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The Pronk Pops Show 1357, November 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Addresses The New York Economic Club — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Addresses The Economic Club of New York — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos

 

AMERICAN STRENGTH: President Trump Touts The State of the Economy in New York

 

Remarks by President Trump at the Economic Club of New York | New York, NY

New York Hilton Midtown
New York, New York

12:09 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much, Barbara.  So sad that this is live.  She said it’s live.  (Laughter.)  It’s always live.  There’s always somebody with a phone.  It becomes live.  Ask a lot of politicians that are no longer in politics.

I want to thank Marie-Josée Kravis for your incredible leadership of the club.  It’s an honor to be here.  It is wonderful also to be back in New York with so many friends and distinguished leaders in business, in finance, academia, and, I have to add, in real estate.  All my real estate friends are here.

I’m especially grateful for, and to, your longtime club members, because it’s a club with a tremendous reputation.  And somebody doing a absolutely incredible job as Director of the National Economic Council, a friend of mine who I got on — I’ve been hearing this voice for 35 years; it’s driving me crazy: Larry Kudlow.  (Applause.)  Always calm.  Always cool.  And he’s just Larry, and he’s terrific — I’ll tell you that.

Three years ago, I came to speak before this storied forum as a candidate for President.  And at that time, America was stuck in a failed recovery and saddled with a bleak economic future.  And it was bleak.  Under the last administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost; almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force, and jobs were not exactly what you would call plentiful; and 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.

In 2016, the Department of Labor predicted that Americans would continue dropping out of the workforce in record numbers.  They predicted and projected a decade of sluggish growth, and they expected unemployment over 5 percent — and, really, 6, 7, and even, in some cases, 8 percent — for many years to come.  The so-called experts said the Americans had no choice but to accept stagnation, decay, and a shrinking middle class as the new normal.  That was said all the time.  In short, the American people were told to sit back and accept a slow, inevitable decline.

But I never believed for one moment that our magnificent nation was destined for a diminished future.  I knew that our destiny was in our own hands; that we could choose to reject a future of America and, really, look at a future of American decline unacceptable, and to build a future of American dominance, which is what I wanted.  It couldn’t be any other way, or I would have never done this.  I refused to accept that Americans had to lower their expectations or give up on their dreams.  America is the single greatest country in the world, and I knew that working together we could make it even greater.

In 2016, I stood before you supremely confident in what our people could achieve if government stopped punishing American workers and started promoting American workers and American companies.  Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals, and an economic policy that put America’s interest last, and a very deep last at that.

I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy, and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.  And that’s what’s happening.

Today, I’m proud to stand before you as President of the United States to report that we have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin.  We have ended — (applause) — thank you.  I was waiting for that.  Thank you.  I was waiting for that.  (Laughter.)  I almost didn’t get it.

We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on American industry, and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.

I did this despite a near-record number of rate increases and quantitative tightening by the Federal Reserve since I won the election — eight increases in total — which were, in my opinion, far too fast an increase and far too slow a decrease.  Because remember, we are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan — known as negative interest.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Give me some of that.  (Laughter.)  Give me some of that money.  I want some of that money.  Our Federal Reserve doesn’t let us do it.

I don’t say — (applause) — thank you.  Thank you.  The smart people are clapping.  Only the smart people are clapping.

I don’t say that’s good for the world — I’m not President of the world; I’m President of our country — but we are competing against these other countries nonetheless, and the Federal Reserve doesn’t let us play at that game.  It puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.

Yet, in the face of this reality, our economic policies have ushered in an unprecedented tide of prosperity surging all throughout the nation.  We’re paying interest.  By other comparisons, we’re paying, actually, high interest.  We should be paying, by far, the lowest interest, and yet we’re doing better than any nation, by far, on Earth.  The extraordinary numbers tell the story.

Back in 2016, before I took office, the Congressional Budget Office projected that fewer than 2 million jobs would be created by this time in 2019.  Instead, my administration has created nearly 7 million jobs, and going up rapidly.  We beat predictions — (applause) — thank you.  We beat predictions more than three times the highest estimate that I saw during the campaign.  Nobody thought it was even possible to get close to a 7 million number.  Two million was maxed out, if you were lucky and if you did a great job.

Unemployment has recently achieved the lowest rate in 51 years.  African American unemployment, Hispanic American unemployment, and Asian American unemployment, have all reached the lowest rates in history.  Women’s unemployment, the best numbers in 71 years.  We expect that that number of 71 years — which isn’t good compared to the other numbers, is it?  But women also will soon be “historic,” we think.

Blue-collar jobs are leading the way in our middle class boom.  We’ve added 25,000 mining jobs, 128,000 energy jobs, and 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs.  And manufacturing was supposed to be dead in our country.  You would need, according to a past administration representative at the highest level of that past administration — you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs.  Well, we brought them back, and we brought them back to over 600,000 manufacturing jobs as of today.  (Applause.)  And those are very important jobs.

Nearly 7 million people have been lifted off, very importantly, food stamps.  Seven million people off of food stamps.  (Applause.)  And we’re getting Americans off of welfare and back into the workforce.  (Applause.)  Nearly 2.5 million Americans have risen out of poverty.  That’s a record.  The rate of African American and Hispanic American families in poverty has plummeted to the lowest level ever recorded, by far.  (Applause.)  And most of you people wouldn’t know these numbers because most of you aren’t very active in the market.  (Laughter.)

But since my election, the S&P 500 is up over 45 percent, the Dow Jones is up over 50 percent, and the NASDAQ is up 60 percent, slightly more.  (Applause.)  And if we had a Federal Reserve that worked with us, you could have added another 25 percent to each one of those numbers — I guarantee you that.  (Laughter and applause.)  That doesn’t happen.  But we all make mistakes, don’t we?  Not too often.  We do make them on occasion.

American markets have vastly outpaced the rest of the world.  This exceptional growth is boosting 401(k)s, pensions, and college savings accounts for millions and millions of hardworking families.  You hear so much about inequality and all of the differences and all of the problems.  The single biggest benefactors of what we’ve done are middle-class workers and low-income families.  It’s been amazing, actually.

Altogether, we’ve added nearly $10 trillion of new value to our economy.  That’s in a short period of time.  Remember, I only use numbers from the time of the election because I can’t go to January 20th.  It’s not fair.   We picked up tremendous stock market and economic numbers.  They actually went wild the day after I won.  I think that should be attributed to us, not attributed to somebody else, because it would’ve gone in the opposite direction.  (Applause.)  It would’ve gone in the opposite direction had the other result taken place, which, fortunately, it didn’t.

Last year, GDP growth matched the fastest rate in more than a decade, and it was the best of the G7 countries by far.  By far.  (Applause.)

Perhaps most importantly — after years of stagnation and decline — American wages, salaries, and incomes are rising very fast.  Median household income is now at the highest level in the history of our country.  (Applause.)

The average median income under President Bush rose only $400 over an eight-year period.  Under President Obama, it rose $975 over an eight-year period.  And under my administration, it rose $5,000 over slightly more than just two and a half years.  That’s a big difference.  (Applause.)

And if you remember, President Obama was paying zero percent interest for a long period of time, while we’re paying a much higher rate of interest.  But in addition to the $5,000, we have to add $2,200 for the tax cuts — average tax cuts — and $2,000 to $3,000 for regulatory and energy cuts.  So that would be a total of almost $10,000 versus $400 and versus $975.  So, that’s something.

So you have, over eight years, you have $400.  Over eight years, you have $975.  Over two and a half years — we’re almost up to three — but this was done and calculated only as of two and a half, and it’s only gone up since then — we’re at almost $10,000.

So, our consumers, because of this, are in the best shape, probably, in the history of our country.  And I think it’s going to be very long lasting.  Very, very long lasting.

This also allows me the latitude and timing to take some of the horrible, incompetent, just terrible trade deals that have been made over the years, and make them great.  It’s like “Make America Great Again” — make the trade deals great.  I don’t know if I can use the word “again.”  Make them great. Period.  Because I don’t think they were ever any good.  (Laughter.)  I haven’t seen it.  We were great and then we weren’t so great, but we’re great again.

And, by the way, on jobs — just now — I’m glad this is today because, just now, they just announced we have the highest number of people working in our country in the history of our country.  Almost 160 million people.  We’ve never been close to that number.  (Applause.)

So, we’ve achieved this stunning turnaround because we’ve adopted a new economic policy that finally puts America first.  As President, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition.  We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry, growth and prosperity.  Factories and businesses will always find a home.  It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country, or right here in our country, our beloved USA.  And that’s where we want them to stay, and be, and move to.  (Applause.)

If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on Earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft, or start a business.  We want companies to move to America, stay in America, and hire American workers.  My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete, and to win.

For many years, our leaders in Washington did the exact opposite.  They imposed the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world.  So high that people couldn’t even understand what they were doing and they would leave.  Very, very smart executives didn’t want to leave, but they would leave, sending our jobs and everything else all a flutter.  They waged an unethical regulatory assault on the American people.  They tried to shut down American energy.  And, by the way, they’re still trying.

You want to see energy shut down?  Take a look at what I’m competing against on the other side.  I don’t think they even believe in energy.  So far, I haven’t found any form of energy that’s acceptable to them.  I think they think the factories are just going to work without energy, don’t they?  (Laughter.) They don’t have a clue, these people.  But I don’t want to mention it yet.  (Laughter.)  I want to wait a little bit longer.  Let them go a little bit further so they can’t take it back, because as a campaign, I like it.  I like it very much.  (Applause.)  Let them keep talking.  Every time they talk, I say, “Boy, this looks like it might be easier than I anticipated.”  (Laughter.)

They passed the disastrous trade deals that encouraged the shuttering of American plants and the offshoring of American jobs by the millions.  In short, the failed political class sold out American workers, sold out American prosperity, and sold out the American Dream.

This was the alarming situation I was elected to end.  And ending, it’s never that easy.  And you see that.  You do have people that want to keep it going that way, but they’re losing and they’re losing now rapidly and fast.  Those days are gone, and we’re not going back.

As you know, one of the key insights of economics is the power of incentives.  Unlike past leaders, my goal is to ensure that this power works for America’s favor and for America’s workers and for America’s companies.  We want the incentives created by our tax, trade, regulatory, and energy policies to be pro-growth, pro-worker, and 100 percent pro-American.  And more is yet to come.

If we take back the House in 2020 and retain the Senate and the White House, you will see things that even this room — and you’ve experienced a lot of great times over the last two and a half years, but even you will be surprised to see.  We have tremendous economic potential.  We have tremendous potential.  We have tremendous economic potential.

At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history.  We provided massive relief for working families, saving $2,000 a year for a typical family of four.  To bring jobs back, we lowered our business tax rate from the highest tax rate in the developed world down to a very competitive number.  Not quite the lowest, but getting close.  And we may even be able to get there one day not too — in the not-too-distant future.

And, by the way, we’re taking in more tax revenue with these greatly reduced rates — 21 percent.  And it was 39 percent, but when you added everything else, it was well into the 40s, and you couldn’t bring your money back, because that was prohibitive.  Both ministerially and from an economic standpoint, the rate was so high.  But we brought it down to a level that we’re very proud of and we think we can bring it down still more.  And yet, we’re raising — we have more tax revenues coming into our Treasury than we’ve ever had before.  That tells you something right there.

Since then, nearly $1 trillion have returned to our shores where that money belongs.  Couldn’t get it back.  No matter what you did, you couldn’t do it.  It was not only the rate being so high, but the bureaucracy, the documents, the signings.  Nobody could do it.

To promote investment in distressed American communities, our tax plan created nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones, which are one of the biggest successes that you’ve ever seen.  I don’t think there has ever been anything like it.  Worked with Tim Scott — Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina — and many of the great senators that we do work with and, frankly, Congress, and we passed something that nobody thought was possible to get passed, and nobody thought it could ever work the way it is.

Capital gains on long-term investments are now taxed in an Opportunity Zone at zero, and money is flooding in.  Investment is pouring into these long-neglected communities.  The government wasn’t putting money in; nobody was.  They were dying.  And now tremendous — they call it “neighborhood push.”  It’s incredible what’s happening.  It’s one of the — it’s not spoken of by the fake news media, but they should speak about it, because I will tell you, it’s one of the great successes that we’ve all had.  And it’s employing tremendous numbers of people.  And you have communities that were down and totally out, and they’re reviving like nobody has ever seen.  Opportunity Zones.  Remember those two words.

We believe in no American left behind, and we understand the enormous power of investment, capital, and opportunity to revitalize communities and bring hope where it is needed the most.

To liberate our economy, my administration launched the biggest, boldest, and most ambitious campaign to reduce regulation.  Nobody has ever come close.  No administration has ever come close.  In two and a half years, we’ve done far more than any other administration, whether it was four years, eight years, or in one case, more than eight years.  Nobody has come close to doing what we’ve done with regulations.  (Applause.)

And I happen to think, as great as the tax cut was — the largest in our history — I really happen to think that the regulation cuts may have had an even bigger impact on the economy.  And it was quicker because we were able to do them very early in the administration — earlier than the tax cuts.

Within days of taking office, I issued an executive order to end the outstanding, horrible federal intrusions that you saw — it was an onslaught — into business, into people’s lives.  And it was really done by unelected bureaucrats.  They were really accountable, and nobody held them accountable.  And sometimes, it’s not pleasant to hold them accountable, but I do it.  I do it.  And we had no choice, because we were going nowhere, fast.

My order required that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.  But instead of two for one, we have now eliminated nine for one.  And we think that, within the next six months, it will be close to twenty for one instead of two for one.  (Applause.)

And it sounds like a lot, but you have no idea, when you look at the piles and piles and piles of regulation, on each one of our — our great Secretaries, we’ve had some — we have some great people working here.  But you go into rooms that are half the size of this, and they would literally be stacked to the ceiling with regulations.  Nobody has ever seen anything like it.  And we have actually, I think, a fairly long way to go.  We need regulation, but it has to be smart regulation.

Highways were taking 20 years to get built, to get approved.  You’d put in a application; 20, 21 years later, they’d reject it.  It would cost many, many times more — 25, 30, 40 times more.  But they were taking 20 years.  We’re trying to get that down to one.  And it may get rejected, and that’s okay.  But you haven’t spent 20 years on environmental impact statements in order to build a simple highway or roadway that’s desperately needed.

So we have it down close to one year.  We want to hit the one-year number.  And if it doesn’t work, we’re going to reject it.  But it’s going to be rejected fast.  Swiftly.  But mostly, it’s not going to be rejected.

We ended the ridiculous Waters of the United States rule.  What a beautiful name.  The name was beautiful.  The act was a disaster.  It didn’t allow you to do anything.  When I signed it, I said, “You know, Waters of the United States — what could be a more beautiful title?  I’m going to get killed when I sign this.”  To kill it.  I had to kill it.  It was — it made land development prohibitive.  It made impossible situations for farmers, for everybody.  And I had 35 people in my office — farmers, and builders, and ranchers, and others.  Strong people, very strong — men and women — and almost all of them were crying.  They said, “You’ve given our life back.”  These laws were horrible.  They took away everything.  You would have a puddle in your land, and they would call it — you were under river control, you were under lake control, for what is called a “puddle.”  You couldn’t get anywhere near it.  And if you did, you’d literally be arrested.

We’re streamlining approvals for critical infrastructure.  Our regulatory roadblock [rollback] is also leading to major price reductions in healthcare and prescription drugs.  We’ve gotten the prescription drugs down.  First time in 53 years that prescription drug prices have gone down.

And if we had help from the Democrats, which we do not have — you possibly have noticed that — (laughter) — we would have — we would be able to cut prescription drugs by 30, 40, and 50 percent.  I’ve told some of the governors — Ron DeSantis in Florida — “Go buy them from other countries.  I’m okay with it.  I’m going to give them an executive order,” because Canada and other countries sell the exact same drug from the exact same factory for sometimes 50, 60, and 70 percent less than we do.

And rather than going through the political charade and all of the things where — the middleman — I hope we don’t have any middlemen in here, because somebody is not going to like me too much.  (Laughter.)  We have a middleman — any middlemen?  I think they have to be the richest people in the world, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  They make far more than the drug companies, in most cases.  But I said, “Buy it from other companies — countries.  You go out to other countries.”

And what’s happening already is the companies are coming back, and they want to make great deals, because now I’m giving the right to governors to go to Canada, go to England, go all over — go all over Europe, where the prices are so much less.  Because we were forced to pay for all research and development, and they didn’t pick up any of the cost.  Ridiculous rules.  So unfair to our country.  I said, “Buy them from other countries and pass along the savings.”  The savings will be staggering.  And we’re starting that program.  But as soon as we start that program, watch what happens with the drug prices.  They’ll come down over here.  Because it’s the same companies that make the drugs.  The exact same companies.  Hard to believe.

Altogether, our regulatory cuts, as mentioned, save American households thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

The foundation of American liberty and prosperity has always been the rule of law.  Throughout history, economies have failed when the rule of law is abandoned.  That’s why we must protect the constitutional rule of law in our country at all costs.  (Applause.)  So important.  We’ve got some lawless people in some very high positions.  They’re lawless.

For this reason, we have now appointed, as of today, 161 — and fully approved — brand-new federal judges, court of appeals judges, to interpret our Constitution as written.  (Applause.)  That will soon be 182 judges.  And, as you know, two Supreme Court justices, who are great gentlemen, both — both fully in and making some very big decisions, even today, as we speak.  The 161, 162 that we have now — we’ll be at 182 within two months.  And then we normalize, meaning we go through the normal system.

When I came into office, one of the first things I said was, “How many federal judges do I have to appoint?”  Because I always heard it was the single-most important thing a President can do — federal judges and Supreme Court justices.  They said, “Sir, you have 142.”  I said, “What?”  Because I was always told you would never have any.  Maybe you’d have one or two, maybe three if the previous President wasn’t doing a good job.  But they said, “You have 142.”  I said, “You have to be kidding.”  And we did.  We had 142.  And we’ve added to that through different things.  And we will be at 182.  That will be a record.  Nobody has ever done that before.  It was shocking.  But I just want to say: Thank you very much, President Obama.  We appreciate it very much, for the 142.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And I’m sure his party is thrilled with him.  But if they aren’t, they won’t say anything.  Don’t worry about it.

Thanks to these and other policies, last year, the World Economic Forum recognized the United States as the globe’s most competitive economy.  We’ve put it back into this position where we are competitive like no other nation.

To fuel our economic boom, we are bolding — and boldly pursuing American energy independence.  And you see that in the Middle East, where ships are at great danger.  And they keep saying, “What happened to the American ships?”  They don’t see too many American ships over there anymore.  Do you notice that?

We stopped the radical crusade to dismantle U.S. energy production and empower rogue regimes.  We withdrew from the one-sided, horrible, horrible, economically unfair, “close your businesses down within three years,” “don’t frack, don’t drill, we don’t want any energy” — the horrible Paris Climate Accord that killed American jobs and shielded foreign polluters.  It was a disaster for this country.  Ask them, “How are they doing in Paris with your Paris Accord?”  Not too good.

And I will tell you, when I signed — that was another one — Clean Waters of the United States — well, the Paris Accord, too — and I said, “This is going to take guts.”  I just closed my eyes and I signed it.  (Laughter.)  I got one day of a big hit from some of the radical-left newspapers.  And then after that, everybody thanks me.  They thank me so profusely.  You’re talking about trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction would have been done to our country with the Paris Climate Accord.

And it is so unfair.  It doesn’t kick in for China until 2030.  Russia goes back into the 1990s, where the base year was the dirtiest year ever in the world.  India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation.  I said, “We’re a developing nation, too.”  (Laughter.)  “Why aren’t we…” Under the WTO, China is called a “developing nation.”  So we wrote them a letter recently; Larry knows it.  I’m not sure Larry liked the idea too much, but he went along with it.  (Laughter.)  We wrote them a very tough letter, Larry, and we said —

MR. KUDLOW:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  What?

MR. KUDLOW:  I wrote the letter.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, Larry wrote it.  (Laughs.)  He said — (Laughter.)  Boy, you hopped on that bandwagon quickly, didn’t you?  (Laughter.)  That’s okay.  But we wrote them a letter and we said, much more strongly than the letter, that — not fair to have China as a developing nation.  One of the reasons they’ve taken advantage of us is because of that.  And we’re considered the big, fat cow.  And no longer.  No longer.  We have a lot of things to work out.

And I will say this: Because they know that I’m very tentative on the WTO, we’re winning cases for the first time.  We just won a 7.5 billion-dollar case.  We never won cases.  They’d rule against us because they said, “Hey, don’t worry about the United States.  They’re the stupid people.  Don’t worry.  Rule against them.”  Keep rule- — we had case after case.  Now, we’re winning cases, because they really think that I’ll do something very powerful, which we have the right to do.  And they’re right when they think that way.  And we’re winning a lot of cases at the WTO level, we never — that we never even would have thought of winning before.

America is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas on the entire planet Earth.  Net energy imports — (applause) — net energy imports — this is so great — set a historic low; it’s a 58-year low, but that’s only because they only go back 58 years, meaning, I assume if it’s low now, it’s lower than it used to be, unless something happened that’s very strange back then.  But it’s at a historic low.  We are now a net exporter of natural gas, and we recently became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products for the first time in our country’s history.  It’s a big thing.  (Applause.)

According to the Council of Economic Advisers, the astonishing increase in production, made possible by the shale revolution, saves Americans $2,500 for a family of four in lowering electric bills and prices at the pump.  And the number is actually now even higher than that.

My administration is also restoring the principle that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation.  These are great jobs.  These are brilliant, great people that know how to manufacture.  These people were under-appreciated and under-taken care of.  But we take care of them.  We cherish them.

Past leaders wrote off American manufacturing as dead, but their policies were the ones that were actually killing it.  We killed manufacturing.  That’s why we were losing all those jobs, because we made it impossible to manufacture.  We opened it all up.

After losing — and this is a number that’s hard to believe, and I’ve been saying it for three years, and I know it’s right because the fake news has never corrected me.  If it was wrong, it would have been headlines: “Trump made a mistake.”  But they can’t say it.  After losing 60,000 — can you believe that? — factories under the previous two administrations, America is now gaining over 10,000 brand-new, beautiful factories, and many, many more than that want to come back in.  Because under my administration, we’re producing jobs and incentives for these companies to come back.  I’m calling, as an example, Prime Minister Abe of Japan.  And I say, “Mr. Prime Minister, Shinzo, we have a tremendous problem.  We have big deficits with your country.  You’ve got to start building plants.”  He’s building many, many car plants now in the United States that he would’ve never built here if you didn’t have this kind of a President.  And he’s very happy to be doing it.

But they’re all coming back to the United States.  They want to be where the action is.  Very simple: They want to be where the action is.  This is where the action is.  There’s nobody close.  There’s no country close.

When I meet with the leaders of countries, as they come in — kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators — I meet them all.  (Laughter.)  Anybody who wants to come in — dictators, it’s okay, come on in.  Whatever is good for the United States.  We want to help our people.  But the first thing they say to me almost always: “Congratulations on your economy.”  They all say it.  “Congratulations, it’s incredible what’s happened to your country.  It’s incredible what’s happened to your economy.”  First thing they say in almost every instance.

But central to this comeback is a series of bold initiatives to reform a broken system of international trade.  We want thriving commerce with as many countries as possible, but trade must be fair, and to me, it must be my favorite word, “reciprocal.”  It’s not reciprocal.  We’re getting it to be much more reciprocal.

The American market is the most valuable and coveted market anywhere in the world.  Those who want access must play by the rules, and they have to respect our game and our laws, and they have to treat our workers and businesses fairly — not the way they’ve been treating them over the last 25 years.  America will not be taken advantage of anymore.  (Applause.)

Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers.  Impossible.  And I’ll be honest: European Union — very, very difficult.  The barriers they have up are terrible.  Terrible.  In many ways, worse than China.

We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply: What’s good for them is good for us.  If they want to charge us, we charge them.  It’s a very simple thing.  Even people that aren’t well versed in what we all do say — I went to a couple of senators — went to Lindsey Graham.  I said, “Lindsey, let me ask you.  What do you think of that?  They’re charging us 100 percent.  We’ll charge them…”  “That makes sense to me.”  It really does.  It makes sense to everybody because it’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries.  There are certain countries that the average tariff is over 100 percent.  And we charge them nothing.  And then they call it “fair trade.”  That’s not fair trade; that’s stupid trade.  (Laughter.)  Of course, this will be subject to regaining the House, to be able to do these things.

Nowhere has the change in U.S. strategy been more vital or dramatic than in our dealings with respect to China.  Before my election, Washington politicians stood by and did nothing while China ransacked our companies, stole our intellectual property, subsidized their industries at the expense of ours, and dumped their products in a deliberate strategy to close American factories all across our land.

For many years, Americans — leaders have just sat back.  Maybe they didn’t understand what was going on.  It’s impossible to believe that.  But they just let it happen.  And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse.  And now we’ve changed it.  It’s changed a lot.  I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but it’s changed a lot.

In particular, since China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001, no one has manipulated numbers better or taken advantage of the United States more.  And I won’t use this word, “cheated.”  I will not say the word, “cheated.”  But nobody has cheated better than China, but I will not say that.  (Laughter.)  We’ll say that off the record, okay?  And there’s only about 600 cameras back there.  In fact, that is a big group up there.  Good.  I hope you use it because it’s true.  And they understand it’s true.

And I don’t blame China, by the way.  I blame our leaders, because we should’ve been doing what they were doing.  They did it to use.  We didn’t do it to them.  We were defenseless.  We had no leadership.  This was for a long time.  This is long beyond the Obama administration.

So I don’t blame them.  I said this to President Xi.  I was making a big speech in China.  I had 5,000 people in front of me and I was talking about how bad China was.  And I said, “This is not going over well.”  (Laughter.)  I was in Beijing — this massive hall.  And I looked down at President Xi.  He was sitting right where Larry is.  He was not as imposing a figure as Larry Kudlow, but he was quite imposing.  (Laughter.)  And I said — I said, “You know, I think he’s getting very angry.”  And I then I realized, “Hmm, how do we save this?  This is going to be a disastrous afternoon.”  (Laughter.)  And I said, “But I don’t blame China.  I blame our leaders.”  And then I realized, that’s true.  I blame our leaders for allowing it to happen.  I’ve told that to you and many people many times.

But the theft of American jobs and American wealth is over.  They understand that.  My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses.  We are taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for.  We’re not paying.  China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent and they’re pouring tremendous amounts of cash into their system.

They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century.  Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make a deal.  We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal.  We’re close.

A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen.  It could happen soon.  But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies, because we’ve been hit very hard.  We’d have deficits for many years — go back many years — $500 billion a year.  Not million.  Five hundred million dollars a year is a lot.  Five hundred billion dollars a year in trade deficits with China.  And we have it with many other countries, just not nearly as large.  China probably makes up almost 60 percent of our deficits.

We also renegotiated the last administration’s failed trade agreement with South Korea.  It was a terrible agreement.  Our new agreement doubles the number of American cars that can be sold to South Korea under the U.S. standards, and it keeps America’s 25 percent import tax, known as the “chicken tax,” on small trucks, which was all ready to disappear.  It was going to disappear.

The deal from the previous administration was projected by them to add 250,000 jobs, and they were right.  It did add 250,000 jobs.  Unfortunately, the jobs went to South Korea, not to the United States.  That’s what we got stuck with.

We also struck a deal, which is historic, with Japan — it’s just partial because we’re having very tough negotiations and strong negotiations with Japan — to substantially reduce barriers for American agriculture and facilitate $40 billion in digital trade and agricultural purchases.  That deal was signed, and it’s a great deal but it’s only phase one of the Japan deal, too.

A lot of these leaders don’t like me too much, folks.  When you hear that I’m not so popular in various countries, please don’t accept that as, “Gee, he doesn’t have a good personality.”  Just realize what I’m trying to do for you.  It’s about time.  Okay?  Please.  (Applause.)

They recently came out with a poll that President Obama is much more popular in Germany than I am.  I said, “Guess what?  He should be.  He should be.”  (Laughter.)  The day I’m more popular than him, you know I’m not doing my job.  Let’s put it that way.  (Applause.)  Because we’re treated very badly by countries.  They take advantage of us, and they have for many, many years.  It’s hard to break that cycle.  But we’re breaking it and we’re getting along with them, believe it or not.  We’re actually — I think they respect us far more today than they ever have, if you want to know the truth.

We’re replacing one of the worst trade deals ever in history, NAFTA, with a brand-new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — a historic win for American farmers, energy producers, and manufacturers.  And the reason it’s such a good deal for us is, I said, “Listen, if you don’t sign this deal, we’re going to charge you tariffs on your product coming into the United States, including all of those cars that are now manufactured in Mexico.”  Thirty percent of our business was lost over the last 20 years.  It went to Mexico.  And I said, “So, if you don’t sign it — so it’s a good agreement, we’re going to just charge you tariffs.”  And they signed everything we wanted.

The USMCA will create up to half a million American jobs and add at least 1.2 percent more to our total GDP.  And it should be much higher than that.  Yet, Democrats in Washington would rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts — which are going absolutely nowhere; don’t worry about it — than pass the USMCA and deliver real stuff for the American workers.  It’s a great bill — USMCA.  And put pressure on the Democrats.  There’s tremendous pressure already.  And, most of them, if you had a vote today, I think most of them would actually vote for it.  But Nancy Pelosi — Nervous Nancy — has to put it out there and sign.  And if she doesn’t, she’s doing her party a tremendous disservice, and she’s doing this country a tremendous disservice.

As we create millions of new jobs, we are also transforming lives.  Under the last administration, nearly 1.8 million Americans in their prime-working years simply gave up — they gave up — looking for work altogether and dropped out of the labor force.  Under my administration, 2 million prime-age Americans have come off the sidelines already — people that we thought maybe would never work again — and they’ve fully rejoined the labor force.  Something we’re very proud of.  (Applause.)

And this includes a group that was having a hard time from the day of our Founders — the day they signed, these people have had a hard time.  They’re former inmates — people that went to jail — who are getting a fresh start thanks to the landmark criminal justice reform bill that I signed into law, but maybe equally so because the economy is so good.  They’re coming out of jail now and they’re getting jobs.

And I will tell you, the people that have been hiring them — and I get reports — they cannot believe how good they’ve been, and obviously, not in all cases.  But it’s incredible.  First time they’ve ever had an opportunity.  They get out of jail, and they end up with a great job.  And they cherish the job more than you would, more than I would.  They cherish — they can’t believe what happened to them.  And they’re doing a phenomenal job.  First time it’s ever happened in the history of our country.  It’s really terrific.  (Applause.)

When we say, “Hire American,” we mean hire all Americans.  By focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government, we’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers.  Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected.  That’s a tremendous number.  People were working two jobs, and three jobs, and making less money than they made 21 years ago.  That was the stat.

A record number of Americans are quitting the job that they have to take a job they like even better.  They like the job better.  They like getting up in the morning, like we all do.  They like going to work.  And they have something that they can do, and they’re getting paid more money for it, which is something that’s probably never happened before in this country to the extent it’s happened now.

This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about and all the things that I’m mentioning today.

Real weekly wages for the lowest-paid earners have grown more in the first three years of my administration than in the entire decade before my election — and decade and much more than that.

Since the election, real wages have gone up 3.2 percent for the median American worker.  But for the bottom income group, real wages are soaring — a number that’s never happened before — 9 percent.  And that means you might make a couple of bucks less in your companies.  You know what?  That’s okay.  That’s okay.  This is a great thing for our country when you talk about equality.  This is a great thing for our country.

Our tight labor market is helping them the most.  Yet, Democrats in Washington want to erase these gains through an extreme policy of open borders, flooding the labor market, and driving down incomes for the poorest Americans, and driving crime right through the roof.  They want nothing to do with looking at the people that are coming in.  And some very, very bad people are trying to get in.

But we’re building the wall.  It’s going up rapidly.  We have tremendous help from Mexico, despite what you read.  It was a terrible thing that you read over the last period of a few days, but also, over the last years.

But they have 27,000 soldiers on our border now protecting us from people coming into our country.  And because of that, I’m not tariffing Mexican goods.  So, it works out well for everyone.  But we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers.  And they play by different rules than our people.  If our people speak rudely to a person coming in, it means they get the electric chair.  It’s a very unfair situation.  Our border — our border is so — our laws are so bad — our immigration laws.  It’s so sad.

We have what’s called loopholes.  Many loopholes.  I could fix them in 15 minutes, but the Democrats don’t want to fix them, for two reasons: They don’t want to give us a win.  And, honestly, I think they maybe just don’t care.  And it would solve all of the problems and you wouldn’t need Mexico’s help.  But we want to thank Mexico.  We want to thank the President.

And I’ve likewise offered a lot of help because they have a tremendous problem with the cartels in their country — a problem like nobody would believe, where the cartels are almost ruling a country.  And I am offering to the President of Mexico the ultimate hand.  And he and I have a very good relationship, and let’s ultimately see what happens.  But those cartels are horrible — what they’re doing.  You see it every day.  All you have to do is turn on the news.

I want people to come to our country, but they must come in legally and they must come through a system of merit.

We now know all of our obligations.  Our moral obligation is to the American workers, and we’re committed to helping them climb that great ladder of success.  To equip them with the skills they need, we launched the Pledge to America’s Workers.  Three hundred and sixty-seven private sector partners are providing more than 14 million skills and career-training opportunities for U.S. workers.

And I have to say, I’m very proud of her.  My daughter Ivanka, that’s all she wants to talk about.  I say, “Ivanka, can we please talk about something else?”  “No, Dad.  I met today with Walmart.  They’re taking a million people.  I met…”  She is — she wants to make these people have great lives.  And when she started this two and a half years ago, her goal was 500,000 jobs.  She’s now created 14 million jobs and they’re being trained by these great companies — the greatest companies in the world.  Because the government can’t train them.  It’s a great thing.  (Applause.)

So, Jared is here and you’ll thank — you’ll thank Ivanka.  She’s done an amazing job.  Fourteen million from 500,000.  We’re at 14 million and going up.

Today, the world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and proud and prosperous America.  The world is a better place because of it also.

But everything that we have achieved is under threat from the left-wing ideology that demands absolute conformity, relentless regulation, and a top-down control of the entire U.S economy.

Far-left politicians in our nation’s Capitol want a massive government takeover of healthcare; they want to give government bureaucrats domination over every aspect of your business and your life; they want to eliminate American oil and natural gas; they want to enlist us in global projects designed to redistribute American wealth and kill American jobs all over our nation.

Washington’s Democrats and their radical agenda of socialism would demolish our economy, reinstate the avalanche of regulations that I have already ended, decimate the middle class, and totally bankrupt our nation.  As long as I’m President, America will never be a socialist country.  (Applause.)

We are reawakening the majestic spirit of enterprise and exploration, discovery, and all of the other things that we need to create that exceptional character that our nation is developing now more than at any time in the past.

We’re a nation of unbridled pioneers, and adventurers, and risk-takers.  We inherit the legacy of courageous, free, and independent souls who ventured across oceans, braved the wilderness, settled the frontiers, tamed the Wild West, and raised up towering cities of concrete, iron, and steel.

Our American ancestors produced miracles of science, lost — this is (inaudible) — lost so many lives, but launched revolutions in technology, created groundbreaking new industries, built the railroads that linked our cities, fashioned the skyscrapers that touched the clouds, and gave us the most prosperous nation to ever exist on the face of the Earth.

This is our American heritage.  This is who we are.  This is who we will forever be.

We believe in the dignity of work and the nobility of each and every American worker.  We believe the future is forged in the mind of the American inventor, the soul of the American craftsman, the heart of the American entrepreneur, and the faith of the American investor.  We know that there is nothing we cannot achieve as one team, one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

With everyone here today, and millions of patriots across our land, we are making America stronger, prouder, and greater than ever before.  And, ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

MS. VAN ALLEN:  Thank you, Mr. President, for your insights and the great work that you do, sir.

We’ll now move to the question-and-answer portion of our program.  Our two very able questioners today are Mr. John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation, and Mr. Mark Gallogly, Managing Principal of Centerbridge Partners.  Mr. Hess, you have the first question.

MR. HESS:  Mr. President, welcome back to New York.  Mr. President, you’ve been a tough negotiator to address unfair trading practices and ensure that U.S. businesses get fair treatment.  But there’s a growing consensus that the trade war has a cost and is weighing on our economic growth and capital spending.  As you know, capital spending in the United States, last year, was up 10 percent.  This year, it’s flat.

While you mentioned in your speech significant progress that has been made on several fronts, a number of industrial sectors have recently been hurt: manufacturing, automotive, and oil.  What are your plans to address these economic headwinds?

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Thank you, John.  They haven’t been hurt.  You know, they were totally down.  Now they are a little bit down because a little big, perhaps, the uncertainty of trade wars.  But there is no uncertainty.  We’re the bank that everyone wants to take from.  We’re the source that everybody needs and everybody wants all over the world.  The real cost, John, would be if we did nothing.  The cost of doing nothing was killing us, as a country — our national debt and so many other things.  But it was killing us.

So when I — when you say, “Gee, let’s just…” — because perhaps this is an assumption based on the question — “Gee, let’s just keep it the way it is with China,” that would be the real cost.  We can’t do that.

One of the things I was able to do with China: As an example — we’ve taken in — I mean, we’ll soon be up to $100 billion in tariffs.  And you haven’t seen inflation and you haven’t seen, in many cases, price increases.

Our farmers — because I have a very good relationship with our farmers — our great American farmers — I call them “patriots” — they were hurt very badly by China because China targeted them because they were my vote.  The whole middle of the country — it’s a beautiful thing to see, I will say.  But they targeted them.

And I said to Sonny Perdue, our Secretary of Agriculture, “Sonny, how much is it?”  And he said, “The year before last, it was $12 billion, and this year it’s $16 billion in orders.”  I said, “That’s okay, Sonny.  We’re going to give them $28 billion.  We’re going to take it right out of the tariffs.  And, hopefully, the farmers will say, “Thank you very much, China.”

And we spread — distributed, two years, $28 billion around to China — around from China, into our farmers and farms and ranchers and all of the people that were targeted.  So, I would say, in a rough manner, “by China.”  I would say in a very rough manner.  And now China is coming back.  And as you know, they’re already starting big buys — very big buys.  And the farmers are very happy.

The incredible thing with the farmers is they don’t want a subsidy, they don’t want a handout.  But in this case, I thought it was something that I wanted to do, and I was able to do it — $28 billion.  And after that, we had tremendous amounts of the billions left over that we could use.  Actually, we could use it for tax reductions.  We could distribute it to people.

And again, if we don’t make a deal with China — look, I had a deal.  We had a deal.  This gentleman can tell you, we were so close to a deal.  The hard points were negotiated: opening up China, intellectual property, all sorts of tremendous penalties.

And then, one day, we get a call — seven months ago, we get a call, they’d like to see us.  And we saw them, and they explained why they can’t do three or four things that were already agreed to.  And I said, “Okay.  Hey, look, I’m in the real estate business in New York.  I’ve heard that before.”  (Laughter.)  Sadly.  It wasn’t like, “Oh, gee, I’m so shocked.”  But I was a little surprised.  You know, it’s China.  They’re not supposed to do that.  But they did.  And I’ll tell you what: I’ll bet you they wished they didn’t do it.

Then I put on 25 percent tariffs on everything coming in — on the first $250 billion of product.  It’s going to 15 percent very soon.  And I tell this to Larry, I tell it to everybody: If we don’t make a deal, we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs.  They’re going to be raised very substantially.

And that’s going to be true for other countries that mistreat us too, because we’ve been mistreated by so many countries.  It’s hard to believe.  There are a few that haven’t mistreated us.  And, you know, I can’t blame them, if you can get away with it.  This is why I blame our past leadership.  I don’t know how it’s gotten this way.  So, we’ll have a trade deficit of — over the last, you know, long period of time, close to $800 billion.  Whoever heard of this?  Eight hundred billion dollars of trade deficit.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

So, we’re changing it rapidly.  It takes a while.  You have statutory constraint.  You have — in some cases, you take it to one phase, and then you have to, by law, wait six months before you can go to phase two, and phase three, and phase four.  But we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress.  And we are respected on — on many fronts.

We rebuilt our military, John, which is very important.  You know, we can all talk about trade, we can all talk about judges, we can all talk about everything we’re doing.  But if we don’t have a military in this world today — you saw what we did with al-Baghdadi last week.  And we have the greatest military force on Earth.  It was depleted when I took over.  We have to spend money on the military, otherwise — you know, it’s wonderful to have budgets, but if we don’t rebuild our military — and we have rebuilt it: $700 billion; $716 billion, the second year; and $738 billion this year.  And our military will be at a level that nobody can even come close to competing with.

And that’s where we have to be.  We had a military that was so depleted, so bad.  The planes were so old; many of them didn’t fly.  I could tell you stories about ammunition.  They didn’t have ammunition.  We had a real problem.  Well, we have to do that; otherwise, everything we talk about doesn’t matter because we have some very big, very powerful players.

I’m not talking about radical Islam; I’m talking about beyond radical Islam.  We have to look at the even bigger picture.  But we handle radical Islamic terrorism.  In addition, we wiped out ISIS, and now we’d like to bring our people back home.  We kept the oil.  You know, we kept the oil.  (Applause.)   We want to bring our people back home.  (Applause.)

When I took over, three years ago, ISIS was all over various parts of the Middle East.  I’d show you a map.  It was put as a certain color, and that color was very predominant.  And now that color doesn’t exist.  Now, you’re going to have offshoots, and they’ll start building up again.  And it would be nice if other countries could handle it, but maybe they won’t.  But we’ve decimated ISIS and captured many.  But we’ve decimated ISIS, and we’re going to have to keep it that way.  That’s why we got the leader, al-Baghdadi, who, when you saw those orange jumpsuits with the cutting off of the heads standing on the beach — many young men, in this case — that was all Baghdadi.

And we also got his second.  They had just taken a man.  He just became second.  Well, he got it, too.  And guess what?  We have our eye on his third.  His third has got a lot of problems because we know where he is, too.  (Laughter.)  So we have to keep it that way; otherwise, we’re going to continue to have problems.

You look at what’s happened in Europe.  I mean, what’s going on in Europe is very sad when you look at what’s taken place in Europe.  So, they have to be able to straighten out their own problems.  But, John, we’ve rebuilt our military.

Our manufacturing is coming back at a very, very strong pitch.  It’s a little bit down from where it was last year.  But last year, we’re doing record numbers.  It’s coming back very, very powerfully.  And our country is really strong.  And I think one of the things that we can all talk about is the $10,000 per consumer, per person.  But per consumer.  When you look at that, I think, really, we’re going to go forward because our consumer is so strong, and never been strong like this.  So we’re in great shape for the future.  Thank you, John.

MR. HESS:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

MR. GALLOGLY:  Mr. President, all the folks in the room are business leaders.  Business works hard to think through and mitigate risk.  How do you think about risk as it relates to trade policy and to, really, big issues like climate change?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know, climate change is a very complex issue.  I consider myself to be, in many ways, an environmentalist, believe it or not.  When I build buildings, I did the best environmental impact statements.  I was — you know, I know the game better than anybody.  And I used to go and see my consultants that I was paying a lot of money — environmental consultants.  They’d be up in Albany.  And I’d say, “What are they doing up here?”  Well, they were trying to make it more difficult so we’d have to hire them and pay them even more money than we were paying them now.  And I know what it is.

But to me, it’s clean air and crystal-clean, clear water. And we have now the cleanest air we’ve ever had in our country, meaning, over the last 40 years.  I guess, 200 years ago was cleaner, but there was nothing around.  Right?  I’m not sure that it was much cleaner, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  But I want clean air.  I want clean water, environmentally.

If you take a look, we discussed the Paris Climate Accord.  That would just put us out of business.  We’re sending money all over.  We’re doing things that are unnecessary.  It would’ve been a catastrophe.

So I want — I’m very much into climate.  But I want the cleanest air on the planet and I want to have — I have to have clean air — water.  And, you know, when people ask the question — your part of the question about climate — I always say: You know, I have a little problem.  We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States.  And you compare that to some of the other countries like China, like India, like Russia, like many other countries that absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they’re dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way.  Isn’t amazing it ends up in Los Angeles?  (Laughter.)  Oh, what a — what a mess that is.

But when you see this happening, it’s — nobody wants to talk about it.  They want to talk about our country.  We have to do this.  We have can’t have planes any longer.  We can’t have cows any longer.  We can’t have anything.  I said, “What about China?”  I don’t think they’re going to subscribe to a poor student coming up with 12 — you know, I actually heard the other day, some pretty good politician.  I’ve seen him around for a long time.  Nice white hair.  Everything is like central casting.  You could put the guy in a movie.

He was talking.  I don’t know if he believes this — but he was a Democrat — he said, “We have 11 years.”  It’s the first time I’ve heard it; I heard 12.  But now, see, it’s been a year, so now they think we have 11 years to live.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know, folks.  I think these people have gone totally loco.  (Laughter.)

But we are — you know, they will kill our industry.  They don’t want oil.  I mean, go to Texas.  Tell Texas there will be no more drilling, there will be no more oil and gas.  We’ll put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.  We won’t fuel our factories.  And now you’re talking about millions and millions of people, and you’re talking about a country that couldn’t even exist.

These people — I almost don’t know.  Is this politics?  Because I think it’s bad politics.  I think it’s bad politics.  But we have to be very careful.  And, you know, recently I walked into a meeting and I was with a group of people that I’ve, you know, generally I didn’t like.  I never liked them. It’s a certain group of people.  I have my likes and dislikes, and my — (laughter) —

And I walked into a room.  There are a couple of hundred people — very substantial people.  And I said, “Listen, I don’t have to make a long speech.  Here’s the story: I don’t like you. You don’t like me.  You have no choice but to vote for me.  And you will do whatever you have to do.”  And they said, “Yes, sir. We will.  We will.  We think you’re doing a great job.”

The truth is, look, you have no choice, because the people we’re running against are crazy.  (Laughter.)  They’re crazy.  (Applause.)

And I have to say this: I don’t think there is that much.  I think the biggest risk is the election, I’ll be honest.  I think the biggest risk — because I actually believe some of these people mean what they say.  I really believe that.  And it’s just not — it’s just not acceptable.  We have a very important election coming up.  I think we’re going to do very well.  I think we’re going to win it.  I think we’re going to win it, hopefully, easily.  But it doesn’t matter as long as we win it by a vote.

But it’s going to be something very important for all of you.  I have to say, I have great respect for what all of you have done.  I know so many of you.  And we want to keep it going that way.  Our country is strong.  Our country is great.  Our economy is probably the best it’s ever been.  And we want to keep it that way.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-economic-club-new-york-new-york-ny/

 

 

Economic Club of New York

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Economic Club of New York
Economic Club of New York Logo.jpg
Formation 1907
Founder J. W. Beatson
Purpose Study and discussion of social, economic and political questions
Headquarters New YorkNY
Chairman
Marie-Josée Kravis
President
Barbara M. Van Allen
Website www.econclubny.org

The Economic Club of New York is a U.S. nonprofit and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to promoting the study and discussion of social, economic and political questions.

 

History

The Economic Club of New York was founded in 1907 by J. W. Beatson, Secretary of the National Economic League in Boston, and four business leaders from New York City. Its founders sought to follow the successful example of the Economic Clubs of Boston, Providence, Worcester, Portland, Springfield, and New Haven with the aim of bringing business people and others together for discussions of economic, social and other public issues in a non-partisan forum.[1] For many years, the Economic Club of New York was affiliated with the League for Political Education; their first president Robert Erskine Ely was also director of the League.[2]

Operation

The main activity of the Economic Club of New York is to regularly host prestigious guest speakers at its member (and their guests)-only dinners and luncheons. However, these presentations are open to the news media to help foster public discussion of issues important to the general public as well those in business and public life. These speaker programs are the focal point of large dinner meetings, or occasionally luncheons, in the ballroom of a major hotel in Manhattan. The format is geared to serious discussion. There is no entertainment, no presentations, and no extraneous business. The focus is on the Guest of Honor and the speaking program. As defined by the Club’s founders, the issues for discussion were ones of “live and practical interest” and speakers were to be of national reputation.[3]

Speakers

The Club has been host to more than 1,200 speakers and the stature, caliber, and variety of speakers has become a guiding principle. The audiences have heard from current, and past presidents of the United States including Woodrow WilsonWilliam H. TaftHerbert HooverDwight D. EisenhowerJohn F. KennedyRichard NixonRonald ReaganGeorge H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Among the many distinguished foreign leaders to address the Club have been Winston ChurchillMikhail GorbachevIndira GandhiMargaret ThatcherYitzak RabinCorizon Aquino, and Zhu Rongji.[4]

Other Guests of Honor have included central bankers, justices of the Supreme Court, secretaries general of the United Nations, governors and heads of international business enterprises, as well as many key cabinet members, military leaders, ambassadors, and scientists.[4]

Presentations are followed by a questions period in which Club members, selected in advance and seated on the dais, will query the speaker. There are no constraints placed on what speakers may say during their presentation. Questioners are not constrained either.

Club speakers often use the platform to put forth their agendas to members and the media. On December 14, 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy made his famous remarks calling for a sharp cut in tax rates and reform of the tax system in order to grow the economy. In part, he said:

In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.[5]

Honor Roll of Speakers hide
Over the years, the Club has been host to over 1,000 prominent leaders and figures on the national and international stage.A partial listing from their honor roll of speakers follows:[6]
King Abdullah, III Dag Hammarskjold George A. Papandreou
Dean Acheson Phillip Hammond George Pataki
Giovanni Agnelli Stephen Harper Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Corazon C. Aquino W. Averell Harriman Peter G. Peterson
Sheila C. Bair William Randolph Hearst General (Ret) David H. Petraeus
James A. Baker, III Felipe Calderon Hinojosa Harvey L. Pitt
Steve Ballmer Reid Hoffman Karl Otto Pohl
Menachem Begin Herbert C. Hoover Ruth Porat
Lloyd Bentsen Charles Evans Hughes Ian Read
Ben S. Bernanke Edward Hyman Ronald Reagan
Jeff Bezos Jeffrey R. Immelt Donald Regan
Lloyd Blankfein Robert Kaplan Walter P. Reuther
Alan S. Blinder Margaret Keane Condoleezza Rice
Michael R. Bloomberg Anthony M. Kennedy Elliot L. Richardson
Roger Blough John F. Kennedy Edward V. Rickenbacker
John A. Boehner Robert F. Kennedy David Rockefeller
Clare Boothe Li Keqiang John D. Rockefeller, III
Erskine Bowles Nikita S. Khrushchev Nelson Rockefeller
Bill Bradley Mervyn A. King Ginni Rometty
Lael Brainard Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick Zhu Rongji
Louis D. Brandeis Henry Kissinger Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
William Jennings Bryan Edward I. Koch Robert E. Rubin
Zbigniew Brzezinski Lawrence Kudlow David M. Rubenstein
James L. Buckley Christine Lagarde Dean Rusk
Warren E. Burger Fiorello H. LaGuardia Paul Ryan
George H.W. Bush Melvin Laird Anwar Sadat
George W. Bush Arthur Levitt Carlos Salinas de Gortari
Nicholas Murray Butler Jacob J. Lew Paul Sarbanes
Michel Camdessus Walter Lippman Antonin Scalia
Fernando Henrique Cardoso Henry R. Luce Mary L. Schapiro
Andrew Carnegie Jack Ma Eric Schmidt
Mark J. Carney John Major Dan Schulman
Robert J. Carr David Malpass Brent Scowcroft
Jimmy Carter Paul Martin William W. Scranton
Stephen Case William McChesney Martin, Jr. Yitzhak Shamir
William J. Casey Larry Merlo Masaaki Shirakawa
Richard B. Cheney William G. McAdoo George Shultz
Brian Chesky John McCain Ben Silbermann
Jacques Chirac William J. McDonough Adam Silver
Jean Chretien Doug McMillon Alan Simpson
Winston Churchill Robert S. McNamara Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
Mark Clark Anastas Mikoyan Jan Smets
Lucius D. Clay G. William Miller John W. Snow
William Colby Francois Mitterrand John W. Snyder
John B. Connally Walter Mondale Gene B. Sperling
Felipe Calderon Henry Morgenthau Herbert Stein
Jay Clayton Daniel Patrick Moynihan George M. Steinbrenner
Hillary Clinton Robert S. Mueller, III Randall Stephenson
Charlie Cook Brian Mulroney Robert S. Strauss
Michael Corbat Edmund S. Muskie Lawrence H. Summers
Francesco Cossigna Richard B. Myers William H. Taft
Christopher Cox Satya Nadella John A. Thain
Mario Cuomo Richard E. Neal U Thant
Carlos Salinas de Gortari B.K. Nehru Margaret Thatcher
Douglas Dillon Adam Neumann Peter Thiel
Jamie Dimon Enrique Peña Nieto Craig Thompson
Barry Diller Richard Nixon Hans Tietmeyer
Elizabeth Dole Paul H. O’Neill Juan T. Trippe
Valdis Dombrovskis Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Jean-Claude Trichet
Robert J. Dole Michael Oxley Pierre Elliott Trudeau
William H. Donaldson Justin P.J. Trudeau
Alec Douglas-Home Donald Trump
Mario Draghi C. H. Tung
William C. Dudley Stansfield Turner
Willem F. Duisenberg Peter V. Uberroth
John Foster Dulles Paul A. Volcker
Dwight D. Eisenhower Caspar Weinberger
Ludwig Erhard Mary Jo White
David Farr Christine Todd Whitman
Martin S. Feldstein John C. Williams
Gerald R. Ford Wendell L. Willkie
Henry H. Fowler Harold Wilson
Stuart Fraser Woodrow Wilson
Kenneth C. Frazier James D. Wolfensohn
J. William Fulbright Gao Xi-Qing
Indira Gandhi Janet L. Yellen
Timothy F. Geithner Lee Kuan Yew
Newt Gingrich Ernesto Zedillo
Rudolph Giuliani
Arthur J. Goldberg
Barry Goldwater
Mikhail Gorbachev
Roger Goodell
J. Peter Grace
Phil Gramm
Alan Greenspan

Chairmen

The Chairman of the Board is the chief executive officer of the Club and presides at meetings of the Club and the Board, and has general charge of the business and affairs of the Club. The first chairman was A. Barton Hepburn, who served from 1907 to 1909. Hepburn was U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1892 to 1893 and later president of the Chase National Bank. Other notable chairmen included: Wendell L. Willkie (1938 to 1940), the Republican Party nominee for president in 1940; radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff (1940-1942); James P. Warburg (1934 to 1936), financial advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Rand V. Araskog (1987 to 1990), former CEO of ITT Corp.; Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (1979 to 1980), former CEO and President of Pfizer, Inc. for whom the Duke University engineering school is named and Barbara H. Franklin (2003-2007), one of the first women graduates of Harvard Business School. She also served as s United States Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. BushWilliam C. Dudley, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, served as chair from 2010-2016. The immediate past Chair is Terry J. Lundgren, retired President and Chairman of Macys, Inc.[7] The current chair is Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Presidents

The president is the chief operating officer of the Club. The Club has had only six presidents since its founding over a century ago. They were: Robert Erskine ElyEdwin A. Locke, Jr.Raymond K. Price, Jr.;[8] Paul W. Bateman;[9] Jan Hopkins, and the current President, Barbara M. Van Allen.[10]

Barbara Van Allen is the current President of the Economic Club of New York. Immediately prior to becoming President, she ran her own boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder outreach and government affairs. Over the course of her career, she served in senior leadership roles with award-winning results in the non-profit, trade association, corporate and government sectors based in New York, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.

While working in Washington, DC she served as senior director of communications and stakeholder relations for an association representing the audit profession (CAQ); as senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Mortgage Bankers Association, and as chief marketing officer for SourceAmerica.

Earlier in her career she served in senior management positions in New York with ITT Corporation and Cushman & Wakefield. She began her career on Capitol Hill where she rose to become senior legislative adviser to former Rep. Beverly B. Byron of Maryland while attending graduate school at night.

Ms. Van Allen graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She holds an MBA in marketing from New York University and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University. Ms. Van Allen has served on various nonprofit boards and committees in New York City and Washington, DC and currently serves on the Governing Board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Anacostia, Washington, DC. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She and her husband Peter C. Van Allen have two children, Caroline K. Van Allen and Peter C. Van Allen Jr.

References

External links

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

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Economics

Just over a month remains before the United States is scheduled to impose a new round of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. On Dec. 15, Washington is expected to slap a 15% duty on a wide variety of consumer goods, including footwear, apparel and other accessories.

As such, businesses, investors and consumers have been keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s speech today at the Economic Club of New York, where he addressed trade relations with foreign countries, as well as providing an update on the ongoing trade war with China and whether a “phase one” deal could soon put an end to tit-for-tat tariffs.

Here, FN rounds up the five takeaways from Trump’s much-anticipated speech.

On the “phase one” trade deal with China:

“My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for. We’re not paying; China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent, and they’re poring tremendous amounts of cash into their system. They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century. Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make the deal. We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal. We’re close. A significant ‘phase one’ trade deal with China could happen. [It] could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies because we’ve been hit very hard.”

On moving production back to the U.S.:

“As president, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition. We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry growth and prosperity. Factories and businesses will always find a home. It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country or right here in our country, our beloved USA — and that’s where we want them to stay and be and move to. If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft or start a business. We want companies to move to America, stay in America and hire American workers. My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete and to win.”

On the state of the U.S. job market:

“When we say hire American, we mean hire all Americans by focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government. We’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers. Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected — that’s a tremendous number. People were working two jobs and three jobs and making less money than they made 21 years ago — that was the stat. A record number of Americans are quitting the job they had to take the job they like even better … This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers, who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about.”

On the U.S.’s trade relationship with other countries:

“Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers. Impossible and, I’ll be honest, the European Union [is] very, very difficult. The barriers are terrible. Terrible. In many ways, worse than China. We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply what’s good for them is good for us. They wanna judge us, we judge them — it’s a very simple thing. … It’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries. There are certain countries where the average tariff is 100%, and we charge them nothing. And then they call it fair trade. That’s not fair trade. That’s stupid trade.”

On the broader U.S. economy:

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin. We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on [the] American industry and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before. … Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals and an economic policy that put America’s interest last — and a very deep last at that. I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.”

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Trump Puts Economic Growth at Center of His 2020 Campaign

 Updated on 
  • President has built his case for re-election around economy
  • Repeats criticism of Fed for not cutting rates more quickly
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump laid out the central pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday, telling the Economic Club of New York that his policies have generated a boom in growth and jobs.

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin,” Trump told guests at the New York Hilton.

The president’s remarks were closely watched on Wall Street for any signals about the future of the U.S. economy, including prospects for a limited trade agreement with China or any indication he’s worried about a slowdown. Trump routinely touts his handling of the economy, which he says is enjoying its fifth year of uninterrupted expansion and near record-low unemployment thanks to his trade, tax and deregulation policies.

Trump laced his speech with criticism of “far left” and “radical” Democrats, whose policies he said would bankrupt the nation and hurt the middle class. He criticized the opposition party’s proposals on energy and climate change.

“You have no choice because the people we are running against are crazy,” Trump said.

Trump said he reversed policies imposed by his predecessors that restrained the economy. He faulted regulations and trade deals advanced by other presidents and said the “political class sold out American workers.”

The economy expanded at a 1.9% pace in the third quarter and unemployment is close to its lowest in a half-century, government data showed last week. While manufacturing has been hurt by the U.S.-China trade war, consumers continue to spend in a sign voters are still confident about the economy. A Bloomberg Economics model sees the chances of an election-year recession at just 26%.

The president said China is “dying” to make a trade deal with the U.S. and the first step of a broader agreement is close to being completed. “We’re close — a significant phase one deal could happen, could happen soon,” he said.

Trump said he’s not popular in some countries because he’s a tough negotiator on trade.

“Just realize what I’m trying to do for you,” he said. “It’s about time.”

The president took credit for the 2017 GOP tax cuts that Democrats said benefited the wealthiest Americans. “At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his criticism of the Federal Reserve, which he has repeatedly blasted for not cutting interest rates sooner and more drastically.

When Trump got only a smattering of applause after praising negative interest rates in other countries, the president said: “Thank you, thank you — only the smart people are clapping.”

Trump also said that India and China were taking advantage of the U.S. by being designated developing countries.

“We’re a developing country, too,” Trump said.

Trump has frequently pointed to indicators including unemployment and stock-market highs to argue that he should not be impeached. The House will begin public hearings Wednesday in its probe of Trump’s effort to force Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals.

“How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 28.

Trump said his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement boosted the U.S. economy. He called the pact unfair to the U.S. “Trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction to our economy would have been done,” he said.

U.S. presidents and policy makers are regular speakers at the Economic Club, which draws its membership from major corporations, banks and investment companies, academia and other prominent nonprofits.

In a March 2008 speech to the group, President George W. Bush attempted to calm investors on the brink of the financial crisis by touting an emergency loan for Bear Stearns Cos. The investment bank ultimately collapsed and was sold to JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Markets have recently see-sawed in response to mixed messages from Washington and Beijing over how much tariffs would be lowered as part of a so-called “phase one” trade deal between the countries.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter that unspecified reports about the U.S.’s willingness to lift tariffs were “incorrect,” but added that talks with China are progressing “very nicely” and that leaders in Beijing want a deal “much more than I do.”

— With assistance by Katia Dmitrieva

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-12/trump-puts-economic-growth-at-center-of-his-2020-re-election-bid

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1356, November 11, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

Posted on November 18, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Anthropology, Banking System, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, College, Communications, Computer, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mike Pence, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Science, Security, Senate, Social Sciences, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Ukraine, Unemployment, Unions, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

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

Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos

See the source image

President Trump and The First Lady Attend the New York City Veterans Day Parade

Trump is first sitting president to attend Veterans Day Parade

Trump speaks at the New York City Veterans Day parade

President Trump kicks off the 100th annual NYC Veterans Day Parade at Madison Square Park in Manhattan. He will be the first president to participate in the parade. Trump gives an address at the park, the site of the Eternal Light Flagstaff memorial. #FoxNews

Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks on Veterans Day 2019

Vice President Pence Attends a National Veterans Day Observance

WATCH: Trump speaks at Veterans Day Parade in New York

USA: Veterans Day Parade sees anti-Trump protests

100th Annual NYC Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day observances from across the country

VP Pence speaks at Arlington Cemetery

WATCH: Vice President Pence observes Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

 

Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video

Trish Regan: Corruption, payouts and quid pro quos

Fitton: This is a fundamental threat to our republic

WATCH: Giuliani had a campaign against former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, John Sullivan says

How Rudy Giuliani went from ‘America’s mayor’ to Ukraine business broker

Giuliani’s globetrotting complicates US foreign policy

Giuliani: Shouldn’t Biden be investigated over Ukraine if Trump can be impeached over it?

Giuliani rips ‘corrupt’ media, defends Trump’s calls for Biden probe

Giuliani slams ‘swamp media’, says it’s time to fight back against Dems

PBS News Hour full episode November 11, 2019

‘He’s Gonna Sing’: Giuliani Hires 3 Lawyers Amid Ukraine Scandal | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

What diplomat George Kent said about Rudy Giuliani — and Hunter Biden

‘I wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff’: Giuliani | ABC News

 

Rudy Giuliani’s diplomatic backchannel was both ‘irregular’ and ‘outlandish’

Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1353, November 6, 2019, Story 1: House Intelligence Committee Will Begin Public Hearings on Trump  Impeachment Inquiry or Democrat 2016 Cover-up, Coup Attempt, and 2020 Campaign Event — Chaired By Unbelievable Pathological Liar Adam Schiff — Call The Hearsay Phony Whistle-Blower and Leaker of Classified Information Eric Ciaramella as First Republican Witness — Videos — Story 2: Front Channel Deep State Bureaucrats Opinions/Here Say on Trump Phone Call vs. Trump’s Back Channel Rudy Giuliani — Big Lie Media and Democrat Cover-up of Biden and Clinton Corruption in Ukraine — Videos — Story 3: Kentucky goes Republican Except For Governor By Electing Democrat Andy Beshea By A Margin of 5,189 votes Out of 1.4 million Votes — Videos

Posted on November 14, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Mass Shooting Homicides, Media, Middle East, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Sciences, Spying on American People, Subversion, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

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Story 1: House Intelligence Committee Will Begin Public Hearings on Trump  Impeachment Inquiry or Democrat 2016 Cover-up, Coup Attempt, and 2020 Campaign Event — Chaired By Unbelievable Pathological Liar Adam Schiff — Call The Hearsay Phony Whistle-Blower and Leaker of Classified Information is Eric Ciaramella as First Republican Witness — Videos —

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement on whistleblower complaint | DNI hearing

Mark Levin Goes Off On “Political Hack” Whistleblower, His Lawyers, Dems & Impeachment Inquiry

Schiff slammed for ‘parody’ of Trump call transcript

The Five’ reacts to House Dems taking impeachment probe public

PBS NewsHour full episode November 6, 2019

Washington Post calls out Schiff over false whistleblower comments

 

Whistleblower Protection Act

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Whistleblower Protection Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to amend title 5, United States Code, to strengthen the protections available to Federal employees against prohibited personnel practices, and for other purposes.
Nicknames Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989
Enacted by the 101st United States Congress
Effective April 10, 1989
Citations
Public law 101-12
Statutes at Large 103 Stat. 16
Codification
Titles amended 5 U.S.C.: Government Organization and Employees
U.S.C. sections amended 5 U.S.C. ch. 12 § 1201 et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 20 by Carl Levin (DMIon January 25, 1989
  • Passed the Senate on March 16, 1989 (97-0, Roll call vote 24, via Senate.gov)
  • Passed the House on March 21, 1989 (Agreed voice vote)
  • Signed into law by President George H.W. Bush onApril 10, 1989

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(8)-(9), Pub.L. 101-12 as amended, is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report the possible existence of an activity constituting a violation of law, rules, or regulations, or mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant.[1]

 

Authorized Federal Agencies

  • The Office of Special Counsel investigates federal whistleblower complaints. In October 2008, then-special counsel Scott Bloch resigned amid an FBI investigation into whether he obstructed justice by illegally deleting computer files following complaints that he had retaliated against employees who disagreed with his policies. Then-Senator Barack Obama made a campaign vow to appoint a special counsel committed to whistleblower rights. It was not until April 2011 that President Obama’s appointee Carolyn Lerner was confirmed by the Senate. Today, the primary mission of OSC is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing.
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board, a quasi-judicial agency that adjudicates whistleblower complaints, uses appointed administrative law judges who often back the government. Since 2000, the board has ruled for whistleblowers just three times in 56 cases decided on their merits, according to a Government Accountability Project analysis. Obama appointed a new chairperson and vice chairperson with backgrounds as federal worker advocates, but Tom Devine of GAP says, “It’s likely to take years for them to turn things around.” Currently, this office works to protect the Merit System Principles and promote an effective Federal workforce free of Prohibited Personnel Practices.
  • The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was established under Article III of the Constitution on October 1, 1982. It is the only court empowered to hear appeals of whistleblower cases decided by the merit board, has been criticized by Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and others in Congress for misinterpreting whistleblower laws and setting a precedent that is hostile to claimants. Between 1994 and 2010, the court had ruled for whistleblowers in only three of 203 cases decided on their merits, GAP’s analysis found.[2]

Legal Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, 04-473, ruled in 2006 that government employees do not have protection from retaliation by their employers under the First Amendment of the Constitution when they speak pursuant to their official job duties.[3] The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) uses agency lawyers in the place of administrative law judges to decide federal employees’ whistleblower appeals. These lawyers, dubbed “attorney examiners,” deny 98% of whistleblower appeals; the Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals give great deference to their initial decisions, resulting in affirmance rates of 97% and 98%, respectively.[4] The most common characteristics for a court claim that are encompassed within the protection of the Act include: that the plaintiff is an employee or person covered under the specific statutory or common law relied upon for action, that the defendant is an employer or person covered under the specific statutory or common law relied upon for the action, that the plaintiff engaged in protected whistleblower activity, that the defendant knew or had knowledge that the plaintiff engaged in such activity, that there was retaliatory action taken against the one doing the whistleblowing and that the unfair treatment would not have occurred if the plaintiff hadn’t brought to attention the activities.[5] Robert MacLean blew the whistle on the fact that the TSA had cut its funding for more air marshals. In 2009 MacLean, represented by the Government Accountability Project, challenged his dismissal at the Merit Systems Protection Board, on the grounds that “his disclosure of the text message was protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, because he ‘reasonably believe[d]’ that the leaked information disclosed ‘a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety’.” MacLean won the case in a ruling of 7–2 in the Supreme Court in January 2015.[6]

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and Presidential Policy Directive 19

President Barack Obama issued Presidential Policy Directive 19 (PPD-19), entitled “Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information”. According to the directive signed by Obama on October 10, 2012, it is written that “this Presidential Policy Directive ensures that employees (1) serving in the Intelligence Community or (2) who are eligible for access to classified information can effectively report waste, fraud, and abuse while protecting classified national security information. It prohibits retaliation against employees for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse.[7]

However, according to a report that the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs submitted to accompany S. 743, “the federal whistleblowers have seen their protections diminish in recent years, largely as a result of a series of decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has exclusive jurisdiction over many cases brought under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Specifically, the Federal Circuit has accorded a narrow definition to the type of disclosure that qualifies for whistleblower protection. Additionally, the lack of remedies under current law for most whistleblowers in the intelligence community and for whistleblowers who face retaliation in the form of withdrawal of the employee’s security clearance leaves unprotected those who are in a position to disclose wrongdoing that directly affects our national security.”[8] S. 743 would address these problems by restoring the original congressional intent of the WPA to adequately protect whistleblowers, by strengthening the WPA, and by creating new whistleblower protections for intelligence employees and new protections for employees whose security clearance is withdrawn in retaliation for having made legitimate whistleblower disclosures.[9] S. 743 ultimately became Pub.L. 112-199 (S.Rep. 112-155).

Related legislation

On July 14, 2014, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass the All Circuit Review Extension Act (H.R. 4197; 113th Congress), a bill that gives authority to federal employees who want to appeal their judgment to any federal court, and which allows whistleblowers to appeal to any U.S. Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction. The bill would extend from three years after the effective date of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (i.e., December 27, 2012), the period allowed for: (1) filing a petition for judicial review of Merit Systems Protection Board decisions in whistleblower cases, and (2) any review of such a decision by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).[10][11]

See also

References

External links

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

Story 2: Front Channel Deep State Bureaucrats Policy Differences, Opinions/Heresay (Acting Ambassador Bill Taylor and Others) on Trump Phone Call vs. Trump’s Back Channel Rudy Giuliani — Big Lie Media and Democrat Cover-up of Biden and Clinton Corruption in Ukraine — Videos

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An Introduction to The Back Channel

William J. Burns, “The Back Channel”

What Is And What Is Not A Diplomatic Backchannel | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

‘I would quit’: Takeaways from diplomat Taylor’s testimony

 

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told lawmakers that President Donald Trump was withholding military aid for Ukraine unless the country’s president agreed publicly to investigate Democrats, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony released by impeachment investigators on Wednesday.

Taylor last month methodically recounted his conversations with other diplomats and expressed his concerns about the influence of the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine policy. Referring to his own detailed notes – he has a notebook in his pocket at all times, he said – he told lawmakers about his efforts to restore the military aid.

House Democrats released a 324-page transcript of Taylor’s interview as part of a rolling release of documents in the new, public phase of the impeachment inquiry. Taylor’s transcript was the fifth released this week, and more are expected. Taylor is also scheduled to testify publicly next week.

Takeaways from the Taylor transcript:

AN ‘IRREGULAR’ DIPLOMATIC CHANNEL

Taylor told investigators he began to realize, after taking the top job in Ukraine in May, that were two diplomatic channels on Ukraine: one regular and an “irregular” one that was “guided by Mr. Giuliani.” The military aid, and a meeting between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was blocked by the second channel, Taylor said.

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2019, file photo, Ambassador William Taylor is escorted by U.S. Capitol Police as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the Democrats' impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington. Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told lawmakers last month that President Donald Trump was withholding military aid for Ukraine unless the country's president agreed publicly to investigate Democrats, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony released by impeachment investigators on Nov. 6. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2019, file photo, Ambassador William Taylor is escorted by U.S. Capitol Police as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the Democrats’ impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington. Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told lawmakers last month that President Donald Trump was withholding military aid for Ukraine unless the country’s president agreed publicly to investigate Democrats, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony released by impeachment investigators on Nov. 6. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The irregular channel included Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Giuliani. Taylor says the two channels eventually began to diverge in their goals as Trump pushed for investigations of political rival Joe Biden’s family and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s calls for those probes, and the delay in military assistance to Ukraine, are the center of the Democrats’ investigation.

___

“A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING”

Taylor told the investigators he understood that the military aid – not just the White House meeting – was conditioned on Ukraine opening the investigations. Sondland had told him that “everything” was dependent on Zelenskiy making such an announcement.

“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President committed to pursue the investigation,” Taylor told the lawmakers, even though Sondland insisted, after talking to Trump, that there was no “quid pro quo.”

Taylor said he understood the reason for investigating Burisma, a gas company linked to Joe Biden’s son, was “to cast Vice President Biden in a bad light” and that it could help Trump’s reelection.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked Taylor in the questioning: “So if they don’t do this, they are not going to get that was your understanding?”

“Yes, sir,” Taylor said.

“Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that?” Schiff asked.

“I am,” Taylor said.

___

WARY OF THE JOB

Taylor recounts his own struggles with the decision to take the job in Ukraine after Trump had ordered the ouster of the previous ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch. He said he was worried about “snake pits” in Washington and Kyiv and raised his concerns with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he was offered the job.

Later in the summer, after a few months in Ukraine, he told Volker and Sondland that he would quit if Zelenskiy gave an interview promising the investigations Trump had sought and then the military aid was never released. In a text, he described that scenario as his “nightmare.”

When asked to explain that text, Taylor told lawmakers: “The Russians want to know how much support the Ukrainians are going to get in general, but also what kind of support from the Americans. So the Russians are loving, would love, the humiliation of Zelenskiy at the hand of the Americans, and would give the Russians a freer hand, and I would quit.”

___

WORRIES ABOUT MILITARY AID

Taylor said he decided, at the encouragement of then-national security adviser John Bolton, to write a cable to Pompeo outlining his concerns about the holdup in military aid. He did not get a reply, but he was told that Pompeo had brought the cable with him to at least one White House meeting at which the secretary argued in favor of releasing the aid to Ukraine.

“I know that Secretary Pompeo was working on this issue, that he wanted it resolved,” Taylor said. “I was getting more and more concerned that it wasn’t getting resolved. And so I wanted to add my concern and my arguments, from the perspective of Kyiv and the Ukrainians, about how important this assistance was.”

Taylor told the lawmakers that he wrote the cable in the first person, which he thought would get Pompeo’s attention. He also hinted in the cable that he might resign.

In the deposition, Taylor described the importance of the military aid that Ukraine was receiving from the U.S. to fight the insurgency backed by Russia in the east. “What we can say is that that radar and weapons and sniper rifles, communication, that saves lives. It makes the Ukrainians more effective. It might even shorten the war.”

___

FOCUS ON UKRAINE … OR GREENLAND?

Taylor testified that as he was pushing for the aid to Ukraine to be released, he was hearing from colleagues in Washington that it was difficult to arrange a meeting with Trump on the issue.

He said that may have had to do with travel schedules, but also the president’s keen interest in buying Greenland from Denmark, which the National Security Council was looking into.

“I think this was also about the time of the Greenland question, about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy in the NSC,” Taylor told the lawmakers.

Schiff responded: “Okay. That’s disturbing for a whole different reason.”

Trump sparked a diplomatic dispute with U.S. ally Denmark in August after he proposed that the U.S. buy Greenland and the Danish government rejected the idea.

___

GOP PUSHBACK

In a preview of the public hearing, Republicans criticized Taylor by arguing that he received none of the information firsthand. Taylor says in the interview that he hadn’t spoken directly to Trump or Giuliani.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., grilled Taylor on whether he had primary knowledge that Trump was demanding that Ukraine investigate the Bidens. Republicans also suggested in the interview that Ukrainians wanted to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Trump in 2016.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-7658395/I-quit-Takeaways-diplomat-Taylors-testimony.html

 

William Joseph Burns

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William Joseph Burns
AmbassadorBurns.jpg
17th United States Deputy Secretary of State
In office
July 28, 2011 – November 3, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by James Steinberg
Succeeded by Tony Blinken
United States Secretary of State
Acting
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 21, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Condoleezza Rice
Succeeded by Hillary Clinton
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
In office
May 13, 2008 – July 28, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by R. Nicholas Burns
Succeeded by Tom Shannon (Acting)
5th United States Ambassador to Russia
In office
November 8, 2005 – May 13, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Alexander Vershbow
Succeeded by John Beyrle
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
In office
June 4, 2001 – March 2, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Edward S. Walker Jr.
Succeeded by David Welch
United States Ambassador to Jordan
In office
August 9, 1998 – June 4, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Wesley Egan
Succeeded by Edward Gnehm
Executive Secretary of the United States Department of State
In office
January 16, 1996 – February 27, 1998
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Kenneth C. Brill
Succeeded by Kristie Kenney
Personal details
Born April 4, 1956 (age 63)
Fort BraggNorth Carolina, U.S.
Spouse(s) Lisa Carty
Children 2
Education La Salle University (BA)
St John’s College, Oxford(MPhilDPhil)

William Joseph Burns (born April 11, 1956) is a former career Foreign Service Officer,[1] and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace since February 2015.[2] Previously, he was Ambassador of the United States to the Russian Federation from 2005 until 2008, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011, and United States Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 to 2014.

 

Early life and education

Burns was born at Fort BraggNorth Carolina. He earned a B.A. in History from La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and M.Phil and D.Phil degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, United Kingdom, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. His dissertation was expanded and published in 1985 as Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955–1981.

Career

U.S. Foreign Service

Ambassador Burns entered the Foreign Service in 1982, and served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 until 2014. Previously, he served as Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2008 until 2011. He was U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2005 until 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 until 2005, and U.S. Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Before these, he was also Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

Burns, together with George Tenet was instrumental in forcing through the short-lived Israeli-Palestinian cease fire agreement of June 2001.[3][4] He played a leading role in the elimination of Libya’s illicit weapons program, and the secret bilateral channel with the Iranians that led to a historic interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1.[5] He also played a major role in efforts to re-set relations with Russia early in the Obama Administration and in the strengthening of the strategic partnership with India. Secretary of State John Kerry lauded his “quiet, head-down, get-it-done diplomacy”, stating that it had earned him the trust of both Republican and Democratic administrations; The Atlantic called him a “secret diplomatic weapon” deployed against some of the United States’ thorniest foreign policy challenges.[6]

A cable Burns signed as ambassador and released by WikiLeaks[7] describing “a high society wedding in the Caucasus — complete with massive quantities of alcohol, lumps of gold and revolver-wielding drunkards” attended by President Ramzan Kadyrov,[8] received widespread international coverage, with historian Timothy Garton Ash writing that “Burns’s analyses of Russian politics are astute,” with the “highly entertaining account” of the wedding “almost worthy of Evelyn Waugh.”[9]

Retirement from the Foreign Service

On April 11, the State Department announced Burns would step down as Deputy Secretary of State in October 2014, after he twice delayed his retirement first at the request of Secretary John Kerry and then at the request of President Obama.

In a press statement announcing Ambassador Burns’ decision to retire, Secretary Kerry said that “Bill is a statesman cut from the same cloth, caliber, and contribution as George F. Kennan and Chip Bohlen, and he has more than earned his place on a very short list of American diplomatic legends”.[10] President Obama, in his own statement, said Ambassador Burns “has been a skilled advisor, consummate diplomat, and inspiration to generations of public servants…the country is stronger for Bill’s service”.[11]

On October 29, 2014, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace announced that Ambassador Burns would begin his tenure as its ninth President on February 4, 2015.

Burns was widely assumed to be on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s shortlist of Secretary of State nominees, had she won.[12]

His memoir of his diplomatic career The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal was published in 2019.

Awards

Burns with CMU President Subra Suresh (middle) and ITU-T Director Malcolm Johnson (left), 2016

Burns is the recipient of three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including three Secretary’s Distinguished Service Awards, the Secretary’s Career Achievement Award, the 2006 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the 2005 Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award, and the James Clement Dunn Award. He also received the Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service and the U.S. Intelligence Community Medallion. In 1994, he was named to TIME Magazine‘s list of the “50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40”, and its list of “100 Young Global Leaders”. Burns holds four honorary doctoral degrees and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[13] He was also awarded Foreign Policy‘s “Diplomat of the Year” award in 2013;[14] and the Anti-Defamation League‘s “Distinguished Statesman Award” (2014).[15] He is also an Honorary Fellow, St. John’s College, Oxford (from 2012).[16]

Personal life

Burns and his wife Lisa Carty have two daughters.

References

  1. ^ “NNDB Article”. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  2. ^ “Ambassador William J. Burns Named Next Carnegie President”. National Endowment for Democracy (NEFD). 28 October 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. ^ Ephron, Dan (13 June 2001). “US rokers a cease-fire in Mid-East 11th hour Deal Spells Out Steps; Disputes Remain”. Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ “The Tenet Plan : Israeli-Palestinian Ceasefire and Security Plan, Proposed by CIA Director George Tenet; June 13, 2001”Avalon Project. Yale Law School. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  5. ^ Gordon, Michael (April 11, 2014). “Diplomat Who Led Secret Talks with Iran Plans to Retire”New York Times. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  6. ^ Kralev, Nicholas (April 4, 2013). “The White House’s Secret Diplomatic Weapon”The Atlantic. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  7. ^ “US embassy cables: A wedding feast, the Caucasus way”, 1 Dec 2010, The Guardian
  8. ^ http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/wedding-in-the-caucasus-the-us-ambassador-learns-that-cognac-is-like-wine-a-732370.html
  9. ^ Garton Ash, Timothy (November 28, 2010). “US Embassy Cables: A Banquet of Secrets”. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  10. ^ “Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns’ Decision to Retire in October 2014”http://www.state.gov. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  11. ^ “Statement by President Obama on the Retirement of Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns”. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  12. ^ http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/hillary-clinton-john-kerry-secretary-state-226740
  13. ^ http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/1014
  14. ^ “Bill Burns Honored as Diplomat of the Year”foreignpolicy.com. Foreign Policy. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  15. ^ “Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns Presented with ADL Award”http://www.adl.org. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  16. ^ “RAI in America”http://www.rai.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External links

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

 

Story 3: Kentucky goes Republican Except For Governor By Electing Democrat Andy Beshea By A Margin of 5,189 votes Out of 1.4 million Votes  — Videos

 

Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andy Beshear, shown with running mate Jacqueline Coleman, held a lead of more than 5,000 votes. PHOTO: BRYAN WOOLSTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democrat Andy Beshear declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race and pressed ahead with transition plans, despite Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s refusal to concede and his request for a formal review of vote totals.

With 100% of counties reporting results, Mr. Beshear led Mr. Bevin by 5,189 votes out of more than 1.4 million cast, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections. The race was too close to call, according to the Associated Press.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, with his wife, Glenna, in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday. PHOTO: TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“I feel confident in declaring Andy Beshear Gov.-elect Beshear,” said Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, in an interview. But she said she would follow established procedures in response to any petitions from Mr. Bevin.

On Wednesday, Mr. Bevin’s campaign formally requested a recanvass, or review of the vote totals in each county, citing an “election too close to call and multiple reports of voting irregularities.” At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Bevin said the campaign was seeking to corroborate alleged incidents such as voting machines that didn’t work properly, and he criticized Ms. Grimes for calling the race.

“We want the people of Kentucky to have absolute confidence that their votes were counted,” Mr. Bevin said.

Ms. Grimes said her office hadn’t received substantiated reports of irregularities. She scheduled the recanvass for Nov. 14.

Eric Hyers, Mr. Beshear’s campaign manager, said he hoped Mr. Bevin would honor the results of the recanvass.

Mr. Beshear, Kentucky’s attorney general and son of the state’s most recent Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, said at a news conference Wednesday that he hadn’t spoken with Mr. Bevin and was moving ahead with transition plans.

“We’re confident in the outcome of the election,” he said. “Today is about moving forward. The election is over.”

Mr. Beshear detailed some early priorities: rescind a Medicaid work requirement pursued by Mr. Bevin, appoint a new state Board of Education and restore voting rights for about 140,000 felons who were disenfranchised under state law.

Apart from the recanvass, Mr. Bevin can pursue another option under the state’s election laws: contest the results. He would need to do so within 30 days of their certification by the Board of Elections, and the process would be guided by a committee formed by the state House and Senate.

Contests of elections are rare in the state, and the last time one occurred in a governor’s race was in 1899, said Joshua Douglas, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Recanvasses are more common, but “the likelihood this would change the numbers materially is extremely low,” he said.

Andy Beshear stands with his wife, Britainy, as he delivers a speech at the Kentucky Democratic Party election night watch party on Tuesday.PHOTO: BRYAN WOOLSTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mr. Bevin, a 52-year-old former businessman who never held elected office before winning in 2015, ran as a staunch ally of President Trump, often invoking national issues like abortion, immigration and the impeachment inquiry into the president.

President Trump, who won Kentucky by 30 points in 2016 and heavily backed Mr. Bevin, pushed for his victory with a rally in the state ahead of the election and a barrage of tweets voicing his support. But, as he acknowledged in a tweet late Tuesday, his efforts didn’t appear to be enough to secure a victory for the Republican.

Mr. Beshear carried a number of counties in eastern Kentucky’s coal country that are bastions of support for Mr. Trump and some that Mr. Bevin won in 2015, including Kenton and Campbell in northern Kentucky, a conservative part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area.

The Democrat also won by wide margins in the counties that include Louisville and Lexington, far exceeding the totals for the 2015 Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

“In urban and suburban counties, Beshear’s victory was unprecedented,” said Matt Erwin, a Democratic political consultant.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Republicans largely beat their Democratic challengers in other state elections Tuesday—including capturing the attorney general’s seat for the first time in decades. Republican Daniel Cameron will become the first African-American to hold that office in the state. Former elections board member Michael Adams, a Republican, was elected as Kentucky’s next secretary of state.

Mr. Beshear, 41, focused on what he said are the issues Kentuckians care most about: education, jobs, the state’s troubled pension system and health care.

Mr. Beshear had campaigned heavily on rolling back the Medicaid work requirement, and Democrats viewed their gains Tuesday as evidence that they hold an advantage on health care heading into the 2020 elections. A state estimate projected 95,000 people would lose Medicaid coverage under the work rules, which were stalled by a lawsuit. Rescinding the work mandate could end the lawsuit.

While Mr. Bevin held an advantage as a GOP incumbent in a state that Republicans have come to dominate, his tenure at times has been rocky.

Last year, he called teachers who opposed plans to overhaul the pension system “selfish” and “ignorant,” and tangled with state lawmakers over the issue. He was rated the most unpopular governor in the U.S. earlier this year in a survey by polling firm Morning Consult. Mr. Bevin dismissed the poll, saying it wasn’t credible.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Mr. Beshear specifically thanked the state’s teachers for their support.

“To our educators: Your courage to stand up and fight against all the bullying and name-calling helped galvanize our state,” he said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/election-results-2019-tight-kentucky-governor-race-sparks-fight-11573051470

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1341, October 15, 2019, Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos — Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos — Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos

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Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos —

Senator Mitch McConnell: Democrats Are ‘Throwing Fairness And Precedent To The Wind’ | NBC News

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

Trump was ‘absolutely right’ to take troops out of Syria: Rand Paul

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump over Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held Syria, saying troop pullout gives Iran a chance to reach Israel’s doorstep and contending worthwhile intervention does NOT make the U.S. world’s policeman

  • McConnell once again expressed his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria  
  • Said the door is ‘wide open’ for resurgence of ISIS
  • Said policy could put Iran on Israel’s ‘door-step’
  • Said standing up for U.S. interests does not make nation the ‘evil empire’
  • Trump has repeatedly complained the nation should not be world’s policeman 
  • At the same time, he blasted House Democrats on impeachment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly confronted President Trump‘s complaint that U.S. troop deployment’s make it the ‘world’s policeman’ and expressed his ‘grave concern’ about Trump’s policy moves in Syria.

McConnell issued the rebuke without directly blaming President Trump for the latest calamity in the region – although he said Trump’s policy threatens to put Iran on Israel’s door-step and fuel a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria in territory that had been controlled by U.S.-allied members of the Kurdish minority, McConnell warned that the ‘door is wide open for resurgence of the Islamic State.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump's contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the 'world's policeman'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump’s contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the ‘world’s policeman’

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said the situation created a power vacuum that could fuel the meddling influence of Russia, and ‘leaving northeastern Syria wide open Iran to extend reach unimpeded all the way from tehran to the door step of our friends in Israel.

He also confronted the view, espoused directly by President Trump, that the U.S. should pull out of the region rather serving as the ‘world’s policeman.’

I want to make something clear, the United States has taken the fight to Syria and Afghanistan because that is where our enemies are, that’s why we’re there. Fighting terrorists, exercising leadership and troubled regions and advancing U.S. interests around the world does not make us an evil empire or the world’s policeman,’ McConnell said.

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces

McConnell shared his 'grave concern' about the situation in Syria

McConnell shared his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted in his floor speech

McConnell had also warned of his ‘grave concern’ in a written statement Monday that did not mention Trump by name. But in his floor speech Tuesday, he included such a reference.

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted.

But even as he challenged the president on a policy that has resulted in the release of ISIS prisoners, led to attacks against key regional allies, and even led to shelling by Turkish forces toward a U.S. troop-held position, he defended the president on impeachment by attacking Democrats.

‘House Democrats are finally indulging in their impeachment obsession. Full steam ahead,’ McConnell warned. ‘I don’t think many of us were expecting to witness a clinic in terms of fairness or due process. But even by their own partisan standards, House Democrats have already found new ways to lower the bar,’ he complained.

McConnell has said he was required by Senate rules to hold a trial should the House impeach Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7577029/Mitch-McConnell-rebukes-Donald-Trump-Turkish-invasion-Kurdish-held-Syria.html

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

Syrians fleeing Turskih advance arrive to the town of Tal Tamr in north Syria, Oct. 14. PHOTO: BADERKHAN AHMAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What a fiasco. Foreign-policy blunders often take months or years to reveal their damaging consequences, but the harm from President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria is playing out almost in real time.

Critics said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would invade northern Syria despite Mr. Trump’s public warnings, and the Turkish strongman did. Critics said our Kurdish allies would strike a deal with Syria’s Bashar Assad to defend themselves, and the Kurds have. Critics said Islamic State prisoners held by the Kurds would be released and scatter to wage jihad again, and they are.

The mess compounded Monday when Mr. Trump authorized sanctions against several Turkish officials and agencies who are “contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” The sanctions include financial measures and barring entry to the U.S. Mr. Trump also said he’s ending trade talks with Turkey and raising steel tariffs to 50%.

Mr. Trump now finds himself back in an economic and diplomatic brawl with Turkey that he said he wanted to avoid. Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to tell Mr. Erdogan, on that famous phone call two Sundays ago, that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate a Turkish invasion against the Kurds and would use air power to stop it? Mr. Erdogan would have had to back down and continue negotiating a Syrian safe zone with the Kurds and the U.S.

Mr. Trump is also making matters worse with his unserious justifications. “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land,” he tweeted Monday. “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”

We suppose the Napoleon line was a joke, but the world is laughing at an American President. Mr. Trump was able to project an image of strength in his early days as he prosecuted the war against ISIS and used force to impose a cost on Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons. But that image has faded as he has indulged his inner Rand Paul and claims at every opportunity that the main goal of his foreign policy is to put an end to “endless wars.”

This is simple-minded isolationism, and it’s a message to the world’s rogues that a U.S. President has little interest in engaging on behalf of American allies or interests. Friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia are quietly dismayed, while Iran, Russia and Hezbollah can’t believe Mr. Trump has so glibly abandoned U.S. commitments and military partners.

By now it’s not unreasonable to conclude that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy can be distilled into two tactics—sanctions and tariffs. Mr. Trump wields them willy-nilly against friend and foe alike as substitutes for diplomacy and the credible threat of military force.

Mr. Trump won’t like to hear it, but the Syrian mess is hurting him at home too. Republicans who have stood by him through the Russia fight and more are questioning his judgment as Commander in Chief in an increasingly dangerous world. With impeachment looming, he can’t afford to alienate more friends.

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

Opinion: Trump’s Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course
As Turkey advances into Syria, foreign powers will increasingly act on the belief that the American executive is both politically weak and intellectually unfocused. Image: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Imageshttps://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-syria-mess-11571095091

TRUMP’S CHAOTIC SYRIA EXIT PUTS ANTI-WAR 2020 DEMOCRATS IN A DELICATE SPOT

THE PENTAGON announced on Monday that the U.S. was pulling all of its troops out of northeastern Syria at President Donald Trump’s direction, completing a withdrawal he had started by Twitter declaration a week earlier. The move further clears the way for a full-on invasion by Turkey, whose soldiers have already been accused of executing noncombatants. In the chaos, hundreds of Islamic State detainees have reportedly escaped.

Trump defended his decision in a series of early-morning tweets on Monday. “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!” he wrote. “Never ending wars will end!”

Trump’s abandonment of eastern Syria and the U.S. military’s Kurdish allies has put progressive Democrats — many of whom also favor withdrawing from overseas military operations — in a delicate spot. Over the past week, they have been trying to thread the needle between condemning Trump for recklessly abandoning an ally and emphasizing that withdrawing U.S. troops should be an eventual policy goal.

Trump’s decision has showcased what a worst-case scenario for expedited military withdrawal could look like, making it harder for progressive Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to press their cases against “endless wars” on the campaign trail. The question of how progressives can go about drawing down U.S. military commitments without repeating Trump’s calamitous actions would be an obvious pick for Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

So far, the Democratic candidates have been critical of Trump but light on specifics about what they would do differently. Last week, Sanders condemned Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, telling reporters that “as somebody who does not want to see American troops bogged down in countries all over the world — you don’t turn your back on allies who have fought and died alongside American troops. You just don’t do that.” But when George Stephanopoulos asked Sunday morning on ABC for Sanders to explain the difference between his and Trump’s approaches, Sanders responded simply that Trump “lies. I don’t.”

Warren’s response was similarly vague. She tweeted that “Trump recklessly betrayed our Kurdish partners” and that “we should bring our troops home, but we need to do so in a way that respects our security.”

Ro Khanna, a Democratic representative from California and co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 campaign, told The Intercept that progressives urgently need to make the case for a “doctrine of responsible withdrawal.”

“I don’t believe that withdrawal from a progressive perspective means a moral indifference to the lives of the places that we leave,” Khanna said in a phone interview. “It’s not an ‘America First’ approach that says our interests and our American lives are the only things that have moral worth. Rather, our withdrawal is based on an understanding of the limitations of American power to shape and restructure societies. It emphasizes the need for effective diplomacy and understands our moral obligations in these places.”

The U.S. should not have withdrawn troops without negotiating a deal that would have kept Turkey from invading Syria, backed by a threat to withhold future arms sales and economic assistance, Khanna told The Intercept. “We could have used all those points of leverage to get their commitment that they wouldn’t slaughter the Kurds.”

Another key difference between Trump’s approach and that of progressives is their level of trust for civil service expertise, Khanna said. “What this shows is that it’s not enough to have a president with certain instincts. Foreign policy requires great expertise. You need a progressive president who understands the importance of military restraint, but who also has the ability to put together an extraordinary foreign policy team to implement the goals that they may have.”

Far from admiring Trump’s approach to Syria, many anti-interventionists and foreign policy experts in D.C. view it as a blueprint for how not to withdraw from a conflict, according to Adam Wunische, a researcher with the Quincy Institute, a new pro-diplomacy, noninterventionist, and nonpartisan think tank.

“What we should have been doing from the very beginning is once we achieved the limited objective of destroying ISIS territory, they should have immediately begun contemplating what kind of peace or settlement could come afterwards,” Wunische told The Intercept. “To my knowledge, the U.S. is one of the only actors that can effectively talk to both the Turks and the Kurds. So they should have been trying to find an acceptable political arrangement for all the parties involved that doesn’t involve an endless, ill-defined military presence for the U.S.”

The Quincy Institute is working on a report outlining a possible plan for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan that would avoid the type of disorder on display in northeastern Syria, Wunische said, though the timing of the report remains unclear.

Throughout the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, a number of candidates have railed against “endless wars.” But in a conversation that has been defined by intricate domestic policy proposals and detailed outlines of how to structure a wealth tax, candidates have said little about the rest of the world and even less about how they would wind down overseas conflicts.

Sanders, for example, has called for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan “as expeditiously as possible.” Warren has said “it’s long past time to bring our troops home, and I would begin to do so immediately.” Joe Biden has said he would bring “American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” but left the door open for a “residual U.S. military presence” that would be “focused on counterterrorism operations.” When asked during a July debate whether he would withdraw from Afghanistan during the first year of his presidency, Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor and Navy Reserve veteran who spent seven months in Afghanistan, answered emphatically in the affirmative.

But aside from seeking a diplomatic solution, candidates have said very little about their policies for ending the war. And as in Syria, stakes for U.S. allies in Afghanistan are high.

A January study by the Rand Corporation found that a “precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan” would have far-reaching consequences. The legitimacy for the U.S.-backed Kabul government would plummet, the report argued, and the Taliban would extend its control and influence. People all across the country would turn to regional militias and rival warlords for basic security.

“I don’t think that anyone, whether they promise it or not, is going to get out of Afghanistan in a week,” said Wuinsche. “What we need to focus on is, what is the political solution that we think is possible, and how do we get there? That requires marshaling all of these different tools of foreign policy, not just the military.”

Kate Kizer, policy director for the D.C.-based advocacy group Win Without War, stressed that one of the most revealing differences between progressives and Trump is how they would treat a conflict’s refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. has accepted historically low numbers of refugees and closed the door on future Syrian immigrants applying for Temporary Protected Status.

“One of the cruelest parts of Trump’s policy is the fact that, in addition to fueling more bloodshed with this decision, he’s also banning any types of civilians who would be fleeing from the conflict,” Kizer said. “In a situation like Syria and even Afghanistan, there’s a way to responsibly withdraw and then there’s a way to cut and run, which is what Trump has shown he has a predilection for. But I’m not sitting here saying that any type of military withdraw will necessarily be bloodless.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/15/syria-troop-withdrawal-trump-democrats/

Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos

RUST NO ONE

Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks

Trump fears the leaks are now coming from the people he chose to serve him—and that only increases the paranoia currently infecting the West Wing.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

At a critical juncture in his presidency, facing a rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Donald Trump is feeling besieged by snitches.

In recent weeks, numerous leaks have appeared in the pages of The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other major papers and news outlets detailing the president’s attempts to enlist foreign leaders to help dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and also aid Trump’s quest to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s concluded investigation. And as is his MO, the media-obsessed president has been fixated on not just the identity of the whistleblower behind the internal complaint that brought this scandal to the fore, but also on who, exactly, has been namelessly feeding intel to the press.

In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

“[Trump] was clearly implying [it, saying] something to the effect of, ‘Oh, gee, I wonder who the source on that could be,’” this source said, referring to the president’s speculation. Bolton, for his part, told The Daily Beast last month that allegations that he was a leaker in Trump’s midst are “flatly incorrect.”

The former national security adviser—who departed the administration last month on awfulmutually bitter terms—is working on a book about his time serving Trump, and has “a lot to dish,” one knowledgeable source noted.

Neither Bolton nor White House spokespeople provided comment for this story. Matt Schlapp, an influential conservative activist with close ties to the White House, said his assumption was that the leaks were coming from “career folks inside who hate Trump” and that the president and his campaign had “14 months of this” to come. As for Bolton, Schlapp said, “He’s smarter than that, although he does aggressively defend himself.”

Indeed, Bolton’s name surfaced Monday before House impeachment inquiry committees, when Hill reportedly testified that he told her to alert the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on an operation with legal implications, the Times reported late Monday. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

“I have not spoken to John about [his comments, as conveyed by Hill],” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. “John is a longtime friend. I have no idea why John is doing this. My best guess is that he’s confused and bought into a false media narrative without bothering to call me about it.”

Regarding Bolton’s reported comment about Mulvaney being involved in this figurative Ukraine “drug deal,” the former New York City mayor insisted that “Mick wasn’t involved in this. I don’t recall having any lengthy conversation with him about this subject… I don’t recall ever having a lengthy conversation [about Ukraine] with John, either.”

Trump has felt under siege from within before, including at various flashpoints of his presidency. For instance, near the end of the Mueller probe, the president became so distrustful and resentful toward Don McGahn, his own White House counsel at the time, he started asking those close to him, “Is [Don] wearing a wire?”

But the current sense that he has been undermined by people whom he brought into his orbit has come at a critical juncture and colored some of the decisions he has made since the whistleblower complaint became public.  The president has openly declared that the whistleblower committed an act of treason. He has attempted to stop prominent advisers—including Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a man who donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration—from testifying to Congress, only to apparently fail. On Monday, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, was on Capitol Hill, where she reportedly told lawmakers that Sondland and Giuliani circumventedthe standard national-security process on high-profile Ukraine matters. The president has struggled to add to his current legal team, and appeared to begin putting some distance between himself and Giuliani last week.

And when outside allies began to talk about constructing a war room to help with impeachment, Trump shot down the concept, in part out of a sense that he couldn’t rely on them to get the message out right. One top White House aide subsequently labeled the idea an exercise by “outside peeps trying to self-aggrandize.”

The impression left on Republicans is one of a president increasingly driven by paranoia and a desire for insularity—and not, necessarily, to his own benefit.

“There is a certain level of frustration that all the sudden the president says something, then Rudy does, and it is not always consistent. There is a frustration that not everybody knows what they should be doing. It is not that they can’t defend the president it is a frustration that they don’t know exactly how they are supposed to defend the president,” said John Brabender, a longtime GOP consultant. “From the president’s perspective, this whole thing is a witch hunt and is outrageous and, therefore, it shouldn’t even need explanation…But with that said, you can’t just be angry. You need a unified communications team.”

According to those who’ve known the president, the sense that a good chunk of the government has never fully accepted his presidency and has actively worked to undermine it has animated much of his activity over the past few weeks. And though they believe he has a point, they also wonder if it is making him functionally incapable of taking the advice of some advisers: to simply ignore impeachment and apply his attention to other facets of governance.

Trump, they add, is preternaturally incapable of ignoring press about him and lingers particularly on leaks that depict atmospherics of his inner sanctum, the West Wing, and his internal well-being.

“In my experience, what he despises is somebody writing that Donald Trump feels under siege and his emotions are this and his thinking is this,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide. “He hates people saying what he is thinking… And one of his most frequent tricks in terms of talking about himself on background [as an anonymous source] is him having the reporter say [he is] someone ‘familiar with the president’s thinking.’”

Nunberg said he had yet to see a blind quote in any recent report that would lead him to believe that Trump is cold-calling reporters. But the president is certainly working the fourth estate. Democratic aides were left shaking their heads last week when they received an email from the White House with the subject line, “Article from President Trump” and a PDF attachment of a Kimberly Strassel Wall Street Journal column.

“He’s apparently so anxious about GOP support in the Senate, he’s taken to sending WSJ columns against the House inquiry,” said a Senate source.

Still, for all of Trump’s grousing and preoccupation with who is and isn’t stabbing him in the back, loyalty has always been a one-way street for this president. Last week, after the news broke that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen tied to Giuliani, were arrested on charges of violating campaign-finance law, a reporter at the White House asked Trump if the former New York mayor was still his personal attorney. The president responded that he didn’t know.

Though the president would later tweet out his support for Giuliani over the weekend, Trump has a long track record for being loyal to and supportive of a longtime associate, friend, or staffer—up until the moment he’s not. Perhaps the quintessential example of this is that of one of the president’s former attorneys, Michael Cohen, who famously turned on Trump after becoming convinced that the president had abandoned him while he was in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors.

Asked by The Daily Beast last week if the president told him that he still had his lawyer’s back—an attorney who further earned the president’s trust by defending Trump during the Mueller investigation—Giuliani let out a big belly-laugh and responded, “There’s nothing, [no knife], in my back.”

“My back feels very comfortable right now,” he added.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-suspects-a-spiteful-john-bolton-is-behind-ukraine-leaks

Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos —

 

See the source image

See the source image

Medicare For All: What Does it Actually Mean?

DEBUNKED: Medicare for All MYTHS! | Louder With Crowder

Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos —

Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup Champions to WH

President Trump Welcomes the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champions

Trump welcomes 2019 Stanley Cup champions to White House

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

WATCH: Trump hosts NHL champions St. Louis Blues at the White House

 

St. Louis Blues visit the White House after Stanley Cup win

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The Pronk Pops Show 1340, October 14, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos — Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Freedom — Videos — Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019See the source imageOpinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists04-no-justice-hearing-li-600.jpg (600×429)See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Story 1: President Trump Retaliates Against Turkey’s Invasion of Syria by Imposing Economic Tariffs on Steel — Videos —

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The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

The Kurds are an ancient and noble people who are now the primary “boots on the ground” against ISIS in the Middle East. They are 35 million strong worldwide, the largest people group on earth without their own homeland. In this stirring talk, Stephen Mansfield tells the story of the Kurds and does so, surprisingly, through the lives of three women. Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author who first rose to global attention with his groundbreaking book, The Faith of George W. Bush, a bestseller that Time magazine credited with helping to shape the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He has written celebrated biographies of Barak Obama, Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, Pope Benedict XVI, and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Mansfield’s latest book, The Miracle of the Kurds, is a timely introduction to the Kurdish people that reached bookstores just as Kurdish troops began standing heroically against the evils of ISIS in the Middle East. The book has been named “Book of the Year” by Rudaw, the leading Kurdish news service. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Donald Trump vows to ‘obliterate’ Turkey’s economy if there’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of Kurds in Syria

President Trump answers questions about Syria, Turkey

Erdogan asks Arab League: ‘How many Syrians did you accept?’

Turkish forces clash with Kurdish fighters in Syria – BBC News

Graham rips ex-Obama officials’ criticism of Trump’s Syria pullout

Defense Secretary Esper defends Trump’s removal of troops from Northern Syria

Rand Paul slams GOP ‘war caucus’ criticizing Trump for Syria

Why are Americans surprised Trump withdrew troops from Syria?: Gaetz

After Trump Abandoned Kurds, Turkish Invasion Raises Fear of Kurdish Genocide & ISIS Resurgence

What is the Armenian Genocide?

An Armenian Genocide Survivor’s Story | Lucine Z. Kinoian | TEDxBergenCommunityCollege

Armenian genocide: survivors recall events 100 years on

Donald Trump says he is poised to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Erdogan continues military onslaught in Syria – as unrest helps nearly 800 ISIS brides and their children escape from a camp

  • President Trump said Sunday morning that he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey 
  • On Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area 
  • This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria
  • On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia
  • Syrian troops have been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive
  • Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing on Twitter that it’s ‘very smart not to be involved’ in the fighting on the Turkish border
  • More than 130,000 people have been displaced from northeast Syrian border towns as a result of fighting between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish militia 

President Trump says he is in talks with members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey as Turkish President Erdogan continues his attacks on Kurdish militia just one week after Trump pulled U.S. troops from the area.

‘Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,’ Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning. ‘Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!’

This comes as nearly 800 women affiliated with ISIS and their children fled from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria after a shelling by Turkish forces, the region’s Kurdish-led administration said Sunday. Syrian troops have now been dispatched to the north to face Turkish offensive.

Trump said Saturday that in response to the Turkish invasion, the U.S. will send $50million in emergency financial aid to Syria.

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump announced Saturday night that he will send $50million in financial aid to Syria one week after pulling U.S. troops from the area

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose 'powerful sanctions' on Turkey

President Trump says he is in talks with both members of congress to impose ‘powerful sanctions’ on Turkey

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for 'WORLD PEACE!'

Trump then tweeted that the U.S. is using its power for ‘WORLD PEACE!’

The Kurdish-led administration said 785 foreigners affiliated with ISIS escaped Ain Issa (pictured), north of Raqqa, where they were being held following Turkish shelling today

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa

The money will be sent to assist human rights groups and other organizations to ‘protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights,’ according to a statement released Saturday night by the Office of the Press Secretary.

Trump spoke of the $50million in aid while at the Values Voters Summit’s Faith, family and Freedom gala dinner Saturday night.

‘Other presidents would not be doing that, they’d be spending a lot more money but on things that wouldn’t make you happy,’ he said. ‘The U.S. condemns the persecution of Christians and we pledge our support to Christians all over.’

The statement by the Office of the Press Secretary says the aid money ‘will also go toward increased accountability, removal of explosive remnants of war, community security for stabilization assistance, documenting human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations, and support for survivors of gender-based violence and torture.

‘We hope regional and international partners will continue their contributions as well. ‘Ensuring the freedom and safety of ethnic and religious minorities remains a top priority for this Administration.’

On Sunday, President Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Northern Syria, leaving the America’s Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion, calling it ‘very smart’ for the U.S. to ‘not be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change.’

‘Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?’ he added.

‘Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria. Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no, and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey….’ he wrote.

‘The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!’

On Sunday, Syrian Kurdish officials said they will work with Assad forces to repel Turkish offensive and to liberate areas held by Turkey.

Also on Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that Turkey ‘appears to be ‘ committing war crimes in northern Syria.

‘It’s a very terrible situation over there, a situation caused by the Turks. Despite our opposition, they decided to make this incursion,’ Esper said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Turkey-backed rebels capture city from Kurdish control

On Sunday Trump continued to defend his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, writing: 'Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change'

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

President Trump continued to double down on his decision to abandon the Kurds

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa

Mortar shells land on Turkish side of border with Syria

The Kurdish-led administration said in a statement Sunday that 785 ISIS-affiliated foreigners had fled a camp at Ain Issa.

In an apparent reference to Turkish-backed rebels, the Kurdish-led administration said ‘mercenaries’ attacked the camp where ‘Daesh elements’ – a reference to Islamic State – in turn attacked camp guards and opened the gates.

Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to show people running away from the camp.

Turkey’s cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara’s Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.

Turkey is now facing threats of possible sanctions from the U.S. unless it calls off the incursion.

Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.

France also said today it was ‘worried’ to hear of the report that hundreds of relatives of foreign jihadists had escaped.

‘Of course we are worried about what could happen and that is why we want Turkey… to end as quickly as possible the intervention it has begun,’ government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told France 3 television.

Turkey-backed Syrian forces continue Syrian Kurdish fighters assault

On Sunday, Turkey targeted two border towns with shelling, continuing with the fight against Kurdish militia

On Saturday, Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that ISIS will ‘absolutely come back’ with the removal of U.S. troops from Syria.

‘ISIS is not defeated. We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover,’ Mattis told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press when asked if President Trump made the right decision by pulling troops from Northern Syria last week.

‘It’s in a situation of disarray right now,’ Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defense in January, said of the situation between Turkey and Syria. ‘Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks. We’ll have to see if they can maintain the fight against ISIS. It’s going to have an impact. The question is how much.

‘We may want a war over; we may even declare it over. You can pull your troops out as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq, but the ”enemy gets the vote”, we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7568101/Trump-sends-50million-emergency-financial-assistance-Syria.html

David E. Sanger
Syrian army returns to northeast, as Turkey widens invasion
President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four American adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and the Islamic State.

Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests. How this decision happened — springing from an “off-script moment” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in the words of a senior American diplomat — likely will be debated for years by historians, Middle East experts and conspiracy theorists.

But this much already is clear: Mr. Trump ignored months of warnings from his advisers about what calamities likely would ensue if he followed his instincts to pull back from Syria and abandon America’s longtime allies, the Kurds. He had no Plan B, other than to leave. The only surprise is how swiftly it all collapsed around the president and his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team.

Day after day, they have been caught off-guard, offering up differing explanations of what Mr. Trump said to Mr. Erdogan, how the United States and its allies might respond, and even whether Turkey remains an American ally. For a while Mr. Trump said he acted because the Islamic State was already defeated, and because he was committed to terminating “endless wars” by pulling American troops out of the Middle East. By the end of the week he added 2,000 — to Saudi Arabia.

One day he was inviting Mr. Erdogan to visit the White House; the next he was threatening to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it crossed a line that he never defined.

Mr. Erdogan just kept going.

Mr. Trump’s error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared, and then failing to spell out for Mr. Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a dimunition of Turkey’s alliance with the United States and its standing in NATO. He has since threatened both, retroactively. But it is not clear Mr. Erdogan believes either is a real risk.The drama is nowhere near over. Out of necessity, the Kurds switched sides on Sunday, turning their backs on Washington and signing up with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a man the United States has called a war criminal for gassing his own people. At the Pentagon, officials struggled with the right response if Turkish forces — NATO allies — again opened fire on any of the 1,000 or so Americans now preparing to retreat from their positions inside Syria. Those troops are trapped for now, since Turkey has cut off the roads; removing them may require an airlift.

And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

For his part, Mr. Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” he said. (In fact, most do not.)

“This president keeps blindsiding our military and diplomatic leaders and partners with impulsive moves like this that benefit Russia and authoritarian regimes,” said Senator Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat and longtime member of the Armed Services Committee.

“If this president were serious about ending wars and winning peace, he’d actually articulate a strategy that would protect against a re-emergence of ISIS and provide for the safety of our Syrian partners,” Mr. Reed added. “But he has repeatedly failed to do that. Instead, this is another example of Donald Trump creating chaos, undermining U.S. interests, and benefitting Russia and the Assad regime.”

The other major beneficiary is Iran, perhaps Mr. Trump’s most talked-about geo-political foe, which has long supported the Syrian regime and sought freer rein across the country.

But none of that appeared to have been anticipated by Mr. Trump, who has no fondness for briefing books and meetings in the Situation Room intended to game out events two or three moves ahead. Instead, he often talks about the trusting his instincts.

“My gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” he said late last year. He was discussing the Federal Reserve, but could just as easily been talking foreign policy; in 2017 he told a reporter, right after his first meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, that it was his “gut feel” for how to deal with foreign leaders, honed over years in the real estate world, that guided him. “Foreign policy is what I’ll be remembered for,” he said.

But in this case the failure to look around corners has blown up on him at a speed that is rare in foreign policy and national security. The closest analogue may date back to 1950, during Harry Truman’s administration, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson described America’s new “defense perimeter” in a speech, saying it ran from southern Japan through the Philippines. That left out the Korean Peninsula, and two weeks later Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, appeared to have given Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the current North Korean leader, permission to launch his invasion of the South. The bloody stalemate that followed lives with the United States today.

At the time, the United States kept a token force in South Korea, akin to the one parked along the Turkish-Syrian border. And it is impossible to know whether the North Korean attack would have been launched even without Mr. Acheson’s failure to warn about American action if a vulnerable ally was attacked — just as it is impossible to know if Mr. Erdogan would have sent his troops over the border if that phone call, and Mr. Trump’s failure to object, had never happened.

It was Mr. Trump himself who, during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, blamed President Barack Obama for a similar error. “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq,” he said, referring to the 2011 withdrawal. “They shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.”

Even his allies see the parallel. “If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most vociferous defenders in recent years, but among his harshest Republican critics for the Syria decision, said last week.

As James F. Jeffrey, who worked for Mr. Obama as ambassador to Turkey, then to Iraq, and now serves as Mr. Trump’s special envoy for Syria, noted several years ago, it’s debatable whether events would have played out differently if the United States had stayed in Iraq.

Could a residual force have prevented ISIS’s victories?” he asked in a Wall Street Journal essay five years ago. “With troops we would have had better intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq and later ISIS, a more attentive Washington, and no doubt a better-trained Iraqi army. But the common argument that U.S. troops could have produced different Iraqi political outcomes is hogwash. The Iraqi sectarian divides, which ISIS exploited, run deep and were not susceptible to permanent remedy by our troops at their height, let alone by 5,000 trainers under Iraqi restraints.”

Mr. Trump may now be left to make the same argument about Syria: That nothing could have stopped Mr. Erdogan, that the Russians would benefit in any case, that there are other ways to push back at Iran. Perhaps history will side with him.

For now, however, he has given up most of what little leverage he had.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-followed-his-gut-on-syria-calamity-came-fast/ar-AAILbg6#image=AAIqEBq|9

Story 3: Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry Kangaroo Court Bars Other Representatives From Listening To Testimony — Videos

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., an ardent supporter of President Trump, got the boot on Monday when he tried to sit in on the testimony of a former top National Security Council expert on Russia who was appearing on Capitol Hill as part of the House impeachment inquiry into the president.

Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, attempted to attend the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president, but was told that because he was not a member of the House Intelligence Committee that he had to leave. The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees are conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

A frustrated Gaetz aired his disappointment to reporters after being told he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing, venting his anger over what he says are “selective leaks” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and questioning why he was not allowed to be present during Hill’s testimony. Gaetz added that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was involved in the impeachment inquiry.

“It’s not like I’m on agriculture,” Gaetz said. “What are the Democrats so afraid of?”

Gaetz followed up his comments with a tweet calling the impeachment inquiry a kangaroo court and using one of Trump’s favorite nicknames for the intelligence committee chairman, “Shifty Schiff.”

“Judiciary Chairman [Jerry Nadler] claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago,” Gaetz tweeted. “Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes – my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff.”

Other Republicans closely aligned with Trump continued on Monday to complain about Schiff and his handling of the impeachment inquiry – with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also lambasting the California Democrat for excluding some congressional Republicans from the testimonies and for leaking “cherry-picked” information from the closed-door hearings to the press.

“She was going to come voluntarily but he’s going to subpoena her I believe so he can ask certain questions and again keep those secret except for the certain things that he wants to leak, the cherry-picked information to the American people,” Jordan said of Schiff before Hill’s testimony.

TRUMP SAYS OBAMA ‘HIDING’ FROM QUESTIONS ABOUT BIDENS AND UKRAINE: ‘I THINK HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT’

Lee Wolosky, Hill’s attorney, tweeted on Monday that the former deputy assistant to the president had received a congressional subpoena.

“The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don’t get to see what’s going on in these up in these sessions,” Jordan said.

Hill’s testimony comes ahead of a planned Thursday appearance by Gordon Sondland, Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, and follows the revelation of a cache of text messages from top envoys that provide a vivid account of their work acting as intermediaries around the time Trump urged Ukraine’s new president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, to start investigations into a company linked to the family of a chief Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.

Sondland is set to tell lawmakers that he did understand the administration was offering Zelenskiy a White House visit in exchange for a public statement committing to investigations Trump wanted, according to the person, who demanded anonymity to discuss remarks not yet given.

But Sondland will say he did not know the company being talked about for an investigation, Burisma, was tied to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the person said. Sondland understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicized Trump administration push that was widely shared, the person said.

 

One witness who may not be called before Congress is the still anonymous government whistleblower who touched off the impeachment inquiry. Top Democrats say testimony and evidence coming in from other witnesses, and even the president himself, are backing up the whistleblower’s account of what transpired during Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy.

Lawmakers have also grown deeply concerned about protecting the person from Trump’s threats over the matter and may not wish to risk exposing the whistleblower’s identity.

Schiff said Sunday, “We don’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call, to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.” He added it “may not be necessary” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity as the House gathers evidence.

“Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff said.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republican-rep-matt-gaetz-kicked-out-of-impeachment-inquiry-hearing

Story 2: Amazing Grace of Attorney General’s Defense of Religious Liberty — Videos

AG William Barr Nails The Destruction OF America’s Morality by “Militant Secularism”

US Attorney General William Barr – Notre Dame Speech

Why Has the West Been So Successful?

1. I Am the Lord Your God

2. No Other Gods

Religious Tolerance: Made in America

Were the Founders Religious?

Was America Founded to Be Secular?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

America’s Biggest Issues: Religious Freedom

The Left Ruins Everything

Was Jesus a Socialist?

Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Jordan Peterson on the Belief in God

Who Dares Say He Believes in God?

On Claiming Belief In God: Discussion with Dennis Prager

“Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom” with Donald Trump & Others (Opening)

Donald Trump makes speech to the UN general assembly

The Blaine Amendments: State Constitutions & School Choice

Blaine Amendments and “Sectarian” explained

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down the Blaine Amendment?

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame

South Bend, IN

~

Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Tom, for your kind introduction. Bill and Roger, it’s great to be with you.

Thank you to the Notre Dame Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture for graciously extending an invitation to address you today. I’d also like to express gratitude to Tony de Nicola, whose generous support has shaped – and continues to shape – countless minds through examination of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition.

Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you about religious liberty in America. It’s an important priority in this Administration and for this Department of Justice.

We have set up a task force within the Department with different components that have equities in this area, including the Solicitor General’s Office, the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel, and other offices. We have regular meetings. We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith, or cases where states adopt laws that impinge upon the free exercise of religion.

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety. It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.

In his renowned 1785 pamphlet, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” James Madison described religious liberty as “a right towards men” but “a duty towards the Creator,” and a “duty….precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

It has been over 230 years since that small group of colonial lawyers led a revolution and launched what they viewed as a great experiment, establishing a society fundamentally different than those that had gone before.

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

In the 20th century, our form of free society faced a severe test.

There had always been the question whether a democracy so solicitous of individual freedom could stand up against a regimented totalitarian state.

That question was answered with a resounding “yes” as the United States stood up against and defeated, first fascism, and then communism.

But in the 21st century, we face an entirely different kind of challenge.

The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.

They never thought the main danger to the republic came from external foes. The central question was whether, over the long haul, we could handle freedom. The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.

By and large, the Founding generation’s view of human nature was drawn from the classical Christian tradition.

These practical statesmen understood that individuals, while having the potential for great good, also had the capacity for great evil.

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.

On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Edmund Burke summed up this point in his typically colorful language:

“Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put chains upon their appetites…. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So the Founders decided to take a gamble. They called it a great experiment.

They would leave “the People” broad liberty, limit the coercive power of the government, and place their trust in self-discipline and the virtue of the American people.

In the words of Madison, “We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves…”

This is really what was meant by “self-government.” It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings.

Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves – freely obeying the dictates of inwardly-possessed and commonly-shared moral values. And to control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

As John Adams put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

As Father John Courtney Murray observed, the American tenet was notthat:

“Free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and that its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.”

How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.

From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.

Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.

By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.

Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.

But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

As you all know, over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses. That is more casualities in a year than we experienced during the entire Vietnam War.

I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.

Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of Homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.

We hear much today about our humane values. But, in the final analysis, what undergirds these values? What commands our adherence to them?

What we call “values” today are really nothing more than mere sentimentality, still drawing on the vapor trails of Christianity.

Now, there have been times and places where the traditional moral order has been shaken.

In the past, societies – like the human body – seem to have a self-healing mechanism – a self-correcting mechanism that gets things back on course if things go too far.

The consequences of moral chaos become too pressing. The opinion of decent people rebels. They coalesce and rally against obvious excess. Periods of moral entrenchment follow periods of excess.

This is the idea of the pendulum. We have all thought that after a while the “pendulum will swing back.”

But today we face something different that may mean that we cannot count on the pendulum swinging back.

First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.

One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.

Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

The pervasiveness and power of our high-tech popular culture fuels apostasy in another way. It provides an unprecedented degree of distraction.

Part of the human condition is that there are big questions that should stare us in the face. Are we created or are we purely material accidents? Does our life have any meaning or purpose? But, as Blaise Pascal observed, instead of grappling with these questions, humans can be easily distracted from thinking about the “final things.”

Indeed, we now live in the age of distraction where we can envelop ourselves in a world of digital stimulation and universal connectivity. And we have almost limitless ways of indulging all our physical appetites.

There is another modern phenomenon that suppresses society’s self-corrective mechanisms – that makes it harder for society to restore itself.

In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path that it is on.

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad fconsequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on which we depend.

Interestingly, this idea of the State as the alleviator of bad consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society.  It can be called the system of “macro-morality.”  It is in some ways an inversion of Christian morality.

Christianity teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather on their commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems.

This system allows us to not worry so much about the strictures on our private lives, while we find salvation on the picket-line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by demonstrating for this cause or that.

Something happened recently that crystalized the difference between these moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I did not usually go to in Washington, D.C.  At the end of Mass, the Chairman of the Social Justice Committee got up to give his report to the parish. He pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C. and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide this need. Instead, he recounted all the visits that the Committee had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchen.

A third phenomenon which makes it difficult for the pendulum to swing back is the way law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy.

Law is being used as weapon in a couple of ways.

First, either through legislation but more frequently through judicial interpretation, secularists have been continually seeking to eliminate laws that reflect traditional moral norms.

At first, this involved rolling back laws that prohibited certain kinds of conduct. Thus, the watershed decision legalizing abortion. And since then, the legalization of euthanasia. The list goes on.

More recently, we have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith.

The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.

This reminds me of how some Roman emperors could not leave their loyal Christian subjects in peace but would mandate that they violate their conscience by offering religious sacrifice to the emperor as a god.

Similarly, militant secularists today do not have a live and let live spirit – they are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.

For example, the last Administration sought to force religious employers, including Catholic religious orders, to violate their sincerely held religious views by funding contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in their health plans. Similarly, California has sought to require pro-life pregnancy centers to provide notices of abortion rights.

This refusal to accommodate the free exercise of religion is relatively recent. Just 25 years ago, there was broad consensus in our society that our laws should accommodate religious belief.

In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – RFRA. The purpose of the statute was to promote maximum accommodation to religion when the government adopted broad policies that could impinge on religious practice.

At the time, RFRA was not controversial. It was introduced by Chuck Schumer with 170 cosponsors in the House, and was introduced by Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch with 59 additional cosponsors in the Senate. It passed by voice vote in the House and by a vote of 97-3 in the Senate.

Recently, as the process of secularization has accelerated, RFRA has come under assault, and the idea of religious accommodation has fallen out of favor.

Because this Administration firmly supports accommodation of religion, the battleground has shifted to the states. Some state governments are now attempting to compel religious individuals and entities to subscribe to practices, or to espouse viewpoints, that are incompatible with their religion.

Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools. To me, this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty.

For anyone who has a religious faith, by far the most important part of exercising that faith is the teaching of that religion to our children. The passing on of the faith. There is no greater gift we can give our children and no greater expression of love.

For the government to interfere in that process is a monstrous invasion of religious liberty.

Yet here is where the battle is being joined, and I see the secularists are attacking on three fronts.

The first front relates to the content of public school curriculum. Many states are adopting curriculum that is incompatible with traditional religious principles according to which parents are attempting to raise their children. They often do so without any opt out for religious families.

Thus, for example, New Jersey recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. Similar laws have been passed in California and Illinois. And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

Indeed, in some cases, the schools may not even warn parents about lessons they plan to teach on controversial subjects relating to sexual behavior and relationships.

This puts parents who dissent from the secular orthodoxy to a difficult choice: Try to scrape together the money for private school or home schooling, or allow their children to be inculcated with messages that they fundamentally reject.

A second axis of attack in the realm of education are state policies designed to starve religious schools of generally-available funds and encouraging students to choose secular options.  Montana, for example, created a program that provided tax credits to those who donated to a scholarship program that underprivileged students could use to attend private school.  The point of the program was to provide greater parental and student choice in education and to provide better educations to needy youth.

But Montana expressly excluded religiously-affiliated private schools from the program.  And when that exclusion was challenged in court by parents who wanted to use the scholarships to attend a nondenominational Christian school, the Montana Supreme Court required the state to eliminate the program rather than allow parents to use scholarships for religious schools.

It justified this action by pointing to a provision in Montana’s State Constitution commonly referred to as a “Blaine Amendment.”  Blaine Amendments were passed at a time of rampant anti-Catholic animus in this country, and typically disqualify religious institutions from receiving any direct or indirect payments from a state’s funds.

The case is now in the Supreme Court, and we filed a brief explaining why Montana’s Blaine Amendment violates the First Amendment.

A third kind of assault on religious freedom in education have been recent efforts to use state laws to force religious schools to adhere to secular orthodoxy. For example, right here in Indiana, a teacher sued the Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis for directing the Catholic schools within his diocese that they could not employ teachers in same-sex marriages because the example of those same-sex marriages would undermine the schools’ teaching on the Catholic view of marriage and complementarity between the sexes.

This lawsuit clearly infringes the First Amendment rights of the Archdiocese by interfering both with its expressive association and with its church autonomy. The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the state court making these points, and we hope that the state court will soon dismiss the case.

Taken together, these cases paint a disturbing picture. We see the State requiring local public schools to insert themselves into contentious social debates, without regard for the religious views of their students or parents. In effect, these states are requiring local communities to make their public schools inhospitable to families with traditional religious values; those families are implicitly told that they should conform or leave.

At the same time, pressure is placed on religious schools to abandon their religious convictions. Simply because of their religious character, they are starved of funds – students who would otherwise choose to attend them are told they may only receive scholarships if they turn their sights elsewhere.

Simultaneously, they are threatened in tort and, eventually, will undoubtedly be threatened with denial of accreditation if they adhere to their religious character.  If these measures are successful, those with religious convictions will become still more marginalized.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no hope for moral renewal in our country.

But we cannot sit back and just hope the pendulum is going to swing back toward sanity.

As Catholics, we are committed to the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great.

And we know that the first thing we have to do to promote renewal is to ensure that we are putting our principles into practice in our own personal private lives.

We understand that only by transforming ourselves can we transform the world beyond ourselves.

This is tough work. It is hard to resist the constant seductions of our contemporary society. This is where we need grace, prayer, and the help of our church.

Beyond this, we must place greater emphasis on the moral education of our children.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the faculties to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

The times are hostile to this. Public agencies, including public schools, are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism.

If ever there was a need for a resurgence of Catholic education – and more generally religiously-affiliated schools – it is today.

I think we should do all we can to promote and support authentic Catholic education at all levels.

Finally, as lawyers, we should be particularly active in the struggle that is being waged against religion on the legal plane.

We must be vigilant to resist efforts by the forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon the free exercise of our faith.

I can assure you that, as long as I am Attorney General, the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of our liberties: the freedom to live according to our faith.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today. And God bless you and Notre Dame.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-law-school-and-de-nicola-center-ethics

 

William Barr’s right about left’s designs on religious freedom

– The Washington Times – Thursday, October 17, 2019

As the Caribbean saying goes, “I chucked a rock in the pen and a pig squealed.”

This explains all the frenzied squealing and indignant grunting we heard in response to the speech Attorney General William Barr gave last week to law students at the University of Notre Dame about the increasing hostility toward religious liberty in America.

Mr. Barr raised alarm over “the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today.”

For anyone thinking this is some random force or natural course of history, he jolted a harsh warning.

“This is not decay. It is organized destruction,” he said.

“Secularists and their allies among the ‘progressives’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Anyone who missed the speech should find it and watch it. Anyone with a child in school should print out the speech and send it to him or her — or any of the other 16 genders schools are offering for students these days.

The smorgasbord of gender options inspires snorts of laughter among serious people, vexes anyone who believes in actual science and causes others to scoff and walk away.

But the infidels and infantiles who are running higher education today must be confronted with more than just laughter and dismissal. They are, after all, the ones destroying America by poisoning the minds of children. That is why the attorney general’s speech at Notre Dame is so important.

It is also why so many boars in the media took such offense to the speech and began squealing like a herd of mad swine racing for the lake.

One magazine cried that Mr. Barr is “neck deep in extremist Catholic institutions.”

For defending religious liberty?

Oh my. They make precisely William Barr’s point for him.

A major newspaper opined: “God is now Trump’s co-conspirator.” It was not meant as a compliment, again proving Mr. Barr’s point.

“Is this Barr’s cry for help?” pondered another major newspaper.

All the squealing proved not only Mr. Barr’s point about the rabid intolerance of religious liberty, but also that so many of the “intellectuals” in charge of American magazines and newspapers have already been poisoned by the nonsense and dishonesty dispensed by higher education these days.

These people are not only anti-religion, but they also are anti-science, anti-history and anti-liberty. Alexander Hamilton would weep if he knew the power these people now hold in his beloved republic.

Mr. Hamilton also would have applauded Mr. Barr’s speech. He and all the Founders would have recognized the speech as a flawless continuation of the endless debates they had about the nature of man, liberty and religion.

Picking up on the Founders’ discussion of man’s capacity for both “great good” and “great evil,” Mr. Barr said the “coercive power of government” cannot alone maintain a civil society. There must be other — more free and voluntary — guides of citizens’ behavior.

The notion of self-governance, he said, has dual meaning.

“It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

Particularly alarming to Mr. Barr is the lust with which secular zealots go after personal, private religion.

“Militant secularists today do not have a ‘live and let live’ spirit,” he said. “They are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.”

It is that very lust that leads political monsters to create untamable leviathans like Obamacare, which forces the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their most precious religious convictions.

Is it any surprise, then, to see citizens turn on one another with the same evil lust?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/17/william-barrs-religious-hostility-speech-hits-sque/

 

 

Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion

The attorney general gives a speech on secularism, and the left goes bananas.

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists

Opinion: At Notre Dame, Bill Barr Takes on the Secularists
Main Street: During a speech at Notre Dame law school on October 11, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr explained how secularists are assaulting religious freedom in an effort to break down traditional moral values and instead impose their own orthodoxy. Image: Robert Franklin/Associated Press

For Notre Dame fans, this football weekend was a twofer. Not only did the Irish beat a longtime rival, the University of Southern California, on Saturday, the campus was treated to a sight it had never before seen: the attorney general of the United States, at a pregame tailgater, serenading faculty, students and fans with his bagpipes.

Turns out that was William Barr’s second performance on campus. The first came at the law school Friday, when he delivered a bracing speech on the role of religion in the American story of freedom.

The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.”

Political ethicist and professional attention seeker Richard Painter tapped out a series of even more furious tweets, here calling the speech the latest episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” there suggesting Mr. Barr isn’t much of a Christian, here again saying Mr. Barr sounded like “vintage Goebbels.” Over at MSNBC, meanwhile, retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told Joy Reid the attorney general is “Torquemada in a business suit,” a reference to the Spanish Inquisition’s grand inquisitor.

This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”

“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage—and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.”

Vincent Phillip Muñoz, a Notre Dame professor, notes there was nothing particularly Catholic about this speech. Like Washington in his Farewell Address, he says, Mr. Barr focused on the irreplaceable role of religion in cultivating the morality citizens need to be capable of self-government.

“The speech wasn’t first and foremost about religious freedom,” says Mr. Muñoz. “It was about the human and social consequences of the new secular morality, and what happens when the state views its citizens not only in purely material terms, but as subjects who can’t really govern themselves.”

Even those who strongly disagree with Mr. Barr ought to have found this an invitation for thoughtful and vigorous debate. But rather than engage, some imply there is something unseemly about an attorney general’s even speaking at a Catholic university. Given the hostility that holding such a conversation engenders on campuses today, perhaps America can count itself fortunate it still has a university where this can happen.

Carter Snead, the law professor who invited Mr. Barr, puts it this way: “At Notre Dame, we are not afraid to explore the hard questions about God, religion and America together in friendship, especially on those matters about which people strongly disagree.”

Freedom of religion

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People praying to Lord Brahma, a Hindu deity, at the Erawan shrineBangkok

Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs.[1]

Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right.[2][3] In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths. Freedom of belief is different. It allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not necessarily allow the right to practice the religion or belief openly and outwardly in a public manner.

History

Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wisdom protects the believers of all religions (Daniel Chodowiecki, 1791)

Historically, freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has also often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, and political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis, literally “protected individuals” professing an officially tolerated non-Muslim religion.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

In Antiquity, a syncretic point of view often allowed communities of traders to operate under their own customs. When street mobs of separate quarters clashed in a Hellenistic or Romancity, the issue was generally perceived to be an infringement of community rights.

Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 BC, and initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout the empire, documenting this on the Cyrus Cylinder.[4][5]

Some of the historical exceptions have been in regions where one of the revealed religions has been in a position of power: Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Others have been where the established order has felt threatened, as shown in the trial of Socrates in 399 BC or where the ruler has been deified, as in Rome, and refusal to offer token sacrifice was similar to refusing to take an oath of allegiance. This was the core for resentment and the persecution of early Christian communities.

Freedom of religious worship was established in the Buddhist Maurya Empire of ancient India by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC, which was encapsulated in the Edicts of Ashoka.

Greek-Jewish clashes at Cyrene in 73 AD and 117 AD and in Alexandria in 115 AD provide examples of cosmopolitan cities as scenes of tumult.

The Romans tolerated most religions, including Judaism and encouraged local subjects to continue worshipping their own gods. They did not however, tolerate Christianity until it was legalised by the Roman emperor Galerius in 311. The Edict of Milan guaranteed freedom of religion in the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which outlawed all religions except Christianity.

Muslim world

Following a period of fighting lasting around a hundred years before 620 AD which mainly involved Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Medina (then known as Yathrib), religious freedom for Muslims, Jews and pagans was declared by Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina. The Islamic Caliphate later guaranteed religious freedom under the conditions that non-Muslim communities accept dhimmi status and their adult males pay the punitive jizya tax instead of the zakat paid by Muslim citizens.[6] Though Dhimmis were not given the same political rights as Muslims, they nevertheless did enjoy equality under the laws of property, contract, and obligation.[7][8][9]

Religious pluralism existed in classical Islamic ethics and Sharia, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early CaliphateAl-AndalusIndian subcontinent, and the Ottoman Millet system.[10][11] In medieval Islamic societies, the qadi (Islamic judges) usually could not interfere in the matters of non-Muslims unless the parties voluntarily choose to be judged according to Islamic law, thus the dhimmi communities living in Islamic states usually had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who would have their own Halakha courts.[12]

Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order.[13] Non-Muslims were allowed to engage in religious practices that were usually forbidden by Islamic law, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork, as well as religious practices which Muslims found repugnant, such as the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous “self-marriage” where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter. According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292–1350), non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices even if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion.[14]

Despite Dhimmis enjoying special statuses under the Caliphates, they were not considered equals, and sporadic persecutions of non-Muslim groups did occur in the history of the Caliphates.[15][16][17]

India

Ancient Jews fleeing from persecution in their homeland 2,500 years ago settled in India and never faced anti-Semitism.[18] Freedom of religion edicts have been found written during Ashoka the Great‘s reign in the 3rd century BC. Freedom to practise, preach and propagate any religion is a constitutional right in Modern India. Most major religious festivals of the main communities are included in the list of national holidays.

Although India is an 80% Hindu country, India is a secular state without any state religions.

Many scholars and intellectuals believe that India’s predominant religion, Hinduism, has long been a most tolerant religion.[19] Rajni Kothari, founder of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies has written, “[India] is a country built on the foundations of a civilisation that is fundamentally non-religious.”[20]

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, said that religious tolerance of ‘Aryabhoomi,’ a reference to India found in the Mahabharata, has been in existence in this country from thousands of years. “Not only Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism which are the native religions but also Christianity and Islam have flourished here. Religious tolerance is inherent in Indian tradition,” the Dalai Lama said.[21]

Freedom of religion in the Indian subcontinent is exemplified by the reign of King Piyadasi (304–232 BC) (Ashoka). One of King Ashoka’s main concerns was to reform governmental institutes and exercise moral principles in his attempt to create a just and humane society. Later he promoted the principles of Buddhism, and the creation of a just, understanding and fair society was held as an important principle for many ancient rulers of this time in the East.

The importance of freedom of worship in India was encapsulated in an inscription of Ashoka:

King Piyadasi (Ashok) dear to the Gods, honours all sects, the ascetics (hermits) or those who dwell at home, he honours them with charity and in other ways. But the King, dear to the Gods, attributes less importance to this charity and these honours than to the vow of seeing the reign of virtues, which constitutes the essential part of them. For all these virtues there is a common source, modesty of speech. That is to say, one must not exalt one’s creed discrediting all others, nor must one degrade these others without legitimate reasons. One must, on the contrary, render to other creeds the honour befitting them.

On the main Asian continent, the Mongols were tolerant of religions. People could worship as they wished freely and openly.

After the arrival of Europeans, Christians in their zeal to convert local as per belief in conversion as service of God, have also been seen to fall into frivolous methods since their arrival, though by and large there are hardly any reports of law and order disturbance from mobs with Christian beliefs, except perhaps in the north eastern region of India.[22]

Freedom of religion in contemporary India is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25 of the nation’s constitution. Accordingly, every citizen of India has a right to profess, practice and propagate their religions peacefully.[23] Vishwa Hindu Parishad counters this argument by saying that evangelical Christians are forcefully (or through money) converting rural, illiterate populations and they are only trying to stop this.

In September 2010, the Indian state of Kerala‘s State Election Commissioner announced that “Religious heads cannot issue calls to vote for members of a particular community or to defeat the nonbelievers”.[24] The Catholic Church comprising Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites used to give clear directions to the faithful on exercising their franchise during elections through pastoral letters issued by bishops or council of bishops. The pastoral letter issued by Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on the eve of the poll urged the faithful to shun atheists.[24]

Even today, most Indians celebrate all religious festivals with equal enthusiasm and respect. Hindu festivals like Deepavali and Holi, Muslim festivals like Eid al-FitrEid-Ul-AdhaMuharram, Christian festivals like Christmas and other festivals like Buddha PurnimaMahavir Jayanti, Gur Purab etc. are celebrated and enjoyed by all Indians.

Europe

Religious intolerance

Nineteenth century allegorical statue on the Congress Column in Belgium depicting religious freedom

Most Roman Catholic kingdoms kept a tight rein on religious expression throughout the Middle Ages. Jews were alternately tolerated and persecuted, the most notable examples of the latter being the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492. Some of those who remained and converted were tried as heretics in the Inquisition for allegedly practicing Judaism in secret. Despite the persecution of Jews, they were the most tolerated non-Catholic faith in Europe.

However, the latter was in part a reaction to the growing movement that became the Reformation. As early as 1380, John Wycliffe in England denied transubstantiation and began his translation of the Bible into English. He was condemned in a Papal Bull in 1410, and all his books were burned.

In 1414, Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher of reformation, was given a safe conduct by the Holy Roman Emperor to attend the Council of Constance. Not entirely trusting in his safety, he made his will before he left. His forebodings proved accurate, and he was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. The Council also decreed that Wycliffe’s remains be disinterred and cast out. This decree was not carried out until 1429.

After the fall of the city of Granada, Spain, in 1492, the Muslim population was promised religious freedom by the Treaty of Granada, but that promise was short-lived. In 1501, Granada’s Muslims were given an ultimatum to either convert to Christianity or to emigrate. The majority converted, but only superficially, continuing to dress and speak as they had before and to secretly practice Islam. The Moriscos (converts to Christianity) were ultimately expelled from Spain between 1609 (Castile) and 1614 (rest of Spain), by Philip III.

Martin Luther published his famous 95 Theses in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. His major aim was theological, summed up in the three basic dogmas of Protestantism:

  • The Bible only is infallible.
  • Every Christian can interpret it.
  • Human sins are so wrongful that no deed or merit, only God’s grace, can lead to salvation.

In consequence, Luther hoped to stop the sale of indulgences and to reform the Church from within. In 1521, he was given the chance to recant at the Diet of Worms before Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. After he refused to recant, he was declared heretic. Partly for his own protection, he was sequestered on the Wartburg in the possessions of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, where he translated the New Testament into German. He was excommunicated by Papal Bull in 1521.

However, the movement continued to gain ground in his absence and spread to Switzerland. Huldrych Zwingli preached reform in Zürich from 1520 to 1523. He opposed the sale of indulgences, celibacy, pilgrimages, pictures, statues, relics, altars, and organs. This culminated in outright war between the Swiss cantons that accepted Protestantism and the Catholics. The Catholics were victorious, and Zwingli was killed in battle in 1531. The Catholic cantons were magnanimous in victory.[citation needed]

The defiance of Papal authority proved contagious, and in 1533, when Henry VIII of England was excommunicated for his divorce and remarriage to Anne Boleyn, he promptly established a state church with bishops appointed by the crown. This was not without internal opposition, and Thomas More, who had been his Lord Chancellor, was executed in 1535 for opposition to Henry.

In 1535, the Swiss canton of Geneva became Protestant. In 1536, the Bernese imposed the reformation on the canton of Vaud by conquest. They sacked the cathedral in Lausanne and destroyed all its art and statuary. John Calvin, who had been active in Geneva was expelled in 1538 in a power struggle, but he was invited back in 1540.

A U.S. postage stamp commemorating religious freedom and the Flushing Remonstrance

The same kind of seesaw back and forth between Protestantism and Catholicism was evident in England when Mary I of England returned that country briefly to the Catholic fold in 1553 and persecuted Protestants. However, her half-sister, Elizabeth I of England was to restore the Church of England in 1558, this time permanently, and began to persecute Catholics again. The King James Bible commissioned by King James I of England and published in 1611 proved a landmark for Protestant worship, with official Catholic forms of worship being banned.

In France, although peace was made between Protestants and Catholics at the Treaty of Saint Germain in 1570, persecution continued, most notably in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day on 24 August 1572, in which thousands of Protestants throughout France were killed. A few years before, at the “Michelade” of Nîmes in 1567, Protestants had massacred the local Catholic clergy.

Early steps and attempts in the way of tolerance

The cross of the war memorial and a menorah coexist in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

The Norman Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II was characterized by its multi-ethnic nature and religious tolerance. Normans, Jews, Muslim Arabs, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards, and native Sicilians lived in harmony.[25][26][failed verification] Rather than exterminate the Muslims of Sicily, Roger II’s grandson Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1215–1250) allowed them to settle on the mainland and build mosques. Not least, he enlisted them in his – Christian – army and even into his personal bodyguards.[27][need quotation to verify][28][need quotation to verify]

Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) enjoyed religious freedom between 1436 and 1520, and became one of the most liberal countries of the Christian world during that period of time. The so-called Basel Compacts of 1436 declared the freedom of religion and peace between Catholics and Utraquists. In 1609 Emperor Rudolf II granted Bohemia greater religious liberty with his Letter of Majesty. The privileged position of the Catholic Church in the Czech kingdom was firmly established after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. Gradually freedom of religion in Bohemian lands came to an end and Protestants fled or were expelled from the country. A devout Catholic, Emperor Ferdinand II forcibly converted Austrian and Bohemian Protestants.[citation needed]

In the meantime, in Germany Philip Melanchthon drafted the Augsburg Confession as a common confession for the Lutherans and the free territories. It was presented to Charles V in 1530.

In the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V agreed to tolerate Lutheranism in 1555 at the Peace of Augsburg. Each state was to take the religion of its prince, but within those states, there was not necessarily religious tolerance. Citizens of other faiths could relocate to a more hospitable environment.

In France, from the 1550s, many attempts to reconcile Catholics and Protestants and to establish tolerance failed because the State was too weak to enforce them. It took the victory of prince Henry IV of France, who had converted into Protestantism, and his accession to the throne, to impose religious tolerance formalized in the Edict of Nantes in 1598. It would remain in force for over 80 years until its revocation in 1685 by Louis XIV of France. Intolerance remained the norm until Louis XVI, who signed the Edict of Versailles (1787), then the constitutional text of 24 December 1789, granting civilian rights to Protestants. The French Revolution then abolished state religion and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society.

Early laws and legal guarantees for religious freedom

Principality of Transylvania

In 1558, the Transylvanian Diet’s Edict of Torda declared free practice of both Catholicism and Lutheranism. Calvinism, however, was prohibited. Calvinism was included among the accepted religions in 1564. Ten years after the first law, in 1568, the same Diet, under the chairmanship of King of Hungary, and Prince of Transylvania John Sigismund Zápolya (John II.),[29] following the teaching of Ferenc Dávid,[30] the founder of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania,[31] extended the freedom to all religions, declaring that “It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expelling for his religion“. However, it was more than a religious tolerance; it declared the equality of the religions, prohibiting all kinds of acts from authorities or from simple people, which could harm other groups or people because of their religious beliefs. The emergence in social hierarchy wasn’t dependent on the religion of the person thus Transylvania had also Catholic and Protestant monarchs, who all respected the Edict of Torda. The lack of state religion was unique for centuries in Europe. Therefore, the Edict of Torda is considered as the first legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe.[32]

Declaration, by Ferenc Dávid of Religious and Conscience Freedom in the Diet of Torda in 1568, painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch

Act of Religious Tolerance and Freedom of Conscience: His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearings is by the word of God.

— Diet at Torda, 1568 : King John Sigismund[33]

Four religions (CatholicismLutheranismCalvinismUnitarianism) were named as accepted religions (religo recepta), having their representatives in the Transylvanian Diet, while the other religions, like the OrthodoxsSabbatariansand Anabaptists were tolerated churches (religio tolerata), which meant that they had no power in the law making and no veto rights in the Diet, but they were not persecuted in any way. Thanks to the Edict of Torda, from the last decades of the 16th Century Transylvania was the only place in Europe, where so many religions could live together in harmony and without persecution.[34]

This religious freedom ended however for some of the religions of Transylvania in 1638. After this year the Sabbatarians begun to be persecuted, and forced to convert to one of the accepted Christian religions of Transylvania.[35]

Habsburg rule in Transylvania

Also the Unitarians (despite of being one of the “accepted religions”) started to be put under an ever-growing pressure, which culminated after the Habsburg conquest of Transylvania (1691),[36] Also after the Habsburg occupation, the new Austrian masters forced in the middle of the 18th century the Hutterite Anabaptists (who found a safe heaven in 1621 in Transylvania, after the persecution to which they were subjected in the Austrian provinces and Moravia) to convert to Catholicism or to migrate in another country, which finally the Anabaptists did, leaving Transylvania and Hungary for Wallachia, than from there to Russia, and finally in the United States.[37]

Netherlands

In the Union of Utrecht (20 January 1579), personal freedom of religion was declared in the struggle between the Northern Netherlands and Spain. The Union of Utrecht was an important step in the establishment of the Dutch Republic (from 1581 to 1795). Under Calvinist leadership, the Netherlands became the most tolerant country in Europe. It granted asylum to persecuted religious minorities, such as the Huguenots, the Dissenters, and the Jews who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.[38] The establishment of a Jewish community in the Netherlands and New Amsterdam (present-day New York) during the Dutch Republic is an example of religious freedom. When New Amsterdam surrendered to the English in 1664, freedom of religion was guaranteed in the Articles of Capitulation. It benefitted also the Jews who had landed on Manhattan Island in 1654, fleeing Portuguese persecution in Brazil. During the 18th century, other Jewish communities were established at Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and Richmond.[39]

Intolerance of dissident forms of Protestantism also continued, as evidenced by the exodus of the Pilgrims, who sought refuge, first in the Netherlands, and ultimately in America, founding Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620. William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, was involved in a case which had a profound effect upon future American laws and those of England. In a classic case of jury nullification, the jury refused to convict William Penn of preaching a Quaker sermon, which was illegal. Even though the jury was imprisoned for their acquittal, they stood by their decision and helped establish the freedom of religion.[citation needed]

Poland

Original act of the Warsaw Confederation1573. The beginning of religious freedom in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz was issued by the Duke of Greater Poland Boleslaus the Pious on 8 September 1264 in Kalisz. The statute served as the basis for the legal position of Jews in Poland and led to the creation of the Yiddish-speaking autonomous Jewish nation until 1795. The statute granted exclusive jurisdiction of Jewish courts over Jewish matters and established a separate tribunal for matters involving Christians and Jews. Additionally, it guaranteed personal liberties and safety for Jews including freedom of religion, travel, and trade. The statute was ratified by subsequent Polish Kings: Casimir III of Polandin 1334, Casimir IV of Poland in 1453 and Sigismund I of Poland in 1539. Poland freed Jews from direct royal authority, opening up enormous administrative and economic opportunities to them.[40]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The right to worship freely was a basic right given to all inhabitants of the future Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth throughout the 15th and early 16th century, however, complete freedom of religion was officially recognized in 1573 during the Warsaw Confederation. Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth kept religious freedom laws during an era when religious persecution was an everyday occurrence in the rest of Europe.[41]

United States

Most of the early colonies were generally not tolerant of dissident forms of worship, with Maryland being one of the exceptions. For example, Roger Williams found it necessary to found a new colony in Rhode Island to escape persecution in the theocratically dominated colony of Massachusetts. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the most active of the New England persecutors of Quakers, and the persecuting spirit was shared by Plymouth Colony and the colonies along the Connecticut river.[42] In 1660, one of the most notable victims of the religious intolerance was English Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged in Boston, Massachusetts for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony.[42] As one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs, the hanging of Dyer on the Boston gallows marked the beginning of the end of the Puritan theocracy and New England independence from English rule, and in 1661 King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism.[43] Anti-Catholic sentiment appeared in New England with the first Pilgrim and Puritan settlers.[44] In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction.[45] Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried a death penalty.[46] The Pilgrims of New England held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas.[47] Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659.[48] The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by an English appointed governor, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became common in the Boston region.[49]

Freedom of religion was first applied as a principle of government in the founding of the colony of Maryland, founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, in 1634.[50] Fifteen years later (1649), the Maryland Toleration Act, drafted by Lord Baltimore, provided: “No person or persons…shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof.” The Act allowed freedom of worship for all Trinitarian Christians in Maryland, but sentenced to death anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus. The Maryland Toleration Act was repealed during the Cromwellian Era with the assistance of Protestant assemblymen and a new law barring Catholics from openly practicing their religion was passed.[51] In 1657, the Catholic Lord Baltimore regained control after making a deal with the colony’s Protestants, and in 1658 the Act was again passed by the colonial assembly. This time, it would last more than thirty years, until 1692[52] when, after Maryland’s Protestant Revolution of 1689, freedom of religion was again rescinded.[50][53] In addition, in 1704, an Act was passed “to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province”, preventing Catholics from holding political office.[53] Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the American Revolution, when Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (1682) – founded by Protestants Roger Williams, Thomas Hooker, and William Penn, respectively – combined the democratic form of government which had been developed by the Puritans and the Separatist Congregationalists in Massachusetts with religious freedom.[54][55][56][57] These colonies became sanctuaries for persecuted religious minorities. Catholics and later on Jews also had full citizenship and free exercise of their religions.[58][59][60] Williams, Hooker, Penn, and their friends were firmly convinced that freedom of conscience was the will of God. Williams gave the most profound argument: As faith is the free work of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced on a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and state has to be kept.[61] Pennsylvania was the only colony that retained unlimited religious freedom until the foundation of the United States in 1776. It was the inseparable connection between democracy, religious freedom, and the other forms of freedom which became the political and legal basis of the new nation. In particular, Baptists and Presbyterians demanded the disestablishment of state churches – Anglican and Congregationalist – and the protection of religious freedom.[62]

Reiterating Maryland’s and the other colonies’ earlier colonial legislation, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:

[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Those sentiments also found expression in the First Amendment of the national constitution, part of the United States’ Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The United States formally considers religious freedom in its foreign relations. The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which investigates the records of over 200 other nations with respect to religious freedom, and makes recommendations to submit nations with egregious records to ongoing scrutiny and possible economic sanctions. Many human rights organizations have urged the United States to be still more vigorous in imposing sanctions on countries that do not permit or tolerate religious freedom.

Canada

Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Canadian law goes further, requiring that private citizens and companies provide reasonable accommodation to those, for example, with strong religious beliefs. The Canadian Human Rights Act allows an exception to reasonable accommodation with respect to religious dress, such as a Sikh turban, when there is a bona fide occupational requirement, such as a workplace requiring a hard hat.[63] In 2017 the Santo Daime Church Céu do Montréal received religious exemption to use Ayahuasca as a sacrament in their rituals.[64]

International

On 25 November 1981, the United Nations General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. This declaration recognizes freedom of religion as a fundamental human right in accordance with several other instruments of international law.[65]

However, the most substantial binding legal instruments that guarantee the right to freedom of religion that was passed by the international community is the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states in its Article 14: “States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. – States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child. – Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”[66]

Contemporary debates

Theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs

In 1993, the UN’s human rights committee declared that article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.”[67] The committee further stated that “the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views.” Signatories to the convention are barred from “the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers” to recant their beliefs or convert. Despite this, minority religions still are persecuted in many parts of the world.[68][69]

Secular liberalism

A man posing for a print

Adam Smith argued in favour of freedom of religion.

The French philosopher Voltaire noted in his book on English society, Letters on the English, that freedom of religion in a diverse society was deeply important to maintaining peace in that country. That it was also important in understanding why England at that time was more prosperous in comparison to the country’s less religiously tolerant European neighbours.

If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.[70]

Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations (using an argument first put forward by his friend and contemporary David Hume), states that in the long run it is in the best interests of society as a whole and the civil magistrate(government) in particular to allow people to freely choose their own religion, as it helps prevent civil unrest and reduces intolerance. So long as there are enough different religions and/or religious sects operating freely in a society then they are all compelled to moderate their more controversial and violent teachings, so as to be more appealing to more people and so have an easier time attracting new converts. It is this free competition amongst religious sects for converts that ensures stability and tranquillity in the long run.

Smith also points out that laws that prevent religious freedom and seek to preserve the power and belief in a particular religion will, in the long run, only serve to weaken and corrupt that religion, as its leaders and preachers become complacent, disconnected and unpractised in their ability to seek and win over new converts:[71]

The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect tolerated in the society, or where the whole of a large society is divided into two or three great sects; the teachers of each acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent, where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or, perhaps, into as many thousand small sects, of which no one could be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquillity. The teachers of each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides with more adversaries than friends, would be obliged to learn that candour and moderation which are so seldom to be found among the teachers of those great sects.[72]

Hinduism

Hinduism is one of the more broad-minded religions when it comes to religious freedom.[73] It respects the right of everyone to reach God in their own way. Hindus believe in different ways to preach attainment of God and religion as a philosophy and hence respect all religions as equal. One of the famous Hindu sayings about religion is: “Truth is one; sages call it by different names.”[73]

Judaism

Women detained at Western Wall for wearing prayer shawls; photo from Women of the Wall

Judaism includes multiple streams, such as Orthodox, Reform JudaismConservative JudaismReconstructionist JudaismJewish Renewal and Humanistic Judaism. However, Judaism also exists in many forms as a civilization, possessing characteristics known as peoplehood, rather than strictly as a religion.[74] In the Torah, Jews are forbidden to practice idolatry and are commanded to root out pagan and idolatrous practices within their midst, including killing idolaters who sacrifice children to their gods, or engage in immoral activities. However, these laws are not adhered to anymore as Jews have usually lived among a multi-religious community.

After the conquest of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judea by the Roman Empire, a Jewish state did not exist until 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel. For over 1500 years Jewish people lived under pagan, Christian, Muslim, etc. rule. As such Jewish people in some of these states faced persecution. From the pogroms in Europe during the Middle Ages to the establishment of segregated Jewish ghettos during World War II. In the Middle East, Jews were categorised as dhimmi, non- Muslims permitted to live within a Muslim state. Even though given rights within a Muslim state, a dhimmi is still not equal to a Muslim within Muslim society, the same way non-Jewish Israeli citizens are not equal with Jewish citizens in modern-day Israel.

Possibly because of this history of long term persecution, Jews in modernity have been among the most active proponents of religious freedom in the US and abroad and have founded and supported anti-hate institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. Jews are very active in supporting Muslim and other religious groups in the US against discrimination and hate crimes and most Jewish congregations throughout the US and many individual Jews participate in interfaith community projects and programs.

The State of Israel was established for the Jewish diaspora after World War II. While the Israel Declaration of Independence stresses religious freedom as a fundamental principle, in practice the current[timeframe?] government, dominated by the ultra-Orthodox segment of the population has instituted legal barriers for those who do not practice Orthodox Judaism as Jews. However, as a nation state, Israel is very open towards other religions and religious practices, including public Muslim call to prayer chants and Christian prayer bells ringing in Jerusalem. Israel has been evaluated in research by the Pew organization as having “high” government restrictions on religion. The government recognizes only Orthodox Judaism in certain matters of personal status, and marriages can only be performed by religious authorities. The government provides the greatest funding to Orthodox Judaism, even though adherents represent a minority of citizens.[75] Jewish women, including Anat Hoffman, have been arrested at the Western Wall for praying and singing while wearing religious garments the Orthodox feel should be reserved for men. Women of the Wall have organized to promote religious freedom at the Wall.[76] In November 2014, a group of 60 non-Orthodox rabbinical students were told they would not be allowed to pray in the Knesset synagogue because it is reserved for Orthodox. Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, said that he had submitted the request on behalf of the students and saw their shock when the request was denied. He noted: “paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.” MK Dov Lipman expressed the concern that many Knesset workers are unfamiliar with non-Orthodox and American practices and would view “an egalitarian service in the synagogue as an affront.”[77] The non-Orthodox forms of Jewish practice function independently in Israel, except for these issues of praying at the Western Wall.

Christianity

Part of the Oscar Straus Memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring the right to worship

According to the Catholic Church in the Vatican II document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, “the human person has a right to religious freedom”, which is described as “immunity from coercion in civil society”.[78] This principle of religious freedom “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion.”[78] In addition, this right “is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.”[78]

Prior to this, Pope Pius IX had written a document called the Syllabus of ErrorsThe Syllabus was made up of phrases and paraphrases from earlier papal documents, along with index references to them, and presented as a list of “condemned propositions”. It does not explain why each particular proposition is wrong, but it cites earlier documents to which the reader can refer for the Pope’s reasons for saying each proposition is false. Among the statements included in the Syllabus are: “[It is an error to say that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true” (15); “[It is an error to say that] In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship”; “[It is an error to say that] Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship”.[79]

Some Orthodox Christians, especially those living in democratic countries, support religious freedom for all, as evidenced by the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Many Protestant Christian churches, including some BaptistsChurches of ChristSeventh-day Adventist Church and main line churches have a commitment to religious freedoms. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also affirms religious freedom.[80]

However others, such as African scholar Makau Mutua, have argued that Christian insistence on the propagation of their faith to native cultures as an element of religious freedom has resulted in a corresponding denial of religious freedom to native traditions and led to their destruction. As he states in the book produced by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, “Imperial religions have necessarily violated individual conscience and the communal expressions of Africans and their communities by subverting African religions.”[81][82]

In their book Breaking IndiaRajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan discussed the “US Church” funding activities in India, such as the popularly advertised campaigns to “save” poor children by feeding, clothing, and educating them, with the book arguing that the funds collected were being used not so much for the purposes indicated to sponsors, but for indoctrination and conversion activities. They suggest that India is the prime target of a huge enterprise – a “network” of organizations, individuals, and churches – that, they argue, seem intensely devoted to the task of creating a separatist identity, history, and even religion for the vulnerable sections of India. They suggest that this nexus of players includes not only church groups, government bodies, and related organizations, but also private think tanks and academics.[83]

Joel Spring has written about the Christianization of the Roman Empire:

Christianity added new impetus to the expansion of empire. Increasing the arrogance of the imperial project, Christians insisted that the Gospels and the Church were the only valid sources of religious beliefs. Imperialists could claim that they were both civilizing the world and spreading the true religion. By the 5th century, Christianity was thought of as co-extensive with the Imperium romanum. This meant that to be human, as opposed to being a natural slave, was to be “civilized” and Christian. Historian Anthony Pagden argues, “just as the civitas; had now become coterminous with Christianity, so to be human – to be, that is, one who was ‘civil’, and who was able to interpret correctly the law of nature – one had now also to be Christian.” After the fifteenth century, most Western colonialists rationalized the spread of empire with the belief that they were saving a barbaric and pagan world by spreading Christian civilization.[84]

Islam

Conversion to Islam is simple, but Muslims are forbidden to convert from Islam to another religion. Certain Muslim-majority countries are known for their restrictions on religious freedom, highly favoring Muslim citizens over non-Muslim citizens. Other countries[who?] having the same restrictive laws tend to be more liberal when imposing them. Even other Muslim-majority countries are secular and thus do not regulate religious belief.[85][failed verification]

Islamic theologians[who?] quote the Qur’an (“There is no compulsion in religion”[2:256] and “Say: O you who reject faith, I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship…To you be your religion, and to me be mine”[109:1–6], i.e., Sura Al-Kafirun) to show scriptural support for religious freedom.

Quran 2:190–194, referring to the war against Pagans during the Battle of Badr in Medina, indicates that Muslims are only allowed to fight against those who intend to harm them (right of self-defense) and that if their enemies surrender, they must also stop because God does not like those who transgress limits.

In Bukhari:V9 N316, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah narrated that a Bedouin accepted Islam and then when he got a fever he demanded that Muhammad to cancel his pledge (allow him to renounce Islam). Muhammad refused to do so. The Bedouin man repeated his demand once, but Muhammad once again refused. Then, he (the Bedouin) left Medina. Muhammad said, “Madinah is like a pair of bellows (furnace): it expels its impurities and brightens and clear its good.” In this narration, there was no evidence demonstrating that Muhammad ordered the execution of the Bedouin for wanting to renounce Islam.

In addition, Quran 5:3, which is believed to be God’s final revelation to Muhammad, states that Muslims are to fear God and not those who reject Islam, and Quran 53:38–39 states that one is accountable only for one’s own actions. Therefore, it postulates that in Islam, in the matters of practising a religion, it does not relate to a worldly punishment, but rather these actions are accountable to God in the afterlife. Thus, this supports the argument against the execution of apostates in Islam.[86]

However, on the other hand, some Muslims support the practice of executing apostates who leave Islam, as in Bukhari:V4 B52 N260; “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion and separates from the main body of Muslims, kill him.”[87] However, many Muslims believe that this hadith was written in the context of war and therefore Prophet Muhammad stipulated that whichever Muslim rejects his religion, leaves from the main body of Muslims and betrays the Muslims in war should be executed as a punishment for his treachery towards the community of Muslims. So many Muslims believe that this hadith talks about the punishment of Treason.[citation needed]

In Iran, the constitution recognizes four religions whose status is formally protected: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.[88] The constitution, however, also set the groundwork for the institutionalized persecution of Bahá’ís,[89] who have been subjected to arrests, beatings, executions, confiscation and destruction of property, and the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education.[88] There is no freedom of conscience in Iran, as converting from Islam to any other religion is forbidden.

In Egypt, a 16 December 2006 judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt created a clear demarcation between recognized religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – and all other religious beliefs;[90][91] no other religious affiliation is officially admissible.[92]The ruling leaves members of other religious communities, including Bahá’ís, without the ability to obtain the necessary government documents to have rights in their country, essentially denying them of all rights of citizenship.[92] They cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, and passports; they also cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote, among other things.[92] See Egyptian identification card controversy.

Changing religion

Among the most contentious areas of religious freedom is the right of an individual to change or abandon his or her own religion (apostasy), and the right to evangelize individuals seeking to convince others to make such a change.

Other debates have centered around restricting certain kinds of missionary activity by religions. Many Islamic states, and others such as China, severely restrict missionary activities of other religions. Greece, among European countries, has generally looked unfavorably on missionary activities of denominations others than the majority church and proselytizing is constitutionally prohibited.[93]

A different kind of critique of the freedom to propagate religion has come from non-Abrahamic traditions such as the African and Indian. African scholar Makau Mutua criticizes religious evangelism on the ground of cultural annihilation by what he calls “proselytizing universalist faiths” (Chapter 28: Proselytism and Cultural Integrity, p. 652):

…the (human) rights regime incorrectly assumes a level playing field by requiring that African religions compete in the marketplace of ideas. The rights corpus not only forcibly imposes on African religions the obligation to compete – a task for which as nonproselytizing, noncompetitive creeds they are not historically fashioned – but also protects the evangelizing religions in their march towards universalization … it seems inconceivable that the human rights regime would have intended to protect the right of certain religions to destroy others.[94]

Some Indian scholars[95] have similarly argued that the right to propagate religion is not culturally or religiously neutral.

In Sri Lanka, there have been debates regarding a bill on religious freedom that seeks to protect indigenous religious traditions from certain kinds of missionary activities. Debates have also occurred in various states of India regarding similar laws, particularly those that restrict conversions using force, fraud or allurement.

In 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Christian human rights non-governmental organisation which specializes in religious freedom, launched an in-depth report on the human rights abuses faced by individuals who leave Islam for another religion. The report is the product of a year long research project in six different countries. It calls on Muslim nations, the international community, the UN and the international media to resolutely address the serious violations of human rights suffered by apostates.[96]

Apostasy in Islam

Legal opinion on apostasy by the Fatwacommittee at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the highest Islamic institution in the world, concerning the case of a man who converted to Christianity: “Since he left Islam, he will be invited to express his regret. If he does not regret, he will be killed pertaining to rights and obligations of the Islamic law.”

In Islam, apostasy is called “ridda” (“turning back”) and is considered to be a profound insult to God. A person born of Muslim parents that rejects Islam is called a “murtad fitri” (natural apostate), and a person that converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a “murtad milli” (apostate from the community).[97]

In Islamic law (Sharia), the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi’iMaliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi’ascholars.[98]

Ideally, the one performing the execution of an apostate must be an imam.[98] At the same time, all schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that any Muslim can kill an apostate without punishment.[99]

However, while almost all scholars agree about the punishment, many disagree on the allowable time to retract the apostasy. Many scholars push this as far as allowing the apostate until he/she dies, making the death penalty more of a theoretical statement/exercise.[citation needed] S. A. Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur’an.[100]

Secular law

Religious practice may also conflict with secular law, creating debates on religious freedom. For instance, even though polygamy is permitted in Islam, it is prohibited in secular law in many countries. This raises the question of whether prohibiting the practice infringes on the beliefs of certain Muslims. The US and India, both constitutionally secular nations, have taken two different views of this. In India, polygamy is permitted, but only for Muslims, under Muslim Personal Law. In the US, polygamy is prohibited for all. This was a major source of conflict between the early LDS Church and the United States until the Church amended its position on practicing polygamy.

Similar issues have also arisen in the context of the religious use of psychedelic substances by Native American tribes in the United States as well as other Native practices.

In 1955, Chief Justice of California Roger J. Traynor neatly summarized the American position on how freedom of religion cannot imply freedom from law: “Although freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe are absolute, the freedom to act is not.”[101] But with respect to the religious use of animals within secular law and those acts, the US Supreme Court decision in the case of the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah in 1993 upheld the right of Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice, with Justice Anthony Kennedy stating in the decision: “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection” (quoted by Justice Kennedy from the opinion by Justice Burger in Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division 450 U.S. 707 (1981)).[102]

In 2015, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing Same-sex marriage in the United States. When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she became embroiled in the Miller v. Davis lawsuit. Her actions caused attorney and author Roberta Kaplan to state that “Kim Davis is the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate.”[103]

In 1962, the case of Engele v. Vitale went to court over the violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment resulting from a mandatory nondenominational prayer in New York public schools. The Supreme Court ruled in opposition to the state.[104]

In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Abington School District v. Schempp. Edward Schempp sued the school district in Abington over the Pennsylvania law which required students to hear and sometimes read portions of the bible for their daily education. The court ruled in favor of Schempp and the Pennsylvania law was overturned.[105]

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Epperson v. Arkansas. Susan Epperson, a high school teacher in Arkansas sued over a violation of religious freedom. The state had a law banning the teaching of evolution and the school Epperson worked for had provided curriculum which contained evolutionary theory. Epperson had to choose between violating the law or losing her job. The Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Arkansas law because it was unconstitutional.[106]

Children’s rights

The law in Germany provides the term of “religious majority” (Religiöse Mündigkeit) with a minimum age for minors to follow their own religious beliefs even if their parents don’t share those or don’t approve. Children 14 and older have the unrestricted right to enter or exit any religious community. Children 12 and older cannot be compelled to change to a different belief. Children 10 and older have to be heard before their parents change their religious upbringing to a different belief.[107] There are similar laws in Austria[108] and in Switzerland.[109]

International Religious Freedom Day

27 October is International Religious Freedom Day, in commemoration of the execution of the Boston martyrs, a group of Quakers executed by the Puritans on Boston Common for their religious beliefs under the legislature of the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659–1661.[110] The US proclaimed 16 January Religious Freedom Day.[111]

Modern concerns

In its 2011 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated fourteen nations as “countries of particular concern”. The commission chairman commented that these are nations whose conduct marks them as the world’s worst religious freedom violators and human rights abusers. The fourteen nations designated were Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Other nations on the commission’s watchlist include Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela.[112]

There are concerns about the restrictions on public religious dress in some European countries (including the HijabKippah, and Christian cross).[113][114] Article 18 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights limits restrictions on freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs to those necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.[115] Freedom of religion as a legal concept is related to, but not identical with, religious toleration, separation of church and state, or secular state (laïcité).

Social hostilities and government restrictions

Freedom of religion by country (Pew Research Center study, 2009). Light yellow: low restriction; red: very high restriction on freedom of religion.

The Pew Research Center has performed studies on international religious freedom between 2009 and 2015, compiling global data from 16 governmental and non-governmental organizations–including the United Nations, the United States State Department, and Human Rights Watch–and representing over 99.5 percent of the world’s population.[116][117] In 2009, nearly 70 percent of the world’s population lived in countries classified as having heavy restrictions on freedom of religion.[116][117] This concerns restrictions on religion originating from government prohibitions on free speech and religious expression as well as social hostilities undertaken by private individuals, organisations and social groups. Social hostilities were classified by the level of communal violence and religion-related terrorism.

While most countries provided for the protection of religious freedom in their constitutions or laws, only a quarter of those countries were found to fully respect these legal rights in practice. In 75 countries governments limit the efforts of religious groups to proselytise and in 178 countries religious groups must register with the government. In 2013, Pew classified 30% of countries as having restrictions that tend to target religious minorities, and 61% of countries have social hostilities that tend to target religious minorities.[118]

The countries in North and South America reportedly had some of the lowest levels of government and social restrictions on religion, while The Middle East and North Africa were the regions with the highest. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran were the countries that top the list of countries with the overall highest levels of restriction on religion. Topping the Pew government restrictions index were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Egypt, Burma, Maldives, Eritrea, Malaysia and Brunei.

Of the world’s 25 most populous countries, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan had the most restrictions, while Brazil, Japan, Italy, South Africa, the UK, and the US had some of the lowest levels, as measured by Pew.

Vietnam and China were classified as having high government restrictions on religion but were in the moderate or low range when it came to social hostilities. Nigeria, Bangladesh and India were high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions.

Restrictions on religion across the world increased between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center. Restrictions in each of the five major regions of the world increased—including in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, the two regions where overall restrictions previously had been declining. In 2010, Egypt, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Russia, and Yemen were added to the “very high” category of social hostilities.[119] The five highest social hostility scores were for Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Bangladesh.[120] In 2015, Pew published that social hostilities declined in 2013, but the harassment of Jews increased.[118]

In the Palestinian territories, Palestinians face tight restrictions on practicing the freedom of religion due to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In a report published by the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, eyewitnesses reported systematic practices aiming at preventing young men and women from performing their prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. These practices include military orders issued by the Israeli Defense Army commander against specific Palestinians who have an effective role in Jerusalem, interrogating young men, and creating a secret blacklist of people who are prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[121]

See also

References…

Further reading

External links

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

Blaine Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Blaine Amendment was first a failed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-eight of the fifty states adopted provisions of Blaine in their state constitutions. These provisions forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation. They were designed to prohibit aid to parochial schools, especially those operated by the Catholic Church in locations with large immigrant populations.[1] The Blaine Amendment emerged from a growing consensus among 19th-century American Protestants that public education must be free from sectarian or denominational control, while it also reflected nativist tendencies hostile to immigrants.[2]

Contents

Proposed federal amendment

President Ulysses S. Grant (1869–77) in a speech in 1875 to a veteran’s meeting, called for a Constitutional amendment that would mandate free public schools and prohibit the use of public money for sectarian schools. He was echoing nativist sentiments that were strong in his Republican Party.[3][4]

Grant laid out his agenda for “good common school education.” He attacked government support for “sectarian schools” run by religious organizations, and called for the defense of public education “unmixed with sectarian, pagan or atheistical dogmas.” Grant declared that “Church and State” should be “forever separate.” Religion, he said, should be left to families, churches, and private schools devoid of public funds.[5]

After Grant’s speech Republican Congressman James G. Blaine (1830–1893) proposed the amendment to the federal Constitution. Blaine, who actively sought Catholic votes when he ran for president in 1884, believed that possibility of hurtful agitation on the school question should be ended.[6] In 1875, the proposed amendment passed by a vote of 180 to 7 in the House of Representatives, but failed by four votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote in the United States Senate. It never became federal law.

The proposed text was:

No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.

Amendments to state constitutions

Supporters of the proposal then turned their attention to state legislatures, where their efforts met with far greater success. Eventually, all but 10 states (ArkansasConnecticutMaineMarylandNew JerseyNorth CarolinaRhode IslandTennesseeVermont, and West Virginia) passed laws that meet the general criteria for designation as “Blaine amendments,” in that they ban the use of public funds to support sectarian private schools.[7] In some states the provisions in question were included in newly drafted constitutions, rather than adopted as amendments to an existing constitution.

The state Blaine amendments remain in effect in many states.[8][9] In 2012, 46% of voters endorsed a measure repealing Florida’s Blaine amendment. A 60% margin was required for adoption.[10] Voters have also rejected proposals to repeal their state-level Blaine amendments in New York (1967), Michigan (1970), Oregon (1972), Washington state (1975), Alaska (1976), Massachusetts (1986), and Oklahoma (2016).[11][12]

On April 1, 1974, voters in Louisiana approved a new constitution by a margin of 58 to 42 percent,[13] which repealed the Blaine amendment that was part of that state’s 1921 constitution.[14] Louisiana’s current 1974 constitution replaced it with a copy of the federal First Amendment’s no-establishment and free exercise clauses, in Article 1, Sec. 8 of its Declaration of Rights; in Article 8, Sec. 13(a), it also guarantees the provision of free textbooks and “materials of instruction” to all children attending elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana.[15]

Two other states, South Carolina and Utah, have also watered down their “no-aid to religion” constitutional clauses by removing from them the word “indirect,” leaving only a prohibition of direct aid or assistance to religious schools in these states.[16]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  3. ^ Jeffrey D. Schultz et al eds. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 29.
  4. ^ Tyler Anbinder says, “Grant was not an obsessive nativist. He expressed his resentment of immigrants and animus toward Catholicism only rarely. But these sentiments reveal themselves frequently enough in his writings and major actions as general….In the 1850s he joined a Know Nothing lodge and irrationally blamed immigrants for setbacks in his career.” Anbinder, “Ulysses S. Grant, Nativist,” Civil War History 43 (June 1997): 119–41. online
  5. ^ Deforrest (2003)
  6. ^ Steven Green (2010). The Second Disestablishment : Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press. p. 296.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ Olorunnipa, Toluse (November 6, 2012). “Florida voters reject most constitutional amendments, including ‘religious freedom’ proposal”Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  11. ^ “The 27 Statewide Referenda on School Vouchers or Their Variants, 1966-2007”. Americans for Religious Liberty. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ “Oklahoma Public Money for Religious Purposes, State Question 790 (2016)”. Ballotpedia.
  13. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2017-05-28. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  14. ^ Art.4, Sec. 8, Constitution of Louisiana, 1921: “No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such, and no preference shall ever be given, nor any discrimination made against, any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.”
  15. ^ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Louisiana_State__Constitution_(1974).
  16. ^ Article 11, Sec. 4 of the South Carolina Constitution states, “No money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.” And Utah’s constitution says, according to Article 10, Sec. 8, “Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization.” Regina Reaves Hayden, annotated by Steven K. Green, Esq. Stars in the Constitutional Constellation: Federal and State Constitutional Provisions on Church and State. Silver Spring, MD: Americans United Research Foundation, 1993, p. 109, 122.

Further reading

  • Deforrest, Mark Edward. “An Overview and Evaluation of State Blaine Amendments: Origins, Scope, and First Amendment Concerns,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, 2003 in Questia
  • Green, Steven K. “The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered,” 36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 38 (1992)

External links

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

Mr. Barr’s argument has been echoed throughout American history: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people” (John Adams). “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith” (Tocqueville). “In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For ‘not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God’ shall our democracy be founded” (FDR). And so on.

That so many would become unhinged by Mr. Barr’s relatively modest contribution to the genre is highly revealing of the absolutism of secularist opponents determined to marginalize and destroy anyone who dares dissent from their own uncompromising orthodoxy.

 

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qqq The Pronk Pops Show 1338, October 10, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Rally In Minneapolis, Minnesota — Story 2: Search For The Partisan Democrat CIA Leaker Phony Whistleblower That Worked For Joe Biden? — Videos — Story 3: Two Trump Supporters Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges — Videos

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