to change the data. Because of the properties of hash functions, a slight change in data will change the hash drastically. This means that any slight changes made in block 3, will change the hash which is stored in block 2, now that in turn will change the data and the hash of block 2 which will result in changes in block 1 and so on and so forth. This will completely change the chain, which is impossible. This is exactly how blockchains attain immutability.

Maintaining the Blockchain – Network and Nodes

The blockchain is maintained by a peer-to-peer network. The network is a collection of nodes which are interconnected to one another. Nodes are individual computers which take in input and performs a function on them and gives an output. The blockchain uses a special kind of network called “peer-to-peer network” which partitions its entire workload between participants, who are all equally privileged, called “peers”. There is no longer one central server, now there are several distributed and decentralized peers.

Why do people use the peer-to-peer network?

One of the main uses of the peer-to-peer network is file sharing, also called torrenting. If you are to use a client-server model for downloading, then it is usually extremely slow and entirely dependent on the health of the server. Plus, like we said, it is prone to censorship.

However, in a peer-to-peer system, there is no central authority, and hence if even one of the peers in the network goes out of the race, you still have more peers to download from. Plus, it is not subject to the idealistic standards of a central system, hence it is not prone to censorship.

If we were to compare the two:

Image courtesy: Quora

The decentralized nature of a peer-to-peer system becomes critical as we move on to the next section. How critical? Well, the simple (at least on paper) idea of combining this peer-to-peer network with a payment system has completely revolutionized the finance industry by giving birth to cryptocurrency.

The use of networks and nodes in cryptocurrencies.

The peer-to-peer network structure in cryptocurrencies is structured according to the consensus mechanism that they are utilizing. For cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum which uses a normal proof-of-work consensus mechanism (Ethereum will eventually move on to Proof of Stake), all the nodes have the same privilege. The idea is to create an egalitarian network. The nodes are not given any special privileges, however, their functions and degree of participation may differ. There is no centralized server/entity, nor is there any hierarchy. It is a flat topology.

These decentralized cryptocurrencies are structured like that is because of a simple reason, to stay true to their philosophy. The idea is to have a currency system, where everyone is treated as an equal and there is no governing body, which can determine the value of the currency based on a whim. This is true for both bitcoin and Ethereum.

Now, if there is no central system, how would everyone in the system get to know that a certain transaction has happened? The network follows the gossip protocol. Think of how gossip spreads. Suppose Alice sent 3 ETH to Bob. The nodes nearest to her will get to know of this, and then they will tell the nodes closest to them, and then they will tell their neighbors, and this will keep on spreading out until everyone knows. Nodes are basically your nosy, annoying relatives.

What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand
So, what is a node in the context of Ethereum? A node is simply a computer that participates in the Ethereum network. This participation can be in three ways

  • By keeping a shallow-copy of the blockchain aka a Light Client
  • By keeping a full-copy of the blockchain aka a Full Node
  • By verifying the transactions aka Mining

 

However, the problem with this design is that it is not really that scalable. Which is why, a lot of new generation cryptocurrencies adopt a leader-based consensus mechanism. In EOS, Cardano, Neo etc. the nodes elect leader nodes or “super nodes” who are in charge of the consensus and overall network health. These cryptos are a lot faster but they are not the most decentralized of systems.

So, in a way, cryptos have to make the trade-off between speed and decentralization.

Who Will Use The Blockchain?

As web infrastructure, you don’t need to know about the blockchain for it to be useful in your life.

Currently, finance offers the strongest use cases for the technology. International remittances, for instance. The World Bank estimates that over $430 billion US in money transfers were sent in 2015. And at the moment there is a high demand for blockchain developers.

The blockchain potentially cuts out the middleman for these types of transactions. Personal computing became accessible to the general public with the invention of the Graphical User Interface (GUI), which took the form of a “desktop”. Similarly, the most common GUI devised for the blockchain are the so-called “wallet” applications, which people use to buy things with Bitcoin, and store it along with other cryptocurrencies.

Transactions online are closely connected to the processes of identity verification. It is easy to imagine that wallet apps will transform in the coming years to include other types of identity management.

What is Blockchain? And What New Applications Will It Bring Us?

The blockchain gives internet users the ability to create value and authenticates digital information. What new business applications will result from this?

#1 Smart contracts

Distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met. Ethereum is an open source blockchain project that was built specifically to realize this possibility. Still, in its early stages, Ethereum has the potential to leverage the usefulness of blockchains on a truly world-changing scale.

At the technology’s current level of development, smart contracts can be programmed to perform simple functions. For instance, a derivative could be paid out when a financial instrument meets certain benchmark, with the use of blockchain technology and Bitcoin enabling the payout to be automated.

#2 The sharing economy

With companies like Uber and Airbnb flourishing, the sharing economy is already a proven success. Currently, however, users who want to hail a ride-sharing service have to rely on an intermediary like Uber. By enabling peer-to-peer payments, the blockchain opens the door to direct interaction between parties — a truly decentralized sharing economy results.

An early example, OpenBazaar uses the blockchain to create a peer-to-peer eBay. Download the app onto your computing device, and you can transact with OpenBazzar vendors without paying transaction fees. The “no rules” ethos of the protocol means that personal reputation will be even more important to business interactions than it currently is on eBay.

#3 Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding initiatives like Kickstarter and Gofundme are doing the advance work for the emerging peer-to-peer economy. The popularity of these sites suggests people want to have a direct say in product development. Blockchains take this interest to the next level, potentially creating crowd-sourced venture capital funds.

In 2016, one such experiment, the Ethereum-based DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), raised an astonishing $200 million USD in just over two months. Participants purchased “DAO tokens” allowing them to vote on smart contract venture capital investments (voting power was proportionate to the number of DAO they were holding). A subsequent hack of project funds proved that the project was launched without proper due diligence, with disastrous consequences. Regardless, the DAO experiment suggests the blockchain has the potential to usher in “a new paradigm of economic cooperation.”

#4 Governance

By making the results fully transparent and publicly accessible, distributed database technology could bring full transparency to elections or any other kind of poll taking. Ethereum-based smart contracts help to automate the process.

The app, Boardroom, enables organizational decision-making to happen on the blockchain. In practice, this means company governance becomes fully transparent and verifiable when managing digital assets, equity or information.

#5 Supply chain auditing

Consumers increasingly want to know that the ethical claims companies make about their products are real. Distributed ledgers provide an easy way to certify that the backstories of the things we buy are genuine. Transparency comes with blockchain-based timestamping of a date and location — on ethical diamonds, for instance — that corresponds to a product number.

The UK-based Provenance offers supply chain auditing for a range of consumer goods. Making use of the Ethereum blockchain, a Provenance pilot project ensures that fish sold in Sushi restaurants in Japan has been sustainably harvested by its suppliers in Indonesia.

#6 File storage

Decentralizing file storage on the internet brings clear benefits. Distributing data throughout the network protects files from getting hacked or lost.

Inter Planetary File System (IPFS) makes it easy to conceptualize how a distributed web might operate. Similar to the way a BitTorrent moves data around the internet, IPFS gets rid of the need for centralized client-server relationships (i.e., the current web). An internet made up of completely decentralized websites has the potential to speed up file transfer and streaming times. Such an improvement is not only convenient. It’s a necessary upgrade to the web’s currently overloaded content-delivery systems.

#7 Prediction markets

The crowdsourcing of predictions on event probability is proven to have a high degree of accuracy. Averaging opinions cancels out the unexamined biases that distort judgment. Prediction markets that payout according to event outcomes are already active. Blockchains are a “wisdom of the crowd” technology that will no doubt find other applications in the years to come.

The prediction market application Augur makes share offerings on the outcome of real-world events. Participants can earn money by buying into the correct prediction. The more shares purchased in the correct outcome, the higher the payout will be. With a small commitment of funds (less than a dollar), anyone can ask a question, create a market based on a predicted outcome, and collect half of all transaction fees the market generates.

#8 Protection of intellectual property

As is well known, digital information can be infinitely reproduced — and distributed widely thanks to the internet. This has given web users globally a goldmine of free content. However, copyright holders have not been so lucky, losing control over their intellectual property and suffering financially as a consequence. Smart contracts can protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online, eliminating the risk of file copying and redistribution.

Mycelia uses the blockchain to create a peer-to-peer music distribution system. Founded by the UK singer-songwriter Imogen Heap, Mycelia enables musicians to sell songs directly to audiences, as well as license samples to producers and divvy up royalties to songwriters and musicians — all of these functions being automated by smart contracts. The capacity of blockchains to issue payments in fractional cryptocurrency amounts (micropayments) suggests this use case for the blockchain has a strong chance of success.

#9 Internet of Things (IoT)

What is the IoT? The network-controlled management of certain types of electronic devices — for instance, the monitoring of air temperature in a storage facility. Smart contracts make the automation of remote systems management possible. A combination of software, sensors, and the network facilitates an exchange of data between objects and mechanisms. The result increases system efficiency and improves cost monitoring.

The biggest players in manufacturing, tech and telecommunications are all vying for IoT dominance. Think Samsung, IBM and AT&T. A natural extension of existing infrastructure controlled by incumbents, IoT applications will run the gamut from predictive maintenance of mechanical parts to data analytics, and mass-scale automated systems management.

#10 Neighbourhood Microgrids

Blockchain technology enables the buying and selling of the renewable energy generated by neighborhood microgrids. When solar panels make excess energy, Ethereum-based smart contracts automatically redistribute it. Similar types of smart contract automation will have many other applications as the IoT becomes a reality.

Located in Brooklyn, Consensys is one of the foremost companies globally that is developing a range of applications for Ethereum. One project they are partnering on is Transactive Grid, working with the distributed energy outfit, LO3. A prototype project currently up and running uses Ethereum smart contracts to automate the monitoring and redistribution of microgrid energy. This so-called “intelligent grid” is an early example of IoT functionality.

#11 Identity management

There is a definite need for better identity management on the web. The ability to verify your identity is the lynchpin of financial transactions that happen online. However, remedies for the security risks that come with web commerce are imperfect at best. Distributed ledgers offer enhanced methods for proving who you are, along with the possibility to digitize personal documents. Having a secure identity will also be important for online interactions — for instance, in the sharing economy. A good reputation, after all, is the most important condition for conducting transactions online.

Developing digital identity standards is proving to be a highly complex process. Technical challenges aside, a universal online identity solution requires cooperation between private entities and government. Add to that the need to navigate legal systems in different countries and the problem becomes exponentially difficult. E-Commerce on the internet currently relies on the SSL certificate (the little green lock) for secure transactions on the web. Netki is a startup that aspires to create an SSL standard for the blockchain. Having recently announced a $3.5 million seed round, Netki expects a product launch in early 2017.

#12 AML and KYC

Anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) practices have a strong potential for being adapted to the blockchain. Currently, financial institutions must perform a labour intensive multi-step process for each new customer. KYC costs could be reduced through cross-institution client verification, and at the same time increase monitoring and analysis effectiveness.

Startup Polycoin has an AML/KYC solution that involves analysing transactions. Those transactions identified as being suspicious are forwarded on to compliance officers. Another startup Tradle is developing an application called Trust in Motion (TiM). Characterized as an “Instagram for KYC”, TiM allows customers to take a snapshot of key documents (passport, utility bill, etc.). Once verified by the bank, this data is cryptographically stored on the blockchain.

#13 Data management

Today, in exchange for their personal data people can use social media platforms like Facebook for free. In future, users will have the ability to manage and sell the data their online activity generates. Because it can be easily distributed in small fractional amounts, Bitcoin — or something like it — will most likely be the currency that gets used for this type of transaction.

The MIT project Enigma understands that user privacy is the key precondition for creating of a personal data marketplace. Enigma uses cryptographic techniques to allow individual data sets to be split between nodes, and at the same time run bulk computations over the data group as a whole. Fragmenting the data also makes Enigma scalable (unlike those blockchain solutions where data gets replicated on every node). A Beta launch is promised within the next six months.

#14 Land title registration

As Publicly-accessible ledgers, blockchains can make all kinds of record-keeping more efficient. Property titles are a case in point. They tend to be susceptible to fraud, as well as costly and labour intensive to administer.

A number of countries are undertaking blockchain-based land registry projects. Honduras was the first government to announce such an initiative in 2015, although the current status of that project is unclear. This year, the Republic of Georgia cemented a deal with the Bitfury Group to develop a blockchain system for property titles. Reportedly, Hernando de Soto, the high-profile economist and property rights advocate, will be advising on the project. Most recently, Sweden announced it was experimenting with a blockchain application for property titles.

#15 Stock trading

The potential for added efficiency in share settlement makes a strong use case for blockchains in stock trading. When executed peer-to-peer, trade confirmations become almost instantaneous (as opposed to taking three days for clearance). Potentially, this means intermediaries — such as the clearing house, auditors and custodians — get removed from the process.

Numerous stock and commodities exchanges are prototyping blockchain applications for the services they offer, including the ASX (Australian Securities Exchange), the Deutsche Börse (Frankfurt’s stock exchange) and the JPX (Japan Exchange Group). Most high profile because the acknowledged first mover in the area, is the Nasdaq’s Linq, a platform for private market trading (typically between pre-IPO startups and investors). A partnership with the blockchain tech company Chain, Linq announced the completion of it its first share trade in 2015. More recently, Nasdaq announced the development of a trial blockchain project for proxy voting on the Estonian Stock Market.

Ian Khan, TEDx SpeakerAs revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability. No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.” – Ian Khan, TEDx Speaker | Author | Technology Futurist

https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/

Making sense of bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain… So what does it all mean?

Some of the noise is hype, but some of it points to important forces in the financial services industry. To help you make sense of it, we’ve pulled together content explaining why a lot of industry observers are paying close attention.

Let’s start with some quick definitions. Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things). Bitcoin is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds.

A look at blockchain technology

What is it?

The blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Using this technology, participants can confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. Potential applications can include fund transfers, settling trades, voting and many other issues.

blockchain how it works
blockchain cyrptocurrency
blockchain benefits

 

Blockchain also has potential applications far beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is, quite simply, a digital, decentralized ledger that keeps a record of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. The major innovation is that the technology allows market participants to transfer assets across the internet without the need for a centralized third party.

From a business perspective, it’s helpful to think of blockchain technology as a type of next-generation business process improvement software. Collaborative technology, such as blockchain, promises the ability to improve the business processes that occur between companies, radically lowering the “cost of trust.” For this reason, it may offer significantly higher returns for each investment dollar spent than most traditional internal investments.

Financial institutions are exploring how they could also use blockchain technology to upend everything from clearing and settlement to insurance.

For an overview of cryptocurrency, start with “Money is no object.” This paper, from PwC’s Financial Services Institute, focuses on cryptocurrency. We explain where it came from, how much consumers know about it and use it, what it will take for the market to grow and what the regulators think. We also look at how market participants, such as investors, technology providers and financial institutions, will be affected.

For some quick background on blockchain, take a look at our Top Trends in Financial Services page on Blockchain, where we discuss some of the ways FS firms are using blockchain, and how we expect the blockchain technology to develop in the future.

For a deeper dive into blockchain’s implications, read “A strategist’s guide to blockchain.” This article, from strategy+business, examines the potential benefits of this important innovation—and also suggests a way forward for financial institutions. Put simply, proceed deliberately. Explore how others might try to disrupt your business with blockchain technology and how your company could use it to leap ahead instead. In all cases, link your investments to your value proposition and give your business partners and your customers what they want most: speed, convenience and control over their transactions.

For a peek into the application of blockchains for smart contracts, check out “Blockchain and smart contract automation”. This short series of articles explore how blockchains, both public and private, have triggered a global hunt for ways to remove friction from transaction-related processes, including the process of reaching contractual agreements. Learn about the precursors, challenges and future outlook of implementing smart contracts. We also chat with Gideon Greenspan of Coin Sciences to learn about his views on the legal ramifications of public blockchains and why companies are seeking alternatives.

When a technology moves so quickly, it’s dangerous to sit on the sidelines. We’re watching blockchain move from a startup idea to an established technology in a tiny fraction of the time it took for the internet or even the PC to be accepted as a standard tool. Blockchain technology could result in a radically different competitive future for the financial services industry. These articles will help you understand these changes—and what you should do about them.

https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/financial-services/fintech/bitcoin-blockchain-cryptocurrency.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1285, Story 1: President Trump Celebrated American Independence Day By A Patriotic History Address Praising America’s Achievements — America Haters, Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Critical of Speech With Predictable Progressive Propaganda — American People Salute America — Videos — Story 2: Millions March and Protest for Freedom and Independence From Chinese Communist Coercion and Tyranny — Totalitarian Tyranny –Every breath you take — Every move you make — Every bond you break — Every step you take — I’ll be watching you — Every single day — Every word you say — Every game you play — Every night you stay — I’ll be watching you — Oh can’t you see — You belong to me — Chinese Communist Party Social Credit System — Belt and Road Initiative — Videos — Story 3: Trump Warns Islamic Republic of Iran Drive For Nuclear Weapons — Race for 90% Enriched Uranium 235 For Nuclear Bombs — Videos — Story 4: July 2019 Jobs Report: 224,000 Non-farm Payroll Joys Created in June 2019 with U-3 Unemployment Rate of 3.7%, U-6 Unemployment Rate of 7.6%, 6 Million Unemployed, Labor Participation Rate of 62.9% and Not In Labor Force of 96,057,000 — Videos — Story 5: Faces of Fascism — Crazy Communist Clown Cortez  — House Speaker Socialist Slaps-down Cortez — Just Walk Away From Democratic Socialist Party — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: President Trump Celebrated American Independence Day By A Patriotic History Address Praising America’s Achievements — America Haters, Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Critical of Speech With Predictable Progressive Propaganda — American People Salute America — Videos

President Trump COMPLETE REMARKS at July 4th “Salute to America” (C-SPAN)

Trump’s Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ | Special coverage

Donald Trump delivers July 4th Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial

Watch All The Military Flyovers From President Donald Trump’s ‘Salute To America’ | NBC News

Watch Live: July 4th In Washington, Trump’s ‘Salute To America’ Military Event | NBC News

National Independence Day Parade: ABC News Live coverage

4th of July Parade in Washington D.C.

Trump’s July 4th speech heavy on history and military praise

Thousands Attend National 4th of July Parade in Washington D.C.

Full Show: Fireworks at 4th of July Celebration in Washington, DC 2019

4th of July fireworks light up sky in Washington, D.C.

4th of July Fireworks from Washington D.C.

Fourth of July fireworks from the Nation’s Capitol

Trump gets tanks, flyover for July 4th celebration

Trump reveals 4th of July celebration details

Left attacks first lady over reciting ‘The Lord’s Prayer’

Marc Thiessen says ‘Salute to America’ critics have ‘egg on their face’

Democratic hysteria proven wrong over Trump’s ‘Salute to America’

Proud Trump delivers patriotic July 4 speech invoking American exceptionalism as ‘one of the greatest stories ever told’ while he avoids politics amid a DC deluge and military flyovers and finishes with a spectacular fireworks display

  • Donald Trump braved rainy weather to deliver a speech at his Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ event in front of the Lincoln Memorial and behind a panel of bulletproof glass on Thursday evening in Washington, DC
  • The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that ‘our nation is stronger than it ever was before’ and ‘for Americans, nothing is impossible’
  • He recited a litany of American accomplishments over the nation’s history, including the moon landing 
  • Trump also praised each branch of the military, highlighting their history and their accomplishments 
  • He made the military the focal point of the night by bringing in tanks and organizing flyovers by Air Force B-2 stealth bombers, the US Navy Blue Angels, US Marine One and Air Force One
  • The event has been dampened by inclement weather as the sky opened up two hours before the event kicked off, sending thousands of revelers running for cover  under umbrellas and pitched tents    
  • Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades with thousands flocking to the capital
  • But military chiefs were rumored to be concerned this year could turn out to be an overtly political affair 
  • On Tuesday Trump had said ‘the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled’ to participate 
  • Thursday’s celebration had also been overshadowed by questions about how much it will cost taxpayers 
  • But the president has insisted it will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes 
  • SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE FULL SPEECH 

Donald Trump braved rainy weather to deliver a speech at his Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ event from behind a panel of bulletproof glass.

The president welcomed crowds on the National Mall to a ‘very special’ Fourth of July holiday before launching in his pre-prepared remarks.

‘Today we come together as one nation with this very special Salute to America,’ he told the sea of red, white and blue-clad revelers.

Trump listed off a number of American accomplishments throughout the nation’s history – including the Revolutionary War, the women’s suffrage movement, the Civil Rights movement – and paid special tribute to each brand of the military, which he made the focal point of the festivities.

He offered a brief history of each branch and highlighted their accomplishments between cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.

‘We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag – the brave men and women of the United States military,’ he said.

As he paid tribute to each branch of the service, he also mentioned the branch he wants to see created under his presidency.

The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that 'our nation is stronger than it ever was before' and 'for Americans, nothing is impossible'

The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that ‘our nation is stronger than it ever was before’ and ‘for Americans, nothing is impossible’

The crowd erupted in cheers of 'U-S-A! U-S-A!' as Trump and Melania strutted onto the stage

The crowd erupted in cheers of ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’ as Trump and Melania strutted onto the stage

Trump's speech ended with the Blue Angels flying overhead

Trump’s speech ended with the Blue Angels flying overhead

The Navy's Blue Angels fly over the Lincoln Memorial with crowds watching big screens below

The president holds hands with the First Lady as he waves to spectators in front of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday

The president holds hands with the First Lady as he waves to spectators in front of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday

The president addressed the crowd on the Mall as the rain came down

Fireworks spell out USA over the Lincoln Memorial

The fireworks display capped off the evening in Washington D.C.'s Fourth of July celebration

The fireworks display capped off the evening in Washington D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration

A woman takes a picture from inside the Lincoln memorial as fireworks explode overhead on the National Mall

Planes from the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron perform a flyover during the celebrations

Planes from the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron perform a flyover during the celebrations

‘The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and, very soon, the Space Force,’ he said, ticking off America’s armed services.

He even vowed to soon ‘plant the American flag on Mars.’

‘I want you to know that we are going to be back on the moon very soon, and someday soon we will plant the American flag on Mars,’ he said when he paid tribute to the work of NASA.

AIRCRAFT AND MILITARY VEHICLES PARTICIPATING IN JULY FOURTH

Air Force One

Blue Angels (F-18 (6))

US Coast Guard Aircraft: MH-60 (1)/ MH-65 (1) / C-130 (1)

US Air Force Aircraft: B-2 (1) / F-22 (2)

US Marine Corps Aircraft: V-92 (1) / V-22 (2)

US Army: Aircraft: AH-64 (4)

US Navy: F-35 (2) / F-18 (2)

Other Equipment:

M1A2 Abrams Tanks (2)

M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (2)

M88 Recovery Vehicle (1)

Contact Truck with crew (1)

 – courtesy the White House

The president also incorporated flyovers into his remarks, timing it so the B-52 bomber, F-18 and F-35 fighter jets and osprey helicopters flew over as he paid tribute to the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The overhead flights particularly pleased the crowd, which cheered loudly when the aircraft appeared over head.

And, as he mentioned each military branch, a band played its theme song.

Critics charged the president with throwing a political rally on the nation’s birthday – a charge the White House fought back against.

But when Trump looked out at the crowd, he would see a similar sight to what he sees at his rally – a sea of red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, which was his 2016 campaign theme.

Some supporters waved Trump campaign signs. Venders sold Trump campaign merchandise.

And the president touted the crowd’s size after reports Republicans were worried about light turnout due to the rainy weather and late planning with some even saying they feared a ‘Trump Inauguration 2.0’ when a fight broke out between the White House and press over the crowd size.

‘A great crowd of tremendous Patriots this evening, all the way back to the Washington Monument!,’ the president tweeted after he left the National Mall and was back at the White House.

It was Trump’s idea to have a heavy military presence during his ‘Salute to America.’

He took a hand in planning the celebration – which he vowed would be the ‘show of a lifetime’ – pushing to have tanks on display and American military planes flying overhead – a feat he pulled off, capped with Blue Angels soaring over his head as he wrapped up his speech.

He also praised the Gold Star families in the audience, thanking them for their sacrifice, and asked people to remember law enforcement officials.

‘Our nation has always honored the heroes who serve our communities. The firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs, ICE, border patrol and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4th, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation,’ he said.

And he encouraged young people to join the service during his 45 minute remarks.

‘To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life,’ he said.

‘Our nation is its strongest today than it ever was before – it is its strongest now,’ he said to great applause, resulting in the crowds cheering: ‘USA, USA, USA.’

Trump wore a navy suit, a bright red tie, an American flag pin on his lapel and shiny black patent dress shoes while Melania tempted fate - given the weather - in a fresh white frock with rainbow stripes and hot pink pointed-toe pumps

Melania Trump (far left) joins Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen and the president's daughter Tiffany at the event

Melania Trump (far left) joins Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen and the president’s daughter Tiffany at the event

The president stuck to a patriotic theme in his remarks

People wave flags and take photos as they watch Trump's address on the National Mall under rainy weather

Trump offers a salute during his Fourth of July speech

Attendees cheered as the Blue Angels appeared

Trump's speech was projected on a giant screen on the National Mall

Trump’s speech was projected on a giant screen on the National Mall

QUOTES FROM TRUMP’S FOURTH OF JULY SPEECH

‘Today, we come together as ONE NATION with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag—the brave men and women of the United States Military!

As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we ALL share a truly extraordinary heritage.

That same American Spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history. To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of YOU.

As long as we stay true to our cause — as long as we remember our great history—and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future — then there will be NOTHING that America cannot do.’

His remarks were peppered with famous American names – including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, the Wright Brothers, Frederick Douglass and Amelia Earhart – as he sought to pay tribute to the country’s history while emphasizing its greatness today.

He quoted Abraham Lincoln’s famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ and said the U.S. has the government ‘of, for and by the people.’

Trump, who spoke from the Lincoln Memorial, noted this was also where Martin Luther King made his famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech.

He spoke of the greatness of America invention – noting Alexander Bell, Red Cross founder Clara Barton, and the accomplishment of other famous Americans, adding: ‘Nothing is impossible.’

Trump, who built his career on real estate, spoke of the America’s construction victories like skyscrapers and bridges.

‘Americans always take care of each other,’ he said.

He noted this year was the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote and paid tribute to the Civil Rights movement.

Trump spoke as rain trickled down from the sky onto his festivities. Crowds still swarmed the reflecting pool around the Lincoln Memorial and there was a heavy security presence – people waited up to six blocks to get through the mags.

The president, the first to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day in nearly seven decades, kept his remarks focused on patriotism after the White House defended his event as a celebration of America instead of a political rally.

‘That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history.’

‘To this date that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you.’

‘Today just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American Freedom rests on the shoulders of the men and women willing to defend it,’ he added.

Fireworks are lit near the White House during Fourth of July celebration

Fireworks capped off the evening

Fireworks capped off the evening

Trump got an enthusiastic greeting from the crowd, who yelled ‘USA, USA’ as he and the first lady walked on stage.

‘As long was we stay true to our cause – as long as we remember our great history – and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future – then there will e nothing that America cannot do,’ he said.

‘We will never forget that we are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny.’

At the end of his speech Trump invited the military band to play a formal rendition Lee Greenwood’s Proud To Be An American – one of his favorites — as a Navy Blue Angel plane flew overhead.

He shook hands with some military officials and waved before exiting the stage.

After Trump’s event, a Fourth of July concert featuring Carole King and cast members from Sesame Street took place down the National Mall at the U.S. Capitol building.

King sang ‘Natural Woman’ and John Stamos – the host of the ‘Capitol Fourth’ contest – had playful interactions with the puppet characters, which included Big Bird, Burt and Ernie.

Both events were followed by a firework display.

The display was not without controversy this year.

To accommodate the flyovers and the fireworks display, President Trump closed down Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport, causing several flight delays.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that flights would be grounded from National, which is close to the center of D.C., during the flypast, from 6.15pm to 7.15pm, and for the fireworks, from 9pm to 9.45pm.

It will be the first time the airport has ever been closed for the annual July 4 fireworks, whose launch site was moved closer to the airport to accommodate Trump’s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Instead of being launched from its traditional location alongside the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, the fireworks were launched from a barge in the Potomac.

 The firework display was twice as long this year after the White House got two fireworks companies to donate to the show.

Down the mall at the U.S. Capitol, 'A Capitol Fourth' host John Stamos took a selfie with Big Bird

Down the mall at the U.S. Capitol, ‘A Capitol Fourth’ host John Stamos took a selfie with Big Bird

The presidential Air Force One flew over the festivities as Trump arrived

The presidential Air Force One flew over the festivities as Trump arrived

Marine One did a flyover as the US Coast Guard sang

Marine One did a flyover as the US Coast Guard sang

A view of the National Mall during Trump's speech

A view of the National Mall during Trump’s speech

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen hold their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem

Trump reached his hand up to the sky inspecting falling raindrops as he and Melania made their way toward the stage

Trump reached his hand up to the sky inspecting falling raindrops as he and Melania made their way toward the stage

 

Both Trump and Melania’s tresses appeared soggy from the rain by the conclusion of the president’s speech

Melania Trump was on her husband’s arm as the President’s “Salute to America” got underway for the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Washington, D.C. has always had Independence Day celebrations with plenty of concerts and fireworks. But this year was the first year in decades that a president has given a speech.

For her part, Melania chose to wear an American designer, Carolina Herrera, to celebrate the holiday. However, it wasn’t exactly a red-white-and-blue dress, but a multicolored striped flare dress on a white background with an off-the shoulder design. It was a summery choice.

Several attendees wore red 'Make America Great Again' caps

Several attendees wore red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps

The event has been dampened by inclement weather as the sky opened up two hours before it kicked off, sending thousands of revelers running for cover under umbrellas and pitched tents.

On Thursday morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC.

Despite the weather reports, loyal crowds still gathered on the Mall, excited to see the president’s promised ‘show of a lifetime’ that boasted tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal followers and protesters with the president’s ‘baby blimp’.

The rain dampened the parade festivities as visitors were seen camping out with dismal expressions as they struggled to keep dry in their plastic rain ponchos and umbrellas.

Protesters were out and about during the day.

At the White House, two people were arrested for burning a flag before Trump left to give his speech.

Political activist Gregory Lee ‘Joey’ Johnson was one of the people taken away in handcuffs during the demonstration outside of the White House two before the president’s celebration is set to kick off, someone confirmed on his Twitter account.

Johnson is a longtime member of the Revolutionary Communist Party – also known as RevCom – which organized Thursday’s protest outside of the White House, where the group chanted: ‘Imagine A World Without America. Fight For A World Without America!’

But, for Trump, the show went on.

Calling his event a ‘Salute to America’ honoring the armed forces, the president tweeted Thursday morning to say he is expecting many attendees for the event which will ‘be well worth the trip and wait.’

The president wrote: ‘Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!’

Officers extinguished the burning flag after breaking up the hoard of demonstrators

Officers extinguished the burning flag after breaking up the hoard of demonstrators

Two people have been arrested during a flag burning protest in front of the White House ahead of Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' Fourth of July celebration in Washington, DC, on Thursday

Don't rain on my parade! Rain has started to pour on the thousands lined up on Capitol Hill for Donald Trump's Fourth of July military parade that he boasted will be the 'show of a lifetime'. A sculpture of Trump sitting on a toilet as the downpour began pictured above

Don’t rain on my parade! Rain has started to pour on the thousands lined up on Capitol Hill for Donald Trump’s Fourth of July military parade that he boasted will be the ‘show of a lifetime’. A sculpture of Trump sitting on a toilet as the downpour began pictured above

Rain, rain go away: Fourth of July revelers decked out in red white and blue had no choice but to stand in the rain Thursday

Stormy weather: This morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC

Stormy weather: This morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC

Revelers sat down in in plastic rain ponchos in a feeble attempt to stay dry during Thursday’s deluge

This couple camped out on the ground and tried to keep dry under the shade of their umbrellas in the storm

Drenched: This couple took cover under an umbrella after the rain began to pound down

Drenched: This couple took cover under an umbrella after the rain began to pound down

Just a bit of drizzle! These people didn't let the rain stop their fun and took a smiling selfie in the storm

Just a bit of drizzle! These people didn’t let the rain stop their fun and took a smiling selfie in the storm

Poncho season! These people smiled for the camera as they sat in the rain and waited for Trump's speech

Poncho season! These people smiled for the camera as they sat in the rain and waited for Trump’s speech

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle pictured drenched with rain on Thursday in the deluge

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle pictured drenched with rain on Thursday in the deluge

Over it: This woman took cover in her red MAGA hat and blue Trump flag
Over it: This woman took cover in her red MAGA hat and blue Trump flag

Can't stop the party: Instead of going home these folks decided to camp out and wait for the rain to pass

Can’t stop the party: Instead of going home these folks decided to camp out and wait for the rain to pass

he rain may affect the parade, but it seems Trump’s televised speech will proceed as scheduled at 6pm

Revelers took cover under umbrellas and hats as the rain hit the Lincoln memorial

Revelers took cover under umbrellas and hats as the rain hit the Lincoln memorial

As marchers walked in the National Independence Day Parade, onlookers whipped out their umbrellas to block the rain

As marchers walked in the National Independence Day Parade, onlookers whipped out their umbrellas to block the rain

The show must go on! The Marine Silent Drill Team pictured performing in the rain on Thursday

The show must go on! The Marine Silent Drill Team pictured performing in the rain on Thursday

Storm's brewin! The sky turned an eerie shade Thursday afternoon amid the Fourth of July festivities

Storm’s brewin! The sky turned an eerie shade Thursday afternoon amid the Fourth of July festivities

Two Bradley fighting vehicles were also in place Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial, where Trump spoke.

In addition, two 60-ton Army Abrams battle tanks were sent to Washington by rail to be positioned on or near the National Mall, to the dismay of District of Columbia officials.

Soldiers have been pictured working on an armored tanks in front of the Lincoln Memorial as other military vehicles have been pictured in the area.

Workers spent this week constructing a stage around the Lincoln Memorial where Trump spoke, while tourists wandered in between the construction to see one of the most popular monuments in the city.

A balloon is carried in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC

A balloon is carried in ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC

People gather to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade'. The president tweeted to say he is expecting big crowds in DC Thursday evening, writing: 'Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!'

People gather to watch ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’. The president tweeted to say he is expecting big crowds in DC Thursday evening, writing: ‘Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!’

A US Army soldier works on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington. The 'Salute to America' Fourth of July activities include remarks by US President Trump, a parade, military flyovers and fireworks

US Army soldiers position a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position. Trump has promised the 'show of a lifetime' to celebrate Fourth of July where the president is scheduled to speak

US Army soldiers position a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position. Trump has promised the ‘show of a lifetime’ to celebrate Fourth of July where the president is scheduled to speak

US Army soldiers walk by an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Not since 1951, when President Harry Truman spoke before a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has a commander in chief made an Independence Day speech to a sizable crowd on the Mall

US Army soldiers walk by an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Not since 1951, when President Harry Truman spoke before a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has a commander in chief made an Independence Day speech to a sizable crowd on the Mall

Protester Jim Girvan moves a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, as those opposed to the president are ready to make their voices heard on Fourth of July

Protester Jim Girvan moves a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, as those opposed to the president are ready to make their voices heard on Fourth of July

A Trump supporter stands alongside people gathered for the Independence Day parade ahead of the president's speech

Supporters of Trump join others to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

Supporters of Trump join others to watch ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue

People move a statue depicting U.S. President Donald Trump sitting on a golden toilet. Anti-war group Code Pink said, as part of its protest of the president's politicization of July Fourth, it would bring the Trump Baby Blimp ballon and this 16-foot statue

Miss Maryland, Mariela Pepin, rides in an open-top vehicle during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in D.C

Miss Maryland, Mariela Pepin, rides in an open-top vehicle during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in D.C

Crowds have lined the streets of DC for Trump's Fourth of July military parade after the president promised 'show of a lifetime' with tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal fans and protesters with the president's 'baby blimp'

Crowds have lined the streets of DC for Trump’s Fourth of July military parade after the president promised ‘show of a lifetime’ with tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal fans and protesters with the president’s ‘baby blimp’

In a sweltering capital threatened by storms, the traditional Fourth of July parade Thursday served as a warm-up act to a distinctly nontraditional evening event at the Lincoln Memorial, where President Donald Trump made plans to command the stage against the backdrop of a show of military muscle.

It’s been nearly seven decades since a president spoke there on Independence Day.

Trump tweeted Thursday to say he is expecting big crowds in DC ahead of his military spectacular

Trump tweeted Thursday to say he is expecting big crowds in DC ahead of his military spectacular

The U.S. was at war in Korea when Harry Truman addressed a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds, marking the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Military chiefs are rumored to be concerned the July Fourth extravaganza could turn out to be an overtly political affair, putting them in violation of Defense Department policy.

On Tuesday Trump had said ‘the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled’ to participate.

Thursday’s celebration has also been shadowed by questions about how much it will cost taxpayers.

But the president has insisted that the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes.

‘We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,’ he said, referring to Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews, home for some of the planes that are to fly over the Mall on Thursday. ‘We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats.’

Thunderstorms have threatened the celebrations with periods of “torrential rain” forecast by the National Weather Service

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes. He sounded a defensive note Wednesday, tweeting the cost 'will be very little compared to what it is worth'

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes. He sounded a defensive note Wednesday, tweeting the cost ‘will be very little compared to what it is worth’

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers' adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that 'cast off the shackles of tyranny'

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that ‘cast off the shackles of tyranny’

Trump is promising the 'show of a lifetime' for the hundreds of thousands of revelers who flock to the National Mall every year. US Army soldiers are pictured positioning a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial

Trump is promising the ‘show of a lifetime’ for the hundreds of thousands of revelers who flock to the National Mall every year. US Army soldiers are pictured positioning a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial

The tanks are in place for the display of military muscle, including this M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations

The tanks are in place for the display of military muscle, including this M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations

Under White House direction, the Pentagon was arranging for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to conduct flyovers. Soldiers work on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Under White House direction, the Pentagon was arranging for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to conduct flyovers. Soldiers work on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial

There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys

There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys

A crowd watches Independence Day celebrations in Washington. Trump set himself up to be the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day+92

A crowd watches Independence Day celebrations in Washington. Trump set himself up to be the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to 'HOLD THE DATE!' for this Fourth of July and the president's supporters have welcomed his stamp on the holiday+92

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to ‘HOLD THE DATE!’ for this Fourth of July and the president’s supporters have welcomed his stamp on the holiday

A participant in the the Independence Day parade holds an American flag and a picture of President Donald Trump

A participant in the the Independence Day parade holds an American flag and a picture of President Donald Trump

People prepare a balloon for the Independence Day parade. The president has insisted the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes+92

People prepare a balloon for the Independence Day parade. The president has insisted the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes

A jump rope team participates in 'America's Independence Day Parade'. The traditional Fourth of July parade Thursday served as a warm-up act to a distinctly nontraditional evening event at the Lincoln Memorial

Trump's original tweet with his 'Aircraft One' mistake pictured above

Trump’s original tweet with his ‘Aircraft One’ mistake pictured above

After he received a flood of comments calling him out for his blunder, he deleted the flub tweet and tweeted this correction calling it Air Force One

After he received a flood of comments calling him out for his blunder, he deleted the flub tweet and tweeted this correction calling it Air Force One

Protesters unimpressed by his ‘Salute to America’ program inflated a roly-poly balloon depicting Trump as an angry, diaper-clad baby.

In the shadow of the Washington Monument, the anti-war organization Codepink erected a 20-foot tall ‘Trump baby’ balloon to protest what it called the president’s co-opting of Independence Day.

But the president’s supporters welcomed Trump’s stamp on the holiday.

Rachel McKenna, a Trump supporter from McKinney, Texas, said her relatives have served in the military and she thought it was important to say ‘We love you guys, we appreciate everything you do, and I love the fact I can see that,’ as she pointed to the Bradley fighting vehicle positioned near the Lincoln Memorial.

‘I’ve never ever seen one,’ she said. ‘I just think it’s so cool.’

He was savagely mocked on Twitter Thursday morning for tweeting ‘Aircraft One’ instead of ‘Air Force One’ while touting the elaborate military parade plans.

The president tweeted that people would come from far and wide for the celebration ‘culminating with large scale flyovers of the most modern and advanced aircraft anywhere in the World. Perhaps even Aircraft One will do a low & loud sprint over the crowd’.

The president’s aircraft is known as Air Force One when he’s on it, not Aircraft One.

Twitter users eviscerated the president for the slip-up, joking that Aircraft One is the unofficial name of Putin’s jet.

Trump then deleted his flub tweet and posted a new one, this time calling the aircraft Air Force One.

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that ‘cast off the shackles of tyranny’.

A US Marine Corps unit participates in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

People carry U.S. flags as they take part in a parade during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C

People carry U.S. flags as they take part in a parade during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps participate in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps participate in ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue

Independence Day revellers pose in front of a Humvee parked on a street in Washington, DC

Two Bradley fighting vehicles were in place Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial, where Trump will speak. In addition, two 60-ton Army Abrams battle tanks were sent to Washington by rail to be positioned on or near the National Mall, to the dismay of District of Columbia officials

The presidential Air Force One and Marine One aircraft are also slated to make aerial appearances. White House officials have stressed that Trump’s remarks will be patriotic

Trump originally wanted a parade with military tanks and other machinery rolling through downtown Washington ever since he was enthralled by a two-hour procession of French military tanks and fighter jets in Paris on Bastille Day in July 2017

A giant inflatable blimp depicting Uncle Sam during Independence Day celebrations

A "Trump Baby" balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group as protesters also descend on the National Mall

A ‘Trump Baby’ balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group as protesters also descend on the National Mall

A supporter of Trump joins others to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade'. Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument

Trump originally wanted a parade with military tanks and other machinery rolling through downtown Washington ever since he was enthralled by a two-hour procession of French military tanks and fighter jets in Paris on Bastille Day in July 2017.

Later that year Trump said he’d have a similar parade in Washington on the Fourth of July, 2018, and would ‘top’ the Paris show. The event ended up being pushed to Veterans Day, which conflicted with one of Trump’s trips abroad, before it was scuttled after cost estimates exceeding $90 million were made public.

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to ‘HOLD THE DATE!’ for this Fourth of July.

Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument.

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes.

READ TRUMP’S FULL SPEECH AT HIS SALUTE TO AMERICA ON JULY 4 AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL

Hello, America. Hello. The First Lady and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Independence Day on this truly historic Fourth of July.

Today we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag, the brave men and women of the United States military.

We are pleased to have with us Vice President Mike Pence and his wonderful wife, Karen. We’re also joined by many hard-working members of Congress, Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and many other members of my Cabinet and also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you.

Lieutenant General Daniel Hokanson of the National Guard, and distinguished leaders representing each branch of the United States armed forces: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and – very soon – the Space Force.

As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that all share a truly extraordinary heritage.

Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told: the story of America. It is the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right, and what they know is true. It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.

And it is the saga of 13 separate colonies that united to form the most just and virtuous Republic ever conceived. On this day, 243 years ago, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to declare independence and defend our God-given rights.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the words that forever changed the course of humanity: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

With a single sheet of parchment, and 56 signatures, America began the greatest political journey in human history.

But on that day the patriots, who would determine the ultimate success of the struggle, were 100 miles away in New York. There, the Continental Army prepared to make its stand commanded by the beloved General George Washington. As the delegates debated the Declaration in Philadelphia, Washington’s army watched from Manhattan as a massive British invading fleet loomed dangerously across New York harbor.

The British had come to crush the Revolution in its infancy. Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes, He wrote: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.” Days later, General Washington ordered the Declaration read aloud to the troops, the assembled soldiers just joined an excited crowd running down Broadway, they toppled a statue of King George and melted it into bullets for battle.

The faraway king would soon learn a timeless lesson about the people of this majestic land: Americans love our freedom, and no one will ever take it away from us. That same American spirit that emboldened our Founders has kept us strong throughout our history.

To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you here today.

It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world and our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now.

That same righteous American spirit forged our glorious constitution, that rugged American character led the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark on their perilous expedition across an untamed continent. It drove others to journey West and stake out their claim on the wild frontier. Devotion to our founding ideals led American patriots to abolish the evil of slavery, secure civil rights and expand the blessings of liberty to all Americans.

This is the noble purpose that inspired Abraham Lincoln to rededicate our nation to a new birth of freedom and to resolve that we will always have a government of, by and for the people. Our quest for greatness, unleashed a culture of discovery that led Thomas Edison to imagine his light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell to create the telephone, the Wright brothers to look to the sky, and see the next great frontier.

For Americans, nothing is impossible. Exactly 50 years ago this month, the world watched in awe as Apollo 11, astronauts launched into space with a wake of fire and nerves of steel, and planted our great American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later we are thrilled to have here tonight the famed NASA flight director, who led Mission Control during that historic endeavor, the renowned Gene Krantz.

Gene, I want you to know that we’re going to be back on the moon very soon and someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.It’s happening Gene, it’s happening.

Our nation’s creativity and genius lit up the lights of Broadway and the soundstages of Hollywood. It filled the concert halls and airwaves around the world with the sound of jazz, opera, country, rock n’roll, and rhythm and blues.

It gave birth to the musical, the motion picture, the Western, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the skyscraper, the suspension bridge, the assembly line and the mighty American automobile. It led our citizens to push the bounds of medicine and science to save the lives of millions. Here with us this evening is Dr. Emmanuel Freireich.

When Emmanuel began his work 99 percent of children with leukaemia died. Thanks largely to Dr. Freireich’s breakthrough treatments, currently 90 percent of those with the most common childhood leukaemias survive. Doctor, you are a great American hero, thank you.

Americans always take care of each other. That love and unity held together the first Pilgrims, it forged communities on the Great Plains, it inspired Clara Barton to found the Red Cross, and it keeps our nation thriving today.

Here tonight from the Florida Panhandle is Tina Belcher. Her selfless generosity over three decades has made her known to all as Mrs. Angel. Every time a hurricane strikes Mrs. Angel turns her tiny kitchen into a disaster relief center. On a single day after Hurricane Michael, she gave 476 people a warm meal. Mrs. Angel, your boundless heart inspires us all. Thank you. Thank you very much.

From our earliest days, Americans of faith have uplifted our nation. This evening we’re joined by Sister Deirdre Byrne.

Sister Byrne is a retired Army surgeon who served for nearly 30 years. On September 11, 2001, the sister raced to Ground Zero. Through smoke and debris, she administered first aid and comfort to all. Today Sister Byrne runs a medical clinic serving the poor in our nation’s capital. Sister, thank you for your lifetime of service. Thank you.

Our nation has always honored the heroes who serve our communities, the firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs, ICE, Border Patrol, and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation. We are deeply moved to be in the presence this evening of Gold Star families whose loved ones made the supreme sacrifice. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Throughout our history, our country has been made ever greater by citizens who risked it all for equality and for justice. One hundred years ago this summer, the women’s suffrage movement led Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

In 1960, a thirst for justice led African American students to sit down at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was one of the very first civil rights sit-ins and it started a movement all across our nation.

Clarence Henderson was 18 years old when he took his place in history. Almost six decades later he is here tonight in a seat of honor. Clarence, thank you for making this country a much better place for all America.

In 1963, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. stood here on these very steps and called on our nation to live out the true meaning of its creed, and let freedom ring for every citizen all across our land.

America’s fearless resolve has inspired heroes who defined our national character from George Washington, John Adams, and Betsy Ross, to Douglass, you know, Frederick Douglass, the great Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Jackie Robinson. And of course, John Glenn.

It has willed our warriors up mountains and across minefields. It has liberated continents split the atom, and brought tyrants and empires to their knees. Here with us this evening is Earl Morse. After retiring from the Air Force, Earl worked at a VA hospital in Ohio. Earl found that many World War Two veterans could not afford to visit their Memorial on the National Mall.

So Earl began the very first honor flights that have now brought over 200,000 World War two heroes to visit America’s monument. Earl, thank you. We salute you. Thank you. Thank you, Earl. Thank you.

Our warriors form a hallowed roll call of American patriots running all the way back to the first souls who fought and one American independence.

Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it. We are proudly joined tonight by heroes from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, including three recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you. They and thousands before us served with immense distinction, and they loved every minute of that service.

To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life, and you should do it.

We will now begin our celebration of the United States Armed Forces, honoring each branch’s unique culture, rich history, service song, and distinct legacy. I invite Acting Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman Dunford, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Please join me. In August of 1790, by request of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Congress established a fleet of 10 swift vessels to defend our shores. These Revenue cutters would fight pirates, stop smugglers and safeguard our borders.

They are the ancestors of our faithful Coast Guard. When our ships were seized and sailors kidnapped by foreign powers in 1812, it was a Revenue cutter the swift schooner Thomas Jefferson, that swept into capture the first British vessel of the war.

In 1897, when 265 whalers were trapped in ice and the ice fields of Alaska were closing up, courageous officers trekked 1,500 miles through the frozen frontier to rescue those starving men from certain death. In 1942, the Coast Guard manned landing craft for invasions in the Pacific

When the enemy attacked U.S. Marines from the shores of Guadalcanal Coast Guard Signalman First Class, Douglas Monroe, used his own boat to shield his comrades from pounding gunfire. Monroe gave his life. Hundreds of Marines were saved. As he lay dying on the deck, his final question embodied the devotion that sails with every Coast Guardsman: “Did they get off?”

On D Day the Coast Guards famous matchbox fleet served valiantly through every hour of the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of our country.

One coxswain said the water boiled with bullets like a mud puddle in hailstones, but still the Coast Guard braved death to put our boys on Utah and Omaha Beaches. Every Coast Guardsman is trusted to put service before all. Coasties plunge from helicopters and barrel through pouring rain and crashing waves to save American lives.

They secure our borders from drug runners and terrorists in rough seas at high speeds. Their sharpshooters take out smugglers’ engines with a single shot – they never miss. When the red racing stripes of a Coast Guard vessel break the horizon, when their chopper blades pierce the sky, those in distress know that the help is on their way and our enemies know their time has come.

These guardians of our waters stand Semper Peratus. They are always ready. They are the United States Coast Guard.

Representing the Coast Guard today you will soon see an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, based at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, along with an HH-65 Dolphin from Air Station Atlantic City and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Air Station Miami.

Thank you. Thank you to the Coast Guard.

On a cold December morning in 1903, a miracle occurred over the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when two bicycle makers from Ohio defied gravity with a 12 horsepower engine, wings made of cotton, and just a few dollars in their pockets. Just six years later, America was training its first pilots to take these magnificent machines up and over the field of battle.

In World War One, our Fly Boys rush the skies of Europe, and aces like Eddie Rickenbacker filled hearts and headlines with tales of daring duels in the clouds. General Billy Mitchell saw the promise of this technology and risked court-martial in his quest for an independent Air Force. He was proven right when empires across the oceans tried to carve up the world for themselves and America stood in the way – we wouldn’t let it happen.

After Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his Raiders flew B-25 bombers off a carrier deck in the deep Pacific in a daring feat of American resolve. And as President Roosevelt said, the Nazis built the fortress around Europe, but they forgot to put a roof on it. So we crushed them all from the air. 177 Liberator bombers flew dangerously low through broad daylight without fighter protection to cripple the Nazi war machine at Ploiești. 300 Airmen gave their lives to destroy the enemy oil refineries and five pilots were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions in that single raid.

It was Airman Chuck Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier. It was airmen like Gus Chris and Buzz Aldrin who traded their Sabrejets for rockets to the stars. And It is our incredible airmen today who will the most powerful weapon systems on the planet earth.

For over 65 years, no enemy air force has managed to kill a single American soldier because the skies belong to the United States of America. No enemy has attacked our people without being met by a roar of thunder. And the aesome of those who bid farewell to earth and soar into the wild blue yonder. They are the United States Air Force.

Representing the Air Force you will soon see beautiful brand new F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and one magnificent B-2 stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

What a great country.

In October of 1775, the Continental Congress ordered the construction of two swift sailing vessels, each carrying 10 cannons and 80 men to sail eastward. Our young fleet tested their sea legs against the most powerful Navy the world has ever seen.

John Paul Jones, America’s first great naval hero, said: ‘I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.’ He got his wish, many times, when a ship was shot into pieces off the coast of England by a British vessel and her four dozen guns. When demanded to surrender, Jones very famously declared: “I have not yet begun to fight.”

When our Navy begins fighting, they finish the job. In the War of 1812, Captain James Lawrence fell with his brothers on the USS Chesapeake.His dying command gained immortality: ‘Don’t give up the ship.’

In the Battle of Mobile Bay, Admiral David Farragut lashed himself to the rigging of his flagship to see beyond the cannon smoke, crying: ‘Damn the torpedoes Full speed ahead.’

In World War Two, it was aviators launched from the carrier Enterprise, Hornet, Yorktown, who filled the skies of Midway and turned the tide of the Pacific War. Nobody could beat us. Nobody could come close. On D-Day, SeaBee engineers came ashore to destroy blockades and barriers making way for the invasion.

Many lost their lives but they took the German defenses with them. And our men crashed upon the beaches like a mighty storm.

From the naval demolition units of World War Two arose a force that became famous in the Mekong Delta. They don’t want to see our force again. The very best of the very best, the Navy SEALs. It was the SEALs who delivered vengeance on the terrorists who planned the September 11 attack on our homeland. It was the SEALS who stand ready to bring righteous retribution in mountain, jungle, desert to those who do us harm.

America’s sailors are not born. They are forged by the sea. Their traditions are rich with the salt and blood of three centuries.

When Old Glory crests the waves of foreign shores, every friend and every phone knows that justice sails those waters. It sails with the United States Navy.

Representing our great Navy today will be two F-18 Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, along with two F-35 Lightnings from Naval Air Station Lamar in California.

So great.

In November of 1775, the Continental Congress created two battalions of a new kind of warrior, one who kept and would protect our ships and sailors and be at home both the shore and the mast, with musket in hand.

They’re versatile. It was proven in the War of Independence when 234 Continental Marines conducted their first amphibious raid, capturing the British supply of gunpowder and cannons at Fort Nassau. Ever since Marines have fought in every American war. Their legend has grown and grown and grown with each passing year.

It was the Marines who won America’s first overseas battle vanquishing Barbary pirates on the shores of Tripoli. Their high stiff collar, which shielded them from the pirate sword earned them the immortal name Leatherneck. It was the Marines who after two long days of battle marched through the halls of Montezuma, it was the Marines who took heavy casualties to kick the Kaiser’s troops out of Belleau Wood in World War I, earning the title Devil Dogs.

And it was the Marines who raised the flag on the black sands of Iwo Jima.

From The Chosin Reservoir to Khe Sanh from Helmand to Baghdad, Marines have struck fear into the hearts of our enemies and put solace into the hearts of our friends. Marines always lead the way.

After the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, which claimed the lives of 241 great U.S. servicemen, Marine Sergeant Jeffrey Nashton lay in bandages, so badly wounded, barely alive. When the Commandant of the Marine Corps came to visit his hospital, Sergeant Nashton had to feel for the General’s collar. He wanted to feel his four stars. He could not see and he could not speak. He signaled for pen and paper and with shaking hand he wrote two words: Semper Fi. That motto, Semper Fidelis, always faithful, burns in the soul of every Marine, a sacred promise the corps has kept since the birth of our country.

They are the elite masters of air and land and sea, on battlefields all across the globe. They are the United States Marines.

Representing the Marine Corps today will be a brand new VH-92, soon to serve as Marine One, along with two V-22 Ospreys from the famed HMX-1 helicopter squadron at Quantico, the Nighthawks.

In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

Our army manned the airs, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports it did everything it had to do. And at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came there, the star Spangled Banner waved defiant. At Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg, our soldiers gave the last full measure of devotion for the true unity of our nation and the freedom of all Americans.

In the trenches of World War One, an Army sergeant named Alvin York faced an inferno of enemy fire and refused to retreat. He said: “I won’t leave, I won’t stop.” He shot his rifle 18 times killing 18 of the enemy. When they fixed bayonets and charged, he killed seven more. The entire German machine gun battalion surrendered because of one man: Alvin York.

A generation later, the Army returned to Europe and embarked upon a great crusade with knives and rifles in hand. The Rangers scaled the cliffs of Normandy, the 101st Airborne leapt into the danger from above, illuminated only by enemy flares, explosions and burning aircraft. They threw back the Nazi empire with lightning of their own from the turrets of Sherman tanks and the barrels of the M-1 rifle. In the darkness of the Battle of the Bulge, with Nazis on every side, one soldier is reported to have said: “They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.”

Outnumbered American warriors fought through the bunkers of Pork Chop Hill, and held the line of civilization in Korea. In the elephant grass of Vietnam, the First Cavalry made its stand amid a forest consumed in flame with enemies at every single turn.

The army brought America’s righteous fury down to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and cleared the bloodthirsty killers from their caves. They liberated Fallujah and Mosul and helped liberate and obliterate the ISIS caliphate just recently in Syria – 100 percent gone. Through centuries, our soldiers have always pointed toward home proclaiming: ‘We will defend.’

They live by the creed of Douglas MacArthur in World War: ‘There is no substitute for victory.’ They are the greatest soldiers on Earth.

Nearly 250 years ago, a volunteer army of farmers and shopkeepers, blacksmiths, merchants and militiamen risked life and limb to secure American liberty, and self-government. This evening, we have witnessed the noble might of the warriors who continue that legacy.

They guard our birthright with vigilance and fierce devotion to the flag and to our great country. Now, we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never, ever, stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America can not do. Thank you.

We will always be the people who defeated a tyrant, crossed a continent, harnessed science, took to the skies and soared into the heavens, because we will never forget that we are Americans, and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny. We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart. And we are all made by the same Almighty God. From the banks of the Chesapeake, to the cliffs of California, from the humming shores of the Great Lakes, to the sand dunes of the Carolinas, from the fields of the heartland, to the Everglades of Florida, the spirit of American independence will never fade, never fail, but will reign forever and ever and ever.

So once more, to every citizen throughout our land, have a glorious Independence Day. Have a great Fourth of July. I want to thank the Army Band, the National Park Service, the Interior Department, the incredible pilots overhead, and those who are making possible the amazing fireworks display later this evening.

Now as the band plays the Battle Hymn of the Republic, I invite the First Lady, Vice President and Mrs. Pence, the service secretaries and military leaders to join me on stage for one more salute to America by the famous, incredible, talented Blue Angels. God Bless you. God bless the military, and God bless America. Happy Fourth of July.

 

The real reason why the left was against Donald Trump’s July 4 speech

Now we know why the Democrats were so upset about President Trump speaking on the Fourth of July.

It was not because it was political or partisan. It was patriotic and that is what annoys the left the most.

Several days before the speech, we heard that Trump was hijacking Independence Day and turning it into a campaign rally. But Trump never mentioned the 2020 campaign in his speech.

We heard that Trump’s desire to have tanks on the National Mall was an out-and-out authoritarian performance art. But that wasn’t really the issue. Neither was the fake outrage over the cost.

There was no mention of political opponents and no mention of the fake news media. And this wasn’t Trump co-opting the nation’s birthday to celebrate himself. In fact, for a man who loves to talk about his accomplishments, he never mentioned himself.

No, Trump did something far more dangerous to the left. He gave America a strong dose of patriotism. He gave Americans a history lesson on the great people, heroes and their great accomplishments over the last 243 years.

Earlier in the week, The New York Times ran a video arguing America isn’t the greatest nation on Earth, “the U.S. is really just O.K.”

Without mentioning The Times or the video, Trump proceeded to tell us about America’s greatness for nearly an hour interrupted only by applause, flyovers and military songs. At one point, I thought “who is this guy and what have they done with President Trump?”

“Today, we come together as One Nation with this very special Salute To America,” said Trump. “We celebrate our history, our people and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States Military!”

More from Gary Varvel: Face facts, America, Donald Trump is a success. Let’s count the ways.

Donald Trump is the president I didn’t want, but now I know we need

And boy, did he. Starting with the story of America’s war for independence, Trump quoted the words and deeds of Americans that have long been forgotten but need to be remembered.

Trump told the story of Gen. George Washington as he readied his troops to fight the British invasion. Trump said, “Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes, He wrote, ‘The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army, we have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.’”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/07/05/donald-trumps-patriotic-4th-july-speech-military-legends-tradition-column/1654859001/

With all of the partisan political fights, it was nice to be reminded of American’s amazing heritage. It was inspiring and that’s what we need.

 

United States Declaration of Independence

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United States Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence.jpg

1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy
Created June–July 1776
Ratified July 4, 1776
Location Engrossed copy: National Archives and Records
Administration
 Rough draft: Library of Congress
Author(s) Thomas Jefferson et al.
Signatories 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress
Purpose To announce and explain separation from Great Britain[1]

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New HampshireMassachusetts BayRhode IslandConnecticutNew YorkNew JerseyPennsylvaniaMarylandDelawareVirginiaNorth CarolinaSouth Carolina, and Georgia.

The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes. The Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready when Congress voted on independence. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document,[2] which Congress edited to produce the final version. The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America”[3] – although Independence Day is actually celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved.

After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson’s hand.[4] Jefferson’s original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson’s notes of changes made by Congress. The best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy that is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and which is popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy (finalized, calligraphic copy) was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed primarily on August 2.[5][6]

The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution. Its original purpose was to announce independence, and references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since then, it has become a well-known statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language”,[7] containing “the most potent and consequential words in American history”.[8] The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.[9]

The Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It also served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa (Liberia) and Oceania (New Zealand) during the first half of the 19th century.[10]

Contents

Background

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration

Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.

— Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1775[11]

By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year. Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire.[12]

Many colonists, however, had developed a different conception of the empire. The colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, and colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament’s authority in the colonies.[13] The orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, and so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional.[14] In the colonies, however, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not even Parliament.[15] After the Townshend Acts, some essayists even began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all.[16]Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth,[17] by 1774 American writers such as Samuel AdamsJames Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson were arguing that Parliament was the legislature of Great Britain only, and that the colonies, which had their own legislatures, were connected to the rest of the empire only through their allegiance to the Crown.[18]

Congress convenes

The issue of Parliament’s authority in the colonies became a crisis after Parliament passed the Coercive Acts (known as the Intolerable Acts in the colonies) in 1774 to punish the colonists for the Gaspee Affair of 1772 and the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Many colonists saw the Coercive Acts as a violation of the British Constitution and thus a threat to the liberties of all of British America, so the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in September 1774 to coordinate a response. Congress organized a boycott of British goods and petitioned the king for repeal of the acts. These measures were unsuccessful because King George and the ministry of Prime Minister Lord North were determined to enforce parliamentary supremacy in America. As the king wrote to North in November 1774, “blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent”.[19]

Most colonists still hoped for reconciliation with Great Britain, even after fighting began in the American Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord in April 1775.[20] The Second Continental Congress convened at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia in May 1775, and some delegates hoped for eventual independence, but no one yet advocated declaring it.[21] Many colonists no longer believed that Parliament had any sovereignty over them, yet they still professed loyalty to King George, who they hoped would intercede on their behalf. They were disappointed in late 1775 when the king rejected Congress’s second petition, issued a Proclamation of Rebellion, and announced before Parliament on October 26 that he was considering “friendly offers of foreign assistance” to suppress the rebellion.[22] A pro-American minority in Parliament warned that the government was driving the colonists toward independence.[23]

Toward independence

Thomas Paine‘s pamphlet Common Sense was published in January 1776, just as it became clear in the colonies that the king was not inclined to act as a conciliator.[24] Paine had only recently arrived in the colonies from England, and he argued in favor of colonial independence, advocating republicanism as an alternative to monarchy and hereditary rule.[25] Common Sense made a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration in the American colonies. Paine connected independence with Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, thereby stimulating public debate on a topic that few had previously dared to openly discuss,[26] and public support for separation from Great Britain steadily increased after its publication.[27]

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence

Some colonists still held out hope for reconciliation, but developments in early 1776 further strengthened public support for independence. In February 1776, colonists learned of Parliament’s passage of the Prohibitory Act, which established a blockade of American ports and declared American ships to be enemy vessels. John Adams, a strong supporter of independence, believed that Parliament had effectively declared American independence before Congress had been able to. Adams labeled the Prohibitory Act the “Act of Independency”, calling it “a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire”.[28] Support for declaring independence grew even more when it was confirmed that King George had hired German mercenaries to use against his American subjects.[29]

Despite this growing popular support for independence, Congress lacked the clear authority to declare it. Delegates had been elected to Congress by 13 different governments, which included extralegal conventions, ad hoc committees, and elected assemblies, and they were bound by the instructions given to them. Regardless of their personal opinions, delegates could not vote to declare independence unless their instructions permitted such an action.[30] Several colonies, in fact, expressly prohibited their delegates from taking any steps towards separation from Great Britain, while other delegations had instructions that were ambiguous on the issue;[31] consequently, advocates of independence sought to have the Congressional instructions revised. For Congress to declare independence, a majority of delegations would need authorization to vote for it, and at least one colonial government would need to specifically instruct its delegation to propose a declaration of independence in Congress. Between April and July 1776, a “complex political war”[32] was waged to bring this about.[33]

Revising instructions

In the campaign to revise Congressional instructions, many Americans formally expressed their support for separation from Great Britain in what were effectively state and local declarations of independence. Historian Pauline Maieridentifies more than ninety such declarations that were issued throughout the Thirteen Colonies from April to July 1776.[34] These “declarations” took a variety of forms. Some were formal written instructions for Congressional delegations, such as the Halifax Resolves of April 12, with which North Carolina became the first colony to explicitly authorize its delegates to vote for independence.[35] Others were legislative acts that officially ended British rule in individual colonies, such as the Rhode Island legislature declaring its independence from Great Britain on May 4, the first colony to do so.[36] Many “declarations” were resolutions adopted at town or county meetings that offered support for independence. A few came in the form of jury instructions, such as the statement issued on April 23, 1776, by Chief Justice William Henry Drayton of South Carolina: “the law of the land authorizes me to declare … that George the Third, King of Great Britain … has no authority over us, and we owe no obedience to him.”[37] Most of these declarations are now obscure, having been overshadowed by the declaration approved by Congress on July 2, and signed July 4.[38]

Some colonies held back from endorsing independence. Resistance was centered in the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.[39] Advocates of independence saw Pennsylvania as the key; if that colony could be converted to the pro-independence cause, it was believed that the others would follow.[39] On May 1, however, opponents of independence retained control of the Pennsylvania Assembly in a special election that had focused on the question of independence.[40] In response, Congress passed a resolution on May 10 which had been promoted by John Adams and Richard Henry Lee, calling on colonies without a “government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs” to adopt new governments.[41] The resolution passed unanimously, and was even supported by Pennsylvania’s John Dickinson, the leader of the anti-independence faction in Congress, who believed that it did not apply to his colony.[42]

May 15 preamble

This Day the Congress has passed the most important Resolution, that ever was taken in America.

—John Adams, May 15, 1776[43]

As was the custom, Congress appointed a committee to draft a preamble to explain the purpose of the resolution. John Adams wrote the preamble, which stated that because King George had rejected reconciliation and was hiring foreign mercenaries to use against the colonies, “it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed”.[44] Adams’s preamble was meant to encourage the overthrow of the governments of Pennsylvania and Maryland, which were still under proprietary governance.[45] Congress passed the preamble on May 15 after several days of debate, but four of the middle colonies voted against it, and the Maryland delegation walked out in protest.[46] Adams regarded his May 15 preamble effectively as an American declaration of independence, although a formal declaration would still have to be made.[47]

Lee’s resolution

On the same day that Congress passed Adams’s radical preamble, the Virginia Convention set the stage for a formal Congressional declaration of independence. On May 15, the Convention instructed Virginia’s congressional delegation “to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain”.[48] In accordance with those instructions, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a three-part resolution to Congress on June 7.[49] The motion was seconded by John Adams, calling on Congress to declare independence, form foreign alliances, and prepare a plan of colonial confederation. The part of the resolution relating to declaring independence read:

Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.[50]

Lee’s resolution met with resistance in the ensuing debate. Opponents of the resolution conceded that reconciliation was unlikely with Great Britain, while arguing that declaring independence was premature, and that securing foreign aid should take priority.[51] Advocates of the resolution countered that foreign governments would not intervene in an internal British struggle, and so a formal declaration of independence was needed before foreign aid was possible. All Congress needed to do, they insisted, was to “declare a fact which already exists”.[52] Delegates from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York were still not yet authorized to vote for independence, however, and some of them threatened to leave Congress if the resolution were adopted. Congress, therefore, voted on June 10 to postpone further discussion of Lee’s resolution for three weeks.[53] Until then, Congress decided that a committee should prepare a document announcing and explaining independence in the event that Lee’s resolution was approved when it was brought up again in July.

The final push

This idealized depiction of (left to right) Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson working on the Declaration was widely reprinted (by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1900).[54]

Support for a Congressional declaration of independence was consolidated in the final weeks of June 1776. On June 14, the Connecticut Assembly instructed its delegates to propose independence and, the following day, the legislatures of New Hampshire and Delaware authorized their delegates to declare independence.[55] In Pennsylvania, political struggles ended with the dissolution of the colonial assembly, and a new Conference of Committees under Thomas McKean authorized Pennsylvania’s delegates to declare independence on June 18.[56] The Provincial Congress of New Jersey had been governing the province since January 1776; they resolved on June 15 that Royal Governor William Franklin was “an enemy to the liberties of this country” and had him arrested.[57] On June 21, they chose new delegates to Congress and empowered them to join in a declaration of independence.[58]

Only Maryland and New York had yet to authorize independence towards the end of June. Previously, Maryland’s delegates had walked out when the Continental Congress adopted Adams’s radical May 15 preamble, and had sent to the Annapolis Convention for instructions.[59] On May 20, the Annapolis Convention rejected Adams’s preamble, instructing its delegates to remain against independence. But Samuel Chase went to Maryland and, thanks to local resolutions in favor of independence, was able to get the Annapolis Convention to change its mind on June 28.[60] Only the New York delegates were unable to get revised instructions. When Congress had been considering the resolution of independence on June 8, the New York Provincial Congress told the delegates to wait.[61] But on June 30, the Provincial Congress evacuated New York as British forces approached, and would not convene again until July 10. This meant that New York’s delegates would not be authorized to declare independence until after Congress had made its decision.[62]

Draft and adoption

Political maneuvering was setting the stage for an official declaration of independence even while a document was being written to explain the decision. On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five” to draft a declaration, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. The committee took no minutes, so there is some uncertainty about how the drafting process proceeded; contradictory accounts were written many years later by Jefferson and Adams, too many years to be regarded as entirely reliable—although their accounts are frequently cited.[63] What is certain is that the committee discussed the general outline which the document should follow and decided that Jefferson would write the first draft.[64] The committee in general, and Jefferson in particular, thought that Adams should write the document, but Adams persuaded them to choose Jefferson and promised to consult with him personally.[2] Considering Congress’s busy schedule, Jefferson probably had limited time for writing over the next 17 days, and he likely wrote the draft quickly.[65] He then consulted the others and made some changes, and then produced another copy incorporating these alterations. The committee presented this copy to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.”[66]

Portable writing desk that Jefferson used to draft and write the Declaration of Independence

Congress ordered that the draft “lie on the table”[67] and then methodically edited Jefferson’s primary document for the next two days, shortening it by a fourth, removing unnecessary wording, and improving sentence structure.[68] They removed Jefferson’s assertion that Great Britain had forced slavery on the colonies in order to moderate the document and appease persons in Great Britain who supported the Revolution. Jefferson wrote that Congress had “mangled” his draft version, but the Declaration that was finally produced was “the majestic document that inspired both contemporaries and posterity,” in the words of his biographer John Ferling.[68]

Congress tabled the draft of the declaration on Monday, July 1 and resolved itself into a committee of the whole, with Benjamin Harrison of Virginia presiding, and they resumed debate on Lee’s resolution of independence.[69] John Dickinson made one last effort to delay the decision, arguing that Congress should not declare independence without first securing a foreign alliance and finalizing the Articles of Confederation.[70] John Adams gave a speech in reply to Dickinson, restating the case for an immediate declaration.

A vote was taken after a long day of speeches, each colony casting a single vote, as always. The delegation for each colony numbered from two to seven members, and each delegation voted amongst themselves to determine the colony’s vote. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against declaring independence. The New York delegation abstained, lacking permission to vote for independence. Delaware cast no vote because the delegation was split between Thomas McKean, who voted yes, and George Read, who voted no. The remaining nine delegations voted in favor of independence, which meant that the resolution had been approved by the committee of the whole. The next step was for the resolution to be voted upon by Congress itself. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was opposed to Lee’s resolution but desirous of unanimity, and he moved that the vote be postponed until the following day.[71]

“Declaration House”, the boarding house at Market and S. 7th Street where Jefferson wrote the Declaration

On July 2, South Carolina reversed its position and voted for independence. In the Pennsylvania delegation, Dickinson and Robert Morris abstained, allowing the delegation to vote three-to-two in favor of independence. The tie in the Delaware delegation was broken by the timely arrival of Caesar Rodney, who voted for independence. The New York delegation abstained once again since they were still not authorized to vote for independence, although they were allowed to do so a week later by the New York Provincial Congress.[72] The resolution of independence was adopted with twelve affirmative votes and one abstention, and the colonies officially severed political ties with Great Britain.[73]John Adams wrote to his wife on the following day and predicted that July 2 would become a great American holiday[74] He thought that the vote for independence would be commemorated; he did not foresee that Americans would instead celebrate Independence Day on the date when the announcement of that act was finalized.[75]

I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.[76]

Congress next turned its attention to the committee’s draft of the declaration. They made a few changes in wording during several days of debate and deleted nearly a fourth of the text. The wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776 and sent to the printer for publication.

The opening of the original printing of the Declaration, printed on July 4, 1776 under Jefferson’s supervision. The engrossed copy was made later (shown at the top of this article). Note that the opening lines differ between the two versions.[77]

There is a distinct change in wording from this original broadside printing of the Declaration and the final official engrossed copy. The word “unanimous” was inserted as a result of a Congressional resolution passed on July 19, 1776:

Resolved, That the Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,” and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress.[78]

Historian George Billias says:

Independence amounted to a new status of interdependence: the United States was now a sovereign nation entitled to the privileges and responsibilities that came with that status. America thus became a member of the international community, which meant becoming a maker of treaties and alliances, a military ally in diplomacy, and a partner in foreign trade on a more equal basis.[79]

Annotated text of the engrossed declaration

The declaration is not divided into formal sections; but it is often discussed as consisting of five parts: introductionpreambleindictment of King George III, denunciation of the British people, and conclusion.[80]

Introduction

Asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and ought to be explained.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Preamble

Outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies revolution when government harms natural rights.[80]

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Indictment

A bill of particulars documenting the king’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the Americans’ rights and liberties.[80]

“Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

“He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

“He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

“He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

“He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

“He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

“He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

“He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

“He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

“For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

“For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

“For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

“For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

“For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

“For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

“He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

“He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Denunciation

This section essentially finishes the case for independence. The conditions that justified revolution have been shown.[80]

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Conclusion

The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions and, by necessity, the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Signatures

The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) and a father and great-grandfather of two other presidents (Benjamin Harrison V) were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows (from north to south):[81]

Influences and legal status

English political philosopher John Locke (1632–1704)

Historians have often sought to identify the sources that most influenced the words and political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence. By Jefferson’s own admission, the Declaration contained no original ideas, but was instead a statement of sentiments widely shared by supporters of the American Revolution. As he explained in 1825:

Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.[82]

Jefferson’s most immediate sources were two documents written in June 1776: his own draft of the preamble of the Constitution of Virginia, and George Mason‘s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Ideas and phrases from both of these documents appear in the Declaration of Independence.[83] They were, in turn, directly influenced by the 1689 English Declaration of Rights, which formally ended the reign of King James II.[84] During the American Revolution, Jefferson and other Americans looked to the English Declaration of Rights as a model of how to end the reign of an unjust king.[85] The Scottish Declaration of Arbroath (1320) and the Dutch Act of Abjuration (1581) have also been offered as models for Jefferson’s Declaration, but these models are now accepted by few scholars.[86]

Jefferson wrote that a number of authors exerted a general influence on the words of the Declaration.[87] English political theorist John Locke is usually cited as one of the primary influences, a man whom Jefferson called one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived”.[88] In 1922, historian Carl L. Becker wrote, “Most Americans had absorbed Locke’s works as a kind of political gospel; and the Declaration, in its form, in its phraseology, follows closely certain sentences in Locke’s second treatise on government.”[89] The extent of Locke’s influence on the American Revolution has been questioned by some subsequent scholars, however. Historian Ray Forrest Harvey argued in 1937 for the dominant influence of Swiss jurist Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, declaring that Jefferson and Locke were at “two opposite poles” in their political philosophy, as evidenced by Jefferson’s use in the Declaration of Independence of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” instead of “property”.[90] Other scholars emphasized the influence of republicanism rather than Locke’s classical liberalism.[91] Historian Garry Wills argued that Jefferson was influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly Francis Hutcheson, rather than Locke,[92] an interpretation that has been strongly criticized.[93]

Legal historian John Phillip Reid has written that the emphasis on the political philosophy of the Declaration has been misplaced. The Declaration is not a philosophical tract about natural rights, argues Reid, but is instead a legal document—an indictment against King George for violating the constitutional rights of the colonists.[94] As such, it follows the process of the 1550 Magdeburg Confession, which legitimized resistance against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in a multi-step legal formula now known as the doctrine of the Lesser magistrate.[95] Historian David Armitage has argued that the Declaration was strongly influenced by de Vattel’s The Law of Nations, the dominant international law treatise of the period, and a book that Benjamin Franklin said was “continually in the hands of the members of our Congress”.[96] Armitage writes, “Vattel made independence fundamental to his definition of statehood”; therefore, the primary purpose of the Declaration was “to express the international legal sovereignty of the United States”. If the United States were to have any hope of being recognized by the European powers, the American revolutionaries first had to make it clear that they were no longer dependent on Great Britain.[97] The Declaration of Independence does not have the force of law domestically, but nevertheless it may help to provide historical and legal clarity about the Constitution and other laws.[98][99][100][101]

Signing

The signed copy of the Declaration is now badly faded because of poor preserving practices in the 19th century. It is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The Syng inkstand was used at both the signing of the Declaration and the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution.

The Declaration became official when Congress voted for it on July 4; signatures of the delegates were not needed to make it official. The handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence that was signed by Congress is dated July 4, 1776. The signatures of fifty-six delegates are affixed; however, the exact date when each person signed it has long been the subject of debate. Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams all wrote that the Declaration had been signed by Congress on July 4.[102] But in 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not then present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[103]

The Declaration was transposed on paper, adopted by the Continental Congress, and signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress, on July 4, 1776, according to the 1911 record of events by the U.S. State Departmentunder Secretary Philander C. Knox.[104] On August 2, 1776, a parchment paper copy of the Declaration was signed by 56 persons.[104] Many of these signers were not present when the original Declaration was adopted on July 4.[104] Signer Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire was seated in the Continental Congress in November; he asked for and received the privilege of adding his signature at that time, and signed on November 4, 1776.[104]

On July 4, 1776, Continental Congress President John Hancock‘s signature authenticated the United States Declaration of Independence.

Historians have generally accepted McKean’s version of events, arguing that the famous signed version of the Declaration was created after July 19, and was not signed by Congress until August 2, 1776.[105] In 1986, legal historian Wilfred Ritz argued that historians had misunderstood the primary documents and given too much credence to McKean, who had not been present in Congress on July 4.[106] According to Ritz, about thirty-four delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and the others signed on or after August 2.[107] Historians who reject a July 4 signing maintain that most delegates signed on August 2, and that those eventual signers who were not present added their names later.[108]

Two future U.S. presidents were among the signatories: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[109]Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and the term John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[110] A commonly circulated but apocryphal account claims that, after Hancock signed, the delegate from Massachusetts commented, “The British ministry can read that name without spectacles.” Another apocryphal report indicates that Hancock proudly declared, “There! I guess King George will be able to read that!”[111]

Various legends emerged years later about the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The quotation did not appear in print until more than fifty years after Franklin’s death.[112]

The Syng inkstand used at the signing was also used at the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.

Publication and reaction

Johannes Adam Simon Oertel‘s painting Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, N.Y.C., ca. 1859, depicts citizens destroying a statue of King George after the Declaration was read in New York City on July 9, 1776.

After Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration on July 4, a handwritten copy was sent a few blocks away to the printing shop of John Dunlap. Through the night, Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides for distribution. Before long, it was being read to audiences and reprinted in newspapers throughout the 13 states. The first formal public readings of the document took place on July 8, in Philadelphia (by John Nixon in the yard of Independence Hall), Trenton, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania; the first newspaper to publish it was the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6.[113] A German translation of the Declaration was published in Philadelphia by July 9.[114]

President of Congress John Hancock sent a broadside to General George Washington, instructing him to have it proclaimed “at the Head of the Army in the way you shall think it most proper”.[115] Washington had the Declaration read to his troops in New York City on July 9, with thousands of British troops on ships in the harbor. Washington and Congress hoped that the Declaration would inspire the soldiers, and encourage others to join the army.[113] After hearing the Declaration, crowds in many cities tore down and destroyed signs or statues representing royal authority. An equestrian statue of King George in New York City was pulled down and the lead used to make musket balls.[116]

William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, freed his slave believing that he could not both fight for liberty and own a slave.

British officials in North America sent copies of the Declaration to Great Britain.[117] It was published in British newspapers beginning in mid-August, it had reached Florence and Warsaw by mid-September, and a German translation appeared in Switzerland by October. The first copy of the Declaration sent to France got lost, and the second copy arrived only in November 1776.[118] It reached Portuguese America by Brazilian medical student “Vendek” José Joaquim Maia e Barbalho, who had met with Thomas Jefferson in Nîmes.

The Spanish-American authorities banned the circulation of the Declaration, but it was widely transmitted and translated: by Venezuelan Manuel García de Sena, by Colombian Miguel de Pombo, by Ecuadorian Vicente Rocafuerte, and by New Englanders Richard Cleveland and William Shaler, who distributed the Declaration and the United States Constitution among Creoles in Chile and Indians in Mexico in 1821.[119] The North Ministry did not give an official answer to the Declaration, but instead secretly commissioned pamphleteer John Lind to publish a response entitled Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress.[120] British Tories denounced the signers of the Declaration for not applying the same principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to African Americans.[121] Thomas Hutchinson, the former royal governor of Massachusetts, also published a rebuttal.[122][123] These pamphlets challenged various aspects of the Declaration. Hutchinson argued that the American Revolution was the work of a few conspirators who wanted independence from the outset, and who had finally achieved it by inducing otherwise loyal colonists to rebel.[124] Lind’s pamphlet had an anonymous attack on the concept of natural rights written by Jeremy Bentham, an argument that he repeated during the French Revolution.[125] Both pamphlets asked how the American slaveholders in Congress could proclaim that “all men are created equal” without freeing their own slaves.[126]

William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who had fought in the war, freed his slave Prince Whipple because of revolutionary ideals. In the postwar decades, other slaveholders also freed their slaves; from 1790 to 1810, the percentage of free blacks in the Upper South increased to 8.3 percent from less than one percent of the black population.[127] All Northern states abolished slavery by 1804.

History of the documents

The official copy of the Declaration of Independence was the one printed on July 4, 1776, under Jefferson’s supervision. It was sent to the states and to the Army and was widely reprinted in newspapers. The slightly different “engrossed copy” (shown at the top of this article) was made later for members to sign. The engrossed version is the one widely distributed in the 21st century. Note that the opening lines differ between the two versions.[77]

The copy of the Declaration that was signed by Congress is known as the engrossed or parchment copy. It was probably engrossed (that is, carefully handwritten) by clerk Timothy Matlack.[128] A facsimile made in 1823 has become the basis of most modern reproductions rather than the original because of poor conservation of the engrossed copy through the 19th century.[128] In 1921, custody of the engrossed copy of the Declaration was transferred from the State Department to the Library of Congress, along with the United States Constitution. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the documents were moved for safekeeping to the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox in Kentucky, where they were kept until 1944.[129] In 1952, the engrossed Declaration was transferred to the National Archives and is now on permanent display at the National Archives in the “Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom“.[130]

The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives building

The document signed by Congress and enshrined in the National Archives is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, but historian Julian P. Boyd argued that the Declaration, like Magna Carta, is not a single document. Boyd considered the printed broadsides ordered by Congress to be official texts, as well. The Declaration was first published as a broadside that was printed the night of July 4 by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides, of which 26 are known to survive. The 26th copy was discovered in The National Archives in England in 2009.[131]

In 1777, Congress commissioned Mary Katherine Goddard to print a new broadside that listed the signers of the Declaration, unlike the Dunlap broadside.[128][132] Nine copies of the Goddard broadside are known to still exist.[132] A variety of broadsides printed by the states are also extant.[132]

Several early handwritten copies and drafts of the Declaration have also been preserved. Jefferson kept a four-page draft that late in life he called the “original Rough draught”.[133] It is not known how many drafts Jefferson wrote prior to this one, and how much of the text was contributed by other committee members. In 1947, Boyd discovered a fragment of an earlier draft in Jefferson’s handwriting.[134] Jefferson and Adams sent copies of the rough draft to friends, with slight variations.

During the writing process, Jefferson showed the rough draft to Adams and Franklin, and perhaps to other members of the drafting committee,[133] who made a few more changes. Franklin, for example, may have been responsible for changing Jefferson’s original phrase “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.[135] Jefferson incorporated these changes into a copy that was submitted to Congress in the name of the committee.[133] The copy that was submitted to Congress on June 28 has been lost and was perhaps destroyed in the printing process,[136] or destroyed during the debates in accordance with Congress’s secrecy rule.[137]

On April 21, 2017, it was announced that a second engrossed copy had been discovered in the archives at West Sussex County Council in Chichester, England.[138] Named by its finders the “Sussex Declaration”, it differs from the National Archives copy (which the finders refer to as the “Matlack Declaration”) in that the signatures on it are not grouped by States. How it came to be in England is not yet known, but the finders believe that the randomness of the signatures points to an origin with signatory James Wilson, who had argued strongly that the Declaration was made not by the States but by the whole people.[139][140]

Legacy

The Declaration was given little attention in the years immediately following the American Revolution, having served its original purpose in announcing the independence of the United States.[141] Early celebrations of Independence Day largely ignored the Declaration, as did early histories of the Revolution. The act of declaring independence was considered important, whereas the text announcing that act attracted little attention.[142] The Declaration was rarely mentioned during the debates about the United States Constitution, and its language was not incorporated into that document.[143] George Mason’s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights was more influential, and its language was echoed in state constitutions and state bills of rights more often than Jefferson’s words.[144] “In none of these documents”, wrote Pauline Maier, “is there any evidence whatsoever that the Declaration of Independence lived in men’s minds as a classic statement of American political principles.”[145]

Influence in other countries

Many leaders of the French Revolution admired the Declaration of Independence[145] but were also interested in the new American state constitutions.[146] The inspiration and content of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) emerged largely from the ideals of the American Revolution.[147] Its key drafts were prepared by Lafayette, working closely in Paris with his friend Thomas Jefferson. It also borrowed language from George Mason‘s Virginia Declaration of Rights.[148][149] The declaration also influenced the Russian Empire. The document had a particular impact on the Decembrist revolt and other Russian thinkers.

According to historian David Armitage, the Declaration of Independence did prove to be internationally influential, but not as a statement of human rights. Armitage argued that the Declaration was the first in a new genre of declarations of independence that announced the creation of new states.

Other French leaders were directly influenced by the text of the Declaration of Independence itself. The Manifesto of the Province of Flanders (1790) was the first foreign derivation of the Declaration;[150] others include the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence (1811), the Liberian Declaration of Independence (1847), the declarations of secession by the Confederate States of America (1860–61), and the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence (1945).[151] These declarations echoed the United States Declaration of Independence in announcing the independence of a new state, without necessarily endorsing the political philosophy of the original.[152]

Other countries have used the Declaration as inspiration or have directly copied sections from it. These include the Haitian declaration of January 1, 1804, during the Haitian Revolution, the United Provinces of New Granada in 1811, the Argentine Declaration of Independence in 1816, the Chilean Declaration of Independence in 1818, Costa Rica in 1821, El Salvador in 1821, Guatemala in 1821, Honduras in (1821), Mexico in 1821Nicaragua in 1821, Peru in 1821, Bolivian War of Independence in 1825, Uruguay in 1825, Ecuador in 1830, Colombia in 1831, Paraguay in 1842, Dominican Republic in 1844, Texas Declaration of Independence in March 1836, California Republic in November 1836, Hungarian Declaration of Independence in 1849, Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand in 1835, and the Czechoslovak declaration of independence from 1918 drafted in Washington D.C. with Gutzon Borglum among the drafters. The Rhodesian declaration of independence, ratified in November 1965, is based on the American one as well; however, it omits the phrases “all men are created equal” and “the consent of the governed“.[119][153][154][155] The South Carolina declaration of secession from December 1860 also mentions the U.S. Declaration of Independence, though it, like the Rhodesian one, omits references to “all men are created equal” and “consent of the governed”.

Revival of interest

Interest in the Declaration was revived in the 1790s with the emergence of the United States’s first political parties.[156] Throughout the 1780s, few Americans knew or cared who wrote the Declaration.[157] But in the next decade, Jeffersonian Republicans sought political advantage over their rival Federalists by promoting both the importance of the Declaration and Jefferson as its author.[158] Federalists responded by casting doubt on Jefferson’s authorship or originality, and by emphasizing that independence was declared by the whole Congress, with Jefferson as just one member of the drafting committee. Federalists insisted that Congress’s act of declaring independence, in which Federalist John Adams had played a major role, was more important than the document announcing it.[159] But this view faded away, like the Federalist Party itself, and, before long, the act of declaring independence became synonymous with the document.

A less partisan appreciation for the Declaration emerged in the years following the War of 1812, thanks to a growing American nationalism and a renewed interest in the history of the Revolution.[160] In 1817, Congress commissioned John Trumbull‘s famous painting of the signers, which was exhibited to large crowds before being installed in the Capitol.[161] The earliest commemorative printings of the Declaration also appeared at this time, offering many Americans their first view of the signed document.[162] Collective biographies of the signers were first published in the 1820s,[163] giving birth to what Garry Wills called the “cult of the signers”.[164] In the years that followed, many stories about the writing and signing of the document were published for the first time.

When interest in the Declaration was revived, the sections that were most important in 1776 were no longer relevant: the announcement of the independence of the United States and the grievances against King George. But the second paragraph was applicable long after the war had ended, with its talk of self-evident truths and unalienable rights.[165] The Constitution and the Bill of Rights lacked sweeping statements about rights and equality, and advocates of groups with grievances turned to the Declaration for support.[166] Starting in the 1820s, variations of the Declaration were issued to proclaim the rights of workers, farmers, women, and others.[167] In 1848, for example, the Seneca Falls Convention of women’s rights advocates declared that “all men and women are created equal”.[168]

John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence (1817–1826)

About 50 men, most of them seated, are in a large meeting room. Most are focused on the five men standing in the center of the room. The tallest of the five is laying a document on a table.

John Trumbull‘s famous paintingis often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress.[169]

John Trumbull‘s painting Declaration of Independence has played a significant role in popular conceptions of the Declaration of Independence. The painting is 12-by-18-foot (3.7 by 5.5 m) in size and was commissioned by the United States Congress in 1817; it has hung in the United States Capitol Rotunda since 1826. It is sometimes described as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but it actually shows the Committee of Five presenting their draft of the Declaration to the Second Continental Congress on June 28, 1776, and not the signing of the document, which took place later.[170]

Trumbull painted the figures from life whenever possible, but some had died and images could not be located; hence, the painting does not include all the signers of the Declaration. One figure had participated in the drafting but did not sign the final document; another refused to sign. In fact, the membership of the Second Continental Congress changed as time passed, and the figures in the painting were never in the same room at the same time. It is, however, an accurate depiction of the room in Independence Hall, the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Trumbull’s painting has been depicted multiple times on U.S. currency and postage stamps. Its first use was on the reverse side of the $100 National Bank Note issued in 1863. A few years later, the steel engraving used in printing the bank notes was used to produce a 24-cent stamp, issued as part of the 1869 Pictorial Issue. An engraving of the signing scene has been featured on the reverse side of the United States two-dollar bill since 1976.

Slavery and the Declaration

The apparent contradiction between the claim that “all men are created equal” and the existence of American slavery attracted comment when the Declaration was first published. As mentioned above, Jefferson had included a paragraph in his initial draft that strongly indicted Great Britain’s role in the slave trade, but this was deleted from the final version.[171] Jefferson himself was a prominent Virginia slave holder, having owned hundreds of slaves.[172] Referring to this seeming contradiction, English abolitionist Thomas Day wrote in a 1776 letter, “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.”[173]

In the 19th century, the Declaration took on a special significance for the abolitionist movement. Historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown wrote that “abolitionists tended to interpret the Declaration of Independence as a theological as well as a political document”.[174] Abolitionist leaders Benjamin Lundy and William Lloyd Garrison adopted the “twin rocks” of “the Bible and the Declaration of Independence” as the basis for their philosophies. “As long as there remains a single copy of the Declaration of Independence, or of the Bible, in our land,” wrote Garrison, “we will not despair.”[175] For radical abolitionists such as Garrison, the most important part of the Declaration was its assertion of the right of revolution. Garrison called for the destruction of the government under the Constitution, and the creation of a new state dedicated to the principles of the Declaration.[176]

The controversial question of whether to add additional slave states to the United States coincided with the growing stature of the Declaration. The first major public debate about slavery and the Declaration took place during the Missouri controversy of 1819 to 1821.[177]Antislavery Congressmen argued that the language of the Declaration indicated that the Founding Fathers of the United States had been opposed to slavery in principle, and so new slave states should not be added to the country.[178] Proslavery Congressmen led by Senator Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina argued that the Declaration was not a part of the Constitution and therefore had no relevance to the question.[179]

With the antislavery movement gaining momentum, defenders of slavery such as John Randolph and John C. Calhoun found it necessary to argue that the Declaration’s assertion that “all men are created equal” was false, or at least that it did not apply to black people.[180] During the debate over the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1853, for example, Senator John Pettit of Indiana argued that the statement “all men are created equal” was not a “self-evident truth” but a “self-evident lie”.[181] Opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, including Salmon P. Chase and Benjamin Wade, defended the Declaration and what they saw as its antislavery principles.[182]

Lincoln and the Declaration

Congressman Abraham Lincoln,
1845–1846

The Declaration’s relationship to slavery was taken up in 1854 by Abraham Lincoln, a little-known former Congressman who idolized the Founding Fathers.[183] Lincoln thought that the Declaration of Independence expressed the highest principles of the American Revolution, and that the Founding Fathers had tolerated slavery with the expectation that it would ultimately wither away.[9] For the United States to legitimize the expansion of slavery in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, thought Lincoln, was to repudiate the principles of the Revolution. In his October 1854 Peoria speech, Lincoln said:

Nearly eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a “sacred right of self-government”. … Our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. … Let us repurify it. Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it. … If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union: but we shall have saved it, as to make, and keep it, forever worthy of the saving.[184]

The meaning of the Declaration was a recurring topic in the famed debates between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. Douglas argued that the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Declaration referred to white men only. The purpose of the Declaration, he said, had simply been to justify the independence of the United States, and not to proclaim the equality of any “inferior or degraded race”.[185] Lincoln, however, thought that the language of the Declaration was deliberately universal, setting a high moral standard to which the American republic should aspire. “I had thought the Declaration contemplated the progressive improvement in the condition of all men everywhere,” he said.[186] During the seventh and last joint debate with Steven Douglas at Alton, Illinois on October 15, 1858, Lincoln said about the declaration:

I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created equal—equal in “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were then actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all, constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even, though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, of all colors, everywhere.[187]

According to Pauline Maier, Douglas’s interpretation was more historically accurate, but Lincoln’s view ultimately prevailed. “In Lincoln’s hands,” wrote Maier, “the Declaration of Independence became first and foremost a living document” with “a set of goals to be realized over time”.[188]

[T]here is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man.

—Abraham Lincoln, 1858[189]

Like Daniel WebsterJames Wilson, and Joseph Story before him, Lincoln argued that the Declaration of Independence was a founding document of the United States, and that this had important implications for interpreting the Constitution, which had been ratified more than a decade after the Declaration.[190] The Constitution did not use the word “equality”, yet Lincoln believed that the concept that “all men are created equal” remained a part of the nation’s founding principles.[191] He famously expressed this belief in the opening sentence of his 1863 Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago [i.e. in 1776] our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Lincoln’s view of the Declaration became influential, seeing it as a moral guide to interpreting the Constitution. “For most people now,” wrote Garry Wills in 1992, “the Declaration means what Lincoln told us it means, as a way of correcting the Constitution itself without overthrowing it.”[192] Admirers of Lincoln such as Harry V. Jaffa praised this development. Critics of Lincoln, notably Willmoore Kendall and Mel Bradford, argued that Lincoln dangerously expanded the scope of the national government and violated states’ rights by reading the Declaration into the Constitution.[193]

Women’s suffrage and the Declaration

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her two sons (1848).

In July 1848, the first woman’s rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, was held in Seneca FallsNew York. The convention was organized by Elizabeth Cady StantonLucretia Mott, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt. In their “Declaration of Sentiments“, patterned on the Declaration of Independence, the convention members demanded social and political equality for women. Their motto was that “All men and women are created equal” and the convention demanded suffrage for women. The suffrage movement was supported by William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.[194][195]

Twentieth century and later

The Declaration was chosen to be the first digitized text (1971).[196]

The Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence was dedicated in 1984 in Constitution Gardens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the signatures of all the original signers are carved in stone with their names, places of residence, and occupations.

The new One World Trade Center building in New York City (2014) is 1776 feet high to symbolize the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed.[197][198][199]

Popular culture

The adoption of the Declaration of Independence was dramatized in the 1969 Tony Award–winning musical 1776 and the 1972 film version, as well as in the 2008 television miniseries John Adams.[200][201] In 1970, The 5th Dimension recorded the opening of the Declaration on their album Portrait in the song “Declaration”. It was first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show on December 7, 1969, and it was taken as a song of protest against the Vietnam War.[202] The Declaration of Independence is also a plot device in the 2004 American film National Treasure.[203]

See also

References …

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

Trump asks Americans to ‘stay true to our cause’

yesterday

1 of 20
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence and others stand as the US Army Band performs and the US Navy Blue Angels flyover at the end of an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump celebrated the story of America as “the greatest political journey in human history” in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy but cheering crowd of spectators, many of them invited, on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. Supporters welcomed his tribute to the U.S. military while protesters assailed him for putting himself center stage on a holiday devoted to unity.

As rain fell on him, Trump called on Americans to “stay true to our cause” during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history’s heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights and other endeavors of American life.

He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign. But in one exception, he vowed, “Very soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars,” actually a distant goal not likely to be achieved until late in the 2020s if even then.

A late afternoon downpour drenched the capital’s Independence Day crowds and Trump’s speech unfolded in occasional rain. The warplanes and presidential aircraft he had summoned conducted their flyovers as planned, capped by the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team.

By adding his own, one-hour “Salute to America” production to capital festivities that typically draw hundreds of thousands anyway, Trump became the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on the Fourth of July.

President Donald Trump celebrated America as "the most exceptional nation in the history of the world" in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy, cheering crowd of spectators. He spoke on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial Thursday. (July 4)

Protesters objecting to what they saw as his co-opting of the holiday inflated a roly-poly balloon depicting Trump as an angry, diaper-clad baby.

Trump set aside a historic piece of real estate — a stretch of the Mall from the Lincoln Monument to the midpoint of the reflecting pool — for a mix of invited military members, Republican and Trump campaign donors and other bigwigs. It’s where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech, Barack Obama and Trump held inaugural concerts and protesters swarmed into the water when supporters of Richard Nixon put on a July 4, 1970, celebration, with the president sending taped remarks from California.

Aides to the crowd-obsessed Trump fretted about the prospect of empty seats at his event, said a person familiar with the planning who was not authorized to be identified. Aides scrambled in recent days to distribute tickets and mobilize the Trump and GOP social media accounts to encourage participation for an event hastily arranged and surrounded with confusion.

Back at the White House, Trump tweeted an aerial photo showing an audience that filled both sides of the memorial’s reflecting pool and stretched to the Washington Monument. “A great crowd of tremendous Patriots this evening, all the way back to the Washington Monument!” he said.

Many who filed into the sprawling VIP section said they got their free tickets from members of Congress or from friends or neighbors who couldn’t use theirs. Outside that zone, a diverse mix of visitors, locals, veterans, tour groups, immigrant families and more milled about, some drawn by Trump, some by curiosity, some by the holiday’s regular activities along the Mall.

Protesters earlier made their voices heard in sweltering heat by the Washington Monument, along the traditional parade route and elsewhere, while the VIP section at the reflecting pool served as something of a buffer for Trump’s event.

In the shadow of the Washington Monument hours before Trump’s speech, the anti-war organization Codepink erected a 20-foot tall “Trump baby” balloon to protest what activists saw as his intrusion in Independence Day and a focus on military might that they associate with martial regimes.

“We think that he is making this about himself and it’s really a campaign rally,” said Medea Benjamin, the organization’s co-director. “We think that he’s a big baby. … He’s erratic, he’s prone to tantrums, he doesn’t understand the consequences of his actions. And so this is a great symbol of how we feel about our president.”

The balloon remained tied down at the Mall because park officials restricted the group’s permission to move it or fill it with helium, Benjamin said.

Protesters also handed out small Trump-baby balloons on sticks. Molly King of La Porte, Indiana, a 13-year-old Trump supporter in sunglasses and a “Make America Great Again” hat, happily came away with one.

“They’re making a big stink about it but it’s actually pretty cute,” she said. “I mean, why not love your president as you’d love a baby?”

A small crowd gathered to take pictures with the big balloon, which drew Trump supporters and detractors.

“Even though everybody has different opinions,” said Kevin Malton, a Trump supporter from Middlesboro, Kentucky, “everybody’s getting along.”

But Daniela Guray, a 19-year-old from Chicago who held a “Dump Trump” sign, said she was subjected to a racial epithet while walking along the Constitution Avenue parade route and told to go home.

She said she did not come to the Mall to protest but ended up doing so. “I started seeing all the tanks with all the protests and that’s when I said, ‘Wait, this is not an actual Fourth of July,’” she said. “Trump is making it his day rather than the Fourth of July.”

Trump had sounded a defensive note Wednesday, tweeting that the cost “will be very little compared to what it is worth.” But he glossed over a host of expenses associated with the display of military might, including flying in planes and tanks and other vehicles to Washington by rail.

Not since 1951, when President Harry Truman spoke before a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has a commander in chief made an Independence Day speech to a sizable crowd on the Mall.

Pete Buttigieg, one of the Democrats running for president, said, “This business of diverting money and military assets to use them as a kind of prop, to prop up a presidential ego, is not reflecting well on our country.” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a Navy Reserve veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2014.

Two groups, the National Parks Conservation Foundation and Democracy Forward, want the Interior Department’s internal watchdog to investigate what they say may be a “potentially unlawful decision to divert” national parks money to Trump’s “spectacle.”

Trump has longed for a public display of U.S. military prowess ever since he watched a two-hour procession of French military tanks and fighter jets in Paris on Bastille Day in July 2017.

Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument.

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes.

Amid all the theatrics, Trump did pay tribute to the reason for the holiday — the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. “With a single sheet of parchment and 56 signatures,” Trump said, “America began the greatest political journey in human history.”

Story 2: Millions March and Protest for Freedom and Independence From Chinese Communist Coercion and Tyranny — Totalitarian Tyranny —Every breath you take — Every move you make — Every bond you break — Every step you take — I’ll be watching you — Every single day — Every word you say — Every game you play — Every night you stay — I’ll be watching you — Oh can’t you see — You belong to me — Chinese Communist Party Social Credit System — Belt and Road Initiative — Videos

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

Every Breath You Take

The Police

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

The Police – Every Breath You Take (subtitulada en español)

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Hong Kong protesters call for people to withdraw funds from the Bank of China to keep up pressure on city’s Beijing-backed government as police arrest six demonstrators after latest clashes

  • Hong Kong protesters began circulating plans to ‘stress test’ the Bank of China
  • Six people have been arrested following violent clashes with police on Sunday 
  • Police baton-charged small groups of young protesters who refused to disperse 
  • Rallies sparked by extradition bill have morphed into anti-government protest 

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong began circulating plans on Monday to ‘stress test’ the Bank of China in their bid to keep pressure on the city’s pro-Beijing leaders, after six people were arrested in the latest clashes with police.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters.

The rallies were sparked by a now-suspended law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have since morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

A protester is being restrained by an officer during violent clashes with police in Mong Kok district in Kowloon on Sunday night. Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong began circulating plans on Monday to 'stress test' the Bank of China in their bid to keep pressure on the city's pro-Beijing leaders

Sunday night saw fresh political violence break out in Hong Kong's district of Mongkok. The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters

Sunday night saw fresh political violence break out in Hong Kong’s district of Mongkok. The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters

Police said the group were taking part in an ‘unlawful assembly’ and had been warned that officers would take action.

‘Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties,’ a statement said.

Another protester was arrested earlier in the day for failing to provide identification during a stop and search.

Hong Kong police baton-charged small groups of masked, largely young protesters who were walking along roads and refused to disperse

Hong Kong police baton-charged small groups of masked, largely young protesters who were walking along roads and refused to disperse

Police said the group were taking part in an 'unlawful assembly' and had been warned that officers would take action. 'Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties,' a statement said

Police said the group were taking part in an ‘unlawful assembly’ and had been warned that officers would take action. ‘Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties,’ a statement said

An anti-extradition bill protester is seen injured after a conflict with riot police at the end of a march at Hong Kong's tourism district Mongkok on Sunday night

An anti-extradition bill protester is seen injured after a conflict with riot police at the end of a march at Hong Kong’s tourism district Mongkok on Sunday night

Activists hit out at the police tactics, saying the protesters had remained peaceful as they made their way home, and that violence was started by a shield wall of riot officers that had blocked the crowd’s path.

‘HKers joined rally peacefully… against extradition bill result in being beaten and assaulted by HK Police,’ democracy activist Joshua Wong wrote in a tweet accompanying pictures of at least two protesters with bleeding head wounds.

‘Just another example of excessive force used by the police,’ he added in another tweet.

By Monday morning, online groups were already planning more protests on encrypted messenger apps and chat forums that have been successfully used by demonstrators to bring out huge crowds.

Despite repeated requests, Hong Kong's police have not released a breakdown of how many people have been detained in the last month of protests

Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding that a postponed extradition bill be scrapped entirely. By Monday morning, online groups were already planning more protests on encrypted messenger apps and chat forums that have been successfully used by protesters

Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding that a postponed extradition bill be scrapped entirely. By Monday morning, online groups were already planning more protests on encrypted messenger apps and chat forums that have been successfully used by protesters

One proposal going viral was a call to collectively withdraw funds from the Bank of China this Saturday to 'stress test' the organisation's liquidity. The state-owned Bank of China's towering Hong Kong headquarters is one of the most recognisable buildings in the territory's famous skyline and the organisation is one of three banks licensed to issue its own notes

Shares in the bank were down about one percent Monday in line with the broader market.

Public anger has soared against the city’s pro-Beijing leaders and its police force after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters outside parliament last month.

Since then the chaos has only escalated.

Public anger has soared against the city's pro-Beijing leaders and its police force after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters outside parliament last month

Public anger has soared against the city’s pro-Beijing leaders and its police force after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters outside parliament last month

Protesters are demanding the bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police tactics, amnesty for those arrested, and for the city's leader Carrie Lam to step down

Protesters are demanding the bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police tactics, amnesty for those arrested, and for the city’s leader Carrie Lam to step down

Last Monday, anger peaked as hundreds of demonstrators stormed and trashed the city’s parliament.

Those unprecedented scenes – and renewed huge marches – have failed to persuade the government, whose sole concession so far has been to suspend the loathed extradition bill.

Protesters are demanding the bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police tactics, amnesty for those arrested, and for the city’s unelected leader Carrie Lam to step down.

They have also demanded authorities stop characterising protesters as ‘rioters’, a definition that carries much steeper jail terms.

Beijing has thrown its full support behind the embattled Lam, calling on police to pursue anyone involved in the parliament storming and other clashes.

Sunday's rally outside a controversial train station that runs to the mainland drew 230,000 people, organisers said, after calls for the gathering started on online forums and snowballed

Sunday’s rally outside a controversial train station that runs to the mainland drew 230,000 people, organisers said, after calls for the gathering started on online forums and snowballed

Despite repeated requests, police have not released a breakdown of how many people have been detained in the last month of protests

Despite repeated requests, police have not released a breakdown of how many people have been detained in the last month of protests

With the exception of a pre-dawn press conference after parliament was stormed, Lam has virtually disappeared from public view in recent weeks with little clue as to what direction her administration intends to take

With the exception of a pre-dawn press conference after parliament was stormed, Lam has virtually disappeared from public view in recent weeks with little clue as to what direction her administration intends to take

With the exception of a pre-dawn press conference after parliament was stormed, Lam has virtually disappeared from public view in recent weeks with little clue as to what direction her administration intends to take.

Despite repeated requests, police have not released a breakdown of how many people have been detained in the last month of protests.

A tally kept by AFP shows at least 72 people have been arrested, though it is not clear how many have been charged.

Sunday’s rally outside a controversial train station that runs to the mainland drew 230,000 people, organisers said, after calls for the gathering started on online forums and snowballed.

Police estimated 56,000 people attended the protest at its peak.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7223889/Hong-Kong-protesters-moot-Bank-China-stress-test-latest-clashes.html

Tens of thousands in Hong Kong take message to mainlanders

yesterday

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Protesters march with a flag calling for Hong Kong independence in Hong Kong on Sunday, July 7, 2019. Thousands of people, many wearing black shirts and some carrying British flags, were marching in Hong Kong on Sunday, targeting a mainland Chinese audience as a month-old protest movement showed no signs of abating. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — Tens of thousands of people, many wearing black shirts and some carrying British colonial-era flags, marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, targeting a mainland Chinese audience as a month-old protest movement showed no signs of abating.

Chanting “Free Hong Kong” and words of encouragement to their fellow citizens, wave after wave of demonstrators streamed by a shopping district popular with mainland visitors on a march to the high-speed railway station that connects the semi-autonomous Chinese territory to Guangdong and other mainland cities.

Hong Kong has been riven by huge marches and sometimes disruptive protests for the past month, sparked by proposed changes to extradition laws that would have allowed suspects to be sent to the mainland to face trial. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam suspended the bill and apologized for how it was handled, but protesters want it to be formally withdrawn and for Lam to resign.

Organizers said 230,000 people marched on Sunday, while police estimated the crowd at 56,000.

“We want to show our peaceful, graceful protest to the mainland visitors because the information is rather blocked in mainland,” march organizer Ventus Lau said. “We want to show them the true image and the message of Hong Kongers.”

Chinese media have not covered the protests or their origins widely, focusing on clashes with police and damage to public property.

As the crowd broke up Sunday night, a few hundred remained and taunted police who had retreated behind huge barriers set up outside the railway station, while others moved to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury boutique stores. Around 11 p.m., police moved to disperse protesters who were blocking a road and arrested five people for assaulting or obstructing police officers, their statement said.

The march was the first major action since two simultaneous protests last Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the July 1, 1997, return of Hong Kong from Britain to China.

The march through central Hong Kong that’s held annually drew hundreds of thousands of people. It was overshadowed this year, however, by an assault on the legislative building by a few hundred demonstrators who shattered thick glass panels to enter the building and then wreaked havoc for three hours, spray-painting slogans on the chamber walls, overturning furniture and damaging electronic voting and fire prevention systems.

Sunday’s march was the first protest against the extradition legislation to take place on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong harbor. The previous ones were on Hong Kong Island, the city’s business and government center.

Many of the marchers were young and wore black shirts that have become the uniform of the protesters. The largely peaceful crowd also included older people carrying handheld fans in the muggy heat, as well as parents with children, including some in baby strollers.

Many held placards, including one that read “Extradite to China, disappear forever.” Some carried the British flag or the old Hong Kong flag from when it was a British colony.

“This is our fourth march because we think this government is not taking care of Hong Kong,” said Dan Lee, who joined with his wife and their three children. “We need to save Hong Kong and we need to come out for our future generations.”

The extradition legislation has raised concerns about an erosion of freedoms and rights in Hong Kong, which was guaranteed its own legal system for 50 years after its return to China in 1997.

Prior to the march, police put up large barricades blocking a main entrance to the railway station to prevent any attempt to enter it. Only passengers with train reservations were allowed into the station, the mass transit authority said, and Hong Kong media reported that ticket sales had been suspended for afternoon trains.

“The high-speed railway station is a connection between Hong Kong and China and this is the nearest place we can spread our message to China,” said Lau, the march organizer.

The station was a source of contention before it opened last September, because passengers pass through Chinese immigration and customs inside. Some opposition lawmakers said the fact that Chinese law applies in the immigration area violates the handover agreement under which Hong Kong maintains its own legal system.

Protesters also are demanding an independent investigation into a crackdown on June 12 demonstrations in which officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds blocking major streets. Police said the tactics, harsher than usual for Hong Kong, were justified after some protesters turned violent. Dozens were injured, both protesters and police.

The protesters are also calling for the direct election of Hong Kong’s leader. Lam was chosen by an elite committee of mainly pro-Beijing electors.

___

Associated Press journalist Johnson Lai contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/4dc00ce27b3b467f97c9e4d47d1e2042

Fresh clashes in Hong Kong after huge march to China station

Riot police charged protesters in the district of Mongkok

Riot police charged protesters in the district of Mongkok

Fresh political violence broke out in Hong Kong on Sunday night as riot police baton-charged anti-government protesters seeking to keep the pressure up on the city’s pro-Beijing leaders, after a mass rally outside a train station linking the finance hub to mainland China.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters, sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Sunday’s clashes came hours after the first demonstration since young, masked protesters stormed parliament on Monday, plunging the city into an unprecedented crisis.

The extradition bill has been suspended following the backlash.

But that has done little to quell public anger, which has evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous city.

Protesters used umbrellas to defend themselves from police

Protesters used umbrellas to defend themselves from police

Earlier on Sunday tens of thousands of people snaked through streets in the harbour-front district of Tsim Sha Tsui, an area popular with Chinese tourists, ending their march at a high-speed train terminus that connects to the mainland.

The march was billed as an opportunity to explain to mainlanders in the city what their protest movement is about given the massive censorship that Beijing’s leaders wield.

It passed without incident.

The rally was the first major protest since last Monday's unprecedented storming of parliament by largely young protesters

But late Sunday police wielding batons and shields charged protesters to disperse a few hundreds demonstrators who had refused to leave.

AFP reporters saw multiple demonstrators detained by police after the fracas, their wrists bound with plastic handcuffs.

By early Monday only pockets of demontrators remained with police occupying key intersections around the protest area.

The scene of the clashes — Mongkok — is a densely-packed working class district, which has previosuly hosted running battles between police and anti-government protesters in 2014 and 2016.

– Bluetooth and Simplified Chinese –

Hong Kong enjoys rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech, protected by a deal made before the city was handed back to China by Britain in 1997. But there are growing fears those liberties are being eroded.

Sunday’s clashes marred what had been an otherwise peaceful day of mass rallies aimed at reaching out to mainland Chinese visitors.

Organisers said 230,000 people marched while police said 56,000 attended at the peak.

“We want to show tourists, including mainland China tourists what is happening in Hong Kong and we hope they can take this concept back to China,” Eddison Ng, an 18-year-old demonstrator, told AFP.

Hong Kongers speak Cantonese but protesters used Bluetooth to send leaflets in Mandarin — the predominant language on the mainland — to nearby phones, hoping to spread the word to mainlanders.

There is still palpable anger at police for using tear gas and rubber bullets last month

“Why are there still so many people coming out to protest now?” one man said in Mandarin through a loudspeaker. “Because the Hong Kong government didn’t listen to our demands.”

Many protest banners were written with the Simplified Chinese characters used on the mainland, not the Traditional Chinese system used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Protesters are demanding the postponed extradition bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police use of tear gas and rubber bullets, amnesty for those arrested, and for the city’s unelected leader Carrie Lam to step down.

Beijing has thrown its full support behind the embattled Lam, calling on Hong Kong police to pursue anyone involved in the parliament storming and other clashes.

Sunday's protest made its way to a recently opened train station that links to China's high-speed rail network

Sunday’s protest began on the waterfront — the first time a rally has taken place off the main island — and made its way to West Kowloon, a recently opened multi-billion-dollar station that links to China’s high-speed rail network.

The terminus is controversial because Chinese law operates in the parts of the station dealing with immigration and customs, as well as the platforms, even though West Kowloon is kilometres from the border.

Police gave permission for the rally to go ahead but said officers would step in if anyone attempted to storm the train station

Critics say that move gave away part of the city’s territory to an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution China’s national laws do not apply to the city apart from in limited areas, including defence.

But many say the relationship is changing.

Among recent watershed moments critics point to are the disappearance into mainland custody of dissident booksellers, the disqualification of prominent politicians, the de facto expulsion of a foreign journalist and the jailing of democracy protest leaders.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7221505/Latest-Hong-Kong-rally-spotlights-China-station-tourists.html

Hong Kong riot police using batons, tear gas and pepper spray clash with protesters after million-strong demo over proposed new extradition bill with China

  • Roughly one million people have taken to Hong Kong’s streets to protest proposed new extradition laws
  • Riot police were called to control the crowds and were forced to use batons, tear gas guns and pepper spray 
  • The laws will make it easier for people wanted in connection with crimes to be extradited to China and Macau
  • Opponents of the plan say they deeply question the fairness and transparency of the Chinese court system

Several hundred riot police armed with batons, shields, tear gas guns and pepper spray sealed off the Legislative Council in Hong Kong as a similar number of protesters charged their lines shortly after midnight.

Police used batons and fired pepper spray at protesters, who still managed to close off part of a nearby road.

Several people on both sides appeared to be injured, and ambulances were called. Metal barriers were left twisted and torn in the clashes.

The Legislative Council is where debates will start on Wednesday to pass a new government bill that will allow suspects wanted in mainland China to be sent across the border for trial.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to Hong Kong's streets on Sunday in a last bid to block a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial

Police chiefs called for public restraint, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported, as they mobilised more than 2,000 officers for a march that organisers expect to draw more than 500,000 people+27

Police chiefs called for public restraint, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported, as they mobilised more than 2,000 officers for a march that organisers expect to draw more than 500,000 people

Earlier today, hundreds of thousands had jammed Hong Kong’s streets to protest the bill in the biggest demonstration in years. Many said they feared it put the city’s vaunted legal independence at risk.

The rallies – and the violence – plunge the global financial hub into a fresh political crisis, with marchers and opposition leaders demanding the bill be shelved and that the city’s Beijing-backed Chief Executive Carrie Lam resign.

After seven hours of marching, organisers estimated 1,030,000 people took part, far outstripping a demonstration in 2003 when half that number hit the streets to successfully challenge government plans for tighter national security laws.

Earlier today, hundreds of thousands had jammed Hong Kong's streets to protest the bill in the biggest demonstration in years. Many said they feared it put the city's vaunted legal independence at risk

Earlier today, hundreds of thousands had jammed Hong Kong’s streets to protest the bill in the biggest demonstration in years. Many said they feared it put the city’s vaunted legal independence at risk

The rallies - and the violence - plunge the global financial hub into a fresh political crisis, with marchers and opposition leaders demanding the bill be shelved and that the city's Beijing-backed Chief Executive Carrie Lam resign

The rallies – and the violence – plunge the global financial hub into a fresh political crisis, with marchers and opposition leaders demanding the bill be shelved and that the city’s Beijing-backed Chief Executive Carrie Lam resign

After seven hours of marching, organisers estimated 1,030,000 people took part, far outstripping a demonstration in 2003 when half that number hit the streets to successfully challenge government plans for tighter national security laws

Hundreds of thousands of people took to Hong Kong's streets on Sunday in a last bid to block a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial

Police chiefs called for public restraint as they mobilised more than 2,000 officers for a march that organisers expect to draw more than 500,000 people+27

Police chiefs called for public restraint as they mobilised more than 2,000 officers for a march that organisers expect to draw more than 500,000 people

The protest is expected to challenge a 2003 rally, which was against tightening national security laws, as the largest ever seen in Hong Kong

The protest is expected to challenge a 2003 rally, which was against tightening national security laws, as the largest ever seen in Hong Kong

Protesters who arrived early chanted ‘no China extradition, no evil law’ while others called for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down.

One protester held a sign reading ‘Carry off Carrie’.

Protesters who arrived early chanted 'no China extradition, no evil law' while others called for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down

Protesters who arrived early chanted ‘no China extradition, no evil law’ while others called for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down

Lam has tweaked the proposals but has refused to withdraw the bill, saying it is vital to plug a long-standing 'loophole'

Protesters who arrived early chanted 'no China extradition, no evil law' while others called for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down

Many of the protesters carried yellow umbrellas, which were the symbol of the 2014 protests against Chinese reforms of the Hong Kong electoral system

Endless thousands of people are seen between the skyscrapers of Hong Kong during the march on Sunday

Endless thousands of people are seen between the skyscrapers of Hong Kong during the march on Sunday

Opposition to the proposed bill has united a broad range of the community, from usually pro-establishment business people and lawyers to students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups

'I come here to fight,' said a wheelchair-bound, 78-year-old man surnamed Lai, who was among the first to arrive at Victoria Park

‘I come here to fight,’ said a wheelchair-bound, 78-year-old man surnamed Lai, who was among the first to arrive at Victoria Park

'It may be useless, no matter how many people are here. We have no enough power to resist as Hong Kong government is supported by the mainland,' said Lai, who suffers from Parkinson's disease

‘It may be useless, no matter how many people are here. We have no enough power to resist as Hong Kong government is supported by the mainland,’ said Lai, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease

‘I come here to fight,’ said a wheelchair-bound, 78-year-old man surnamed Lai, who was among the first to arrive at Victoria Park.

‘It may be useless, no matter how many people are here. We have no enough power to resist as Hong Kong government is supported by the mainland,’ said Lai, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

The marchers will slowly make their way through the crowded Causeway Bay and Wanchai shopping and residential districts to Hong Kong’s parliament, where debates will start on Wednesday into government amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

The marchers will slowly make their way through the crowded Causeway Bay and Wanchai shopping and residential districts to Hong Kong's parliament, where debates will start on Wednesday into government amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

The marchers will slowly make their way through the crowded Causeway Bay and Wanchai shopping and residential districts to Hong Kong’s parliament, where debates will start on Wednesday into government amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

A Hong Kong police officer with blood flowing down his face is assisted by his colleague after clashing with protesters

A Hong Kong police officer with blood flowing down his face is assisted by his colleague after clashing with protesters

Riot police use pepper spray in an effort to keep protesters at bay during the rally against proposed amendments to the extradition law

Riot police use pepper spray in an effort to keep protesters at bay during the rally against proposed amendments to the extradition law
The changes will simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow extradition of wanted suspects to countries including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, beyond the 20 that Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with

The changes will simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow extradition of wanted suspects to countries including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, beyond the 20 that Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with

Opponents of the plan say they deeply question the fairness and transparency of the Chinese court system and worry about security forces contriving charges

Opponents of the plan say they deeply question the fairness and transparency of the Chinese court system and worry about security forces contriving charges

Large swathes of traffic was stopped by the thousands of people marching in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon

Large swathes of traffic was stopped by the thousands of people marching in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon

The changes will simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow extradition of wanted suspects to countries, including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, beyond the 20 that Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with.

But it is the prospect of renditions to mainland China that has alarmed many in Hong Kong. The former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997 amid guarantees of autonomy and freedoms, including a separate legal system.

‘It’s a proposal, or a set of proposals, which strike a terrible blow … against the rule of law, against Hong Kong’s stability and security, against Hong Kong’s position as a great international trading hub,’ the territory’s last British governor, Chris Patten, said on Thursday.

Whether in business, politics or social and religious groups, opponents of the plan say they deeply question the fairness and transparency of the Chinese court system and worry about security forces contriving charges.

Foreign governments have also expressed concern, warning of the impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial hub

Foreign governments have also expressed concern, warning of the impact on Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial hub

Police and security officials shepherd protesters at the protest. There are an estimated 2000 policemen and women at the march

Police and security officials shepherd protesters at the protest. There are an estimated 2000 policemen and women at the march

This protester channels English novelist George Orwell by saying '1984 is happening in Hong Kong' in a reference to China's surveillance of its own people

This protester channels English novelist George Orwell by saying ‘1984 is happening in Hong Kong’ in a reference to China’s surveillance of its own people

Foreign governments have also expressed concern, warning of the impact on Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial hub, and noting that foreigners wanted in China risk getting ensnared in Hong Kong.

The concerns were highlighted on Saturday with news that a local high court judge had been reprimanded by the chief justice after his signature appeared on a public petition against the bill.

Reuters reported earlier that several senior Hong Kong judges were concerned about the changes, noting a lack of trust in mainland courts as well as the limited nature of extradition hearings.

Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems accessing lawyers.

Signs were seen in several different languages at the march. One slogan protesters used  was that 'Hong Kong is not China'

Signs were seen in several different languages at the march. One slogan protesters used  was that ‘Hong Kong is not China’

They say the laws carry adequate safeguards, including the protection of independent local judges who will hear cases before any approval by the Hong Kong chief executive.

No-one will be extradited if they face political or religious persecution or torture, or the death penalty.

‘We continue to listen to a wide cross-section of views and opinions and remain to open to suggestions on ways to improve the new regime,’ a government official said on Sunday.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7120891/Thousands-Hong-Kongs-streets-protest-new-extradition-laws.html

Belt and Road Initiative

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The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road
Simplified Chinese 丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路
Traditional Chinese 絲綢之路經濟帶和21世紀海上絲綢之路
One Belt, One Road (OBOR)
Simplified Chinese 一带一路
Traditional Chinese 一帶一路
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
China

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in AsiaEuropeAfrica, the Middle East, and the Americas.[1] “Belt” refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt“; whereas “road” refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.[2]

It was known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) (Chinese一带一路) and the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (Chinese丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路)[3] until 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word “one” was prone to misinterpretation.[4]

The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”.[5] Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.[6][7] The project has a targeted completion date of 2049,[8] which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Contents

History

The initiative was unveiled by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 during visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia,[9] and was thereafter promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during state visits to Asiaand Europe. The initiative was given intensive coverage by Chinese state media, and by 2016 often being featured in the People’s Daily.[10]

Initially, the initiative was termed One Belt One Road Strategy, but officials decided that the term “strategy” would create suspicions so they opted for the more inclusive term “initiative” in its translation.[11]

Initial objectives

The stated objectives are “to construct a unified large market and make full use of both international and domestic markets, through cultural exchange and integration, to enhance mutual understanding and trust of member nations, ending up in an innovative pattern with capital inflows, talent pool, and technology database.”[12] The initial focus has been infrastructure investment, education, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel.[13] Already, some estimates list the Belt and Road Initiative as one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history, covering more than 68 countries, including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global gross domestic product as of 2017.[14][15]

The Belt and Road Initiative addresses an “infrastructure gap” and thus has potential to accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe: a report from the World Pensions Council (WPC) estimates that Asia, excluding China, requires up to US$900 billion of infrastructure investments per year over the next decade, mostly in debt instruments, 50% above current infrastructure spending rates.[16]The gaping need for long term capital explains why many Asian and Eastern European heads of state “gladly expressed their interest to join this new international financial institution focusing solely on ‘real assets’ and infrastructure-driven economic growth”.[17]

Political control

The Leading Group for Advancing the Development of One Belt One Road was formed sometime in late 2014, and its leadership line-up publicized on 1 February 2015. This steering committee reports directly into the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and is composed of several political heavyweights, evidence of the importance of the program to the government. Then Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, who was also a member of the 7-man Politburo Standing Committee then, was named leader of the group, with Wang HuningWang YangYang Jing, and Yang Jiechi being named deputy leaders.[18]

In March 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for accelerating the Belt and Road Initiative along with the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor[19] and the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor in his government work report presented to the annual meeting of the country’s legislature.

On 28 March 2015, China’s State Council outlined the principles, framework, key areas of cooperation and cooperation mechanisms with regard to the initiative.[20]

Infrastructure networks

The Belt and Road Initiative is about improving the physical infrastructure along land corridors that roughly equate to the old silk road. These are the belts in the title, and a maritime silk road. [21] Infrastructure corridors encompassing around 60 countries, primarily in Asia and Europe but also including Oceania and East Africa, will cost an estimated US$4–8 trillion.[22][23] The initiative has been contrasted with the two US-centric trading arrangements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.[23] The projects receive financial support from the Silk Road Fund and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank while they are technically coordinated by the B&R Summit Forum. The land corridors include:[21]

Closely related:

Silk Road Economic Belt

The Belt and Road Economies from its initial plan[33]

Xi Jinping visited Astana, Kazakhstan, and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013, and proposed jointly building a new economic area, the Silk Road Economic Belt (Chinese丝绸之路经济带[34] Essentially, the “belt” includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative would create a cohesive economic area by building both hard infrastructure such as rail and road links and soft infrastructure such as the trade agreements and a common commercial legal structure with a court system to police the agreements.[2] It would increase cultural exchanges, and broadening trade. Outside this zone, which is largely analogous to the historical Silk Road, is an extension to include South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Many of the countries that are part of this belt are also members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Three belts are proposed. The North belt would go through Central Asia and Russia to Europe. The Central belt passes through Central Asia and West Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The South belt runs from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan. The strategy will integrate China with Central Asia through Kazakhstan‘s Nurly Zhol infrastructure program.[35]

21st Century Maritime Silk Road

The “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (Chinese: 21世纪海上丝绸之路) , or just the Maritime Silk Road, is the sea route ‘corridor’.[2] It is a complementary initiative aimed at investing and fostering collaboration in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Africa, through several contiguous bodies of water: the South China Sea, the South Pacific Ocean, and the wider Indian Ocean area.[36][37][38] It was first proposed in October 2013 by Xi Jinping in a speech to the Indonesian Parliament.[39] Like the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, most countries have joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Ice Silk Road

In addition to the Maritime Silk Road, Russia and China are reported to have agreed jointly to build an ‘Ice Silk Road’ along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic, along a maritime route which Russia considers to be part of its internal waters.[40]

China COSCO Shipping Corp. has completed several trial trips on Arctic shipping routes, the transport departments of both Russia and China are constantly improving policies and laws related to development in the Arctic,[citation needed] and Chinese and Russian companies are seeking cooperation on oil and gas exploration in the area and to advance comprehensive collaboration on infrastructure construction, tourism and scientific expeditions.

Russia together with China approached the practical discussion of the global infrastructure project Ice Silk Road. This was stated by representatives of VnesheconomBank at the International conference Development of the shelf of Russia[41] and the CIS — 2019 (Petroleum Offshore of Russia), held in Moscow.

The delegates of the conference were representatives of the leadership of Russian and corporations (GazpromLukoilRosAtom, Rosgeologiya, VnesheconomBank, Morneftegazproekt, Murmanshelf, Russian Helicopters, etc.), as well as foreign auditors (Deloitte, member of the world Big Four) and consulting centers (Norwegian Rystad Energy and others.).[42]

Super grid

The super grid project aims to develop six ultra high voltage electricity grids across China, north-east Asia, Southeast Asia, south Asia, central Asia and west Asia. The wind power resources of central Asia would form one component of this grid.[43][44]

Project achievement

Countries which signed cooperation documents related to the Belt and Road Initiative

China has signed cooperational document on the belt and road initiative with 126 countries and 29 international organisations.[45] In terms of infrastructure construction, China and the countries along the Belt and Road have carried out effective cooperation in ports, railways, highways, power stations, aviation and telecommunications.[46]

Africa

Djibouti

Djibouti‘s Doraleh Multi-purpose Port and the Hassan Gouled Aptidon international airport.[47]

Ethiopia

Ethiopia‘s Eastern Industrial Zone is a manufacturing hub outside Addis Ababa that was built by China and occupied by factories of Chinese manufacturers.[48] According to Chinese media and the vice director of the industrial zone, there were 83 companies resident within the zone, of which 56 had started production.[49] However, a study in Geoforum noted that the EIZ has yet to serve as a catalyst for Ethiopia’s overall economic development due to many factors including poor infrastructure outside the zone. Discrepancies between the two countries industries also mean that Ethiopia cannot benefit from direct technological transfer and innovation.[50]

From October 2011 to February 2012, Chinese companies were contracted to supersede the century-old Ethio-Djibouti Railways by constructing a new electric standard gauge Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway. The new railway line, stretching more than 750 kilometres (470 mi) and travelling at 120 km/h (75 mph), shortens the journey time between Addis Ababa and Dijbouti from three days to about 12 hours.[51] The first freight service began in November 2015 and passenger service followed in October 2016.[52] On China–Ethiopia cooperation on international affairs, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China and Ethiopia are both developing countries, and both countries are faced with a complicated international environment. He stated that the partnership will be a model at the forefront of developing China–Africa relations.[53]

Kenya

In May 2014, Premier Li Keqiang signed a cooperation agreement with the Kenyan government to build the Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway connecting Mombasa to Nairobi. The railway cost US$3.2bn and was Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since independence. The railway was claimed to cut the journey time from Mombasa to Nairobi from 9 hours by bus or 12 hours on the previous railway to 4.5 hours. In May 2017, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called the 470 km railway a new chapter that “would begin to reshape the story of Kenya for the next 100 years”.[54] According to Kenya Railways Corporation, the railway carried 1.3 million Kenyans with a 96.7% seat occupancy and 600,000 tons of cargo in its first year of operation. Chinese media claim that the railway line boosted the country’s GDP by 1.5% and created 46,000 jobs for locals and trained 1,600 railway professionals.[55]

Nigeria

On 12 January 2019, Nigeria‘s first standard gauge railway, which has been successfully operated for 900 days, had no major accidents since its inception. With the successful completion of the railway construction by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the Abuja Kaduna train service began commercial operation on 27 July 2016. The Abuja-Kaduna Railway Line is one of the first standard railroad railway modernization projects (SGRMP) in Nigeria. This is the first part of the Lagos-Kano standard metrics project, which will connect the business centres of Nigeria with the economic activity centres of the northwestern part of the country.[56]

In a resolution of the Johannesburg Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2015, the Chinese government promised to provide satellite television to 10,000 African villages. It is reported that each of the 1,000 selected villages in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, will receive two sets of solar projection television systems and a set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal systems. A total of 20,000 Nigerian rural families will benefit from the project. Kpaduma, an underdeveloped rural community on the edge of the Nigerian capital of Abuja, is familiar with analog TV and has no chance to see the satellite TV channels enjoyed by people in Nigerian towns. The implementation of the project will create more jobs, 1,000 Nigerians in selected villages have received training on how to install, recharge and operate satellite TV systems.[57]

Sudan

In Sudan, China has helped the country to establish its own oil industry, and provided agricultural assistance for the cotton industry.[citation needed]

Future plans include developing railways, roads, ports, a nuclear power station, solar power farms and more dams for irrigation and electricity generation.[58]

Europe

Freight train services between China and Europe were initiated in March 2011.[59] The service’s first freight route linked China to Tehran. The China–Britain route was launched in January 2017[60] As of 2018, the network had expanded to cover 48 Chinese cities and 42 European destinations, delivering goods between China and Europe. The 10,000th trip was completed on 26 August 2018 with the arrival of freight train X8044 in Wuhan, China from Hamburg, Germany.[61] The network was further extended southward to Vietnam in March 2018.[62]

The China–Belarus Industrial Park is a 91.5 km2 (35.3 sq mi) special economic zone established in SmolevichyMinsk in 2013. According to the park’s chief administrator, 36 international companies have settled in the park as of August 2018.[63] Chinese media claim the park will create 6,000 jobs and become a real city with 10,000 residents by 2020.[64]

Greece

The foreign ministers of China and Greece signed a Memorandum of Understanding related to further cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative on 29 August 2018. COSCO revitalized and currently runs the Port of Piraeus.[65]

Italy

In March 2019, Italy became the first G7 Nation to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative. [66]

Luxembourg

On 27 March 2019, Luxembourg signed an agreement with China to cooperate on Belt and Road Initiative.[67]

Russia

Participants of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in 2017

On 26 April 2019, the leaders of Russia and China called their countries “good friends” and vowed to work together in pursuing greater economic integration of Eurasia. On the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin pledged to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the two sides. Vladimir Putin further stated that, “countries gathering under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union share long-term strategic interests of peace and growth.” [68]

Switzerland

On 29 April 2019, during his visit in Beijing, Swiss President Ueli Maurer signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China under the Belt and Road Initiative.[69]

Asia

Armenia

On 4 April 2019, the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian received a delegation led by Shen Yueyue, Vice-Chairwoman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee of China in YerevanArmenia. President Sarkissian stated that Armenia and China are ancient countries with centuries-old tradition of cooperation since the existence of the Silk Road. The President noted the development of cooperation in the 21st century in the sidelines of the One Belt One Road program initiated by the top leadership of China and stated that “It’s time for Armenia to become part of the new Silk Road”.[70]

Central Asia

The five countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – are an important part of the land route of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).[71]

Hong Kong

During his 2016 policy addressHong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying‘s announced his intention of setting up a Maritime Authority aimed at strengthening Hong Kong’s maritime logistics in line with Beijing’s economic policy.[72] Leung mentioned “One Belt, One Road” no fewer than 48 times during the policy address,[73] but details were scant.[74][75]

Indonesia

In 2016, China Railway International won a bid to build Indonesia‘s first high-speed rail, the 140 km (87 mi) Jakarta–Bandung High Speed Rail. It will shorten the journey time between Jakarta and Bandung from over three hours to forty minutes[76] The project, initially scheduled for completion in 2019, was delayed by land clearance issues.[77] 2000 locals are working on the project.

Laos

In Laos, construction of the 414 km (257 mi) Vientiane–Boten Railway began on 25 December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2021. It is China’s first overseas railway project that will connect to China’s railway network.[78] Once operational, the Laos–China Railway will be Laos’ longest and connect with Thailand to become part of the proposed Kunming–Singapore railway, extending from the Chinese city of Kunming and running through Thailand and Laos to terminate at Singapore.[79][80] It is estimated to cost US$5.95 billion with 70% of the railway owned by China, while Laos’s remaining 30% stake will be mostly financed by loans from China.[81] However, it faces opposition within Laos due to the high cost of the project.[82]

Malaysia

Under the Premiership of Najib RazakMalaysia signed multiple investment deals with China, including a US$27 billion East Coast Rail Link project, pipeline projects worth more than $3.1 billion, as well as a $100 billion Forest City in Johor.[83] During the 2018 Malaysian general election, then-opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad expressed disapproval of Chinese investment in Malaysia, comparing it to selling off the country to foreigners.[84] Upon election as Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir labelled the China-funded projects as “unfair” deals authorized by former prime minister Najib Razak and would leave Malaysia “indebted” to China.[85]

In August 2018, at the end of an official visit to China, Mahathir cancelled the East Coast Rail Link project and two other pipeline projects that had been awarded to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau. These had been linked to corruption at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad,[85] citing a need to reduce debt incurred by the previous government.[86][87][88][89]

It will be deferred until such time we can afford, and maybe we can reduce the cost also if we do it differently.

In addition, Mahathir also threatened to deny foreign buyers a long-stay visa, prompting a clarification by Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin and the Prime Minister’s Office.[90]

The project undergo negotiations for several months [91] and close to be cancelled off.[92] After rounds of negotiation and diplomatic mission, the ECRL project is resumed after Malaysia and China agreed to continue the project with reduced cost of RM 44 billion (US$10.68 billion) from the original of RM 65.5 billion.[93]

Pakistan

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is a major Belt and Road Initiative project encompassing investments in transport, energy and maritime infrastructure.

Sri Lanka

China’s main investment in Sri Lanka was the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, mostly funded by the Chinese government and built by two Chinese companies. It claims to be the largest port in Sri Lanka after the Port of Colombo and the “biggest port constructed on land to date in the country”. It was initially intended to be owned by the Government of Sri Lanka and operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, however it incurred heavy operational losses and the Sri Lankan government was unable to service the debt to China. In a debt restructuring plan on 9 December 2017, 70% of the port was leased and port operations were handed over to China for 99 years, The deal gave the Sri Lankan government $1.4 billion, that they will be using to pay off the debt to China. [94][95][96] This led to accusations that China was practicing debt-trap diplomacy.