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The Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017, Story 1: Labor Participation Rate In November 2017 Remained At 62.7% with Over 95.4 Million Not in Labor Force With 160.5 Million In Labor Force –U-3 Unemployment Rate Hit Low 4.1% and U-6 Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.0% — Total Non-farm Payroll Jobs Added 228 Million — Videos — Story 2: Corporate Tax Cut Bill Will Pass By December 22, 2017 — Definitively Not Fundamental Tax Reform For The Middle Class — Replace Income Tax System with A Single Broad Based Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Income Based Taxes — Videos — Story 3: Defeating The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria By Bombing Them To Death — ISIS Free? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

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Story 1: Labor Participation Rate In November 2017 Remained At 62.7% with Over 95.4 Million Not in Labor Force With 160.5 Million In Labor Force –U-3 Unemployment Rate Hit Low 4.1% and U-6 Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.0% — Total Non-farm Payroll Jobs Added 228 Million — Videos —

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US economy adds 228K jobs in November

Analyzing The November Jobs Report Compared To Previous Years | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

U.S. economy continues its strong performance

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn: Tax Reform Will Help Us Drive Real Wage Growth | CNBC

CNN’s Christine Romans Highlights November’s Really Good Jobs Numbers

Larry Kudlow: Jobs Report Shows We Are On Front End Of “Very, Very Strong Rebound In Manufacturing”

Panel on Strong November Jobs Report; 228K Jobs Added. #Economy #Jobs #Report #November

Stockman: Here’s Why Today’s Jobs Report Is Nothing to Celebrate

Alan Greenspan // We are about to go from stagnation to ‘stagflation’

Ep. 307: Trump Continues What He Once Called the Biggest Hoax in American Politics

The Reason Trump is President – Peter Schiff

 

Civilian Labor Force Level

160,529,000

 

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

 

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155695(1) 155268 154990 155356 155514 155747 155669 155587 155731 154709 155328 155151
2014 155295(1) 155485 156115 155378 155559 155682 156098 156117 156100 156389 156421 156238
2015 157022(1) 156771 156781 157043 157447 156993 157125 157109 156809 157123 157358 157957
2016 158362(1) 158888 159278 158938 158510 158889 159295 159508 159830 159643 159456 159640
2017 159716(1) 160056 160201 160213 159784 160145 160494 160571 161146 160381 160529
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

 

Labor Force Participation Rate

62.7%

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

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

Unemployment Level

6.6 Million

 

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 15046 15113 15202 15325 14849 14474 14512 14648 14579 14516 15081 14348
2011 14013 13820 13737 13957 13855 13962 13763 13818 13948 13594 13302 13093
2012 12797 12813 12713 12646 12660 12692 12656 12471 12115 12124 12005 12298
2013 12470 11954 11672 11752 11657 11741 11350 11284 11264 11133 10792 10410
2014 10240 10383 10400 9705 9740 9460 9637 9616 9255 8964 9060 8718
2015 8962 8663 8538 8521 8655 8251 8235 8017 7877 7869 7939 7927
2016 7829 7845 7977 7910 7451 7799 7749 7853 7904 7740 7409 7529
2017 7635 7528 7202 7056 6861 6977 6981 7132 6801 6520 6610

U-3 Unemployment Rate

4.1%

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.3 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.2 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.8 4.6 4.7
2017 4.8 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.1  U-3

U-6 Unemployment Rate

8.0%

 

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.5 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.7 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.1 12.0 12.2 12.0 11.8 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.9 10.8 10.7 10.5 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 9.9 9.9
2016 9.9 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.5 9.3 9.2
2017 9.4 9.2 8.9 8.6 8.4 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.3 7.9 8.0

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                  USDL-17-1616
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 8, 2017

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

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


                         THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- NOVEMBER 2017


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November, and the unemployment 
rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 
Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, 
and health care.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent in November, and the number of unemployed 
persons was essentially unchanged at 6.6 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate 
and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.5 percentage point and 799,000, 
respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers increased to 15.9 
percent in November. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.7 
percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (7.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics 
(4.7 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially 
unchanged at 1.6 million in November and accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed. 
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 275,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent in November and has shown no 
clear trend over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, 
changed little in November and has shown little movement, on net, since early this year. 
(See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as 
involuntary part-time workers), at 4.8 million, was essentially unchanged in November but 
was down by 858,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time 
employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they 
were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In November, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 
451,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals 
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job 
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not 
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 469,000 discouraged workers in November, down by 
122,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers 
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for 
them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November 
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 
(See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November. Employment continued to 
trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. Employment 
growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly 
gain of 187,000 in 2016. (See table B-1.)

Employment in professional and business services continued on an upward trend in November 
(+46,000). Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 548,000 jobs. 

In November, manufacturing added 31,000 jobs. Within the industry, employment rose in 
machinery (+8,000), fabricated metal products (+7,000), computer and electronic products 
(+4,000), and plastics and rubber products (+4,000). Since a recent low in November 2016, 
manufacturing employment has increased by 189,000.

Health care added 30,000 jobs in November. Most of the gain occurred in ambulatory health 
care services (+25,000), which includes offices of physicians and outpatient care centers. 
Monthly employment growth in health care has averaged 24,000 thus far in 2017, compared 
with an average increase of 32,000 per month in 2016. 

Within construction, employment among specialty trade contractors increased by 23,000 in 
November and by 132,000 over the year.  

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, 
transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, 
and government, changed little over the month. 

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour 
to 34.5 hours in November. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.9 hours, and 
overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory 
employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and 
B-7.)

In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 
by 5 cents to $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 64 cents, or 
2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory 
employees rose by 5 cents to $22.24 in November. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up from +18,000 
to +38,000, and the change for October was revised down from +261,000 to +244,000. With 
these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 3,000 more than 
previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from 
businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the 
recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 170,000 over 
the last 3 months. 

_____________
The Employment Situation for December is scheduled to be released on Friday, January 5, 
2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).


    ______________________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                                      |
   |               Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                  |
   |                                                                                      |
   | In accordance with usual practice, The Employment Situation news release for December|
   | 2017, scheduled for January 5, 2018, will incorporate annual revisions in seasonally |
   | adjusted household survey data. Seasonally adjusted data for the most recent 5       |
   | years are subject to revision.                                                       |
   |______________________________________________________________________________________|


    ______________________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                                      |
   |        Conversion to the 2017 North American Industry Classification System          |
   |                                                                                      |
   | With the release of January 2018 data on February 2, 2018, the establishment survey  |
   | will revise the basis for industry classification from the 2012 North American       |
   | Industry Classification System (NAICS) to 2017 NAICS. The conversion to 2017 NAICS   |
   | will result in minor revisions reflecting content changes within the mining and      |
   | logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, and professional and       |
   | business services sectors. Additionally, some smaller industries will be combined    |
   | within the mining and logging, durable goods manufacturing, retail trade, and        |
   | information sectors. Several industry titles and descriptions also will be updated.  |
   |                                                                                      |
   | Approximately 4 percent of employment will be reclassified into different industries |
   | as a result of the revision. Details of new, discontinued, and combined industries   |
   | due to the 2017 NAICS update, as well as changes due to the annual benchmarking      |
   | process, will be available on January 5, 2018.                                       |
   |                                                                                      |
   | For more information on the 2017 NAICS update, visit www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/.  |
   |______________________________________________________________________________________|



 

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

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Nov.
2016
Sept.
2017
Oct.
2017
Nov.
2017
Change from:
Oct.
2017-
Nov.
2017

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

254,540 255,562 255,766 255,949 183

Civilian labor force

159,456 161,146 160,381 160,529 148

Participation rate

62.6 63.1 62.7 62.7 0.0

Employed

152,048 154,345 153,861 153,918 57

Employment-population ratio

59.7 60.4 60.2 60.1 -0.1

Unemployed

7,409 6,801 6,520 6,610 90

Unemployment rate

4.6 4.2 4.1 4.1 0.0

Not in labor force

95,084 94,417 95,385 95,420 35

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

4.6 4.2 4.1 4.1 0.0

Adult men (20 years and over)

4.3 3.9 3.8 3.7 -0.1

Adult women (20 years and over)

4.2 3.9 3.6 3.7 0.1

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

15.2 12.9 13.7 15.9 2.2

White

4.2 3.7 3.5 3.6 0.1

Black or African American

8.0 7.0 7.5 7.3 -0.2

Asian

3.0 3.7 3.1 3.0 -0.1

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

5.7 5.1 4.8 4.7 -0.1

Total, 25 years and over

3.9 3.5 3.3 3.3 0.0

Less than a high school diploma

7.9 6.5 5.7 5.2 -0.5

High school graduates, no college

4.9 4.3 4.3 4.3 0.0

Some college or associate degree

3.9 3.6 3.7 3.6 -0.1

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.3 2.3 2.0 2.1 0.1

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

3,542 3,359 3,227 3,159 -68

Job leavers

934 738 742 751 9

Reentrants

2,266 2,079 2,006 2,029 23

New entrants

728 669 629 691 62

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,415 2,226 2,129 2,250 121

5 to 14 weeks

2,133 1,874 1,942 1,878 -64

15 to 26 weeks

1,073 963 853 927 74

27 weeks and over

1,856 1,733 1,621 1,581 -40

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

5,659 5,122 4,753 4,801 48

Slack work or business conditions

3,485 3,121 2,952 2,983 31

Could only find part-time work

1,902 1,733 1,629 1,559 -70

Part time for noneconomic reasons

21,059 21,011 20,923 21,018 95

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,932 1,569 1,535 1,481

Discouraged workers

591 421 524 469

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

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Nov.
2016
Sept.
2017
Oct.
2017(P)
Nov.
2017(P)

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

Total nonfarm

164 38 244 228

Total private

178 50 247 221

Goods-producing

35 26 34 62

Mining and logging

7 4 1 7

Construction

28 13 10 24

Manufacturing

0 9 23 31

Durable goods(1)

3 6 13 27

Motor vehicles and parts

1.4 -3.1 -0.8 1.7

Nondurable goods

-3 3 10 4

Private service-providing

143 24 213 159

Wholesale trade

5.6 7.3 8.0 3.4

Retail trade

-12.9 11.7 -2.2 18.7

Transportation and warehousing

21.8 18.3 7.6 10.5

Utilities

0.3 0.6 0.1 -0.2

Information

-12 -5 -8 -4

Financial activities

12 12 7 8

Professional and business services(1)

46 30 54 46

Temporary help services

25.5 10.1 17.9 18.3

Education and health services(1)

31 23 24 54

Health care and social assistance

28.2 8.3 34.6 40.5

Leisure and hospitality

44 -75 104 14

Other services

7 1 18 9

Government

-14 -12 -3 7

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

179 128 163 170

Total private

178 122 160 173

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

Total nonfarm women employees

49.6 49.5 49.5 49.5

Total private women employees

48.2 48.1 48.1 48.1

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.3 82.4 82.4 82.4

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.3 34.4 34.4 34.5

Average hourly earnings

$25.91 $26.53 $26.50 $26.55

Average weekly earnings

$888.71 $912.63 $911.60 $915.98

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

105.8 107.4 107.7 108.2

Over-the-month percent change

-0.1 0.0 0.3 0.5

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

131.0 136.3 136.4 137.3

Over-the-month percent change

-0.2 0.5 0.1 0.7

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

Total private (261 industries)

51.5 60.9 65.1 63.0

Manufacturing (78 industries)

48.7 59.0 62.2 59.0

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

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2016 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

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Precision sacrificed for speed as GOP rushes ahead on taxes

5 tax issues Republicans need to resolve in conference

Now that the Senate and the House have passed two tax bills, there are some crucial differences they need to resolve in conference.

 December 10 at 6:42 PM
Republicans are moving their tax plan toward final passage at stunning speed, blowing past Democrats before they’ve had time to fully mobilize against it but leaving the measure vulnerable to the types of expensive problems popping up in their massive and complex plan.Questionable special-interest provisions have been stuffed in along the way, out of public view and in some cases literally in the dead of night. Drafting errors by exhausted staff are cropping up and need fixes, which must be tackled by congressional negotiators working to reconcile competing versions of the legislation passed separately by the House and the Senate.And the melding process underway has opened the door to another frenzy of 11th-hour lobbying as special interests, including President Trump’s rich friends, make one last dash for cash before the final bill speeds through both chambers of Congress and onto Trump’s desk. Passage is expected the week before Christmas.

Veterans of congressional tax overhauls, particularly the seminal revamp under President Ronald Reagan in 1986, have been stunned and in some cases outraged at how swiftly Republicans are moving on legislation that touches every corner of the economy and all Americans. And although GOP leaders make no apologies, some in their rank and file say that the process would have benefited from a more deliberate and open approach.

“I think it would have looked better if we had taken more time and had more transparency, had more open committee hearings,” said freshman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).

“Having said that, the goal that everybody had was to reduce the tax rates. . . . So at the end of the day the goal is going to be achieved, but we could have done it in a more transparent manner that probably would have given the voters that are being polled a little more confidence,” Comer said, referring to the effort’s poor showing in opinion surveys.

It has been a little more than a month since the $1.5 trillion legislation was introduced in the House, and in that short time it has cleared the two key committees in the House and Senate and won approval on the floors of both chambers, all without a single Democratic vote. If Trump signs the bill as planned before Christmas, that would mean a journey of less than two months between introduction and final passage.

The specific legislation that probably will become law, sold as a middle-class tax cut but featuring a massive corporate rate reduction at its center, is moving from release toward passage without any hearings, unusual for a bill of such magnitude. And as it tumbled along it picked up some startling new features, to the surprise of affected industries, Democrats and in some cases Republicans themselves.

Some of the most notable changes came in the hours before the Senate’s passage of its version of the plan, which happened about 1:50 a.m. Dec. 2.

The final vote was preceded by hours of inaction as Republicans fine-tuned their legislation behind closed doors, while fuming Democratic staffers ate Chinese food and pored over versions of the bill and lists of amendments that had been leaked by lobbyists on K Street before Republicans had made anything public.

As they got additional drafts of the bill, Democrats were incensed at some of what they found, including new breaks for the oil and gas industry, and a provision that appeared aimed specifically at helping Hillsdale College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan that doesn’t accept federal funding and has a large endowment funded by wealthy conservatives — including the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

An angry Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stood on his chamber’s floor to declare that “the federal treasury is being looted.” In their one victory of the debate, Democrats offered an amendment to strike the Hillsdale provision, and with the help of four Republicans it passed.

Democrats weren’t the only ones surprised by what was in the bill. Republicans and the business community were stunned when the final Senate version restored the alternative minimum tax for corporations. The tax, aimed at keeping companies from shirking their tax duties entirely, had been repealed in the House bill and earlier versions of the Senate measure.

Restoring the corporate alternative minimum tax created $40 billion in revenue for the bill, which helped Republicans come in under complex budgetary guidelines saying the legislation can’t go over the $1.5 trillion the GOP has agreed to add to the deficit over the next decade. Still, some Republicans professed not to know how the change had come about.

And under the new tax code the GOP bill would create, including the alternative minimum tax could have the unintended consequence of preventing companies from using other deductions, including the popular research and development tax credit.

“I’m guessing they just needed something quick to make the bill work,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is one of the conferees charged with blending the two bills together.

Now, as quickly as it reappeared, the corporate alternative minimum tax probably will disappear again. Republican lawmakers widely agree that it doesn’t work and can’t be included, but it remains a mystery where they’ll find revenue to offset that change and pay for others they’re looking to include in the final package.

There has been discussion of moving the corporate rate — slashed from 35 percent to 20 percent by the House and Senate — back up to 22 percent, but the backlash against that proposal has been intense and it probably will be dropped. But revenue must be found somewhere because there are some changes that look nearly certain, including adjusting the new limit on deducting state and local taxes. Both the House and Senate legislation would allow taxpayers to deduct only up to $10,000 in property taxes. Some of Trump’s New York friends have taken exception to that provision and have lobbied the president personally against it.

It’s all part of a breakneck pace of the tax plan that contrasts with the nearly a year-and-a-half that passed between when Reagan unveiled his initial version of the 1986 tax plan and its ultimate passage into law. The less far-ranging tax cuts that President George W. Bush signed in 2001 took four months to become law after the release of Bush’s initial blueprint. And the Affordable Care Act took nearly a year to complete, including a congressional summer recess featuring angry town hall meetings that turned public sentiment sharply against the bill.

Democrats accuse Republicans of whisking the legislation along to avoid extended public scrutiny and prevent them from mounting an offensive at public hearings or over lengthy congressional breaks. The GOP bills have endured neither.

“It’s clear that we could have defeated this bill had we gone through regular order and had any expert witness from any blue state or high-tax state come in,” said Rep. John B. Larson (Conn.), who was a member of Democratic leadership during the much lengthier and more open process of passing the ACA. The provision limiting taxpayers’ ability to deduct state and local taxes hits high-tax areas such as California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut particularly hard.

“People would have said, ‘Well, wait a minute,’ ” Larson said.

Republican congressional leaders dispute such comparisons, saying that the process on taxes has been going on for years, given that the party has long been debating the idea and an early foundational bill was released by then-Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, nearly four years ago. House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), also campaigned last year on an agenda called “A Better Way,” which featured a tax plank similar in many respects to the bill the House ultimately passed, although it drew scant attention at the time.

“These are relatively small bills, 400 pages or so; they’re not hard to digest. The policy decisions, the thoughtfulness, a lot of these issues we’ve been debating together and apart for years,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.). “Bottom line is the American people have been waiting 30 years. So to paraphrase a hardware store: less talking, more doing.”

Even before the late-night Senate dramatics, the process offered surprises and sudden twists.

A provision repealing an Affordable Care Act requirement for most Americans to carry insurance or pay fines was added to the Senate bill with little warning over the course of an afternoon, a major health policy decision that is projected to leave 13 million more Americans uninsured in a decade but that would give Republicans $330 billion to pay for other things they want to do.

And the release of the House bill stunned manufacturers when they discovered it contained an “excise tax” on purchases from American companies’ foreign subsidiaries that some said could drive them out of business. The provision was watered down before passage by the Ways and Means Committee, but companies are still fighting to keep it out of the final bill, said Nancy McLernon, president of the Organization for International Investment, which represents global companies with U.S. operations. Despite the years-long focus on tax overhaul, such a provision had not been debated — even after companies beat back a different import tax, she said.

The Senate has a different provision that companies like better, but as far as the cost of going from one to the other or how it will all shake out, “It’s all a Rubik’s cube,” McLernon said.

Many lobbyists, Democrats and other observers expect to find the final version of the plan, which could be filed late this week, just as full of surprises as the various iterations that have appeared. But as they gun for a legislative win that has eluded them this year, Republicans show little interest in slowing down to take a closer look.

“The frenzy, and I would call it a frenzy, to get it done and have a Christmas present for America — number one, I think it’s unnecessary; it’s a self-imposed deadline, and number two, it makes the possibility for error much greater,” said Steve Bell, a senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center who was staff director of the Senate Budget Committee during the 1986 tax effort. “This is a rush without a reason other than the political desire for a Rose Garden signing ceremony.”

Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/precision-sacrificed-for-speed-as-gop-rushes-ahead-on-taxes/2017/12/10/876ab274-dc62-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?utm_term=.167e53dc0cba

 

The Taxman Cometh: Senate Bill’s Marginal Rates Could Top 100% for Some

Certain high-income business owners would face backwards incentives; lawmakers work to bridge gap

House and Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile their tax bills to get rid of the most contentious proposals.
House and Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile their tax bills to get rid of the most contentious proposals. PHOTO: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON—Some high-income business owners could face marginal tax rates exceeding 100% under the Senate’s tax bill, far beyond the listed rates in the Republican plan.

That means a business owner’s next $100 in earnings, under certain circumstances, would require paying more than $100 in additional federal and state taxes.

As lawmakers rush to write the final tax bill over the next week, they already are looking at changes to prevent this from happening. Broadly, House and Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile their bills, looking for ways to pay for eliminating the most contentious proposals. The formal House-Senate conference committee will meet on Wednesday, and GOP lawmakers may unveil an agreement by week’s end.

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The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people. As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profit that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance.

As a taxpayer’s income gets much higher and moves out of those phaseout ranges, the marginal tax rates would go down.

Consider, for example, a married, self-employed New Jersey lawyer with three children and earnings of about $615,000. Getting $100 more in business income would force the lawyer to pay $105.45 in federal and state taxes, according to calculations by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. That is more than double the marginal tax rate that household faces today.

If the New Jersey lawyer’s stay-at-home spouse wanted a job, the first $100 of the spouse’s wages would require $107.79 in taxes. And the tax rates for similarly situated residents of California and New York City would be even higher, the Tax Foundation found. Analyses by the Tax Policy Center, which is run by a former Obama administration official, find similar results, with federal marginal rates as high as 85%, and those don’t include items such as state taxes, self-employment taxes or the phase-out of child tax credits.

The bill as written would provide incentives for business owners to shift profit across calendar years, move personal expenses inside the business and engage in other economically unproductive maneuvers, said David Gamage, a tax-law professor at Indiana University.

“I would expect a huge tax-gaming response once people fully understand how it works,” said Mr. Gamage, a former Treasury Department official, who said business owners have an easier time engaging in such tax avoidance than salaried employees do. “The payoff for gaming is huge, within the set of people who both face these rates and have flexible enough business structures.”

The analyses “raise a valid concern” that lawmakers are examining, said Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for the Senate Finance Committee.

“With any major reform, there will always be unusual hypotheticals delivering anomalous results,” she said. “The goal of Congress’s tax overhaul has been to lower taxes on the American people and by and large, according to a variety of analyses, we’re achieving that.”

Marginal tax rates are different from average tax rates. A marginal rate is the tax on the edge, or margin, of one’s earnings, and so it reflects what would be the next dollar of income. The average rate is a way of measuring a taxpayer’s total burden.

The Republican bills are trying to reduce both marginal and average tax rates, and for many taxpayers, they do. The marginal tax rates above 100% affect a small slice of households with very particular circumstances. Similar, though smaller, effects occur throughout the tax system.

“This is a big concern,” said Scott Greenberg, a Tax Foundation analyst. “It would be unfortunate if Congress passed a tax bill that had the effect of making additional work and additional income not worthwhile for any subgroup of households.”

Here’s how that New Jersey lawyer’s marginal rate adds up to more than 100%:

The household is paying the 35% marginal tax rate on their income range. Or, they are paying the alternative minimum tax, which operates at the same marginal rate in that income range.

The household is paying New Jersey’s highest income-tax rate, which is 8.97%, and now has to pay all of that because the Republican tax plan wouldn’t let such state or local taxes be deducted from federal income.

The household is also losing a deduction the Senate created for so-called pass-through businesses such as partnerships and S corporations. That 23% deduction is fully available to owners of service businesses like law firms, but only if income is below $500,000 for a married couple.

The deduction then phases out over $100,000 in income, according to a complex formula, disappearing entirely once income reaches $624,000. Up to that point, each additional dollar of business income faces progressively steeper tax rates because the deduction and its benefit are shrinking rapidly as income goes up.

The provisions also interact with each other in ways that drive up marginal rates. “The central problem here is that there is a large benefit phasing out over a short range,” Mr. Greenberg said.

The Republican bill doubles the child tax credit to $2,000 but phases it out beginning at $500,000 income for joint filers. The credit shrinks by $50 for every $1,000 in income above that, so a married couple with three children faces a higher marginal tax rate when they’re in that phase-out range.

The analysis assumes that the New Jersey lawyer is paying a 3.8% tax on self-employment income.

Pushing marginal rates lower on these households wouldn’t be easy and would require tradeoffs. Republicans could make the phaseout of the business deduction more gentle, spreading it over, say, $200,000, as opposed to $100,000, of income above $500,000. But that would make the tax cuts bigger, and Republicans are already looking for money to offset other changes they are planning.

They could lower the threshold for the child tax credit, but that would reduce tax cuts for households below $500,000.

Under current law, there are some high marginal tax rates for some lower-income households. Some families just above the poverty line can see their earned income tax credits and food stamps going down as their federal and state taxes go up. That combination can create marginal tax rates of around 75%, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Appeared in the December 11, 2017, print edition as ‘Taxman Cometh: Marginal Rates Could Top 100% for Some.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-taxman-cometh-senate-bills-marginal-rates-could-top-100-for-some-1512942118

Tax Reform Under History’s Light


Senior Vice President, Economic Policy Division, and Chief Economist

Former Democratic Senator John Breaux

Former Democratic Senator John Breaux.

[This is part of an ongoing series entitled “The Case for Tax Reform,” which examines the importance of reforming the outdated tax code, and how achieving that goal will advance economic growth, jobs, and prosperity.]

Tax reform’s chances are better in this Congress than at any time in the past 30 years. Thus, comparisons come naturally to the events leading up to the 1986 Tax Reform Act (TRA86). These comparisons are useful for the similarities and the differences, both of which provide insights as to how to assure success today.

One important similarity is TRA86 brought to conclusion a long and detailed debate about tax policy. Our current efforts also rest on a lengthy debate recently brought to the fore. An important difference, however, is TRA86 was enacted as a widely accepted “should do,” whereas tax reform in 2017 is much more of a “must do.”

‘86 tax reform in 30 seconds

TRA86 culminated as a complex debate starting about 10 years prior with the release of Treasury’s “Blueprints for Basic Tax Reform” in the waning hours of the Ford administration. Treasury’s “Blueprints” laid out a coherent approach to tax policy, emphasizing simplification and a reduction in tax distortions that were sapping economic growth.

Two years later, in response to a poorly performing economy, Congress adopted the Steiger Amendment, significantly cutting the capital gains tax rate as part of the 1978 Revenue Act. While often ignored, the Steiger Amendment marked the bi-partisan recognition of tax policy’s importance for economic growth. Pro-growth tax reform was not just for tax geeks anymore.

Federal tax policy debate took on new energy in 1981 with the passage of the landmark Reagan tax cuts, dominated by substantial rate reduction. Following legislation in 1982 and 1984 to readjust tax levels, the stage was set for fundamental tax reform.

A bipartisan consensus regarding sound tax policy evolved through the years leading up to TRA86. This consensus distilled down to the simple mantra of “lower the rates, broaden the base.”  Like the 1981 legislation, TRA86 would reduce tax rates substantially and install a less punitive system of capital consumption allowances. Unlike the 1981 legislation, however, the focus would also be on simplification, on the wide range of areas of the tax code reformed, and especially on revenue neutrality.

This consensus first took concrete form in two highly-detailed proposals out the Reagan Treasury Department, commonly dubbed Treasury I and its improved version, Treasury II, and released in 1984 and 1985 respectively. With these reports laying the groundwork, Congress then took over a year to legislate, finally producing TRA86.

The years between

TRA86 was the product of an extended period of consensus building and analysis. For those new to the debate, today’s strong momentum for comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform may seem to have arisen out of thin air, but, in fact, this debate has ebbed and flowed almost without pause since 1986.

The appetite for tax reform did not die following TRA86, and so consideration naturally moved on to the “next big thing.” For a period, the big thing seemed to be some kind of European-style Value Added Tax (VAT). The VAT momentum quickly petered out, however, and soon revenue pressures shifted the focus of tax policy once again to raising income tax rates, often with distinct “soak-the-rich” overtones. The VAT episode set tax reform’s pattern of ebb and flow for the following years.

Even as the debate toward TRA86 was underway, a very different approach to tax policy appeared in the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax. Though the Flat Tax is best known for having a single rate of tax, hence the name, what really distinguishes the Flat Tax is its simplification, the elimination of all taxes on capital income and capital gains, and the adoption of a cash-flow tax on businesses centered on allowing capital purchases to be “expensed,” or deducted immediately.

In the 1990s, as the Flat Tax gained greater acceptance, tax reform topped the national agenda with Steve Forbes leading the charge. But this effort soon deflated along with Forbes’ 1996 presidential campaign.

Tax reform again gained traction briefly after the 2004 election with the release of the superb report of the presidential commission led by former Democratic Senator John Breaux and former Republican Senator Connie Mack. However, this effort, too, led to naught, a victim of competing priorities and a lack of consensus.

Income tax reform was pushed far onto the back burners during President Barack Obama’s tenure. Despite a historically weak economic recovery, the Obama administration expressed little interest in proposals to reduce the tax code’s drag on growth. The Obama administration contented itself with modest tweaks at the edges and otherwise dedicated its efforts to defending the status quo, especially in the area of international tax where global pressures were felt most profoundly.

Tax reform today

Even as years of inaction passed, pressure to reform the federal income tax code rose steadily from all sides. In part, this pressure arose because the U.S. economy was changing rapidly, and the tax code became an ever-worse fit for a modern economy.

In part, the pressure arose because even as America stood pat, America’s major trading partners did not. They were cutting business tax rates steadily and almost all were moving toward a territorial tax system to allow their businesses to compete more effectively in a global business climate of increasing intensity.

Though on the back burner, tax reform continued to simmer in backchannels. Then-House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) advanced a series of thoughtful tax reform proposals as part of his broader efforts to reform Federal tax policy. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) offered his variation on tax reform, differing from but along the same broad lines as the Ryan proposal. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also introduced a major, comprehensive tax reform proposal with his own interpretations, and then released subsequent iterations as comments and critiques soon followed. In these years, though President Obama continued to block tax reform’s path, the debate remained alive and well.

In 2014, former Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) introduced a detailed tax reform proposal. As tax reform would originate in this committee, Camp’s proposal took on greater significance than most. The Camp proposal was intended to serve as a prototype for tax legislation and so offered much more detail and, in some cases, specific options for resolving some of the nagging technical issues in adopting a territorial tax system, for example. However, in the face of President Obama’s determined disinterest, few were willing to contemplate seriously the hard choices the Camp plan laid out and so, again, tax reform was left to simmer on the back burner.

Tax reform played a limited role in the 2016 presidential campaign, with the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, largely continuing the defense of the status quo established by President Obama. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, suggested a bold change of direction; though, he accompanied it by very few details. Trump’s election, combined with the strong Republican interest in tax reform, quickly moved the issue to the front burner.

The focus on growth

Tax reform today, like its 1986 predecessor, has a long history of debate, evolution, and refinement. TRA86 and the current effort also share an intense focus on improving economic growth, but with one important difference: TRA86 largely responded to a sense borne of the previous, deep recession that the economy needed to be both stronger and more resilient, and that sound tax policy could help. Tax reform was seen as something Congress and the president could and should accomplish.

Tax reform today shares a similar motivation, but with far greater urgency. Just as no business can compete for long if its cost structure substantially exceeds those of its competitors, American businesses cannot continue to compete effectively at home or abroad facing high tax rates, an inadequate capital cost recovery system, and an international tax system long abandoned by competing companies.

American companies are managing to compete successfully today but with ever greater difficulty under the federal tax system. Failure to reform the tax system would not result overnight in significant decline in Americans’ long-run economic prospects. But it would most assuredly do so over the next few years as both financial and human capital is driven overseas.

Tax reform is one task Congress and the president simply have to get right if America is to prosper.

https://www.uschamber.com/above-the-fold/tax-reform-under-history-s-light

What History Teaches Us About Tax Reform


Senior Vice President, Economic Policy Division, and Chief Economist
023275_taxreform_atf_08_22_reagan_getty471341025.jpg

[This is part of an ongoing series entitled “The Case for Tax Reform,” which examines the importance of reforming the outdated tax code, and how achieving that goal will advance economic growth, jobs, and prosperity.]

An underperforming economy and mounting international competition have propelled tax reform from topic of discussion to front-burner issue. There is no change in federal policy that offers greater potential to strengthen employment and increase wages for American workers than sound, comprehensive tax reform.

Reviewing and respecting the lessons from the last major tax reform over thirty years ago illuminates the road ahead, and provides lessons for how to raise our odds of success. Time provides a dimension worth exploring for similarities and contrasts between 1986 and today. Specifically, the time leading up to the effort, and the time needed for Congress to act.

The Historical On Ramp to Tax Reform

President John F. Kennedy understood the dampening economic effects of high tax rates. Though he died before seeing his program enacted, his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the program through Congress and thus the 1964 tax bill is commonly referred to as the “Kennedy tax cuts.” The 1964 bill centered on significant tax rate reductions to achieve a substantially stronger economy.

Thereafter, budget pressures from the Vietnam War and Great Society programs reoriented tax policy once again toward ever-higher tax rates accompanied by a steady accretion of deductions and credits to blunt the effects of higher rates on politically favored constituencies. This process continued unabated into President Jimmy Carter’s administration and not surprisingly coinciding with a languishing economy.

Even as tax rates climbed and new distortions filled the tax code, a countermovement arose. In the final moments of the Ford Administration, Secretary William E. Simon released a landmark Treasury report directed by one of the era’s great economists, David Bradford, called “Blueprints for Basic Tax Reform,” guiding concepts of sound tax policy for years to come.

As the economy struggled and President Carter stood by, Congress took the initiative. With strong, bipartisan support over Carter’s objections, Congress substantially cut the capital gains tax rate as part of the 1978 Revenue Act, marking the first step in a change in tax philosophy culminating in the 1986 Tax Reform Act (TRA86).

Senator Bill Roth (R-DE) and Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY) then picked up tax reform’s guidon, leading the charge for lower tax rates. At the same time, a second dimension in tax policy gained steam – the need for a less punitive capital cost recovery system. This debate was led largely outside Congress by the likes of Charls Walker and Ernie Christian, former Ford Administration Treasury hands, and Norman B. Ture, later Treasury undersecretary under Ronald Reagan.

Spurred by a recession wrought by a disinflationary monetary policy, the tax debate quickly came to a head in the 1981 “Reagan tax cuts.” The 1981 bill cut tax rates and instituted a vastly superior capital cost recovery system among other reforms. In the process, the bill cut revenues far more than Reagan proposed.

Though the 1981 bill was championed by a Republican president, it enjoyed widespread Democratic support. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means introduced and pushed the legislation to passage, joined by almost half the House Democrats and almost a third of Senate Democrats.

The magnitude of the 1981 tax cuts proved politically unsustainable and were quickly followed by a series of tax hikes reversing some of the 1981 revenue reductions. Having settled the issue of how much to tax, the stage was now set for the 1986 reform and deciding who and how to tax.

Building Toward the 1986 Tax Reform Act

At about this time a fundamentally different approach to tax policy appeared: the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax. The Flat Tax’s popularity often associates with the simplicity of imposing a single tax rate. However, the real revolution it offered was not the single tax rate,but  what is subject to tax. Despite appearing as a traditional income tax, the Flat Tax was something quite new as it explicitly eliminated tax on investment income and imposed a simple cash flow tax on all businesses, thus adopting the principle of expensing, or allowing a full and immediate deduction for capital purchases.

The Flat Tax was too radical to gain wide acceptance in the early 1980s, but a vigorous bipartisan debate harkening back to Bradford’s 1976 “Blueprints” continued nonetheless. The 1981 tax cuts worked as intended to launch a powerful economic recovery, but memories of poor economic performance under Carter still lingered. A broad, bipartisan consensus championed faster economic growth by reforming the tax code to reduce the distortions to economic decision making it caused and the resulting misallocation of basic resources.

The basic strategy was to lower rates as in the 1981 Act, only further, and to implement a sound cost recovery system as in the 1981 Act. In contrast to 1981, however, the new strategy included a determined effort to “broaden the tax base” by eliminating distorting loopholes and tax credits, thereby intending the overall bill to be revenue neutral. .

The Treasury Department under Secretary Don Regan took the first big step in 1984 with the release of a densely packed 275 page proposal for comprehensive tax reform, dubbed “Treasury I”. While many aspects were well-received, as with most prototypes, Treasury I contained flaws, some of which Treasury addressed in 1985 with “Treasury II”.

Tax reform was off and running in Congress with the release of Treasury II, but the road  was by no means easy. Time and again Reagan had to give Congress another not-always-gentle push. The greatest peril demanding Reagan’s firm hand came when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bob Packwood (R-OR) realized he couldn’t pass tax reform on the path it was on. Ironically, the man who had repeatedly saved tax reform, President Reagan, was also now tax reform’s biggest obstacle.

The Price for Overcoming the Greatest Hurdle

Reagan was forced into pushing for the most rate reduction possible. Initially he drew the line at 25 percent for individuals and he held firm for much of the debate. Like most policy, tax reform involves trade-offs and Packwood just couldn’t find enough obvious base broadeners he could economically or politically trade off to hit a 25 percent rate.

Something had to give. At first the rate crept up to 26 and then to 28 percent. But at 28 percent, Reagan would go no further.

As Reagan urged Packwood to press on, Packwood had to get creative. He took fairly innocuous existing individual and corporate minimum taxes and expanded them into full-fledged parallel tax systems; voila, massive back-door base broadening. Packwood’s new Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), while a superb example of terrible tax policy, had as its one redeeming feature: it raised enough money in a sufficiently confusing manner to hit the 28 percent rate without creating too many political problems, at least not for the duration of the debate. Three months later, the final bill passed the Senate.

Packwood’s AMT offers an important lesson for tax reform today. As important as low tax rates are for economic growth, policy makers and the public need to be honest about the tradeoffs involved. The broadest possible tax base capable of garnering sufficient political support can only raise so much revenue at a targeted tax rate. Demand an even lower tax rate and something (or someone) else will have to give and very likely pro-growth tax policy will suffer as a consequence.

Back to the Present

With respect to time, the current tax reform debate parallels that of 1986 closely. TRA86 concluded a lengthy, evolutionary process regarding accepted beliefs about sound, pro-growth tax policy. That process distilled to the lowest possible rates and applied to a simple, broad tax base, while allowing for a depreciation system for capital costs minimizing the anti-investment aspects of an income tax.

Tax reform today shares these traits, both with respect to the substance of reform – low rates, broad base, and today, expensing – and with respect to time. Like the 1986 episode, tax reform today reflects the product of many years of debate regarding the design of pro-growth tax policy, an evolution that began in 1986.

In one other critical respect regarding time, TRA86 and the current effort offer stark contrasts. Where the legislative starting gun on TRA86 went off in 1984 and the effort then proceeded for over two years, Congress in 2017 will have only a handful of months from introduction to tax reform’s final passage. This difference in time will have significant implications for how Congress defines “comprehensive” as they work toward pro-growth tax reform.

Read Part 2: Tax Reform Under History’s Light

https://www.uschamber.com/above-the-fold/what-history-teaches-us-about-tax-reform

 

Story 3: Defeating The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria By Bombing Them To Death — ISIS Free? — Videos

ISIS defeated in Iraq, officials say

Eric Shawn reports: ISIS defeated, but will it last?

Iraq celebrates ISIS defeat, US claims fight isn’t over

 

Total victory over ISIS in Syria

ISIS Breaking news: No Islamic State has been defeated- BBC news Nov 2017

Iraqi military take part in spectacular parade celebrating victory over ISIS

Report: ISIS militants moving to remote deserts

Ralph Peters on the fight against ISIS and Iran’s influence

Trump WH announces shift in strategy to defeat ISIS

ISIS Surrounded: Trump’s Plan to ‘Annihilate’ the Islamic Caliphate

This Iran-backed militia helped save Iraq from ISIS. Now Washington wants them to disband

Iraqi Christian on life after ISIS destroyed his church

Trump WH announces shift in strategy to defeat ISIS

Peters: Fall of ISIS in Iraq is imminent, but what’s next?

Tillerson: ISIS will be defeated

Trump, Mattis turn military loose on ISIS, leaving terror caliphate in tatters

Hundreds of ISIS fighters had just been chased out of a northern Syrian city and were fleeing through the desert in long convoys, presenting an easy target to U.S. A-10 “warthogs.”

But the orders to bomb the black-clad jihadists never came, and the terrorists melted into their caliphate — living to fight another day. The events came in August 2016, even as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was vowing on the campaign trail to let generals in his administration crush the organization that, under President Obama, had grown from the “jayvee team” to the world’s most feared terrorist organization.

OIR_CROFT

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft said the Trump administration has put a strong leadership team in place  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tracy McKithern)

“I will…quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS,” Trump, who would name legendary Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense, promised. “We will not have to listen to the politicians who are losing the war on terrorism.”

ISIS CURSED, MOCKED IN MOSUL, WHERE OLD CITY REMAINS A HAUNTED WASTELAND

Just over a year later, ISIS has been routed from Iraq and Syria with an ease and speed that’s surprised even the men and women who carried out the mission. Experts say it’s a prime example of a campaign promise kept. President Trump scrapped his predecessor’s rules of engagement, which critics say hamstrung the military, and let battlefield decisions be made by the generals in the theater, and not bureaucrats in Washington.

“I felt quite liberated because we had a clear mandate and there was no questioning that.”

– U.S. Marine Col. Seth Folsom

At its peak, ISIS held land in Iraq and Syria that equaled the size of West Virginia, ruled over as many as 8 million people, controlled oilfields and refineries, agriculture, smuggling routes and vast arsenals. It ran a brutal, oppressive government, even printing its own currency.

OIR_FOLSOM

Lt. Col. Seth Folsom credits the cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S-led coalition for the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq.  (Courtesy U.S Army)

The terror organization now controls just 3 percent of Iraq and less than 5 percent of Syria. Its self-styled “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is believed to be injured and holed up somewhere along the lawless border of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS remains a danger, as members who once ruled cities and villages like a quasi-government now live secretly among civilian populations in the region, in Europe and possibly in the U.S. These cells will likely present a terrorist threat for years. In addition, the terrorist organization is attempting to regroup in places such as the Philippines, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula.

But the military’s job — to take back the land ISIS claimed as its caliphate and liberate cities like Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria, as well as countless smaller cities and villages, is largely done. And it has taken less than a year.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis waits to greet Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, upon his arrival at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Mattis, a US Marine Corps general, said there would be no White House micromanaging on his watch  (Associated Press)

“The leadership team that is in place right now has certainly enabled us to succeed,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the ranking U.S. Air Force officer in Iraq, told Fox News. “I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team to work for, to enable the military to do what it does best.”

President Trump gave a free hand to Mattis, who in May stressed military commanders were no longer being slowed by Washington “decision cycles,” or by the White House micromanaging that existed President Obama. As a result of the new approach, the fall of ISIS in Iraq came even more swiftly than hardened U.S. military leaders expected.

“It moved more quickly than at least I had anticipated,” Croft said. “We and the Iraqi Security Forces were able to hunt down and target ISIS leadership, target their command and control.”

OIR_SOFGE1

U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Robert Sofge said the military now has a clear mandate  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cole Erickson)

IRAQI KURDS STILL LOVE US DESPITE ITS OPPOSITION TO KURDISH INDEPENDENCE, SAYS KURDISH LEADER

After the battle to liberate Mosul – ISIS’ Iraqi headquarters – was completed in July — the U.S.-led coalition retook Tel Afar in August, Hawija in early October and Rawa in Anbar province in November.

Marine Col. Seth Folsom, who oversaw fighting in Al Qaim near the Syrian border, agreed. He wasn’t expecting his part of the campaign against ISIS to get going until next spring and figured even then, it would then “take six months or more.”

Instead, ISIS was routed in Al Qaim in just a few days.

mosul

Mosul, and several other cities liberated by ISIS, were largely destroyed in the fighting.  (Fox News/Hollie McKay)

“We really had one mandate and that was enable the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat ISIS militarily here in Anbar. I feel that we have achieved that mission,” Folsom said. “I never felt constrained. In a lot of ways, I felt quite liberated because we had a clear mandate and there was no questioning that.”

Brig. Gen. Robert “G-Man” Sofge, the top U.S. Marine in Iraq, told Fox News his commanders have “enjoyed not having to deal with too many distractions and there was no question about what the mission here in Iraq was.”

OIR_

Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool was skeptical of Trump at first, but says success on the ground has been swift  (Fox News/Hollie McKay )

“We were able to focus on what our job was without distraction and I think that goes a long way in what we are trying to accomplish here,” he said.

Sofge said criticism that loosening rules of engagement put civilians at risk is “absolutely not true.”

OIR_dillon

Col. Ryan Dillon. Combined Joint Task Force – Inherent Resolve Spokesman  (Photo by CJTFOIR)

“We used precision strikes, and completely in accordance with international standards,” he said. “We didn’t lower that standard, not one little bit. But we were able to exercise that precision capability without distraction and I think the results speak for themselves.”

The U.S.-led coalition said this week the Coalition Civilian Casualty Assessment Team has added 30 new staffers to travel throughout the region. It said military leaders continue to “hold themselves accountable for actions that may have caused unintentional injury or death to civilians.”

The coalition also said dozens of reports of civilian casualties have been determined to be “non-credible,” and just .35 percent of the almost 57,000 separate engagement carried out between August 2014 and October 2017 resulted in a credible report of a civilian casualty.

In addition to air support, the U.S.-led strategy also includes training and equipping Iraqi troops on the ground.

While the Trump administration’s success is often underplayed in the U.S. media, it is obvious on the ground in Iraq, according to a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, Yahya Rasool.

“I was not optimistic when Trump first came to the office,” Rasool said. “But after a while I started to see a new approach, the way the U.S. was dealing with arming and training. I saw how the coalition forces were all moving faster to help the Iraq side more than before. There seemed to be a lot of support, under Obama we did not get this.”

FILE - This file image made from video posted on a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance. Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to be still alive, a top U.S. military commander said Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, contradicting Russia’s claims that it probably killed the top counterterror target months ago.(Militant video via AP, File)

Al-Baghdadi, who once ruled a caliphate the size of California, is now inn hiding and likely badly injured

Despite the victories on the battlefield, U.S. officials cautioned much work remains to be done.

“ISIS is very adaptive,” noted Col. Ryan Dillon, the U.S.-led coalition spokesman. “We are already seeing smaller cells and pockets that take more of an insurgent guerrilla type approach as opposed to an Islamic army or conventional type force. So we have got to be prepared for that.”

He said as a result the coalition is “adjusting some training efforts” so the Iraqi forces — upwards of 150,000 have already undergone training — are equipped to address such threats and ensure long-term stability.

Folsom said “the worst thing we could do” is not finish the job.

“If a country becomes a failed state, if it becomes a lawless region, you begin to set the conditions for what happened in the years before 9/11,” he said. “In those ungoverned spaces where we don’t know what is going on, that is where those seeds of extremism begin to blossom.”

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Acts Where Three Past Presidents Only Promised — Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City and Starts Process of Moving U.S. Embassy — Videos — Story 2: Trump Should Fire Mueller For Hiring A Biased, Conflicted, Corrupt and Partisan Staff — Mueller No Longer Has Credibility with American People — Hopelessly Compromised — Resign By 1 January 2018 Or Be Fired — Happy New Year — Seven Days In May Mueller — Lawyers Attempted Coup d’état Failure — Videos — Story 3: Witch Hunt? — Found Her! — Russian Corruption and Clinton Connections — Videos — Story 3: — Videos — Story 4: Progressives Purge Predators Perverts– Conyers Retires and Franken Pummeled — Who Is Next? — ABC Fires George Stephanopoulos for “Future Sexually Inappropriate Activity” — An Honest Mistake — Videos — Story 5: Remembering Pearl Harbor — Videos

Posted on December 7, 2017. Filed under: Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Empires, Employment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, High Crimes, House of Representatives, Movies, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear, Oil, Senate, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: President Trump Acts Where Three Past Presidents Only Promised — Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City and Starts Process of Moving U.S. Embassy — Videos —

President Trump: US Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital 12/06/2017 [FULL SPEECH]

WATCH Israeli PM Netanyahu responds to President Trump’s Jerusalem announcement

How Israelis and Palestinians see Trump’s Jerusalem move

Why Jerusalem matters – BBC News

Palestinian reaction to Trump’s Jerusalem decision

‘Remember the Previous 4,000 Years’ says Netanyahu

Mark Levin interviews John Bolton who, explains why Trump’s decision on Jerusalem is so important

“Trump Made the Right Move Today!” Ben Shapiro Gives a History Lesson

Mark Levin: Trump poised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, move embassy to Jerusalem

President Trump Makes A Statement On Jerusalem: Recognizes Jerusalem As Capital Of Israel | TIME

PM Netanyahu: “I never imagined I’d say this…”

Ingraham: The Bushes’ bitter backlash

‘Jerusalem IS Israel’s capital’. Trump calls for calm as he confirms plan to move US embassy to disputed Holy City that he says will make peace MORE likely – even as Palestinians floo the streets before ‘days of rage’

  • President Trump announced he’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and starting the process of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv
  • ‘Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,’ he said
  • Palestinians said it would be ‘a kiss of death to the two-state solution’ and Trump is ‘declaring war in the Middle East’
  • The terror group Hamas said Trump has opened ‘the gates of hell’ 
  • Pope Francis said he was ‘profoundly concerned’ and appealed that ‘everyone respects the status quo of the city’ 
  • China, which has good ties with Israel and the Palestinians, expressed concerns over ‘possible aggravation of regional tensions’
  • Iran’s supreme leader said Trump’s new stance represented ‘incompetence and failure’; Russia expressed concern about a ‘possible deterioration’ there
  • Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will unfold over ‘years,’ a senior White House official said; ‘It won’t be immediate, it won’t be months, it won’t be quick’
  • White House offered no expansion on Trump’s argument that peace process is unaffected and how it ties in to Jared Kushner’s peace plan 

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that America formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, changing decades of U.S. policy in a brief afternoon speech and casting the move as a bid to preserve, not derail, aspirations for regional peace.

Appearing in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room against an elaborate backdrop of Christmas decorations, he also said the United States embassy in Israel would, over time, be moved there from Tel Aviv.

Israel is the only country where the United States has an embassy in a city that the host nation does not consider its capital.

His speech was greeted by demonstrations in the Middle East and a threat from Hamas that he had ‘opened the gates of hell’.

Palestinian secular and Islamist factions called a general strike on Thursday after tens of thousands took to the streets on Wednesday night.

World leaders including the Pope spoke out against the measure, saying that it jeopardized the peace process. But Trump was unrepentant that he was doing the ‘right thing’.

‘I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,’ Trump said. ‘While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.’

‘When I came into office I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking,’ he said, leaning heavily on a mid-1990s federal law that demanded the embassy’s relocation.

‘We have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital – at all,’ Trump added. ‘But today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.’

‘It is also the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done.’

Scroll down for video and to read the complete speech

Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capitol on Wednesday and launched a process to move the U.S. embassy there, casting his decision as an act of political courage

Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol on Wednesday and launched a process to move the U.S. embassy there, casting his decision as an act of political courage

The president signed a proclamation after his short speech, backed up by Vice President Mike Pence

'Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital; this is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do,' Trump said

‘Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; this is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do,’ Trump said

Take to the streets: Young men in Gaza protested after Trump's announcement, with Hamas asking for a 'day of rage' on Friday

Take to the streets: Young men in Gaza protested after Trump’s announcement, with Hamas asking for a ‘day of rage’ on Friday

Reaction spread around the Islamic world, with this crowd taking to the streets in Istanbul in front of the U.S. consulate to protest

Reaction spread around the Islamic world, with this crowd taking to the streets in Istanbul in front of the U.S. consulate to protest

In flames: In Gaza Palestinians burned the U.S. and Israeli flags as Trump's announcement later on Wednesday was revealed

Trump spoke to cameras in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House, surrounded by Christmas trees as he spoke about tensions between Muslims and Jews

Trump spoke to cameras in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House, surrounded by Christmas trees as he spoke about tensions between Muslims and Jews

TRUMP SETS OFF CONDEMNATION WORLDWIDE…

‘I’m intending to speak to President Trump about this matter. Our position has not changed, it has been a long standing one and it is also a very clear one. It is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement.’ British Prime Minister Theresa May 

‘These deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace efforts.’ Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas

‘This decision will open the gates of hell on US interests in the region.’ Hamas official Ismail Radwan

The move will have ‘dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region and efforts to attain peace’. King Abdullah of Jordan

‘This decision is a regrettable decision that France does not approve of and goes against international law and all the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council.’ French President Emmanuel Macron 

‘I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.’ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres 

‘We call upon the U.S. Administration to reconsider this faulty decision which may result in highly negative outcomes and to avoid uncalculated steps that will harm the multicultural identity and historical status of Jerusalem.’ Turkey’s Foreign Ministry

Death sentence for all who seek peace.’ Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani

I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.’ Pope Francis 

‘That they claim they want to announce [Jerusalem] as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,’ –Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei   

‘The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.’ European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini

Every president since Bill Clinton has exercised a waiver in the Jerusalem Embassy Act, effectively kicking the can down the road. Trump said that has brought the world ‘no closer to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.’

A major theme in Trump’s unprecedented statement was his claim that it shouldn’t interfere with longer-term peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

What the speech did not spell out was how that could be the case – and there was no briefing from the White House afterwards to expand on Trump’s case.

His son-in-law Jared Kushner is currently drawing up a Middle East peace plan, but when it will appear and how Wednesday’s dramatic announcement will play a part in it is unknown.

Notably Kushner, 36, a former property developer, was not present for Trump’s speech and proclamation signing.

But the Palestine Liberation Organization said after his speech that it had destroyed hopes for a two-state solution.

The terror group Hamas said Trump had opened ‘the gates of hell.’

Sami Abu Zuhri, the leader of Hamas, said that Trump’s decision ‘will not succeed in changing the reality of Jerusalem being Islamic Arab land.’

‘This decision is foolish and time will tell that the biggest losers are Trump and Netanyahu.’

But Trump insisted that ‘this decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. ‘We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians.’

‘We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders,’ he continued.

‘Those questions are up to the parties involved. The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.’

Trump said the United States will continue to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, ‘if agreed to by both sides.’

‘In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites,’ he said.

… BUT ISRAEL’S PRIME MINISTER IS HAPPY

‘This is a historic day. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.’ Benjamin Netanyahu.

‘Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross and where Muslims pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque,’ Trump added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump’s policy shift ‘historic’ and quickly pledged to continue giving Muslims and Christians access to their sacred places in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Trump insisted that ordering a move of the embassy’s location would ‘immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.’

America’s friends and foes unleashed fierce criticism before Trump made official what the White House previewed for reporters Tuesday night.

But Trump stuck to his guns, calling his decision an act of political courage.

The president previewed his ‘big announcement’ during a cabinet meeting, which he said concerns ‘Israel and the Palestinians in the Middle East. And I think it’s long overdue.’

‘Many presidents have said they want to do something, and they didn’t do it. Whether it’s through courage or they change their mind I can’t tell you. But a lot of people have said we have to do something, and they didn’t do it.’

US and Israeli national flags were projected on the wall of Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday

The status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions - has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts. Pictured: Protesters in Gaza City tonight 

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts. Pictured: Protesters in Gaza City tonight

A woman chants slogans during a sit-in in the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon

A woman chants slogans during a sit-in in the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon

President Macron branded the decision 'regrettable', calling for efforts to 'avoid violence at all costs'. Pictured: Protests in Istanbul after the announcement tonight 

President Macron branded the decision ‘regrettable’, calling for efforts to ‘avoid violence at all costs’. Pictured: Protests in Istanbul after the announcement tonight

Netanyahu hails Trump’s decision to move embassy to Jerusalem
Theresa May pictured in PMQ's in the Commons today, said she intends to talk to Donald Trump about his hugely controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital
Pope Francis said he was 'profoundly concerned' and appealed that 'everyone respects the status quo of the city'

Rebukes spread: In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would challenge Trump and at the Vatican Pope Francis said he was ‘profoundly concerned’ and appealed that ‘everyone respects the status quo of the city’

More opprobrium: Turkey's president Recey Tayyip Erdogan, who met King Abdullah of Jordan on Tuesday, had called the move on Jerusalem a 'red line'. His spokesman on Wednesday said it was a 'grave mistake that will virtually eliminate the fragile Middle East peace process'.

Palestinians torch Trump photos in protest against embassy move

A senior administration official said Tuesday that the president’s decision to move the embassy in the long term ‘is a recognition of reality.’

While Israel welcomed the news, Palestinian officials declared the Mideast peace process ‘finished’ and Turkey announced it would host a meeting of Islamic nations next week to give Muslim countries’ leaders an opportunity to coordinate a response.

This is a day that is long overdue. Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan
The president’s decision … comes at the wrong time and unnecessarily inflames the region
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner

In Gaza, U.S. and Israeli flags were burned and in the West Bank Hamas declared Friday a ‘day of rage,’ raising the specter of mass violence in the occupied territories.

Israeli security forces braced for violence as well.

The Pope made a plea for Trump to rethink urgently and spoke out at his weekly general audience in Rome .

‘I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,’ Pope Francis said.

The Roman Catholic Pontiff told thousands of people at his general audience: ‘I cannot keep quiet about my deep concern about the situation that has been created in the last few days.’

A Turkish government spokesman said that the move will plunge the region and the world into ‘a fire with no end in sight.’

In the UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she would challenge the country’s closest ally.

 ‘I’m intending to speak to President Trump about this matter,’ May told MPs.

‘Our position has not changed, it has been a long standing one and it is also a very clear one.

‘It is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli and Palestinian states.’

The harsh global reaction cast questions about the feasibility of a brewing U.S. peace plan that is expected to be presented by the White House in the near future.

Trump would effectively be making a declaration of war, the Palestinians’ chief representative to Britain said Wednesday before the president’s speech.

‘If he says what he is intending to say about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, it means a kiss of death to the two-state solution,’ Manuel Hassassian said in a BBC radio interview.

‘He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims [and] hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel,’ Hassassian added.

Trump complained during a late morning cabinet meeting at the White House that 'many presidents have said they want to do something, and they didn't do it; whether it's through courage or they change their mind I can't tell you'

Trump complained during a late morning cabinet meeting at the White House that ‘many presidents have said they want to do something, and they didn’t do it; whether it’s through courage or they change their mind I can’t tell you’

Contested city: Jerusalem is the holiest city of three religions and until now, never recognized by the U.S. or most other countries as Israel's capital. Trump's move upends what had long been U.S. policy, that recognition would be part of the peace process

Contested city: Jerusalem is the holiest city of three religions and until now, never recognized by the U.S. or most other countries as Israel’s capital. Trump’s move upends what had long been U.S. policy, that recognition would be part of the peace process

The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and fear that Trump’s declaration essentially imposes on them a disastrous solution for one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘There is no way that there can be talks with the Americans. The peace process is finished. They have already pre-empted the outcome,’ said Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi. ‘They cannot take us for granted.’

The U.S. decision ‘destroys the peace process,’ added Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Top Palestinian officials were meeting Wednesday to plot their course forward.

Congressional leaders on the Republican side of the aisle were overwhelmingly supportive in Washington on Wednesday.

‘This is a day that is long overdue,’ said Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

‘Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel.’

But Democrats were openly critical.

Trump’s decision ‘comes at the wrong time and unnecessarily inflames the region,’ Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia insisted.

‘This announcement upends long-standing U.S. policy and international agreements that the status of Jerusalem should be determined as part of a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, not unilaterally.’

Among Trump’s critics Wednesday was Nicholas Burns, a former member of the Foreign Policy Board while Democrat John Kerry was secretary of State and a faculty member at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

‘I believe this decision is misguided. It will diminish U.S. influence among Palestinians and the wider Moslem World,’ Burns told DailyMail.com.

‘The State Department is already warning Americans about the possible reaction worldwide. And we are getting nothing for this major, unilateral American concession.’

Pope Francis says he can’t hide ‘deep concern’ over embassy move

WHY THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT HAS PUSHED TO MOVE ISRAEL’S CAPITAL TO JERUSALEM – ‘IT’S WHAT THE GOSPEL SAYS’

President Trump’s controversial decision to announce the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has drawn criticism from Islamic groups, U.S. Jewish groups, and even the Pope as a potential obstacle to peace. 

Pope Francis advised against ‘adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts,’ cautioning against the move in unusually stark terms. 

But the move is a priority for a group of Christian evangelicals who are strongly pro-Israel and are an important part of Trump’s electoral coalition. They see Mike Pence, the vice-president, as a leader and instrumental in Wednesday’s announcement.

Among those cheering the president’s announcement was Rev. Robert Jeffress, the pastor at a Texas megachurch who preached during Trump’s inauguration. Jeffress tweeted on Wednesday: ‘President @realDonaldTrump has demonstrated true leadership today by recognizing Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel.’

In his statement, he mentioned his belief that Jerusalem will be the place where Jesus Christ will return for the ‘second coming’ and ‘judgement day.’

‘Jerusalem is and should be recognized as the capital of Israel. It is David’s capital, the site of the First and Second Temples, the focus of the historians’ accounts, the Psalmists’ songs and the prophets’ visions,’ wrote Jeffress. ‘It is the place where Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified, and where he was resurrected. It is the place where he will set foot again on earth at his second coming.’

Trump signed, Pence smiled: The vice president is a figurehead for evangelicals

Trump signed, Pence smiled: The vice president is a figurehead for evangelicals

Another vocal supporter of the move has been Christians United for Israel, whose chairman, John Hagee has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hagee issued a video statement Wednesday lavishing praise on Trump for the move. 

‘President Trump told me when last we spoke regarding the embassy that he would not disappoint us, speaking of the evangelical community, and today he has kept that promise,’ Hagee said, speaking in front of American and Israeli flags. ‘President Trump has made a bold and courageous stand that will be remembered in history forever.’

He gushed: ‘President Trump has stepped into political immortality.’  

Trump, in his statement announcing his decision, cast it as a matter of political courage and acknowledging reality. Israel makes Jerusalem its capital, though other nations keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

‘This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done,’ Trump said.

‘Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque,’ the president said.

Some Christian evangelicals, including adherents to Christian Zionism, cite Biblical prophesies that that return of the Jews (the descendants of Abraham) to the Holy Land heralds the second coming of Christ.  Some also believe this will bring about the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.

Moving the embassy will be a long process.

‘This will be a matter of some years. It won’t be immediate, it won’t be months, it won’t be quick,’ a senior administration official said Tuesday night.

‘For instance,’ he said, ‘the United States was looking at moving out of Grosvenor Square in London for a long, long time. And I think that took something like eight years to get done and will be done in early 2018.’

‘It is a practicable impossibility to move the embassy tomorrow,’ another official said. ‘There are about 1,000 personnel in the embassy in Tel Aviv. There is no facility they can move into in Jerusalem, as of today.’

‘It will take some time to find a site, address security concerns, design a new facility, fund a new facility – working with Congress, obviously – and build it. So this is not an instantaneous process.’

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Facebook that ‘[o]ur historical national identity is receiving important expressions every day.’

Other members of his cabinet were more forthcoming. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the nationalist Jewish Home party, praised what he called Trump’s ‘bold and yet natural’ move.

President Trump promises ‘big announcement’ on Israel

'That they claim they want to announce [Jerusalem] as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,' Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said

‘That they claim they want to announce [Jerusalem] as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,’ Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said

EU warns Trump against recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital

A laborer hangs a U.S. national flag on a lamp post along a street where the U.S. consulate in located in Jerusalem

A laborer hangs a U.S. national flag on a lamp post along a street where the U.S. consulate in located in Jerusalem

‘The sooner the Arab world recognizes Jerusalem as our capital, the sooner we will reach real peace. Real peace that is not predicated on an illusion that we are going to carve up Jerusalem and carve up Israel,’ Bennett told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.

The Family Research Council, an American evangelical Christian group, was enthusiastic.

‘America’s foreign policy, as it pertains to Israel, is coming into alignment with this biblical truth: Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state,’ the group’s president Tony Perkins said.

International leaders, however, swiftly criticized Trump’s plan.

China, which has good ties with Israel and the Palestinians, expressed concerns over ‘possible aggravation of regional tensions.’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a news briefing that the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and China was concerned the U.S. decision ‘could sharpen regional conflict.’

BUILD AN EMBASSY? WHY NOT HANG A NEW SIGN INSTEAD?

Any building where an American ambassador has his or her residence and regular office is technically an embassy.

It’s like the concept of Air Force One, which is not a specific aircraft: Any plane the President of the United States rides on, even if it’s a single-engine crop-duster, is technically Air Force One.

The U.S. already has a consulate in Jerusalem, meaning that a new sign on the door and new accommodations for Ambassador David Friedman would technically acomplish what President Trump wants.

But the White House says it will go through a years-long process instead, not moving Friedman and his staff until Congress funds and the State Department builds a brand new facility.

‘We don’t just put a plaque on a door and open a mission,’ a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.

‘There are major security, structural concerns and very, very strict guidelines anywhere in the world that have to be followed before that flag goes up or that plaque goes on. Jerusalem is no exception to those rules.’

In January former U.S. Ambassador to the United nations John Bolton told DailyMail.com that the State Department could – and should – take the quicker route.

‘You can move the embassy by changing the name-plate on the consulate, and then build a permanent embassy in due course,’ he said. ‘The sooner they do it the better.’

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee added that the State Department should ‘do it – do it quickly, do it boldly. In fact, my advice to them is don’t announce you’re going to do it.’

‘Do it and announce you just did it,’ said Huckabee.

‘You do it, and you just say, ‘Yesterday we moved the embassy.’ … It would be totally unnecessary and counterproductive to say, ‘We’re going to start laying a building cornerstone,’ and it just creates an environment for tension that’s unnecessary.’

 ‘All parties should do more for the peace and tranquility of the region, behave cautiously, and avoid impacting the foundation for resolving the long-standing Palestine issue and initiating new hostility in the region,’ Geng said.

Russia, a key Mideast player, expressed its concern about a ‘possible deterioration.’

Two leading Lebanese newspapers published front-page rebukes of Trump.

Britain’s Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, who had already expressed concern about the U.S. decision, on Wednesday said it was now time for the Americans to present their peace plan for the region.

‘Jerusalem obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians – a negotiated settlement that we want to see,’ Johnson said.

‘We have no plans ourselves to move our embassy.’

In Brussels Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to dampen down the reaction.

‘The president is very committed to the Middle East peace process,’ Tillerson told reporters at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

He said a small team led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner – a 36-year-old former property developer – has been ‘engaged in a quiet way’ in the region to try to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

‘We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved and the president has a team that is devoted to that entirely,’ Tillerson said.

Trump’s Mideast team have spent months meeting with Israeli, Palestinian and Arab leaders. Details of their long awaited plan remain a mystery.

‘Clearly this is a decision that makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward,’ Johnson told reporters in Brussels.

In his speech, Trump was expected to instruct the State Department to begin the multi-year process of moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. It remained unclear, however, when he might take that physical step, which is required by U.S. law but has been waived on national security grounds for more than two decades.

Trump's relationship with Chinese presidenet Xi Jinping could be in danger after Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and the U.S. decision 'could sharpen regional conflict'

Trump’s relationship with Chinese presidenet Xi Jinping could be in danger after Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and the U.S. decision ‘could sharpen regional conflict’

To that end, the officials said Trump would delay the embassy move by signing a waiver, which is required by U.S. law every six months. He will continue to sign the waiver until preparations for the embassy move are complete.

IT’S INSANE, SAY PALESTINIANS IN JERUSALEM

Palestinians seethed with anger and a sense of betrayal over President Trump’s decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Many heard the death knell for the long-moribund U.S.-sponsored talks aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. They also said more violence could erupt.

‘Trump wants to help Israel take over the entire city. Some people may do nothing, but others are ready to fight for Jerusalem,’ said Hamad Abu Sbeih, 28, an unemployed resident of the walled Old City.

‘This decision will ignite a fire in the region. Pressure leads to explosions,’ he said.

‘This is insane. You are speaking about something fateful. Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and neither the world nor our people will accept it,’ said Samir Al-Asmar, 58, a merchant from the Old City who was a child when it fell to Israel.

‘It will not change what Jerusalem is. Jerusalem will remain Arab. Such a decision will sabotage things and people will not accept it.’

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity pending Trump’s announcement, said the decision was merely an acknowledgment of ‘historical and current reality’ rather than a political statement and said the city’s physical and political borders will not be compromised.

They noted that almost all of Israel’s government agencies and parliament are in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the U.S. and other countries maintain embassies.

Still, the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital carries deep symbolic significance and could have dangerous consequences. The competing claims to east Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967, have frequently boiled over into deadly violence over the years.

East Jerusalem is home to the city’s most sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, as well as its 330,000 Palestinian residents.

The United States has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has insisted its status be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.

The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed U.S. security warning on Tuesday. America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.

Trump, as a presidential candidate, repeatedly promised to move the U.S. Embassy. However, U.S. leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the United States must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem unless the commander in chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.

Key national security advisers – including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis – have urged caution, according to the officials, who said Trump has been receptive to some of their concerns.

Theresa May to speak to Donald Trump about Jerusalem comments

THREE FAITHS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF HISTORY HAVE SHAPED THE EMBASSY BATTLE

Jerusalem has been a contested site for centuries, and today three major world religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – lay claim to various holy sites and monuments there – all of them on the Temple Mount.

The crux is that Jews see the West Wall as their holiest site as this is all that remains of the Jewish temple after its destruction by the Romans; Christians see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as their holiest site because it was where Christ rose from the dead; and Muslims see the Dome of the Rock as their holiest site because the Prophet Muhammad began his journey to heaven there.

Three faiths, one city: Jews revere the Western Wall, Christians the Holy Sepulchre and Muslims the Dome of the rock

Three faiths, one city: Jews revere the Western Wall, Christians the Holy Sepulchre and Muslims the Dome of the rock

The importance of each has echoed down history. Medieval maps put Jerusalem in the center of the world, the Crusades tried to capture the city for Christians and the holy sites changed hands repeatedly in the Middle Ages. 

By the 1800s Jerusalem had a population of just 8,000 people and was a backwater in the Ottoman Empire but that was to change rapidly as colonial powers fought over the Middle East, Christian revivalists moved into the city and Zionism became a significant political movement among the world’s Jews.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire left Britain in charge of the heterogeneous city and its growing New Jerusalem as settlement spread beyond the city walls. 

Jewish immigration boomed and tensions grew, with a pogrom in 1920, then growing attacks from Zionist groups on British forces. It was to presage a bloody aftermath of World War II as Jewish militias steppes up attacks on the British.

But the immediate roots of Trump’s dramatic announcement lie in the messy history of the Middle East after World War II.

The U.N. plan which set up separate Jewish and Israeli states in what had been British-controlled Palestine in 947 said Jerusalem was to be a ‘separated body’ administered by the United Nations.

The State of Israel was declared in 1948 and over the next year recognized by countries including the U.S. – but crucially on the basis of the U.N. plan, meaning Jerusalem could not be the capital.

Israeli soldiers after capturing East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.

Israeli soldiers after capturing East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.

Conflict which rolled into 1949 ended in an armistice which left Israel controlling the west of the city and Jordan the east, and Israel’s president called the city Israel’s ‘eternal capital’.

But the world largely did not follow. The U.S., which wanted a negotiated settlement to replace the armistice of 1949, built its embassy in Tel Aviv, and most other countries followed. 

The situation was upended in 1967 when the Six Day War’s spectacular victories gave Israel control of Jerusalem and the West Bank. 

That ushered in a new era for Israel, which took control of East Jerusalem and made it separate legally from the West Bank, and over the years repeatedly rejecting the 1947 U.N. position of the city’s special status.

Repeated efforts to settle the issue have involved the final status of Jerusalem being part of the negotiations towards a deal.

The U.S., which has been in support of the major past efforts, kept its embassy in Tel Aviv as a result, and other major countries did the same. 

Tel Aviv is the undoubted economic capital of Israel but the country’s parliament and president are in Jerusalem and diplomats have to go there to be officially recognized and for many meetings with the country’s government.

A handful of smaller countries have from time to time recognized Jerusalem as capital and even had embassies there, but no major country has until now made that declaration.

In Israel and Palestine both sides appear determined to have Jerusalem as their capital and no peace plan has ever got far enough to test whether potential compromises which have been offered – such as an international trust administering the holy sites, and the creation of a Palestinian capital in the suburbs – would actually happen.

Currently the city is roughly two-thirds Jewish and one third Muslim, and the historic Christian community makes up just two per cent of the population. 

 Trump has spoken of his desire to broker a ‘deal of the century’ that would end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said the president’s speech was not aimed at resolving the conflict over Jerusalem.

He isn’t planning to use the phrase ‘undivided capital,’ according to the officials. Such terminology is favored by Israeli officials and would imply Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem.

One official also said Trump would insist that issues of sovereignty and borders must be negotiated by Israel and the Palestinians. The official said Trump would call for Jordan to maintain its role as the legal guardian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy places, and reflect Israel and Palestinian wishes for a two-state peace solution.

Elsewhere, however, reactions were skeptical, especially across the Muslim world. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the ‘whole world is against’ Trump’s move, and the supreme leader of Iran, Israel’s staunchest enemy, condemned Trump.

The state TV’s website quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying that ‘the victory will ultimately be for the Islamic nation and Palestine.’

Iran does not recognize Israel, and supports anti-Israeli militant groups like Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas.

‘That they claim they want to announce Quds as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,’ Khamenei said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

TRUMP’S SPEECH DECLARING JERUSALEM ISRAEL’S CAPITAL

‘When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.

‘We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.

‘My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

‘In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

‘Yet for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in.

‘After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

‘It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver.

‘Today I am delivering. I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.

‘Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel.

‘Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

‘For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of State and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

‘Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have by the a country where Jews, Muslims and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

‘Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

‘But today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

‘That is why consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

‘In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.

‘We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

‘The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks.

‘The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace. The universal yearning in every human soul.

‘With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation. This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity.

‘Lifting our sights to what is possible, not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.

‘So today we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts. I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud and diverse. Vibrant and strong.

‘But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance and terror.

‘Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

I’t is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

‘So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities.

‘And finally, I ask the leaders of the region political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

‘Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians and God bless the United States.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5152783/Trump-officially-recognizes-Jerusalem-Israels-capital.html#ixzz50WVe9wv6

Story 2: Trump Should Fire Mueller For Hiring A Biased, Conflicted and Partisan Staff — Mueller No Longer Has Credibility with American People  — Resign Now — Happy New Year — Videos —

Seven Days in May (1964) – John Frankenheimer

Seven Days in May – Trailer

Hannity: Mueller investigation is epitome of the DC swamp

Columnist: Mueller’s collusion probe now about obstruction

Ingraham: Pressure mounts on Mueller probe

FREE LevinTV Episode: Mueller’s ‘Silent Coup’ Not So Silent Anymore!

John Bolton explains danger of obstruction of justice charge as part of a out D’Etat

Lou Dobbs: Left is carrying out a coup d’etat against Trump

Lou Dobbs Tonight 12/5/17 | Latest News Today | December 5, 2017

Hannity Connects ALL the Dots in Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation

The Story With Martha MacCallum 12/05/17 7PM | December 05, 2017 Breaking News

Rush explains why the probe is now about obstruction not collusion

Rush Limbaugh: The deep state coup against Trump is a bigger story than Watergate (12-06-2017)

LIMBAUGH: The FBI Is There For One Reason, ‘GET RID OF TRUMP’

Rush Limbaugh: What if Mueller’s baiting Trump to fire him? (audio from 12-05-2017)

LIMBAUGH: It Would Be A Mistake To FIRE Mueller

LIMBAUGH: Mueller Investigation Is A Matter Of ‘PURE TOTAL POLITICS’

Levin CALLED IT: The Mueller investigation is about IMPEACHING Trump

MARK LEVIN: Mueller Has Demonstrated That He Has NO Collusion Case

Hume: Mueller deputy’s ‘suck-up’ email raises questions

Former CIA analyst: Russia probe is a ‘Democratic trap’

The FBI Screw-Ups: Incompetence Or Malice? | The Ben Shapiro Show Ep. 430

Mueller’s Major Mistake in the Flynn Prosecution: Were Lawyers Aware of Strzok’s Removal for Bias?

Mueller’s Got No Case Against Trump If His Star Witness Is Two-Time Convicted Liar Michael Flynn

Lionel and Stefan Molyneux | Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI

Mueller’s Case Is Toast Against Flynn/SCOTUS Case Law — Lionel on “Real News With David Knight”

Hannity: The American justice system is hanging by a thread

Out of Control Investigations. Alan Dershowitz!

Trump within his bounds to fire Mueller: Monica Crowley

Tucker Carlson Tonight|12/4/17|Breaking News|USA News|December 4, 2017

Hannity The American justice system is hanging by a thread

Ingraham: Is Mueller’s probe unravelling?

Napolitano on bias at the FBI, obstruction of justice debate

Must Watch Jason Chaffetz Nail It On The Question Of Who Exactly Obstructed Justice

Tucker Carlson: Mueller Team CAUGHT Colluding with H||lary

Comey Rosenstein & Meuller Among Others At The FBI Now Under Obstruction Of Justice Scrutiny

Did Trump Obstruct Justice? Absolutely Not! Dershowitz!

Trey Gowdy Talks About the FBI, DOJ, and Mueller

Mueller’s Got No Case Against Trump If His Star Witness Is Two-Time Convicted Liar Michael Flynn

Dershowitz: Flynn plea a ‘show of weakness’ by Mueller

A Scandal About Lying To The FBI About…A Nothingburger? | The Ben Shapiro Show Ep. 429

Robert Ray on FBI agent removed from Mueller investigation over texts

FBI agent operated as a Clinton mole: Michelle Malkin

Hume: Mueller-Comey friendship raises an ethical question

Peter Strzok & Lisa Page: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jonathan Turley: Mueller’s appointment was a mistake

President Rails Against Justice Department Appointment Of Special Counsel On Russia Investigation

Ben Stein: Trump Must Fire Mueller – Out To Get President Based On No Crime

Democrats Colluding with Special Counsel Mueller? Jonathon Turley !

Mueller’s Mandate Morphs! Here’s Newt on That!

Mueller has conflicts of interest: Kimberly Guilfoyle

DOJ Appoints Forme FBI Director Robert Mueller Special Counsel For Russia Probe

Why Robert Mueller Is the Perfect Man for the Job

Pro-Trump group’s ad targets Mueller

Must Watch Former Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy DESTROY The Entire Obstruction Charge From The Lunatic

Pat Buchanan: DC is determined to break Trump

Pat Buchanan: Mueller is Going After Trump and His Family

Seven Days in May – Closing speech by President

JFK Secret Societies Speech (full version)

 

White House: Mueller has not subpoenaed Trump’s bank records

White House: Mueller has not subpoenaed Trump’s bank records

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday disputed reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Trump’s bank records.

“We confirmed that the news reports [that] the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing.

“No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. I think this is another example of the media going too far and too fast and we don’t see it going in that direction,” she said.

Citing an anonymous and unidentified official, Reuters reportedearlier Tuesday that Mueller’s team had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, where Trump is believed to have a line of credit and to have conducted tens of millions of dollars in transactions.

But Sanders said those reports are false and were another example of the news media getting something wrong in the frenzy to report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Sanders declined to say whether banks should comply with subpoenas for records if they receive them.

“I’m not going to get into hypothetical situations and try to determine everything that could happen,” she said. “We know it hasn’t happened up until this point and that the reports out were totally false and again the media got ahead of their skis a little bit, pushing and driving that story that wasn’t true.”

Tuesday’s reports came on the heels of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty last week to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/363383-white-house-mueller-has-not-subpoenaed-trumps-bank-records

Mueller’s Credibility Problem

The special counsel is stonewalling Congress and protecting the FBI.

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller PHOTO: THEW/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Donald Trump is his own worst enemy, as his many ill-advised tweets on the weekend about Michael Flynn, the FBI and Robert Mueller’s Russia probe demonstrate. But that doesn’t mean that Mr. Mueller and the Federal Bureau of Investigation deserve a pass about their motives and methods, as new information raises troubling questions.

The Washington Post and the New York Times reported Saturday that a lead FBI investigator on the Mueller probe, Peter Strzok, was demoted this summer after it was discovered he’d sent anti- Trump texts to a mistress. As troubling, Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department kept this information from House investigators, despite Intelligence Committee subpoenas that would have exposed those texts. They also refused to answer questions about Mr. Strzok’s dismissal and refused to make him available for an interview.

The news about Mr. Strzok leaked only when the Justice Department concluded it couldn’t hold out any longer, and the stories were full of spin that praised Mr. Mueller for acting “swiftly” to remove the agent. Only after these stories ran did Justice agree on Saturday to make Mr. Strzok available to the House.

This is all the more notable because Mr. Strzok was a chief lieutenant to former FBI Director James Comey and played a lead role investigating alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Mr. Mueller then gave him a top role in his special-counsel probe. And before all this Mr. Strzok led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and sat in on the interview she gave to the FBI shortly before Mr. Comey publicly exonerated her in violation of Justice Department practice.

Oh, and the woman with whom he supposedly exchanged anti-Trump texts, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, worked for both Mr. Mueller and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who was accused of a conflict of interest in the Clinton probe when it came out that Clinton allies had donated to the political campaign of Mr. McCabe’s wife. The texts haven’t been publicly released, but it’s fair to assume their anti-Trump bias must be clear for Mr. Mueller to reassign such a senior agent.

There is no justification for withholding all of this from Congress, which is also investigating Russian influence and has constitutional oversight authority. Justice and the FBI have continued to defy legal subpoenas for documents pertaining to both surveillance warrants and the infamous Steele dossier that was financed by the Clinton campaign and relied on anonymous Russian sources.

While there is no evidence so far of Trump-Russia collusion, House investigators have turned up enough material to suggest that anti-Trump motives may have driven Mr. Comey’s FBI investigation. The public has a right to know whether the Steele dossier inspired the Comey probe, and whether it led to intrusive government eavesdropping on campaign satellites such as Carter Page.

All of this reinforces our doubts about Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair and credible probe of the FBI’s considerable part in the Russia-Trump drama. Mr. Mueller ran the bureau for 12 years and is fast friends with Mr. Comey, whose firing by Mr. Trump triggered his appointment as special counsel. The reluctance to cooperate with a congressional inquiry compounds doubts related to this clear conflict of interest.

***

Mr. Mueller’s media protectorate argues that anyone critical of the special counsel is trying to cover for Mr. Trump. But the alleged Trump-Russia ties are the subject of numerous probes—Mr. Mueller’s, and those of various committees in the House and Senate. If there is any evidence of collusion, Democrats and Mr. Mueller’s agents will make sure it is spread far and wide.

Yet none of this means the public shouldn’t also know if, and how, America’s most powerful law-enforcement agency was influenced by Russia or partisan U.S. actors. All the more so given Mr. Comey’s extraordinary intervention in the 2016 campaign, which Mrs. Clinton keeps saying turned the election against her. The history of the FBI is hardly without taint.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr. Mueller, is also playing an increasingly questionable role in resisting congressional oversight. Justice has floated multiple reasons for ignoring House subpoenas, none of them persuasive.

First it claimed cooperation would hurt the Mueller probe, but his prosecutions are proceeding apace. Then Justice claimed that providing House investigators with classified material could hurt security or sources. But House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has as broad a security clearance as nearly anyone in government. Recently Justice said it can’t interfere with a probe by the Justice Department Inspector General—as if an IG trumps congressional oversight.

Mr. Nunes is understandably furious at the Strzok news, on top of the other stonewalling. He asked Justice to meet the rest of his committee’s demands by close of business Monday, and if it refuses Congress needs to pursue contempt citations against Mr. Rosenstein and new FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The latest news supports our view that Mr. Mueller is too conflicted to investigate the FBI and should step down in favor of someone more credible. The investigation would surely continue, though perhaps with someone who doesn’t think his job includes protecting the FBI and Mr. Comey from answering questions about their role in the 2016 election.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/muellers-credibility-problem-1512432318

JUSTICE NEWS

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Appointment of Special Counsel

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein today announced the appointment of former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as Special Counsel to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.

 

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”

 

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein added, “Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

 

Special Counsel Mueller has agreed to resign from his private law firm in order to avoid any conflicts of interest with firm clients or attorneys.

 

A copy of the order is attached.

§ 600.1 Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.

The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and –

(a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and

(b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/600.1

Tom Steyer, a leader of the impeachment movement. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Democrats’ Dangerous Obsession With Impeachment

The party needs to focus on winning elections, not removing Trump.

Amid a stream of revelations, arrests, and plea bargains from Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump campaign’s connections with Russia, liberals are becoming giddy at the prospect of impeaching the president. “Can Democrats finally start talking about impeachment, Nancy Pelosi?” Errol Louis asked in a column for CNN, referring to the House minority leader. On The View, Joy Behar bubbled with delight when she was handed the news, now revealed to be inaccurate, that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was willing to testify that then-candidate Trump had instructed him to make contact with the Russians. (The report was corrected to say that Trump had done so as president-elect.) Some Trump opponents are already looking upon impeachment as a done deal. “He’s going to be impeached, I believe,” Crispin Sartwell wrote at Splice. “I’ve thought so since the election. Michael Flynn is singing. Jared Kushner is likely to be charged in the coming weeks.”

The impeachment frenzy has gone so far that even the normally sober Ezra Klein, Vox’s founder, argued last week that impeachment be normalized as a regular procedure in American democracy. He implicitly acknowledged that we haven’t yet reached the stage where Trump’s impeachability is beyond reasonable dispute (as it was, for example, with Richard Nixon in 1974), but wanted to redefine the rules for impeachment so they apply to Trump, a president who has demonstrated that he is manifestly unfit for office. “Impeachment is not a power we should take lightly,” Klein wrote. “Nor is it one we should treat as too explosive to use. There will be presidents who are neither criminals nor mental incompetents but who are wrong for the role, who pose a danger to the country and the world…. Being extremely bad at the job of president of the United States should be enough to get you fired.”

While it is true that Trump is “extremely bad at the job of president,” using that as grounds for removing him from office would be revolutionary, moving the criteria from the constitutional requirement of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which is already vague, to the utterly nebulous and subjective “extremely bad.” Klein recognized that normalizing impeachment would turn it into a political weapon, but didn’t wrestle with the fact that this normalization already happened—with the spurious impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1999. That precedent suggests the dangers of further normalization: It will worsen the extreme partisanship and gridlock that is making American ungovernable.

The impeachment enthusiasts should pull back. For both practical and political reasons, this is the wrong remedy for the Trump presidency, even if we stipulate that he has been “extremely bad” and has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The practical problem is that for impeachment to be meaningful, Trump would not just have to be impeached by the House of Representatives (which requires a simple majority) but also removed by the Senate (requiring a two-thirds vote). It’s easy to imagine a scenario where the Democrats win the House of Representatives in 2018 and have the necessary votes for impeachment. But even in that best-case scenario, in which Democrats win every toss-up race for the Senate, they would still be well short of the votes they need in the Senate. Which means that kicking Trump out of the White House by necessity has to be a bipartisan effort with significant Republican buy-in.

As Peter Beinart pointed out Sunday in The Atlantic, the possibility of Republicans co-operating in removing Trump is dropping even as there’s more evidence emerges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Beinart correctly noted that “mass Republican defection” from Trump “has grown harder, not easier, to imagine. It’s grown harder because the last six months have demonstrated that GOP voters will stick with Trump despite his lunacy, and punish those Republican politicians who do not.” Republican support for Trump has never fallen below 79 percent since he became president. Republicans who dare criticize Trump, such as senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, have crashed in popularity among the GOP base.

The Republican Party has proven that they will tolerate just about anything from Trump. They continue to stand with him despite his demented tweeting, the political support he’s given to Roy Moore, his repeated expressions of contempt for the justice system, and his cavalier threats to launch a nuclear war. Unless Robert Mueller finds the possibly apocryphal “pee tape,” Republicans are likely to remain loyal to Trump. In fact, there’s a real possibility that even if the “pee tape” is real and widely viewed, Trump would still remain politically sacrosanct among his own party.

The most promising route for stopping Trump, then, is through the ballot box. Democrats need a convincing platform and effective organization to win elections at every level. If the party can win back Congress in 2018, it can immediately start hamstringing Trump’s presidency without resorting to the unlikely path of impeachment. Democrats can launch investigations into Trump’s many improper acts. They can stall his nominees, especially in the courts. They can also start laying down rules for reining in the imperial presidency, including the thermonuclear monarchy, so that no future commander-in-chief has the dangerous power Trump possesses.

Impeachment fetishists seem to think that the overriding problem of American politics is that Trump is president. By this analysis, the president is a dangerous outlier whose removal would restore America to normality. But the problem isn’t just Trump; it’s also the Republican Party. Trump is only dangerous because he’s the standard-bearer of a party that has unified control of the government and is willing to stand by Trump no matter what. A Democratic agenda of reining in presidential power will give more lasting victories than mere impeachment, which is unlikely to succeed and would only address a symptom, not the cause, of the cancer that’s ravaging American politics.

Story 3: Witch Hunt? — Found Her! — Russian Corruption and Clinton Connections — Videos —

SARA CARTER FULL ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH SEAN HANNITY (12/4/2017)

SARA CARTER FULL ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH SEAN HANNITY (11/28/2017)

Peter Schweizer on the significance of the Uranium One deal

Peter Schweizer on possibility of investigation into Clinton

Hannity: Exposing the real Russia collusion

Tucker: Fake Russia collusion has unintended consequences

Obama-era Uranium One deal strongest evidence of Russian collusion: Rep. DeSantis

Crooked Former FBI Head Mueller Hand Delivered Uranium to Russians on Airport Tarmac

BREAKING! FBI informant DROPS NEW EVIDENCE to INDICT Hillary Clinton

Peter Schweizer on the significance of the Uranium One deal

#SeanHannity Destroyed #HillaryClinton and Laid the Groundwork for a Multi-Count Indictment

[outube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUghSHkedt0]

‘CLINTON CASH’: Rush Limbaugh Interviews Bestselling Author Peter Schweizer

CLINTON CASH — Director’s Cut — FULL OFFICIAL MOVIE — Bill & Hillary Clinton´s Blur exposed

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook

 

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY July 5, 2016 12:45 PM @ANDREWCMCCARTHY

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged. It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today.

It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.

I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me.

Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.

 http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/437479/fbi-rewrites-federal-law-let-hillary-hook

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 18, 64 Stat. 1003Pub. L. 99–399, title XIII, § 1306(a), Aug. 27, 1986100 Stat. 898Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2147Pub. L. 103–359, title VIII, § 804(b)(1), Oct. 14, 1994108 Stat. 3440Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(b), Oct. 11, 1996110 Stat. 3511.)

Story 4: Progressive Purge  Predators Perverts– Conyers Retires and Franken Pummeled — Who Is Next? — ABC Fires George Stephanopoulos for “Future Sexually Inappropriate Activity” — Videos —

Senator Al Franken Quits Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations | TIME

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Franken Facing Calls To Step Down; Announcement Planned For Thursday

Senator Al Franken Apologizes For Kissing And Groping Woman Without Consent | TODAY

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REPUBLICAN SENATOR: TRUMP SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS ‘VERY DISTURBING’

ABC News

ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins said sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump that surfaced during the 2016 campaign “remain very disturbing.”

“President Trump was not my choice for the Republican nominee for president, and I did not support him in part because of the way that all of these reports about how he was treating women,” the Maine senator told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday. “He is president now and I’m working with him on some issues. But those allegations remain very disturbing.”

At least 16 women have come forward alleging misconduct by Trump, ranging from sexual assault to harassment to inappropriate behavior.

Collins made her remarks after Stephanopoulos asked if she expected that the country will now see real change on sexual harassment with the current wave of allegations against prominent men from Hollywood to Washington, D.C.

The senator responded that one problem is that some of the women making the allegations are getting attacked. “Their credibility is undermined,” she said.

Stephanopoulos brought up President Trump, saying, “More than a dozen women came forward during the campaign; [Trump] says that every single one of them are lying.” “He did say that,” Collins said.

At least eight women have accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior, which Moore has repeatedly denied. Collins said she believes Moore’s accusers and hopes Alabama will not elect him to the Senate.

“I did not find him to be credible,” Collins said of Moore. “As more and more allegations come forward, that adds to the weight of evidence against him. … I hope that the good voters of Alabama decide not to send him to the United States Senate.”

http://1049maxcountry.com/abc_politics/republican-senator-trump-sexual-misconduct-allegations-very-disturbing-abcid35999048/

ABC Fires George Stephanopoulos for “Future Sexually Inappropriate Activity”

We do not tolerate future sex crimes

 

After a thorough investigation ABC has fired Good Morning America host George Stephanopolous because of concern over his future sexual activity.

“We were concerned that George, being a powerful white man, could embarrass us” said a producer for Good Morning America.

We watched CBS and NBC suffer embarrassment because of their white male anchors and we could not let that happen to us here at ABC. So we did a check of Stephanopolous’ background. We couldn’t find much except for groping his prom date. That’s when we decided to hire some software programmers to develop an algorithm that would look into his email for certain words of bad intent.

After running the program ABC executives were shocked at what they found.

We found 935 instances where he used the word “beautiful.”  We believe that George, as a powerful white man, was using that word in a salacious context to possibly harass women at ABC. 682 times we discovered him using the phrase “Extra cheese.” Now he may have just been ordering pizza but you know how these white men operate. We believe “extra cheese” was his way of letting women know he was uncircumcised. What sort of lowlife talks about his penis like that in front of women? I’ll tell you who: A powerful white, male predator.He mentioned Los Angeles 435 times. By even mentioned that town he shows that he abuses women much like Harvey Weinstein. Most disturbing of the words “double latte” were found 198 times. According to the algorithm double latte means anal sex with underage girls. Hey, we didn’t write the program but our software people insist that is the only interpretation. Naturally we had to fire him after what the algorithm told us about him.

When informed of the results of the algorithm and that he was being fired, Stephanopolous denied any wrongdoing.

“I deny any wrongdoing” said the disgraced white, male predator.

He also promised to be back.

“I will be back” said the disgraced white, male predator.

ABC however has no plans on bringing back Stephanopolous.

“We have no plans on bringing back Stephanopolous” said an ABC statement.

Stephanopolous also admitting not understanding the results of the algorithm.

“I don’t understand the results of the algorithm”  he said.

“That’s because he’s short” said ABC.

Wishing to be fair, ABC also used their algorithm to examin co-host Michael Strahan’s emails.

“We found 6,429 instances of the phrase ‘anal sex’ in his email” said ABC. “But we really don’t know what that means. Besides we value diversity and Strahan is rumored to be black.”

http://manhattaninfidel.org/2017/12/01/abc-fires-george-stephanopoulos-for-future-sexually-inappropriate-activity/#.Wih4FVV96Uk

Story 5: Remembering Pearl Harbor — Videos

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

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Published on Dec 7, 2017

December 7, 2017, marks the 76th Anniversary of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Let us honor and remember our two last survivors, all of our U.S. Military and Civilians killed and injured in this attack.

Pearl Harbor: Admiral Chester Nimitz

Tora, Tora, Tora The True Story of Pearl Harbor Documentary

The Attack on Pearl Harbor || Full Documentary with subtitles

Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor (Full Episode)

How Pearl Harbor Was Attacked. The True Story

Rarely seen Pearl Harbor memorials

American Artifacts: USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor: “Bombing of Pearl Harbor” 1942 Castle News Parade; World War II

Japanese Navy Enters Pearl Harbor Flying The Rising Sun

Gung Ho Vids

Published on Jul 4, 2014

Footage of three ships and one submarine of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (formerly the Imperial Japanese Navy) as they enter Pearl Harbor flying the Japanese “Rising Sun” flag, the Naval ensign. The Imperial Japanese Navy was dissolved in 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. Since WWII, Japan’s Rising Sun flag has been criticized for its association with the country’s aggressive militaristic past.

The Attack On Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941

CVL23USSPRINCETON

Published on Dec 5, 2011

The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning) and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but two of the eight were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed[12] and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured. The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8) the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for isolationism, which had been strong, disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day. There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.

Military Documentary Films Untold Secrets of Pearl Harbor What They Didn’t Tell the World

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Japan Surrenders (1945)

The Day Japan Lost Face (1945)

Japanese Surrender in HD Color 1945

Japanese Surrender

The Day Japan Surrendered, Ending WWII | NBC News

A Pearl Harbor survivor tells his story

Pearl Harbor: The Last Word – Remember Pearl Harbor | History

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017, Story 1: Downsizing Big Government By Abolishing The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Internal Revenue Service, Fannie May & Freddie Mac, and Departments of Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation For Starters — Neither Big Government Democratic or Republican Parties  Will Do This — Two Party Tyranny —  Time for New Political Party — Repeal Dodd-Frank Law — Videos — Story 2: Competition Lowers Prices and Provides Greater Choice and Quality — Net Neutrality Is Government Controlling, Licensing, Regulating, and Taxing of The Internet Including Prices and Content — Repeal Net Neutrality In December 2017 — Let Consumer Sovereignty with Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign –Videos

Posted on November 27, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Downsizing Big Government By Abolishing The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Internal Revenue Service, Fannie May & Freddie Mac, and Departments of Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation For Starters — Neither Big Government Democratic or Republican Parties  Will Do This — Two Party Tyranny —  Time for New Political Party — Repeal Dodd-Frank Law — Videos —

Lawsuit filed to determine CFPB acting director

Showdown over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leader

Mick Mulvaney CFPB Press Brief. Very Interesting.

Consumer Head Responds To Calls For His Removal (Exclusive) | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually hurting consumer lending?

Republicans Propose Cutting Funds To Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Forbes On Fox

Who Benefits From a Dodd-Frank Regulation Reboot?

Tom Easton on Dodd-Frank: “A Terrible Law”

Trump takes aim at Dodd-Frank

What is all the Dodd Frank talk really about?

Janet Yellen on Dodd-Frank: ‘I wouldn’t want to see the clock turned back’

Greenspan: Repeal Dodd-Frank, Return to Square One

Ralph Nader on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

Can the government ever be too big? How much spending is enough spending? And if there can be too much spending, where is that point? William Voegeli, Senior Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, explores these complex questions and offers some clear answers.

There Is Only One Way Out of Poverty

How Housing Policy Caused the Financial Crisis

How This Government Agency Hurts Us All

The Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Mick Mulvaney Trashes Consumer Protection Agency At January Confirmation Hearing | NBC News

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Downsizing the Federal Government

John Stossel – Downsizing Government

Uncommon Knowledge: John Stossel on Why the Media Hates Business and Why Governments Fail

Dan Mitchell Commenting on Downsizing Government and Federal Bureaucracy

Types of Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #16

The real truth about the 2008 financial crisis | Brian S. Wesbury | TEDxCountyLineRoad

he Financial Crisis of 2008 – the most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression (Documentary)

Dennis Prager’s Top 10 Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse

Why You’ve Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920 | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

 

Peter J. Wallison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Wallison
Peter Wallison 1986.jpg
White House Counsel
In office
May 23, 1986 – March 20, 1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Fred Fielding
Succeeded by Arthur Culvahouse
Personal details
Born June 6, 1941 (age 76)
New York CityNew YorkU.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Frieda Wallison
Children 3
Education Harvard University(BALLB)
[1]

Peter J. Wallison (born June 6, 1941) is a lawyer and the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He specializes in financial markets deregulation. He was White House Counselduring the Tower Commission‘s inquiry into the Iran Contra Affair.[1] He was a dissenting member of the 2010 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, frequent commentator in the mass media on the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and wrote Hidden in Plain Sight (2015) about the crisis and its legacy.

Personal

Wallison was born in New York City, and educated at the Capitol Page School and Harvard University (A.B. 1963, LL.B. 1966), where he was President of the Young Republicans.[2] He was admitted to the bar of New York state in 1967.[3][4]

Emanuel Celler appointed him a United States House of Representatives Page when he was about 14, and he served for most of his high school years. The Democrats controlled the patronage, but assigned some pages, such as Wallison, to the minority party. This experience helped him become a Republican.[2]

He was a Rockefeller Republican before becoming a Reagan Republican.

On November 24, 1966, he married the former Frieda Koslow (born in New York January 15, 1943, A.B. Smith College 1963, LL.B. Harvard Law School 1966 admitted to New York bar in 1967, D.C. bar 1982). They have three children, Ethan S., Jeremy L., Rebecca K. Mrs. Wallison develops real estate in Snowmass, Colorado.[5][6][7][8][9]

They split their time between homes in Colorado and in Washington, D.C.

Career

Other

In 1999, Wallison told New York Times reporter Steven A. Holmes that the expansion of mortgage loans by reducing the amount borrowers have to put down and extending loans to so-called subprime borrowers was creating a situation where Fannie Mae was taking on significantly more risk. “From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” he said. “If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”[10] The article pointed out that the Clinton Administration had put pressure on Fannie Mae to lower standards “to expand loans among low and moderate income people.”

Wallison gave a eulogy at a memorial service for Don Regan in June 2003.[2]

Wallison’s writing on the cause of the Financial crisis of 2007–08 have brought much comment. In December, 2011, the New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera stated that Wallison had “almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Maccaused the financial crisis.” [11] Calling it “a big lie,” Nocera suggested that Wallison had engaged in a deliberate deception. Economist Paul Krugman has also accused Wallison of deception,[12] criticizing him for—among other things—attacking Fannie and Freddie in a magazine article just a year before the subprime mortgage collapse for not doing a “better job of providing affordable home financing to a neglected portion of the mortgage market.” This neglected portion consisted of “African-American … Hispanic”, and “low-income borrowers”.[13][14][15] Wallison cites New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson exposing how “Democratic political operative Jim Johnson turned Fannie Mae into a political machine”, and dismisses the exoneration of the GSEs as “the big lie.”[16]

Memberships

Writings

“Elitist Protection Consumers Don’t Need”The Washington Post. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
“Obama Voted ‘Present’ on Mortgage Reform. The only banking ‘deregulation’ in recent years was that of Fan and Fred”Opinion Journal. 2008-10-15. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“How Paulson Would Save Fannie Mae”The Wall Street Journal. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
“Reagan and McCain”American Spectator. 2008-01-08. Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“What We Pre-Empted – Today’s world would be far worse if Saddam were still in power”Opinion JournalWall Street Journal. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“Reagan, Iraq, and Neoconservatism”American Spectator. 2004-04-16. Archived from the original on 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
“Bush’s Reagan Moment”The New York Times. 2003-10-26. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-13.

References

Story 2: Competition Lowers Prices and Provides Greater Choice and Quality — Net Neutrality Is Government Controlling, Licensing, Regulating, and Taxing of The Internet Including Prices and Content — Repeal Net Neutrality In December 2017 — Let Consumer Sovereignty with Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Reign –Videos

FCC chairman: Repealing net neutrality will benefit the market

How will rolling back net neutrality affect consumers? You’ll have to read the fine print.

What is Net Neutrality?

The Truth About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is Orwellian

The Truth About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Explained

Net Neutrality: What You Absolutely Need to Know and What No One’s Telling You

FCC’s Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a “Solution That Won’t Work to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist”

George Gilder: Net Neutrality Is a ‘Ludicrous’ Idea That Will Shrink the Economy

Two Minutes on Why Net Neutrality is Terrible – Mark Cuban Explains

Net Neutrality Neuters the Internet

Net Neutrality is a disaster. The better the name of the legislation the scarier it is.

The pitfalls of Title I versus II Net Neutrality and other oxymorons to fear ‒ Lionel

The Lies of Net Neutrality

Peter Klein: The Net Neutrality Lie

Net Neutrality Explained. Simply and Accurately!

The Truth About ‘Net Neutrality,’ The Left, And Google

I play in the intersection of law and technology.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

As soon as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intention to roll back Obama’s net neutrality rules, the Left’s net neutrality faithful began chanting their well-worn mantras about “big corporations” taking over the internet. Their mantras are based on fear mongering, not fact.

Shutterstock

In their net neutrality fairy tale, internet service providers (ISPs) are the ‘big bad wolf,’ bent on creating paid ‘fast lanes’ and blocking the websites of entrepreneurs (who invariably work out of their garages). It sounds like a frightful tale, except that ISPs have never offered paid fast lanes or blocked small business owners’ web sites (run out of garages or otherwise). Meanwhile, the biggest baddest wolf the world has ever known — Google — swallowed the internet ecosystem whole and spit out its bones.

According to Democratic leaders in the Senate, net neutrality is the principle that “what you read, see or watch online shouldn’t be favored, blocked or slowed down based on where that content is coming from.” Google became the world’s largest corporation by trampling on this principle while the Left cheered (or turned a blind eye) .

For one, Google uses its monopoly position in internet search markets to systematically favor its own products in its search results. People might think that Google’s search service uses an objective algorithm that gives them the most relevant responses to their search inquiries. What really happens is that Google shows its own products in the most prominent positions on the screen in order to artificially divert traffic from rival services to Google’s own. As former Google designer Tristan Harris describes it, “if you control the menu, you control the choices.”

Second, Google uses its monopoly position in mobile operating systems (Android is dominant worldwide) to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search and over consumer data collection by:

  • Forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google’s Chrome browser and set Google Search as the default search service on their devices as a condition to licensing Google’s proprietary apps,
  • Blocking manufacturers from selling mobile devices that use competing operating systems that are based on Android’s supposedly “open source” code (like Amazon’s Kindle Fire), and
  • Giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices (a form of paid prioritization).

Google uses these tactics to ‘control the menu’ on the vast majority of the world’s mobile devices like Google controls the menu on its search products themselves.

Third, Google uses its dominant position in internet advertising to favor its own search and advertising services. A substantial portion of Google’s revenue from search advertising comes from a limited number of third-parties with whom Google has exclusive deals. For a decade, these deals required third-parties to:

  • Refuse to source search ads from Google’s competitors,
  • Take a minimum number of ads from Google and reserve premium space for Google search ads, and
  • Obtain approval from Google before making any changes to the display of competing search ads.

None of these Google practices are consistent with the Left’s net neutrality principles or fair competition. In 2012, staff at the Federal Trade Commission concluded that Google’s anticompetitive conduct had strengthened its monopolies and caused “real harm to consumers and to innovation” that “will have lasting negative effects on consumer welfare.” Yet the Obama administration decided to focus its energy on ISPs while letting Google run wild. Obama appointees at the FTC gave short shrift to the findings of the agency’s professional staff while the Obama-led Federal Communications Commission exempted Google’s monopolies from the current net neutrality rules.

The results were predictable: Google is now the largest company in the world and has unprecedented power to control what we read, see, or watch online. Rather than reign Google in, the net neutrality rules the Left wants to preserve have served to strengthen Google’s control over the media.

The current net neutrality debate is just “fighting the last war.” It’s time to have an honest conversation about today’s real internet monopolies and the future of a free media in this country.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcampbell/2017/05/03/the-truth-about-net-neutrality-the-left-and-google/#40c2c6583745

Q&A-Explaining the fight over U.S. ‘net neutrality’ regulations

WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to vote on Dec. 14 to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules championed by former President Barack Obama.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal would repeal rules that bar internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

Here are some questions and answers about net neutrality and the FCC’s plans.

What is in the proposal and what happens next?

The FCC, an independent U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, TV, wire, satellite and cable, has three Republican commissioners including Pai and two Democrats and is all but certain to approve Pai’s proposal. That would undo regulations put in place in 2015 at Democrat Obama’s urging that treat ISPs like public utilities to guarantee the open nature of the internet. It would also roll back the FCC’s significant oversight over the providers and their conduct.

Pai’s proposal would require ISPs to disclose if they allow content blocking, slowing though so-called throttling, or paid prioritization in which a third-party owner pays an ISP to have their content move more quickly. It would also eliminate the internet conduct standard that gives the FCC broad discretion to bar ISP practices it deems improper.

The new rules could into effect as early as January, although a court challenge is expected.

What does this mean for consumers?

Consumers could see changes, but any shift would likely take a long time. A major concern raised by consumer advocates is that ISPs could block or slow traffic to websites or services of their choosing, playing an outsized role in what users can and cannot access. Providers could also give preferential treatment to their own content or websites that pay extra fees, consumer advocates said.

ISPs could impede video streaming services and consumers’ ability to make free or inexpensive phone calls over the internet, advocates said.

The nonprofit Consumers Union said a repeal could lead to higher consumer prices for existing internet access and speeds. The telecommunications industry trade group USTelecom, which represents some leading ISPs, disputed that idea and said broadband prices in the United States had been trending downward before the Obama-era rules, and repealing the regulations would allow that to continue.

What businesses support the repeal?

ISPs including AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc favored a repeal.

USTelecom said Pai’s move would boost broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades. It said the 2015 rules applied utility-style regulations designed for the 1930s telephone system to ISPs but no other internet companies. It said repealing the rules would strengthen consumer protections by giving authority regarding the internet to a single U.S. regulator, the Federal Trade Commission.

What businesses oppose the repeal?

The Internet Association, representing major technology firms, had urged the FCC to retain the 2015 regulations. The group includes Google parent Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, video streaming service Netflix Inc, Microsoft Corp, ride-hailing company Uber, reviews business Yelp Inc, payments company PayPal Holdings Inc and others.

The group said the 2015 rules protect a “virtuous circle” of innovation that helps the broader U.S. economy as businesses turn to cloud-based technology. It added that Pai’s plan would subject startups to discrimination from ISP-owned or preferred content.

The group said paid prioritization would cause a “cable-ization” of the internet in which businesses that provide content, application or services would have to negotiate carriage deals on ISP networks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-5109217/Q-A-Explaining-fight-U-S-net-neutrality-regulations.html#ixzz4zg9qbV1G

 

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Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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 Story 1: The Fed’s Great Unwind or Rolling Over Into 21st Century Greatest Depression — Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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What’s the Truth About the First Thanksgiving?

Ben Shapiro: The Truth About Thanksgiving

Monetary and Fiscal Policy: Crash Course Government and Politics #48

Fiscal Policy and Stimulus: Crash Course Economics #8

What’s all the Yellen About? Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Crash Course Economics #10

Recession, Hyperinflation, and Stagflation: Crash Course Econ #13

Yellen resigns as Fed chair

Who Is Janet Yellen? In Two and a Half Minutes

BREAKING NEWS]Yellen, denied second term as fed chair, announces resignation

[BREAKING NEWS]Yellen, denied second term as fed chair, announces resignation Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said Monday she will leave the central bank once her term as chair ends in February, wrapping up a pivotal tenure in which the Fed began to reverse its extraordinary, decadelong…

Fed expected to wind down $4.2 trillion balance sheet

How the Constitution Has Been Twisted to Undermine the Free Market | Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

The Most Persistent Economic Fallacy of All Time!

Mark Thornton: Can the Fed Unwind?

Fake Economic News | Walter Block

Who Bears the Burden of Government Debt? | Robert P. Murphy

Milton Friedman: Why soaking the rich won’t work.

Milton Friedman proves why welfare can’t work

Milton Friedman: The Rise of Socialism is Absurd

The Great Unwind: What Happens to the Markets When the Economy Stumbles Again

Published on Jul 21, 2015

Stock market returns and economic forecasts are being distorted by a few big myths that are likely to be proven wrong in the near future. It is widely believed that the American economy has fully recovered and has reached escape velocity where it will be able to sustain momentum without stimulus. This belief has led the majority of forecasters to conclude that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates this year and will continue hiking through the end of 2016. At the same time they believe that foreign central banks will fight slowing growth abroad with unlimited U.S. style quantitative easing, thereby pushing the U.S. dollar to new heights, and gold and oil to new lows. Their conclusion: U.S. stock markets will continue to lead the world. But what if these assumptions are dead wrong? What if the signs of growth were really just the direct result of Fed stimulus, which will disappear if the Fed raises rates? Recent economic data has been so dismal that savvy economists are drawing parallels with 2008, the year of the last crash. What if it’s not just the weather? If the Fed shocks the markets by keeping rates at zero for far longer than expected, the markets will unwind trades based on these false assumptions. This is where Peter Schiff and Euro Pacific Capital have ideas that you need to hear. Peter Schiff is a world renown investor and author who has made his reputation by seeing things that few other analysts can. He sees huge problems ahead for the U.S. economy and potentially a reversal of the U.S. dollar rally of the past year. He will discuss the inability for the Fed to dispose of its gargantuan $4 trillion balance sheet without sparking a financial collapse. He will also discuss opportunities in foreign, non-dollar, and precious metals investing. Ignore his advice at your own peril.

How Will the Fed Reduce Its Balance Sheet?

Whiteboard Economics: The Fed’s Balance Sheet Unwind

Rothbard on Mises & Friedman at Mont Pèlerin

Ayn Rand meets Ludwig von Mises – Milton Friedman

Rothbard on Ayn Rand

Milton Friedman on Money / Monetary Policy (Federal Reserve) Part 1

Milton Friedman on Money / Monetary Policy (Federal Reserve) Part 2

Milton Friedman – Monetary Revolutions

Milton Friedman – Is tax reform possible?

Milton Friedman – The role of government in a free society

 

Fed officials fear financial market ‘imbalances’ and possibility of ‘sharp reversal’ in prices

  • Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate some worry about rising financial markets.
  • The meeting minutes also included a discussion about possibly changing the central bank’s approach to addressing inflation.

Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Fed: Rate increase likely warrented soon

Federal Reserve officials expressed largely optimistic views of economic growth at their most recent meeting but also started to worry that financial market prices are getting out of hand and posing a danger to the economy.

Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate members with almost universally positive views on growth — the labor market, consumer spending and manufacturing all were showing solid gains. While there were disagreements on the pace of inflation, and even a discussion about changing the Fed’s approach to price stability, the sentiment otherwise was largely positive.

Moreover, they said the picture could get even better if Congress lowers corporate taxes as part of the reform plan making its way through the Senate.

“In their discussion of the economic situation and the outlook, meeting participants agreed that information received since the FOMC met in September indicated that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions,” the minutes stated.

However, when it came to evaluating market conditions, the talk took a more cautious tone.

Stocks have been on a tear throughout 2017, setting a series of record highs and adding trillions in value. That’s come both on the heels of stronger corporate earnings and hopes that the tax reform plan, which would take the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, becomes a reality.

Some members feared what would happen if the market suddenly took a hit.

“In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances,” the minutes said. “They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.”

Concerns about the surge in stocks are not new at the Fed, but most officials have downplayed the idea that the market is in a bubble. Wall Street also has been at odds about the market, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch warning of a market top coming in 2018 though Goldman Sachs has predicted another big year.

Some members said the bull market was justified by a continued low “neutral” rate of interest that is neither overly restrictive nor accommodative to growth.

And there also was mention of “regulatory changes” that had helped “an appreciable strengthening of capital and liquidity positions in the financial sector over recent years,” which made the system less prone to shocks or sudden market drops.

President Donald Trump has taken a three-pronged approach to economic growth and frequently boasts of the stock market gains. In addition to tax reform, he has cut business regulations and is expected in the coming months to unveil a plan to boost infrastructure spending.

During the year, economic growth has increased, with GDP gaining 3.1 percent and 3 percent the past two quarters and on track to be around the same level in the fourth quarter.

FOMC members noted multiple areas of positive developments. The labor market is “operating at or above full employment,” GDP is likely to “grow at a pace exceeding that of potential output,” and even inflation has been slowed only by “temporary or idiosyncratic factors.”

But on inflation, the consensus was weaker, with some members disagreeing with the notion that all the softness was due to issues that would fade.

Other members, though, thought the Fed could be in danger of waiting too long for inflation to rise and could risk further instability in the financial markets. Several members said the upcoming data would be critical in determining whether they felt the Fed was close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

A “couple” members even suggested the Fed tweak its approach to inflation, moving away from the 2 percent goal and toward a more nebulous “gradually rising path” in prices instead.

As a matter of policy, the committee chose not to hike rates at the meeting, as expected, but members indicated that gradual rate hikes are likely in the future. Markets are assigning a nearly 100 percent probability to a December rate hike, though only factoring in one or two so far for 2018.

Also at the meeting, members discussed the well-publicized reduction of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Under the plan, the central bank is letting a capped level of proceeds from the bonds it owns run off each month. Fed officials agreed the program thus far has run smoothly.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/fomc-minutes–fed-officials-fear-market-imbalances-possible-effects-of-sharp-reversal-in-prices.html

It’s begun: Fed’s unwinding of its epic balance sheet officially showing up in the data

  • Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities.
  • That’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

The Fed’s campaign to reduce its $4.4 trillion balance sheet is now taking effect and showing up in the data.

Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities. It’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

It’s just the leading edge of more to come as the Fed gradually ramps up its effort to “normalize” its balance sheet. The Fed hasn’t explicitly said what level it’s aiming for, only that it will ramp up its sales of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to a point where it eventually is reducing them at a clip of $50 billion a month.

The decline in mortgage-backed securities, which is already taking place, should begin showing up in the data next month.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/03/its-begun-feds-unwinding-of-its-epic-balance-sheet-officially-showing-up-in-the-data.html

 

Story 2: Will President Trump Be The Next President Hoover? — Videos

Reagan Budget Director Stockman Thrashes GOP Tax Bill as ‘Ideological Imposter’ of ‘81 Bill

The Deep State and the Donald | David Stockman

The Curse of Economic Nationalism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Steve Banon “Economic Nationalism Is What Binds Us Together!”

Steve Bannon: What Built America Was Economic Nationalism (60 Minutes Interview)

Myth-Busters: The Truth About Hoover & FDR

Milton Friedman on the Great Depression, Bank Runs & the Federal Reserve

Milton Friedman Explains the Cause of the Great Depression

Did FDR End the Great Depression?

The Legacy of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

The Hawley-Smoot Tariff in Under 5 Minutes – Hasty History

The Smoot Hawley Tariff Act

Hoover and the Great Depression

Hoover and Roosevelt

The 1928 Election Explained

Coolidge: The Best President You Don’t Know

Rothbard on the ‘best’ US president

The Current State of World Affairs | Murray N. Rothbard

Murray Rothbard Where Did The Free Markets Go?

Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman pre1971

Murray Rothbard: The Truth About Taxes

What I Learned from Murray Rothbard | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Bank of America sees end of bull market coming in 2018: Here’s how it will happen

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts “capitulation” for the bull market in 2018, with the S&P 500 peaking at 2,863.
  • Strategist Michael Hartnett said the firm is prepared to “downgrade risk aggressively” once it sees the triggers in place.
  • A shift from passive to active in investor allocations would be one of the signs that the rally is about over.

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Doug Kantor | AFP | Getty Images

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees a scary good news-bad news scenario unfolding in 2018: A solid push higher in the first half followed by all sorts of potential trouble after.

The S&P 500 would peak out around 2,863 in the scenario, or about 11 percent higher than Monday’s close. Bond yields are expected to rise, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hitting 2.75 percent as global GDP growth reaches 3.8 percent.

That setting assumes three things: the “last vestiges” of stimulus from the Fed and other central banks, the passage of tax reform in Congress, and “full investor capitulation into risk assets” on better-than-expected corporate earnings.

After that, though, things get considerably sketchier as the second-longest bull market in history runs into trouble.

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street's Michael Arone

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street’s Michael Arone  

“We believe the air in risk assets is getting thinner and thinner, but the Big Top in price is still ahead of us,” Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofAML, said in a report for clients. “We will downgrade risk aggressively once we see excess positioning, profits and policy.”

Indicators that market positioning has gotten out of hand and signaling a fall would include active funds attracting more money than passive (there’s a $476 billion gap this year in favor of passive), and portfolio allocation for equities exceeding 63 percent, a level currently at 61 percent.

Hartnett pointed out that the current bull will be the longest in history if it continues to Aug. 22, 2018, while the outperformance of stocks versus bonds, at seven years running, would be the longest streak since 1929.

The forecast is predicated on three core beliefs: The first is the aforementioned capitulation; the second an expectation of “peak positioning, profits and policy” that “will engender peak asset price returns” and a low in volatility; and, finally, an expectation that higher inflation and corporate debt along with tighter monetary policy will roil the corporate bond market, a critical prong of the risk asset rally.

“The game changer is wage inflation, which on our forecasts is likely to become more visible,” said Hartnett, who projects that salaries could rise 3.5 percent and push the consumer price index up 2.5 percent and convince the Fed that it’s close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

However, that cuts both ways: Should wage inflation again fail to materialize, Hartnett said “the era of excess liquidity” continues, bond yields would fall and the Nasdaq tech barometer would go “exponential.” That would signal a bubble that might not end until 2019, when a bear market would be triggered by “hostile Fed hiking, Occupy Silicon Valley and War on Inequality politics.”

“Big Top” trades favor technology, homebuilders, Japanese banks and the dollar against the Swiss franc.

BofAML’s forecast comes as Goldman Sachs released a price target of 2,850 for the S&P 500, after a comparatively bearish 2016 call for 2,400 that was passed six months ago.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/bank-of-america-bull-market-ending-in-2018-how-it-will-happen.html

Will Donald Trump be Herbert Hoover all over again?


President-elect Donald Trump. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
 Opinion writer November 11, 2016

As a Donald Trump victory became clear Tuesday night, the ghost of Herbert Hoover paid a visit to Trump’s election night party in New York.

In the Fox News coverage playing on screens in the ballroom, Megyn Kelly turned to Karl Rove. “It didn’t happen under Reagan or the Bushes. When was the last time a Republican president had a Republican Congress?”

“1928,” Rove answered.

“Incredible,” Kelly said.

Yes, quite: Republicans actually had unified control for four years under George W. Bush, and for two years under Dwight Eisenhower, as Rove amended when I followed up with him.

Expecting a celebration, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a letter to his daughter to help her cope with Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss.

But the 1928 comparison is instructive. It’s the last time a Republican president enjoyed anything like the majority Trump will have, particularly in the House.

And how did that work out for them?

Hoover took over in a time of general prosperity but stagnant wages and vast income inequality. Populists in Congress proposed dramatic increases in tariffs to help the struggling agricultural sector, the equivalent of today’s beleaguered blue-collar workers.

The proposal divided Republicans in Congress and Hoover before they produced the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, setting off retaliation, freezing international trade, contributing to the Great Depression and accelerating a ruinous cycle of nationalism around the world.

Hoover’s ghost should haunt the GOP right now. A populist, protectionist president has come to power at a time of long-depressed wages and vast inequality. He threatens to implement tariffs of 45 percent against China and 35 percent against Mexico, and he’s about to collide with free-traders and pro-business interests in his own party.

If they jettison Trump’s agenda and proceed with business as usual, they risk inflaming Trump’s already-furious followers. If they do what Trump has promised, there will be chaos as they pursue what amounts to a mission impossible: enacting a huge tax cut, making enormous spending increases on infrastructure and the military and cutting the debt in half — all without touching Social Security and Medicare.

And they’ll be without a mutual foil to unite them. President Obama will be out of office, Hillary Clinton defeated, Harry Reid retired. With unified control, Republicans now own every issue — health care, the economy, national security — and Democrats, who narrowly won the popular vote and are supported by exit polls showing tepid support for many of Trump’s policy priorities, have little incentive to cooperate.

 Some early signs show Trump won’t hesitate to disappoint supporters, including his statement Friday that, after talking with Obama, he no longer favors repealing all of Obamacare.

Drain the swamp? Trump has packed his transition team with a who’s who of the K Street lobbying trade, according to Politico. Among those in charge of staffing the new administration are people who have lobbied for or represented Altria, Visa, Anthem, Coca-Cola, General Electric, HSBC, Pfizer, PhRMA, United Airlines, Southern Company, Dow Chemical, Rosemont Copper Company, Boeing, Duke Energy and Nucor.

My colleague Catherine Ho reports that Trump’s win “is likely to be a boon to the lobbying business,” as businesses try to counteract the uncertainty with more lobbyists.

The Trump-proposed ban on Muslims entering the country? As The Post’s Jose A. DelReal reported, the Trump campaign removed that policy’s web page Thursday, then restored it after the reporter’s inquiries.

That wall on the Mexican border? “Going to take a while,” Trump lieutenant Rudy Giuliani said Thursday, suggesting “he can do it by executive order by just reprogramming money within the immigration service.”

“Reprogramming” money away from . . . deportation? Truly building the wall would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and require approval from Congress.

The “lock her up” crowd may also be disappointed. Chris Christie said “politics are over now.”

On that same question, however, Giuliani said prosecuting Clinton would be “a presidential decision” — an extraordinary departure from the American tradition of removing the president from prosecutorial decisions, particularly since President Nixon tried to block the Justice Department’s Watergate probe in 1973.

The Trump transition sounded another Nixonian note when Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigault told a conservative website that Trump is keeping an enemies list.

The conflicting signals suggest Trump himself hasn’t settled on his course. His gracious victory speech was about reaching out to the opposition, but Breitbart News, whose once and future leader ran the campaign, has been whipping up racial fears (“Shock Video Shows White Man Viciously Beaten in Chicago After Election”).

On Thursday night, the president-elect tweeted that “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Friday morning he reconsidered: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

Trump’s internal tension is understandable. He can leave supporters disillusioned, or he can keep his promises — and send us all back to 1928.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/will-donald-trump-be-herbert-hoover-all-over-again/2016/11/11/8e533600-a820-11e6-8042-f4d111c862d1_story.html?utm_term=.15c6a091b1f6

Jamie Dimon says he would bet on Trump being a one-term president

  • The JPMorgan CEO said he’d bet on Trump being a one-term president.
  • That said, he thinks a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.
  • Dimon has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, but has been more active on range of business and economic issues.

Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

David A. Grogan | CNBC
Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U.S. president in 2021 and advised Democrats to come up with a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.

Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, “If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate … or Trump will win again” and have second four-year term.

Dimon, who in the past has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the November 2016 election of Trump to lobby lawmakers on range of business and economic issues, including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.

Jamie Dimon: There's a huge vaccuum if business isn't involved in policy

Jamie Dimon: There’s a huge vacuum if business isn’t involved in policy  

In December, Dimon became chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs who take their views to government policy makers.

Dimon, 61, touched briefly on range of topics, from Americas political climate and tax system to discrimination in the workplace and against black people.

He also commented on foreign affairs, saying, for example, “We should never be rude to a neighbor like Mexico.”

He also cautioned that the political weakness of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is bad for all of us. Talks on forming a governing coalition including Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union collapsed earlier this week, casting doubt on her future after 12 years in power.

Dimon is in his 12th year as CEO of JPMorgan, which is the biggest bank in the U.S. by assets

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/jamie-dimon-says-he-would-bet-on-trump-being-a-one-term-president.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017, Story 1: More on Moore: Roy Moore’s Attorney News Briefing — She Said Vs. He Said — Faulty Memory of Witnesses Leading To Wrongful Conviction — Sexual Abuse — Who Do You Believe? — The Voters of Alabama Must Answer This Question on December 12 — Videos — Story 2: Will The Senate Pass A Tax Reform Bill?– NO — Tax Cut Bill — Yes — Videos — Story 3: Who is on the Congressional CREEP List of Sexual Harassers in Congress and Their Staffs ? — Who is next to be outed? — Shout Animal House — Intimacy — Getting To Know You– Dance With Me –Videos 

Posted on November 16, 2017. Filed under: American History, Art, Art, Assault, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, James Comey, Law, Life, Media, Movies, Music, National Interest, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Sexual Harrasment, Social Networking, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Story 1: More on Moore: Roy Moore’s Attorney News Briefing — She Said Vs. He Said — Faulty Memory of Witnesses Leading To Wrongful Conviction — Sexual Abuse — Who Do You Believe? — The Voters of Alabama Must Answer This Question on December 12 — Videos —

Roy Moore & Jeff Sessions Cold Open – SNL

RUSH: Roy Moore Accuser Claims She Was Locked In Car In 1977; Child Locks Not Required Till 1980s

WATCH: Roy Moore’s attorney holds news briefing

Streamed live on Nov 15, 2017
The attorney for Roy Moore, the candidate for the Alabama seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, holds a press conference following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Moore.

Alabama seniors say Roy Moore’s alleged actions were normal back then (HBO)

Mark Levin: People of Alabama should decide if they believe the accusations against Roy Moore

Ben Shapiro: Roy Moore needs to go

What Pisses Me Off About Roy Moore and Stupid F&%king Republicans

Judge Roy Moore Sexual Misconduct Allegations | True News

On The Sean Hannity Show, Newt Gingrich says a “lynch mob” is after Roy Moore

Live Stream: #Pedowood Predators, Pervs, Pedophiles and Pederasts Are Tolerated But Trump’s Reviled

How reliable is your memory? | Elizabeth Loftus

TED

Published on Sep 23, 2013

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

Mother Of Roy Moore Accuser Spills The HOAX By Accident! – Several Facts Turned Out To Be FAKED

WaPo REPORTER Beth SECRETLY RECORDED OFFERING WOMAN $1000 TO ACCUSE ROY MOORE

Mark Levin REVEALS The Truth About Judge Roy Moore Allegations! You Will Cheer!

As McCain Leads The Charge Against Moore, LOOK What SICKENING Secret From His Past EXPOSED

Mitch McConnell Handling Of Past Sex Scandal A Warning For Roy Moore | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

USA: SENATOR BOB PACKWOOD SCANDAL UPDATE

Bob Packwood Resigns from Senate

Woman Explains Why She Falsely Accused Her Dad Of Sexual Assault As A Child

Dr. Drew: Child abuse at the core of virtually all societies’ problems

Dr. Drew on staggering impact of sexual abuse

Tom Arnold talks about his childhood of abuse

CNN: CNN anchor Don Lemon talks coming out, abuse

Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations

What happens to a child after he/she suffers sexual abuse?

Roy Moore maintains lead in another new Senate poll

Roy Moore, left, and Doug Jones. (AL.com file photos)
Roy Moore, left, and Doug Jones. (AL.com file photos)
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Fox 10/Strategy Research poll released Tuesday night showed Moore with a six-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones.

The poll, according to Fox 10, sampled 3,000 likely voters on Monday with Moore getting 49 percent of the vote, Jones 43 percent and 8 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percent.

Even with that edge, the poll indicated Moore has lost almost half of his support. A Fox 10 poll two weeks ago showed Moore with an 11-point lead. Moore’s support among Republicans also dropped 8 percent.

The poll also said that 11 percent of participants said they were less likely to vote for Moore because of the allegations made against him while 35 percent said it made them more likely to vote for him.

The allegations also did not alter the thinking of a majority of the undecided voters. Of those who have not made up their mind, 51 percent said that the allegations would not be a deciding factor while 44 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Moore.

An Emerson College poll, released Monday, had Moore with a 10-point lead. Five other polls conducted since the allegations were publishedlast week either had Jones winning or within the margin of error.

One other poll, conducted by an official from earlier Moore campaigns and presented exclusively to Moore-favoring Breitbart News, had the former Alabama chief justice leading by 11 points.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/roy_moore_maintains_lead_in_an.html

Women supporting Roy Moore not concerned whether he dated teens

Dean Young and other Roy Moore supporters appear at a press conference in Montgomery on Nov. 16, 2017. (Mike Cason/mcason@al.com)

Two women who joined longtime Roy Moore ally Dean Young at a press conference today said they aren’t concerned whether Moore sought dates with teenage girls when he was a county prosecutor in his early 30s, some four decades ago.

Moore has strongly denied the two most serious allegations against him – a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old and an assault on a 16-year-old.

But Moore did not clearly deny dating teenage girls when he was in his early 30s in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Moore did, in an open letter to Hannity, say that he did not date “underage” girls.

AL.com and the Washington Post have published stories about women who said Moore dated them or asked them on dates when they were ages 16-18 and he was in his 30s.

Click here for AL.com’s coverage of Roy Moore.

Kay Day, 69, of Theodore, who joined Young at today’s news conference, said that doesn’t necessarily bother her and won’t affect her support for Moore, who faces Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 in the U.S. Senate election.

Day said she was 18 when she began dating her husband, who was 32 at the time. They got married in 1963.

“My mother married at 15 and married a man 14 years older than her,” Day said. “In that day, if you married someone that was 15 years older, it was common.”

“Even if it were so, that would not make me not vote for Judge Moore. That is just not something that would make me discredit and ruin a man for the rest of his life.”

Day, who grew up in Tennessee, said she began following Moore’s career during his legal battles over displays of the Ten Commandments.

“And I continue to follow him and have for 20 years, and devastated by what they would say about Judge Moore because I’ve known him for so long and been with him,” Day said. “Gentleman. Never heard anything come out of his mouth that would even give me an inkling. Never crossed my mind. Perfect gentleman.”

Dee Owens, 75, who came to Montgomery from Mobile today to join Young for the press conference, said she would not be bothered to learn that Moore dated teenage girls in his early 30s.

“Not in the least because that’s all right with me,” Owens said. “When I was young I dated a gentleman that was 22 years older than me and my parents didn’t have a problem with it. And mothers back then actually wanted their daughters to marry men that were older. They felt they would be taken care of.”

“I believe like he does,” Owens said. “And like the Ten Commandments, he stood up. He will stand for what’s right. Not like the RINOs we have in Washington. And definitely I’ll vote for him. And everybody I know, all my friends are voting for him.”

Young, who ran for a Congress last year and in 2013, is a regular presence at Moore rallies and press conferences and has known Moore since the early 1990s.

Moore said the campaign is working to debunk allegations against the candidate and will prevail against what he called the fake news media, elitist Republican establishment in Washington and the Democrats.

“Now they have all this endless parade of people who have never said anything for 40 years say that a man that you, Alabamians have watched for 25 years,” Young said. “You’ve watched him stand for what’s right, for what’s good and what’s just and what’s fair.”

Young aimed much of his criticism at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who backed Sen. Luther Strange in his primary loss to Moore and has said he believes Moore’s accusers and that Moore should get out of the race.

Young also criticized attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Beverly Young Nelson, 56, who accused Moore of assaulting her in his car outside the Gadsden restaurant where she worked when she was 16. Moore has strongly denied the allegation.

Moore’s attorney, Phillip Jauregui, has challenged Allred to submit Nelson’s high school yearbook for examination by handwriting analysts. Nelson claims Moore signed the yearbook.

Allred said they would only allow the yearbook to be examined if the Senate Judiciary Committee or Select Committee on Ethics conducts a hearing on Nelson’s allegation. She said Nelson is willing to give testimony under oath and Moore should do the same.

Young pointed out that Allred declined to answer directly when asked by Wolf Blitzer on CNN if the yearbook signature was a forgery.

“Is this a real signature?” Young said. “She won’t even answer that question.”

Owens said efforts by the national Republican establishment to derail Moore’s campaign in Alabama have made her more determined than ever to support him.

“I would like to go to Washington with a big stick,” Owens said.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/women_supporting_roy_moore_not.html

The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom

Joyce W. Lacy#1 and Craig E. L. Stark#2

Abstract

Although memory can be hazy at times, it is often assumed that memories of violent or otherwise stressful events are so well-encoded that they are largely indelible and that confidently retrieved memories are likely to be accurate. However, findings from basic psychological research and neuroscience studies indicate that memory is a reconstructive process that is susceptible to distortion. In the courtroom, even minor memory distortions can have severe consequences that are in part driven by common misunderstandings about memory, e.g. expecting memory to be more veridical than it may actually be.

Introduction

Pioneers in neuroscience such as Ramón y Cajal, Hebb, and Marr introduced the idea that memory is encoded in the patterns of synaptic connectivity between neurons. Increases in the strengths of these synapses encode our experiences and thereby shape our future behavior. Our understanding of the complex mechanisms that underlie learning and memory has progressed dramatically in recent decades, and studies have not provided evidence that memories are indelible. Quite the contrary, it is becoming clear that there are several ways through which memories can change.

The ‘imperfection’ of memory has been known since the first empirical memory experiments by Ebbinghaus1, whose famous ‘forgetting curve’ revealed that people are unable to retrieve roughly 50% of information one hour after encoding. In addition to simple forgetting, memories routinely become distorted27. The public perception of memory, however, is typically that memory is akin to a video recorder8 (Box 1). This distinction between the perception and reality of memory has important consequences in the context of the courtroom. In the legal system, like among the general public, it is generally assumed that memory is highly accurate and largely indelible, at least in the case of ‘strong’ memories.

Recently, some regional jurisdictions, such as New Jersey10,11, Massachusetts12, Texas13, and North Carolina14 have implemented procedural changes designed to mitigate effects of memory biases and to best preserve accurate memories of eyewitnesses. However, the legal system writ large has been slow to adapt to research findings on memory, even though these findings have implications not only for eyewitness testimony, but also for how jurors remember and weigh evidence. Interest in the research of memory processes and their relevance to the courtroom has increased since the advent of DNA evidence, which has exonerated hundreds of individuals who were falsely convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. …

Conclusions

Memory is imperfect and is susceptible to distortion and loss. There are adaptive reasons for generalization and forgetting7. Indeed, Luria’s famous report of the mnemonist S.85 readily shows how an inability to forget can severely impair normal functioning. In addition, the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the occurrence of distortions in memory also allow memories to be updated and strengthened. Unfortunately, in the courtroom ‘memory’ is often misunderstood and undue assumptions are made about its veridicality.

Thus, there needs to be greater education and awareness of memory processes in judicial settings and in daily life. Society would benefit from a better understanding of what factors affect memory accuracy and of their complexity and potentially counter-intuitive nature. Secondly, the legal system needs to reevaluate the probative value of memory. Witnessing a potentially traumatic event does not produce an unbiased, indelible memory of the event. Memory is an adaptive process based on reconstruction. It works well for what it is intended — guiding current and future behaviour. However, it is not infallible, and therefore should not be treated as such. For these reasons, some have argued that the legal system should not convict individuals on eyewitness testimony alone, but rather should require corroborative evidence83,86. Lastly, more research ought to be carried out on the complex mechanisms that underlie memory so that we can better understand its limits, improve its reliability, and detect when it has gone awry.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183265/

Eyewitness memory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eyewitness memory is a person’s episodic memory for a crime or other dramatic event that he or she has witnessed.[1] Eyewitness testimony is often relied upon in the judicial system. It can also refer to an individual’s memory for a face, where they are required to remember the face of their perpetrator, for example.[2] However, the accuracy of eyewitness memories is sometimes questioned because there are many factors that can act during encoding and retrieval of the witnessed event which may adversely affect the creation and maintenance of the memory for the event. Experts have found evidence to suggest that eyewitness memory is fallible.[1] It has long been speculated that mistaken eyewitness identification plays a major role in the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals. A growing body of research now supports this speculation, indicating that mistaken eyewitness identification is responsible for more convictions of the innocent than all other factors combined.[3][4][5] The Innocence Project determined that 75% of the 239 DNA exoneration cases had occurred due to inaccurate eyewitness testimony. It is important to inform the public about the flawed nature of eyewitness memory and the difficulties relating to its use in the criminal justice system so that eyewitness accounts are not viewed as the absolute truth.[6]

Encoding

During the event

Challenges of identifying faces

People struggle to identify faces in person or from photos, a difficulty arising from the encoding of faces.[7] When participants were given a basic memory test from an array of photos or a lineup, they struggled to accurately identify the images and had low recognition. This finding provides a starting point for estimating the accuracy of eyewitnesses’ identification of others involved in a traumatic event. It can only get more challenging for a person to accurately encode a face when they are experiencing a traumatic event.[7] Because courts rely on eyewitness facial recognition, it is important to acknowledge that identification is not always accurate.[8] Face-specific cognitive and neural processes show contributions to holistic processing and recognition in the episodic memories of eyewitnesses.[9] Unreliability of eyewitness identifications may be a result of mismatching between how faces are holistically processed and how composite systems retrieve features in faces during an event.[10]

Other-race effect

The other-race effect (i.e. the own-race bias, cross-race effect, other-ethnicity effect, same-race advantage) is one factor thought to impact the accuracy of facial recognition. Studies investigating this effect have shown that a person is better able to recognize faces that match their own race but are less reliable at identifying other more unfamiliar races, thus inhibiting encoding.[11] Various explanations for this effect have been proposed. The perceptual expertise account suggests that with an increase of exposure to one’s own race, perceptual mechanisms develop which allow people to be more proficient at remembering faces of their own race.[12] The socio-cognitive account predicts that motivational and/or attentional components over focus on the race of a person.[12] Another hypothesis is that each race pays attention to certain facial details to differentiate between faces.[13] However, other races might not encode these same features. A final suggestion is that faces of the same race are encoded more deeply, leading a witness to have a more detailed memory for those faces; but there has not been much research to support this hypothesis. Research on the other race effect has mainly focused on the African American and Caucasian races. Most research has shown that white eyewitnesses exhibit the other-race effect, however this effect does extend to other races too.[13] In general, memory is an individual process and that conceptualization of race causes racial ambiguity in facial recognition. Mono-racial eyewitnesses may depend on categorization more than multiracial eyewitnesses, who develop a more fluid concept of race.[14] Perception may affect the immediate encoding of these unreliable notions due to prejudices, which can influence the speed of processing and classification of racially ambiguous targets. The ambiguity in eyewitness memory facial recognition can be attributed to the divergent strategies that are used when under the influence of racial bias. It should be noted this phenomenon is not limited to race. Stereotypes of any kind (whether they be related to age, gender, etc.) can affect the encoding of information at the time of the event. For example, if one is held at gunpoint by two individuals, one of whom is a man and the other is a woman wearing a hat, the victim may quickly fall back on the belief that men are more likely to be aggressors. Consequently, the victim may encode the situation as involving two male assailants, yielding problematic effects in the process of identifying the assailants later on.

Stress and trauma

Stress or trauma during an event can affect the encoding of the memory.[15] Traumatic events may cause memory to be repressed out of conscious awareness.[16] An inability to access the repressed memory is argued to occur in cases involving child sexual abuse. Another way encoding a memory can be affected is when the person involved in a traumatic event experiences dissociation; he or she mentally removes themselves from the situation, which may serve as a coping mechanism. Lastly, trauma may induce a flashbulb effect; the witness believes they vividly remember significant details of a salient event, although accuracy must be determined of such memories .[15] In legal settings the mental state of an individual at both witnessing a crime and in testimony can affect the success of their memory retrieval. Stress in small amounts is thought to aid memory, whereby stress hormones released by the amygdala promote the consolidation of emotional memories.[17] Nevertheless, stress in high amounts may hinder memory performance. Witnesses of severe crimes or trauma can suffer from further implications, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)[18] or even Psychogenic Amnesia.[19]

Post traumatic stress disorder

Explicit memory (used in legal testimony) is affected by post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD); individuals diagnosed with PTSD can struggle to recall explicit events from their memory, usually those which are especially traumatic events. This may be due to the individual preferring not to think about the unpleasant memory, which they may rather forget. Implicit memory, on the other hand, does not seem to be affected in the same way that explicit memory does, rather some individuals with PTSD may score higher on implicit memory tests than non-PTSD individuals.[18]

Psychogenic amnesia

Psychogenic amnesia (or dissociative amnesia) can affect explicit memory for a particular event.[19] Most often cases of psychogenic amnesia occur after witnessing an extremely violent crime or trauma, such as war.[20]

Mood-congruency effect

Everyday memory can be affected by factors such as stress or mood. The ‘mood congruency’ effect refers to memory being aided by a matching of mood at the encoding/learning stage to the retrieval stage. If a memory is encoded under stressfull conditions it may be more likely that the memory is better recalled if stress levels at retrieval are congruent to stress levels at encoding. Mood congruency may affect a witnesses ability to recall a highly stressful crime, if conditions of encoding and retrieval are different.[20] Moderate amounts of stress may be beneficial to memory by the release of corticosteroids. Conversely, too much stress (and therefore an extreme influx of corticosteroids) can affect function of the hippocampus and therefore hinder memory. Very high levels of corticosteroid release may be very detrimental for memory.[21]

Weapon focus

The weapon focus effect suggests that the presence of a weapon narrows a person’s attention, thus affects eyewitness memory.[22] A person focuses on the central detail (for example, the weapon) and loses focus on the peripheral details (for example, the perpetrator’s characteristics). While the weapon is remembered clearly, the memories of the other details of the scene suffer.[22] The weapon focus effect occurs because additional items require more visual attention, therefore they are frequently not processed. This increased focus of attention on central aspects takes away attentional resources from peripheral details. For example, if a gun was brought into a school, it would attract significant amount of attention, because students are not used to seeing that item. When participants were watching a slideshow, and were seeing an unusual stimulus item, their reaction times were slower (regardless whether the stimulus was dangerous) in comparison to reaction times for more frequent stimulus. When the item was dangerous (i.e. a weapon), participants had a lower accuracy and confidence than the control group’s.[23] Another hypothesis is that seeing a weapon might cause an aroused state. In an aroused state, people focus on central details instead of peripheral ones.[24]

Interference

The testimony of a witness can lose validity due to too many external stimuli, that may affect what was witnessed during the crime, and therefore obstruct memory. For example, if an individual witnesses a car accident on a very public street, there may be too many cues distracting the witness from the main focus. Numerous interfering stimulus inputs may suppress the importance of the stimulus of focus, the accident. This can degrade the memory traces of the event, and diminish the representation of those memories. This is known as the cue-overload principle.[25]

After the event

Because memory is subject to contamination, the most reliable test of a memory is the initial test.[26] Police procedures can reduce the effects of contamination on memory with proper testing protocols.[26]

Misinformation effect

Witnesses can be subject to memory distortions that can alter their account of events. It is of particular interest that the memory of an eyewitness can become compromised by other information, such that an individual’s memory becomes biased. This can increase eyewitnesses sensitivity to the misinformation effect. Individuals report what they believe to have witnessed at the time of the crime, even though this may be the result of a false memory. These effects can be a result of post-event information.[27] It is very important to provide witnesses with helpful response options on memory tests and to be warned of misleading influences that might affect how the memory of the event is recalled at a later time.[28] Many employees, police force workers, and others are trained in post-warning in order to reduce influences on the misinformation effect, which can be predicted before crime. In their studies, many researchers use eyewitnesses to study retrieval-blocking effects, which interfere with a witness’ ability to recall information.[29] Misleading information prior to the event can also influence misinformation effects. Other studies also address how the misinformation effect seems to amplify over increasing recall.[30] Discussing events and being questioned multiple times may cause various versions of the testimonies. However, the earliest records prove to be the most accurate due to a minimized misinformation effect.

Unconscious transference

Many mistaken identifications are the result of unconscious transference, or the inability to distinguish between the perpetrator and another person who was encountered in a different context.[31] In many of these cases, the culprit is confused with a different person who was present at the crime scene. Implicit processing takes place during the event, in which the witness encodes the general features of innocent bystanders, creating a sense of familiarity. At retrieval, this familiarity could cause people who were merely present in the crime scene to be confused with the culprit.[31] After viewing a video of a crime involving a thief and two innocent bystanders, participants were asked to identify the perpetrator from a lineup including the three persons present in the video and three other people never before encountered. Most participants falsely identified an innocent person from the lineup. Furthermore, participants were more likely to misidentify one of the two innocent confederates in the video than one of the three unfamiliar people.[31] Unconscious transference occurs in this instance when the witness misattributes his or her sense of familiarity of the perpetrator to a bystander.[32] This confusing effect of familiarity is found in the mug shot procedure as well.[33] The presentation of mug shot arrays alone does not seem to influence identification accuracy. However, this presentation can be influential if the police lineups include individuals who were earlier featured in the mug shot array. Individuals appearing in police lineups that also appeared in previous photo arrays may be identified as quickly as identifying the actual target. Therefore, in cases where a suspect is identified from mug shots following a line-up, it is uncertain whether the line-up identification is a result of the recognition of the perpetrator or of the detection of a person seen previously in mug shots.[33]

Retrieval

Lineups

police lineup is a method for an eyewitness to identify a perpetrator by viewing a series of photos, or a live group of suspects.[22] One possible outcome of a lineup is that the eyewitness can correctly identify the criminal. Another outcome is that the eyewitness can correctly state that the criminal is not in the lineup. A third option is that the eyewitness can fail to recognize that the culprit is present. Lastly, the eyewitness can incorrectly select another suspect. The ideal result is to correctly identify the offender, and the worst outcome is to mistakenly identify an innocent.[22]

Police role in lineup

There are specific guidelines for police to follow when administering a lineup, to reduce bias in the lineup and increase the accuracy of eyewitness judgements.[22] Police must reduce the pressure that eyewitnesses feel to select a criminal from an array of photos or persons. They should make sure that the eyewitness is aware that the perpetrator might not be in the lineup. Also, police should conduct a double blind procedure that does not allow them to see the lineup. This prevents police from giving the eyewitness any information, intentional or not, about who in the lineup is a police suspect. It also prevents the police from giving any feedback to the eyewitness. Feedback can produce a false confidence in the witness’ selection. When overseeing a lineup, the police can use speed of recognition to determine the validity of the identification. If the witness quickly identifies the perpetrator, then the selection is more likely to be correct.[22]

Style of lineup

sequential lineup presents a witness with a series of photos one at a time, requiring the participant to identify if each photo matches his/her memory before moving forward.[34] The witness does not know how many photos are in the group. In a simultaneous lineup, the photos or suspects are viewed together. Sequential lineups produce fewer identifications, since they are more challenging, and require absolute judgement. This means that the decision regarding the matching of the memory to the photo is independently made. On the other hand, a simultaneous lineup requires relative judgement, as the decision is not independent of the other possibilities. An absolute judgment is a judgment that requires the person to be 100 percent certain in their choice where a relative judgment is when someone makes up their mind based on what looks the closest. However, researchers such as Dr. Gary Wells from Iowa State University claim “during simultaneous lineups, witnesses use relative judgment, meaning that they compare lineup photographs or members to each other, rather than to their memory of the offender.”[35] Sequential lineups have been preferred historically, seeing as they do not rely on relative judgment. However, recent data suggests the preference for sequential lineups over simultaneous lineups may not be empirically supported. Individuals who participate in sequential lineups are less likely to make a selection at all, regardless if the selection is accurate or not. This suggests the sequential lineup fosters a more conservative shift in criterion to make a selection rather than an increased ability to pick the true perpetrator. Consequently, further research is needed before offering recommendations to police departments.[36]

Size of lineup

Lineup members should have diverse characteristics so that lineups are not biased toward or against the suspect. If the appearance of a person stands out amongst the otherwise indistinctive crowd, then an eyewitness is more likely to select that person regardless of their own recollection of the criminal. According to Schuster (2007), the suspect, if he is in the in person lineup or in a picture lineup, should not stand out from the others in the lineup. People’s eyes are drawn to what is different. If you make sure that all the men or women in the pictures have a similar appearance, have the same background in their picture, race, age, and are wearing the same or similar clothing, just to name a few, then the risk of getting a false positive will decrease. Thus, this lineup is suggestive.[37] Fillers should be added to the lineup in order to depict a broad spectrum of characteristics,[38] but must match any known description of the offender. If lineup members do not all match the known description of the offender then the lineup is biased toward the suspect.[39] Biased lineups have been shown to increase misidentifications, particularly in target-absent lineups.[40] Increasing the nominal size of a lineup (the actual number of suspects that are compiled) often decreases the potential for a wrong selection. Functional size also plays a role in lineup bias. Functional size is the reciprocal of the fraction of mock witnesses that choose the suspect from a lineup.[41] For example, in a lineup of nominal size 5, if 15 out of 30 mock witnesses (randomly chosen individuals that did not experience the offence) choose the suspect, the functional size of the lineup is the reciprocal of 15/30, which is 30/15, or 2. So although the lineup has 5 members, functionally it only has 2. Effective size is the number of probable suspects. Police use these three numbers to evaluate a lineup.[38]

Viewpoints

Many studies, as well as police procedures, are dependent on photo lineups or police lineups where the eyewitness views the suspects from a distance. This procedure is done in an attempt to eliminate suspects and identify the perpetrator. These types of lineups allow only small degrees of visual information for the eyewitness, such as limited viewing angles, which restrict the level of detail compared to a computerized virtual lineup where witnesses can see the targets from multiple angles and distances. One might anticipate that examination of the suspects from unlimited viewpoints would allow for better recognition cues, than when compared to limited views. However, unlimited visual information may be disadvantageous and counterproductive if the information offered at the time of retrieval was not actually present at the time of memory encoding.[42] For example, if an eyewitness only saw the face of the perpetrator from one angle, seeing the lineup participants from other viewpoints might be distracting. Other studies have demonstrated that unlimited viewpoints do improve accuracy in police lineups.[42] It should also be noted that the eyewitness accuracy improves when the distance between the suspect and witness matches the distance during the initial witnessing of the crime.[43]

Retroactive interference

Another phenomenon that may interfere with an eyewitness’ memory is retroactive interference. This occurs when new information is processed that obstructs the retrieval of old information.[44] A common source of interference that may occur after the event of a crime is the reporting of the crime. Police investigations include questioning that is often suggestive. The processing of new information may disrupt or entirely replace old information.[45] If a police officer has reason to believe that a suspect is guilty the interrogator’s bias can influence the eyewitness’ memory. The interrogators can also put pressure on witnesses causing them to want to select a perpetrator from a police lineup. Eyewitnesses are often unsuspecting of the interrogator bias and believe their memories to be uncontaminated.[46]

Co-witness contamination

The presence of a co-witness can often contaminate memories.[47] When witnesses confer about an event they can end up agreeing on an incorrect narrative. Research has found that 71% of witnesses changed their eyewitness accounts to include false components that their co-witnesses remembered.[48] This makes it very difficult to reconstruct the actual account of an event. To prevent this effect, police should separate witnesses as early as possible before the reporting of the event. Unfortunately this is difficult, especially if the police do not get involved immediately after the event. Police should inform witnesses of the possibility of contamination as soon as possible. Witnesses should be interviewed as soon as possible with police noting if the witnesses have compared accounts. Once the accounts have been recorded, police should make notes of similarities or differences that could point to contaminated details or facts. [49]

Confidence

A witness identifying a suspect can make a decision with little or great confidence. Level of confidence varies between different witnesses and situations. There are two types of confidence: confidence in a witness’ own ability to make an identification (prior to viewing a police lineup) and confidence in having made an accurate identification or accurate rejection. It must be considered that memories are normally vulnerable to multiple influences and prone to distortions and deceptions: “they are never constant and never result in fully accurate representations [and] these changes occur without us being aware of them.”[50] As a consequence, the witness’ confidence in his/her ability to make a correct identification should not be used to assess the accuracy of identification. Witnesses should be asked to attempt identifications even if their confidence is low. Confidence ratings after identification of a suspect is a better ( but not perfect) predictor.[51]

In many experiments, witnesses are asked to rate their confidence in their decision after making an identification from a lineup. A number of psychologists have investigated factors that might affect the confidence accuracy relationship. In a recent review of 15 experiments, suspect identifications made with high confidence were, on average, 97 percent accurate.[26] On the other hand, witnesses who report low confidence are highly suggestive of inaccurate identification. University of Virginia law professor Brandon Garrett analyzed trial materials for 161 DNA exonerated individuals and found that in 57 percent of those cases, it was possible to determine that, in the initial (uncontaminated) memory test, the eyewitnesses were, at best, uncertain.[26]

The optimality hypothesis states that factors influencing the optimality of information processing also influence the reliability of the confidence estimate. During situations in which information processing conditions are less than optimal (e.g. the perpetrator is disguised or duration of exposure is brief) witnesses’ performance during identification decreases and they are less confident in their decision. The confidence accuracy correlation is thus estimated to be stronger in situations of optimal information processing such as longer exposure time, and weaker under conditions that are not optimal.[52]

Certain factors affect identification accuracy without influencing confidence whereas other factors influence confidence without having an effect on identification accuracy. Reconstructive processes in memory (i.e. the influence of post-event information on stored memories) can influence identification accuracy while not necessarily affecting confidence. Social influence processes (i.e. committing to a decision) might have an effect on confidence judgements while having little to no effect on the accuracy of the identification.[53]

Interviews

The method of conducting an interview has great implication on the accuracy of the testimony. When the person being interviewed is forced to provide more information, he/she is more likely to engage in confabulation.[54] For example, when participants were shown a video and instructed to answer all questions (answerable and unanswerable) about its content, they often fabricated information.[54] When prodded too much to remember something, people often fall upon false memories. This effect is also seen in hypnosis: when people intensely try and are guided to remember something, they may end up mistaking a vivid imagination as a memory.[55]

Cognitive interview technique

Researchers have developed a strategy, entitled the cognitive interview technique, to elicit the most accurate eyewitness memory.[56] In this preferred protocol for conducting interviews, the interrogator should make the witness feel comfortable, ask open-ended questions, and grant the witness freedom in describing the event.[22] In addition, the interviewer should encourage the witness to exhaust his/her memory by reinstating the context of the event, recalling the events in different orders, and viewing the event scene from different perspectives.[22]

Suggestibility

Distortions in a witness’s memory can be induced by suggestive questioning procedures.[57] Asking eyewitnesses to repeatedly retrieve information in multiple interviews may enhance memory because the event is being rehearsed many times or, as in many cases, increase suggestibility. Misleading information offered by the investigators may attract more attention than the originally encoded information, so the witness’ memory of the event is altered to include erroneous details suggested during the interview.[57] In addition, repeating questions could make the witness feel pressured to change his or her answer or elaborate on an already-given response with fabricated details.[58] Open-ended questioning can reduce the level of retrieval-enhanced suggestibility because the witness is not subjected to testing manipulation by the interviewer.[57]

Contextual reinstatement

Contextual reinstatement is a common technique used to help eyewitnesses remember details about a specific environment– reviewing the initial environment in which the original information was encoded. Taking a witness back to the scene where the event occurred, for example, will help facilitate the accuracy in identifying perpetrators. Reinstatement is thought to improve recall as it provides memory retrieval cues. Research has demonstrated that pairing faces of suspects or words with contextual cues at the scene of the crime will enhance performance on recognition tasks.[59][60] Therefore, it seems practical that these results can be applied to eyewitness identification. Methods commonly used to examine context reinstatement include photographs of the environment/scene, mental contextual reinstatement cues, and guided recollection. Studies show that re-exposing participants to the crime scene does enhance performance in facial recognition.[61] There were also notable effects for context reinstatement where improvement on correct identifications while increasing false alarms. Reports also show that the magnitude of improvement via context reinstatement increased in lifelike situations compared to laboratory studies.[62]

Experimental context

An alteration of context was found to be one of the most important predictors of recognition accuracy. Such changes in experimental context have been shown to have effects similar to transformations in appearance, such as disguises. Criminal identifications can be influenced by a change in context. Investigators must account for the fact that encountering an acquaintance that we usually see in one context, such as work place, alters memory generalizability when compared to encountering the same acquaintance in another environment that acts like an unassociated context, such as a grocery store. The changes in environment make it difficult to identify this acquaintance.[62] Initially, the individual might seem familiar but because this person is not in the normal context, it might be difficult to place the face and recall the name. Researchers have begun to implement procedures for reinstating the context surrounding a specific event in an attempt to improve identification accuracy. Reinstating the crime scene is often not possible. Sometimes, however it is possible to have eyewitnesses imagine and thus mentally reinstate the surroundings with imagery instructions and other mnemonic devices.[62] In some instances, objects from the crime scene such as guns or clothing can be used additionally to help reinstate the context. Such methods have successfully shown to improve reliability and accuracy of eyewitness recall.

Verbal overshadowing effect

The process of describing a face entails thinking about its features independently, but people process faces configurally (as a whole, encoding the features in relation to one another).[63] So, the process of describing the face often impairs the memory of it—this is the verbal overshadowing effect. A verbal overshadowing effect typically refers to the negative effect on memory recall as a result of giving a verbal description of a visual object. For example, a witness who gives a verbal description of a face is likely to have subsequent impaired recognition for that face.[64] However, Perfect et al. (2002) predicted that the verbal overshadowing effect would also be seen in voice recognition; that is that verbally describing a voice should also impair subsequent recognition of that voice. They predicted this because they argued that voices were difficult to articulate and so it is likely they would be vulnerable to the verbal overshadowing effect. This was found to be the case. Moreover, a dissociation between accuracy and confidence was observed. Participants’ confidence that they had identified the correct voice in the audio-lineup was not influenced by the verbal overshadowing effect; in other words, verbal overshadowing had the effect of decreasing earwitnesses’ recognition ability but without their knowledge.[65]

Child testimony

Most of the research on eyewitness memory has involved adults, despite the fact that it is not uncommon for children to have been involved in a crime or to have been the central witness of a crime. Statistics from the Crown Prosecution Service[66] revealed that 1,116 children under the age of 10 were witnesses to a crime in England and Wales in 2008/9.

Children’s testimony refers to when children are required to testify in court after witnessing or being involved in a crime. In situations where a child is the main witness of a crime, the result of the hearing is dependent on the child’s memory of the event. And there are several important issues associated with eyewitness memory of children. For example, the accuracy of the child’s explanation, in such situations, coupled with how well the child can identify the setting of the crime and the individuals involved in the crime, influence the credibility of the child’s testimony. Whilst research shows that it is possible for children to provide relevant and accurate forensic information, they appear less reliable than adult witnesses and like all witnesses, can create false memories.[67][68]

Moreover, children often have a limited vocabulary, a desire to please the officer, or difficulty answering questions because of trauma.[68] Using early childhood memories in eyewitness testimony can also be challenging because for the first 1–2 years of life, brain structures such as the limbic system, which holds the hippocampus and the amygdala and is involved in memory storage,[69] are not yet fully developed.[70] Research has demonstrated that children can remember events from before the age of 3–4 years, but that these memories decline as children get older (see childhood amnesia).[71][72]

Children can be involved in testimony not only when they are witnesses, but also when they are victims. There have been several cases of children recovering false memories of childhood abuse.[73] Children as especially suggestible[74] and in cases of recovered memories, is hard to determine whether the recovered memory is accurate or imagined. Due to the sensitivity of these cases, strategic interviewing is implemented for children, which may result in the validity of the memory to suffer. Strategic interviewing must be assessed with sensitivity on an individual bases and without leading questions, as they may influence the child’s answer.[75] Additional influences may include individuals surrounding the child prior to, and during the hearing. If children hear new information from such individuals, studies show that children will more than likely agree with what the others said – regardless of the child’s initial opinion.[76]

Studies on children show that the average child is at greater risk for memory loss, due to the brain’s immaturity and plasticity, when compared to an average adult.[21] Poorer memory performance in young kids was shown when youth of different ages were asked to recall a doctor’s visit.[15] Children aged 3–5 answered with much less accuracy than individuals aged 6–15, indicating developmental differences in memory capacity. Furthermore, it has been shown that information encoded and stored in memory is dependent on the extent of knowledge regarding the event. That is, if a child is exposed to an event that he or she knows little about, their memory of the event will not be as accurate when compared to a child who is more knowledgeable on event-related topics.[77] These results of increased sensitivity, suggestibility and memory loss in children lead one to question the competency of a child to serve as an eyewitness. Researchers have determined that a child should be considered a competent witness if he or she has the capacity to observe, communicate, produce sufficient memories, differentiate truth from lies, and understand the obligation to tell the truth.[15] However, the same caution that is taken with all eyewitnesses should be taken with child testimony, as all eyewitness testimonies are prone to inaccuracies.[3][4][5]

Intellectual ability and testimony

Individuals with intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk for sexual abuse and exploitation because they are often dependent on others and uneducated or physically incompetent in ways of self-protection.[78] Therefore, much research has been devoted to investigating the accountability of these individuals in eyewitness testimonies. When a group of adults chosen by the Developmental Disabilities Association was compared to a control group of college students, they performed equally well when a target was absent from a lineup. However, the control group were better at recognizing when a target was present in a lineup, leading to the determination that people with intellectual disabilities are more suggestible and likely to confabulate.[78] Children with intellectual disabilities show similar patterns in their eyewitness accounts. After watching a video of a crime, children with these disabilities performed worse than non-disabled kids of the same age on free recall, open-ended questions, and both general and specific misleading questions.[79] These children performed better than the age-matched control group only on leading questions with yes or no answers, suggesting that they are more likely to acquiesce in the interview.[79] These findings indicate that individuals with intellectual disabilities could be considered competent witnesses if interrogated in a non-leading manner.

Eidetic memory

Individuals who are said to possess eidetic memories are thought to hold to an image in mind for longer and with more accuracy than the average individual.[80] But evidence for eidetic memory is limited, and there is no evidence for photographic memory or a memory being an exact replica of an event. The memories of those who claim to have superior eidetic memories are just as flawed as the memories of individuals who have normal mnemonic abilities;[81] people who claim to have photographic memories are not immune to flawed eyewitness testimony. Witnesses who believe that they are able to retrieve an accurate mental photograph will also be much more confident in their account of the event and may influence the trial outcome.[80] Accuracy recall of such visual scenes is a controversial issue. In the past, eidetikers were believed to have extremely accurate recall for visual displays, but modern research findings might reveal a different story. Some research demonstrates that eidetic children have greater recall accuracy for visual details compared to non-eidetic children. Other researchers have failed to find any advantage between the two groups. It is also hypothesized that eidetic imagery is not exactly related to memory and improves recall for visual details. As such, photographic memory is not useful in the courtroom.[82]

The frequency of eidetic imagery is low in adults and shows greatest frequency in early child development.[83] In fact, it is almost non-existent past the age of 7. When procedures are used to classify eidetic memory separate from the characteristic of afterimage and memory image, a small number of children are classified as true eidetikers. These children are still suggestible; their eyewitness testimonies may still have error.

Earwitness memory

Research investigating earwitness memory has only recently emerged from the shadow of the extensively investigated phenomena of eyewitness memory and eyewitness testimony, despite having been in use within the English justice system since the 1660s.[84]