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The Pronk Pops Show 1278, June 20, 2019, Part 1– Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done , Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos — Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Videos — Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida — Boom Boom Boom — Send Them Home — MAGA MAGA MAGA — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Keep America Great — Win Win Win — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done, Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos —

Tucker: Washington is war-hungry

Pentagon releases footage of US drone being shot down by Iran

LIVE: President Trump first comments after Iran shoots down US Drone | June 20th 2019

US is bringing the Iranian economy to its knees: Nile Gardiner

Oil prices rise after Iran shoots down US drone

40% Chance of 2020 U.S.-Iran Military Conflict: Eurasia CEO

Iran shoots down US drone as tensions escalate

Video shows Iran shooting down US drone

Iran says it shot down US drone ‘violating Iranian air space’ amid growing tensions

Iran Shot Down U.S. Drone to Disrupt Trade in Persian Gulf, Senior U.S. Military Official Says

President Trump makes first comments after Iran shoots down U.S. Drone | ABC News Special Report

Iran says it’s ‘ready for war’

Iran shoots down US military spy drone | DW News

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Is The U.S. Going To War With Iran? | AJ+

Iran’s foreign minister accuses US, Mideast of provoking conflict

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

Can air strikes take out Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Did Trump Just Blink or Bluff in Standoff With Iran?

Anthony Halpin

Bloomberg

Was it all a bluff? After news leaked that President Donald Trump approved and then called off U.S. airstrikes on Iran last night, it emerged he’d warned Tehran about an imminent attack while insisting he was against a war.

Today, as airlines began re-routing flights away from the Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s Foreign Ministry called in the Swiss ambassador, who also represents U.S. interests, for talks.

Was the outreach why Trump abandoned the strikes? Or was this the latest example of the whipsaw approach from a president who’s twice attacked Syria but also backed away from using force after lashing out at Iran and North Korea?

The leak of Trump’s about-face also speaks volumes about the battle for influence in the White House. Hardliners clearly thought they’d convinced him to back a tough response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. Navy drone. Yet Trump was elected on a pledge to pull out of Middle East wars.

The president, who governs with the cliffhanger style of his Apprentice TV show, thrives on keeping supporters hooked on dramatic twists.

But as his 2020 re-election campaign gains steam, the stakes now include the prospect of armed conflict and instability in a region that supplies a third of the world’s oil.

Global Headlines

Biden’s burden | Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is encountering the same pitfalls as other seasoned politicians who’ve found their experience and record can be a liability. The former Delaware senator’s struggles to defend his remarks this week about finding common ground with two segregationists is an early sign of the trouble he could have explaining a complicated voting record and his nostalgia for a Washington collegiality that has steadily diminished since he was first elected in 1972.

Border control | Trump praised Mexico’s efforts to crack down on migrants crossing the border into the U.S. after the two countries entered an agreement aimed at stemming the flow of people entering Mexico from Central America. Mexico will take greater control of its southern border and ask foreigners to register their arrival.

Osaka drama | Before Trump, Group of 20 summits were dull if worthy affairs. This year’s gathering in Osaka, Japan next week promises to be anything but, as the U.S. president holds talks with China’s Xi Jinping after threatening to escalate their trade conflict. The best-case scenario would be a pause in new U.S. tariffs and a resumption of negotiations that broke down in May. The worst-case would be a new Cold War between the two largest economies.

Favorites flushed | European Union leaders cast aside the candidates who’ve dominated the race to head the next EU Commission and will start from scratch less than two weeks before a self-imposed deadline. The decision at a summit in Brussels extends gridlock that has left investors in the dark over a series of critical posts including the next president of the European Central Bank.

Bad air | As climate change tops political agendas from Washington to New Delhi, there’s no solution in sight for the bad air choking Europe’s poorest countries. While the EU has focused mostly on stability in the volatile Balkans, health problems and lost productivity from air pollution cost the continent more than 10 billion euros a year. Obsolete coal plants and cars spew smog and hundreds of thousands of people burn tires, wood and trash to stay warm.

What to Watch

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will go head-to-head in the contest to become the U.K.’s next prime minister as they seek votes from the Conservative Party’s 160,000 grassroots members over the next month. Ukraine’s Constitutional Court threw out a challenge to a decree by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordering early parliamentary elections. The ruling confirmed a vote will take place next month and a new government should be in place by the fall. Turkey reruns the election for mayor of Istanbul on Sunday, pitting former prime minister and ruling AK Party candidate Binali Yildirim against opposition challenger Ekrem Imamoglu, who was stripped of his narrow victory in the March 31 ballot.

And finally…The U.K. is poised to generate more energy from low-carbon sources than from fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Wind, solar, hydro and nuclear plants provided 48% of the nation’s power in the first five months of this year. The U.K. has gone without burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for the equivalent of 80 days so far in 2019, including one stretch of 18 days in a row.

–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter and Daniel Ten Kate.

https://news.yahoo.com/did-trump-just-blink-bluff-100815556.html

Trump says Iran made ‘big mistake’ by taking down US drone

today

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Washington. Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” by shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz but suggested it was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation of the tensions that have led to rising fears of open military conflict.

Asked about a U.S. response, the president said pointedly, “You’ll soon find out.”

The downing of the huge, unmanned aircraft , which Iran portrayed as a deliberate defense of its territory rather than a mistake, was a stark reminder of the risk of military conflict between U.S. and Iranian forces as the Trump administration combines a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Iran with a buildup of American forces in the region.

The drone — which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737 — entered Iranian airspace “despite repeated radio warnings” and was shot down by Iran, acting under the U.N. Charter which allows self-defense action “if an armed attack occurs,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general.

Donald Trump is playing down Iran's downing of an American drone, saying that it might have been a mistake executed by someone just being "loose and stupid." He said it was a "new wrinkle" in escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. (June 20)

Trump, who has said he wants to avoid war and negotiate with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, appeared to play down the significance of the shootdown.

He cast it as “a new wrinkle … a new fly in the ointment.” Yet he also said that “this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”

Shortly before Trump spoke, Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Central Command air forces in the region, took a more pointed view of the shootdown in an area where Trump has blamed Iran for attacking shipping vessels.

“This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce,” he said.

The Trump administration has been putting increasing economic pressure on Iran for more than a year. It reinstated punishing sanctions following Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of an international agreement intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from earlier sanctions.

The other world powers who remain signed on to the nuclear deal have set a meeting to discuss the U.S. withdrawal and Iran’s announced plans to increase its uranium stockpile for June 28, a date far enough in the future to perhaps allow tensions to cool.

Citing Iranian threats, the U.S. recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

The first U.S. reaction was Trump’s Thursday morning tweet of six forceful words: “Iran made a very big mistake.”

But later, while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said, “I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.

He said the American drone was unarmed and unmanned and “clearly over international waters.” It would have “made a big, big difference” if someone had been inside, he said.

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”

Taking issue with the U.S. version of where the attack occurred, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that his country had retrieved sections of the military drone “in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.” He said, “We don’t seek war but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters.”

U.S. Gen. Guastella disputed that contention, telling reporters that the aircraft was 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest Iranian territory and flying at high altitude when struck by a surface-to-air missile. The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

One U.S. official said there was a second American aircraft in the area that was able to get video and imagery of the drone when it was shot down.

Congressional leaders came to the White House for an hour-long briefing in the Situation Room late Thursday with top national security officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Army Secretary Mark Esper, whom Trump has said he’ll nominate as Pentagon chief.

The Senate’s top Democrat called the downing of the American drone “deeply concerning” and accused the administration of not having an Iran strategy and keeping Congress and the rest of the nation in the dark.

“The president needs to explain to the American people why he’s driving us toward another endless conflict in the Middle East,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t think Trump wanted war with Iran and the American people have “no appetite” for it either. She said the U.S. needs to be “strong and strategic” about protecting its interests but “cannot be reckless.”

Talking tougher, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called Iran a “murderous regime” and said, “If they’re itching for a fight they’re going to get one.”

“We’re a lot closer today than we were yesterday, and only God knows what tomorrow brings,” said Graham, a Trump ally who talked with the president by telephone.

The senator also focused on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, saying its leaders have refused to negotiate after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the international agreement to limit Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

Graham said it’s imperative that the U.S. clearly tell the Iranians that any attempt to increase uranium enrichment will be seen as a “hostile act against the United States and our allies in Israel and will not go unanswered.”

Another factor: This all comes as Trump is launching his re-election campaign. He ran for president promising to bring American troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan and has repeatedly said he wants to keep America out of “endless wars.”

Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush, cautioned against thinking about politics when weighing any response to Iran.

“I suspect a successful limited counter-strike, such as taking out the missile battery that fired at the drone or the sinking of an unmanned Iranian vessel, would be seen as a well-calibrated show of resolve and discipline,” Fleischer said in an interview. He added that “if we do nothing, Iran may strike again thinking it has impunity.”

https://apnews.com/84ad15edb7324472bb867852059a0a7a

Iran shoots down US surveillance drone, heightening tensions

29 minutes ago

In this Oct. 24, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Air Force, members of the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron prepare to launch an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk on Thursday, June 20, 2019, amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident. (Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan/U.S. Air Force via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million.

Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

Trump later appeared to play down the incident, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he had a feeling that “a general or somebody” being “loose and stupid” made a mistake in shooting down the drone.

AP Graphic

The incident immediately heightened the crisis already gripping the wider region, which is rooted in Trump withdrawing the U.S. a year ago from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal’s terms by next week while threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe doesn’t offer it a new deal.

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami. (Sepahnews via AP)

The drone took off from the southern Persian Gulf and collected data from Iranian territory, including the southern port of Chahbahar near Iran’s border with Pakistan, the Guard said in comments that appeared aimed at showing it could track the aircraft.

The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

Iran used its air defense system known as Third of Khordad to shoot down the drone — a truck-based missile system that can fire up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) into the sky, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iranian state TV later broadcast video it described as the moment the Guard launched the surface-to-air missile that struck the U.S. drone. Chants of “God is great!” could be heard as a fireball appeared in the darkened sky.

Typically, militaries worldwide call out to errant aircraft entering their airspace before firing. It’s unclear whether Iran gave any warning before opening fire. The U.S. military says Iran fired on and missed another drone last week near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all global oil moves.

The U.S. has been worried about international shipping through the strategic waterway since tankers were damaged in May and June in what Washington has blamed on limpet mines from Iran, although Tehran denied involvement.. On Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Navy showed fragments of mines that it said bore “a striking resemblance” to those seen in Iran

The RQ-4 Global Hawk was at least 34 kilometers from Iranian territory when it was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of the U.S. Central Command. He said it was an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf region.

But Salami, speaking to a crowd in the western city of Sanandaj, described the American drone as “violating our national security border.”

“Borders are our red line,” the Revolutionary Guard general said. “Any enemy that violates the borders will be annihilated.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said the drone entered Iranian airspace, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted it would take its case to the U.N. He later tweeted that Iran retrieved parts of the drone in its territorial waters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged caution, warning any war between Iran and the U.S. would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged support for U.S. efforts to halt what he called escalating Iranian provocations.

“In the last 24 hours, Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern and urged all parties to “avoid any action that could inflame the situation,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

America stations some RQ-4 Global Hawks at the Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE, near the capital of Abu Dhabi. Associated Press journalists saw the drones on the base’s tarmac during a March 2016 visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden. The U.S. military occasionally publishes images from there of the drones, which have a distinctive hump-shaped front and an engine atop the fuselage.

Iran has claimed to have shot down U.S. drones before. In the most famous incident, in December 2011, Iran seized an RQ-170 Sentinel flown by the CIA to monitor Iranian nuclear sites after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran later reverse-engineered the drone to create their own variants.

Elsewhere in the region Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired a rocket at a desalination plant in al-Shuqaiq, a city in the kingdom’s Jizan province. The state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying it caused no damage or casualties.

The Yemeni rebel Al-Masirah satellite news channel earlier said the Houthis targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen, with a cruise missile.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation now pushed to the brink of famine by the conflict. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

https://apnews.com/e4316eb989d5499c9828350de8524963

 

 

Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos

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Trump slams Fed over interest rate policy

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Sen. Tillis Says Fed Made Mistake in December, Defers to Trump on Powell Demotion

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Cramer: Stocks would probably rise if Trump removed Powell as Fed chair

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Goldman Sees Fed ‘Not Likely to Cut’ Rates in July, Kostin Says

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What is the Yield Curve, and Why is it Flattening?

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Trump expected Powell to be a ‘cheap-money’ Fed chairman

S&P 500 closes at new record as Wall Street bets Fed will lower rates, Dow surges nearly 250 points

VIDEO02:12
The S&P 500 just closed at a record high — Here’s what four experts say to watch

Stocks rallied on Thursday, led by strong gains in tech and energy shares, as Wall Street cheered the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next month.

The S&P 500 surged 1% to 2,954.18, a record close. The broad index also hit an intraday record of 2,958.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 249.17 points higher at 26,753.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% to end the day at 8,051.34.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016. Investors cheered the decline in the benchmark for mortgage rates and corporate bonds.

The energy sector rose more than 2% to lead all 11 S&P 500 sectors higher as oil prices jumped. Tech gained 1.4% after shares of Oracle surged more than 8% on stronger-than-forecast earnings. General Electric’s 2.8% rise pushed the industrials sector up more than 1.6% on the day.

“Markets are based on numbers and perception. If the perception is rates are getting cut, that’s going to drive markets higher,” said Kathy Entwistle, senior vice president of wealth management at UBS. “UBS’ stance up until yesterday was we wouldn’t see any rate cuts this year. Now we see a much larger chance of a 50-basis-point cut.”

The Fed said Wednesday it stands ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks as they took stock of intensifying trade tensions and growing concerns about inflation. Most Fed policymakers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the calendar year by approximately half a percentage point in the previous session, while Chairman Jerome Powell said others agree the case for lower rates is building.

Policymakers also dropped “patient” from the Fed’s statement and acknowledged that inflation is “running below” its 2% objective.

Market participants viewed the overall tone from the U.S. central bank as more dovish than expected. Traders are now pricing in a 100% chance of a rate cutnext month, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

With Thursday’s gains, the market has now erased the steep losses recorded by the major indexes in May, which were sparked by trade fears. The S&P 500 and Dow both fell more than 6% while the Nasdaq lost 7.9% last month. The three indexes were up more than 7% for June.

China and the U.S. hiked tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods in May. Stocks turned around this month as traders bet the rising trade tensions, coupled with weaker economic data, would lead the Fed to ease its monetary policy stance.

The Fed’s message on Wednesday sent the 10-year Treasury yield to as low as 1.974% before ending the day around 2.02%. The yield stood at 2.8% in January.

“The FOMC reinforced the market’s conviction,” said Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, in a note. “Barring a dramatic turnaround in the data, the next move is a cut – perhaps even a 50bp reduction.”

The dollar also took a hit against other major currencies. The dollar index dropped 0.5% to 96.65, led by a 0.6% slide in the euro. The yen and Canadian dollar also rose against the U.S. currency.

Energy shares got a boost from higher oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) climbed 2.2% as shares of Exxon Mobil gained 1.7%. Oil prices surged 5.4% after a U.S. official said a drone was shot down over Iranian airspace.

Meanwhile, Slack shares surged more than 40% in their first day of trading. The stock closed above $38 after setting a reference price of $26.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/stock-market-dow-futures-higher-after-fed-raises-rate-cut-hopes.html

Federal Open Market Committee

About the FOMC

Recent FOMC press conference

June 19, 2019

FOMC Transcripts and other historical materials

The term “monetary policy” refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 gave the Federal Reserve responsibility for setting monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve controls the three tools of monetary policy–open market operationsthe discount rate, and reserve requirements. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is responsible for the discount rate and reserve requirements, and the Federal Open Market Committee is responsible for open market operations. Using the three tools, the Federal Reserve influences the demand for, and supply of, balances that depository institutions hold at Federal Reserve Banks and in this way alters the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other depository institutions overnight.

Changes in the federal funds rate trigger a chain of events that affect other short-term interest rates, foreign exchange rates, long-term interest rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables, including employment, output, and prices of goods and services.

Structure of the FOMC

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of twelve members–the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Nonvoting Reserve Bank presidents attend the meetings of the Committee, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the Committee’s assessment of the economy and policy options.

The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year. At these meetings, the Committee reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth.

For more detail on the FOMC and monetary policy, see section 2 of the brochure on the structure of the Federal Reserve Systemand chapter 2 of Purposes & Functions of the Federal Reserve System. FOMC Rules and Authorizations are also available online.

2019 Committee Members

Alternate Members

Federal Reserve Bank Rotation on the FOMC

Committee membership changes at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year.

2020 2021 2022
Members New York
Cleveland
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
Alternate
Members
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
New York
Chicago
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis

 †For the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the First Vice President is the alternate for the President. Return to table

For additional information, please use the FOMC FOIA request form.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htm

 

Fed holds rates steady, but opens the door for a rate cut in the future

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

The strong majority for this month’s decision contrasted with a sharp difference of opinion on what happens next.

The committee provided an important nod to those worried about slower growth: It dropped the word “patient” in  describing its approach to policy. The characterization was a key part of the Fed “pivot” earlier this year that signaled to the market a more dovish approach to rates.

“The Fed didn’t surprise investors with the decision to maintain rates, but the split vote tells us that a cut is on the way and it’s increasingly likely that will be in July, as bond markets have been hoping,” said Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Asset Management.

“This was probably the compromise decision — it wasn’t shocking and should offer some reassurance,” Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, said in a note. “The FOMC will still want to closely monitor the stress fractures from the bond market, middling housing and auto sales numbers, and an increasingly uncertain global economic landscape in the coming months.”

The statement also changed wording to concede that inflation is “running below” the Fed’s 2% objective. In their forecast for headline inflation this year, officials slashed the estimate to 1.5% from March’s 1.8%. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is likely now to be 1.8% from March’s 2%, according to the quarterly summary of economic projections also released Wednesday.

‘In light of these uncertainties’

The committee changed language from its May statement to indicate that economic activity is “rising at a moderate rate,” a downgrade from “solid.”

In their baseline scenario, FOMC members said they still expect “sustained expansion of economic activity” and a move toward 2% inflation, but realize that “uncertainties about this outlook have increased.”

“In light of these uncertainties and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective,” the statement said. The “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” language mirrors a statement from Powell in early June.

Very reasonable to think Fed will cut rates twice this year: Strategist

The committee characterized the labor market as “strong” with “solid” jobs growth, despite May’s disappointing nonfarm payrolls growth of 75,000. The statement further said that household spending “appears to have picked up from earlier in the year.”

The changes came amid what appeared to be little consensus among the committee about where rates go next.

Divided Fed

According to the “dot plot” of individual members’ expectations, eight members favor one cut this year while the same number voted in favor of the status quo and one still wants a rate hike. Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari have led the public discussion about the potential for rate cuts, while other members have been less firm.

Into 2020, the Fed consensus was a bit stronger, with nine members wanting a cut to a funds rate around 2.1%. The direction changes, though, in 2021, with indications of an increase of about a quarter-point, culminating in an expected long-run value of 2.5%. The funds rate most recently was trading at 2.37%.

Traders in the thin and volatile funds market had been pricing in a 26% chance of a cut at this week’s meeting. Later in the year, though, the probability for a July easing rose to 82.5% and the chances of a second cut in December were most recently at 60.4%. The market expects a third cut to come around March of 2020.

While the statement language offered some significant changes, estimates in the summary of economic projections, other than inflation, moved little from March. GDP growth is still expected to be 2.1% for the year – it was 3.1% in the first quarter, and the Atlanta Fed is forecasting a 2% gain in the second quarter. The unemployment rate is now expected to hold at a 50-year low of 3.6%, against the March forecast of 3.7%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/19/fed-decision-fed-leaves-rates-unchanged.html

10-year Treasury yield drops below 2% for first time since November 2016

Federal funds rate

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Federal Funds Rate compared to U.S. Treasury interest rates

2 to 10 year treasury yield spread

Inflation (blue) compared to federal funds rate (red)

Quarterly gross domestic product compared to Federal Funds Rate.

Federal Funds Rate and Treasury interest rates from 2002-2019

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate. The target rate is chosen in part to influence the money supply in the U.S. economy[3]

Contents

Mechanism

Financial institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accountsNOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007–2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5] The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 19 December 2018 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 2.25–2.50%.[9] This represents the ninth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.[10]

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00–0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00–0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[11]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, the price of borrowed funds – the federal funds rate – falls. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the federal funds rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, the interest rate will normally rise.[12]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[13] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the federal funds rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[14][15]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [16][17][18]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[19][20][21]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[22]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[23]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25–0.50[24]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50–0.75[25]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75–1.00[26]
  • Jun 14, 2017 — 1.00–1.25[27]
  • Dec 13, 2017 — 1.25–1.50[28]
  • Mar 21, 2018 — 1.50–1.75[29]
  • Jun 13, 2018 — 1.75–2.00[30]
  • Sep 26, 2018 — 2.00–2.25[9]
  • Dec 19, 2018 — 2.25–2.50[31]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and housing fell.[32]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments outside the United States less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  2. ^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions(PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. August 24, 2011. p. 4. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  3. ^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. January 30, 2008. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
  4. ^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. ^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. ^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s”(PDF)Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  8. ^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007.
  9. Jump up to:ab “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement” (Press release). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Tankersley, Jim (March 21, 2018). “Fed Raises Interest Rates for Sixth Time Since Financial Crisis”The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  11. ^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  12. ^ David Waring (February 19, 2008). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  13. ^ “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  14. ^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. ^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. ^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. ^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. ^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. ^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. ^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  21. ^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  22. ^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  23. ^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  24. ^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  25. ^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016.
  26. ^ Cox, Jeff (March 15, 2017). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”CNBC. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  27. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 14, 2017.
  28. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 13, 2017.
  29. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. March 21, 2018.
  30. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 13, 2018.
  31. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  33. ^ Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough (March 16, 2017). “The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer”The New York Times. Retrieved March 18,2017Rising interest rates in the United States are driving money out of many developing countries, straining governments and pinching consumers around the globe.

External links

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

The Impact of an Inverted Yield Curve

The term yield curve refers to the relationship between the short- and long-term interest rates of fixed-income securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates.

From an economic perspective, an inverted yield curve is a noteworthy event. Below, we explain this rare phenomenon, discuss its impact on consumers and investors, and tell you how to adjust your portfolio to account for it.

Interest Rates and Yield Curves

Typically, short-term interest rates are lower than long-term rates, so the yield curve slopes upwards, reflecting higher yields for longer-term investments. This is referred to as a normal yield curve. When the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates narrows, the yield curve begins to flatten. A flat yield curve is often seen during the transition from a normal yield curve to an inverted one.

Normal Yield Curve

Figure 1 – A normal yield curve

What Does an Inverted Yield Curve Suggest?

Historically, an inverted yield curve has been viewed as an indicator of a pending economic recession. When short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates, market sentiment suggests that the long-term outlook is poor and that the yields offered by long-term fixed income will continue to fall.

More recently, this viewpoint has been called into question, as foreign purchases of securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have created a high and sustained level of demand for products backed by U.S. government debt. When investors are aggressively seeking debt instruments, the debtor can offer lower interest rates. When this occurs, many argue that it is the laws of supply and demand, rather than impending economic doom and gloom, that enable lenders to attract buyers without having to pay higher interest rates.

Inverted Yield Curve

Figure 2 – An inverted yield curve: note the inverse relationship between yield and maturity

Inverted yield curves have been relatively rare, due in large part to longer-than-average periods between recessions since the early 1990s. For example, the economic expansions that began in March 1991, November 2001 and June 2009 were three of the four longest economic expansions since World War II. During these long periods, the question often arises as to whether an inverted yield curve can happen again.

Economic cycles, regardless of their length, have historically transitioned from growth to recession and back again. Inverted yield curves are an essential element of these cycles, preceding every recession since 1956. Considering the consistency of this pattern, an inverted yield will likely form again if the current expansion fades to recession.

Upward sloping yield curves are a natural extension of the higher risks associated with long maturities. In a growing economy, investors also demand higher yields at the long end of the curve to compensate for the opportunity cost of investing in bonds versus other asset classes, and to maintain an acceptable spread over inflation rates.

As the economic cycle begins to slow, perhaps due to interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Bank, the upward slope of the yield curve tends to flatten as short-term rates increase and longer yields stay stable or decline slightly. In this environment, investors see long-term yields as an acceptable substitute for the potential of lower returns in equities and other asset classes, which tend to increase bond prices and reduce yields.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Consumers

In addition to its impact on investors, an inverted yield curve also has an impact on consumers. For example, homebuyers financing their properties with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have interest-rate schedules that are periodically updated based on short-term interest rates. When short-term rates are higher than long-term rates, payments on ARMs tend to rise. When this occurs, fixed-rate loans may be more attractive than adjustable-rate loans.

Lines of credit are affected in a similar manner. In both cases, consumers must dedicate a larger portion of their incomes toward servicing existing debt. This reduces expendable income and has a negative effect on the economy as a whole.

The Formation of an Inverted Yield Curve

As concerns of an impending recession increase, investors tend to buy long Treasury bonds based on the premise that they offer a safe harbor from falling equities markets, provide preservation of capital and have potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline. As a result of the rotation to long maturities, yields can fall below short-term rates, forming an inverted yield curve. Since 1956, equities have peaked six times after the start of an inversion, and the economy has fallen into recession within seven to 24 months.

As of 2017, the most recent inverted yield curve first appeared in August 2006, as the Fed raised short-term interest rates in response to overheating equity, real estate and mortgage markets. The inversion of the yield curve preceded the peak of the Standard & Poor’s 500 in October 2007 by 14 months and the official start of the recession in December 2007 by 16 months. However, a growing number of 2018 economic outlooks from investment firms are suggesting that an inverted yield curve could be on the horizon, citing the narrowing spread between short- and long-dated Treasuries.

If history is any precedent, the current business cycle will progress, and slowing in the economy may eventually become evident. If concerns of the next recession rise to the point where investors see the purchase of long-dated Treasuries as the best option for their portfolios, there is a high likelihood that the next inverted yield curve will take shape.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Fixed-Income Investors

A yield curve inversion has the greatest impact on fixed-income investors. In normal circumstances, long-term investments have higher yields; because investors are risking their money for longer periods of time, they are rewarded with higher payouts. An inverted curve eliminates the risk premium for long-term investments, allowing investors to get better returns with short-term investments.

When the spread between U.S. Treasuries (a risk-free investment) and higher-risk corporate alternatives is at historical lows, it is often an easy decision to invest in lower-risk vehicles. In such cases, purchasing a Treasury-backed security provides a yield similar to the yield on junk bondscorporate bondsreal estate investment trusts (REITs) and other debt instruments, but without the risk inherent in these vehicles. Money market funds and certificates of deposit (CDs) may also be attractive – particularly when a one-year CD is paying yields comparable to those on a 10-year Treasury bond.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Equity Investors

When the yield curve becomes inverted, profit margins fall for companies that borrow cash at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, such as community banks. Likewise, hedge funds are often forced to take on increased risk in order to achieve their desired level of returns.

In fact, a bad bet on Russian interest rates is largely credited for the demise of Long-Term Capital Management, a well-known hedge fund run by bond trader John Meriwether.

Despite their consequences for some parties, yield-curve inversions tend to have less impact on consumer staples and healthcare companies, which are not interest-rate dependent. This relationship becomes clear when an inverted yield curve precedes a recession. When this occurs, investors tend to turn to defensive stocks, such as those in the food, oil and tobacco industries, which are often less affected by downturns in the economy.

The Bottom Line

While experts question whether or not an inverted yield curve remains a strong indicator of pending economic recession, keep in mind that history is littered with portfolios that were devastated when investors blindly followed predictions about how “it’s different this time.” Most recently, shortsighted equity investors spouting this mantra participated in the “tech wreck,” snapping up shares in tech companies at inflated prices even though these firms had no hope of ever making a profit.

If you want to be a smart investor, ignore the noise. Instead of spending time and effort trying to figure out what the future will bring, construct your portfolio based on long-term thinking and long-term convictions – not short-term market movements.

For your short-term income needs, do the obvious: choose the investment with the highest yield, but keep in mind that inversions are an anomaly and they don’t last forever. When the inversion ends, adjust your portfolio accordingly.

Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey, Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators Eastland (Mississippi) and Talmadge (Georgia) Who Got Things Done — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers and Big Lie Media Playing Identity Politics and Divide and Conquer — Videos —

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

SUSAN WALSH / AP

Joe Biden was a freshman senator, the youngest member of the august body, when he reached out to an older colleague for help on one of his early legislative proposals: The courts were ordering racially segregated school districts to bus children to create more integrated classrooms, a practice Biden opposed and wanted to change.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attemptingto bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The recipient of Biden’s entreaty was Sen. James Eastland, at the time a well-known segregationist who had called blacks “an inferior race” and once vowed to prevent blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. The exchange, revealed in a series of letters, offers a new glimpse into an old relationship that erupted this week as a major controversy for Biden’s presidential campaign.Biden on Wednesday night described his relationship with Eastland as one he “had to put up with.” He said of his relationships with Eastland and another staunch segregationist and southern Democrat, Sen. Herman Talmadge of Georgia, that “the fact of the matter is that we were able to do it because we were able to win — we were able to beat them on everything they stood for.”

But the letters show a different type of relationship, one in which they were aligned on a legislative issue. Biden said at the time that he did not think that busing was the best way to integrate schools in Delaware and that systemic racism should be dealt with by investing in schools and improving housing policies.

The letters were provided Thursday to the Washington Post by the University of Mississippi, which houses Eastland’s archived papers. They were reported in April by CNN.

Biden’s campaign late Thursday issued a statement saying that “the insinuation that Joe Biden shared the same views as Eastland on segregation is a lie.”

“Plain and simple. Joe Biden has dedicated his career to fighting for civil rights,” the statement said.

The controversy over Biden’s comments this week have continued to reverberate at a crucial time in the campaign, with matters of race dominating the political discussion ahead of several prominent gatherings, including the first presidential debate next week and a multicandidate event before black voters in South Carolina on Friday. It has emerged as a complex political problem for Biden, who has been trying to campaign as a civil rights champion while explaining past views that are out of step with today’s Democratic base.

Biden’s Wednesday remarks sparked one of the sharpest intra-Democrat exchanges of the campaign, when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of his black 2020 rivals, criticized both Biden’s work with segregationists and the language that he used in describing it.

On Wednesday, Biden called Booker. Biden’s campaign also distributed talking points to supporters, emphasizing that Eastland and Talmadge “were people who he fundamentally disagreed with on the issue of civil rights.”

Late Thursday, the former vice president met with a small group that included black members of Congress, one of the participants said.

Divisions also emerged in Biden’s campaign over how he should handle such situations. Aides alternately argued that he simply misspoke in telling the anecdote, that he shouldn’t be telling it at all or that his remarks demonstrate his ability to work with those with whom he disagrees and the words were being purposefully twisted for political gain.

The letters show that Biden’s courtship of Eastland started in 1972, before he had taken office, and that he wrote to the older senator listing his top six committee assignment requests, with Foreign Relations and Judiciary at the top. A few weeks later, Biden thanked Eastland, writing that he was “flattered and grateful” for his help. He also referred to the December 1972 car crash that killed his wife and daughter and injured his two sons.

“Despite my preoccupation with family matters at this time, I intend to place the highest priority on attending to my committee responsibilities,” Biden wrote.

Biden supporters have repeatedly pointed to his efforts on civil rights issues to cast him as a champion of equality. Not only did he share an eight-year partnership with the first black president, he also worked alongside black leaders throughout his career on extending the Voting Rights Act, amending the Fair Housing Act and creating the holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.et in the debate over the merits of busing as a solution to greater integration, Biden’s avowed stance against it put him at odds with some civil rights leaders.

 

 

It was in that context that he courted the support of Eastland — at the time the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — as well as other senators.

In one letter, on March 2, 1977, Biden outlined legislation he was filing to restrict busing practices.

“My bill strikes at the heart of the injustice of court ordered busing,” he wrote to Eastland. “It prohibits the federal courts from disrupting our educational system in the name of the constitution where there is no evidence that the governmental officials intended to discriminate.”

“I believe there is growing sentiment in the Congress to curb unnecessary busing,” he added. The Senate two years earlier had passed a Biden amendment that prohibited the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare from ordering busing to achieve school integration.

 

“That was the first time the U.S. Senate took a firm stand in opposition to busing,” Biden wrote. “The Supreme Court seems to have recognized that busing simply cannot be justified in cases where state and local officials intended no discrimination.”

In later letters to Eastland, Biden continued pushing his legislation.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The next year, he continued to push for antibusing legislation and again wrote to Eastland.

“Since your support was essential to having our bill reported out by the Judiciary Committee, I want to personally ask your continued support and alert you to our intentions,” Biden wrote on Aug 22, 1978. “Your participation in floor debate would be welcomed.”

After Biden’s remarks at the Wednesday night fund-raiser, advisers played down his comments about Eastland as a garbled rendition of a familiar Biden anecdote. In particular, they sought to excuse Biden for saying that Eastland didn’t refer to him as “boy” — an insult leveled at black men — but as “son.”

“He just misspoke,” said one Biden adviser. “The way Biden usually tells the story, he says Eastland didn’t call him ‘senator,’ he called him ‘son,’ ” the adviser said. “Eastland called him ‘boy’ and ‘son’ also. This was Eastland’s way of diminishing young senators.”

In the campaign statement Thursday, Biden’s national press secretary, Jamal Brown, said Biden’s “strong support for equal housing, equal education and equal job opportunities were clear to all Delawareans in the 1970s.”

Biden sought to ensure that black students received “the resources necessary to deliver the quality education they deserved,” he said.

Brown added that throughout his public life, Biden “fought the institutional problems that created de facto segregated school systems and neighborhoods in the first place: redlining, school lines drawn to keep races and classes separate and housing patterns and discrimination.”

Almost the entire Democratic field is set to attend a fish fry Friday night hosted by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a leading black figure in the state and one who has remained supportive of Biden.

It would be the first public appearance Biden is making with the same Democratic presidential hopefuls who have heaped criticism on him for the comment.

In demanding an apology, Booker said Wednesday that Biden’s “relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone.”

Asked about Booker’s remarks by reporters, Biden declined to offer an apology and instead demanded one from Booker. The two men later spoke privately.

“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word ‘boy’ is painful to so many,” said Sabrina Singh, a Booker campaign spokeswoman. “Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt.”

Biden’s campaign would not elaborate on the call, but it is clear the topic could linger over the coming days.

Biden has scheduled a sit-down interview with MSNBC, his campaign has been sending out talking points to surrogates, and some black supporters are eager to hear the former vice president offer a fuller explanation.

“I think he’s got to address it head on and show people what his line of thinking was,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in South Carolina who is close with Biden’s team. “I don’t think they need to get off course with their strategy. I just think they have to address it as it comes up and move on.”

Other Biden supporters, however, think he’s taking just the right approach and standing by his long-held beliefs.

I encouraged campaign staff that I know to say: ‘Don’t back off on this. This is precisely why you’re the right guy in the right place at the right time.’ And I was glad to see that he didn’t,” said Dave O’Brien, a longtime Biden supporter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“You know that some of the other issues, he’s got to evolve with the times, which he has,” O’Brien added. “But there are points where you need to make a stand, so I was very glad to see him not back off on this issue.”

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/nation/joe-biden-james-eastland-segregation-democratic-primary-20190621.htmlPosted: June 20, 2019 – 10:59 PM

Biden not apologizing for remarks on segregationist senators

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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress presidential forum in Washington, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joe Biden refused calls to apologize Wednesday for saying that the Senate “got things done” with “civility” even when the body included segregationists with whom he disagreed.

His rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, including the two major black candidates in the contest, roundly criticized Biden’s comments. But Biden didn’t back down and was particularly defiant in the face of criticism from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who said the former vice president should apologize for his remarks.

Biden countered that it was Booker who should apologize because the senator “should know better” than to question his commitment to civil rights.

“There’s not a racist bone in my body,” Biden said. “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”

Speaking on CNN, Booker responded: “I was raised to speak truth to power and that I shall never apologize for doing that. And Vice President Biden shouldn’t need this lesson.”

The firestorm is quickly becoming one of the most intense disputes of the Democratic presidential primary, underscoring the hazards for Biden as he tries to turn his decades of Washington experience into an advantage. Instead, he’s infuriating Democrats who say he’s out of step with the diverse party of the 21st century and potentially undermining his argument that he’s the most electable candidate in the race.

The controversy began at a New York fundraiser Tuesday when Biden pointed to long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.

“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of the two men, who were prominent senators when Biden was elected in 1972. Biden described Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and said Eastland called him “son,” though not “boy,” a reference to the racist way many whites addressed black men at the time.

Yet even in that Senate, Biden said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”

A pile on from Biden’s rivals quickly ensued. Booker said he was disappointed by Biden’s remarks.

“I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together,” said Booker, who is African American.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democratic presidential candidate and a white man who is married to a black woman, tweeted: “It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of ‘civility’ typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a black presidential candidate, said Biden was “coddling” segregationists in a way that “suggests to me that he doesn’t understand … the dark history of our country” — a characterization Biden’s campaign rejects.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another 2020 candidate, said, “For the vice president to somehow say that what we’re seeing in this country today is a function of partisanship or a lack of bipartisanship completely ignores the legacy of slavery and the active suppression of African Americans and communities of color right now.”

The tumult comes at a crucial point in the campaign. Biden is still recovering from controversy he sparked earlier this month when he angered many Democrats by saying he didn’t support federal taxpayer money supporting abortion. He later reversed his position.

He’s among the more than 20 candidates who will descend on South Carolina this weekend to make their case to black voters at a series of Democratic events.

Meanwhile, most Democratic White House hopefuls will again gather in Miami next week for the first presidential debate of the primary season. Biden will almost certainly come under fire there for his comments this week.

He sought to defuse the tension on Wednesday by saying he was trying to argue that leaders sometimes have to work with people they disagree with to achieve goals, such as renewing the Voting Rights Act.

“The point I’m making is you don’t have to agree. You don’t have to like the people in terms of their views,” he said Wednesday. “But you just simply make the case and you beat them without changing the system.”

He has received support from some black leaders. Cedric Richmond, Biden’s campaign co-chairman and former Congressional Black Caucus chairman, said Biden’s opponents deliberately ignored the full context of his argument for a more functional government.

“Maybe there’s a better way to say it, but we have to work with people, and that’s a fact,” Richmond said, noting he dealt recently with President Donald Trump to pass a long-sought criminal justice overhaul. “I question (Trump’s) racial sensitivity, a whole bunch of things about his character … but we worked together.”

Likewise, Richmond said, Biden mentioned Jim Crow-era senators to emphasize the depths of disagreements elected officials sometimes navigate. “If he gets elected president, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate” to overcome filibusters, Richmond noted. “He could be less genuine and say, ‘We’re just going to do all these things.’ But we already have a president like that. (Biden) knows we have to build consensus.”

Biden also drew a qualified defense from Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black senator from his party. Scott said that Biden “should have used a different group of senators” to make his point but that his remarks “have nothing to do with his position on race” issues. Scott said the reaction reflects an intense environment for Democrats in which the desire to defeat Trump means “anything the front-runner says that is off by a little bit” will be magnified.

https://apnews.com/5b57473cfcda44e4b35c8a40759a26fc

The gloves come off in the Democratic primary

This was the week that the battle for the nomination got real.

The tenor of the Democratic presidential primary has verged on courteous from the start: To the extent that Democrats went after Joe Biden, it was usually not by name. And Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren kept their rivalry decidedly civil.

This week, with the first debates of the election season days away, the gentility came to an end.

Biden’s remarks at a New York fundraiser that “at least there was some civility” when he worked with segregationists in the Senate unleashed a torrent of criticism from his rivals and the left. And a story in POLITICO about centrists coming around to Warren as an “anybody but Bernie” alternative set off Sanders and his allies.

“We knew the primary wouldn’t be all puppies and rainbows forever,” said Ben LaBolt, a former adviser to Barack Obama. “And as the debates approach you can see a new dynamic emerging.”

The reaction from Biden’s rivals to his comments was fierce.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose wife is African American, noted that one of the segregationists Biden invoked, James Eastland of Mississippi, would have outlawed his marriage. Sen. Cory Booker, who is black, took offense that Biden seemed to make light of Eastland calling him “son” but not “boy.”

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys’,” Booker said.

Booker called on Biden to apologize but Biden took a different path. Outside a fundraiser Wednesday night, a defiant Biden said he had nothing to be sorry for and that it’s Booker who should apologize for questioning someone without “a racist bone in my body.”

“He knows better,” Biden said.

The crossfire marked some of the most direct and intense exchanges so far of the 2020 primary campaign. And it signals that with less than a week until the first televised debate, the field is done tiptoeing around.

“Running for president is no tea party. It’s a battle. And it is customary for candidates to begin to engage at this stage. The polite preliminaries are over,” said Democratic strategist and former Obama hand David Axelrod. “And since there is generally broad agreement on issues, if not solutions, the disputes necessarily turn on other things.”

In a separate episode, Sanders dispatched a tweet that was viewed as a sideswipe of Warren.

“The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie,’” Sanders wrote on Twitter, sharing a POLITICO storyheadlined: “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee.”

Sanders faced his own backlash over the remark.

“If we had a multi-party parliament, it’d be pretty normal for Sanders and Warren to campaign against each other for leadership in a Social Democratic Party. That said, I still find this move pretty dissapointing [sic] and unnecessary. Draw contrasts if you want, but not like this,” tweeted Waleed Shadid, communications director of the progressive group Justice Democrats.

Shadid later noted that Sanders on CNN said his remark was targeted at the moderate think tank Third Way, and not Warren.

Still, the escalating tensions come as Warren is gaining on Sanders in polls. She leapfrogged him in recent surveys in Nevada and California. And a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed Warren and Sanders virtually tied for second, with Warren, at 15 percent, gaining five points in one month. Biden still led the field at 32 percent.

“Biden’s numbers have held up higher than expected and a number of challengers are going after his gaffes more aggressively than before,” LaBolt said. “Warren has begun eating into Bernie’s numbers and he is trying to fend her off.”

Still, one Democratic veteran of the 2016 campaign, ex-Sanders adviser Mark Longabaugh, said the current tangles are nothing like what he experienced in that campaign. There’s plenty of time for it to get there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“I don’t know if the gloves are off. I think the gloves may be getting a little loose — pulling out the fingertips to take the gloves off.” Longabaugh said. “Having been through the 2015-16 experience, I gotta tell ya, that was much more combative than anything you’ve seen in this race — not anything close.”

Not far from anyone’s mind are the first debates in Miami on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

“While this type of engagement is expected,” LaBolt said, “candidates should be careful not to cross any lines that could significantly damage potential nominees for the general.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/20/2020-election-democratic-primary-1373202

 

 

Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida –Send Them Home — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Videos

TRUMP 2020: President Trump Re-Election Campaign Rally – FULL SPEECH

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With Florida rally, Trump aims for a 2020 campaign ‘reset’

Trump to launch 2020 re-election bid in Florida

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Crowds grow for Trump rally in Orlando

People are lining up for President Trump’s event on Tuesday

THE PRESIDENT IS BACK: President Trump Returns From MASSIVE Orlando Rally

The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider?

President Trump is running for reelection as an outsider candidate. But it’s a knotty challenge for someone who holds the world’s most powerful office.

Trump’s speech in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, which officially launched his 2020 bid, was rife with rhetoric portraying himself — and by extension his supporters — as victims of nefarious elites.

The president said that he and his allies were besieged by a “permanent political class” and “an unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests.”

“Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day,” Trump insisted at one point. Moments before, he told the crowd, “the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently.”

It’s the kind of language that makes Democrats roll their eyes. Trump, they note, is a billionaire property developer, born into wealth, who won the presidency on his first attempt — yet he portrays himself as the tribune of “the forgotten men and women of our country” whom he invoked in his January 2017 inaugural address.

But Trump’s unconventionality might, in itself, help him retain some kind of outsider cachet in a way that is unusual for an incumbent president.

“For any other president, yes, it is a challenge,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the 2016 presidential primaries.

“But Trump is unlike any other president. Trump has been at war with the establishment since the moment he set foot in the White House,” he said.

It is certainly true that Trump was viewed with suspicion by the Republican Party from the time he began his presidential run — and that his language and attitudes are viewed with distaste by much of the Beltway political class.

But dislike for Trump’s personal antics is hardly confined to D.C. elites.

A Pew Research Center poll in March showed pluralities of the public believing that he was not “trustworthy,” “even-tempered” or “well-informed.”

For all Trump’s supposed concern with less affluent Americans, 56 percent of the respondents in the Pew poll said they did not believe he cared about “people like me,” whereas just 40 percent said he did care.

The GOP has largely made peace with him, with former rivals including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) becoming enthusiastic supporters, congressional dissenters such as former Rep. Mark Sanford(R-S.C.) having been defeated in primaries and Trump now in firm control of the party apparatus.

Skeptics also point to both policies and personnel — from the steep cut in the corporate tax rate in 2017 to the 16-month run of the ethically challenged Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency — as evidence that the swamp has remained undrained under Trump.

But Trump allies are insistent that the president’s feel for the cultural mores of blue-collar America remains a potent and underrated political weapon.

“He is certainly an outsider to the political establishment. They still don’t get him and he is not coming around to their way of thinking,” said Barry Bennett, who worked as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “He may live inside the gates but he does not live inside the establishment. … I don’t know anyone who believes he has become some kind of Georgetown socialite.”

Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump friend, insisted, “I have never ever met anyone, any Trump supporter, who believes anything else besides the fact that he’s an outsider.”

There is clearly a political dividend to be gained if Trump can hold onto his outsider image.

In the recent past, voters in presidential elections have often chosen the candidate seen as less steeped in the ways of Washington.

Former President Obama won election twice as a change agent, initially winning the White House as the first black president and then securing a second term over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the personification of a genteel Republican establishment.

Former President George W. Bush had only a tenuous claim to outsider status, given he was the son of a president — yet his campaign was able to paint then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a creature of Washington in the 2004 presidential election.

Before that, former President Clinton used his down-home Arkansas image as a weapon against an incumbent president, Bush’s father, George H.W Bush, and then won a second term over another GOP establishment favorite, then-Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.).

Independent observers acknowledge that Trump’s style, divisive though it is, could help him be seen as much more of a disruptor even than these recent predecessors.

“It’s almost impossible for an incumbent to run as an outsider, but Trump has held onto that credential,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor who specializes in political communications. “He is parlaying that into how he sees himself — running against the Democrats, the media, the elites.”

Republicans, meanwhile, argue that Trump’s outsider image could be especially useful if Democrats pick former Vice President Joe Biden as their nominee.

Biden, in their telling, is much easier to brand as a creature of Washington given his decades in the Senate. There will be a different challenge if Democrats instead choose one of Biden’s rivals who is a fresher face on the national political scene, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); or more radical, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.).

Trump, billionaire Manhattanite though he may be, has long used the idea that he is sneered at by a snobbish elite to his own advantage.

On Tuesday, he told his supporters that Democrats “want to destroy you.”

It was a stark and visceral remark even by Trump’s standards.

But, after his 2016 victory, even his critics can’t be so sure it won’t work.

https://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/449436-the-memo-can-trump-run-as-an-outsider

A Second Term for What?

Trump can’t win by relitigating 2016 and playing only to his base.

President Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18.PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump announced his campaign for a second term at a rally in Orlando on Tuesday evening that recounted his first-term record and 2016 victory before thousands of rapturous supporters. The only thing missing was an agenda for 2020.

The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile.

Donald Trump Launches Campaign

The President is also right that his opponents have refused to recognize the legitimacy of his election. House Democrats may still try to impeach him for not obstructing an investigation into what wasn’t a conspiracy with Russia. His sense of “grievance,” to quote the media meme about his speech, on that point is entirely justified.

Yet Mr. Trump is asking for four more years, and his preoccupation with vindicating 2016 won’t resonate much beyond his core supporters. Most voters have moved on from 2016, which is why a majority opposes impeachment in every poll. They don’t much care about Mr. Trump’s greatest hits about Hillary Clinton, who alas for the President will not be on the ballot in 2020. They want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

This is all the more important given the way his first term has evolved on policy. One paradox is that his main policy successes have come from pursuing a conventional conservative agenda. The failures have been on the issues like trade and immigration that are the most identified with Trumpian disruption.

The economy’s renewed growth spurt came from tax reform, deregulation, liberating energy production and ending the anti-business harassment of the Obama years. His remaking of the judiciary and rebuilding of the military unite Republicans of all stripes. Criminal justice reform was the result of years of spade work on the right and left.

Mr. Trump deserves credit for pursuing all of this despite often ferocious opposition that might have intimidated a different GOP President. That’s true in particular of his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, where U.S. Democratic and media opinion is aligned with Europe’s elites.

On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. He must now confront the asylum crisis at the border with no help from Democrats. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.

The other paradox of the Trump Presidency is his low approval rating despite a stronger economy. The polls show his approval rating on the economy is above 50% but his overall approval is 44.3% in the Real Clear Politics average. The difference is best explained by Mr. Trump’s polarizing behavior, which has alienated in particular college-educated voters and Republican women. In the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, Mr. Trump is underwater with white college-educated women by a remarkable 20 percentage points.

Mr. Trump may figure he can persuade some of those skeptics by making the Democratic nominee even more unpopular than he is. If the Democrats oblige by nominating Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, that might be possible. But that is making a bet on the other party’s mistake, and a re-election campaign is typically a referendum on the incumbent.

Which is all the more reason to offer voters something more for a second term. He could put Democrats on the spot for high housing prices and homelessness by talking about restrictive zoning for elites and high property taxes. He could offer to reform higher education by making schools responsible for some of the debt of students who can’t repay loans, or invigorate vocational education to help young people who can’t go to college.

He could package health-care proposals to expand choice, reduce prices and make insurance portable; his administration has already proposed some of them. He could advance his theme of “draining the swamp” by offering ideas to reform the civil service. We’d include entitlement reform, but then Mr. Trump has shown no interest and we don’t believe in political miracles.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and Mr. Trump won’t win as a policy wonk in any case. But Mr. Trump also won’t win by relitigating the 2016 election or playing only to his political base. He needs more than he offered voters on Tuesday night.

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda
A Fox News poll has found that Democrats prefer a “steady” candidate to a “big agenda” candidate. But going up against the scale of Donald Trump will be tough, so how do frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren compare? Image: Getty

‘This election is about you. Your family, your future & the fate of YOUR country’: Trump lays it on the line at 20,000-strong Orlando rally as he kicks off 2020 re-election campaign with his entire family and obligatory digs at ‘Crooked Hillary’

  • The president spent the first half-hour of a Tuesday night rally hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton 
  • Trump said his team wondered if it should hold the rally in a venue which can hold 20,000 people
  • ‘Not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests… Congratulations!’ the president said to cheers
  • The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism when she wound up an arena of supporters
  • Husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming, ‘CNN Sucks!’ 
  • ‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. We’re going to fight like hell,’ Eric said 
  •  Donald Trump Jr. mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours
  • ‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said, claiming the ex-VP has four-person crowds 

President Trump spent a Tuesday night rally he’d advertised as a 2020 kickoff hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton for acid washing her emails and failing to deliver on her pledge to beat him, while Democrats vying for the party’s nomination now escaped his wrath.

Noting that he’s under constant media scrutiny, Trump said that he’d be sent to the slammer if he ordered aides to destroy potential evidence.

‘But, can you imagine if I got a subpoena, think of this, if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump,’ he claimed in a campaign speech in Orlando.

Trump said subpoenas he’s receiving are not about Democratic claims that his campaign may have colluded with Russia.

‘The Democrats don’t care about Russia, they only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I’ve ever known or worked with,’ he argued. ‘But they are really going after you. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about us, it’s about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.’

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend
First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump's first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended - with his audience chanting 'Lock her Up!' in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

Trump's campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Trump’s campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Michael Boulos, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Donald Trump Jr. arrive at a rally for US President Donald Trump

FLOTUS Melania introduces her husband at Trump 2020 rally

The president said, ‘They wanted to deny you the future you demanded and the future that America deserved and that now America is getting. Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it’s not going to happen. Not gonna happen.’

Trump claimed that Democrats as a party would use the ‘power of the law to punish their opponents’ if they’re handed the reigns to the country.

‘Imagine if we had a Democrat president and a Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents – which they’re trying to do now anyway – they’ll always be trying to shield themselves,’ he claimed. ‘They will strip Americans of their Constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political base and they’ll get votes someplace down the future. That’s what it’s about.’

Broad attacks on the Democratic Party and ‘radical socialism’ were the most stringent assaults that Trump would levy all night.

He said, ‘More than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed up to support “Crazy Bernie Sanders” socialist government takeover of health care.

‘He seems not to be doing too well lately,’ the president said as an aside. ‘They want to end Medicare as we know it and terminate the private health insurance of 180 million Americans who love their health insurance. America will never be a socialist country.’

It was his only mention at the rally of one of his most formidable opponents. Former Democratic President Joe Biden was also a footnote in the speech, earning two mentions, as a part of the ‘Obama-Biden’ duo that Trump said ruined American foreign policy and drove down the nation’s economy.

‘Remember the statement from the previous administration? Would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing? Well, tell “Sleepy Joe” that we found the magic wand. That’s a sleepy guy,’ the president added.

Trump outlined his vision tweeting: ‘Don’t ever forget – this election is about YOU. It is about YOUR family, YOUR future, & the fate of YOUR COUNTRY. We begin our campaign with the best record, the best results, the best agenda, & the only positive VISION for our Country’s future! #Trump2020’

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Trump rails against Democrats, Mueller and ‘fake news’ at 2020 rally
Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Clinton.

The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism first. She wound up an arena of supporters with a claim that the media was saying Clinton was going to be the 45th President of the United States days before the election. ‘They have always been wrong,’ she declared.

Attacks on the media as ‘fake news’ and ‘dishonest’ from Lara and her husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming ‘CNN Sucks!’ minutes later.

The Trumps said their family has been under attack from one group or another since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015.

‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. And guys we are going to fight like hell – our family is going to fight like hell for this country. We will never ever stop fighting, and we will never ever, ever stop winning,’ the president’s son said. ‘And guys, we love you very much. We’re all going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. We’re going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. So we’re going to see you.’

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president.

‘I don’t know about you, but I look around this room and when Joe Biden’s putting about seven people in an audience, I’m saying, “I think they may be a little wrong with the polling.” But what they hell do I know?’ he said.

National polls show Biden beating Trump in a general election. A Quinnipiac University survey that came out Tuesday found that the former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41, the newly-released poll showed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would win by a similar margin, 48 – 42, while other top Democrats would perform in the poll’s margin of error.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told DailyMail.com inside the rally that Quinnipiac is ‘c**p’ in response to the latest poll showing bad news in a critical swing state for the controversial president.

Trump had already warned the public that this official launch of 2020 campaign would be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents for more than 30 hours to save their places at the front of a massive line that would ensure them floor seats

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Trump attacks Democrats at his Orlando rally
Don Jr. brushed off the threat from Biden, 76, as he campaigned for his father, 73, on Tuesday in Orlando. He called Biden and his competitors a ‘clown show’ and gave the Democrat a new nickname. ‘Sloppy Joe,’ he called him, as he hit Biden for flip-flopping.

‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said. ‘To his group of about four people in the audience, “Government has failed you.” Usually, as he’s groping someone. It ain’t pretty, but there’s something off with that guy.’

The president’s son said he agrees that government is broken and it’s a problem. ‘The problem is Joe, you’ve been in government for almost 50 years. If government failed you, maybe you’re the problem Joe Biden,’ he said. ‘It’s not rocket science.’

Trump warned the public that the campaign rally would be ‘wild,’ and Don Jr. helped him deliver on the pledge.

He mocked Biden’s pledge to cure cancer, asking, ‘Why the hell didn’t you do that over the last 50 years, Joe?’

Don Jr. blamed the media for giving Biden a pass. ‘Why did not one of them say, “Well, Joe, how exactly are you going to do that?” And why didn’t you do that in the last eight years as vice president and the prior 40 years in government and the Senate?’

His father later claimed that he’d cure cancer in remarks that followed. ‘We will push onward with new medical frontiers. We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases, including cancer and others and we’re getting closer all the time,’ he said.

Attacks on Clinton and media were a common theme throughout the night, with Trump pausing and waiting for his supporters to cheer, ‘CNN SUCKS!’ and ‘Lock her Up!’ as he talked about the former secretary of state’s acid-washed emails and her loss to him in the last election.

‘It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of our election, spy on our campaign, which is what they did,’ he complained.

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Vice President Mike Pence, escorted in by Karen Pence, speaks before Trump takes the stage on Tuesday evening

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

Melania's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

Melania’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

President Trump said as he opened the event that he could feel the ‘magic’ in Orlando – a play on the name of the city’s professional basketball team.

He spoke to supporters in the same arena that the team plays in, which is a venue that can hold roughly 20,000 people.

‘You know, I said, “This is a very big arena for a Tuesday night.” I said, “You know, if we have about three or four empty seats, the fake news will say – headlines: he didn’t fill up the arena.” So I said maybe we shouldn’t take the chance, maybe we shouldn’t go to Orlando, maybe we should go someplace else,’ Trump said in his opening remarks. ‘I said, “No, I think we’ll go to Orlando.” And, not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests. That means you folks have come out very, very good.’

Supporters camped out in tents for more than 30 hours to save their places at the front of a massive line that would ensure them floor seats at Tuesday evening’s show.

Saundra Kiczenski, a Michigan native who works in retail, waited from 7am on Monday. She said she’d been to rallies in support of the president in 15 states. She spent Monday night on the pavement in a sleeping bag.

‘I took the hotel pillow and slept on the ground,’ she told DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon as she waited to get in.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

A cover band with aging rockers who call themselves ‘The Guzzlers’ revved up the crowd under a beating sun at a ‘festival’ the campaign held in an outdoor parking lot, where vendors sold a captive and cramped group sodas, snow cones and Trump umbrellas.

Sweltering heat that topped 87 degrees soon turned to pouring rain, giving the umbrellas a dual purpose for supporters like Richard Snowden who chose to remain.

A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Snowden said he’d be ‘remiss’ to have skipped the kickoff. He told DailyMail.com from the comfort of a party-style tent his group had pitched that he’d attended 54 rallies since Trump announced his candidacy for office in 2015.

But even Snowden called himself a pragmatist and said of the president’s reelection odds, ‘I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk.’

‘The incumbency will help. He won’t catch them flat-footed this time,’ he observed, as he waited for the rally to begin. ‘And he won’t have the dislike of Hillary working in his favor,’ he said in remarks that proved to prescient.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he'd be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

 

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport

Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport in Orlando

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, and Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump, right, wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be ‘wild,’ after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7156179/Trumps-2020-kickoff-features-media-bashing-attacks-Joe-Biden-old-foe-Hillary-Clinton.html

 

Trump, in 2020 campaign mode, calls Democrats ‘radical’

today

President Donald Trump jabbed at the press and poked the political establishment he ran against in 2016 as he kicked off his reelection campaign with a grievance-filled rally focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a possible second term.

Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center on Tuesday night, Trump complained he was “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and an “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down.

He painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and saying Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said. Trump made only passing mention of any of the Democrats running to replace him even as he tossed out “radical” and “unhinged” to describe the rival party.

Trump has long railed against the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the ongoing probes by House Democrats in the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s report .

President Donald Trump officially kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally. "We're going to keep it better than ever before," he declared. (June 18)

The apocalyptic language and finger-pointing made clear that Trump’s 2020 campaign will probably look a whole lot like his run three years ago. Even after two-and-a-half years in the Oval Office, Trump remains focused on energizing his base and offering himself as a political outsider running against Washington.

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Wednesday morning that Trump had raised $24.8 million in less than 24 hours for his reelection.

In his speech, Trump spent considerably more time focused on former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton than on his current 2020 challengers, even though she is not on the ballot.

Thousands of Trump supporters began gathering outside the arena on Monday.

“Trump has been the best president we’ve ever had,” said Ron Freitas, a retired Merchant Marine and registered Democrat from Orlando.

Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters clapped and took photos when a 20-foot (6-meter) blimp of a snarling Trump baby in a diaper was inflated. Some members of the far-right hate group Proud Boys were also spotted marching outside the rally.

Trump aides scheduled the kickoff near the four-year anniversary of the day when the former reality television star and New York tabloid fixture launched his longshot campaign for president with a famous escalator ride in front of a crowd that included paid actors.

Trump spoke fondly of his 2016 race, calling it “a defining moment in American history.” He said that in the years since, he had upended Washington, staring down “a corrupt and broken political establishment” and restoring a government “of, for and by the people.”

He never has really stopped running. He filed for reelection on Jan. 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration, and held his first 2020 rally in February, 2017, in nearby Melbourne. He has continued holding his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies in the months since.

Trump asked the crowd whether he should stick with “Make America Great Again” or upgrade his slogan. His new one — “Keep America Great” — was greeted with boisterous cheers.

Trump is hoping to replicate the dynamics that allowed him to take charge of the Republican Party and then the presidency as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. In 2016, he successfully appealed to disaffected voters who felt left behind by economic dislocation and demographic shifts. He has no intention of abandoning that mantle, even if he is the face of the institutions he looks to disrupt.

The president underscored that on the eve of the rally in must-win Florida, returning to the hardline immigration themes of his first campaign by tweeting that next week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”

That promise, which came with no details and sparked Democratic condemnation, seemed to offer a peek into a campaign that will largely be fought along the same lines as his first bid, with very few new policy proposals for a second term.

Early Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said Trump’s politics are “all about dividing us” in ways that are “dangerous — truly, truly dangerous.”

Another leading Democratic contender, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Trump had delivered “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total, absolute nonsense.”

But those involved in the president’s reelection effort believe his version of populism, combined with his mantra to “Drain the Swamp,” still resonates, despite his administration’s ties with lobbyists and corporations and the Trump family’s apparent efforts to profit off the presidency.Critics have pointed out his constant promotion for his golf courses, both at home and abroad, and note that this daughter, White House senior aide Ivanka Trump, made $4 million last year from her stake in the president’s Washington hotel, which has become a favored destination for foreign nationals looking to curry favor with the administration.

Advisers believe that, in an age of extreme polarization, many Trump backers view their support for the president as part of their identity, one not easily shaken. They point to his seemingly unmovable support with his base supporters as evidence that he is still viewed the same way he was as a candidate: a political rebel.

Trump tried to make the case that he had made good on his 2016 promises, including cracking down on illegal immigration and boosting jobs.

Near the rally’s end, Trump ran through a list of promises for a second term, pledging a new immigration system, new trade deals, a health care overhaul and a cure for cancer and “many diseases,” including eradicating AIDS in America.

https://apnews.com/947182a691e6498ca4488e9fc8f9e4b5

President Trump spent a Tuesday night rally he’d advertised as a 2020 kickoff hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton for acid washing her emails and failing to deliver on her pledge to beat him, while Democrats vying for the party’s nomination now escaped his wrath.

Noting that he’s under constant media scrutiny, Trump said that he’d be sent to the slammer if he ordered aides to destroy potential evidence.

‘But, can you imagine if I got a subpoena, think of this, if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump,’ he claimed in a campaign speech in Orlando.

Trump said subpoenas he’s receiving are not about Democratic claims that his campaign may have colluded with Russia.

 

A sunshine state of mind! Melania and Donald Trump gaze lovingly at one another as they leave the White House hand-in-hand and head to Florida for the president’s 2020 rally

  • Trump, 73, and Melania, 49, departed the White House together on Tuesday to fly to Florida
  • The President will be officially launching his 2020 campaign with a rally at the Amway Center
  • The first lady wore a summery $2,290 white eyelet Andrew Gin dress with a pair of red and white polka-dot heels
  • She grinned at her husband as they walked hand-in-hand to Marine One
  • Melania is not expected to speak at the event, which will include an estimated 20,000 people

Donald and Melania Trump had a rare romantic public moment on Tuesday as the two left the White House for Orlando, Florida.

The President and first lady walked hand-in-hand across the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on their way to Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff rally.

Cameras caught the couple sharing a warm smile as they held onto each other, Trump, 73, dressed in a navy suit and red tie and his 49-year-old wife took advantage of the June heat in a $2,290 summery white eyelet dress from Andrew Gin, and red polka-dot heels.

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn't wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida+19

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania's hands in both of his own+19

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania’s hands in both of his own

The couple isn’t typically much for PDA but shared an intimate smile as they walked passed photographers.

They held each other’s hands, with Trump stopping at one point in order to clasp Melania’s left hand in both of his own.

Melania beat the heat, which is hovering in the mid-to-high 80s in Washington, D.C. today, in a breezy but figure-flaunting white sleeveless dress, which featured a seasonally appropriate eyelet patter with floral cutouts on the top.

She accessorized with a pair of dark sunglasses and red and white pointy-toe pumps. while wearing her brown hair blown out around her shoulders.

The couple, who married in 2005, celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary in January, just one year less than he was married to his first wife Ivana.

The couple grinned as they boarded Marine One and then switched planes for Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s+19

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses+19

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps+19

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done+19

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done

They’re flying down not to Mar-a-Lago but Orlando, where Trump is kicking off his 2020 presidential campaign at the Amway Center in front of an estimated 20,000 people.

Trump’s campaign is transforming the area outside the arena to have a festival-like atmosphere, with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time.

The most coveted positions are not seats at all, but standing positions near the front of the stage. Backers of the president in that area are likely to get a handshake, a selfie or Trump’s autograph at the event that formally marks the beginning of his campaign for a second term.

All of Trump’s children and his wife Melania will be with him at the event, sources told DailyMail.com, as will the Mike Pence, the president’s running mate and the nation’s vice president.

The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said, but given the president’s tendency to call on people to speak, she could end up addressing the crowd.

Donald Trump, Jr., on the other hand is expected to give remarks before the rally.

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress+19

It will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat+19

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress, which will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said+19

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said

Change of plan? The couple's 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them+19

Change of plan? The couple’s 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them

Family affair: Trump's adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there+19

Family affair: Trump’s adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews+19

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together+19

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together

The president’s eldest son is a frequent presence at campaign events — with and without his father — and often serves as a warm-up act for the president’s supporters. He’s also campaigned and raised money for other Republican candidates since his father entered politics.

His girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality, is also scheduled to be at the rally. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s reelection campaign.

Senior advisers and family members to the president Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are also expected to be at the rally.

It’s unclear if Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, will be in Orlando. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, but is also pregnant with the couple’s second child. She made a state trip to the UK in early June.

It will be 13-year-old Barron Trump’s first appearance at a campaign rally since his father took office.

Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany, who has been less involved than her older siblings in her father’s campaigns and administration, will also be there.

Orlando Trump supporters stakeout spots ahead of rally

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign+19

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday+19

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Wild: The Republican incumbent set the tone in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

President Trump release his 2020 campaign ad for re-election

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at this evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he said.

Trump had apparently dropped a claim that ‘thousands’ turned up on Monday, with about 250 people camping overnight. But the numbers grew steadily as temperatures soared in Orlando Tuesday, reaching 87 degrees before an hour-long downpour that soaked a waiting crowd.

A new Quinnipiac poll showed Trump losing Florida to Democratic nemesis Joe Biden. The former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41 per cent, the newly-released survey showed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would win by a similar margin, 48 – 42, while other top Democrats would perform in the poll’s margin of error

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7155853/Melania-Trump-smiles-warmly-husband-depart-Orlando-campaign-kickoff-rally.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1274, June 13, 2019, Story 1: Two Tankers Transitioning The Strait of Hormus  in Gulf of Oman Shelled, Torpedoed and On Fire — Videos — Story 2: Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Democrat and Republican Parties: U.S. Federal Government Spending Totally Out-of-Control Should Exceed $4,000 Billion With $1,000 Billion Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 and Forever! — National Debt Approaching 100% of Gross Domestic Product By 2020 — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Entitlement, Welfare and Tax Reform Absolutely Must Happen To Avoid Massive Increases in Interest Rates — Videos — Story 3: United States Government To Purchase 478 New Joint Strike Fighter F-35s Lightning II for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and Allied Militaries From and Lockheed Martin for About $34 Billion — Videos — Story 4: What Will Cause The Next Recession In United States — Videos

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Story 1: Two Tankers Transitioning The Strait of Hormus  in Gulf of Oman Shelled, Torpedoed and On Fire — Videos —

Why isn’t the oil market reacting to the oil tanker attacks?

Iran responsible for attack on two tankers: Pompeo

US has video of Iran removing unexploded mine from oil tanker: Report

Iran rejects US accusation of involvement in tanker attacks

U.S. officials: Iran likely behind new tanker attacks

BREAKING – 2 Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman (straight of Hormuz) on fire

Crew have been rescued after abandoning two oil tankers hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman

US Navy Heads for Oil Tanker Incident in Gulf of Oman

 

Two Oil Tankers Attacked Near Straight of Hormuz

Tanker Attacks In Gulf of Oman Fuel Security, Oil Supply Fears

 

Oil tanker attacks echo Persian Gulf’s 1980s ‘Tanker War’

 Mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz this week show how one of the world’s crucial chokepoints for global energy supplies can be easily targeted, 30 years after the U.S. Navy and Iran were entangled in a similarly shadowy conflict called the “Tanker War.”

While the current tensions are nowhere near the damage done then, it underscores how dangerous the situation is and how explosive it can become.

The so-called “Tanker War” involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.

U.S. estimates suggest Iran attacked over 160 ships in the late 1980s confrontation.

“We need to remember that some 30% of the world’s crude oil passes through the straits,” said Paolo d’Amico, the chairman of the oil tanker association INTERTANKO. “If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire Western world could be at risk.”

So far, six oil tankers have been damaged in suspected limpet mine attacks, explosives that can be magnetically stuck to the side of a ship. The first attack happened May 12 off the coast of the Emirati port city of Fujairah and targeted four tankers. Thursday’s apparent attack damaged two other tankers.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for both incidents, offering a video on Friday it said showed Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces spirit away one mine stuck to a tanker that didn’t explode in Thursday’s assault. For its part, Iran denies being involved and calls the allegations part of America’s “Iranophobic campaign” against it.

Meanwhile, the owner of the tanker Kokuka Courageous said its sailors saw “flying objects” before the attack, suggesting it wasn’t damaged by mines and contradicting the U.S. military.

Confusion pervaded the start of the “Tanker War” as well.

That conflict grew out of the bloody eight-year war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, which began when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. The war killed 1 million people. The U.S. supported Saddam by providing intelligence, weaponry and other aid.

Iraq first targeted Iran’s shipping and by 1984 attacked Kharg Island, a crucial oil-tanker-loading terminal for Iran. Its air force also attacked ships in the Persian Gulf. After the Kharg attack, Iran began a concerted campaign to attack shipping in the region.

Iraq ultimately would attack over 280 vessels to Iran’s 168, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.

The Iran’s mining campaign began in earnest in 1987. At night, the Revolutionary Guard would drop mines from vessels disguised as traditional dhows, which ferry cargo around the waters of the Persian Gulf.

As attacks targeted Kuwaiti oil tankers, the U.S. ultimately stepped in to protect them. The Soviet Union also volunteered.

https://www.newsday.com/news/world/oil-tanker-attacks-echo-persian-gulf-s-1980s-tanker-war-1.32361954

 

MISCHIEVOUS PLOT’

Iran accuses the US of LYING about the ‘suspicious’ attack on American-linked oil tanker and denies ordering ‘torpedo’ assault

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the “blatant” attacks on two tankers which burst into flames in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

 A huge fire rages on board the Front Altair after it was reportedly hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman

A huge fire rages on board the Front Altair after it was reportedly hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman

 The tanker was one of two ships attacked today sparking an evacuation of all crew members

The tanker was one of two ships attacked today sparking an evacuation of all crew members

 The Pentagon released this image which is says shows Iranian involvement in the oil tanker attacks

The Pentagon released this image which is says shows Iranian involvement in the oil tanker attacks

But Iran has hit back at the “unfounded and reckless” claims and accused the US of “warmongering” as part of a “disinformation campaign”.

“The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots and false flag operations in the region,” Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.

“Warning, once again, about all of the US coercion, intimidation and malign behaviour, Iran expresses concern over suspicious incidents for the oil tankers that occurred today.”

It came after Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran and the Pentagon released images and footage as “proof” of Iranian involvement.


What we know so far:

  • Two oil tankers were seriously damaged in the suspected torpedo attack
  • The US believes Iran is definitely to blame for the shocking attacks
  • Tehran has accused America of ‘Iranophobia’ and says it is innocent
  • Almost 50 sailors had to be rescued from the stricken tankers in the Gulf
  • Oil prices surged by 3.5 per cent after today’s suspected terror attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister has branded the explosions as “suspicious”
  • The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is now investigating the suspected torpedo attack

Pompeo said the attacks were part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran which posed a threat to international peace and security.

Iran blasted his “inflammatory remarks” and said they amounted to “another Iranophobic campaign”.

“Iran categorically rejects the U.S. unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms,” the Iranian mission said in a statement.

The hardline Islamic nation added that the US poses the “most significant threat” to the peace and security of the Persian Gulf region.

“The US economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as the massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the most significant threat to its peace and security,” the statement said.

Iran’s foreign minister later dismissed the US accusations as “sabotage diplomacy”.

 The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine

The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine

 An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack this morning

An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack this morningCredit: AP:Associated Press

 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the blatant attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the blatant attacksCredit: Getty Images – Getty

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in blast at the Islamic state

Both the Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous burst into flames and were forced to evacuate in the troubled region on Thursday.

Reports suggested the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous may have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.

The Pentagon released a video that it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker.

This suggests the Islamic Republic may have sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene.

SMOKING GUN?

The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the US military’s Central Command, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous.

But the owner has since said the tanker crew saw “flying objects” before the attack, suggesting the ship was not damaged by mines, according to AP.

Pompeo said the US will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.

Hours later it was revealed the US Navy is sending the guided missile destroyer USS Mason to the scene of the attacks.

The USS Bainbridge rescued 21 of the 44 stricken sailors involved in the incident near the Strait of Hormuz.

BRITAIN BLASTS ‘DEEPLY UNWISE’ ATTACKS

Britain is working on the basis that Iran is responsible for the attacks and warned Iran that these actions were “deeply unwise”.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is deeply worrying and comes at a time of already huge tension.

“I have been in contact with Pompeo and, while we will be making our own assessment soberly and carefully, our starting point is obviously to believe our U.S. allies.

“We are taking this extremely seriously and my message to Iran is that if they have been involved it is a deeply unwise escalation which poses a real danger to the prospects of peace and stability in the region.”

Norwegian shipping firm Frontline, which owns the Altair, has denied Iranian reports that the tanker had sunk.

The ship was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands – a US associated state in the Pacific Ocean.

Chartered by Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC Corp, the huge vessel set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung on June 30.

Speaking to Reuters, the CEO of CPC’s petrochemical division Wu I-Fang said the tanker was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo.”

He said it was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30 million.

Gulf of Oman attack- 23 oil tanker crew members filmed safe in Jask after suspected attack

Paolo d’Amico, chairman of the tanker association, Intertanko, said concern was rising for other crews braving the powder keg shipping lanes.

He said: “If the waters are becoming unsafe, the oil supply to the entire Western world could be at risk.”

It comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iran are threatening to reach boiling point.

A Saudi-led coalition has described the attack as a “major escalation”.

In recent weeks, Washington has sent a number of battleships to the region in response to what it says are Iranian threats against American interests and its allies in the region.

The Kokuka Courageous – which is owned by Japanese firm Kokuka Sangyohad – set sail from Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia on June 10 and was due to reach Singapore by June 22.

Oil prices rose by 3.5 per cent following news of the explosions, according to reports.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif branded the explosions as “suspicious” calling them “reported attacks on Japan-related oil tankers.”

He said the incident had happened as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close American ally.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said it is aware of a “reported attack” in the area and is investigating.

A statement said: “US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6.12 am local time and a second one at 7.00 am.

“US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

 The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning

12
The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning

Speaking about the attacks, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said: “The President has been briefed on the attack on ships in the Gulf of Oman.

“The US Government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy, urged “extreme caution” and said it was investigating the incident.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

Authorities do not believe that any British nationals were on the two ships.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

This comes after the US claimed Iran used explosives to blow huge holes in four ships – including two Saudi oil tankers – anchored in the Persian Gulf last month.

The ships reportedly had ruptures measuring up to ten foot across  in their hulls as a result of the May 12 sabotage attacks.

Recent US and Iran tensions

  • May 5: USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force is deployed in Middle East in response to ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ by Iran.
  • May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The US responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metals industry.
  • May 10: The US says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.
  • May 24: President Trump says the US will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops.
  • May 12: The UAE says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.

 Huge plumes of thick black smoke billow from the massive tanker in the Gulf of Oman following a suspected torpedo attack

Huge plumes of thick black smoke billow from the massive tanker in the Gulf of Oman following a suspected torpedo attackCredit: AP:Associated Press

 One of the tankers on fire in the Gulf of Oman following the suspected torpedo attack

One of the tankers on fire in the Gulf of Oman following the suspected torpedo attackCredit: AFP or licensors

 The Front Altair, from the US-linked Marshall Islands, was one of the ships reportedly attacked today near Iran

The Front Altair, from the US-linked Marshall Islands, was one of the ships reportedly attacked today near IranCredit: Shipspotting.com

Two tankers: all you need to know

  • Front Altair was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands
  • It is owned by Norwegian company Frontline and is operated by Dubai-based International Tanker Management
  • The ship was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical product, worth $30m when it was attacked
  • It was carrying 23 crew members who were all rescued
  • The vessel can carry up to 62,849 tonnes of cargo
  • It weighs a staggering 109,894 tonnes
  • Kokuka Courageous was built in 2010 and is flagged to Panama
  • It is owned by Japanese firm Kokuka Sangyo and is operated by BSM Ship Management
  • The ship was carrying 25,000 tonnes of methanol when it was attacked
  • 21 sailors on board were rescued. One suffered minor injuries

They were targeted near the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates – with one of the tankers due to be loaded with Saudi crude oil bound for the US.

A Washington-based official told the Associated Press that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or its allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

A huge US naval presence has built up in the Gulf over recent weeks amid a fevered standoff between Washington and Tehran.

US intelligence revealed Iran was on the verge of carrying out offensive action to disrupt and attack American and partner interests in the region.

It led to the deployment of US aircraft carriers, Patriot missiles and B52 bombers over recent days.

The general-secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council described the sabotage as a “serious escalation” in an overnight statement.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman called the incidents near the coast of Fujairah on May 12 “worrisome and dreadful” and asked for an investigation into the matter.

US and Iran – a troubled history

  • Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran was one of America’s biggest allies in the Middle East and was led by the US-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
  • However, since the seismic revolt, Iran has been led by murderous Islamic fundamentalists and tensions with Washington have remained ever since.
  • On November 4, 1979, the Iranian regime took 52 US diplomats hostage in response to President Carter’s administration allowing Iran’s deposed former leader into America.
  • The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and also included a failed rescue mission which cost the lives of eight US soldiers.
  • In April 1980, the US ended diplomatic relations with Iran – a break which lasted for more than 30 years.
  • In April 1983, Washington blamed the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah for carrying out a bombing attack on the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • The assault, carried out amid a brutal civil war in Lebanon, killed 17 Americans.
  • In November of that year, two truck bombs in Beruit killed 241 US peace keepers. The US again blamed Hezbollah for the incident.
  • The Clinton White House, in 1995, placed a total embargo on Iran meaning US companies could not trade with the country.
  • And in 2002, George W Bush included the Islamic Republic in his famous “Axis of evil” speech along with North Korea and Iraq.

 The latest explosions in the region come after four ships were attacked with explosives last month in the Persian Gulf

The latest explosions in the region come after four ships were attacked with explosives last month in the Persian GulfCredit: Reuters
 The United States deployed an additional warship to the Gulf
The United States deployed an additional warship to the GulfCredit: AFP

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

The deal is an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear weapons programme.

It saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.

According to the deal, Iran would receive relief from the US, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council on all nuclear-related economic sanctions.

The agreement was reached on July 14, 2015, and was signed by world powers in Vienna, Austria.

However,  on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the US would withdraw from the agreement – which he has repeatedly called “insane” and ridiculous”.

America’s withdrawal from the deal mean crippling economic sanctions will once again be placed on Iran – further heightening tensions between the two countries.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9292305/iran-oil-tanker-attack-gulf-of-oman/

 

Tankers ablaze in suspected attacks near Gulf oil chokepoint

A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, one of two vessels hit by suspected attacks in the waters of the Gulf of Oman

A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, one of two vessels hit by suspected attacks in the waters of the Gulf of Oman

Suspected attacks left two tankers ablaze in the waters of the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, sparking fears of a broader conflict and sending world oil prices soaring.

The mysterious incident came amid spiralling tensions between Iran and the US, which pointed the finger at the Islamic republic last month over similar attacks in the strategic sea lane.

The UN Security Council is to hold a closed-door meeting later on Thursday at the request of the United States to discuss the suspected attacks.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority said three explosions were reported on board the Norwegian-owned tanker Front Altair after it was “attacked” along with the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

Iran said its navy rescued 44 crew members after the two vessels, which were carrying highly inflammable material, caught fire.

Footage aired on television showed thick, black plumes of smoke and flames billowing from one of the tankers as it lay out to sea.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the timing of the “reported attacks” was “suspicious”, coming as Japan’s prime minister held talks in Iran.

Suspected attacks involving tankers in Gulf

Suspected attacks involving tankers in Gulf

The US Fifth Fleet, based in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, said its warships had received separate distress calls from each vessel.

The White House said US President Donald Trump was briefed on the suspected attacks and the government was assessing the situation.

UN chief Antonio Guterres condemned the “security incidents” and warned the world cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf, while the European Union called for “maximum restraint”.

State media in Iran said the incidents happened one hour apart in the early morning.

The Front Altair, a 111,000-tonne vessel carrying ethanol from Qatar to Taiwan, caught fire first off Bandar-e-Jask in southern Iran, the official IRNA news agency said.

“As the ship caught fire, 23 of the crew jumped into the water and were saved by a passing ship and handed over to the Iranian rescue unit,” it said.

Robert Hvide Macleo, chief executive for the ship’s owner Frontline, wrote in a text message to AFP: “I can confirm that the vessel has NOT sunk” and the crew were “all safe”.

– ‘Security incident’ –

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the "reported attacks" on two tankers in the Gulf were "suspicious" as it happened while the Japanese prime minister was having talks in Tehran

The Kokuka Courageous was headed to Singapore from Saudi Arabia with a cargo of methanol, IRNA said.

Singapore-based BSM Ship Management said it had “launched a full-scale emergency response following a security incident” involving the Kokuka.

“The 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side,” it said of the vessel owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo Ltd.

“One crew man from the Kokuka Courageous was slightly injured… and is receiving first aid.”

In Tokyo, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said: “A tanker carrying Japan-related goods was attacked. There were no injuries among the crew members. They got off the tanker. There were no Japanese members.”

Front Altair was reportedly still burning late Thursday, but the fire aboard the Kokuka Courageous was under control extinguished, said an Iranian official involved in the rescue operation.

The incident came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on an unprecedented visit to Iran, seeking to defuse tensions between Tokyo’s ally Washington and the Islamic republic.

– Oil price spike –

World oil prices surged following reports of the suspected attacks, exacerbating tensions in the crude-rich Middle East, analysts said.

“Tension across the Middle East is high — and the attacks on two tankers has further exacerbated the situation, even though there does not appear to have been any damage to the cargos,” said John Hall, chairman of British-based consultancy Alfa Energy.

London’s Brent North Sea oil jumped more than four percent in morning deals before trimming gains.

The strategic Strait of Hormuz

In afternoon trading, Brent for August delivery stood at $61.99 per barrel, up $2.02, or nearly 3.4 percent from Wednesday.

New York’s West Texas Intermediate was up $1.60 or around 3.1 percent at $52.74 per barrel.

The Gulf of Oman lies at the other end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz from the Gulf, part of a vital chokepoint through which at least 15 million barrels of crude oil and hundreds of millions of dollars of non-oil imports pass.

On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged in still unexplained attacks off the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

US national security adviser John Bolton said Iranian naval mines were almost certainly behind those attacks without providing any evidence.

The UAE said initial findings of a five-nation investigation delivered to the UN pointed to the likelihood a state was involved.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia warned this month that “terrorist” attacks in the Gulf could imperil global oil supplies, as he sought to galvanise support against arch-rival Iran.

The kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, ratcheted up tensions with Iran after the attacks off Fujairah, which were followed by a drone strike on a key Saudi oil pipeline claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

“We are in a dangerous moment in the region with this emerging pattern of attacks,” said Elizabeth Dickinson, senior analyst with International Crisis Group.

“Any miscalculation or misunderstanding risks a spiral toward more direct confrontation,” she told AFP.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7136677/Two-oil-tankers-evacuated-new-incident-Gulf-Oman.html

Iran Has Little to Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks

Julian Lee,
Bloomberg

Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them.

Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn’t responsible, it will still suffer the consequences.

The first tanker to report a problem was the Front Altair. It was reported to be carrying 75,000 tons of naphtha, loaded in Abu Dhabi, to Japan, although it was signaling a destination of Kaosiung in Taiwan when it was damaged. The second vessel was the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.

A person who’s heard local radio transmissions between ships in the region told Bloomberg that a torpedo attack is suspected to have caused an explosion and fire on the Front Altair. The managers of the Kokuka Courageous said in a statement that “the 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side.”

Who gains from these attacks?

The obvious answer is Iran. If Tehran is attacking tankers leaving the Persian Gulf – either directly, or through proxies – it sends a message that transit through the world’s most important choke point for global oil flows is not safe without its consent. If Iran is pushed to the brink economically by sanctions, it will not go quietly. Other nations in the region will bear the cost of disruptions to their own oil exports, while America and its allies will have to cope with higher crude prices and disruptions to supplies.

Not since 2005 have the world’s insurers considered shipping in the Persian Gulf so dangerous for oil tankers. Nevertheless, we are still far from the level of tension that existed during the so-called Tanker War of the 1980s, when 451 vessels (259 of them oil or refined petroleum product tankers) suffered some sort of attack in the region, according to a report from the U.S. Naval Institute. The incidents took place during the Iran-Iraq war, and the culprits were forces from both countries.

Then, the U.S. navy resorted to escorting vessels through the Persian Gulf. That would be an expensive operation to repeat and would tie up a large part of the U.S. and allied fleets in the region. It would also raise the cost of the U.S. drive against Iran, which began with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Brent crude was up by as much as 4.45% on Thursday, shortly after news of the attacks broke, although it has since lost some of those gains. The nation’s oil exports have been seriously curtailed by U.S. sanctions, and higher prices are its only route to increasing revenues. But the benefits are likely to be relatively small, given the dwindling volumes and steep discounts that the country probably has to offer to shift its oil.

There is another group that will benefit from the incident – the people who want to see the U.S. step up its campaign against Iran and move from an economic war to a military one. There are plenty of those, both in the U.S. and among its allies in the Persian Gulf and wider Middle East regions.

The timing of the attacks also raises questions.

They come as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Tehran, with the blessing of President Trump. On Wednesday Abe urged Tehran to avoid conflict at all costs and pledged to do his utmost to ease tensions. The tankers damaged on Thursday were carrying cargoes related to Japan,  Hiroshige Seko, minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said on the ministry’s Twitter feed.

A day earlier, Iran freed a U.S. resident imprisoned on espionage charges.

This would seem very clumsy timing from a country seeing the first tangible signs of any easing of the crippling sanctions imposed by the Americans. But it is absolutely understandable if you’re someone whose ultimate goal is to derail any easing of tensions between the two nations, and to effect regime change in Tehran. Whoever is behind the attacks is no friend of Iran.

–With assistance from Elaine He.

Oil rallies after apparent attack on tankers near Strait of Hormuz, but finish off session high

Oil futures rallied Thursday, as an attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz raised fears of a potential disruption to the global flow of oil, but failed to recoup the previous days losses by the close.

“Supply concern flare-ups are not infrequent occurrences in crude markets,” said Ryan Giannotto, director of research at GraniteShares.

“The nature of these events is that the outcomes are quite binary: either a major supply disruption event transpires or it does not,” he said. “This lack of a middle ground in outcomes stokes fear in commodities markets, but the added risk premium tends to abate rapidly.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery CLN19, -0.33%  rose $1.14, or 2.2%, to end at $52.28 a barrel after tapping an intraday high of $53.45. The gains contrasted with a 4% drop that took the U.S. benchmark down to $51.14 Wednesday, the lowest front-month contract finish since Jan. 14, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-rebound-from-five-month-lows-on-reports-of-gulf-of-oman-tanker-fire-2019-06-13

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Federal Spending Tops $3 Trillion Through May for First Time; Deficit Hits $738 Billion

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 12, 2019 | 2:25 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

(CNSNews.com) – For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has spent more than $3 trillion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

The record $3,013,541,000,000 that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2019 was $181,157,920,000 more than the previous record of $2,832,383,080,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2009.

Total federal tax revenues in the first eight months of fiscal 2019 hit $2,274,902,000,000, which fell $5,612,990,000 short of the record $2,280,514,990,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in total tax revenues in the first eight months of fiscal 2016.

Even with the second highest tax revenues ever collected in the first eight months of the fiscal year, the federal government still ran a deficit for those eight months of $738,639,000,000.

Table 3 of the Monthly Treasury Statement, which summarizes federal receipts and outlays for the current fiscal year to date, indicated the Department of Health and Human Services cost the most money, accounting for $834,346,000,000 in federal spending in the first eight months of the fiscal year. The Social Security Administration cost the second most, accounting for $730,000,000,000 in federal spending during the period.

The Department of Defense was third, accounting for $439,289,000,000 in federal spending.

The combined $1,564,346,000,000 the federal government spent on HHS and the Social Security Administration during the first eight months of the fiscal year equaled 51.9 percent of the record total of $3,013,541,000,000 in federal spending during the period.

The combined $1,564,346,000,000 spent on HHS and Social Security was 3.56 times as much as the $439,289,000,000 spent on the Defense Department.

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Pentagon, Lockheed Martin Reach ‘Handshake’ Deal For Hundreds Of F-35s

If the deal goes through, the company will produce a whopping 478 F-35s. That’s the largest procurement in the Pentagon’s history.

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have reached a “handshake” agreement on a $34 billion contract to make hundreds of new F-35 fighter jets.

According to a press release from Lockheed Martin, if the deal goes through, the company will produce a whopping 478 F-35s. That’s the largest procurement in the Pentagon’s history.

As a Pentagon spokesperson told The Washington Post, buying the jets in large quantities should allow the Defense Department to lower the average unit cost per plane significantly.

The F-35 program has been repeatedly criticized for its hefty price tag. After all, the estimated lifetime cost of the program is more than $1 trillion.

https://www.newsy.com/stories/dod-lockheed-martin-reach-tentative-deal-for-f-35-jets/

 

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin reach tentative $34 billion deal for hundreds of F-35 fighter jets

One Pentagon official described it as the largest procurement in the history of the Defense Department.


A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft in Berlin. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt (Axel Schmidt/Reuters)

June 11 at 5:22 PM

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached a tentative agreement to procure 470 new F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and allied militaries, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. A finalized contract award is expected in August, officials said.

If the massive order for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is finalized, it will be the largest procurement in the history of the Defense Department. Its value is estimated at $34 billion.

The $34 billion agreement “marks the largest procurement in the history of the Department and provides a best value for our warfighter and taxpayer, incentivizes industry to continuously improve their performance and achieves the lowest F-35 unit prices per aircraft to date,” Vice Adm. Mathias Winter, F-35 program executive, said in an email to reporters.

Buying the jets in bulk should allow the Pentagon to decrease the average unit cost of the plane by about 15 percent, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. And it should bring the cost of the most common F-35 variant below $80 million one year ahead of schedule.

Lockheed Martin program general manager Greg Ulmer touted the company’s cost savings in the most recent contract, which he chalked up to “smart acquisition strategies and a relentless focus on cost reduction.”

“Beating our long-stated goal and delivering an F-35A below $80 million … is a testament to our joint government and industry team ― and we look forward to working with the Joint Program Office to finalize the agreement,” Ulmer wrote in an email.

Both Lockheed and the Defense Department are trying to address decades of criticism from congressional hawks and doves alike, who have characterized the F-35 program as too costly.

Almost since its inception, the F-35 has been a lighting rod for criticism around wasteful defense spending. And it has been a financial bedrock for Lockheed, propelling the Bethesda-based manufacturer to a dominant position atop the defense contracting hierarchy.

Proponents argue that the plane’s stealthiness, advanced sensors, targeting capabilities and extended flying range would make it an important asset in a war against a so-called “near-peer” competitor such as Russia or China.

But it is also the single most expensive military program in U.S. history by a wide margin, leading some to worry it will starve the Pentagon of resources it needs for other missions. The late senator John McCain called the F-35 a “poster child for acquisition malpractice” a “scandal” and a “tragedy” at different points during his tenure as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman.

President Trump also took an interest in the plane early in his presidency when he criticized its “tremendous cost and cost overruns,” and asked the Pentagon to consider buying one of Boeing’s F-18 jets instead. In early 2017, the Pentagon awarded Lockheed a contract that shaved roughly $728 million in costs ― an amount roughly equivalent to cost reductions already in place during the Obama administration.

Even Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who is the acting defense secretary, has criticized the plane.

“The F-35, unequivocally, I can say, has a lot of opportunity for more performance,” Shanahan said in response to questions about whether he is biased toward his former employer.

Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the contract announced Tuesday draws attention to the sheer size of the program. The agreement means Lockheed Martin will benefit from years of taxpayer-funded military contracts, and will be able to confidently plan for the future.

“With contracts you recognize the sheer enormity of the [F-35] program,” Aboulafia said. “We could still see four or five more of these [multiyear production] contracts.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/11/pentagon-lockheed-martin-reach-tentative-billion-deal-hundreds-f-fighter-jets/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ae8a8f28df8e

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The Pronk Pops Show 810, December 8, 2016, Story 1: Astronaut and Senator John Glenn Dies At 95 — The Right Stuff — Godspeed, John Glenn — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 748: September 1, 2016

Story 1: Astronaut and Senator John Glenn Dies At  95 — The Right Stuff — Godspeed, John Glenn — Videos

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Remembering John Glenn, space pioneer and American statesman

John Glenn Dead at 95 | Remembering the First American To Orbit Earth

Looking back at John Glenn’s history-making life

Former astronaut John Glenn dead at 95

Astronaut and Sen. John Glenn Dead at 95

John Glenn & President John F. Kennedy

The John Glenn Story (1963)

Senator John Glenn – Biography

THE JOHN GLENN STORY NASA FRIENDSHIP 7 PROJECT MERCURY 45404

First American in Orbit: John Glenn “Friendship 7” Project Mercury 1962 NASA

Project Mercury Summation 1963 NASA; First American Astronauts in Orbit

NASA Project Mercury: 1960’s Manned Spaceflight / Space Documentary S88TV1

Friendship 7 & Astronaut John Glenn – 1962 NASA Educational Documentary – WDTVLIVE42

John Glenn tells the story of Friendship 7

History in the First Person: Building the Mercury Capsule

Flying Mercury-Atlas 6 In Honor Of John Glenn

John Glenn: Earning the Right Stuff as a Decorated Marine Aviator and Navy Test Pilot

Longest Project Mercury Spaceflight: Flight of Faith 7 1963 NASA; MA-9; Gordon Cooper

The Real ‘Right stuff’

Great Books – The Right Stuff [TLC Documantary]

The Right Stuff Theme • Bill Conti

Published on Oct 11, 2013

From the 1983 Phillip Kaufman film “The Right Stuff” with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris & Dennis Quaid. The film tells the story of the Mercury Seven Astronauts.

Chuck Yeager breaks The Sound Barrier (from THE RIGHT STUFF)

The Right Stuff (edited last scene) – Absolutely Awe-Inspiring !!

Mercury Capsule Without a Window

The Right Stuff – Glenn’s Launch Aborted

The Right Stuff. Godspeed Ed Harris – I mean, John Glenn.

The Right Stuff – The Bell X-1 (with Levon Helm as CPT Jack Ridley)

The Right Stuff (Part 2)

The Right Stuff (Part 3)

The Right Stuff (Part 4)

The Right Stuff (Part 5)

The Right Stuff (Part 6)

The Right Stuff (Part 7)

Annie Glenn: An amazing life

Mercury Space Project: ” The Astronauts”, the Real Right Stuff, training and development (1960)

Mercury astronaut launch in “The Right stuff” movie cut, 1983

Eighty-Nine Year Old Chuck Yeager • F-15 Eagle Honor Flight

An Evening With Two Mercury Astronauts

Godspeed, John Glenn

John Glenn, American hero, aviation icon and former U.S. senator, dies at 95

By Joe Hallett

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Thursday December 8, 2016 5:35 PM

His legend is otherworldly and now, at age 95, so is John Glenn.

An authentic hero and genuine American icon, Glenn died this afternoon surrounded by family at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus after a remarkably healthy life spent almost from the cradle with Annie, his beloved wife of 73 years, who survives.

He, along with fellow aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright and moon-walker Neil Armstrong, truly made Ohio first in flight.

“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich. “As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.

“Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!” Kasich said.

For more on John Glenn’s life, visit Dispatch.com/JohnGlenn

Glenn’s body will lie in state at the Ohio Statehouse for a day, and a public memorial service will be held at Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium. He will be buried near Washington, D.C., at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service. Dates and times for the public events will be announced soon.

Glenn lived a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! life. As a Marine Corps pilot, he broke the transcontinental flight speed record before being the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and, 36 years later at age 77 in 1998, becoming the oldest man in space as a member of the seven-astronaut crew of the shuttle Discovery.

He made that flight in his 24th and final year in the U.S. Senate, from whence he launched a short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. Along the way, Glenn became moderately wealthy from an early investment in Holiday Inns near Disney World and a stint as president of Royal Crown International.

In one of his last public appearances, Glenn, with Annie by his side, sat in the Port Columbus airport terminal on June 28 as officials renamed it in his honor — the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

In addition to his world-famous career in aviation and aerospace, Glenn had a relationship with that particular airport that is likely second to none. Glenn, who turned 8 the month that Port Columbus opened in July 1929, recalled asking his parents to stop at the airport so he could watch the planes come and go while he was growing up in New Concord, 70 miles east of Columbus.

Glenn recalled “many teary departures and reunions” at the airport’s original terminal on Fifth Avenue during his time as a military aviator during World War II. He and his wife Annie, who had been married 73 years, later kept a small Beechcraft plane at Lane Aviation on the airport grounds for many years, and he only gave up flying his own plane at age 90.

Privately, this man who had been honored by presidents and immortalized in history books and movies, told friends that for an aviator, seeing his name on the Columbus airport was the highest honor he could imagine.

Glenn, who lived with Annie for the past decade in a Downtown Columbus condo, dedicated his life to public service, devoting many of his later years to Ohio State University, which in 2005 converted the century-old Page Hall into the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy and the School of Public Policy and Management. It is now the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

“He was very proud of the Glenn College,” said Jack Kessler, chairman of the New Albany Company, a former Ohio State trustee and longtime friend of the Glenns. “It’s a legacy that will carry on his mission toward good public policy.”

While Glenn held office as a Democrat, he wasn’t partisan, Kessler said. “I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. Some of his best friends were Republicans, and he could work with anyone.”

Surrounded by dozens of students striving to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the institute, Glenn said at its dedication, “If we inspire a few young people into careers of public service and politics, this will all be worth it.”

Remarkably physically fit and energetic, Glenn only began encountering health problems in 2013 when he had a pacemaker implanted and missed some public appearances due to vertigo.

In 2011, he and Annie both had knee-replacement surgery, which kept them from repeating a planned road trip like the impromptu 8,400-mile journey throughout the West they took a year earlier in their Cadillac when she was 89 and he 88.

Raised in New Concord, where he and Annie both went to Muskingum College, Glenn aspired to be a medical doctor, but World War II sidetracked that ambition and launched a life of uncommon achievement and bravery. At age 8, he took his first ride in an open-cockpit airplane and ended up virtually living life in the sky, continuing to fly until 2011 when he put up for sale the twin-engine Beech Baron he had owned since 1981.

“I miss it,” Glenn told The Dispatch in 2012 “I never got tired of flying.”

Glenn flew 149 combat missions in World War II and Korea, where his wingman and eventual lifelong friend was baseball legend Ted Williams. In Korea, Glenn earned the nickname “Old Magnet Ass” due to his skill in landing his airplane under any condition, even after it was riddled with bullets and had blown tires.

Born not far from New Concord in Cambridge on July 18, 1921, Glenn and his parents moved about 10 miles west in 1923 to New Concord. His father was a plumber and his mother a teacher who joined a social group called the Twice 5 Club, which got together once a month. Another couple in the club had a daughter, Annie Castor, who was a year older than Glenn, and the two toddlers often shared a playpen while their parents played cards.

Their relationship evolved into a quintessential American love story, with the spark between them first igniting when they were in junior high school.

“To write a story about either of them, if it doesn’t include the other, then it just isn’t complete,” their daughter, Lyn, told The Dispatch in 2007. She and her brother, David, a California doctor, survive.

John and Annie were married on April 6, 1943, and the next January, as they held each other searching for something to say as he prepared to ship out for combat in the South Pacific, John said, “I’m just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum.”

From that day on, she kept a gum wrapper in her purse.
To many with disabilities, Annie became a heroine in her own right as she struggled to conquer near-debilitating stuttering.

For more than half of her life, she counted on others to speak for her, publicly uncommunicative in a world that demanded more from her as her husband’s fame ascended.

Through it all, John stood by Annie, who, in 1973, underwent an innovative treatment regimen that dramatically improved her speech to the extent that she was delivering speeches on behalf of her husband’s 1984 presidential candidacy.

Glenn, who received his pilot’s license in 1941, was at home in the sky, soon evident after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and he left Muskingum College to enlist in the Marine Air Corps. In the Pacific, he flew 59 missions over the Marshall Islands.

After being stationed in China and Guam when World War II ended, Glenn was a flight instructor in Texas before being transferred to Virginia. When the Korean War broke out, Glenn applied for combat duty, and flew 90 missions. Overall, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross six times and was awarded the Air Medal with 18 clusters.

After returning from Korea, Glenn became a test pilot. He set a coast-to-coast speed record in 1957, piloting a Navy jet fighter from California to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes. In 1959, he was selected as one of the country’s first seven astronauts, a historic group immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book The Right Stuff, the basis for a movie of the same name.

The United States was enveloped in a cold war with the Soviet Union, and after a series of U.S. rockets had blown up, the American psyche was dealt a blow in 1961 when Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and the first to orbit Earth.

The third American in space after suborbital missions by Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, Glenn finally equaled Gagarin’s achievement by blasting off on Feb. 20, 1962, after weather and mechanical problems caused his mission to be postponed 10 times.

Crammed into the 7-foot-wide Friendship 7 space capsule atop a 100-foot-tall Atlas rocket loaded with 250,000 pounds of explosive fuel, Glenn launched 160-miles into space, orbiting the world three times at 17,500 miles per hour.

Reflecting many years later, Glenn would say that computers were the greatest technological achievement during his life, but there were none on Friendship 7, and deep into the flight he had to take manual control of the capsule when systems malfunctioned.

As the capsule descended for a watery landing, mission control feared that its heat shield was peeling off. Well past four hours into the flight, Glenn was told of the problem and knew he could be burned alive in an instant (Annie was notified to expect the worst), but the astronaut stayed focused even as fiery pieces of his spacecraft flew by his window.

“You didn’t really have time to think about it,” he told students at COSI Columbus 45 years later. “Long before you actually got to the flight itself, you sort of made peace with mortality.”

Safely splashing in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Bermuda, Glenn’s historic flight invigorated the nation and catapulted him into American lore. He addressed a joint session of Congress and rode in a convertible with Annie as 4 million people cheered him in a Manhattan ticker-tape parade.

In 2007, 45 years after his historic orbital mission, Glenn told a Columbus audience how much he longed to return to space right away, only to learn years after leaving the space program that President John F. Kennedy, fearing the worst, secretly had barred him from other flights to spare the country the potential loss of a national hero.

Glenn admitted in that speech that he was jealous in 1969 when fellow Ohioan Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.

In 1964, only two years after his famous flight on Friendship 7, Glenn ran in the Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Sen. Stephen M. Young. But only six weeks after announcing his candidacy, Glenn dropped out of the race after damaging his inner ear in a bathroom fall, an injury that caused severe dizziness and balance problems. He recovered eight months later.

Glenn ran for the Senate again in 1970, but lost in the primary to Howard M. Metzenbaum, whom he defeated in a rematch four years later. He handily won election that fall over Cleveland Mayor Ralph Perk and won re-election by huge margins in 1980 and 1986.

After winning re-election in 1980 by the largest margin in Ohio history, Glenn ran for president in 1984. He was seen as the leading challenger to former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for the Democratic nomination, and was the candidate many considered to have the best chance of defeating President Ronald Reagan in the general election.

But plagued by a disorganized campaign and with a centrist theme ill-suited to a liberal-dominated Democratic primary process, Glenn finished back in the pack in the important Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. He borrowed $2 million to compete in the Southern primaries, but he didn’t win a state and dropped out of the race.

The debt remaining from that race, which rose to more than $3 million, became a campaign issue for Glenn in subsequent Senate races and nagged him until 2006 when the Federal Elections Commission finally allowed him to close the books on it after years of chipping away.

The third term of his four in the Senate was dominated by a Senate investigation into allegations that he improperly interceded with S&L regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, who had raised or donated $242,000 to Glenn’s political committees. Glenn personally spent more than $500,000 to defend his honor, and the Senate Ethics Committee cleared him of wrongdoing.

“I spend half a million dollars on my defense, and I wouldn’t pull back a penny of it,” Glenn said then. “The reason I felt so strongly about it was that it involved my honor, and if I had to sell everything I had and mortgaged the house, I would have done everything I could to see the truth come out.”

In his final year as a U.S. senator in 1998, Glenn was reborn as an astronaut. At 77, he orbited the Earth with six astronauts aboard shuttle Discovery, once again rendering his body and mind to the study of science, providing insight into how the oldest man ever launched into space held up. Glenn, remarkably fit, became an inspiration once again to mankind.

The events of John Glenn’s life, and his footprint on history, are chronicled in countless books and beyond. The Friendship 7 capsule is in the Smithsonian, his papers and memorabilia are archived at Ohio State, and his life with Annie — and much more — are displayed at the Glenn Historic Site in New Concord.

Joe Hallett is a retired reporter and senior editor of The Dispatch.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/12/john-glenn/john-glenn.html

John Glenn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named John Glenn, see John Glenn (disambiguation).
John Glenn
John Glenn Low Res.jpg
Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by William V. Roth Jr.
Succeeded by William V. Roth Jr.
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
December 24, 1974 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Howard Metzenbaum
Succeeded by George Voinovich
Personal details
Born John Herschel Glenn Jr.
July 18, 1921
Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.
Died December 8, 2016 (aged 95)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Annie Castor (1943–2016)
Children 2
Alma mater Muskingum University (BS)
University of Maryland, College Park
Civilian awards Congressional Gold Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Signature
Military service
Service/branch  United States Navy
 United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941–1965
Rank Colonel
Unit VMJ-353
VMF-155
VMF-218
VMA-311
51st Fighter Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Military awards
John Glenn Portrait.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Other names
John Herschel Glenn, Jr.
Other occupation
Test pilot
Time in space
4h 55m 23s
Selection 1959 NASA Group 1
Missions Mercury-Atlas 6
Mission insignia
Friendship 7 (Mercury–Atlas 6) insignia
Retirement January 16, 1964
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) Congressional Space Medal of Honor NASA Distinguished Service Medal.jpg
JohnGlenn.jpg
NASA Payload Specialist
Time in space
9d 2h 39m
Missions STS-95
Mission insignia
STS-95 patch
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with five Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters.

Glenn was one of the “Mercury Seven” group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.

After he resigned from NASA in 1964, Glenn planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. A member of the Democratic Party, he first won election to the Senate in 1974 where he served through January 3, 1999.

He retired from the Marine Corps in 1965, after twenty-three years in the military, with over fifteen medals and awards, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs as crew member of the Discovery space shuttle. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Early life, education and military service

Glenn’s childhood home in New Concord

John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio, the son of John Herschel Glenn, Sr. (1895–1966) and Clara Teresa (née Sproat) Glenn (1897–1971).[1][2] He was raised in nearby New Concord.[3]

After graduating from New Concord High School in 1939, he studied Engineering at Muskingum College. He earned a private pilot license for credit in a physics course in 1941.[4] Glenn did not complete his senior year in residence or take a proficiency exam, both requirements of the school for the Bachelor of Science degree. However, the school granted Glenn his degree in 1962, after his Mercury space flight.[5]

World War II

Military portrait of John Glenn

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, Glenn quit college to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. However, he was never called to duty, and in March 1942 enlisted as a United States Navy aviation cadet. He went to the University of Iowa for preflight training, then continued on to NAS Olathe, Kansas, for primary training. He made his first solo flight in a military aircraft there. During his advanced training at the NAS Corpus Christi, he was offered the chance to transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps and took it.[6]

Upon completing his training in 1943, Glenn was assigned to Marine Squadron VMJ-353, flying R4D transport planes. He transferred to VMF-155 as an F4U Corsair fighter pilot, and flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific.[7] He saw combat over the Marshall Islands, where he attacked anti-aircraft batteries on Maloelap Atoll. In 1945, he was assigned to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and was promoted to captain shortly before the war’s end.[3]:35

Glenn flew patrol missions in North China with the VMF-218 Marine Fighter Squadron, until it was transferred to Guam. In 1948 he became a flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by attending the Amphibious Warfare School.[8]:34

Korean War

Glenn’s USAF F-86F that he dubbed “MiG Mad Marine” during the Korean War, 1953

During the Korean War, Glenn was assigned to VMF-311, flying the new F9F Panther jet interceptor. He flew his Panther in 63 combat missions, gaining the nickname “magnet ass” from his alleged ability to attract enemy flak.[9] On two occasions, he returned to his base with over 250 holes in his aircraft.[10] For a time, he flew with Marine reservist Ted Williams, a future Hall of Fame baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, as his wingman. He also flew with future Major General Ralph H. Spanjer.[11]

Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour in an interservice exchange program with the United States Air Force, 51st Fighter Wing. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86F Sabre and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the ceasefire.[9]

For his service in 149 combat missions in two wars, he received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross (six occasions) and the Air Medal with eighteen award stars.[12]

Test pilot

Glenn returned to NAS Patuxent River, appointed to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (class 12), graduating in 1954.[13] He served as an armament officer, flying planes to high altitude and testing their cannons and machine guns.[14] He was assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (now Bureau of Naval Weapons) as a test pilot on Navy and Marine Corps jet fighters in Washington, D.C., from November 1956 to April 1959, during which time he also attended the University of Maryland.[15]

Glenn had nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, with approximately 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.[15]

On July 16, 1957, Glenn completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a Vought F8U-3P Crusader.[16] The flight from NAS Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, took 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds. As he passed over his hometown, a child in the neighborhood reportedly ran to the Glenn house shouting “Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb!” as the sonic boom shook the town.[17] Project Bullet, the name of the mission, included both the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed (despite three in-flight refuelings during which speeds dropped below 300 mph), and the first continuous transcontinental panoramic photograph of the United States. For this mission Glenn received his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross.[18]

NASA career

Main article: Mercury-Atlas 6

John Glenn in his Mercury spacesuit

While Glenn was on duty at Patuxent and Washington, Glenn began to read everything he could about space. His office was requested to furnish a test pilot to be sent to the Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to make some runs on a spaceflight simulator, which was a part of NASA research on reentry vehicle shapes. The officer would also be sent to the Naval Air Development Center in Johnsville, Pennsylvania. The test pilot would be subjected to high g-forces in a centrifuge to compare to the data collected in the simulator. Glenn requested this position and was granted it. He spent a few days at Langley and a week in Johnsville for the testing.[19]

Prior to Glenn’s appointment as an astronaut in the Mercury program, he participated in the capsule design. NASA had requested that military service members participate in planning the mockup of the capsule. Since Glenn had participated in the research at Langley and Johnsville, combined he with his experience sitting on mock-up boards in the Navy and his knowledge of the capsule procedures, he was sent to the McDonnell plant in St. Louis and acted as a service adviser on the mock-up board.[19]

In 1958, the newly formed NASA began a recruiting program for astronauts,[a] and Glenn just barely met the requirements as he was close to the age cutoff of 40 and also lacked the required science-based degree at the time. He remained an officer in the United States Marine Corps after he was selected in 1959.[8]:43 After his selection, he was assigned to the NASA Space Task Group in 1959, which was located at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.[20] The task force was moved to Houston in 1962 and became a part of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.[20] Glenn was a backup pilot to Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, on the Freedom 7 and Liberty Bell 7 respectively.[20] Astronauts were given an additional role in the spaceflight program, and Glenn’s was the cockpit layout and control functioning, not only for Mercury but also early designs for Apollo.[20]

Glenn (center) with President John F. Kennedy and General Leighton I. Davis celebrating Glenn’s orbital flight, 1962

Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting nearly five hours.[21] This made Glenn the third American in space and the fifth human being in space.[22][23][24][b] For Glenn the day became the “best day of his life,” while it also renewed America’s confidence.[30] His voyage took place while America and the Soviet Union were in the midst of the Cold War and competing in the “Space Race.”[31]

During the flight, Glenn’s heat shield had been thought to have come loose and likely to fail during re-entry, which would cause the entire space capsule to burn up. Flight controllers had Glenn modify his re-entry procedure by keeping his retrorocket pack on over the shield to help keep it in place. He made his splashdown safely, and afterwards it was determined that the indicator was faulty.[22] Glenn’s flight and fiery splashdown was portrayed in the 1983 film The Right Stuff.[32]

Glenn is honored by PresidentKennedy at temporary Manned Spacecraft Center facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, three days after his flight

As the first American in orbit, Glenn became a national hero, met President Kennedy, and received a ticker-tape parade in New York City, reminiscent of that given for Charles Lindbergh and other great dignitaries.[22][33]

Glenn’s fame and political attributes were noted by the Kennedys, and he became a personal friend of the Kennedy family. On February 23, 1962, President Kennedy escorted him in a parade to Hangar S at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where he awarded Glenn with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.[22]

In July 1962 Glenn testified before the House Space Committee in favor of excluding women from the NASA astronaut program. Although NASA had no official policy prohibiting women, in practice, the requirement that astronauts had to be military test pilots excluded them entirely.[34][c]

Glenn resigned from NASA on January 16, 1964, and the next day announced his candidacy as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Ohio. On February 26, 1964, Glenn suffered a concussion from a slip and fall against a bathtub; this led him to withdraw from the race on March 30.[36][37] Glenn then went on convalescent leave from the Marine Corps until he could make a full recovery, necessary for his retirement from the Marines. He retired on January 1, 1965, as a colonel and entered the business world as an executive for Royal Crown Cola.[22]

Political career

U.S. Senate

NASA psychologists had determined during Glenn’s training that he was the astronaut best suited for public life.[38] Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy suggested to Glenn and his wife in December 1962 that he should run against incumbent United States Senator Stephen M. Young of Ohio in the 1964 Democratic primary election. In 1964 Glenn announced that he was resigning from the space program to run against Young, but withdrew when he hit his head on a bathtub. Glenn sustained a concussion and injured his inner ear, and recovery left him unable to campaign.[39] Glenn remained close to the Kennedy family and was with Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated in 1968. He served as a pallbearer at Kennedy’s funeral.[3]:80

In 1970, Glenn was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary for nomination for the Senate by fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum, by a 51% to 49% margin. Metzenbaum lost the general election race to Robert Taft, Jr. In 1974, Glenn rejected Ohio governor John J. Gilligan and the Ohio Democratic party’s demand that he run for Lieutenant Governor. Instead, he challenged Metzenbaum again, whom Gilligan had appointed.[39]

In the primary race, Metzenbaum contrasted his strong business background with Glenn’s military and astronaut credentials, saying his opponent had “never held a payroll”. Glenn’s reply came to be known as the “Gold Star Mothers” speech. He told Metzenbaum to go to a veterans’ hospital and “look those men with mangled bodies in the eyes and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.” Many felt the “Gold Star Mothers” speech won the primary for Glenn.[40][41] Glenn won the primary by 54 to 46%. After defeating Metzenbaum, Glenn defeated Ralph Perk, the Republican Mayor of Cleveland, in the general election, beginning a Senate career that would continue until 1999. In 1980, Glenn won re-election to the seat, defeating Republican challenger Jim Betts, by over 40 percentage points.[42]

In 1986, Glenn defeated challenger U.S. Representative Tom Kindness. Metzenbaum would go on to seek a rematch against Taft in 1976, winning a close race on Jimmy Carter‘s coattails.[43]

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Glenn and Metzenbaum had strained relations. There was a thaw in 1983, when Metzenbaum endorsed Glenn for president, and again in 1988, when Metzenbaum was opposed for re-election by Cleveland mayor George Voinovich. Voinovich accused Metzenbaum of being soft on child pornography. Voinovich’s charges were criticized by many, including Glenn, who now came to Metzenbaum’s aid, recording a statement for television rebutting Voinovich’s charges. Metzenbaum won the election by 57% to 41%.[43] In 1997, Glenn announced that he would retire from the Senate at the end of his then-current term.[44]

Savings and loan scandal

Glenn was one of the five U.S. senators caught up in the Lincoln Savings and Keating Five Scandal after accepting a $200,000 contribution from Charles Keating. Glenn and Republican senator John McCain were the only senators exonerated. The Senate Commission found that Glenn had exercised “poor judgment”. The association of his name with the scandal gave Republicans hope that he would be vulnerable in the 1992 campaign. Instead, Glenn defeated Lieutenant Governor Mike DeWine to keep his seat.[45]

Presidential politics

In 1976, Glenn was a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. However, Glenn’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention failed to impress the delegates and the nomination went to veteran politician Walter Mondale.[46] Glenn also ran for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination.[47]

Glenn and his staff worried about the 1983 release of The Right Stuff, a film about the original seven Mercury astronauts based on the best-selling Tom Wolfe book of the same name. The book had depicted Glenn as a “zealous moralizer”, and he did not attend the film’s Washington premiere on October 16, 1983. Reviewers saw Ed Harris‘ portrayal of Glenn as heroic, however, and his staff immediately began to emphasize the film to the press. Aide Greg Schneiders suggested an unusual strategy, similar to Glenn’s personal campaign and voting style, in which he would avoid appealing to narrow special interest groups and instead seek to win support from ordinary Democratic primary voters, the “constituency of the whole”.[39] Mondale defeated Glenn for the nomination however, and he was left with $3 million in campaign debt for over 20 years before he was granted a reprieve by the Federal Election Commission.[48][49] He was a potential vice presidential running mate in 1984, 1988, and 1992.[50]

Issues

During Glenn’s time in the Senate, he was chief author of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978,[51] served as chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1987 until 1995, sat on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and the Special Committee on Aging.[52]

Once Republicans regained control of the Senate, Glenn served as the ranking minority member on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Maine senator Susan Collins, that looked into illegal foreign donations by China to U.S. political campaigns for the 1996 election.[53] There was considerable acrimony between Glenn and the overseeing committee chair, Fred Thompson of Tennessee.[54]

Return to space

Main article: STS-95

Senator-astronaut John Glenn on the shuttle Discovery, 1998

Glenn returned to space on the Space Shuttle on October 29, 1998, as a Payload Specialist on Discovery‘s STS-95 mission, becoming, at age 77, the oldest person to go into space. According to The New York Times, Glenn “won his seat on the Shuttle flight by lobbying NASA for two years to fly as a human guinea pig for geriatric studies”, which were named as the main reasons for his participation in the mission.[55] Shortly before the flight, researchers learned that Glenn had to be disqualified from one of the flight’s two main priority human experiments (about the effects of melatonin) because he did not meet one of the study’s medical conditions; he still participated in two other experiments about sleep monitoring and protein use.[55][56]

Glenn states in his memoir that he had no idea NASA was willing to send him back into space when NASA announced the decision.[57] His participation in the nine-day mission was criticized by some in the space community as a political favor granted to Glenn by President Clinton, with John Pike, director of the Space Policy Project for the Federation of American Scientists noting “If he was a normal person, he would acknowledge he’s a great American hero and that he should get to fly on the shuttle for free…He’s too modest for that, and so he’s got to have this medical research reason. It’s got nothing to do with medicine.”[22][58]

In a 2012 interview, Glenn said that the purpose of his flight was “to make measurements and do research on me at the age of 77 […] comparing the results on me in space with the younger [astronauts] and maybe get [insights] on the immune system or protein turnover or vestibular functions and other things — heart changes.[56] He regretted that NASA did not follow up on this research about aging by sending more people from this age range into space.[56]

Upon the safe return of the STS-95 crew, Glenn (and his crewmates) received another ticker-tape parade, making him the tenth, and latest, person to have received multiple ticker-tape parades in a lifetime (as opposed to that of a sports team).[59] Just prior to the flight, on October 15, 1998, and for several months after, the main causeway to the Johnson Space Center, NASA Road 1, was temporarily renamed “John Glenn Parkway”.[60]

In 2001, Glenn vehemently opposed the sending of Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, to the International Space Station on the grounds that Tito’s trip served no scientific purpose.[61]

Public affairs institute

Glenn helped found the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at The Ohio State University in 1998 to encourage public service. On July 22, 2006, the institute merged with OSU’s School of Public Policy and Management to become the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, and Glenn held an adjunct professorship at the Glenn School.[62] In February 2015, it was announced that the School would become the John Glenn College of Public Affairs beginning in April 2015.[63]

Personal life

Glenn and his wife Anna in 1965

On April 6, 1943, Glenn married his high school sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor (b. 1920). Both Glenn and his wife attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he was a member of the Stag Club Fraternity.[64] Together, they had two children, John David and Carolyn Ann, and two grandchildren.[3]:31 They remained married until his death. His boyhood home in New Concord has been restored and made into an historic house museum and education center.[65]

A Freemason, Glenn was a member of Concord Lodge # 688 New Concord, Ohio, and DeMolay International, the Masonic youth organization, and was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church.[66]

He set an example of someone whose faith began before he became an astronaut, and whose faith was reinforced after traveling in space.

“To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible,” said Glenn, after his second and final space voyage.[67] He stated that he saw no contradiction between believing in God and the knowledge that evolution is “a fact”, and that he believed evolution should be taught in schools.[68] He explained:

I don’t see that I’m any less religious that I can appreciate the fact that science just records that we change with evolution and time, and that’s a fact. It doesn’t mean it’s less wondrous and it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some power greater than any of us that has been behind and is behind whatever is going on.[69]

Glenn was one of the original owners of a Holiday Inn franchise near Orlando, Florida, that is today known as the Seralago Hotel & Suites Main Gate East.[70][71] His business partner was Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor, who became Glenn’s “best friend.”[72] Glenn recalls learning about Landwirth’s background:

Henri doesn’t talk about it much. It was years before he spoke about it with me and then only because of an accident. We were down in Florida during the space program. Everyone was wearing short-sleeved Ban-Lon shirts—everyone but Henri. Then one day I saw Henri at the pool and noticed the number on his arm. I told Henri that if it were me I’d wear that number like a medal with a spotlight on it.[72]

Public appearances and ceremonies

Glenn appears with President Kennedy and Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov, 1962

Glenn was an honorary member of the International Academy of Astronautics; a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Marine Corps Aviation Association, Order of Daedalians, National Space Club Board of Trustees, National Space Society Board of Governors, International Association of Holiday Inns, Ohio Democratic Party, State Democratic Executive Committee, Franklin County (Ohio) Democratic Party, and 10th District (Ohio) Democratic Action Club.[4]

In 2001, Glenn appeared as a guest star on the American television sitcom Frasier, as himself.[73]

On September 5, 2009, John and Annie Glenn dotted the “i” during The Ohio State University’s Script Ohio marching band performance, at the Ohio StateNavy football game halftime show. Other non-band members to have received this honor include Bob Hope, Woody Hayes, Jack Nicklaus and Earle Bruce.[74]

On February 20, 2012, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Friendship 7 flight, Glenn was surprised with the opportunity to speak with the orbiting crew of the International Space Station while Glenn was on-stage with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden at The Ohio State University, where the public affairs school is named for him.[75]

Senator John Glenn at the ceremony transferring the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution.

On April 19, 2012, Glenn participated in the ceremonial transfer of the retired Space Shuttle Discovery from NASA to the Smithsonian Institution for permanent display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Speaking at the event, Glenn criticized the “unfortunate” decision to end the Space Shuttle program, expressing his opinion that grounding the shuttles delayed research.[76]

In June 2016 the Columbus, Ohio airport known for many years as Port Columbus was officially renamed the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Just before his 95th birthday, Glenn and his wife Annie attended the ceremony, and he spoke about how visiting that airport as a child inspired his interest in flying.[77]

Illness and death

In June 2014, Glenn underwent a successful heart valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.[78]

At the beginning of December 2016, Glenn was hospitalized at the James Cancer Hospital of OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.[79][80][81] A family source said that Glenn had been in declining health, and that his condition was grave. His wife, Annie, and their children and grandchildren had joined him at the hospital.[82]

Glenn died December 8, 2016, at the OSU Wexner Medical Center.[83][84] No cause of death has yet been disclosed. Glenn will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery after lying in state at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Mershon Auditorium at The Ohio State University.[83]

Tributes

Glenn looks into a celestial training device before his 1962 launch.

Among those honoring Glenn were President Barack Obama, who said that Glenn, “the first American to orbit the Earth, reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together.”[85] Tributes were also given by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,[86] and President-elect Donald Trump.[87]

The phrase “Godspeed,” that hailed Glenn’s historic launch into space, became a social media hashtag. Past and current astronauts added their own tributes, along with NASA Administrator and former shuttle astronaut, Charles Bolden, who added that “John Glenn’s legacy is one of risk and accomplishment, of history created and duty to country carried out under great pressure with the whole world watching.”[88]

Image gallery

Awards and honors

En-NavAstro.jpg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver star
Silver star
Silver star

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg

Bronze star
Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star
Bronze star

Naval Aviator Astronaut Insignia
Distinguished Flying Cross
with three stars and eighteen clusters[89]:95
Air Medal
with fifteen stars and eighteen clusters
Presidential Unit Citation Navy Unit Commendation
Presidential Medal of Freedom Congressional Space Medal of Honor NASA Distinguished Service Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
with two stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal National Defense Service Medal
with one star
Korean Service Medal
with two stars
Presidential Unit Citation
(Korea)
United Nations Korea Medal Korean War Service Medal

Director Mark K. Updegrove with John Glenn at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2012

Quincy Jones presents platinum copies of “Fly Me to the Moon” (from It Might as Well Be Swing) to Senator John Glenn (left) and Apollo 11Commander Neil Armstrong (right)

The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio, is named after him. Also, Senator John Glenn Highway runs along a stretch of I-480 in Ohio across from the NASA Glenn Research Center. Colonel Glenn Highway, which runs by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University near Dayton, Ohio, John Glenn High School in his hometown of New Concord, Ohio, and Col. John Glenn Elementary in Seven Hills, Ohio, are named for him as well. High Schools in Westland and Bay City, Michigan; Walkerton, Indiana; San Angelo, Texas; Elwood, Long Island, New York; and Norwalk, California were also named after him.

The fireboat John H. Glenn Jr. was named for him. This fireboat is operated by the DCFD and protects the sections of the Potomac River and the Anacostia River that run through Washington, D.C.

The USNS John Glenn (T-MLP-2), a mobile landing platform that was delivered to the U.S. Navy on March 12, 2014, is named for him. It was christened February 1, 2014, in San Diego at General DynamicsNational Steel and Shipbuilding Company.[95]

In 1961, Glenn received an Honorary LL.D from Muskingum University, the college he had attended before joining the military in World War II.[5] He received Honorary Doctorates from Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, and New Hampshire College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Glenn was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1976.[96] Glenn was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1977.[24]

In 1990, Glenn was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.[97]

In 2000, Glenn received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[98]

In 2004, Glenn was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution.[99]

In 2009, Glenn received an Honorary LL.D from Williams College,[100] and in 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Ohio Northern University.[101]

In 2013, Flying magazine ranked Glenn No. 26 on their “51 Heroes of Aviation” list.[102]

On September 12, 2016, Blue Origin announced a new rocket named after Glenn, the New Glenn.[103]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Requirements were that each had to be a military test pilot between the ages of 25 and 40 with sufficient flight hours, no more than 5’11” in height, and possess a degree in a scientific field. 508 pilots were subjected to rigorous mental and physical tests, and finally the selection was narrowed down to seven astronauts (Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton), who were introduced to the public at a NASA press conference in April 1959.

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

Project Mercury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the NASA manned spaceflight program. For other uses, see Mercury project (disambiguation).
Project Mercury
Circle containing the astronomical symbol for planet Mercury, with the numeral 7 inside it

Retroactive logo designed from 1964 Mercury Seven astronaut memorial
Country of origin United States
Responsible organization NASA
Purpose Manned Earth orbital flight
Status completed
Program history
Cost $277 million (1965)[1]
Program duration 1958–1963
First flight September 9, 1959
First crewed flight May 5, 1961
Last flight May 15–16, 1963
Successes 11
Failures 3

Partial failures 1: Big Joe 1
Launch site(s)
Vehicle information
Vehicle type capsule
Crew vehicle Mercury
Crew capacity 1
Launch vehicle(s)

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1958 through 1963. An early highlight of the Space Race, its goal was to put a man into Earth orbit and return him safely, ideally before the Soviet Union. Taken over from the U.S. Air Force by the newly created civilian space agency NASA, it conducted twenty unmanned developmental flights (some using animals), and six successful flights by astronauts. The program, which took its name from the god of travel in Roman mythology, cost $277 million in 1965 US dollars, and involved the work of 2 million people.[1] The astronauts were collectively known as the “Mercury Seven“, and each spacecraft was given a name ending with a “7” by its pilot.

The Space Race began with the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1. This came as a shock to the American public, and led to the creation of NASA to expedite existing U.S. space exploration efforts, and place most of them under civilian control. After the successful launch of the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958, manned spaceflight became the next goal. The Soviet Union put the first human, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. Shortly after this, on May 5, the U.S. launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight. Soviet Gherman Titov followed with a day-long orbital flight in August, 1961. The U.S. reached its orbital goal on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn made three orbits around the Earth. When Mercury ended in May 1963, both nations had sent six people into space, but the Soviets led the U.S. in total time spent in space.

The Mercury space capsule was produced by McDonnell Aircraft, and carried supplies of water, food and oxygen for about one day in a pressurized cabin. Mercury flights were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on launch vehicles modified from the Redstone and Atlas D missiles. The capsule was fitted with a launch escape rocket to carry it safely away from the launch vehicle in case of a failure. The flight was designed to be controlled from the ground via the Manned Space Flight Network, a system of tracking and communications stations; back-up controls were outfitted on board. Small retrorockets were used to bring the spacecraft out of its orbit, after which an ablative heat shield protected it from the heat of atmospheric reentry. Finally, a parachute slowed the craft for a water landing. Both astronaut and capsule were recovered by helicopters deployed from a U.S. Navy ship.

After a slow start riddled with humiliating mistakes, the Mercury project gained popularity, its missions followed by millions on radio and TV around the world. Its success laid the groundwork for Project Gemini, which carried two astronauts in each capsule and perfected space docking maneuvers essential for manned lunar landings in the subsequent Apollo program announced a few weeks after the first manned Mercury flight.

Creation[edit]

Project Mercury was officially approved on October 7, 1958 and publicly announced on December 17.[2][3] Originally called Project Astronaut, President Dwight Eisenhower felt that gave too much attention to the pilot.[4] Instead, the name Mercury was chosen from classical mythology, which had already lent names to rockets like the Greek Atlas and Roman Jupiter for the SM-65 and PGM-19 missiles.[3] It absorbed military projects with the same aim, such as the Air Force Man In Space Soonest.[5][n 1]

Background[edit]

Following the end of World War II, a nuclear arms race evolved between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (USSR). Since the USSR did not have a large fleet of bomber planes to deliver such weapons to the U.S., or bases in the western hemisphere from which to deploy them, Joseph Stalin decided to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, which drove a missile race.[7] The rocket technology in turn enabled both sides to develop Earth-orbiting satellites for communications, and gathering weather data and intelligence.[8] Americans were shocked when the Soviet Union placed the first satellite into orbit in October 1957, leading to a growing fear that the U.S. was falling into a “missile gap“.[9][8] A month later, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2, carrying a dog into orbit. Though the animal was not recovered alive, it was obvious their goal was manned spaceflight.[10] Unable to disclose details of military space projects, President Eisenhower ordered the creation of a civilian space agency in charge of civilian and scientific space exploration. Based on the federal research agency National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), it was named the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.[11] It achieved its first goal, an American satellite in space, in 1958. The next goal was to put a man there.[12]

The limit of space was defined at the time as a minimum altitude of 62 mi (100 km), and the only way to reach it was by using rocket powered boosters.[13][14] This created risks for the pilot, including explosion, high g-forces and vibrations during lift off through a dense atmosphere,[15] and temperatures of more than 10,000 °F (5,500 °C) from air compression during reentry.[16]

In space, pilots would require pressurized chambers or space suits to supply fresh air.[17] While there, they would experience weightlessness, which could potentially cause disorientation.[18] Further potential risks included radiation and micrometeoroid strikes, both of which would normally be absorbed in the atmosphere.[19] All seemed possible to overcome: experience from satellites suggested micrometeoroid risk was negligible,[20] and experiments in the early 1950s with simulated weightlessness, high g-forces on humans, and sending animals to the limit of space, all suggested potential problems could be overcome by known technologies.[21] Finally, reentry was studied using the nuclear warheads of ballistic missiles,[22] which demonstrated a blunt, forward-facing heat shield could solve the problem of heating.[22]

Organization[edit]

T. Keith Glennan had been appointed the first Administrator of NASA, with Hugh L. Dryden (last Director of NACA) as his Deputy, at the creation of the agency on October 1, 1958.[23] Glennan would report to the president through the National Aeronautics and Space Council.[24] The group responsible for Project Mercury was NASA’s Space Task Group, and the goals of the program were to orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth, investigate the pilot’s ability to function in space, and to recover both pilot and spacecraft safely.[25] Existing technology and off-the-shelf equipment would be used wherever practical, the simplest and most reliable approach to system design would be followed, and an existing launch vehicle would be employed, together with a progressive test program.[26] Spacecraft requirements included: a launch escape system to separate the spacecraft and its occupant from the launch vehicle in case of impending failure; attitude control for orientation of the spacecraft in orbit; a retrorocket system to bring the spacecraft out of orbit; drag braking blunt body for atmospheric reentry; and landing on water.[26] To communicate with the spacecraft during an orbital mission, an extensive communications network had to be built.[27] In keeping with his desire to keep from giving the U.S. space program an overly military flavor, President Eisenhower at first hesitated to give the project top national priority (DX rating under the Defense Production Act), which meant that Mercury had to wait in line behind military projects for materials; however, this rating was granted in May 1959.[28]

Contractors and facilities[edit]

Twelve companies bid to build the Mercury spacecraft on a $20 million ($163 million adjusted for inflation) contract.[29] In January 1959, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was chosen to be prime contractor for the spacecraft.[30] Two weeks earlier, North American Aviation, based in Los Angeles, was awarded a contract for Little Joe, a small rocket to be used for development of the launch escape system.[31][n 2] The World Wide Tracking Network for communication between the ground and spacecraft during a flight was awarded to the Western Electric Company.[32] Redstone rockets for suborbital launches were manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama by the Chrysler Corporation[33] and Atlas rockets by Convair in San Diego, California.[34] For manned launches, the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was made available by the USAF.[35] This was also the site of the Mercury Control Center while the computing center of the communication network was in Goddard Space Center, Maryland.[36] Little Joe rockets were launched from Wallops Island, Virginia.[37] Astronaut training took place at Langley Research Center in Virginia, Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio, and Naval Air Development Center Johnsville in Warminster, PA.[38] Langley wind tunnels[39] together with a rocket sled track at Holloman Air Force Base at Alamogordo, New Mexico were used for aerodynamic studies.[40] Both Navy and Air Force aircraft were made available for the development of the spacecraft’s landing system,[41] and Navy ships and Navy and Marine Corps helicopters were made available for recovery.[n 3] South of Cape Canaveral the town of Cocoa Beach boomed.[43]From here, 75,000 people watched the first American orbital flight being launched in 1962.[43]

Spacecraft[edit]

The Mercury spacecraft’s principal designer was Maxime Faget, who started research for manned spaceflight during the time of the NACA.[44] It was 10.8 feet (3.3 m) long and 6.0 feet (1.8 m) wide; with the launch escape system added, the overall length was 25.9 feet (7.9 m).[45] With 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3) of habitable volume, the capsule was just large enough for a single crew member.[46] Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers.[47] The heaviest spacecraft, Mercury-Atlas 9, weighed 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) fully loaded.[48] Its outer skin was made of René 41, a nickel alloy able to withstand high temperatures.[49]

The spacecraft was cone shaped, with a neck at the narrow end.[45] It had a convex base, which carried a heat shield (Item 2 in the diagram below)[50] consisting of an aluminum honeycomb covered with multiple layers of fiberglass.[51] Strapped to it was a retropack (1)[52] consisting of three rockets deployed to brake the spacecraft during reentry.[53] Between these were three minor rockets for separating the spacecraft from the launch vehicle at orbital insertion.[54] The straps that held the package could be severed when it was no longer needed.[55] Next to the heat shield was the pressurized crew compartment (3).[56] Inside an astronaut would be strapped to a form-fitting seat, with instruments in front and his back to the heat shield.[57] Underneath the seat was the environmental control system supplying oxygen and heat,[58] scrubbing the air of CO2, vapor and odors, and (on orbital flights) collecting urine.[59][n 4] The recovery compartment (4)[61] at the narrow end of the spacecraft contained three parachutes: a drogue to stabilize free fall and two main chutes, a primary and reserve.[62] Between the heat shield and inner wall of the crew compartment was a landing skirt, deployed by letting down the heat shield before landing.[63] On top of the recovery compartment was the antenna section (5)[64] containing both antennas for communication and scanners for guiding spacecraft orientation.[65] Attached was a flap used to ensure the spacecraft was faced heat shield first during reentry.[66]A launch escape system (6) was mounted to the narrow end of the spacecraft[67] containing three small solid-fueled rockets which could be fired briefly in a launch failure to separate the capsule safely from its booster. It would deploy the capsule’s parachute for a landing nearby at sea.[68] (See also Mission profile for details.)

The Mercury spacecraft did not have an on-board computer, instead relying on all computation for re-entry to be calculated by computers on the ground, with their results (retrofire times and firing attitude) then transmitted to the spacecraft by radio while in flight.[69][70] All computer systems used in the Mercury space program were housed in NASA facilities on Earth.[69] The computer systems were IBM 701 computers.[71][72](See also Ground control for details.)

Pilot accommodations[edit]

John Glenn wearing his Mercury space suit

The astronaut lay in a sitting position with his back to the heat shield, which was found to be the position that best enabled a human to withstand the high g-forces of launch and re-entry. A form-fitted fiberglass seat was custom-molded from each astronaut’s space-suited body for maximum support. Near his left hand was a manual abort handle to activate the launch escape system if necessary prior to or during liftoff, in case the automatic trigger failed.[73]

To supplement the onboard environmental control system, he wore a pressure suit with its own oxygen supply, which would also cool him.[74] A cabin atmosphere of pure oxygen at a low pressure of 5.5 psi (equivalent to an altitude of 24,800 feet (7,600 m)) was chosen, rather than one with the same composition as air (nitrogen/oxygen) at sea level.[75] This was easier to control,[76] avoided the risk of decompression sickness (known as “the bends”),[77][n 5] and also saved on spacecraft weight. Fires (which never occurred) would have to be extinguished by emptying the cabin of oxygen.[59] In such case, or failure of the cabin pressure for any reason, the astronaut could make an emergency return to Earth, relying on his suit for survival.[78][59]The astronauts normally flew with their visor up, which meant that the suit was not inflated.[59] With the visor down and the suit inflated, the astronaut could only reach the side and bottom panels, where vital buttons and handles were placed.[79]

The astronaut also wore electrodes on his chest to record his heart rhythm, a cuff that could take his blood pressure, and a rectal thermometer to record his temperature (this was replaced by an oral thermometer on the last flight).[80] Data from these was sent to the ground during the flight.[74] The astronaut normally drank water and ate food pellets.[81][n 6]

Once in orbit, the spacecraft could be rotated in three directions: along its longitudinal axis (roll), left to right from the astronaut’s point of view (yaw), and up or down (pitch).[82] Movement was created by rocket-propelled thrusters which used hydrogen peroxide as a fuel.[83][84] For orientation, the pilot could look through the window in front of him or from a screen connected to a periscope which could be turned 360°.[85]

The Mercury astronauts had taken part in the development of their spacecraft, and insisted that manual control, and a window, be elements of its design.[86] As a result, spacecraft movement and other functions could be controlled three ways: remotely from the ground when passing over a ground station, automatically guided by onboard instruments, or manually by the astronaut, who could replace or override the two other methods. Experience validated the astronauts’ insistence on manual controls. Without them, Gordon Cooper’s manual reentry during the last flight would not have been possible.[87]

Development and production[edit]

Spacecraft production in clean room at McDonnell Aircraft, St. Louis

The Mercury spacecraft design was modified three times by NASA between 1958 and 1959.[88] After bidding by potential contractors had been completed, NASA selected the design submitted as “C” in November 1958.[89] After it failed a test flight in July 1959, a final configuration, “D”, emerged.[90] The heat shield shape had been developed earlier in the 1950s through experiments with ballistic missiles, which had shown a blunt profile would create a shock wave that would lead most of the heat around the spacecraft.[91] To further protect against heat, either a heat sink, or an ablative material, could be added to the shield.[92] The heat sink would remove heat by the flow of the air inside the shock wave, whereas the ablative heat shield would remove heat by a controlled evaporation of the ablative material.[93] After unmanned tests, the latter was chosen for manned flights.[94] Apart from the capsule design, a rocket plane similar to the existing X-15 was considered.[95] This approach was still too far from being able to make a spaceflight, and was consequently dropped.[96][n 7] The heat shield and the stability of the spacecraft were tested in wind tunnels,[39] and later in flight.[100] The launch escape system was developed through unmanned flights.[101] During a period of problems with development of the landing parachutes, alternative landing systems such as the Rogallo glider wingwere considered, but ultimately scrapped.[102]

The spacecraft were produced at McDonnell Aircraft, St. Louis, Missouri in clean rooms and tested in vacuum chambers at the McDonnell plant.[103] The spacecraft had close to 600 subcontractors, such as Garrett AiResearch which built the spacecraft’s environmental control system.[30][58] Final quality control and preparations of the spacecraft were made at Hangar S at Cape Canaveral.[104][n 8] NASA ordered 20 production spacecraft, numbered 1 through 20.[30] Five of the 20, Nos. 10, 12, 15, 17, and 19, were not flown.[107]Spacecraft No. 3 and No. 4 were destroyed during unmanned test flights.[107] Spacecraft No. 11 sank[107] and was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean after 38 years.[108] Some spacecraft were modified after initial production (refurbished after launch abort, modified for longer missions, etc.)[n 9] A number of Mercury boilerplate spacecraft(made from non-flight materials or lacking production spacecraft systems) were also made by NASA and McDonnell.[111] They were designed and used to test spacecraft recovery systems and the escape tower.[112] McDonnell also built the spacecraft simulators used by the astronauts during training.[113]

Launch vehicles[edit]

Launch vehicles: 1. Mercury-Atlas (orbital flights). 2. Mercury-Redstone (suborbital flights). 3. Little Joe (unmanned tests)

Launch Escape System testing[edit]

A small launch vehicle (55 feet (17 m) long) called Little Joe was used for unmanned tests of the launch escape system, using a Mercury capsule with an escape tower mounted on it.[114][115] Its main purpose was to test the system at a point called max-q, at which air pressure against the spacecraft peaked, making separation of the launch vehicle and spacecraft most difficult.[116] It was also the point at which the astronaut was subjected to the heaviest vibrations.[117] The Little Joe rocket used solid-fuel propellant and was originally designed in 1958 by the NACA for suborbital manned flights, but was redesigned for Project Mercury to simulate an Atlas-D launch.[101] It was produced by North American Aviation.[114] It was not able to change direction, instead its flight depended on the angle from which it was launched.[118] Its maximum altitude was 100 mi (160 km) fully loaded.[119] A Scout launch vehicle was used for a single flight intended to evaluate the tracking network; however, it failed and was destroyed from the ground shortly after launch.[120]

Suborbital flight[edit]

The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, an 83-foot (25 m) tall (with capsule and escape system) single-stage launch vehicle used for suborbital (ballistic) flights.[121] It had a liquid-fueled engine that burned alcohol and liquid oxygen producing about 75,000 pounds of thrust, which was not enough for orbital missions.[121] It was a descendant of the German V-2,[33] and developed for the U.S. Army during the early 1950s. It was modified for Project Mercury by removing the warhead and adding a collar for supporting the spacecraft together with material for damping vibrations during launch.[122] Its rocket motor was produced by North American Aviation and its direction could be altered during flight by its fins. They worked in two ways: by directing the air around them, or by directing the thrust by their inner parts (or both at the same time).[33] Both the Atlas-D and Redstone launch vehicles contained an automatic abort sensing system which allowed them to abort a launch by firing the launch escape system if something went wrong.[123] The Jupiter rocket, also developed by Von Braun’s team at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, was considered as well for intermediate Mercury suborbital flights at a higher speed and altitude than Redstone, but this plan was dropped when it turned out that man-rating Jupiter for the Mercury program would actually cost more than flying an Atlas due to scale of economics–Jupiter’s only use other than as a missile system was for the short-lived Juno II launch vehicle and keeping a full staff of technical personnel around solely to fly a few Mercury capsules would result in excessively high costs.[124][125]

Orbital flight[edit]

Orbital missions required use of the Atlas LV-3B, a man-rated version of the Atlas D which was originally developed as the United States first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)[126] by Convair for the Air Force during the mid-1950s.[127] The Atlas was a “one-and-one-half-stage” rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX).[126] The rocket by itself stood 67 feet (20 m) high; total height of the Atlas-Mercury space vehicle at launch was 95 feet (29 m).[128]

The Atlas first stage was a booster skirt with two engines burning liquid fuel.[129][n 10] This together with the larger sustainer second stage gave it sufficient power to launch a Mercury spacecraft into orbit.[126] Both stages fired from lift-off with the thrust from the second stage sustainer engine passing through an opening in the first stage. After separation from the first stage, the sustainer stage continued alone. The sustainer also steered the rocket by thrusters guided by gyroscopes.[130] Smaller vernier rockets were added on its sides for precise control of maneuvers.[126]

Gallery[edit]

Astronauts[edit]

Left to right: Grissom, Shepard, Carpenter, Schirra, Slayton, Glenn and Cooper, 1962

NASA announced the selected seven astronauts – known as the Mercury Seven – on April 9, 1959,[131] they were:[132]

Shepard became the first American in space by making a suborbital flight in May 1961.[133] He went on to fly in the Apollo program and became the only Mercury astronaut to walk on the Moon.[134] Gus Grissom, who became the second American in space, also participated in the Gemini and Apollo programs, but died in January 1967 during a pre-launch test for Apollo 1.[135] Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962, then quit NASA and went into politics, serving as a US Senator from 1974 to 1999, and returned to space in 1998 as a Payload Specialist aboard STS-95.[136] Deke Slayton was grounded in 1962, but remained with NASA and was appointed Chief Astronaut at the beginning of Project Gemini. He remained in the position of senior astronaut, in charge of space crew flight assignments among many other responsibilities, until towards the end of Project Apollo, when he resigned and began training to fly on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, which he successfully did.[137] Gordon Cooper became the last to fly in Mercury and made its longest flight, and also flew a Gemini mission. [138] Carpenter’s Mercury flight was his only trip into space. Schirra flew the third orbital Mercury mission, and then flew a Gemini mission. Three years later, he commanded the first manned Apollo mission, becoming the only person to fly in all three of those programs.

One of the astronauts’ tasks was publicity; they gave interviews to the press and visited project manufacturing facilities to speak with those who worked on Project Mercury.[139] To make their travels easier, they requested and got jet fighters for personal use.[140] The press was especially fond of John Glenn, who was considered the best speaker of the seven.[141] They sold their personal stories to Life magazine which portrayed them as patriotic, God-fearing family men.[142] Life was also allowed to be at home with the families while the astronauts were in space.[142] During the project, Grissom, Carpenter, Cooper, Schirra and Slayton stayed with their families at or near Langley Air Force Base; Glenn lived at the base and visited his family in Washington DC on weekends. Shepard lived with his family at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.

Other than Grissom, who was killed in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, the other six survived past retirement [143] and died between 1993 and 2016.

Selection and training[edit]

It was first envisaged that the pilot could be any man or woman willing to take a personal risk.[144] However, the first Americans to venture into space were drawn, on President Eisenhower’s insistence, from a group of 508 active duty military test pilots,[145] who were either USN or USMC naval aviation pilots (NAPs), or USAF pilots of Senior or Command rating. This excluded women, since there were no female military test pilots at the time.[4] It also excluded civilian NASA X-15 pilot Neil Armstrong, though he had been selected by the U.S. Air Force in 1958 for its Man In Space Soonest program, which was replaced by Mercury.[146] Although Armstrong had been a combat-experienced NAP during the Korean War, he left active duty in 1952.[4][n 11] Armstrong became NASA’s first civilian astronaut in 1962 when he was selected for NASA’s second group,[148]and became the first man on the Moon in 1969.[149]

It was further stipulated that candidates should be between 25 and 40 years old, no taller than 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), and hold a college degree in a STEM subject.[4] The college degree requirement excluded the USAF’s X-1 pilot, then-Lt Col (later Brig Gen) Chuck Yeager, the first person to exceed the speed of sound.[150] He later became a critic of the project, ridiculing especially the use of monkeys as test subjects.[150][n 12] USAF Capt (later Col) Joseph Kittinger, a USAF fighter pilot and stratosphere balloonist, met all the requirements but preferred to stay in his contemporary project.[150] Other potential candidates declined because they did not believe that manned spaceflight had a future beyond Project Mercury.[150][n 13] From the original 508, 110 candidates were selected for an interview, and from the interviews, 32 were selected for further physical and mental testing.[153] Their health, vision, and hearing were examined, together with their tolerance to noise, vibrations, g-forces, personal isolation, and heat.[154][155] In a special chamber, they were tested to see if they could perform their tasks under confusing conditions.[154] The candidates had to answer more than 500 questions about themselves and describe what they saw in different images.[154] Navy LT (later CAPT) Jim Lovell, a NAP who was later an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs, did not pass the physical tests.[150] After these tests it was intended to narrow the group down to six astronauts, but in the end it was decided to keep seven.[156]

The astronauts went through a training program covering some of the same exercises that were used in their selection.[38] They simulated the g-force profiles of launch and reentry in a centrifuge at the Naval Air Development Center, and were taught special breathing techniques necessary when subjected to more than 6 g.[140] Weightlessness training took place in aircraft, first on the rear seat of a two-seater fighter and later inside converted and padded cargo aircraft.[157] They practiced gaining control of a spinning spacecraft in a machine at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory called the Multi-Axis Spin-Test Inertia Facility (MASTIF), by using an attitude controller handle simulating the one in the spacecraft.[158][159] A further measure for finding the right attitude in orbit was star and Earth recognition training in planetaria and simulators.[160]Communication and flight procedures were practiced in flight simulators, first together with a single person assisting them and later with the Mission Control Center.[161] Recovery was practiced in pools at Langley, and later at sea with frogmen and helicopter crews.[162]

Mission profile[edit]

Suborbital[edit]

Profile. See timetable for explanation. Dashed line: region of weightlessness.

A Redstone rocket was used to boost the capsule for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to an altitude of 32 nautical miles (59 km) and let it continue on a ballistic curve after booster-spacecraft separation.[163][164] The launch escape system was jettisoned at the same time. At the top of the curve, the spacecraft’s retrorockets were fired for testing purposes; they were not necessary for re-entry because orbital speed had not been attained. The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean.[165] The suborbital mission took about 15 minutes, had an apogee altitude of 102–103 nautical miles (189–191 km), and a downrange distance of 262 nautical miles (485 km).[138][166] From the time of booster-spacecraft separation until reentry where air started to slow down the spacecraft, the pilot would experience weightlessness as shown on the image.[n 14] The recovery procedure would be the same as an orbital mission.

Orbital[edit]

Profile. A-C: launch. D: insert into orbit. E-K: re-entry and landing

Preparations for a mission started a month in advance with the selection of the primary and back-up astronaut; they would practice together for the mission.[167] For three days prior to launch, the astronaut went through a special diet to minimize his need for defecating during the flight.[168] On the morning of the trip he typically ate a steak breakfast.[168] After having sensors applied to his body and being dressed in the pressure suit, he started breathing pure oxygen to prepare him for the atmosphere of the spacecraft.[169] He arrived at the launch pad, took the elevator up the launch tower and entered the spacecraft two hours before launch.[170][n 15] Once the astronaut was secured inside, the hatch was bolted, the launch area evacuated and the mobile tower rolled back.[171] After this, the launch vehicle was filled with liquid oxygen.[171] The entire procedure of preparing for launch and launching the spacecraft followed a time table called the countdown. It started a day in advance with a pre-count, in which all systems of the launch vehicle and spacecraft were checked. After that followed a 15-hour hold, during which pyrotechnics were installed. Then came the main countdown which for orbital flights started 6½ hours before launch (T – 390 min), counted backwards to launch (T = 0) and then forward until orbital insertion (T + 5 min).[170][n 16]

On an orbital mission, the Atlas’ rocket engines were ignited 4 seconds before lift-off. The launch vehicle was held to the ground by clamps and then released when sufficient thrust was built up at lift-off (A).[173] After 30 seconds of flight, the point of maximum dynamic pressure against the vehicle was reached, at which the astronaut felt heavy vibrations.[174]After 2 minutes and 10 seconds, the two outboard booster engines shut down and were released with the aft skirt, leaving the center sustainer engine running (B).[170] At this point, the launch escape system was no longer needed, and was separated from the spacecraft by its jettison rocket (C).[53][n 17] The space vehicle moved gradually to a horizontal attitude until, at an altitude of 87 nautical miles (161 km), the sustainer engine shut down and the spacecraft was inserted into orbit (D).[176] This happened after 5 minutes and 10 seconds in a direction pointing east, whereby the spacecraft would gain speed from the rotation of the Earth.[177][n 18] Here the spacecraft fired the three posigrade rockets for a second to separate it from the launch vehicle.[179][n 19] Just before orbital insertion and sustainer engine cutoff, g-loads peaked at 8 g (6 g for a suborbital flight).[174][181] In orbit, the spacecraft automatically turned 180°, pointed the retropackage forward and its nose 14.5° downward and kept this attitude for the rest of the orbital phase of the mission, as it was necessary for communication with the ground.[182][183][n 20]

Once in orbit, it was not possible for the spacecraft to change its trajectory except by initiating reentry.[185] Each orbit would typically take 88 minutes to complete.[186] The lowest point of the orbit called perigee was at the point where the spacecraft entered orbit and was about 87 nautical miles (161 km), the highest called apogee was on the opposite side of Earth and was about 150 nautical miles (280 km).[166] When leaving orbit (E) the angle downward was increased to 34°, which was the angle of retrofire.[182] Retrorockets fired for 10 seconds each (F) in a sequence where one started 5 seconds after the other.[179][187] During reentry (G), the astronaut would experience about 8 g (11–12 g on a suborbital mission).[188] The temperature around the heat shield rose to 3,000 °F (1,600 °C) and at the same time, there was a two-minute radio blackout due to ionization of the air around the spacecraft.[189][55] After re-entry, a small, drogue parachute (H) was deployed at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) for stabilizing the spacecraft’s descent.[65] The main parachute (I) was deployed at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) starting with a narrow opening that opened fully in a few seconds to lessen the strain on the lines.[190] Just before hitting the water, the landing bag inflated from behind the heat shield to reduce the force of impact (J).[190] Upon landing the parachutes were released.[62] An antenna (K) was raised and sent out signals that could be traced by ships and helicopters.[62] Further, a green marker dye was spread around the spacecraft to make its location more visible from the air.[62][n 21] Frogmen brought in by helicopters inflated a collar around the craft to keep it upright in the water.[192][n 22] The recovery helicopter hooked onto the spacecraft and the astronaut blew the escape hatch to exit the capsule.[61] He was then hoisted aboard the helicopter that finally brought both him and the spacecraft to the ship.[n 23]

Ground control[edit]

A look inside the Mercury Control Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Dominated by the control board showing the position of the spacecraft above ground

Inside Control Center at Cape Canaveral (Mercury-Atlas 8)

The number of personnel supporting a Mercury mission was typically around 18,000, with about 15,000 people associated with recovery.[193][194][n 24] Most of the others followed the spacecraft from the World Wide Tracking Network, a chain of 18 stations placed around the equator, which was based on a network used for satellites and made ready in 1960.[196] It collected data from the spacecraft and provided two-way communication between the astronaut and the ground.[197] Each station had a range of 700 nautical miles (1,300 km) and a pass typically lasted 7 minutes.[198] Mercury astronauts on the ground would take part of the Capsule Communicator or CAPCOM who communicated with the astronaut in orbit.[199][200][n 25] Data from the spacecraft was sent to the ground, processed at the Goddard Space Center and relayed to the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral.[201] In the Control Center, the data was displayed on boards on each side of a world map, which showed the position of the spacecraft, its ground track and the place it could land in an emergency within the next 30 minutes.[183]

The World Wide Tracking Network went on to serve subsequent space programs, until it was replaced by a satellite relay system in the 1980s[202] Mission Control Center was moved from Cape Canaveral to Houston in 1965.[203]

Flights[edit]

Project Mercury landing sites

/
Cape Canaveral
Hawaii
City locator 23.svg
Freedom 7
City locator 23.svg
Liberty Bell 7
City locator 23.svg
Friendship 7
City locator 23.svg
Aurora 7
City locator 23.svg
Sigma 7
City locator 23.svg
Faith 7

On April 12, 1961 the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on an orbital flight.[204] Alan Shepard became the first American in space on a suborbital flight three weeks later, on May 5, 1961.[133] John Glenn, the third Mercury astronaut to fly, became the first American to reach orbit on February 20, 1962, but only after the Soviets had launched a second cosmonaut, Gherman Titov, into a day-long flight in August 1961.[205] Three more Mercury orbital flights were made, ending on May 16, 1963 with a day-long, 22 orbit flight.[138] However, the Soviet Union ended its Vostok program the next month, with the human spaceflight endurance record set by the 82-orbit, almost 5-day Vostok 5 flight.[206]

Manned[edit]

All of the 6 manned Mercury flights were successful though some intended flight were cancelled during the project (see below).[207] The main medical problems encountered were simple personal hygiene, and post-flight symptoms of low blood pressure.[193] The launch vehicles had been tested through unmanned flights, therefore the numbering of manned missions did not start with 1.[208] Also, since two different launch vehicles were used, there were two separate numbered series: MR for “Mercury-Redstone” (suborbital flights), and MA for “Mercury-Atlas” (orbital flights). These names were not popularly used, since the astronauts followed a pilot tradition, each giving their spacecraft a name. They selected names ending with a “7” to commemorate the seven astronauts.[53][132] Times given are Universal Coordinated Time, local time + 5 hours.

Mission[n 26] Call-sign Pilot Launch time Launch site Duration Orbits Apogee
mi (km)
Perigee
mi (km)
Max. velocity
mph (km/h)
Miss
mi (km)
Mercury-Redstone 3 Freedom 7 Shepard 14:34 on May 5, 1961 Launch Complex-5 15 m 22 s 0 117 (188) 5,134 (8,262) 3.5 (5.6)
Mercury-Redstone 4 Liberty Bell 7 Grissom 12:20 on July 21, 1961 Launch Complex-5 15 m 37 s 0 118 (190) 5,168 (8,317) 5.8 (9.3)
Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 Glenn 14:47 on February 20, 1962 Launch Complex-14 4 h 55 m 23 s 3 162 (261) 100 (161) 17,544 (28,234) 46 (74)
Mercury-Atlas 7 Aurora 7 Carpenter 12:45 on May 24, 1962 Launch Complex-14 4 h 56 m 5 s 3 167 (269) 100 (161) 17,549 (28,242) 248 (400)
Mercury-Atlas 8 Sigma 7 Schirra 12:15 on October 3, 1962 Launch Complex-14 9 h 13 m 15 s 6 176 (283) 100 (161) 17,558 (28,257) 4.6 (7.4)
Mercury-Atlas 9 Faith 7 Cooper 13:04 on May 15, 1963 Launch Complex-14 1 d 10 h 19 m 49 s 22 166 (267) 100 (161) 17,547 (28,239) 5.0 (8.1)

Unmanned[edit]

The 20 unmanned flights used Little Joe, Redstone, and Atlas launch vehicles.[132] They were used to develop the launch vehicles, launch escape system, spacecraft and tracking network.[208] One flight of a Scout rocket attempted to launch an unmanned satellite for testing the ground tracking network, but failed to reach orbit. The Little Joe program used seven airframes for eight flights, of which three were successful. The second Little Joe flight was named Little Joe 6, because it was inserted into the program after the first 5 airframes had been allocated.[225][168]

Mission[n 32] Launch Duration Purpose Result
Little Joe 1 August 21, 1959 20 s Test of launch escape system during flight. Failure
Big Joe 1 September 9, 1959 13 m 00 s Test of heat shield and Atlas/spacecraft interface. Partly success
Little Joe 6 October 4, 1959 5 m 10 s Test of spacecraft aerodynamics and integrity. Partly success
Little Joe 1A November 4, 1959 8 m 11 s Test of launch escape system during flight with boiler plate capsule. Partly success
Little Joe 2 December 4, 1959 11 m 6 s Escape system test with primate at high altitude. Success
Little Joe 1B January 21, 1960 8 m 35 s Maximum-q abort and escape test with primate with boiler plate capsule. Success
Beach Abort May 9, 1960 1 m 31 s Test of the off-the-pad abort system. Success
Mercury-Atlas 1 July 29, 1960 3 m 18 s Test of spacecraft / Atlas combination. Failure
Little Joe 5 November 8, 1960 2 m 22 s First test of escape system with a production spacecraft. Failure
Mercury-Redstone 1 November 21, 1960 2 s Test of production spacecraft at max-q. Failure
Mercury-Redstone 1A December 19, 1960 15 m 45 s Qualification of spacecraft / Redstone combination. Success
Mercury-Redstone 2 January 31, 1961 16 m 39 s Qualification of spacecraft with chimpanzee. Success
Mercury-Atlas 2 February 21, 1961 17 m 56 s Qualified Mercury/Atlas interface. Success
Little Joe 5A March 18, 1961 23 m 48 s Second test of escape system with a production Mercury spacecraft. Partly success
Mercury-Redstone BD March 24, 1961 8 m 23 s Final Redstone test flight. Success
Mercury-Atlas 3 April 25, 1961 7 m 19 s Orbital flight with robot astronaut.[226][227][n 33] Failure
Little Joe 5B April 28, 1961 5 m 25 s Third test of escape system with a production spacecraft. Success
Mercury-Atlas 4 September 13, 1961 1 h 49 m 20 s Test of environmental control system with robot astronaut in orbit. Success
Mercury-Scout 1 November 1, 1961 44 s Test of Mercury tracking network. Failure
Mercury-Atlas 5 November 29, 1961 3 h 20 m 59 s Test of environmental control system in orbit with chimpanzee. Success
  After suborbital manned flights

Canceled[edit]

Nine of the planned flights were cancelled. Suborbital flights were planned for four other astronauts but the number of flights was cut down gradually and finally all remaining were cancelled after Titov’s flight.[256][257][n 37] Mercury-Atlas 9 was intended to be followed by more one-day flights and even a three-day flight but with the coming of the Gemini Project it seemed unnecessary. The Jupiter booster was, as mentioned above, intended to be used for different purposes.

Mission Pilot Planned Launch Cancellation
Mercury-Jupiter 1 July 1, 1959[259]
Mercury-Jupiter 2 Chimpanzee First Quarter, 1960 July 1, 1959[259][n 38]
Mercury-Redstone 5 Glenn (likely) March 1960[257] August 1961[261]
Mercury-Redstone 6 April 1960[257] July 1961[262]
Mercury-Redstone 7 May 1960[257]
Mercury-Redstone 8 June 1960[257]
Mercury-Atlas 10 Shepard October 1963 June 13, 1963[n 39]
Mercury-Atlas 11 Grissom Fourth Quarter, 1963 October 1962[264]
Mercury-Atlas 12 Schirra Fourth Quarter, 1963 October 1962[265]

Impact and legacy[edit]

Ticker tape parade for Gordon Cooper, 1963

The project was delayed by 22 months, counting from the beginning until the first orbital mission.[193] It had a dozen prime contractors, 75 major subcontractors, and about 7200 third-tier subcontractors, who together employed two million people.[193] An estimate of its cost made by NASA in 1969 gave $392.6 million ($1.74 billion adjusted for inflation), broken down as follows: Spacecraft: $135.3 million, launch vehicles: $82.9 million, operations: $49.3 million, tracking operations and equipment: $71.9 million and facilities: $53.2 million.[266][267]

Today the Mercury program is commemorated as the first manned American space program.[268] It did not win the race against the Soviet Union, but gave back national prestige and was scientifically a successful precursor of later programs such as Gemini, Apollo and Skylab.[269][n 40] During the 1950s, some experts doubted that manned spaceflight was possible.[n 41] Still when John F. Kennedy was elected president, many including he had doubts about the project.[272] As president he chose to support the programs a few months before the launch of Freedom 7,[273] which became a great public success.[274][n 42] Afterwards, a majority of the American public supported manned spaceflight, and within a few weeks, Kennedy announced a plan for a manned mission to land on the Moon and return safely to Earth before the end of the 1960s.[278] The six astronauts who flew were awarded medals,[279] driven in parades and two of them were invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.[280] As a response to the selection criteria, which ruled out women, a private project was founded in which 13 women pilots successfully underwent the same tests as the men in Project Mercury.[281] It was named Mercury 13 by the media[282][n 43]Despite this effort, NASA did not select female astronauts until 1978 for the Space Shuttle.[283]

In 1964, a monument commemorating Project Mercury was unveiled near Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, featuring a metal logo combining the symbol of Mercury with the number 7.[284] In 1962, the United States Postal Service honored the Mercury-Atlas 6 flight with a Project Mercury commemorative stamp, the first U.S. postal issue to depict a manned spacecraft.[285][n 44] On film, the program was portrayed in The Right Stuff a 1983 adaptation of Tom Wolfe‘s 1979 book of the same name.[287] On February 25, 2011, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional society, awarded Boeing (the successor company to McDonnell Aircraft) a Milestone Award for important inventions which debuted on the Mercury spacecraft.[288][n 45]

Displays[edit]

The spacecraft that flew, together with some that did not are on display in the United States. Friendship 7 (capsule No. 13) went on a global tour, popularly known as its “fourth orbit”. [289]

Patches[edit]

Commemorative patches were designed by entrepreneurs after the Mercury program to satisfy collectors.[290][n 47]

Videos[edit]

Graphics[edit]

Astronauts assignments[edit]

Tracking network[edit]

Spacecraft cutaway[edit]

Control panels and handle[edit]

Launch complex[edit]

Earth landing system tests[edit]

Space program comparison[edit]

Notes[edit]

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The Pronk Pops Show 433, March 24, 2015, Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon — and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Education, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Genocide, Government, Hardware, History, Islam, Law, Media, Middle East, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Networking, Neutron Bomb, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Religion, Resources, Scandals, Science, Security, Software, Space, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: No Body Does It Better– Israel Spies On Iran and USA Nuclear Talks — Provides Details of Terrible Deal To Congress — Show The American People The Deal or Kill The Deal! — Stop Iran From Getting The Bomb — The Neutron Bomb — An Humane Weapon —  and The Neutronium Bomb — The Doomday Device — Let The Sunshine In — Video

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better – The Spy Who Loved Me

Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon ( Theme from the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me)

Israel Denies US Claims: ‘We Don’t Spy on Allies’

Israel Denies Spying On US-Iran Nuclear Talks: Breaking News

WSJ: Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks involving US

Israel denies spying on US-Iran nuclear talks: Breaking News

In Speech To Congress, Netanyahu Blasts ‘A Very Bad Deal’ With Iran FULL SPEECH

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahi Calls on UN: ‘Iran Is Developing Nuclear Weapons’

Thomas Reed: A Political History of Nuclear Weapons: 1938 – 2008

Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the Air Force and nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories talks about the book “The Nuclear Express”, which he co-authored with Danny B. Stillman. At a luncheon seminar at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, he talks about the political history of nuclear weapons: where they came from, the surprising ways in which the technology spread, who is likely to acquire them next and why.

Nova: The Spy Factory Full Video

Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear, Hydrogen, Thermonuclear, Atomic, Neutron bombs

Art Bell interviews Dr. Michio Kaku on Dec 15, 2003 [Part 10]

Neutron bomb

Army of Lovers – Baby’s Got A Neutron Bomb (1989) – HQ

The Doomsday Explosive! (The Neutronium Bomb)

Neutron Bomb creator speaks

Sam Cohen on “using the neutron bomb in the persian gulf war”

Neutron Bomb creator speaks

Samuel Cohen: Father of the Neutron Bomb

The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project

Army Of Lovers – Let the sunshine in – Official Video

The Fifth Dimension – Aquarius – Let The Sunshine In 

THE 5TH DIMENSION – AQUARIUS – LET THE SUNSHINE IN

Hair – Let the Sunshine In

Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics

“Aquarius/let The Sunshine In” was written by Mac Dermot, Galt/rado, James/ragni, Gerome /.

Read more: 5th Dimension – Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics | MetroLyrics

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius

Aquarius, Aquarius

Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding
No more false hoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberations

Aquarius, Aquarius

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
And peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius

Aquarius, Aquarius
Aquarius, Aquarius

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine

Read more: 5th Dimension – Aquarius/let The Sunshine In Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S.

Ally’s snooping upset White House because information was used to lobby Congress to try to sink a deal

Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.

The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

Soon after the U.S. entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. Photo: Getty

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.

“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.

The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.

The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.

Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers. European officials, particularly the French, also have been more transparent with Israel about the closed-door discussions than the Americans, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: GettyENLARGE
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Barack Obama shown during a meeting at the White House in October. The leaders disagree over the negotiations with Iran. Photo: Getty PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer early this year saw a rapidly closing window to increase pressure on Mr. Obama before a key deadline at the end of March, Israeli officials said.

Using levers of political influence unique to Israel, Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer calculated that a lobbying campaign in Congress before an announcement was made would improve the chances of killing or reshaping any deal. They knew the intervention would damage relations with the White House, Israeli officials said, but decided that was an acceptable cost.

The campaign may not have worked as well as hoped, Israeli officials now say, because it ended up alienating many congressional Democrats whose support Israel was counting on to block a deal.

Obama administration officials, departing from their usual description of the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, have voiced sharp criticism of Messrs. Netanyahu and Dermer to describe how the relationship has changed.

“People feel personally sold out,” a senior administration official said. “That’s where the Israelis really better be careful because a lot of these people will not only be around for this administration but possibly the next one as well.”

This account of the Israeli campaign is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. and Israeli diplomats, intelligence officials, policy makers and lawmakers.

Distrust between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama had been growing for years but worsened when Mr. Obama launched secret talks with Iran in 2012. The president didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu because of concerns about leaks, helping set the stage for the current standoff, according to current and former U.S. and Israeli officials.

U.S. officials said Israel has long topped the list of countries that aggressively spy on the U.S., along with China, Russia and France. The U.S. expends more counterintelligence resources fending off Israeli spy operations than any other close ally, U.S. officials said.

A senior official in the prime minister’s office said Monday: “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies scaled back their targeting of U.S. officials after the jailing nearly 30 years ago of American Jonathan Pollard for passing secrets to Israel.

While U.S. officials may not be direct targets, current and former officials said, Israeli intelligence agencies sweep up communications between U.S. officials and parties targeted by the Israelis, including Iran.

Americans shouldn’t be surprised, said a person familiar with the Israeli practice, since U.S. intelligence agencies helped the Israelis build a system to listen in on high-level Iranian communications.

As secret talks with Iran progressed into 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored Israel’s communications to see if the country knew of the negotiations. Mr. Obama didn’t tell Mr. Netanyahu until September 2013.

Israeli officials, who said they had already learned about the talks through their own channels, told their U.S. counterparts they were upset about being excluded. “ ‘Did the administration really believe we wouldn’t find out?’ ” Israeli officials said, according to a former U.S. official.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met with U.S. lawmakers and shared details on the Iran negotiations to warn about the terms of the deal. PHOTO: CNP/ZUMA PRESS

The episode cemented Mr. Netanyahu’s concern that Mr. Obama was bent on clinching a deal with Iran whether or not it served Israel’s best interests, Israeli officials said. Obama administration officials said the president was committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr. Dermer started lobbying U.S. lawmakers just before the U.S. and other powers signed an interim agreement with Iran in November 2013. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Dermer went to Congress after seeing they had little influence on the White House.

Before the interim deal was made public, Mr. Dermer gave lawmakers Israel’s analysis: The U.S. offer would dramatically undermine economic sanctions on Iran, according to congressional officials who took part.

After learning about the briefings, the White House dispatched senior officials to counter Mr. Dermer. The officials told lawmakers that Israel’s analysis exaggerated the sanctions relief by as much as 10 times, meeting participants said.

When the next round of negotiations with Iran started in Switzerland last year, U.S. counterintelligence agents told members of the U.S. negotiating team that Israel would likely try to penetrate their communications, a senior Obama administration official said.

The U.S. routinely shares information with its European counterparts and others to coordinate negotiating positions. While U.S. intelligence officials believe secured U.S. communications are relatively safe from the Israelis, they say European communications are vulnerable.

Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential updates on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political AffairsWendy Sherman and other U.S. officials, who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill in any gaps.

The White House eventually curtailed the briefings, U.S. officials said, withholding sensitive information for fear of leaks.

Current and former Israeli officials said their intelligence agencies can get much of the information they seek by targeting Iranians and others in the region who are communicating with countries in the talks.

In November, the Israelis learned the contents of a proposed deal offered by the U.S. but ultimately rejected by Iran, U.S. and Israeli officials said. Israeli officials told their U.S. counterparts the terms offered insufficient protections.

U.S. officials urged the Israelis to give the negotiations a chance. But Mr. Netanyahu’s top advisers concluded the emerging deal was unacceptable. The White House was making too many concessions, Israeli officials said, while the Iranians were holding firm.

Obama administration officials reject that view, saying Israel was making impossible demands that Iran would never accept. “The president has made clear time and again that no deal is better than a bad deal,” a senior administration official said.

In January, Mr. Netanyahu told the White House his government intended to oppose the Iran deal but didn’t explain how, U.S. and Israeli officials said.

On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced Mr. Netanyahu would address a joint meeting of Congress. That same day, Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials visited Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers and aides, seeking a bipartisan coalition large enough to block or amend any deal.

Most Republicans were already prepared to challenge the White House on the negotiations, so Mr. Dermer focused on Democrats. “This deal is bad,” he said in one briefing, according to participants.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, Aaron Sagui,said Mr. Dermer didn’t launch a special campaign on Jan 21. Mr. Dermer, the spokesperson said, has “consistently briefed both Republican and Democrats, senators and congressmen, on Israel’s concerns regarding the Iran negotiations for over a year.”

Mr. Dermer and other Israeli officials over the following weeks gave lawmakers and their aides information the White House was trying to keep secret, including how the emerging deal could allow Iran to operate around 6,500 centrifuges, devices used to process nuclear material, said congressional officials who attended the briefings.

The Israeli officials told lawmakers that Iran would also be permitted to deploy advanced IR-4 centrifuges that could process fuel on a larger scale, meeting participants and administration officials said. Israeli officials said such fuel, which under the emerging deal would be intended for energy plants, could be used to one day build nuclear bombs.

The information in the briefings, Israeli officials said, was widely known among the countries participating in the negotiations.

When asked in February during one briefing where Israel got its inside information, the Israeli officials said their sources included the French and British governments, as well as their own intelligence, according to people there.

“Ambassador Dermer never shared confidential intelligence information with members of Congress,” Mr. Sagui said. “His briefings did not include specific details from the negotiations, including the length of the agreement or the number of centrifuges Iran would be able to keep.”

Current and former U.S. officials confirmed that the number and type of centrifuges cited in the briefings were part of the discussions. But they said the briefings were misleading because Israeli officials didn’t disclose concessions asked of Iran. Those included giving up stockpiles of nuclear material, as well as modifying the advanced centrifuges to slow output, these officials said.

The administration didn’t brief lawmakers on the centrifuge numbers and other details at the time because the information was classified and the details were still in flux, current and former U.S. officials said.

Unexpected reaction

The congressional briefings and Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint meeting of Congress on the emerging deal sparked a backlash among many Democratic lawmakers, congressional aides said.

On Feb. 3, Mr. Dermer huddled with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who said he told Mr. Dermer it was a breach of protocol for Mr. Netanyahu to accept an invitation from Mr. Boehner without going through the White House.

Mr. Manchin said he told Mr. Dermer he would attend the prime minister’s speech to Congress, but he was noncommittal about supporting any move by Congress to block a deal.

Mr. Dermer spent the following day doing damage control with Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, congressional aides said.

Two days later, Mr. Dermer met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the SenateIntelligence Committee, at her Washington, D.C., home. He pressed for her support because he knew that she, too, was angry about Mr. Netanyahu’s planned appearance.

Ms. Feinstein said afterward she would oppose legislation allowing Congress to vote down an agreement.

Congressional aides and Israeli officials now say Israel’s coalition in Congress is short the votes needed to pass legislation that could overcome a presidential veto, although that could change. In response, Israeli officials said, Mr. Netanyahu was pursuing other ways to pressure the White House.

This week, Mr. Netanyahu sent a delegation to France, which has been more closely aligned with Israel on the nuclear talks and which could throw obstacles in Mr. Obama’s way before a deal is signed. The Obama administration, meanwhile, is stepping up its outreach to Paris to blunt the Israeli push.

“If you’re wondering whether something serious has shifted here, the answer is yes,” a senior U.S. official said. “These things leave scars.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-spied-on-iran-talks-1427164201

 

Neutron bomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Energy distribution of weapon
Standard Enhanced
Blast 50% 40%[1] or as low as 30%[2]
Thermal energy 35% 25%[1] or as low as 20%[2]
Instant radiation 5% 30[1]–45%
Residual radiation 10% 5%[1]

A neutron bomb, officially known as one type of Enhanced Radiation Weapon, is a low yield fission-fusion thermonuclear weapon (hydrogen bomb) in which the burst of neutrons generated by a fusionreaction is intentionally allowed to escape the weapon, rather than being absorbed by its other components.[3] The weapon’s radiation case, usually made from relatively thick uranium, lead or steel in a standard bomb, is, instead, made of as thin a material as possible, to facilitate the greatest escape of fusion produced neutrons. The “usual” nuclear weapon yield—expressed as kilotons of TNT equivalent—is not a measure of a neutron weapon’s destructive power. It refers only to the energy released (mostly heat and blast), and does not express the lethal effect of neutron radiation on living organisms.

Compared to a pure fission bomb with an identical explosive yield, a neutron bomb would emit about ten times[4] the amount of neutron radiation. In a fission bomb, at sea level, the total radiation pulse energy which is composed of both gamma rays and neutrons is approximately 5% of the entire energy released; in the neutron bomb it would be closer to 40%. Furthermore, the neutrons emitted by a neutron bomb have a much higher average energy level (close to 14 MeV) than those released during a fission reaction (1–2 MeV).[5] Technically speaking, all low yield nuclear weapons are radiation weapons, that is including the non-enhanced variant. Up to about 10 kilotons in yield, all nuclear weapons have prompt neutron radiation[6] as their most far reaching lethal component, after which point the lethal blast and thermal effects radius begins to out-range the lethal ionizing radiation radius.[7][8][9] Enhanced radiation weapons also fall into this same yield range and simply enhance the intensity and range of the neutron dose for a given yield.

History & deployment to present

Conception of the neutron bomb is generally credited to Samuel T. Cohen of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who developed the concept in 1958.[10]Testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility.[11] Development was subsequently postponed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 following protests against his administration’s plans to deploy neutron warheads to ground forces in Europe.[12] On November 17, 1978, in a test the USSRdetonated its first similar-type bomb.[13] President Ronald Reagan restarted production in 1981.[12] The Soviet Union began a propaganda campaign against the US’s neutron bomb in 1981 following Reagan’s announcement. In 1983 Reagan then announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, which surpassed neutron bomb production in ambition and vision and with that the neutron bomb quickly faded from the center of the public’s attention.[13]

Three types of enhanced radiation weapons (ERW) were built by the United States.[14] The W66 warhead, for the anti-ICBM Sprint missile system, was deployed in 1975 and retired the next year, along with the missile system. The W70 Mod 3 warhead was developed for the short-range, tactical Lance missile, and the W79 Mod 0 was developed for artillery shells. The latter two types were retired by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, following the end of the Cold War.[15][16] The last W70 Mod 3 warhead was dismantled in 1996,[17] and the last W79 Mod 0 was dismantled by 2003, when the dismantling of all W79 variants was completed.[18]

In addition to the two superpowers, France and China are known to have tested neutron or enhanced radiation bombs. France conducted an early test of the technology in 1967[19] and tested an “actual” neutron bomb in 1980.[20] China conducted a successful test of neutron bomb principles in 1984 and a successful test of a neutron bomb in 1988. However, neither country chose to deploy the neutron bomb. Chinese nuclear scientists stated prior to the 1988 test that China had no need for the neutron bomb, but it was developed to serve as a “technology reserve,” in case the need arose in the future.[21]

Although no country is currently known to deploy them in an offensive manner, all thermonuclear dial-a-yield warheads that have about 10 kiloton and lower as one dial option, with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, can be considered capable of being neutron bombs in actuality if not in name. The only country definitively known to deploy dedicated (that is, not Dial-a-yield) neutron warheads for any length of time is Russia, which inherited the USSRsneutron warhead equipped ABM-3 Gazelle missile program, this Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system contains at least 68 neutron warheads of yield 10 kiloton and it has been in service since 1995, with inert missile testing approximately every other year since then (2014). The system is designed to destroy incoming “endo-atmospheric” level nuclear warheads aimed at Moscow etc. and is the lower-tier/ last umbrella of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system (NATO reporting name: ABM-3).[22]

By 1984, according to Mordechai Vanunu, Israel was mass-producing neutron bombs.[23] A number of analysts believe that the Vela incident was an Israeli neutron bomb experiment.[24]

Considerable controversy arose in the U.S. and Western Europe following a June 1977 Washington Post exposé describing U.S. government plans to purchase the bomb. The article focused on the fact that it was the first weapon specifically intended to kill humans with radiation.[25][26] Lawrence Livermore National Laboratorydirector Harold Brown and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev both described the neutron bomb as a “capitalist bomb”, because it was designed to destroy people while preserving property.[27][28] Science fiction author Isaac Asimov also stated that “Such a neutron bomb or N bomb seems desirable to those who worry about property and hold life cheap.”[29]

Use of neutron bomb

Neutron bombs are purposely designed with explosive yields lower than other nuclear weapons. Since neutrons are absorbed by air,[6] neutron radiation effects drop off very rapidly with distance in air, there is a sharper distinction, as opposed to thermal effects, between areas of high lethality and areas with minimal radiation doses.[3] All high yield (more than ~10 kiloton) “neutron bombs”, such as the extreme example of a device that derived 97% of its energy from fusion, the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba, are not able to radiate sufficient neutrons beyond their lethal blast range when detonated as a surface burst or low altitude air burst and so are no longer classified as neutron bombs, thus limiting the yield of neutron bombs to a maximum of about 10 kilotons. The intense pulse of high-energy neutrons generated by a neutron bomb are the principal killing mechanism, not the fallout, heat or blast.

The inventor of the neutron bomb, Samuel Cohen, criticized the description of the W70 as a “neutron bomb” since it could be configured to yield 100 kilotons:

the W-70 … is not even remotely a “neutron bomb.” Instead of being the type of weapon that, in the popular mind, “kills people and spares buildings” it is one that both kills and physically destroys on a massive scale. The W-70 is not a discriminate weapon, like the neutron bomb—which, incidentally, should be considered a weapon that “kills enemy personnel while sparing the physical fabric of the attacked populace, and even the populace too.”[30]

The Soviet/Warsaw pact invasion plan, “Seven Days to the River Rhine” to seize West Germany. Under such a scenario, neutron bombs, according to their inventor, would hopefully blunt the Warsaw pact tank, and more thinly armored BMP-1 thrusts, without causing as much damage to the people and infrastructure of Germany as alternative higher fission fraction & higher explosive yield tactical nuclear weapons would.[31] They would likely be used if the mass conventional weapon NATO REFORGER response to the invasion had yet to find time to be organized or found ineffective in battle.

Although neutron bombs are commonly believed to “leave the infrastructure intact”, with current designs that have explosive yields in the low kiloton range,[32] the detonation of which, in a built up area, would still cause considerable, although not total, destruction through blast and heat effects out to a considerable radius.[33]

Neutron bombs could be used as strategic anti-ballistic missile weapons,[33] or as tactical weapons intended for use against armored forces. The neutron bomb was originally conceived by the U.S. military as a weapon that could stop massed Sovietarmored divisions from overrunning allied nations without destroying the infrastructure of the allied nation.[34][35] As theWarsaw Pact tank strength was over twice that of NATO, and Soviet Deep Battle doctrine was likely to be to use this numerical advantage to rapidly sweep across continental Europe if the Cold War ever turned hot, any weapon that could break up their intended mass tank formation deployments and force them to deploy their tanks in a thinner, more easily dividable manner,[36] would aid ground forces in the task of hunting down solitary tanks and firing anti-tank missiles upon them,[37] such as the contemporary M47 Dragon and BGM-71 TOW missiles.

Effects of a neutron bomb in the open & in a city

Wood frame house in 1953 nuclear test, 5 psi overpressure, complete col