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The Pronk Pops Show 1144, September 20, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Rocks at Make America Great Again Rally in Las Vegas Nevada —  Build The Wall With $25 Billion in Funding and Balance The Budget — We Need More Republicans — Videos — Story 2: Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Hits An All Time High — Videos — Story 3: Free U.S.-Led Uncensored Internet and Authoritarian Chinese-Led Censored Internet — Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — Videos — Story 4: American People’s Right To Privacy — National Privacy Law? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1144, September 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1143, September 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1142, September 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1141, September 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1140, September 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1139, September 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1138, September 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1137, September 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1136, September 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1135, September 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1134, September 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1132, August 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1131, August 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1130, August 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1126, August 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Rocks at Make America Great Again Rally in Las Vegas Nevada —  Build The Wall With $25 Billion in Funding and Balance The Budget — We Need More Republicans — Videos —

President Trump EXPLOSIVE Speech at MASSIVE Rally in Las Vegas, Nevada – September 20, 2018

Watch Live! Trump Rally in Las Vegas, NV!

Trump pushes for border wall funding during rally in Las Vegas

Trump goes one-on-one with Hannity at Las Vegas rally

‘He’s been there’: Trump stumps for vulnerable Sen. Heller

His own political fortunes intrinsically linked to his party holding control of Congress, President Donald Trump on Thursday offered full-throated support for the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senator, while unleashing a torrent of grievances against Democrats and the news media and claiming they are sabotaging his administration.

Trump, appearing at a boisterous rally in Las Vegas, defended his embattled Supreme Court justice nominee, touted the booming stock market, cited progress in talks with North Korea and pledged to build his long-promised border wall, while also making the pitch for Nevada to re-elect Sen. Dean Heller. The president noted that he and Heller – who once said he “vehemently” opposed Trump – did not always get along.

“We started out, we weren’t friends. I didn’t like him, he didn’t like me!” said Trump to laughs. “But as we fought and fought and fought, believe it or not we started to respect each other, than we started to like each other, then we started to love each other.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Ever since I won the election, he’s been there for us,” said Trump, who urged Heller’s re-election because the Republican majority in the Senate is so slim, 51-49, that the GOP would lose its advantage if “someone had a cold.” The president also bestowed one of his signature nicknames on Heller’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, dubbing her “Wacky Jacky.”

Heller returned the praise: “Mr. President, I think you just turned Nevada red today,” he said. Trump narrowly lost Nevada to Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite his deep ties to Las Vegas – he has a golden-hued hotel just off the famed Strip – and repeatedly campaigning in the state.

Trump in particular focused his pitch for Heller on the need to confirm more conservative judges, in particular his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose seat on the bench had been thrown into question by allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman while in high school more than 30 years ago.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

While negotiations continued over whether his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, would testify next week, Trump, who has taken pains not to criticize Ford in recent days, appeared to break from that strategy in a pre-rally interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on the convention center floor.

“I think it’s a very sad situation,” said Trump, asking: “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago? … What’s going on?” While he said Ford should “have her say,” he made clear he was done waiting: “I don’t think you can delay it any longer. They’ve delayed it a week already.”

Trump remained on message at the rally. He did not utter a critical word about Ford, but defended Kavanaugh, saying he was “a great intellect” and “a great gentleman with an impeccable reputation.”

“We have to let it play out but I have to tell you, he is a fine, fine person,” Trump said of the Senate confirmation process. “I think everything is going to be just fine.”

There was one local topic Trump avoided. The Las Vegas rally was held three miles from the Mandalay Bay hotel where a gunman opened fire just over a year ago, killing 58 people and leaving 851 injured.

Trump made no mention of the shooting, though he assured Heller would vote in favor of the Second Amendment.

The rest of the rally was red meat for the crowd, which repeatedly roared its approval for the president but did not quite fill the room at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

As usual, Trump went after the media and many who attended the rally followed his lead. One man stood behind the president’s traveling press corps, repeatedly yelling the word “traitors” at the journalists.

At one point reading from a list of his administration’s accomplishments, Trump spent much of the rally focused on what advisers believe is his – and his party’s – best issue, the strong economy. He took credit for the stock market’s gains and the nation’s low unemployment rate and bragged about boosting the military, while accusing Democrats of doing their best to foster division and stall the growth.

“They are lousy politicians and their policies are terrible,” said Trump, in only his second rally as president in a state he lost two years ago, “but they are good at sticking together and resisting, that’s what they do. You see the signs ‘Resist, Resist.'”

With the chances of Republicans keeping control of the House of Representatives looking increasingly dismal, the White House has fixated on keeping the Senate as a bulwark against any Democratic effort to impeach and then remove Trump from office. Though the Senate midterm map favors Republicans, a few states, including Tennessee and perhaps Texas, could slip away from the GOP.

But no Republican-held seat is considered more endangered than the one in Nevada. The only Republican running for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, Heller has been locked in a tight race in an increasingly blue-leaning state.

Though he fervently tried to wrap his arms around the president Thursday, Heller’s relationship with Trump has been tumultuous. Weeks before the 2016 election, Heller infamously said that he was “100 percent against Clinton, 99 percent against Trump,” a remark the president has not forgotten.

Heller drew the president’s ire a year ago when he held up Republican efforts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. But Trump saved Heller from a costly and damaging primary battle earlier this year by persuading a very conservative primary challenger, Danny Tarkanian, to drop out of the Senate race and instead seek a House seat.

Heller is now in a close race with Rosen, a first-term congresswoman who stands to benefit from a wave of Democratic and female activism fueled by opposition to Trump. And the senator, at times, has struggled to strike a balancing act of praising the president, who remains popular among Republicans, while distancing himself from Trump’s scandals and provocative positions.

“Eighty percent of what this president has done has been very, very good, very positive,” Heller told reporters last week. “The other 20 percent … he has a reality show. I get it. It’s a reality show.”

___

Associated Press writer Michelle Price contributed to this report. Colvin reported from Washington.

___

This story has been corrected to show the Senate is divided 51-49, not 50-49.

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he arrives at McCarran International Airport for a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump takes the stage during a campaign rally Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump meets with supporters during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump meets with supporters during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump waves as he arrives for a campaign rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Story 2: Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Hits An All Time High — Videos —

See the source image

Markets soar to new records under Trump

Nightly Business Report – September 20, 2018

Dow Jones And S&P Rally For New Record Highs

What Do “Points” On The Dow And S&P 500 Actually Mean?

Dow, S&P 500 close at record highs as bull shrugs off trade worries

Story 3: Free U.S.-Led Uncensored Internet and Authoritarian Chinese-Led Censored Internet — Breaking Up Is Hard To Do — Videos

Report: Google working on a censored search engine for China

Google employees revolt against China project

Could the Internet Split in Two?

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split: American vs. Chinese

Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do – Neil Sedaka

 

Former Google CEO predicts the internet will split in two  — and one part will be led by China

  • Speaking at a private event hosted by Village Global VC yesterday night, tech luminary and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that the internet will bifurcate into Chinese-led and US-led versions within the next decade.
  • Under Sundar Pichai’s leadership, Google has explored the potential to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, stirring up controversy internally and outside the company.

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.

Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. “What’s the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?”

Schmidt said:

“I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.

If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.

If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it’s perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom.”

The Belt and Road is a massive initiative by Beijing to increase China’s political and economic influence by connecting and facilitating all kinds of trade, including digital trade, between China and countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Schmidt’s predictions come at a time when his successor at Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, has stirred up controversy around the company’s strategy in China.

Reportedly, Google has been developing “Project Dragonfly,” a censored version of its search engine that could appease authorities in China. The project allegedly included a means to suppress some search results, booting them off the first page, and a means to fully block results for sensitive queries, for example, around “peaceful protests.”

n recent weeks, hundreds of Google employees lobbied Pichai for more transparency and signed a letter saying that the reported plans raised “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

Pichai has said that Google has been “very open about our desire to do more in China,” and that the team “has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now,” and considering “many options,” but is nowhere near launching in China.

In a separate discussion last night between Schmidt and several start-up founders, he lauded Chinese tech products, services and adoption, especially in mobile payments. He noted that Starbucks in China don’t feature a register. Customers order ahead online and pay with their phones before picking up their lattes.

Former Google CEO claims internet will split between U.S. & China  

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.

Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. “What’s the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?”

Schmidt said:

“I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.

If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.

If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it’s perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom.”

The Belt and Road is a massive initiative by Beijing to increase China’s political and economic influence by connecting and facilitating all kinds of trade, including digital trade, between China and countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Schmidt’s predictions come at a time when his successor at Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, has stirred up controversy around the company’s strategy in China.

Reportedly, Google has been developing “Project Dragonfly,” a censored version of its search engine that could appease authorities in China. The project allegedly included a means to suppress some search results, booting them off the first page, and a means to fully block results for sensitive queries, for example, around “peaceful protests.”

What's next for Schmidt?

What’s next for Google’s Eric Schmidt? Sree Sreenivasan weighs in  

In recent weeks, hundreds of Google employees lobbied Pichai for more transparency and signed a letter saying that the reported plans raised “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

Pichai has said that Google has been “very open about our desire to do more in China,” and that the team “has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now,” and considering “many options,” but is nowhere near launching in China.

In a separate discussion last night between Schmidt and several start-up founders, he lauded Chinese tech products, services and adoption, especially in mobile payments. He noted that Starbucks in China don’t feature a register. Customers order ahead online and pay with their phones before picking up their lattes.

A business development leader with Facebook, Ime Archebong, asked Schmidt if large tech companies are doing enough good in the world.

Schmidt replied: “The judge of this is others, not us. Self-referential conversations about ‘Do I feel good about what I’m doing?’ are not very helpful. The judge is outside.”

At several points in the private discussion, Schmidt urged entrepreneurs to build products and services that are not merely addictive, but valuable. He also said not enough companies “measure the right things.” Too many focus on short-term revenue growth and satisfying shareholders, rather than what’s best for their users, society and the long-term health of their companies.

Schmidt was the CEO of Google from 2001, when he took over from co-founder Larry Page, through 2011, when Page reclaimed the reins. He remained as executive chairman of Google and then Alphabet until earlier this year.

Correction: Eric Schmidt did not specify a date by which he believed the internet would bifurcate. He was responding to a question from Tyler Cowen which specified “in the next 10 to 15 years.”

GOOGLE BOSSES HAVE forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned.

The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained “pixel trackers” that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

The Dragonfly memo reveals that a prototype of the censored search engine was being developed as an app for both Android and iOS devices, and would force users to sign in so they could use the service. The memo confirms, as The Intercept first reported last week, that users’ searches would be associated with their personal phone number. The memo adds that Chinese users’ movements would also be stored, along with the IP address of their device and links they clicked on. It accuses developers working on the project of creating “spying tools” for the Chinese government to monitor its citizens.

People’s search histories, location information, and other private data would be sent out of China to a database in Taiwan, the memo states. But the data would also be provided to employees of a Chinese company who would be granted “unilateral access” to the system.

To launch the censored search engine, Google set up a “joint venture” partnership with an unnamed Chinese company. The search engine will “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to documents seen by The Intercept. Blacklisted search terms on a prototype of the search engine include “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin, said sources familiar with the project.

According to the memo, aside from being able to access users’ search data, the Chinese partner company could add to the censorship blacklists: It would be able to “selectively edit search result pages … unilaterally, and with few controls seemingly in place.”

That a Chinese company would maintain a copy of users’ search data means that, by extension, the data would be accessible to Chinese authorities, who have broad powers to obtain information that is held or processed on the country’s mainland. A central concern human rights groups have expressed about Dragonfly is that it could place users at risk of Chinese government surveillance — and any person in China searching for blacklisted words or phrases could find themselves interrogated or detained. Chinese authorities are well-known for routinely targeting critics, activists, and journalists.

“It’s alarming to hear that such information will be stored and, potentially, easily shared with the Chinese authorities,” said Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with the human rights group Amnesty International. “It will completely put users’ privacy and safety at risk. Google needs to immediately explain if the app will involve such arrangements. It’s time to give the public full transparency of the project.”

ON AUGUST 16, two weeks after The Intercept revealed the Dragonfly plan, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its “early stages” and “exploratory.” However, employees working on the censored search engine were instructed in late July, days before the project was publicly exposed, that they should prepare to get it into a “launch-ready state” to roll out within weeks, pending approval from officials in Beijing.

“It will completely put users’ privacy and safety at risk.”

The memo raises new questions about Pichai’s claim that the project was not well-developed. Information stored on the company’s internal networks about Dragonfly “paints a very different picture,” it says. “The statement from our high-level leadership that Dragonfly is just an experiment seems wrong.”

The memo identifies at least 215 employees who appear to have been tasked with working full-time on Dragonfly, a number it says is “larger than many Google projects.” It says that source code associated with the project dates back to May 2017, and “many infrastructure parts predate” that. Moreover, screenshots of the app “show a project in a pretty advanced state,” the memo declares.

Most of the details about the project “have been secret from the start,” the memo says, adding that “after the existence of Dragonfly leaked, engineers working on the project were also quick to hide all of their code.”

The author of the memo said in the document that they were opposed to the China censorship. However, they added, “more than the project itself, I hate the culture of secrecy that has been built around it.”

The memo was first posted September 5 on an internal messaging list set up for Google employees to raise ethical concerns. But the memo was soon scrubbed from the list and individuals who had opened or saved the document were contacted by Google’s human resources department to discuss the matter. The employees were instructed not to share the memo.

Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as “stopleaks,” which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions.

“More than the project itself, I hate the culture of secrecy that has been built around it.”

Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodoand The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity.

The “stopleaks” team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract.

Google’s internal security team consists of a number of former military and law enforcement officials. For example, LinkedIn lists as Google’s head of global investigations Joseph Vincent, whose resume includes work as a high-ranking agent at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit. The head of security at Google is Chris Rackow, who has described himself as a former member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s hostage rescue team and as a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

For some Google employees, the culture of secrecy at the company clashes directly with the its public image around fostering transparency, creating an intolerable work environment.

“Leadership misled engineers working on [Dragonfly] about the nature of their work, depriving them of moral agency,” said a Google employee who read the memo.

Google did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

https://theintercept.com/2018/09/21/google-suppresses-memo-revealing-plans-to-closely-track-search-users-in-china/

Story 4: American People’s Right To Privacy — National Privacy Law? — Videos

Facebook and Google Attempting to End California Privacy Laws

California lawmakers pass data privacy bill

California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff calls for national privacy law

Fight looms over national privacy law

Fight looms over national privacy law

The tech industry and consumer groups are gearing up for a fight as lawmakers begin considering whether to draft a national privacy law.

The push to get Congress to enact federal privacy standards is gaining new urgency after California passed what is seen as the nation’s toughest privacy law this June. The measure forces businesses to be more transparent about what they do with consumer data and gives users unprecedented control over their personal information.

But the California law has sparked worries within the tech industry, which fears having to comply with a patchwork of varying state regulations.

Now industry groups are pushing Congress to pass a national privacy bill that would block states from implementing their own standards.

Privacy advocates are skeptical of the industry proposals and concerned that internet giants will co-opt the process in order to get protections that are weaker than the California standard implemented across the country.

“They do not want effective oversight. They do not want regulation of their business practices, which is really urgently needed,” Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), told The Hill. “They’re going to work behind the scenes to shape legislation that will not protect Americans from having all of their information regularly gathered and used by these digital giants.”

“They see federal law as an opportunity to preempt stronger rules,” he added.

Next week, executives from Google, Apple, AT&T and other major technology and telecommunications companies will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee as the panel’s Republican chairman, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), prepares to introduce a new privacy law.

Consumer groups are concerned that only industry voices will be heard at the hearing and that internet companies will have an outsized role in shaping the legislation. They are now demanding a seat at the table.

On Wednesday, a coalition of public interest groups including the CDD, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center sent a letter to Thune asking him to ensure that consumers have a voice in the process.

“While we have no objection to the participation of business groups in Senate hearings on consumer privacy, the Senate’s first instinct should be to hear from the American public on these important issues,” the letter reads.

Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the committee, told The Hill in an email that the panel will hold more hearings on the issue.

“For the first hearing, the committee is bringing in companies most consumers recognize to make the discussion about privacy more relatable,” Hill said. “We expect there will be opportunities for other voices at future hearings on the subject.”

A source familiar with the committee’s plans told The Hill that it could hold a hearing for privacy advocates to testify in the coming weeks.

The stakes are high for all sides in the privacy debate after a year which saw Facebook rocked by a massive data scandal.

The company disclosed earlier this year that a data firm had accessed the personal data of over 80 million Facebook users. The revelation sparked a firestorm that saw CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress in a pair of marathon hearings to address lawmakers’ concerns.

Overseas, Europe has already passed its own tough privacy law, which took effect this year.

Whether Congress can actually get behind a national privacy framework, though, is an open question. Lawmakers have tried before, unsuccessfully.

In 2012, the Obama White House unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that it hoped to enact into law. The debate dragged on for several years and the process was eventually derailed by contentious disagreements between business and consumer groups.

As Congress gears up to try again, industry groups in recent weeks have been pushing wish lists for what they hope to see in a federal privacy framework. Lobbying groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the Internet Association and BSA | The Software Alliance have all released their own sets of privacy principles.

The industry proposals include calls for codifying transparency rules that require businesses to disclose their collection practices and giving consumers the right to request copies of their data and request that some data be deleted.

Shaundra Watson, BSA’s policy director, said the group’s privacy principles were not a response to the new California law but the result of a discussion among their members, including companies like Apple and Microsoft, of how to codify the consumer protections they already offer.

“Our companies really are responsible for personal data, and so they not only want to continue to embrace those practices but look more broadly to see what protections should be in place across the board and concluded the best way to do that is a [federal] law,” Watson told The Hill.

But privacy advocates remain skeptical. After a series of data scandals, many tech critics believe that any effective privacy framework needs to restrict the data collection practices that companies like Facebook and Google rely on as a business model.

Chester, who says public interest groups are banding together to come up with their own legislative principles, believes the frameworks being pushed by industry lobbyists don’t go far enough.

“What has to happen is the basic business practices have to change,” he said. “We believe there need to be restrictions on how these companies engage in data collection.

“These so-called principles are really principles to undermine privacy, not to protect it,” he said.

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/407528-fight-looms-over-national-privacy-law

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The Pronk Pops Show 1031, August 27, 2017, Breaking News, Story 1: President Trump Announces Bilateral United States and Mexico Trade Agreement — “The United States-Mexico Trade Agreement” — Pro Growth Deal — Videos –Story 2: Iran Claims Control of Straight of Hormuz — Videos — Story 3: Pope Francis Was Informed of Sexual Abuse Allegations of Predator Priests in Catholic Church In Particular Prominent Former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Remained Silent and Covered Up Abuse Until Now — People Lose Trust in Catholic Church Leadership and Coverup — Conspiracy of Silence —  Pope Should Resign — Videos — Story 4: Arizona Senator John McCain Dies of Cancer at Age — Rest in Peace — Congress Should Repeal and Replace Obamacare — No Excuses Acceptable — Videos

Posted on August 27, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Medical, Medicare, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pope Francis, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Security, Senate, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Breaking, Story 1: President Trump Announces Bilateral United States and Mexico Trade Agreement — “The United States-Mexico Trade Agreement” — Pro Growth Deal — Videos —

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See the source image

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Trump announces new US-Mexico trade deal

Canadian economy can’t survive well without a US deal: Wilbur Ross

Canada re-enters trade talks with US after Mexico deal

US, Mexico trade deal is a great start: Rep. Reed

Could Congress get in the way of the US-Mexico trade deal?

Will the US-Mexico trade deal benefit American workers?

Canada responds to US, Mexico trade deal

Kevin Hassett on trade negotiations with Mexico

Trump Considering Separate Trade Deals With Canada, Mexico

US-Mexico trade agreement is designed to shore up supply chain: Peter Navarro

Larry Kudlow: We are becoming growthier

 

Trump announces US-Mexico agreement to `terminate´ Nafta

The Trump administration and Mexico have reached a preliminary accord to “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

US President Donald Trump made the claim after announcing an “understanding” with Mexico that could lead to an overhaul of the 24-year-old trade pact, which he has called a “disaster”.

Mr Trump said he would replace it with a deal more favourable to the United States called “the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement”.

The Trump administration and Mexico have reached a preliminary accord to “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

US President Donald Trump made the claim after announcing an “understanding” with Mexico that could lead to an overhaul of the 24-year-old trade pact, which he has called a “disaster”.

Mr Trump said he would replace it with a deal more favourable to the United States called “the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement”.

Donald Trump says he will `terminate´ Nafta (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump says he will `terminate´ Nafta (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House

@WhiteHouse

President @realDonaldTrump: “It is an incredible deal for the workers and for the citizens of both countries.”

But the Trump administration still needs to negotiate with the third partner in Nafta, Canada, to become part of any new trade accord.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was on speakerphone as Mr Trump made the announcement in the Oval Office and said he hopes Canada will eventually be incorporated into the deal.

Without Canada, America’s second biggest trading partner, it is unclear whether any new US trade agreement with Mexico would be possible.

Mr Trump said that he will be calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“If they’d like to negotiate fairly, we’ll do that,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump put pressure on Canada by threatening to tax Canadian auto imports and to leave Canada out of a new regional trade bloc.

Nafta reduced most trade barriers between the three countries. But Mr Trump and other critics say it encouraged US manufacturers to move south of the border to exploit low-wage Mexican labour.

Talks to overhaul the agreement began a year ago and have proved contentious.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

A big deal looking good with Mexico!

US and Mexican negotiators worked over the weekend to narrow their differences. The Office of the US Trade Representative said that Mexico had agreed to ensure that 75% of automotive content would be produced within the trade bloc (up from a current 62.5%) to receive duty-free benefits and that 40% to 45% be made by workers earning at least 16 US dollars an hour.

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, said: “Canada is encouraged by the continued optimism shown by our negotiating partners. Progress between Mexico and the United States is a necessary requirement for any renewed Nafta agreement.”

Mr Austen said the Canadians had been in regular contact with the Nafta negotiators.

CSPAN

@cspan

President Trump: “They used to call it NAFTA. We’re going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement. We’ll get rid of the name NAFTA.”

Full video here: https://cs.pn/2MCmIiY 

“We will only sign a new Nafta that is good for Canada and good for the middle class,” he said, adding that “Canada’s signature is required”.

Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas, hailed the “positive step” but said Canada needs to be party to a final deal.

“A trilateral agreement is the best path forward,” he said, adding that millions of jobs are at stake.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-6103397/Trump-announces-US-Mexico-agreement-terminate-Nafta.html

 

Dow jumps more than 250 points, Nasdaq hits 8,000 as US and Mexico strike trade deal

Stocks jumped on Monday as the United States and Mexico closed a new trade deal, potentially removing a source of uncertainty that had been plaguing investors for months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 260 points as Caterpillar outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1 percent to an all-time high, breaking above 8,000 points for the first time, as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet rose. The S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent to hit a record high with materials and financials as the best-performing sectors.

“The market has been buffeted with a lot of headwinds lately, and the biggest one is trade,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. “If you were to take trade out of the picture, you would have a smoother ride higher in this market.”

President Donald Trump said the deal would be called The United States-Mexico Trade agreement, leaving behind the 24-year-old NAFTA name. “The name NAFTA has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA,” he said. Trump added that the deal with Mexico is also very special for farmers and manufacturers. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the deal must be approved by Congress before being implemented.

Stocks hit all-time highs — these experts break down what investors should do next  

The comment comes after Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Sunday both countries were close to resolving key differences on trade. This would pave the way for a new deal between the two longtime trade partners. “We’ve continued making progress,” Guajardo said.

Trump tweeted earlier on Monday that a deal with Mexico was “looking good.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

A big deal looking good with Mexico!

Shares of Caterpillar and Boeing rose 2.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Their stocks are considered trade bellwethers because of their large exposure to overseas markets. Shares of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler also rose.

“You do not want to give Jeff Bezos a seven-year head start.”
The Mexican peso rose 1.2 percent against the dollar.

Dan McMahon, director of equity trading at Raymond James, said the positive trade news “allows for more room to run” in the market, but noted that equities are also benefiting from a typically slow time in the year. “There’s nothing [else] going on today,” he said.

Investors have been grappling with trade worries over the past few months as the U.S. takes a more protectionist stance toward its economy and trade deals under the Trump administration. The U.S. has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth in Mexican and Chinese imports, to which Mexico and China have retaliated.

Bank shares surged, led by gains in Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase. Goldman rose 3.4 percent while Morgan Stanley jumped 3.8 percent. Citigroup advanced 2.6 percent and J.P. Morgan climbed 2 percent. The SPDR S&P Bank exchange-traded fund (KBE) rose 0.7 percent.

Global markets were also buoyed by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. He said he sees “further, gradual” rate hikes ahead. The Fed chief said at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming that the central bank would likely continue with its policy tightening if the economy continued to strengthen.

Powell’s comments lifted the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes to record highs in Friday’s trading session. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index rose 0.5 percent on Monday, while the German Dax climbed 1.2 percent.

In Asia, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), reintroduced a policy adjustment aimed at supporting the yuan. The move, coupled with Powell’s comments, sent the Shanghai Composite up by 1.9 percent overnight.

Tesla shares dropped 2 percent after CEO Elon Musk gave up efforts to take the company private.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/27/us-stocks-to-open-higher-after-powell-signals-further-rate-hikes.html

Two cheers for Trump’s trade agreement with Mexico


President Trump talks with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on the phone on Monday. (Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
August 28 at 7:09 PM

The best thing that can be said about President Trump’s latest trade initiative is that it moves the United States back toward the kind of agreements Trump unwisely blew up when he became president.

So, two cheers for Trump’s revamped free-trade agreement with Mexico, announced Monday, and the one he may get soon with Canada. He wants to rebrand the package, of course, so that it’s not called NAFTA (“bad connotations!”). But the preliminary update includes labor and environmental standards somewhat like those that President Barack Obama wanted to add to NAFTA — and made the centerpiece of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump scuttled.

Trump seems readier to compromise these days with Europe, too, another positive shift after 20 months of intermittent trade tantrums. He hasn’t yet embraced Obama’s broad, market-opening vision of a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP), but maybe Trump will get there eventually, too. In recent months, he has been talking about mutually abolishing tariffs, which would be a good start.

You go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free . . . I mean, that would be the ultimate thing,” Trump enthused in June at the Group of Seven summit, in between taking swings at his trading partners. For once, he was entirely right.

The financial markets, which Trump touts as a proxy for success, have been roaring this week at the prospect that we may see new trade agreements, rather than the trade war Trump had threatened. The virtuous economic cycle (solid expansion, wage growth and continued low inflation) may be good news for Trump, but it’s also good news for everyone else.

The real importance of Trump’s Mexico move is that it clears the debris so the White House can concentrate on the bigger battle worth fighting — for fairer trade with a rising China that has tried for decades to rig the game in its favor. Europe and other trading partners should be our natural allies in this negotiation, for they, too, have suffered from China’s selfish policies.

President Trump on Aug. 27 said trade negotiations with Canada would result in tariffs or a “negotiated deal” in announcing a new trade agreement with Mexico. 

What Wall Street seems to be hoping is that Trump will resolve the little trade spats and marshal his forces for the more consequential ones. Allianz economist Mohamed El-Erian said Monday on CNBC that he sees a 60 percent chance that Trump’s aggressive policies will produce “fairer trade” for the United States. The puzzle for investors, he cautioned, is “how much damage would we incur in the process of winning this.”

Trump has often misdiagnosed the China trade problem. It’s not the sheer size of the U.S. trade deficit with China — though that was a staggering $375 billion last year, or about 65 percent of the total U.S. trade deficit. This raw number disguises the fact that China’s current-account surplus has been declining sharply as a percentage of its overall economy, from 9.9 percent of its gross domestic product in 2007 to about 1.4 percent last year. (The International Monetary Fund projects that China’s surplus will continue to decline steadily, to 0.4 percent of GDP in 2022.)

The China problem isn’t how much it sells us but that it won’t allow U.S. companies or investors fair access to its markets — and that it steals every bit of intellectual property that it can.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made this case Tuesday on CNBC: “We need better market access to China. We need reciprocal trade. And these are issues that our allies in the G-7 agree with us on. . . . This can’t be a one-way transaction where they have free trade here and we have no trade there.”

The Obama administration was heading in the right direction on this one, as well, by trying to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty with China that would open markets for American companies and protect them from theft. Trump chucked that, too, but he now seems to be reprising his own amped-up version.

Maurice Obstfeld, chief economist at the IMF, cautioned against “Pyrrhic” victories in trade in a recent Financial Times article. He explained: “The U.S. imports aluminum . . . which contributes to its trade deficit with China. But cheaper aluminum imports facilitate one of the U.S.’s biggest and most distinctive exports: aircraft. Restricting aluminum imports would not only hurt aircraft exports, it would make the global division of labor less efficient.”

Trump was elected by a country that doubted the global trading system was benefiting the ordinary worker. The answer to that popular anger wasn’t to wreck the system but to fix it. Too often during his presidency, Trump has looked like a wrecker. But this week, on Mexico, he claimed the unusual and welcome role of repairman.

Read more from David Ignatius’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Has Trump ended NAFTA? Not just yet.

Trump announces trade agreement with Mexico

In announcing a trade agreement with Mexico on Aug. 27, President Trump called it “a big day for trade” and said it would not be called NAFTA. 

August 27

President Trump announced Monday that he’s “terminating” the North American Free Trade Agreement, and boasted that he and Mexico just struck “maybe the largest trade deal ever made.”

Actually: Trump can’t unilaterally kill NAFTA; this is only a possible step toward any new trade deal involving Mexico; it’s probably not a good step; and it may not actually lead to any new deal at all.

In other words, it’s precisely the puffery we’ve come to expect from a president who doesn’t understand what his own administration is doing, or doesn’t care.

Trump campaigned on fixing our “stupid” trade deals, including NAFTA. And, at more than two decades old, this tripartite pact with Canada and Mexico does indeed require sprucing up.

The global economy has changed since the early 1990s. NAFTA doesn’t address major industries that barely existed (if they existed at all) when the agreement was negotiated, such as e-commerce. It also didn’t do much for labor or environmental standards.

Indeed, politicians have been vowing to update NAFTA for years.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama also campaigned on a promise to renegotiate NAFTA. He ultimately did, in the form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 12-country trade pact included Canada and Mexico among its signatories, and contained extensive language modernizing trade rules (including a whole chapter on e-commerce) and raising labor and environmental standards.

Alas, one of Trump’s first acts in office was to pull out of TPP. Worse, he subsequently lobbed new tariffs in virtually every direction, including at our allies in North America. The fallout from Trump’s trade war-mongering has unquestionably hurt Canada and Mexico, as well as U.S. firms.

But on Monday, Trump proclaimed this front in his trade wars was over. We allegedly have a new deal with Mexico, he said — a bilateral agreement that will replace NAFTA, and leave Canada cowering in fear.

“A lot of people thought we’d never get here,” he declared.

But in truth, “here” is pretty close to where we were before.

There is still no signed Mexico deal. And, unfortunately for Trump, he does not actually have authority from Congress to split NAFTA into two separate bilateral deals.

Additionally, most of what’s in NAFTA is implemented by statute. That means that no matter what Trump says, most of its provisions will live on unless and until Congress actually, you know, passes a new trade law. Which a Republican-led Congress doesn’t seem keen to do, at least if the new law in question is more protectionist than the one we have.

Congress also isn’t the only barrier to ditching NAFTA in favor of separate bilateral trade agreements. Canada and Mexico have each said that any new trade pact that results should include the involvement of all three countries.

In fact, during Trump’s Monday Oval Office event, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said no fewer than four times that he still expected Canada to be part of any final agreement.

He even closed his call by saying: “We’ll be waiting for Canada to be integrated into this process.”

So did the recent round of discussions between Mexico and the United States produce any results?

Sort of. But it’s hard to call it progress.

The United States and Mexico seem to have resolved some of their differences, including on automotive “rules of origin.” These complicated new rules would add burdensome requirements for any cars that could be imported into the United States from Mexico without tariffs.

Based on what we know so far, these requirements would likely require an enormous expansion of the administrative state (not something Republicans usually support), raise the cost of cars to consumers, and possibly reduce the number of cars assembled in North America — which is, of course, the opposite of their intended effect.

In fact, nothing announced thus far suggests the stuff we got Mexico to agree to would help the United States increase car exports to Mexico at all. “For autos, I am worried that the main outcome is a changing of the rules to allow us to trade less with Mexico,” Peterson Institute for International Economics senior fellow Chad P. Bown tells me.

And that’s if the deal actually goes through. Lots of hurdles remain, including within Mexico. The Mexican government has indicated that it wants any new deal signed before its next president takes office on Dec. 1.

That time frame effectively gives Trump exactly four days to get Canada on board since Trump must give Congress 90 days notice for a coming trade deal. If Trump wants to deliver on his campaign promises — and get any sort of trade deal, which he seems to desperately want ahead of the midterms — he’d best stop self-applauding and get back to work.

Fast.

 

Story 2: Iran Claims Control of Straight of Homuz — Videos

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Iran says it has full control of Gulf, U.S. Navy does not belong there

by Reuters
Monday, 27 August 2018 11:53 GMT

 Iran has full control of the Gulf and the U.S. Navy does not belong there, the head of the navy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Alireza Tangsiri, was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying on Monday.

Tehran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude. Washington maintains a fleet in the Gulf that protects oil shipping routes.

Tangsiri said Iran had full control of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz that leads into it. Closing the strait would be the most direct way of blocking shipping.

“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here,” he said in the quote, which appeared in English translation on Tasnim.

He added, “All the carriers and military and non-military ships will be controlled and there is full supervision over the Persian Gulf. Our presence in the region is physical and constant and night and day.”

Separately, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran’s enemies would not prevail in a conflict.

“The enemies are strictly avoiding any conflict with Iran because they know that it will not be beneficial for them,” Jafari said, according to Tasnim.

Tension between Iran and the United States has escalated since President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May and reimposed sanctions.

Senior U.S. officials have said they aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the most senior authority in the Islamic Republic, said last month that he supports the idea that if Iran is not allowed to export oil then no country should export oil from the Gulf. (Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Dale Hudson and Peter Graff)

http://news.trust.org/item/20180827115338-hpqo0

Story 3: Pope Francis Was Informed of Sexual Abuse Allegations of Predator Priests in Catholic Church In Particular Prominent Former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Remained Silent and Covered Up Abuse Until Now — People Lose Trust in Catholic Church Leadership and Coverup — Conspiracy of Silence —  Pope Should Resign — Videos —

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Former Vatican representative to the US says Pope Francis knew about sexual abuse allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and calls on the pontiff to RESIGN

  • Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano wants Pope Francis to resign writing in an 11-page letter that the Pope knew of McCarrick’s sex abuse allegations in 2013 
  • Vigano, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington DC from 2011 to 2016, said he personally told Pope Francis about the allegations 
  • He said the Pope covered for McCarrick and made him his ‘trusted counselor’ 
  • A priest said he warned church officials about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sex abuse
  • Father Boniface Ramsey wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in June 2015
  • The letter was sent to O’Malley after Pope Francis appointed him to lead a child sex abuse protection commission
  • O’Malley said in response that he didn’t see a letter sent to his office in 2015 
  • He apologized to the pastor and anyone whose concerns were reflected in it
  • Pope Francis ordered McCarrick removed from public ministry amid allegations he abused an altar boy and engaged in sexual misconduct with seminarians

A former Vatican representative to the United States is calling on Pope Francis to resign writing in an 11-page testament that he knew of the sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick but covered them up.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington DC from 2011 to 2016 said that Pope Francis knew of the allegations as early as 2013, according to the National Catholic Register.

Vigano said in his letter that he personally told Pope Francis that McCarrick was accused of inappropriate behavior and Pope Benedict XVI imposed sanctions on McCarrick ordering him to a life of penance.

According to Vigano, during a June 2013 meeting the Pope asked him what kind of man McCarrick was like. Vigano said he replied: ‘He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.’

He alleged that the Pope was trying to find out if he was an ally of McCarrick or not.

A former Vatican representative for the United State is calling on Pope Francis (pictured on Saturday in Ireland) to resign 

A former Vatican representative for the United State is calling on Pope Francis (pictured on Saturday in Ireland) to resign

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (pictured) wrote an 11-page letter accusing Pope Francis and others of covering for McCarrick 

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is seen on December 8, 2015 in Washington, D.C. McCarrick has said he has 'absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse' and believes in his innocence

Vigano told the outlet that Pope Francis ‘continued to cover’ for McCarrick and ‘not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him’. Vigano said in 2009 or 2010, Pope Benedict implemented sanctions that stated McCarrick ‘was to leave the seminary where he was living. He was also forbidden to celebrate (Mass) in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lecturers, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance’.

He said instead of taking action, Pope Francis revoked the sanctions and made McCarrick his ‘trusted counselor’.

Vigano said he sent several letters to Vatican representatives about McCarrick but they fell on deaf ears. He said in his letter that ‘the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy’ and that’s why he’s speaking out publicly.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano said he personally told Pope Francis about the abuse 

The letter ended with Vigano asking Pope Francis, and others who allegedly tried to cover up the allegations, to resign. 

‘He (Pope Francis) knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator,’ Vigano stated, but although ‘he knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end.’

‘It was only when he was forced by the report of the abuse of a minor, again on the basis of media attention, that he took action (regarding McCarrick) to save his image in the media,’ he wrote. 

Vigano wrote that Pope Francis ‘is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren,’ and urged him to ‘acknowledge his mistakes’ and, to ‘set a good example to cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.’

The former DC nuncio also implicated Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarcisio Bertone and Pietro Parolin as well as Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of DC.

Earlier on Saturday, Pope Francis traveled to Ireland and addressed the sex abuse claims plaguing the Catholic Church.

‘The failure of ecclesiastical authorities — bishops, religious superiors, priests and others — to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community,’ Francis said, according to NBC News.

Pope Benedict XVI (pictured) imposed sanctions on McCarrick ordering him to a life of penance but Pope Francis allegedly revoked the sanctions 

Father Boniface Ramsey (seen above in a CBS interview) said 'virtually everyone knew' about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's alleged sex abuse

Archbishop Sean Cardinal O'Malley (seen above at the Boston College 2017 141st Commencement Exercises at Boston College Alumni Stadium on May 22, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts) apologized Monday and said he didn't see a letter sent to his office in 2015

Church attendance in Ireland has plummeted in recent years as people call on the Vatican to take action and tackle the abuse allegations. The area has also been hit with its own share of scandal after a mass grave was discovered in 1993 at secretive Catholic institutions of confinement for unmarried mothers, prostitutes and other ‘fallen’ women.

At least 796 children were found buried in the grave.

A priest in New York City has also spoken out saying that he repeatedly warned church officials about now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – who was suspended last month over sex abuse allegations.

Father Boniface Ramsey told CBS News this week: ‘I had the impression that virtually everyone knew about it.

‘Archbishop McCarrick was inviting seminarians to his beach house. There were five beds… and there were six people. Archbishop McCarrick arranged it in such a way that somebody would join him in his bed.’

The priest, an archbishop of Newark at the time, said he was informed about the inappropriate behavior in 1986.

Ramsey wrote in a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, of Boston, in June 2015: ‘Some of these stories were not presented to me as mere rumors but were told to me by persons directly involved.’

The letter was sent to O’Malley after Pope Francis appointed him as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

O’Malley said Monday that he didn’t see a letter sent to his office in 2015 concerning McCarrick’s possible inappropriate behavior with seminarians. 

‘I should have seen that letter precisely because it made assertions about the behavior of an archbishop in the church,’ he said.

O’Malley said his priest secretary told the pastor a recommendation to review cases fell outside the commission’s mandate.

He apologized Monday to the pastor and to anyone whose concerns were reflected in the letter.

Pope Francis ordered McCarrick removed from public ministry amid allegations he sexually abused a teenage altar boy and engaged in sexual misconduct with adult seminarians decades ago. 

McCarrick has said he has ‘absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse’ and believes in his innocence.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6099157/Former-Vatican-representative-says-Pope-Francis-knew-sex-abuse-allegations-against-McCarrick.html

 

Ex-Vatican diplomat calls on ‘sinful’ Pope Francis to resign over sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis should resign for his  “sinful conduct” in covering up sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a retired Vatican diplomat says.

Francis had recently become pope in 2013 when he asked Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò his thoughts on McCarrick, Viganò says in a damning, 11-page open letter published Sunday.

“I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but there is a dossier this thick about him,” Viganò said he told the pope in 2013. “He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests.”

Viganò, who was serving as the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S., told Francis that his predecessor, Pope Benedict, had ordered McCarrick to leave the seminary where he was living and withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.

Viganò, 77, was a hard-line conservative pillar at the Vatican before retiring in 2016. He said Francis dropped the sanctions against McCarrick, a well-known liberal by church standards, and “continued to cover for him.” McCarrick resigned last month amid claims of sexual abuse of an altar boy and seminarians.

More: In Ireland, Pope Francis meets with Catholic Church sex abuse survivors

More: Catholic priest beaten by man saying ‘this is for all the little kids’

More: ‘Men of God hid it all’: Church protected more than 300 ‘predator priests’

The Vatican had no immediate comment on Viganò’s claims but has said the pope acted quickly once he learned that McCarrick was facing credible claims. Francis addressed the global sexual abuse scandal Saturday in a speech in Ireland, where outrage over abuses there have overwhelmed coverage of the pope’s visit.

John Thavis, a former Catholic News Service reporter and author of The Vatican Diaries, says Viganò’s letter doesn’t explain how McCarrick was able to continue his high-profile work in the church at the end of Benedict’s reign if he had truly been admonished by the former pope. He noted that Viganò’s source on Benedict’s actions against McCarrick were based on second-hand information.

Thavis also noted that Viganò “blindsided” Francis two years ago when, during the pope’s U.S. visit, Viganò set up a controversial meeting between the pope and a court clerk in Kentucky who had refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

“The tone of the letter and its content resemble a political hit piece on the pope,” Thavis said. “Sadly, the sex abuse crisis is being used as political leverage by some factions in the church.”

Father Jame Bretzke, a theology professor at Marquette University, noted that conservatives such as Viganò  found their influence diminished when Francis became pope.

“While Viganò was not explicitly fired, he very clearly was ‘replaced’ and he has long been known as a fierce opponent of Pope Francis,” Bretzke said.

That said, the letter calls for a detailed response from the pope, Thavis said.

“I know of no other instance in modern times where a (former) high-ranking church officials has publicly called on the pope to resign,” Thavis said.

Viganò wrote that too many people have been “deeply scandalized by the abominable and sacrilegious behavior of the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick; by the grave, disconcerting and sinful conduct of Pope Francis” and by many pastors who remained silent.

“Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example to cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them,” Viganò wrote.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/08/26/pope-francis-ex-vatican-ambassador-sinful-pope-should-resugn/1103407002/

 

 

Pope silent on claim he ignored abuse

Catherine MARCIANO

,

AFP

Pope Francis has declined to comment on a claim that he ignored sexual abuse allegations against a senior clergyman amid speculation conservative elements in the Catholic hierarchy are using the issue to mount a “putsch” to remove the liberal pontiff.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to the United States, on Saturday said he had told Francis of the allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013.

But rather than punish McCarrick, who was forced to resign last month, Vigano said Francis had lifted sanctions imposed on him by his predecessor pope Benedict XVI.

“Corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” Vigano said in an eleven-page letter published in the National Catholic Register and several conservative US Catholic publications.

But the pope refused to address the allegation on Sunday.

“I will not say a word about that. I think that the communique speaks for itself,” Francis said on his plane as he flew back from Dublin to Rome.

The timing of the letter’s release — right in the middle of Francis’s landmark trip to Ireland — has raised speculation of a campaign against the Argentinian pontiff by conservatives in the Church.

Francis told journalists to “read the communique attentively and make your own judgement,” referring to Vigano’s letter.

“You have sufficient journalistic capacity to draw conclusions,” he went on.

“When a little time has passed and you have the conclusions perhaps I will talk,” he added.

– ‘A putsch is afoot’ –

“Make no mistake. This is a coordinated attack on Pope Francis,” said an editorial article on the website of the progressive National Catholic Reporter weekly.

“A putsch is afoot and if the US bishops do not, as a body, stand up to defend the Holy Father in the next 24 hours, we shall be slipping towards schism,” the author Michael Sean Winters wrote.

“The enemies of Francis have declared war.”

Nicolas Seneze, the Rome correspondent for the French daily La Croix, echoed that there is “a clear desire to attack Francis,” telling AFP that “those who regard Francis as dangerous will stop at nothing.”

Bishop Vigano, 77, who was a papal nuncio in Washington between 2011 and 2016, said that Benedict XVI imposed canonical sanctions against McCarrick in the late 2000s.

McCarrick was forced to leave his seminary and live a life of penance after former Vatican ambassadors in Washington, now dead, reported him for “gravely immoral” behaviour with seminarians and priests.

Vigano claimed Francis asked him about McCarrick when he took office in June 2013, but that the pope ignored his warnings.

He said the pope “knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,” adding that “he knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end”.

The pope accepted the resignation of McCarrick, now 88, in July, making him just the second cardinal ever to lose his status.

During his visit to Ireland on Sunday the pope “begged for God’s forgiveness” for past clerical abuse scandals, which have badly damaged the image of the Church in the Catholic stronghold.

His trip was met with enthusiastic crowds but also protests, with about 5,000 abuse victims and supporters attending a “Stand for Truth” rally in the capital Dublin.

It was the first papal trip to Ireland since John Paul II spoke in front of 1.5 million people in 1979.

– Homosexuality tendancies –

On the plane back to Rome after the two-day trip, the pope also commented on homosexuality. He recommended that parents seek psychiatric help for children who show homosexual tendencies.

France’s Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa attacked those comments as “incomprehensible and indefensible”

The Vatican on Monday rolled back on the pope’s psychiatry idea, and withdrew the comment from its official verbatim record oh his trip.

The Catholic Church’s standing has been badly dented by the abuse scandals. Stronghold Ireland has largely shed its traditional Catholic mores, voting earlier this year to legalise abortion after approving same-sex marriage in 2015.

Multiple probes in Ireland have found Church leaders protected hundreds of predatory priests and former Irish president Mary McAleese revealed this month that the Vatican had sought to keep Church documents inaccessible to government investigators.

The abuse scandals in Ireland are part of a worldwide crisis for the Vatican.

A devastating report earlier this month accused more than 300 priests in the US state of Pennsylvania of abusing more than 1,000 children since the 1950s.

The US based Survivors’ Network for those abused by priests (SNAP) said in a statement that if Vigano’s allegations are true “this situation provides a dramatic illustration of the gap between rhetoric and decisive action”.

“Pope Francis has the power, but apparently does not have the will, to effect necessary change,” the group added.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pope-hold-giant-mass-dublin-abuse-victims-rally-030337491.html

 

Story 4: Arizona Senator John McCain Dies of Cancer at Age 81 of Cancer — Rest in Peace — Congress Should Repeal and Replace Obamacare — No Excuses Acceptable — Videos

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

Senator Chuck Schumer To Rename Senate Building After John McCain | NBC News

Limbaugh It’s Clear Why The Media Is Really Praising John McCain So Much

 

John McCain

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John McCain
John McCain's official Senate portrait, taken in 2009
United States Senator
from Arizona
In office
January 3, 1987 – August 25, 2018
Preceded by Barry Goldwater
Succeeded by Vacant
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – August 25, 2018
Preceded by Carl Levin
Succeeded by Vacant
Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Succeeded by Byron Dorgan
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Daniel Inouye
Succeeded by Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Fritz Hollings
Succeeded by Ted Stevens
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 3, 2001
Preceded by Fritz Hollings
Succeeded by Fritz Hollings
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Larry Pressler
Succeeded by Fritz Hollings
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona‘s 1st district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by John Jacob Rhodes
Succeeded by John Jacob Rhodes III
Personal details
Born John Sidney McCain III
August 29, 1936
Coco SoloPanama Canal Zone, U.S.
Died August 25, 2018 (aged 81)
Cornville, Arizona, U.S.
Resting place United States Naval Academy CemeteryAnnapolis, Maryland (planned burial site)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
Children 7, including Meghan
Parents John S. McCain Jr. and Roberta Wright
Relatives Joe McCain (brother)
Education United States Naval Academy(BS)
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1958–1981
Rank US Navy O6 infobox.svg Captain
Battles/wars Vietnam War (POW)

Awards

John Sidney McCain III (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) was an American politician and naval officer who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and followed his father and grandfather—both four-star admirals—into the United States Navy. He became a naval aviator and flew ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. While on a bombing mission during Operation Rolling Thunder over Hanoi in October 1967, McCain was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer. The wounds that he sustained during the war left him with lifelong physical disabilities. He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. In 1982, McCain was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms. He entered the U.S. Senate in 1987 and easily won reelection five times, the last time in 2016.

While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain also had a media reputation as a “maverick” for his willingness to disagree with his party on certain issues. After being investigated and largely exonerated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s as a member of the Keating Five, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually resulted in passage of the McCain–Feingold Act in 2002. He was also known for his work in the 1990s to restore diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and for his belief that the Iraq War should have been fought to a successful conclusion. McCain chaired the Senate Commerce Committee and opposed pork barrel spending. He belonged to the bipartisan “Gang of 14” which played a key role in alleviating a crisis over judicial nominations.

McCain entered the race for the Republican nomination for President in 2000, but lost a heated primary season contest to Governor George W. Bush of Texas. He secured the nomination in 2008 after making a comeback from early reversals, but was defeated by Democratic nominee Barack Obama in the general election, losing by a 365–173 electoral college margin. He subsequently adopted more orthodox conservative stances and attitudes and largely opposed actions of the Obama administration, especially with regard to foreign policy matters. By 2013, however, he had become a key figure in the Senate for negotiating deals on certain issues in an otherwise partisan environment. In 2015, McCain became Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2017, the year before his death at age 81, he reduced his role in the Senate after a diagnosis of brain cancer.

Early life and military career, 1936–1981

Formative years and education

John McCain was born on August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, to naval officer John S. McCain Jr. and Roberta (Wright) McCain. He had a younger brother named Joe and an elder sister named Sandy.[1] At that time, the Panama Canal was under U.S. control.[2]

McCain’s family tree includes Scots-Irish and English ancestors.[3] His father and his paternal grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., were also Naval Academy graduates and both became four-star United States Navy admirals.[4]The McCain family[1] followed his father to various naval postings in the United States and the Pacific.[5]

Altogether, he attended about 20 schools.[6] In 1951, the family settled in Northern Virginia, and McCain attended Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria.[7][8] He excelled at wrestling and graduated in 1954.[9][10] He referred to himself as an Episcopalian as recently as June 2007 after which date he said he came to identify as a Baptist.[11]

Formal portrait of young, dark-haired man in white naval uniform

McCain at the Naval Academy, 1954

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He was a friend and informal leader there for many of his classmates,[12] and sometimes stood up for targets of bullying.[4] He also became a lightweight boxer.[13] McCain did well in academic subjects that interested him, such as literature and history, but studied only enough to pass subjects that gave him difficulty, such as mathematics.[4][14] He came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel and did not always obey the rules, which contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899), despite a high IQ.[12][15] McCain graduated in 1958.[12]

Naval training, first marriage, and Vietnam War assignment

McCain began his early military career when he was commissioned as an ensign and started two and a half years of training at Pensacola to become a naval aviator.[16] While there, he earned a reputation as a man who partied.[6] He completed flight school in 1960 and became a naval pilot of ground-attack aircraft; he was assigned to A-1 Skyraider squadrons[17] aboard the aircraft carriers USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise[18] in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.[19] McCain began as a sub-par flier[19] who was at times careless and reckless;[20] during the early to mid-1960s, two of his flight missions crashed and a third mission collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries.[20] His aviation skills improved over time,[19] and he was seen as a good pilot, albeit one who tended to “push the envelope” in his flying.[20]

Four military pilots posed in, on, or in front of, silver jet with United States markings

Lieutenant McCain (front right) with his squadron and T-2 Buckeye trainer, 1965

At age 28 on July 3, 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp, who was a model from Philadelphia.[21] McCain adopted her two young children Douglas and Andrew.[18][22] He and Carol then had a daughter named Sidney.[23][24]

McCain requested a combat assignment[25] and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal flying A-4 Skyhawks.[26] His combat duty began when he was 30 years old in mid-1967, when Forrestal was assigned to a bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder, during the Vietnam War.[21][27] Stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin, McCain and his fellow pilots became frustrated by micromanagement from Washington, and he would later write that “In all candor, we thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots who didn’t have the least notion of what it took to win the war.”[27][28]

On July 29, 1967, McCain was a lieutenant commander when he was near the epicenter of the USS Forrestal fire. He escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded;[29]McCain was struck in the legs and chest by fragments.[30] The ensuing fire killed 134 sailors and took 24 hours to control.[31][32] With the Forrestal out of commission, McCain volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany, another aircraft carrier employed in Operation Rolling Thunder.[33] Once there, he would be awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal for missions flown over North Vietnam.[34]

Prisoner of war

McCain’s capture and subsequent imprisonment occurred on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.[35][36] McCain fractured both arms and a leg when he ejected from the aircraft,[37] and nearly drowned after he parachuted into Trúc Bạch Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him.[35] McCain was then transported to Hanoi’s main Hỏa Lò Prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton”.[36]

Although McCain was seriously wounded and injured, his captors refused to treat him. They beat and interrogated him to get information, and he was given medical care only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was an admiral.[38] His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of major newspapers.[39][40]

McCain spent six weeks in the hospital, where he received marginal care. He had lost 50 pounds (23 kg), was in a chest cast, and his gray hair had turned as white as snow.[35] McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi.[41] In December 1967, McCain was placed in a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live more than a week.[42] In March 1968, McCain was placed into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years.[43]

In mid-1968, his father John S. McCain Jr. was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release[44] because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purposes[45] and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially.[44] McCain refused repatriation unless every man taken in before him was also released. Such early release was prohibited by the POWs’ interpretation of the military Code of Conduct which states in Article III: “I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy”.[46] To prevent the enemy from using prisoners for propaganda, officers were to agree to be released in the order in which they were captured.[35]

Beginning in August 1968, McCain was subjected to a program of severe torture.[47] He was bound and beaten every two hours; this punishment occurred at the same time that he was suffering from dysentery.[35][47] Further injuries brought McCain to “the point of suicide,” but his preparations were interrupted by guards. Eventually, McCain made an anti-U.S. propaganda “confession”.[35] He had always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, “I had learned what we all learned over there: every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”[48][49] Many U.S. POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract “confessions” and propaganda statements;[50] virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors.[51] McCain received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[52]

McCain refused to meet various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[53] From late 1969, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[54] while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities.[55] McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. “Christmas Bombing” campaign of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[49][56]

McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years until his release on March 14, 1973.[57] His wartime injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[58] After his release from the Hanoi Hilton, McCain returned to the site with his wife Cindy and family on a few occasions to come to grips with what happened to him there during his capture.[59]

Commanding officer, liaison to Senate and second marriage

McCain was reunited with his family when he returned to the United States. His wife Carol had suffered her own crippling ordeal due to an automobile accident in December 1969. As a returned POW, McCain became a celebrity of sorts.[60]

White-haired man in thirties sitting in a chair, pack of cigarettes readily available

Lieutenant Commander McCain being interviewed after his return from Vietnam, April 1973

Lieutenant Commander McCain greeting President Richard Nixon in May 1973

McCain underwent treatment for his injuries that included months of grueling physical therapy.[61] He attended the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. during 1973–1974.[62] McCain was rehabilitated by late 1974 and his flight status was reinstated. In 1976, he became commanding officer of a training squadron that was stationed in Florida.[60][63] He improved the unit’s flight readiness and safety records,[64] and won the squadron its first-ever Meritorious Unit Commendation.[63] During this period in Florida, McCain had extramarital affairs and his marriage began to falter, about which he later stated, “The blame was entirely mine”.[65][66]

McCain served as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate beginning in 1977.[67] In retrospect, he said that this represented his “real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant.”[60] His key behind-the-scenes role gained congressional financing for a new supercarrier against the wishes of the Carter administration.[61][68]

In April 1979,[61] McCain met Cindy Lou Hensley, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona, whose father had founded a large beer distributorship.[66] They began dating, and he urged his wife Carol to grant him a divorce, which she did in February 1980; the uncontested divorce took effect in April 1980.[22][61] The settlement included two houses, and financial support for her ongoing medical treatments due to her 1969 car accident; they would remain on good terms.[66] McCain and Hensley were married on May 17, 1980, with Senators William Cohen and Gary Hart attending as groomsmen.[21][66] McCain’s children did not attend, and several years would pass before they reconciled.[24][61] John and Cindy McCain entered into a prenuptial agreement that kept most of her family’s assets under her name; they would always keep their finances apart and file separate income tax returns.[69]

McCain decided to leave the Navy. It was doubtful whether he would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral, as he had poor annual physicals and hadn’t been given a major sea command.[70] His chances of being promoted to rear admiralwere better, but McCain declined that prospect, as he had already made plans to run for Congress and said he could “do more good there.”[71][72]

McCain retired from the Navy on April 1, 1981,[73] as a captain.[34] He was designated as disabled and awarded a disability pension.[74] Upon leaving the military, he moved to Arizona. His numerous military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, two Legion of MeritsDistinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and Prisoner of War Medal.[34]

House and Senate elections and career, 1982–2000

U.S. Congressman

McCain set his sights on becoming a congressman because he was interested in current events, was ready for a new challenge, and had developed political ambitions during his time as Senate liaison.[66][75][76] Living in Phoenix, he went to work for Hensley & Co., his new father-in-law Jim Hensley‘s large Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship.[66] As vice president of public relations at the distributorship, he gained political support among the local business community, meeting powerful figures such as banker Charles Keating Jr., real estate developer Fife Symington III (later Governor of Arizona) and newspaper publisher Darrow “Duke” Tully.[67]In 1982, McCain ran as a Republican for an open seat in Arizona’s 1st congressional district, which was being vacated by 30-year incumbent Republican John Jacob Rhodes.[77] A newcomer to the state, McCain was hit with charges of being a carpetbagger.[66] McCain responded to a voter making that charge with what a Phoenix Gazette columnist would later describe as “the most devastating response to a potentially troublesome political issue I’ve ever heard”:[66]

Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.[66][78]

McCain won a highly contested primary election with the assistance of local political endorsements, his Washington connections, and money that his wife lent to his campaign.[67][66] He then easily won the general election in the heavily Republican district.[66]

McCain in 1983, during his first term in the House of Representatives

In 1983, McCain was elected to lead the incoming group of Republican representatives,[66] and was assigned to the House Committee on Interior Affairs. Also that year, he opposed creation of a federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but admitted in 2008: “I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support [in 1990] for a state holiday in Arizona.”[79][80]

At this point, McCain’s politics were mainly in line with President Ronald Reagan; this included support for Reaganomics, and he was active on Indian Affairs bills.[81] He supported most aspects of the foreign policy of the Reagan administration, including its hardline stance against the Soviet Union and policy towards Central American conflicts, such as backing the Contras in Nicaragua.[81] McCain opposed keeping U.S. Marines deployed in Lebanon, citing unattainable objectives, and subsequently criticized President Reagan for pulling out the troops too late; in the interim, the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing killed hundreds.[66][82] McCain won re-election to the House easily in 1984,[66] and gained a spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.[83] In 1985, he made his first return trip to Vietnam,[84] and also traveled to Chile where he met with its military junta ruler, General Augusto Pinochet.[85][86][87]

Growing family

In 1984, McCain and Cindy had their first child together, daughter Meghan, followed two years later by son John Sidney (Jack) IV, and in 1988 by son James (Jimmy).[88]

In 1991, Cindy McCain brought an abandoned three-month-old girl needing medical treatment to the U.S. from a Bangladeshi orphanage run by Mother Teresa.[89] The McCains decided to adopt her and named her Bridget.[90]

First two terms in U.S. Senate

McCain’s Senate career began in January 1987, after he defeated his Democratic opponent, former state legislator Richard Kimball, by 20 percentage points in the 1986 election.[67][91] McCain succeeded longtime American conservative icon and Arizona fixture Barry Goldwater upon the latter’s retirement as U.S. senator from Arizona.[91]

White-haired man in suit greets dark-haired man in suit in formal setting, as gaunt, well-coiffed woman looks on

President Ronald Reagan greets John McCain as First Lady Nancy Reagan looks on, March 1987

Senator McCain became a member of the Armed Services Committee, with which he had formerly done his Navy liaison work; he also joined the Commerce Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee.[91] He continued to support the Native American agenda.[92] As first a House member and then a senator—and as a lifelong gambler with close ties to the gambling industry[93]—McCain was one of the main authors of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,[94][95] which codified rules regarding Native American gambling enterprises.[96] McCain was also a strong supporter of the Gramm-Rudman legislation that enforced automatic spending cuts in the case of budget deficits.[97]

McCain soon gained national visibility. He delivered a well-received speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention, was mentioned by the press as a short list vice-presidential running mate for Republican nominee George H. W. Bush, and was named chairman of Veterans for Bush.[91][98]

McCain became embroiled in a scandal during the 1980s, as one of five United States senators comprising the so-called Keating Five.[99] Between 1982 and 1987, McCain had received $112,000 in lawful[100] political contributions from Charles Keating Jr. and his associates at Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, along with trips on Keating’s jets[99] that McCain belatedly repaid, in 1989.[101] In 1987, McCain was one of the five senators whom Keating contacted in order to prevent the government’s seizure of Lincoln, and McCain met twice with federal regulators to discuss the government’s investigation of Lincoln.[99] In 1999, McCain said: “The appearance of it was wrong. It’s a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence. And it was the wrong thing to do.”[102] In the end, McCain was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee of acting improperly or violating any law or Senate rule, but was mildly rebuked for exercising “poor judgment”.[100][102] In his 1992 re-election bid, the Keating Five affair was not a major issue,[103] and he won handily, gaining 56 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic community and civil rights activist Claire Sargent and independent former governor, Evan Mecham.[104]

McCain with President George H. W. Bush in 1990

McCain developed a reputation for independence during the 1990s.[105] He took pride in challenging party leadership and establishment forces, becoming difficult to categorize politically.[105]

White-haired man, elderly white-haired woman, young boy, young girl, short-haired woman holding roses, all in front of sign showing a ship's silhouette

The 1992 christening of USS John S. McCain at Bath Iron Works, with his mother Roberta, son Jack, daughter Meghan, and wife Cindy

As a member of the 1991–1993 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, chaired by fellow Vietnam War veteran and Democrat, John Kerry, McCain investigated the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, to determine the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.[106] The committee’s unanimous report stated there was “no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia.”[107] Helped by McCain’s efforts, in 1995 the U.S. normalized diplomatic relations with Vietnam.[108] McCain was vilified by some POW/MIA activists who, despite the committee’s unanimous report, believed large numbers of Americans were still held against their will in Southeast Asia.[108][109][110] Since January 1993, McCain has been Chairman of the International Republican Institute, an organization partly funded by the U.S. government that supports the emergence of political democracy worldwide.[111]

In 1993 and 1994, McCain voted to confirm President Clinton’s nominees Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg whom he considered to be qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court. He would later explain that “under our Constitution, it is the president’s call to make.”[112] McCain had also voted to confirm nominees of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.[113]

McCain attacked what he saw as the corrupting influence of large political contributions—from corporations, labor unions, other organizations, and wealthy individuals—and he made this his signature issue.[114] Starting in 1994, he worked with Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform; their McCain–Feingold bill attempted to put limits on “soft money“.[114] The efforts of McCain and Feingold were opposed by some of the moneyed interests targeted, by incumbents in both parties, by those who felt spending limits impinged on free political speech and might be unconstitutional as well, and by those who wanted to counterbalance the power of what they saw as media bias.[114][115] Despite sympathetic coverage in the media, initial versions of the McCain–Feingold Act were filibustered and never came to a vote.[116]

The term “maverick Republican” became a label frequently applied to McCain, and he also used it himself.[114][117][118] In 1993, McCain opposed military operations in Somalia.[119] Another target of his was pork barrel spending by Congress, and he actively supported the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, which gave the president power to veto individual spending items[114] but was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998.[120]

In the 1996 presidential election, McCain was again on the short list of possible vice-presidential picks, this time for Republican nominee Bob Dole.[103][121] The following year, Time magazine named McCain as one of the “25 Most Influential People in America”.[122]

In 1997, McCain became chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee; he was criticized for accepting funds from corporations and businesses under the committee’s purview, but in response said the small contributions he received were not part of the big-money nature of the campaign finance problem.[114] McCain took on the tobacco industry in 1998, proposing legislation that would increase cigarette taxes in order to fund anti-smoking campaigns, discourage teenage smokers, increase money for health research studies, and help states pay for smoking-related health care costs.[114][123] Supported by the Clinton administration but opposed by the industry and most Republicans, the bill failed to gain cloture.[123]

Start of third term in the U.S. Senate

In November 1998, McCain won re-election to a third Senate term; he prevailed in a landslide over his Democratic opponent, environmental lawyer Ed Ranger.[114] In the February 1999 Senate trial following the impeachment of Bill Clinton, McCain voted to convict the president on both the perjury and obstruction of justice counts, saying Clinton had violated his sworn oath of office.[124] In March 1999, McCain voted to approve the NATO bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, saying that the ongoing genocide of the Kosovo War must be stopped and criticizing past Clinton administration inaction.[125] Later in 1999, McCain shared the Profile in Courage Awardwith Feingold for their work in trying to enact their campaign finance reform,[126] although the bill was still failing repeated attempts to gain cloture.[116]

two men in uniform

Photo of McCain’s father and grandfather that appeared on the cover of his 1999 family memoir

In August 1999, McCain’s memoir Faith of My Fathers, co-authored with Mark Salter, was published;[127] a reviewer observed that its appearance “seems to have been timed to the unfolding Presidential campaign.”[128] The most successful of his writings, it received positive reviews,[129] became a bestseller,[130] and was later made into a TV film.[131] The book traces McCain’s family background and childhood, covers his time at Annapolis and his service before and during the Vietnam War, concluding with his release from captivity in 1973. According to one reviewer, it describes “the kind of challenges that most of us can barely imagine. It’s a fascinating history of a remarkable military family.”[132]

2000 presidential campaign

McCain announced his candidacy for president on September 27, 1999, in Nashua, New Hampshire, saying he was staging “a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve”.[127][133] The frontrunner for the Republican nomination was Texas Governor George W. Bush, who had the political and financial support of most of the party establishment.[134]

McCain focused on the New Hampshire primary, where his message appealed to independents.[135] He traveled on a campaign bus called the Straight Talk Express.[127] He held many town hall meetings, answering every question voters asked, in a successful example of “retail politics”, and he used free media to compensate for his lack of funds.[127] One reporter later recounted that, “McCain talked all day long with reporters on his Straight Talk Express bus; he talked so much that sometimes he said things that he shouldn’t have, and that’s why the media loved him.”[136] On February 1, 2000, he won New Hampshire’s primary with 49 percent of the vote to Bush’s 30 percent. The Bush campaign and the Republican establishment feared that a McCain victory in the crucial South Carolina primary might give his campaign unstoppable momentum.[127][137]

Chart with three data lines

McCain’s Gallup Poll favorable/unfavorable ratings, 1999–2009[138]

The Arizona Republic would write that the McCain–Bush primary contest in South Carolina “has entered national political lore as a low-water mark in presidential campaigns”, while The New York Times called it “a painful symbol of the brutality of American politics”.[127][139][140] A variety of interest groups, which McCain had challenged in the past, ran negative ads.[127][141] Bush borrowed McCain’s earlier language of reform,[142] and declined to dissociate himself from a veterans activist who accused McCain (in Bush’s presence) of having “abandoned the veterans” on POW/MIA and Agent Orange issues.[127][143]

Incensed,[143] McCain ran ads accusing Bush of lying and comparing the governor to Bill Clinton, which Bush said was “about as low a blow as you can give in a Republican primary”.[127] An anonymous smear campaign began against McCain, delivered by push polls, faxes, e-mails, flyers, and audience plants.[127][144] The smears claimed that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock (the McCains’ dark-skinned daughter was adopted from Bangladesh), that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, and that he was a “Manchurian Candidate” who was either a traitor or mentally unstable from his North Vietnam POW days.[127][139] The Bush campaign strongly denied any involvement with the attacks.[139][145]

McCain lost South Carolina on February 19, with 42 percent of the vote to Bush’s 53 percent,[146] in part because Bush mobilized the state’s evangelical voters[127][147] and outspent McCain.[148] The win allowed Bush to regain lost momentum.[146] McCain would say of the rumor spreaders, “I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those.”[90] According to one report, the South Carolina experience left McCain in a “very dark place”.[139]

McCain’s campaign never completely recovered from his South Carolina defeat, although he did rebound partially by winning in Arizona and Michigan a few days later.[149] He made a speech in Virginia Beach that criticized Christian leaders, including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, as divisive conservatives,[139] declaring “… we embrace the fine members of the religious conservative community. But that does not mean that we will pander to their self-appointed leaders.”[150] McCain lost the Virginia primary on February 29,[151] and on March 7 lost nine of the thirteen primaries on Super Tuesday to Bush.[152] With little hope of overcoming Bush’s delegate lead, McCain withdrew from the race on March 9, 2000.[153] He endorsed Bush two months later,[154] and made occasional appearances with the Texas governor during the general election campaign.[127]

Senate career, 2000–2008

Remainder of third Senate term

McCain began 2001 by breaking with the new George W. Bush administration on a number of matters, including HMO reform, climate change, and gun legislation; McCain–Feingold was opposed by Bush as well.[116][155] In May 2001, McCain was one of only two Senate Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts.[155][156] Besides the differences with Bush on ideological grounds, there was considerable antagonism between the two remaining from the previous year’s campaign.[157][158] Later, when a Republican senator, Jim Jeffords, became an Independent, thereby throwing control of the Senate to the Democrats, McCain defended Jeffords against “self-appointed enforcers of party loyalty”.[155] Indeed, there was speculation at the time, and in years since, about McCain himself leaving the Republican Party, but McCain had always adamantly denied that he ever considered doing so.[155][159][160] Beginning in 2001, McCain used political capital gained from his presidential run, as well as improved legislative skills and relationships with other members, to become one of the Senate’s most influential members.[161]

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, McCain supported Bush and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.[155][162] He and Democratic senator Joe Lieberman wrote the legislation that created the 9/11 Commission,[163] while he and Democratic senator Fritz Hollings co-sponsored the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that federalized airport security.[164]

In March 2002, McCain–Feingold, officially known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, passed in both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Bush.[116][155] Seven years in the making, it was McCain’s greatest legislative achievement.[155][165]

Red rocks landscape of Arizona with McCain image added, on uppper half; cartoon illustration of pigs inside brown barrels on lower half

McCain’s Senate website from 2003 to 2006 illustrated his concern about pork barrel spending.[114]

Meanwhile, in discussions over proposed U.S. action against Iraq, McCain was a strong supporter of the Bush administration’s position.[155] He stated that Iraq was “a clear and present danger to the United States of America”, and voted accordingly for the Iraq War Resolution in October 2002.[155] He predicted that U.S. forces would be treated as liberators by a large number of the Iraqi people.[166] In May 2003, McCain voted against the second round of Bush tax cuts, saying it was unwise at a time of war.[156] By November 2003, after a trip to Iraq, he was publicly questioning Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, saying that more U.S. troops were needed; the following year, McCain announced that he had lost confidence in Rumsfeld.[167][168]

In October 2003, McCain and Lieberman co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act that would have introduced a cap and trade system aimed at returning greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels; the bill was defeated with 55 votes to 43 in the Senate.[169] They reintroduced modified versions of the Act two additional times, most recently in January 2007 with the co-sponsorship of Barack Obama, among others.[170]

U.S. President George W. Bush with Senator McCain, December 4, 2004

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election campaign, McCain was once again frequently mentioned for the vice-presidential slot, only this time as part of the Democratic ticket under nominee John Kerry.[171][172][173] McCain said that Kerry had never formally offered him the position and that he would not have accepted it if he had.[172][173][174] At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain supported Bush for re-election, praising Bush’s management of the War on Terror since the September 11 attacks.[175] At the same time, he defended Kerry’s Vietnam War record.[176] By August 2004, McCain had the best favorable-to-unfavorable rating (55 percent to 19 percent) of any national politician;[175] he campaigned for Bush much more than he had four years previously, though the two remained situational allies rather than friends.[157]

McCain was also up for re-election as senator, in 2004. He defeated little-known Democratic schoolteacher Stuart Starky with his biggest margin of victory, garnering 77 percent of the vote.[177]

Start of fourth Senate term

In May 2005, McCain led the so-called Gang of 14 in the Senate, which established a compromise that preserved the ability of senators to filibuster judicial nominees, but only in “extraordinary circumstances”.[178] The compromise took the steam out of the filibuster movement, but some Republicans remained disappointed that the compromise did not eliminate filibusters of judicial nominees in all circumstances.[179] McCain subsequently cast Supreme Court confirmation votes in favor of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, calling them “two of the finest justices ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court.”[113]

File:Jsm2.ogv

Speaking on the Senate floor against earmarking, February 2007

Breaking from his 2001 and 2003 votes, McCain supported the Bush tax cut extension in May 2006, saying not to do so would amount to a tax increase.[156] Working with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, McCain was a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, which would involve legalization, guest worker programs, and border enforcement components. The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act was never voted on in 2005, while the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 passed the Senate in May 2006 but failed in the House.[168] In June 2007, President Bush, McCain, and others made the strongest push yet for such a bill, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, but it aroused intense grassroots opposition among talk radio listeners and others, some of whom furiously characterized the proposal as an “amnesty” program,[180] and the bill twice failed to gain cloture in the Senate.[181]

By the middle of the 2000s (decade), the increased Indian gaming that McCain had helped bring about was a $23 billion industry.[95] He was twice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in 1995–1997 and 2005–2007, and his Committee helped expose the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal.[182][183] By 2005 and 2006, McCain was pushing for amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that would limit creation of off-reservation casinos,[95] as well as limiting the movement of tribes across state lines to build casinos.[184]

Middle-aged man in military uniform talking with older man in casual civilian clothes, at night

General David Petraeus and McCain in Baghdad, November 2007

Owing to his time as a POW, McCain was recognized for his sensitivity to the detention and interrogation of detainees in the War on Terror. An opponent of the Bush administration’s use of torture and detention without trial at Guantánamo Bay (declaring that “even Adolf Eichmann got a trial”[185]), in October 2005, McCain introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005, and the Senate voted 90–9 to support the amendment.[186] It prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantánamo, by confining military interrogations to the techniques in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation. Although Bush had threatened to veto the bill if McCain’s amendment was included,[187] the President announced in December 2005 that he accepted McCain’s terms and would “make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad”.[188] This stance, among others, led to McCain being named by Time magazine in 2006 as one of America’s 10 Best Senators.[189] McCain voted in February 2008 against a bill containing a ban on waterboarding,[190] which provision was later narrowly passed and vetoed by Bush. However, the bill in question contained other provisions to which McCain objected, and his spokesman stated: “This wasn’t a vote on waterboarding. This was a vote on applying the standards of the [Army] field manual to CIA personnel.”[190]

Meanwhile, McCain continued questioning the progress of the war in Iraq. In September 2005, he remarked upon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers‘ optimistic outlook on the war’s progress: “Things have not gone as well as we had planned or expected, nor as we were told by you, General Myers.”[191] In August 2006, he criticized the administration for continually understating the effectiveness of the insurgency: “We [have] not told the American people how tough and difficult this could be.”[168] From the beginning, McCain strongly supported the Iraq troop surge of 2007.[192] The strategy’s opponents labeled it “McCain’s plan”[193] and University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato said, “McCain owns Iraq just as much as Bush does now.”[168] The surge and the war were unpopular during most of the year, even within the Republican Party,[194] as McCain’s presidential campaign was underway; faced with the consequences, McCain frequently responded, “I would much rather lose a campaign than a war.”[195] In March 2008, McCain credited the surge strategy with reducing violence in Iraq, as he made his eighth trip to that country since the war began.[196]

2008 presidential campaign

White-haired man speaking at podium, with group of people behind him, some holding blue "McCain" signs

McCain formally announces his candidacy for president in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2007

McCain formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States on April 25, 2007, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.[197] He stated that: “I’m not running for president to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things, not the easy and needless things.”[198]

McCain’s oft-cited strengths as a presidential candidate for 2008 included national name recognition, sponsorship of major lobbying and campaign finance reform initiatives, his ability to reach across the aisle, his well-known military service and experience as a POW, his experience from the 2000 presidential campaign, and an expectation that he would capture Bush’s top fundraisers.[199] During the 2006 election cycle, McCain had attended 346 events[58] and helped raise more than $10.5 million on behalf of Republican candidates. McCain also became more willing to ask business and industry for campaign contributions, while maintaining that such contributions would not affect any official decisions he would make.[200] Despite being considered the front-runner for the nomination by pundits as 2007 began,[201] McCain was in second place behind former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani in national Republican polls as the year progressed.

McCain had fundraising problems in the first half of 2007, due in part to his support for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which was unpopular among the Republican base electorate.[202][203] Large-scale campaign staff downsizing took place in early July, but McCain said that he was not considering dropping out of the race.[203] Later that month, the candidate’s campaign manager and campaign chief strategist both departed.[204]McCain slumped badly in national polls, often running third or fourth with 15 percent or less support.

White-haired man in dark suit looks on as gray-haired man in dark suit holds hand and greets blonde-haired woman in medium-colored suit, all in front of a white building.

President Bush meets with the McCains as he endorses him for President, March 5, 2008

The Arizona senator subsequently resumed his familiar position as a political underdog,[205] riding the Straight Talk Express and taking advantage of free media such as debates and sponsored events.[206] By December 2007, the Republican race was unsettled, with none of the top-tier candidates dominating the race and all of them possessing major vulnerabilities with different elements of the Republican base electorate.[207] McCain was showing a resurgence, in particular with renewed strength in New Hampshire—the scene of his 2000 triumph—and was bolstered further by the endorsements of The Boston Globe, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and almost two dozen other state newspapers,[208] as well as from Senator Lieberman (now an Independent Democrat).[209][210] McCain decided not to campaign significantly in the January 3, 2008, Iowa caucuses, which saw a win by former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee.

McCain’s comeback plan paid off when he won the New Hampshire primary on January 8, defeating former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney in a close contest, to once again become one of the front-runners in the race.[211]In mid-January, McCain placed first in the South Carolina primary, narrowly defeating Mike Huckabee.[212] Pundits credited the third-place finisher, Tennessee‘s former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, with drawing votes from Huckabee in South Carolina, thereby giving a narrow win to McCain.[213] A week later, McCain won the Florida primary,[214] beating Romney again in a close contest; Giuliani then dropped out and endorsed McCain.[215]

On February 5, McCain won both the majority of states and delegates in the Super Tuesday Republican primaries, giving him a commanding lead toward the Republican nomination. Romney departed from the race on February 7.[216] McCain’s wins in the March 4 primaries clinched a majority of the delegates, and he became the presumptive Republican nominee.[217]

McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Had he been elected, he would have become the first president who was born outside the contiguous forty-eight states. This raised a potential legal issue, since the United States Constitution requires the president to be a natural-born citizen of the United States. A bipartisan legal review,[218] and a unanimous but non-binding Senate resolution,[219] both concluded that he is a natural-born citizen. If inaugurated in 2009 at the age of 72 years and 144 days, he would have been the oldest U.S. president upon becoming president,[220] and the second-oldest president to be inaugurated after Reagan at his second inaugural.[221]

McCain addressed concerns about his age and past health issues, stating in 2005 that his health was “excellent”.[222] He had been treated for a type of skin cancer called melanoma, and an operation in 2000 for that condition left a noticeable mark on the left side of his face.[223] McCain’s prognosis appeared favorable, according to independent experts, especially because he had already survived without a recurrence for more than seven years.[223] In May 2008, McCain’s campaign briefly let the press review his medical records, and he was described as appearing cancer-free, having a strong heart, and in general being in good health.[224]

McCain clinched enough delegates for the nomination and his focus shifted toward the general election, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fought a prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination.[225] McCain introduced various policy proposals, and sought to improve his fundraising.[226][227] Cindy McCain, who accounts for most of the couple’s wealth with an estimated net worth of $100 million,[69] made part of her tax returns public in May.[228] After facing criticism about lobbyists on staff, the McCain campaign issued new rules in May 2008 to avoid conflicts of interest, causing five top aides to leave.[229][230]

When Obama became the Democrats’ presumptive nominee in early June, McCain proposed joint town hall meetings, but Obama instead requested more traditional debates for the fall.[231] In July, a staff shake-up put Steve Schmidt in full operational control of the McCain campaign.[232] Rick Davis remained as campaign manager but with a reduced role. Davis had also managed McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign; in 2005 and 2006, U.S. intelligence warned McCain’s Senate staff about Davis’s Russian links but gave no further warnings.[233][234][235][236]

Throughout the summer of 2008, Obama typically led McCain in national polls by single-digit margins,[237] and also led in several key swing states.[238] McCain reprised his familiar underdog role, which was due at least in part to the overall challenges Republicans faced in the election year.[205][238] McCain accepted public financing for the general election campaign, and the restrictions that go with it, while criticizing his Democratic opponent for becoming the first major party candidate to opt out of such financing for the general election since the system was implemented in 1976.[239][240] The Republican’s broad campaign theme focused on his experience and ability to lead, compared to Obama’s.[241]

Todd Palin, Sarah Palin (behind a podium), Cindy McCain, John McCain together on an outdoor stage during daytime, crowd holding blue-and-white "McCain Palin" signs around them

The Palins and McCains campaign in Fairfax, Virginia, following the 2008 Republican National Convention on September 10.

On August 29, 2008, McCain revealed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his surprise choice for running mate.[242] McCain was only the second U.S. major-party presidential nominee (after Walter Mondale) to select a woman for his running mate and the first Republican to do so; Palin would have become the first female Vice President of the United States if McCain had been elected. On September 3, 2008, McCain and Palin became the Republican Party’s presidential and vice presidential nominees, respectively, at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota. McCain surged ahead of Obama in national polls following the convention, as the Palin pick energized core Republican voters who had previously been wary of him.[243] However, by the campaign’s own later admission, the rollout of Palin to the national media went poorly,[244] and voter reactions to Palin grew increasingly negative, especially among independents and other voters concerned about her qualifications.[245] McCain said later in life that he expressed regret for not choosing the independent Senator Joe Lieberman as his VP candidate instead.[185]

On September 24, McCain said he was temporarily suspending his campaign activities, called on Obama to join him, and proposed delaying the first of the general election debates with Obama, in order to work on the proposed U.S. financial system bailout before Congress, which was targeted at addressing the subprime mortgage crisis and liquidity crisis.[246][247] McCain’s intervention helped to give dissatisfied House Republicans an opportunity to propose changes to the plan that was otherwise close to agreement.[248][249] After Obama declined McCain’s suspension suggestion, McCain went ahead with the debate on September 26.[250] On October 1, McCain voted in favor of a revised $700 billion rescue plan.[251] Another debate was held on October 7; like the first one, polls afterward suggested that Obama had won it.[252] A final presidential debate occurred on October 15.[253]

During and after the final debate, McCain compared Obama’s proposed policies to socialism and often invoked “Joe the Plumber” as a symbol of American small business dreams that would be thwarted by an Obama presidency.[254][255] McCain barred using the Jeremiah Wright controversy in ads against Obama,[256] but the campaign did frequently criticize Obama regarding his purported relationship with Bill Ayers.[257] McCain’s rallies became increasingly vitriolic,[258] with attendees denigrating Obama and displaying a growing anti-Muslim and anti-African-American sentiment.[259] During a campaign rally in Minnesota, Gayle Quinnell, a 75-year old McCain supporter said she did not trust Obama because “he’s an Arab”,[260] McCain pointedly replied to the woman, “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”[259] McCain’s response was considered one of the finer moments of the campaign and was still being viewed several years later as a marker for civility in American politics.[258][261] Down the stretch, McCain was outspent by Obama by a four-to-one margin.[262] Meghan McCain said that she cannot “go a day without someone bringing up (that) moment,” and noted that at the time “there were a lot of people really trying to get my dad to go (against Obama) with … you’re a Muslim, you’re not an American aspect of that,” but that her father had refused. “I can remember thinking that it was a morally amazing and beautiful moment, but that maybe there would be people in the Republican Party that would be quite angry,” she said.[263]

Results of the presidential election

The election took place on November 4, and Barack Obama was projected the winner at about 11:00 pm Eastern Standard Time; McCain delivered his concession speech in Phoenix, Arizona about twenty minutes later.[264] In it, he noted the historic and special significance of Obama becoming the nation’s first African American president.[264] In the end, McCain won 173 electoral college votes to Obama’s 365;[265] McCain failed to win most of the battleground states and lost some traditionally Republican ones.[266] McCain gained 46 percent of the nationwide popular vote, compared to Obama’s 53 percent.[266]

Senate career after 2008

Remainder of fourth Senate term

Following his defeat, McCain returned to the Senate amid varying views about what role he might play there.[267] In mid-November 2008 he met with President-elect Obama, and the two discussed issues they had commonality on.[268] Around the same time, McCain indicated that he intended to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010.[269] As the inauguration neared, Obama consulted with McCain on a variety of matters, to an extent rarely seen between a president-elect and his defeated rival,[270] and President Obama’s inauguration speech contained an allusion to McCain’s theme of finding a purpose greater than oneself.[271]

Barack Obama speaking in foreground at an indoor event with an American flag in background; John McCain behind him, somewhat of focus

U.S. President Barack Obama and McCain at a press conference in March 2009

Nevertheless, McCain emerged as a leader of the Republican opposition to the Obama economic stimulus package of 2009, saying it had too much spending for too little stimulative effect.[272] McCain also voted against Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor—saying that while undeniably qualified, “I do not believe that she shares my belief in judicial restraint”[273]—and by August 2009 was siding more often with his Republican Party on closely divided votes than ever before in his senatorial career.[274] McCain reasserted that the War in Afghanistan was winnable[275] and criticized Obama for a slow process in deciding whether to send additional U.S. troops there.[276]

McCain also harshly criticized Obama for scrapping construction of the U.S. missile defense complex in Poland, declined to enter negotiations over climate change legislation similar to what he had proposed in the past, and strongly opposed the Obama health care plan.[276][277] McCain led a successful filibuster of a measure that would allow repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards gays.[278] Factors involved in McCain’s new direction included Senate staffers leaving, a renewed concern over national debt levels and the scope of federal government, a possible Republican primary challenge from conservatives in 2010, and McCain’s campaign edge being slow to wear off.[276][277] As one longtime McCain advisor said, “A lot of people, including me, thought he might be the Republican building bridges to the Obama Administration. But he’s been more like the guy blowing up the bridges.”[276]

Man in office with old-style furnishings

McCain in his Senate office, November 2010

In early 2010, a primary challenge from radio talk show host and former U.S. Congressman J. D. Hayworth materialized in the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Arizona and drew support from some but not all elements of the Tea Party movement.[279][280] With Hayworth using the campaign slogan “The Consistent Conservative”, McCain said—despite his own past use of the term on a number of occasions[280][281]—”I never considered myself a maverick. I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities.”[282] The primary challenge coincided with McCain reversing or muting his stance on some issues such as the bank bailouts, closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, campaign finance restrictions, and gays in the military.[279]

When the health care plan, now called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed Congress and became law in March 2010, McCain strongly opposed the landmark legislation not only on its merits but also on the way it had been handled in Congress. As a consequence, he warned that congressional Republicans would not be working with Democrats on anything else: “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”[283] McCain became a vocal defender of Arizona SB 1070, the April 2010 tough anti-illegal immigration state law that aroused national controversy, saying that the state had been forced to take action given the federal government’s inability to control the border.[280][284] In the August 24 primary, McCain beat Hayworth by a 56 to 32 percent margin.[285] McCain proceeded to easily defeat Democratic city councilman Rodney Glassman in the general election.[286]

In the lame duck session of the 111th Congress, McCain voted for the compromise Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,[287] but against the DREAM Act (which he had once sponsored) and the New START Treaty.[288] Most prominently, he continued to lead the eventually losing fight against “Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.[289] In his opposition, he sometimes fell into anger or hostility on the Senate floor, and called its passage “a very sad day” that would compromise the battle effectiveness of the military.[288][289]

Fifth Senate term

While control of the House of Representatives went over to the Republicans in the 112th Congress, the Senate stayed Democratic and McCain continued to be the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. As the Arab Spring took center stage, McCain urged that the embattled Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, step down and thought the U.S. should push for democratic reforms in the region despite the associated risks of religious extremists gaining power.[290] McCain was an especially vocal supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya. In April of that year he visited the Anti-Gaddafi forces and National Transitional Council in Benghazi, the highest-ranking American to do so, and said that the rebel forces were “my heroes”.[291] In June, he joined with Senator Kerry in offering a resolution that would have authorized the military intervention, and said: “The administration’s disregard for the elected representatives of the American people on this matter has been troubling and counterproductive.”[292][293] In August, McCain voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 that resolved the U.S. debt ceiling crisis.[294] In November, McCain and Senator Carl Levin were leaders in efforts to codify in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 that terrorism suspects, no matter where captured, could be detained by the U.S. military and its tribunal system; following objections by civil libertarians, some Democrats, and the White House, McCain and Levin agreed to language making it clear that the bill would not pertain to U.S. citizens.[295][296]

In the 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries, McCain endorsed former 2008 rival Mitt Romney and campaigned for him, but compared the contest to a Greek tragedy due to its drawn-out nature with massive super PAC-funded attack ads damaging all the contenders.[297] He labeled the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision as “uninformed, arrogant, naïve”, and, decrying its effects and the future scandals he thought it would bring, said it would become considered the court’s “worst decision … in the 21st century”.[298] McCain took the lead in opposing the defense spending sequestrations brought on by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and gained attention for defending State Department aide Huma Abedin against charges brought by a few House Republicans that she had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.[299]

A group of about ten men walking along a road

The “Three Amigos” walking in Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan in July 2011: McCain (second from left), Lindsey Graham (second from right in front), Joe Lieberman (right in front)[300]

McCain continued to be one of the most frequently appearing guests on the Sunday morning news talk shows.[299] He became one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, saying it was a “debacle” that featured either “a massive cover-up or incompetence that is not acceptable” and that it was worse than the Watergate scandal.[301] As part of this, he and a few other senators were successful in blocking the planned nomination of Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State; McCain’s friend and colleague John Kerry was nominated instead.[302]

Regarding the Syrian civil war that had begun in 2011, McCain repeatedly argued for the U.S. intervening militarily in the conflict on the side of the anti-government forces. He staged a visit to rebel forces inside Syria in May 2013, the first senator to do so, and called for arming the Free Syrian Army with heavy weapons and for the establishment of a no-fly zone over the country. Following reports that two of the people he posed for pictures with had been responsible for the kidnapping of eleven Lebanese Shiite pilgrims the year before, McCain disputed one of the identifications and said he had not met directly with the other.[303] Following the 2013 Ghouta chemical weapons attack, McCain argued again for strong American military action against the government of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and in September 2013 cast a Foreign Relations committee vote in favor of Obama’s request to Congress that it authorize a military response.[304] McCain took the lead in criticizing a growing non-interventionist movement within the Republican Party, exemplified by his March 2013 comment that Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Representative Justin Amash were “wacko birds”.[305]

Kerry (far left) and McCain (center-right) with members of the Saudi Royal Family after greeting the new King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, January 2015

During 2013, McCain was a member of a bi-partisan group of senators, the “Gang of Eight“, which announced principles for another try at comprehensive immigration reform.[306] The resulting Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 passed the Senate by a 68–32 margin, but faced an uncertain future in the House.[307] In July 2013, McCain was at the forefront of an agreement among senators to drop filibusters against Obama administration executive nominees without Democrats resorting to the “nuclear option” that would disallow such filibusters altogether.[308][309] However, the option would be imposed later in the year anyway, much to the senator’s displeasure.[310] These developments and some other negotiations showed that McCain now had improved relations with the Obama administration, including the president himself, as well as with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and that he had become the leader of a power center in the Senate for cutting deals in an otherwise bitterly partisan environment.[311][312][313] They also led some observers to conclude that the “maverick” McCain had returned.[309][313]

McCain was publicly skeptical about the Republican strategy that precipitated the U.S. federal government shutdown of 2013 and U.S. debt-ceiling crisis of 2013 in order to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act; in October 2013 he voted in favor of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, which resolved them and said, “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”[314] Similarly, he was one of nine Republican senators who voted for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 at the end of the year.[315] By early 2014, McCain’s apostasies were enough that the Arizona Republican Party formally censured him for having what they saw as a liberal record that had been “disastrous and harmful”.[316] McCain remained stridently opposed to many aspects of Obama’s foreign policy, however, and in June 2014, following major gains by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive, decried what he saw as a U.S. failure to protect its past gains in Iraq and called on the president’s entire national security team to resign. McCain said, “Could all this have been avoided? … The answer is absolutely yes. If I sound angry it’s because I am angry.”[317]

McCain addresses anti-government protesters in KievUkraine, pledging his support for their cause, December 15, 2013.

McCain was a supporter of the Euromaidan protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his government, and appeared in Independence Square in Kiev in December 2013.[318] Following the overthrow of Yanukovych and subsequent 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, McCain became a vocal supporter of providing arms to Ukrainian military forces, saying the sanctions imposed against Russia were not enough.[319] In 2014, McCain led the opposition to the appointments of Colleen BellNoah Mamet, and George Tsunis to the ambassadorships in Hungary, Argentina, and Norway, respectively, arguing they were unqualified appointees being rewarded for their political fundraising.[320] Unlike many Republicans, McCain supported the release and contents of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture in December 2014, saying “The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. It sometimes causes us difficulties at home and abroad. It is sometimes used by our enemies in attempts to hurt us. But the American people are entitled to it, nonetheless.”[321] He added that the CIA’s practices following the September 11 attacks had “stained our national honor” while doing “much harm and little practical good” and that “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”[322] He opposed the Obama administration’s December 2014 decision to normalize relations with Cuba.[323]

As the 114th United States Congress assembled in January 2015 with Republicans in control of the Senate, McCain became chair of the Armed Services Committee, a longtime goal of his.[324] In this position, he led the writing of proposed Senate legislation that sought to modify parts of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 in order to return responsibility for major weapons systems acquisition back to the individual armed services and their secretaries and away from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.[325] As chair, McCain has tried to maintain a bipartisan approach and has forged a good relationship with ranking member Jack Reed.[324] In April 2015, McCain announced that he would run for a sixth term in Arizona’s 2016 Senate election.[326] While there was still conservative and Tea Party anger at him, it was unclear if they would mount an effective primary challenge against him.[327] During 2015, McCain strongly opposed the proposed comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, saying that Secretary of State Kerry was “delusional” and “giv[ing] away the store” in negotiations with Iran.[328] McCain supported the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh,[329] saying: “I’m sure civilians die in war. Not nearly as many as the Houthis have executed.”[330]

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wenmeets with U.S. Senate delegation led by McCain, June 2016

McCain accused President Obama of being “directly responsible” for the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting “because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures.”[331][332]

McCain campaigning with former Governor Romney in Mesa, Arizona during his 2016 re-election campaign

During the 2016 Republican primaries, McCain said he would support the Republican nominee even if it was Donald Trump, but following Mitt Romney’s March 3 speech, McCain endorsed the sentiments expressed in that speech, saying he had serious concerns about Trump’s “uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues”.[333] Relations between the two had been fraught since early in the Donald Trump presidential campaign, 2016, when McCain referred to a room full of Trump supporters as “crazies”, and the real estate mogul then said of McCain: “He insulted me, and he insulted everyone in that room… He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured… perhaps he was a war hero, but right now he’s said a lot of very bad things about a lot of people.”[333][334] Following Trump becoming the presumptive nominee of the party on May 3, McCain said that Republican voters had spoken and he would support Trump.[335]

McCain himself faced a primary challenge from Kelli Ward, a fervent Trump supporter, and then was expected to face a potentially strong challenge from Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election.[336] The senator privately expressed worry over the effect that Trump’s unpopularity among Hispanic voters might have on his own chances but also was concerned with more conservative pro-Trump voters; he thus kept his endorsement of Trump in place but tried to speak of him as little as possible given their disagreements.[337][338][339] However McCain defeated Ward in the primary by a double-digit percentage point margin and gained a similar lead over Kirkpatrick in general election polls, and when the Donald Trump Access Hollywood controversy broke, he felt secure enough to on October 8 withdraw his endorsement of Trump.[336] McCain stated that Trump’s “demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults” made it “impossible to continue to offer even conditional support” and added that he would not vote for Hillary Clinton, but would instead “write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be president.”[340][341] McCain, at 80 years of age, went on to defeat Kirkpatrick, securing a sixth term as United States Senator from Arizona.[342]

In November 2016, McCain learned of the existence of a dossier regarding the Trump presidential campaign’s links to Russia compiled by Christopher Steele. McCain sent a representative to gather more information, who obtained a copy of the dossier.[343] In December 2016, McCain passed on the dossier to FBI Director James Comey in a 1-on-1 meeting. McCain later wrote that he felt the dossier’s “allegations were disturbing” but unverifiable by himself, so he let the FBI investigate.[344]

On December 31, 2016, in TbilisiGeorgia, McCain stated that the United States should strengthen its sanctions against Russia.[345] One year later, on December 23, 2017, the State Department announced that the United States will provide Ukraine with “enhanced defensive capabilities”.[346]

Sixth and final Senate term

McCain chaired the January 5, 2017, hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee where Republican and Democratic senators and intelligence officers, including James R. Clapper Jr., the Director of National IntelligenceMichael S. Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command presented a “united front” that “forcefully reaffirmed the conclusion that the Russian government used hacking and leaks to try to influence the presidential election.”[347]

In June 2017, McCain voted to support Trump’s controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia.[348][349]

Repeal and replacement of Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was a centerpiece of McCain’s 2016 re-election campaign, and in July 2017 he said, “Have no doubt: Congress must replace Obamacare, which has hit Arizonans with some of the highest premium increases in the nation and left 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties with only one provider option on the exchanges this year.” He added that he supports affordable and quality health care, but objected that the pending Senate bill did not do enough to shield the Medicaid system in Arizona.[350]

In response to the death of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of organ failure while in government custody, McCain said that “this is only the latest example of Communist China’s assault on human rights, democracy, and freedom.”[351]

In September 2017, as the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar became ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority, McCain announced moves to scrap planned future military cooperation with Myanmar.[352]

Brain tumor diagnosis and surgery

File:John McCain returns to Senate and delivers remarks on July 25, 2017.webm

McCain returns to the Senate for the first time following his cancer diagnosis and delivers remarks on July 25, 2017, after casting a crucial vote on the American Health Care Act.

McCain underwent a minimally invasive craniotomy at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 14, 2017, in order to remove a blood clot above his left eye. His absence prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.[353] Five days later, Mayo Clinic doctors announced that the laboratory results from the surgery confirmed the presence of a glioblastoma, which is a very aggressive brain tumor.[354] Standard treatment options for this tumor include chemotherapy and radiation, although even with treatment, average survival time is approximately 14 months.[354] McCain was a survivor of previous cancers, including melanoma.[223][355]

President Trump made a public statement wishing Senator McCain well,[356] as did many others, including President Obama.[357] On July 19, McCain’s senatorial office issued a statement that he “appreciates the outpouring of support he has received over the last few days. He is in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona. He is grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and is confident that any future treatment will be effective.” On July 24, McCain announced via Twitter that he would return to the United States Senate the following day.[358]

Return to Senate

McCain votes no on repealing Obamacare by giving a thumbs down.

McCain returned to the Senate on July 25, less than two weeks after brain surgery. He cast a deciding vote allowing the Senate to begin consideration of bills to replace Obamacare. Along with that vote, he delivered a speech criticizing the party-line voting process used by the Republicans, as well as by the Democrats in passing Obamacare to begin with, and McCain also urged a “return to regular order” utilizing the usual committee hearings and deliberations.[359][360][361] On July 28, he cast the decisive vote against the Republicans’ final proposal that month, the so-called “skinny repeal” option, which failed 49–51.[362]

McCain did not vote in the Senate after December 2017, remaining instead in Arizona to undergo cancer treatment. On April 15, 2018, he underwent surgery for an infection relating to diverticulitis and the following day was reported to be in stable condition.[363]

Committee assignments

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Senators Joni ErnstDaniel Sullivan, John McCain, Tom CottonLindsey Graham, and Cory Gardnerattending the 2016 International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit in Singapore

Caucus memberships

Death and funeral

McCain’s family announced on August 24, 2018, that he would no longer receive treatment for his cancer.[366] The next day on August 25, at 16:28 MST (23:28 UTC), he died with his wife and family beside him at his home in Cornville, Arizona, four days before his 82nd birthday.[367][368][369][370]

McCain will lie in state in the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix on August 29 (McCain’s birthday), followed by a service at North Phoenix Baptist Church on August 30. His body will travel to Washington to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol on August 31, before a service at the Washington National Cathedral on September 1. He was a “lifelong Episcopalian” who attended, but did not join, a Southern Baptist church for at least 17 years; memorial services were scheduled in both denominations.[371][372] He will be buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, next to his Naval Academy classmate Admiral Charles R. Larson.[373]

Tributes were widely given on social media, including from Congressional colleagues, all living former Presidents – Jimmy CarterGeorge H. W. BushBill ClintonGeorge W. BushBarack Obama – and former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Vice President Mike Pence.[374][375][376] Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, German foreign minister Heiko Maas, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and former Vietnamese ambassador to Washington Nguyen Quoc Cuong, also sent condolences.[377][378][379][380] Colonel Trần Trọng Duyệt, who ran the Hỏa Lò Prison when McCain was held there, remarked “At that time I liked him personally for his toughness and strong stance. Later on, when he became a US Senator, he and Senator John Kerry greatly contributed to promote [Vietnam]-US relations so I was very fond of him. When I learnt about his death early this morning, I feel very sad. I would like to send condolences to his family.”[381] His daughter, Meghan McCain shared her grief, stating that she was present at the moment he died.[382] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he would introduce a resolution to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after McCain.[383]

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has the authority to appoint McCain’s interim replacement until a special election is held in 2020 to determine who will serve the remainder of McCain’s term, which ends in January 2023.[384] Under Arizona law, the appointed replacement must be of the same party as McCain, a Republican.[385] The potential appointees include McCain’s widow Cindy, former Senator Jon Kyl, and former Representatives Matt Salmon and John Shadegg.[386][387]

Prior to his death, McCain requested that former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama eulogize him at his funeral, and asked that President Donald Trump not attend.[388][389] Trump reportedly rejected the White House’s plans to release a statement praising McCain’s life, and he said nothing about McCain himself in a tweet that extended condolences to McCain’s family. [390] In addition, the flag at the White House, which had been lowered to half-staff the day of McCain’s death, was raised back to full-staff the next day.[391] As of two days after McCain’s death, the White House had not issued a proclamation for flags to be flown at half-staff until his interment, contrary to the custom to honor a prominent American official, which has usually included a Senator who dies in office.[392] Many governors, both Democratic and Republican, have ordered flags in their states to fly at half-staff until interment.[393]

Political positions

Chart, with jagged pink and blue lines

McCain’s congressional voting scores, from the American Conservative Union (pink line; 100 is most conservative) and Americans for Democratic Action (blue line; 100 is most liberal)[394]

Various advocacy groups have given McCain scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group.[395] The American Conservative Union has awarded McCain a lifetime rating of 82 percent through 2015, while McCain has an average lifetime 12 percent “Liberal Quotient” from Americans for Democratic Action through 2015.[396] CrowdPac, which rates politicians based on donations made and received, has given Senator McCain a score of 4.3C with 10C being the most conservative and 10L being the most liberal.[397]

The non-partisan National Journal rates a Senator’s votes by what percentage of the Senate voted more liberally than he or she, and what percentage more conservatively, in three policy areas: economic, social, and foreign. For 2005–2006 (as reported in the 2008 Almanac of American Politics), McCain’s average ratings were as follows: economic policy: 59 percent conservative and 41 percent liberal; social policy: 54 percent conservative and 38 percent liberal; and foreign policy: 56 percent conservative and 43 percent liberal.[398] In 2012, the National Journal gave McCain a composite score of 73 percent conservative and 27 percent liberal,[399] while in 2013 he received a composite score of 60 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal.[400]

Columnists such as Robert Robb and Matthew Continetti have used a formulation devised by William F. Buckley Jr. to describe McCain as “conservative” but not “a conservative”, meaning that while McCain usually tends towards conservative positions, he was not “anchored by the philosophical tenets of modern American conservatism.”[401][402] Following his 2008 presidential election loss, McCain began adopting more orthodox conservative views; the magazine National Journal rated McCain along with seven of his colleagues as the “most conservative” Senators for 2010[403] and he achieved his first 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union for that year.[394] During Barack Obama’s presidency, McCain was one of the top five Republicans most likely to vote with Obama’s position on significant votes; McCain voted with Obama’s position on such votes more than half the time in 2013 and was “censured by the Arizona Republican party for a so-called ‘liberal’ voting record.”[404]

From the late 1990s until 2008, McCain was a board member of Project Vote Smart which was set up by Richard Kimball, his 1986 Senate opponent.[405] The project provides non-partisan information about the political positions of McCain[406] and other candidates for political office. Additionally, McCain used his Senate website to describe his political positions.[407]

Cultural and political image

White-haired man standing at podium and speaking and gesturing with outstretched arm and an outdoor venue

Speaking in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Memorial Day, 2008, wearing his Purple Heart

Four people in a room

McCain and his wife Cindy watch in 2011 as their son Jimmy pins aviator wings on their son Ensign John Sidney McCain IV.

Public opinion of John McCain[408]

McCain’s personal character was a dominant feature of his public image.[409] This image includes the military service of both himself and his family,[410] the circumstances and tensions surrounding the end of his first marriage and beginning of second,[24] his maverick political persona,[114] his temper,[411] his admitted problem of occasional ill-considered remarks,[91] and his close ties to his children from both his marriages.[24]

McCain’s political appeal was more nonpartisan and less ideological compared to many other national politicians.[412] His stature and reputation stemmed partly from his service in the Vietnam War.[413] He also carried physical vestiges of his war wounds, as well as his melanoma surgery.[414] When campaigning, he quipped: “I am older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein.”[415]

Writers often extolled McCain for his courage not just in war but in politics, and wrote sympathetically about him.[58][409][413][416] McCain’s shift of political stances and attitudes during and especially after the 2008 presidential campaign, including his self-repudiation of the maverick label, left many writers expressing sadness and wondering what had happened to the McCain they thought they had known.[417][418][419][420] By 2013, some aspects of the older McCain had returned, and his image became that of a kaleidoscope of contradictory tendencies, including, as one writer listed, “the maverick, the former maverick, the curmudgeon, the bridge builder, the war hero bent on transcending the call of self-interest to serve a cause greater than himself, the sore loser, old bull, last lion, loose cannon, happy warrior, elder statesman, lion in winter….”[310]

In his own estimation, the Arizona senator was straightforward and direct, but impatient.[421] Other traits included a penchant for lucky charms,[422] a fondness for hiking,[423] and a sense of humor that sometimes backfired spectacularly, as when he made a joke in 1998 about the Clintons widely deemed not fit to print in newspapers: “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? – Because Janet Reno is her father.”[424][425] McCain subsequently apologized profusely,[426] and the Clinton White House accepted his apology.[427] McCain did not shy away from addressing his shortcomings, and apologizing for them.[91][428] He was known for sometimes being prickly[429] and hot-tempered[430] with Senate colleagues, but his relations with his own Senate staff were more cordial, and inspired loyalty towards him.[431][432] He formed a strong bond with two senators, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, over hawkish foreign policy and overseas travel, and they became dubbed the “Three Amigos”.[300]

McCain acknowledged having said intemperate things in years past,[433] though he also said that many stories have been exaggerated.[434] One psychoanalytic comparison suggests that McCain was not the first presidential candidate to have a temper,[435] and cultural critic Julia Keller argues that voters want leaders who are passionate, engaged, fiery, and feisty.[411] McCain has employed both profanity[436] and shouting on occasion, although such incidents have become less frequent over the years.[437][438] Lieberman has made this observation: “It is not the kind of anger that is a loss of control. He is a very controlled person.”[437] Senator Thad Cochran, who knew McCain for decades and had battled him over earmarks,[439][440] expressed concern about a McCain presidency: “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”[437] Yet Cochran supported McCain for president when was clear he would win the nomination.[441] The Chicago Tribune editorial board called McCain a patriot, who although sometimes wrong was fearless, and that he deserves to be thought of among the few US senators in history, whose names are more recognizable than some presidents.[442]

All of McCain’s family members were on good terms with him,[24] and he has defended them against some of the negative consequences of his high-profile political lifestyle.[443][444] His family’s military tradition extends to the latest generation: son John Sidney IV (“Jack”) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009, becoming the fourth generation John S. McCain to do so, and is a helicopter pilot; son James served two tours with the Marines in the Iraq War; and son Doug flew jets in the navy.[24][445][446] His daughter Meghan became a blogging and twittering presence in the debate about the future of the Republican Party following the 2008 elections, and showed some of his maverick tendencies.[447][448]

Awards and honors

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia awards a National Hero of Georgia order to McCain in January 2010 in Batumi.

GEO National Hero Award BAR.svg
Order of Saint Vladimir, ribbon bar.svg
Order of Freedom of Ukraine.png
Kosovo Order of Freedom.svg
USA Philadelphia Liberty Medal ribbon.svg

In addition to his military honors and decorations, McCain was granted a number of civilian awards and honors.

In 1997, Time magazine named McCain as one of the “25 Most Influential People in America”.[122] In 1999, McCain shared the Profile in Courage Award with Senator Russ Feingoldfor their work towards campaign finance reform.[126] The following year, the same pair shared the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.[449] In 2005, The Eisenhower Institute awarded McCain the Eisenhower Leadership Prize.[450] The prize recognizes individuals whose lifetime accomplishments reflect Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s legacy of integrity and leadership. In 2006, the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award was bestowed upon McCain by the National Park Trust.[451] The same year, McCain was awarded the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, in honor of Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson.[452] In 2007, the World Leadership Forumpresented McCain with the Policymaker of the Year Award; it is given internationally to someone who has “created, inspired or strongly influenced important policy or legislation”.[453] In 2010, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgiaawarded McCain the Order of National Hero, an award never previously given to a non-Georgian.[454] In 2015, the Kiev Patriarchate awarded McCain its own version of the Order of St. Vladimir.[455] In 2016, Allegheny Collegeawarded McCain, along with Vice President Joe Biden, its Prize for Civility in Public Life.[456] In August 2016, Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, awarded McCain with the highest award for foreigners, the Order of Liberty.[457] In 2017, Hashim Thaçi, the President of Kosovo, awarded McCain the “Urdhër i Lirisë” (Order of Freedom) medal for his contribution to the freedom and independence of Kosovo, and its partnership with the U.S.[458]McCain also received the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in 2017.[459]

McCain received several honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States and internationally. These include ones from Colgate University (LL.D 2000),[460] The Citadel (DPA 2002),[461] Wake Forest University(LL.D May 20, 2002),[462][463] the University of Southern California (DHL May 2004),[464] Northwestern University (LL.D June 17, 2005),[465][466] Liberty University (2006),[467] The New School (2006),[468] and the Royal Military College of Canada (D.MSc June 27, 2013).[469][470][471] He was also made an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin in 2005.[472]

Ancestry

Writings by McCain

Books

Articles and forewords

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Rising In Polls Hits 50 Percent Approval for Job Performance — Party Affiliation of Voters — Independents 41 Percent — Democrats 30 Percent and Republican 26 Percent — Videos — Story 2: Third Quarter 2018 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Could Hit 5 Percent — Advance Estimate Released on October 26 — Videos — Story 3: Number of Americans on Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Declining As Budgets Decline –Food in A Box — Less Money More Food — Videos — Story 4: Obesity Expanding In America — Fat Ass Americans — Pandemic — Keeping America Fat — Promises Kept — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Rising In Polls Hits 50 Percent Approval for Job Performance — Party Affiliation of Voters: Independents 41 Percent — Democrats 30 Percent and Republican 26 Percent — Videos —

 

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 35% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 41% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -6. (see trends).

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily email update).

Rasmussen Reports invites you to be a part of our first-ever Citizen-Sourced National Midterm Election Polling Project.Learn more about how you can contribute.

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to  beth@rasmussenreports.com .

President Trump in a tweet yesterday reiterated that the Justice Department should end the Special Counsel’s investigation into whether there were “links and/or coordination” between the Russian Government and his 2016 campaign.

Stemming from that investigation, the trial of former Trump campaign manager and business associate Paul Manafort enters its third day in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Will the trial lead to criminal charges against the president? We’ll tell you at 10:30 what voters say.

Nearly half of voters don’t believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is worth what it has spent (more than $22 million as of July, according to one report) investigating allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 election, and few believe the outcome will benefit the United States.  

Vice President Mike Pence yesterday led a ceremony in Honolulu to receive the remains of U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. Their return resulted from President Trump’s June summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Voters are only slightly more positive about the president’s dealings with North Korea but are cautiously optimistic about the denuclearization deal Trump and Kim have signed. As is often the case, however, partisan affiliation makes a huge difference in perceptions.

While his daily approval rating is 50% today, President Trump has earned a monthly job approval of 46% in July.

Democrats continue to lead over Republicans on the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot.

20-Jan-1729-Mar-1705-Jun-1711-Aug-1718-Oct-1729-Dec-1709-Mar-1816-May-1802-Aug-180%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%www.RasmussenReports.comTotal Approve (Trump)Total Approve (Obama)

It has been almost two years since Trump was elected president, but for a third of voters, the 2016 presidential election has had long-lasting negative effects on relationships with family and friends. Most voters also think Americans are less tolerant of each other’s political opinions these days.

Several U.S. Democratic gubernatorial and senatorial candidates have been stumping for single-payer healthcare as part of their 2018 midterm election platforms. Voters are now closely divided on whether the federal government should provide healthcare for everyone even though most believe their personal taxes will increase as a result.

While most voters continue to give the health care they receive a positive rating, few hold the nation’s health care system in high regard.

 

-620-Jan-1729-Mar-1705-Jun-1711-Aug-1718-Oct-1729-Dec-1709-Mar-1816-May-1802-Aug-1810%20%30%40%50%60%www.RasmussenReports.comStrongly DisapproveStrongly Approve

Some readers wonder how we come up with our job approval ratings for the president since they often don’t show as dramatic a change as some other pollsters do. It depends on how you ask the question and whom you ask.

To get a sense of longer-term job approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology).

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.

 

Trump got a dynamite GDP number last quarter — and early signs point to the next one being even better

trump thumbs upReuters
  • President Donald Trump took a victory lap Friday after second quarter GDP came in at 4.1%, the strongest since the third quarter of 2014.
  • Trump said the GDP reading proved that his policies were working and that the country was on track to fulfill his promise of sustained 4% annual GDP growth.
  • Many economists doubted the strong growth would continue, since transitory factors help boost the second quarter number.
  • But early estimates for third quarter GDP look potentially even stronger.

President Donald Trump took a victory lap Friday after the release of a strong second-quarter GDP number, and early signs point to the celebration continuing in the third quarter.

The 4.1% second-quarter reading was the highest since 2014, as both the White House and GOP pointed to the growth as proof that Trump’s policies were boosting the US economy. The president also touted the number as proof the economy could achieve his promise of annual GDP growth over 4%, a claim of which almost all economists were skeptical .

While Friday’s release was substantial, many economists pointed to short-term factors that could fade in future quarters — like a huge boost in soybean exports ahead of Trump’s tariffs and fiscal stimulus from the federal budget.

But early indications from third-quarter economic data show that Trump may have reason to boast about the third quarter, too.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow measure, which uses available data to predict the current quarter’s GDP growth, stands at 5% as of Thursday — up slightly from an initial estimate of 4.7%.

The estimate has a strong track record of prediction. But GDPNow isn’t perfect, especially so early in a quarter, and it is subject to updates as more data emerges.

But Neil Dutta, head of US economics at research firm Renaissance Macro, pointed to data that shows the strong initial reading from the Atlanta Fed is likely to hold up.

While Dutta said it’s “unlikely that we’ll get 5% for the third quarter,” the economist noted that the average move for the GDPNow reading over the course of a quarter since its inception is a 0.6-percentage point drop. Given the initial reading, that would put the final third quarter GDPNow estimate at 4.1%, which would be on par second quarter and one of the highest post-recession readings.

Screen Shot 2018 08 02 at 2.23.43 PMRenaissance Macro Research
  • The biggest downward move in the GDPNow’s estimate over the course of a quarter was 2.2 percentage points, per Dutta’s breakdown, which would still leave GDP growth at a respectable 2.5%.
  • On the other end, the largest upward move was 1.5 percentage points, so an equal move from this quarter’s reading would put the third quarter at 6.5%. That would be the highest quarterly GDP print since the third quarter of 2003.

“Anything in that range is consistent with strong, above-trend growth and would be a reasonably solid number coming after a 4% GDP print,” Dutta said.

In the second quarter, the 4.1% GDP reading was also above the Atlanta Fed’s final estimate of 3.8%.

Trump, for his part, is already banking on a big third-quarter reading, which is set to be released October 26.

“I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report,” Trump said at the press conference Friday.

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-gdp-growth-q3-third-quarter-strong-2018-8

Story 3: Less Than 40 Million Americans on Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Declining As U.S. Federal Budget For SNAP Cut — Trump Proposed America’s Harvest Box — Less Money More Food — People Want Choice Not Preselected Boxes of Food –Little Boxes — Walk Off The Earth — Videos

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Little Boxes – Walk off the Earth

The history of food stamps

SNAP, Food Stamps, Obesity, and Behavioral Economics

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Donald Trump’s Budget Declares War on Hungry Children and Families w/ the ‘American Harvest Box’

Republicans Put Rural Poor SNAP In Crosshairs

How Trump’s ‘food box’ proposal could affect families in Wisconsin

Bay Area families worry about the future of SNAP benefits after President Trump proposes cuts

SNAP EBT Food Stamps CUT! true or not true REPLACED By Food Delivery! DO SOME RESEARCH FOR U

Concerns White House Proposal To Food Stamp Program

Food stamp changes worrying business owner

Food Stamp Cuts Will Affect You Whether You Get Them Or Not

President Donald Trump Wants To Cut SNAP And Give Poor Boxes Of Food | AM Joy | MSNBC

Trump Wants To Replace Food Stamps With Food Boxes

Trump Wants To Send People On SNAP Cheap Food Boxes

Trump To Cut Half Of Food Stamps (SNAP) And Replace Them With “America’s Harvest Box” (REACTION)

Look What Trump Just Did To Food Stamps—Millions Of Freeloaders Enraged

Little Boxes – Walk off the Earth

 

Overview

Last Published: 08/01/2018

The Program Data site provides selected statistical information on activity in all major Food and Nutrition Service Programs (FNS). These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Child Nutrition Programs (National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care, Summer Food Service and Special Milk); and Food Distribution Programs (Schools, Emergency Food Assistance, Indian Reservations, Commodity Supplemental, Nutrition for the Elderly, and Charitable Institutions).

Four types of tables are provided: historical summaries, annual state level data for selected elements, monthly national level data for major programs, and the latest available month for state-level participation in major programs. The summaries begin with 1969, the year that FNS was established to administer the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition assistance programs. Data are provided by federal fiscal year rather than calendar or school year. This includes the months of October through September (prior to FY 1977, it covered July through June). Annual state-level tables include data for the five most recent complete years (2013-2017). The latest month for state-level activity is April 2018. Data are as of July 06, 2018; FY 2017 and 2018 numbers are preliminary and are subject to significant revision.

If you need additional information or have any questions, please e-mail us. The following program area pages provide detailed program explanations and information: SNAPChild NutritionWIC and Food Distribution.

Food Stamp Cuts Could Hurt Thousands of Service Members

Posted By  on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:02 pm

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Military service members are among the millions of Americans who would be affected by proposed budget cuts to federal food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In February, President Donald Trump released a fiscal-year 2019 budget proposal that included a new approach to the program that “combines traditional SNAP benefits with 100-percent American grown foods provided directly to households.” The change would cut SNAP funding by $213 billion dollars over 10 years.

According to a 2016 report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), approximately 23,000 active duty military service members were SNAP recipients in 2013.

Brenda Farrell, director of defense capabilities and management at GAO, oversaw development of the report.

“Don’t assume that service members don’t need help,” Farrell said. “We all know that over the years the pay has increased and bonuses have been there to attract the right people, but you still have pockets where the need is still there.”

The San Antonio Food Bank provides food for 58,000 people a week, and one in seven active or former military service members use similar services across the U.S., according to food bank President and CEO Eric Cooper. 

“We know from our work that many active enlisted servicemen and women call our center,” Cooper said. “Sometimes they might not want to share with people they are closest to that they are in need, so they reach out to the food bank as a neutral place so they don’t have to ask for help from those who are closest to them.”

According to Cooper, the House proposal increases some barriers and the program’s cost while cutting some benefits for low-income families.

“Our current farm bill has a strong nutrition title,” Cooper said. “It’s not perfect, but it helps to ensure that 42 million Americans have access to good nutrition. … It just never seems to make sense to me that we would increase cost and bureaucracy while decreasing services and benefits to someone in need.”

The San Antonio Food Bank and its partner agencies have been discussing how to move forward if the budget cuts are approved, Cooper said, but their ability to meet people’s needs is heavily dependent on farmers, donors and food industry partners.

“If the proposed SNAP cuts go through, it will literally take food off the table,” Cooper said. “For that need to be met, we feel that we will see longer lines at our food pantries and the demand for services will be even greater for us at the San Antonio Food Bank.”

Cooper said there are some challenges unique to service members that frequently result in them turning to the food-stamp program. Often they have children and a spouse who’s unable to build a career due to the constant mobility of active-duty life. The military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) benefit can also present a challenge since it can make a person ineligible for food-stamp assistance.

San Antonio’s Director of Military Affairs Juan Ayala said there has been a shift in the people who volunteer for service.

“If you take a look at the average service member that joins today, a lot of them are married and have dependent children,” Ayala said. “That is different than when I came into the Marine Corps in 1976, when almost everybody that came in was single. … Less than one percent of the population in the United States think about joining the military, and a small number actually join so sometimes the pool for recruiting is challenging so sometimes we get older recruits.”

Ayala said lower-ranking service members are the most likely to need food assistance services because they make the lowest salaries, and with a familythey could easily become eligible for SNAP.

Lower ranking troops stationed in high cost areas such as California and Washington D.C. will be the most directly affected by the SNAP budget cuts, according to Ayala.

“It is going to affect those that are in uniform, a lot of those that are deployed and can’t get a second job,” Ayala said. “If you’re in uniform performing a service to the country I think that it should be taken into consideration — for anybody that really deserves [SNAP] and really needs it — but especially for the troops.”

Trump’s ‘Harvest Box’ Isn’t Viable in SNAP Overhaul, Officials Say

Image
People paid for fresh produce using federal assistance at a farmers market in Lake Orion, Mich., in 2013.CreditLauren Abdel-Razzaq/The Detroit News, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers about 46 million low-income Americans both sustenance and economic choice by providing an allowance to buy the fruit, meat, fresh vegetables, soda, ice cream and kind of bread they want to eat.

But on Monday, the Trump administration sprung a surprise: Under a proposal in the president’s budget many participants in the program would be given half their benefits in the form of a “Harvest Box” full of food preselected for nutritional value and economic benefit to American farmers. The cache of cheaper peanut butter, canned goods, pasta, cereal, “shelf stable” milk and other products would now be selected by the federal government, not by the people actually eating it.

The proposal seemed like a radical overhaul of the country’s core food assistance program — once called food stamps but now commonly known as SNAP. The idea was to shave about $21 billion a year from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. But the reaction was immediate, and largely negative.

Democrats claimed the plan shackled the poor while business groups, led by big food retailers, would stand to lose billions of dollars in lost SNAP business. The head of one trade association typically supportive of President Trump’s economic policies accused the administration of reneging on its pledge to cut “red tape and regulations.”

Instead, the idea, according to two administration officials who worked on the proposal, was a political gambit by fiscal hawks in the administration aimed at outraging liberals and stirring up members of the president’s own party working on the latest version of the farm bill. The move, they said, was intended to lay down a marker that the administration is serious about pressing for about $85 billion in other cuts to food assistance programs that will be achieved, in part, by imposing strict new work requirements on recipients.

“I don’t think there’s really any support for their box plan. And, I worry that it’s a distraction from the budget’s proposal to cut SNAP by some 30 percent. That’s the real battle,” said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive Washington think tank. “The dangers are these other proposals to cut benefits. But all anyone is talking about today are the boxes.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the agriculture committee, doubted the motives behind the plan.

“This isn’t a serious proposal and is clearly meant to be a distraction,” Ms. Stabenow said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stealthily pitched the idea over the last few weeks to the White House’s Domestic Policy Council as a novel way to reach the administration’s self-imposed goal of slashing federal food assistance programs by $214 billion over the next decade. It was quickly embraced by Mr. Mulvaney, a fiscal hawk who is seeking to steer a debate increasingly dominated by free-spending Republicans and Mr. Trump, who has insisted on major budget increases for the Pentagon and Homeland Security.

Neither man had any illusions that the plan would be immediately embraced by congressional Republicans, who were not given advance notice of the proposal, the officials said.

That the food-box approach has been tried only in small demonstration projects and never been seriously discussed during dozens of congressional hearings on the SNAP program in recent years did not stop administration officials from putting the force of Mr. Trump’s presidency behind it.

The budget documents released on Monday omitted other important details, including the real costs of creating a nationwide distribution network for the boxes, especially in rural areas hard hit by the economic downturn and the opioid crisis.

“We have had like 25 hearings on SNAP. The witness list was controlled by Republicans and this idea was never, ever broached,” said Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the House subcommittee that oversees federal food assistance programs. “I think it’s dead on arrival — I hope it is — but either way it’s a cruel joke. My God, these people are awful. In addition to being totally misinformed on policy, they are really just not nice people.”

In a statement, Mr. Perdue defended the proposal as humane and cost effective, saying his plan offered the “same level of food value” provided by the SNAP program, which replaced the food stamp program in the late 1990s.

He described the boxes as “a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families — and all of it is grown by American farmers and producers.”

Still, the idea landed with a thud. It was quickly dismissed by two Republican committee chairmen, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, who leads the Senate agriculture committee, and his counterpart in the House, Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas.

 

Mr. Conaway is drafting a farm bill that is expected to slash billions in spending in the SNAP program through the tightening of some eligibility requirements. Mr. Roberts is overseeing an effort to craft a version of the bill that is expected to include fewer cuts in hopes of gaining the bipartisan support needed to push the measure through the Senate.

SNAP, like many other safety net programs, is designed to expand during hard economic times and contract when the economy improves. Nonetheless, the program’s rolls have remained at historically elevated levels, reaching a peak of 47.8 million recipients in 2012 before edging down to 45.6 million last year, according to federal estimates.

Mr. Perdue, in particular, has been outspoken in his call to reduce its rolls, criticizing what he calls a culture of dependency among SNAP recipients.

But Mr. McGovern said the administration was painting “a distorted picture” of the poor and ignoring the fact that most SNAP recipients are employed and more than a quarter are disabled and unable to seek work.

“They have to stop playing to the cheap seats,” he said. “The majority of people in the program are children and seniors and people working in jobs that pay too little to feed their families.”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Am I Eligible for SNAP?

Last Published: 06/27/2018

To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the State in which you currently live and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits, which are described on this page. SNAP income and resource limits are updated annually. The information on this page is for October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018.

There are special SNAP rules for households with elderly or disabled members.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for SNAP?

Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. If your State agency determines that you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, you will receive benefits back to the date you submitted your application.

To see if you might be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, visit our pre-screening tool.

Note: The FNS SNAP pre-screening eligibility tool is an interactive site with general information about eligibility requirements and how benefits are determined. Sharing your information in that form does not mean you filed an application for benefits. You will still need to submit an application through your State SNAP agency or local SNAP office.

How do I apply for SNAP?

You must apply for SNAP in the State where you currently live. Because each State has a different application form and process, a member of your household must contact your State agency directly to apply.

You can contact your State agency by visiting your local SNAP office, visiting your State agency’s website, or calling your State’s toll-free SNAP Information hotline. Some States have online applications that can be completed from the State agency website.

Where can I get my State information?

If you are unable to go to your local SNAP office or do not have access to the internet, you may have another person act as an authorized representative by applying and being interviewed on your behalf. You must designate the authorized representative in writing.

Note: Please contact your SNAP State agency directly to apply and to request information about the status of your application. FNS does not process applications or have access to case information.

What happens when I apply for SNAP?

In most cases, once you submit your application, your State agency or local SNAP office will process it and send you a notice telling you whether or not you are eligible for benefits within 30 days.

During the 30 days, you will need to complete an eligibility interview and give proof (verification) of the information you provided. The interview is typically completed over the telephone or in-person. If you are found eligible, you will receive benefits based on the date you submitted your application.

You may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits within 7 days of your application date if you meet additional requirements. For example, if your household has less than $100 in liquid resources and $150 in monthly gross income, or if your household’s combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than what you pay each month for rent or mortgage and utilities expenses. Contact your State agency for additional details.

How do I receive SNAP benefits?

If you are found eligible, you will receive SNAP benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card. Benefits are automatically loaded into your account each month. You can use your EBT card to buy groceries at authorized food stores and retailers.

How long will I receive SNAP?

If you are found eligible, you will receive a notice that tells you how long you will receive SNAP benefits for; this is called your certification period. Before your certification period ends, you will receive another notice that says you must recertify to continue receiving benefits. Your local SNAP office will provide you with information about how to recertify.

Who is in a SNAP household?

Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together is grouped together as one SNAP household.

Some people who live together, such as spouses and most children under age 22, are included in the same SNAP household, even if they purchase and prepare meals separately.

If a person is 60 years of age or older and unable to purchase and prepare meals separately because of a permanent disability, the person and the person’s spouse may be a separate SNAP household if the others they live with do not have very much income (no more than 165 percent of the poverty level).

Normally you are not eligible for SNAP benefits if an institution gives you most of your meals. There are exceptions for elderly persons and disabled persons.

What resources can I have (and still get SNAP benefits)?

Resources

Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.

However, certain resources are NOT counted when determining eligibility for SNAP:

  • A home and lot;
  • Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; also known as welfare); and
  • Most retirement and pension plans (withdrawals from these accounts may count as either income or resources depending on how often they occur).

Vehicles

Vehicles count as a resource for SNAP purposes. States determine how vehicles may count toward household resources.

Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:

  • Used for income-producing purposes (e.g., taxi, truck or delivery vehicle);
  • Annually producing income consistent with their fair market value;
  • Needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute);
  • Used as the home;
  • Needed to transport a physically disabled household member;
  • Needed to carry most of the household’s fuel or water; or
  • If the sale of the vehicle would result in less than $1500.

For non-excluded licensed vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 counts as a resource.

Licensed vehicles are also subject to an equity test, which is the fair market value less any amount owed on the vehicle. The following vehicles are excluded from the equity test:

  • One vehicle per adult household member; and
  • Any other vehicle used by a household member under 18 to drive to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

For vehicles with both a fair market value over $4,650 and an equity value, the greater of the two amounts is counted as a resource.

Additionally, the equity value of unlicensed vehicles generally counts as a resource, with some exceptions.

What are the SNAP income limits?

In most cases, your household must meet both the gross and net income limits described below or you are not eligible for SNAP and cannot receive benefits.

Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made.

Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.

A household with an elderly or disabled person only has to meet the net income limit, as described on the elderly and disabled page.

If all members of your household are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or in some places other general assistance, your household may be deemed “categorically eligible” for SNAP because you have already been determined eligible for another means-tested program.

The information provided in the table below applies to households in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia that apply for SNAP between October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018.

Table 1: SNAP Income Eligibility Limits – October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018

Household Size Gross monthly income

(130 percent of poverty)

Net monthly income

(100 percent of poverty)

1 $1,307 $ 1,005
2 $1,760 $1,354
3 $2,213 $1,702
4 $2,665 $2,050
5 $3,118 $2,399
6 $3,571 $2,747
7 $4,024 $3,095
8 $4,477 $3,444
Each additional member +$453 +$349

* SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

What deductions are allowed in SNAP?

The following deductions are allowed for SNAP:

  • A 20-percent deduction from earned income.
  • A standard deduction of $160 for household sizes of 1 to 3 people and $170 for a household size of 4 (higher for some larger households and for households in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam).
  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education.
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 for the month if they are not paid by insurance or someone else. This is described on the elderly and disabled page.
  • In some States, legally owed child support payments.
  • In some States, a standard shelter deduction for homeless households of $143.
  • Excess shelter costs as described below.

SNAP Excess Shelter Costs Deduction

The shelter deduction is for shelter costs that are more than half of the household’s income after other deductions.

Allowable shelter costs include:

  • Fuel to heat and cook with.
  • Electricity.
  • Water.
  • The basic fee for one telephone.
  • Rent or mortgage payments and interest.
  • Taxes on the home.

Some States allow a set amount for utility costs instead of actual costs.

The amount of the shelter deduction is capped at (or limited to) $535 unless one person in the household is elderly or disabled. The limit is higher in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. For a household with an elderly or disabled member all shelter costs over half of the household’s income may be deducted.

Table 2: How to Calculate SNAP Gross Income

Gross Income Calculation Example
Determine household size . . . 4 people with no elderly or disabled members.
Add gross monthly income . . . $1,500 earned income + $550 social security =  $2,050 gross income.
If gross monthly income is less than the limit for household size, determine net income. $2,050 is less than the $2,665 allowed for a 4-person household, so determine net income.

 

Table 3: How to Calculate SNAP Net Income

Net Income Calculation Example
Subtract 20% earned income deduction . . . $2,050 gross income

 

$1,500 earned income x 20% = $300. $2,050 – $300 = $1,750

Subtract standard deduction . . . $1,750 – $170 standard deduction for a 4-person household = $1,580
Subtract dependent care deduction  . . . $1,580 – $361 dependent care = $1,219
Subtract child support deduction . . . 0
Subtract medical costs over $35 for elderly and disabled . . . 0
Excess shelter deduction . . .
Determine half of adjusted income . . . $1,219 adjusted income/2 = $609.50
Determine if shelter costs are more than half of adjusted income . . . $700 total shelter – $609 (half of income) = $90 excess shelter cost
Subtract excess amount, but not more than the limit, from adjusted income . . . $1,219 – $90.50 = $1,128.50 Net monthly income
Apply the net income test . . . Since the net monthly income is less than $2,050 allowed for 4-person household, the household has met the income test.

How much could I receive in SNAP benefits?

The total amount of SNAP benefits your household gets each month is called an allotment.

Because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their own resources on food, your allotment is calculated by multiplying your household’s net monthly income by 0.3, and subtracting the result from the maximum monthly allotment for your household size.

Table 4: SNAP Maximum Monthly Allotment Based on Household Size

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $   192
2 $   352
3 $   504
4 $   640
5 $   760
6 $   913
7 $ 1,009
8 $ 1,153
Each additional person $ 144

Note: The allotments described here are for households in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia. The allotments are different in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Table 5: Example of SNAP Benefit Calculation

Benefit Calculation Example
Multiply net income by 30%…  (Round up) $1,128.50 net monthly income  x 0.3 = 338.55 (round up to $339)
Subtract 30% of net income from the maximum allotment for the household size… $640 maximum allotment for 4-person household – $339 (30% of   net income) = $301, SNAP Allotment for a full month

What are the SNAP work requirements?

In general, people must meet work requirements to be eligible for SNAP. These work requirements include:

  • Registering for work;
  • Not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing hours;
  • Taking a job if offered; and
  • Participating in employment and training programs, if assigned by the State.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program.

In addition, able bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.

Some special groups may not be subject to these requirements including:

  • Children;
  • Seniors;
  • Pregnant women; and
  • People who are exempt for physical or mental health reasons.

Are non-citizens eligible for SNAP?

SNAP eligibility has never been extended to undocumented non-citizens. Specific requirements for non-citizens who may be eligible have changed substantially over the years and become more complicated in certain areas. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 limits eligibility for SNAP benefits to U.S. citizens and certain lawfully present non-citizens.

Generally, to qualify for SNAP, non-citizens must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have lived in the United States for at least 5 years.
  • Be receiving disability-related assistance or benefits.
  • Be children under 18.

Additionally, these individuals must also satisfy other SNAP eligibility requirements such as income and resource limits in order to qualify for benefits.

If certain members of a household are ineligible for SNAP, State agencies must still determine eligibility for SNAP for any remaining household members who are seeking assistance.

For additional information see: SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility and SNAP Guidance on Non-Citizen Eligibility.

What if I disagree with a decision made on my SNAP case?

If you disagree with a decision in your case, you may request a fair hearing with an official who is required by law to review the facts of your case in a fair and objective manner.

Note: You must request a fair hearing within 90 days of the day your local SNAP office made the decision in your case that you disagree with.

You can request a fair hearing over the phone, in writing, or in person at the local SNAP office.

Although a fair hearing cannot change the laws or regulations governing SNAP, it can ensure that decisions on your case have been made correctly.

Nondiscrimination in SNAP

SNAP benefits are available to all eligible households regardless of race, sex, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.

The USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326- W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Where can I get additional information about SNAP?

For additional information about SNAP in your State, to file an application for SNAP benefits, or to get information about your SNAP case, you must contact your local SNAP office.  Where Can I Get My State Information?

https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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SNAP logo

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),[1] formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people living in the United States. It is a federal aidprogram, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), though benefits are distributed by each U.S. state‘s Division of Social Services or Children and Family Services.

SNAP benefits cost $70.9 billion in fiscal year 2016 and supplied roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population)[2] with an average of $125.51 for each person per month in food assistance. Beneficiaries and costs increased sharply with the Great Recession, peaked in 2013 and have declined through 2016 as the economy recovered.[3] It is the largest nutrition program of the 15 administered by FNS and is a component of the federal social safety netfor low-income Americans.[4]

The amount of SNAP benefits received by a household depends on the household’s size, income, and expenses. For most of its history, the program used paper-denominated “stamps” or coupons – worth US$1 (brown), $5 (blue), and $10 (green) – bound into booklets of various denominations, to be torn out individually and used in single-use exchange. Because of their 1:1 value ratio with actual currency, the coupons were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Their rectangular shape resembled a U.S. dollar bill (although about one-half the size), including intaglio printing on high-quality paper with watermarks. In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. EBT has been implemented in all states since June 2004. Each month, SNAP food stamp benefits are directly deposited into the household’s EBT card account. Households may use EBT to pay for food at supermarkets, convenience stores, and other food retailers, including certain farmers’ markets.[5]

History

First Food Stamp Program (FSP) (May 16, 1939 – Spring 1943)[edit]

An effort to manage agricultural surpluses, the first food stamps came off the presses April 20, 1939.
Orange stamps were good for any grocery item the purchaser chose, except drugs, liquor and items consumed on the premises.
Blue stamps bought only surplus foods—dairy products, eggs, citrus fruits, prunes and fresh vegetables.

The idea for the first food stamp program has been credited to various people, most notably U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program’s first administrator, Milo Perkins.[6] Of the program, Perkins said, “We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.”[7] The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents’ worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could be used only to buy food determined by the department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly four years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people in nearly half of the counties in the U.S., at a total cost of $262 million. At its peak, the program assisted an estimated four million people. The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York; the first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo; and the first retailer caught violating program rules was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being—unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment—ceased to exist.[8]

Pilot Food Stamp Program (1961–1964)

The 18 years between the end of the first FSP and the inception of the next were filled with studies, reports, and legislative proposals. Prominent U.S. Senators actively associated with attempts to enact a food stamp program during this period included George AikenRobert M. La Follette, Jr.Hubert HumphreyEstes Kefauver, and Stuart Symington. From 1954 on, U.S. Representative Leonor Sullivan strove to pass food-stamp-program legislation.

On September 21, 1959, P.L. 86-341 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to operate a food-stamp system through January 31, 1962. The Eisenhower Administration never used the authority. However, in fulfillment of a campaign promise made in West Virginia, President John F. Kennedy‘s first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on February 2, 1961, he announced that food stamp pilot programs would be initiated. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods. A Department spokesman indicated the emphasis would be on increasing the consumption of perishables.

Of the program, U.S. Representative Leonor K. Sullivan of Missouri asserted, “…the Department of Agriculture seemed bent on outlining a possible food stamp plan of such scope and magnitude, involving some 25 million persons, as to make the whole idea seem ridiculous and tear food stamp plans to smithereens.”[9][10]

Food Stamp Act of 1964

The Food Stamp Act of 1964 appropriated $75 million to 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The measure drew overwhelming support from House Democrats, 90 percent from urban areas, 96 percent from the suburbs, and 87 percent from rural areas. Republican lawmakers opposed the initial measure: only 12 percent of urban Republicans, 11 percent from the suburbs, and 5 percent from rural areas voted affirmatively. President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed food stamps as “a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance”.[11]

Rooted in congressional logrolling, the act was part of a larger appropriation that raised price supports for cotton and wheat. Rural lawmakers supported the program so that their urban colleagues would not dismantle farm subsidies. Food stamps, along with MedicaidHead Start, and the Job Corps were foremost among the growing anti-poverty programs.

President Johnson called for a permanent food-stamp program on January 31, 1964, as part of his “War on Poverty” platform introduced at the State of the Union a few weeks earlier. Agriculture Secretary Orville Freemansubmitted the legislation on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Sullivan. One of the members on the House Committee on Agriculture who voted against the FSP in Committee was then Representative Bob Dole.

As a Senator, Dole became a staunch supporter of the program, after he worked with George McGovern to produce a bipartisan solution to two of the main problems associated with food stamps: cumbersome purchase requirements and lax eligibility standards. Dole told Congress regarding the new provisions, “I am confident that this bill eliminates the greedy and feeds the needy.”[citation needed] The law was intended to strengthen the agricultural economy and provide improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under congressional control and to enact the regulations into law.

The major provisions were:

  • The State Plan of Operation requirement and development of eligibility standards by States;
  • They required that the recipients should purchase their food stamps, while paying the average money spent on food then receiving an amount of food stamps representing an opportunity more nearly to obtain a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet;
  • The eligibility for purchase with food stamps of all items intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages and imported foods (the House version would have prohibited the purchase of soft drinks, luxury foods, and luxury frozen foods);
  • Prohibitions against discrimination on basis of race, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs;
  • The division of responsibilities between States (certification and issuance) and the Federal Government (funding of benefits and authorization of retailers and wholesalers), with shared responsibility for funding costs of administration; and
  • Appropriations for the first year limited to $75 million; for the second year, to $100 million; and, for the third year, to $200 million.

The Agriculture Department estimated that participation in a national FSP would eventually reach 4 million, at a cost of $360 million annually, far below the actual numbers.

Program expansion: participation milestones in the 1960s and early 1970s

In April 1965, participation topped half a million. (Actual participation was 561,261 people.) Participation topped 1 million in March 1966, 2 million in October 1967, 3 million in February 1969, 4 million in February 1970, 5 million one month later in March 1970, 6 million two months later in May 1970, 10 million in February 1971, and 15 million in October 1974. Rapid increases in participation during this period were primarily due to geographic expansion.

Major legislative changes (early 1970s)

The early 1970s were a period of growth in participation, concern about the cost of providing food stamp benefits, and questions about administration, primarily timely certification. During this time, the issue was framed that would dominate food stamp legislation ever after: how to balance program access with program accountability. Three major pieces of legislation shaped this period, leading up to massive reform to follow:

P.L. 91-671 (January 11, 1971) established uniform national standards of eligibility and work requirements; required that allotments be equivalent to the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet; limited households’ purchase requirements to 30 percent of their income; instituted an outreach requirement; authorized the Agriculture Department to pay 62.5 percent of specific administrative costs incurred by States; expanded the FSP to GuamPuerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands of the United States; and provided $1.75 billion appropriations for Fiscal Year 1971.

Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-86, August 10, 1973) required States to expand the program to every political jurisdiction before July 1, 1974; expanded the program to drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment and rehabilitation centers; established semi-annual allotment adjustments, bi-monthly issuance, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) “cash-out” (which gave the option to states to issue Food Stamp benefits to SSI recipients in the form of their estimated cash value consolidated within the SSI grant, in order to reduce administrative costs); introduced statutory complexity in the income definition (by including in-kind payments and providing an accompanying exception); and required the Department to establish temporary eligibility standards for disasters.

P.L. 93-347 (July 12, 1974) authorized the Department to pay 50 percent of all states’ costs for administering the program and established the requirement for efficient and effective administration by the States.

1974 nationwide program

In accordance with P.L. 93-86, the FSP began operating nationwide on July 1, 1974. (The program was not fully implemented in Puerto Rico until November 1, 1974.) Participation for July 1974 was almost 14 million.

Eligible access to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries[edit]

Once a person is a beneficiary of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program he (or she) may be automatically eligible for Food Stamps depending on his (or her) state’s laws. How much money in food stamps they receive also varies by state. Supplemental Security Income was created in 1974.[12]

Food Stamp Act of 1977

Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the FSP in 1977. The Republican bill stressed targeting benefits to the neediest, simplifying administration, and tightening controls on the program; the Democratic bill focused on increasing access to those most in need and simplifying and streamlining a complicated and cumbersome process that delayed benefit delivery as well as reducing errors, and curbing abuse. The chief force for the Democratic Administration was Robert Greenstein, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

In Congress, major players were Senators George McGovernJacob Javits, Humphrey, and Dole and Congressmen Foley and Richmond. Amid all the themes, the one that became the rallying cry for FSP reform was “EPR”—eliminate the purchase requirement—because of the barrier to participation the purchase requirement represented.[citation needed] The bill that became the law (S. 275) did eliminate the purchase requirement. It also:[citation needed]

  • eliminated categorical eligibility;
  • established statutory income eligibility guidelines at the poverty line;
  • established 10 categories of excluded income;
  • reduced the number of deductions used to calculate net income and established a standard deduction to take the place of eliminated deductions;
  • raised the general resource limit to $1,750;
  • established the fair market value (FMV) test for evaluating vehicles as resources;
  • penalized households whose heads voluntarily quit jobs;
  • restricted eligibility for students and aliens;
  • eliminated the requirement that households must have cooking facilities;
  • replaced store due bills with cash change up to 99 cents;
  • established the principle that stores must sell a substantial amount of staple foods if they are to be authorized;
  • established the ground rules for Indian Tribal Organization administration of the FSP on reservations; and
  • introduced demonstration project authority.

In addition to EPR, the Food Stamp Act of 1977 included several access provisions:[citation needed]

  • using mail, telephone, or home visits for certification;
  • requirements for outreach, bilingual personnel and materials, and nutrition education materials;
  • recipients’ right to submit applications the first day they attempt to do so;
  • 30-day processing standard and inception of the concept of expedited service;
  • SSI joint processing and coordination with Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the major cash welfare program;
  • notice, recertification, and retroactive benefit protections; and
  • a requirement for States to develop a disaster plan.

The integrity provisions of the new program included fraud disqualifications, enhanced Federal funding for States’ anti-fraud activities, and financial incentives for low error rates.

The House Report for the 1977 legislation points out that the changes in the Food Stamp Program are needed without reference to upcoming welfare reform since “the path to welfare reform is, indeed, rocky….”[citation needed]

EPR was implemented January 1, 1979. Participation that month increased 1.5 million over the preceding month.

Cutbacks of the early 1980s[

The large and expensive FSP proved to be a favorite subject of close scrutiny from both the Executive Branch and Congress in the early 1980s. Major legislation in 1981 and 1982 enacted cutbacks including:

  • addition of a gross income eligibility test in addition to the net income test for most households;
  • temporary freeze on adjustments of the shelter deduction cap and the standard deduction and constraints on future adjustments;
  • annual adjustments in food stamp allotments rather than semi-annual;
  • consideration of non-elderly parents who live with their children and non-elderly siblings who live together as one household;
  • required periodic reporting and retrospective budgeting;
  • prohibition against using Federal funds for outreach;
  • replacing the FSP in Puerto Rico with a block grant for nutrition assistance;
  • counting retirement accounts as resources;
  • state option to require job search of applicants as well as participants; and
  • increased disqualification periods for voluntary quitters.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) began in ReadingPennsylvania, in 1984.

Mid-to-late 1980s

Recognition of the severe domestic hunger problem in the latter half of the 1980s led to incremental expansions of the FSP in 1985 and 1987, such as elimination of sales tax on food stamp purchases, reinstitution of categorical eligibility, increased resource limit for most households ($2,000), eligibility for the homeless, and expanded nutrition education. The Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 and the Mickey Leland Memorial Domestic Hunger Relief Act in 1990 foretold the improvements that would be coming. The 1988 and 1990 legislation accomplished the following:

  • increasing benefits by applying a multiplication factor to Thrifty Food Plan costs;
  • making outreach an optional activity for States;
  • excluding advance earned income tax credits as income;
  • simplifying procedures for calculating medical deductions;
  • instituting periodic adjustments of the minimum benefit;
  • authorizing nutrition education grants;
  • establishing severe penalties for violations by individuals or participating firms; and
  • establishing EBT as an issuance alternative.

Throughout this era, significant players were principally various committee chairmen: Congressmen Leland, Hall, Foley, Leon Panetta, and, de la Garza and Senator Patrick Leahy.

1993 Mickey Leland Childhood Hunger Relief Act

By 1993, major changes in food stamp benefits had arrived. The final legislation provided for $2.8 billion in benefit increases over Fiscal Years 1984-1988. Leon Panetta, in his new role as OMB Director, played a major role as did Senator Leahy. Substantive changes included:

  • eliminating the shelter deduction cap beginning January 1, 1997;
  • providing a deduction for legally binding child support payments made to nonhousehold members;
  • raising the cap on the dependent care deduction from $160 to $200 for children under 2 years old and $175 for all other dependents;
  • improving employment and training (E&T) dependent care reimbursements;
  • increasing the FMV test for vehicles to $4,550 on September 1, 1994 and $4,600 on October 1, 1995, then annually adjusting the value from $5,000 on October 1, 1996;
  • mandating asset accumulation demonstration projects; and
  • simplifying the household definition.

Later participation milestones

In December 1979, participation finally surpassed 20 million. In March 1994, participation hit a new high of 28 million.

1996 welfare reform and subsequent amendments

The mid-1990s was a period of welfare reform. Prior to 1996, the rules for the cash welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), were waived for many states. With the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform act, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), AFDC, an entitlement program, was replaced that with a new block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

Although the Food Stamp Program was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, the 1996 welfare reform made several changes to the program, including:

  • eliminating eligibility to food stamps of most legal immigrants who had been in the country less than five years;
  • placing a time limit on food stamp receipt of three out of 36 months for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), who are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program;
  • reducing the maximum allotments to 100 percent of the change in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) from 103 percent of the change in the TFP;
  • freezing the standard deduction, the vehicle limit, and the minimum benefit;
  • setting the shelter cap at graduated specified levels up to $300 by fiscal year 2001, and allowing states to mandate the use of the standard utility allowance;
  • revising provisions for disqualification, including comparable disqualification with other means-tested programs; and
  • requiring states to implement EBT before October 1, 2002.

As a result of all these changes, “participation rates plummeted” in the late 1990s, according to Slate online magazine.[13][quantify]

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Act of 1998 (AREERA) made some changes to these provisions, most significantly:

  • using additional Employment and Training (E&T) funds to providing work program opportunities for able-bodied adults without dependents;
  • allowing states to exempt up to 15 percent of the able-bodied adults without dependents who would otherwise be ineligible;
  • restoring eligibility for certain elderly, disabled, and minor immigrants who resided in the United States when the 1996 welfare reform act was enacted; and
  • cutting administrative funding for states to account for certain administrative costs that previously had been allocated to the AFDC program and now were required to be allocated to the Food Stamp Program.

The fiscal year 2001 agriculture appropriations bill included two significant changes. The legislation increased the excess shelter cap to $340 in fiscal year 2001 and then indexed the cap to changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Consumers each year beginning in fiscal year 2002. The legislation also allowed states to use the vehicle limit they use in a TANF assistance program, if it would be result in a lower attribution of resources for the household.

Electronic Benefits Transfer

In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public welfare programs as well, such as cash assistance. The move was designed to save the government money by not printing the coupons, make benefits available immediately instead of requiring the recipient to wait for mailing or picking up the booklets in person, and reduce theft and diversion.[5]

Renaming the Food Stamp Program

The 2008 farm bill renamed the Food Stamp Program as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (beginning October 2008) and replaced all references to “stamp” or “coupon” in federal law with “card” or “EBT.”[14][15]

Temporary benefits increase from April 2009 to November 2013

SNAP benefits temporarily increased with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a federal stimulus package to help Americans affected by the Great Recession of 2007.[16] Beginning in April 2009 and continuing through the expansion’s expiration on November 1, 2013, the ARRA appropriated $45.2 billion to increase monthly benefit levels to an average of $133.[16][17] This amounted to a 13.6 percent funding increase for SNAP recipients.[17]

This temporary expansion expired on November 1, 2013, resulting in a relative benefit decrease for SNAP households; on average, benefits decreased by 5 percent.[16] According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four dropped from $668 to $632, while the maximum monthly benefit for an individual dropped from $200 to $189.[16]

Corporate influence and support

In June 2014, Mother Jones reported that “Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money is spent at Walmart,” and that Walmart had submitted a statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stating,

Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors, and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. These factors include… changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, [and] changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.[18]

Companies that have lobbied on behalf of SNAP include PepsiCoCoca-Cola, and the grocery chain KrogerKraft Foods, which receives “One-sixth [of its] revenues … from food stamp purchases” also opposes food stamp cuts.[18]

Eligibility

Because SNAP is a means-tested program, recipients must meet all eligibility criteria in order to receive benefits. There are income and resource requirements for SNAP, as well as specific requirements for immigrants, elderly persons and persons with disabilities.[19][20]

Income requirements

For income, individuals and households may qualify for benefits if they earn a gross monthly income that is 130% (or less) of the federal poverty level for a specific household size. For example: the SNAP-eligible gross monthly income is $1,245 or less for an individual. For a household of 4, the SNAP eligible gross monthly income is $2,552 or less. Gross monthly income is the amount an individual makes each month before any deductions, i.e. taxes, insurance, pensions, etc.[19]

Resource requirements

There is also a resource requirement for SNAP, although eligibility requirements vary slightly from state to state. Generally speaking, households may have up to $2,250 in a bank account or other countable sources. If at least one person is age 60 or older and/or has disabilities, households may have $3,500 in countable resources.[19]

Housing expenditure

The lack of affordable housing in urban areas means that money that could have been spent on food is spent on housing expenses. Housing is generally considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of total household income; rising housing costs have made this ideal difficult to attain.

This is especially true in New York City, where 28% of rent stabilized tenants spend more than half their income on rent.[21] Among lower income families the percentage is much higher. According to an estimate by the Community Service Society, 65% of New York City families living below the federal poverty line are paying more than half of their income toward rent.[22]

The current eligibility criteria attempt to address this, by including a deduction for “excess shelter costs”. This applies only to households that spend more than half of their net income on rent. For the purpose of this calculation, a household’s net income is obtained by subtracting certain deductions from their gross (before deductions) income. If the household’s total expenditures on rent exceed 50% of that net income, then the net income is further reduced by the amount of rent that exceeds 50% of net income. For 2007, this deduction can be no more than $417, except in households that include an elderly or disabled person.[23] Deductions include:

  1. a standard deduction that is subtracted from income for all recipients,
  2. an earned income deduction reflecting taxes and work expenses,
  3. a deduction for dependent care expenses related to work or training (up to certain limits),
  4. a deduction for child support payments,
  5. a deduction for medical expenses above a set amount per month (only available to elderly and disabled recipients), and
  6. a deduction for excessively high shelter expenses.[24]

The adjusted net income, including the deduction for excess shelter costs, is used to determine whether a household is eligible for food stamps.

Immigrant status and eligibility

The 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that:

  • Have lived in the country for 5 years; or
  • Are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits; or
  • Have children under 18

Certain non-citizens, such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence, may also be eligible for SNAP. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.[19]

Applying for SNAP benefits

To apply for SNAP benefits, an applicant must first fill out a program application and return it to the state or local SNAP office. Each state has a different application, which is usually available online. There is more information about various state applications processes, including locations of SNAP offices in various state, displayed on an interactive Outreach Map found on the FNS website.[25] Individuals who believe they may be eligible for SNAP benefits may use the Food and Nutrition Services’ SNAP Screening Tool, which can help gauge eligibility.

Eligible food items under SNAP

As per USDA rules, households can use SNAP benefits to purchase:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
    • fruits and vegetables;
    • breads and cereals;
    • dairy products;
    • meats, fish and;
    • poultry
  • Plants and seeds which are fit for household consumption.

Additionally, restaurants operating in certain areas may be permitted to accept SNAP benefits from eligible candidates like elderly, homeless or disabled people in return for affordable meals.

However, the USDA clearly mentions that households cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase the following:

  • Wine, beer, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Certain nonfood items like:
    • soaps, paper products, deodorant
    • household supplies, and
    • pet foods
  • Hot foods
  • Food items that are consumable in the store
  • Vitamins and medicines[26]

Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are classified as food items and are therefore eligible items. Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items.[26]

Energy drinks which have a nutrition facts label are eligible foods, but energy drinks which have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements, and are therefore not eligible.[26]

Live animals and birds may not be purchased; but live fish and shellfish are eligible foods.[26] Pumpkins are eligible, but inedible gourds and solely ornamental pumpkins are not.[26]

Gift baskets containing both food and non-food items “are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits if the value of the non-food items exceeds 50 percent of the purchase price. Items such as birthday and other special occasion cakes are eligible as long as the value of non-edible decorations does not exceed 50 percent of the price.”[26]

State options

States are allowed under federal law to administer SNAP in different ways. As of April 2015, the USDA had published eleven periodic State Options Reports outlining variations in how states have administered the program.[27] The USDA’s most recent State Options Report, published in April 2015, summarizes:

SNAP’s statutes, regulations, and waivers provide State agencies with various policy options. State agencies use this flexibility to adapt their programs to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income people in their States. Modernization and technology have provided States with new opportunities and options in administering the program. Certain options may facilitate program design goals, such as removing or reducing barriers to access for low-income families and individuals, or providing better support for those working or looking for work. This flexibility helps States better target benefits to those most in need, streamline program administration and field operations, and coordinate SNAP activities with those of other programs.[28]

Some areas of differences among states include: when and how frequently SNAP recipients must report household circumstances; on whether the state agency acts on all reported changes or only some changes; whether the state uses a simplified method for determining the cost of doing business in cases where an applicant is self-employed; and whether legally obligated child support payments made to non-household members are counted as an income exclusion rather than a deduction.[28]

State agencies also have an option to call their program SNAP; whether to continue to refer to their program under its former name, the Food Stamp Program; or whether to choose an alternate name.[28] Among the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 32 call their program SNAP; five continue to call the program the Food Stamp Program; and 16 have adopted their own name.[28] For example, California calls its SNAP implementation “CalFresh“, while Arizona calls its program “Nutrition Assistance”.[28]

States and counties with highest use of SNAP per capita

According to January 2015 figures reported by the Census Bureau and USDA and compiled by USA Today, the states and district with the most food stamp recipients per capita are:[29]

State % of population
receiving
SNAP benefits
District of Columbia 22%
Mississippi 21%
New Mexico 22%
West Virginia 20%
Oregon 20%
Tennessee 20%
Louisiana 19%

According to June 2009 figures reported by the state agencies, the USDA, and Census Bureau, and compiled by the New York Times, the individual counties with the highest levels of SNAP usage were:

County (or equivalent) % of population
receiving
SNAP benefits
Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska 49%
Owsley County, Kentucky 49%
Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota 49%
Pemiscot County, Missouri 47%
Todd County, South Dakota 46%
Sioux County, North Dakota 45%
Dunklin County, Missouri 44%
East Carroll Parish, Louisiana 43%
Humphreys County, Mississippi 43%
Wolfe County, Kentucky 42%
Perry County, Alabama 41%
Phillips County, Arkansas 39%
Rolette County, North Dakota 39%
Ripley County, Missouri 39%
Ziebach County, South Dakota 39%

Impact

During the recession of 2008, SNAP participation hit an all-time high. Arguing in support for SNAP, the Food Research and Action Center argued that “putting more resources quickly into the hands of the people most likely to turn around and spend it can both boost the economy and cushion the hardships on vulnerable people who face a constant struggle against hunger.[30] Researchers have found that every $1 that is spent from SNAP results in $1.73 of economic activity. In California, the cost-benefit ratio is even higher: for every $1 spent from SNAP between $3.67 to $8.34 is saved in health care costs.[31][32][33] The Congressional Budget Office also rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.[33]

Participants

A summary statistical report indicated that an average of 44.2 million people used the program in FY 2016, down from 45.8 million in 2015 and below the 2013 peak of 47.6 million.[34] SNAP is able to support 75% of those eligible for the program. Nearly 72 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.[35]

As of 2013, more than 15% of the U.S. population receive food assistance, and more than 20% in GeorgiaKentuckyLouisianaNew MexicoOregon and Tennessee. Washington D.C. was the highest share of the population to receive food assistance at over 23%.[36]

Average number of persons participating in the SNAP, 2000–2016. The number of participants increased due to the Great Recession, peaking in 2013, and has since fallen.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (based on a study of data gathered in Fiscal Year 2010), statistics for the food stamp program are as follows:[37]

  • 49% of all participant households have children (17 or younger), and 55% of those are single-parent households.
  • 15% of all participant households have elderly (age 60 or over) members.
  • 20% of all participant households have non-elderly disabled members.
  • The average gross monthly income per food stamp household is $731; The average net income is $336.
  • 37% of participants are White, 22% are African-American, 10% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian, 4% are Native American, and 19% are of unknown race or ethnicity.[37]

Costs

Total program costs from 2000 to 2016. The amount increased sharply after 2008 due to the Great Recession, and has fallen since 2013 as the economy recovers.

SNAP benefits cost since the 1960s

Amounts paid to program beneficiaries rose from $28.6 billion in 2005 to $76.1 billion in 2013, falling back to $66.6 billion by 2016. This increase was due to the high unemployment rate (leading to higher SNAP participation) and the increased benefit per person with the passing of ARRA. SNAP average monthly benefits increased from $96.18 per person to $133.08 per person. Other program costs, which include the Federal share of State administrative expenses, Nutrition Education, and Employment and Training, amounted to roughly $3.7 million in 2013.[5] There were cuts into the program’s budget introduced in 2014 that were estimated to save $8.6 billion over 10 years. Some of the states are looking for measures within the states to balance the cuts, so they would not affect the recipients of the federal aid program.[38]

Food security and insecurity

While SNAP participants and other low-income nonparticipants spend similar amounts on food spending, SNAP participants tend to still experience greater food insecurity than nonparticipants. This is believed to be a reflection of the welfare of individuals who take the time to apply for SNAP benefits rather than the shortcomings of SNAP. Households facing the greatest hardships are the most likely to bear the burden of applying for program benefits.[39]Therefore, SNAP participants tend to be, on average, less food secure than other low-income nonparticipants.[39]

Self-selection by more food-needy households into SNAP makes it difficult to observe positive effects on food security from survey data.[40] Statistical models that control for this endogeneity suggest that SNAP receipt reduces the likelihood of being food insecure and very food insecure by roughly 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively.[41]

Poverty

Because SNAP is a means-tested entitlement program, participation rates are closely related to the number of individuals living in poverty in a given period. In periods of economic recession, SNAP enrollment tends to increase and in periods of prosperity, SNAP participation tends to be lower.[39] Unemployment is therefore also related to SNAP participation. However, ERS data shows that poverty and SNAP participation levels have continued to rise following the 2008 recession, even though unemployment rates have leveled off. Poverty levels are the strongest correlates for program participation.

A 2016 study found that SNAP benefits lead to greater expenditures on housing, transportation, and education by beneficiaries.[42]

SNAP is closely related to poverty and unemployment

Income maintenance

The purpose of the Food Stamp Program as laid out in its implementation was to assist low-income households in obtaining adequate and nutritious diets. According to Peter H. Rossi, a sociologist whose work involved evaluation of social programs, “the program rests on the assumption that households with restricted incomes may skimp on food purchases and live on diets that are inadequate in quantity and quality, or, alternatively skimp on other necessities to maintain an adequate diet”.[43] Food stamps, as many like Rossi, MacDonald, and Eisinger contend, are used not only for increasing food but also as income maintenance. Income maintenance is money that households are able to spend on other things because they no longer have to spend it on food. According to various studies shown by Rossi, because of income maintenance only about $0.17–$0.47 more is being spent on food for every food stamp dollar than was spent prior to individuals receiving food stamps.[44]

Diet quality

Studies are inconclusive as to whether SNAP has a direct effect on the nutritional quality of food choices made by participants. Unlike other federal programs that provide food subsidies, i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), SNAP does not have nutritional standards for purchases. Critics of the program suggest that this lack of structure represents a missed opportunity for public health advancement and cost containment.[45][46] In April 2013, the USDA research body, the Economic Research Service (ERS), published a study that examined diet quality in SNAP participants compared to low-income nonparticipants. The study revealed a difference in diet quality between SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants, finding that SNAP participants score slightly lower on the Healthy Eating Index[47] (HEI) than nonparticipants. The study also concluded that SNAP increases the likelihood that participants will consume whole fruit by 23 percentage points. However, the analysis also suggests that SNAP participation decreases participants’ intake of dark green and orange vegetables by a modest amount.[48]

A 2016 study found no evidence that SNAP increased expenditures on tobacco by beneficiaries.[42]

Macroeconomic effect

The USDA’s Economic Research Service explains: “SNAP is a counter-cyclical government assistance program—it provides assistance to more low-income households during an economic downturn or recession and to fewer households during an economic expansion. The rise in SNAP participation during an economic downturn results in greater SNAP expenditures which, in turn, stimulate the economy.”[49]

In 2011, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a statement regarding SNAP benefits: “Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity.”[50] Vilsack’s estimate was based on a 2002 USDA study which found that “ultimately, the additional $5 billion of FSP (Food Stamp Program) expenditures triggered an increase in total economic activity (production, sales, and value of shipments) of $9.2 billion and an increase in jobs of 82,100,” or $1.84 stimulus for every dollar spent.[51]

A January 2008 report by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi analyzed measures of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and found that in a weak economy, every $1 in SNAP expenditures generates $1.73 in real GDP increase, making it the most effective stimulus among all the provisions of the act, including both tax cuts and spending increases.[52][53]

A 2010 report by Kenneth Hanson published by the USDA’s Economic Research Service estimated that a $1 billion increase in SNAP expenditures increases economic activity (GDP) by $1.79 billion (i.e., the GDP multiplier is 1.79).[54] The same report also estimated that the “preferred jobs impact … are the 8,900 full-time equivalent jobs plus self-employed or the 9,800 full-time and part-time jobs plus self-employed from $1 billion of SNAP benefits.”[54]

Local economic effects

In March 2013, the Washington Post reported that one-third of Woonsocket, Rhode Island‘s population used food stamps, putting local merchants on a “boom or bust” cycle each month when EBT payments were deposited. The Post stated that “a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns.”[55] And this growth “has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust”.[56]

In addition to local town merchants, national retailers are starting to take in an increasing large percentage of SNAP benefits. For example, “Walmart estimates it takes in about 18% of total U.S. outlays on food stamps.”[57]

Fraud and abuse

In March 2012, the USDA published its fifth report in a series of periodic analyses to estimate the extent of trafficking in SNAP; that is, selling or otherwise converting SNAP benefits for cash payouts. Although trafficking does not directly increase costs to the Federal Government,[58][59][60] it diverts benefits from their intended purpose of helping low-income families access a nutritious diet. Also trafficking may indirectly increase costs by encouraging participants to stay in the program longer than intended, or by incentivizing new participants seeking to profit from trafficking. The FNS aggressively acts to control trafficking by using SNAP purchase data to identify suspicious transaction patterns, conducting undercover investigations, and collaborating with other investigative agencies.

Trafficking diverted an estimated one cent of each SNAP dollar ($330 million annually) from SNAP benefits between 2006 and 2008. Trafficking has declined over time from nearly 4 percent in the 1990s. About 8.2 percent of all stores trafficked from 2006 to 2008 compared to the 10.5 percent of SNAP authorized stores involved in trafficking in 2011.[61] A variety of store characteristics and settings were related to the level of trafficking. Although large stores accounted for 87.3 percent of all SNAP redemptions, they only accounted for about 5.4 percent of trafficking redemptions. Trafficking was much less likely to occur among publicly owned than privately owned stores and was much less likely among stores in areas with less poverty rather than more. The total annual value of trafficked benefits increased at about the same rate as overall program growth. The current estimate of total SNAP dollars trafficked is higher than observed in the previous 2002–2005 period. This increase is consistent, however, with the almost 37 percent growths in average annual SNAP benefits from the 2002–2005 study periods to the most recent one. The methodology used to generate these estimates has known limitations. However, given variable data and resources, it is the most practical approach available to FNS. Further improvements to SNAP trafficking estimates would require new resources to assess the prevalence of trafficking among a random sample of stores.[62]

The USDA report released in August 2013 says the dollar value of trafficking increased to 1.3 percent, up from 1 percent in the USDA’s 2006–2008 survey,[61] and “About 18 percent of those stores classified as convenience stores or small groceries were estimated to have trafficked. For larger stores (supermarkets and large groceries), only 0.32 percent were estimated to have trafficked. In terms of redemptions, about 17 percent of small groceries redemptions and 14 percent of convenience store redemptions were estimated to have been trafficked. This compares with a rate of 0.2 percent for large stores.”[63]

The USDA, in December 2011, announced new policies to attempt to curb waste, fraud, and abuse. These changes will include stiffer penalties for retailers who are caught participating in illegal or fraudulent activities.[64] “The department is proposing increasing penalties for retailers and providing states with access to large federal databases they would be required to use to verify information from applicants. SNAP benefit fraud, generally in the form of store employees buying EBT cards from recipients is widespread in urban areas, with one in seven corner stores engaging in such behavior, according to a recent government estimate. There are in excess of 200,000 stores, and we have 100 agents spread across the country. Some do undercover work, but the principal way we track fraud is through analyzing electronic transactions” for suspicious patterns, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon told The Washington Times.[65] Also, states will be given additional guidance that will help develop a tighter policy for those seeking to effectively investigate fraud and clarifying the definition of trafficking.

According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, there was a payment error rate of 4.36% of SNAP benefits down from 9.86% in 1999.[66] A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant.[66] There are also instances of fraud involving exchange of SNAP benefits for cash and/or for items not eligible for purchase with EBT cards.[67] In 2011, the Michigan program raised eligibility requirements for full-time college students, to save taxpayer money and to end student use of monthly SNAP benefits.[68]

In Maine, incidents of recycling fraud have occurred in the past where individuals once committed fraud by using their EBT cards to buy canned or bottled beverages (requiring a deposit to be paid at the point of purchase for each beverage container), dump the contents out so the empty beverage container could be returned for deposit redemption, and thereby, allowed these individuals to eventually purchase non-EBT authorized products with cash from the beverage container deposits.[69]

The State of Utah developed a system called “eFind” to monitor, evaluate and cross-examine qualifying and reporting data of recipients assets. Utah’s eFind system is a “back end”, web-based system that gathers, filters, and organizes information from various federal, state, and local databases. The data in eFind is used to help state eligibility workers determine applicants’ eligibility for public assistance programs, including Medicaid, CHIP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and child care assistance.[70] When information is changed in one database, the reported changes become available to other departments utilizing the system. This system was developed with federal funds and it is available to other states free of charge.

The USDA only reports direct fraud and trafficking in benefits, which was officially estimated at $858 million in 2012. The Cato Institute reports that there was another $2.2 billion in erroneous payouts in 2009.[citation needed] Cato also reported that the erroneous payout rate dropped significantly from 5.6 percent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2011.[citation needed]

Role of SNAP in healthy diets

Background[edit]

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized $20 million to be spent on pilot projects to determine whether incentives provided to SNAP recipients at the point-of-sale would increase the purchase of fruits, vegetables, or other healthful foods.[71] Fifteen states expressed interest in having the pilot program and, ultimately, five states submitted applications to be considered for HIP. Hampden County, Massachusetts was selected as the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) site. HIP is designed to take place from August 2010 to April 2013 with the actual operation phase of the pilot program scheduled to last 15 months, from November 2011 to January 2013.[72]

HIP offers select SNAP recipients a 30% subsidy on produce, which is credited to the participant’s EBT card, for 15 months. 7,500 households will participate HIP and an equal number will not; the differences between the two groups will be analyzed to see the effects of the program.[73] Produce, under the HIP, is defined as fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables that do not have any added sugar, salt, fat, or oil.

Administrative responsibility[edit]

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is the state agency responsible for SNAP. DTA has recruited retailers to take part in HIP and sell more produce, planned for the EBT system change with the state EBT vendor, and hired six new staff members dedicated to HIP. DTA has agreed to provide FNS with monthly reports, data collection and evaluation.

Proposals to restrict “junk food” or “luxury items”

Periodically, proposals have been raised to restrict SNAP benefits from being used to purchase various categories or types of food which have been criticized as “junk food” or “luxury items”. However, Congress and the Department of Agriculture have repeatedly rejected such proposals on both administrative burden and personal freedom grounds. The Food and Nutrition Service noted in 2007 that no federal standards exist to determine which foods should be considered “healthy” or not, that “vegetables, fruits, grain products, meat and meat alternatives account for nearly three-quarters of the money value of food used by food stamp households” and that “food stamp recipients are no more likely to consume soft drinks than are higher-income individuals, and are less likely to consume sweets and salty snacks.”[74] Thomas Farley and Russell Sykes argued that the USDA should reconsider the possibility of restricting “junk food” purchases with SNAP in order to encourage healthy eating, along with incentivizing the purchase of healthy items through a credit or rebate program that makes foods such as fresh vegetables and meats cheaper. They also noted that many urban food stores do a poor job of stocking healthy foods and instead favor high-profit processed items.[75]

See also

General:

References

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

Story 4: Obesity Expanding In America — Fat Ass Americans — Pandemic — Keeping America Fat — Promises Kept — Videos

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The Complete Skinny on Obesity

Adult Obesity Facts

Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • The prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief PDF-603KB]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read paper]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief [PDF-603KB]]

  • Hispanics (47.0%) and non-Hispanic blacks (46.8%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by non-Hispanic whites (37.9%) and non-Hispanic Asians (12.7%).
  • The prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults age 20–39 years, 42.8% among middle-aged adults age 40-59 years, and 41.0% among older adults age 60 and over.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)]

The association between obesity and income or educational level is complex and differs by sex, and race/ethnicity.

  • Overall, men and women with college degrees had lower obesity prevalence compared with those with less education.
  • By race/ethnicity, the same obesity and education pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women, and also among non-Hispanic white men, although the differences were not all statistically significant. Although the difference was not statistically significant among non-Hispanic black men, obesity prevalence increased with educational attainment. Among non-Hispanic Asian women and men and Hispanic men there were no differences in obesity prevalence by education level.
  • Among men, obesity prevalence was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle income group. This pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic men. Obesity prevalence was higher in the highest income group than in the lowest income group among non-Hispanic black men.
  • Among women, obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group than in the middle and lowest income groups. This pattern was observed among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic women. Among non-Hispanic black women, there was no difference in obesity prevalence by income.

Top of Page

Related Links

  • Obesity Prevalence Maps
    State-specific data on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) shows that obesity prevalence remains high in the United States.

https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

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Gary Taubes on How Big Government Made Us Fat

The Complete Skinny on Obesity

Sweet Revenge Turning the Tables on Processed Food (no vegetarian/vegan propaganda)

My Big Fat Body Full Documentary YouTube

The Weight of the Nation: Poverty and Obesity (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 1 – Consequences (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 2 – Choices (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 3 – Children in Crisis (HBO Docs)

 

Our Fat Pets

Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights, slightly more than the 56 percent of dogs. It’s not good for them.

Image
CreditiStock

By Susan Jenks

Like most cats, Max had a swagger in his walk. But because he was slightly overweight, the 15-year-old Maine coon began having trouble “jumping up on things,” his owner says, the extra pounds worsening his arthritis.

So his owner, Jaime Wilson, decided her pet needed to go on a diet — barely two tablespoons of dry food in the morning and again at night, along with a larger portion of canned wet food once a day and a supervised exercise program that included treadmill work and running through stationary poles.

“He was ravenous all the time,” his owner concedes. But after six months, “he’s very sleek and thin,” says Mrs. Wilson, who works at the University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. “Not having the extra pounds has been great for his joints.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that in the United States, veterinarians now classify more than 100 million dogs and cats as overweight or obese, up from 80 million five years ago. Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights, slightly more than the 56 percent of dogs.

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Worse yet, many pet owners fail to recognize the potential severity of the problem, finding their pets’ weight gain of little concern or even “cute,” says Dr. Justin Schmalberg, service chief of integrative medicine at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville. And show animals, often held up as exemplary models, he says, sometimes tend toward the pudgy side.

“In part, it’s an issue of perception,” Dr. Schmalberg says. “Generally, the public is more tolerant of obese animals than they are of thin ones. There’s not as much stigma with animals being overweight as with people.”

Obesity and the inflammatory effects of excess fat can bring a host of health problems. Max’s six-month journey to a healthier weight reduced his risk for insulin-dependent diabetes, the most common health problem veterinarians see in overweight or obese cats. Overweight dogs rarely develop this form of diabetes, veterinarians say, though large breeds often face joint injuries from excess weight, while smaller ones can have breathing difficulties if airways collapse.

Along with diabetes and arthritis, extra heft puts pets at increased risk for liver and kidney diseases, high blood pressure, heart failure and even some cancers. And at least one widely cited study in Labrador retrievers found that even moderately overweight dogs have shorter life spans than their lean counterparts.

Veterinarians assess a pet’s overall body health using a system similar to the body mass index, or B.M.I., used in people. Emaciated dogs or cats get the lowest score on a nine-point scale, obese ones the highest, with a desirable weight usually in the four to five range, says Dr. Deborah Linder, head of Tufts University’s obesity clinic for animals in Boston. An animal at six is considered clinically overweight, with a score of seven or more, obese.

Veterinarians also complete a physical exam to assess obesity, feeling over the rib cage by the animal’s armpit, “where tissue should be no thicker than the back of your hand,” Dr. Linder says. Another sign of healthy girth, she says, is a tuck in the belly, similar to an “hourglass figure.”

Image

Although some pets are genetically vulnerable to unwanted pounds, others may have diseases like hyperthyroidism or Cushing’s disease, in which the adrenal glands pump out too much of a stress hormone, stimulating appetite. Once these conditions are ruled out, veterinarians say, aging itself poses an ongoing risk as metabolism slows — the pet version of middle-age spread.

Neutering or spaying also decreases an animal’s energy needs by a third, Dr. Schmalberg says, so “calories in, calories out,” takes on greater importance in maintaining a pet’s proper weight.

Researchers have recently identified another risk factor for pet obesity: rapid growth in early life, though the reasons for this remain poorly understood. “Dogs and cats that grow quickly are highly likely to become obese later in life,” says Dr. Alex German, a professor at the University of Liverpool in England.

But veterinarians single out overfeeding as the greatest contributor to pet obesity. Giving pets easy access to food around the house, or “free feeding,” can quickly add unwanted pounds, they say, as can an overindulgence in high-calorie treats. Throw small children into the household mix with “sneak feeding” and the situation becomes worse, says Dr. Sarah Nord, a staff veterinarian at Trupanion, a Seattle-based pet insurer. “It’s definitely not uncommon,” she says with a laugh.

Whether pets, like some owners, “stress eat” is difficult to measure. “In my experience, when animals are stressed, they tend to go off feeding,” Dr. Nord says. “But we don’t know.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/well/fat-pets-dog-cat-health.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018, Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Announces Comprehensive Plan To Reduce Drug Prices Through Competition, Incentives, Negotiations, Regulation  and Transparency — Promises Lower Drug Prices — Tough Talk — Follow The Money — Videos — Story 3: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Against Trump Using Intelligence Community — CIA, FBI, NSA, and Department of Justice — Failed Attempt To Use Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska To Establish Trump Link With Russians/Putin Through Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Manager — Massive Cover-Up and Political Scandal — Video

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageUS President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

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Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos

U.S. Embassy opening: Moving is a step towards peace

US Jerusalem embassy opening fallout

A breakdown of the controversy over the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Deadly clashes on Israel border ahead of U.S. Embassy opening

How are Palestinians reacting to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and violence in Gaza?

U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem, while Palestinian protesters are killed

Thank You President Trump’ on Walls of Jerusalem on Eve of Embassy Move

 

“Thank You President Trump.” That was the message projected onto the ancient walls of Jerusalem, together with the American and Israeli flags, on the eve of the formal transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on Sunday evening.

Inside those walls — most recently rebuilt by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I in the 16th century — tens of thousands of young Israelis danced and sang at the Western Wall plaza in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the 51st anniversary of the reunification of the city during the Six Day War of 1967.

This year, due to the peculiar nature of the Hebrew calendar — which combines both lunar and solar elements — the Hebrew date of Jerusalem Day fell one day before the Roman date of Israel’s 70th anniversary on May 14.

May 14 is also the 70th anniversary of the date that U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel, which is the reason the embassy transfer was scheduled for that date. (Israel celebrates its Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar, which fell in April this year.)

 

The coincidence of Jerusalem Day and the embassy move — plus Israel’s victory early Sunday morning in the Eurovision Song Contest — meant that the city has been in a state of celebration for several days, culminating in the dedication of the embassy move on Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. EDT and 6:00 a.m. PDT in the U.S.).

 

An official in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Breitbart News at a reception Sunday evening that the mood in his department was “somewhere between ecstatic and euphoric.”

In the modern center of the city, American flags and Israeli flags hung side-by-side, along with signs thanking President Trump and declaring him a “Friend of Zion.”

“Trump is Number One!” shouted one Israeli to Breitbart News reporters on the scene. It was a sentiment widely shared in a country that has seen so much hardship and struggle, and which feels that it finally has a friend in the White House — “the best friend Israel ever had,” as one Israeli put it.

The mood was even reflected in Israeli sports. Beitar Jerusalem, the local soccer team, officially renamed itself Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem in honor of the U.S. President.

Trump supporters also took out a massive wrap-around ad in the Jerusalem Post on Monday morning thanking President Trump for delivering on his promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and to end the Iran nuclear deal.

Across Israel, there was the repeated refrain: “He does what he says.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2018/05/13/thank-president-trump-walls-jerusalem-eve-embassy-move/

 

‘Big day in Israel. Congratulations!’ Trump tweets jubilantly at official opening by Jared and Ivanka of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem – as bloody day of violence sees Israeli snipers kill 52 and injure 2,400

  • US moving embassy from Tel Aviv today after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December  
  • Israeli snipers have killed scores of protesters near the Gaza border with more than two thousand injured
  • Mass protests taking place with Palestinian government accusing Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’
  • Comes after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for group’s followers to carry out jihad against the US 
  • Russia says embassy move risks increasing Middle East tension as Turkey says US is now ‘part of the problem’ 
  • The Arab League is planning to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss America’s ‘illegal’ embassy move 
  • US President’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner said opening showed US could be trusted and that when ‘Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Donald Trump rededicated the United States’ to its alliance with Israel on Monday as the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem officially opened.

Trump in a video address said that the U.S. will ‘always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace’ while honoring the nation and the city it claims as its capital as a ‘testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.’

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address. ‘May there be peace.’

In a tweet shortly after he said, ‘Big day for Israel. Congratulations!’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

The U.S. delegation had arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the foreign policy shift.

Israeli snipers have killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more as 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Donald Trump‘s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.

A 14-year-old was among 52 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

The festivities in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed on the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump (pictured) and Jared Kushner, have attended the opening of the embassy, relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

A child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border todayA child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border today
A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel today

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel today

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border

Huge crowds of protesters hid behind clouds of smoke from burning tyres but at times were forced to run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops

A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel's intervention during a protest to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 and against the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

At least 2,400 more have been injured with hundreds of them by live bullets, according to Gaza officials as the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’ and Amnesty International called the bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

Trump President tossed aside decades of precedent when he recognized the city as Israel’s capital in December – a decision that sparked global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis.

Russia said today it feared the embassy opening would increase tension in the Middle East while Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan warned the US it had forfeited its role as a mediator in the region and was now ‘part of the problem rather than the solution’.

As deadly clashes continued, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy has been a ‘long time coming’ and that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years. He added that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition’ and that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

Trump also said his ‘greatest hope’ is for peace and that he ‘remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement’. His on-in-law Jared Kushner said the opening showed the US could be trusted and that ‘when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the international community must bring those responsible to justice, in a post on Twitter.

‘Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.

‘The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims.’

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

A medic tries to hold an injured man's mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher 

A medic tries to hold an injured man’s mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A woman appears to be giving protesters medical assistance as she tends to them while they sit on the ground during clashes along the border with Israel

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Inside the event, the president’s daughter delivered an official welcome telling attendees after her father’s video address: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

She joined Mnuchin in unveiling the embassy seal and plaque commemorating her father’s involvement in the occasion.

Her husband, Jared, delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, in some of his most lengthy public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration.

Acknowledging his wife in his remarks, he said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world — including me, so I love you.’

‘I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people, and I am especially honored to be here today as a representative of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,’ he said.

Highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy, Kushner said, ‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.’

‘The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can,’ he told the audience. ‘We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give.’

Kushner said the U.S. ‘recognizes the sensitivity’ around Jerusalem, home to three religions, including Islam.

‘While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders throughout the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,’ Trump’s chief peace negotiator said.

At the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah blamed Hamas for the violence in Israel on Monday. He said he did not believe that the violence would undermine the United States’ positioning on a peace agreement.

‘The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,’ he asserted.

Shah demanded that Hamas stop its ‘cynical exploitation of the situation’ that has lead to the deaths.

The president’s spokesman said that embassy opening is ‘about following through on what the President promised and believes.

‘I think we’ve for decades you know walked on eggshells, pretending that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is. And this is just a recognition of reality.’

Shah said the ‘peace plan will be brought forward at the appropriate time, and it can be evaluated on its merits.

‘We don’t think it impact the peace plan,’ he said of the deaths in Gaza.

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

A severely injured man is carried. Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their livesA severely injured man is carried. Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives
American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. 'Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,' he said to warm applause.

American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. ‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,’ he said to warm applause.

Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip today

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

‘President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,’ he said, in forceful remarks. ‘Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.’

Netanyahu firmly declared: ‘We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay.’

‘Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.’

Netanyahu made a reference to the conflict on the Gaza border as he said in his speech that ‘our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak, we salute them all.’

‘The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,’ he said.

President Trump said earlier on Monday that it would be ‘a great day for Israel’ as the U.S. embassy prepared to open in Jerusalem.

‘The United States remains fully committed to precipitating a lasting peace agreement,’ he said in a video address.

He steered clear of the controversy over the relocation of the embassy, while noting, ‘We continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount.’

‘Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,’ he said.

‘We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,’ he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoonIvanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoon

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka

Jared Kushner embraces Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu during the opening ceremony today

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka (left) and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during the opening ceremony today

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a 'massacre' along the Gaza border

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a ‘massacre’ along the Gaza border

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a 'long time coming'. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a ‘long time coming’. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the "eternal, undivided" capital of Israe

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israe

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Trump in December announced that he would follow through on the pledge to move the embassy that U.S. presidential candidates have repeatedly made and then reneged on.

The Republican president said he would ‘move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’ in keeping with a decades-old U.S. mandating the relocation.

Presidents have typically signed a waiver every six months to skirt the requirement. Trump signed it his first year in office.

After a process that was expected to take up to four years, the U.S. said it would outfit a consulate in Jerusalem as an embassy while a new one is constructed.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors’: President Trump celebrates the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem from afar

Donald Trump said it was ‘a great day for Israel’ on Monday as the U.S. embassy was officially declared open in Jerusalem.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address.

It has been a ‘long time coming’, he added.

Trump said that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years, adding that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition.’

Trump added that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

The embassy move has enraged the Palestinians. Trump said he remained committed to ‘facilitating a lasting peace agreement.’

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a 'long time coming' as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message 

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a ‘long time coming’ as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message

Trump stressed a close bond with Israel. He also said he was ‘extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there to see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

Ivanka Trump, in an official welcome, after her father’s video address, told attendees: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump's decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, 'Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world - including me, so I love you'

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you’

Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy.

‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,’ Kushner said.

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you.’

The U.S. delegation arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the U.S. foreign policy shift.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not make the trip, either, but said Sunday in an interview that aired on Fox News that ‘the American people in that region are secure’ and ‘we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.’

Upon the arrival of the U.S. delegation on Sunday, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both Jewish, received a blessing from Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

‘Great to join th