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The Pronk Pops Show 1140, September 14, 2018, Breaking News — Story 1: Hurricane Florence Downgraded To Category 1 and Now A Tropical Storm With Widespread Flooding From 11 Foot Storm Surge and Continuous Rainfall Expected From 1 to 4 Feet Lasting From 2 to 3 Days — Millions Without Electrical Power — Videos — Story 2: Lying Lunatic Left Blame Trump For Hurricanes Florence and Believe Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Worse — Really — Weather Is Always Changing Over Hours and Days and Climate is Always Changing Over Billions of Years —  Trump Derangement Syndrome Goes Hysterical — Videos — Story 3: Federal Bureau of Investigation Engages In Criminal Activity in Leaking and Spying on Carter Page — The Dirty Cops and Corrupt Lawyers Are Going Down — Videos

Posted on September 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Cartoons, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Energy, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Human, Human Behavior, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Scandals, Security, Senator Jeff Sessions, Solar, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1140, September 14, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1136, September 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1135, September 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1134, September 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1132, August 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1131, August 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1130, August 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1126, August 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

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Breaking News — Story 1: Hurricane Florence Downgraded To Category 1 and Now A Tropical Storm With Widespread Flooding From Storm Surge and Continuous Rain — Millions Without Electrical Power — Videos —

 

Mom and baby are killed in ‘biblical’ Hurricane Florence as ‘thousand-year’ rain batters North Carolina and is forecast to dump 18 TRILLION gallons of water over the next seven days

  • Warning from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper came after a day of 11-feet storm surges and flash floods
  • Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7.15 am – winds are now up to 80mph
  • Officials warned the storm will ‘get worse’ and 18 trillion gallons of rain is forecast over the next seven days
  • Storm is now tracking south-west at 6mph, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it on land
  • More than 60 people were rescued from a collapsing hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, early on Friday 
  • Rescue teams are working to free those trapped in New Bern after the nearby Neuse River burst its banks
  • The Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet of inundation, the National Hurricane Center said
  • In Jacksonville, more than 60 people rescued from a hotel as building’s structural integrity was threatened
  • Even before Florence hit land, life-threatening storm surge was reported along the coast of the Carolinas
  • Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph, Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday
  • A mother and her baby were killed after a tree fell on their family home in Wilmington, North Carolina

A mother and her baby have died as Hurricane Florence continues to batter North Carolina, with 18 trillion gallons of rain expected to fall in what one top official called a ‘thousand-year’ event.

The pair were trapped inside their home in Wilmington after a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am (ET). Firefighters frantically tried to lift the tree so they could escape, but were unable to do so.

The baby’s father was rescued and stretchered into an ambulance but police declared the mother and baby dead at 2.30pm (ET). National Guard were called into remove the shattered tree.

Florence is currently stalled over southeastern North Carolina, but is expected to drift further inland across the Carolinas on the weekend before turning toward the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

The dire warnings were echoed by Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, who told ABC News: ‘I see a biblical proportion flood event that’s going to occur. I see the beach communities being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic in nature.’

The eye of the storm smashed into North Carolina just after 7am, with three inches of rain falling every hour and 80mph winds sparking an 11-foot storm surge.

Over seven days, 18 trillion gallons of rain is expected to fall across the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. The wind speed has dropped slightly from 90mph when it made landfall to 75mph as of 2pm ET.

A mother and her baby died after being trapped inside their home in Wilmington when a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am (ET). Firefighters frantically tried to lift the tree (pictured) so they could escape, but were unable to do so

Fire firefighters use a boat to rescue three people from their flooded home during the Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday 

Residents look at downed trees as Hurricane Florence passes over Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday

Residents look at downed trees as Hurricane Florence passes over Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday

Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree toppled onto a house in Wilmington. The man was injured and taken to hospital 

 Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 from Oakland, California, and soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard 105th Military Police Battalion from Asheville search homes for evacuees on Friday 

Video playing bottom right…

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7.15am. At least 26,000 people sought refuge in shelters in the state and 625,000 homes and businesses were reported to be without power.

More than 60 people including children had to be pulled from a collapsing motel in Jacksonville at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were waiting to be rescued.

The hurricane knocked a basketball-sized hole in the wall of the Triangle Motor causing cinder blocks to crumble and the roof to fall down – while residents were still in their rooms. Fire crews had to force their way in and evacuate the guests to a shelter. None were hurt.

Rescue teams were also working to free around 150 to 200 people trapped in homes in New Bern as city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts warned that the storm surge will increase further as Florence passes over the area.

Some 150 to 200 people have already been rescued after the nearby Neuse River rose by 10 feet high since bursting its banks on Thursday.

The city warned that people ‘may need to move up to the second story’ but told them to stay put as ‘we are coming to get you.’ Some 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Florence’s rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, forecasters said. Rainfall totals will be similar to those in hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999, Chris Wamsley of the National Weather Service said Friday morning.

‘The only difference is, back then it was within 14 days,’ he said. With Florence, ‘we’re looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days.’

By midday Friday, airlines had canceled more than 2,100 U.S. flights from the storm’s approach on Wednesday through Sunday, according to tracking service FlightAware.

The region’s two largest airports, in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, had more than 200 cancellations on Friday. That’s about half the flights in Raleigh and one in eight at Charlotte.

Rescue workers pray on the quiet residential street in Wilmington, North Carolina, where a mother and her baby died on Friday 

Before
After
A before and after image of a scene in New Bern on Thursday shows the violent impacts of the storm, which deluged the area with flood waters
Before flooding
After flooding
A before and after image of a scene in New Bern. Rescue teams were also working to free around 150 people trapped in homes in New Bern
Firefighters were unable to remove the tree from the house in Wilmington on Friday and had to call in the National Guard (pictured) 

Firefighters were unable to remove the tree from the house in Wilmington on Friday and had to call in the National Guard (pictured)

Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team help rescue three children from their flooded home in James City on Friday 

The volunteers moved the James City children to safety on Friday along a flooded highway. Hundreds of other people have had to call for emergency rescues in the area, officials said

Rescue workers pass the dog back to her owner after they were both rescued from their flooded James City property on Friday

Rescue workers from Township No. 7 Fire Department and volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team use a boat to rescue a woman and her dog from their flooded home in James City on Friday

The members of Township No. 7 Fire Department and the civilian volunteers had a busy night on Thursday after the hurricane hit the area

Residents in this North Carolina town woke up on Friday morning to find a tree had fallen on the roof of a house. The storm is expected to cause $170 billion worth of damage, according to one prediction

A collapsed tree in North Carolina

Residents in this North Carolina town woke up on Friday morning to find a tree had fallen on the roof of a house. The storm is expected to cause $170 billion worth of damage, according to one prediction

The awning of a BP gas station in Top Sall, North Carolina, is blown off as Hurricane Florence makes landfall on Thursday night

Winds from Hurricane Florence are pounding Radio Island, NC

Even before Florence hit land, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported ‘life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds’ along the coast of the Carolinas leaving coastal streets inundated with ocean water.

Like an out of control freight train, Florence entered into Wilmington, a port city of 120,000 people on the North Carolina coast, and started pummeling the city.

The city was plunged into darkness after losing its power grid shortly after 5am during some of the fiercest wind bursts.

Damages are starting to appear as large swaths of the roof of Hotel Ballast, a downtown tourism staple, are being peeled off one by one and sucked out into the sky.

The Cape Fear River, which usually lazies from east to west through the city’s historic district, has been transformed into rapids.

As the day rose on Wilmington, residents discovered extensive damages. There are thousands of trees down in the city’s historic district. Most streets are unpassable as uprooted large oak trees lie across the road.

At this point, the entire city is without electricity as electric lines have been cut off by falling trees and ripped up gutters from homes litter the streets.

Trees bend in the heavy winds as they are enveloped by surging waters after Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro in North Carolina on Friday

Trees bend in the heavy winds as they are enveloped by surging waters after Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro in North Carolina on Friday

People were urged to avoid going out in their vehicles in Swansboro in North Carolina (pictured on Friday) over fears they could be swept away 

A resident in New Bern, North Carolina, filmed the inside of their flooded home as Hurricane Florence made landfall

A resident in New Bern, North Carolina, filmed the inside of their flooded home as Hurricane Florence made landfall

Mitchell Floor, left, holds a flashlight as Comfort Suites general manager Beth Bratz, center, and employee Dee Branch go to make coffee as Hurricane Florence rages in Wilmington Friday. 620,000 homes and businesses were reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached

Mitchell Floor, left, holds a flashlight as Comfort Suites general manager Beth Bratz, center, and employee Dee Branch go to make coffee as Hurricane Florence rages in Wilmington Friday. 620,000 homes and businesses were reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached

John Van Pelt ⛈🚀🛰🌮@JVPStorm

Sad to see this damage in Morehead City. There’ll be much more to see when the sun comes up. We have you covered through the night on @WeatherNation

Footage from television stations and social media showed raging waters hitting piers and jettys and rushing across coastal roads in seaside communities, including Topsail Beach, north of Wilmington, where storm surge waters damaged beachfront homes

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The hurricane could cause $170 billion of property damage, according to one prediction.

Forecasters say ‘catastrophic’ freshwater flooding is expected over parts of the Carolinas.

But that, combined with the storm’s slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

‘The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come,’ he said. ‘Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience.’

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

This graph shows wind speeds in mph at 9am (ET), from the eye of Hurricane Florence near the North Carolina coast to further inland

This graph shows wind speeds in mph at 9am (ET), from the eye of Hurricane Florence near the North Carolina coast to further inland

A map from the National Hurricane center shows the probable path of Hurricane Florence from Friday to Wednesday next week

A map from the National Hurricane center shows the probable path of Hurricane Florence from Friday to Wednesday next week

A map broadcast at 10am ET shows the expected progress of Hurricane Florence from Saturday to early on Monday morning

This National Weather Service map shows the probably wind speeds of the hurricane from Friday to 2am on Wednesday 

Wind-whipped waves lash the coast at Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday. Nearly all residents had evacuated following warnings from officials

Florence's fiercest winds will linger around the coast for hours since the storm was moving forward at only 6 mph. Pictured: The hurricane arriving at Wilmington on Friday

Visibility is poor around the eye of the storm, as water and other debris are pulled up into the air by the wind, as seen in this image of Swansboro on Friday

Visibility is poor around the eye of the storm, as water and other debris are pulled up into the air by the wind, as seen in this image of Swansboro on Friday

Trees sway in the wind as Hurricane Florence moves through Wilmington on Friday, as captured in a video taken by local journalist Raphael Grand

Photos show the South Carolina National Guard readying for the storm. Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night

Forecasters say 'catastrophic' freshwater flooding is expected over parts of the Carolinas. Disaster relief teams are seen above

Michael Nelson uses a boat made from a metal tub and fishing floats after the Neuse River burst its banks on Thursday

Michael Nelson uses a boat made from a metal tub and fishing floats after the Neuse River burst its banks on Thursday

Rescuers head out into floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina on Thursday night as the area starts to feel the full wrath of the storm

Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital in Jacksonville has a full hallway dedicated for animals of the staff working during Hurricane Florence. It is pictured on Friday

Animals on the hallway of Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital

Flamingos are evacuated as a part of Storm Florence preparations at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina

Dolphins were spotted swimming close to the shore in Wilmington

A dolphin is seen in the murky waters

Dolphins were spotted swimming close to the shore in Wilmington, North Carolina, during the storm on Friday

CBS News

@CBSNews

Dolphins are swimming near the shore in North Carolina, as Hurricane Florence pounds the coast with intense wind and rain. https://cbsn.ws/2p6nJBJ 

WWAY News@WWAY

WATCH: Video captured near Topsail Beach shows a gas station canopy smashing to the ground during .

Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called ‘historic major damage’ across the state.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it’s unclear how many did.

The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia. 

The top counties affected were Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender. Officials fear power losses could affect up to three million people.

In South Carolina, more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state’s coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters, officials said.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Cooper previously warned: ‘Don’t relax, don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality.’

A wind-damaged roof of the house in the town of Wilson on Friday morning after the hurricane passed over the previous night 

A wind-damaged roof of the house in the town of Wilson on Friday morning after the hurricane passed over the previous night

A damaged awning at a restaurant in Myrtle Beach on Friday morning after heavy winds ravished the town during Hurricane Florence

Roads and verges in New Bern were strewn with damage trees on Friday morning after they were ripped from the ground by high winds 

Several parts of North Carolina lost power after trees fell on power lines. Pictured is damaged vegetation in New Bern on Friday 

This tree in Wilmington was left splayed across a road on Friday morning, blocking traffic, after Hurricane Florence ravaged the area the previous night

Wilmington residents had to walk around the uprooted tree on Friday as they waited for workers to come and cut it up

Part of the roof of Tidewater Brewing Co. lies on the ground in Wilmington on Friday morning. Owner Ethan Hall arrived later with team to inspect the damage

Flood waters rage inside the living room of a house in Belhaven, North Carolina, in a photo obtained from social media on Friday

Children sit and play games in a hotel lobby in Wilmington that has lost its power on Friday after damage to infrastructure caused by high winds

Donald Trump speaks during a hurricane meeting on Friday with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Oval Office

Donald Trump speaks during a hurricane meeting on Friday with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Oval Office

Prisoners were affected, too. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

At Frying Pan Tower, an observation post 32 miles off of the coast of North Carolina, a live video feed showed the storm’s 100mph sustained winds ripping an American flag to shreds.

Police have suspended their services in Morehead City and other coastal cities, warning any residents who remain in the evacuation zone that they will be without emergency services until the storm passes.

The storm surge was expected to reach far inland along North Carolina’s flat coastal plain.

‘Storm surge is not just an ‘ocean’ problem tonight. Significant surge is expected to occur in the NC inlets and rivers, some areas in excess of 9 feet!’ the National Weather Service said in a tweet.  

At Frying Pan Tower, an observation post 32 miles off of the coast of North Carolina, a live video feed showed the Category 2 storm's 100mph sustained winds ripping an American flag to shreds on Thursday 

Portions of a boat dock and boardwalk were destroyed by powerful wind and waves in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, on Thursday

Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach as Hurricane Florence approaches the area on Thursday

Huge waves lashed the beaches of North Carolina on Thursday as the hurricane rolling in bringing heavy rain and dangerous winds

Early storm surges in New Bern caused the Neuse River to flood its banks on Thursday, nearly sixteen hours before Florence arrived

A work truck drives on Hwy 24 as the wind from Hurricane Florence blows palm trees in Swansboro on Thursday

A pick-up truck pulls a trailer along a rainy road in Washington, North Carolina, nearly 16 hours before the hurricane struck the area

A pick-up truck pulls a trailer along a rainy road in Washington, North Carolina, nearly 16 hours before the hurricane struck the area

A truck drives through deep water after the Neuse River flooded the street in River Bend on Thursday. Officials in some areas urged people not to go out in their car as they could be swept away

Flooding is seen New Bern, North Carolina, after early storm surges caused the Neuse River to burst its banks as Hurricane Florence inched closer to the East Coast on Thursday 

A sign warns people away from Union Point Park after is was flooded by the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday

A sign warns people away from Union Point Park after it was flooded by the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina

The Hotel Ballast on the Cape Fear River was starting to show signs of structural damage (see ceiling) during Friday's 

The Hotel Ballast on the Cape Fear River was starting to show signs of structural damage (see ceiling) during the hurricane on Friday

In Wilmington, before it took a direct hit from Florence, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.

‘We’re a little worried about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now,’ said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director. ‘I am frightened about what’s coming. We just want prayers from everyone.’

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost. It had long lines on Thursday.

In the tiny community of Sea Breeze near Wilmington, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptized because ‘I just don’t think a lot of this is going to be here’ later.

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity. Instead, they drove 150 miles inland to his mother’s house in Durham.

‘The anxiety level has dropped substantially,’ Epperson said. ‘I’ve never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked.’

In a flash bulletin at 11pm on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said that Florence was 50 miles south of Morehead City, North Carolina, and 60 miles southeast of Wilmington.

A child sits on a mattress at a Hurricane Florence evacuation shelter on Thursday at Conway High School in Conway, South Carolina

Avair Vereen (left, with her fiance and one of her seven children) and her family took shelter at an evacuation shelter at Conway High School on Thursday. 'We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way.' If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing. But we can't replace us so we decided to come here'

An American Red Cross aid worker walks through the cafeteria at Conway High School which is being used as a Hurricane Florence evacuation shelter on Thursday

An American Red Cross aid worker walks through the cafeteria at Conway High School which is being used as a Hurricane Florence evacuation shelter on Thursday

Shianne Coleman (left) and Austin Gremmel walk in flooded streets as the Neuse River begins to flood its banks in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday

Linda Stephens checks out the weather as the force of Hurricane Florence is beginning to be felt on Friday in Myrtle Beach

Linda Stephens checks out the weather as the force of Hurricane Florence is beginning to be felt on Friday in Myrtle Beach

Joyce Lilly, Marshall McNeil and Holly Tindall sit on the porch of their home in Myrtle Beach on Friday as they watch high winds caused by Hurricane Florence 

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 90mph and was moving northwest at six miles per hour.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves nearly 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

As the storm has slowed upon approach, official landfall – when the eye of the storm reaches the shore – is forecast to occur sometime overnight on Friday.

Winds and rain were arriving later in South Carolina, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded on Thursday. Heavy rainfall began after dark.

By Thursday night, the window to evacuate much of the North Carolina coast had closed, with officials saying that anyone who had not moved inland would have to shelter in place.

Forecasters said that given the storm’s size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

Men pack their belongings after evacuating their house in New Bern, North Carolina after the Neuse River went over its banks and flooded their street during Hurricane Florence on Thursday

Residents rush to escape as the water rises in New Bern on Thursday after storm surges pushed the Neuse River over its bank

Residents wade through deep floodwater to retrieve belongings from the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River went over its banks during in New Bern on Thursday

Russ Lewis looks for shells at Myrtle Beach, where conditions were fairly calm before the approach of Florence on Friday morning

Water from Neuse River starts flooding houses on Thursday as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are ‘supplied and ready,’ and he disputed the official conclusion that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

‘This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico,’ Trump wrote.

‘If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!’

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Some of the few people still left in Nags Head on the Outer Banks took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell was plenty concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

‘It truly is really about the whole size of this storm,’ National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. ‘The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact – and we have that.’

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year.

Residents in Wilmington wait for a table at Waffle House. Though boarded up, the restaurant remained open on Thursday

Diners are seen in the Wilmington Waffle House on Thursday. The restaurant chain is famous for remaining open through severe storms

Diners are seen in the Wilmington Waffle House on Thursday. The restaurant chain is famous for remaining open through severe storms

FEMA even uses a 'Waffle House Index' to determine how severe a storm is, based on whether the chain shuts down locations or limits its menu. Waffle House pre-stages supplies and relies on generators to remain open during storms

Hurricane Florence evacuees try to sleep in a Red Cross shelter in Grantsboro, North Carolina on Thursday

Hurricane Florence evacuees try to sleep in a Red Cross shelter in Grantsboro, North Carolina on Thursday

People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross on Thursday before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro, North Carolina

People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross on Thursday before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro, North Carolina

HURRICANE FLORENCE IN NUMBERS

The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still deadly Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday.

As the monster storm moves in for an extended stay, here is a breakdown by numbers:

  • Florence clocked 90 mph winds on Thursday after it was downgraded to a Category 1
  • The storm was already generating 83-foot waves at sea on Wednesday
  • Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet were also forecast in some areas
  • Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina 
  • Potentially 10 trillion gallons of rain is expected in southern states in the next week
  • An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory
  • Up to 1.7 million people were ordered to evacuated ahead of the hurricane 

‘On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably a 7’ in terms of worry, she said. ‘Because it’s Mother Nature. You can’t predict.’

Forecasters’ European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. That’s enough water to fill the Empire State Building nearly 40,000 times. 

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Among those to shrug off evacuation orders in South Carolina was legendary singer Jimmy Buffet, who led a score of adrenaline-junkies waiting for the storm to hit as he headed to Folly Beach to surf the surges.

Posing with a surfboard and a thumbs-up the 71-year-old musician quoted his own lyrics writing: ‘I ain’t afraid of dying, I got no need to explain, I feel like going surfing in a hurricane.’

‘On a serious note – respect mother nature, please be safe and listen to your local authorities,’ he added in a Instagram post from Wednesday.

Homeless after losing her job at Walmart three months ago, 25-year-old Brittany Jones went to a storm shelter at a high school near Raleigh. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.

‘It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can’t get gas,’ she said. ‘Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together. A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight.’

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm’s aftermath, it said.

As Hurricane Florence barreled towards the East Coast musician Jimmy Buffett and other surfers headed to the water, the musician gave a thumbs up with his surfboard at Folly Beach in South Carolina on Wednesday

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change.

Florence’s weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who worried that the storm could still be deadly.

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that was later downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a Wilmington hotel several miles inland.

‘Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated,’ said Fisher, 74. ‘I’ve got four cats inside the house. If I can’t get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place.’

Authorities pushed back against any suggestion the storm’s threat was exaggerated.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence’s bulls’-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

‘I’m not going to put our personnel in harm’s way, especially for people that we’ve already told to evacuate,’ Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

But not everyone was taking Florence too seriously – about two dozen locals gathered on Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

‘We’ll operate without power; we have candles. And you don’t need power to sling booze,’ said owner Eli Ellsworth.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

‘This is our only home. We have two boats and all our worldly possessions,’ said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family’s pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.

‘We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically. We chose to hunker down.’

What Hurricane Florence storm surges could look like

A simulation weather video is showing what the life-threatening Hurricane Florence storm surge might look like if it reaches a frightening nine feet.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet have been forecast in some areas in North and South Carolina.

The Weather Channel‘s forecast video shows the potential damage such surges could inflict on the southern states.

Dr Greg Postel, the network’s hurricane specialist, said three feet of water was enough to knock people off their feet, potentially carry cars away and flood lower levels of buildings.

Six feet of storm surge could carry large objects like cars underwater and leave lower levels structures submerged in water, according to Dr Postel.

The video also gives a frightening indication of what nine feet of water looks like – completely submerging lower buildings.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6166567/Hurricane-Florence-storm-surge-begins-flooding-hits-North-Carolina.html

 

‘Uninvited brute’: 2 dead as Florence drenches the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence rolled ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 mph winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, killing at least two people and trapping hundreds more in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water. Others could only wait and hope someone would come for them.

“WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. “You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU.”

https://apnews.com/b8f08c9c8ae648a19dbf21180809e5fd/Florence-rolls-ashore-in-Carolinas,-tears-buildings-apart

Story 2: Lying Lunatic Left Blame Trump For Hurricanes Florence and Believe Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Worse — Really — Weather Is Always Changing Over Hours and Days and Climate is Always Changing Over Billions of Years —  Trump Derangement Syndrome Goes Hysterical — Videos —

“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country”

~President Donald J. Trump, June 1, 2017

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Another hurricane is about to batter our coast. Trump is complicit.

Hurricane Florence is one of many signs of climate change, and those who deny it are complicit in the destruction, meteorologist Eric Holthaus says.

September 11

YET AGAIN, a massive hurricane feeding off unusually warm ocean water has the potential to stall over heavily populated areas, menacing millions of people. Last year Hurricane Harvey battered Houston. Now, Hurricane Florence threatens to drench already waterlogged swaths of the East Coast, including the nation’s capital . If the Category 4 hurricane does, indeed, hit the Carolinas this week, it will be the strongest storm on record to land so far north.

President Trump issued several warnings on his Twitter feed Monday, counseling those in Florence’s projected path to prepare and listen to local officials. That was good advice.

Yet when it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit. He plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks. It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change. But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth’s systems to produce disasters

Scientists also warn that climate change may be slowing the wind currents that guide hurricanes, making storms more sluggish and, therefore, apt to linger longer over disaster zones. Tropical cyclone movement has slowed all over the planet. Harvey’s stubborn refusal to leave the Houston area was a decisive factor in its destructiveness. Florence may behave similarly.

And human-caused sea-level rise encourages higher storm surges and fewer natural barriers between water and people.

With depressingly ironic timing, the Trump administration announced Tuesday a plan to roll back federal rules on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is the main component in natural gas. Drillers and transporters of the fuel were supposed to be more careful about letting it waft into the atmosphere, which is nothing more than rank resource waste that also harms the environment. The Trump administration has now attacked all three pillars of President Barack Obama’s climate-change plan.

The president has cemented the GOP’s legacy as one of reaction and reality denial. Sadly, few in his party appear to care.

MEDIA POLITICIZE FLORENCE, BLAME TRUMP FOR STORMS, PREDICT MASS DEATH
Trump is ‘actively making the problem worse’

On CNN, political analyst John Avlon, in a segment titled “Reality Check,” suggested Trump is at fault for Hurricane Florence, and that his climate policies could kill up to 80,000 people per decade.

Is Trump “complicit in this storm?” asked Alisyn Camerota in the segment introduction.

“His policies have been tearing down our defenses to climate change, which is often a blame for extreme weather,” Avlon answered. “On the same day Trump was discussing Florence, his EPA proposed rolling back restrictions on emissions of methane. That’s just the latest environmental policy targeted by the Trump Administration.”

Avlon rattled off a series of Obama-era environmental regulations the Trump Administration is rolling back — including pulling out of the Paris climate accord — and then boldly predicted a death toll in the thousands.

“It is so bad according to two Harvard scientists, it could lead to 80,000 unnecessary deaths every decade,” Avlon said. “Warmer water means more intense storms. When President Trump called Hurricane Florence tremendously wet, he was on to something.”

“This isn’t rocket science, it is climate science,” he concluded. “As long as we continue to aggressively ignore it, the cost in lives and dollars will escalate. That’s your reality check.”

In the Washington Post, the paper editorialized that Trump is “complicit” in Hurricane Florence’s anticipated destruction.

“When it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit,” the editors wrote. “He plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks. It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change. But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth’s systems to produce disasters.”

The paper concluded:

With depressingly ironic timing, the Trump administration announced Tuesday a plan to roll back federal rules on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is the main component in natural gas. Drillers and transporters of the fuel were supposed to be more careful about letting it waft into the atmosphere, which is nothing more than rank resource waste that also harms the environment. The Trump administration has now attacked all three pillars of President Barack Obama’s climate-change plan.

The president has cemented the GOP’s legacy as one of reaction and reality denial. Sadly, few in his party appear to care.

Back on MSNBC, host Katy Tur invited on media personality Bill Nye and former director of communications for President Obama’s White House Climate Change Task Force, Paul Bledsoe, to setup Trump as the fall guy for Florence.

Tur introduced the segment claiming “climate deniers” in the Trump Administration make it “incredibly difficult to deal with this disaster.”

“President Trump says FEMA is ready for Hurricane Florence but mounting evidence suggests it could be incredibly difficult to deal with this disaster if climate change deniers are on the front lines,” Tur said. “A new study from the Princeton University is echoing the findings of previous research showing climate change as the cause of ocean conditions that produce fast storms like Hurricane Harvey. NOAA is suggesting it’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Where does the Trump Administration stand on climate change? President Trump rolled back Obama era mandates for leaks and oil and gas wells. These rules were part of Obama’s three part strategy for combating climate change.”

After Nye attacked anyone who “continue[s] to deny climate change” for undermining America’s ability to respond to extreme weather, Bledsoe leveled an even sharper political attack against the Trump Administration.

“Donald Trump and other Republicans are denying climate change are on the wrong side of public safety, of economics and of history,” Bledsoe intoned. “This is not an environmental issue fundamentally. It’s one of public safety and economics and unfortunately, we’re going to see more and more of these extreme, costly and threatening-to-public-health-and-safety events until we begin to reduce our emissions.”

https://news.grabien.com/story-media-politicize-florence-blame-trump-storms-predict-mass-de

 

Atlantic hurricane season

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Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane frequency (by month, based on data from 1851-2017)[1]

File:Major Hurricane Drought.webm

Hurricane tracks from 1980 through 2014. Green tracks did not make landfall in US; yellow tracks made landfall but were not major hurricanes at the time; red tracks made landfall and were major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season is the period in a year when hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are called hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions. In addition, there have been several storms over the years that have not been fully tropical and are categorized as subtropical depressions and subtropical storms. Even though subtropical storms and subtropical depressions are not technically as strong as tropical cyclones, the damages can still be devastating.

Worldwide, tropical cyclone activity peaks in late summer, when the difference between temperatures aloft and sea surface temperatures is the greatest. However, each particular basin has its own seasonal patterns. On a worldwide scale, May is the least active month, while September is the most active.[2] In the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a distinct hurricane season occurs from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September;[2] the season’s climatological peak of activity occurs around September 10 each season.[3] This is the norm, but in 1938, the Atlantic hurricane season started as early as January 3.

Tropical disturbances that reach tropical storm intensity are named from a pre-determined list. On average, 10.1 named storms occur each season, with an average of 5.9 becoming hurricanes and 2.5 becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The most active season was 2005, during which 28 tropical cyclones formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes. The least active season was 1914, with only one known tropical cyclone developing during that year.[4] The Atlantic hurricane season is a time when most tropical cyclones are expected to develop across the northern Atlantic Ocean. It is currently defined as the time frame from June 1 through November 30, though in the past the season was defined as a shorter time frame. During the season, regular tropical weather outlooks are issued by the National Hurricane Center, and coordination between the Weather Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center occurs for systems which have not formed yet, but could develop during the next three to seven days.

Concept

The basic concept of a hurricane season began during 1935,[5] when dedicated wire circuits known as hurricane circuits began to be set up along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts,[6] a process completed by 1955.[7] It was originally the time frame when the tropics were monitored routinely for tropical cyclone activity, and was originally defined as from June 15 through October 31.[8] Over the years, the beginning date was shifted back to June 1, while the end date was shifted to November 15,[6] before settling at November 30 by 1965.[9][10] This was when hurricane reconnaissance planes were sent out to fly across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico on a routine basis to look for potential tropical cyclones, in the years before the continuous weather satellite era.[8] Since regular satellite surveillance began, hurricane hunter aircraft fly only into storm areas which are first spotted by satellite imagery.[11]

Operations

During the hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center routinely issues their Tropical Weather Outlook product, which identifies areas of concern within the tropics which could develop into tropical cyclones. If systems occur outside the defined hurricane season, special Tropical Weather Outlooks will be issued.[12] Routine coordination occurs at 1700 UTC each day between the Weather Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center to identify systems for the pressure maps three to seven days into the future within the tropics, and points for existing tropical cyclones six to seven days into the future.[13] Possible tropical cyclones are depicted with a closed isobar, while systems with less certainty to develop are depicted as “spot lows” with no isobar surrounding them.

HURDAT

The North Atlantic hurricane database, or HURDAT, is the database for all tropical storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, including those that have made landfall in the United States. The original database of six-hourly positions and intensities were put together in the 1960s in support of the Apollo space program to help provide statistical track forecast guidance. In the intervening years, this database — which is now freely and easily accessible on the Internet from the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) webpage — has been utilized for a wide variety of uses: climatic change studies, seasonal forecasting, risk assessment for county emergency managers, analysis of potential losses for insurance and business interests, intensity forecasting techniques and verification of official and various model predictions of track and intensity.

HURDAT was not designed with all of these uses in mind when it was first put together and not all of them may be appropriate given its original motivation. HURDAT contains numerous systematic as well as some random errors in the database. Additionally, analysis techniques have changed over the years at NHC as their understanding of tropical cyclones has developed, leading to biases in the historical database. Another difficulty in applying the hurricane database to studies concerned with landfalling events is the lack of exact location, time and intensity at hurricane landfall.

Re-analysis project

HURDAT is regularly updated annually to reflect the previous season’s activity. The older portion of the database has been regularly revised since 2001. The first time in 2001 led to the addition of tropical cyclone tracks for the years 1851 to 1885. The second time was August 2002 when Hurricane Andrew was upgraded to a Category 5. Recent efforts into uncovering undocumented historical hurricanes in the late 19th and 20th centuries by various researchers have greatly increased our knowledge of these past events. Possible changes for the years 1951 onward are not yet incorporated into the HURDAT database. Because of all of these issues, a re-analysis of the Atlantic hurricane database is being attempted that will be completed in three years.

In addition to the groundbreaking work by Partagas[context?], additional analyses, digitization and quality control of the data was carried out by researchers at the NOAA Hurricane Research Division funded by the NOAA Office of Global Programs. This re-analysis will continue to progress through the remainder of the 20th century.[14]

The National Hurricane Center’s Best Track Change Committee has approved changes for a few recent cyclones, such as Hurricane Andrew. Official changes to the Atlantic hurricane database are approved by the National Hurricane Center Best Track Change Committee. Thus research conducted by Chris Landsea and colleagues as part of the Atlantic hurricane database reanalysis project are submitted through this review process. Not all Landsea’s recommendations are accepted by the Committee.

1494–1850 (pre-HURDAT era)

Period Seasons Individual years
Pre-19th century Pre-17th century (pre 1600)17th century (1600s)18th century (1700s) 1780
1800–1849 1800–18091810–18191820–18291830–18391840–1849 1842

1850–1899 (1851–present HURDAT era) ….

Number of tropical storms and hurricanes per season[edit]

This bar chart shows the number of named storms and hurricanes per year from 1851–2018.

A 2011 study analyzing one of the main sources of hurricanes – the African easterly wave (AEW) – found that the change in AEWs is closely linked to increased activity of intense hurricanes in the North Atlantic. The synoptic concurrence of AEWs in driving the dynamics of the Sahel greening also appears to increase tropical cyclogenesis over the North Atlantic.[18]

See also

Parent topics

Atlantic hurricane topics

Other tropical cyclone basins

References …

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

 

 

Don’t Believe The Global Warmists, Major Hurricanes Are Less Frequent

Sep 5, 2012, 12:21pm

When Hurricane Isaac made landfall in southern Louisiana last week, the storm provided a rare break in one of the longest periods of hurricane inactivity in U.S. history. Seeking to deflect attention away from this comforting trend, global warming alarmists attempted a high-profile head fake, making public statements that the decline in recent hurricane activity masked an increase in strong, damaging hurricanes.

“The hurricanes that really matter, that cause damage, are increasing,” John Abraham, a mechanical engineer on the staff of little-known University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, told Discovery News.

Normally, of course, the subjective global climate opinions of a mechanical engineer at an obscure Minnesota university wouldn’t be national news. However, global warming alarmists put Abraham forward as the point man for their self-proclaimed Climate Science Rapid Response Team. But hey, if Abraham is the best they can do, so be it.

Abraham says major hurricanes are the only ones that really matter, and that major hurricanes are increasing. If that is indeed so, then we might have a cause for concern. Let’s go straight to the data to find out if major hurricanes are indeed increasing.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides information on major U.S. hurricanes during the past 100-plus years.According to the NHC, 70 major hurricanes struck the United States in the 100 years between 1911 and 2010. That is an average of 7 major hurricane strikes per decade. What are the trends within this 100-year span? Let’s take a look.

Let’s split the 100-year hurricane record in half, starting with major hurricane strikes during the most recent 50 years.

During the most recent decade, 2001-2010, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.

During the preceding decade, 1991-2000, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is below the 100-year average.

During the decade 1981-1990, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties the least number of major hurricanes on record.

During the decade 1971-1980, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties 1981-1990 as the two decades with the least number of major hurricanes.

During the decade 1961-1970, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.

Incredibly, not a single decade during the past 50 years saw an above-average number of major hurricanes – not a single decade!

Now let’s look at the preceding 50 years in the hurricane record, before the alleged human-induced global warming crisis.

During the decade 1951-1960, 9 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1941-1950, 11 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1931-1940, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1921-1930, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is slightly below the 100-year average.

During the decade 1911-1920, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

Global warming alarmists and mechanical engineers at obscure Minnesota universities may lie, but the objective data do not lie. During the past 5 decades, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the United States. During the preceding 5 decades, and average of 8.4 major hurricanes struck the United States.

“The hurricanes that really matter, that cause damage” are not increasing. Hard, objective data show exactly the opposite. Indeed, during the past 4 decades, the time period during which global warming alarmists claim human-induced global warming accelerated rapidly and became incontrovertible, the fewest number of major hurricanes struck during any 40-year period since at least the 1800s.

Oh, and during the first two years of this current decade exactly zero major hurricanes struck the United States.

Global warming alarmists better hope we start seeing a rash of major hurricanes pretty soon if this is not going to be the quietest decade on record. Until and unless that happens, the objective data show the Climate Science Rapid Response Team is actually the Climate Science Rapid Propaganda Team.

But hey, if that’s the best they can do, so be it.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/09/05/dont-believe-the-global-warmists-major-hurricanes-are-less-frequent/#57ef43ff4de1

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The Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018, Story 1: President Trump For Criminal Justice and Prison Reform and First Step Act — Good Policy and Fiscally Sound — Videos — Story 2: Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis On Establishing United States Space Force Plan As Sixth Military Service — Space Arms Race — Videos — Story 3: Attorney General Jeff Session on Importance of Religious Liberty — Videos –Story 4: U.S. vs. China Trade Dispute — Who Will Cry Uncle First? — China — Videos

Posted on August 10, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribes, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Euro, European History, European Union, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, James Comey, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Privacy, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, U.S. Space Program, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Space Force, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Image result for prison reform trump meeting august 9, 2018Image result for pence and mattis on united states space force august 9, 2018Image result for attorney general jeff sessions speech at ADF summit august 7, 2018Image result for cartoons us space forceImage result for branco cartoons us space force

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Story 1: President Trump For Criminal Justice and Prison Reform — Good Policy and Fiscally Sound — Videos

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BREAKING 🔴 President Trump URGENT Speech at IMPORTANT Roundtable in Bedminster, NJ August 9, 2018

Pastor says he faced backlash over meeting with Trump

Published on Aug 3, 2018

Trump pushes for prison reform bill

Published on May 18, 2018

Trump takes on prison reform

Published on Jan 12, 2018

Van Jones is teaming up with the White House on prison reform

Trump, Congress try to breathe life into long-delayed criminal justice reform package

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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The Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Wants The Wall and Will Shut The Government Down If He Does Get The $25 Billion Funding in Fiscal Year 2019 Starting on 1 October 2018 — No Trouble With Shutdown — Videos — Story 2: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes Wants Declassification of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court Warrant Applications — October Surprise Should Trump Declassify Before Election — Videos — Story 3: Rudy Giuliani Want Mueller Investigation Completed — Videos — Story 4: The Coming Day of Reckoning for Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions — Videos —

Posted on July 31, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, James Comey, Labor Economics, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Networking, Social Science, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

 

 

 

Story 1: President Trump Wants The Wall and Will Shut The Government Down If He Does No Get The $25 Billion Funding in Fiscal Year 2019 Starting on 1 October 2018 — Videos — 

See the source imageSee the source image

Trump threatens to shut down government over border wall funding

Trump: “I would have no problem doing a shutdown”

Trump threatens government shutdown over border security

Trump Leaves Room For Negotiation In Push For U.S. Border Wall Funds

Trump says the government “needs a good shutdown”

Published on May 2, 2017

Trump threatens to shut down government in September

Published on Apr 29, 2018

Tomi Lahren: ‘All Dems Have Is Trump Derangement Syndrome, Russia & Identity Politics’

Trump threatens shutdown over wall, immigration

Contractor explains what it will take to build a border wall

Construction for new Texas border wall begins

US Special Forces unable to scale border wall prototypes

 

DEVIN NUNES PUSH TO DECLASSIFY MORE OF FISA WARRANT

Story 2: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes Wants Declassification of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court Warrant Applications — October Surprise Should Trump Declassify Before Election — Videos —

 

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Devin Nunes Asks President Trump to Declassify Spygate FISA Warrant

Story 3: Rudy Guilani Wants Mueller Investigation Completed By Publishing Final Report — Videos

Giuliani: Cohen-Trump tape was cut, erased

Giuliani says feds have 183 recordings made by Cohen; outlines potential deal with Mueller

Rudy Giuliani On Changing Opinion Of Michael Cohen & He Is Not Sure If Collusion Is A Crime | TIME

Audio expert examines Trump-Cohen tape

Napolitano on leaked audio tapes: Indication of a fraud

Michael Cohen’s attorney on tape with Trump made public

Avenatti Reveals Another Client’s Case Involves Donald Trump, AMI | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Fact check: Trump wrong about Carter Page FISA warrant

Full Chuck Rosenberg: Trump Team ‘Making Up’ Mueller Conflict Of Interest Claims | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Cillizza fact-checks Trump’s Mueller claims

 

Story 4: The Day of Reckoning for Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions — Videos

Milton Friedman – The Path Toward Economic Sanity

Milton Friedman – The Path Toward Economic Sanity

Thomas Sowell – The Future Of Social Security

Walter E Williams – Social Security And Other Deceptions

Walter E Williams – Social Security As A Wealth Redistribution

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

Published on May 10, 2010

How Social Security Was Sold To The Public

How Does Social Security Really Work?

Is Social Security Going Broke?

The Unfunded Liability is Huge

Published on May 12, 2015

PA State Rep. Tommy Sankey urges action on pension reform in Pennsylvania.

Social Security Age 62, 66, 70 – Medicare Age Start – IRA Age 70 Mandatory Withdrawal (IRA RMD)

Social Security Benefits Demystified With Laurence Kotlikoff | Forbes

When to Take Social Security Retirement Benefits

Tricks and tips for getting the most from Social Security

A Major Social Security Change Is Coming In 2022

Your Social Security Checks Are Getting Bigger in 2018

Social Security Releases 2018 Changes, Millions Upon Millions Affected

The Future of Social Security and Medicare

Social Security: What Millennials Need to Know…

MEDICARE CHANGES 2018

New Medicare ID Card in 2018

Social Security Is a Ponzi Scheme

 

The Pension Hole for U.S. Cities and States Is the Size of Japan’s Economy

Many retirement funds could face insolvency unless governments increase taxes, divert funds or persuade workers to relinquish money they are owed

By Sarah Krouse

For the past century, a public pension was an ironclad promise. Whatever else happened, retired policemen and firefighters and teachers would be paid.

That is no longer the case.

Many cities and states can no longer afford the unsustainable retirement promises made to millions of public workers over many years. By one estimate they are short $5 trillion, an amount that is roughly equal to the output of the world’s third-largest economy.

The fiscal situation of Central Falls, R.I., which filed for bankruptcy in 2011, has improved.
The fiscal situation of Central Falls, R.I., which filed for bankruptcy in 2011, has improved. PHOTO: GRETCHEN ERTL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Certain pension funds face the prospect of insolvency unless governments increase taxes, divert funds or persuade workers to relinquish money they are owed. It is increasingly likely that retirees, as well as new workers, will be forced to take deeper benefit cuts.

In Kentucky, a major pension plan covering state employees had about 16% of what it needs to fulfill earlier promises, according to the Public Plans Database, which tracks state and local pension funds, based on 2017 fiscal year figures. A fund covering Chicago municipal employees had less than 30% of what it needed in that fiscal year, according to the same database. New Jersey’s pension system for state workers is so underfunded it could run out of money in 12 years, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study.

When the math no longer works the result is Central Falls, R.I., a city of 19,359. Today, retired police and firefighters are wrestling with the consequences of agreeing to cut their monthly pension checks by as much as 55% when the town was working to escape insolvency. The fiscal situation of the city, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011, has improved, but the retirees aren’t getting their full pensions back.

Retired Central Falls firefighter Paul Grenon.
Retired Central Falls firefighter Paul Grenon.PHOTO: GRENON FAMILY

“It’s not only a financial thing,” said 73-year-old former Central Falls firefighter Paul Grenon, who retired from the department after a falling wall punctured his lung, broke his back and five ribs, and left him unable to climb ladders. “It really gets you sick mentally and physically to go through something like this. It’s a betrayal, as far as I’m concerned.”

Uncertainty over public pensions is one reason some Americans are reaching retirement age on shaky financial ground. For this group, median incomes, including Social Security and retirement fund receipts, haven’t risen in years. They have high average debt, and are often using savings for their children’s educations and to care for their elderly parents.

The public pension arose from the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. New York was the first city in the U.S. with a pension fund for injured police officers in 1857 and then for firefighters in 1866. The concept of a public pension plan for government workers became widespread in the early decades of the 20th century. The understanding was employees would accept relatively lower pay in exchange for richer, guaranteed benefits once they retired.

When times were flush, politicians made overly generous promises. Public-employee unions made unrealistic demands. High-profile municipal employees, such as coaches at public universities, have drawn fire for what some consider too-rich retirement benefits, while some first responders scored rich early retirement and disability arrangements.

Deepening DeficitState pension deficits have grown steadilyover the past two decades.Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
.trillion2000’05’10’15-1.6-1.4-1.2-1.0-0.8-0.6-0.4-0.20.0$0.2

Extended lifespans caused costs to soar, as did increasingly expensive medical care, which unions put at the center of contract negotiations, among other benefits.

A technology-led stock market boom in the late 1990s produced a brief period of surpluses in pensions, according to figures from Pew, before deficits began to creep higher in the mid 2000s. Deficits accelerated following the 2008 financial crisis, which caused steep losses for many funds just as large numbers of baby boomers began to retire.

State and local pensions lost roughly $35 billion in assets between 2008 and 2009, according to Pew. Liabilities, meanwhile, ballooned by more than $100 billion a year, widening the difference between the amount owed to retirees and assets on hand. Not even a nine-year bull market in stocks could close that gap.

Officials, taxpayers and public-sector employees are increasingly at odds as they figure out what comes next. The board overseeing Puerto Rico, which filed for the largest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy in 2017, this year certified an average 10% cut in certain retiree pensions as part of a plan to restore the island to solvency. The governor has vowed not to implement it, a face-off that will likely end in court.

In the Bluegrass State, a judge in June ruled that a reduction in new worker benefits championed by Kentucky’s governor was unconstitutional because of the way lawmakers passed it. The state’s attorney general opposed the cuts. The case could end up at the state Supreme Court.

Climbing Cost

Public pensions are becoming a growing burden for many states and cities across the U.S.

Funded ratio† for state and local public pension funds

Employer contribution* as a percentage of payroll for state and local pensions

16

%

100

12

75

50

8

25

4

0

0

2001

’05

’10

’15

2001

’05

’10

’15

*Weighted by payroll    †Weighted by plan assets

Source: Public Plans Database

In California, several cases before the state’s Supreme Court are testing an influential 1955 rule that stipulates benefits for public employees can’t be cut. Gov. Jerry Brown is predicting pension reductions in the next recession if that rule is loosened. A change in that law might persuade other states to reach for deeper benefit reductions.

State and local pension plans in the U.S. now have less than three quarters of the money they need to meet their promised payouts, their lowest level since at least 2001, according to Public Plans Database figures weighted by plan size. In dollar terms the hole for state and local pensions is now $5 trillion, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Another estimate of unfunded state pension liabilities, from Pew, is $1.4 trillion.

The prospect of lower benefits is particularly daunting for pensioners in their 60s. Those older are likely to die before a large reckoning, while those younger have years left in their careers to make new plans. But many in their 60s have spent four decades assuming a financial promise that is no longer guaranteed.

Firefighters check equipment at the Central Falls Fire Station. The city emerged from bankruptcy in 2012. PHOTOS: GRETCHEN ERTL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL(3)

There are few easy solutions. Cities and states can either raise taxes, cut services or become more aggressive about reducing benefits to retirees. For many years governments were unwilling to take these steps because they weren’t politically palatable, although public appetite to cut public-employee benefits is emerging, in states including Wisconsin. Many governments opted to change benefits for new employees, which in some cases didn’t fully alleviate funding woes.

Note: If you have a traditional pension as opposed to 401(k) or similar accounts, this value will underestimate your actual retirement assets.

Methodology: The choice of four retirement ages coincides with important Social Security milestones. The earliest age at which it is possible to claim Social Security is 62. For most people, a full Social Security benefit is available between ages 65 and 67. (To find the full retirement age that applies to you, look up your birth year and ‘Social Security full retirement age’). A maximum Social Security benefit is available to people who delay claiming until age 70. We assume wage growth of 1.2% a year until age 50. Calculations are in real rather than nominal terms, which means we assume you will receive annual raises that exceed inflation by 1.2% of income per year until age 50. After age 50, we assume your salary remains steady, meaning that your purchasing power keeps pace with inflation. To determine whether you are on track for retirement, we calculate your career average earnings and compare that to your projected assets at retirement age. We assume your current net assets—your assets minus debt—earn a real rate of return of 3.58% until your retirement age. The Journal used ratios of income to net assets provided by the Boston College Center for Retirement Research to estimate whether a person’s savings, in combination with Social Security, would be sufficient.

In San Jose, Calif., voters approved cuts to police pensions in 2012 only to roll back those changes after hundreds of officers quit and the crime rate increased. The measures were revised, with savings coming in part through changes to retiree health care.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the bulk of the police departures took place before the pension revamp as a result of earlier hiring freezes, layoffs and pay cuts. He doesn’t see the pension changes as a factor in the crime rate.

San Jose has taken “our medicine perhaps earlier than others have,” said Mr. Liccardo. “This is medicine that hundreds of cities and many states are going to have to take,” he added.

Retirees in other cash-strapped states said they expect to lose some of what they have been promised. “It may sustain itself before I die,” Len Shepard, 68, a retired teacher in Pennsylvania said of the pension system in his state. “But I don’t see how it can continue to do so.”

Central Falls, which sits 7 miles north of Rhode Island’s capital, is one of several former industrial towns that speckle the Blackstone River Valley.

It provided for public workers under a number of pension plans. Under one, firefighters hired after July 1972 could retire after 20 years of service, essentially in early middle age, receiving half of their final base salary. They could earn another 2% a year for up to five additional years of work and 1% a year after that, up to 65% of their end salary if they retired after 30 years.

Central Falls didn’t pay that year, or in either of the previous two, given the severity of the city’s economic woes. Rhode Island officials then took the rare step of passing legislation that put bondholders ahead of other creditors and pensioners in the event of a municipal bankruptcy.

After the 2011 bankruptcy, an event that received national attention amid predictions of widespread municipal failures, retirees agreed to 55% cuts because they feared facing even deeper cuts later.

In 2011, retired police sergeant Michael Long, left, asked questions at Central Falls High School during a pension concession meeting. Retired firefighter Paul St. George listened to speakers explaining concessions. PHOTOS: STEPHAN SAVOIA/ASSOCIATED PRESS(2)

The concessions helped Central Falls emerge from bankruptcy in 2012 and create a “rainy day fund” that now holds $2 million. The town hired a grant writer to help secure money for a new firetruck with smaller wheels custom-made for the town’s narrow streets. The truck is emblazoned with an image of Yosemite Sam dressed as a firefighter that reads “The Wild Mile,” the city’s nickname.

Even though the town is on a better fiscal footing, and state contributions blunted the full impact of the cuts, retired workers are still grappling with how their lives were altered in matters big and small. Two men lost their homes to foreclosure after falling behind on their mortgages. Others had problems paying medical bills as they fought terminal illnesses.

Paul Grenon when he started at the Central Falls Fire Department in 1967.
Paul Grenon when he started at the Central Falls Fire Department in 1967. PHOTO: GRENON FAMILY

Mr. Grenon, the firefighter who retired after he was injured, says the pension reduction left him without enough money each month to cover a $300 prescription lung medication. He has medical coverage but said the medication is beyond what is covered.

George Aissis, a retired Central Falls firefighter, says he has so little left in his checking account he has to buy groceries when they are on sale and use as little power or gas as possible.

Retired Central Falls firefighter George Aissis, at his Lincoln, R.I., home. Mr. Aissis holds a photo of himself taken in 1998 at the Central Falls fire station. His coat hangs in his garage. PHOTOS: GRETCHEN ERTL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL(3)

The pension settlement cut his income by $1,200 a month to about $2,600, including an additional state contribution. On one recent Wednesday, he said there was $6.01 in his checking account.

“I never used coupons before, but I know about coupons now,” Mr. Aissis said. “You gotta cut back on things when the money is not there.”

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, in an interview, called the 2011 pension cuts “unfortunate” but said they did alleviate long-term budget pressures for the city. “These aren’t big pensions, but a lot of these folks built their lives around it,” he said. “To see them get cut was devastating.”

Under the changes, many current workers have to work longer than they thought when they signed up and some will get a lower percentage of their final salary than they would have under the old plan.

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. PHOTO: GRETCHEN ERTL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Some retirees whose income was cut are now arguing their benefits should be restored to prebankruptcy levels.

The person in charge of that effort, 52-year-old former firefighter Don Cardin, acknowledged he and his colleagues have no legal recourse to restore lost benefits since they signed them away in the settlement.

One of his bleaker arguments contends that firefighters tend to have shorter lifespans because of smoke inhalation and other workplace hazards. That means the town, which also covers some health benefits, is unlikely to have to pay the added benefits for more than a decade.

Despite the city’s surplus, the mayor said Central Falls is unlikely to restore the pensions.

What happened in Central Falls is “certainly not going to be a one-off,” said Robert Flanders, who acted as the city’s state-appointed receiver. “Because other cities and towns, not just in Rhode Island but across the country, are still in bad shape.”

Write to Sarah Krouse at sarah.krouse@wsj.com

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1115, Story 1: War of Words: Islamic Republic of Iran Major General Qassem Soleimani Warns United States and Trump — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos — Story 2: Vice President Pence Talks Turkey: Free Pastor or Face U.S. Sanctions — Release Now — Videos — Story 2: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos — Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

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You may start the war but we will end it: Soleimani warns Trump

Who is Qasem Soleimani?

Iran’s revolutionary guard explained

Is this Iranian the most powerful man in Iraq? – Newsnight

President Trump: U.S. Won’t Stand For Iranian President’s ‘Demented Words’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Sebastian Gorka: Trump understands how fragile Iran is

Iranian President Warns Trump Not To ‘Play With The Lion’s Tail’

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The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

10 Differences Between Shia and Sunni Muslims

 

Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Threatens United States Again — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos

Trump Tower in ruins? Iranian special forces leader warns Trump that war ‘will destroy everything you own’ and boasted that ‘nation of martyrdom’ can strike U.S. military

  • Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would ‘destroy everything you own’
  • The boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike the president’s real estate properties
  • Soleimani said U.S. military in the Red Sea area are not secure: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him’
  • Trump softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal
  • That came after he warned Iran’s president that he would ‘SUFFER CONSEQUENCES’ for threatening the U.S.

The general in charge of Iran‘s elite paramilitary Quds Forces warned Donald Trumpon Thursday that war with the Islamist country would eliminate his entire net worth, suggesting terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike his real estate properties.

‘You know that this war will destroy everything you own,’ Major General Qassem Soleimani said during a speech in the central Iranian city of Hamedan.

He also said the Red Sea is not secure while U.S. troops are deployed in the area: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him.’

‘We are near you, where you can’t even imagine … Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,’ he boasted.

Iranian Quds Forces commander Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would 'destroy everything you own'

Trump had already softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal

The latest Iranian boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Tehran's military are prepared to strike the president's real estate properties

‘You have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic.’

Iran this week dismissed a warning from Trump that Tehran risked dire consequences if it made threats against the United States.

Trump softened his threatening tone on Tuesday, just two days after he blasted an allcaps warning about ‘consequences’ for Tehran’s anti-U.S. rhetoric.

Addressing the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Trump took credit for pulling the U.S. out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear accord, but said his administration stands ready for Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate would be an appetizing target for America's enemies

The president warned Iran's president Sunday night not to provoke him

The president warned Iran’s president Sunday night not to provoke him

‘We’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster,’ he said.

Late Sunday night he tweeted to Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.’

Rouhani had claimed that ‘Iran is the mother of all peace’ before warning Trump that ‘war with Iran is the mother of all wars.’

‘Don’t play with fire, or you will regret [it],’ the Iranian leader continued. ‘Iranian people are the master and they will never bow to anyone.’

Iran President warns Trump not to take military action

Soleimani, who as Quds Force commander is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations, put his disdain for Trump in more personal terms.

‘Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls,’ he said Thursday.

His threat directed at U.S. troops in the Red Sea area came as Saudi Arabia said it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the strategic shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb, following an attack on two oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemen, where a U.S-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for three years, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

 

ww.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5995587/Iranian-special-forces-leader-warns-Trump-war-destroy-own.html

 

Qasem Soleimani

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Sardar
Qasem Soleimani
Sardar Qasem Soleimani-01.jpg
Native name قاسم سلیمانی
Nickname(s) Haj Qasem” (among supporters)[1]

“The Shadow Commander” (in the West)[2][3][4][5][6]

Born 11 March 1957 (age 61)
Qanat-e MalekKermanImperial State of Iran
Allegiance Iran
Service/branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service 1979–present
Rank Major general
Unit Quds Force
Commands held 41st Tharallah Division of Kerman
Quds Force
Battles/wars

show

See battles
Awards Fath Medal.jpg Fath Medal of Honor (3)[14]

Qasem Soleimani (Persianقاسم سلیمانی‎, born 11 March 1957) is an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and since 1998 commander of its Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.[15]

A veteran military officer of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s with a humble background, he has been active in many conflicts in the rest of the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, while maintaining a very low profile. His methods have been a blend of military and financial assistance to Shiite allies and hard-nosed strategic diplomacy. It has long provided military assistance to anti-Saddam Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.[16]

 

Background

Soleimani was born in Qanat-e Malek village, Rabor CountyKerman Province, to an impoverished peasant family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help repay a debt his father owed. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization.[17] When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms and attending the sermons of a traveling preacher by the name of Hojjat Kamyab – a protege of Ayatollah Khomeini.[18]

Military Career

Soleimani joined the Revolutionary war Guard (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini take power. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly. Early in his career as a guardsman, he was stationed in northwestern Iran, and participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in West Azerbaijan Province.[18]

On 22 September 1980, when Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran, setting off the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Suleimani joined the battlefield serving as the leader of a military company, consisting of men from Kerman whom he personally assembled and trained.[19] He quickly earned a reputation for bravery,[20] and rose through the ranks because of his role in the successful operations in retaking the lands Iraq had occupied, eventually becoming the commander of the 41st Sarallah Division while still in his 20s, participating in most major operations. He was mostly stationed at the southern front[19][21] He was heavily injured in Operation Tariq-ol-Qods. In a 1990 interview, he mentions Operation Fath-ol-Mobin as “the best” operation he participated in and “very memorable”, due to its difficulties yet positive outcome.[22] He was also engaged in leading and organizing irregular warfare missions deep inside Iraq carried out by the Ramadan Headquarters. It was at this point that Suleimani established relations with Kurdish Iraqi leaders and the Shia Badr Organization, both of which opposed to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[19]

On July 17, 1985, Soleimani opposed the IRGC leadership’s plan to deploy forces to two islands in western Arvandroud (Shatt al-Arab).[23]

After the war, during the 1990s, he was an IRGC commander in Kerman Province.[21] In this region, which is relatively close to Afghanistan, Afghan-grown opium travels to Turkey and onto Europe. Soleimani’s military experience helped him earn a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking.[18]

During the 1999 student revolt in Tehran, Soleiman was one of the IRGC officers who signed a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. The letter stated that if Khatami did not crush the student rebellion the military would, and might also launch a coup against Khatami.[18][24]

Command of Quds Force

The exact date of his appointment as commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force is not clear, but Ali Alfoneh cites it as between 10 September 1997 and 21 March 1998.[17] He was considered one of the possible successors to the post of commander of the IRGC, when General Yahya Rahim Safavi left this post in 2007. In 2008, he led a group of Iranian investigators looking into the death of Imad Mughniyah. Soleimani helped arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and Mahdi Army in March 2008.[25]

Following the September 11 attacks of 2001, Ryan Crocker, a senior State Department official in the United States, flew to Geneva to meet with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shia Afghanis.[18] This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when George W Bush named Iran as part of the “Axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.[18]

In 2009, a leaked report stated that General Soleimani met Christopher R. Hill and General Raymond T. Odierno (America’s two most senior officials in Baghdad at the time) in the office of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (who has known General Soleimani for decades). Hill and General Odierno denied the occurrence of the meeting.[26]

On 24 January 2011, Soleimani was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[21][27] Khamenei is described as having a close relationship with him, helping him financially and has called Soleimani a “living martyr”.[18]

Soleimani has been described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat Western influence and promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.[18] In Iraq, as the commander of the Quds force, he is believed to have strongly influenced the organization of the Iraqi government, notably supporting the election of previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.[18][28] Soleimani has even been described as being “Iran’s very own Erwin Rommel“.[29]

According to some sources, Soleimani is the principal leader and architect of the military wing of the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah since his appointment as Quds commander in 1998.[18]

Syrian Civil War

A map of Al-Qusayr and its environs. The Al-Qusayr offensive was allegedly masterminded by Soleimani[30]

According to several sources, including Riad Hijab, a former Syrian premier who defected in August 2012, he is also one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[18][28] In the later half of 2012, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war, when Iranians became deeply concerned about the Assad government’s lack of ability to fight the opposition, and the fallout to the Islamic Republic if the Syrian government fell. He is reported to have coordinated the war from a base in Damascus at which a Lebanese Hezbollah commander and an Iraqi Shiite militia coordinator have been mobilized, in addition to Syrian and Iranian officers. Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani, the Basij’s former deputy commander helps to run irregular militias that Soleimani hopes to continue the fight if Assad falls.[18] Under Soleimani the command has “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications”. According to a Middle Eastern security official Dexter Filkins talked to, thousands of Quds Force and Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Syria are “spread out across the entire country.”[18] The retaking of Qusayr in May 2013 from Syrian rebels was, according to John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, “orchestrated” by Soleimani.[18]

He is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.[31] The details of his involvement however are little known but many events from the training of government allied militias and coordination of decisive military offensives[18] to the sighting of Iranian UAVs & spy-drones in Syria, strongly suggest that his command (the Quds force) is heavily involved in many aspects of the civil war.[18] In a visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday 29 Jan 2015, Soleimani laid wreaths at the graves of the slain Hezbollah members, including Emad Mughniyah, the son of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah which strengthens some possibilities about his role in Hezbollah military reaction on Israel.[32]

Soleimani helped in formation of the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria.

In October 2015, it was reported that he had been instrumental in devising during his visit to Moscow in July 2015 the Russian-Iranian-Syrian offensive in October 2015.[33]

War on ISIS in Iraq

The east of Saladin Province in Iraq where Qasem Soleimani was involved in breaking the Siege of Amirli by ISIS[34]

Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amerli, to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIS.[35][36] According to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes”. The US acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed arm groups—at the same time that was present on the battlefield.[37][38]

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.[9] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin province where ISIS had laid siege to an important city.[34] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani’s command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias but also the Kurdish in the battle of Amirli,[39] not only providing liaisons for intelligence sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to “providing expertise”.[40]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar, he was reportedly “present on the battlefield”. Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as “fearless”—one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.[41]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning & execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit[42][43]

Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization [an official Iraqi political party whose military wing is one of the largest armed forces in the country] highlighted the pivotal role of General Qasem Soleimani in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, maintaining that if it were not for Iran, Heidar al-Ebadi’s government would have been a government-in-exile right now.[44] and he added there would be no Iraq if Gen. Soleimani hadn’t helped us.[45]

There were reports by some Western sources that Soleimani has been seriously wounded in action against ISIL in Samarra. The claim was rejected by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.[46]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, gifting it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL performed its most infamous massacre at Camp Speicher. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015.[43] Soleimani is directing the operations on the eastern flank from a village about 35 miles from Tikrit called Albu Rayash, captured over the weekend. The offensive is the biggest military operation in the Salahuddin region since last summer, when ISIS fighters killed hundreds of Iraq army soldiers who had abandoned their military base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015

In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad’s forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah.[47][48][49]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help. Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian–Russian alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. “Putin reportedly told the envoy ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. Gen. Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria.[48]

Operations in Aleppo

Map of the offensive.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Soleimani, who assumed overall command in the Aleppo offensives of 2015,[citation needed] had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east.[56] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. Soleimani reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers).[57]

It is unclear whether or not the General sustained possibly grave injuries, but in response to reports about his injury[58] during the southwest Aleppo operation, he is quoted as saying, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”.[59]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside,[60] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off rebel’s main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. “Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area”, he said.[61] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo, though the exact date of the photos is unknown.[62][63]

Operations in 2017

In late March 2017, Soleimani was seen in the northern Hama Governorate countryside, reportedly aiding Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan in repelling a major rebel offensive.[13]

CIA’s chief, Mike Pompeo, said that he sent Soleimani and other Iranian leaders a letter holding them responsible for any attacks on US interests by forces under their control. According to Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide for the country’s supreme leader, Soleimani ignored the letter when it was handed over to him while he was in the Abu Kamal offensive against ISIL, saying “I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people.”[64][65]

In popular culture

General Soleimani in civil dress during a public ceremony in 2013

He is said to have a calm presence about him,[66] carry himself “inconspicuously and rarely raises his voice”, exhibiting “understated charisma“.[20] In Western sources, Qassem Suleimani’s personality has been compared to the fictional characters KarlaKeyser Söze,[20] and Scarlet Pimpernel.[67]

The 2016 award-winning movie Bodyguard, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, was inspired by Soleimani’s activities.[68]

The 2016 Persian book Noble Comrades 17: Hajj Qassem, written by Ali Akbari Mozdabadi, contains memoirs of Qassem Soleimani.[69]

Hadi Al-Ameri the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq says about him: “If Qasem Soleimani was not present in Iraq, Haidar al-Ibadi should form his cabinet out of Iraqi borders”.[70]

In politics

In 1999, Soleimani, along with other senior IRGC commanders, signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami regarding the student protests in July. They wrote “Dear Mr. Khatami, how long do we have to shed tears, sorrow over the events, practice democracy by chaos and insults, and have revolutionary patience at the expense of sabotaging the system? Dear president, if you don’t make a revolutionary decision and act according to your Islamic and national missions, tomorrow will be so late and irrecoverable that cannot be even imagined.”[71]

Iranian media reported in 2012 that he might be replaced as the commander of Quds Force in order to allow him to run in the 2013 presidential election.[72] He reportedly refused to be nominated for the election.[71] According to BBC, in 2015 a campaign started among conservative bloggers for Soleimani to stand for 2017 presidential election.[73] In 2016, he was speculated as a possible candidate,[71][74] however in a statement published on 15 September 2016, he called speculations about his candidacy as “divisive reports by the enemies” and said he will “always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”.[75]

Personal life

Qasem Soleimani is from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh died in 2013.[76] He comes from a family of nine and has five sisters and one brother, Sohrab, who lived and worked with Soleimani in his youth.[77] Sohrab Soleimani is a warden and former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization. U.S. put sanctions on him in April 2017 “for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons”.[78]

Soleimani has Dan in karate and was a fitness trainer in his youth. He has four children: two sons and two daughters.[79]

Sanctions

In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.[80] On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the United States along with Syrian president Bashar Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government.[81]

On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria”.[82] The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.[83] Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 due to the same grounds cited by the European Union.[84]

He is listed by the United States as a known terrorist, which forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with him.[25][85] The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also includes a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding Assad’s government. The list also includes Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb.[86]

See also

References

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

Quds Force

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Quds Force
سپاه قدس
Seal of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.svg
Active 1980–present
Country Iran
Branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Type Special operations force
Role Special operations
Size Classified (estimate: 15,000)
Engagements Iran–Iraq War
1982 Lebanon War
Bosnian War
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
Battle for Herat
Balochistan conflict
Iran–PJAK conflict
Syrian Civil War
2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Military intervention against ISIL

Commanders
Commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani

The Quds Force[1] (Persianسپاه قدس‎ sepāh-e qods) is a special forces unit of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations.[2] The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of IranAli Khamenei.[3][4] Its commander is Major General Qasem Soleimani[5] and his deputy was Hossein Hamadani.[6] While “little is reliably known” about the force,[7] as of 2007, its size was estimated at 15,000 troops.[8]The United States has designated the Quds Force a supporter of terrorism since 2007.[9]

 

History and mission

The Quds Force was created during the Iran–Iraq War as a special unit from the broader IRGC forces. Both during and after the war, it provided support to the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein. In 1982, a Quds unit was deployed to Lebanon, where it assisted in the genesis of Hezbollah.[10] The Force also expanded its operations into neighboring Afghanistan, most notably aiding Abdul Ali Mazari‘s Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat in the 1980s against the government of Mohammad Najibullah. It then began funding and supporting Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance against the Taliban.[11] However, in recent years, the Quds Force is alleged to have been helping and guiding the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] There were also reports of the unit lending support to Bosnian Muslims fighting the Bosnian Serbs during the Yugoslav wars.[19][20][21]

According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helped fund the Quds Force while he was stationed at the Ramazan garrison near Iraq, during the late 1980s.[22]

In January 2010, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the mission of the Quds Force was expanded and the Force along with Hezbollah started a new campaign of attacks targeting not only the US and Israel but also other Western bodies.[23]

Organization

8 directorates of Quds Force Operations

The force is described as “active in dozens of countries”.[7] According to former U.S. Army intelligence officer David Dionisi, the Quds force is organized into eight different directorates based on geographic location:[24]

According to journalist Dexter Filkins, the force’s members are “divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets”, and the force is divided into branches focusing on “intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and special operations. Members are chosen both for their skill and “allegiance to the doctrine of the Islamic Revolution”.[25]

In addition, Dionisi asserts in his book American Hiroshima that the Iranian Quds Force headquarters for operations in Iraq was moved in 2004 to the Iran-Iraq border in order to better supervise activities in Iraq.[24] The Quds Force also has a headquarters in the former compound of the U.S. Embassy, which was overrun in 1979.[26]

According to Filkins and American General Stanley A. McChrystal, it was the Quds Force that “flooded” Iraq with “explosively formed projectiles” which fire a molten copper slug able to penetrate armor, and which accounted for “nearly 20%” of American combat deaths in Iraq (i.e. hundreds of soldiers).[25] In September 2007, a few years after the publication of American Hiroshima: The Reasons Why and a Call to Strengthen America’s Democracy in July 2006, General David Petraeus reported to Congress that the Quds Force had left Iraq. Petraeus said, “The Quds Force itself, we believe, by and large, those individuals have been pulled out of the country, as have the Lebanese Hezbollah trainers that were being used to augment that activity.”[27]

On July 7, 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersh wrote an article in The New Yorker revealing that President Bush had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to conduct cross-border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against the Quds Force and “high-value targets”.[28] “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change”, a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups”.[28]

Size

The size of the Quds Force is unknown, with some experts believing that Quds Force numbers no more than 2,000 people, with 800 core operatives, and others saying that it could number anywhere from 3,000 to 50,000.[29][30][31]

Outside analysis

While it reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, there are debates over how independently Quds Force operates.[29]

Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism (and editor of Islamism Digest), believes the unit is not independent: “Quds Force, although it’s a highly specialized department, it is subject to strict, iron-clad military discipline. It’s completely controlled by the military hierarchy of the IRGC, and the IRGC is very tightly controlled by the highest levels of the administration in Iran.”[32]

According to a Los Angeles Times report,[29] in Abedin’s view, “[I]t’s a very capable force—their people are extremely talented, [and] they tend to be the best people in the IRGC”.[32]

Activities

The Quds Force trains and equips foreign Islamic revolutionary groups around the Middle East. The paramilitary instruction provided by the Quds Force typically occurs in Iran or Sudan. Foreign recruits are transported from their home countries to Iran to receive training. The Quds Force sometimes plays a more direct role in the military operations of the forces it trains, including pre-attack planning and other operation-specific military advice.[24]

Afghanistan

Since 1979, Iran had supported the Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat forces against the Afghan government of Mohammad Najibullah. When Najibullah stepped down as President in 1992, Iran continued supporting Hezbe Wahdat against other Afghan militia groups. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996, Hezbe Wahdat had lost its founder and main leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, so the group joined Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance. Iran began supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, who were backed by Pakistan and the Arab world.[33] In 1999, after several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Iran nearly got into a war with the Taliban.[34][35] The Quds Force reportedly fought alongside the United States and the Northern Alliance in the Battle for Herat. However, in recent years Iran is accused of helping and training the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13] Iranian-made weapons, including powerful explosive devices are often found inside Afghanistan.[14][16][17][18]

We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard‘s core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed… Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don’t have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That’s why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it’s more than weapons; it’s money; it’s also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well.[15]

In March 2012, Najibullah Kabuli, leader of the National Participation Front (NPF) of Afghanistan, accused three senior leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of plotting to assassinate him.[36] Some members of the Afghan Parliament accuses Iran of setting up Taliban bases in several Iranian cities, and that “Iran is directly involved in fanning ethniclinguistic and sectarian tensions in Afghanistan.”[37] There are reports about Iran’s Revolutionary Guards training Afghans inside Iran to carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.[38]

Currently, the Revolutionary Guards recruit young people for terrorist activities in Afghanistan and try to revive the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar and Taliban groups[38]

— Syed Kamal, a self-confessed agent for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and member of Sipah-i-Mohmmad

India

Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, Delhi Police at the time contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement.[39] This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the February 13 bomb attack in the capital.[39]

United States

On 11 October 2011, the Obama Administration revealed the United States Government’s allegations that the Quds Force was involved with the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir, which also entailed plans to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies located in Washington, D.C.[40][41][42]

South America

It’s been reported that Iran has been increasing its presence in Latin America through Venezuela. Little is known publicly what their objectives are in the region, but in 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced Iran for meddling in “subversive activities” using Quds Forces. However, Iran claims it is merely “ensuring the survival of the regime” by propagating regional influence.

Iraq

The Quds Force has been described as the Iranian “unit deployed to challenge the United States presence” in Iraq following the U.S. invasion of that country, which put “165,000 American troops along [Iran’s] western border,” adding to the American troops already in Iran’s eastern neighbor Afghanistan.[43]

The force “operated throughout Iraq, arming, aiding, and abetting Shiite militias”—i.e., the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in IraqDawa, and the Mahdi Army—”all” of which “had close ties to Iran, some dating back decades” as part of their struggle against Saddam Hussein‘s oppressive Arab nationalist regime.[43]

In November 2006, with sectarian violence in Iraq increasing, U.S. General John Abizaid accused the Quds Force of supporting “Shi’a death squads” even while the government of Iran pledges support in stabilization.[44] Similarly, in July 2007, Major General Kevin Bergner of the U.S. Army alleged that members of the Quds Force aided in the planning of a raid on U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Karbala in January 2007.[45]

Former CIA officer Robert Baer asserts the Quds Force uses couriers for all sensitive communications.[46]

2006 detainment in Iraq

On 24 December 2006, the New York Times reported that at least four Iranians were captured by American troops in Iraq in the previous few days. According to the article, the U.S. government suspected that two of them were members of Quds Force, which would be some of the first physical proof of Quds Force activity in Iraq.[47] According to The Pentagon, the alleged the Quds Force members were “involved in the transfer of IED technologies from Iran to Iraq”.[48] The two men had entered Iraq legally, although they were not accredited diplomats. Iraqi officials believed that the evidence against the men was only circumstantial, but on 29 December, and under U.S. pressure, the Iraqi government ordered the men to leave Iraq. They were driven back to Iran that day.[49] In mid-January 2007 it was said that the two alleged Quds force officers seized by American forces were Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chizari and Col. Abu Amad Davari. According to the Washington Post. Chizari is the third highest officer of Quds Force, making him the highest-ranked Iranian to ever allegedly be held by the United States.[50]

American newspaper The New York Sun reported that the documents described the Quds Force as not only cooperating with Shi’a death squads, but also with fighters related to al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna. It said that the Quds Force had studied the Iraq situation in a similar manner to the U.S. Iraq Study Group, and had concluded that they must increase efforts with Sunni and Shiite groups in order to counter the influence of Sunni states.[51]

U.S. raid on Iranian liaison office

On 11 January 2007, U.S. forces raided and detained five employees of the Iranian liaison office in Irbil, Iraq. The U.S. military says the five detainees are connected to the Quds Force.[52][53] The operation has drawn protests from the regional Kurdish government while the Russian government called the detainments unacceptable.[54]

Alireza Nourizadeh, a political analyst at Voice of America, states that their arrests are causing concern in Iranian intelligence because the five alleged officials are knowledgeable of a wide range of Quds Force and Iranian activities in Iraq.[55] According to American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, one of the men in custody is Quds Force’s director of operations.[56]

Iranian and Iraqi officials have maintained the detained men were part of a diplomatic mission in the city of ErbilIraq.[57] The five Iranian detainees were still being held at a U.S. prison in Iraq as of 8 July 2007.[58] The U.S. says they are “still being interrogated” and that it has “no plans to free them while they are seen as a security risk in Iraq”.[59] Iran says the detainees “are kidnapped diplomats” and that “they are held as hostages”.[60]

On 9 July 2009, the five detained diplomats in question were released from U.S. custody to Iraqi officials.[61]

Allegations of involvement in Karbala attack

On 20 January 2007, a group of gunmen attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, captured four American soldiers, and subsequently killed them. The attackers passed through an Iraqi checkpoint at around 5 pm, a total of five black GMC Suburbans, similar to those driven by U.S. security and diplomatic officials. They were also wearing American military uniforms and spoke fluent English. Because of the sophistication of the attack, some analysts have suggested that only a group like the Quds Force would be able to plan and carry out such an action.[62] Former CIA officer Robert Baer also suggested that the five Americans were killed by the Quds Force in revenge for the Americans holding five Iranians since the January 11 raid in Irbil.[63] It was reported that the U.S. military is investigating whether or not the attackers were trained by Iranian officials; however, no evidence besides the sophistication of the attack has yet been presented.[64]

On 2 July 2007, the U.S. military said that information from captured Hezbollah fighter Ali Moussa Dakdouk established a link between the Quds Force and the Karbala raid. The U.S. military claims Dakdouk worked as a liaison between Quds force operatives and the Shia group that carried out the raid. According to the United States, Dakdouk said that the Shia group “could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force”.[65]

Allegations of support for Iraqi militants

In June 2007, U.S. General Ray Odierno asserted that Iranian support for these Shia militia increased as the United States itself implemented the 2007 “troop surge“.[66] Two different studies have maintained that approximately half of all foreign insurgents entering Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.[67]

In December 2009 evidence uncovered during an investigation by The Guardian newspaper and Guardian Films linked the Quds Force to the kidnappings of five Britons from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007. Four of the hostages, Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec Maclachlan, and Alan McMenemy, were killed. Peter Moore was released on 30 December 2009. The investigation uncovered evidence that Moore, 37, a computer expert from Lincoln was targeted because he was installing a system for the Iraqi Government that would show how a vast amount of international aid was diverted to Iran’s militia groups in Iraq. One of the alleged groups funded by the Quds force directly is the Righteous League, which emerged in 2006 and has stayed largely in the shadows as a proxy of the Quds Force. Shia cleric and leading figure of the Righteous League, Qais al-Khazali, was handed over by the U.S. military for release by the Iraqi government on 29 December 2009 as part of the deal that led to the release of Moore.[68]

Allegations by U.S. President Bush

In a 14 February 2007 news conference U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his claim that the Quds Force was causing unrest in Iraq, stating:

I can say with certainty that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops. And I’d like to repeat, I do not know whether or not the Quds Force was ordered from the top echelons of government. But my point is what’s worse – them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening? And so we will continue to protect our troops. … to say it [this claim] is provoking Iran is just a wrong way to characterize the Commander-in-Chief’s decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm’s way. And I will continue to do so. … Whether Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds force to do this, I don’t think we know. But we do know that they’re there, and I intend to do something about it. And I’ve asked our commanders to do something about it. And we’re going to protect our troops. … I don’t think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds Force, go do this, but we know it’s a vital part of the Iranian government. …What matters is, is that we’re responding. The idea that somehow we’re manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous. … My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we’re going to do something about it, pure and simple. … does this mean you’re trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I’m trying to protect our troops.[69]

Mohsen Sazegara, who was a high-ranking Tehran official before turning against the government, has argued that Ahmadinejad does not control the Guards outside of Iran. “Not only the foreign ministry of Iran; even the president does not know what the Revolutionary Guards does outside of Iran. They directly report to the leader”, he said, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.[70] Although Ali Khamenei is the ultimate person in charge of the Quds Force, George Bush did not mention him.[71] According to Richard Clarke, “Quds force reports directly to the Supreme Ayatollah, through the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary guards.”[71]

Detainment of alleged bomb smuggler

On 20 September 2007, the U.S. military arrested an Iranian during a raid on a hotel in Sulaimaniyah, a city in the Kurdish-controlled north. The military accused the Iranian of being a member of the elite Quds Force and smuggling powerful roadside bombs, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, into Iraq. The military said intelligence reports asserted the suspect was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign fighters into Iraq as well.[72]

On 22 September 2007, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani criticized the United States for arresting the Iranian and called for his immediate release. Talabani argued he is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in the Kurdish Region and stated Iraqi and Kurdish regional government representatives were aware of the man’s presence in the country. “I express to you our outrage for these American forces arresting this Iranian civil official visitor without informing or cooperating with the government of the Kurdistan region, which means insult and disregard for its rights”, Talabani wrote in a “letter of resentment” to Ryan CrockerU.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Gen. David Petraeus.[73]

Allegations of 2007 market attack

On 24 November 2007, US military officials accused an Iranian special group of placing a bomb in a bird box that blew up at a popular animal market in central Baghdad. “The group’s purpose was to make it appear Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack”, Admiral Smith said. He further emphasized there was “no evidence Iran ordered the attack”.[74] In May 2008, Iraq said it had no evidence that Iran was supporting militants on Iraqi soil.[75] Al-Sadr spokesman Al-Ubaydi said the presence of Iranian weapons in Iraq is “quite normal,” since “they are bought and sold and any party can buy them.”[76]

Allegations of ties to Al-Qaeda

According to reports produced by Agence France-Presse (AFP), The Jerusalem Post, and Al Arabiya, at the request of a member of the United States’ House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in 2011 Congressional counter-terrorism advisor Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, LLC produced a report on Iran’s alleged ties to Al-Qaeda that was distributed to members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus.[77][78][79] Titled “The al-Qa’ida-Qods Force Nexus: Scratching the Surface of a Known Unknown”, a redacted version of Smith’s report is available online via the blog site owned by American military geostrategist and The Pentagon’s New Map author Thomas P.M. Barnett.[80] The report’s Issue Summary section explains: “This report focuses on the history of Iran’s relationship with al-Qa’ida, and briefly addresses potential implications of these ties. Additionally, its author provides a list of recommended action items for Members of the United States Congress, as well as a list of questions that may help Members develop a better understanding of this issue through interactions with defense and intelligence officials”. A member of the Quds Force was alleged arrested with 21 other suspects in the attack on the Israeli and United States embassies on 14 March 2012 in Azerbaijan.

Combat against Islamic State

The Quds force’s leader, Gen Qasem Soleimani was involved with both the planning as well as the execution of the operation to expell ISIL from Tikrit

In 2014, Quds Force was deployed into Iraq to lead Iranian action against ISIL. Iran sent three Quds Force battalions to help the Iraqi government repel ISIL’s 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.[81] Over 40 officers participated in the Second Battle of Tikrit (March 2015), including the leader of the force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani who took a leading role in the operation.

Syria

IRGC Commander Jafari announced on 16 September 2012 that Quds Force “were present” in Syria.[82]

Coinciding with the Geneva II Conference on Syria in 2014, Iran boosted its presence in Syria with several “hundred” military specialists, including senior commanders from the Quds Force, according to Iranian sources and security experts. While recently retired senior IRGC commander told that there were at least 60 to 70 Quds force commanders on the ground in Syria at any given time.[83] The primary role of these forces is to gather intelligence and manage the logistics of the battle for the Syrian Government.[83][84]

In November 2015 the Quds Force conducted a successful rescue mission of a Russian bomber pilot who was shot down by a Turkish fighter. Commander of Quds Force of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Major General Qasem Soleimani got in touch with his Russian counterparts and said that a special unit had been formed and was ready for the rescue operation. He also explained that the squad was made up of men from the Lebanese “Hezbollah” and soldiers from the Syrian Special Forces, who had undergone special training under the guidance of Iranian instructors. Apart from this fact, the Syrian soldiers were familiar with the terrain. The general assumed command of the ground operation and Russian aircraft had to carry out air cover and enable satellite surveillance. Once the location of the Russian pilot was determined via satellite through the built-in GPS device, it became clear that the pilot was located six kilometers behind the front line between the Syrian army forces and the opposition forces. The Special squad that entered the territory controlled by militants was not only able to save the Russian pilot, but also destroy all of the remaining terrorists there who had the most modern weapons in their possession. All of the 24 fighters not only survived, but also returned to their base without injuries.[85]

In May 2018, Quds forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights allegedly fired around 20 projectiles towards Israeli army positions without causing damage or casualties.[86] Israel responded with airstrikes against Iranian bases in Syria.[87] At least twenty-three fighters, among them 18 foreigners, were reportedly killed in the strikes.[88]

Germany

In January 2018, German authorities conducted raids in Baden-WürttembergNorth Rhine-WestphaliaBavaria and Berlin, searching homes and businesses belonging to ten alleged Iranian Quds Force members, suspected of spying on Israeli and Jewish targets.[89]

Designation as a terrorist organization

The United States Department of the Treasury designated the Quds Force under Executive Order 13224 for providing material support to US-designated terrorist organizations on 25 October 2007, prohibiting transactions between the group and U.S. citizens, and freezing any assets under U.S. jurisdiction.[9] The Government of Canada designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization on 17 December 2012.[90] Egypt’s nominations included the organization.[91]

See also

References

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

Story 2: Vice President Pence Talks Turkey: Free Pastor or Face U.S. Sanctions — Release Now — Videos

See the source image

Pence: US to Sanction Turkey Unless Pastor Freed

Vice President Pence: ‘Deep Concern’ About Americans Held in Turkey

Senators seek sanctions until Turkey frees Pastor Brunson

Turkey Refuses to Release Jailed American Pastor

US pastor facing terrorism charges in Turkey

Erdogan spokesman says United States will not achieve results by threatening Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday the U.S. administration will not achieve its desired results by threatening Turkey, after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of sanctions unless Ankara freed an American pastor.

“The United States must reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a written statement.

Trump demands Turkey ‘immediately’ release US pastor

US President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, "is suffering greatly" during detention in TurkeyUS President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, “is suffering greatly” during detention in Turkey

President Donald Trump on Thursday demanded Turkey free a detained American pastor, warning the United States was ready to impose “large sanctions” against its NATO ally.

“He is suffering greatly,” Trump said of 50-year-old pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in detention for almost two years. “This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!”

Brunson ran a protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir when he was detained in October 2016 on terrorism-related charges.

Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest on Wednesday, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was “not enough.”

The Trump administration — which is broadly supported by powerful US evangelicals — has made defending Christians abroad a tenet of its foreign policy.

“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being,” Trump said.

The escalating war of words between Washington and Ankara risks worsening already poor ties, which hold enormous military and economic importance for both countries.

The United States has long used bases in Turkey for operations across the Middle East, but relations have been strained by Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Brunson still faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups Turkey deems terrorist organizations. One is led by the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, while the other is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

His next hearing is set for October 12.

The pastor denies the charges and his defense team argues the case is built on questionable witness statements that should never have been brought to court.

Earlier Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said “there is no credible evidence” against Brunson.

Last week a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would require the United States to reject international loans to Turkey until Brunson and other Americans are freed or the harassment against them ends.

“I find it difficult to see how this relationship moves forward… if the Turkish government continues to detain Pastor Brunson as well as locally employed staff, journalists, and civil servants,” Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said at the time.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5996073/Trump-demands-Turkey-immediately-release-US-pastor.html

Story 3: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos —

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Dershowitz on the case against impeaching Rosenstein

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Ex-DOJ attorney: Rosenstein should have already been fired

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Sources: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Is Prepared To Be Fired | MSNBC

Rep. Ron DeSantis on the push to impeach Rosenstein

Articles of impeachment filed against Rod Rosenstein

Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry

Fox News’s Napolitano: Trump tweets are a ‘treasure trove’ for Mueller

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller knows President Trump‘s tweets are a “treasure trove” for his probe into whether the president obstructed justice.

“Mueller knows that those tweets are a treasure trove and a window into Trump’s thinking,” Napolitano said on Fox News’s “Outnumbered.”

“Did the president send messages to people of threats, or rewards, via his tweets? People who he knew or expected would be interviewed by Bob Mueller?” Napolitano said. “And if he did, was he engaging in witness tampering?”

Napolitano’s comments came shortly after a new New York Times reportthat said Mueller is reviewing Trump’s tweets as part of his investigation into whether he obstructed justice.

The Times reported that Mueller is focusing on Trump’s tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, each of whom the president has repeatedly criticized on Twitter. 

Among other things, Trump has tweeted and said in interviews that he would not have nominated Sessions as attorney general if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer in Mueller’s Russia probe, said in a statement in response to the report.

The report from the Times comes only a few days after Giulani told Bloomberg News that he suggested to Mueller that Trump would sit for an interview only if Mueller agreed to rule out questions about obstruction of justice. 

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/399056-fox-news-napolitano-trumps-tweets-are-a-treasure-trove-for-mueller

Like the Rest of Us, Mueller Is Obsessing Over Trump’s Tweets

By 

That smile won’t last once he starts reading Trump’s tweets. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Somewhere on the long list of reasons that Donald Trump is president is his early embrace of Twitter. First, Trump used it to promote himself as a brilliant businessman (which he’s not); then, as a medium to attack political opponents (which he’s good at); and now, as a way to communicate with the world as president (which is making most people crazy).

Ironically, now, according to the New York Times, there’s at least a small chance that Twitter could also lead to his demise. On Thursday, the paper reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing Trump’s tweets as he investigates the president for obstruction of justice.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

The report goes on to cite Mueller’s desire to “question the president about the tweets.” Among the missives in question are those targeting Sessions in July of 2017. These were sent at the same time, Mueller has learned, that Trump was privately pressuring Sessions to resign so he could be replaced with someone who would not recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Mueller is also interested in Trump’s attacks on Comey, which include a veiled threat about taped conversations between the two men. Such “tapes” do not exist, Trump later admitted.

While none of these tweets alone are believed to amount to obstruction of justice, they’re thought to be a part of Mueller’s plan to build a case that Trump was on a broad mission to interfere with the investigation.

Trump’s lawyers continue to insist that he’s done nothing outside of the scope of his power, though. And anyway, Rudy Giuliani told the Times, “If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/special-counsel-mueller-is-examining-trumps-tweets.html

 

 

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018, Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes — Story 2: Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos — Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes

Sanders: Trump won’t stand for empty threats against America

Trump no nonsense approach on Iran is the right strategy: Gen. Jack Keane

Secretary Pompeo remarks on “Supporting Iranian Voices” – Speech only

Iran feeling the strain from Obama’s deal?

Trump weighs in after Iran threatens the ‘mother of all wars’ | In The News

US not afraid to sanction top Iran leaders: Pompeo

U.S. Pushes Confrontation with Iran: Trump Warns of “Consequences,” Pompeo Likens Leaders to “Mafia”

Scott Adams – President Trump’s All-Caps Tweet to Iran

 

Just tough Trump tweeting? US ratchets up Iran pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s explosive twitter threat to Iran’s leader comes as his administration is ratcheting up a pressure campaign on the Islamic republic that many suspect is aimed at regime change.

No one is predicting imminent war. But Trump’s bellicose, all-caps challenge addressed to President Hassan Rouhani followed a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he accused Iran’s leadership of massive corruption and widespread rights abuses and urged Iranians to rise up in protest.

Trump’s tweet doesn’t appear to have been prompted by any notable shift in rhetoric from Iran.

It could have been an impulsive reaction to reports from Tehran quoting Rouhani as giving the U.S. an oft-repeated reminder that conflict with Iran would be “the mother of all wars.” Yet animosity directed at the Iranian leadership is an established part of the administration’s broader foreign policy.

The White House says President Donald Trump’s threatening tweet shows he’s not going to tolerate critical rhetoric from Iran, but claims the U.S. leader isn’t escalating tensions between the two countries. (July 23)

Iran publicly shrugged off Trump’s late Sunday message — “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Tweeted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday: COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones_for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Asked at the White House if he had concerns about provoking Iran, Trump said simply, “None at all.”

Tehran is already aware of what is coming from the administration as consequences of Trump’s May withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord take shape.

As Pompeo noted in his speech to Iranian-Americans and others in California on Sunday, the centerpiece will be the re-imposition of U.S. economic sanctions; the first batch will go back into force on Aug. 4 targeting the Iranian automotive sector and trade in gold and other metals. A more significant set of sanctions that will hit Iran’s oil industry and central bank by punishing countries and companies that do business with them will resume on Nov. 4.

Pompeo also slammed Iran’s political, judicial and military officials, accusing several by name of participating in rampant corruption, and called its religious leaders “hypocritical holy men” who amassed wealth while allowing their people to suffer. He said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms,” and he hailed the “proud Iranian people (for) not staying silent about their government’s many abuses.”

“The United States under President Trump will not stay silent either,” he said.

He was right. True to form, Trump did not stay silent. But the White House blamed Rouhani for inciting the war of words with his comment that “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” Trump wrote.

Reaction from Congress, particularly Democrats, was swift and critical.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged that Iran’s terrorist activities in the Middle East pose a threat but suggested it wouldn’t be solved through a tweet from Trump.

“Sadly, after pulling us out of the nuclear deal with Europe and Iran, there doesn’t seem to be strategy for how to move forward to fight Iran’s activities,” she said.

And Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, called the Twitter blast from the White House “another warning sign that Trump is blundering toward war with Iran.”

Trump’s National Security Council pushed back:

“Our differences are with the Iranian regime’s actions and, in particular, with the actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, not the Iranian people. The Trump administration’s Iran policy seeks to address the totality of these threats and malign activities and to bring about a change in the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

“If anybody’s inciting anything, look no further than to Iran,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. She added that Trump has been “very clear about what he’s not going to allow to take place.”

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the verbal war cooled quickly and gradually led to the high-profile summit and denuclearization talks. Still there has been little tangible progress in a global push to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program since the historic Trump-Kim Jong Un summit on June 12.

___

Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, David Rising in Dubai, Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Michael Casey in Concord, New Hampshire contributed.

___

This story has been corrected to correct Trump tweet: ‘Likes’ of which, not ‘like.’

https://apnews.com/33bbdee2506645859222e0f5252b288f/White-House-blames-Iran-for-war-of-words-with-Trump

 

Story 2: President Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos —

Trump may revoke security clearances for Obama-era officials

Rand Paul urges Trump to pull security clearances

Ex-CIA chief Brennan: Trump’s comments nothing short of treasonous

Rand Paul SHUTS DOWN Trump’s Critics & DESTROYS Obama’s Former CIA John Brennan

Scott Adams – The Newest Reason to Love Rand Paul

Clapper On President Donald Trump Revoking Security Clearance: Very Petty | Hardball | MSNBC

What’s Needed Desperately: Operation Wrath of Trump

Trump looking into revoking security clearances for Brennan, other top Obama officials

President Trump is looking into revoking the security clearances of several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, accusing them of having “politicized” or “monetized” their public service.

She made the announcement at Monday’s press briefing, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called on the president to specifically revoke Trump critic and former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance.

Sanders said Trump is considering it — and also looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics: former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy on the political fallout from the IG report and the Mueller investigation.

Sanders said Trump is “exploring mechanisms” to remove the security clearances “because [the former officials] politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service and their security clearances in making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia.”

Sanders added that their clearances effectively give “inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

“When you have the highest level of security clearance … when you have the nation’s secrets at hand, and go out and make false [statements], the president feels that’s something to be very concerned with,” Sanders said.

According McCabe’s spokesperson Melissa Schwartz, however, his security clearance had already been deactivated when he was fired.

“Andrew McCabe’s security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was FBI policy. You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps…,” Schwartz tweeted Monday.

Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey’s, tweeted Monday afternoon that he texted the former FBI director, who told him he doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke.

When asked whether former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden might have their security clearances revoked, Sanders said she did not have any further information.

FILE - In this June 7, 2017, file photo, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCabe drafted a memo on the firing of his onetime boss, ex-director James Comey. That’s according to a person familiar with the memo, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a secret document that has been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller. The person said the memo concerned a conversation McCabe had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about Rosenstein’s preparations for Comey’s firing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

President Trump is looking into revoking former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s security clearance, but McCabe’s spokesman said that clearance had already been deactivated.  (AP)

The topic came into the spotlight Monday morning, with Paul’s tweets against the former CIA director.

“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?” Paul tweeted early Monday.

Brennan joined NBC News and MSNBC in February as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence analyst. A spokesperson for the networks did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Paul’s tweet, which did not list any specific allegations.

The Kentucky Republican, who last week jumped to Trump’s defense as the president faced bipartisan criticism over his summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed up the original tweet by saying:

“Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance!”

Paul’s tweets come as fellow congressional Republicans push for Brennan to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.

The former CIA director has been a consistent and harsh critic of the president, blasting his performance with Putin in Helsinki as “nothing short of treasonous.”

But Brennan is not the only former intelligence official to take to the media world. In April, Comey began a media blitz promoting his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” while Hayden and Rice also frequently make media appearances.

On Twitter, just minutes after the announcement from the White House brieifing, Hayden responded in a tweet to several journalists that a loss of security clearance would not have an “effect” on him.

“I don’t go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write,” Hayden tweeted.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/23/trump-looking-into-revoking-security-clearances-for-brennan-other-top-obama-officials.html

 

 

Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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Hannity: FISA court was abused for political gain

Tucker: What the Carter Page FISA application proves

Carter Page reacts to ‘Russian spy’ accusations

DOJ RELEASES CARTER PAGE FISA DOCS

Andrew McCarthy Shocked FISA Application Used As Evidence To Spy On Carter

Judicial Watch urges WH to declassify Page FISA application

Trump calls for end to Russia probe after Carter Page surveillance records released

Bongino: Russia probe is biggest scam in modern US history

Dershowitz: FISA application provides support for both sides

BREAKING: Released FISA Warrants on Carter Page Confirm Obama FBI, DOJ Misled Courts to Spy on Trump

Malloch: My Book Details Deep State’s Plot to Destroy Trump

Ex-Trump adviser: My encounter with Mueller’s investigators

Ted Malloch Detained By FBI? WHY? McMaster, Exposing Assault on Families or His New Book?

FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier

One-time advisor of Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

A salacious Clinton-campaign product was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

Based on the dossier, the FBI told the FISA court it believed that Carter Page, who had been identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser, was coordinating with the Russian government in an espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

This sensational allegation came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy. The FISA court was not told that the Clinton campaign was behind Steele’s work. Nor did the FBI and Justice Department inform the court that Steele’s allegations had never been verified. To the contrary, each FISA application — the original one in October 2016, and the three renewals at 90-day intervals — is labeled “VERIFIED APPLICATION” (bold caps in original). And each one makes this breathtaking representation:

The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001 procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).

In reality, the applications were never verified for accuracy.

What ‘Verify’ Means
Consider this: The representation that the FBI’s verification procedures include sending the application to “appropriate field offices” is standard in FISA warrant applications. It is done because the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) mandates that the bureau “ensure that information appearing in a FISA application that is presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has been thoroughly vetted and confirmed.” (See House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes March 1, 2018, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, embedded here.) The point is to assure the court that the FBI has corroborated the allegations in the warrant application in the usual way.

A hypothetical shows how this works. Let’s say that X, an informant, tells the FBI in Washington that Y, a person in St. Louis, told him that Z, the suspect, is plotting to rob the bank.

X’s story is unverified; he doesn’t know anything firsthand about Z — he only knows what Y has told him. Obviously, then, the FBI does not instantly run to court and seek a warrant against Z. Instead, the bureau sends an investigative “lead” from headquarters in Washington to the FBI field office in St. Louis. FBI agents in St. Louis then go find and interview Y. Based on that interview, the FBI gathers supporting information (perhaps physical surveillance of Z, scrutiny of available documents and records about Z, etc.). Only then, after debriefing the witness with competent knowledge, do the Justice Department and FBI seek a warrant against Z from the court. In the application, they explain to the judge that they have verified X’s information by interviewing Y and then corroborating Y’s version of events. In fact, if they get solid enough information about Z from Y, there may be no reason even to mention X, whose tip to the FBI was sheer hearsay.

But that is not what happened with the Carter Page FISA warrants.

Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court? No, they were not.

The FBI presented the court with allegations posited by Steele. He is in the position of X in our hypothetical. He is not the source of any of the relevant information on which the court was asked to rely for its probable-cause finding that Page was a clandestine agent of Russia. In this context, source means a reliable witness who saw or heard some occurrence on which the court is being asked to base its ruling.

Steele has not been in Russia for about 20 years. In connection with the dossier allegations, he was merely the purveyor of information from the actual sources — unidentified Russians who themselves relied on hearsay information from other sources (sometimes double and triple hearsay, very attenuated from the supposed original source).

In each Carter Page FISA warrant application, the FBI represented that it had “reviewed this verified application for accuracy.” But did the bureau truly ensure that the information had been “thoroughly vetted and confirmed”? Remember, we are talking here about serious, traitorous allegations against an American citizen and, derivatively, an American presidential campaign.

When the FBI averred that it had verified for accuracy the application that posited these allegations, it was, at best, being hyper-technical, and thus misleading. What the bureau meant was that its application correctly stated the allegations as Steele had related them. But that is not what “verification” means. The issue is not whether Steele’s allegations were accurately described; it is whether they were accurate, period. Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court — which is what common sense and the FBI’s own manual mean by “verified”?

No, they were not.

There Is No Reason to Believe the Redactions Corroborate Steele
I have been making this point for months. When I made it again in a Fox and Friends interview on Sunday morning, critics asked how I could say such a thing when the warrants are pervasively redacted — how could I be so sure, given all we concededly don’t know, that the redactions do not corroborate Steele?

The critics’ tunnel vision on the redactions ignores the months of hearings and reporting on this core question, which I’ve continuously detailed. Here, for example, is what two senior Judiciary Committee senators, Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham, wrote in a classified memo early this year after reviewing FISA applications (the memo was finally declassified and publicized over the objections of the FBI):

The bulk of the [first Carter Page FISA] application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page.

The senators went on to recount the concession by former FBI director James Comey that the bureau had relied on the credibility of Steele (who had previously assisted the bureau in another investigation), not the verification of Steele’s sources. In June 2017 testimony, Comey described information in the Steele dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

Moreover, the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told Congress that the bureau tried very hard to verify Steele’s information but could provide no points of verification beyond the fact that Page did travel to Russia in July 2016 — a fact that required no effort to corroborate since the trip was unconcealed and widely known. (Page delivered a public commencement address at the New Economic School.) Furthermore, in British legal proceedings, Steele himself has described the information he provided to the FBI as “raw intelligence” that was “unverified.”

I freely acknowledge that we do not know what the redactions say. But we have been very well informed about what they do not say. They do not verify the allegations in the Steele dossier. I have no doubt that they have a great deal to say about Russia and its nefarious anti-American operations. But the FBI has been taking incoming fire for months about failing to corroborate Steele. No institution in America guards its reputation more zealously than does the FBI. If Steele had been corroborated, rest assured that the bureau would not be suffering in silence.

When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable.

Plus, do you really think the FBI and Justice Department wanted to use the Steele dossier? Of course they didn’t. They undoubtedly believed Steele’s allegations (the applications say as much). That is no surprise given how much their top echelons loathed Donald Trump. But they were also well aware of the dossier’s significant legal problems — the suspect sourcing, the multiple hearsay. If they had solid evidence that verified Steele’s allegations, they would have used that evidence as their probable cause showing against Page. Instead, they used the dossier because, as McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee, without it they would have had no chance of persuading a judge that Page was a clandestine agent.

Whatever is in the redactions cannot change that.

There Is No Vicarious Credibility
To repeat what we’ve long said here, there is no vicarious credibility in investigations. When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable — i.e., they were in a position to see or hear the relevant facts, and they are worthy of belief. It is not sufficient to show that the agent who assembles the source information is credible.

The vast majority of our investigators are honorable people who would never lie to a judge. But that is irrelevant because, in assessing probable cause, the judge is not being asked to rely on the honesty of the agent. The agent, after all, is under oath and supervised by a chain of command at the FBI and the Justice Department; the judge will generally assume that the agent is honestly and accurately describing the information he has gotten from various sources.

The judge’s main task is not to determine if the agent is credible. It is to weigh the reliability of the agent’s sources. Are the sources’ claims supported by enough evidence that the court should approve a highly intrusive warrant against an American citizen?

Here, Steele was in the position of an investigative agent relaying information. He was not a source (or informant) who saw or heard relevant facts. Even if we assume for argument’s sake that Steele is honest and reliable, that would tell us nothing about who his sources are, whether they were really in a position to see or hear the things they report, and whether they have a history of providing accurate information. Those are the questions the FBI must answer in order to vet and confirm factual allegations before presenting them to the FISA court. That was not done; the FBI relied on Steele’s reputation to vouch for his source’s claims.

The FISA Judges
In my public comments Sunday morning, I observed that the newly disclosed FISA applications are so shoddy that the judges who approved them ought to be asked some hard questions. I’ve gotten flak for that, no doubt because President Trump tweeted part of what I said. I stand by it. Still, some elaboration, which a short TV segment does not allow for, is in order.

I prefaced my remark about the judges with an acknowledgment of my own personal embarrassment. When people started theorizing that the FBI had presented the Steele dossier to the FISA court as evidence, I told them they were crazy: The FBI, which I can’t help thinking of as myFBI after 20 years of working closely with the bureau as a federal prosecutor, would never take an unverified screed and present it to a court as evidence. I explained that if the bureau believed the information in a document like the dossier, it would pick out the seven or eight most critical facts and scrub them as only the FBI can — interview the relevant witnesses, grab the documents, scrutinize the records, connect the dots. Whatever application eventually got filed in the FISA court would not even allude en passant to Christopher Steele or his dossier. The FBI would go to the FISA court only with independent evidence corroborated through standard FBI rigor.

Should I have assumed I could be wrong about that? Sure, even great institutions go rogue now and again. But even with that in mind, I would still have told the conspiracy theorists they were crazy — because in the unlikely event the FBI ever went off the reservation, the Justice Department would not permit the submission to the FISA court of uncorroborated allegations; and even if that fail-safe broke down, a court would not approve such a warrant.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong. The FBI (and, I’m even more sad to say, my Justice Department) brought the FISA court the Steele-dossier allegations, relying on Steele’s credibility without verifying his information.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong.

I am embarrassed by this not just because I assured people it could not have happened, and not just because it is so beneath the bureau — especially in a politically fraught case in which the brass green-lighted the investigation of a presidential campaign. I am embarrassed because what happened here flouts rudimentary investigative standards. Any trained FBI agent would know that even the best FBI agent in the country could not get a warrant based on his own stellar reputation. A fortiori, you would never seek a warrant based solely on the reputation of Christopher Steele — a non-American former intelligence agent who had political and financial incentives to undermine Donald Trump. It is always, always necessary to persuade the court that the actual sources of information allegedly amounting to probable cause are believable.

Well, guess what? No one knows that better than experienced federal judges, who deal with a steady diet of warrant applications. It is basic. Much of my bewilderment, in fact, stems from the certainty that if I had been so daft as to try to get a warrant based on the good reputation of one of my FBI case agents, with no corroboration of his or her sources, just about any federal judge in the Southern District of New York would have knocked my block off — and rightly so.

That’s why I said it.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/carter-page-fisa-applications-fbi-steele-dossier/

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1111, Story 1: President Trump Invites Russian President Putin to Washington This Fall and Rejects Putins ‘s Request to Question Former Ambassador McFaul and Other Americans and Senate Votes 98-0 To Also Reject Putin’s Request — Videos — Story 2: President Trump and Republican Party Failure to Cut Government Spending and Balance The Budget and Failure To Support Federal Reserve’s Increase in Interest Rates Will Adversely Impact Economic Growth of U.S. Economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — Recession in 2019? — Videos

Posted on July 20, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Employment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Killing, Law, Lying, Media, Medicine, Middle East, Military Spending, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, People, President Trump, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rule of Law, Russia, Senate, United States of America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Trump: I’m not pro-Russia, I just want our country safe

The Ingraham Angle with Jason Chaffetz July 20,2018 Full Show

President Trump invites Putin for a US visit this fall

Senate Votes 98 – 0 to Reject Putin Proposal Interview Americans

See intel chief stunned by Trump’s invite to Putin

Trump invites Putin to the White House

Trump is inviting Putin to the White House

US Diplomat Reacts: Would Donald Trump Give Fmr. US Diplomat To Putin? | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

The Matt Couch Show 07-19-18 Senate Votes 98-0 opposing former Administration being quesitoned by Russia

McFaul: Putin Used The Same Tactics In Russia, ‘In The United States’ | Meet The Press | NBC News

Here’s what’s in the Senate’s new Russia sanctions

PBS NewsHour

Published on Jun 15, 2017

The Senate overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against both Iran and Russia on Thursday. While the overall bill is aimed at Iran’s missile program, an amendment expands sanctions on Russia for meddling in last year’s election, and another amendment affects the president’s ability to roll back sanctions. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to take a closer look at the details.

White House: Trump ‘disagrees’ with Putin’s request to question Americans

 

The White House on Thursday backed off a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to question U.S. citizens over alleged crimes in Russia after initially indicating President Trump would consider the matter.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

The White House response comes after almost 24 hours of criticism from Democrats, Republicans and former diplomats that added to the hailstorm of criticism Trump has received over his meeting with Putin in Helsinki earlier this week.It also marks the third time in as many days where Trump or the White House has walked back or clarified comments the president made in relation to his meeting with Putin that frustrated or flabbergasted lawmakers.

Trump on Tuesday had to reiterate his confidence in the U.S intelligence community’s assessment that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election after casting doubt on that conclusion the day before.

On Wednesday, Trump appeared to say “no” to questions about whether Russia still posed a threat to the U.S., prompting the White House to clarify hours after that the president was trying to say “no” to taking additional questions.

Sanders’s statement on Thursday was issued less than an hour before the Senate, in a rare display of bipartisan unity, passed, 98-0, a resolution that warns Trump against handing over former U.S. diplomats to Russia.

Putin suggested during Monday’s meeting with Trump that he would let U.S. law enforcement travel to Russia and observe the questioning of 12 Russian intelligence officials indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in exchange for Russian authorities being allowed to question U.S. citizens “who have something to do with illegal actions in the territory of Russia,” including Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

Trump initially called it an “incredible offer” at Monday’s joint press conference with Putin. His comments gained more widespread attention among lawmakers on Wednesday, when Sanders said at a press briefing that the president would discuss Putin’s offer with his team.

However, the president appeared to be increasingly on an island in his consideration of Putin’s proposal.

In an interview shortly before the White House reversal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bluntly shut down any consideration of Putin’s request.

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” he said, one day after the State Department called the request “absurd.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray chuckled when asked about the potential quid pro quo during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday night.

“I never want to say never about anything, but it’s certainly not high on our list of investigative techniques,” Wray said, prompting laughter and cheers in the room.

On Thursday, Democrats, former diplomats and some Republicans seemed confounded that the White House would even consider the idea.

Multiple lawmakers and ex-diplomats acknowledged it was unlikely the U.S. government would make its own citizens available to Russians for questioning, but warned that the appearance of considering the offer sends a troubling message.

“I challenge you to find one member of the House and the Senate that believes this is a good idea,” Graham added.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called it “dangerous” to even entertain Putin’s offer.

A group of House Democrats wrote to the president on Thursday, urging him to denounce the “preposterous offer” and saying it “defies belief” that the U.S. government would allow Russian investigators to conduct business on American soil.

“Certainly that would be a pretty phenomenal scene watching McFaul being put onto a plane to go interview in Moscow, or any Americans for that matter,” said Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“I can’t imagine that ever happening,” he added. “So I don’t think it is worth speculating on.”

McFaul has been outspoken in the past 24 hours, urging the president to walk back yet another statement in the aftermath of his meeting with the Russian president and warning it damages his credibility in the diplomatic community.

“The president of the United States needs to come out and categorically denounce it. It’s crazy. Maybe he doesn’t understand it,” McFaul said Thursday morning on MSNBC.

“I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now he needs to correct the record and stand up strong,” McFaul added. “What the president doesn’t understand, he looks weak in the eyes of Putin when he doesn’t push back on elementary things like that.”

Updated at 3:31 p.m. Olivia Beavers contributed.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397907-white-house-trump-disagrees-with-putins-request-to-question-americans

Trump ‘disagrees’ with Putin offer to interview Americans

ZEKE MILLER, KEN THOMAS and LISA MASCARO

,

Trump invites Putin to Washington, rejects his request to interrogate Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia

JUL 19, 2018 
Trump invites Putin to Washington, rejects his request to interrogate Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia
At their news conference Monday in Helsinki, President Trump expressed interest in a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to let Russian officials interrogate a former U.S. ambassador. Thursday, the White House disowned the idea. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

President Trump, after coming under fire for even considering the idea, on Thursday decided not to allow Russia to interrogate a former U.S. ambassador and other Americans, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed during their summit in Helsinki.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

As Trump tried for a third straight day to answer critics, by taking a tougher line with Putin than he did when they met Monday, he also extended an olive branch — inviting Putin to Washington. Sanders said discussions are underway for a visit in the fall, just weeks before midterm elections.

Putin had floated the idea of the interrogations as part of a swap: He would allow 12 Russian operatives indicted last week in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Moscow’s election interference to be questioned, but by Russian officials with U.S. investigators present — and only if the U.S. gave Russia access to a dozen Americans it accuses of crimes, including the former U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama, Michael McFaul.

In her statement, Sanders expressed hope that despite Trump’s belated rejection of Putin’s request, he “will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Trump, as he stood beside Putin at their summit, had labeled the Russian leader’s proposal an “incredible offer.” On Wednesday, Sanders confirmed that the president was considering the idea, provoking broad outrage across Washington.

Yet the State Department on Wednesday dismissed Russia’s allegations against McFaul and the others as “absurd.” Republicans as well as Democrats objected that Trump hadn’t immediately rejected Putin’s request, signaling that agreeing to such a proposal could be a red line for Congress.

“Under no circumstances should #Putin officials ever be allowed to come into the U.S. & ‘question’ Americans on their list,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote in a tweet Thursday, hours before the White House announced Trump’s decision.

That decision came just after Trump met at the White House with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. Pompeo had strongly opposed the idea of allowing Russia access to the Americans, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday, “That’s not going to happen.”

Even after the announcement, in a rebuke of the president, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 98-0 for a resolution opposing the “making available of current and former diplomats, officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin.”

Afterward, McFaul tweeted, “Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you all for your support.”

The new dispute between Trump and Putin over the issue came as the two leaders otherwise offered remarkably similar takes on their summit, both insisting that it was a success and attacking American media and Trump investigators for standing in the way of U.S.-Russia cooperation.

Early Thursday, Trump tweeted that the summit “was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

Trump claimed that the media “are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin.” He went so far as to say that the media badly wants “a confrontation that could lead to war.”

Putin, in his first public comments about the summit, told Russian diplomats in a speech Thursday that relations with the United States had been “in some ways worse than during the Cold War” but their meeting put the two nations on “the path to positive change.”

“It is important that at last a full-scale meeting took place that allowed talking directly, and it was generally successful,” Putin said, according to Russian state news agencies.

However, there are “forces in the United States that are ready to sacrifice Russian-American relations for their ambitions in the domestic political struggle,” Putin added.

That seemed clearly an echo of Trump’s own complaints about the political cloud over his presidency: the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s election interference and possible Trump campaign complicity.

Both leaders have claimed that their private, two-hour conversation yielded agreements in various policy areas, though by Thursday, the White House, State and Defense departments had been unable to provide details, with many officials professing to be in the dark themselves.

Even the director of national intelligence, former Sen. Dan Coats, acknowledged that he doesn’t know what took place between the two presidents, and said he opposed their meeting alone.

“That is the president’s prerogative,” Coats said. “I would have suggested a different way.”” He did not rule out the “risk” that the Russians recorded the conversation.

Coats, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, also said that he “wished” Trump hadn’t initially accepted Putin’s denial of election interference. After the joint Trump-Putin news conference, Coats immediately issued an unusual statement of his own; at Aspen he said he wanted “to correct the record.”

He expressed some satisfaction with Trump’s subsequent statement on Tuesday that he accepted the intelligence community’s findings that Russia undermined the election campaign, but said he wished the president hadn’t added that “others” might have been involved as well.

Before news of Trump’s invitation to Putin, in a pair of tweets early Thursday he stated that he looks forward “to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed.” He listed stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyberattacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace and North Korea.

“They can ALL be solved!” he wrote.

Neither country has offered any specifics about particular agreements or future plans for bilateral collaboration. Some congressional Democrats have suggested subpoenaing the American translator — only the presidents’ respective interpreters were in the room for their initial meeting — to solve the mystery of what they discussed.

Republicans, who on the whole have been obsequious toward Trump, were quick to criticize him after he stood beside Putin and accepted the Russian’s denial of election interference over the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.

While some Republicans eased up on Trump following his subsequent reversal and acceptance of his government’s intelligence findings, party leaders suggested they would consider additional sanctions on Russia amid ongoing concerns that it is attempting to interfere with the looming 2018 midterm elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he has directed two Senate committees to offer recommendations for measures “that could respond to or deter Russian malign behavior.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray, also speaking at the Aspen conference, an annual gathering of national security experts in Colorado, reiterated his belief in the conclusions about Russian election interference and even hinted that he has considered resigning.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking at the same conference, also acknowledged that she “agrees with” the U.S. intelligence findings.

But she dismissed the idea that Putin, who acknowledged Monday that he wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, did so on her boss’ behalf — as the intelligence agencies have concluded.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempt to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party,” Nielsen said.

While Cabinet officials are wary of angering Trump, Republicans appear to be walking a political tightrope, responding to a potential national security issue but careful not to upset the president or his most loyal supporters, whose turnout will be critical to Republicans’ chances in November.

A new CBS News poll Thursday showed that only about a third of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of relations with Russia, but 68% of Republicans approve, illustrating the bind that GOP elected officials are in.

Special correspondent Sabra Ayres in Moscow contributed to this report.

 

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-putin-07192018-story.html

Trump plans to invite Putin to Washington this fall

President Donald Trump asked his national security adviser to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday afternoon.

The statement comes after Trump teased a second meeting with Putin on Twitter earlier in the day. Sanders says the president tasked National Security Adviser John Bolton with extending an invitation to the Russian leader.

“In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway,” Sanders said in a tweet.

Trump wrote online Thursday that he is looking forward to a second sitdown with Putin, insisting that his much-criticized bilateral meeting with him on Monday was in fact a “great success” that the media have unfairly covered negatively.

“The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more,” the president wrote on Twitter. “There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!”

If Putin receives an invitation and accepts it, the trip would likely mark his first visit to the White House in more than a decade. Putin last visited the White House in the early 2000s, when former President George W. Bush was in office.

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she would not object to Trump meeting again with Putin but recommended that a member of the administration accompany him to take notes, unlike the meeting earlier this week.

“I’m not saying anything against the president. But I would say we just have to be cautious because what’s to stop Putin from saying: ‘Oh yeah he agreed to all this stuff,’” she said in an interview Thursday.

The president has faced a tidal wave of criticism since his meeting Monday with Putin in Finland, where he told reporters at a bilateral news conference that he saw no reason why Russia would be to blame for a 2016 campaign of cyberattacks intended to impact the outcome of that year’s U.S. presidential election. That Trump would accept Putin’s denial that Russia was involved over the word of his own intelligence agencies prompted a bipartisan backlash that has yet to ebb.

Outrage over Trump’s comment was so strong that the president took the rare step Tuesday of admitting a mistake, telling reporters that he had meant to say he saw no reason why Russia “wouldn’t” have been to blame for the 2016 election meddling, the opposite of what he had said a day earlier.

But Trump has since returned to his defiant stance, insisting that the media have unfairly painted his Finland meeting with Putin as something less than a total success. Earlier Monday, he wrote online that the media want to see a “major confrontation” with Russia, even one “that could lead to war.”

“They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!” he wrote.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/trump-russia-putin-second-meeting-732358

 

 

Story 2: President Trump and Republican Party Failure to Cut Government Spending and Balance The Budget and Failure To Support Federal Reserve’s Increase in Interest Rates Will Adversely Impact Economic Growth of U.S. Economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — Recession in 2019? — Videos

What Would Happen If USA Stopped Paying Its Debt?

Trump opposed to more rate hikes, Here’s what that means for the market

CNBC Television

Published on Jul 19, 2018

Fed Chairman Powell expects gradual rate hikes

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Fed Chairman Powell expects gradual rate hikes

ARIRANG NEWS

Published on Jul 17, 2018

Fed lifts interest rates

Financial Times

Published on Jun 13, 2018

PETER SCHIFF – Increasing Short Term Interest Rates Will End Up With Recession

 

Interest Rates Are About to Shoot Through The Roof – Peter Schiff

How the Federal Reserve raising interest rates will affect you

The Fed’s timing behind raising interest rates

Fox Business

Published on Mar 15, 2017

What does a Trump presidency mean for the Fed?

CNNMoney

Published on Nov 14, 2016

Stockman: Trade Wars + the Fed’s QT + Spiking Deficit = Major Recession Ahead

David Stockman Blame the Fed. for USA Trade Deficit

We created a catastrophe for fiscal 2019: David Stockman

Which Countries Will Survive Economic Crisis? Mike Maloney

What Is The Timeframe For US Dollar Collapse? Mike Maloney

Could USA Default On Its Debt? Mike Maloney

Carmen Reinhart: Financial Repression Requires A Captive Audience | McAlvany Commentary

Financial Repression, The War on Cash & The War on Gold

FINANCIAL REPRESSION For Dummies PODCAST w/ Gordon T Long

Trump Blasts Powell’s Rate Hikes, Trespassing on Fed’s Independence

 Updated on 
  • President says he’s ‘not thrilled’ by higher borrowing costs
  • Comments break with 20 years of avoiding public views on rates
Kathleen Gaffney oEaton Vance and Bloomberg’s Vince Cignarella react to President Trump’s comments on the Fed.

“I’m not thrilled” the Fed is raising borrowing costs and potentially slowing the economy, he said in an interview with CNBC broadcast Thursday. “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up.”

The dollar relinquished gains from earlier in the day and Treasury yields dropped following the president’s remarks.

“I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” Trump said.

The Fed has raised interest rates five times since Trump took office in January 2017, with two of those coming this year under Chairman Jerome Powell, the president’s pick to replace Janet Yellen. In the interview, Trump called Powell a “very good man.”

Personal compliments aside, Trump aimed his complaints at a government agency that enjoys a degree of independence from politics because its funding isn’t subject to congressional appropriations.

Powell, nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate with broad bipartisan support, has a four-year term as chairman that ends in 2022. According to the Federal Reserve Act, a Fed chairman can only be removed from office before his or her term ends “for cause,” which isn’t defined.

Central Banks Want Freedom, Politicians Want Control: QuickTake

Most developed-world central banks are given a degree of independence from governments so monetary policy doesn’t succumb to the whims of politicians. In emerging markets such as Turkey, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has felt no such restraint.

“This is such a risky thing for the Fed, and for the president, and for central bank independence,” said Peter Conti-Brown, a Fed historian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Now, even if the Fed pauses its rate-hike campaign for valid economic reasons, it could look politicized. There will be many “who see that as the Fed yielding to a combative president,” Conti-Brown said.

Wharton Fed Historian Says Trump’s Criticism of Rate Hikes Is Risky

Wharton Fed Historian Peter Conti-Brown says Trump’s criticism of the Fed is risky.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Powell addressed Congress this week and told lawmakers that “for now — the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate.” Fed officials have penciled in two more hikes this year. The probability investors assigned to a Fed rate hike in September was little changed near 90 percent after the president’s remarks, while the probability of a December hike was also holding near 65 percent, according to trading in federal funds futures.

Long Tradition

Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment. Powell last week told American Public Media’s “Marketplace” program that the Fed has “a long tradition here of conducting policy in a particular way, and that way is independent of all political concerns.”

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an emailed statement that the president “respects the independence of the Fed,” adding that his views on rates “are well known and his comments today are a reiteration of those long-held positions.”

Trump’s remarks come as the U.S. economy enjoys its second-longest economic expansion on record which has seen unemployment fall close to the lowest levels in 50 years. While the Fed has raised rates, they remain low on a historical basis.

The current target range for its policy benchmark is 1.75 percent and 2 percent. Subtracting inflation, the rate is slightly negative in real terms and still “accommodative” for growth and borrowing, as the Fed said in its June statement.

Indeed, overall financial conditions in the U.S. are largely unchanged since Trump took office in January 2017 despite the Fed’s gradual tightening campaign, and looser than they were on average in 2016, according to a Goldman Sachs index.

It wasn’t the first time in history the Fed has faced pressure from a U.S. president. But the past three administrations under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refrained from publicly commenting on policy decisions.

“The Fed’s independence from short-term political pressures is critical to enabling it to take the longer-run perspective that is essential for achieving its legislated dual mandate for jobs and price stability,” said Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chairman who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Trump Hated Low Interest Rates. Then He Became President

It’s long been speculated that the taboo of commenting on U.S. monetary policy could change under Trump, who slammed the Fed during his election campaign and has demonstrated repeatedly his willingness to flout the conventions and sensibilities of establishment Washington.

While it’s been many years, the White House has also been known to exert other forms of pressure. In December 1965, Lyndon Johnson famously summoned Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin to his ranch in Stonewall, Texas, to confront him over Martin’s decision to lift rates. Martin held his ground.

The same couldn’t be said for Arthur Burns under Richard Nixon. Oval Office tapes later revealed that Nixon demanded Burns goose the economy with low rates ahead of the 1972 election. When Burns didn’t immediately cooperate, the White House planted a false story in the press that Burns was seeking a big pay raise, according to a book by Nixon speech writer William Safire. Eventually Burns relented, aiding Nixon but also helping to feed runaway inflation that dogged the U.S. economy for nearly a decade.

The last known example of U.S. presidential strong-arming came when George H. W. Bush was fighting for re-election. Bush’s White House pushed Alan Greenspan behind the scenes on rates and openly called on the Fed to lower its benchmark in June 1992. Greenspan did lower rates 13 times over 1991-92, but slowed the pace of cuts in the latter year, much to the White House’s annoyance.

— With assistance by Benjamin Purvis, Rich Miller, and Justin Sink

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-19/trump-trespasses-on-fed-independence-blasting-powell-rate-hikes

Who Is Buying US Treasuries?

  BY    0   0

The Japanese and Chinese aren’t buying US Treasuries. In fact, both countries reduced their holdings in April.

According to the US Treasury Department, the Japanese disposed of $12.3 billion in US debt. Meanwhile, Chinese Treasury holdings fell by $5.8 billion.

This could be a troubling development for the US government as it scrambles to fund its massive deficits and ever-growing debt.

Earlier this year, we asked the question: who is going to buy all of this US debt? The US Treasury Department plans to auction off around $1.4 trillion in Treasuries this year. And it won’t end there. The department expects that pace of borrowing to continue over the next several years. That’s a lot of bonds. Who will buy them? Because the biggest purchasers of US debt aren’t in a buying mood. In fact, they appear to be selling.

The Japanese rank as the second-largest holder of US Treasuries, but they’ve been systematically selling. Over the past six months, the Japanese have shed $63 billion in US debt. Since July 2016, they have reduced Treasury holdings by $123 billion.

The Chinese haven’t been dumping Treasuries at the same rate as the Japanese – at least not until recently – but they haven’t been buying either. China’s holdings have remained within the same range since August 2017.

But as the trade war between the US and China continues to intensify, China could use its holdings of US debt as a weapon. The Chinese can’t out-tariff Trump. The US imports far more products than the Chinese. But China does have an ace up its sleeve. They could start more aggressively selling US Treasuries. If China starts dumping large amounts of debt on the market, interest rates will likely soar and the dollar would plunge.

As Wolf Street noted, you can more clearly see that Japan and China are less eager to service US debt when you look at it in terms of the percentage of the US gross national debt.

There are two reasons for the steady decline.

  1. The US gross national debt has soared.
  2. The holdings of China and Japan have fallen over the past two years.

The Federal Reserve is another big player in the US Treasury market. The central bank holds about $2.39 trillion on federal debt, much of it purchased over the last decade through its QE programs. But the Fed isn’t buying right now either. Its Treasury holdings fell by $70 billion from the beginning of its QE unwind last fall through April.

And on an interesting side-note, the Russians cut its Treasury holdings in half in April, selling off $47.4 billion of its $96.1 billion in US debt.

As Wolf Street points out, the Russians don’t hold very much US debt, so their sell-off isn’t particularly meaningful in the big scheme of things. But imagine if China or Japan were to hold a similar fire sale. That would be headline news – and not the good kind.

So, if the big three – China, Japan and the Fed – aren’t buying US bonds, who is?

According to Wolf Street, “Mostly American institutional and individual investors, directly and indirectly, through bond funds, pension funds, and other ways.”

The question is how much of the load can these investors absorb? And how high will interest rates have to climb in order to keep them buying? Keep in mind, rising interest rates don’t just impact bond yields. On the flip-side, debtors are paying more to service their debts. That means leveraged companies and consumers with massive credit card balances. That’s not good news in a world drowning in debt.

The bottom line is interest rates will most likely continue to rise. It’s a simple supply and demand calculation. The Treasury Department has to sell more than a trillion dollars in bonds. Nobody wants to buy. Interest rates will go up to entice more buyers into the market. The Sovereign Man summed up the implications in an article last winter. It’s worth repeating.

Make no mistake: higher interest rates will have an enormous impact on just about EVERYTHING. Many major asset prices tend to fall when interest rates rise. Rising rates mean that it costs more money for companies to borrow, reducing their leverage and overall profitability. So stock prices typically fall. It’s also important to note that, over the last several years when interest rates were basically ZERO, companies borrowed vast sums of money at almost no cost to buy back their own stock. They were essentially using record low interest rates to artificially inflate their share prices. Those days are rapidly coming to an end.”

https://schiffgold.com/key-gold-news/who-is-buying-us-treasuries/

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some of The U.S. Trade Deficit With The European Union, Germany and China! — U.S. LNG Competes With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

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