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

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

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

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

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

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUST NO ONE

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

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

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Medicare For All: What Does it Actually Mean?

DEBUNKED: Medicare for All MYTHS! | Louder With Crowder

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

Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup Champions to WH

President Trump Welcomes the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champions

Trump welcomes 2019 Stanley Cup champions to White House

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

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

 

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1324, September 20, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Approved Sending U.S. Troops To Bolster Saudi Arabia’s Air and Missile Defenses — Videos — Story 2: Partisan Whistle Blower Complaint of Trump Phone Call To World Leader — Just Another Hack Job — Dead on Arrival — Junk Journalism — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into Economy As Business and Investors Demand for Money Increases — Videos — Story 4: Collectivist Climate Change Cult Child Abuser Alarmists — The Green New Steal — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Approved Sending U.S. Troops To Bolster Saudi Arabia’s Air and Missile Defenses — Videos

Pentagon announces troop deployment to Saudi Arabia

US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia

PBS NewsHour full episode September 20, 2019

Pentagon briefs Trump on military options against Iran

POLL: Just 13% Support Trump’s War For Saudi Arabia

Iran Attack on Saudi Arabia Oil Not Slowing Aramco IPO

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United States sending troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack

by Reuters
Friday, 20 September 2019 23:57 GMT

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

 U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities, which Washington has squarely blamed on Iran.

The Pentagon said the deployment would involve a moderate number of troops – not numbering thousands – and would be primarily defensive in nature. It also detailed plans to expedite delivery of military equipment to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Reuters has previously reported that the Pentagon was considering sending anti-missile batteries, drones and more fighter jets. The United States is also considering keeping an aircraft carrier in the region indefinitely.

“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news briefing.

“We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.

The Pentagon’s late Friday announcement appeared to close the door to any imminent decision to wage retaliatory strikes against Iran following the attack, which rattled global markets and exposed major gaps in Saudi Arabia’s air defenses.

Trump said earlier on Friday that he believed his military restraint so far showed “strength,” as he instead imposed another round of economic sanctions on Tehran.

“Because the easiest thing I could do, ‘Okay, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.’ … But I’m not looking to do that if I can,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

But the deployment could further aggravate Iran, which has responded to previous U.S. troop deployments this year with apprehension. It denies responsibility for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which has been battling a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE, has claimed responsibility for the strikes.

ATTACK LAUNCHED FROM IRAN?

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated sharply since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports.

For months, Iranian officials issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran were blocked from exporting oil, other countries would not be able to do so either.

However, Iran has denied any role in a series of attacks in recent months, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and strikes claimed by the Houthis.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have fingered southwest Iran as the staging ground for the attack, an assessment based at least in part on still-classified imagery showing Iran appearing to prepare an aerial strike.

They have dismissed Houthi claims that the attacks originated in Yemen.

One of the officials told Reuters the strike may have been authorized by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The United States is wary of getting dragged into another conflict in the Middle East. It has troops positioned in Syria and Iraq, two countries where Iranian influence is strong and Iran-backed forces operate openly.

U.S. officials fear Iran’s proxies might attempt to strike American troops there, something that could easily trigger a broader regional conflict.

Saudi Arabia has said it was attacked by a total of 25 drones and missiles, including Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and “Ya Ali” cruise missiles.

U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said officials were still hammering out the best array of capabilities to defend Saudi Arabia, noting the difficulty combating a swarm of drones.

No single system is going to be able to defend against a threat like that, but a layered system of defensive capabilities would mitigate the risk of swarms of drones or other attacks that may come from Iran,” Dunford said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali, Eric Beech and Mohammad Zargham Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)

http://news.trust.org/item/20190920230811-gljdq

Story 2: Partisan Whistle Blower Complaint of Trump Phone Call To World Leader — Just Another Hack Job — Dead on Arrival — Junk Journalism — Videos

Schiff demands access to Trump whistleblower complaint

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Whistleblower complaint about President Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter

September 19 at 8:04 PM

A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter, which has set off a struggle between Congress and the executive branch.

The complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a “promise” that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said.

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.

That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

The Democrats’ investigation was launched earlier this month, before revelations that an intelligence official had lodged a complaint with the inspector general. The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that the complaint had to do with a “promise” that Trump made when communicating with a foreign leader.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sept. 19 said a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community met the threshold requiring notification of Congress. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

On Thursday, the inspector general testified behind closed doors to members of the House Intelligence Committee about the whistleblower’s complaint.

Over the course of three hours, Michael Atkinson repeatedly declined to discuss with members the content of the complaint, saying he was not authorized to do so.

He and the members spent much of their time discussing the process Atkinson followed, the statute governing his investigation of the complaint and the nature of an “urgent concern” that he believed it represented, according to a person familiar with the briefing, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“He was being excruciatingly careful about the language he used,” the person said.

What is a whistleblower: How to be a journalist
Whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg take personal risks to expose wrongdoing. (The Washington Post)

Atkinson made clear that he disagreed with a lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who had contradicted the inspector general and found that the whistleblower complaint did not meet the statutory definition of an urgent concern because it involved a matter not under the DNI’s jurisdiction.

Atkinson told the committee that the complaint did not stem from just one conversation, according to two people familiar with his testimony.

Following the meeting, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, warned of legal action if intelligence officials did not share the whistleblower complaint.

Schiff described acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s refusal to share the complaint with Congress as “unprecedented” and said he understood the Justice Department was involved in that decision.

“We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress,” Schiff said, adding: “We’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected.”

Trump has denied doing anything improper. In a tweet Thursday morning, the president wrote, “Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself.

“Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call,” Trump wrote.

But Maguire prevented Atkinson from doing so, according to correspondence that has been made public. Atkinson wrote that he had requested permission from Maguire to inform the congressional intelligence committees about the general subject matter of the complaint, but was denied.

Maguire, Atkinson wrote, had consulted with the Justice Department, which determined that the law didn’t require disclosing the complaint to the committee because it didn’t involve a member of the intelligence community or “an intelligence activity under the DNI’s supervision.”

Maguire is scheduled to testify before the Intelligence Committee in a public session next Thursday.

In letters to the White House and State Department, top Democrats earlier this month demanded records related to what they say are Trump and Giuliani’s efforts “to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically-motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity” — one to help Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is in prison for illegal lobbying and financial fraud, and a second to target the son of former vice president Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump.

Lawmakers also became aware in August that the Trump administration may be trying to stop the aid from reaching Ukraine, according to a congressional official.

Giuliani dismissed the reports of the whistle blower and Trump’s “promise” to a foreign leader.

“I’m not even aware of the fact that he had such a phone call,” Giuliani said Thursday. “If I’m not worried about it, he’s not worried about it.”

The filing of the whistleblower complaint has led to what veterans of U.S. spy agencies described as an unprecedented situation with potentially grave consequences for the already troubled relationship between the president and the nation’s powerful intelligence community.

It remains unclear how the whistleblower gained access to details of the president’s calls — whether through “readouts” generated by White House aides or through other means.

Memos that serve as transcripts of such calls are created routinely. But if that is the source in this instance, it would appear to mean that White House aides made a formal record of comments by the president later deemed deeply troubling by the intelligence community’s chief watchdog.

John Wagner, Karoun Demirjian, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey contributed reporting.

Story 3: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into Economy As Business and Investors Demand for Money Increases — Videos

 

NY Fed to pump $75 bn into money markets daily through Oct 10

AFP
The New York Fed -- which handles the levers that control the flow of money in the system -- has for the past four days had to pump billions into money markets after bank demand for cash pushed interest rates above the Fed's target
The New York Fed — which handles the levers that control the flow of money in the system — has for the past four days had to pump billions into money markets after bank demand for cash pushed interest rates above the Fed’s target (AFP Photo/Delil SOULEIMAN)
More

New York (AFP) – The New York Federal Reserve Bank said Friday it will inject billions into the US financial plumbing on a daily basis for the next three weeks in an effort to prevent a spike in short-term interest rates.

The Fed will offer up to $75 billion a day in repurchase agreements — exchanging secure assets for cash for very short periods — through October 10, it said in a statement.

In addition, it will offer three 14-day “repo” operations of at least $30 billion each.

Banks have struggled in recent days to find the cash needed to meet reserve requirements which has pushed up short-term borrowing rates, prompting the New York Fed to pump billions into US money markets with repo operations over the past four days.

However, in a sign a cash crunch could be easing, demand for liquidity on Friday did not significantly exceed the amount offered, as it had on two prior days.

After October 10, the New York Fed will “conduct operations as necessary to help maintain the federal funds rate in the target range, the amounts and timing of which have not yet been determined.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week downplayed concerns about the money market’s cash crunch, saying it was not a sign of problems in the wider economy or a concern for monetary policy.

Economists say an array of conditions converged to dry up liquidity in the banking system — including quarterly corporate tax payments and a surge in government debt sold to investors, which drained cash out of banks.

Banks borrow regularly in markets for very short periods, usually overnight, to make sure their daily cash reserves do not fall below the required level. But interest rates increase with demand.

The New York Fed adds or removes liquidity to keep interest rates in line with the desired target, but the cash shortage in recent days prompted it to pump funds into the short-term repo market as rates soared and threatened to break out of the Fed’s target range.

The central bank cut benchmark lending rates interest rate on Wednesday, and also made some technical adjustments to try to keep the market rates from breaking out of the range, including cutting the interest it offers on bank reserves held at the Fed that are in excess of the minimum required level.

Story 4: Collectivist Climate Change Cult Child Abuser Alarmists — The Green New Steal — Videos

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DEMYSTIFIED: What’s the difference between weather and climate? | Encyclopaedia Britannica

Green New Deal: Fact versus Fiction

The Last Time the Globe Warmed

The Left Ruins Everything

Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Forget climate Apocalypse. There’s hope for our warming planet | Jelmer Mommers | TEDxMaastricht

Is an Ice Age Coming? | Space Time | PBS Digital Studios

Tucker Carlson Tonight 9/20/19 | Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News September 20 , 2019

Watch: Climate Change Marches Across The Globe | NBC News Now

IS GLOBAL WARMING THE BIGGEST FRAUD IN HISTORY? – Dan Pena

First Global Climate Strike arrests in London as teachers encourage pupils to take to the streets and join mass protest inspired by eco-activist Greta Thunberg

  • The Metropolitan Police said two people had been arrested in the Strand as activists gathered across London
  • Schoolchildren joined the protests in Britain after they were urged to walk out of classes and lectures today
  • State schools urged pupils not to attend, while some private schools urged them to make their own decision
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and mayor Sadiq Khan have been among those to praise young demonstrators
  • Do you know any of the protesters taking part in today’s climate action? You can email tips@dailymail.co.uk

Police have moved in and made their first arrests as the largest worldwide climate protest in history arrived in London today with hundreds of thousands of Brits taking part in demonstrations across the country.

Activists, many of whom carried Extinction Rebellion flags and banners, have descended on the capital as the Global Strike 4 Climate Change movement kicked off in the UK to coincide with protests all over the planet.

The Metropolitan Police said two people had been arrested in the Strand for breaching conditions imposed on the protesters which dictate they must gather in a specific place in Westminster, central London.

Schoolchildren, many of them dressed in their uniforms, joined in on more than 200 different climate events in Britain after they were urged to walk out of classes and lectures today.

Politicians have been split on whether or not pupils should be skipping lessons to attend the climate protests, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and mayor Sadiq Khan among those to commend young demonstrators.

Mr Corbyn addressed a rally of climate strikers outside Parliament and praised those who had missed lessons to attend, adding: ‘Thank you for being here to teach me and everyone else a lesson about the environment.’

State school leaders have urged youngsters not to take part, saying they understand the strength of feeling around the issue, but have concerns about pupil welfare.

But Suzie Longstaff, headmistress of the £18,900-a-year private Putney High School in south-west London, said that young people should be able to make their own decisions about whether to take part in today’s action.

Scroll down for video 

A protester is arrested by police officers stationed outside outside King's College London as mass demonstrations hit the UK this morning

A protester is arrested by police officers stationed outside outside King’s College London as mass demonstrations hit the UK this morning

A protester is led away by police in handcuffs

An Extinction Rebellion protester is shown outside King's College London

A protester is led away by police in handcuffs this morning (shown left), while an Extinction Rebellion activist is shown waving a XR flag outside King’s College London

Two protesters are placed in handcuffs outside King's College London near the Strand as mass demonstrations kicked off in the capital today

Two protesters are placed in handcuffs outside King’s College London near the Strand as mass demonstrations kicked off in the capital today

Schoolchildren protest with banners outside parliament in London after youngsters were urged to skip lessons in order to take part in demonstrations

Schoolchildren protest with banners outside parliament in London after youngsters were urged to skip lessons in order to take part in demonstrations

Youngsters take part in today's climate change demonstrations after thousands skipped lessons and lectures this morning

Youngsters take part in today’s climate change demonstrations after thousands skipped lessons and lectures this morning

Thousands of protesters gather near the Houses of Parliament for today's climate change demonstration, where Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak later this afternoon

Thousands of protesters gather near the Houses of Parliament for today’s climate change demonstration, where Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak later this afternoon

Police officers carry a protester away in the Strand after issuing section 14 notices amid mass-scale demonstrations in London today

Police officers carry a protester away in the Strand after issuing section 14 notices amid mass-scale demonstrations in London today

An aerial shot from Central London shows thousands of protesters gathering during one of more 200 events across the UK this afternoon

An aerial shot from Central London shows thousands of protesters gathering during one of more 200 events across the UK this afternoon

Scottish  comedian Billy Connolly was among those to lend his support to protesters marching in Glasgow this afternoon

Scottish  comedian Billy Connolly was among those to lend his support to protesters marching in Glasgow this afternoon

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted an image from the protest in London and is due to address a rally of climate strikers outside Parliament, while dozens of other mass-scale events are being held up and down the country

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted an image from the protest in London and is due to address a rally of climate strikers outside Parliament, while dozens of other mass-scale events are being held up and down the country

Students carrying Extinction Rebellion banners and flags are shown marching through the streets outsude the Houses of Parliament

Students carrying Extinction Rebellion banners and flags are shown marching through the streets outsude the Houses of Parliament

Police officers form a cordon outside Parliament Square, as demonstrators were asked to protest in specified areas

Police officers form a cordon outside Parliament Square, as demonstrators were asked to protest in specified areas

A young child looks out at the masses of people who gathered in central London today for the what is expected to be the world's largest ever join climate change demonstration

A young child looks out at the masses of people who gathered in central London today for the what is expected to be the world’s largest ever join climate change demonstration

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger was among those to give their support to those taking part in the Global Climate Strike

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger was among those to give their support to those taking part in the Global Climate Strike

The Global Strike For Climate in London is being held only days ahead of the scheduled United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York

The Global Strike For Climate in London is being held only days ahead of the scheduled United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York

Hundreds of protesters hold a 'die-in' at the UK Student Climate Network's Global Climate Strike in Cambridge this afternoon

Hundreds of protesters hold a ‘die-in’ at the UK Student Climate Network’s Global Climate Strike in Cambridge this afternoon

But Ms Longstaff said: ‘Every day we are educating the young people of the future to speak out and make their own decisions.

‘We are trying to provide a modern and relevant education which includes connecting to topics that they feel passionate about. We can’t pick and choose what those are.

‘I’m proud that Putney students have both a social and environmental conscience and I applaud them. Those who feel strongly about protesting will be there.’

Sylvie Craig, 11, and her friend Eva De Pear, 12, both of Shepherds Bush in west London, took the day off school and brought their mothers to the demonstration.

Sylvie said: ‘Climate change is really important. We can’t just talk about it, we have to do something about it ‘

Her mother Bay Garnett, a fashion director, said: ‘I am here for my children and all children. I think every mother feels the same. They need a healthy planet to live on.’

Eva skipped her biology lesson on Friday, saying that going to it made ‘no sense’ because ‘the planet is in real big trouble’. She said: ‘I am here to teach people a lesson instead of learning a lesson.’

Her mother Leila Amanpour said: ‘I feel that unless we come out into the streets, especially the children, the Government is not going to do anything about climate change.’

Thousands of protesters, including hundreds of children, many wearing school uniform, gathered in Birmingham’s Victoria Square before marching through nearby streets.

Meanwhile, West Mercia Police advised drivers to find alternatives routes after around 40 Extinction Rebellion members intermittently blocked traffic in Worcester.

Tweeting a photo from a climate strike in London, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Young people here and across the world are making it impossible to ignore the environment and climate emergency.

‘This is the wonderful youth Climate Strike in my constituency; now I’m on my way to the main London demonstration.’

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: ‘Great to see so many people the Glasgow Youth Climate March, all raising awareness of the climate crisis.

‘We demand immediate, strong action to stop irreversible damage. We must protect both our planet and future generations.’

Protesters gather ahead of the UK Student Climate Network's Global Climate Strike at Millbank in London today

Protesters gather ahead of the UK Student Climate Network’s Global Climate Strike at Millbank in London today

Young climate strikers across the country (pictured here in Millbank, London this morning) are taking to the streets as part of a global protest to demand urgent action to tackle climate change

Young climate strikers across the country (pictured here in Millbank, London this morning) are taking to the streets as part of a global protest to demand urgent action to tackle climate change

Protesters hold banners as they attend the Global Climate Strike taking place outside the Houses of Parliament this morning

Protesters hold banners as they attend the Global Climate Strike taking place outside the Houses of Parliament this morning

A sign posted on the outside of the Ben and Jerry's store in Wardour Street, London, shows the firm's support of the climate strikes today

A sign posted on the outside of the Ben and Jerry’s store in Wardour Street, London, shows the firm’s support of the climate strikes today

London joins in global Climate change strikes call for action
Workers joined thousands of schoolchildren in taking part in the mass-scale demonstrations in London today (pictured in Westminster)

Workers joined thousands of schoolchildren in taking part in the mass-scale demonstrations in London today (pictured in Westminster)

Medical professionals were shown marching near Westminster holding up banners and homemade signs declaring their support of climate intervention

Medical professionals were shown marching near Westminster holding up banners and homemade signs declaring their support of climate intervention

State school leaders have urged youngsters not to take part, saying they understand the strength of feeling around the issue, but have concerns about pupil welfare

State school leaders have urged youngsters not to take part, saying they understand the strength of feeling around the issue, but have concerns about pupil welfare

Students hold placards as they attend a climate change demonstration in London this morning (pictured on the lawns outside the Houses of Parliament)

Students hold placards as they attend a climate change demonstration in London this morning (pictured on the lawns outside the Houses of Parliament)

Hundreds demonstrate in Bristol in global climate change strike

London Mayor Mr Khan called on the Government to ‘step up’ action on climate change, adding: ‘I am standing in solidarity with all those who are taking part in the Global Climate Strike.

‘Here in London, City Hall staff have also been encouraged to observe the strike by taking time out of their day to send a message to the world that London demands more ambitious climate actions from governments.’

However business, energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he could not endorse children leaving school to take part in the protests, which have been inspired by teenage eco-activist Greta Thunberg.

He told BBC Breakfast on Friday that he supports the ‘energy and creativity’ of students, but said time spent in school is ‘incredibly important’.

Jessica Ahmed, 16, who is studying for an International Baccalaureate had emailed her school to warn that she would be walking out on Friday.

Speaking at a protest in Westminster, Miss Ahmed of Barnet, north London, said: ‘There are no excuses in this. School is important but so is my future.

‘If politicians were taking the appropriate action we need and had been taking this action a long time ago when it was recognised the world was changing in a negative way, then I would not have to be skipping school.

‘I would be doing the maths exam I have studied for.

She called on the Government to acknowledge the severity of the climate crisis and for youth to be included in policy-making, adding ‘With so many people striking, surely Government have got to take notice?’

Slogans such as ‘if you breath air you should care’, ‘us snowflakes are melting’, ‘learn to change or learn to swim’, and ‘don’t be a fossil fool’, were among the homemade banners held aloft in the crowd.

Politicians have been split on whether or not children should be skipping lessons to attend the climate protests, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and mayor Sadiq Khan among those to praise young demonstrators

Politicians have been split on whether or not children should be skipping lessons to attend the climate protests, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and mayor Sadiq Khan among those to praise young demonstrators

Students carrying Extinction Rebellion banners and flags are shown marching through Parliament Square in central London this afternoon

Students carrying Extinction Rebellion banners and flags are shown marching through Parliament Square in central London this afternoon

The protests in central London today are part of a snowballing movement sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg's school strikes outside the Swedish parliament

The protests in central London today are part of a snowballing movement sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s school strikes outside the Swedish parliament

Politicians have been split on whether or not students should be skipping lectures to attend the climate protests, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and mayor Sadiq Khan among those to praise young demonstrators

As protests got under way across the UK, the Metropolitan Police said two adults had been arrested on The Strand in central London - where XR Universities, an Extinction Rebellion group are holding a protest (pictured)

As protests got under way across the UK, the Metropolitan Police said two adults had been arrested on The Strand in central London – where XR Universities, an Extinction Rebellion group are holding a protest (pictured)

In Belfast, hundreds of young people took over the Corn Market area of the city centre, where they staged a colourful protest, with speeches and chants, before lying on the ground to participate in a mass ‘die-in’.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said the school strikers have shown that people power could move governments.

He said: ‘The rest of us now need to step up and stand with the children demanding radical, systemic change, before it’s too late.’

Metropolitan Police announced it had made a couple of arrests relating to protests this morning, adding in a tweet: ‘Two adults have been arrested in the Strand for breach of the S14 conditions.

‘We would ask everyone attending #ClimateStrike please attend Millbank, where in conjunction with the organisers we have created a safe space for protest.’

Missing a day of school for climate protest will hit your child’s exam chances, says UK’s schools minister

British schools minister Nick Gibb said the Government ‘shares young people’s passion’ for tackling climate change, but said children should not miss school to protest.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said schools need to record the absences.

He said: ‘We share the passion, as a Government, of young people for tackling climate change, and that is why this Government and this country is committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gasses by 2050.’

He added: ‘We don’t think it should be at the expense of a child’s education because what we want is for the next generation to be as well educated as possible to tackle these kinds of problems, and you don’t do that by missing out on an education.’

He said even missing out on one day of school can affect GCSE results.

The ‘Global Strike 4 Climate Change‘ rally started in Sydney this morning where Thor star Chris Hemsworth and his young daughter India joined 50,000 in a rally that saw some violent clashes between police and protesters.

Throughout the day the movement is spreading west across the world to most of the planet’s biggest cities including Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, London and New York.

But in China – the world’s most polluting nation – President Xi’s government has banned the movement from protesting in its cities.

In New York, the city’s Department of Education says all its 1.1million schoolchildren can skip class to participate in the strike if they had parental consent – without any fear of punishment.

Miss Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel prize for her climate activism, will spearhead a rally at the United Nations headquarters in the city later.

As the sea of people made their way through the city, some school students on scooters could be seen heading in the opposite direction, while there was some fighting between protesters and police.

Others could be seen scribbling their signs on old pieces of cardboard on the footpath as they waited for the event to begin.’.

Britons joining the climate strikes can expect a day of unseasonably warm weather on Friday as they call on businesses and politicians to cut emissions.

Children and young people are preparing to walk out of lessons and lectures, with hundreds of thousands of workers expected to join them.

The protests are part of a snowballing movement sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s school strikes outside the Swedish parliament.

It comes ahead of a climate action summit in New York convened by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres to urge countries to up their climate efforts.

Much steeper measures are needed across the globe to prevent temperature rises of more than 1.5C (2.7F) or 2C (3.6F) to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Sydney: A protester clashes with police during the climate rally in the Australian city on Friday before he was arrested and removed from the area

Sydney: A protester clashes with police during the climate rally in the Australian city on Friday before he was arrested and removed from the area

Sydney: Children chanting for change march through Australia's largest city today as the 'Global Strike 4 Climate Change' began

Sydney: Children chanting for change march through Australia’s largest city today as the ‘Global Strike 4 Climate Change’ began

Climate demonstrators shut down Sydney streets
In Australia today 300,000 people have taken part including more than 50,000 people in Sydney with Thor star Chris Hemsworth and his young daughter India (pictured) among those who flooded the streets

50,000 people in Sydney flooded the streets

Sydney: In Australia today 300,000 people have taken part including more than 50,000 people in Sydney with Thor star Chris Hemsworth and his young daughter India among those who flooded the streets

Canberra: A baby takes part in the The Global Strike 4 Climate rally with his parents displaying a warning about the extinction of animals in his car seat

Canberra: A baby takes part in the The Global Strike 4 Climate rally with his parents displaying a warning about the extinction of animals in his car seat

Marovo Island, Solomon Islands: Students in traditional dress gathered on the South Pacific Ocean took part in a march along the beach

Marovo Island, Solomon Islands: Students in traditional dress gathered on the South Pacific Ocean took part in a march along the beach

Bangkok: Marchers in Thailand decided to block the roads outside the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as they demanded action

Bangkok: Marchers in Thailand decided to block the roads outside the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as they demanded action

Indonesia: Youths walk with signs through the main road during a Global Climate Strike rally as smog covers the city due to the forest fires in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province

Indonesia: Youths walk with signs through the main road during a Global Climate Strike rally as smog covers the city due to the forest fires in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province

As if to underline the urgency of the issues, the mercury is set to hit 26C (78.8F) this weekend – 8C(46.4F) above average for the time of year.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘It is unbelievable that we should need global strike action for the future of our planet to be taken seriously.

‘The stark reality is that our climate is changing rapidly and we are running out of time to address it.’

He promised strikers his full support, adding that City Hall had been invited to observe the strike themselves.

‘I hope governments around the world who are failing to take action hear the voices of millions of people, young and old, unified in their call for action to save our planet. Our future depends on it,’ he said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to address a rally of climate strikers outside Parliament on Friday, while other events are being held up and down the country.

The UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) says more than 200 events are taking place across the UK, with – for the first time – adults being encouraged to join the youngsters as they strike.

UKSCN is calling on politicians to bring in a ‘Green New Deal’ to cut the UK’s emissions to zero and improve lives, changes to education to equip youngsters to deal with the climate crisis and votes at 16 to give them a voice.

Bali: People display placards during a rally as part of a global climate change campaign at Sanur beach on Indonesia's resort island

Bali: People display placards during a rally as part of a global climate change campaign at Sanur beach on Indonesia’s resort island

Dhaka: Bangladeshi students join the protest and claim world leaders are 'acting like children' over climate change

Dhaka: Bangladeshi students join the protest and claim world leaders are ‘acting like children’ over climate change

Berlin: Activists chose to cycle to block traffic at Ernst-Reuter-Platz square as they take part in the Global Climate Strike

Berlin: Activists chose to cycle to block traffic at Ernst-Reuter-Platz square as they take part in the Global Climate Strike

Brisbane: Millions of people from across the globe are expected to walk out of work and school as part of 'Strike 4 Climate Action' which will be held in 150 countries on September 20

Brisbane: Millions of people from across the globe are expected to walk out of work and school as part of ‘Strike 4 Climate Action’ which will be held in 150 countries on September 20

Sydney: Two young girls climb a pole as thousands gathered in the centre of the city as part of global mass day of action

Sydney: Two young girls climb a pole as thousands gathered in the centre of the city as part of global mass day of action

Sydney: A man clashes with police during the climate rally in Sydney on Friday. He was arrested and removed from the area

Sydney: A man clashes with police during the climate rally in Sydney on Friday. He was arrested and removed from the area

Sydney: Parents took their children out of school to take part in the protest. However, acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said students should be in school as it was 'just a disruption'

Sydney: Parents took their children out of school to take part in the protest. However, acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said students should be in school as it was ‘just a disruption’

Among the many trade unions throwing their weight behind the strikes are the TUC Congress, the University and College Union and Unite.

Some businesses are actively supporting their workers to take action, with outdoor clothing company Patagonia closing stores and offices globally, and taking out adverts to support the strikers.

The Co-operative Bank has also teamed up with Unite to support its workforce to take part in the climate strikes around the country.

Worldwide, there are more than 4,600 events in 139 countries taking place as part of the Fridays for Future movement between Friday September 20 and 27, and campaign group 350.org says more than 70 unions, 500 organisations and 1,000 companies have come out in support of the strikes.

Muna Suleiman, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said most people wanted to fix the climate crisis but politicians needed to act.

She said: ‘Right when we need our leaders to step up, they continue to let us down.

‘From filling the skies with more planes, to backing fracking in the UK and funding oil and gas projects abroad.

‘That’s why we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with young people to call on our politicians to deliver emergency climate action now. And we’re asking everyone to join us.’

Sydney: The Global Strike 4 Climate will on Friday take place in 110 towns and cities across Australia, with organisers demanding government and business commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030

Sydney: The Global Strike 4 Climate will on Friday take place in 110 towns and cities across Australia, with organisers demanding government and business commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030

Sydney: More than 50,000 people flooded Sydney's streets as they made their way to the Domain to take part in the demonstration calling for governments and businesses to commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030

Sydney: More than 50,000 people flooded Sydney’s streets as they made their way to the Domain to take part in the demonstration calling for governments and businesses to commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030

'Can't eat money, can't drink money': Protesters take to the streets in Sydney as part of the rally which happened across the globe on Friday

‘Can’t eat money, can’t drink money’: Protesters take to the streets in Sydney as part of the rally which happened across the globe on Friday

Climate change protestors are seen crossing the Victoria Bridge during the Global Strike 4 Climate rally in Brisbane

Large crowds gather during the The Global Strike 4 Climate rally Melbourne,

Brisbane (left) and Melbourne (right): More than 300,000 Australians have chosen to take part in the Global Strike 4 Climate

In Australia there were hundreds of young people proving their dedication to the cause as they carried artistic placards they had made the night before, which read: 'Time is almost up' and 'There is no Planet B'

In Australia there were hundreds of young people proving their dedication to the cause as they carried artistic placards they had made the night before, which read: ‘Time is almost up’ and ‘There is no Planet B’

Sydney: A young girl sits on a man's shoulders during the Sydney protest on Friday. She held a sign which read: 'There is no planet B'

Sydney: A young girl sits on a man’s shoulders during the Sydney protest on Friday. She held a sign which read: ‘There is no planet B’

Sydney: Children allowed out of school chant and throw their arms in the air during the world's biggest planned climate protests

Sydney: Children allowed out of school chant and throw their arms in the air during the world’s biggest planned climate protests

Sydney: Thousands of protesters turned out for the climate strike on Friday. This woman wore green and wrapped a vine around her neck for the cause

Sydney: Thousands of protesters turned out for the climate strike on Friday. This woman wore green and wrapped a vine around her neck for the cause

Bangkok: Thai people protest in front of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Bangkok: Thai people protest in front of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Bangkok: Children with megaphones demand their politicians make changes to protect the future of the planet

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7485615/First-Global-Climate-Strike-arrests-London-teachers-encourage-pupils-streets.html

 

Nolte: Climate ‘Experts’ Are 0-41 with Their Doomsday Predictions

 

For more than 50 years Climate Alarmists in the scientific community and environmental movement have not gotten even one prediction correct, but they do have a perfect record of getting 41 predictions wrong.

In other words, on at least 41 occasions, these so-called experts have predicted some terrible environmental catastrophe was imminent … and it never happened.

And not once — not even once! — have these alarmists had one of their predictions come true.

Think about that… the so-called experts are 0-41 with their predictions, but those of us who are skeptical of “expert” prediction number 42, the one that says that if we don’t immediately convert to socialism and allow Alexandria Ocasio-Crazy to control and organize our lives, the planet will become uninhabitable.

Why would any sane person listen to someone with a 0-41 record?

Why would we completely restructure our economy and sacrifice our personal freedom for “experts” who are 0-41, who have never once gotten it right?

If you had an investment counselor who steered you wrong 41times, would you hang in there for number 42?

Of course not. You’d fire him after failed prediction two or three.

And if that’s not crazy enough, the latest ploy is to trot out a 16-year-old girt to spread prediction number 42, because it is so much more credible that way.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.

Anyway, I want you to have the data, so go ahead and print this out in advance of Thanksgiving dinner with your obnoxious Millennial nephew.

LIST OF DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS CLIMATE ALARMIST GOT RIGHT

NONE.

ZIP.

ZERO.

NADA.

BLANK

DONUT HOLE

NIL.

NOTHING.

VOID.

ZILCH.

LIST OF DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS THE CLIMATE ALARMIST GOT WRONG

Here is the source for numbers 1-27. As you will see, the individual sources are not crackpots, but scientific studies and media reports on “expert” predictions. The sources for numbers 28-41 are linked individually.

  1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
  2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
  3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
  4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
  5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
  6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
  7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
  8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
  9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life
  10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
  11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes
  12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
  13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
  14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
  15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
  16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
  17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
  18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
  19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
  20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
  21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
  22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
  23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
  24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
  25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
  26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
  27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
  28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
  29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
  30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
  31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
  32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 90s
  33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
  34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
  35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
  36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
  37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015
  38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
  39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
  40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
  41. 1970s: Killer Bees!

Sorry, Experts… Sorry, Scientific Consensus… Only a fool comes running for the 42nd cry of wolf.

Don’t litter, be kind to animals, recycling’s for suckers (it’s all going to end up in the ground eventually), so stop feeling guilty… Go out there and embrace all the bounty that comes with being a 21st century American — you know, like Obama, who says he believes in Global Warming with his mouth but proves he doesn’t with the $15 million he just spent on oceanfront that we’re told is doomed to flooding

https://www.breitbart.com/environment/2019/09/20/nolte-climate-experts-are-0-41-with-their-doomsday-predictions/

Corporate America Has Found a Way to Turn a Profit Off Being Green

View photos

 

(Bloomberg) — It’s time to stop crediting corporate sustainability efforts as acts of altruism. For big business, protecting the environment often means padding the bottom line.

Nike Inc. has come up with a way to weave more efficiently, reducing the raw material and labor time needed to make each shoe. That has kept more than 3.5 million pounds of waste from reaching landfills since 2012. But the good news doesn’t stop with the environmental impact. The company is spending less on transportation, materials and waste disposal.

The shoemaker’s “more environmentally conscious product has been a source of cost savings,” said James Duffy, an analyst at Stifel.

Those flimsy plastic water bottles sold by Nestle SA? The ultra-thin design has a smaller impact on the environment while pushing down costs associated with packaging and shipping. Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have poured tens of millions of dollars into a fund that builds out recycling infrastructure, reducing landfill tipping fees and recovering material that could be sold as new products.

Tech giants have spent billions of dollars on solar and wind power, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and energy expenditures at the same time. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon and Facebook Inc. are now some of the largest buyers of green power in America.

Turns out it’s not just easy being green—it’s also profitable.

“We’ve moved past this concept that business versus the environment is a tradeoff,” said Tom Murray, who advises companies on reducing emissions at Environmental Defense Fund, including Walmart, McDonald’s Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. “The business benefits were always there, but more and more companies are going after them.”

The business case for going green has never been stronger as companies find ways to make more from less. Here’s a look at the ways corporate sustainability is making environmentalism pay.

Lightweight Flights Cost Less

United Airlines Holdings Inc. has been making its planes lighter, driving down fuel use and costs. Airlines account for almost 2% global carbon emissions. Not even the in-flight magazine has been spared in the search for unnecessary heft: changing to a lighter paper stock saved almost $300,000 per year on fuel. United redesigned airplane bathrooms, switched out beverage carts and ended duty-free sales. The company was also working on reducing its cabin waste to zero.

What it pays: United has saved more than $2 billion on fuel so far.

Hanging Hotel Towels Saves More Than Water

It turns out that simply asking guests to hang up towels to dry and forego daily sheet changes can save hotel operators 25% off annual energy costs. “To some surprise within the hotel industry, this option was quickly embraced by hotel guests as a small way to engage in energy conservation,” according to a report by the Urban Land Institute. Clarion Partners LLC does that at all of its hotels and went a step further by reducing flows through toilets, faucets and showerheads.

What it pays: Cutting water use saves Clarion hotels about $17,250 per year.

Idle Trucks, Real Money

Walmart runs one of the biggest trucking fleets in the U.S. That means scores of semis standing in traffic at any given time. At that scale, the introduction of technology that reduces energy use when trucks or idling and software that creates more efficient routes can improve fuel efficiency by 90%, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

What it pays: Diesel averages almost $3 a gallon in the U.S.

Tech’s Green Power Payoff

Google, Facebook and Amazon are among the largest energy consumers in the U.S., and a lot of that power is now emission-free. Each company committed to getting 100% of their power for their data centers from renewable resources such as wind and solar. Exxon Mobil signed up to energize its operations in Texas with solar and wind energy starting next year, which would place the oil producer among the top 10 buyers.

What it pays: With renewables now cheaper than fossil fuels, these green energy commitments shave an estimated 10% off tech giants’ gargantuan utility bills.

Paperless Bathrooms Are Cheaper

Restaurants, movie theaters and others have been making the switch from paper towels to hand dryers in their restrooms for years. Dryers have become the norm because of the savings on the cost of paper towels and the expense of sending garbage to the landfill. Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, made the switch and cut carbon emissions by 76% per use.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/big-business-turns-profit-environmentalism-100018045.html

Patrick Michaels

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Patrick J. Michaels
Patrick Michaels by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Michaels in 2016
Born February 15, 1950 (age 69)

Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Chicago,
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Known for Work on global warming
Scientific career
Fields ClimatologyEcology
Institutions University of Wisconsin–Madison,
University of Virginia,
Cato Institute
Thesis Atmospheric anomalies and crop yields in North America (1979)
Website Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute

Patrick J. (“Pat“) Michaels (born February 15, 1950) is an American climatologist. Michaels was a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute until Spring 2019. Until 2007 he was research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, where he had worked from 1980.[2][3][4]

A self-described skeptic on the issue of global warming, he is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has written a number of books and papers on climate change, including Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming (1992), The Satanic Gases (2000), and Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (2004). He’s also the co-author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know (2009).[2] Michaels’ viewpoint, as argued in a 2002 article in the journal Climate Research, is that the planet will see “a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C” for the 1990 to 2100 period (a value far smaller than the IPCC’s average predictions).[5]

Contents

Education

Patrick Michaels obtained an A.B. in biological science in 1971 and an S.M. in biology in 1975 from the University of Chicago, and in 1979 obtained his Ph.D. in ecological climatology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[6] His doctoral thesis was titled Atmospheric anomalies and crop yields in North America.[7]

Views on climate change

Michaels has said that he does not contest the basic scientific principles behind greenhouse warming and acknowledges that the global mean temperature has increased in recent decades.[8] He is quoted as being skeptical of global warming,[citation needed][9] and is described by Michael E. Mann as a “prominent climate change contrarian.”[10] He contends that the changes will be minor, not catastrophic, and may even be beneficial.[11]

He has written extensive editorials on this topic for the mass media, and for think tanks and their publications such as Regulation. He stated in 2000:[11]

[S]cientists know quite precisely how much the planet will warm in the foreseeable future, a modest three-quarters of a degree (C) [in 50 years]

All this has to do with basic physics, which isn’t real hard to understand. It has been known since 1872 that as we emit more and more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, each increment results in less and less warming. In other words, the first changes produce the most warming, and subsequent ones produce a bit less, and so on. But we also assume carbon dioxide continues to go into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate. In other words, the increase from year-to-year isn’t constant, but itself is increasing. The effect of increasing the rate of carbon dioxide emissions, coupled with the fact that more and more carbon dioxide produces less and less warming compels our climate projections for the future warming to be pretty much a straight line. Translation: Once human beings start to warm the climate, they do so at a constant rate.[12]

Michaels has stated in the Wall Street Journal:

Why is the news on global warming always bad? Perhaps because there’s little incentive to look at things the other way. If you do, you’re liable to be pilloried by your colleagues. If global warming isn’t such a threat, who needs all that funding?[13]

A 2002 article published in the journal Climate Research by Michaels and three other scholars has predicted “a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C” over the 1990 to 2100 period, although he remarked that the “temperature range and central values determined in our study may be too great.” He made the argument that the climate feedback system involving current warming trends was weaker than generally asserted, coming to a conclusion that set his views apart from that of the IPCC’s estimates.[5]

In 2009, Michaels authored a Cato report arguing that “Congress should pass no legislation restricting emissions of carbon dioxide, repeal current ethanol mandates, and inform the public about how little climate change would be prevented by proposed legislation.” [14]

In 2018, Michaels asserted on Fox News, “probably about half, maybe half of that nine-tenths of the degree [of total warming] might be caused by greenhouse gases.” Climate Feedback, a fact-checking website for media coverage on climate change, wrote of Michaels’ assertion, “no evidence or research is provided to support this claim, which contradicts the published scientific literature.”[15]

Advocacy

Expert witness for Western Fuels Association

In May 1994 Richard Lindzen, Michaels, and Robert Balling served as expert witnesses on behalf of Western Fuels Association in St. Paul, Minnesota to determine the environmental cost of coal burning by state power plants.[16] Western Fuels Association is a consortium of coal producers that uses collective advocacy to represent industry interests.[17]

1998: Michaels and Balling complaint against Star Tribune upheld

In May 1997 Ross Gelbspan made a presentation in Minneapolis discussing his concerns, documented in his 1997 book The Heat is On, that some climatologists were involved in a “disinformation campaign” to counter the scientific consensus on global warming. The Minnesota Star Tribune ran an editorial praising this as a public service exposing undue credit given to the “unsubsantiated opinions” of a handful of contrarian scientists, and naming Michaels and his colleague Robert Balling as skeptics whose views had been examined and dismissed by numerous other scientists. Michaels and Balling took a complaint against the Star Tribune to the Minnesota News Council, and at a hearing in April 1998 by a 9–4 decision the council “voted to sustain the complaint that the Star Tribune editorial unfairly characterized the scientific reputations of Patrick Michaels and Robert Balling.”[18]

World Climate Report, Greening Earth Society, and Western Fuels Association

The World Climate Report, a newsletter edited by Michaels was first published by the Greening Earth Society. The society was a public relations organization associated with the Western Fuels Association (WFA), an association of coal-burning utility companies.[19][20][21]It has been called a “front group created by the coal industry”[22] and an “industry front”.[23] Fred Palmer, a society staffer, is a registered lobbyist for Peabody Energy, a coal company.[24] WFA founded the group in 1997, according to an archived version of its website, “as a vehicle for advocacy on climate change, the environmental impact of CO2, and fossil fuel use.”[25]

2003 John Holdren

Office of Science and Technology Policy director, John Holdren,[26] told the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee in June 2003, “Michaels is another of the handful of U.S. climate-change contrarians … He has published little if anything of distinction in the professional literature, being noted rather for his shrill op-ed pieces and indiscriminate denunciations of virtually every finding of mainstream climate science.”[27] In 2009 Michaels responded in a Washington Examiner Op-Ed, saying that the IPCC had subverted the peer review process, and adding the IPCC had “left out plenty of peer-reviewed science that it found inconveniently disagreeable.”[28]

International Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group in 2007

Michaels was one of hundreds of US reviewers composing the International Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group in 2007.

Although the Greening Earth Society was generally skeptical of the impact of climate change, it acknowledged some degree of global warming as real: “Fact #1. The rate of global warming during the past several decades has been about 0.18°C per decade”.[29] Note that the actual increase in the global surface temperature during the 100 years ending in 2005 was 0.74 ± 0.18 °C.[30]

Climate scientist Tom Wigley,[31] a lead author of parts of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has stated that “Michaels’ statements on the subject of computer models are a catalog of misrepresentation and misinterpretation … Many of the supposedly factual statements made in Michaels’ testimony are either inaccurate or are seriously misleading.”[32]

Climate of Extremes

Michaels received praise for his book, Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know (2009) from University of Alabama-Huntsville Principal Research Scientist Roy Spencer, who wrote, “Michaels and [Co-Author Robert] Balling have provided a treasure trove of the latest global warming science.”[33] Will Happer, Professor of Physics and Former Chairman of the University Research Board at Princeton University, also praised the book and wrote it “…provides important and honest information about climate change that is hard to find elsewhere.”[34]

Funding from energy or fossil fuel companies

On July 27, 2006 ABC News reported that a Colorado energy cooperative, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association, had given Michaels $100,000.[35] An Associated Press report said that the donations had been made after Michaels had “told Western business leaders … that he was running out of money for his analyses of other scientists’ global warming research” and noted that the cooperative had a vested interest in opposing mandatory carbon dioxide caps, a situation that raised conflict of interest concerns.[36]

Michaels said on CNN that 40 per cent of his funding came from the oil industry.[37] According to Fred Pearce, fossil fuel companies have helped fund Michaels’ projects, including his World Climate Report, published every year since 1994, and his “advocacy science consulting firm”, New Hope Environmental Services.[38]

A 2005 article published by the Seattle Times reported that Michaels had received more than $165,000 in fuel-industry funding, including money from the coal industry to publish his own climate journal.[9]

Selected publications

Michaels is the author of several books including: Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming (1992), Satanic Gases (2002; as coauthor), Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media (2004), published by the Cato Institute, and Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming (2005; as editor and coauthor).

His writing has been published in major scientific journals, including Climate ResearchClimatic ChangeGeophysical Research LettersJournal of ClimateNature, and Science, as well as in popular serials such as the Washington PostWashington TimesLos Angeles TimesUSA TodayHouston Chronicle, and Journal of Commerce.[2] He was an author of the climate “paper of the year” awarded by the Association of American Geographers in 2004.[2]

Science papers and technical comments

Books

See also

References …

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

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

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

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Fed Chairman Powell faces dilemma as Trump continues his public criticism

Powell Says Fed Rate Cut Is Insurance Against Ongoing Risks

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

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

Published on Aug 21, 2019

Fiat money may not survive this recession

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

What Happens When the Fed Lowers Interest Rates

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

Gold & Silver Prices Fall on FED Rate Cut Announcement

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

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

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

 

Current Federal Reserve Interest Rates and Why They Change

Why the Fed Lowered Its Benchmark Rate in September 2019

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

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

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

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

 

Why the Fed Raises or Lowers Interest Rates 

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

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

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

 

How the Fed Funds Rate Works

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

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

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

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

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

 

How the Fed Now Sets the Fed Funds Rate

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

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

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

 

How Other Interest Rates Are Determined

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

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

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

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

Fed Cuts Rates By Quarter Point But Faces Growing Split

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lowered Expectations

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

Projected midpoint for rate at end of 2019

Target range following

this quarter’s release

10 officials

5

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

4.0%

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0

Sept. ’17

Dec.

March ’18

June

Sept.

Dec.

March ’19

June

Sept.

PROJECTION RELEASE DATE

Source: Federal Reserve

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing

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

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

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

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

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

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

17.9K people are talking about this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

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

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

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

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

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

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NY Fed concludes first repo in 11 years amid liquidity concerns

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

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

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

 

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

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

Rates spike

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

$1 trillion deficits and paying Uncle Sam

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

The return of QE?

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

 

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

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

EXCLUSIVE

Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1321, September 17, 2019, Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos –Story 2: U.S. Gasoline Prices Rising — Videos — Story 3: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Videos —

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Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

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

See the source image

Iran is trying to pressure US into removing sanctions: Gen. Keane

Saudi Oil Field Attack Originated From Iran, Used Cruise Missiles And Drones | NBC Nightly News

Saudi Arabia to Reportedly Resume 70% of Lost Oil Output

Trump says it’s “looking like” Iran responsible for drone attack | Nine News Australia

Trump Says Tehran Likely Behind Aramco Attack

Would be difficult for Saudi Aramco to list now after oil attack, analyst says | Squawk Box Europe

Saudi Aramco CEO: Oil attack was huge, but we managed to restore capacity

Attack on Saudi Arabia ‘caught us all by surprise’: Strategist | Street Signs Asia

USA: Lethal attack on Iran ‘proportionate’ after Saudi Arabia oil strike – Trump

Sankey: A potential response by Saudi Arabia against Iran would be ‘horrific’ for oil prices

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quds-1 missile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

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

Saudi Arabia Implicates Iran in Oil Attacks

Military stops short of explicitly accusing Tehran of carrying out strikes

 

Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki in Riyadh on Wednesday displayed what he describes as an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in an attack on the kingdom’s oil industry. PHOTO: AMR NABIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saudi Arabia said it holds Iran responsible for attacks that debilitated Saudi oil facilities, directly implicating Tehran for the first time but stopping short of explicitly accusing it of conducting the strikes.

Saudi officials have concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a complex assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia, Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen, told reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

He said Saudi Arabia made its judgment based on the direction of the cruise missiles when they struck the facilities and the maximum distance of 435 miles they could travel. The weapons found at the two attack sites also could be traced back to Iran, he said.

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia
Fears of a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran are high following an attack on a critical Saudi oil facility Saturday. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three reasons the U.S. is less likely than it once was to defend Saudi Arabia if that happens. Photo: Associated Press

Iran has denied it carried out the attacks.

At the press briefing, Col. Maliki displayed debris from the attacks, including what the Ministry of Defense described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles. He said Saudi Arabia was still working to determine the launch site and didn’t explicitly say the attacks had been mounted by Iran or from Iranian territory.

The ministry on Wednesday also displayed debris from what it said was an earlier attack on an oil facility in Afif in May.

Col. Maliki said the ministry knew the range of the cruise missiles, which he said were Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles, based on its military assessments and the range of previous attacks.

Cruise missiles have vastly different ranges, with some traveling a couple hundred miles while the U.S.-made Tomahawk missile has a range of more than 1,000 miles. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in 2015 quoted then-Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami as saying the Ya Ali outstripped other Iranian cruise missiles with a range of 435 miles.

Saudi Arabia has largely faced ballistic-missile attacks. Col. Maliki said about 230 ballistic missiles had been fired on the kingdom in recent years, demonstrating the strength of Saudi aerial-defense systems.

The Saudi claims escalate tensions in the region, although Col. Maliki didn’t say whether or how the kingdom would respond against Iran.

Firing Range

Saudi Arabia estimates the range of the missiles that targeted its oil facilities is 435 miles. The range would exclude Yemen, where Iran says Houthi rebels conducted the strikes, as a launch point.

Saudi Arabian targets attacked Saturday

SYRIA

Tehran

435-MILE RANGE

FROM TARGETS

IRAN

IRAQ

SAUDI

ARABIA

Abqaiq facility

Persian

Gulf

Riyadh

U.A.E.

Khurais oil field

Red

Sea

OMAN

YEMEN

Sana’a

300 miles

300 km

Source: Saudi Ministry of Defense

The display of debris instead indicated that Saudi Arabia is trying to build a credible case against Iran that it was behind the attacks, and at the same time, leave room for diplomacy. It called on the international community to hold Iran responsible for its aggressive posture in the region.

“This attack was not against Aramco or Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It was an assault on the international community.”

President Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that he has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

While Mr. Trump didn’t directly link Iran to Saturday’s attacks in his tweet, he said this week that it was “certainly looking” like Iran was responsible.

Later, in comments to reporters in California, Mr. Trump said further details on sanctions would be released in the next 48 hours and he is looking at various other options in responding to the strike.

“There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are waiting for the results of an investigation by the Saudi government before proceeding.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more explicit than Mr. Trump in blaming Iran. Landing in Jeddah ahead of a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. diplomat said Iran had conducted the attack, not its Yemeni proxy, known as the Houthis.

“The intelligence community has high confidence that…these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. Additionally, the flight patterns required to have inflicted the level of damage to the Saudi facilities rule out Yemen as a point of origin, he added.

Mr. Pompeo called the attack an act of war. “We’re blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but any time you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always risk that that could happen.”

Tehran on Wednesday continued to say Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen were behind the strikes on the Aramco facilities. President Hassan Rouhani after a cabinet meeting in Tehran told state media that the U.S. was falsely accusing Iran of the attack to pressure it. The attack was a warning from the Houthis to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a bloody war against the rebels for nearly five years, he said.

Addressing Saudi Arabia, Mr. Rouhani added: “Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region.”

Saturday’s twin attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities knocked out 5.7 million barrels a day of production at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, sending global oil prices higher.

On Tuesday, Saudi officials said they would use reserves to return production to normal levels within weeks and had restored 50% of lost output.

The price of Brent crude—the global benchmark—jumped 15% to $69.02 a barrel on Monday, its largest one-day climb since 1988. It was trading at $64.44 a barrel on Wednesday.

Some Saudi officials were skeptical of the defense ministry’s claims of aerial robustness. The strikes demonstrated a vulnerability in Saudi Arabia’s overstretched air systems, which have been taxed by months of attacks throughout the country, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

The kingdom’s air defenses never had a chance to activate because neither Saudi nor American systems detected the launch of the airstrike on Saturday morning, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The Saudi government recently moved the position of some air-defense systems, Saudi officials said, in order to cope with recent strikes that have hit airports, oil installations, and a desalination plant. Houthi rebels claimed the bombings.

The failure of Saudi and American air defenses to stop Saturday’s attack has raised alarms about the security of facilities that are a key component of the world’s oil supply. The combination of cruise missiles and drones represents a complex attack that would have challenged even the most sophisticated air-defense systems in the world, experts said.

“It looks like the attack was very carefully and thoroughly planned and that great care was taken to construct the attack plan in such a way to evade the air defenses that the Saudis are known to have,” said Bradley Boyer, a defense and energy analyst and retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer.

Saudi Arabia’s air defenses include the American Patriot and Hawk missile systems, which are better suited to shoot down mid- and long-range ballistic missiles, rather than the lighter and lower-flying cruise missiles and drones used in Saturday’s attack. The country also possesses short-range defense systems.

Saudi Arabia has a mixed record in defending itself from missile attacks. In one well-documented case, the country activated its Patriot missile defenses during an attack on the Riyadh airport in November 2017. The government said it shot down the incoming missile. Video footage and other evidence showed the defenses fell short of their targets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-holds-iran-responsible-for-oil-attacks-11568820602

Oil storage tanks
The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plant dramatically cut into global oil supplies. | Amr Nabil/AP Photo

DEFENSE

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid U.S.-Iran tension

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attack Saturday on key Saudi oil infrastructure. On Sunday, senior U.S. officials again said the American government believes there is no doubt Iran was responsible, saying satellite imagery and other intelligence, show the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.

Iran, meanwhile, called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military bases across the Mideast with their arsenal of ballistic missiles.

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out.

The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent U.S. senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence.

“Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. “When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.

Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that’s been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom’s crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world’s daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase.

Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks.

In Washington, President Donald Trump said Sunday evening that he had approved the release of U.S. strategic petroleum reserves “if needed” to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The announcement followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Images from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite examined by the AP showed black char marks at the heart of the Abqaiq plant on Sunday, marks not seen over the prior month. Identical marks are visible on the U.S. imagery. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies in August identified the area with the char marks as the plant’s stabilization area. The center said the area includes “storage tanks and processing and compressor trains — which greatly increases the likelihood of a strike successfully disrupting or destroying its operations.”

The state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, which the kingdom hopes to offer a sliver of in a public stock offering, did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the Saudi attack on Twitter late Saturday, and officials worked to provide evidence for his claim the following day.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones — a charge that Tehran denies.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.”

“The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward ‘maximum lies,’” Mousavi said in a statement.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying the drone attack came from there. Oil-rich Kuwait also said it would increase security around the country’s “vital sites” over the attacks.

Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group’s claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press on Sunday it exploited “vulnerabilities” in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate.

Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats.

Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country’s aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

“Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops,” he said in a video published online with English subtitles.

It wasn’t just Iran making threats. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican close to Trump, suggested retaliatory strikes targeting Iran. “Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

All this comes before the United Nations General Assembly in a little over a week. There’s been speculation of a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the summit’s sidelines, possibly in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear accord over a year ago.

If Iran had a hand in Saturday’s attack, it could be to bolster their position ahead of any talks, analysts say.

“The main point for Iran, in my opinion, is not necessarily to derail a meeting between Trump and Rouhani but to increase its leverage ahead of it,” said Michael Horowitz, the head of intelligence at the Bahrain-based risk management firm Le Beck International. “By carrying out such a major attack, Iran wants to send the message that the only way to decrease tensions is to comply with its demands regarding sanctions relief.”

However, he warned there could be a danger of Iran “overplaying” its hand.

“There will be no political benefit for Trump in a meeting with Rouhani if this meeting sends the message that the U.S. simply surrendered to Iranian demands,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/saudi-oil-attack-iran-1497449

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Story 3: Congress Subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski in Impeachment Probe — No Collusion With Russia — Same Conclusion as Mueller Report — Videos 

Lewandowski becomes first witness to testify in impeachment probe

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Democrats threaten Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with CONTEMPT as he mocks and stonewalls them at first House impeachment hearing – before attorney confronts him with his own words and he admits he is ‘not honest with the media’

  • Corey Lewandowski stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump 
  • I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said  
  • Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee 
  • Trump praised Lewandowski’s opening statement, calling it ‘beautiful’ 
  • Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler charged the president with obstructing House Democrats’ investigation into his administration
  • ‘President Trump now appears to be using the powers of his office to obstruct all investigations by the only branch of the federal government currently capable of holding him accountable,’ Nadler wrote to the White House counsel   
  • White House counsel told committee Lewandowski would not to discuss conversations he had with Trump about government matters
  • White House forbid former aides Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn from testifying 
  • Lewandowski is mulling a New Hampshire Senate bid 
  • Committee counsel Barry Berke tore into his past statements during a late-hearing grilling 

Tuesday’s House hearing with Corey Lewandowksi culminated with angry threats by the Democratic majority to hold him in contempt – and damaging admissions by the former Donald Trump campaign manager that he has been untruthful in national TV interviews.

The fireworks came after a full day of testimony, after House Democrats armed with new rules they pushed through allowed an outside consultant to grill Trump’s combative former campaign head for 30 consecutive minutes.

Lewandowski was for the first time confronted with his past statements on Fox and MSNBC interviews, as well as statements he made in his own book about his interactions with the president.

‘I have no obligation to be candid with the media whatsoever,’ Lewandowski said at one point.

I’m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress,’ he said under questioning by majority counsel Barry Berke, saying he was truthful ‘every time I raised my right hand to God.’

Scroll down for video 

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski was confronted with a clip of himself saying on MSNBC he didn’t ever remember the president ‘ever asking me to get involved with [former attorney general] Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape, or form, ever.’

It was a key moment of alleged obstruction from the Mueller report – where Trump dictated to Lewandowski, a private citizen, a statement he wanted the former attorney general to give while curtailing the special counsel’s investigation.

‘That was not true, was it?’ the Harvard law grad and white collar defense attorney Berke asked him.

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

‘I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they are just as dishonest as everybody else,’ Lewandowski responded.

Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, who during the hearing shut down fellow Democrats efforts to bring maximum pressure on the witness, came down on the witness at the end of the hearing.

‘Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable. It is part of a pattern of a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth,’ the New York Democrat fumed.

‘I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration,’ he warned.

Republicans howled in protest when the Democrats brought in their ringer to conduct intensive questioning at the end of the hearing. Previously, individual members tried to get the former New Hampshire police officer to buckle during five-minute increments of questioning.

In another tense moment with Berke, the lawyer asked him: ‘On national television did you lie about your relationship with the special counsel and whether they sought your interview?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied.

Lewandowski tweeted out a message about the launch of his campaign for senator from New Hampshire during the hearing, irking one Democratic lawmaker who mentioned it.

He got accolades from the president for his early loyal performance, but cracks soon developed in his testimony as the day wore on.

Lewandowski has stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump as the president praised his former campaign manager’s tough stance.

Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which he could also use as a launch pad for a Senate bid.

The former Trump campaign manager offered a strong defense of the president, claiming he was a victim of ‘haters’ and resisted Democrats’ efforts to ask him about his conversations with the president.

The hearing is part of the Democrats’ strategy to prove there is enough evidence to impeach President Trump and they’ve issued a round of subpoena to witnesses from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to help make their case to the American people.

Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski’s more than four hours before the panel had its share of made-for-TV moments as he resisted their efforts to implicate Trump and snapped back at many of their questions.

In one of those moments, he mocked Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, who suggested Lewandowski was ‘ashamed’ to read his own words from Mueller’s report that were projected on a screen in the room.

‘Why don’t you want to read it Mr. Lewandowski?’ the congressman for California asked.

‘I think you should afford me the same privilege you gave Mr. Mueller,’ he responded, referring to Mueller’s June testimony before the committee, where he did not have to read from his report.

‘Are you ashamed of the words you wrote down,’ Swalwell asked.

Lewandowski then called him ‘President Swalwell,’ in his response, alluding to the congressman’s failed presidential bid.

‘President Swalwell – I’m very happy with what I’ve written but you’re welcome to read it if you like,’ he said.

And when Swalwell pressed him if he was ashamed of what he wrote, Lewandowski pushed back: ‘I’m not ashamed of anything in my life. Are you?’

Swalwell also asked about Lewandowski’s testimony to Mueller, where he stated he kept notes from his conversations with President Trump in a safe.

‘It’s a big safe congressman. There’s a lot of guns in there,’ Lewandowski said.

But Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal got in a shot at her own at Lewandowski during her questioning period.

‘You are not yet in the Senate. You are a witness before the Judiciary Committee. Please act like it,’ she told him, referring to speculation he may run for New Hampshire’s Senate seat next year.

The lawmaker from Washington state appeared to rattle Lewandowski when she asked him if he lied to Mueller’s investigators or to the president.

‘Not to the best of my recollection, no,’ he told her.

She then asked him about a tweet from Trump in April, after the Mueller report came out, when the president wrote: ‘Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue.’

‘So the president is wrong that the report is fabricated and totally untrue?,’ Jayapal asked Lewandowski.

‘That’s a question for the president,’ he replied.

‘Did you lie to the president and is the president correct that everything in the report is fabricated?,’ she asked.

‘I won’t comment on private conversations but I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I lied about anything. And I’ve answered it multiple times. I’ve answered your question multiple times,’ Lewandowski replied.

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell's failed presidential bid

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell’s failed presidential bid

The former Trump campaign manager also made some head-scratching comments in his testimony, claiming he never read Mueller’s report and arguing the ‘fake Russian collusion narrative’ is the ‘greatest crime committed’ against the American people.

‘I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said.

Lewandowski also had a contentious back-and-forth with Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.

‘Don’t ask me a question I won’t answer,’ he told her when she pressed him on his conversations with the president.

‘This is House Judiciary – not a house party,’ she shot back.

And when Jackson Lee pressed him to answer a question about a section of Mueller’s report, which was projected on a screen in the hearing room, Lewandowski snapped back: ‘ You’re welcome to read it, congresswoman.’

‘You’re welcome to be stalling, and I’m not going to stall. Either answer the question yes or no,’ Jackson Lee responded.

I will not disclose any conversation I’ve had with the president,’ Lewandowski said. ‘The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversation with the president.’

With Jackson Lee’s five minutes of question time expired, Chairman Jerry Nadler said Lewandowski could answer her last question.

‘I don’t believe there was a question, congressman,’ Lewandowski responded. ‘Just a rant.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7474059/Corey-Lewandowski-House-Judiciary-Committees-formal-impeachment-witness.html

 

Story 4: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Juuling — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

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Learning how to JUUL from my little brother!

[yourUVW=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUCM6P-AnHY]

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Doctor on vaping: “Nobody is saying that this has value or benefit” for youths

New York becomes the first state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as panel approves Governor Cuomo’s emergency prohibition

  • Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the ban on Tuesday
  • Sale of all flavored vaping products is banned immediately under the rule
  • Vape shop owners say they will go under and smokers will return to cigarettes
  • Advocates of ban say the fruity flavors are getting kids hooked on vaping
  • CDC reports 380 cases of illness and seven deaths linked to vaping cannabis

New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, a move that comes as federal health officials investigate a mysterious surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.

The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors, goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. Use among high-school students went from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Cuomo pointed to vaping flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that he said seemed aimed at young people.

‘We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices,’ he said on public radio Monday.

Vape shop owners say they’re considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote. Several spoke at the meeting to urge council members to reject the ban.

Mike Kruger owns two vape shops in the Albany region and said the ban could force hundreds of businesses like his to close. He said smokers looking to quit will have fewer options under the ban, potentially leading to an increase in the use of traditional tobacco products. As for the breathing illnesses, Kruger said he believes they are the result of people buying black market vape liquid, not the items he sells.

‘We are bypassing the legislative process,’ he said of the ban. Kruger added that many adults seek out the flavored versions. He himself prefers blue raspberry. ‘Vaping has been around for 12 years. And now this.’

Keith Mautner, who owns a vape store in Queens and uses the products himself, estimates that flavored e-cigarettes make up 95% percent of his business. He said state leaders should have cracked down on manufacturers if they were concerned about the products being used by teens.

‘That’s the problem, the manufacturers. It’s not us,’ he said.

Vaping, which many Americans have taken up as an alternative to smoking, has come under increased federal scrutiny following a rash of deaths related to vaping cannabis. Seen above are flavored vaping products in Queens that are now forbidden under the rule

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

The exemption for menthol was criticized by some health groups, who worried young people would switch to that variety. It includes all types of flavored vaping products, including disposable and refillable devices.

Juul Labs, Inc., the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.

Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.

New York becomes the first state to enact the ban. Michigan approved a ban that includes menthol, but not tobacco flavor, but rules for enactment have not yet been put into place. Other states are also considering bans.

The statewide smoking age is going up to 21, after Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year. He also recently signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

The emergency regulation enacted Tuesday will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed. Cuomo has proposed legislation that would put the ban in state law, eliminating the need to renew the ban.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016 but has yet to take the step.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7475005/Panel-approves-ban-sale-flavored-e-cigs-New-York.html

 

What Is Juuling? Everything To Know About The Teen Vaping Trend

It’s all the rage…

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that teen vaping (and Juuling) had reached “epidemic proportions.” A year later? It doesn’t seem as if the obsession among teens has slowed down.

Case in point: This month, eight Wisconsin teenagers were taken to the hospital with extreme coughs, shortness of breath, and fatigue, per CBS News. Doctors suspected that vaping was the cause of these teenagers’ respiratory problems, some of whom were unable to breathe on their own when they were hospitalized.

While it’s unclear what the kids were inhaling that may have caused their lung and breathing issues, some of the teens said that they may have been vaping nicotine and THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana), as Women’s Health reported previously.

But the agency isn’t slowing down when it comes to cracking down on retailers to prevent kids from wanting to vape and getting their hands on Juuls and other vape products. And we’ll get to that.

But first: Why are young adults so into Juuls, and vaping in general? And just how bad is it really for teens’ health? Here, a primer on the controversy.

What is Juuling exactly?

First off, it’s important to note that vaping and Juuling are the same thing. Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don’t even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and make a vapor that can be inhaled.

According to the company’s website, they were designed to help cigarette smokers transition off of smoking. “We envision a world where fewer people use cigarettes, and where people who smoke cigarettes have the tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely, should they so desire,” the website says. It also says in its marketing and social media code that Juul products are “not appropriate or intended for youth.”

However, the vaporizers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they can be charged when plugged into a laptop’s USB slot—making it easy for students to pass them off as flash drives in class.

Why is Juuling so popular?

Between those two design elements, and the fact that the Juul pods come in flavors like crème brulee, cool cucumber, and mango, these e-cigs have become insanely popular with kids. But they’re also popular among adults, given that they were originally designed to help smokers quit, as mentioned.

Just how widespread is the Juul fad, you’re wondering? The Juul vaping device was invented by two Stanford grads in 2007, and has since become the best-selling e-cigarette on the market, capturing 32 percent of the market share, according to Nielsen data. And according to not-yet published data from the FDA, there was a 75 percent increase in overall e-cigarette use (vaping and juuling) among high schoolers in 2018 compared to 2017, per the Washington Post.

However, one Boston doctor told WFXT that teenagers are still buying Juuls online by lying about their age and using a prepaid debit card.

Why is vaping (or Juuling) bad?

Many people use e-cigarettes, like Juuls, because they aren’t made with tar and all the cancer-causing chemicals you’ll find in a tobacco cigarette. Still, a 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teenagers who smoked e-cigarettes had higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than non-smokers.

Although they’re marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, vapes are certainly not risk-free. “This is not a safe alternative,” says Michael Blaiss, MD, the executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Is it safer than a tobacco cigarette? Yes. The problem is that nicotine itself can have major effects.”

“Think of it this way: In comparing e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes, we are comparing e-cigarettes to the deadliest consumer product on the market,” says Christy Sadreameli, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins and spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

Is Juuling more dangerous for kids than for adults?

Vaping can be particularly harmful for children and teenagers. The human lung develops rapidly within a child’s first two years, Dr. Sadreameli says, but it continues to grow until a child is 15 years old, on average.

Exposure to e-cigarette vapor during periods of lung growth and development may be more harmful to the lungs compared to when they’re fully developed, she says. “Teens who are using e-cigarettes themselves may be getting exposed to very high doses of these products,” she says. “We know that e-cigarettes contain extremely dangerous compounds, such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, acrolein (which causes irreversible lung damage), and sometimes harmful substances such as menthol and diacetyl (which can cause a dangerous lung disease called ‘popcorn lung’).”

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a18377132/juuling/

Juuling: The Addictive New Vaping Trend Teens Are Hiding

Here’s what you need to know about Juul, the e-cigarette brand that contains double the nicotine and is vaped from a device that looks like a USB drive.

Forty years ago, nearly 29 percent of high school seniors reported smoking cigarettes daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2018, less than 1 in 25 high schoolers smokes daily.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports a similar decline, with 4.3 percent fewer middle schoolers and 15.8 percent fewer high schoolers admitting to smoking cigarettes between 2011 and 2018.However, as cigarette smoking seems to be on the decline, another method of nicotine use has managed to hook today’s youth.

The same CDC report that discussed the decline of cigarette use revealed an increase in vaping.

In 2018, 4.9 percent of middle schoolers reported using electronic cigarettes, and 20.8 percent of high schoolers reported the same.

 

What parents need to know about Juuling, the vaping device in disguise

When it comes to tobacco use, cigarettes are considered a combusted or burned product. The cigarette has to be lit, the tobacco burned, and the smoke inhaled.

Vaping, on the other hand, involves no combustion or burning. Instead, vaping products release an aerosol that is inhaled.

While many people make the mistake of assuming this aerosol is as harmless as water vapor, it actually consists of fine particles containing toxic chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart diseases.

Vaping devices, which include e-cigarettes and vape pens, were first introduced to the commercial market in 2007. They typically have to be plugged in or powered by battery so a heating component can warm an e-liquid cartridge that then releases the aerosol to be inhaled in the lungs.

“A lot of these cartridges are actually marketed as health products,” Winickoff explained. “They have ‘healthy’ flavors, things like mango and berry that are associated with high antioxidants. But they’re just flavors. There are no actual health benefits.”

The CDCTrusted Source has found that these flavors are a big part of the reason teens are latching onto these products. Even worse, Winickoff told Healthline about a study where 60 percent of kids believed that pods used in Juuls (a specific brand of e-cigarette) were nicotine-free — when the reality is that 99 percent of these products contain nicotine.

In 2018, Juuls accounted for about 40 percent of the e-cigarette market, grossing 150 million in retail sales the last quarter alone. The appeal of this product specifically is that they don’t look like e-cigarettes. Juuls are small, can be mistaken for a USB drive, and are easily concealed in a person’s hand.

In other words, this is a product teens are able to use more discreetly, without drawing as much attention from their parents and teachers.

With the introduction of Juuling, e-cigarette use among teens is on the rise. So much so that both Time and The Washington Post reported on Juuling and what parents need to be aware of.

The risks of e-cigarettes

A large number of people believe e-cigarettes are simply a safer way to consume nicotine, and that nicotine isn’t harmful by itself. But that’s not true.

ResearchTrusted Source has found numerous negative impacts of nicotine alone: on metabolism, increased cancer risks and respiratory problems, as well as more asthma attacks and symptoms experienced by those who vape.

“We know based on Juul’s own published testing that these products contain carcinogens. Group 1 carcinogens — the most potent carcinogens known,” Winickoff revealed.

There’s also another risk that parents should be aware of when it comes to teens and e-cigarette use — the addiction may be harder to kick.

According to AAP, Juul pods contain nearly double the concentration of nicotine compared to other e-cigarette cartridges. This is especially concerning because the risk for addiction is already higher among teens.

Winickoff explained, “The younger the developing brain is exposed to nicotine, the stronger and more rapid the addiction. The earlier you become addicted, the harder it is to quit.”

But that’s not all. According to Winickoff, addiction to nicotine at a young age actually causes brain remodeling, changing the threshold for addiction to other substances.

In other words, kids who use nicotine earlier are more likely to fall in love with other drugs later on.

Tips for talking to kids before they start vaping

The risks of Juuling and vaping for kids are real, making it all the more important for parents to begin addressing these issues before their children decide to try these products.

A licensed clinical psychologist from Connecticut, Dr. Elaine Ducharme, PhD, told Heathline, “Parents really need to start talking to their kids in elementary school about this issue.”

She offered these tips for engaging in those discussions:

  1. Educate yourself first. Get the facts on these products so you know what you’re talking about when you approach the discussion with your kids.
  2. Be a role model. Parents are responsible for shaping many of their children’s ideas and behaviors, so set the tone with your own actions.
  3. Establish a safe environment where your kids can talk about their feelings and opinions without feeling judged.
  4. Really listen and let them tell you what they know.
  5. It can sometimes be helpful to give them something to read that you can then discuss together.
  6. Help them figure out ways to handle situations where they may be pressured to engage in these behaviors.
  7. Create a plan, even specific things for them to say like, “I have asthma and my doctor says I could become very ill if I try this,” or, “I just don’t think it looks cool.”
  8. Help them understand that using willpower to stand up to peers is really hard, but willpower is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Winickoff had this to add, “What the research says about tobacco use, which we can apply to Juuling and vaping, is that parents expressing how they feel about these products — their strong negative opinions — actually can make a difference. Kids may protest, but they do internalize their parent’s belief system.”

Winickoff says this is true even if a parent uses the product themselves. Talking about the negatives of that product, and about how the addiction has taken hold and why parents can’t quit (even though they want to) can still send a strong message to teens about why they shouldn’t start.

Getty Images

How teens purchase and hide Juuls

While the legal age for purchasing these products is 18 in some states and 21 in others, Winickoff explained that many kids are ordering them online — simply checking a box to verify they are of legal age. For this reason, parents should pay attention to their teen’s online purchases and packages that may arrive in the mail.

Juul pods also look very similar to an average USB flash drive. Examine any questionable device closely.

Addressing the nicotine addiction

If you discover that your teen is already Juuling, Winickoff is clear that it’s important to recognize this as more than just a “bad habit.” It’s a medical problem that requires a major response from the family, the child’s pediatrician, and possibly a therapist to help get that teen out from under the nicotine addiction.

“It’s not easy to get kids to stop. Their body craves it. They need it just to get through the day. I can tell you from anecdotal experience just from my office, I’ve had a terrible time getting kids to give up electronic cigarettes. It’s that young brain and extra susceptibility. They’re locked in.”

Ducharme added, “If the situation seems out of control, it’s time to speak with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in working with teens and addictions.”

Currently, there aren’t any addiction programs specifically geared toward teens and nicotine use, which makes prevention and enforcement of existing rules all the more important.

Winickoff recommends advocating for zero-tolerance policies in schools and tobacco-free zones around every school, middle grade through college. He also recommends parents get involved in the Tobacco 21 movement, which aims to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. So far, six states have adopted such laws.

With the help of active and informed parents, yours could be next.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally reported on August 17, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, which includes a medical review by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/juuling-the-new-vaping-trend-thats-twice-as-addictive-as-cigarettes#9

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1293, July 22, 2019, Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos — Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Joint United States and Israel Strike Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Systems Programs Deep in Mountains — Nuclear Weapons Required For Total Destruction — Videos — Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos — Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

See the source imageThe Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purposeSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Congress, White House Nearing Two-Year Debt Limit Deal

A budget agreement is ‘near final’, source says

White House projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion

Trump reportedly plans to make massive cuts to federal spending in second term Daily Mail Online

Trump Running $1 TRILLION DEFICITS FOR YEARS TO COME, After Promising to Pay U.S. Debt in 8 years!

Funding the Government: The Budget Process and Omnibus Spending Bills [Article I Initiative]

Why the federal deficit is rising, despite economic growth

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday. Mrs. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks. PHOTO:REBECCA COOK/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate after the 2020 election.

The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels.

The agreement forgoes the steep spending cuts initially sought by the administration, providing for about $320 billion in spending over two years above limits set in a 2011 budget law that established automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, announced the deal on Twitter late Monday, citing all four congressional leaders. He added: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks, hoping to complete a deal before the House leaves Washington at the end of the week for August recess. Mr. Mnuchin had warned that the government could exceed its borrowing limit as soon as early September, before lawmakers return from recess. Talks continued throughout Monday.

In a joint statement Mrs. Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader, pledged that the House would bring the deal quickly to the floor. They stressed that the agreement increases both defense and domestic spending and said they had agreed to spending offsets that were part of an earlier bipartisan agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he was encouraged by the deal, adding that it “secures the resources we need to keep rebuilding our armed forces.” He said he intended to have the Senate vote on it before the chamber departs for recess.

The deal marked a victory for congressional leaders and Mr. Mnuchin, who had stressed that without action, the government could exhaust its ability to keep paying its bills in early September.

A key sticking point in the negotiations was how to pay for the cost of the spending increases. The deal extends small cuts to Medicare beyond fiscal year 2027 and extends fees collected by Customs and Border Protection, amounting to $77 billion worth of savings to offset the cost. Those routine budget accounting moves fall short of the $150 billion in spending cuts originally sought by the administration.

In spring of 2018, Mr. Trump threatened to veto an omnibus spending bill and late last year he rejected a bipartisan spending agreement negotiated in the Senate because it didn’t include billions of dollars in funding to construct a border wall, setting off the longest government shutdown in modern history.

Fiscal hawks panned reports of the proposed deal Monday before many of the details had been released, warning it could add trillions of dollars more to projected government debt levels over the next decade. The White House estimated this month that annual deficits are on track to exceed $1 trillion this fiscal year because of weaker federal revenue following the 2017 tax cut and higher government spending under the current budget agreement.

“This deal would amount to nothing short of fiscal sabotage,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Monday following reports of a two-year $320 billion deal. Ms. MacGuineas urged lawmakers to cancel recess and negotiate for a better deal.

Mrs. Pelosi has been clear that she wanted to reach an agreement before Congress leaves for summer break. She has said she wants the House to vote on the agreement on Thursday, before the chamber goes on recess on July 26. The Senate doesn’t take its break until Aug. 2.

Mr. Mnuchin took the lead negotiating on behalf of the administration, working closely with Mrs. Pelosi. That appeared to limit the roles of White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought.

Leaders of both parties sought to pair the debt limit vote with a broader spending agreement—a move that creates an impetus for Democrats to push for domestic spending increases and lets Republicans avoid a difficult, stand-alone vote on raising the borrowing limit.

An aide to the speaker said Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin spoke three times on Sunday and Mr. Schumer joined one of the calls. On Monday, they spoke in the morning and again in the late afternoon before Mr. Mnuchin held a conference call with the four congressional leaders to discuss any issues. During the call, Mr. Mnuchin told the leaders that the president would tweet on the deal within the hour.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left a meeting with top congressional leaders on a potential deal to raise the budget caps in May. PHOTO: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-and-congress-near-agreement-on-spending-debt-ceiling-11563799484

 

What to Know in Washington: Crunch Week for Debt, Spending Deal

Congress and the White House are closing in on a debt ceiling and budget deal but with time running short could resort to a short term extension of U.S. borrowing authority before the House recesses this week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued talks over the weekend by telephone. A key point under negotiation is the Trump administration’s initial demand for as much as $150 billion in long-term spending cuts to attach to the deal.

Mnuchin warned the U.S. risks missing debt payments in early September — before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington after a recess that begins for the House on Friday and the Senate a week later.

Both sides have offered assurances that Congress won’t let the U.S. run up against the debt limit and trigger a default, but lawmakers are still trying to include a budget agreement in the negotiation.

If the budget negotiations can’t be concluded in time, lawmakers may decide to pass a debt ceiling extension into October. That would avoid the risk of a default in the short-term but would extend uncertainty for markets.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have tentatively agreed on one part of the deal: to suspend the debt ceiling for about two and a half years, along with an increase in discretionary spending that’s estimated to cost $350 billion. Trump officials want to partially offset that spending increase for the military and domestic agency budgets with savings in entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are not subject to annual budget caps.

The White House late Thursday floated a menu of savings options worth $574 billion from which Pelosi could choose what to include in the deal. Pelosi resisted offsetting any of the spending increases, and any hope of a deal hinges on finding a compromise with the $150 billion that Trump officials want to save.

The White House offer also proposed extending caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for 2021 and 2022 to save another $516 billion.

After administration officials sent the offer to Pelosi, President Donald Trump on Friday said he thought the talks were in “good shape.” However he’d still have to sign off on the final terms of a deal and he hasn’t publicly set out what he wants on spending or on cuts.

While the budget deal doesn’t have to be included with a measure to raise the debt limit, lawmakers want it to be addressed soon so Congress can pass appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Otherwise they’ll have to pass a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.

If Congress doesn’t lift the budget caps that limit government outlays, current law would trigger automatic cuts at the end of the calendar year. Read more from Erik Wasson.

https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-know-crunch-week-for-debt-spending-deal/

Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Videos

Stena Impero: Crew seen in first pictures from inside UK-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran

Iran on ‘dangerous path’ after British-flagged tanker seizure

Iran Ambassador says UK raising tensions would be ‘dangerous and unwise’

 

British-operated oil tanker seized by Iran

First pictures INSIDE the British tanker captured by Iran: Tehran taunts the UK by releasing photo of terrified crew huddled on board vessel after it was seized by Revolutionary Guard gunmen

  • British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz
  • First image taken inside vessel shows part of its 23-strong crew being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards
  • Video also shows Iranians talking to the crew around a table, and thanking them for their cooperation 
  • Tehran seized the tanker after Iranian-flagged vessel was stopped by marines off Gibraltar earlier this month
  • Downing Street today said UK ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’ but described the move as ‘escalatory’ 
  • Russia threw its backing behind ally Iran on Monday, saying its position ‘is much more convincing’ than UK 
  • Tehran also said it had arrested 17 suspected CIA spies and will put some to death, further increasing tensions

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker that it captured in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Tehran released video of some of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero sitting around a table speaking with one of their captors, alongside fresh images showing Revolutionary Guardsmen on board the Swedish-owned vessel.

The video shows seven of the crew wearing red jumpsuits and sitting around a table, as one Iranian guard can be heard thanking them for their cooperation. The cameraman can also be heard telling them not to look at him. Another video shows the crew laughing while standing around a coffee machine, and the ship’s cooks preparing food in an apparent attempt to show they are being treated well.

Pictures released by the semi-official Fars news agency earlier in the day show some of the crew – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians a Latvian and a Filipino – huddled cross-legged on the floor.

Standing over them in a Revolutionary Guardsman, while items of bedding and towels are scattered around the room. Their shoes have been taken off and piled in a corner.  Two others photos show an armed guardsman on the deck of the tanker, and the tanker being watched over by armed boats at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held.

The photos and videos are Iran’s latest taunt to Britain, after it also released video of its flag being raised over the vessel and the Islamic call to prayer being played through its speakers.

Iran seized the vessel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, weeks after Britain detained an Iranian vessel off the coast of Gibraltar. Iran says the US ordered the operation amid a standoff between the two countries, but the UK claims the tanker was violating EU sanctions.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

Other images showed the crew - which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino - laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Other images showed the crew – which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino – laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iran's state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

Iran’s state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker - the Grace 1 - which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker – the Grace 1 – which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

 

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

Speaking in the House of Commons this evening, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee on Monday to discuss the crisis, even though her leadership is expected to pass to Boris Johnson in the coming days, who now faces a baptism of fire to diffuse the situation.

The government was also criticised for cutting the size of the navy so that it is not capable of meeting the threat from Iran, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the responsibility for protecting British ships ‘falls to the United Kingdom.’

In other developments on Monday:

  • Russia waded in to take the side of its ally – Iran – accusing Britain of ‘piracy’ for seizing the Grace 1 tanker 
  • Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. Her spokesman said seizing the tanker was illegal and that officials had written to the UN to complain
  • Boris Johnson was urged to break his silence on the crisis, as he prepares to become Tory leader
  • Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran
  • Relatives of one of the crewmen were pictured weeping as they watched news of the tanker’s capture on TV
  • Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West led criticism that the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose and cannot protect British interests
  • Iran said it had captured 17 CIA spies and planned to put some of them to death

As Mrs May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, her spokesman said: ‘We are clear that the seizure of the British-flagged, Swedish owned Stena Impero on Friday was illegal under international law.

‘The ship was seized under false and illegal pretences and the Iranians should release it and its crew immediately.

‘The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to make this demand.

‘We do not seek confrontation with Iran but it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to seize a ship going about legitimate business through internationally recognised shipping lanes.’

Hunt plans European mission to protect ships

Speaking in Parliament today, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

British-flagged ships are advised to avoid Iranian waters and the Straits of Hormuz, and could receive convoys, although Mr Hunt said it would be impossible to protect every ship.

The European-led force would not be part of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign as Britain still wants to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Hunt said.

He said he would discuss how the new proposal would complement the American presence in the area.

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Under international law, Iran had ‘no right to obstruct the ship’s passage, let alone board her’, Mr Hunt said, adding that Britain ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’.

He also rejected Iran’s attempt to draw a parallel between the capture of the Stena and Britain’s seizure of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on July 4.

‘There is simply no comparison between Iran’s illegal seizure of a vessel inside a recognised shipping lane, where the Stena Impero had every right to be, and the enforcement of EU sanctions against a tanker that had freely navigated into the waters of a British overseas territory,’ he said.

‘If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline.’

The Foreign Secretary will discover tomorrow whether he or Boris Johnson will be Britain’s new PM.

But Tehran hit back, saying the seizure was ‘a legal measure by Iran. Iran confronted the ship (to ensure) the region’s security.’

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference in Tehran: ‘To all the countries that are calling on Iran to release the tanker, we ask them to tell Britain the same thing.

‘Comparing the two seizures is an unfair reading’ of the situation, said the Iranian government spokesman.

‘When you illegally seize the ship in Gibraltar, we too are not bound to tolerate any more.’

While Mrs May is handling the crisis for now, Boris Johnson is expected to take over as Prime Minister on Wednesday, and diffusing the crisis will be his first challenge.

He was urged to speak out about the crisis Monday, even as critics attacked his record on negotiating with Iran – after he managed to have the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe extended while he was Foreign Secretary.

In a sign that Mr Johnson could opt to make his Tory leadership rival Mr Hunt the fall guy for the situation, Jacob Rees-Mogg today said it would be ‘vanity’ if the current Foreign Secretary refused to accept a demotion.

Meanwhile Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov insisted Iran was merely ‘taking care of ecology’ in the Gulf and said ‘Iran’s arguments are much more right than those of Gibraltar and London who are indulging in piracy’.

The tanker row – the latest in a series of threats to Middle East shipping – has sent tensions spiralling further amid furious exchanges of rhetoric over the crumbling nuclear deal with Iran.

Maritime industry publication Lloyd’s List said there are currently no U.K.-flagged ships heading to the Persian Gulf and eight U.K.-flagged vessels anchored there after a government advisory to such vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

Restoring the free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of critical importance to the world’s energy supplies because one-fifth of all global crude exports pass through the narrow waterway between Iran and Oman.

Yesterday the Iranian flag was hoisted over the Stena with Iranian armed forces patrolling the decks in the heavily-guarded port of Bandar Abbas.

The family of one of the crewmen - Deena and husband Pappachan - were pictured weeping at their home in Kochi, India, while watching news about the tanker on TV

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy's nickname for the strait is 'Chokepoint Charlie'. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Flashpoint: The Stena Impero, the UK-flagged tanker at the centre of the latest Middle East tensions, is seen at a heavily guarded Iranian port

On deck: The Stena is seen with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat beside it after it was captured on Friday

Video footage released by Iran showed the  tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

In a radio exchange, an Iranian officer can be heard telling the tanker to change course.

‘You are ordered: change your course… immediately. If you obey, you will be safe,’ he said.

The British frigate HMS Montrose intervenes to inform the Stena its ‘passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered’ under international law.

The Iranians then tell the British warship: ‘No challenge is intended… I want to inspect the ship for security reason.’

The Montrose diverted to the Stena’s position but was around an hour away by the time it entered Iranian waters.

Iran ‘arrests 17 CIA spies, several face execution’

Seventeen alleged CIA spies have been arrested in Iran and some of them will face the death penalty, Tehran claimed today.

Iranian intelligence chiefs say they have broken up an American spy ring which had planted U.S. agents in nuclear, military and cyber facilities and allegedly tried to recruit spies in the UAE.

The suspects were all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranians as they applied to travel to America, Iran claims.

Accusation: An Iranian official tells a documentary how authorities in Tehran had struck a blow against American intelligence

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies were arrested during the Iranian calendar year that ended in March 2019.

‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

Meanwhile an Iranian television documentary aired on Monday purported to show a CIA officer recruiting an Iranian man in the United Arab Emirates.

The Press TV documentary claimed that Iran had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’, though it was unclear if it was describing the same arrests.

‘Because there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai. It is very dangerous… Iranian intelligence,’ a woman was shown telling an Iranian in the documentary.

Iran impounded the Stena on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, British charge d’affaires Jonathan Allen wrote that the vessel had been in Omani waters with its transponder switched on when it was approached.

Meanwhile T. V. Pappachan, the father of 26-year-old crew member Dijo Pappachan, said he is waiting anxiously for his son to be returned and called on Britain to guarantee his safety.

‘I am not speaking only for my son. All the 23 crew members set sail to foreign countries for work. They are onboard to make a living. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure they come back safe,’ he told the Kahleej Times.

I have complete trust in the government of India and our diplomatic strength. I understand that the issue is between countries and individuals cannot do much. We are all praying for the entire crew’s safe return.’

Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday amid concern over how Iran was able to capture the ship.

A second oil tanker, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, which is managed by Norbulk Shipping UK, veered off course towards the Iranian coast after it was boarded by armed guards at around 5.30pm on Friday.

The Mesdar’s Glasgow-based operator said communication had since been re-established with the ship and the crew were unharmed.

Britain has warned its ships to avoid the Straits of Hormuz, a chokepoint for about a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.

UK authorities intercepted the Grace 1 on July 4, saying it was violating EU sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.

A detachment of Royal Marines from 42 Commando boarded the vessel off Gibraltar in a joint operation with the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Gibraltar’s government said tests showed the supertanker was fully loaded with crude oil.

But Iran has insisted that the tanker was not headed for Syria.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood attempted to dispel criticism that the UK had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ by allowing the tanker to be captured.

He said the UK had vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day in the region, adding: ‘It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel.’

He also called for more money to be invested in the Royal Navy if Britain wants to continue to play a role on the international stage.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory party leader, added his voice to the critics – saying that Britain was offered help in guarding the vessels by the United States and refused it.

The Stena Impero was surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces at 4pm and ordered to head north on Friday. A second British-managed vessel, Mesdar, abruptly changed course towards Iran

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran's side over the tanker

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran’s side over the tanker

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Royal Navy ‘disgracefully short of ships’

Former heads of the navy and politicians are joining a chorus of criticism of the state of the Royal Navy – warning Britain’s fleet no longer has the power to protect British interests, following the seizure by Iran of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West said the Navy is ‘disgracefully short of ships’ while retired commander of UK maritime forces Rear Admiral Alex Burton said the Navy’s decline since 2005 ‘has had an impact on our ability to protect our interests around the globe’.

On Friday the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose arrived an hour too late to prevent Iranian Revolutionary guard commandos from seizing the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker.

The Royal Navy fleet is a fraction of its size three decades ago and many ships are currently out of commission undergoing maintenance or repair

They diverted the tanker and its mainly Indian crew to Iran, despite it sailing in Omani waters, in retaliation for the capture by British forces of an Iranian vessel earlier this month.

Politicians and military experts have asked why it was not accompanied by a Royal Navy convoy after the Iranian Grace One tanker, allegedly taking Iranian oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, was captured by UK forces off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman said yesterday: ‘I take the view that we have dropped the ball here … we did not put in place a chain where we asked all of our vessels to leave at a certain time under convoy.

‘So it was hardly a surprise when one of ours got taken.’

What does it mean for a ship to sail under a country’s flag?

While the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel, it is owned by Swedish shipping firm Stena AB – which is headquartered in Glasgow.

Being ‘British-flagged’ means the vessel is registered in the UK and is covered by the maritime laws of that country.

A vessel does not have to have any physical connection to the country in which it is registered and merely has to have an application accepted by that country’s shipping authorities.

A ship can only fly one flag at a time, but can change flags at any point.

As a result, some owners seek a so-called ‘flag of convenience’ which they believe will offer benefits.

Panama and the Marshall Islands are well-known for offering easy registrations and other benefits for those registering there, in the hopes of attracting business.

As a result, Panama has the largest ship register in the world, with the Marshall Islands second in the 2018 list.

Describing the grab by Tehran as a ‘major failure’ by the UK, he demanded to know why the offer of help was refused and said answers need to be offered ‘very quickly’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Tory European Research Group and a prominent supporter of Boris Johnson, suggested that leadership rival Jeremy Hunt’s Foreign Office should accept some of the blame for the current crisis in the Gulf.

Downing Street has denied that the US offered support to escort every single British ship through the Strait, with Theresa May’s official spokesman saying that the area is simply too large to provide that kind of assistance.

Meanwhile senior intelligence sources claimed that terrorists supported by Iran could strike Britain if tensions deepen between the two countries.

Agencies believe that the Islamic Republic has funded sleeper cells across Europe, including in the UK.

They rank the country behind only Russia and China as in terms of the threat it poses to national security.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is linked to radicals that are operating the terror cells, a source told the Daily Telegraph.

Counter-terror officers broke apart a cell in 2015 when they found it stockpiling explosives in London.

Britain only has the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose in the region plus four mine hunters, while the US as its Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain - which includes one aircraft carrier, one missile cruiser, five destroyers, two amphibious vessels and two or three submarines

Jeremy Hunt

Liam Fox

Senior Tory ministers including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (left) International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (right) arrived at an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee on Monday chaired by Theresa May
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter (left) and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock (right) both attended the Cobra meeting

The source told the paper: ‘Iran has Hezbollah operatives in position to carry out a terrorist attack in the event of a conflict. That is the nature of the domestic threat Iran poses to the UK.’

The current situation in the Gulf can be traced back to last year when President Trump’s administration tore up a nuclear deal signed under Obama.

Johnson’s first crisis?

Boris Johnson is expected to be crowned new Tory party leader Tuesday before taking the reins Wednesday, meaning he will take charge of managing the Iran crisis.

The former Foreign Secretary previously faced criticism after he managed to extend the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran during his tenure, by suggesting that she was not on holiday, as had been previously claimed.

In just 48 hours, Mr Johnson could find himself negotiating the release of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

He could also find himself doing so without the help of a Foreign Secretary, since his leadership rival is the man currently occupying the post -Jeremy Hunt.

While Mr Johnson has insisted the pair will ‘kiss and make up’ after the election is over, Mr Hunt may decide to follow one of his senior ministers – Sir Alan Duncan – and quit rather than serve under the new leader.

Mr Johnson has so far not spoken out over the crisis, despite mounting pressure to take a stand.

The deal guaranteed Iran economic benefits in return for curtailing its nuclear programme in a way which would not allow it to obtain nuclear weapons.

Trump reapplied stringent economic sanctions on Tehran, robbing the kingdom of much of its income, prompting the regime to walk back on its commitments.

As Iran tried to pressure European leaders to find a way to salvage the deal, tankers in the Gulf can under repeated attack, in explosions which Britain and America have blamed on Tehran.

A UAE investigation found four mysterious sabotage attacks on May 12 were linked to a ‘state actor’ but did not name Iran.

The attacks were carried out with limpet mines and were ‘part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation’, the report found.

The tanker attacks inflamed an already tense Middle East stand-off and prompted the U.S. to bolster its military presence in the region.

Matters worsened just four weeks later when another two ships were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman.

Forty-four sailors were forced to abandon their ships amid a huge fireball on the MT Front Altair and another blast on the Kokuka Courageous.

America again blamed Iran, releasing a video which purported to show Iranian revolutionary guard forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ships.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

 

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these 'ultra-fast' boats in 2010

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these ‘ultra-fast’ boats in 2010

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

 

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

Meanwhile tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions have also been heightening as Tehran moves ever further away from its 2015 nuclear deal. 

Iran has said that it could restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent.

But Major General Hossein Salami, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, denied Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a U.S. drone.

Today former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran.

‘We have one substantial card in our hands, which is that the Iranians have been trying to get the British and the Europeans to keep to the Iran nuclear deal,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘Therefore actually their attempt to interfere with a British-flagged ship is obviously wrong, not just in principle, but it’s obviously a political gamble for them.’

He added that the UK would have to make special arrangements to escort shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

‘Chokepoint Charlie’: Patrolled by 2,000 Iranian speedboats, why the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most chaotic and volatile shipping channels 

By Phil Diacon, for the Daily Mail

To grasp fully the crisis in the Strait of Hormuz, you need a clear picture of the chaotic and volatile scene in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.

Up to 100 oil tankers pass through this narrow waterway every day, transporting close to 20 million barrels of oil – and that is only the activity we can most easily detect in these waters.

Hundreds of other boats and ships ply the same seas, which are not much wider than the English Channel between Dover and Boulogne, about 21 nautical miles.

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south.

Larger vessels are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft.

I spent my formative years in the RAF before founding a maritime intelligence service. The high seas, I have come to learn, are not like the skies, where all aircraft must keep to a flight plan and comply with air traffic control.

Instead, ships such as fishing vessels and pleasure boats do not have to signal their identity or their plans – which makes the Navy’s job of spotting Iran’s military patrol boats extremely difficult.

It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway.

Iran knows this. It has been building up its military strength in the strait for decades, aimed at countering the West’s navies. The crisis in the Strait of Hormuz is extremely volatile. Tehran has become a hungry tiger, backed into a corner with few options for escape.

Already it has stockpiled mines and missiles. And most worryingly of all, the naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has about 2,000 fast attack craft (FAC) to be used in swarm formations. These speedboats can appear anywhere in the strait within minutes. Armed with heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers, they can carry radar-guided anti-ship missiles capable of sinking a 1,500-ton target.

Though their forces are no match for conventional Western navies, they have developed their strength in ‘asymmetric techniques’. It would be difficult for any warship – let alone a tanker – to defend itself against an assault by a swarm of FACs, especially if they were assisted by mini-submarines with torpedoes.

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

Analysts also believe that Iran has developed unmanned, remote-controlled sea-going drones called Ya Mahdi boats. These can be loaded with explosives and launched on high-speed attacks that are difficult to detect on radar.

Clearly, it would be extremely foolish of the UK to underestimate Iran’s military capabilities – or the country’s pride.

The Royal Navy sailors trying to protect British shipping in the Gulf face another headache. Such is the chaotic situation on the ground that it is by no means easy to say what is and isn’t a British ship.

When Iranian commandos stormed the Stena Impero on Friday evening, referred to by some as a ‘British tanker’ none of the 23 crew members taken hostage was, in fact, British. The vessel was sailing under the British flag or ‘red ensign’, but that was really a diplomatic nicety. The ship is owned in Sweden, not the UK – and companies from any number of nations might lay claim to portions of its cargo.

The Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith asked yesterday why Britain had not accepted US offers of naval assistance, but the problem is not a lack of warships: it is knowing what to do with them.

So how should the next Prime Minister navigate this treacherous strait? Let us hope that mediation and cool responses prevail. Putting more warships into the area would increase the likelihood of conflict. I do not believe, therefore, that sending US aircraft carriers and our own nuclear submarines to the region is the answer.

Neither is greater use of convoys. Convoys can move only as fast as their slowest member, and many of the ships in the strait have no reason to join any convoy because they do not perceive any threat.

As long as this stand-off continues, the situation will remain tense. No one should be craving further military action. But after a weekend of dire warnings and threatening rhetoric, Britain has very few viable next steps.

  • Phil Diacon is managing director of the maritime security experts Dryad Global

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271815/Russia-says-Irans-tanker-position-right-Britains.html

Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos

Pompeo dismisses Iran’s claim it arrested 17 CIA spies

Iran says it has captured 17 alleged US spies

Iran claims to have captured spies working for CIA

Iran crisis: ‘CIA spies’ sentenced to death

Iran releases the names and photos of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ it claims to have captured as Trump insists they have NOT been arrested and accuses Tehran of lying because it has ‘no idea what to do’ amid rising tensions with the West

  • The Iranian intelligence and security forces released photographs and the names of some of people they are are among the 17 on Monday 
  • Their identities have not been verified by any other government  
  • It  came as President Trump denied that any CIA agents had been arrested 
  • He accused Iran of lying because the country had become desperate
  • Iran claims to have arrested the spies sometime before March this year
  • It says it is only now publicizing their arrests as tensions with the West escalate 
  • All of the ‘suspects’ are Iranian nationals who were ‘lured’ by ‘US visa traps’, the Iranians claim  
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo retorted that Iran had a ‘history of lying’
  • Middle East tensions have been rising for weeks amid a series of tanker attacks
  • They have spiraled again in recent days after Iran seized a UK-flagged vessel 

An Iranian media outlet has released photographs of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ its government claims to have captured.

Photographs of some of the men were shared on Twitter on Monday by the Tasnim News Agency along with ‘details’ of their apparent work for the US.

The images and information were released by the Iranian intelligence and security forces, the agency reported.  They have not been verified by the US or any other government.

All of the ‘spies’ are Iranian nationals who the Iranian government claims were lured by the US with the promise of getting visas, according to Iran, which claims they were arrested in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March.

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Only now are their arrests being made public as the standoff between the West and Tehran intensifies.

As the photos emerged on Monday, President Trump denied that anyone had been arrested and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iran’s history of lying.

‘The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false,’ Trump wrote in a tweet.

Scroll down for video 

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the ‘spies’ names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended March

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government+27

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies’ families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Another of the 'spies' Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US+27

Another of the ‘spies’ Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US

Trump called the reports 'lies and propaganda' and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and 'has no idea what to do'

 

Trump called the reports ‘lies and propaganda’ and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and ‘has no idea what to do’

‘Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do.’

‘Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!’ Trump wrote.

Iran’s security chiefs said they smashed an American spy ring that had planted U.S. agents at ‘sensitive sites’ in the country’s nuclear, military and cyber facilities.

The 17 suspects are all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranian nationals as they applied to visit America, Iran claims.

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'
The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the ‘spies’

A documentary that aired Monday on Iranian TV purports to show U.S. agents trying to recruit Iranian spies in the Middle East, although the footage has not been verified.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox news Channel interview that Iran’s mullahs can’t be taken at their word.

‘It’s part of their nature to lie to the world,’ Pompeo said. ‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions they’ve taken.’

Iran says the suspects were arrested in the 12 months ending March 2019, but the regime is now publicizing the case now, just as tensions spiral in the Persian Gulf.

Tehran has been feuding with the West for weeks over the crumbling nuclear deal and a series of threats to Middle East shipping, which heightened again last week when Iran’s revolutionary guards seized a British tanker in the Straits of Hormuz.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not commented on the claims specifically, but said Iran ‘has a long history of lying’.

An Iranian documentary which aired on Monday alluded to some form of strike on the US, particularly the CIA

This man was highlighted in an Iranian documentary about alleged U.S. intelligence work in Iran, as officials announced they had arrested 17 suspects. The footage has not been verified

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that 'there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai'

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that ‘there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a 'Fox & Friends' interview on Monday that 'it's part of their nature to lie to the world'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview on Monday that ‘it’s part of their nature to lie to the world’

Centre of attention: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port on Friday after being seized by Iran

‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they’ve taken,’ he said in response to Iran’s claims.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post's bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country's government, chimed in on Monday to say Iran had learned little

Speaking in Florida, he added: ‘There’s a long list of Americans that we are working to get home from the Islamic Republic of Iran.’

On Monday, a documentary which aired in Iran claimed the country had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country’s government, chimed in: ‘5 years ago today, my wife and I were abducted from our home in Tehran, beginning a long, terrible & unjust ordeal.

‘Officials in Iran have obviously learned little from that episode, as they continue their 40 year practice of hostage taking, glorifying it at every opportunity.’

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said: ‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

First picture inside captured tanker

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker captured in the Straits of Hormuz on Friday.

A picture taken inside the Stena Impero shows part of the 23-strong crew huddled on the floor under the watchful eye of a Revolutionary Guardsman.

The men are seen sitting cross-legged on the bridge of the vessel having had their shoes removed and piled up nearby.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table+27

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

The photo is the latest taunt by Iran to Britain after the regime also aired footage of their flag being raised over the vessel.

On Monday Iran also broadcast footage of the Muslim call to prayer being played from the tanker’s speakers.

Iran seized the ship in retaliation for its own vessel, the Grace 1, being stopped by Royal Marine off the coast of Gibraltar last month in which it says was an operation carried out on behalf of the US. Britain says the ship was violating EU sanctions.

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated+27

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

‘Some were approached when they were applying for a visa, while others had visas from before and were pressured by the CIA in order to renew them,’ said the intelligence chief.

‘All of the network’s members, all the 17 people, were trained by CIA officers on how to set up safe communications.’

Iran said last month that it had dismantled a spy network linked to the CIA, but it was not clear if the latest announcement was part of the same operation.

Either way, the timing of the latest announcement has raised concerns that Tehran is hardening its position in its stand-off with Western powers.

A top security official alleged the CIA used special stone-like containers to send communications tools and identity documents to its network.

‘The forgery was clumsy, showing that it was done by the CIA itself,’ he said, adding that this ‘proves’ it was government-sanctioned.

‘After they were discovered, CIA officers ordered the spies to destroy all the documents,’ he added.

The intelligence official also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female spy working for the CIA.

The disc also included names of several U.S. Embassy staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with the recruited Iranian spies.

In April the regime said it had uncovered 290 U.S. spies in recent years.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

Middle East tensions mounted again at the weekend after Iran captured the UK-flagged Stena Impero, in retaliation for a British Royal Marine operation two weeks ago in which an Iranian vessel was seized off Gibraltar.

Video footage released by Iran showed the tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

Authorities said they impounded the ship on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

But Iran made the link between the two separate seizures this month explicit on Saturday.

‘The rule of reciprocal action is well-known in international law,’ said Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council.

The Stena’s crew is made up of 18 Indians, including the captain, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271681/Iran-claims-arrested-17-CIA-spies.html

 

 

Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to Group of Alleged CIA Spies

Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Trump wall President addresses nation on border ‘crisis’ BBC News

Tucker Carlson Tonight 7/22/19 | Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News July 22, 2019

President Trump signs border aid bill

Border Wall Presentation

Major Decision Coming From The Supreme Court Over The Fate Of Trump’s Wall

Trump says Mexico has been helping the US a lot with the border crisis

Trump’s border wall still not built as US faces immigrant crisis | 60 Minutes Australia

Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office

The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise to construct a “big beautiful wall.”

In a statement last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency overseeing border barrier construction, confirmed that all the fencing completed since Trump took office is “in place of dilapidated designs” because the existing fence was in need of replacement.

The agency said that it had built 51 miles of steel bollard fence with funding that was set aside during fiscal 2017 and 2018. But while the funding was meant both to replace outdated walls and to place barriers where there previously had been none, the government has only completed the replacement projects. The projects to secure areas with no fence are still in the works.

The 50 miles of completed replacement barrier is a 10-mile gain since early April. In Trump’s two and a half years in office, his administration has installed an average 1.7 miles of barrier per month, and none of it in areas that did not previously have some sort of barrier. A total 205 miles of new and replacement barrier has been funded in the two and a half years since Trump took office.

A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers moved faster on replacement projects than the new ones because the approval process for environmental and zoning permits was far less extensive than areas of the border with no barrier.

A second senior official defended the administration’s progress and blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking funding for additional projects the White House has tried to move on.

Despite the lack of new barriers, Trump has applauded his administration for building more border wall. His 2020 campaign has made the border wall its primary messaging.

Trump’s 2020 campaign debuted the slogan “Finish the Wall” at his first rally of 2019 in El Paso, Texas. At one point during his speech, the crowd began cheering “build that wall.” Trump responded, “Now, you really mean ‘finish that wall,’ because we’ve built a lot of it,” though he did not share numbers with the thousands of people in attendance.

The White House initially persuaded Congress to fund replacement projects in 2017, then moved in 2018 to get more money for both replacement fencing and projects in parts of the border that have no barrier.

Congress in 2017 approved $341 million for 40 miles of replacement wall in San Diego, California; Santa Teresa, North Mexico; Calexico, California; and El Paso, Texas.

“To this date, CBP has completed the construction of approximately 99 percent of the 40 miles funded in fiscal year 2017. Additionally, construction of 35 gates to close gaps in current border infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley sector continues,” the Department of Homeland Security agency said in a statement.

In the 2018 omnibus government funding bill, lawmakers approved $1.375 billion for 80 miles of new and replacement wall in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, various regions of California, and Yuma, Arizona. CBP said it has finished roughly 10 miles of that portion, of which none has been new fencing.

Meanwhile, the administration maintains that significant portions of new wall will be finished in the time remaining in Trump’s term. Army Corps Commanding Gen. Todd T. Semonite said earlier this spring the Corps will put up 450 miles of wall by November 2020.

However, CBP reiterated this month it is only moving on the approximately 205 miles that have been funded as of 2019, including with Treasury Forfeiture Fund dollars Trump redirected through executive action in February. The remaining 85 miles that has already been funded was proposed this year and is intended for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas — some of which is meant to be new wall.

The Trump administration was sued earlier this spring after seizing $6.6 billion in military and other department funding to use for border wall construction. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the White House plan from going forward. The court is expected to rule in the next few weeks.

Roughly 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border has some sort of barrier as a result of the Secure Fence Act, which was passed by Congress during the George W. Bush administration. It was the first major piece of legislation that funded the construction of barriers along the southern border.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1279, June 24, 2019, Story 1: Trump Rules Out Military Response Against Iran For Now and Imposes More Sanctions — Iran Cannot Have Nuclear Weapons — Videos – – Story 2: American People Opinion on Illegal Alien Invasion — Trump To Have ICE Deport Millions Including Families That Have A Court Order of Removal — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019