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The Pronk Pops Show 1322, September 18, 2019, Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operations — Videos — Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

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Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices  — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Fed Chairman Powell faces dilemma as Trump continues his public criticism

Powell Says Fed Rate Cut Is Insurance Against Ongoing Risks

WATCH LIVE: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks after interest rate cut decision – 09/18/2019

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Fed cuts rates, policy expert says

Published on Aug 21, 2019

Fiat money may not survive this recession

Peter Schiff on recession warning: It’s going to be worse than 2008

What Happens When the Fed Lowers Interest Rates

Can Low Interest Rates Hold Off Recession? (w/ Richard Wolff)

Gold & Silver Prices Fall on FED Rate Cut Announcement

Trump on Fed: ‘Only problem we have is Jay Powell and the Fed’

The discount rate | Money, banking and central banks | Finance & Capital Markets | Khan Academy

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

 

Current Federal Reserve Interest Rates and Why They Change

Why the Fed Lowered Its Benchmark Rate in September 2019

The interest rate targeted by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate, is currently 1.75% to 2%. That’s after the Fed cut it a quarter of a percentage point on Sept. 18, 2019.1 The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate banks charge each other for overnight loans. It generally reflects the health of the economy and has a big impact on other interest rates. The Sept. 18 cut was the second rate drop in 2019, after years of steady increases following the Great Recession.2

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States and it is mandated by Congress to promote economic stability, mainly by raising or lowering the cost of borrowing.3 The Fed said it lowered interest rates because, although the U.S. economy is strong and unemployment is low, business investments and exports have “weakened” since the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.4 The FOMC is the Fed’s rate-setting body, and it votes on interest rate changes every six weeks or so.

The FOMC looks at where it thinks the economy is headed and sets interest rates to help the economy reach or maintain full employment, moderate long-term interest rates, and an inflation rate of 2%.5

The fed funds rate is critical in determining the U.S. economic outlook. It is used to set short-term interest rates, including banks’ prime rate (the rate banks charge customers for loans), most adjustable-rate mortgages, and credit card rates.

 

Why the Fed Raises or Lowers Interest Rates 

The Fed uses interest rates as a lever to grow the economy or put the brakes on it. If the economy is slowing, the Fed can lower interest rates to make it cheaper for businesses to borrow money, invest, and create jobs. Lower interest rates also tend to make consumers more eager to borrow and spend, which helps spur the economy.

On the other hand, if the economy is growing too fast and inflation is heating up, the Fed may raise interest rates to curtail spending and borrowing.

In December 2008, the Fed cut the fed funds rate to 0.25%. That’s effectively nothing. It did so amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, in an effort to light a spark under the economy. The rate stayed unchanged until 2015, and rose steadily through 2018 as the economy picked up steam.6 The 2019 cuts are a sign that growth is beginning to slow.

 

How the Fed Funds Rate Works

The FOMC targets a specific level for the fed funds rate, which determines the interest rates banks actually charge one another for overnight loans. Banks use these loans to help them meet cash reserve requirements: Banks that are short borrow from banks that have excess.

reserve requirement is the amount of cash a bank must keep overnight. It’s set by the Fed and is a percentage of the bank’s deposits. The current top reserve requirement is 10% for banks with more than $124.2 million on deposit.

Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed controlled the fed funds rate by buying and selling U.S. government securities on the open market. When the Fed buys a security, that increases the reserves of the bank associated with the sale, which makes the bank more likely to lend. To attract borrowers, the bank lowers interest rates, including the rate it charges other banks.

When the Fed sells a security, the opposite happens. Bank reserves fall, making the bank more likely to borrow, causing the fed funds rate to rise.7 These shifts in the fed funds rate ripple through the rest of the credit markets, influencing other short-term interest rates such as savings, bank loans, credit card interest rates, and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Actions the Fed took during the financial crisis and throughout the recession that followed had the effect of ballooning banks’ reserve balances, and as a result, banks didn’t need to borrow from one another to meet reserve requirements.8 The Federal Reserve could no longer rely on reserve balance manipulation to control interest rates. Because of that, the Fed has developed other tools to affect the rate.

 

How the Fed Now Sets the Fed Funds Rate

Today, the Fed sets a target range for the fed funds rate. It started back in October 2008, when the Fed began paying interest on reserves (IOR), but to a limited number of institutions. This was intended as the floor on the fed funds rate.9 After all, banks won’t lend to each other at a lower rate than what they’re getting from the Fed.

But eventually, the Fed realized the IOR wasn’t sufficient. It needed a sub-floor, so in 2013 it added another tool to help it control the target rate: the overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility (ON RRP, or “reverse repo”).10 This program is available to a broader range of financial institutions than IOR.11

With the ON RPP, the Fed agrees to sell a security and buy it back at a higher price, which is effectively the interest rate. This rate is set high enough to attract buyers, but below IOR. When banks need to borrow from one another, they do so within the range bounded by IOR and ON RPP. And when the Fed acts to raise or lower interest rates, it adjusts both IOR and ON RPP.

 

How Other Interest Rates Are Determined

The fed funds rate is one of the most significant leading economic indicators in the world. Its importance is psychological as well as financial, as many of the interest rates businesses and consumers pay are based on it, if only indirectly. For example, the prime lending rate is determined by individual banks themselves, who base their rates on the fed funds rate.12

Variable interest rates for credit cards and other consumer loans, for example, rely on the prime rate, which means they’re also affected by the fed funds rate.

However, not all loans rely on the prime lending rate. In fact, the interest rates for 30-year mortgages correlate with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. That’s because investors who are interested in safe long-term returns on their investments see lots in common between the two—but not because one rate is determined by the other.13 Ultimately, supply and demand determine the rates for both.

Another important benchmark interest rate that is not set by the Fed is the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). It is the average interest rate major global banks charge each other to borrow. LIBOR is calculated daily, and is the basis for a host of commercial and consumer interest rates, from corporate bonds to adjustable-rate mortgages.14

Fed Cuts Rates By Quarter Point But Faces Growing Split

Central bankers divided over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Federal Reserve rate targetSource: Federal Reserve
%2009’10’11’12’13’14’15’16’17’18’190.000.250.500.751.001.251.501.752.002.252.502.75

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve voted to cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point for the second time in as many months to cushion the economy against a global slowdown amplified by the U.S.-China trade conflict.

While the central bankers left the door open to additional cuts, they were split over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Seven of 10 officials voted in favor lowering the short-term benchmark to a range between 1.75% and 2%. As in July, two reserve bank presidents dissented from the decision in favor of holding rates steady. This time, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell faced a third dissent from a bank president who preferred a larger, half-point cut.

“We took this step to keep the economy strong,” said Mr. Powell in a news conference after the decision.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explaining the central bank’s monetary-policy decision at news conference in Washington. PHOTO: PATRICK SEMANSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

He also indicated rates could be cut further if the economy weakened further, even though he said officials still have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy.

[For up-to-the-minute of the Fed’s monetary policy meeting, please see Federal Reserve Interest-Rate Decision—Live Analysis]

U.S. stocks wobbled, then pared declines after the Fed’s decision. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, ticked higher though held their recent range.

The policy statement released after the meeting was little changed from July, when officials held the door open to future rate cuts. As the rate-setting committee “contemplates the future path” of its policy rate, “it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” the statement said, repeating language from July.

The statement noted household spending had been rising at a strong pace while business investment and exports had weakened.

Projections released after Wednesday’s two-day meeting showed the extent of the split over the policy outlook, complicating the challenge facing Mr. Powell.

Seven of 17 officials penciled in one more rate cut this year. The other 10 were split evenly between those who thought the new level of rates, after Wednesday’s cut, would be appropriate and those who thought rates shouldn’t have to go any lower.

Lowered Expectations

The Fed’s forecasts of the federal-funds rate for the end of 2019 have changed over time. Circles below are sized according to the number of officials who set their projections to the corresponding rate for each release.

Projected midpoint for rate at end of 2019

Target range following

this quarter’s release

10 officials

5

Seven of 17 officials projected one more quarter-point cut this year

4.0%

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0

Sept. ’17

Dec.

March ’18

June

Sept.

Dec.

March ’19

June

Sept.

PROJECTION RELEASE DATE

Source: Federal Reserve

Those divides are even sharper in projections for next year. Roughly half of officials projected rates by December 2020 would sit one-quarter point below the new level, while another half thought it would be appropriate to reverse at least one of the two recent cuts.

Officials cited three reasons—weakening global growth, rising trade-policy uncertainty and muted inflation—for cutting rates at their July 30-31 meeting. The U.S.-China trade conflict worsened immediately after the July meeting, and the global industrial downturn shows no sign of bottoming out.

The Fed faces an unusual challenge setting policy given the volatile outlook for the global trading environment, that has chilled business investment. “There is a piece of this that we really can’t address,” said Mr. Powell. “It’s an unusual situation… It’s a challenging time, I admit it.”

Officials expected the U.S. economy to slow this year, but increased uncertainty means officials aren’t sure if the economy is going to cool a little bit or a lot.

U.S. economic data paint a mixed picture. Consumer spending has been solid, but manufacturing has weakened. Recent revisions to employment and profit growth show that the economy over the past year wasn’t as strong as previously thought.

 

Some Fed officials have warned that waiting for signs of consumer spending and hiring to slow more sharply could require the Fed to deliver more aggressive stimulus at a time when its policy rate is already historically low.

Hiring has slowed this year. The private sector added 129,000 jobs on average over the three months ended August, down from 236,000 for the three-month period ended December.

One challenge for the Fed in reading these numbers is that for years, officials have expected hiring to slow as the economic expansion matures. At the same time, wage growth hasn’t accelerated substantially this year, as would occur when the demand for workers outstrips supply.

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing
Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell again signaled that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates later this month. Photo: AP

Meantime, the Fed has come under growing pressure from President Trump to aggressively cut interest rates—to boost stock markets and weaken the U.S. dollar—after the White House’s trade talks with China hit an impasse this spring. Mr. Trump had called for the Fed to cut rates by a half-point in April, but he has since said the Fed should lower rates more aggressively.

Soon after the Fed announced its rate cut, Mr. Trump lashed out at Mr. Powell on Twitter. “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” he wrote, one of 30 such statements about Fed policy since the July meeting. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Mr. Powell has said the Fed doesn’t make policy decisions based on demands from political leaders and instead focuses on its congressional mandate to boost employment while keeping inflation stable. The unemployment rate, at 3.7%, is near a half-century low, while inflation, excluding volatile food and energy categories, has been running around 1.6%, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge, below its 2% target.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

17.9K people are talking about this

Separately, the Fed announced steps designed to boost liquidity in short-term funding markets after the central bank was twice forced this week to inject cash into money markets to pull down interest rates.

The Fed’s benchmark rate rose to 2.3% on Tuesday, trading outside of its range of 2% to 2.25%, after technical factors and monetary and regulatory changes created shortages of funds for banks.

Earlier Wednesday, the New York Fed injected $75 billion in cash into money markets, following a $53 billion infusion on Tuesday.

At the two-day meeting, the Fed’s rate-setting committee lowered a separate interest rate paid to banks on deposits, known as reserves, held at the Fed, which could reduce banks’ demand for that cash and increase their lending in other money markets. The committee cut that rate and another borrowing rate by 0.3 percentage point, larger than the 0.25 percentage-point reduction in the fed-funds target.

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates to ‘Zero, or Less,’ Attacks Jerome Powell Again

Some economists warn president’s push might send up long-term Treasury yields, making it harder to achieve goal of locking in low rates

WASHINGTON—President Trump renewed his call for lower interest rates and his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, by pressing for the central bank to cut short-term rates to “ZERO, or less,” negative rates that the U.S. avoided even after the 2008 financial crisis.

For weeks, Mr. Trump has pushed for lower rates to help cushion the economy against fears of a broader global slowdown. On Wednesday, he introduced a different argument for rate cuts by saying it would allow the U.S. to lock in lower interest rates for a longer period of time.

“We should then start to refinance our debt,” he wrote on Twitter, arguing it would reduce interest costs “while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.”

But some economists, including one of Mr. Trump’s former advisers, warned that his push for lower short-term interest rates might make it harder to achieve the stated goal of locking in lower rates, because it could send up long-term Treasury yields.

The tweets marked the latest escalation of Mr. Trump’s pressure on the Fed and attacks on Chairman Jerome Powell, whom the president picked for the post in 2017. Mr. Trump said the U.S. should always be paying the lowest rate and complained that the “naivete” of Mr. Powell and the Fed means that this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of ‘Boneheads.’ ”

A Fed spokeswoman declined to comment on the tweets. Mr. Powell has previously defended the Fed’s tradition of independence from political pressure.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”

After cutting their benchmark interest rate in July by a quarter percentage point, Fed officials are gearing up to cut rates again, likely by another quarter point, at their Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.

Mr. Powell framed the July decision to lower the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate to a range between 2% and 2.25% as a “mid-cycle adjustment.” The global growth and trade outlook has deteriorated since then amid an escalation in Mr. Trump’s trade war with China.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

How do you think another rate reduction might affect the U.S. economy? Join the conversation below.

Economists warn that pushing short-term interest rates to near zero could signal that Fed officials expect a much deeper economic downturn.

“That could have the unintended consequence of triggering a major drop in confidence in the economy that could precipitate a recession, which would have the opposite effect,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Lowering rates all the way to zero now, when the economy is still on solid footing, could also leave the Fed without any ammunition if an actual recession hits, Ms. Swonk said.

Some economists were also skeptical that pushing interest rates to zero would actually lead to lower interest costs on government debt.

Mr. Trump has previously floated the idea of refinancing the U.S.’s nearly $17 trillion in publicly held debt, which has jumped in the wake of Republican tax cuts and bipartisan budget deals that boosted federal deficits.

“I would like to see the rates be low and pay amortization, pay off debt,” Mr. Trump said in an October 2018 interview with The Wall Street Journal, complaining that the Fed had made this difficult by raising rates several times in recent years.

Debt-servicing costs are one of the fastest growing drivers of federal spending: Interest payments have increased nearly 10% so far this fiscal year, totaling $497.2 billion through July, roughly $1.6 billion a day, according to the Treasury Department.

It isn’t exactly clear what Mr. Trump envisions. Sovereign debt is different from mortgage debt, and can’t be renegotiated to reduce monthly payments or pay debt off early. But the Treasury can replace maturing government securities with new, long-term debt at lower interest rates, which could bring down costs.

“The Treasury should start issuing debt in much longer terms,” said Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign who at one point was under consideration for a slot on the Fed board, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month. “This would lock in today’s low interest rates on the national debt for 10, 20, 30 years or perhaps even longer.”

Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI, said such an idea makes sense, but it is something that the Treasury is already doing. The average length to maturity of publicly held federal debt has risen to 66 months, from 46 months at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Treasury has also asked an advisory group to reconsider the potential benefits of issuing ultra-long bonds, as other countries have done.

Lowering the Fed’s benchmark federal-funds rate to zero wouldn’t automatically translate to lower interest rates on government debt, which is determined by bond markets, Mr. Tedeschi said. While short-term interest costs would likely fall, “it could be that the 10-year [Treasury note] goes up because markets are more confident in the Fed management of the economy,” he said, a shift that would lead to higher interest costs.

Paul Winfree, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and a former budget adviser to Mr. Trump, said the president’s argument is “economically inaccurate.”

“Treasury has to offer interest rates that will attract buyers,” he said. “If all of a sudden we decide to roll over all of our debt, well, that will surely influence the interest rate on the debt. Like if all of a sudden every household in America decided to refinance.”

Mr. Trump said last month that the Fed should cut its benchmark interest rate by at least a full percentage point and resume its crisis-era program of buying bonds to lower long-term borrowing costs. Such moves would typically be considered only when the economy faces a substantial downturn.

Wednesday’s comments are the first time Mr. Trump has called for rates below zero. In response to a reporter’s question several weeks ago, Mr. Trump said he didn’t want negative rates.

Yields in some countries, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, have fallen below zero already. On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon said the bank has begun discussing what fees and charges it could introduce if interest rates go to zero or lower. Even during the last recession, the Fed didn’t employ negative rates.

Mr. Trump and White House officials have said they don’t believe the U.S. is headed toward a slowdown, but also have floated other ideas, such as tax cuts, to boost the economy.

A rate cut of the magnitude Mr. Trump is calling for hasn’t happened since the global financial crisis in late 2008.

In comments last week, Mr. Powell said the U.S. economy faced a favorable outlook despite significant risks from weaker global growth and trade uncertainty.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-fed-should-reduce-rates-to-zero-or-less-11568201306

Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billion Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operation — Videos

Fed accepts $75 billion of $80 billion in bids in repo operation

NY Fed concludes first repo in 11 years amid liquidity concerns

The Fed has cut rates, so what’s next for the markets?

Top strategist: ‘Biggest bubble ever’ just burst. Here’s what happens next

BITCOIN. And Here We Go! FED Prints $128 Billion To “Calm The Financial Markets”

 

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

“It’s unprecedented, at least in the post-crisis era,” said Mark Cabana, rates strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
On Tuesday morning, the NY Fed launched what’s called an “overnight repo operation,” during which the central bank attempts to ease pressure in markets by purchasing Treasuries and other securities. The goal is to pump money into the system to keep borrowing costs from creeping above the Fed’s target range.
The first attempt by the NY Fed was canceled because of “technical difficulties.” Minutes later, the NY Fed successfully injected $53 billion into the system.
The episode demonstrates evidence of emerging strains in financial markets and raises concern that the Federal Reserve could be losing its grip on short-term rates.
“The funding markets are clearly stressed,” said Guy LeBas, managing director of fixed income strategy at Janney Capital Markets. “It’s going to require Fed action.”
The NY Fed announced plans late Tuesday to hold another repurchase agreement operation on Wednesday that would aim to repurchase up to an additional $75 billion.

Rates spike

The rate on overnight repurchase agreements hit 5% on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. That’s up from 2.29% late last week and well above the target range set in July by the Federal Reserve, which is 2% to 2.25%. The surge continued Tuesday, with the overnight rate hitting a high of 10% before the NY Fed stepped in.
Although it doesn’t get as much attention as the Dow or the 10-year Treasury rate, this overnight market plays a central role in modern finance. It allows banks to quickly and cheaply borrow money, for short periods of time, often to buy bonds like Treasuries. This market broke down during the 2008 financial crisis.
However, analysts drew a distinction between the current period of stress and what happened during the crisis. Back then, investors were deeply worried about the financial health of banks. Today, banks are hauling in record profits and balance sheets look sturdy.
It’s unclear what exactly is causing the stress in the overnight market, or how long it will last.
“No one knows why this is happening,” Jim Bianco CEO of Bianco Research, said on Twitter. “If it persists more than another day or two, it will be a problem.”

$1 trillion deficits and paying Uncle Sam

There are some theories.
Cabana, the Bank of America analyst, blamed the spike in overnight lending rates on the Fed badly underestimating the amount of cash needed to keep the financial system operating smoothly.
“The Fed just made a policy mistake,” Cabana said. “There is not enough cash in the banking system for the banks to meet all of their liquidity and regulatory needs. I’m not that worried, because the Fed will fix it.”
The catalyst for the stress, according to Cabana, was the fact that US companies withdrew vast sums of money from banks to make quarterly tax payments to the US Treasury Department. That forced banks to draw down their reserves at the Fed.
The rate spike may also be a symptom of the sharp increase in Treasury bonds being issued to fund the federal government. The federal deficit has spiked to $1 trillion this fiscal year because of the tax cuts and surge in government spending.
Banks typically buy Treasuries by borrowing in the overnight market. The jump in Treasury issuance caused a large increase in demand for short-term financing.
“The fundamental issue is there are just too many darn Treasuries out there,” Cabana said. “Both parties are to blame. The $1 trillion deficit will keep this an issue.”

The return of QE?

No matter the cause, more Fed action may be needed, including additional temporary NY Fed operations.
“They may have to do the same thing tomorrow morning,” said LeBas.
The Fed may also need to lower the interest it pays on excess bank reserves, or IOER. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted the Fed will cut this rate slightly on Wednesday.
“That’s like a Band-Aid,” Cabana said.
As a longer-term solution, Barclays and Bank of America expect the Fed to begin expanding its balance sheet again by purchasing Treasuries. The Fed’s bond buying program, known as quantitative easing, or QE, was launched during the financial crisis to keep borrowing costs extremely low. As the economy healed, the Fed reversed course and started to shrink its balance sheet.
Cabana doesn’t think the Fed will call this QE, though he said it will work the same way. The central bank will grow its balance sheet by purchasing Treasuries.
“The Fed won’t admit this,” Cabana said, “but it looks and smells an awful lot like the monetary authority is financing the fiscal authority.”

 

Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos

John Bolton and Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and and his former national security adviser, John Bolton. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE

Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors

The recently fired national security adviser made little secret of his disagreements with the president.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank.

“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,” said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

At one point, Bolton, a previous chairman of Gatestone, suggested that had the U.S. retaliated for the drone shootdown, Iran might not have damaged the Saudi oil fields.

Bolton called the alleged attack on Saudi Arabia, which U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed on Iran, “an act of war” by anyone’s definition.

The former national security adviser’s comments come on the same day Trump named his successor, hostage negotiator Robert C. O’Brien.

Speaking on an airport tarmac in Los Angeles, Trump introduced his new top foreign policy aide as “highly respected” and hailed their “good chemistry.” The remarks indicated that in O’Brien, Trump sees a more compatible adviser than Bolton, whose disagreements with the president and clashes with other senior officials often spilled into public view.

After the attack in June, Trump was poised to launch a military response against the Iranians — strongly urged by Bolton — but pulled back after Fox News host Tucker Carlson and others warned him that it was a bad idea.

During Wednesday’s luncheon, Bolton said the planned response had gone through the full process and everybody in the White House had agreed on the retaliatory strike.

But “a high authority, at the very last minute,” without telling anyone, decided not to do it, Bolton complained.

Bolton spoke to around 60 Gatestone donors at the exclusive restaurant Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Attendees included noted lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his wife Carolyn, former attorney general Michael Mukasey, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, former Fox News host John Stossel, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey and New York billionaire John Catsimadis.

Billionaire Rebekah Mercer introduced Bolton as “the best national security adviser our country could have hoped for,” garnering her very loud applause. Bolton had been scheduled to speak to the group before Trump fired him.

In his talk and the Q&A session that followed, Bolton took attendees through a number of global issues.

On Afghanistan, another frequent subject of disagreement with the president, Bolton said that the U.S. should not have pursued a peace deal with the Taliban.

Instead, he said, the U.S. should keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan with intelligence support and other support elements. He called the proposed deal that was on the table similar to the agreement the Taliban offered the U.S. after 9/11, but said “it doesn’t make any sense.”

More than once, Bolton said, Israel would “sooner or later” see a new government, even though he personally liked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Venezuela, a focus of his short White House tenure, Bolton claimed there were 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban troops in the South American country. The day they left, he predicted, the Nicholas Maduro regime would fall by midnight.

He also said that if British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were to become prime minister, it would be “fatal to the special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.

During the Q&A session, Dershowitz told the crowd that it was “a national disaster” that Bolton had been booted from the White House, to what the attendee described as “thunderous applause.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/18/bolton-trump-foreign-policy-1501932

Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

Live: Trump tours border wall site in San Diego, California

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

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

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

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

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

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

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

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

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

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

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

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

Gidley on Iran agenda, Kavanaugh attacks, Lewandowski testimony

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

 

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

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

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

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

History of US-Iran Conflict Explained

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

Why Are Saudi Arabia And The U.S. Allies?

Israel and the Gulf: an unholy alliance?

Why the US and Iran are fighting over this tiny waterway

Can Iran Stop the US? A look at Irans Defenses

Iran vs Saudi Arabia – Who Would Win? (Military / Army Comparison)

Saudi Arabia’s Emergency Arab Summit

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

UNITED STATES vs ARAB LEAGUE – Military Power Comparison ✪ 2018

Crucifixion, beheading: Saudi Arabia carries out executions

Arab League States [Population/Economic/Military] Comparison (1960~2018)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quds-1 missile 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

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

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Country comparison Iran vs Saudi Arabia

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

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

Iran Saudi Arabia
1960 21,906,914 4,086,539
1961 22,480,372 4,218,853
1962 23,071,315 4,362,786
1963 23,680,258 4,516,533
1964 24,307,860 4,677,298
1965 24,954,873 4,843,635
1966 25,624,373 5,015,357
1967 26,317,783 5,195,135
1968 27,032,571 5,387,828
1969 27,764,924 5,599,904
1970 28,513,866 5,836,389
1971 29,281,591 6,100,626
1972 30,075,297 6,392,970
1973 30,905,707 6,711,923
1974 31,786,471 7,054,532
1975 32,729,772 7,419,493
1976 33,733,961 7,802,926
1977 34,803,045 8,207,697
1978 35,960,805 8,646,845
1979 37,237,137 9,137,927
1980 39,291,000 9,320,000
1981 40,826,000 9,786,000
1982 42,420,000 10,276,000
1983 44,077,000 10,790,000
1984 45,798,000 11,330,000
1985 47,587,000 11,897,000
1986 49,445,000 12,492,000
1987 50,662,000 13,118,000
1988 51,909,000 13,774,000
1989 53,187,000 14,463,000
1990 54,496,000 15,187,000
1991 55,837,000 15,947,000
1992 56,656,000 16,948,000
1993 57,488,000 17,277,000
1994 58,331,000 17,701,000
1995 59,187,000 18,136,000
1996 60,055,000 18,581,000
1997 61,070,000 19,037,000
1998 62,103,000 19,504,000
1999 63,152,000 19,983,000
2000 64,219,000 20,474,000
2001 65,301,000 20,976,000
2002 66,300,000 21,491,000
2003 67,315,000 22,020,000
2004 68,345,000 22,564,000
2005 69,390,000 23,330,000
2006 70,496,000 24,122,000
2007 71,366,000 24,941,000
2008 72,266,000 25,787,000
2009 73,196,000 26,661,000
2010 74,157,000 27,563,000
2011 75,150,000 28,376,000
2012 76,038,000 29,196,000
2013 76,942,000 29,994,000
2014 78,470,000 30,770,000
2015 79,476,000 31,016,000
2016 80,460,000 31,743,000
2017 81,423,000 32,552,000
2018 81,800,269 33,699,947
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

 

 

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

See the source image

Trump Urgest Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

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

Trump calls for NY Times staff to resign over Kavanaugh story

Sen. Tillis on New York Times Kavanaugh report

New York Times faces intense scrutiny over Kavanaugh article

Tucker: New York Times revives attacks on Kavanaugh

Ingraham: Democrats’ smash and smear campaign

Bongino blasts NYT’s ‘disgraceful’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Ben Shapiro blasts The New York Times’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Gowdy compares impeaching Kavanaugh to ‘political death penalty’

Gutfeld on the latest New York Times scandal

Trump demands DOJ ‘rescue’ Kavanaugh as fresh allegations emerge

Napolitano on new questions surrounding Kavanaugh accuser’s motivation

New video raises questions about Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

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

‘Squad’ member to introduce Kavanaugh impeachment resolution

Why the Times bungled so badly in its latest Kavanaugh smear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Urges Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

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

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

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

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

By Susan Crabtree – RCP Staff

September 17, 2019

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1318, September 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos — Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos — Story 3: Sidney Powell’s Motion in Michael Flynn Case — Missing Internal DOJ Memo That Cleared Flynn! — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos —

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Trump touts border wall progress, optimistic after recent court victories

Watchdog investigating Trump’s plan to seize private land for border wall

Walking to America with the Migrant Caravan | VICE News Tonight Special Report (HBO)

Published on Dec 21, 2018

Riding ‘The Death Train’ to America’s border

Published on Aug 1, 2018

Dying to get through the US-Mexico border | Unreported World

The Wall: Crossing the border through a deadly desert

Published on Sep 20, 2017

The Wall: A 2,000-mile border journey

Published on Sep 20, 2017

Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis | Times Documentaries | The New York Times

Trump’s immigration crackdown starts to gain traction

Sebastian Smith,
AFP

 With a little help from the Supreme Court and Mexico, US President Donald Trump’s fitful crackdown on immigration is finally gaining traction.

Trump has spent his entire presidency promising to stop illegal immigration, shut out asylum seekers and wall off the Mexican border.

The far-reaching policies sparked an avalanche of court challenges, complaints from human rights organizations and derision from opposition Democrats ahead of next year’s elections.

Undeterred, Trump has hammered away, making construction of a US-Mexican border wall one of his presidency’s centerpieces — and a key part of his 2020 reelection platform.

And this week he celebrated a string of victories.

The latest boost came Wednesday when the Supreme Court said he could enact severe restrictions on asylum seekers.

The ruling requires would-be refugees to ask for asylum in the first country they visit and only then — if they are rejected — can they attempt to apply in the United States.

The ruling — which has temporary effect while challenges play out in lower courts — shuts out large numbers of people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. They will now have to apply for asylum in Mexico, rather than head directly to the United States.

Trump’s opponents, as well as dissenting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, say the change upends decades of tradition in which the US, itself founded by waves of often poor immigrants, has welcomed refugees.

But Trump, who argues that economic migrants abuse the system with fraudulent asylum claims, went on Twitter to herald the “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”

“The Southern Border is becoming very strong despite the obstruction by Democrats,” he tweeted.

– Mexico comes on board –

That’s far from all.

In July, the Supreme Court backed Trump’s move to divert billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to pay for extending or rebuilding stretches of wall on the Mexican border. This lets him circumvent fierce resistance to funding in a divided Congress.

The Pentagon also said this Tuesday that the deployment of 5,500 troops on the border — something that was initially highly controversial — was being extended for the coming year.

While Trump exaggerates the amount of wall-building activity there’s no question that momentum is gradually shifting his way.

“The Wall is going up very fast despite total Obstruction by Democrats in Congress, and elsewhere!” he tweeted Wednesday.

Perhaps the most significant shift has happened on the other side of the long, rugged frontier, where the Mexican government has set aside previous hostility to cooperate with Trump.

The change in mood follows threats by Trump to impose trade tariffs on Mexico, even though the two countries are in a free trade agreement together with Canada.

Not that Mexico is entirely happy. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the new US asylum restrictions, which could mean a torrent of new cases for his country, “unprecedented.”

“Or course we disagree,” he said.

But Mexico appears to have accepted it has no choice but to play by Trump’s rules.

On Monday, Mark Morgan, head of the US border patrol service, welcomed “unprecedented support” from Mexico, which he said has deployed 10,000 troops on its own southern border with Central America and 15,000 on the US border.

Proof that the joint crackdown is having an effect is in the numbers, US officials say.

August detentions of undocumented migrants numbered 64,000, down from 82,000 the previous month and 144,000 in May, Morgan said. Mexico, he said, has apprehended 134,000 people so far this year, compared to 83,000 in all of 2018.

Democrats use the immigration issue to paint Trump as heartless, even racist. But the president feels he’s on the right track.

On Monday, as streams of Bahamians tried to exit islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, Trump made clear the United States would eye this latest group of asylum seekers skeptically.

“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers,” he said.

The language echoed his long-term characterization of Central American migrants as potential rapists and gang members.

https://news.yahoo.com/trumps-immigration-crackdown-starts-gain-traction-171804088.html

Popular Refugee Resettlement Programs Closing Under Trump Administration

Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos

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Justice Department inspector general wrapping up probe into FISA abuse allegations

Sen. Kennedy: Let’s get the FISA report to the American people

Rep. Jim Jordan on FISA Abuse Report and Dems’ Impeachment Inquiry

McCarthy promises accountability as Barr reviews IG’s FISA report: ‘The closest we’ve ever seen to a

Sean Hannity 9/12/19 | Sean Hannity Fox News September 12, 2019

Lou Dobbs 9/12/19 | Breaking Fox News Septem­b­e­r 12, 2019

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to AG Barr

Graham rips ‘garbage’ Trump dossier ahead of FISA abuse report

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing: It’s ObamaGate, and it’s the biggest scandal in American history

Obamagate: The biggest political scandal in our history. Sara Carter and John Solomon

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New FBI text messages draw a possible connection to Obama

•Published on Feb 7, 2018

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

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Who is Christopher Steele?

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DOJ, FBI officials committed criminal misconduct: Chris Farrell

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New evidence shows why Steele, the Ohrs and TSA workers never should have become DOJ sources

One of the inevitable outcomes of the Russia case will be that the Department of Justice (DOJ) almost certainly will need internal reforms.

The first reform is the most obvious, given the unraveling of the Russia collusion narrative: a new set of rules governing when the FBI can investigate or spy on a First Amendment-protected political campaign during an election.

The FBI never should have been allowed to sustain a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign based on hearsay from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who helped to arrange a $25 million Australian government donation to the Clinton Foundation, and on a “minimally” verified dossier written by British spy Christopher Steele, who was working on the Hillary Clinton opposition-research team.

The second reform may be less visible but becomes painfully obvious, thanks to a series of internal DOJ investigative memos released this month that expose glaring issues with the handling, vetting and weighting of “confidential human sources.” That’s a fancy term for people — sometimes called “snitches” or informants, in street vernacular — who secretly provide evidence to law enforcement.

Some examples of the DOJ’s problems with informers fall outside the Russia case but mirror the same issues unmasked in the now-debunked probe of Trump.

Take, for example, the DOJ inspector general’s finding this month that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was paying other government officials at the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work as informants.

The IG spared few words in decrying the idiocy of allowing government security officers collecting a federal salary to double-dip into taxpayers’ money by receiving informant pay to report criminal activity they were required by their jobs to disclose.

Two agents and one supervisor “violated the DEA Confidential Source policy” by paying three TSA workers as informants, the report concluded. And one agent wrongly served as handler for a TSA informant with whom he was involved in a “personal relationship,” investigators found, exposing a problem dating to 2013.

“By establishing the TSA employees as paid Limited Use Confidential Sources, the DEA agreed to pay for information that the TSA employees were already obligated to provide to law enforcement,” the IG concluded.

In other words, there should be a bright line: Government agents should stick to their jobs and leave the informing to private citizens.

That line similarly was breached in the minds of many when Bruce Ohr, then the DOJ’s assistant deputy attorney general, began collecting anti-Trump information on July 30, 2016, from former MI6 agent Steele and pushing it on the top levels of the DOJ and the FBI.

At the time, Ohr knew his wife, Nellie, and Steele worked for the Fusion GPS research firm on the same project to dig up Russia dirt on Trump, to help the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) win the 2016 election. Furthermore, Ohr told the FBI he knew Steele was a foreigner “desperate” to stop a Trump presidency, FBI memos show.

With his seniority inside DOJ, Ohr quickly got Steele’s information to the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, and three top DOJ supervisors, despite the red flags.

Before long, Steele was working as a confidential informant for the bureau, and his dossier was used to secure a surveillance warrant targeting the Trump campaign weeks before Election Day.

When Steele got fired Nov. 1, 2016, by the FBI for leaking to the media, Ohr became a conduit for the bureau to keep getting information from Steele for months. Ohr met at least 12 times in late 2016 and 2017 with FBI agentsto provide new intel from the British spy. In other words, Ohr transitioned from being a DOJ supervisor to a backdoor source for the FBI to receive information from a terminated source.

And he didn’t stop there.

Records released this week, thanks to litigation by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show the senior DOJ official took at least two research files from his wife and her Fusion GPS work and provided them to FBI agents investigating Trump. One alleged that unverified ties existed between the Trump organization and Russian mobsters; the other provided a timeline alleging wrongdoing by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Nellie Ohr testified to Congress that some of her anti-Trump information came from foreign officials in Ukraine, including a parliamentary member highly critical of Manafort.

Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort.

Why is that significant? Tymoshenko and Hillary Clinton had a simpatico relationship after the former secretary of State went out of her way in January 2013 to advocate for Tymoshenko’s release from prison on corruption charges.

So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton’s British opposition-researcher but also from his wife’s curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election!

To Ohr’s credit, he disclosed his potential conflict of interest involving his wife to DOJ officials. To DOJ’s discredit, he was allowed to act as a source for both his wife and Steele anyway.

Ohr also didn’t get compensated as a paid informant, like the TSA workers. But documents show a curious thing happened during the time he began peddling the anti-Trump intelligence from his wife and Steele: His annual performance bonus doubled from about $14,000 in November 2015 to $28,000 in November 2016.

The blurred line between government official and informer/source didn’t stop with Ohr. Former FBI General Counsel James Baker also admitted he took dirt on Trump from DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann in summer 2016 and gave it to the agents investigating the Trump campaign.

The ultimate consequence — some might argue folly — of all these blurred lines is most easily exposed in an often overlooked document from the Russia probe.

I’ve written that the FBI kept a spreadsheet showing almost all of what Steele provided agents and Ohr on Russia-Trump dirt turned out to be unverified, disproven or nothing more than internet rumors. But when the FBI closed its paperwork on Steele in 2018, a professional intelligence analyst concluded in his human source validation report that the bureau assessed it had only “medium confidence” in Steele and that his intelligence could only be “minimally” verified.

In other words, his intelligence wasn’t very good. And yet, America spent nearly three years in turmoil only to learn that Steele’s Trump-Russia allegations — paid by Clinton and propagated by Ohr — were not true.

The tales of Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Yulia Tymoshenko, and those DEA and TSA agents raise a stark warning: The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement, became too blurred for the Justice Department’s own good.

That’s a problem sorely in need of fixing.

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 serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/457628-new-evidence-shows-why-steele-the-ohrs-and-tsa-workers-never-should-have

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1312, August 27, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Videos — Story 2: Johnson and Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million in Case Involving Marketing of Opioids to Doctors — Videos — Story 3: 19 States Sue Federal Government Over Longer Detention in Family Residential Centers (FRCs) Until Processed Under New Rule

Posted on August 28, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Both Iran and North Korea Must Denuclearize of Face Sanction Forever — Videos

 

Iran will meet with US if sanctions are lifted

Donald Trump calls Iran ‘number one nation of terror’

[9AM] America’s Newsroom 8/27/19 | FOX News Today August 27, 2019

Trump: Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon

Trump confronts nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump On The Iran Nuclear Deal | CNBC

Sanctions aren’t enough to end Iran’s nuclear program: Walid Phares

President Trump Open To Meeting With Iran, Says China Wants To Make A Trade Deal | NBC Nightly News

Iran FM Zarif: “If the US stops bothering the rest of the world, everything will be fine”

Iran’s Zarif grabs #MSC2019 spotlight, slams Trump and Israel (Munich Security Conference)

Iran’s Zarif thrashes Trump, “US driven by pathological obsession” (Munich Security Conference 2019)

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Inside Iran

Iran: Why are people protesting?

Protests in Iran enter sixth day

Published on Jan 2, 2018

 

Iran’s Rouhani Says No Talks With Trump Until Sanctions Are Lifted

CreditCreditIranian Presidency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Tuesday that he would not sit down for a meeting with President Trump until Washington had lifted all of its economic sanctions against Iran.

His comment came a day after President Emmanuel Macron of France said he would try to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani in the next few weeks to ease the strained relationship between the United States and Iran.

That relationship has worsened since Mr. Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Mr. Macron said at a news conference on Monday at the conclusion of the Group of 7 meeting in France that he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart to determine whether a meeting was possible.

Opioid Overdose Crisis

Revised January 2019

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relieversheroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2

How did this happen?

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5

What do we know about the opioid crisis?

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.6
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.79
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.10
  • The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.10
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.10
The graph shows that the Northeast had the highest rate of suspected opioid overdose in Q3 of 2017. Rates in the Midwest have increased largely between Q2 and Q3 of 2017.Quarterly rate of suspected opioid overdose, by US region
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.10

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.

What are HHS and NIH doing about it?

In response to the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of HHS, is the nation’s leading medical research agency helping solve the opioid crisis via discovering new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage pain. In the summer of 2017, NIH met with pharmaceutical companies and academic research centers to discuss:

  1. safe, effective, non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain
  2. new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid use disorders
  3. improved overdose prevention and reversal interventions to save lives and support recovery

In April 2018 at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

Related Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Types of Pain

Acute pain can last a moment; rarely does it become chronic pain. Chronic pain persists for long periods. It is resistant to most medical treatments and cause severe problems.

  1. Pain ClassificationsEven though the experience of pain varies from one person to the next, it is possible to categorize the different types of pain.
  2. Chronic PainLearn about how chronic pain occurs, and why chronic pain sometimes lingers.
  3. Nerve PainWhen nerve fibers get damaged, the result can be chronic pain. Read about the very common causes of neuropathic pain, like diabetes.
  4. Psychogenic PainDepression, anxiety, and other emotional problems can cause pain — or make existing pain worse.
  5. Musculoskeletal PainMusculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
  6. Chronic Muscle PainUse your muscles incorrectly, too much, too little — and you’ve got muscle pain. Learn the subtle differences of muscle injuries and pain.
  7. Abdominal PainLearn common causes of abdominal pain and when to contact your doctor.
  8. Joint PainSee the causes of joint pain and how to treat it with both home remedies and prescribed medication.
  9. Central Pain SyndromeA stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain and burning syndromes from damage to brain regions. Read this brief overview.
  10. Complex Regional Pain SyndromeIt’s a baffling, intensely painful disorder that can develop from a seemingly minor injury, yet is believed to result from high levels of nerve impulses being sent to the affected disorder. Learn more about this disorder.
  11. Diabetes-Related Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)If you have diabetes, nerve damage can be a serious complication. This nerve complication can cause severe burning pain especially at night. Learn more about diabetic neuropathy.
  12. Shingles Pain (Postherpetic Neuralgia)Shingles is a painful condition that arises from varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors.
  13. Trigeminal NeuralgiaIt’s considered one of the most painful conditions in medicine. The face pain it causes can be treated. Learn more about what causes trigeminal neuralgia and treatments for face pain caused by it. 

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-overview-facts

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The Pronk Pops Show 1309. August 20, 2019, Story 1: 23 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Does Not Support Universal Background Checks But Does Support Meaningful Intelligent Background Checks  — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Looking At Payroll Tax Cuts — Videos — Story 4: Big Lie Media, Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists (REDS), and Trump Haters Hope The United States Economy Goes Into A Recession to Defeat Trump — Betrayal of The American People — Videos

Posted on August 22, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Assault, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Cyber Warfare, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Health Care, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Senate, Servers, Sexual Harrasment, Social Security, Software, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Story 1: 23 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack — Videos

Ransomware As Fast As Possible

Officials Working To Help 23 Local Texas Governments After Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attack hits government computers in over 20 Texas towns

Texas government agencies hit by ransomware attack

Ransomware attack hits 23 Texas towns

Twenty-two Texas Towns Hit By Ransomware

Ransomware attack hits 23 Texas towns

23 local Texas governments hit with ransomware attack

How Ransomware Locks Your PC & Holds Your Data Hostage

How one ransomware attack cost £45m to fix – BBC News

What is ransomware and how can I protect myself?

Th

RANSOMWARE

Wana Decrypt0r (Wanacry Ransomware) – Computerphile

 

Texas is hit with ransomware attack as at least 20 local governments come under ‘coordinated’ cyber assault

  • Texas state government reports coordinated ransomware attacks in 20 cities
  • State Department of Information Resources is leading the response
  • Ransomware cripples computer infrastructure with demand for payment 

Texas has been hit with a wave of ransomware attacks targeting at least 20 local government entities.

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) said late Friday that it is leading the response to a ‘coordinated ransomware attack’ that is crippling critical government infrastructure across the state.

Ransomware disables computer networks and holds them hostage in demand for payment.

Workers are seen inside the Texas Division of Emergency Management, State Operations Center in Austin in a file photo
‘Currently, DIR, the Texas Military Department, and the Texas A&M University System’s Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to the most critically impacted jurisdictions,’ the department said in a statement.

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?

Cybercriminals use ‘blockers’ to stop their victim accessing their device.

This may include a mesage telling them this is due to ‘illegal content’  such as porn being identified on their device.

Anyone who has accessed porn online is probably less likely to take the matter up with law enforcement.

Hackers then ask for money to be paid, often in the form of Bitcoins or other untraceable cryptocurrencies, for the block to be removed.

In May 2017, a massive ransomware virus attack called WannaCry spread to the computer systems of hundreds of private companies and public organisations across the globe.

The department urged local jurisdictions who have been impacted to contact their local TDEM Disaster District Coordinator.

‘DIR is fully committed to respond swiftly to this event and provide the necessary resources to bring these entities back online,’ the agency said.

It was not immediately clear which cities had been impacted by the attacks and what entity is suspected of perpetrating them.

A spokesman for DIR did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Saturday.

The attack came within hours of a massive failure of U.S. Customs and Border Protection computers that caused huge travel delays across the country – although the federal agency has insisted that the outage was not ‘malicious’ in nature. 

‘The affected systems are coming back online and travelers are being processed. CBP will continue to monitor the incident. There is no indication the disruption was malicious in nature at this time,’ CBP said in a statement at 6.30pm ET on Friday.

22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack In ‘New Front’ Of Cyberassault

Texas state Capitol building in Austin. This week, state officials confirmed that 22 municipalities have been infiltrated and ransom demanded.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Updated at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday ET

Texas is the latest state to be hit with a cyberattack, with state officials confirming this week that computer systems in 22 municipalities have been infiltrated by hackers demanding a ransom. A mayor of one of those cities said the attackers are asking for $2.5 million to unlock the files.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and state cybersecurity experts are examining the ongoing breach, which began Friday morning and has affected mostly smaller local governments. Officials have not disclosed which specific places are affected.

Investigators have also not yet identified who or what is behind the attack that took the systems offline, but the Texas Department of Information Resources says the evidence so far points to “one single threat actor.”

Elliott Sprehe, a spokesman for the department, said he was “not aware” of any of the cities having paid the undisclosed ransom sought by hackers. He said the areas impacted are predominantly rural. The department initially put the number of cities attacked at 23.

Two cities so far have come forward to say their computer systems were affected. Officials in Borger in the Texas Panhandle, said the attack has affected city business and financial operations. Birth and death certificates are not available online, and the city can’t accept utility payments from any of its 13,25o residents. “Responders have not yet established a time-frame for when full, normal operations will be restored,” city officials said.

Keene, Texas, a city of some 6,100 people outside Fort Worth, was also hit, officials announced. The city’s government is also unable to process utility payments.

Keene Mayor Gary Heinrich told NPR that the hackers broke into the information technology software used by the city and managed by an outsourced company, which he said also supports many of the other municipalities targeted.

“Well, just about everything we do at City Hall is impacted, Heinrich said.

Heinrich said the hackers want a collective ransom of $2.5 million.

“They got into our software provider, the guys who run our IT systems,” Heinrich said. “A lot of folks in Texas use providers to do that, because we don’t have a staff big enough to have IT in house.”

State officials would not comment on the nature of the attack or confirm the ransom amount. But Heinrich said there is no way his city will be coughing up anything for the hackers.

“Stupid people,” he said of the cyber-attackers. “You know, just no sense in this at all.”

Experts say that while government agencies have increasingly been hit by cyberattacks, simultaneously targeting nearly two dozen cities represents a new kind of digital assault.

“What’s unique about this attack and something we hadn’t seen before is how coordinated attack this attack is,” said threat intelligence analyst Allan Liska. “It does present a new front in the ransomware attack,” he said. “It absolutely is the largest coordinated attack we’ve seen.”

Liska’s research firm, Recorded Future, has found that ransomware attacks aimed at state and local government have been on the rise, finding at least 169 examples of hackers breaking into government computer systems since 2013. There have been more than 60 already this year, he said.

In recent months, the data networks of Baltimore, the Georgia courts system and a county in Utah have all been hit by ransomware.

The hacker bait tends to come in the form of a seemingly benign email with links or attachments that, once opened, can infect a system. There are other popular ways of tapping into government networks, Liska said, like through remote desktop systems, which can be vulnerable to hackers.

While the attackers tend to be anonymous and their locations undisclosed, Liska said his research has found that few are based in the U.S. Many, he said, are breaching local government computer systems from operations based in parts of Eastern Europe or Russia.

And sometimes local governments see no other option to restoring their crippled networks than paying a ransom demanded by hackers. In Lake City, Fla., a town of about 12,000 residents, officials paid $460,000 in the form of bitcoin, the preferred payment method among cybercriminals.

“They turned off the servers. They literally went room through room through city hall, unplugging people’s networks cables and turning off all the computers,” Mike Lee, a sergeant with the Lake City Police Department, told NPR in July.

The ransom was paid by insurance, but taxpayers were still on the hook for a $10,000 deductible.

The Recorded Future study found that about 17% of local agencies hit with ransomware viruses paid up, a practice federal law enforcement officials discourage, saying it incentivizes cybercriminals to keep engaging in the activity.

Liska said in cities he has worked with that have been preyed upon by hackers, there are instances in which ponying up for the return of data is the only viable option.

“Sometimes the reality of the situation may call for it,” he said. “If the backups aren’t working or if the bad guys have encrypted your backups, then unfortunately that’s what you’re left with.”

Individuals, businesses and institutions such as hospitals have been targeted by ransomware attacks for years. With the recent attacks on state and city government, local officials are rushing to secure their computer systems, holding new training and backing up their servers, Liska said. But in smaller, cash-strapped localities, there could be challenges to building a security defense.

Tad McGalliard studies local government cybersecurity at the Washington-based city manager group ICMA. He has been pushing for municipalities to find more funding to fight back against hackers.

“Somebody out there on the bad guy front is seeing an opportunity in local governments and we got to make a better job of making sure our employees are as well-trained and as well-equipped as possible,” McGalliard said.

McGalliard said the Texas case should be a wake-up call to cities in remote parts of the country.

“We might have thought this was a big city problem, or at least an affluent city or county problem, but I think what’s clear now is just about any local government is vulnerable,” he said.

In Texas, state authorities have not yet disclosed where exactly the attacks were based or how many computers have been swept up in the breach, meaning it is not yet known what services or data might have been compromised.

“Hitting 23 towns at once was bad, but we don’t know how much damage was done,” Liska said. “One computer in each town versus 100 computers in each town is a big difference.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/20/752695554/23-texas-towns-hit-with-ransomware-attack-in-new-front-of-cyberassault

Story 2: President Trump Does Not Support Universal Background Checks But Does Support Meaningful Intelligent Background Checks  — Videos

White House pushes back on background check claims

Lou Dobbs Tonight 8/20/19 | Breaking Fox News August 20, 2019

Story 3: President Trump Looking At Payroll Tax Cuts — Videos

Bank of America CEO Moynihan on the Economy, Recession Risks and Trade

What are the warning signs of a recession?

Are we heading for a global recession? – BBC Newsnight

The Point: Trump admits China war could bring economic recession

President Trump Wants To Cut Payroll Taxes

President Trump Says He’s Considering Payroll Tax Cut To Boost Economy | NBC Nightly News

President Trump may be considering options to prevent recession

Trump touts economy but payroll tax discussion reveals recession fears

Trump attacks Fed chair, pushes back on recession fears

Donald Trump says he will risk a ‘RECESSION for two months’ as a price for his China trade war saying only ‘dumb people’ don’t get what he us doing – and he admits he IS considering emergency tax cuts

  • Donald Trump spent morning retweeting aides and media allies to back his claim that recession warnings are a plot to unseat him in 2020
  • He retweeted a supporter who described him as having ‘super human energy,’ and a series of claims that the media is trying to crash the economy
  • ‘Somebody had to take China on,’ he argued. ‘China’s been grifting off this country for 25 years’ 
  • Told a reporter asking about a recession: ‘I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, “Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?” ‘
  • Trump declared, ‘The fact is, somebody had to take China on. My life would be a lot easier, if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it, because I have to do it’
  • Also tweeted Mike Pence claiming Michigan’s economy is strong on day electorally-critical state was hit by U.S. Steel layoffs 
  • Admitted during an Oval Office meeting with Romania’s president that he’s considering a payroll tax cut and railed against the Federal Reserve and China
  • Dow closed 173.35 points down at 25,962.44 after rallying on Monday, in the latest market fluctuation. 

President Donald Trump says he’s willing to risk a ‘recession for two months’ to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only ‘dumb people’ don’t understand his trade war and tariffs policies.

An angry Trump warned reporters that if he hadn’t challenged China, theft of intellectual property would hurt companies like Apple even more in the long term than his tariffs.

‘Somebody had to take China on,’ he argued. ‘China’s been grifting off this country for 25 years, but longer than that. And it’s about time, whether it’s good for our country, or bad for our country short term. Long term, it’s imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion because stupid people are running it.’

He argued, ‘Whether its good or bad short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China.’

‘Whether it’s good or bad, the short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China because they’re taking out $500 billion a year plus. And that doesn’t include intellectual property theft and other things. And also, national security, so I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, “Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?” ‘ he told a journalist asking him about the possibility of a downturn.

Trump declared, ‘The fact is, somebody had to take China on. My life would be a lot easier, if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it, because I have to do it. And we’re getting great help. China’s had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years, and a lot of people saying the worst year they’ve had in 54 years, OK?

President Donald Trump says he's willing to risk a 'recession for two months' to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only 'dumb people' don't understand his trade war and tariffs policies

President Donald Trump says he’s willing to risk a ‘recession for two months’ to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only ‘dumb people’ don’t understand his trade war and tariffs policies

Trump will risk recession as trade war with China ‘had to be done’

Fuming, the president insisted to journalists: ‘We’re winning big. I took it on.

‘And I’m happy to do it. Because it had to be done. And the smart people say, thank you very much. And the dumb people have no idea. And then you have the political people, and they go with the wind. But they all know.’

He defended his tariffs on China, arguing, ‘My trade deals aren’t causing a problem. This is something that had to be done.’ 

Trump also confirmed that he’s looking at a payroll tax cut, acknowledging that it’s ‘something we think about and a lot of people would like’ him to pursue to stimulate the economy.

Sitting next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the president denied that the U.S. economy is in distress.

‘I think the word recession is a word that’s inappropriate,’ he asserted. ‘Certain people and the media are trying to build up, because they’d love to see a recession.’

He urged the Federal Reserve to cut rates again and said at a ‘minimum they should be doing nothing,’ as he lashed out against the financial institution.

Trump slams Fed, says US economy is ‘far from a recession’

Trump said it should not be decreasing the amount of money in circulation, a monetary policy known as quantitative tightening.

‘The fed is psychologically very important,’ he said in the Oval Office meeting, where he took half-an-hour of questions from gathered journalists.

The president offered up the EU and Germany as examples, saying, ‘You have to be proactive, and so we really need a fed cut rate because if you look what’s going on with the European Union, as an example, they’re cutting.

‘If you take a look at Germany, what they’re doing and what they’re doing, and what they’re paying, they’re actually doing something inverse, nobody’s ever seen it before, we have to at least keep up to an extent,’ he said. ‘So we’re looking for a rate cut.’

Trump’s remarks aired on television as Wall Street was winding down for the day.

It closed 173.35 points down at 25,962.44 after rallying on Monday, in the latest market fluctuation.

Trump accused Democrats Tuesday of running a strategy to drive the nation into recession, as he amplified claims from his allies that the economy is stronger under his leadership.

In a morning tweet storm which came as White House officials discussed how to stimulate the economy at the same time as Trump is denying a recession is looming, he retweeted Mike Pence, his campaign manager and three favored media allies – Geraldo Riviera and Jesse Watters of Fox News and Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business network.

One credited Trump with ‘super human energy,’ and pushed his own claim that Democrats are trying to drive the country into recession to beat him in 2020.

And GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel argued in tweets that manufacturing optimism is up and unemployment is down.

Trump seconded his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who proclaimed in a message, ‘The liberal media is so deranged by President [Donald Trump] that they’re now cheering for the economy to tank – sorry to disappoint Democrats, but the economy has never been stronger!’

And the tweetstorm pointedly included praise for the economy in Michigan from vice president Mike Pence, who was traveling there Tuesday, on the day that U.S. Steel was revealed to be laying off hundreds and shuttering blast furnaces.

 

 

 

Tweet storm of praise: Trump turned to Twitter for backers of his claim that warnings of a recession are being driven by a desire to remove him from office

Tweet storm of praise: Trump turned to Twitter for backers of his claim that warnings of a recession are being driven by a desire to remove him from office

U.S. Steel –  a company whose renaissance has been a key part of the Trump narrative – said it would lay off 200 workers. It will also idle two blast furnaces for at least six months at Great Lakes and Gary Works plants, citing lower steel prices and softening demand.

The layoffs were characterized as temporary in filings,but the company admitted they could last longer than six months, in another indicator that the U.S. economy is slowing down.

Michigan is critical to Trump’s re-election prospects after the shock victory there played a key part in putting him in the White House.

In more bad news for Trump, a top lender, JP Morgan Chase assessed that Trump’s tariffs on China will cost American consumers $1,000 a household.

Despite Trump’s bravado on social media and previous bullish public comments, his  White House spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed talks were under way on some form of stimulus.

He denied only a specific report that the measure bring considered a payroll tax cut and told Fox News: ‘It’s not being considered at this time but he’s looking at all options out there to try and give people back so much of the hard earned money they’ve made.’

A Washington Post report had cited sources at the White House said the administration was considering a temporary cut to the 6.2 percent tax to prevent a downturn.

The suggestion was modeled after a two percent slash Obama made in his first term, which expired in 2013 as job growth ticked up again.

On Monday night, a White House official told DailyMail.com that a payroll tax isn’t under discussion currently, although the person left the door open to future tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

‘As Larry Kudlow said yesterday, more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time,’ the official said.

Kudlow had on Fox News Sunday said the president’s Oct. 2018 promise to pursue tax cuts for the middle class was still alive.

He denied that the nation was on the verge of a recession, however, after fill-in host Dana Perino asked about emergency action to counteract a recession.

‘Well, first of all I don’t see a recession at all. Second of all, the Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding lower tax rates, bid rollback of regulations, energy opening, trade reform, we’re going to stay with that,’ he said. ‘We believe that’s the heart of the free enterprise. We want an incentive-oriented supply-side economy, providing opportunities for everybody across the board.’

He said, ‘That’s about as good as it gets and I notice, at the end of the week, a lot of the Wall Street firms have been marking up their economic growth forecasts. I think we’re in pretty good shape and I want to just say you know, we should not be afraid of optimism.’

Under questioning about a call that Trump had last Wednesday with JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and the CEOs of two other leading lenders, he suggested the conversation was about the president’s tariffs on China.

The lender said Tuesday that the next round of tariffs, which were delayed until Dec. 15, are likely to bring the cost per household this year up to $1,000.

Trump and his aides have now spent days denying publicly that a recession is on the horizon and the U.S. needs to take action. The president said Sunday that he’s ‘prepared’ to counteract one, though, if a financial downturn takes the country by surprise.

Trump insisted that American consumers are ‘not paying for the tariffs’ that he has on $250 billion of Chinese goods, so far, and said he’s reconsidering a plan to put tariffs on laptops and cells phones in December, to protect American consumers and companies.

He accused his political opponents of trying to bring down the United States’ economy to hurt his reelection chances on Monday, as his administration tried to put out a wildfire of claims that a recession might be on the way.

Trump said Monday that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats on a mission to oust him from the White House.

‘Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world,’ he tweeted.

On the spot: Donald Trump and his aides have now spent days denying that a recession is looming

On the spot: Donald Trump and his aides have now spent days denying that a recession is looming

Trump said that economy is doing well despite 'very selfish' political angling of Democrats, who are on a mission to oust him from the White House

Trump said that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats, who are on a mission to oust him from the White House

He added, ‘The Fed Rate, over a fairly short period of time, should be reduced by at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well. If that happened, our Economy would be even better, and the World Economy would be greatly and quickly enhanced-good for everyone!’

Last week, the president accused the media of ‘doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.’

He blamed a wide array of third parties, including Joe Biden and the Hong Kong protesters, accusing them of scuttling a trade deal with Beijing that would help both countries’ economies.

Three-quarters of economists predict a U.S. recession by 2021 in survey – but number who say it will be after the presidential election rises

A number of U.S. business economists appear sufficiently concerned about the risks of some of President Donald Trump’s economic policies that they expect a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021.

In total, 74% economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, in a report being released Monday, said they believe a slowing economy will tip into recession by 2021.

However there is some good news in the survey for the president, with the number who see a recession in 2020 down from 42% to 38%, while the number predicting a 2021 recession is at 34%.  That’s up from 25% in a survey taken in February.

Only 2% of those polled expect a recession to begin this year, down from 10% in February. A slightly higher number than before – 14% – say it will be later than 2021.

Trump, however, has dismissed concerns about a recession, offering an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets and saying on Sunday, ‘I don’t think we’re having a recession.’ A strong economy is key to the Republican president’s 2020 reelection prospects.

The economists have previously expressed concern that Trump’s tariffs and higher budget deficits could eventually dampen the economy.

Response: What business economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics are saying about a downturn

Response: What business economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics are saying about a downturn

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on goods from many key U.S. trading partners, from China and Europe to Mexico and Canada.

Officials maintain that the tariffs, which are taxes on imports, will help the administration gain more favorable terms of trade. But U.S. trading partners have simply retaliated with tariffs of their own.

Trade between the U.S. and China, the two biggest global economies, has plunged. Trump decided last Wednesday to postpone until Dec. 15 tariffs on about 60% of an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, granting a reprieve from a planned move that would have extended duties to nearly everything the U.S. buys from China.

The financial markets last week signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession, adding to concerns over the ongoing trade tensions and word from Britain and Germany that their economies are shrinking.

The economists surveyed by the NABE were skeptical about prospects for success of the latest round of U.S.-China trade negotiations. Only 5% predicted that a comprehensive trade deal would result, 64% suggested a superficial agreement was possible and nearly 25% expected nothing to be agreed upon by the two countries.

The 226 respondents, who work mainly for corporations and trade associations, were surveyed between July 14 and Aug. 1.

That was before the White House announced 10% tariffs on the additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, the Chinese currency dipped below the seven-yuan-to-$1 level for the first time in 11 years and the Trump administration formally labeled China a currency manipulator.

As a whole, the business economists’ recent responses have represented a rebuke of the Trump administration’s overall approach to the economy.

Still, for now, most economic signs appear solid. Employers are adding jobs at a steady pace, the unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low and consumers are optimistic. U.S. retail sales figures out last Thursday showed that they jumped in July by the most in four months.

The survey showed a steep decline in the percentage of economists who found the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade ‘too stimulative’ and likely to produce higher budget deficits that should be reduced, to 51% currently from 71% in August 2018.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7376495/Trump-says-hes-looking-payroll-tax-cut-pushes-recession-claims.html

 

Story 4: Big Lie Media. Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists (REDS), and Trump Haters Hope The United States Economy Goes Into A Recession to Defeat Trump — Betrayal of The American People — Videos

Are Trump’s media critics rooting for recession?

Bill Maher roots for recession to get Trump out of office

Bill Maher says recession is ‘worth it’ if Trump loses in 2020

Lou Dobbs Tonight 8/20/19 | Breaking Fox News August 20, 2019

Is the world heading for a recession? | FT

Trump Warns of Economic Downturn if He Loses Next Year

Trump’s Victory Shattered The Democrats, They’ve Been Struggling Ever Since

White House dismisses fears of a recession l ABC News

 

Recession is at the top of Trump haters’ wish list

I’m not saying they are just hoping for a recession. It’s obvious the haters would like that.

But are they trying to cause a recession?

Comedian and Trump ultra-hater Bill Maher has already spoken for his side. “We have survived many recessions. We can’t survive another Donald Trump term,” Maher is quoted as saying.

You know what: Trying to cause a recession would actually be the most rational thing the president’s opponents have tried. The trouble is, this strategy doesn’t seem to be working. Not yet, at least.

I’ll get to that in a bit.

But first let’s go over the more irrational solutions that the president’s opponents have considered or have actually acted upon.

Right after the election, the Trump haters floated these doozies: Get the Electoral College voters to go against the wishes of their states and keep Trump from the presidency. When that didn’t work, they tried — at least according to a wishful press — to get members of Trump’s own cabinet to decline him unfit for office.

Strike two.

And, of course, there was whatever was going on inside the FBI and other intelligence agencies that were spying on the Trump campaign and pulling dirty tricks before and after his election.

That didn’t work either and we will find out more about what was going on when a report concerning all this comes from Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department, sometime in the very near future.

So that brings us back to the possibility — and for the haters, the last hope — that there will be a recession and that it will affect the next presidential election, which is a little more than a year away.

As I said, this isn’t an irrational tactic to take against Trump.

Elections are mostly won or lost on how the economy is doing. And right now, while there is lots of talk about a 2020 recession that will hurt Trump, that’s really all it is — talk. And it’s mostly talk in the media and among Democrats.

But this chatter is causing Trump to bring up the issue of a recession regularly to defend himself — which publicizes the possibility of an economic downturn even more.

You have probably heard that consumers control about 80% of the US economy. Recessions happen for a lot of reasons — a mistake by the Federal Reserve, economic problems overseas, careless lending by banks, a stock market crash, trade wars and war wars.

Some of those things, and others, can lead to a recession. But most of the things I just mentioned have been going on at times over the past 10 years and still there hasn’t been a recession since the Great One of 2007 to 2009.

But the quickest way to cause a recession is to kill the confidence of consumers. Without the consumer being willing to spend, the economy will crap out.

That’s where all the talk of a recession comes in. If the Trump haters in and outside the media can convince consumers that the next recession is right around the corner, the next recession just might be right around the corner.

And with any luck, the recession will happen just in time to be on voters’ minds when they decide whether to keep President Trump in office or kick him to the cul-de-sac.

What the haters really need is for Americans to forget all the irrational stuff they’ve already failed at and just focus on the economy. “It’s the economy, stupid,” is a Bill Clinton campaign motto that would need to be revised.

But here’s the problem. While helping cause a recession might be the rational thing for the haters to do politically, it comes with many drawbacks.

The biggest is that voters might figure out what the haters are doing and be pissed.

A recession will bring job losses. Will the American public blame the president, or can Trump cast the blame on his opponents?

And if this tactic is perceived as just another dirty trick, it might take the Democrats a very long time to regain the public’s support.

Trump certainly isn’t getting the kind of economy he wanted and even predicted. But growth is still around 2% a year, about where it was during most of the Obama administration.

Unemployment for everyone is down. And people are still spending, as recent retail sales figure show.

And the stock market is doing just fine, despite the president’s panic every time if falls a few percentage points.

But US debt levels have skyrocketed as Trump tried to boost the economy through a tax cut. And a tricky thing is happening in the bond markets — yields of shorter maturity government securities are higher than long-maturity yields.

This yield “inversion,” the experts say, is an omen of a coming recession. And the haters hope they are right.

Maybe, maybe not.

The chaos in the world could be making the US bond market flaky as foreign investors try to get assets out of their own country and into ours. And that, or some other market quirk, could be causing the inversion.

This is all quite intriguing and will make a great movie one of these days. But right now, it’s just a drama that will end — thankfully — in November 2020.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/19/recession-is-at-the-top-of-trump-haters-wish-list/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1307, August 15, 2019, Story 1: The Suicide or Homicide of Jeffrey Epstein — Looking Like Homicide With Broken Neck Bones Pending Final Report — UPDATED — Medical Examiner Finds Epstein Died By Suicide — Dead Child Molesters Tell No Tales — Videos — Story 2: Communist China Threatens United States Over The Proposed Sale of 66 Fighting Falcon F-16V Fighters to Republic of China (Taiwan) — Videos — Story 3: North Korea Fires Two More Missiles and Advances Missile Technology with Tests — Videos 

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Story 1: The Suicide or Homicide of Jeffrey Epstein — Looking Like Homicide With Broken Neck Bones Pending Final Report — UPDATED — Medical Examiner Finds Epstein Died By Suicide — Dead Child Molesters Tell No Tales — Videos

See the source image

Report: Epstein signed will just two days before death

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Medical examiner rules Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide

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Report: Epstein’s autopsy raises questions about his death

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Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Complete

Julie Brown: I Think Epstein Manipulated His Way Out Of Suicide Watch | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

FBI and Justice Department investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s death l ABC News

1992 Tape Of Trump And Epstein – The Day That Was | MSNBC

What Allegedly Went on Inside Jeffrey Epstein’s Jet

New York Magazine Studies Elite NYC Circle That Surrounded Epstein | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

The Mystery of Jeffery Epstein’s Fortune, Acosta Plea Deal

Where did Jeffrey Epstein’s money come from?

Drone Spies On Epstein Island DURING FBI Raid

Victoria’s Secret Has More Than Epstein Issues

L Brands founder’s ties to Epstein detailed in lawsuit

L Brands CEO: Epstein misappropriated family money

Police Find Epstein Passport With Different Name And Saudi Arabia Residence | Hallie Jackson | MSNBC

How Trump is fuelling the Epstein-Clinton con

James Patterson on his investigation into Jeffrey Epstein

Alex Jones On Jeffrey Epstein And Hillary Clinton

Bill Clinton Connection To Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Exposed

Trump labor secretary Alex Acosta defends Epstein plea deal

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid fallout over Jeffrey Epstein case

Jeffrey Epstein’s Multiple Prosecutions & The Fall of Alex Acosta (Real Law Review) // LegalEagle

NYT Details Epstein’s Deep Ties To Wall Street | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Blood vessels in Jeffrey Epstein’s eyes had popped and he had broken bones in his neck linked to hanging OR strangulation, autopsy reveals – as pedophile’s mystery ‘associate’ claims the body

  • Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy report reveals that the pedophile had broken bones in his neck, consistent with a hanging
  • Sources tell The Washington Post that he had a broken hyoid bone – a break seen in those who hang themselves but more common in strangulation victims
  • The blood vessels in the billionaire pedophile’s eyes had also popped when his air supply was cut off 
  • The autopsy was completed Sunday, but the New York City’s chief medical examiner listed the 66-year-old’s cause of death as pending and not a suicide 
  • A source says Epstein was in ‘great spirits’ before his death in jail Saturday
  • He met daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail 
  • Epstein told his lawyer Friday, ‘I’ll see you Sunday’, but was found dead Saturday
  • He was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell after allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione inflicted the neck injuries on him
  • It was reported Epstein may have tried to take his own life in July and Tartaglione’s lawyer claimed his client tried to save him by alerting guards

Jeffrey Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck and the blood vessels in his eyes had popped when he was found dead in his New York jail cell from an apparent suicide.

Epstein’s autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam’s apple, the Washington Post reports.

Breakages to that specific bone can occur when people hang themselves but are more commonly seen in victims who have been strangled, forensic experts say.

The blood vessels in the billionaire pedophile’s eyes also popped when his air supply was cut off, sources told TMZ.

Epstein is believed to have suffered petechial hemorrhaging, which is caused when someone hangs themselves or is strangled.

The grim details surrounding Epstein’s death have emerged after his autopsy was completed on Sunday. The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner Barbara Simpson has listed the 66-year-old’s cause of death as pending and not a suicide.

One of the billionaire pedophile’s ‘associates’ has also claimed the body from the New York City medical examiner’s office.

There is widespread speculation his real-estate magnate brother Mark Epstein who is a year-and-half younger than Jeffrey could be this ‘associate’. He previously offered up his Florida condo as security for Epstein’s bail bond last month, according to reports.

Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy report reveals that the pedophile had broken bones in his neck, consistent with a hanging

Epstein's hyoid bone - near a man's Adam's apple - was broken, a common break seen in those who hang themselves but even more common in victims of strangulation, according to forensic experts (Epstein's lifeless body is pictured being carried out on a stretcher)

Epstein’s hyoid bone – near a man’s Adam’s apple – was broken, a common break seen in those who hang themselves but even more common in victims of strangulation, according to forensic experts (Epstein’s lifeless body is pictured being carried out on a stretcher)

Multiple breaks to Epstein’s neck are the first details to emerge from Epstein’s autopsy as questions deepen around his apparent suicide by hanging while in federal custody Saturday.

The details come as it’s also revealed Epstein was in ‘great spirits’ before his death and even believed he would be bailed out in order to cooperate with authorities, according to a source.

The pedophile met daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center at 8am for around 12 hours and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider.

Epstein was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell, allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione (pictured) had inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected of being marks from a July suicide attempt

Epstein was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell, allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione (pictured) had inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected of being marks from a July suicide attempt

Epstein was was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell after allegedly telling his lawyers that his accused murderer cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione was the one who inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected to be marks from a July suicide attempt.

A source close to Epstein told DailyMail.com that he appeared to be in good spirits.

‘There was no indication that he might try to take his own life,’ the source told DailyMail.com

‘From what I saw, he was finally starting to adjust to prison. I think he was comforted by the rigidity of his new life.’

A source later told the New York Postthat Epstein was ‘real positive’ the night before his body was found.   ‘He was in great spirits the night before.

‘He was like, ‘I’ll see you Sunday’,’ the source said.

But on Saturday at 6.30am he was discovered dead from an apparent hanging.

Epstein told his lawyers that former police officer Tartaglione ‘roughed him up, and that’s why they got him off suicide watch’.

While Epstein was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at the time of his reported first suicide attempt on July 23, he shared a cell with the former police officer who was under extra security.

Tartaglione was charged with kidnapping and murdering four people in a 2016 drug deal gone wrong.

‘I spoke to his lawyers and they never hinted at that to me, but he must have said something to get off suicide watch,’ Tartaglione’s attorney Bruce Barket told the New York Post on Wednesday.

The autopsy was completed Sunday, but the New York City's chief medical examiner listed the 66-year-old's cause of death as pending and not a suicide

His cell is seen above. Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck

His cell is seen above. Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck

THE HYOID BONE: STRANGULATION VS SUICIDE

The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck

The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck

Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy has found that he had sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones. One of the bones that was broken was the hyoid bone.

That particular bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck near the Adam’s apple.

Forensic experts say breaks to the hyoid bone can occur if someone hangs themselves but they are more common in strangulation.

Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told the Washington Post that hyoid breaks are more commonly linked to homicidal strangulation rather than suicide by hanging.

He said if a hyoid bone is broken, pathologists will most likely conduct further investigations.

The location and width the noose, as well as if the body dropped during the hanging, will be analyzed.

The age of the person will also be taken into account because the hyoid hardens as a person ages and is more susceptible to breaks.

The bone starts as three small bones with connections and eventually hardens into the U-shape.

‘If, hypothetically, the hyoid bone is broken, that would generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging,’ Arden said.

Ronnie L. White, a teenager accused of killing a police officer, died of an apparent suicide in his Maryland prison cell in 2008. His cause of death was changed to a homicide two days later when his autopsy showed his hyoid bone was broken. Medical examiners found that he was likely strangled with a sheet but no one was ever charged in his death.

‘I do know that Nick was not brought up on any charges at all in the institution, so they cleared him. It’s simply, patently false to say that [Epstein] did anything other than try to kill himself at least twice, and succeeded when he succeeded.’

Barket previously claimed his client was being implicated because he had complained about the conditions at MCC.

He also claimed Tartaglione saved Epstein’s life in July by alerting guards.

But a source said Epstein ‘had hope of getting bail on appeal’.

The Post reported that Epstein’s legal team was planning to file a motion related to his 2008 conviction in Florida where after pleading guilty to two prostitution charges, he was sentenced to 18 months in a low-security prison in exchange for prosecutors ending their investigation into his sex acts with minors.

It also gave him immunity from future prosecution related to those charges and Epstein was able to work from his office six days a week while supposedly incarcerated.

‘What he really wanted to do was get bail so he could cooperate,’ the source told the Post. ‘He thought he was going to win the double-jeopardy motion.’

Epstein was transferred to the SHU when he was targeted for extortion, a source told The Daily Beast.

It was claimed last Saturday that the 66-year-old was constantly requesting toilet paper while he had his own cell and ‘lived like a pig in a sty’, eating his meals off the floor.

Barket added: ‘We were a little worried that he would make up something to get out of suicide watch or try and argue for bail, but it’s pretty clear what happened, given the end result here.’

West Palm Beach attorney Spencer Kuvin said he was skeptical of Epstein’s apparent suicide because he said the billionaire pedophile was too vain and always believed he was right.

Kuvin, who represented three of the women who sued Epstein in 2008 to 2009, told BBC Radio Wednesday that he had met Epstein at various settlement meetings.

‘I am still not convinced that ultimately he took his own life,’ he said.

‘I’m not convinced because I knew him as a vain man, a very intelligent man who was a person who always defended what he did, even in light of all the evidence against him.

‘He basically took the position, that no matter how old these young girls were, that they chose to be with him and he didn’t care (about) their age.

‘So someone like that, I just find it very hard to believe that he would take his own life.’

And last Saturday one of Epstein’s lawyers, Marc Fernich, partly blamed the judicial system for his client’s death and called out ‘jailers who appear to have recklessly put Mr. Epstein in harm’s way, heedlessly placing his life at risk and failing to protect him’.

Fernich expressed that his statement did not represent the views of everyone on Epstein’s defense team.

Fernich complained that his client was not a flight risk and was not being treated as innocent before proven guilty after authorities found child porn images during a raid at his home and dozens of women came forward with claims of abuse.

Attorney General William Barr has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. Barr said ‘it raises serious questions that must be answered’.

Fernich ended his statement: ‘The public needs to know exactly what happened and why – and how his custodians could have let it occur.’

The pedophile was in 'good spirits' ahead of his death, meeting daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider

The pedophile was in ‘good spirits’ ahead of his death, meeting daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7359111/Autopsy-finds-Jeffrey-Epstein-broken-bones-neck-raising-questions-suicide.html

 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Death

Photo: New York State Sex Offender Registry

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and convicted sex offender, was found dead by suicide in his jail cell on Saturday morning. Epstein was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The 66-year-old’s death came less than a day after a trove of disturbing court documents was made public offering details about his alleged abuse of dozens of mostly underage girls, as well who assisted him with or participated in the abuse — documents that implicate many rich and powerful men from the elite circles Epstein was once a member of.

While conspiracy theories have run amok in the aftermath of Epstein’s death, new details emerged on Sunday indicating that Epstein’s death may have come as a result of multiple failures on the part of the MCC and its staff. Below is everything we know so far.

The details of his death

According to NBC News, Epstein hanged himself at some point overnight Friday in his cell and was taken to a local hospital from the MCC on Saturday morning. Per the Department of Justice’s official statement:

On Saturday, August 10, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., inmate Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York, New York. Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. Staff requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Epstein was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff. The FBI is investigating the incident.

CBS News reported that there was shrieking and shouting when Epstein’s body was discovered the following day. Guards were heard attempting to revive him, saying, “Breathe, Epstein, breathe.”

BuzzFeed revealed on Tuesday that purported details about Epstein’s death were posted on 4Chan less than 40 minutes before ABC News broke the story on Saturday morning.

“[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this,” reads the post, which was published along with an image of Pepe, the mascot of right-wing trolls. When others said they did not believe the original poster, the person added additional information about procedures supposedly used in an effort to revive Epstein.

A FDNY representative said that if accurate, the disclosure would be a violation of multiple privacy laws. The department is investigating.

News of security failures continues to pile up: On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that two guards in Epstein’s jail unit fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours. In an apparent cover-up attempt, they falsified records to hide their mistake.

Epstein’s Autopsy

On Sunday evening, New York Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson announced that she had completed an autopsy of Epstein under the observation of a private pathologist, but that she needed more information before she could officially determine his cause of death (which is not abnormal):

Sampson said Epstein’s representatives hired celebrity pathologist Michael Baden — who conducted private autopsies of Michael Brown and former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez — and that he was allowed to observe her autopsy.

The Metropolitan Correctional Facility, where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell, is seen on August 10, 2019 in New York City. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Epstein had been taken off suicide watch, then left alone and under-monitored

Three weeks before his death, on July 23, Epstein had been found semiconscious in his cell with marks on his neck — though it was not clear if he had tried to harm himself or had been attacked. Prison officials investigated the injury as a possible suicide attempt and put Epstein on suicide watch, which would entail placing him in a special cell where he could be constantly monitored by prison personnel and prevented from having access to any means by which he could take his own life. Epstein was also subject to a daily psychiatric evaluation during this time, according to the New York Times.

But Epstein was taken off of suicide watch on July 29 and returned to the MCC’s special housing unit after a psychiatric evaluation determined he was no longer at risk of harming himself. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Epstein’s lawyers had requested he be removed from suicide watch.

MCC personnel then failed to follow proper procedures, which MCC officials had apparently assured Justice Department personnel they would follow.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that it is standard practice at the facility for inmates who have been on suicide watch to then be housed with other inmates. Epstein was placed in a cell with another inmate at first, but that inmate was later transferred out of the special housing unit, leaving Epstein alone in the cell, which reportedly had a metal door and a small glass window. It is not clear why Epstein was not immediately assigned another cellmate.

In addition, MCC guards are supposed to check on inmates in the special housing unit every 30 minutes, but reportedly failed to do so on Friday night. It is not yet confirmed how that was allowed to happen either.

MCC’s failures may be linked to staffing shortage, overworked employees

A prison official who spoke with the Times said that the two guards who were on duty on Friday night were both working overtime, and one was working his fifth consecutive overtime shift. According to Serene Gregg, the president of the union that represents the MCC’s employees, the two guards do not normally work as correctional officers, though they were trained to do so. She told the Washington Post that many of the jail’s employees have been working mandatory overtime, including 60 to 70-hour workweeks, thanks to the MCC having less than 70 percent of the correctional officers it should have. According to the New York Times, one of the guards on watch when Epstein hanged himself was a substitute.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it had removed MCC’s warden and assigned a temporary replacement. It also placed two guards who had been assigned to Epstein on leave, pending the outcome of the investigation into Epstein’s death.

There had also been unconfirmed rumors that Epstein’s earlier injury had been the result of an attack, but he was reportedly found dead alone in his cell on Saturday morning.

The earlier possible suicide attempt, and what other inmates noticed about Epstein

Here is what the Daily Beast reported regarding the earlier possible suicide attempt and Epstein’s behavior in jail:

Epstein had initially been held in general population at MCC, where he’d been targeted for extortion as a wealthy pedophile, a source with knowledge of his circumstances told The Daily Beast, describing Epstein’s injuries from his prior alleged suicide attempt as small abrasions around his neck. …

At the time of [that] attempt, he shared a cell with Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer charged with kidnapping and murdering four people in 2016. …

Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, told authorities his client had saved Epstein’s life during the first suicide attempt by alerting corrections officers. He claimed Tartaglione was being implicated in the suicide attempt because he’d recently complained about conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, saying in a statement at the time, “we warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility.”

The Beast’s source said that Epstein “lived like a pig in a sty” after his first attempted suicide, eating meals off the floor and making frequent requests for toilet paper.

A New York Medical Examiner’s car is parked outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein was being held, on August 10, 2019, in New York. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

There is apparently no video footage of what happened

The New York Post reported on Sunday that no surveillance video exists of Epstein’s death. According to the Post’s sources, there are indeed video cameras in the section of the MCC where Epstein was housed on Friday night, but none target the inside or outside of the cells there.

Epstein’s death being investigated by the FBI, Justice Department, and New York Medical Examiner’s Office

The Department of Justice announced on Saturday that the FBI had opened an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death — meaning that the FBI is looking to see whether or not a crime was committed. Attorney General William Barr additionally announced that the Justice Department’s inspector general would be conducting an investigation. Barr said he was “appalled to learn” that Epstein had taken his own life while in federal custody and that the incident “raises serious questions that must be answered.”

On Monday, he said the Justice Department had found “serious irregularities” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and that prison staff had “failed to adequately secure this prisoner,” but did not go into further detail.

Meanwhile, the New York Medical Examiner’s office investigated Epstein’s cause of death over the weekend, and had been expected to release the results on Epstein’s autopsy on Sunday, but instead announced that the medical examiner needed more information before making an official determination. (This is not unusual.)

It seems likely that there will also be some congressional inquiries into the matter.

The investigation into Epstein, his crimes, and his co-conspirators will continue

One major concern following Epstein’s death is the fate of the investigation into his abuse of countless underage girls, as well as the potential consequences for his accomplices. Federal prosecutors said on Saturday that the investigation will continue, but how that shapes up remains to be seen.

According to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, the criminal case against Epstein dies with him:

Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment. … [It] means that there won’t be a public trial or other proceedings that could reveal evidence of his wrongdoing. Evidence collected via grand jury subpoena won’t be released to the public. It’s still likely that the public will learn additional information from civil cases by victims against his estate or non-criminal investigations (for example, the DOJ OIG investigation).

Saturday on the Cut, Matthew Schneier pointed out that Epstein’s death still meant that “thousands of questions may never have satisfactory answers, and focus is likely to intensify on his collaborators, co-conspirators, enablers, and friends.” Schneier then highlighted what a trove of newly unsealed court documents says about Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s best friend and alleged accomplice.

Epstein’s associates may now receive the full brunt of prosecutors’ attention, according to the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown:

[With Epstein’s] death, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will likely refocus their probe on Maxwell, Sarah Kellen Vickers, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — all of whom allegedly helped run Epstein’s operation in the mid- to late-2000s. Another woman, Nadia Marcinkova, who is now a commercial pilot, was accused of sexually abusing some of the underage girls.

The SDNY ultimately confirmed as much on Saturday:

But the result of that process is hard to predict, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade added in an interview with Intelligencer:

It may be that never pans out into any charges, for lots of reasons: A lack of evidence, evidence that’s unavailable because you needed Epstein. So it could be that we never hear anything more about it. But I think they’ll continue to investigate, and if they find evidence of a crime, that will become publicly known.

On Monday, at least a dozen FBI agents raided Epstein’s Little St. James residence. According to NBC News, the bureau was searching for evidence that could link co-conspirators to alleged crimes committed on the island.

Public pressure has increased on Epstein’s co-conspirators: Ghislaine Maxwell has been reportedly been found laying low in a colonial mansion in the seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, north of Boston. And Prince Andrew, the royal who allegedly had sex with Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has reportedly retired from public life.

Two of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, exit the courthouse after a hearing about the billionaire financier on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The response from Epstein’s victims

The Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown passed along some reactions from Epstein’s stunned victims:

Jena-Lisa Jones, who was molested by him when she was 14, said that Epstein took the coward’s way out. “I just can’t believe it, we were finally feeling that we might have some justice after all these years,’’ she said, her voice cracking.

Eva Ford, the mother of victim Courtney Wild, was angry. “How does someone who is this high profile commit suicide? They had to have cameras on him! Someone must have been paid to look the other way,’’ Ford said.

“I just want wanted him to be held accountable for his actions. I would never wish that somebody would die but he took the easy way out,’’ said victim Michelle Licata.

Added Jack Scarola, an attorney representing several of Epstein’s victims:

It is inexplicable how such a high-profile person on suicide watch could commit suicide without help. … Epstein once again cheated his victims out of an opportunity for justice. While I’m sure none of them regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein’s death not derail the investigation into others who participated in his criminal activities. There are named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice.

Roberta Kaplan, who represents one of Epstein’s then-underage victims, said over the weekend that Epstein’s demise was “not only emotionally devastating but a real emotional roller coaster.”

Jennifer Araoz, one of Epstein’s accusers, forged ahead with plans to sue Epstein on Wednesday, filing a suit against his estate, his alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, and three unnamed female household staffers. Arazoz, who was not named in the sex-trafficking indictment against Epstein, came forward last month, saying Epstein repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was 14 and 15 years old, and forcibly raped her in 2002. The lawsuit was one of the first filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which went into effect on Wednesday. It gives victims of child sexual abuse a chance to file civil cases against alleged abusers for the next year even if the statute of limitations has passed.

The inevitable suspicion and speculation

Considering Epstein’s extensive links to the rich and powerful — including presidents Trump and Clinton — Epstein’s death by post-suicide-watch suicide quickly led to suspicion and conspiracy theories from across the political spectrum. (Read our roundup of the top theories here.)