Benghazi

The Pronk Pops Show 1386, January 28, 2020, Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Defense Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment — Big Lie Media Mob on Bolton Book Bombshell Another Big Dud — Democrat Corruption in Ukraine By Hunter and Joe Biden Not Debunked By Democrats Far From It — Trump Should Be Acquitted By 55 Plus Votes in Favor of Not Guilty Verdict — President Trump Should Win November 2020 Election With Majority and 70 Million Votes and 330 Electoral College Votes in Landslide Victory — The Impeachment’s Unintended Consequences — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1386 January 28, 2020

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Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Defense Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment — Big Lie Media Mob on Bolton Book Bombshell Another Big Dud — Democrat Corruption in Ukraine By Hunter and Joe Biden Not Debunked By Democrats Far From It — Trump Should Be Acquitted By 55 Plus Votes in Favor of Not Guilty Verdict — President Trump Should Win November 2020 Election With Majority and 70 Million Votes and 330 Electoral College Votes in Landslide Victory — The Impeachment’s Unintended Consequences — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for cartoons hunter and joe biden ukraine corruption

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Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment, Bolton Book Details and Biden Appearance of Corruption Examined — Trump Should Be Acquitted or Found Not Guitly By At Least 55 Votes —  Videos

MUST WATCH: Jim Jordan SLAMS John Bolton Book Details

Day six impeachment trial highlights as Republicans continue their defence of President Donald Trump

Trump team continues defense in Senate impeachment trial | Day 6

Trump defense continues arguments in Senate impeachment trial Day 6

WATCH: Pam Bondi argues Biden corruption concerns are legitimate | Trump impeachment trial

WATCH: Herschmann suggests Hunter Biden sought to profit from Burisma board position

Eric Herschmann, a member of Trump’s legal team, argued before the Senate on Jan. 27 that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars serving on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was serving as vice president, profiting off of his last name. Herschmann cast doubt on Hunter’s previous statements that he joined the board of Burisma to enforce corporate governance and transparency in Ukraine and criticized Democrats for dismissing the issue: “Can you imagine what House manager Schiff would say if it was one of the President Trump’s children who was on an oligarch’s payroll?” he asked. President Donald Trump’s defense team is presenting their arguments as part of the Senate impeachment trial. Trump’s trial has entered a pivotal week as his defense team resumes its case and senators face a critical vote on whether to hear witnesses or proceed directly to a vote that is widely expected to end in his acquittal. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House of Representatives impeached the president in December on those two counts.

WATCH: Dershowitz says charges against Trump are ‘outside’ of impeachment offenses

MUST WATCH: Jim Jordan SLAMS John Bolton Book Details

Jim Jordan: Bolton report doesn’t alter the facts in impeachment trial

WATCH LIVE: Senate Democrats, GOP respond to Bolton revelation as Trump impeachment trial continues

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The Pronk Pops Show 1376, January 13, 2019, Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, U-6 Unemployment Rate 6.8% and 145,000 Non-farm Payroll Jobs Created in December 2019 — Labor Participation Rate Stuck at 63.3% — Not In Labor Force 95,625,000 — Videos — Story 2: Global Long Term (Secular) Stagnation, Excess Capacity and Massive Debt Levels — Videos — Story 3: The Peace and Prosperity President Trump With A Non-interventionist Foreign and Domestic Policies — Back To Realpolitik with Offshore Balancing? — Videos

Posted on January 13, 2020. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Banking System, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Environment, European History, European Union, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Japan, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1376 January 13, 2020

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Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.5%, U-6 Unemployment Rate 6.8% and 145,000 Non-farm Payroll Jobs Created in December 2019 — Labor Participation Rate Stuck at 63.3% — Not In Labor Force 95,625,000 — Videos —

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for December 2019 is 20.8%.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

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Labor Secretary on jobs report: Strong end to ‘extraordinary year’

December jobs report: ‘Best labor market for workers’

CNN’s King: Trump’s Booming Economy, Low Unemployment Rate A “Good Calling Card” For 2020

47% of Americans approve of Donald Trump’s job as president

Keiser Report 1485

Bad monetary and fiscal policy is good for gold

U.S. Economic Outlook 2020: On Firmer Ground

Civilian Labor Force Level

164,556,000

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Data extracted on: January 10, 2020 (6:05:45 PM)

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over
Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155763(1) 155312 155005 155394 155536 155749 155599 155605 155687 154673 155265 155182
2014 155352(1) 155483 156028 155369 155684 155707 156007 156130 156040 156417 156494 156332
2015 157030(1) 156644 156643 157060 157651 157062 156997 157172 156733 157167 157463 158035
2016 158342(1) 158653 159103 158981 158787 158973 159123 159579 159817 159734 159551 159710
2017 159647(1) 159767 160066 160309 160060 160232 160339 160690 161212 160378 160510 160538
2018 161068(1) 161783 161684 161742 161874 162269 162173 161768 162078 162605 162662 163111
2019 163142(1) 163047 162935 162546 162782 163133 163373 163894 164051 164401 164347 164556
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Employment Level

158,803,000

 

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143292(1) 143362 143316 143635 143882 143999 144264 144326 144418 143537 144479 144778
2014 145150(1) 145134 145648 145667 145825 146247 146399 146530 146778 147427 147404 147615
2015 148145(1) 148045 148128 148511 148817 148816 148830 149181 148826 149246 149463 150128
2016 150621(1) 150908 151157 151006 151119 151187 151465 151770 151850 151907 152063 152216
2017 152129(1) 152368 152978 153224 153001 153299 153471 153593 154371 153779 153813 153977
2018 154486(1) 155142 155191 155324 155665 155750 155993 155601 156032 156482 156628 156825
2019 156627(1) 156866 156741 156696 156844 157148 157346 157895 158298 158544 158536 158803
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Not in Labor Force

95,625,000

 

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009 80529 80374 80953 80762 80705 80938 81367 81780 82495 82766 82865 83813
2010 83349 83304 83206 82707 83409 84075 84199 84014 84347 84895 84590 85240
2011 85441 85637 85623 85603 85834 86144 86383 86111 85940 86308 86312 86589
2012 87888 87765 87855 88239 88100 88073 88405 88803 88613 88429 88836 88722
2013 88900 89516 89990 89780 89827 89803 90156 90355 90481 91708 91302 91563
2014 91563 91603 91230 92070 91938 92107 92016 92099 92406 92240 92350 92695
2015 92694 93256 93437 93205 92804 93601 93880 93924 94592 94374 94284 93901
2016 94055 93924 93665 93988 94388 94424 94497 94275 94274 94587 94989 95031
2017 94435 94479 94348 94279 94707 94725 94812 94667 94350 95388 95439 95571
2018 95712 95151 95414 95529 95579 95373 95670 96297 96212 95909 96045 95777
2019 95097 95345 95602 96147 96079 95905 95852 95538 95587 95444 95673 95625

 

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.6 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.1 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.8 4.9 4.8 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.7 4.7
2017 4.7 4.6 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.2 4.1
2018 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 3.8 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.9
2019 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 3.5

 

U-6 Labor Unemployment Rate

6.8%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.6 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.5 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.2 12.0 12.1 12.0 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.8 10.9 10.9 10.4 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 10.0 9.9
2016 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.6 9.4 9.2
2017 9.3 9.1 8.8 8.6 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.3 8.0 8.0 8.1
2018 8.1 8.2 7.9 7.8 7.7 7.8 7.5 7.3 7.5 7.4 7.6 7.6
2019 8.0 7.2 7.3 7.3 7.1 7.2 7.0 7.2 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.7

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.3%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

2

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8
2015 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.8 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.5 62.5 62.7
2016 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.7 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7
2017 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.0 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 63.1 62.7 62.7 62.7
2018 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.9 62.9 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.9 63.0
2019 63.2 63.1 63.0 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3 63.2 63.2

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until	      USDL-20-0010
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, January 10, 2020

Technical information: 
 Household data:       (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:   (202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	       (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov
	

                       THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- DECEMBER 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining
lost jobs.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these
two surveys, see the Technical Note.
 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|                                                                                       |
|                  Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                |
|                                                                                       |
|  Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal   |
|  adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally    |
|  adjusted estimates back to January 2015 were subject to revision. The unemployment   |
|  rates for January 2019 through November 2019 (as originally published and as revised)|
|  appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.            |
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


Household Survey Data

In December, the unemployment rate held at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons was unchanged at 5.8 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent,
and the number of unemployed persons was 6.3 million. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult
women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent),
Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in December.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million,
was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5 percent of the unemployed. (See table
A-12.)

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2 percent in December. The
employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent for the fourth consecutive month but was
up by 0.4 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, changed
little in December but was down by 507,000 over the year. These individuals, who would
have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been
reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
310,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were
not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job 
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had
not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 277,000 discouraged workers in December, down
by 98,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 969,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in December
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
(See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 in December. Notable job gains
occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs. In 2019, payroll
employment rose by 2.1 million, down from a gain of 2.7 million in 2018. (See table B-1.)

In December, retail trade added 41,000 jobs. Employment increased in clothing and 
accessories stores (+33,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+7,000);
both industries showed employment declines in the prior month. Employment in retail trade
changed little, on net, in both 2019 and 2018 (+9,000 and +14,000, respectively). 

Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in December. Ambulatory health care services
and hospitals added jobs over the month (+23,000 and +9,000, respectively). Health care
added 399,000 jobs in 2019, compared with an increase of 350,000 in 2018. 

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in December (+40,000). The
industry added 388,000 jobs in 2019, similar to the increase in 2018 (+359,000). 

Mining employment declined by 8,000 in December. In 2019, employment in mining declined
by 24,000, after rising by 63,000 in 2018. 

Construction employment changed little in December (+20,000). Employment in the industry
rose by 151,000 in 2019, about half of the 2018 gain of 307,000. 

In December, employment in professional and business services showed little change
(+10,000). The industry added 397,000 jobs in 2019, down from an increase of 561,000
jobs in 2018.  

Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in December (-10,000).
Employment in the industry increased by 57,000 in 2019, about one-fourth of the 2018
gain of 216,000. 

Manufacturing employment was little changed in December (-12,000). Employment in the
industry changed little in 2019 (+46,000), after increasing in 2018 (+264,000). 

In December, employment showed little change in other major industries, including wholesale
trade, information, financial activities, and government. 

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by
2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees, at $23.79, were little changed (+2 cents). (See tables B-3 and
B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3
hours in December. In manufacturing, the average workweek and overtime remained at 40.5
hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. The average workweek of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees held at 33.5 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 4,000 from
+156,000 to +152,000, and the change for November was revised down by 10,000 from +266,000
to +256,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were
14,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
184,000 over the last 3 months. 

_____________
The Employment Situation for January is scheduled to be released on Friday, February 7,
2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).


 ______________________________________________________________________________________
|										       |
|                   Upcoming Changes to Household Survey Data			       |
|										       |
|  With the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020 on February 7,    |
|  2020, two not seasonally adjusted series currently displayed in Summary table       |
|  A--persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers--will     |
|  be replaced with new seasonally adjusted series. The new seasonally adjusted	       |
|  series will be available in the BLS online database back to 1994. Not seasonally    |
|  adjusted data for persons marginally attached to the labor force and for	       |
|  discouraged workers will continue to be published in table A-16. These series       |
|  will also be available in the BLS online database back to 1994.		       |
| 										       |
|  Persons marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers are inputs   |
|  into three alternative measures of labor underutilization displayed in table A-15.  |
|  Therefore, with the publication of The Employment Situation for January 2020, data  |
|  for U-4, U-5, and U-6 in table A-15 will reflect the new seasonally adjusted	       |
|  series. Revised data back to 1994 will be available in the BLS online database.     |
|  Not seasonally adjusted series for the alternative measures will be unaffected.     |
| 										       |
|  Beginning with data for January 2020, occupation estimates in table A-13 will       |
|  reflect the introduction of the 2018 Census occupation classification system into   |
|  the household survey. This occupation classification system is derived from the     |
|  2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. In addition, industry       |
|  estimates in table A-14 will reflect the introduction of the 2017 Census industry   |
|  classification system, which is derived from the 2017 North American Industry       |
|  Classification System (NAICS). Historical data on occupation and industry will      |
|  not be revised. Beginning with data for January 2020, estimates will not be	       |
|  strictly comparable with earlier years.  					       |
| 										       |
|  Also beginning with data for January 2020, estimates of married persons will        |
|  include those in opposite- and same-sex marriages. Prior to January 2020, these     |
|  estimates included only those in opposite-sex marriages. This will affect marital   |
|  status estimates in tables A-9 and A-10.  Historical data will not be revised.      |
| 										       |
|  Also effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2020, new   |
|  population controls will be used in the household survey estimation process. These  |
|  new controls reflect the annual update of intercensal population estimates by the   |
|  U.S. Census Bureau. In accordance with usual practice, historical data will not     |
|  be revised to incorporate the new controls; consequently, household survey data     |
|  for January 2020 will not be directly comparable with data for December 2019 or     |
|  earlier periods. A table showing the effects of the new controls on the major labor |
|  force series will be included in the January 2020 news release. In addition, the    |
|  population controls for veterans, which are derived from a Department of Veterans   |
|  Affairs' population model and are updated periodically, will also be updated with   |
|  the release of January data. 						       |
|______________________________________________________________________________________|


 ______________________________________________________________________________________
|                 								       |
|                 Upcoming Revisions to Establishment Survey Data		       |
|										       |
|  Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2020 on February |
|  7, 2020, the establishment survey will revise nonfarm payroll employment, hours,    |
|  and earnings data to reflect the annual benchmark process and updated seasonal      |
|  adjustment factors. Not seasonally adjusted data beginning with April 2018 and      |
|  seasonally adjusted data beginning with January 2015 are subject to revision.       |
|  Consistent with standard practice, additional historical data may be revised as a   |
|  result of the benchmark process.						       |
|______________________________________________________________________________________|


             Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data

At the end of each calendar year, BLS routinely updates the seasonal adjustment
factors for the national labor force series derived from the household survey. As
a result of this process, seasonally adjusted data for January 2015 through
November 2019 were subject to revision. (Not seasonally adjusted data were not
subject to revision.)

Table A shows the unemployment rates for January 2019 through November 2019, as
first published and as revised. The rates were unchanged for all 11 months.
Revised seasonally adjusted data for other major labor force series beginning
in December 2018 appear in table B.

More information on this year's revisions to seasonally adjusted household series
is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-seas-adjustment-methodology.pdf. 
Detailed information on the seasonal adjustment methodology is found at
www.bls.gov/cps/seasonal-adjustment-methodology.htm.

Historical data for the household series contained in the A tables of this news
release can be accessed at www.bls.gov/cps/cpsatabs.htm. Revised historical
seasonally adjusted data are available at www.bls.gov/cps/data.htm and
https://download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/ln/.

Table A. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in 2019 and changes due to revision
January - November 2019


Month                 As first published          As revised              Change

January.............                 4.0                 4.0                 0.0
February............                 3.8                 3.8                 0.0
March...............                 3.8                 3.8                 0.0
April...............                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
May.................                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
June................                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
July................                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
August..............                 3.7                 3.7                 0.0
September...........                 3.5                 3.5                 0.0
October.............                 3.6                 3.6                 0.0
November............                 3.5                 3.5                 0.0
HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table B. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age 2018 2019
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

TOTAL

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

258,888 258,239 258,392 258,537 258,693 258,861 259,037 259,225 259,432 259,638 259,845 260,020 260,181

Civilian labor force

163,111 163,142 163,047 162,935 162,546 162,782 163,133 163,373 163,894 164,051 164,401 164,347 164,556

Participation rate

63.0 63.2 63.1 63.0 62.8 62.9 63.0 63.0 63.2 63.2 63.3 63.2 63.2

Employed

156,825 156,627 156,866 156,741 156,696 156,844 157,148 157,346 157,895 158,298 158,544 158,536 158,803

Employment-population ratio

60.6 60.7 60.7 60.6 60.6 60.6 60.7 60.7 60.9 61.0 61.0 61.0 61.0

Unemployed

6,286 6,516 6,181 6,194 5,850 5,938 5,985 6,027 5,999 5,753 5,857 5,811 5,753

Unemployment rate

3.9 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.5 3.5

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

116,739 116,436 116,513 116,586 116,665 116,752 116,843 116,939 117,040 117,140 117,242 117,331 117,413

Civilian labor force

83,483 83,586 83,588 83,566 83,421 83,569 83,568 83,771 83,852 83,841 83,911 84,057 84,008

Participation rate

71.5 71.8 71.7 71.7 71.5 71.6 71.5 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.6 71.5

Employed

80,496 80,474 80,677 80,570 80,609 80,761 80,780 80,975 81,046 81,146 81,196 81,377 81,390

Employment-population ratio

69.0 69.1 69.2 69.1 69.1 69.2 69.1 69.2 69.2 69.3 69.3 69.4 69.3

Unemployed

2,987 3,112 2,911 2,995 2,812 2,808 2,788 2,796 2,806 2,695 2,715 2,679 2,618

Unemployment rate

3.6 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.1

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

125,393 125,099 125,177 125,252 125,332 125,419 125,509 125,604 125,705 125,806 125,907 125,998 126,082

Civilian labor force

73,673 73,643 73,667 73,508 73,440 73,439 73,655 73,585 74,116 74,313 74,542 74,291 74,584

Participation rate

58.8 58.9 58.8 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.7 58.6 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.0 59.2

Employed

71,123 71,004 71,169 71,056 71,136 71,038 71,209 71,120 71,665 71,990 72,130 71,881 72,200

Employment-population ratio

56.7 56.8 56.9 56.7 56.8 56.6 56.7 56.6 57.0 57.2 57.3 57.0 57.3

Unemployed

2,550 2,639 2,497 2,451 2,304 2,401 2,447 2,465 2,451 2,323 2,411 2,411 2,383

Unemployment rate

3.5 3.6 3.4 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.2

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

16,756 16,704 16,702 16,698 16,696 16,690 16,686 16,682 16,687 16,691 16,696 16,692 16,686

Civilian labor force

5,955 5,913 5,792 5,862 5,685 5,774 5,910 6,017 5,926 5,897 5,948 5,999 5,964

Participation rate

35.5 35.4 34.7 35.1 34.1 34.6 35.4 36.1 35.5 35.3 35.6 35.9 35.7

Employed

5,205 5,149 5,019 5,115 4,951 5,044 5,159 5,250 5,184 5,162 5,218 5,278 5,213

Employment-population ratio

31.1 30.8 30.1 30.6 29.7 30.2 30.9 31.5 31.1 30.9 31.3 31.6 31.2

Unemployed

750 765 773 747 734 730 751 767 742 735 730 721 752

Unemployment rate

12.6 12.9 13.3 12.7 12.9 12.6 12.7 12.7 12.5 12.5 12.3 12.0 12.6

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation.

NOTE: Seasonally adjusted data have been revised to reflect updated seasonal adjustment factors.

 


 

 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Change from:
Nov.
2019-
Dec.
2019

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

258,888 259,845 260,020 260,181 161

Civilian labor force

163,111 164,401 164,347 164,556 209

Participation rate

63.0 63.3 63.2 63.2 0.0

Employed

156,825 158,544 158,536 158,803 267

Employment-population ratio

60.6 61.0 61.0 61.0 0.0

Unemployed

6,286 5,857 5,811 5,753 -58

Unemployment rate

3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 0.0

Not in labor force

95,777 95,444 95,673 95,625 -48

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 0.0

Adult men (20 years and over)

3.6 3.2 3.2 3.1 -0.1

Adult women (20 years and over)

3.5 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

12.6 12.3 12.0 12.6 0.6

White

3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 0.0

Black or African American

6.6 5.5 5.6 5.9 0.3

Asian

3.3 2.8 2.6 2.5 -0.1

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

4.4 4.1 4.2 4.2 0.0

Total, 25 years and over

3.1 2.9 2.9 2.8 -0.1

Less than a high school diploma

5.8 5.5 5.3 5.2 -0.1

High school graduates, no college

3.8 3.7 3.7 3.7 0.0

Some college or associate degree

3.3 2.8 2.9 2.7 -0.2

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.2 2.1 2.0 1.9 -0.1

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

2,892 2,691 2,804 2,686 -118

Job leavers

827 846 776 829 53

Reentrants

1,968 1,698 1,663 1,655 -8

New entrants

600 622 581 551 -30

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,117 1,978 2,026 2,065 39

5 to 14 weeks

2,007 1,747 1,753 1,730 -23

15 to 26 weeks

899 884 865 812 -53

27 weeks and over

1,311 1,259 1,219 1,186 -33

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

4,655 4,397 4,288 4,148 -140

Slack work or business conditions

2,895 2,747 2,634 2,657 23

Could only find part-time work

1,487 1,278 1,259 1,215 -44

Part time for noneconomic reasons

21,230 21,544 21,532 21,586 54

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,556 1,229 1,246 1,246

Discouraged workers

375 341 325 277

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019(P)
Dec.
2019(P)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

227 152 256 145

Total private

224 164 243 139

Goods-producing

40 -29 52 -1

Mining and logging

4 2 -8 -9

Construction

16 14 2 20

Manufacturing

20 -45 58 -12

Durable goods(1)

14 -51 48 -7

Motor vehicles and parts

1.2 -43.6 39.3 -0.8

Nondurable goods

6 6 10 -5

Private service-providing

184 193 191 140

Wholesale trade

12.5 10.7 -2.5 8.3

Retail trade

-5.9 30.9 -14.1 41.2

Transportation and warehousing

-1.1 2.8 11.9 -10.4

Utilities

-0.2 -1.4 1.2 0.8

Information

-2 0 8 3

Financial activities

1 16 14 6

Professional and business services(1)

37 35 53 10

Temporary help services

13.5 -5.4 4.0 6.4

Education and health services(1)

67 31 72 36

Health care and social assistance

52.9 37.8 63.8 33.9

Leisure and hospitality

65 70 38 40

Other services

11 -2 10 5

Government

3 -12 13 6

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

233 188 200 184

Total private

236 170 197 182

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

Total nonfarm women employees

49.7 50.0 50.0 50.0

Total private women employees

48.3 48.6 48.6 48.7

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.4 82.2 82.2 82.2

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.5 34.3 34.3 34.3

Average hourly earnings

$27.53 $28.20 $28.29 $28.32

Average weekly earnings

$949.79 $967.26 $970.35 $971.38

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

110.7 111.4 111.6 111.7

Over-the-month percent change

0.5 -0.1 0.2 0.1

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

145.6 150.1 150.9 151.2

Over-the-month percent change

0.8 0.1 0.5 0.2

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

Total private (258 industries)

65.9 55.2 65.7 57.0

Manufacturing (76 industries)

65.1 38.2 65.8 44.7

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(P) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2018 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.b.htm

Story 2: Global Long Term (Secular) Stagnation, Excess Capacity and Massive Debt Levels — Videos

What is SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY? What does SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY mean?

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Summers on U.S. Economy, Inflation and `Secular Stagnation’

Secular Stagnation and the Future of Global Macroeconomic Policy

Lawrence Summers, “Secular Stagnation and Monetary Policy” | 2016 Homer Jones Lecture

Larry Summers at IMF Economic Forum, Nov. 8

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This July 16, 2019, file photo shows the Capitol Dome in Washington. The U.S. budget deficit through the first three months of this budget year is up 11.8% from the same period a year ago, putting the country on track to record its first $1 trillion deficit in eight years. The Treasury Department said Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, that the deficit from October through December totaled $356.6 billion. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The U.S. budget deficit through the first three months of this budget year is up 11.8% from the same period a year ago, putting the country on track to record its first $1 trillion deficit in eight years.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit from October through December totaled $356.6 billion, up from $318.9 billion for the same period last year.

Both government spending and revenues set records for the first three months of this budget year but spending rose at a faster clip than tax collections, pushing the deficit total up.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the current 2020 budget year will hit $1 trillion and will remain over $1 trillion for the next decade. The country has not experienced $1 trillion annual deficits since the period from 2009 through 2012 following the 2008 financial crisis.

The actual deficit for the 2019 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, was $984.4 billion, up 26% from the 2018 imbalance, reflecting the impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut President Donald Trump pushed through Congress in 2017 and increased spending for military and domestic programs that Trump accepted as part of a budget deal with Democrats.

The projections of trillion-dollar deficits are in contrast to Trump’s campaign promise in 2016 that even with his proposed tax cuts, he would be able to eliminate future deficits with cuts in spending and growth in revenues that would result from a stronger economy.

For the first three months of the 2020 budget year, revenues have totaled $806.5 billion, up 4.8% from the same three months a year ago, while government spending has totaled $948.9 billion, an increase of 6.3% from a year ago.

Both the spending amounts and revenue amounts are records for the first three months of a budget year. The deficit in December totaled $13.3 billion, slightly lower than the $13.5 billion deficit in December 2019.

https://apnews.com/179b7a049feebdc199d1699408bb5310

Secular stagnation: it’s time to admit that Larry Summers was right about this global economic growth trap

No laughing matter. Asia SocietyCC BY-SA

Summers would go on to suggest that secular stagnation “may be the defining macroeconomic challenge of our times”. There followed a major debate between heavyweight economists about whether he was right, but for several years the global economy contradicted him by growing steadily.

Now, however, this looks to be at an end. Look no further than the OECD projections from March 6, which foresee all advanced economies growing much more slowly than anticipated a few months ago. The left-hand chart below shows the OECD projections from last May, while the right-hand chart shows the latest outlook, complete with red arrows to indicate the sharpest downward revisions.

OECD

The overarching global theme seems to be Donald Trump’s trade war and the fact that central banks have been tightening monetary policy: the US Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates four times in the past year, while the European Central Bank is no longer “printing” money through its programme of quantitative easing. There are additional local reasons, such as UK fears about a hard Brexit, or excessive levels of private sector debt in China. Underlying all of this, however, is the growing feeling that secular stagnation is a major drag behind the scenes.

Back in fashion

The theory was originally put forward in 1938 by the Harvard economist Alvin Hansen in response to the Great Depression. He argued that America’s economy was suffering from a lack of investment opportunities linked to waning technological innovation; and not enough new workers due to an ageing population, too little immigration, and the closing of the old economic frontier in the American West.

In Hansen’s view, the weak growth in the economy was therefore here to stay – “secular” means “long term” in this context. Yet he would soon be proved spectacularly wrong as World War II provided a big temporary boost to the economy in the form of military spending, followed by a post-war baby boom and rapid technological progress in the 1950s and 1960s. Little more was heard of secular stagnation until Larry Summers’ intervention.

At the core of the theory today is real interest rates. This refers to the long-term interest rate, meaning the rate of return on ten-year government bonds, after inflation has been stripped out. For example, if a country’s long-term interest rate is 1% but the rate of inflation is 2.5%, the real interest rate is -1.5%.

When you take a global average of real interest rates from different countries, my own research shows that the global rate has declined from more than 5% in the early 1980s to below 0% after the financial crisis of 2007-09. Today, real interest rates remain negative in many advanced economies, including Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and the entire eurozone.

Summers has pointed to several structural factors behind this long-term decline. In an echo of what appeared true in 1938, rich countries are ageing as birth rates decline and people live longer. This has pushed down real interest rates because investors think these trends will mean they will make lower returns from investing in future, making them more willing to accept a lower return on government debt as a result.

Other factors that make investors similarly pessimistic include rising global inequality and the slowdown in productivity growth. It is a major paradox that labour productivity, the most important source of long-run economic growth, is actually rising much slower today than for decades, even though technological progress has seemingly accelerated.

This decline in real interest rates matters because economists believe that to overcome an economic downturn, a central bank must drive down the real interest rate to a certain level to encourage more spending and investment. This is referred to as the level required to reach full employment. Because real interest rates are so low, Summers and his supporters believe that the rate required to reach full employment is so far into negative territory that it is effectively impossible.

The remedy

Summers argues that this problem is why the massive cuts to headline interest rates after the financial crisis did not solve the problem. In other words, monetary policy was actually much less expansionary than many people believe (even though quantitative easing was actually helpful here). Not only that, there is now substantial evidence that austerity policies in places like southern Europe made things significantly worse.

The upshot is that in the eurozone and elsewhere, there is little or no room to cut interest rates when the next recession comes – probably fairly soon given the current expansion is already a few years old. Central bankers will meanwhile be wary of using more quantitative easing, since it has generated a lot of political backlash.

‘No stagnation here, mate.’ Markus Mainka

So what to do instead? Interestingly, the one country not to have had a recession in almost 30 years is Australia, which has enjoyed very high population growth and has never seen interest rates as low as many countries. This suggests that in the long run, more immigration might be a vital part of curing secular stagnation. Summers also heavily prescribes increased government spending, arguing that it might actually be more prudent than cutting back – especially if the money is spent on infrastructure, education and research and development.

Of course, governments in Europe and the US are instead trying to shut their doors to migrants. And austerity policies have taken their toll on infrastructure and public research. This looks set to ensure that the next recession will be particularly nasty when it comes. Alvin Hansen may have been wrong in the 1930s but his analysis is looking increasingly persuasive today. Unless governments change course radically, we could be in for a sobering period ahead.

 

http://theconversation.com/secular-stagnation-its-time-to-admit-that-larry-summers-was-right-about-this-global-economic-growth-trap-112977

Global debt hits an all-time high of $188 TRILLION – more than DOUBLE the world’s economic output – the IMF warns

  • IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva warned global debt has surged to a all-time high
  • Debt is at $188 trillion – which is around 230 per cent of world’s economic output
  • Kristalina Georgieva said high debt burdens left many governments vulnerable

Global debt has hit an all-time high of $188 trillion, which is more than double the output of the global economy, the IMF warned today.

The global debt load has surged to a new record of around 230 per cent of world’s output, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said.

While private sector borrowing accounts for the vast majority of the total, the rise puts governments and individuals at risk if the economy slows, she said.

‘Global debt – both public and private – has reached an all-time high of $188 trillion.  This amounts to about 230 per cent of world output,’ Georgieva said in a speech to open a two-day conference on debt.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference last month. She warned debt burdens on governments around the world

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference last month. She warned debt burdens on governments around the world

That is up from the previous record of $164 trillion in 2016, according to IMF figures.

While interest rates remain low, borrowers can use debt to make investments in productive activities or weather a bout of low commodity prices.

But it can become ‘a drag on growth’, she said.

‘The bottom line is that high debt burdens have left many governments, companies, and households vulnerable to a sudden tightening of financial conditions,’ she cautioned.

Corporate debt accounts for about two thirds of the total but government borrowing has risen as well in the wake of the global financial crisis.

‘Public debt in advanced economies is at levels not seen since the Second World War,’ she warned. And ’emerging market public debt is at levels last seen during the 1980s debt crisis.’

She called for steps to ensure ‘borrowing is more sustainable,’ including making lending practices more transparent and preparing for debt restructuring with ‘non-traditional lenders’ – an apparent reference to China, which has become a major creditor to developing nations including in Africa.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7661737/Global-debt-hits-time-high-188-TRILLION-DOUBLE-worlds-economic-output-IMF-warn.html

 

Secular stagnation

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In economics, secular stagnation is a condition when there is negligible or no economic growth in a market-based economy.[1] In this context, the term secular means long-term (from Latin “saeculum“—century or lifetime), and is used in contrast to cyclical or short-term. It suggests a change of fundamental dynamics which would play out only in its own time. The concept was originally put forth by Alvin Hansen in 1938. According to The Economist, it was used to “describe what he feared was the fate of the American economy following the Great Depression of the early 1930s: a check to economic progress as investment opportunities were stunted by the closing of the frontier and the collapse of immigration”.[2][3] Warnings of impending secular stagnation have been issued after all deep recessions since the Great Depression, but the hypothesis has remained controversial.[4][5]

Definition

Sectoral balances in U.S. economy 1990-2017. By definition, the three balances must net to zero. The green line indicates a private sector surplus, where savings exceeds investment. Since 2008, the foreign sector surplus and private sector surplus have been offset by a government budget deficit.[6]

The term secular stagnation refers to a market economy with a chronic (secular or long-term) lack of demand. Historically, a booming economy with low unemployment and high GDP growth (i.e., an economy at or above capacity) would generate inflation in wages and products. However, an economy facing secular stagnation behaves as if it is operating below capacity, even when the economy appears to be booming; inflation does not appear. Savings by households exceeds investment by businesses, which in a healthy economy would cause interest rates to fall, stimulating spending and investment thereby bringing the two into balance. However, an economy facing secular stagnation may require an interest rate below zero to bring savings and investment into balance. The surplus of savings over investment may be generating price appreciation in financial assets or real estate. For example, the U.S. had low unemployment but low inflation in the years leading up to the Great Recession, although a massive housing bubble developed.[7]

The idea of secular stagnation dates back to the Great Depression, when some economists feared that the United States had permanently entered a period of low growth.[8] The Economist explained in 2018 that many factors may contribute to secular stagnation, by either driving up savings or reducing investment. Households paying down debt (i.e., deleveraging) increase savings and are spending less; businesses react to the lack of demand by investing less. This was a major factor in the slow U.S. GDP growth during 2009-2012 following the Great Recession. Another possible cause is income inequality, which shifts more money to the wealthy, who tend to save it rather than spend it, thus increasing savings and perhaps driving up financial asset prices. Aging populations (which spend less per capita) and a slowdown in productivity may also reduce investment. Governments facing secular stagnation may choose to: a) accept slower growth; b) accept an asset bubble to temporarily stimulate the economy; or c) absorb the savings surplus through higher budget deficits, which reduces national savings but increases the risk of financial crises. Central banks face a difficult dilemma; do they raise interest rates to ward off inflation (e.g., implement monetary policy austerity) assuming the economy is in a cyclical boom, or assume the economy (even if temporarily booming) is in secular stagnation and therefore take a more stimulative approach?[7]

Stagnation and the financial explosion: the 1980s

An analysis of stagnation and what is now called financialization was provided in the 1980s by Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy, coeditors of the independent socialist journal Monthly Review. Magdoff was a former economic advisor to Vice President Henry A. Wallace in Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, while Sweezy was a former Harvard economics professor. In their 1987 book, Stagnation and the Financial Explosion, they argued, based on Keynes, Hansen, Michał Kalecki, and Marx, and marshaling extensive empirical data,[citation needed] that, contrary to the usual way of thinking, stagnation or slow growth was the norm for mature, monopolistic (or oligopolistic) economies, while rapid growth was the exception.[9]

Private accumulation had a strong tendency to weak growth and high levels of excess capacity and unemployment/underemployment, which could, however, be countered in part by such exogenous factors as state spending (military and civilian), epoch-making technological innovations (for example, the automobile in its expansionary period), and the growth of finance.[10] In the 1980s and 1990s Magdoff and Sweezy argued that a financial explosion of long duration was lifting the economy, but this would eventually compound the contradictions of the system, producing ever bigger speculative bubbles, and leading eventually to a resumption of overt stagnation.

2008–2009

Economists have asked whether the low economic growth rate in the developed world leading up to and following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 was due to secular stagnation. Paul Krugman wrote in September 2013: “[T]here is a case for believing that the problem of maintaining adequate aggregate demand is going to be very persistent – that we may face something like the ‘secular stagnation’ many economists feared after World War II.” Krugman wrote that fiscal policy stimulus and higher inflation (to achieve a negative real rate of interest necessary to achieve full employment) may be potential solutions.[11]

Larry Summers presented his view during November 2013 that secular (long-term) stagnation may be a reason that U.S. growth is insufficient to reach full employment: “Suppose then that the short term real interest rate that was consistent with full employment [i.e., the “natural rate”] had fallen to negative two or negative three percent. Even with artificial stimulus to demand you wouldn’t see any excess demand. Even with a resumption in normal credit conditions you would have a lot of difficulty getting back to full employment.”[12][13]

Robert J. Gordon wrote in August 2012: “Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative ‘exercise in subtraction’ suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades”.[14]

Post-2009

This chart compares U.S. potential GDP under two CBO forecasts (one from 2007 and one from 2016) versus the actual real GDP. It is based on a similar diagram from economist Larry Summers from 2014.[15]

Secular stagnation was dusted off by Hans-Werner Sinn in a 2009 article [16] dismissing the threat of inflation, and became popular again when Larry Summers invoked the term and concept during a 2013 speech at the IMF.[17]

However, The Economist criticizes secular stagnation as “a baggy concept, arguably too capacious for its own good”.[2] Warnings of impending secular stagnation have been issued after all deep recessions, but turned out to be wrong because they underestimated the potential of existing technologies.[4]

Paul Krugman, writing in 2014, clarified that it refers to “the claim that underlying changes in the economy, such as slowing growth in the working-age population, have made episodes like the past five years in Europe and the United States, and the last 20 years in Japan, likely to happen often. That is, we will often find ourselves facing persistent shortfalls of demand, which can’t be overcome even with near-zero interest rates.”[18] At its root is “the problem of building consumer demand at a time when people are less motivated to spend”.[19]

One theory is that the boost in growth by the internet and technological advancement in computers of the new economy does not measure up to the boost caused by the great inventions of the past. An example of such a great invention is the assembly line production method of Fordism. The general form of the argument has been the subject of papers by Robert J. Gordon.[20] It has also been written about by Owen. C. Paepke and Tyler Cowen.[21]

Secular stagnation has also been linked to the rise of the digital economy. Carl Benedikt Frey, for example, has suggested that digital technologies are much less capital-absorbing, creating only little new investment demand relative to other revolutionary technologies.[22]

Another is that the damage done by the Great Recession was so long-lasting and permanent, so many workers will never get jobs again, that we really can’t recover.[19]

A third is that there is a “persistent and disturbing reluctance of businesses to invest and consumers to spend”, perhaps in part because so much of the recent gains have gone to the people at the top, and they tend to save more of their money than people—ordinary working people who can’t afford to do that.[19]

A fourth is that advanced economies are just simply paying the price for years of inadequate investment in infrastructure and education, the basic ingredients of growth.

A fifth is related to decreased mortality and increased longevity, thus changes in the demographic structure in advanced economies, affecting both demand, through increased savings, and supply, through reduced innovation activities.[23]

And a sixth is that economic growth is largely related to the concept of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI), or energy surplus, which with the discovery of fossil fuels shot up to very high and historically unprecedented levels. This allowed, and in effect fueled, dramatic increases in human consumption since the Industrial Revolution and many related technological advances. Under this argument, diminishing and increasingly difficult to access fossil fuel reserves directly lead to significantly reduced EROEI, and therefore put a brake on, and potentially reverse, long-term economic growth, leading to secular stagnation.[24] Linked to the EROEI argument are those stemming from the Limits to Growth school of thinking, whereby environmental and resource constraints in general are likely to impose an eventual limit on the continued expansion of human consumption and incomes. While ‘limits to growth’ thinking went out of fashion in the decades following the initial publication in 1972, a recent study[25] shows human development continues to align well with the ‘overshoot and collapse’ projection outlined in the standard run of the original analysis, and this is before factoring in the potential effects of climate change.

A 2018 CUSP working paper by Tim Jackson, The Post-Growth Challenge,[26] argues that low growth rates might in fact be ‘the new normal’.[27]

See also

References

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

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Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead

Lacking coherent objectives and a strategy for achieving them, moves like the assassination of Qassem Suleimani are foreign policy as theater—and could leave the United States worse off.

A man holds a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani during a demonstration in Tehran on Jan. 3.

A man holds a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani during a demonstration in Tehran on Jan. 3. ATTA KENARE/ AFP/ GETTY IMAGES

Well, that didn’t take long. 2020 is less than a week old, and U.S. President Donald Trump has managed to stumble into another pointless and dangerous crisis with Iran. It is the near-inevitable result of his myopic approach to the entire Middle East (and especially Iran) and another demonstration of Washington’s inability to formulate a coherent and effective policy toward any important global issue.

When did this country get so bad at strategy?

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In fairness, the problem predates Trump, although his own incompetence, impulsiveness, indifference to advice, and uncanny ability to pick third-rate advisors has made the problem worse. The end result may be more innocent lives lost—some of them American—and a further erosion in the United States’ global position. And that’s assuming that Trump’s ordering of the killing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Suleimani doesn’t lead to all-out war.

With respect to Iran, the assassination is a strategic error entirely of Trump’s own making. Egged on by Saudi Arabia, Israel, hawkish institutes like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and some of his wealthy backers, the president abandoned the multilateral agreement that had successfully capped Iran’s nuclear program and also created a diplomatic opening that a savvier administration could have used to address Iran’s regional activities. He then began his campaign of so-called maximum pressure—a comprehensive program of economic warfare against Iran that sought to eliminate the country’s enrichment capacity, force Iran to change its foreign policy to suit the United States, and maybe topple the regime itself. Ordinary Iranians are suffering mightily as a result of U.S. sanctions, but the regime has neither caved to Trump’s demands nor collapsed. Instead, it has moved gradually to restart its nuclear program, cultivated closer ties with Russia and China, and retaliated against U.S. allies in the region. The logic of Tehran’s response is straightforward and utterly predictable: If the United States wants to make life difficult for Iran, its leaders will demonstrate that they can make life difficult for the United States too. It wouldn’t take more than a shred of strategic thinking to anticipate Iran’s response and recognize that unilateral pressure was not going to work.

By eschewing diplomacy and relying solely on threats and coercion, Trump gave himself no choice but to back down or escalate once it became clear that maximum pressure had backfired. When an Iraqi militia with ties to Iran staged a rocket attack in early December 2019 that killed a U.S. contractor, Trump responded with airstrikes against the militia camps that killed some two dozen Iraqis. Pro-Iranian Iraqi demonstrators proceeded to besiege the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, although with no loss of life. The demonstrators eventually dispersed, and the situation seemed to be deescalating. But then Trump approved the assassination of Suleimani, a very senior and highly respected Iranian official, in Baghdad early Friday morning.

To understand how this chain of events might look from Iran’s perspective, consider how the United States might respond if a foreign adversary killed a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the head of the CIA, or maybe even the vice president. Washington would not just shrug it off. To say this is not to defend Suleimani, who was by all accounts an ardent foe of the United States. It is rather to ask the proper strategic question: Did assassinating a prominent official of a foreign government advance the country’s national interest? Will this act make Americans safer and richer, or increase their influence around the world? The answer is: no and no.

For starters, Iran will almost inevitably respond, just as the United States would were the situation reversed. The regime will do so at a time and with means of its own choosing, and in ways designed to maximize the pain and political impact. Second, the assassination is going to inflame Iranian nationalism and strengthen hard-line forces in Iran, further reducing any possibility of regime change there. Third, killing Suleimani on Iraqi soil is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty that put its fragile government on even shakier ground, and it is worth noting that caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has already condemned the U.S. action. Fourth, Trump has now given Iran even more incentive to acquire nuclear weapons, a step that would force Washington to go to all-out war or back down and accept an Iranian bomb. All this over a country that has serious disputes with some of the United States’ regional partners but does not threaten the security or prosperity of the United States itself in any meaningful way.

And finally, there’s the precedent the United States is setting. As the political scientist Ward Thomas explained in a seminal article in 2000, there has long been a powerful international norm against assassinations by governments, largely because the leaders of powerful states understand that it is in their mutual self-interest not to try to kill each other. The taboo didn’t completely eliminate the use of this tactic, of course, and Thomas argues that the norm has begun to break down in recent decades. But do we really want to live in a world where assassination is regarded as a perfectly normal way of doing business and becomes more and more commonplace? Surely hawkish American politicians who think killing Suleimani was acceptable don’t really want to run the risk of ending up on somebody else’s target list. And to be sure, if Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the killing of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, or if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decided to redouble his grandfather’s efforts to murder politicians in South Korea, it would be far harder for the United States to object.

Moreover, although taking out bad guys may appeal to a crude desire for vengeance, it rarely solves the underlying political problem. A lot of bad leaders have departed this mortal coil in recent decades, yet the political challenges they embodied continue to bedevil us. Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and many other U.S. foes are gone, but their deaths didn’t magically solve the foreign-policy problems with which they were associated. Indeed, there is some evidence that “decapitation” (that is, killing top leaders) tends to empower extremists and incline them toward even greater violence.

In short, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran—including this most recent incident—appears devoid of strategic logic or purpose. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the rest of the administration’s foreign-policy team are like chess players who have failed to consider more than one move at a time and thus miss what should be an obvious fact of life in international politics: The other player gets to move their pieces too. Their denunciations, reinforcements, sanctions, and drone strikes are foreign policy as performance art, instead of the tough-minded and careful realpolitik that should inform a great nation’s approach to the world.iran

Now for the really bad news: The lack of strategic thinking—formulating a clear objective and developing a coherent plan to achieve it that anticipates how others are likely to respond—isn’t limited to the United States’ dealings with Iran. And it goes well beyond the Trump administration, besides. Indeed, I’d argue that the country’s ability to formulate clear and effective strategies has been steadily eroding for some time. In my next column, I’ll offer some additional illustrations of the problem and explain why genuine strategic thinking is now an endangered species in the Land of the Free.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead

Has Trump Become a Realist?

America finally has a president who grasps the basic logic of offshore balancing in the Middle East.

Donald Trump attends a roundtable discon April 16, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump attends a roundtable discon April 16, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There’s reason to think Donald Trump is becoming a closet realist or even — dare I say it? — an offshore balancer.

Admittedly, it’s hard to credit him with having a coherent strategy of any kind, given the recurring contradictions in what he says and his penchant for reversing course without warning or explanation. But in the Middle East, at least, one could argue that Trump is trying — in his own ill-informed, impulsive, and erratic way — to return to the strategy of offshore balancing that the United States pursued more or less successfully in this region from 1945 to 1992.

To review: After World War II, U.S. leaders recognized that the Middle East was of increasing strategic importance. Oil and natural gas were fueling the world economy, and the Middle East contained enormous and readily accessible reserves. Accordingly, preventing any single power from dominating the region and gaining effective control of these critical resources became a central U.S. objective. But the United States didn’t try to protect Middle East oil by colonizing the region or garrisoning it with its own troops. Instead, it relied on Great Britain (until the late 1960s) and a variety of local clients to maintain a regional balance of power and prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring excessive influence.

When the United States did intervene with military force — as it did in Lebanon in 1958 — it kept its presence small and didn’t stay long. Concerns about a potential Soviet grab for the Gulf led the United States to create a new Rapid Deployment Force after the 1979 Iranian revolution, but Washington kept it offshore and over the horizon and didn’t bring it into the region until Iraq seized Kuwait in 1990. Because that invasion posed a serious threat to the regional balance of power, it made good sense for the United States (and many others) to intervene to expel Iraq and demolish much of its military machine.

The United States abandoned this sensible strategy after the first Gulf War, however, opting first for dual containment and then regional transformation. The first approach helped produce 9/11; the second brought us the debacle in Iraq and played no small role in the emergence of the Islamic State and the wider chaos we see there today. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Trump was critical of past U.S. involvement and promised to act differently as president.

In that light, consider what Trump has done since he took office.

First, as his recent actions in Syria remind us, he has shown no enthusiasm whatsoever for an expanded U.S. role in that conflict and especially not if it might involve a major U.S. ground force presence. Remember that a couple of weeks ago he was talking about getting out entirely, to the horror of nearly everyone in the foreign-policy mainstream. Like his predecessors, he’s willing to order missile strikes on thugs such as Bashar al-Assad — earning the usual cheers from liberal interventionists who never saw a military action they couldn’t find some rationale for supporting — but he’s not going to do more than that, and there’s no sign of a U.S.-led diplomatic initiative (such as the one Aaron Stein has proposed) that might actually move that brutal conflict closer to a solution. Blowing things up from a safe distance is all Trump seems willing to contemplate, even when it won’t affect the situation in Syria in the slightest.

The rest of Trump’s approach to the Middle East has been to let America’s local clients — Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Syrian Kurdish militias, etc. — do more to counter various regional opponents (Iran, Syria, and increasingly Russia), as well as nonstate troublemakers, including al Qaeda and offshoots such as the Islamic State. Hezbollah and Hamas fall under that bad guy umbrella, too. To aid these efforts, the United States will sell or give its allies lots of sophisticated weapons (which helps reduce the trade deficit) and provide them with diplomatic cover at the United Nations. Washington will also turn a blind eye to whatever foolish cruelties its regional partners decide to inflict on mostly helpless victims and forget about trying to promote democracy, human rights, regional transformation, or any of that idealistic sob stuff.

Isn’t this more restrained approach what I (and other realists) have been recommending for years, to little avail? The United States stays out of the region and lets the locals duke it out so long as none of them comes close to winning it all. Over time, it can worry less and less about the entire Middle East as the world weans itself off fossil fuels (and the country’s own shale gas production provides whatever residual it needs). In the meantime, the United States can focus its attention on regions that matter more, such as East and Southeast Asia. Shouldn’t I be cheering (and claiming credit) for Trump’s handling of these issues?

Not quite.

There’s no question that Trump is appropriately wary of what he sees as open-ended military quagmires, and that’s a step in the right direction after the follies of the past 25 years. But that wariness hardly makes him unique at this point. No sensible leader starts a war if he or she knows in advance that it will be an open-ended and costly affair, and for the United States, the more demanding challenge is getting out of the endless wars of choice it has stumbled into by mistake. And here Trump has visibly failed.

Tweeted misgivings and sometimes sensible rhetoric aside, the cold, hard truth is that Trump has done next to nothing to reduce the U.S. footprint in the greater Middle East. In addition to sending more troops to the unwinnable Afghan war, he has authorized the Defense Department to ramp up U.S. counterterrorism activities in several places and sent more troops to do the job. By one estimate, the U.S. military presence in the region has increased by about 33 percent on Trump’s watch, to a total of roughly 54,000 troops and civilian support personnel.

To be clear, that’s not exactly what people like me mean by “offshore.”

Second, the central goal of offshore balancing is to prevent any hostile power from dominating a critical strategic region and, if possible, to get others to bear most of the burden of that effort. Well, as Trump (or George W. Bush) might say: “Mission accomplished.” Preserving a balance of power in the region is easier today than it has ever been because the Middle East is already as divided as it has ever been and there’s no outside power (like the old Soviet Union) that might aspire to such a goal. (Russia’s role in Syria is limited to keeping Assad in power — full stop — and that’s a very modest objective.) The idea that any single power is going to dominate or control the entire region is presently remote and likely to remain so for decades. The United States couldn’t do it when it was the uncontested unipolar power, and China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, or Iran wouldn’t be able to do it if they tried.

Yet Trump’s headlong support for America’s present clients rests on the assumption that the regional balance of power is actually quite delicate. Poorly informed and easily bamboozled, he has swallowed the Saudi/Israeli/Emirati view that Iran is a rapacious potential hegemon that is on the brink of establishing a new Persian Empire. In Trump’s mind, therefore, the United States has little choice but to give its local allies uncritical and unconditional support. (One suspects the equally gullible Jared Kushner had a role in this feverish vision, too.) At the same time, Trump inexplicably thinks walking away from the nuclear deal with Iran will make containing the country easier because he fails to grasp that sabotaging the deal will make it more likely that Iran ends up a nuclear weapons state like North Korea. The United States could launch a preventive war, but that possibility has quagmire written all over it and is hardly what offshore balancers would recommend. America’s local clients may be delighted if it took this fateful step (and if it worked, of course), but that would only prove that Washington’s allies were better at passing the buck to it than it was at passing the buck back to them.

Needless to say, Trump’s uncritical embrace of U.S. allies’ self-interested worldview is at odds with the sober realism that offshore balancers recommend. And as I’ve already explained in an earlier column, paranoia about Iran is badly at odds with reality and just gets in the way of a more sensible Middle East strategy.

Furthermore, giving present allies unconditional support while ostracizing Iran reduces America’s leverage over everyone’s behavior and thus limits its ability to shape events in positive ways. It encourages allies to take U.S. support for granted — and why shouldn’t they, given the fawning adoration on display for leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and gives them little incentive to do what they can to stay in America’s good graces.

Even worse, such an uncritical stance encourages what Barry Posen, a security studies expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, calls “reckless driving,” meaning the tendency for allies to take unnecessary risks and pursue foolhardy policies because they believe their powerful patron will bail them out if they get into difficulties. That overconfidence explains why the Israeli government thinks building settlements poses no risks and helps us understand why Mohammed bin Salman is waging a costly and inhumane war in Yemen, trying (and failing) to ostracize Qatar, and interfering in Lebanon and Syria to no good purpose. It is partly because he is headstrong and impulsive but also because he’s confident that America has his back now no matter how badly his initiatives fare.

If the United States were truly acting like an offshore balancer (i.e., the way Great Britain did in its great-power heyday), it would have diplomatic relations and businesslike dealings with all countries in the Middle East, not just the ones that have successfully convinced it to back their agendas and ignore its own interests. Offshore balancers want U.S. diplomats talking to everyone pretty much all of the time and to drive a hard bargain with friends and foes alike. That’s the luxury America’s providential position in the Western Hemisphere affords it, and you’d think a selfish guy like Trump would understand it easily. The United States should have regular dealings with its adversaries not because it likes them or agrees with them but because that is the best way to advance U.S. interests. Frequent interactions with both friends and (current) foes give Washington the opportunity to explain how it sees things, make it easier for it to understand what others are thinking, and facilitate devising strategies that will get them to give the United States most of what it wants.

Lastly, talking to everyone reminds enemies that they might become friends if they play their cards right and reminds current friends that they aren’t the only game in town and that they shouldn’t take American support for granted. When U.S. officials meet with their counterparts in in Riyadh or Tel Aviv or Cairo, I want everyone in the room to know that some other U.S. officials are busy discussing regional affairs in Tehran and Moscow, too. And vice versa, of course. That’s how other great powers do it: Why shouldn’t the United States?

To sum up: Trump has a ways to go before he can be considered a true offshore balancer. He seems to grasp part of the logic — it’s better to let others contend than to do the heavy lifting yourself — but he lacks the knowledge, skill, and subtlety to make a sophisticated strategy like this work. I’m not expecting him to improve either, because he may not have that much time left. And even if he does, learning on the job just doesn’t seem to be in his skill set.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

United States non-interventionism

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Non-interventionism is the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history among government and popular opinion in the United States. At times, the degree and nature of this policy was better known as isolationism, such as the period between the world wars.

 

Background

Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Whig Prime Minister, proclaimed in 1723: “My politics are to keep free from all engagements as long as we possibly can.” He emphasized economic advantage and rejected the idea of intervening in European affairs to maintain a balance of power.[1] Walpole’s position was known to Americans. However, during the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress debated about forming an alliance with France. It rejected non-interventionism when it was apparent that the American Revolutionary War could be won in no other manner than a military alliance with France, which Benjamin Franklin successfully negotiated in 1778.[2]

After Britain and France went to war in 1792, George Washington declared neutrality, with unanimous support of his cabinet, after deciding that the treaty with France of 1778 did not apply.[3] Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 explicitly announced the policy of American non-interventionism:

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.[4]

No entangling alliances (19th century)

President Thomas Jefferson extended Washington’s ideas about foreign policy in his March 4, 1801 inaugural address. Jefferson said that one of the “essential principles of our government” is that of “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”[5] He also stated that “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be” the motto of the United States.[6]

In 1823, President James Monroe articulated what would come to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, which some have interpreted as non-interventionist in intent: “In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense.” It was applied to Hawaii in 1842 in support of eventual annexation there, and to support U.S. expansion on the North American continent.

After Tsar Alexander II put down the 1863 January Uprising in Poland, French Emperor Napoleon III asked the United States to “join in a protest to the Tsar.”[7] Secretary of State William H. Seward declined, “defending ‘our policy of non-intervention—straight, absolute, and peculiar as it may seem to other nations,'” and insisted that “[t]he American people must be content to recommend the cause of human progress by the wisdom with which they should exercise the powers of self-government, forbearing at all times, and in every way, from foreign alliances, intervention, and interference.”[7]

President Ulysses S. Grant attempted to Annex the Dominican Republic in 1870, but failed to get the support of the Radical Republicans in the Senate.[8] The United States’ policy of non-intervention was wholly abandoned with the Spanish–American War, followed by the Philippine–American War from 1899–1902.

20th century non-interventionism

Wake Up, America! Civilization Calls, poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917

Theodore Roosevelt‘s administration is credited with inciting the Panamanian Revolt against Colombia in order to secure construction rights for the Panama Canal (begun in 1904).

The President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, after winning reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war,” was able to navigate neutrality in World War I for about three years. Early on, their historic shunning of foreign entanglements, and the presence in the US of immigrants with divided loyalties in the conflict helped maintain neutrality. Various causes compelled American entry into World War I, and Congress would vote to declare war on Germany;[9] this would involve the nation on the side of the Triple Entente, but only as an “associated power” fighting the same enemy, not one officially allied with them.[10] A few months after the declaration of War, Wilson gave a speech to congress outlining his aims to end the conflict, labeled the Fourteen Points. While this American proclamation was less triumphalist than the aims of some of its allies, it did propose in the final point, that a general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. After the war, Wilson traveled to Europe and stayed for months to labor on the post-war treaty; no president had previously enjoined such sojourn outside of the country. In that Treaty of Versailles, Wilson’s association was formulated as the League of Nations.

Protest march to prevent American involvement in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Isolationism Between the World Wars

In the wake of the First World War, the non-interventionist tendencies gained ascendancy. The Treaty of Versailles, and thus, United States’ participation in the League of Nations, even with reservations, was rejected by the Senate in the final months of Wilson’s presidency. Republican Senate leader Henry Cabot Lodge supported the Treaty with reservations to be sure Congress had final authority on sending the U.S. into war. Wilson and his Democratic supporters rejected the Lodge Reservations,

The strongest opposition to American entry into the League of Nations came from the Senate where a tight-knit faction known as the Irreconcilables, led by William Borah and George Norris, had great objections regarding the clauses of the treaty which compelled America to come to the defense of other nations. Senator William Borah, of Idaho, declared that it would “purchase peace at the cost of any part of our [American] independence.”[11] Senator Hiram Johnson, of California, denounced the League of Nations as a “gigantic war trust.”[12] While some of the sentiment was grounded in adherence to Constitutional principles, most of the sentiment bore a reassertion of nativist and inward-looking policy.[13]

The United States acted independently to become a major player in the 1920s in international negotiations and treaties. The Harding Administration achieved naval disarmament among the major powers through the Washington Naval Conference in 1921-22. The Dawes Plan refinanced war debts and helped restore prosperity to Germany, In August 1928, fifteen nations signed the Kellogg–Briand Pact, brainchild of American Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand.[14] This pact that was said to have outlawed war and showed the United States commitment to international peace had its semantic flaws.[15] For example, it did not hold the United States to the conditions of any existing treaties, it still allowed European nations the right to self-defense, and it stated that if one nation broke the Pact, it would be up to the other signatories to enforce it.[16] The Kellogg–Briand Pact was more of a sign of good intentions on the part of the US, rather than a legitimate step towards the sustenance of world peace.

The economic depression that ensued after the Crash of 1929, also continued to abet non-intervention. The attention of the country focused mostly on addressing the problems of the national economy. The rise of aggressive expansionism policies by Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan led to conflicts such as the Italian conquest of Ethiopia and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. These events led to ineffectual condemnations by the League of Nations. Official American response was muted. America also did not take sides in the brutal Spanish Civil War.

Non-interventionism before entering World War II

As Europe moved closer to war in the late 1930s, the United States Congress continued to demand American neutrality. Between 1936 and 1937, much to the dismay of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress passed the Neutrality Acts. For example, in the final Neutrality Act, Americans could not sail on ships flying the flag of a belligerent nation or trade arms with warring nations. Such activities had played a role in American entrance into World War I.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded PolandBritain and France subsequently declared war on Germany, marking the start of World War II. In an address to the American People two days later, President Roosevelt assured the nation that he would do all he could to keep them out of war.[17] However, his words showed his true goals. “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger,” Roosevelt said.[17] Even though he was intent on neutrality as the official policy of the United States, he still echoed the dangers of staying out of this war. He also cautioned the American people to not let their wish to avoid war at all costs supersede the security of the nation.[17]

The war in Europe split the American people into two camps: non-interventionists and interventionists. The two sides argued over America’s involvement in this World War II. The basic principle of the interventionist argument was fear of German invasion. By the summer of 1940, France suffered a stunning defeat by Germans, and Britain was the only democratic enemy of Germany.[18][19] In a 1940 speech, Roosevelt argued, “Some, indeed, still hold to the now somewhat obvious delusion that we … can safely permit the United States to become a lone island … in a world dominated by the philosophy of force.”[20] A national survey found that in the summer of 1940, 67% of Americans believed that a German-Italian victory would endanger the United States, that if such an event occurred 88% supported “arm[ing] to the teeth at any expense to be prepared for any trouble”, and that 71% favored “the immediate adoption of compulsory military training for all young men”.[21]

Ultimately, the ideological rift between the ideals of the United States and the goals of the fascist powers empowered the interventionist argument. Writer Archibald MacLeish asked, “How could we sit back as spectators of a war against ourselves?”[22] In an address to the American people on December 29, 1940, President Roosevelt said, “the Axis not merely admits but proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy of government and our philosophy of government.”[23]

However, there were still many who held on to non-interventionism. Although a minority, they were well organized, and had a powerful presence in Congress.[24] Pro-German or anti-British opinion contributed to non-interventionism. Roosevelt’s national share of the 1940 presidential vote declined by seven percentage points from 1936. Of the 20 counties in which his share declined by 35 points or more, 19 were largely German-speaking. Of the 35 counties in which his share declined by 25 to 34 points, German was the largest or second-largest original nationality in 31.[25] Non-interventionists rooted a significant portion of their arguments in historical precedent, citing events such as Washington’s farewell address and the failure of World War I.[26] “If we have strong defenses and understand and believe in what we are defending, we need fear nobody in this world,” Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, wrote in a 1940 essay.[27] Isolationists believed that the safety of the nation was more important than any foreign war.[28]

As 1940 became 1941, the actions of the Roosevelt administration made it more and more clear that the United States was on a course to war. This policy shift, driven by the President, came in two phases. The first came in 1939 with the passage of the Fourth Neutrality Act, which permitted the United States to trade arms with belligerent nations, as long as these nations came to America to retrieve the arms, and pay for them in cash.[24] This policy was quickly dubbed, ‘Cash and Carry.’[29] The second phase was the Lend-Lease Act of early 1941. This act allowed the President “to lend, lease, sell, or barter arms, ammunition, food, or any ‘defense article’ or any ‘defense information’ to ‘the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.'”[30] American public opinion supported Roosevelt’s actions. As United States involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic grew with incidents such as the sinking of the USS Reuben James(DD-245), by late 1941 72% of Americans agreed that “the biggest job facing this country today is to help defeat the Nazi Government”, and 70% thought that defeating Germany was more important than staying out of the war.[31]

After the attack on Pearl Harbor caused America to enter the war in December 1941, isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh‘s America First Committee and Herbert Hoover announced their support of the war effort.[32] Isolationist families’ sons fought in the war as much as others.[25]

Non-interventionism after World War II

Ohio Senator Robert A Taft was a leading opponent of interventionism after 1945, although it always played a secondary role to his deep interest in domestic affairs. Historian George Fujii, citing the Taft papers, argues:

Taft fought a mostly losing battle to reduce government expenditures and to curtail or prevent foreign aid measures such as the British loan of 1945 and the Marshall Plan. He feared that these measures would “destroy the freedom of the individual, freedom of States and local communities, freedom of the farmer to run his own farm and the workman to do his own job” (p. 375), thereby threatening the foundations of American prosperity and leading to a “totalitarian state” (p. 377).[33]

In 1951, in the midst of bitter partisan debate over the Korean War, Taft increasingly spoke out on foreign policy issues. According to his biographer James T. Patterson:

Two basic beliefs continued to form a fairly consistent core of Taft’s thinking on foreign policy. First, he insisted on limiting America’s overseas commitments. [Taft said] “Nobody today can be an isolationist…. The only question is the degree to which we shall take action throughout the entire world.” America had obligations that it had to honor – such as NATO – and it could not turn a blind eye to such countries as Formosa or Israel. But the United States had limited funds and problems at home and must therefore curb its commitments….This fear of overcommitment was rooted in Taft’s even deeper faith in liberty, which made him shrink from a foreign policy that would cost large sums of money, increase the power of the military, and transform American society into what he called a garrison state.[34]

Norman A. Graebner argues:

Differences over collective security in the G.O.P. were real in 1952, but Taft tried during his pre-convention campaign to moderate his image as a “go-it-aloner” in foreign policy. His whole effort proved unsuccessful, largely because by spring the internationalist camp had a formidable candidate of its own in Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the personification of post-1945 American commitment to collective security, particularly in Europe, General Eisenhower had decided to run because he feared, apparently, that Taft’s election would lead to repudiation of the whole collective security effort, including NATO.[35]

Eisenhower won the nomination and secured Taft’s support by promising Taft a dominant voice in domestic policies, while Eisenhower’s internationalism would set the foreign-policy agenda.[36] Graebner argues that Eisenhower succeeded in moving the conservative Republicans away from their traditional attacks on foreign aid and reciprocal trade policies, and collective security arrangements, to support for those policies.[37] By 1964 the Republican conservatives rallied behind Barry Goldwater who was an aggressive advocate of an anti-communist internationalist foreign policy. Goldwater wanted to roll back Communism and win the Cold War, asking “Why Not Victory?”[38]

Non-interventionism in the 21st century

During the presidency of Barack Obama, some members of the United States federal government, including President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, considered intervening militarily in the Syrian Civil War.[39][40] A poll from late April 2013 found that 62% of Americans thought that the “United States has no responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and antigovernment groups,” with only twenty-five percent disagreeing with that statement.[41] A writer for The New York Times referred to this as “an isolationist streak,” a characterization international relations scholar Stephen Walt strongly objected to, calling the description “sloppy journalism.”[41][42] According to Walt, “the overwhelming majority of people who have doubts about the wisdom of deeper involvement in Syria—including yours truly—are not ‘isolationist.’ They are merely sensible people who recognize that we may not have vital interests there, that deeper involvement may not lead to a better outcome and could make things worse, and who believe that the last thing the United States needs to do is to get dragged into yet another nasty sectarian fight in the Arab/Islamic world.”[42]

In December 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that their newest poll, “American’s Place in the World 2013,” had revealed that 52 percent of respondents in the national poll said that the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”[43] This was the most people to answer that question this way in the history of the question, one which pollsters began asking in 1964.[44] Only about a third of respondents felt this way a decade ago.[44]

A July 2014 poll of “battleground voters” across the United States found “77 percent in favor of full withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016; only 15 percent and 17 percent interested in more involvement in Syria and Ukraine, respectively; and 67 percent agreeing with the statement that, ‘U.S. military actions should be limited to direct threats to our national security.'”[45]

Conservative policies

Rathbun (2008) compares three separate themes in conservative policies since the 1980s: conservatismneoconservatism, and isolationism. These approaches are similar in that they all invoked the mantle of “realism” and pursued foreign policy goals designed to promote national interests. Conservatives, however, were the only group that was “realist” in the academic sense in that they defined the national interest narrowly, strove for balances of power internationally, viewed international relations as amoral, and especially valued sovereignty. By contrast, neoconservatives based their foreign policy on nationalism, and isolationists sought to minimize any involvement in foreign affairs and raise new barriers to immigration.[46] Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul favored a return to the non-interventionist policies of Thomas Jefferson and frequently opposed military intervention in countries like Iran and Iraq.

Supporters of non-interventionism

Politicians

Government officials

Public figures

See also

Notes…

References…

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_non-interventionism

Offshore balancing

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Offshore balancing is a strategic concept used in realist analysis in international relations. It describes a strategy in which a great power uses favored regional powers to check the rise of potentially-hostile powers. This strategy stands in contrast to the dominant grand strategy in the United States, liberal hegemony. Offshore balancing calls for a great power to withdraw from onshore positions and focus its offshore capabilities on the three key geopolitical regions of the world: Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Northeast Asia.

History

Christopher Layne[1] attributes the introduction of the term “offshore balancing” to himself in his 1997 article.[2] Several experts on strategy, such as John Mearsheimer[3]Stephen Walt[4]Robert Pape[5], Sumantra Maitra[6], Patrick Porter[7] and Andrew Bacevich, have embraced the approach. They argue that offshore balancing has its historical roots in British grand strategy regarding Europe, which was eventually adopted and pursued by the United States and Japan at various points in their history. [8]

According to political scientist John Mearsheimer, in his University of Chicago “American Grand Strategy” class, offshore balancing was the strategy used by the United States in the 1930s and also in the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War. Mearsheimer argues that when the United States gave Lend-Lease aid to Britain in the 1940s, the United States engaged in offshore balancing by being the arsenal of democracy, not the fighter for it.

That is consistent with offshore balancing because the US initially did not want to commit American lives to the European conflict. The United States supported the losing side (Iraq) in the Iran–Iraq War to prevent the development of a regional hegemon, which could ultimately threaten US influence. Furthermore, offshore balancing can seem like isolationism when a rough balance of power in international relations exists, which was the case in the 1930s. It was also the strategy used during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union.

Theory

The grand strategy of “offshore balancing” arguably permits a great power to maintain its power without the costs of large military deployments around the world. It can be seen as the informal-empire analogue to federalism in formal ones (for instance the proposal for the Imperial Federation in the late British Empire). Offshore balancing, as its name implies, is a grand strategy that can be pursue only by island states on the edges of Eurasia and by isolated great powers, such as the United States.

The strategy calls for such states to maintain a rough balance of power in the three key geopolitical regions of the world: Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Northeast Asia. The three regions are the focus, since Europe and Northeast Asia are the major industrial centers of the world, which contain all of the other great powers and the Persian Gulf for its importance to the global oil market. Outside of these regions, an offshore balancer should not worry about developments. Also, a state pursuing offshore balancing should first seek to pass the buck to local powers and intervene only if the threat is too great for the other powers in the region to handle.[9]

Notable thinkers associated with offshore balancing

References

Sources

Further reading

Books

Articles

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

Stephen Walt

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Stephen Walt
Born
Stephen Martin Walt

July 2, 1955 (age 64)

Alma mater Stanford University (B.A.)
University of California, Berkeley
(M.A.Ph.D.)
School Neorealism
Institutions Harvard University
University of Chicago
Princeton University
Main interests
International relations theory
Notable ideas
Defensive realismBalance of threat theory

Stephen Martin Walt (born July 2, 1955) is an American professor of international affairs at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He belongs to the realist school of international relations.[1] He made important contributions to the theory of defensive neorealism and has authored the balance of threat theory. Books he has authored (or co-authored) include Origins of AlliancesRevolution and War, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.[2]

Early life and education

Walt was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where his father, a physicist, worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His mother was a teacher. The family moved to the Bay Area when Walt was about eight months old. Walt grew up in Los Altos Hills.[3]

Walt pursued his undergraduate studies at Stanford University. He first majored in chemistry with an eye to becoming a Biochemist. He then shifted to history, and finally to International Relations.[3]

After attaining his B.A., Walt began graduate work at UC Berkeley, graduating with a M.A. in Political Science in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1983.

Career

Walt taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. As of 2015, he holds the Robert and Renee Belfer Professorship in International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[2][4]

Other professional activities

Walt was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.[4]

He spoke at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University in 2010.[5] In 2012, Walt took part in a panel at the one-state solution conference at the Kennedy School, along with Ali Abunimah and Eve Spangler.[6]

Walt spoke at Clark University in April 2013.[7] He gave a talk at the College of William and Mary in October 2013 about “Why US Foreign Policy Keeps Failing.”[8]

He delivered the 2013 F.H. Hinsley Lecture at Cambridge University.[9]

Views and opinions

American power and culture

In a comprehensive 2005 article, “Taming American Power”, Walt argued that the US should “make its dominant position acceptable to others – by using military force sparingly, by fostering greater cooperation with key allies, and, most important of all, by rebuilding its crumbling international image.” He proposed the US “resume its traditional role as an ‘offshore balancer'”, intervening “only when absolutely necessary” and keeping “its military presence as small as possible.”[10]

In a late 2011 article for The National Interest entitled “The End of the American Era”, Walt wrote that America is losing its position of world dominance.[11]

Walt gave a speech in 2013 to the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies entitled “Why does US foreign policy keep failing?” The Institute later described him as seeing “an overwhelming bias among US foreign policy institutions toward an activist foreign policy” and “a propensity to exaggerate threats, noting the chances of being struck by lightning have been far greater since 2001 than death by terrorist attack.” He also characterized the US as lacking “diplomatic skill and finesse” and advised Europeans “to think of themselves and not rely on the US for guidance or advice on solving their security issues.” Ultimately, he argued, “the United States is simply not skilled enough to run the world.”[12]

“Why are Americans so willing to pay taxes in order to support a world-girdling national security establishment,” asked Walt in 2013, “yet so reluctant to pay taxes to have better schools, health care, roads, bridges, subways, parks, museums, libraries, and all the other trappings of a wealthy and successful society?” He said this question was especially puzzling given that “the United States is the most secure power in history and will remain remarkably secure unless it keeps repeating the errors of the past decade or so.”[13]

Foreign policy views

A critic of military interventionism, Walt stated, “Hawks like to portray opponents of military intervention as ‘isolationist’ because they know it is a discredited political label. Yet there is a coherent case for a more detached and selective approach to U.S. grand strategy, and one reason that our foreign policy establishment works so hard to discredit is their suspicion that a lot of Americans might find it convincing if they weren’t constantly being reminded about looming foreign dangers in faraway places. The arguments in favor of a more restrained grand strategy are far from silly, and the approach makes a lot more sense to than neoconservatives’ fantasies of global primacy or liberal hawks’ fondness for endless quasi-humanitarian efforts to reform whole regions.”[14]

Europe

In 1998, Walt wrote that “deep structural forces” were “beginning to pull Europe and America apart.”[15]

Walt argues that NATO must be sustained because of four major areas where close cooperation is beneficial to European and American interest.[16]

  1. Defeating international terrorism; Walt sees a need for cooperation between Europe and the United States in managing terrorist networks and stopping the flow of money to terror cells.[16]
  2. Limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction; Walt argues that anti-proliferation efforts are most successful when Europe and the U.S. work in concert to bring loose nuclear material into responsible custody. He cites the case of Libya’s willingness to abandon its nascent fission program after being pressured multilaterally as evidence of this.[16]
  3. Managing the world economy; lowering barriers to trade and investment particularly between the U.S. and the E.U. will accelerate economic growth. Notable differences in trade policy stem mainly in areas of agricultural policy.[16]
  4. Dealing with failed states; failed states are breeding grounds for anti-Western movements. Managing failed states such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia require a multinational response since the U.S. has insufficient wealth to modernise and rebuild these alone. In this area European allies are especially desirable because they have more experience with peacekeeping and “nation-building”.[16]

Eastern Europe and Russia

Walt believes extending invitations for NATO membership to countries in the former Soviet bloc is a “dangerous and unnecessary goal” and that nations such as Ukraine ought to be “neutral buffer state(s) in perpetuity”.[17] From this perspective, he believed that arming Ukrainian armed forces after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia “is a recipe for a longer and more destructive conflict.”[17]

Middle East

Walt said in December 2012 that America’s “best course in the Middle East would be to act as an ‘offshore balancer’: ready to intervene if the balance of power is upset, but otherwise keeping our military footprint small. We should also have normal relationship with states like Israel and Saudi Arabia, instead of the counterproductive ‘special relationships’ we have today.”[18]

An article by Stephen Walt, ″What Should We Do if the Islamic State Wins? Live with it″, appeared on June 10, 2015 in Foreign Policy Magazine.[19] He explained his view that the Islamic State is unlikely to grow into a long-lasting world power on Point of Inquiry, the podcast of the Center for Inquiry in July 2015.[20]

Israel

Walt has been a critic of the Israel lobby in the United States and the influence he says it has on foreign policy. He wrote that President Obama erred by breaking with the principles in his Cairo speech by allowing continued Israeli settlement activity and by participating in a “well-coordinated assault” against the Goldstone Report.[4]

Walt suggested in 2010 that, owing to State Department diplomat Dennis Ross‘s alleged partiality toward Israel, he might give President Obama advice that was against US interests.[21] Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), defended Ross and criticized Walt, in a piece published by Foreign Affairs (which had published Walt’s piece a few days earlier).[22] Satloff wrote that Ross’s connection to WINEP is innocuous (Ross was a distinguished fellow at WINEP throughout George W. Bush’s administration, and Mearsheimer and Walt’s book described WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel lobby in the United States) and that Walt mistakenly believes the U.S. cannot simultaneously “advance strategic partnership both with Israel and with friendly Arab and Muslim states”[22]

After the Itamar attack, in which a Jewish family was killed on the West Bank in March 2011, Walt condemned the murderers, but added that “while we are at it, we should not spare the other parties who have helped create and perpetuate the circumstances”, listing “every Israeli government since 1967, for actively promoting the illegal effort to colonize these lands”, “Palestinian leaders who have glorified violence”, and “the settlers themselves, some of whom routinely use violence to intimidate the Palestinians who live in the lands they covet”.[23]

Walt criticized the US for voting against a Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s West Bank settlements, calling the vote a “foolish step” because “the resolution was in fact consistent with the official policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson.”[24]

Iran

Walt has frequently criticized America’s policy with respect to Iran. In 2011, Walt told an interviewer that the American reaction to an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States “might be part of a larger American diplomatic effort to put Iran on the hot seat.”[25]

“Washington continues to insist on a near-total Iranian capitulation,” wrote Walt in December 2012. “And because Iran has been effectively demonized here in America, it would be very hard for President Obama to reach a compromise and then sell it back home.”[26]

Walt said in November 2013 that “Americans often forget just how secure the United States is, especially compared with other states,” thanks to its power, resources, and geography, and thus “routinely blows minor threats out of all proportion. I mean: Iran has a defense budget of about $10 billion…yet we manage to convince ourselves that Iran is a Very Serious Threat to U.S. vital interests. Ditto the constant fretting about minor-league powers like Syria, North Korea, Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya, and other so-called ‘rogue states.'” Therefore, whatever happens in the Middle East, “the United States can almost certainly adjust and adapt and be just fine.”[13]

Libya

After visiting Libya, Walt wrote in Foreign Policy in January 2010 that while “Libya is far from a democracy, it also doesn’t feel like other police states that I have visited. I caught no whiff of an omnipresent security service—which is not to say that they aren’t there…. The Libyans with whom I spoke were open and candid and gave no sign of being worried about being overheard or reported or anything like that. … I tried visiting various political websites from my hotel room and had no problems, although other human rights groups report that Libya does engage in selective filtering of some political websites critical of the regime. It is also a crime to criticize Qaddafi himself, the government’s past human rights record is disturbing at best, and the press in Libya is almost entirely government-controlled. Nonetheless, Libya appears to be more open than contemporary Iran or China and the overall atmosphere seemed far less oppressive than most places I visited in the old Warsaw Pact.”[27]

David E. Bernstein, Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law, criticized Walt in 2011 for accepting funding from the Libyan government for a trip to Libya, where he addressed that country’s Economic Development Board and then wrote what Bernstein called “a puff piece” about his visit. Bernstein said it was ironic that “Walt, after fulminating about the American domestic ‘Israel Lobby'” had thus become “a part of the ‘Libya lobby'”. Bernstein found it ironic that “Walt, a leading critic of the friendship the U.S. and Israel, concludes his piece with the hope ‘that the United States and Libya continue to nurture and build a constructive relationship.’ Because, you know, Israel is so much nastier than Qaddafi’s Libya.”[28]

Under the headline “Is Stephen Walt Blind, a Complete Fool, or a Big Liar?”, Martin Peretz of the New Republic mocked Walt for praising Libya, which Peretz called a “murderous place” and for viewing its dictator as “civilized”. Peretz contrasted Walt’s view of Libya, which, Peretz noted, he had visited for less than a day.[29]

Syria

In August 2013, Walt argued that even if it turned out that Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons, the U.S. should not intervene. “Dead is dead, no matter how it is done”, wrote Walt. Yes, “Obama may be tempted to strike because he foolishly drew a ‘red line’ over this issue and feels his credibility is now at stake. But following one foolish step with another will not restore that lost standing.”[30] In September 2013, Walt wrote an open letter asking his congressman to vote against a strike on Syria. Dr. Josef Olmert pointed out “at least two glaring inaccuracies”, including Walt’s failure to recognize that Syria is already a failed state and already riven by sectarian struggle, “something that ‘realist’ liberals find somehow hard to accept.” Olmert noted that despite Walt’s professed belief that Israel is at the center of all Middle East conflicts, Israel in fact has nothing to do with the conflicts in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, or other countries in the region, which “are mostly the makings of the Arabs, ones which ought to be solved by them.”[31]

Asia

Walt posits that offshore balancing is the most desirable strategy when dealing with China.[32][33] In 2011 Walt argued that China will seek to gain regional hegemony and a broad sphere of influence in Asia which was comparable in size to the USA’s position in the western hemisphere.[32] If this happens, he predicts that China would be secure enough on the mainland to give added attention to shaping events to its favour in far flung areas. Given that China is resource poor, the nation will likely aim to safeguard vital sea lanes in areas such as the Persian Gulf.[34][35]

In a December 2012 interview, Walt said that “the United States does not help its own cause by exaggerating Chinese power. We should not base our policy today on what China might become twenty or thirty years down the road.”[36]

“Balance of Threat” theory

Walt developed the ‘balance of threat‘ theory, which defined threats in terms of aggregate power, geographic proximity, offensive power, and aggressive intentions. It is a modification of the “balance of power” theory developed by neorealist Kenneth Waltz.[37]

Snowden case

In July 2013, Walt argued that President Obama should give Edward Snowden an immediate pardon. “Mr Snowden’s motives,” wrote Walt, “were laudable: he believed fellow citizens should know their government was conducting a secret surveillance programme enormous in scope, poorly supervised and possibly unconstitutional. He was right.” History, Walt suggested, “will probably be kinder to Mr Snowden than to his pursuers, and his name may one day be linked to the other brave men and women – Daniel EllsbergMartin Luther King JrMark FeltKaren Silkwood and so on – whose acts of principled defiance are now widely admired.”[38]

Books

In his 1987 book The Origins of Alliances, Walt examines the way in which alliances are made, and “proposes a fundamental change in the present conceptions of alliance systems.”[39]

Revolution and War (1996) exposes “the flaws in existing theories about the relationship between revolution and war” by studying in detail the French, Russian, and Iranian revolutions and providing briefer views of the American, Mexican, Turkish, and Chinese revolutions.[40]

Taming American Power (2005) provides a thorough critique of U.S. strategy from the perspective of its adversaries.[41] Anatol Lieven called it “a brilliant contribution to the American foreign policy debate.”[42]

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy was published on 16 October 2018.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

In March 2006, John Mearsheimer and Walt, then academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government, published a working paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”[43] and an article entitled “The Israel Lobby” in the London Review of Books on the negative effects of “the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby.” They defined the Israel lobby as “the loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.”[44] Mearsheimer and Walt took the position that “What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets.”[45]

The articles, as well as the bestselling book Walt and Mearsheimer later developed, generated considerable media coverage throughout the world. Contending that Walt and Mearsheimer are members of a “school that essentially wishes that the war with jihadism had never started”, Christopher Hitchens concluded that, “Wishfulness has led them to seriously mischaracterize the origins of the problem….”[46] Former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck wrote the “tsunami” of responses condemning the report proved the existence of the lobby and “Opinions differ on the long-term costs and benefits for both nations, but the lobby’s views of Israel’s interests have become the basis of U.S. Middle East policies.”[47]

Personal life

Walt is married to Rebecca E. Stone,[48] who ran for Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 2018 election.[49] The couple has two children.[50]

Titles and positions

References…

External links

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

John Mearsheimer

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John Mearsheimer
John Mearsheimer.jpg

John Joseph Mearsheimer
Born December 14, 1947 (age 72)

Education United States Military Academy
University of Southern California
Cornell University
School Neorealism
Institutions University of Chicago
Main interests
International relations theoryinternational securitydeterrence theory[1][2][2]
Notable ideas
Offensive neorealism

John Joseph Mearsheimer (/ˈmɪərʃmər/;[3] born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.

Mearsheimer proposed the theory of offensive realism which describes the interaction between great powers as dominated by a rational desire to achieve hegemony in a world of insecurity and uncertainty regarding other states’ intentions. He was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War in 2003 and was almost alone in opposing Ukraine’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994 and predicted that, without a deterrent, they would face Russian aggression.

His most controversial views concern alleged influence by interest groups over US government actions in the Middle East which he wrote about in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. In accordance with his theory, Mearsheimer considers that China’s growing power will likely bring it into conflict with the United States. His work is frequently taught to and read by twenty-first century students of political science and international relations.

 

Early years

Mearsheimer was born in December 1947 in BrooklynNew York. He was raised in New York City until the age of eight, when his parents moved his family to Croton-on-Hudson, New York, a suburb located in Westchester County.[4] When he was 17, Mearsheimer enlisted in the U.S. Army. After one year as an enlisted member, he chose to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. He attended West Point from 1966 to 1970. After graduation, he served for five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.[5][6]

In 1974, while in the Air Force, Mearsheimer earned a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California. He subsequently entered Cornell University and in 1980 earned a Ph.D. in government, specifically in international relations. From 1978 to 1979, he was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; from 1980 to 1982, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University‘s Center for International Affairs. During the 1998–1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.[4]

Career

Since 1982, Mearsheimer has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Political Science Faculty at the University of Chicago.[7] He became an associate professor in 1984, a full professor in 1987, and was appointed the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in 1996. From 1989 to 1992, he served as chairman of the department. He also holds a position as a faculty member in the Committee on International Relations graduate program, and is the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy.[8]

Mearsheimer’s books include Conventional Deterrence (1983) which won the Edgar S. Furniss Jr. Book Award, Nuclear Deterrence: Ethics and Strategy (co-editor, 1985); Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Lepgold Book PrizeThe Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007); and Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics (2011). His articles have appeared in academic journals like International Security and popular magazines like the London Review of Books. He has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.[8]

Mearsheimer has won several teaching awards. He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching when he was a graduate student at Cornell in 1977, and he won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago in 1985. In addition, he was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 1993–1994 academic year. In that capacity, he gave a series of talks at eight colleges and universities. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[8]

Work

Conventional deterrence

Mearsheimer’s first book Conventional Deterrence (1983) addresses the question of how decisions to start a war depend on the projected outcome of military conflict. In other words, how do decision makers’ beliefs about the outcome of war affect the success or failure of deterrence? Mearsheimer’s basic argument is that deterrence is likely to work when the potential attacker believes that a successful attack will be unlikely and costly. If the potential attacker, however, has reason to believe the attack will likely succeed and entail low costs, then deterrence is likely to break down. This is now widely accepted to be the way the principle of deterrence works. Specifically, Mearsheimer argues that the success of deterrence is determined by the strategy available to the potential attacker. He lays out three strategies. First, a war-of-attrition strategy, which entails a high level of uncertainty about the outcome of war and high costs for the attacker. Second, a limited-aims strategy, which entails fewer risks and lower costs. And, third, a blitzkrieg strategy, which provides a way to defeat the enemy rapidly and decisively, with relatively low costs. For Mearsheimer, failures in the modern battlefield are due mostly to the potential attacker’s belief that it can successfully implement a blitzkrieg strategy in which tanks and other mechanized forces are employed swiftly to effect a deep penetration and disrupt the enemy’s rear.[9] The other two strategies are unlikely to lead to deterrence failures because they would entail a low probability of success accompanied by high costs (war of attrition) or limited gains and the possibility of the conflict turning into a war of attrition (limited aims). If the attacker has a coherent blitzkrieg strategy available, however, an attack is likely to ensue, as its potential benefits outweigh the costs and risks of starting a war.[10]

Besides analyzing cases from World War II and the Arab–Israeli conflict, Mearsheimer extrapolates implications from his theory for the prospects of conventional deterrence in Central Europe during the late Cold War. Here, he argues that a Soviet attack is unlikely because the Soviet military would be unable to successfully implement a blitzkrieg strategy. The balance of forces, the difficulty of advancing rapidly with mechanized forces through Central Europe, and the formidable NATO forces opposing such a Soviet attack made it unlikely, in Mearsheimer’s view, that the Soviets would start a conventional war in Europe.[11]

Nuclear proliferation and nuclear deterrence

In 1990 Mearsheimer published an essay[12] where he predicted that Europe would revert to a multipolar environment similar to that in the first half of the twentieth century if American and Soviet forces left following the end of the Cold War. In another article that year, in The Atlantic, he predicted that this multipolar environment would increase nuclear proliferation in Europe, especially in Germany.[13]

In this essay and in the 1993 Foreign Affairs article “The case for a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent”,[14] he argued that to reduce the dangers of war, the United States should encourage Germany and Ukraine to develop a nuclear arsenal, while working to prevent the rise of hyper-nationalism. Mearsheimer presented several possible scenarios for a post-Cold-War Europe from which American and Russian forces had departed. He believed that a Europe with nuclear proliferation was most likely to remain at peace, because without a nuclear deterrent Germany would be likely to once more try to conquer the continent (See pages 32–33).[12] Mearsheimer argued that it would be strategically unwise for Ukraine to surrender its nuclear arsenal (remnants of the Soviet stockpile). However, in 1994 Ukraine consented to get rid of its entire former Soviet nuclear stockpile, a process that was complete by 1996. When challenged on the former assertion at a lecture given to the International Politics department at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, he maintained that in spite of European integration and expansion, he still believed that his predictions would come true if the United States military left Europe.[15]

Also, in op-ed pieces written in 1998 and 2000 for The New York Times, Mearsheimer supported India’s decision to acquire nuclear weapons. In support of this position, he argued that India has good strategic reasons to want a nuclear deterrent, especially in order to balance against China and Pakistan, guaranteeing regional stability. He also criticized United States counter-proliferation policy towards India, which he considered unrealistic and harmful to American interests in the region.[16]

Offensive neorealism

Mearsheimer is the leading proponent of offensive neorealism. It is a structural theory which, unlike the classical realism of Hans Morgenthau, places the principal emphasis on security competition among great powers within the anarchy of the international system, and not principally on the human nature of statesmen and diplomats. In contrast to another structural realist theory, the defensive neorealism of Kenneth Waltz, offensive neorealism maintains that states are not satisfied with a given amount of power, but seek hegemony for security because the anarchic makeup of the international system creates strong incentives for states to seek opportunities to gain power at the expense of competitors.[17] Mearsheimer summed this view up in his 2001 book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics:

Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to be the hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power to survive.[18]

He has also dismissed democratic peace theory, which claims that democracies never or rarely go to war with one another.[19]

Mearsheimer usually does not believe it is possible for a state to become a global hegemon and occasionally recognizes the global hegemon as an accomplished fact (see chapter “Night Watchman” below). When the global hegemon is theoretically impossible, it is because there is too much landmass and too many oceans which he posits have effective stopping power and act as giant moats. Instead he believes that states can only achieve regional hegemony. Furthermore, he argues that states attempt to prevent other states from becoming regional hegemons, since peer competitors could interfere in a state’s affairs. States which have achieved regional hegemony, such as the U.S., will act as offshore balancers, interfering in other regions only when the great powers in those regions are not able to prevent the rise of a hegemon.

Endorsement of E. H. Carr

In a 2004 speech, Mearsheimer praised the British historian E. H. Carr for his 1939 book The Twenty Years’ Crisis and argued that Carr was correct when he claimed that international relations was a struggle of all against all with states always placing their own interests first.[20] Mearsheimer maintained that Carr’s points were still as relevant for 2004 as for 1939, and went on to deplore what he claimed was the dominance of “idealist” thinking about international relations among British academic life.[20]

Night Watchman

Night Watchman is “global hegemon” in Mearsheimer’s terminology—theoretical impossibility as stated in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.[21] Nevertheless, in 1990 Mearsheimer mentioned an existing “watchman”: Democracies lived at peace because “America’s hegemonic position in NATO… mitigated the effects of anarchy on the Western democracies and induced cooperation among them … With the United States serving as a night watchman, fears about relative gains among the Western European states were mitigated…”[22]

Afterwards, Mearsheimer lost the watchman. A decade later, he described the “international anarchy” as having not changed with the end of the Cold War, “and there are few signs that such change is likely any time soon. States remain the principal actors in world politics and there is still no night watchman standing above them.”[23] Five more years later, Mearsheimer confirmed that “in an anarchic system there is no night watchman for state to call when trouble comes knocking at their door.”[24]

Precisely two decades since Mearsheimer detected the watchman in the world for the last time, he rediscovered him again. Watchman exists and, moreover, keeps Europe at peace. The article titled by question “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” unambiguously answers: “The reason is simple: the United States is by far the most powerful country in the world and it effectively acts as a night watchman.”[25]

Gulf War

In January and early February 1991, Mearsheimer published two op-eds in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times arguing that the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces should be quick and lead to a decisive US victory, with less than 1,000 American casualties. This view countered the conventional wisdom at the start of the war, that predicted a conflict lasting for months and costing thousands of American lives. Mearsheimer’s argument was based on several points. First, the Iraqi Army was a Third World military, unprepared to fight mobile armored battles. Second, US armored forces were better equipped and trained. Third, US artillery was also far better than its Iraqi counterpart. Fourth, US airpower, unfettered by the weak Iraqi air force, should prove devastating against Iraqi ground forces. Fifth and finally, the forward deployment of Iraqi reserves boded ill for their ability to counter US efforts to penetrate the Iraqi defense line along the Saudi–Kuwaiti border. These predictions came true in the course of the war.[26][27]

Noelle-Neumann controversy

In October 1991, Mearsheimer was drawn into a bitter controversy at the University of Chicago regarding Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, a visiting professor from Germany. Noelle-Neumann was a prominent German pollster and a leading academic on public opinion research, who authored the highly regarded book, The Spiral of Silence. The debate centered on an article written by Leo Bogart called “The Pollster and the Nazis”. It described Noelle-Neumann’s past employment as a writer and editor for the Nazi newspaper Das Reich from 1940–42. Noelle-Neumann’s response to the article was to claim “texts written under a dictatorship more than 50 years ago cannot be read as they were in 1937, 1939 or 1941. Severed from the time and place where they were written, they are no longer real, for reality is in part based on time and place.”[28]

As chairman of Chicago’s political science department at the time, Mearsheimer sat down with Noelle-Neumann to discuss the article and the allegations. After meeting with her for over three hours, Mearsheimer publicly declared, “I believe that Noelle-Neumann was an anti-Semite,”[28] and he spearheaded a campaign asking her for an apology.[29] He joined other University of Chicago faculty in writing a joint piece for Commentary Magazine that reacted to Noelle-Neumann’s reply to the accusation against her. They declared, “by providing rhetorical support for the exclusion of Jews, her words helped make the disreputable reputable, the indecent decent, the uncivilized civilized, and the unthinkable thinkable.”[30] Mearsheimer said “Knowing what we know now about the Holocaust, there is no reason for her not to apologize. To ask somebody who played a contributing role in the greatest crime of the 20th century to say ‘I’m sorry’ is not unreasonable.”[31]

Israel lobby

In March 2006, Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, began to write jointly about the Israel lobby. Stephen Walt was the former academic dean and professor of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and together they published a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government working paper[32] and a London Review of Books article[33] discussing the power of the Israel lobby in shaping the foreign policy of the United States. They define the Israel lobby as “a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction”. They emphasize that it is not appropriate to label it a “Jewish lobby“, because not all Jews feel a strong attachment to Israel and because some of the individuals and groups who work to foster U.S. support for Israel are not Jewish; according to Mearsheimer and Walt, Christian Zionists play an important role. Finally, they emphasize that the lobby is not a cabal or a conspiracy but simply a powerful interest group like the National Rifle Association or the farm lobby. Their core argument is that the policies that the lobby pushes are not in the United States’ national interest, nor ultimately that of Israel. Those pieces generated extensive media coverage and led to a wide-ranging and often heated debate between supporters and opponents of their argument. The article was subsequently turned into a book entitled The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Statements on Israeli wars and a Palestinian state

Mearsheimer was critical of Israel’s war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. He argued that Israel’s strategy was “doomed to fail” because it was based on the “faulty assumption” that Israeli air power could defeat Hezbollah, which was essentially a guerrilla force. The war, he argued, was a disaster for the Lebanese people, as well as a “major setback” for the United States and Israel.[34] The lobby, he said, played a key role in enabling Israel’s counterproductive response by preventing the United States from exercising independent influence.[35]

Mearsheimer was also critical of Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip that began in December 2008. He argued that it would not eliminate Hamas’s capability to fire missiles and rockets at Israel, and that it would not cause Hamas to end its fight with Israel. In fact, he argued that relations between Israel and the Palestinians were likely to get worse in the years ahead.[36]

Mearsheimer emphasizes that the only hope for Israel to end its conflict with the Palestinians is to end the occupation and allow the Palestinians to have their own state in Gaza and the West Bank. Otherwise, Israel is going to turn itself into an “apartheid state.” That would be a disastrous outcome not only for Israel, but also for the United States and especially the Palestinians.[37]

Mearsheimer’s criticisms of Israel further extended to Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons. In remarks made at the International Spy Museum in 2010, Mearsheimer asserted that a nuclear Israel was contrary to U.S. interests and questioned Israel’s accountability in the matter, stating that there was “no accountability for Israel on any issue” because, he surmised, “The Israelis can do almost anything and get away with it.”[38]

The “Future of Palestine” lecture

In April 2010, Mearsheimer delivered the Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, which he titled “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners.” He argued that “the two-state solution is now a fantasy” because Israel will incorporate the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into a “Greater Israel”, which would become an apartheid state. This state, according to Mearsheimer, would not be politically viable, most American Jews would not support it, and it would eventually become a democratic bi-national state, politically dominated by its Palestinian majority. He suggested that “American Jews who care deeply about Israel” could be divided into three categories: the “new Afrikaners” who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state, “righteous Jews,” who believe that individual rights are universal, and apply equally to Jews and Palestinians, and the largest group who he called the “great ambivalent middle”. He concludes that most of the “great ambivalent middle” would not defend an apartheid Israel because “American Jews are among the staunchest defenders of traditional liberal values” resulting in the “new Afrikaners” becoming increasingly marginalized over time. Mearsheimer stated that he “would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby’s major organizations as “‘new Afrikaners'” and specifically listed Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation LeagueDavid Harris of the American Jewish CommitteeMalcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish OrganizationsRonald Lauder of the World Jewish CongressMorton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, as well as businessmen such as Sheldon AdelsonLester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman and “media personalities” like Fred HiattCharles KrauthammerBret Stephens and Martin Peretz.[39]

Statements on Gilad Atzmon

In 2011, John Mearsheimer wrote of Gilad Atzmon‘s book The Wandering Who: “Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.”[40]

Atzmon has been called an antisemite and Holocaust denier, and Jeffrey Goldberg said the book espoused Neo-Nazi views.[41] Alan Dershowitz wrote an article in response titled: “Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?” and the book “argues that Jews seek to control the world.”[42]

Mearsheimer said he had “no reason to amend it or embellish” his review,[41] and defended his position. Writing with regard to the charge by Jeffrey Goldberg that Atzmon is anti-semitic, and by implication so is his own positive review of Atzmon’s work, Mearsheimer responded: “Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists… It is in this context that he discusses what he calls the “Holocaust religion,” Zionism, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Again, to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth.”[40][40]

The rise and containment of China

Mearsheimer asserts that China’s rise will not be peaceful[43][44][45] and that the U.S. will seek to contain China and prevent it from achieving regional hegemony.[46][47][48][49] Although military, and perhaps diplomatic containment of China is possible, economic containment of China is not.[50] Mearsheimer believes that China will attempt to dominate the Indo-Pacific region just as, he asserts, the U.S. set out to dominate the western hemisphere. The motivation for doing so would be to gain a position of overwhelming security and superiority against its neighbors which it sees as potential challengers to its status.[51] Additionally, he maintains that the U.S. will attempt to form a balancing coalition that consists primarily of India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia to counter the growing strength and power projection capabilities of China.[52] He points to increased alliances and warming U.S.–Vietnam and U.S.–India relations as evidence of this.[53][54]

Mearsheimer asserts that Australia should be concerned with China’s accretion of power because it will lead to an intense security competition between China and the US that would destabilize the region.[55] He also argues that China is implementing the militarily aggressive philosophy of the U.S. naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, who argued for sea control and decisive battle.[51]

Why Leaders Lie

Mearsheimer wrote a book that analyzes lying in international politics. He argues in Why Leaders Lie (Oxford University Press, 2011) that leaders lie to foreign audiences as well as their own people because they think it is good for their country. For example, he maintains that President Franklin D. Roosevelt lied about the Greer incident in September 1941, because he was deeply committed to getting the United States into World War II, which he thought was in America’s national interest.[56]

His two main findings are that leaders actually do not lie very much to other countries, and that democratic leaders are actually more likely than autocrats to lie to their own people.[57] Thus, he starts his book by saying that it is not surprising that Saddam Hussein did not lie about having WMD—he truthfully said he had none—but that George Bush and some of his key advisors did lie to the American people about the threat from Iraq. Mearsheimer argues that leaders are most likely to lie to their own people in democracies that fight wars of choice in distant places. He says that it is difficult for leaders to lie to other countries because there is not much trust among them, especially when security issues are at stake, and you need trust for lying to be effective. He says that it is easier for leaders to lie to their own people because there is usually a good deal of trust between them.[56]

Types of lies

Mearsheimer does not consider the moral dimension of international lying, which he views from a utilitarian perspective. He argues that there are five types of international lies.[58]

  1. Inter-state lies are where the leader of one country lies to a leader of another country, or more generally, any foreign audience, to induce a desired reaction.
  2. Fear-mongering is where a leader lies to his or her own domestic public.
  3. Strategic cover-ups employ lies to prevent controversial policies and deals from being made known publicly.
  4. Nationalist myths are stories about a country’s past that portray that country in a positive light while its adversaries in a negative light.
  5. Liberal lies are given to clear up the negative reputation of institutions, individuals, or actions.

He explains the reasons why leaders pursue each of these different kinds of lies. His central thesis is that leaders lie more frequently to domestic audiences than to leaders of other states. This is because international lying can have negative effects including blowback and backfiring. “Blowback” is where telling international lies helps cause a culture of deceit at home. “Backfiring” is where telling a lie leads to a failed policy. He also emphasizes that there are two other kinds of deception besides lying: “concealment,” which is where a leader remains silent about an important matter, and “spinning,” which is where a leader tells a story that emphasizes the positive and downplays or ignores the negative.[56]

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (Yale University Press, 2018)

In his 2018 book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities, Mearsheimer presents a critique of the geopolitical strategy he refers to as ‘liberal hegemony’. Mearsheimer’s definition of liberal hegemony includes a three-part designation of it as an extension of Woodrow Wilson’s original initiatives to make a world safe by turning its governments into democracies, turning geopolitical economic initiatives towards open markets compatible with democratic governments, and thirdly opening up and promoting other democratically liberal international social and culture societies on a global scale of inclusion. Mearsheimer states in an interview broadcast on CSPAN that this represents a ‘great delusion’ and that much more weight should be associated with nationalism as a policy of enduring geopolitical value rather than the delusions he associated with liberal hegemony.

Ukraine

Nuclear weapons and Ukraine

After the break up of the Soviet Union, the new independent Ukraine had a large arsenal of nuclear weapons on its territory. However, in 1994 Ukraine agreed to give up nuclear arms, became a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and within two years had removed all atomic weapons. Almost alone among observers, Mearsheimer was opposed to that decision because he saw a Ukraine without a nuclear deterrent as likely to be subjected to aggression by Russia. [59]

2014 Crimean Crisis

In September 2014 Mearsheimer wrote the article “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault. The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin” published in Foreign Affairs. The essay was highly critical of American policy towards Russia since the conclusion of the Cold War.[60] Mearsheimer argued that Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine had been motivated by what he saw as the irresponsible strategic objectives of NATO in Eastern Europe. He compared US-led NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and planned inclusion of Ukraine to the hypothetical scenario of a Chinese military alliance in North America, stating, “Imagine the American outrage if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico.”

Mearsheimer argued that Russia’s annexation of the Crimea was fueled by concerns that it would lose access to its Black Sea Fleet naval base at Sevastopol if Ukraine continued to move towards NATO and European integration. Mearsheimer concluded that US policy should shift towards recognising Ukraine as a buffer state between NATO and Russia rather than attempting to absorb Ukraine into NATO.[60][citation needed] Mearsheimer’s article provoked Michael McFaul and Stephen Sestanovich to publish their response in November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs.[61]

China

Mearsheimer has been critical of US policy toward China, which he regards as fated to engage in “intense security competition” and possible war, if it continues on its steep trajectory of economic growth.[62] His recommended US policy towards China is containment, which calls for the US to keep China from occupying territory and expanding its influence in Asia.[63] Mearsheimer recommended that US policy makers form a balancing coalition with China’s neighbors. According to Mearsheimer, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Russia, and Vietnam could be potential allies of the United States against a great-power China’s attempt to dominate.[62]

Mearsheimer argued in a 2019 article for International Security that the “liberal international order was crumbling by 2019″ and that the liberal order will be replaced by “three realist orders: a thin international order that facilitates cooperation, and two bounded orders—one dominated by China, the other by the United States—poised for waging security competition between them.”[64]

Leaving theory behind: Why simplistic hypothesis testing is bad for International Relations.

John J. Mearsheimer and Stepen M. Walt from Harvard University wrote the article Leaving theory behind: Why simplistic hypothesis testing is bad for International Relations. They point out that in recent years International Relations scholars have devoted less effort to creating and refining theories or using them to guide empirical research. Instead there is a focus on what they call a simplistic hypothesis testing which emphasizes discovering well-verified empirical regularities. They state that that is a mistake, because insufficient attention to theory leads to misspecified empirical models or misleading measures of key concepts. They also point out that because of the poor quality data in International Relations it is less likely that these efforts will produce cumulative knowledge. This will only lead to a short term gain and make International Relationship scholarship less useful to concerned citizens and policymakers.

Theories gives a scholar an overarching framework of the myriad realms of activity. Theories are like maps, they both aim to simplify a complex reality, but unlike maps theories provide a causal story where a theory says that one or more factors can explain a particular phenomenon. Theories attempt to simplify assumptions about the most relevant factors in the aim to explain how the world works. Some grand theories like realism or liberalism claim to explain broad patterns of state behavior while middle-range theories focus on more narrowly defined phenomena like coercion. Deterrence and economic sanctions. They list eight reasons why theories are important. The problems that arise from inadequate attention to theory is that it isn’t possible to construct good models or interpret statistical findings correctly. By privileging hypothesis testing this is overlooked. It might make sense to pay more attention to hypothesis testing if it produced a lot of useful knowledge about international relations, however, Mearsheimer and Walt claim that this is not the case and simplistic hypothesis test is inherently flawed. One of the consequences is that it will result in omitted variable bias. This is often treated as a methodological issue, though it should be treated as a theoretical matter. Selection bias is also a problem that arise from inadequate attention to theory. To examine this clearer the authors point out James Fearson’s critique of Paul Huth and Bruce Russett’s analyses of extended deterrence. Mearsheimer and Walt also point out that contemporary International Relations scholarship faces challenging measurement issues that are because of inadequate attention to theory and cause misleading measures. A few examples are given to support their claim, including Dan Reiter and Allan Stam’s work called Democracies at War. There Mearsheimer and Walt state that it is a sophisticated study that however contains questionable measures of key concepts and that the measure they employ to test their idea do not capture the theories core concepts. Poor data, absence of explanation and lack of cumulation is also some problems that arise from inadequate attention to theory by focusing too much on simplistic hypothesis testing.[65]

Personal Life

John Mearsheimer currently lives in Chicago and is married to his second wife, Pamela. They have 2 children together. John also has multiple children from his first marriage.

Books

See also

References…

External links

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

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Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy

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Story 1: The Smoking Gun Email Chain of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

Sean Hannity 12/6/18 – Hannity Fox News December 6, 2018

Sean Hannity Fox News 12/6/18 Breaking Fox News December 6, 2018

Hannity 12/06/18 1AM | December 06, 2018 Breaking News

FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet

12/5/2018

By John Solomon
Opinion Contributor

Just before Thanksgiving, House Republicans amended the list of documents they’d like President Trump to declassify in the Russia investigation. With little fanfare or explanation, the lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), added a string of emails between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to their wish list.

Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.

The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured.

The FBI fired Steele on Nov. 1, 2016 — two weeks after securing the warrant — on the grounds that he had unauthorized contacts with the news media.

But the FBI withheld from the American public and Congress, until months later, that Steele had been paid to find his dirt on Trump by a firm doing political opposition research for the Democratic Party and for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that Steele himself harbored hatred for Trump.

If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI.

That’s because the FBI has an obligation to certify to the court before it approves FISA warrants that its evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent.

We now know the FBI used an article from Yahoo News as independent corroboration for the Steele dossier when, in fact, Steele had talked to the news outlet.

If the FBI knew Steele had that media contact before it submitted the article, it likely would be guilty of circular intelligence reporting, a forbidden tactic in which two pieces of evidence are portrayed as independent corroboration when, in fact, they originated from the same source.

These issues are why the FBI email chain, kept from most members of Congress for the past two years, suddenly landed on the declassification list.

The addition to the list also comes at a sensitive time, as House Republicans prepare on Friday to question Comey, who signed off on the FISA warrant while remaining an outlier in the intelligence community about the Steele dossier.

Most intelligence officials, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have embraced the concerns laid out in the Steele dossier of possible — but still unproven — collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Yet, 10 months after the probe started and a month after Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the Russia probe, Comey cast doubt on the the Steele dossier, calling it “unverified” and “salacious” in sworn testimony before Congress.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page further corroborated Comey’s concerns in recent testimony before House lawmakers, revealing that the FBI had not corroborated the collusion charges by May 2017, despite nine months of exhaustive counterintelligence investigation.

Lawmakers now want to question Comey about whether the information in the October email string contributed to the former FBI director’s assessment.

The question long has lingered about when the doubts inside the FBI first surfaced about the allegations in the Steele dossier.

Sources tell me the email chain provides the most direct evidence that the bureau, and possibly the DOJ, had reasons to doubt the Steele dossier before the FISA warrant was secured.

Sources say the specifics of the email chain remain classified, but its general sentiments about the Steele dossier and the media contacts have been discussed in nonclassified settings.

“If these documents are released, the American public will have clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges [were] misled,” one knowledgeable source told me.

Congressional investigators also have growing evidence that some evidence inserted into the fourth and final application for the FISA — a document signed by current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — was suspect.

Nunes hinted as much himself in comments he made on Sean Hannity’s Fox News TV show on Nov. 20, when he disclosed the FBI email string was added to the declassification request. The release of the documents will “give finality to everyone who wants to know what their government did to a political campaign” and verify that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the election, Nunes said.

As more of the secret evidence used to justify the Russia probe becomes public, an increasingly dark portrait of the FBI’s conduct emerges.

The bureau, under a Democratic-controlled Justice Department, sought a warrant to spy on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president in the final weeks of the 2016 election, based on evidence that was generated under a contract paid by his political opponent.

That evidence, the Steele dossier, was not fully vetted by the bureau and was deemed unverified months after the warrant was issued.

At least one news article was used in the FISA warrant to bolster the dossier as independent corroboration when, it fact, it was traced to a news organization that had been in contact with Steele, creating a high likelihood it was circular intelligence reporting.

And the entire warrant, the FBI’s own document shows, was being rushed to approval by two agents who hated Trump and stated in their own texts that they wanted to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.

If ever there were grounds to investigate the investigators, these facts provide the justification.

Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein likely hold the answers, as do the still-classified documents. It’s time all three be put under a public microscope.

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

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/419901-fbi-email-chain-may-provide-most-damning-evidence-of-fisa-abuses-yet

 

FBI Knew Steele Dossier Was Bogus Before Using In FISA Application: Solomon

A string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification by President Trump may be the smoking gun that the FBI and DOJ committed egregious abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to The Hill‘s John Solomon.

The email exchanges – kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, “included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division,” according to the report – and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured. –The Hill

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Two weeks after the FBI secured the FISA warrant using the Steele Dossier, Steele was fired by the FBI on November 1, 2016 for inappropriate communications with the news media.

Also withheld from both Congress and the general public until months later is the fact that Steele had been paid by Fusion GPS – an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. Moreover, Steele absolutely hated Donald Trump.

And as Solomon notes; “If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI.”

That’s because the FBI has an obligation to certify to the court before it approves FISA warrants that its evidence is verified, and to alert the judges to any flaws in its evidence or information that suggest the target might be innocent. –The Hill

The FBI, however, went to extreme lengths to convince the FISA judge that Steele (“Source #1”), was reliable when they could not verify the unsubstantiated claims in his dossier – while also having to explain why they still trusted his information after having terminated Steele’s contract over inappropriate disclosures he made to the media.

“Not withstanding Source1’s reason for conducting the research into Candidate1’s ties to Russia, based on Source1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source 1s reporting herein to be credible

Chuck Ross@ChuckRossDC

On top of that, Bill Priestap told Congress that corroboration of the dossier was in its “infancy” when FISAs were being granted. An FBI unit found dossier was only “minimally” corroborated.

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Of course, none of this mattered to the FBI – which painted Carter Page in the most criminal light possible, as intended, in order to convince the FISA judge to grant the warrant.In order to reinforce their argument, the FBI presented various claims from the dossier as facts, such as “The FBI learned that Page met with at least two Russian officials” – when in fact that was simply another unverified claim from the dossier.

It flat out accuses Page of being a Russian spy who was recruited by the Kremlin, which sought to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law,” the application reads.

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

ALERT: The declassified FBI warrant application attests to secret FISA court that “THE FBI LEARNED that Page met with at least two Russian officials during the trip,”as if FBI learned this independently,when in fact it’s clear it relied on Clinton-paid dossier for the information

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Chuck Ross@ChuckRossDC

FBI represented to a federal judge that investigators knew for certain that Carter Page met w/ Igor Sechin and Diveykin. Except, the FISA app acknowledges this intel came from Steele dossier. And FBI has acknowledged dossier was not verifieid. http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/21/doj-release-carter-page-fisa/ 

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Another approach used to beef up the FISA application’s curb appeal was circular evidence, via the inclusion of a letter from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to former FBI Director James Comey, citing information Reid got from John Brennan, which was in turn from the Clinton-funded dossier.

Meanwhile – current and former members of the US intelligence community continue to hinge their theories of Trump-Russia collusion on the Steele Dossier, despite Comey admitting that it was “salacious” and “unverified” during sworn testimony.

Most intelligence officials, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have embraced the concerns laid out in the Steele dossier of possible — but still unproven — collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Yet, 10 months after the probe started and a month after Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the Russia probe, Comey cast doubt on the the Steele dossier, calling it “unverified” and “salacious” in sworn testimony before Congress.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page further corroborated Comey’s concerns in recent testimony before House lawmakers, revealing that the FBI had not corroborated the collusion charges by May 2017, despite nine months of exhaustive counterintelligence investigation. –The Hill

Congressional investigators now want to question Comey about the October email string and whether it contributed to his assessment. According to Solomon, the newly requested email chain “provides the most direct evidence that the bureau, and possibly the DOJ, had reasons to doubt the Steele dossier before the FISA warrant was secured.”

“If these documents are released, the American public will have clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges [were] misled,” one source told Solomon.

What’s more, House GOP investigators now have a growing pile of evidence that some of the information inserted into a fourth and final application for the FISA – signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was suspect – as evidence by hints by House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Fox News‘s Sean Hannity TV show November 20. Nunes said that the declassification of the requested documents will “give finality to everyone who wants to know what their government did to a political campaign.”

As Solomon bluntly puts it:

The bureau, under a Democratic-controlled Justice Department, sought a warrant to spy on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president in the final weeks of the 2016 election, based on evidence that was generated under a contract paid by his political opponent.

That evidence, the Steele dossier, was not fully vetted by the bureau and was deemed unverified months after the warrant was issued.

At least one news article was used in the FISA warrant to bolster the dossier as independent corroboration when, it fact, it was traced to a news organization that had been in contact with Steele, creating a high likelihood it was circular intelligence reporting.

And the entire warrant, the FBI’s own document shows, was being rushed to approval by two agents who hated Trump and stated in their own texts that they wanted to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.

No wonder Comey wanted a public testimony – where he wouldn’t have to discuss any of this.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-06/fbi-knew-steele-dossier-was-bogus-using-fisa-application-solomon

Obama Political Spying Scandal: Trump Associates Were Not the First Targets

(Reuters photo: Jonathan Ernst)

This list includes Dennis Kucinich and investigative journalists.In 2011, Dennis Kucinich was still a Democratic congressman from Ohio. But he was not walking in lockstep with President Obama — at least not on Libya. True to his anti-war leanings, Kucinich was a staunch opponent of Obama’s unauthorized war against the Qaddafi regime.

Kucinich’s very public efforts included trying to broker negotiations between the administration and the Qaddafi regime, to whom the White House was turning a deaf ear. It was in that context that he took a call in his Washington office from Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the ruler’s son and confidant. Four years later, as he recalled in a recent opinion piece, Kucinich learned that the call had been recorded and leaked to the Washington Times.

To be sure, it is not a solid case. Kucinich is now a commentator at Fox News, on whose website he explains his side of the story, and on whose programming ardently pro-Trump contributors are a staple — including contributors who have been sympathetic to the new president’s claim that he was monitored by his predecessor. The gist of Kucinich’s piece is to “vouch for the fact that extracurricular surveillance does occur.” The express point is to counter the ridicule heaped on Trump’s claim that he personally was wiretapped at Trump Tower.

As we’ve repeatedly noted (see, e.g., herehere, and here), there is no known support for Trump’s narrow claim (made in a series of March 4 tweets). Yet, there is now overwhelming evidence that the Obama administration monitored Trump associates and campaign and transition officials. There were, moreover, leaks of classified information to the media — particularly in the case of Trump’s original national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose telephone communications with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. were unlawfully disclosed to the Washington Post.

The answer is no.

In an important analysis published by Tablet magazine, Lee Smith considers the likely abuse of foreign-intelligence-collection authority by the Obama administration in connection with negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The White House knew there would be vigorous Israeli opposition to the Iran deal — just as there was ardent American opposition to the highly objectionable pact. Notwithstanding that Israel is an important ally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., became surveillance targets — agents of a foreign power, treated no differently under the law than such operatives of hostile foreign powers. Fair enough — it is simply a fact that allies occasionally spy on each other. Obviously, their interests sometimes diverge.

But there was something different about this monitoring initiative. It was not targeted merely at Israeli officials plotting their opposition strategy. The Wall Street Journal, Smith notes, reported in late December 2015 that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of [the Israeli officials’] private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”

“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism — activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.

This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And — with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access — terrorize them.

Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.

Do you really think the Obama administration, which turned the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department into process cudgels for beating Obama detractors, would be above that sort of thing?

At her website, Sharyl Attkisson provides a very useful “Obama-era Surveillance Timeline” — with “surveillance” broadly construed to encompass many varieties of government power to collect and coerce the production of information. Attkisson notes, for example:

‐The IRS’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, a politicized initiative that stymied the groups’ ability to contest Obama’s reelection in 2012.

‐The administration’s targeting of journalists, including (a) attorney general Eric Holder’s approval of the seizure of personal and business phone records of Associated Press reporters en masse (i.e., not a particularized search targeting a specific journalist suspected of wrongdoing); and (b) Holder’s approval of a warrant targeting the e-mails of Fox News reporter James Rosen in a leak investigation — based on an application in which the government represented to a federal court that the journalist could be guilty of a felony violation of the Espionage Act in connection with a leak of classified information (in addition to purportedly being a “flight risk”).

‐The administration’s 2011 loosening of minimization procedures to enable more-liberal scrutiny of communications of American citizens incidentally swept up in foreign-intelligence gathering

‐The CIA’s accessing of Senate Intelligence Committee computers and staff e-mails — which CIA director John Brennan initially denied, then apologized for after it was confirmed by an inspector-general report.

‐The investigation of Trump associate Carter Page, including a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant based on the claim that Page was a Russian agent, which would have authorized monitoring of Page’s communications — including any with Trump, then the Republican nominee for president.

‐The criminal leaking to the media of former Trump national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

‐The “unmasking” of identities of Americans (connected to Trump) at the behest of Obama national-security adviser Susan Rice, a White House staffer and Obama confidant.

Ms. Attkisson also has her own story to tell. Formerly at CBS News, she was one of the few journalists at mainstream outlets who aggressively reported on the Fast and Furious scandal and the Benghazi massacre. In the latter, we recall, Rice and other Obama officials falsely told the public that the attack, which resulted in the killing of four Americans including the U.S. ambassador, grew out of spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video (rather than being a coordinated jihadist strike). The Obama administration later used its criminal-prosecution authority to trump up a case against its chosen scapegoat: the video producer.

Attkisson’s reporting prompted internal administration complaints that she was “out of control.”

As a tale of political spying intrigue, Dennis Kucinich’s story would not be worth telling. But can it so easily be dismissed after the spying on American critics of the Iran deal?

Based on examinations by two forensic experts, Attkisson and CBS eventually reported that her personal and work computers were “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” Was this “unknown party” the government? The experts say it was a highly advanced intruder, which “used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity.” Moreover, one computer was infiltrated remotely by the use of “new spy software proprietary to a federal agency.”

It is a good bet that the National Security Agency was monitoring the communications of Qaddafi’s son and other regime figures in 2011. If so, it is likely that then-congressman Kucinich was lawfully intercepted “incidentally.” It is also entirely possible, however, that the Libyans themselves were recording their conversations with prominent Americans and that the Kucinich–Qaddafi call was found after the regime fell.

The Washington Times reporters did not reveal to Kucinich how they had gotten the tape, but the paper’s related stories had referred to “secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.” Moreover, if the Obama administration had been behind a vindictive leak against Kucinich, one might have expected the leak to have happened in 2011, during Kucinich’s prominent opposition to the Libya war, rather than four years later, when the regime had long been toppled and Kucinich had retired from Congress.

On the other hand, Kucinich recounts that the recording is very clear on both ends (one might expect a Libyan recording would be distinctly clearer on the Libyan end). The Washington Timesalso does not seem the most natural destination for a secret disclosure from Libya. Furthermore, Kucinich explains, he made routine FOIA requests regarding information pertinent to him before leaving Congress in 2012. Although he did not learn of the recording until 2015, these FOIA requests would have covered his communication with Qaddafi, he adds. Kucinich says that some of the intelligence agencies have failed to respond.

On its own, Dennis Kucinich’s story would not be worth telling — not as a tale of political spying intrigue. But can it so easily be dismissed after the spying on American critics of the Iran deal? The measures taken to make “incidental” monitoring of Americans easier, its fruits far more widely disseminated and, inevitably, criminally leaked? The shocking abuse of IRS processes to collect information on, and procedurally persecute, Barack Obama’s political adversaries? Fast and Furious — the use of government police powers to create a political anti-gun narrative, then the contemptuous cover-up when it went horribly wrong, resulting in a Border Patrol officer’s death? The scandalous Benghazi cover-up — including a bogus prosecution of a pathetic video producer to help prop up the fraud? The monitoring of Trump associates and members of his campaign and transition staffs — the unmasking, the intentional wide dissemination of raw intelligence, the willful felony publication of classified information?

There is considerably more evidence that the Obama administration grossly abused its awesome intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement powers than that Russian meddling had a meaningful impact on the 2016 election. And these abuses of power certainly did not start with the targeting of Donald Trump’s campaign.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been emended since its initial posting.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/04/barack-obama-spying-journalists-dennis-kucinich-sharyl-attkisson-donald-trump-campaign-transition/

Could the President Spy on His Political Opponents?

Under the government’s current interpretation of the law, unfortunately, the answer is yes.

he controversy continues over President Trump’s Twitter storm accusing President Obama of wiretapping him. On Monday, members of Congress peppered FBI Director James Comey with questions about the claims, who once again dismissed them as lacking support. Even Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who originally defended Trump’s claims, has defected. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” the congressman said last week at a news conference. None of these statements seem to have affected President Trump, however, who continues to stand by his accusations.

But regardless of whether these claims turn out to be completely false, which is all but certain now, they do raise a question that shouldn’t be casually dismissed: Could President Obama’s administration have surveiled his political opponents under its interpretation of the law? Could President Trump’s administration now do the same?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. And that should make Republicans and Democrats nervous enough to work together to reform our surveillance laws.

Many have dismissed President Trump’s accusations as the unsubstantiated ramblings of a Twitter addict with little understanding of how our intelligence laws work. These may be fair criticisms—today the president cannot simply order the intelligence agencies to wiretap his domestic political opponents. But many of our surveillance authorities have been interpreted so broadly that they put vast amounts of Americans’ data easily within the president’s reach. Without significant reform, exploiting this immense pool of data may one day prove irresistible. Thus, whether President Trump’s accusations are true or not, the potential for White House officials to abuse our spying laws for political purposes is real.

It is important to remember that surveilling political opponents in the name of security is something of an American pastime. In the 1960s, the FBI targeted political activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., claiming they posed “national security” threats. Cesar Chavez, the prominent labor and civil-rights activist, was similarly tracked for years because of his supposed communist ties.

In response to many of these types of abuses, Congress created the Church Committee to investigate surveillance practices. The widespread crimes and abuse they uncovered led to the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978. But recent disclosures demonstrate that the law did not go far enough. Moreover, passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and other laws have undercut the protections in FISA, further opening the door to biased, unjustified, or politically motivated spying. There are jarringly few protections against these abuses.

The result: if the president wanted to surveil his critics, he could exploit at least three national security authorities.

Section 702 of FISA

Section 702 of FISA was passed at the request of the Bush administration and extended at the request of the Obama administration with bipartisan support. Now the Trump administration is reportedly pushing for reauthorization of this law when it is set to expire in 2017, with the nominee for the director of national intelligence calling it the “crown jewels” of the intelligence community. FBI Director Comey once again defended the controversial program.

While Section 702 was passed to protect against international terrorism, its tentacles reach much farther. Under the law, the government collects emails and phone calls—without a warrant—of nearly 100,000 foreign “targets.” These include their conversations with people in the United States. These targets can include journalists, human-rights workers, and other individuals who have no connection to terrorism or criminal activity, and whose only offense may be discussing information related to “foreign affairs”—a nebulous term.

Over 250 million internet communications alone are collected under Section 702 annually. While the government refuses to disclose how many Americans have been swept up in this dragnet, analysis of leaked documents suggests that at least half those communications contain information about a U.S. citizen or resident. If that’s accurate, the Trump administration will collect over 125 million internet communications that contain information about someone in the United States. Given that much of the data collected under Section 702 is stored for five years or longer, it means the government likely has access to hundreds of millions of stored emails and phone calls.

Once collected, the government asserts that they can mine this information to scrutinize the activities of Americans—opening the door to political abuse. For example, if the intelligence agencies under President Obama had wanted to search through Section 702 data for information about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on the argument that McConnell might possess information about “foreign affairs,” no technological barrier or explicit provision in Section 702 would have stopped them. Under current procedures, no court would have needed to approve this and Senator McConnell would not need to be notified that he had been the subject of such a search.

Under the government’s current interpretation of the law, this information could then be used as the basis for a criminal prosecution, criminal investigation, civil action, or additional surveillance.

Executive Order (EO) 12333

Under Executive Order 12333, the government engages in the bulk collection of communications and data—with no approval from a court or any other independent judicial body. This surveillance primarily takes place abroad. While the government is not supposed to target Americans under EO 12333, this spying likely results in the collection of information of millions of Americans. We know, for example, that the government reportedly relied on EO 12333 to steal data transmitted between certain Yahoo and Google data centers; to capture the content of all phone calls to, from, and within the Bahamas and other countries; and to collect millions of text messages from individuals around the world.

Under EO 12333, the government can target foreigners for “foreign intelligence” purposes, which, similar to Section 702, is a category so broad that it easily encompasses individuals who have no nexus to a national-security threat. As a result of recent NSA procedures, agencies across the federal government now have the right to request access to the raw information collected under EO 12333, which can contain the information of both Americans and foreigners.

While NSA officials have said there are procedures that limit the ability of the NSA to search through electronic surveillance captured under EO 12333 for information about Americans, those procedures are largely secret and can be modified purely at the discretion of the president. Moreover, the government has taken the position that information collected under the executive order can be used to prosecute Americans for certain ordinary domestic crimes—even though it was collected without a warrant.

In practice, this means that if the president decided to unilaterally change EO 12333 procedures to allow him to search for information for purposes unrelated to national security, he would have broad latitude to do so under the government’s current legal interpretations. In addition, it means that if the government stumbles across information related to these individuals in the trove of data they collect, they may assert the right to use it as the basis to prosecute or further investigate these individuals, without ever notifying them. This creates a bizarre incentive for any ill-intentioned president: the more information collected under EO 12333 in the name of security, the more information that can be mined for other purposes.

“Traditional” FISA

Although FISA was passed with the admirable goal of halting many of the surveillance abuses of the 1960s, this statutory scheme is not nearly as protective as a warrant. Specifically, unlike an ordinary warrant or wiretapping order, a traditional FISA order does not require the government to believe that its spying will produce evidence of a crime, and the secrecy surrounding the FISA court undermines effective oversight. For these reasons, the ACLU has long cautioned that FISA authorities are prone to abuse.

Under FISA, when the government seeks to conduct electronic surveillance, it must submit an application to the secret intelligence court demonstrating that there is probable cause that its individual target is a “foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” and it must identify the particular phone line or communications facility used by the target. The terms “foreign power or agent of a foreign power” are broadly defined. They include foreign government officials, foreign political organizations not substantially composed of U.S. citizens or green-card holders, and foreign individuals engaged in terrorism. While this authority is certainly narrower than EO 12333 or Section 702, it too leaves room for abuse.

For example, under traditional FISA, the government would have the authority to surveil virtually any foreign government official—including that official’s entirely legal conversations with individuals in the United States. These communications can be retained or disseminated under procedures that are more lenient than those that apply to federal wiretaps. For instance, in the wiretapping context, the government is supposed to immediately purge communications that are considered irrelevant. FISA, by contrast, permits retention, analysis, and dissemination of Americans’ information for years, regardless of whether there is any evidence of criminal activity.

The Potential for Abuse Is Real, No Matter What the Intel Community Says

The intelligence agencies would argue that these authorities do not permit the government to deliberately “target” Americans—at least not without a warrant—mitigating constitutional concerns. But that explanation only tells half the story. The reality is that these authorities are used to vacuum up large amounts of Americans’ data, do not prevent the government from knowingly capturing the communications that Americans have with tens of thousands of foreign “targets,” and, in some cases, routinely collect purely domestic communications. Moreover, once Americans’ information is collected, there are inadequate safeguards to ensure that such data is not inappropriately used.  

The fact that our intelligence-gathering laws leave room for politically motivated surveillance should give us pause. And it’s not enough for President Trump or members of Congress to simply express outrage that the private communications of political leaders could have been surveilled. With the expiration of Section 702 looming, they have the opportunity to push for a complete overhaul of our surveillance authorities, and ensure that they are brought fully in line with the requirements of our Constitution.  

In other words, President Trump should match his action to his tweets, and demand that Section 702 and other authorities be reformed.

Neema Singh Guliani is a legislative counsel at the ACLU focusing on surveillance, privacy, and national-security issues. Prior to the ACLU, she worked at the Department of Homeland Security and as an investigative counsel with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/could-the-president-spy-on-his-political-opponents/

Story 2: Time Running Out For Federal $25 Billion Funding Appropriation $25 Billion of for Trump’s  Wall — Videos

Pelosi takes hard line on paying for Trump’s border wall

an hour ago
Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, meets with reporters at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday rejected the idea of paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall in exchange for helping hundreds of thousands of young immigrants avoid deportation.

Funding for the wall — a top Trump priority — and legal protections for so-called Dreamers, a key Democratic goal, should not be linked, Pelosi said.

“They’re two different subjects,” she said.

Her comments came as the House and Senate approved a stopgap bill Thursday to keep the government funded through Dec. 21. The measure, approved by voice votes in near-empty chambers, now goes to the White House.

Trump has promised to sign the two-week extension to allow for ceremonies this week honoring former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30. But he wants the next funding package to include at least $5 billion for his proposed wall, something Democrats have rejected. Trump is set to meet Tuesday at the White House with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Pelosi, who is seeking to become House speaker in January, said the lame-duck Congress should now pass a half-dozen government funding bills that key committees have already agreed on, along with a separate measure funding the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the border. Funding for the homeland agency should address border security and does not necessarily include a wall, Pelosi said.

Most Democrats consider the wall “immoral, ineffective and expensive,” Pelosi said, noting that Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for it, an idea Mexican leaders have repeatedly rejected.

Even if Mexico did pay for the wall, “it’s immoral still,” Pelosi said.

Protecting borders “is a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well,” she added.

Schumer said Thursday that a bipartisan Senate plan for $1.6 billion in border security funding does not include money for the 30-foot-high (9-meter-high) concrete wall Trump has envisioned. The money “can only be used for fencing” and technology that experts say is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature, Schumer said.

If Republicans object to the proposal because of pressure from Trump, Schumer said lawmakers should follow Pelosi’s advice and approve six appropriations bills and a separate measure extending current funding for Homeland Security.

Either option would avert a partial government shutdown, which lawmakers from both parties oppose, he said.

“The one and only way we approach a shutdown is if President Trump refuses both of our proposals and demands $5 billion or more for a border wall,” Schumer said. He called the wall “a nonstarter” for Democrats, who face increasing pressure from outside groups and liberal lawmakers to resist Trump’s continued push for the barrier, which Trump says is needed to stop an “invasion” of Central American migrants and others from crossing into the country illegally.

Schumer called the spat over the wall unnecessary, noting that the administration has not spent more than $1 billion approved for border security in the budget year that ended Sept. 30. “The idea that they haven’t spent last year’s money and they’re demanding such a huge amount this year makes no sense at all,” he said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said he prefers to include Homeland Security in an omnibus package containing seven unresolved spending bills for the current budget year.

“I believe the best route is to keep all seven together and pass them,” the Alabama Republican told reporters Thursday. Lawmakers have “made a lot of progress” in recent weeks on the seven spending bills. “I’d like to conclude it,’” he said.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of Republican leadership, said the key question is whether Trump will sign a bill without funding for the wall.

“It doesn’t matter how much appetite there is for a shutdown anywhere else, if he is willing to have a shutdown over this issue,” Blunt said. “He has given every indication that he would.”

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Padmananda Rama contributed to this story.

https://apnews.com/e3fd315c66554c22bfdf97710e0df711

 

Story 3: President Trump Will Nominate Former U.S. Attorney General William Bar as Permanent Replacement for Former AG Jeff Sessions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who served under former President George H.W. Bush, is the leading candidate for the job as a permanent replacement for Jeff Sessions, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported earlier on Thursday that President Donald Trump could choose his nominee for attorney general in coming days, and that Trump had told advisers he plans to nominate Barr.

Sessions departed from the role last month, and Trump named Matthew Whitaker as the government’s top lawyer on an interim basis. With the current session of Congress set to soon end, anyone Trump nominates may have to wait until well into 2019 for confirmation.

Barr has worked in the private sector since serving as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, retiring from Verizon Communications (VZ.N) in 2008.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Lisa Lambert, Editing by David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot

Story 3: President Trump Will Nominate Former U.S. Attorney General William Bar as Permanent Replacement for Former AG Jeff Sessions — Videos

Trump eyeing Bush 41 attorney general to replace Sessions

President Trump To Tap Former Attorney General William Barr To Head Justice Department

William P. Barr

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Bill Barr
William Barr, official photo as Attorney General.jpg
77th United States Attorney General
In office
November 26, 1991 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Dick Thornburgh
Succeeded by Janet Reno
25th United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
May 1990 – November 26, 1991
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Donald B. Ayer
Succeeded by George J. Terwilliger III
United States Assistant Attorney Generalfor the Office of Legal Counsel
In office
April 1989 – May 1990
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Douglas Kmiec
Succeeded by J. Michael Luttig
Personal details
Born
William Pelham Barr

May 23, 1950 (age 68)
New York CityNew York, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Christine Moynihan
Children 3
Education Columbia University (BAMA)
George Washington University(JD)

William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950) is an American attorney who served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States. He is a Republican and served as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

 

Early life, education, and career

Barr was born in New York City. The son of Columbia University faculty members Mary and Donald Barr, he grew up on the Upper West Side, attended the Corpus Christi School and Horace Mann School. He received his B.A. degree in government in 1971 and his M.A. degree in government and Chinese studies in 1973, both from Columbia University. He received his J.D. degree with highest honors in 1977 from the George Washington University Law School.[1]

Barr with President Ronald Reaganin 1983

From 1973-77, he was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Barr was a law clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1977 through 1978. He served on the domestic policy staff at the Reagan White House from 1982 to 1983. He was also in private practice for nine years with the Washington law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge.[2]

Department of Justice

Barr and Dan Quayle watch as President George H. W. Bush signs the Civil Rights Commission Reauthorization Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in 1991

During 1989, at the beginning of his administration, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barr to the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, an office which functions as the legal advisor for the President and executive agencies. Barr was known as a strong defender of Presidential power and wrote advisory opinions justifying the U.S. invasion of Panama and arrest of Manuel Noriega, and a controversial opinion that the F.B.I. could enter onto foreign soil without the consent of the host government to apprehend fugitives wanted by the United States government for terrorism or drug-trafficking.[3]

During May 1990, Barr was appointed Deputy Attorney General, the official responsible for day-to-day management of the Department. According to media reports, Barr was generally praised for his professional management of the Department.[4]

Acting Attorney General of the United States

During August 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned to campaign for the Senate, Barr was named Acting Attorney General.[5] Three days after Barr accepted that position, 121 Cuban inmates, awaiting deportation to Cuba as extremely violent criminals, seized 9 hostages at the Talladega federal prison. He directed the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to assault the prison, which resulted in rescuing all hostages without loss of life.[6]

Nomination and confirmation

It was reported that President Bush was impressed with Barr’s management of the hostage crisis, and weeks later, President Bush nominated him as Attorney General.[7]

Barr’s two-day confirmation hearing was “unusually placid” and he received a good reception from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.[8] Asked whether he thought a constitutional right to privacy included the right to an abortion, Barr responded that he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a “legitimate issue for state legislators”.[8] Committee Chairman, Senator Joe Biden, though disagreeing with Barr, responded that it was the “first candid answer” he had heard from a nominee on a question that witnesses would normally evade.[9] Barr was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Biden hailed Barr as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”[9]

Attorney General of the United States

Tenure

Analysis

The media described Barr as staunchly conservative.[10] The New York Times described the “central theme” of his tenure to be: “his contention that violent crime can be reduced only by expanding Federal and state prisons to jail habitual violent offenders.”[10] At the same time, reporters consistently described Barr as affable with a dry, self-deprecating wit.[11]

Subsequent career

After his tenure at the Department of Justice, Barr spent more than 14 years as a senior corporate executive. At the end of 2008 he retired from Verizon Communications, having served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of GTE Corporation from 1994 until that company merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon. During his corporate tenure, Barr directed a successful litigation campaign by the local telephone industry to achieve deregulation by scuttling a series of FCC rules, personally arguing several cases in the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court.[12] Barr currently serves with several corporate boards.[citation needed]

In his adopted home state of Virginia, Barr was appointed during 1994 by then-Governor George Allen to co-chair a commission to reform the criminal justice system and abolish parole in the state.[13] He served on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg from 1997 to 2005.[14]

He became an independent director of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) in July 2009.

In 2009, Barr was of counsel to Kirkland & Ellis and joined the firm in 2017.[15]

On December 6, 2018, it was reported that President Donald Trump was considering Barr to be Attorney General.[16][17]

Policy positions

Immigration

As deputy attorney general, Barr successfully challenged a proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services to allow people with HIV/AIDS into the United States.[18] He also advocated the use of Guantanamo Bay to prevent Haitian refugees and HIV infected peoples from claiming asylum in the United States.[19]

Crime and security

Social issues

Barr has stated that he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a “legitimate issue for state legislators”.[8]

Health care reform

Energy and environment

Executive power

Personal life

Barr is an avid bagpiper, an avocation he began at age 8, and has played competitively in Scotland with a major American pipe band; he was a member for some time of the City of Washington Pipe Band.[20]

Barr is a Roman Catholic. He married Christine Moynihan in June 1973, and they have three grown daughters. He is a resident of Virginia.[citation needed]

References … 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_P._Barr

Story 4: United States Net Oil Exporter — First Time Since 1949 — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

OPEC set to curb oil supply? | DW News

The US Is Making Its Mark On The Global Oil Market, But How Long Will It Last?

Study: US Could Be a Net Energy Exporter

Analysts: OPEC Meeting in Vienna to Result in Less Production

The U.S. Just Became a Net Oil Exporter for the First Time in 75 Years

 Updated on 
  • Crude, refined products exports exceed imports in weekly data
  • Shale boom has boosted U.S. crude oil shipments to record
Oil Analyst Sankey Sees OPEC Cuts Stabilizing Market Short-Term
Paul Sankey, analyst at Mizuho, examines what production cuts from OPEC+ can mean to the global oil market.

America turned into a net oil exporter last week, breaking 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil and marking a pivotal — even if likely brief — moment toward what U.S. President Donald Trump has branded as “energy independence.”

The shift to net exports is the dramatic result of an unprecedented boom in American oil production, with thousands of wells pumping from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Marcellus in Pennsylvania.

While the country has been heading in that direction for years, this week’s dramatic shift came as data showed a sharp drop in imports and a jump in exports to a record high. Given the volatility in weekly data, the U.S. will likely remain a small net importer most of the time.

“We are becoming the dominant energy power in the world,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “But, because the change is gradual over time, I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting.”

The shale revolution has transformed oil wildcatters into billionaires and the U.S. into the world’s largest petroleum producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. The power of OPEC has been diminished, undercutting one of the major geopolitical forces of the last half century. The cartel and its allies are meeting in Vienna this week, trying to make a tough choice to cut output and support prices, risking the loss of more market share to the U.S.

American Oil Renaissance

U.S. net imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products

Sources: 1918-1948 courtesy of Michael Lynch and adapted from American Petroleum Institute’s ‘Petroleum Facts and Figures 1959’; for 1949-2017 U.S. EIA ‘Monthly Energy Review’. 2018 and 2019 are forecast from the EIA.

The U.S. sold overseas last week a net 211,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products such as gasoline and diesel, compared to net imports of about 3 million barrels a day on average so far in 2018, and an annual peak of more than 12 million barrels a day in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA said the U.S. has been a net oil importer in weekly data going back to 1991 and monthly data starting in 1973. Oil historians that have compiled even older annual data using statistics from the American Petroleum Institute said the country has been a net oil importer since 1949, when Harry Truman was at the White House.

On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the U.S. is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. Yet, it’s a paper tiger achievement: In reality, the U.S. remains exposed to global energy prices, still affected by the old geopolitics of the Middle East.

U.S. crude exports are poised to rise even further, with new pipelines from the Permian in the works and at least nine terminals planned that will be capable of loading supertankers. The only facility currently able to load the largest ships, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, is on pace to load more oil in December than it has in any other month.

The massive Permian may be even bigger than previously thought. The Delaware Basin, the less drilled part of the field, holds more than twice the amount of crude as its sister, the Midland Basin, the U.S. Geological Service said Thursday.

While the net balance shows the U.S. is selling more petroleum than buying, American refiners continue to buy millions of barrels each day of overseas crude and fuel. The U.S. imports more than 7 million barrels a day of crude from all over the globe to help feed its refineries, which consume more than 17 million barrels each day. In turn, the U.S. has become the world’s top fuel supplier.

“The U.S. is now a major player in the export market,” said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $16 billion at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas. “We continue to re-tool our export infrastructure along the Gulf Coast to expand capacity, and you continue to see strong demand globally for crude oil.”

— With assistance by Jessica Summers

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-06/u-s-becomes-a-net-oil-exporter-for-the-first-time-in-75-years

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018, Breaking News, Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Nothing To Do With Trump — Videos — Story 2: Former Trump Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Campaign Finance Violations, Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos — Story 3: Mueller Investigation Has Found No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion and Voters Were Changed By Russians in 2016 President Election — Videos — Story 4: President Trump’s Supporters in West Virginia Still Wild About President As Approval Rating Declines From 50% to 45% — Videos —

Posted on August 23, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Bank Fraud, Banking System, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

Paul Manafort Convicted: How the Trial Unfolded

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Manafort’s Choices: Work With Mueller, Wish for Trump Pardon, or Die in Prison

It’s not over for the president’s sleazy ex-campaign boss. He’s facing life in prison before his next trial even begins. The only way out is to side with the prosecution or POTUS.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was convicted of eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud by a federal jury in Virginia earlier Tuesday.

But it’s far from over for Manafort.

Unlike a typical defendant, Manafort still has several options available to him. His next move, and Trump’s response to it, could have explosive impact on the larger special counsel investigation and on the future of Trump’s presidency.

Next up for Manafort is sentencing. While all eight counts of conviction combined carry a maximum of 80 years in prison, he isn’t going to be locked up until 2098. Federal sentences are determined in part through a calculation based on the defendant’s prior criminal history (for Manafort, none) and the seriousness of the offense (for Manafort, very).

In determining the seriousness of the offense, Judge T.S. Ellis will consider the amount of the fraud, the sophistication of the scheme, and Manafort’s role as a leader. All things considered, Manafort likely faces a sentence of around eight to twelve years in prison. For a 69-year-old man, that could mean life behind bars.

And Manafort isn’t close to done. Mueller could choose to re-try Manafort on the ten counts on which the Virginia jury hung. That seems unlikely; Manafort’s sentence is hardly affected at all by the remaining hung counts, and Mueller’s team got all it needed from the eight counts of conviction.

Beyond that, Manafort goes on trial again next month in Washington, D.C. on an impressively well-rounded array of white-collar federal crimes. The indictment charges that Manafort worked as an unregistered foreign lobbyist in the United States, laundered millions of dollars through foreign bank accounts, lied to the Department of Justice, and—after he was charged with all of this—tried to tamper with witnesses, which got him thrown in jail pending trial in Virginia. Even if Manafort is acquitted in Washington, D.C. on all counts, it would have zero effect on the sentence he will receive on his conviction in Virginia. And if he gets convicted again in the second trial, his sentence could increase.

In short, Manafort now has been convicted in Virginia and he is looking at a scary-long sentence for a man of his age. The upcoming D.C. trial can only make that worse for him. So what options does he have left? And what are Trump’s potential responses to each course of action?

First, Manafort could just take his sentence and go to jail for the next decade or so. Sure, he will appeal (everybody does after trial), but the likelihood of the jury’s verdict being overturned is slim. Manafort also will ask the judge for a lenient sentence, but that request seems unlikely to succeed given the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and the extent of Manafort’s crimes.

Yet, it seems exceedingly unlikely that Manafort will simply take what’s coming to him. Nobody ever wants to be in prison, never mind potentially to die behind bars. Sometimes career criminals accept the possibility that their conduct will land them in prison for a long time. In the mafia, they’re called “stand-up guys,” and we’ve seen many defendants accept defeat and go off to serve their time. Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.

“Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.”

That leaves Manafort with two potential outs after his Virginia trial.

First, he can try to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. It would be unusual but not entirely unheard of for a defendant to begin cooperating after trial. Defendants typically cooperate before trial because it is mutually advantageous for the prosecution and the defendant to get together as early as possible. Nonetheless, it is possible for a defendant to cooperate after a trial conviction but before sentencing. A sentence like the one Manafort now faces certainly can change a person’s perspective and willingness to flip. Of course, the prosecutor has to be interested as well. Mueller may decide to walk away, thinking: Manafort missed his chance to cooperate long ago, he challenged our case in court, we proved his guilt, and now he gets what’s coming to him.

Or Mueller could decide that Manafort might have information that is valuable enough to justify a post-trial deal. Manafort likely won’t get the same sentencing benefit he would have gotten if he had started cooperating before trial (as his former business partner and co-defendant Rick Gates did), but he still stands to do better than if he never cooperates at all. Manafort seems to be the rare defendant who could have information that is valuable enough to interest Mueller in post-trial cooperation.

We once tried and convicted a high-ranking member of the mafia on a murder charge, which resulted in a life sentence. We believed that that mobster had extraordinarily valuable information on other bosses and several unsolved murders. So we sent an FBI agent into prison to ask whether the gangster might consider cooperating. This defendant was an old-school, hardened guy, so he politely told the FBI agent he’d prefer to die in jail quietly rather than cooperate. The point is that, even though we had convicted this mobster at trial, we still wanted to cooperate him because we believed he had unique, dynamic information.

There is one question about the cooperation option for Manafort: why hasn’t he done it yet? Did Manafort think he could beat this case and the Washington D.C. case, or at least that he could roll the dice before going down the road of cooperation? Or does Manafort fear retaliation if he does cooperate from the Russian-backed oligarchs he once profited from? Cooperation is usually an all-or nothing proposition. A defendant can’t pick and choose which people he gives information about. So cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.

Manafort’s second potential out would be a presidential pardon. This would, of course, be the optimal result for Manafort. His conviction and sentence, and any pending charges, would be wiped away. He would not go to prison; in fact, he would be released from his current incarceration, which he earned by trying to tamper with witnesses while on bail. Most importantly, a pardon would greatly reduce any incentive Manafort otherwise might have to cooperate with Mueller.

(A pardon may not completely eliminate that incentive because it remains an open question whether state charges could be brought against Manafort even after a presidential pardon; plus Manafort still faces the D.C. trial in September, which may or may not be precluded by a pardon).

While legal scholars have raised the important question of whether a pardon by Trump under these circumstances would be legitimate, there currently is no known legal mechanism to un-pardon somebody because, of course, courts have never been asked to rule on that question.

“Cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.”

All of which raises a crucial question: would a Trump pardon of Manafort constitute obstruction of justice? Taken along with Trump’s other bursts of explicitly obstructive conduct—firing Comey and telling Lester Holt he did it because of Russia, asking Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn, trying to berate Jeff Sessions into resigning so a new Attorney General can step in and fire Rod Rosenstein and/or Mueller—it is eminently clear that Trump’s real goal in issuing a pardon would be to silence Manafort. To that end, Trump faces two competing concerns. He surely wants to prevent Manafort from cooperating with Mueller, but he also likely wants to use the pardon only as a last resort because of the legal and political risks.

To mitigate the legal risk, Trump already appears to be laying a foundation to justify a Manafort pardon as something other than an obstructive act.

When the federal judge in Washington, D.C. sent Manafort to prison pending trial in June, Trump tweeted: “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort… Very unfair!” (Note: it wasn’t a sentence, it was a revocation of bail). In another tweet, Trump drew a bizarre comparison between Manafort and famed gangster Al Capone, seemingly to argue that Manafort has been treated unfairly. Most egregiously, just last week, Trump—while the Manafort jury was in the midst of deliberations—told reporters that Manafort is a “good person” and that his trial is “a very sad day for our country.”

If an attorney in the case had made the same public statements during jury deliberations, the judge likely would have imposed sanctions for breaching ethics rules prohibiting public statements outside the courtroom that might influence a jury. (In fact, Manafort’s attorney—opportunistically, and on the razor’s edge of his own misconduct—embraced the president’s remarks, smugly telling the media, “It’s great to have the support of the president of the United States”). What’s the point of these statements by Trump? They allow him at least to claim that he did not pardon Manafort to prevent cooperation or to obstruct justice, but rather to remedy a perceived injustice.

Trump may be sending signals to Manafort through these tweets, by “dangling” pardons through his then-lawyer, John Dowd, and by issuing a series of pardons in other high-profile cases to Scooter Libby, Joe Arpaio and others. By these actions, Trump seems to be saying, “Paul, I’m going to take care of you—but first you just need to keep your mouth shut and let things cool down a little, at least until after midterms.”

Of course, if such an agreement were spoken out loud—if Trump and Manafort agreed that Manafort would be rewarded with a pardon if he kept quiet—that almost certainly would be obstruction of justice. Even in the absence of an explicit agreement, a pardon taken together with other evidence already in the public record might prove Trump’s larger intent to obstruct the Russia investigation as a whole.

Trump, then, faces a difficult and crucial choice. He can grant a pardon to Manafort, which carries serious risks, both legally and politically. Or, if Trump doesn’t issue a pardon, Manafort might well flip, which could hand Mueller crucial new evidence of wrongdoing by the president and his closest advisors. The questions now are: Which way does the president go? Which way does Manafort go? And, importantly, who blinks first?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/manaforts-choices-work-with-mueller-wish-for-trump-pardon-or-die-in-prison

Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort at 2016 RNC.jpg

Manafort speaks with media prior to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Born Paul John Manafort Jr.
April 1, 1949 (age 69)
New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.
Education Georgetown University (BSJD)
Political party Republican
Criminal charge Five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a hidden foreign bank account
Criminal status Found guilty on 8 counts; awaiting sentence
Spouse(s)
Kathleen Bond (m. 1978)
Children 2

Paul John Manafort Jr. (born April 1, 1949) is an American lobbyistpolitical consultant, and lawyer. He joined Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign team in March 2016, and was campaign chairman from June to August 2016. In August 2018, Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report foreign bank accounts.[1][2]

He was an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald FordRonald ReaganGeorge H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. In 1980, Manafort co-founded the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone,[3][4][5] joined by Peter G. Kelly in 1984.[6]

Manafort often lobbied on behalf of foreign leaders such as former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolanguerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi.[7][8][9] Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); however, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not registered.[10][11][12] On June 27, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[13]

Manafort is under investigation by multiple federal agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had an active criminal investigation on him since 2014 regarding business dealings while he was lobbying for Yanukovich. He is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

On October 27, 2017, Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted by a District of Columbia grand jury on multiple charges arising from his consulting work for the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine before Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014.[14] The indictment had been requested by Robert Mueller’s special investigation unit.[15][16] Manafort surrendered and was released on bail confined to house arrest. [17] In June 2018, additional charges were filed against Manafort for obstruction of justice and witness tampering that are alleged to have occurred while he was under house arrest, and he was ordered to jail.[18] In February 2018, a new set of indictments were filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging tax evasion and bank fraud.[19] Manafort was brought to trial on those charges in August 2018, and on August 21 he was convicted on eight out of eighteen charges of tax and bank fraud. A mistrial was declared on the other ten.[20] A separate trial on the District of Columbia charges is scheduled for September 2018.[21]

Early life and education

On April 1, 1949, Manafort was born as Paul John Manafort Jr.[22] in the city of New Britain, Connecticut. Manafort’s parents are Antoinette Mary Manafort (née Cifalu; 1921–2003) and Paul John Manafort Sr. (1923–2013).[23][24] His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 20th century, settling in Connecticut.[25] He founded the construction company, New Britain House Wrecking Company, in 1919 (later renamed Manafort Brothers Inc.)[26] His father served in the U.S. Army combat engineers during World War II[24] and was mayor of New Britain from 1965 to 1971.[7] His father was indicted in a corruption scandal in 1981 but not convicted.[27]

In 1967 Manafort graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a private Roman Catholic secondary school, since closed, in New BritainConnecticut.[28] He attended Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. in business administration in 1971 and his J.D.in 1974.[29][30]

Career

Between 1977 and 1980 Manafort practiced law with the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Washington, D.C.[22]

Political activities

Manafort greeting President Gerald Ford in 1976

Manafort with President Ronald Reagan and then Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush in 1982

Manafort greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987

In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[31] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan’s election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981, he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.[22]

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988[32] and Bob Dole in 1996.[33]

Chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign

In February 2016, Manafort approached Donald Trump through a mutual friend, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. He pointed out his experience advising presidential campaigns in the United States and around the world, described himself as an outsider not connected to the Washington establishment, and offered to work without salary.[34] In March 2016, he joined Trump’s presidential campaign to take the lead in getting commitments from convention delegates.[35] On June 20, 2016, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and promoted Manafort to the position. Manafort gained control of the daily operations of the campaign as well as an expanded $20 million budget, hiring decisions, advertising, and media strategy.[36][37][38] Like most hires in the Trump campaign, Manafort was not vetted.[27]

On June 9, 2016, Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner were participants in a meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and several others at Trump Tower. A British music agent, saying he was acting on behalf of Emin Agalarov and the Russian government, had told Trump Jr. that he could obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton if he met with a lawyer connected to the Kremlin.[39] At first, Trump Jr. said the meeting had been primarily about the Russian ban on international adoptions (in response to the Magnitsky Act) and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton; he later said the offer of information about Clinton had been a pretext to conceal Veselnitskaya’s real agenda.[40]

In August 2016, Manafort’s connections to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian Party of Regions drew national attention in the US, where it was reported that Manafort may have received $12.7 million in off-the-books funds from the Party of Regions.[41]

On August 17, 2016, Donald Trump received his first security briefing.[42] The same day, August 17, Trump shook up his campaign organization in a way that appeared to minimize Manafort’s role. It was reported that members of Trump’s family, particularly Jared Kushner who had originally been a strong backer of Manafort, had become uneasy about his Russian connections and suspected that he had not been forthright about them.[43] Manafort stated in an internal staff memorandum that he would “remain the campaign chairman and chief strategist, providing the big-picture, long-range campaign vision”.[44] However, two days later, Trump announced his acceptance of Manafort’s resignation from the campaign after Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway took on senior leadership roles within that campaign.[45][46]

Upon Manafort’s resignation as campaign chairman, Newt Gingrich stated, “nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this campaign to where it is right now.”[47] Gingrich later added that, for the Trump administration, “It makes perfect sense for them to distance themselves from somebody who apparently didn’t tell them what he was doing.”[48]

Kurdish independence referendum

In mid-2017, Manafort left the United States in order to help organize the Kurdish independence referendum, something that surprised both investigators and the media.[49] Manafort returned to the United States just before both the start of the 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict and his indictment.

Lobbying career

In 1980 Manafort was a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone.[3][4][5][50] After Peter G. Kelly was recruited the name of the firm was changed to Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) in 1984.[6]:124

Manafort left BMSK in 1996 to join Richard H. Davis and Matthew C. Freedman in forming Davis, Manafort, and Freedman.[51]

Association with Jonas Savimbi

Manafort has represented Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

In 1985, Manafort’s firm, BMSK, signed a $600,000 contract with Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, to refurbish Savimbi’s image in Washington and secure financial support on the basis of his anti-communism stance. BMSK arranged for Savimbi to attend events at the American Enterprise Institute (where Jeane Kirkpatrick gave him a laudatory introduction), The Heritage Foundation, and Freedom House; in the wake of the campaign Congress approved hundreds of millions of dollars in covert American aid to Savimbi’s group.[52] Allegedly, Manafort’s continuing lobbying efforts helped preserve the flow of money to Savimbi several years after the Soviet Union ceased its involvement in the Angolan conflict, forestalling peace talks.[52]

Lobbying for other foreign leaders

Manafort was a lobbyist for former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Manafort lobbied on behalf of former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Between June 1984 and June 1986, Manafort was a FARA-registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia[53] The Reagan Administration refused to grant Manafort a waiver from federal prohibiting public officials from acting as foreign agents; Manafort resigned his directorship at OPIC in May 1986.[53] An investigation by the Department of Justice found 18 lobbying-related activities that were not reported in FARA filings, including lobbying on behalf of The Bahamas and Saint Lucia.[53]

Manafort’s firm, BMSK, accepted $950,000 yearly to lobby for then-president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos.[54][55] He was also involved in lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre,[56] securing a 1 million dollar annual contract in 1989,[57] and attempted to recruit Siad Barre of Somalia as a client.[58] His firm also lobbied on behalf of the governments of the Dominican RepublicEquatorial GuineaKenya (earning between $660,000 and $750,000 each year between 1991 and 1993), and Nigeria ($1 million in 1991). These activities led Manafort’s firm to be listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the Center for Public Integrity report “The Torturers’ Lobby”.[59]

The New York Times reported that Manafort accepted payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government to facilitate Western recognition of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum.[60]

Involvement in the Karachi affair

Manafort wrote the campaign strategy for Édouard Balladur in the 1995 French elections, and was paid indirectly.[61] The money, at least $200,000, was transferred to him through his friend, Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir, from middle-men fees paid for arranging the sale of three French Agosta-class submarines to Pakistan, in a scandal known as the Karachi affair.[52]

Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency

Manafort received $700,000 from the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1994, supposedly to promote the plight of the Kashmiri people. However, an FBI investigation revealed the money was actually from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism. A former Pakistani ISI official claimed Manafort was aware of the nature of the operation.[62] While producing a documentary as part of the deal, Manafort interviewed several Indian officials while pretending to be a CNN reporter.[63]

HUD scandal

In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at HUD to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, New Jersey.[64] Manafort’s firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant, largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce.[65]

Lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych and involvements in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, for whom Manafort lobbied

Manafort also worked as an adviser on the Ukrainian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych (and his Party of Regions during the same time span) from December 2004 until the February 2010 Ukrainian presidential election,[66][67][68]even as the U.S. government (and U.S. Senator John McCain) opposed Yanukovych because of his ties to Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin.[33] Manafort was hired to advise Yanukovych months after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych’s victory in the 2004 presidential race.[69] Borys Kolesnikov, Yanukovich’s campaign manager, said the party hired Manafort after identifying organizational and other problems in the 2004 elections, in which it was advised by Russian strategists.[67] Manafort rebuffed U.S. Ambassador William Taylor when the latter complained he was undermining U.S. interests in Ukraine.[52] According to a 2008 U.S. Justice Departmentannual report, Manafort’s company received $63,750 from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions over a six-month period ending on March 31, 2008, for consulting services.[70] In 2010, under Manafort’s tutelage, the opposition leader put the Orange Revolution on trial, campaigning against its leaders’ management of a weak economy. Returns from the presidential election gave Yanukovych a narrow win over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 demonstrations. Yanukovych owed his comeback in Ukraine’s presidential election to a drastic makeover of his political persona, and—people in his party say—that makeover was engineered in part by his American consultant, Manafort.[67]

In 2007 and 2008, Manafort was involved in investment projects with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska (the acquisition of a Ukrainian telecoms company) and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash (redevelopment of the site of the former Drake Hotel in New York City).[71] The Associated Press has reported that Manafort negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[72] A witness at Manafort’s 2018 trial for fraud and tax evasion testified that Deripaska loaned Manafort $10 million in 2010, which to her knowledge was never repaid.[27]

At Manafort’s trial, federal prosecutors alleged that between 2010 and 2014 he was paid more than $60 million by Ukrainian sponsors, including Rinat Akhmetov, believed to be the richest man in Ukraine.[27]

In 2013, Yanukovych became the main target of the Euromaidan protests.[73] After the February 2014 Ukrainian revolution (the conclusion of Euromaidan), Yanukovych fled to Russia.[73][74] On March 17, 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Yanukovych became one of the first eleven persons who were placed under executive sanctions on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) by President Barack Obama, freezing his assets in the US and banning him from entering the United States.[75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85][a]

Manafort then returned to Ukraine in September 2014 to become an advisor to Yanukovych’s former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Lyovochkin.[68] In this role, he was asked to assist in rebranding Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.[68] Instead, he argued to help stabilize Ukraine. Manafort was instrumental in creating a new political party called Opposition Bloc.[68] According to Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky, “He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed”.[68] According to Manafort, he has not worked in Ukraine since the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[86][87] However, according to Ukrainian border control entry data, Manafort traveled to Ukraine several times after that election, all the way through late 2015.[87] According to The New York Times, his local office in Ukraine closed in May 2016.[41] According to Politico, by then Opposition Bloc had already stopped payments for Manafort and this local office.[87]

In an April 2016 interview with ABC News, Manafort stated that the aim of his activities in Ukraine had been to lead the country “closer to Europe”.[88]

Ukrainian government National Anti-Corruption Bureau studying secret documents claimed in August 2016 to have found handwritten records that show $12.7 million in cash payments designated for Manafort, although they had yet to determine if he had received the money.[41] These undisclosed payments were from the pro-Russian political party Party of Regions, of the former president of Ukraine.[41] This payment record spans from 2007 to 2012.[41] Manafort’s lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, said Manafort didn’t receive “any such cash payments” as described by the anti-corruption officials.[41] The Associated Press reported on August 17, 2016, that Manafort secretly routed at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 on Party of Regions’ behalf, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.[12] Associated Press noted that under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department, which Manafort reportedly did not do.[12] The lobbying firms unsuccessfully lobbied U.S. Congress to reject a resolution condemning the jailing of Yanukovych’s main political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.[89]

Financial records certified in December 2015 and filed by Manafort in Cyprus showed him to be approximately $17 million in debt to interests connected to interests favorable to Putin and Yanukovych in the months before joining the Trump presidential campaign in March.[90] These included a $7.8 million debt to Oguster Management Limited, a company connected to Russian oligarch and close Putin associate Oleg Deripaska.[90] This accords with a 2015 court complaint filed by Deripaska claiming that Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million in relation to a failed Ukrainian cable television business.[90] In January 2018, Surf Horizon Limited, a Cyprus-based company tied to Deripaska, sued Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates accusing them of financial fraud by misappropriating more than $18.9 million that the company had invested in Ukrainian telecom companies known collectively as the “Black Sea Cable.”[91] An additional $9.9 million debt was owed to a Cyprus company that tied through shell companies to Ivan Fursin, a Ukrainian Member of Parliament of the Party of Regions.[90] Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni maintained in response that “Manafort is not indebted to Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.”[90] During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[92][93] Reuters reported on June 27, 2018, that an FBI search warrant application in July 2017 revealed that a company controlled by Manafort and his wife had received a $10 million loan from Deripaska.[94][95]

According to leaked text messages between his daughters, Manafort was also one of the proponents of violent removal of the Euromaidan protesters which resulted in police shooting dozens of people during 2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots. In one of the messages his daughter writes that his “strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered.”[96]

Manafort has rejected questions about whether Russian-Ukrainian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, with whom he consulted regularly, might be in league with Russian intelligence.[97] According to Yuri Shvets, Kilimnik previously worked for the GRU, and every bit of information about his work with Manafort went directly to Russian intelligence.[98]

Registering as a foreign agent

Lobbying for foreign countries requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Manafort did not do so at the time of his lobbying. In April 2017, a Manafort spokesman said Manafort was planning to file the required paperwork; however, according to Associated Press reporters, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not yet registered.[10][12] On June 27, he filed to be retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[99] Among other things, he disclosed that he made more than $17 million between 2012 and 2014 working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.[100][101]

Homes, home loans and other loans

Manafort’s work in Ukraine coincided with the purchase of at least four prime pieces of real estate in the United States, worth a combined $11 million, between 2006 and early 2012.[102]

Since 2012, Manafort has taken out seven home equity loans worth approximately $19.2 million on three separate New York-area properties he owns through holding companies registered to him and his then son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai, a real estate investor.[103] In 2016, Yohai declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy for LLCs tied to four residential properties; Manafort holds a $2.7 million claim on one of the properties.[104]

As of February 2017, Manafort had about $12 million in home equity loans outstanding. For one home, loans of $6.6 million exceeded the value of that home; the loans are from the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, Illinois, whose CEO, Stephen Calk, was a campaign supporter of Donald Trump and was a member of Trump’s economic advisory council during the campaign.[103] It was subpoenaed in July 2017 by New York prosecutors about the loans they had issued to Manafort during the 2016 presidential campaign. At the time these loans represented about a quarter of the bank’s equity capital.[105]

The Mueller investigation is reviewing a number of loans which Manafort has received since leaving the Trump campaign in August 2016. Specifically, $7 million from Oguster Management Limited, a British Virgin Islands-registered company connected to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to another Manafort-linked company, Cyprus-registered LOAV Advisers Ltd.[106] This entire amount was unsecured, carried interest at 2%, and had no repayment date. Additionally, NBC News found documents that reveal loans of more than $27 million from the two Cyprus entities to a third company connected to Manafort, a limited-liability corporation registered in Delaware. This company, Jesand LLC, bears a strong resemblance to the names of Manafort’s daughters, Jessica and Andrea.[107]

Investigations

FBI and special counsel investigation

The FBI reportedly began a criminal investigation into Manafort in 2014, shortly after Yanukovich was deposed.[108] That investigation predated the 2016 election by several years and is ongoing. In addition, Manafort is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[109][10]

On January 19, 2017, the eve of the Trump’s presidential inauguration, it was reported that Manafort was under active investigation by multiple federal agencies including the Central Intelligence AgencyNational Security AgencyFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Director of National Intelligence and the financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department.[110] Investigations were said to be based on intercepted Russian communications as well as financial transactions.[111] It was later confirmed that Manafort was wiretapped by the FBI “before and after the [2016] election … including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.” The surveillance of Manafort began in 2014, before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of United States.[112]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed on May 17, 2017, by the Justice Department to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters, took over the existing criminal probe involving Manafort.[109][10][113] On July 26, 2017, the day after Manafort’s United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing and the morning of his planned hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, FBI agents at Mueller’s direction conducted a raid on Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia home, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, in regard to the Russian meddling in the 2016 election.[114][115] Initial press reports indicated Mueller obtained a no-knock warrant for this raid, though Mueller’s office has disputed these reports in court documents.[116][117] United States v. Paul Manafort was analyzed by attorney George T. Conway III, who wrote that it strengthened the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation.[118]

Congressional investigations

In May 2017, in response to a request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Manafort submitted over “300 pages of documents…included drafts of speeches, calendars and notes from his time on the campaign” to the Committee “related to its investigation of Russian election meddling”.[119] On July 25 he met privately with the committee.[120]

congressional hearing on Russia issues, including the Trump campaign-Russian meeting, was scheduled by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for July 26, 2017. Manafort was scheduled to appear together with Trump Jr., while Kushner was to testify in a separate closed session.[121] After separate negotiations, both Manafort and Trump Jr. met with the committee on July 26 in closed session and agreed to turn over requested documents. They are expected to testify in public eventually.[122]

Private Investigation

The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[123] is a private intelligence report comprising investigation memos written between June and December 2016 by Christopher Steele.[124] Manafort is a major figure mentioned in the Trump–Russia dossier, where allegations are made about Manafort’s relationships and actions toward the Trump campaign, Russia, Ukraine, and Viktor Yanukovych. The dossier claims:

  • That “the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT” had “managed” the “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership”, and that he used “foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries”.[125][126][127][128] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told Putin he had been making supposedly untraceable[129] “kick-back payments” to Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time.[130] (Dossier, p. 20)

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[128]

Arrest and indictments

Manafort’s 2018 mugshot

Grand jury indictment against Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III, dated October 27, 2017 from United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Manafort and Gates indictment from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia superseding indictment, dated February 22, 2018

Manafort superseding indictment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, dated February 23, 2018

On October 30, 2017, Manafort was arrested by the FBI after being indicted by a federal grand jury as part of Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Trump campaign.[131][132] The indictment against Manafort and Rick Gates was issued on October 27, 2017.[132][133] The charges are: engaging in a conspiracy against the United States,[16][133] engaging in a conspiracy to launder money,[16][133] failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,[16][133] acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal,[16][133] making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),[16][133] and making false statements.[16][133] According to the prosecutors, Manafort laundered more than $18 million.[134][133]

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to these charges at their court appearance on October 30, 2017.[135][136] The US government asked the court to set Manafort’s bail at $10 million and Gates at $5 million.[136] The court placed Manafort and Gates under house arrest after prosecutors described them as flight risks.[137] If convicted on all charges Manafort could face decades in prison.[138][139]

Following the hearing, Manafort’s attorney Kevin M. Downing made a public statement to the press proclaiming his client’s innocence while describing the federal charges stemming from the indictment as “ridiculous”.[140] Downing defended Manafort’s decade-long lobbying effort for pro-Russian, former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, describing their lucrative partnership as attempts to spread democracy and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.[141] Judge Stewart responded by threatening to impose a gag order, saying “I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps.”[142]

On November 30, 2017, Manafort’s attorneys said that Manafort has reached a bail agreement with prosecutors that will free him from the house arrest he has been under since his indictment. He offered bail in the form of $11.65 million worth of real estate.[143] While out on bond, Paul Manafort worked on an op-ed with a “Russian who has ties to the Russian intelligence service”, prosecutors said in a court filing[144] requesting that the judge in the case revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[145]

On January 3, 2018, Manafort filed a lawsuit challenging Mueller’s broad authority and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing Mueller.[146] A spokesperson for the department replied that “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants”.[147] On January 12, Mueller asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to set Manafort’s trial date for May 14, 2018.[148] On January 16, 2018, Jackson denied the government’s date for trial indicating that the criminal trial appears likely to start in September at the earliest.[149] Jackson revealed that a letter from Manafort’s physician was submitted to the court, asking for changes in the conditions of Manafort’s confinement. “While he’s subject to home confinement, he’s not confined to his couch, and I believe he has plenty of opportunity to exercise,” Jackson said.[149]

On February 2, 2018, the Department of Justice filed a motion seeking to dismiss the civil suit Manafort brought against Mueller.[150] Judge Jackson dismissed the suit on April 27, 2018, citing precedent that a court should not use civil powers to interfere in an ongoing criminal case. She did not, however, make any judgement as to the merits of the arguments presented.[151]

On February 22, 2018, both Manafort and Gates were further charged with additional crimes involving a tax avoidance scheme and bank fraud in Virginia.[152][153] The charges were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than in the District of Columbia, as the alleged tax fraud overt actions had occurred in Virginia and not in the District.[154] The new indictment alleges that Manafort, with assistance from Gates, laundered over $30 million through offshore bank accounts between approximately 2006 and 2015. Manafort allegedly used funds in these offshore accounts to purchase real estate in the United States, in addition to personal goods and services.[154]

On February 23, 2018, Gates pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to investigators and engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the United States.[155] Through a spokesman, Manafort expressed disappointment in Gates’ decision to plead guilty and said he has no similar plans. “I continue to maintain my innocence,” he said.[156]

On February 28, 2018, Manafort entered a not guilty plea in the District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Jackson subsequently set a trial date of September 17, 2018, and reprimanded Manafort and his attorney for violating her gag order by issuing a statement the previous week after former co-defendant Gates pleaded guilty.[157] On March 8, 2018, Manafort also pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and tax charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia set his trial on those charges to begin on July 10, 2018.[158] He later pushed the trial back to July 24, citing a medical procedure involving a member of Ellis’s family.[159] Ellis also expressed concern that the special counsel and Mueller were only interested in charging Manafort to squeeze him for information that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to Trump’s impeachment.[160]

Friends of Manafort announced the establishment of a legal defense fund on May 30, 2018, to help pay his legal bills.[161]

On June 8, 2018, Manafort was indicted for obstruction of justice and witness tampering along with long time associate Konstantin Kilimnik.[162] The charges involve allegations that Manafort attempted to convince others to lie about an undisclosed lobbying effort on behalf of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government. Since this allegedly occurred while Manafort was under house arrest, Judge Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail on June 15 and ordered him held in jail until his trial.[163] Manafort was booked into the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, at 8:22 PM on June 15, 2018, where he was housed in the VIP section and kept in solitary confinement for his own safety.[164][165][166][167] On June 22, Manafort’s efforts to have the money laundering charges against him dismissed were rejected by the court.[168][169] Citing Alexandria’s D.C. suburbia status, abundant and significantly negative press coverage, and the margin by which Hillary Clinton won the Alexandria Division in the 2016 presidential election, Manafort moved the court for a change of venue to Roanoke, Virginia on July 6, 2018, citing Constitution entitlement to a fair and unbiased trial.[170][171] On July 10, Judge T. S. Ellis ordered Manafort to be transferred back to the Alexandria Detention Center, an order Manafort opposed.[172][173] His trial began on July 31, 2018.[174][175]

On July 17, 2018, the Mueller investigation asked Judge Ellis to compel five witnesses, who had not previously been publicly associated with the Manafort case, to testify in exchange for immunity, and Ellis denied Manafort’s motion to move the trial to Roanoke, Virginia.[176][177] [178]

Trials

The numerous indictments against Manafort have been divided into multiple trials.

Trial in Virginia

Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia began on July 31, 2018.[179][174] On August 21, the jury found Manafort guilty on eight of the eighteen charges, while the judge declared a mistrial on the other ten.[20] He was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one of the four counts of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.[180] The jury was hung on three of the four counts of failing to disclose, as well as five counts of bank fraud, four of them related the the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago run by Stephen Calk.[181]

Trial in District of Columbia

Manafort’s trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled to begin in September 2018.[21]

Personal life

Manafort has been married to Kathleen Bond Manafort since August 12, 1978. Mrs. Manafort is a lawyer and an alumna of George Washington University.[182] They have two daughters.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The individuals on the first list of United States sanctions for individuals or entities involved in the Ukraine crisis are Sergey Aksyonov, Sergey Glazyev, Andrei Klishas, Vladimir Konstantinov, Valentina Matviyenko, Victor Medvedchuk, Yelena Mizulina, Dmitry Rogozin, Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Surkov, and Victor Yakunovich.[77][80]

References

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

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