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The Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 5, 2018, Story 1: Labor Participation Rate at 62.7% Still Way Below 66-67% Rate in Bush and Clinton Years and 95.9 Million Americans Not In Labor Force — An Increase of 170,000 in May — Heading Towards 100 Million — Videos — Story 2: Supreme Court Rules 7-2 in Favor of Bakery Owner Who Refused to Make A Wedding Cake for Gay Couple — Colorado Civil Rights Commission Showed Impermissible Hostility Toward Religion When It Stated Jack Phillips, Bakery Owner, Violated State’s Anti-Discrimination — Videos– Story 3: Kristian Saucier, Sailor Who Served 1 Year in Prison and Pardoned by Trump Suing Obama and Comey For Clearing Hillary Clinton of Mishandling Classified Documents — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Labor Force Participation Rate 62.7%

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Story 1: Labor Participation Rate at 62.7% Still Way Below 66-67% Rate in Bush and Clinton Years and 95.9 Million Americans Not In Labor Force — An Increase of 170,000 in May — Heading Towards 100 Million — Videos —

Labor Force Participation Rate 62.7%

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


Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8
2015 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.7 62.6 62.6 62.3 62.5 62.5 62.7
2016 62.8 62.9 63.0 62.8 62.6 62.7 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7
2017 62.9 62.9 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.9 63.0 62.7 62.7 62.7
2018 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.8 62.7

U-3 Unemployment Rate 3.8%

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.3 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.2 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.5 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.6 4.7
2017 4.8 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.1 4.1
2018 4.1 4.1 4.1 3.9 3.8

U-6 Unemployment Rate 7.6%

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

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.6 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.5 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.7 12.7 12.3 12.1 12.0 12.1 11.9 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.9 10.9 10.8 10.4 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 9.9 9.9
2016 9.9 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.6 9.3 9.1
2017 9.4 9.2 8.8 8.6 8.4 8.5 8.5 8.6 8.3 8.0 8.0 8.1
2018 8.2 8.2 8.0 7.8 7.6

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until USDL-18-0916 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, June 1, 2018 Technical information: Household data: (202) 691-6378 * cpsinfo@bls.gov * http://www.bls.gov/cps Establishment data: (202) 691-6555 * cesinfo@bls.gov * http://www.bls.gov/ces Media contact: (202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2018 Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in May, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in several industries, including retail trade, health care, and construction. Household Survey Data The unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent in May, and the number of unemployed persons declined to 6.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate was down by 0.5 percentage point, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 772,000. (See table A-1.) Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), and Asians (2.1 percent) decreased in May. The jobless rates for adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) changed little over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in May and accounted for 19.4 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 476,000. (See table A-12.) Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, changed little in May. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 4.9 million in May. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.) The number of persons marginally attached to the labor force, at 1.5 million in May, was little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.) Among the marginally attached, there were 378,000 discouraged workers in May, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.) Establishment Survey Data Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in May, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in several industries, including retail trade, health care, and construction. (See table B-1.) In May, retail trade added 31,000 jobs, with gains occurring in general merchandise stores (+13,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+6,000). Over the year, retail trade has added 125,000 jobs. Employment in health care rose by 29,000 in May, about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Ambulatory health care services added 18,000 jobs over the month, and employment in hospitals continued to trend up (+6,000). Employment in construction continued on an upward trend in May (+25,000) and has risen by 286,000 over the past 12 months. Within the industry, nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 15,000 jobs over the month. Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in May (+23,000) and has risen by 206,000 over the year. Transportation and warehousing added 19,000 jobs over the month and 156,000 over the year. In May, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+7,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000). Manufacturing employment continued to expand over the month (+18,000). Durable goods accounted for most of the change, including an increase of 6,000 jobs in machinery. Manufacturing employment has risen by 259,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the growth in durable goods industries. Mining added 6,000 jobs in May. Since a recent low point in October 2016, employment in mining has grown by 91,000, with support activities for mining accounting for nearly all of the increase. In May, employment changed little in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in May. In manufacturing, the workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.2 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.) In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.92. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.59 in May. (See tables B-3 and B-8.) The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised up from +135,000 to +155,000, and the change for April was revised down from +164,000 to +159,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 15,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 179,000 over the last 3 months. _____________ The Employment Situation for June is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 6, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

 

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

 

 

Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted(1)
May
2017
Apr.
2018
May
2018
May
2017
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018
May
2018

TOTAL

Civilian noninstitutional population

254,767 257,272 257,454 254,767 256,780 256,934 257,097 257,272 257,454

Civilian labor force

159,979 161,280 161,765 159,729 161,115 161,921 161,763 161,527 161,539

Participation rate

62.8 62.7 62.8 62.7 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.8 62.7

Employed

153,407 155,348 156,009 152,892 154,430 155,215 155,178 155,181 155,474

Employment-population ratio

60.2 60.4 60.6 60.0 60.1 60.4 60.4 60.3 60.4

Unemployed

6,572 5,932 5,756 6,837 6,684 6,706 6,585 6,346 6,065

Unemployment rate

4.1 3.7 3.6 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.1 3.9 3.8

Not in labor force

94,788 95,992 95,689 95,038 95,665 95,012 95,335 95,745 95,915

Persons who currently want a job

5,976 5,010 5,696 5,475 5,171 5,131 5,096 5,115 5,183

Men, 16 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

123,120 124,418 124,509 123,120 124,173 124,250 124,331 124,418 124,509

Civilian labor force

85,007 85,965 86,309 84,852 85,931 86,267 86,169 86,152 86,157

Participation rate

69.0 69.1 69.3 68.9 69.2 69.4 69.3 69.2 69.2

Employed

81,572 82,610 83,103 81,272 82,274 82,685 82,630 82,611 82,784

Employment-population ratio

66.3 66.4 66.7 66.0 66.3 66.5 66.5 66.4 66.5

Unemployed

3,436 3,355 3,206 3,581 3,658 3,582 3,539 3,541 3,373

Unemployment rate

4.0 3.9 3.7 4.2 4.3 4.2 4.1 4.1 3.9

Not in labor force

38,113 38,453 38,201 38,268 38,242 37,983 38,162 38,266 38,352

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

114,627 115,921 116,017 114,627 115,669 115,748 115,832 115,921 116,017

Civilian labor force

82,130 83,225 83,458 81,915 82,928 83,309 83,200 83,199 83,234

Participation rate

71.6 71.8 71.9 71.5 71.7 72.0 71.8 71.8 71.7

Employed

79,126 80,242 80,698 78,794 79,705 80,213 80,113 80,111 80,329

Employment-population ratio

69.0 69.2 69.6 68.7 68.9 69.3 69.2 69.1 69.2

Unemployed

3,004 2,983 2,761 3,120 3,223 3,096 3,087 3,088 2,905

Unemployment rate

3.7 3.6 3.3 3.8 3.9 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.5

Not in labor force

32,497 32,697 32,559 32,712 32,741 32,440 32,632 32,723 32,783

Women, 16 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

131,647 132,853 132,944 131,647 132,607 132,684 132,766 132,853 132,944

Civilian labor force

74,972 75,314 75,456 74,877 75,183 75,654 75,594 75,375 75,382

Participation rate

56.9 56.7 56.8 56.9 56.7 57.0 56.9 56.7 56.7

Employed

71,835 72,738 72,907 71,620 72,157 72,530 72,548 72,569 72,690

Employment-population ratio

54.6 54.8 54.8 54.4 54.4 54.7 54.6 54.6 54.7

Unemployed

3,136 2,576 2,549 3,257 3,027 3,124 3,046 2,805 2,692

Unemployment rate

4.2 3.4 3.4 4.3 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.7 3.6

Not in labor force

56,675 57,539 57,488 56,770 57,423 57,030 57,172 57,479 57,562

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population

123,386 124,579 124,674 123,386 124,328 124,407 124,491 124,579 124,674

Civilian labor force

72,085 72,573 72,599 71,979 72,210 72,565 72,610 72,498 72,493

Participation rate

58.4 58.3 58.2 58.3 58.1 58.3 58.3 58.2 58.1

Employed

69,340 70,266 70,341 69,087 69,583 69,828 69,916 69,992 70,077

Employment-population ratio

56.2 56.4 56.4 56.0 56.0 56.1 56.2 56.2 56.2

Unemployed

2,745 2,307 2,258 2,892 2,627 2,737 2,695 2,506 2,415

Unemployment rate

3.8 3.2 3.1 4.0 3.6 3.8 3.7 3.5 3.3

Not in labor force

51,300 52,006 52,075 51,407 52,118 51,842 51,880 52,081 52,181

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population

16,754 16,771 16,763 16,754 16,783 16,778 16,774 16,771 16,763

Civilian labor force

5,764 5,482 5,707 5,836 5,977 6,048 5,952 5,831 5,812

Participation rate

34.4 32.7 34.0 34.8 35.6 36.0 35.5 34.8 34.7

Employed

4,941 4,840 4,970 5,010 5,143 5,174 5,149 5,078 5,068

Employment-population ratio

29.5 28.9 29.7 29.9 30.6 30.8 30.7 30.3 30.2

Unemployed

823 642 737 825 834 874 803 752 745

Unemployment rate

14.3 11.7 12.9 14.1 13.9 14.4 13.5 12.9 12.8

Not in labor force

10,991 11,290 11,056 10,919 10,806 10,731 10,822 10,941 10,951

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation; therefore, identical numbers appear in the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted columns.

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, race, sex, and age Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted(1)
May
2017
Apr.
2018
May
2018
May
2017
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018
May
2018

WHITE

Civilian noninstitutional population

198,775 199,950 200,039 198,775 199,738 199,799 199,871 199,950 200,039

Civilian labor force

124,722 125,488 125,848 124,529 125,334 125,930 125,714 125,731 125,688

Participation rate

62.7 62.8 62.9 62.6 62.7 63.0 62.9 62.9 62.8

Employed

120,375 121,358 121,788 119,895 120,886 121,274 121,236 121,233 121,303

Employment-population ratio

60.6 60.7 60.9 60.3 60.5 60.7 60.7 60.6 60.6

Unemployed

4,346 4,130 4,060 4,634 4,447 4,656 4,478 4,498 4,385

Unemployment rate

3.5 3.3 3.2 3.7 3.5 3.7 3.6 3.6 3.5

Not in labor force

74,053 74,462 74,191 74,246 74,405 73,869 74,157 74,219 74,350

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

65,380 65,988 66,049 65,216 65,732 65,948 65,928 65,982 65,890

Participation rate

72.0 72.1 72.1 71.8 71.9 72.1 72.1 72.1 72.0

Employed

63,293 63,848 64,113 62,983 63,510 63,683 63,734 63,746 63,785

Employment-population ratio

69.7 69.8 70.0 69.3 69.5 69.6 69.7 69.7 69.7

Unemployed

2,087 2,140 1,936 2,233 2,222 2,265 2,194 2,235 2,106

Unemployment rate

3.2 3.2 2.9 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.4 3.2

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

54,933 55,210 55,277 54,834 54,896 55,243 55,176 55,179 55,197

Participation rate

57.5 57.4 57.5 57.4 57.2 57.5 57.4 57.4 57.4

Employed

53,169 53,641 53,681 52,930 53,255 53,448 53,385 53,429 53,450

Employment-population ratio

55.6 55.8 55.8 55.4 55.5 55.7 55.6 55.6 55.6

Unemployed

1,764 1,568 1,595 1,904 1,641 1,795 1,791 1,750 1,747

Unemployment rate

3.2 2.8 2.9 3.5 3.0 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.2

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian labor force

4,408 4,290 4,522 4,478 4,705 4,738 4,610 4,570 4,601

Participation rate

35.7 34.8 36.7 36.3 38.1 38.4 37.4 37.1 37.3

Employed

3,914 3,868 3,994 3,981 4,121 4,143 4,117 4,057 4,068

Employment-population ratio

31.7 31.4 32.4 32.3 33.4 33.6 33.4 32.9 33.0

Unemployed

495 421 528 497 584 595 492 512 533

Unemployment rate

11.2 9.8 11.7 11.1 12.4 12.6 10.7 11.2 11.6

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

32,193 32,672 32,704 32,193 32,575 32,607 32,638 32,672 32,704

Civilian labor force

20,082 20,172 20,292 20,088 20,211 20,495 20,466 20,220 20,296

Participation rate

62.4 61.7 62.0 62.4 62.0 62.9 62.7 61.9 62.1

Employed

18,593 18,953 19,145 18,560 18,663 19,087 19,051 18,892 19,092

Employment-population ratio

57.8 58.0 58.5 57.7 57.3 58.5 58.4 57.8 58.4

Unemployed

1,489 1,219 1,147 1,528 1,548 1,408 1,415 1,328 1,204

Unemployment rate

7.4 6.0 5.7 7.6 7.7 6.9 6.9 6.6 5.9

Not in labor force

12,111 12,500 12,412 12,105 12,364 12,112 12,172 12,452 12,408

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

9,103 9,248 9,407 9,093 9,254 9,438 9,314 9,257 9,382

Participation rate

67.8 67.6 68.7 67.7 67.9 69.2 68.2 67.7 68.5

Employed

8,511 8,681 8,840 8,477 8,564 8,880 8,749 8,663 8,792

Employment-population ratio

63.3 63.5 64.6 63.1 62.9 65.1 64.1 63.3 64.2

Unemployed

593 567 567 616 690 558 564 594 590

Unemployment rate

6.5 6.1 6.0 6.8 7.5 5.9 6.1 6.4 6.3

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

10,178 10,239 10,207 10,207 10,197 10,254 10,337 10,229 10,233

Participation rate

62.7 62.1 61.8 62.8 62.0 62.3 62.7 62.0 62.0

Employed

9,497 9,764 9,757 9,504 9,524 9,622 9,713 9,707 9,754

Employment-population ratio

58.5 59.2 59.1 58.5 57.9 58.5 59.0 58.9 59.1

Unemployed

681 475 450 703 673 632 624 522 479

Unemployment rate

6.7 4.6 4.4 6.9 6.6 6.2 6.0 5.1 4.7

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian labor force

801 685 678 788 759 803 816 734 681

Participation rate

31.9 27.4 27.1 31.4 30.3 32.0 32.6 29.3 27.3

Employed

586 508 548 579 575 584 588 521 547

Employment-population ratio

23.3 20.3 21.9 23.1 22.9 23.3 23.5 20.8 21.9

Unemployed

215 177 130 209 185 219 227 213 135

Unemployment rate

26.8 25.8 19.2 26.5 24.3 27.2 27.9 29.0 19.8

ASIAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

15,433 15,933 15,874 15,433 15,731 15,792 15,983 15,933 15,874

Civilian labor force

9,818 10,034 9,932 9,817 9,885 9,908 10,092 10,034 9,932

Participation rate

63.6 63.0 62.6 63.6 62.8 62.7 63.1 63.0 62.6

Employed

9,479 9,765 9,732 9,466 9,584 9,617 9,780 9,755 9,720

Employment-population ratio

61.4 61.3 61.3 61.3 60.9 60.9 61.2 61.2 61.2

Unemployed

339 269 201 351 300 291 313 280 212

Unemployment rate

3.5 2.7 2.0 3.6 3.0 2.9 3.1 2.8 2.1

Not in labor force

5,615 5,898 5,941 5,616 5,846 5,884 5,891 5,898 5,942

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation; therefore, identical numbers appear in the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted columns.

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups will not sum to totals shown in table A-1 because data are not presented for all races. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm

Story 2: Supreme Court Rules 7-2 in Favor of Bakery Owner Who Refused to Make A Wedding Cake for Gay Couple — Colorado Civil Rights Commission Showed Impermissible Hostility Toward Religion When It Stated Jack Phillips, Bakery Owner, Violated State’s Anti-Discrimination — Videos–

Cakeshop lawyer: It’s a great day for us, religious people

Jubilant Christian baker, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, is pictured celebrating with his customers and posing for selfies after Supreme Court sides with his case

  • The Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a gay couple’s wedding cake over his Christian beliefs  in 2012 
  • The justices’ limited ruling Monday does not tackle the big issue in the case – whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people
  • Instead, it focused on the actions of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which claimed Phillips had violted the state’s anti-discrimination law
  • Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, said that the Commission had not been neutral towards religion when they made their decision   
  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor were the two dissenters  

The Colorado baker who refused to make a gay couple’s wedding cake rejoiced on Monday after the Supreme Court sided with his case.

However, the justices’ ruling was limited, and didn’t deal with the biggest concern in the case – whether religious people like Jack Phillips could refuse to serve gay or lesbian people.

The 7-2 limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

After Phillips refused to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012, the gay couple filed a complaint with the Commission. The Commission ruled in their favor, saying Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law, which bars businesses from discriminating against customers based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court has ruled in the favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a gay couple's wedding cake over his Christian beliefs in 2012. Phillips is seen above at work on Monday after the decision was released 

The Supreme Court has ruled in the favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a gay couple’s wedding cake over his Christian beliefs in 2012. Phillips is seen above at work on Monday after the decision was released

Phillips was all smiles after the decision was released on Monday 

Phillips was all smiles after the decision was released on Monday

Phillips even posed for a selfie with one happy customer 

Phillips even posed for a selfie with one happy customer

The justices voted 7-2 that the Commission violated Phillips’ First Amendment right to exercise his religion.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was forecast to be the swing vote, wrote the majority opinion, saying Phillips’ Free Exercise rights were violated because the Commission showed hostility to his religious beliefs when they were making the decision.

The outcome of the case hinged on the actions of the Colorado commission. In one exchange at a 2014 hearing cited by Kennedy, former commissioner Diann Rice said that ‘freedom of religion, and religion, has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.’

Charlie Craig, left, and David Mullins talk about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sets aside a Colorado court decision against a baker who would not make a wedding cake for the same-sex couple as they meet reporters Monday, June 4, 2018, in Denver

Charlie Craig, left, and David Mullins talk about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sets aside a Colorado court decision against a baker who would not make a wedding cake for the same-sex couple as they meet reporters Monday, June 4, 2018, in Denver

‘The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,’ he wrote.

Kennedy also noted that the commission had ruled the opposite way in three other cases brought against bakers in which the business owners had refused to bake cakes containing messages they disagreed with that demeaned gay people or same-sex marriage. In all of those cases, the Commission allowed the bakers to refuse to decorate their cakes with a message they found offensive.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, front left, and Sonia Sotomayor, back row second from right, were the two dissenters in the case 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, front left, and Sonia Sotomayor, back row second from right, were the two dissenters in the case

Supreme Court sides with Christian baker in controversial ruling

When it comes to the question of whether businesses can refuse to serve gay couples because of their religious beliefs, Kennedy said that decision would have to wait until another day.

‘The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue respect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,’ Kennedy added.

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservative justices in the outcome. Kagan wrote separately to emphasize the limited ruling.

The court’s three most conservative justices – Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – wrote separate concurrences, giving a different rationale for their opinions.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the two dissenters.

Phillips got many hugs and balloons after the decision was released on Monday

Phillips took regular breaks to take pictures with his fans on Monday 

Phillips took regular breaks to take pictures with his fans on Monday

Above, another photo of Phillips and a well-wisher on Monday 

Above, another photo of Phillips and a well-wisher on Monday

In Ginsburg’s dissent, the justice quotes several parts of the majority opinion which she agrees with, including that Colorado state law can protect gay persons from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

‘I disagree strongly, however, with the Court’s conclusion that Craig and Mullins should lose the case,’ she said, saying all of the statement’s she cited from the opinion ‘point in the opposite direction’.

GAY COUPLE BEHIND THE CASE SPEAK OUT

Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday, the couple behind the Colorado baker case spoke out to the Denver Post

‘We had no idea that we would end up on a journey that wound up at the Supreme Court,’ David Mullins said. 

Despite the fact that their case eventually lost, the couple said they would go through the ordeal again in a heartbeat. 

‘We’ve put a lot into this,’ Mullins said. ‘This case has technically been going on longer than our marriage has. There are a lot of good things in this verdict, even though it is a loss for us. But it’s hard to all take in.’

‘I think the hardest part for me personally has just been having to be on and feel the pressure of making sure to be an inspiring public figure,’ Charlie Craig said. ‘We’re just human beings. When you’ve asked to rise to a level that you didn’t know you were capable to do, that’s hard. Lots of growing.’

They said they harbor no ill feelings towards Phillips. 

‘This has always been about a policy and not about a person,’ they said. 

Ginsburg says Kennedy’s focus on the three other instances in which bakers were allowed to refuse writing ‘offensive’ signs on cakes is no parallel to Phillips’ case.

‘Phillips declined to make a cake he found offensive where the offensiveness of the product was determined solely by the identity of the customer resquesting it.

‘The three other bakeries declined to make cakes where their objection to the product was due to the demeaning message the requested product would lierally display,’ she wrote.

The difference, she said, is that Phillips was discriminating against a gay couple specifically, whereas the three other bakers objected to the statements they were asked to decorate their cakes with – not the customers or their religious beliefs.

While the court has set aside the question of whether businesses can refuse service to gay couples because of their religious beliefs, there are other cases in the pipeline that will force the court to give their opinion eventually.

Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

Monday’s ruling was heralded as a victory for conservative Christians, including the one that represented Phillips in his case.

‘Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that,’ said Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer at conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips. Since 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has labeled the Alliance as ‘virulently anti-gay’.

Waggoner added that the decision ‘makes clear that the government must respect Jack’s beliefs about marriage.’

ACLU lawyer Louise Melling, who represents Mullins and Craig, said that high court had made it clear that businesses open to the public must serve everyone.

‘The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people,’ Melling added.

Phillips’ lawyers argued that his cakes are an art form – a ‘temporary sculpture’ – and being forced to create one to commemorate a gay wedding would violate his rights under the U.S. Constitution to freedom of speech and expression and free exercise of religion.

Mullins and Craig, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said Phillips was using his Christian faith as pretext for unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation. The ACLU said the baker was advocating for a ‘license to discriminate’ that could have broad repercussions beyond gay rights.

The case became a cultural flashpoint in the United States, underscoring the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.

The litigation, along with similar cases around the country, is part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs, have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice.

Gay rights advocates said the case is just one part of a bigger struggle seeking greater legal protections for gay, bisexual and transgender people, including in the workplace, even as they fight efforts by conservatives to undermine gains secured in recent years.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5803945/U-S-Supreme-Court-hands-narrow-win-baker-gay-couple-dispute.html#ixzz5HV40EuB4

 

U.S. Supreme Court backs Christian baker who spurned gay couple

by Reuters
Monday, 4 June 2018 15:33 GMT

From major disaster, conflicts and under-reported stories, we shine a light on the world’s humanitarian hotspots

* Court says state panel violated baker’s religious rights

* Ruling was 7-2, with 2 liberals joining 5 conservatives (Adds details on 2012 incident that triggered the case, Kennedy quote)

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips’ religious rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

But the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution’s free speech guarantee.

Two of the court’s four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also was the author of the landmark 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote.

But Kennedy also stressed the importance of gay rights while noting that litigation on similar issues is likely to continue in lower courts.

“Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth,” Kennedy wrote.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Kennedy added.

The case marked a test for Kennedy, who has authored significant rulings that advanced gay rights but also is a strong advocate for free speech rights and religious freedom.

Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.

The case pitted gay rights against religious liberty. President Donald Trump’s administration intervened in the case in support of Phillips.

Mullins and Craig were planning their wedding in Massachusetts in 2012 and wanted the cake for a reception in Colorado, where gay marriage was not yet legal. During a brief encounter at Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the baker politely but firmly refused, leaving the couple distraught.

They filed a successful complaint with the state commission, the first step in the six-year-old legal battle. State courts sided with the couple, prompting Phillips to appeal to the top U.S. court. Phillips has said a backlash against his business has left him struggling to keep the shop afloat.

The case’s outcome hinged on the actions of the Colorado commission. In one exchange at a 2014 hearing cited by Kennedy, former commissioner Diann Rice said that “freedom of religion, and religion, has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.”

‘OPENLY ANTAGONISTIC’

Kennedy noted that the commission had ruled the opposite way in three cases brought against bakers in which the business owners refused to bake cakes containing messages that demeaned gay people or same-sex marriage.

“Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that,” said lawyer Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips.

Waggoner said the decision “makes clear that the government must respect Jack’s beliefs about marriage.”

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Louise Melling, who represents Mullins and Craig, said the high court made it clear that businesses open to the public must serve everyone.

“The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people,” Melling added.

The case became a cultural flashpoint in the United States, underscoring the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.

Mullins and Craig said Phillips was using his Christian faith as pretext for unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation. Phillips’ lawyers said his cakes are an art form – a “temporary sculpture” – and being forced to create one to commemorate a gay wedding would violate his constitutional rights to free speech and expression and free exercise of religion.

The litigation, along with similar cases around the country, is part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice.

Gay rights advocates said the case is just one part of a bigger struggle seeking greater legal protections for gay, bisexual and transgender people, including in the workplace, even as they fight efforts by conservatives to undermine gains secured in recent years.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

http://news.trust.org/item/20180604150452-eu3tg

 

Story 3: Kristian Saucier, Sailor Who Served 1 Year in Prison and Pardoned by Trump Suing Obama and Comey For Clearing Hillary Clinton of Mishandling Classified Documents — Videos

Ex-Navy sailor doesn’t have a case against Obama: Judge Napolitano

 

Sailor pardoned by Trump is SUING Obama and Comey for going easy on Hillary Clinton but sending him to prison after he photographed classified area of nuclear sub

  • Kristian Saucier spent 1 year in federal prison for taking souvenir photos of a classified area aboard the nuclear sub where he worked as a U.S. Navy sailor
  • President Trump pardoned him this year but his life had largely been ruined as he was forced to work as a garbageman to feed his family
  • Now Saucier is preparing to sue the Justice Department, former president Barack Obama and former FBI Director James Comey
  • He says he received unequal legal treatment and cites their failure to prosecute Hillary Clinton for storing classified files on her private email server
  • ‘There’s a two-tier justice system and we want it to be corrected,’ his lawyer says

A former U.S. Navy seaman who spent a year in federal prison for photographing a classified area of a nuclear submarine plans to sue former President Barack Obama and fired FBI director James Comey for selectively prosecuting him.

Donald Trump issued a presidential pardon this year to Kristian Saucier, whose lawyer Ronald Daigle told Fox News on Monday that the pending lawsuit will also name the Justice Department as a defendant.

Daigle says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a free pass by avoiding prosecution for mishandling classified information on her infamous private email server.

Saucier, 31, believes Comey and Obama should be held responsible for treating him unequally.

‘They interpreted the law in my case to say it was criminal,’ he told Fox, ‘but they didn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton. Hillary is still walking free.’

‘Two guys on my ship did the same thing and weren’t treated as criminals. We want them to correct the wrong.’

Saucier and his lawyer say Obama and Comey should be held responsible for his unequal legal treatment since they sent him to prison while failing to prosecute Hillary Clinton

Clinton, the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nominee, was let off the hook despite operating a private, unsecured email server that housed classified files while she was secretary of state

Clinton, the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, was let off the hook despite operating a private, unsecured email server that housed classified files while she was secretary of state

Daigle told Fox News that his legal strategy includes drawing attention to ‘the differences in the way Hillary Clinton was prosecuted and how my client was prosecuted.’

‘There’s a two-tier justice system and we want it to be corrected,’ he said.

Saucier admitted in 2016 that he had taken photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was docked in Connecticut seven years earlier.

He said he wanted to show his family where he worked, but now acknowledges he was wrong to take the pictures.

Federal prosecutors persuaded him to plead guilty by threatening to paint him as a resentful serviceman who risked the security of the United States and then destroyed a camera and a computer to hide the evidence.

But Saucier believes prosecuting him was a politically motivated decision driven by the Obama Justice Department’s desire to appear tough on the kinds of crime it was sweeping under the rug when Clinton was their investigative target.

‘They used me as an example because of Hillary Clinton,’ he said Monday.

Saucier’s pardon drew eyeballs to his post-incarceration plight: He said the only job he could get after his release from prison was as a garbage man.

Saucier expressed his gratitude towards President Donald Trump after he was pardoned in early March, 2018

Trump often compared Saucier's and Clinton's cases while he was campaigning for the White House, saying it was unfair that his rival got off scot-free while the Obama administration threw the book at the sailor

Trump often compared Saucier’s and Clinton’s cases while he was campaigning for the White House, saying it was unfair that his rival got off scot-free while the Obama administration threw the book at the sailor

Saucier maintains that the pictures he took inside the USS Alexandria submarine were meant to be souveniers

‘They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine,’ he told a crowd just days before his November 2016 election. ‘That’s an old submarine! They’ve got plenty of pictures, if the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them.’

‘He wanted to take a couple of pictures. They put him in jail for a year.’

‘We’ve never been in a situation like this,’ Trump added, before pivoting to bash his Democratic opponent: ‘And then she’s allowed to run for president!’

Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, was a 22-year-old machinist’s mate on the nuclear-powered attack submarine when he took the photos.

His lawyers said he knew the photos would be classified but he wanted to show his family what he did in the Navy. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

Clinton’s case was the subject of bipartisan acrimony. Comey, then the nation’s top cop, announced in July 2016 that his agency had wrapped up its probe of the classified material on her private server and determined that it would be improper to prosecute her.

Former sailor Kristian Saucier is pictured with his wife Sadie (right) and baby daughter; he said as a felon, the only work he could get after his prison release was a job as a garbageman

Republican cried foul, but later cheered Comey when he told Congress just days before the election that a new cache of emails had been located – necessitating a reboot of the investigation.

That step came after DailyMail.com reported on the existence of a laptop that had belonged to the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose wife Huma Abedin had been Clinton’s deputy campaign chairwoman.

Clinton and her attorneys deleted more than 33,000 emails from her server before handing it over to law enforcement agents. Those messages were never recovered.

But some of the material that was forwarded to Weiner was also classified.

‘Somehow,’ Comey testified last year in a Senate hearing, ‘her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information, by her assistant Huma Abedin.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5805519/Sailor-pardoned-Trump-photographing-classified-area-sub-SUING-Obama-Comey.html#ixzz5HV9uCQNc

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018, Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos — Story 2: FBI Spied On Trump Campaign To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From A Possible Russian Disclosing To Trump Clinton’s 30,000 Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Videos

Posted on May 31, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Killing, Law, Legal Immigration, Libya, Life, Lying, Media, Mexico, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Netherlands, News, North Korea, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Private Sector Unions, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Sexual Harrasment, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, Unions, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Water, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Maximum Pressure –Trump Administration Increases Tariffs or Taxes on American Consumers and Producers by Imposing Tariffs on $50 Billion of Chinese Goods and Steel And Aluminium Imports From Canada, Mexico Europe and China — Trade Dispute or Trade War — Stop Unfair Chinese Trade Practices Including Non-Tariff Barriers To Trade and Stop Tariffs or Taxing American Consumers and Producers By Protecting Them Against Lower Prices! — Videos —

How Americans may be hurt by trade tariffs

Larry Kudlow on trade with China, North Korea talks

White House moves forward with $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods

US trade partners announce retaliatory tariffs

White House plans to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods

Wall Street will get used to US, China trade tensions: Michael Pillsbury

US, China would both lose from a trade war: Art Laffer

The Legacy of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

Thomas Sowell explains the Great Depression

Milton Friedman – The Great Depression Myth

“Anyone, anyone” teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Europe makes final push for US steel, aluminum tariff exemptions

US trade representative on challenges from China, Mexico

Lighthizer Sees China as a Key Issue

U.S. Trade Policy Priorities: Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross On President Trump’s New Tariffs | CNBC

US companies are being shut out of the Chinese market: Gordon Chang

Canada’s Trudeau Calls U.S. Steel Tariffs ‘Unacceptable’

U.S. to hit Canada with tariffs on aluminum and steel

Canada to impose tariff ‘countermeasures’ on U.S., says Chrystia Freeland

Trump tariffs could ‘destroy’ EU’s steel industry

Trump adviser Kudlow fears auto tariffs could kill jobs

Tariffs are designed to defend American technology: Peter Navarro

Trump Goes Ahead With China Tariffs

How did China become an economic powerhouse?

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China’s “Made in China 2025” embraces Germany’s “Industry 4.0”

Max Baucus Says Tariffs Won’t Slow Down `Made in China 2025′

If China is ok, the world economy is ok

Why Chinese Manufacturing Wins

Milton Friedman – Free Trade

Ten Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers

Milton Friedman – Free Trade Vs Protectionism

Milton Friedman – Free Trade (Q&A) Part 1

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers

Thiel: Need to rethink tariffs in light of trade deficit with China

Peter Navarro: All we’re looking for is fair, reciprocal trade

Peter Navarro: Steel and aluminum industries are ‘on life support’

Meet the Trump trade adviser whose tariff policy is about to be tested

Trump tariff is a tax, and I don’t like taxes: Ron Paul

 

US to impose steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico

Heather SCOTT, with Jurgen Hecker in Paris

,

AFP
1 / 2

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it will impose harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, Mexico at midnight (0400 GMT Friday) — another move sure to anger Washington’s trading partners.

The announcement by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was sure to cast a long shadow over a meeting of finance ministers from the world’s Group of Seven top economies that opens later in the day in Canada.

Ross said talks with the EU had failed to reach a satisfactory agreement to convince Washington to continue the exemption from the tariffs imposed in March.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Canada and Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement are “taking longer than we had hoped” and there is no “precise date” for concluding them, so their exemption also will be removed, Ross told reporters.

The announcement was confirmed by presidential proclamation shortly after Ross addressed reporters.

Despite weeks of talks with his EU counterparts, Ross said the US was not willing to meet the European demand that the EU be “exempted permanently and unconditionally from these tariffs.”

“We had discussions with the European Commission and while we made some progress, they also did not get to the point where it was warranted either to continue the temporary exemption or have a permanent exemption,” Ross said.

Ross downplayed the threats of retaliation from those countries, but said talks can continue even amid the dispute to try to find a solution.

And President Donald Trump has the authority to alter the tariffs or impose quotas or “do anything he wishes at any point” — allowing “potential flexibility” to resolve the issue.

Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum using a national security justification, which Ross said encompasses a broad array of economic issues.

South Korea negotiated a steel quota, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have arranged for “limitations on the volume they can ship to the US in lieu of tariffs,” Ross said.

“We believe that this combined package achieves the original objectives we set out, which was to constrict imports to a level to allow those industries that operate domestically to do so on a self-sustaining basis going forward.”

– Not a western –

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned before the announcement that the EU would take “all necessary measures” if the US imposed the tariffs.

“World trade is not a gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Le Maire quipped, referring to a 1957 western movie

“It’s not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end,” he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be “unjustified, unjustifiable and dangerous”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU would respond in a “firm and united” manner to the tariffs.

“We want to be exempt from these tariffs” which were “not compatible” with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Merkel told a press conference with Portuguese premier Antonio Costa in Lisbon.

Video: US Moves Forward With Tariffs on Chinese Imports

For more news videos visit Yahoo View

Non-tariff barriers to trade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) or sometimes called “Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs)” are trade barriers that restrict imports or exports of goods or services through mechanisms other than the simple imposition of tariffs. The SADC says, “a Non-Tariff Barrier is any obstacle to international trade that is not an import or export duty. They may take the form of import quotas, subsidies, customs delays, technical barriers, or other systems preventing or impeding trade.”[1] According to the World Trade Organisation, non-tariff barriers to trade include import licensing, rules for valuation of goods at customs, pre-shipment inspections, rules of origin (‘made in’), and trade prepared investment measures.[2]

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers

Professor Alan Deardorff characterises[3] NTB policies under three headings: Purposes, Examples, and Consequences

Policy Purpose Examples Potential Consequences
Protectionist policies To help domestic firms and enterprises at the expense of other countries. Import quotas; local content requirements; public procurement practices Challenges levied at WTO and other trade forums
Assistance policies To help domestic firms and enterprises, but not at the expense of other countries. Domestic subsidies; antidumping laws; industry bailouts. Adversely affected countries may respond to protect themselves (i.e.,imposing countervailing duties and subsidies).
Nonprotectionist policies To protect the health and safety of people, animals, and plants; to protect or improve the environment. Licensing, packaging, and labeling requirements; sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules; food, plant and animal inspections; import bans based on objectionable fishing or harvesting methods. Limited formal consequences lead to efforts to establish common standards or mutual recognition of different standards.

There are several different variants of division of non-tariff barriers. Some scholars divide between internal taxes, administrative barriers, health and sanitary regulations and government procurement policies. Others divide non-tariff barriers into more categories such as specific limitations on trade, customs and administrative entry procedures, standards, government participation in trade, charges on import, and other categories.

The first category includes methods to directly import restrictions for protection of certain sectors of national industries: licensing and allocation of import quotas, antidumping and countervailing duties, import deposits, so-called voluntary export restraints, countervailing duties, the system of minimum import prices, etc. Under second category follow methods that are not directly aimed at restricting foreign trade and more related to the administrative bureaucracy, whose actions, however, restrict trade, for example: customs procedures, technical standards and norms, sanitary and veterinary standards, requirements for labeling and packaging, bottling, etc. The third category consists of methods that are not directly aimed at restricting the import or promoting the export, but the effects of which often lead to this result.

The non-tariff barriers can include wide variety of restrictions to trade. Here are some example of the popular NTBs.

Licenses

The most common instruments of direct regulation of imports (and sometimes export) are licenses and quotas. Almost all industrialized countries apply these non-tariff methods. The license system requires that a state (through specially authorized office) issues permits for foreign trade transactions of import and export commodities included in the lists of licensed merchandises. Product licensing can take many forms and procedures. The main types of licenses are general license that permits unrestricted importation or exportation of goods included in the lists for a certain period of time; and one-time license for a certain product importer (exporter) to import (or export). One-time license indicates a quantity of goods, its cost, its country of origin (or destination), and in some cases also customs point through which import (or export) of goods should be carried out. The use of licensing systems as an instrument for foreign trade regulation is based on a number of international level standards agreements. In particular, these agreements include some provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) / World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures.

Quotas

Licensing of foreign trade is closely related to quantitative restrictions – quotas – on imports and exports of certain goods. A quota is a limitation in value or in physical terms, imposed on import and export of certain goods for a certain period of time. This category includes global quotas in respect to specific countries, seasonal quotas, and so-called “voluntary” export restraints. Quantitative controls on foreign trade transactions carried out through one-time license.

Quantitative restriction on imports and exports is a direct administrative form of government regulation of foreign trade. Licenses and quotas limit the independence of enterprises with a regard to entering foreign markets, narrowing the range of countries, which may be entered into transaction for certain commodities, regulate the number and range of goods permitted for import and export. However, the system of licensing and quota imports and exports, establishing firm control over foreign trade in certain goods, in many cases turns out to be more flexible and effective than economic instruments of foreign trade regulation. This can be explained by the fact, that licensing and quota systems are an important instrument of trade regulation of the vast majority of the world.

The consequence of this trade barrier is normally reflected in the consumers’ loss because of higher prices and limited selection of goods as well as in the companies that employ the imported materials in the production process, increasing their costs. An import quota can be unilateral, levied by the country without negotiations with exporting country, and bilateral or multilateral, when it is imposed after negotiations and agreement with exporting country. An export quota is a restricted amount of goods that can leave the country. There are different reasons for imposing of export quota by the country, which can be the guarantee of the supply of the products that are in shortage in the domestic market, manipulation of the prices on the international level, and the control of goods strategically important for the country. In some cases, the importing countries request exporting countries to impose voluntary export restraints.

Agreement on a “voluntary” export restraint

In the past decade,[when?] a widespread practice of concluding agreements on the “voluntary” export restrictions and the establishment of import minimum prices imposed by leading Western nations upon weaker in economical or political sense exporters. The specifics of these types of restrictions is the establishment of unconventional techniques when the trade barriers of importing country, are introduced at the border of the exporting and not importing country. Thus, the agreement on “voluntary” export restraints is imposed on the exporter under the threat of sanctions to limit the export of certain goods in the importing country. Similarly, the establishment of minimum import prices should be strictly observed by the exporting firms in contracts with the importers of the country that has set such prices. In the case of reduction of export prices below the minimum level, the importing country imposes anti-dumping duty, which could lead to withdrawal from the market. “Voluntary” export agreements affect trade in textiles, footwear, dairy products, consumer electronics, cars, machine tools, etc.

Problems arise when the quotas are distributed between countries because it is necessary to ensure that products from one country are not diverted in violation of quotas set out in second country. Import quotas are not necessarily designed to protect domestic producers. For example, Japan, maintains quotas on many agricultural products it does not produce. Quotas on imports is a leverage when negotiating the sales of Japanese exports, as well as avoiding excessive dependence on any other country in respect of necessary food, supplies of which may decrease in case of bad weather or political conditions.

Export quotas can be set in order to provide domestic consumers with sufficient stocks of goods at low prices, to prevent the depletion of natural resources, as well as to increase export prices by restricting supply to foreign markets. Such restrictions (through agreements on various types of goods) allow producing countries to use quotas for such commodities as coffee and oil; as the result, prices for these products increased in importing countries.

A quota can be a tariff rate quota, global quota, discriminating quota, and export quota.

Embargo

Embargo is a specific type of quotas prohibiting the trade. As well as quotas, embargoes may be imposed on imports or exports of particular goods, regardless of destination, in respect of certain goods supplied to specific countries, or in respect of all goods shipped to certain countries. Although the embargo is usually introduced for political purposes, the consequences, in essence, could be economic.

Standards

Standards take a special place among non-tariff barriers. Countries usually impose standards on classification, labeling and testing of products in order to be able to sell domestic products, but also to block sales of products of foreign manufacture. These standards are sometimes entered under the pretext of protecting the safety and health of local populations.

Administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance

Among the methods of non-tariff regulation should be mentioned administrative and bureaucratic delays at the entrance, which increase uncertainty and the cost of maintaining inventory. For example, even though Turkey is in the European Customs Union, transport of Turkish goods to the European Union is subject to extensive administrative overheads that Turkey estimates cost it three billion euros a year.[4]

Import deposits

Another example of foreign trade regulations is import deposits. Import deposits is a form of deposit, which the importer must pay the bank for a definite period of time (non-interest bearing deposit) in an amount equal to all or part of the cost of imported goods.

At the national level, administrative regulation of capital movements is carried out mainly within a framework of bilateral agreements, which include a clear definition of the legal regime, the procedure for the admission of investments and investors. It is determined by mode (fair and equitable, national, most-favored-nation), order of nationalization and compensation, transfer profits and capital repatriation and dispute resolution.

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls

Foreign exchange restrictions and foreign exchange controls occupy a special place among the non-tariff regulatory instruments of foreign economic activity. Foreign exchange restrictions constitute the regulation of transactions of residents and nonresidents with currency and other currency values. Also an important part of the mechanism of control of foreign economic activity is the establishment of the national currency against foreign currencies.

History

The transition from tariffs to non-tariff barriers

One of the reasons why industrialized countries have moved from tariffs to NTBs is the fact that developed countries have sources of income other than tariffs. Historically, in the formation of nation-states, governments had to get funding. They received it through the introduction of tariffs. This explains the fact that most developing countries still rely on tariffs as a way to finance their spending. Developed countries can afford not to depend on tariffs, at the same time developing NTBs as a possible way of international trade regulation. The second reason for the transition to NTBs is that these tariffs can be used to support weak industries or compensation of industries, which have been affected negatively by the reduction of tariffs. The third reason for the popularity of NTBs is the ability of interest groups to influence the process in the absence of opportunities to obtain government support for the tariffs.

Non-tariff barriers today

With the exception of export subsidies and quotas, NTBs are most similar to the tariffs. Tariffs for goods production were reduced during the eight rounds of negotiations in the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). After lowering of tariffs, the principle of protectionism demanded the introduction of new NTBs such as technical barriers to trade (TBT). According to statements made at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 2005), the use of NTBs, based on the amount and control of price levels has decreased significantly from 45% in 1994 to 15% in 2004, while use of other NTBs increased from 55% in 1994 to 85% in 2004.

Increasing consumer demand for safe and environment friendly products also have had their impact on increasing popularity of TBT. Many NTBs are governed by WTO agreements, which originated in the Uruguay Round (the TBT Agreement, SPS Measures Agreement, the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing), as well as GATT articles. NTBs in the field of services have become as important as in the field of usual trade.

Most of the NTB can be defined as protectionist measures, unless they are related to difficulties in the market, such as externalities and information asymmetries between consumers and producers of goods. An example of this is safety standards and labeling requirements.

The need to protect sensitive to import industries, as well as a wide range of trade restrictions, available to the governments of industrialized countries, forcing them to resort to use the NTB, and putting serious obstacles to international trade and world economic growth. Thus, NTBs can be referred as a new form of protection which has replaced tariffs as an old form of protection.

Addressing Non-Tariff Barriers

The scarcity of information on non-tariff barriers is a major problem to the competitiveness of developing countries. As a result, the International Trade Centre conducted national surveys and began publishing a series of technical papers on non-tariff barriers faced in developing countries. By 2015 it launched the NTM Business Surveys website listing non-tariff barriers from company perspectives.

Types of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

  1. Specific Limitations on Trade:
    1. Import Licensing requirements
    2. Proportion restrictions of foreign domestic goods (local content requirements)
    3. Minimum import price limits
    4. Fees
    5. Embargoes
  2. Customs and Administrative Entry Procedures:
    1. Valuation systems
    2. Anti-dumping practices other than punitive tariffs
    3. Tariff classifications
    4. Documentation requirements
    5. Fees
  3. Standards:
    1. Standard disparities
    2. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
    3. Intergovernmental acceptances of testing methods and standards
    4. Packaging, labeling, and marking
  4. Government Participation in Trade:
    1. Government procurement policies
    2. Export subsidies
    3. Countervailing duties
    4. Domestic assistance programs
  5. Charges on imports:
    1. Prior import deposit subsidies
    2. Administrative fees
    3. Special supplementary duties
    4. Import credit discrimination
    5. Variable levies
    6. Border taxes
  6. Others:
    1. Voluntary export restraints
    2. Orderly marketing agreements

Examples of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade

Non-tariff barriers to trade can be the following:

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Evans, G., Newnham, J., Dictionary of International Relations; Penguin Books, 1998
  • Filanlyason, J., Zakher M., The GATT and the regulation of Trade Barriers: Regime Dynamic and Functions; International Organization, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1981
  • Frieden, J., Lake, D., International political economy: perspectives on global power and wealth, London: Routledge, 1995
  • Mansfield, E., Busch, M., The political economy of Non-tariff barriers: a cross national analysis; International Organization, Vol. 49, No. 4, 1995
  • Oatley,T., International political economy: interests and institutions in the global economy; Harlow: Longman, 2007
  • Roorbach, G., Tariffs and Trade Barriers in Relation to International Trade; Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Vol. 15, No 2, 1993
  • Yu, Zhihao, A model of Substitution of Non-Tariff Barriers for Tariffs; The Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2000
  • World Trade Organization Website, Non-tariff barriers: red tape, etc.; http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm9_e.htm

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-tariff_barriers_to_trade

Mexico aims tariffs at Trump country, sees NAFTA complications

By Michael O’Boyle and Frank Jack Daniel
Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico hit back fast on U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday, targeting products from congressional districts that President Donald Trump’s Republican party is fighting to retain in November elections.

Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the tit-for-tat measures would complicate talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that underpins trade between the neighbors.

The spat meant it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal to revamp NAFTA before Mexico’s July 1 presidential election, though he underlined the continent had not entered a trade war.

“A trade war is when there is an escalation of conflict. In this case, it is simply a response to a first action,” Guajardo told Mexican radio.

“We should stick to the clearly defined battlefield, where the response is appropriate and proportional.”

Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses as well as steel – products from U.S. heartland states that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

The country reacted right after Washington said in the morning it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

“It sends a clear message that this kind of thing does not benefit anybody,” Guajardo said of the Mexican retaliation.

“Because, in the end, the effect will fall on voters and citizens that live in districts where the people have a voice and vote in the (U.S.) Congress.”

Mexico said it was imposing “equivalent” tariffs, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections in November. The measures will be in place until the U.S. government drops its tariffs, Mexico’s government said.

MEXICO WITH THE WORLD

Guajardo said retaliation was aimed at products chosen to hit districts with important lawmakers who had been warning Trump not to mess with Mexico. He estimated the U.S. tariffs would affect $4 billion in trade between the two countries.

“It is a sad day for international trade,” Guajardo said. “But hey, the decision was made, and we always said that we were going to be ready to react.”

In 2011, Mexico successfully used a similar list of mostly agricultural products to push Washington into letting Mexican truckers on U.S. highways.

Trump’s Republicans are fighting to retain control of Congress in mid-term elections. Their majority in the House of Representatives is seen as vulnerable.

Pork exporter Iowa, where incumbent Republican Rod Blum faces a Democratic challenge, is an example of a place Mexico’s reaction could hurt.

Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells. It is the top buyer of U.S. aluminum and the second-biggest buyer of U.S. steel, Guajardo’s ministry said.

The countermeasures will hit U.S. hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke by phone after the U.S. announcement. Canada pledged to fight back with its own measures.

Trump threatened to rip up the NAFTA deal during his election campaign but agreed to renegotiate early in his term. Still, since talks began nine months ago, he has repeatedly said he could walk away from NAFTA if it is not redone to his liking.

“The difference between a year and four, five months ago is that it seems the world looked and said ‘poor Mexico,” Guajardo said. “Now, Mexico is facing these threats together with the world.”

(Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; additional reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; editing by Dave Graham, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/mexico-hits-back-u-steel-aluminum-tariffs-equivalent-142649163.html

Story 2: DOJ/FBI Spied On Trump Campaign and American People To Protect Obama Administration and Clinton Campaign From The Possibility of Russia Disclosing To Trump Campaign Clinton’s Compromising Emails Before Election Day — Russia Did Not Disclose There Leverage or Blackmail Material Because They Thought Clinton Would Win — Videos

FBI Trump campaign spying allegations: How much did Obama know?

Dan Bongino slams efforts to debunk Trump’s ‘spygate’ claims

Trey Gowdy on ‘spygate’ controversy, Adam Schiff’s remarks

Hannity: Why not un-recuse yourself immediately, Sessions?

Gowdy faces backlash over remarks about FBI, Trump campaign

Tucker: Trump has convinced Dems to destroy themselves

Where in the World Was Barack Obama?

Somehow the former commander-in-chief is largely absent from the political spying drama.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation.
Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago in May of 2017. The Obama Presidential Center will not be a part of the presidential library network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, but instead will be operated by the Obama Foundation. PHOTO: NAM Y. HUH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Donald Trump tweets today: “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!” And what does the man who was serving at the time as the FBI’s ultimate boss have to say about all this?

Perhaps it’s a good moment to get the whole story from our 44th President. He should now have time to discuss his administration’s surveillance of affiliates of a presidential campaign because he has just prevailed in a contentious dispute.

The Associated Press reports, “Plan for Obama Presidential Center advances over protests.” According to the AP:

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago took a major step forward Thursday with a city commission’s decision to sign off on the project after hours of testimony from both supporters and opponents of the project.

The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal to build former President Barack Obama’s center in Jackson Park on the city’s South Side. The action came over protests from opponents who want an agreement that local residents will benefit from the $500 million project.

“Community residents have no ownership, no say-so, no input,” said Devondrick Jeffers. “We know this is a huge investment in the community, but it’s not truly an investment if residents don’t benefit from this as well.”

However, Obama Presidential Center supporters cheered the plans for the presidential center, saying it would bring job opportunities to the area and foster economic development.

Since his name is on the door, there really was no way for Mr. Obama to avoid being at the center of this story. But in a somewhat larger story he has remained largely—and strangely—absent.

“‘Bigger Than Watergate’? Both Sides Say Yes, but for Different Reasons” is the headline on a New York Times story about our current President and the federal investigation of suspected collusion with Russia. The Times reports that both Mr. Trump and his political adversaries like using the Watergate analogy:

Mr. Trump was referring to what he deems a deep-state conspiracy to get him. His detractors are referring to the various scandals swirling around Mr. Trump.

Watergate has long been the touchstone for modern American scandal, the mountain of misconduct against which all others are judged. In the 44 years since Richard M. Nixon resigned, virtually every political investigation has been likened to the one that brought down a president, the suffix “gate” applied to all sorts of public flaps, no matter how significant or trivial.

But rarely has the comparison been as intense and persistent as during the 16 months since Mr. Trump took office — a comparison deployed by both sides in hopes of shaping the narrative of wrongdoing. What started out as an inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election has mushroomed into questions of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, abuse of power, illicit spying, hush money, tax fraud, money laundering and influence peddling.

Many of those questions remain unanswered but we do know that the “deep state” referenced by the Times did have a boss in 2016. Yet Mr. Obama doesn’t show up in this story until the ninth paragraph. Those inclined toward Watergate analogies will say that it was some time before the break-in was connected to Richard Nixon, and of course we have no idea at this point whether the current controversy will end up being a Trump scandal, an Obama scandal or a permanently murky partisan battleground.

But since this controversy goes to the core of our democratic process, Americans desperately want clarity. How and why exactly did leaders of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies end up focusing on a domestic political campaign? The latestessential reading from the Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel gets to the heart of the matter:

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened.

By this point it seems clear that Mr. Obama didn’t think much of the theory that Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians. But presumably he learned quite a bit about his government’s efforts to investigate it. It’s not clear what an FBI official meant in 2016 when texting that President Obama “wants to know everything we’re doing.” But we can assume that the President was fairly well-informed about the law enforcement agencies reporting to him. Therefore let’s hear from him in detail the full history of how the government came to investigate the presidential campaign of the party out of power.

If he doesn’t know, then it would seem a public explanation is also in order—about his management, and about just how far the “deep state” went without specific presidential approval.

***

Noteworthy

Save This Endangered Species
“High-impact startups: America’s herd of gazelles seems to be thinning,” AEI.org, May 17

Other Than That, The Stories Were Accurate?
“At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

“Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant ‘jeopardizing his life.’ Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.”

— Matti Friedman op-ed in the New York Times, May 16

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-in-the-world-was-barack-obama-1526674870

 

Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied

FBI Director James Comey at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2015. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Trey Gowdy and Marco Rubio evidently paid little attention to testimony before their own committees on how Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.Well, well, well. The bipartisan Beltway establishment has apparently had its fill of this “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative — the same narrative the same establishment has lustily peddled for nearly two years. The Obama administration recklessly chose to deploy the government’s awesome counterintelligence powers to investigate — and, more to the point, to smear — its political opposition as a Kremlin confederate. Now that this ploy has blown up on the Justice Department and the FBI, these agencies — the ones that went out of their way, and outside their guidelines, to announce to the world that the Trump campaign was under investigation — want you to know the president and his campaign were not investigated at all, no siree.

What could possibly have made you imagine such a thing?

And so, to douse the controversy with cold water, dutifully stepping forward in fine bipartisan fettle are the Obama administration’s top intelligence official and two influential Capitol Hill Republicans who evidently pay little attention to major testimony before their own committees.

Former National Intelligence director James Clapper was first to the scene of the blaze. Clapper concedes that, well, yes, the FBI did run an informant — “spy” is such an icky word — at Trump campaign officials; but you must understand that this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross his heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, they only used an informant because — bet you didn’t know this — doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation.

Me? I’m thinking the tens of thousands of convicts serving lengthy sentences due to the penetration of their schemes by informants would beg to differ. (Mr. Gambino, I assure you, this was just for you own good . . .) In any event, I’ll leave it to the reader to imagine the Democrats’ response if, say, the Bush administration had run a covert intelligence operative against Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign’s co-chairman. I’m sure David Axelrod, Chuck Schumer, the New York Times, and Rachel Maddow would chirp that “all is forgiven” once they heard Republicans punctiliously parse the nuances between investigating campaign officials versus the campaign proper; between “spies,” “informants,” and other government-directed covert operatives.

Sure!

Senator Rubio

Then there are Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), General Clapper’s fellow fire extinguishers.

Rubio is a member in good standing of that Washington pillar, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has had about as much interest in scrutinizing the highly irregular actions of intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the Clinton and Russia probes as Gowdy’s Benghazi committee had in revisiting Republican ardor for Obama’s unprovoked war on Moammar Qaddafi. (That would be: roughly zero interest.)

Rubio told ABC News that he has seen “no evidence” that the FBI was gathering information about the Trump campaign. Rather, agents “were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning.” The senator elaborated that “when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that.”

Gee, senator, when you were carefully perusing the evidence of what the FBI was doing, did you ever sneak a peek at what the FBI said it was doing?

May I suggest, for example, the stunning public testimony by then-director James Comey on March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee — perhaps Representative Gowdy, who sits on that committee, could lend you the transcript, since he appears not to be using it. Just so we’re clear, this is not an obscure scrap of evidence buried within volumes of testimony. It is the testimony that launched the Mueller probe, and that sets (or, better, fails to set) the parameters of that probe — a flaw the nation has been discussing for a year.

Comey’s House testimony was breathtaking, not just because it confirmed the existence of a classified counterintelligence investigation, but because of what the bureau’s then-director said about the Trump campaign (my italics):

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. . . .

That is an unambiguous declaration that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign. That is why, for nearly two years, Washington has been entranced by the specter of “Trump collusion with Russia,” not “Papadopoulos collusion with Russia.” A campaign, of course, is an entity that acts through the individuals associated with it. But Comey went to extraordinary lengths to announce that the FBI was not merely zeroing in on individuals of varying ranks in the campaign; the main question was whether the Trump campaign itself — the entity — had “coordinated” in Russia’s espionage operation.

Representative Gowdy

Gowdy’s fire truck pulled into Fox News Tuesday night for an interview by Martha MacCallum. An able lawyer, the congressman is suddenly on a mission to protect the Justice Department and the FBI from further criticism. So, when Ms. MacCallum posed the question about the FBI spying on the Trump campaign, Gowdy deftly changed the subject: Rather than address the campaign, he repeatedly insisted that Donald Trump personally was never the “target” of the FBI’s investigation. The only “target,” Gowdy maintains, was Russia.

This is a dodge on at least two levels.

First, to repeat, the question raised by the FBI’s use of an informant is whether the bureau was investigating the Trump campaign. We’ll come momentarily to the closely connected question of whether Trump can be airbrushed out of his own campaign — I suspect the impossibility of this feat is why Gowdy is resistant to discussing the Trump campaign at all.

It is a diversion for Gowdy to prattle on about how Trump himself was not a “target” of the Russia investigation. As we’ve repeatedly observed (and as Gowdy acknowledged in the interview), the Trump-Russia probe is a counterintelligence investigation. An accomplished prosecutor, Gowdy well knows that “target” is a term of art in criminal investigations, denoting a suspect who is likely to be indicted. The term is inapposite to counterintelligence investigations, which are not about building criminal cases but about divining and thwarting the provocative schemes of hostile foreign powers. In that sense, and in no other, the foreign power at issue — here, Russia — is always the “target” of a counterintelligence probe; but it is never a “target” in the technical criminal-investigation sense in which Gowdy used the term . . . unless you think we are going to indict a country.

Apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about ‘targets’ is gibberish.

Moreover, even if we stick to the criminal-investigation sense of “target,” Gowdy knows it is misleading to emphasize that Trump is not one. Just a few short weeks ago, Gowdy was heard pooh-poohing as “meaningless” media reporting that Trump had been advised he was not a “target” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe (which is the current iteration of the Russia investigation). As the congressman quite correctly pointed out, if Trump is a subject of the investigation — another criminal-law term of art, denoting a person whose conduct is under scrutiny, but who may or may not be indicted — it should be of little comfort that he is not a “target”; depending on how the evidence shakes out, a subject can become a target in the blink of an eye.

So, apart from the fact that Gowdy is dodging the question about whether the Trump campaign was being investigated, his digression about “targets” is gibberish. Since the Obama administration was using its counterintelligence powers (FISA surveillance, national-security letters, unmasking identities in intelligence reporting, all bolstered by the use of at least one covert informant), the political-spying issue boils down to whether the Trump campaign was being monitored. Whether Trump himself was apt to be indicted, and whether threats posed by Russia were the FBI’s focus, are beside the point; in a counterintelligence case, an indictment is never the objective, and a foreign power is always the focus.

Withholding Information from Trump

Second, if Gowdy has been paying attention, he must know that, precisely because the Trump campaign was under investigation, top FBI officials had qualms of conscience over Comey’s plan to give Trump a misleading assurance that he personally was not under investigation. If this has slipped Gowdy mind, perhaps Rubio could lend him the transcript of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in particular, a section Rubio seems not to remember, either.

A little background. On January 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA director John Brennan, and NSA chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation. Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–acting attorney general Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Biden, and national-security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Ms. Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in her CYA memo-to-file about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. Indeed, we now know that Obama’s Justice Department had already commenced FISA surveillance on Trump campaign figures, and that it was preparing to return to the FISA court to seek renewal of the surveillance warrants. We also know that at least one informant was still deployed. And we know that the FBI withheld information about the investigation from the congressional “Gang of Eight” during quarterly briefings from July 2106 through early March 2017. (See Comey testimony March 20, 2017, questioning by Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.).) Director Comey said Congress’s most trusted leaders were not apprised of the investigation because “it was a matter of such sensitivity.” Putting aside that the need to alert Congress to sensitive matters is exactly why there is a Gang of Eight, the palpable reason why the matter was deemed too “sensitive” for disclosure was that it involved the incumbent administration’s investigation of the opposition campaign.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign. But just as important, they wanted the investigation — an “insurance policy” that promised to hamstring Trump’s presidency — to continue.

Clearly, the Obama officials did not want Trump to know the full scope of their investigation of his campaign.

So, how to accomplish these objectives? Plainly, the plan called for Comey to put the new president at ease by telling him he was not a suspect. This would not have been a credible assurance if Comey had informed Trump that his campaign had been under investigation for months, suspected of coordinating in Russia’s cyber-espionage operation. So, information would be withheld. The intelligence chiefs would tell Trump only about Russia’s espionage, not about the Trump campaign’s suspected “coordination” with the Kremlin. Then, Comey would apprise Trump about only a sliver of the Steele dossier — just the lurid story about peeing prostitutes, not the dossier’s principal allegations of a traitorous Trump-Russia conspiracy.

As I’ve previously recounted, this did not sit well with everyone at the FBI. Shortly before he met with Trump, Comey consulted his top FBI advisers about the plan to tell Trump he was not a suspect. There was an objection from one of Comey’s top advisers — we don’t know which one. Comey recounted this disagreement for the Senate Intelligence Committee (my italics):

One of the members of the leadership team had a view that, although it was technically true [that] we did not have a counterintelligence file case open on then-President-elect Trump[,] . . . because we’re looking at the potential . . . coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was . . . President-elect Trump’s campaignthis person’s view wasinevitably, [Trump’s] behavior, [Trump’s] conduct will fall within the scope of that work.

Representative Gowdy and Senator Rubio might want to read that testimony over a few times.

They might note that Comey did not talk about “potential coordination between Carter Page or Paul Manafort and Russia.” The director was unambiguous: The FBI was investigating “potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.” With due respect to Gowdy, the FBI did not regard Russia as the “target”; to the contrary, Comey said the focus of the investigation was whether Donald Trump’s campaign had coordinated in Russia’s election interference. And perspicaciously, Comey’s unidentified adviser connected the dots: Because (a) the FBI’s investigation was about the campaign, and (b) the campaign was Trump’s campaign, it was necessarily true that (c) Trump’s own conduct was under FBI scrutiny.

Director Comey’s reliance on the trivial administrative fact that the FBI had not written Trump’s name on the investigative file did not change the reality that Trump, manifestly, was a subject of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, there would be no conceivable justification for Special Counsel Mueller to be pushing to interview the president of the United States. If Trump were not a subject of the investigation, Trump’s political opponents would not have spent the last 18 months accusing him of obstruction and demanding that Mueller be permitted to finish his work.

In the interview with Ms. MacCallum, Representative Gowdy further confused matters by stressing Trump’s observation, in a phone conversation with Comey on March 30, 2017, that it would be good to find out if underlings in his campaign had done anything wrong. This, according to Gowdy, means Trump should be pleased, rather than outraged, by what the FBI did: By steering an informant at three campaign officials, we’re to believe that the bureau was doing exactly what Trump suggested.

Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation.

Such a specious argument. So disappointing to hear it from someone who clearly knows better.

First, the informant reportedly began approaching campaign officials in July 2016. It was nine months later, well after the election, when President Trump told Comey that if would be good if the FBI uncovered any wrongdoing by his “satellites.” Trump was not endorsing spying during the campaign; the campaign was long over. The president was saying that it would be worth continuing the FBI’s Russia investigation in order to root out any thus-far-undiscovered wrongdoing — but only if the FBI informed the public that Trump was not a suspect (an announcement Comey declined to make).

Second, Gowdy’s argument assumes something that is simply not true: namely, that the Trump campaign was not under investigation. As we’ve seen, Comey testified multiple times that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for possible coordination with Russia. The bureau was not, as Gowdy suggests, merely investigating a few campaign officials for suspicious contacts with Russia unrelated to the campaign.

The Steele Dossier and FISA Surveillance

That brings us to a final point. In support of the neon-flashing fact that the Trump campaign was under investigation when the Obama administration ran an informant at it, there is much more than former Director Comey’s testimony.

Probes conducted by both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee have established that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain FISA-court warrants against Carter Page. The dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research project (a fact withheld from the FISA court), was essential to the required probable-cause showing; the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, testified that without the dossier there would have been no warrant.

So . . . what did the dossier say? The lion’s share of it — the part Director Comey omitted from his briefing of Trump — alleged that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to corrupt the election, including by hacking and publicizing Democratic-party emails.

We also know, thanks to more testimony by Director Comey, that dossier information was presented to the FISA court because the Justice Department and the FBI found former British spy Christopher Steele to be reliable (even if they could not corroborate Steele’s unidentified Russian sources). That is, the FBI and Justice Department believed Steele’s claim that the Trump campaign was willfully complicit in Russia’s treachery.

It is a major investigative step to seek surveillance warrants from the FISA court. Unlike using an informant, for which no court authorization is necessary, applications for FISA surveillance require approvals at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI. After going through that elaborate process, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI presented to the court the dossier’s allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.

If that was their position under oath before a secret United States court, why would anyone conceivably believe that it was not their position when they ran an informant at members of the campaign they were investigating?

To be sure, no sensible person argues that the FBI should refrain from investigating individuals suspected of acting as clandestine agents of a hostile foreign power. The question is: How should such an investigation proceed in a democratic republic whose norms forbid an incumbent administration, in the absence of strong evidence of egregious misconduct, from directing its counterintelligence and law-enforcement powers against its political opposition?

That norm was flouted by the Justice Department and the FBI, under the direction of the Obama administration’s senior political leadership. Representative Gowdy, Senator Rubio, and General Clapper maintain that the Justice Department and the FBI were just doing what we should expect them to do, and that we should applaud them. But this claim is based on the easily refuted fiction that the Justice Department and FBI were not investigating the Trump campaign. The claim also ignores the stubborn fact that, if all the Obama administration had been trying to do was check out a few bad apples with suspicious Russia ties, this could easily have been done by alerting the Trump campaign and asking for its help.

Instead, Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018, Story 1: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Compromised National Security By Emails To Clinton’s Emailer Server Account — Hacked By Several Countries Including Russia Providing Real Leverage or Blackmail of Clinton and Obama — Spy or Mole In Trump Campaign To Provide Early Warning That Russians Gave Trump The Compromising Leverage/Blackmail — None Sent Nor Received by Trump — Obama Knew Everything DOJ, FBI, CIA, and NSA Were Doing! — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Demands Investigation and Meets With Deputy Attorney General and FBI Director — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Participates in Swearing In of First Women C.I.A. Director, Gina Haspel — Videos — Story 4: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Outlines Strategy with Strongest Sanctions Against Iran — Videos

Posted on May 22, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Assault, Barack H. Obama, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Killing, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pro Life, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Treason, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Compromised National Security By Emails To Clinton’s Emailer Server Account — Hacked By Several Countries Including Russia Providing Real Leverage or Blackmail of Clinton and Obama — Spy or Mole In Trump Campaign To Provide Early Warning That Russians Gave Trump The Compromising Leverage/Blackmail — None Sent Nor Received by Trump — Obama Knew Everything DOJ, FBI, CIA, and NSA Were Doing! — Videos

 

Trump questions where Obama was amid reports of FBI spying

5 Things You Need to Know About Hillary’s Email Server

Report: 99% chance Clinton email server hacked

Why Clinton’s private email use is deemed more serious than predecessors’

Was President Obama aware of Clinton’s private email server?

Did Obama lie about his knowledge of Clinton’s server?

Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s emails

DOJ reportedly reopens Hillary Clinton email investigation

Why Congress won’t reopen the Clinton email investigation

State Department’s Report ‘Really Hurts’ Hillary Clinton | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Whistleblower: Clinton emails include classified info

Clinton campaign looked to fire intel watchdog over email scandal

Ex-watchdog: From start, pushback on Clinton email probe

Trump Hopes Russia Finds Clinton’s Deleted Emails

Inspector General Issues Scathing Report On Hillary’s Emails

Former DOJ official on reports of informant in Trump team

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

Clinton email scandal, Russia probe compromised by biased investigator

Ed Klein: Why Comey jumped at chance to reopen Clinton case

Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss

FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server

Is the presence of a spy in a presidential campaign lawful?

DOJ watchdog completes draft report on Clinton probe

FBI investigating drone emails in Clinton server probe

Morrell confirms at least one foreign country have what was on Hillary’s email server

Trey Gowdy GRILLS James Comey On Hillary Clinton Emails 7/7/16

Jason Chaffetz Digs in on Comey at Start of Capitol Hearing: ‘We Are Mystified and Confused’:

James Comey takes fire for Clinton email recommendation

FBI Director James Comey’s full statement on Clinton email investigation

FORMER CIA AND DEFENSE CHIEFS SAY CLINTON’S EMAIL SERVER HACKED: Iran, China, Russia Hacked Server

Russian-linked hackers tried to access Clinton emails

Former CIA Director: Foreign Spies Had Access to Clinton Emails

Obama creating a ‘shadow government?’

Obama’s shadowing of Trump is appalling: Dobbs

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance?

Story 2: President Trump Demands Investigation and Meets With Deputy Attorney General and FBI Director — Videos —

Trump demands that the DOJ look into reports of informant

 

Trump demands DOJ probe into FBI surveillance allegations

 

Story 3: President Trump Attends Swearing In of First Women C.I.A. Director, Gina Haspel — Videos

Gina Haspel sworn-in as first female CIA director

President Donald Trump: Gina Haspel Will Never Back Down | CNBC

President Donald Trump Attends Swearing-In Of New CIA Director Gina Haspel | NBC News

Trump CIA pick tells lawmakers: ‘My moral compass is strong’

Trump Swears In Gina Haspel as C.I.A. Director, Praising Agency as the ‘Most Elite’ in the World

Image
Gina Haspel was sworn in on Monday as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump praised Gina Haspel on Monday as she was sworn in as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, congratulating her on becoming the first woman to lead what he called “the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet.”

But even as Ms. Haspel took over as C.I.A. director, conservatives and some Trump allies were accusing her of being part of the “deep state” conspiracy that the president repeatedly claims has been conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

Publicly and privately, Trump supporters have been raising questions about Ms. Haspel’s loyalty to the president, and urging — without providing any evidence — an examination of what she knew about the intelligence community’s efforts to connect Trump to Russia.

In particular, they have questioned whether Ms. Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the spy agency who was the C.I.A.’s station chief in London, knew of the F.B.I.’s highly secretive interview of an Australian diplomat in London, and was aware that the bureau used an informant to gather information there from Trump associates about possible Russian coordination with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Who was the CIA London Station Chief in 2016?”Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist with a large Twitter following, asked in a tweet last week. “Gina Haspel.”

In a letter last week, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, asked Ms. Haspel if the C.I.A. had been involved in spying on Mr. Trump or if the agency had cooperated with foreign intelligence services to monitor Mr. Trump in the years before he officially became a candidate.

It is unclear how much Ms. Haspel knew about the F.B.I.’s activities, which were part of a counterintelligence operation that the bureau called “Crossfire Hurricane,” or when she was made aware of them. But it is standard procedure for the station chief in a major city to be briefed on any major bureau activities in her territory.

“Anything that affects the intelligence community, you would first get the agency’s concurrence through the chief of station,” said Eugene Casey, a former agent who spent more than five years overseas for the F.B.I.

An American official said on Monday that Ms. Haspel was not fully briefed at the time on the F.B.I.’s use of an informant in London to gather information about Trump associates or on its plan to interview the Australian diplomat. The existence of the bureau’s Russia investigation was one of the most closely held secrets in the F.B.I. and the Justice Department.

But just the possibility that Ms. Haspel knew of the informant in the Russia inquiry is enough for some conspiracy theorists to accuse Ms. Haspel of being part of the anti-Trump intelligence bureaucracy they believe is arrayed against the president and his agenda.

Frank Gaffney Jr., of the Center for Security Policy, was particularly angry at the comments Ms. Haspel made during her confirmation hearing about whether she would follow a presidential order she considered immoral (she said she would not).

He also complained that Ms. Haspel, whose nomination was supported by a cross-section of former intelligence officials, was “being strongly recommended for that job by men who have used the C.I.A. and/or other elements of the intelligence community as deep state weapons to try to destroy him, his campaign and his administration.”

For Mr. Trump, the conspiracy theories connected to Ms. Haspel underscore an awkward reality: If the deep state Russia allegations are true, then many of the president’s own intelligence officials are in the same position as her.

In addition to Ms. Haspel, who served in senior C.I.A. positions under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, many of Mr. Trump’s other senior intelligence officials have played roles in parts of the Russia investigation.

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who is overseeing the Russia investigation, appointed the special counsel in the case and has defended the investigation. Dana Boente, whom Mr. Trump appointed to be the top lawyer at the F.B.I., signed one of the secret warrants for a wiretap on a Trump associate. And Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, has fought to maintain the independence of the Russia investigation and has said it is not a witch hunt.

Just hours before his visit to the C.I.A. on Monday, Mr. Trump lashed out against Mr. Brennan, quoting a Fox News contributor who says Mr. Brennan “is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the….

Mr. Trump used the power of his Twitter account to amplify remarks from Dan Bongino, a conservative commentator, who alleged on Fox that Mr. Brennan used an intelligence dossier to begin an illegitimate investigation of the Trump campaign.

“This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation,” the president tweeted to his 52 million followers, quoting Mr. Bongino’s television appearance.

The Monday morning tweets by the president followed a weekend in which he angrily complained about reports that the investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia relied in part on confidential informants. Mr. Trump again assailed the investigation as a “Witch Hunt” and demanded that the F.B.I. or the Justice Department investigate whether his campaign was subject to improper surveillance.

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” Mr. Trump wrote on Sunday.

The president repeated that demand on Monday in an email from his re-election campaign, urging his political supporters to sign a petition calling for a Justice Department investigation.

THIS COULD BE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY,” Mr. Trump wrote in the email from the Trump Make America Great Again campaign committee. “I need you to sign your name right this second to join me in demanding this abuse of power gets investigated.”

Mr. Rosenstein said on Sunday that the department’s inspector general would look into the questions raised by the president. But it is unclear whether that will satisfy Mr. Trump, who has said it was “disgraceful” to hand investigation of the Russia inquiry to an inspector general who was “Obama’s guy.”

The president is scheduled to meet with Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Wray and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, at the White House on Monday afternoon, officials said.

Despite the president’s relentless assault on what he perceives as the intelligence community’s improper actions as part of the investigations into his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump praised Ms. Haspel and the agency she is about to lead.

Mr. Trump’s brief remarks were strikingly different from those he delivered on his first visit to the agency the day after his inauguration, when he stood in front of a memorial to fallen intelligence officers and delivered a political diatribe against the news media, Democrats and others who questioned the size of his inaugural crowd.

On Monday, Mr. Trump lauded the “exceptional men and women of this agency,” adding: “I see what you do. I understand what you do and it’s incredible.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/21/us/politics/trump-haspel-cia.html

 

Story 4: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Outlines Strategy with Strongest Sanctions Against Iran — Videos

Pompeo: Iran to face “strongest sanctions in history”

Pompeo outlines new Iran strategy after US exit from deal

WATCH: Secy. of State Pompeo discusses Iran at Heritage Foundation

Pompeo adviser: US requirements for Iran are realistic

 

 

Mike Pompeo threatens Iran with ‘strongest sanctions in history’ after nuclear deal withdrawal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued a steep list of demands that he said should be included in a nuclear treaty with Iran to replace the Obama-era deal, threatening “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran doesn’t change course.

Key points:

  • Mike Pompeo gives first major speech as Secretary of State and threatens “toughest sanctions in history” on Iran
  • Submits 12 demands to the Middle East nation which would ensure it “has no possible path to a nuclear weapon”
  • Mr Pompeo warns punishment against European businesses which continue to trade with Iran

Following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, the United States will ensure “Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever,” Mr Pompeo said.

As he called for a better agreement to constrain Iran’s activities, he said the US would “apply unprecedented financial pressure” to bring Tehran back to the table.

“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” Mr Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation, his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat.

The Secretary of State’s list of 12 requirements included many that Iran is highly unlikely to consider.

He said Iran must “stop enrichment” of uranium, which was allowed within strict limitations under the 2015 deal. Iran must also allow nuclear “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country,” Mr Pompeo said, alluding to military sites that were off-limits under the 2015 deal except under specific circumstances.

To that end, he also said Iran must declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon, reopening an issue that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has already deemed a closed matter.

Mr Pompeo also demanded that Iran cease from a range of activities throughout the Middle East that have long drawn the ire of the US and its allies. He said Iran must end support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria, halt support for its ally Hezbollah and stop threatening Israel.

Iran must also “release all US citizens” missing in Iran or being held on “spurious charges,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Pompeo offered Iran a series of dramatic potential US concessions if it agrees to make “major changes.”

Under a new agreement, the US would be willing to lift all sanctions, restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, and even support the modernization of its economy, Mr Pompeo said.

“It is America’s hope that our labours toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran,” he said.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Mr Pompeo’s speech came after Mr Trump earlier this month infuriated US allies in Europe by withdrawing from the 2015 deal brokered by President Barack Obama, Iran and world powers. Europeans allies had pleaded with Mr Trump not to scuttle that deal and are now scrambling to keep the deal alive even without the US.

Mr Pompeo called that 2015 agreement a “loser deal”.

But the Trump administration has held out hope that those same allies will put aside that frustration and work with the US to ramp pressure back up on Iran through sanctions in a bid to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table for a stronger deal.

Pompeo said he understood that Trump’s decision “will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends.” But he warned them that the US planned to follow through with threats to punish European companies that continue doing business with Iran that is allowed under the deal but will violate reimposed US sanctions.

“I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make,” Pompeo said. “They know where we stand.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/mike-pompeo-threatens-iran-with-tough-sanctions/9784784

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The Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018, Story 1: Mueller Will Follow Department of Justice Guidelines — Cannot Indict Acting President Trump — Videos — Story 2: Close Down Mueller Investigation and Appoint Secon Special Counsel Investigation of FBI and DOJ Criminal Conduct in Clinton Investigation, FISA Court Warrant Application Omissions and Spying On American People — Videos

Posted on May 17, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, National Security Agency, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Software, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Technology, Unemployment, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: Mueller Will Follow Department of Justice Guidelines — Cannot Indict Acting President Trump — Videos

Mark Levin on Hannity: Obama And His Surrogates Need To Be Held ACCOUNTABLE!

Mark Levin Show 5/18/18 | Mark Levin May 18, 2018

“Brazen Plot To Exonerate Clinton’ Starting To Seep Out” Daily Caller Interviews Joe DiGenova

Levin Interviews Devin (Nunes): Complete Timeline of FISA Court Abuse by DOJ and FBI

Mark Levin GOES OFF on Trey Gowdy, Lindsey Graham, Mueller, & more – Audio Only – 3/19/18

MARK LEVIN FULL ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH SEAN HANNITY (3/19/2018)

Hannity: Another stinging setback for the special counsel

Giuliani: Mueller can’t indict or subpoena the president

Giuliani: Mueller told Trump team he won’t indict president

Can Robert Mueller indict President Trump?

Breaking News | Mueller told Trump’s legal team he will not indict the president, Giuliani tells Fo

Giuliani: Mueller’s team says they won’t indict Trump

Kurtz: Russia probes becoming background noise

Nunes Just Made VERY BOLD Prediction on Russia Probe That’ll Have You CHEERING!

 

Giuliani Puts the Corrupt Mueller Team on Notice: “We’re Ready to Rip Them Apart if that’s What They Want!”

Former Federal Prosecutor and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was on Laura Ingraham’s ‘The Ingraham Angle’ on FOX News last night.

Rudy and all of America know there is no collusion between President Trump and Russia and so Rudy encouraged the corrupt Mueller team to wrap it up.

Rudy discussed the corrupt Mueller investigation that has now been going on for a year.  At the beginning of the below segment of the interview Rudy stated that the guys on the Mueller team are taking so long because maybe “these guys, you know, figure they can’t get a good job”.

Rudy was outstanding and he never let up.  At the end of the interview (at the 9:10 mark in the video below) Rudy addressed the crooked Mueller team straight on –

Ingraham: Timeline, what is your optimal timeline for this to wrap up?

Rudy: They should do it today. I mean as soon as possible. I think that they have the facts from which they can write their report.

If you can write a fair report fine, then write it.

If you’re gonna write an unfair report, write it and we will combat it.  We’re ready to rip it apart.

And we’re ready to rip them apart if that’s what they want.  We’d rather peacefully settle this and get it over with.

 

Story 2: Close Down Mueller Investigation and Appoint Second Special Counsel Investigation of FBI and DOJ Criminal Conduct in Clinton Investigation, FISA Court Warrant Application Omissions and Spying On American People — Videos

Republicans push for Jeff Sessions to appoint second special counsel

Gowdy, Goodlatte make case for second independent counsel

Rep. Trey Gowdy: ‘Really bad facts’ emerging about DOJ, FBI

Gowdy presses Deputy AG on possible bias against Trump

Congress Blindsides Obama After Evidence Reveals His Dirtiest Skeleton Yet

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018, Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Announces Comprehensive Plan To Reduce Drug Prices Through Competition, Incentives, Negotiations, Regulation  and Transparency — Promises Lower Drug Prices — Tough Talk — Follow The Money — Videos — Story 3: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Against Trump Using Intelligence Community — CIA, FBI, NSA, and Department of Justice — Failed Attempt To Use Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska To Establish Trump Link With Russians/Putin Through Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Manager — Massive Cover-Up and Political Scandal — Video

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageUS President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

Image result for trump plan for lowering drug prices for medicare

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Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos

U.S. Embassy opening: Moving is a step towards peace

US Jerusalem embassy opening fallout

A breakdown of the controversy over the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Deadly clashes on Israel border ahead of U.S. Embassy opening

How are Palestinians reacting to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and violence in Gaza?

U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem, while Palestinian protesters are killed

Thank You President Trump’ on Walls of Jerusalem on Eve of Embassy Move

 

“Thank You President Trump.” That was the message projected onto the ancient walls of Jerusalem, together with the American and Israeli flags, on the eve of the formal transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on Sunday evening.

Inside those walls — most recently rebuilt by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I in the 16th century — tens of thousands of young Israelis danced and sang at the Western Wall plaza in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the 51st anniversary of the reunification of the city during the Six Day War of 1967.

This year, due to the peculiar nature of the Hebrew calendar — which combines both lunar and solar elements — the Hebrew date of Jerusalem Day fell one day before the Roman date of Israel’s 70th anniversary on May 14.

May 14 is also the 70th anniversary of the date that U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel, which is the reason the embassy transfer was scheduled for that date. (Israel celebrates its Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar, which fell in April this year.)

 

The coincidence of Jerusalem Day and the embassy move — plus Israel’s victory early Sunday morning in the Eurovision Song Contest — meant that the city has been in a state of celebration for several days, culminating in the dedication of the embassy move on Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. EDT and 6:00 a.m. PDT in the U.S.).

 

An official in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Breitbart News at a reception Sunday evening that the mood in his department was “somewhere between ecstatic and euphoric.”

In the modern center of the city, American flags and Israeli flags hung side-by-side, along with signs thanking President Trump and declaring him a “Friend of Zion.”

“Trump is Number One!” shouted one Israeli to Breitbart News reporters on the scene. It was a sentiment widely shared in a country that has seen so much hardship and struggle, and which feels that it finally has a friend in the White House — “the best friend Israel ever had,” as one Israeli put it.

The mood was even reflected in Israeli sports. Beitar Jerusalem, the local soccer team, officially renamed itself Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem in honor of the U.S. President.

Trump supporters also took out a massive wrap-around ad in the Jerusalem Post on Monday morning thanking President Trump for delivering on his promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and to end the Iran nuclear deal.

Across Israel, there was the repeated refrain: “He does what he says.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2018/05/13/thank-president-trump-walls-jerusalem-eve-embassy-move/

 

‘Big day in Israel. Congratulations!’ Trump tweets jubilantly at official opening by Jared and Ivanka of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem – as bloody day of violence sees Israeli snipers kill 52 and injure 2,400

  • US moving embassy from Tel Aviv today after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December  
  • Israeli snipers have killed scores of protesters near the Gaza border with more than two thousand injured
  • Mass protests taking place with Palestinian government accusing Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’
  • Comes after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for group’s followers to carry out jihad against the US 
  • Russia says embassy move risks increasing Middle East tension as Turkey says US is now ‘part of the problem’ 
  • The Arab League is planning to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss America’s ‘illegal’ embassy move 
  • US President’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner said opening showed US could be trusted and that when ‘Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Donald Trump rededicated the United States’ to its alliance with Israel on Monday as the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem officially opened.

Trump in a video address said that the U.S. will ‘always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace’ while honoring the nation and the city it claims as its capital as a ‘testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.’

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address. ‘May there be peace.’

In a tweet shortly after he said, ‘Big day for Israel. Congratulations!’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

The U.S. delegation had arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the foreign policy shift.

Israeli snipers have killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more as 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Donald Trump‘s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.

A 14-year-old was among 52 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

The festivities in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed on the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump (pictured) and Jared Kushner, have attended the opening of the embassy, relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

A child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border todayA child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border today
A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel today

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel today

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border

Huge crowds of protesters hid behind clouds of smoke from burning tyres but at times were forced to run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops

A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel's intervention during a protest to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 and against the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

At least 2,400 more have been injured with hundreds of them by live bullets, according to Gaza officials as the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’ and Amnesty International called the bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

Trump President tossed aside decades of precedent when he recognized the city as Israel’s capital in December – a decision that sparked global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis.

Russia said today it feared the embassy opening would increase tension in the Middle East while Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan warned the US it had forfeited its role as a mediator in the region and was now ‘part of the problem rather than the solution’.

As deadly clashes continued, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy has been a ‘long time coming’ and that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years. He added that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition’ and that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

Trump also said his ‘greatest hope’ is for peace and that he ‘remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement’. His on-in-law Jared Kushner said the opening showed the US could be trusted and that ‘when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the international community must bring those responsible to justice, in a post on Twitter.

‘Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.

‘The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims.’

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

A medic tries to hold an injured man's mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher 

A medic tries to hold an injured man’s mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A woman appears to be giving protesters medical assistance as she tends to them while they sit on the ground during clashes along the border with Israel

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Inside the event, the president’s daughter delivered an official welcome telling attendees after her father’s video address: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

She joined Mnuchin in unveiling the embassy seal and plaque commemorating her father’s involvement in the occasion.

Her husband, Jared, delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, in some of his most lengthy public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration.

Acknowledging his wife in his remarks, he said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world — including me, so I love you.’

‘I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people, and I am especially honored to be here today as a representative of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,’ he said.

Highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy, Kushner said, ‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.’

‘The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can,’ he told the audience. ‘We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give.’

Kushner said the U.S. ‘recognizes the sensitivity’ around Jerusalem, home to three religions, including Islam.

‘While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders throughout the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,’ Trump’s chief peace negotiator said.

At the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah blamed Hamas for the violence in Israel on Monday. He said he did not believe that the violence would undermine the United States’ positioning on a peace agreement.

‘The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,’ he asserted.

Shah demanded that Hamas stop its ‘cynical exploitation of the situation’ that has lead to the deaths.

The president’s spokesman said that embassy opening is ‘about following through on what the President promised and believes.

‘I think we’ve for decades you know walked on eggshells, pretending that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is. And this is just a recognition of reality.’

Shah said the ‘peace plan will be brought forward at the appropriate time, and it can be evaluated on its merits.

‘We don’t think it impact the peace plan,’ he said of the deaths in Gaza.

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

A severely injured man is carried. Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their livesA severely injured man is carried. Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives
American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. 'Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,' he said to warm applause.

American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. ‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,’ he said to warm applause.

Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip today

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

‘President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,’ he said, in forceful remarks. ‘Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.’

Netanyahu firmly declared: ‘We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay.’

‘Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.’

Netanyahu made a reference to the conflict on the Gaza border as he said in his speech that ‘our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak, we salute them all.’

‘The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,’ he said.

President Trump said earlier on Monday that it would be ‘a great day for Israel’ as the U.S. embassy prepared to open in Jerusalem.

‘The United States remains fully committed to precipitating a lasting peace agreement,’ he said in a video address.

He steered clear of the controversy over the relocation of the embassy, while noting, ‘We continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount.’

‘Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,’ he said.

‘We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,’ he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoonIvanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoon

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka

Jared Kushner embraces Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu during the opening ceremony today

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka (left) and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during the opening ceremony today

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a 'massacre' along the Gaza border

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a ‘massacre’ along the Gaza border

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a 'long time coming'. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a ‘long time coming’. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the "eternal, undivided" capital of Israe

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israe

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Trump in December announced that he would follow through on the pledge to move the embassy that U.S. presidential candidates have repeatedly made and then reneged on.

The Republican president said he would ‘move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’ in keeping with a decades-old U.S. mandating the relocation.

Presidents have typically signed a waiver every six months to skirt the requirement. Trump signed it his first year in office.

After a process that was expected to take up to four years, the U.S. said it would outfit a consulate in Jerusalem as an embassy while a new one is constructed.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors’: President Trump celebrates the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem from afar

Donald Trump said it was ‘a great day for Israel’ on Monday as the U.S. embassy was officially declared open in Jerusalem.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address.

It has been a ‘long time coming’, he added.

Trump said that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years, adding that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition.’

Trump added that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

The embassy move has enraged the Palestinians. Trump said he remained committed to ‘facilitating a lasting peace agreement.’

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a 'long time coming' as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message 

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a ‘long time coming’ as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message

Trump stressed a close bond with Israel. He also said he was ‘extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there to see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

Ivanka Trump, in an official welcome, after her father’s video address, told attendees: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump's decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, 'Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world - including me, so I love you'

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you’

Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy.

‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,’ Kushner said.

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you.’

The U.S. delegation arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the U.S. foreign policy shift.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not make the trip, either, but said Sunday in an interview that aired on Fox News that ‘the American people in that region are secure’ and ‘we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.’

Upon the arrival of the U.S. delegation on Sunday, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both Jewish, received a blessing from Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

‘Great to join the friends of Zion for an amazing evening commemorating the dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,’ Ivanka wrote in a tweet after landing.

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

As the ceremony took place this afternoon, the Israeli army revealed that warplanes had struck a Hamas facility in Gaza during bloody protests.

The military said it carried out five airstrikes after militants exchanged fire on three separate occasions with soldiers.

Brigadier General Ronen Manelis turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army viewed that number as a ‘failure for Hamas.’

He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest.

This morning, the Israeli military said troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests.

The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as the army said an Israeli aircraft had bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Amnesty International called the violence today an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

‘We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza…. This must end immediately,’ the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.

‘This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes,’ Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said in a separate statement.

‘As violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.’

Amnesty made the statement ‘responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed’ in the protests over the US embassy move.

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

‘The rising toll of deaths and injuries today only serves to highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo,’ Luther added.

‘While some protestors may have engaged in some form of violence, this still does not justify the use of live ammunition.’

The European Union’s foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the ‘principle of proportionality in the use of force’.

Federica Mogherini said that all should act ‘with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life’ and added that ‘Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest.’

At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and ‘must not exploit them for other means.’

The dramatic scenes today came after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri last night called for followers to carry out jihad against America.

In a new message, he said America’s decision was evidence that negotiations and ‘appeasement’ have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

Trump ‘was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad,’ Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border 

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

The celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protestedThe celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protested
A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinians burned tyres this morning ahead of mass protests at the Gaza border today

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

The announcement and the opening of the embassy sparked new chaos in Jerusalem, which the Israelis and Palestinians both claim as a holy site.

Still, the Trump administration says it is still charging ahead with a plan to bring peace to the region. A U.S. official told the Washington Free Beacon in advance of the embassy opening that the White House intends to unveil the deal that Trump’s son-in-law has taken a lead role in putting together in the coming months.

‘We’ve been working hard and want to give the plan the best chance for success,’ a senior official told the publication. ‘We want to get a lasting deal that is livable for both parties.’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was not on the trip and has been the point person for the Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, said the Middle East peace process is ‘is most decidedly not dead,’ in spite of the unrest that boiled over on Sunday.

‘We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well,’ he said.

Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said the administration believes the embassy move will enhance the peace process because it’s a recognition of reality.

‘I think it will make it easier. It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that’s where the American embassy should be, then you’re operating on a completely different wavelength,’ Bolton said.

Kushner likewise said in his speech on Monday at the embassy: ‘When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.’

‘I believe peace is within reach, if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past, that we are not condemned to relieve history, and that the way things were is not how they must forever be,’ he said. ‘It will not be an easy road, and it will be filled with difficult moments and tough decisions, but if we dream big and we lead with courage, we can change the trajectory for millions from hopeless to boundless.’

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning 

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning

Dozens have been injured - some of them seriously - by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza's Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Dozens have been injured – some of them seriously – by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Protests intensified on the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, as loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urged Palestinians to join a 'Great March of Return'. Black smoke from tyres burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted 'what an amazing day! Thank you @POTUS Trump' ahead of the opening

J Street, a liberal advocacy group pursuing Middle East peace, said the Trump administration had hurt the prospects of a deal with the embassy relocation in a scathing Monday statement called it a ‘victory for the far-right agenda of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu – but not for the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians or the United States.’

‘This move has only undermined the prospects for peace, exacerbated tensions and undercut US standing as an effective mediator,’ J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said. ‘This isn’t policy – it’s pandering to a narrow political base.’

The largest Jewish lobbying organization in the U.S., AIPAC, which has supported the move, noted that it was approved by Congress 1995 in a sweeping vote. It prodded other countries to follow the United States’ lead.

‘America was the first nation to recognize the independence of the Jewish state, and it is particularly appropriate that our country is once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and its standing in the world. We urge other nations to follow the Unites States’ lead and also locate their embassies in Israel’s capital,’ it said.

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Crowds built throughout the day in the Palestinian enclave less than 60 miles away from Jerusalem and sealed off from Israel by a blockade

Israel's military said 'approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence'

Israel’s military said ‘approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence’

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel's army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel’s army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

As tensions mounted today, the Arab League said it will hold emergency talks on Wednesday to discuss Washington’s ‘illegal’ decision.

The meeting will focus on ‘ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem’, the organisation’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.

He told reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet ‘at the request of the state of Palestine’.

Police and the Israeli military had planned major security deployments today.

Around 1,000 police officers were positioned around the embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for the inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israel’s army said it would almost double the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

Early this morning, witnesses said Israeli drones dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional 'layers' of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several 'significant attempts' to break through the fence

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional ‘layers’ of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several ‘significant attempts’ to break through the fence

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

Israelis began celebrating on Sunday, as tens of thousands of marched in Jerusalem, some holding American flags, to mark Jerusalem Day.

The annual event is an Israeli celebration of the ‘reunification’ of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Beyond the disputed nature of Jerusalem, the date of the embassy move is also key. May 14 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The following day, Palestinians mark the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Palestinian protests are planned on both days.

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel’s military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Israel's army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will 'act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians'. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

Israel’s army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will ‘act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians’. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

WHY THE US MOVED ITS EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

The United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.

The opening ceremony was timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognising Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had ‘taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.’

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a ‘slap in the face’ and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Initially, a small interim embassy will operate from the building in southern Jerusalem that now houses US consular operations, while a secure site is found to move the rest of the embassy operations from Tel Aviv.

WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL, AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?

There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a signature promise of his 2016 election campaign.

The decision was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, many of whom support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but to which other presidents since then – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – consistently signed waivers.

WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?

Religion, politics and history.

Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders.

It is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The city even has different names. Jews call it Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds, which means ‘The Holy’.

But the city´s significance goes further.

At the heart of the Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims internationally as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains of them above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.

Within yards of the wall, and overlooking it, are two Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century. Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.

The city is also an important pilgrimage site for Christians, who revere it as the place where they believe that Jesus Christ preached, died and was resurrected.

WHAT IS THE CITY’S MODERN HISTORY AND STATUS?

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the then British-ruled Palestine should be partitioned into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But it recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a ‘corpus separatum’ to be administered by the United Nations.

That never happened. When British rule ended in 1948, Jordanian forces occupied the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the ‘complete and united’ city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. But the United Nations regards East Jerusalem as occupied, and the city’s status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

DOES ANY OTHER COUNTRY HAVE AN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

In March Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US move.

Netanyahu said in April that ‘at least half a dozen’ countries were now ‘seriously discussing’ following the US lead, but he did not identify them.

In December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel´s capital. Nine voted against, 35 abstained and 21 did not cast a vote.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? HAS JERUSALEM BEEN A FLASHPOINT BEFORE?

Since Trump’s announcement there have been Palestinian protests and wider political tensions.

Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned the move could lead to turmoil and hamper US efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops in Gaza during a six-week border protest due to culminate on May 15, the day after the US Embassy move and when Palestinians traditionally lament homes and land lost with Israel’s creation.

Although the clashes have not been on the scale of the Palestinian intifadas of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.

In 1969 an Australian Messianic Christian tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque. He failed but caused damage, and prompted fury across the Arab world.

In 2000, the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, led a group of Israeli lawmakers onto the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif complex. A Palestinian protest escalated into the second intifada.

Deadly confrontations also took place in July after Israel installed metal detectors at the complex’s entrance after Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there.

Source: Reuters

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

A US delegation in Jerusalem includes Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides. She posted a picture of the couple on Twitter with Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara as she thanked the Israeli Prime Minister for his hospitality at a welcome reception

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Trump ‘feeble minded’ over embassy move, says Iran

Iran has denounced President Donald Trump as ‘feeble-minded’ over Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling for resistance from the Palestinians and the international community.

‘America has entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously,’ said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, at a conference on the Palestinian situation in Tehran.

‘I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,’ he added.

The United States was due to open its new embassy in Jerusalem — known as Al-Quds in Iran — later on Monday amid widespread Palestinian anger and praise from Israelis.

‘Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,’ Larijani said.

Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Larijani called for an ‘immediate reaction’ from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.

The US ‘must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,’ he said

There have already been weeks of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, with 54 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire there since March 30.

No Israelis have been wounded and the military has faced criticism over the use of live fire.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence

Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

In the decades since 1967, international consensus has been that the city’s status must be negotiated between the two sides, but Trump broke with that to global outrage.

He has argued that it helps make peace possible by taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’, but many have pointed out he has not announced any concessions in return from Israel.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said the US was ‘hard at work’ on the peace process, which he declared was ‘most decidedly not dead’.

Trump’s initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.

Meanwhile, Britain has no plans to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and still disagrees with the U.S. decision to do so, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday.

‘The PM said in December when the announcement was first made that we disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.

The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,’ the spokesman told reporters.

He was speaking on a day when the United States was due to open its embassy in Jerusalem, an event that has led to Palestinian protests.

Israeli gunfire killed two Palestinians and wounded at least 35 other protesters along the Gaza border on Monday, health officials said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - part of a Washington delegation - this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – part of a Washington delegation – this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The US is not the first embassy to open in Jerusalem – and won’t be the last

When the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday it will be the most high-profile diplomatic inauguration in the holy city, but not the first nor the last.

Several countries, mainly African and Latin American, have previously had their ambassadors based in Jerusalem and some are expected to return.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya severed relations with Israel in protest and closed the doors of their embassies in Jerusalem.

They later renewed relations but moved their missions to Tel Aviv.

In 1980 Israel enacted a law declaring Jerusalem, including the mainly Palestinian eastern zone, its ‘complete and united’ capital.

The United Nations Security Council branded the move illegal and adopted a resolution calling on ‘those states that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions’.

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

The Netherlands, Haiti and several Latin American countries complied.

Costa Rica and El Salvador returned to Jerusalem in 1984, but left again in 2006.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement on December 6, some at least are heading back – and Israel is hoping for more.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has said his country’s embassy will move to Jerusalem on May 16, and Paraguay’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would follow suit.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes would attend the opening ceremony, which would take place ‘by the end of the month’.

Romania’s government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, has adopted a draft proposal to move its embassy, which would make it the first European Union member to do so.

But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposes the move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and has called for Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s resignation.

On a visit to Jerusalem last month, Dancila acknowledged that at this stage she did not have ‘support of all parties as we would wish’ to carry out the embassy move.

Czech President Milos Zeman has said he too would like to see his country’s embassy transferred to Jerusalem.

He did not reveal any firm plan, however, and the government has only announced the reopening of its honorary consulate in Jerusalem and the establishment of a Czech cultural centre in the city.

On the other side of coin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas his country would not move its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem, official Palestinian media reported.

The EU is sticking firmly to the international community’s decades-long position that sovereignty in Jerusalem can only be decided by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after the Trump announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.

‘I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem,’ he told them, earning a chilly response from the bloc’s foreign policy head Federica Mogherini.

‘He can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side this move will not come,’ she said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5728187/Trump-jubilant-Jared-Ivanka-open-U-S-embassy-Jerusalem-Israeli-snipers-kill-52.html#ixzz5FWFwyDH5

 

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See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Number of People Receiving Medicare (2016): *

Total Medicare beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.8 million

• 47.8 million

•   9.0 million

Part A (Hospital Insurance, HI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.5 million

• 47.5 million

•   9.0 million

Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance, SMI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 52.1 million

• 43.9 million

•   8.2 million

Part C (Medicare Advantage) beneficiaries   17.6 million
Part D (Prescription Drug Benefit) beneficiaries  43.2 million

·        Totals may not add due to rounding.

Medicare Eligibility:

  • Individuals ages 65 and over, who are eligible for Social Security payments
  • Individuals under 65 with a disability, who receive Social Security cash payments
  • People of all ages with end-stage renal disease

Average Benefit per Enrollee (2016):

Total: $12,829

  • Part A: $4,968
  • Part B: $5,558
  • Part D: $2,304

Status of Medicare Trust Funds (2016): *

Medicare Trust Funds (billions): HI (Part A) SMI

(Part B) (Part D)

Total
Assets at end of 2015 $193.8 $68.1   $1.3 $263.2
Total income in 2016

Payroll taxes
Interest
Taxation of Benefits
Premiums
General Revenue/Other

$290.8

$253.5
7.7
23.0
3.3
3.3

 $313.2  $106.2

—– —–
2.1   0
— — —–
72.1   13.8
239.0    92.4

$710.2

$253.5
9.8
23.0
89.1
334.7

Total expenditures in 2016

Benefits
Administrative Expenses

$285.4

$280.5 
     4.9

$293.4  $100.0

$289.5 $99.5 
      3.9     0.5

$678.7

$669.5 
     9.2

Net change in assets $ 5.4   $19.8   $6.3 $31.5
Assets at end of 2016 $199.1 $ 88.0    $7.6 $294.7

*Totals may not add due to rounding

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A (HI) Financing and Tax Rate:

Financing: Primarily financed by payroll taxes

  • Tax rate paid by employee: 1.45%
  • Tax rate paid by employer: 1.45%
  • Total tax rate paid by both employer-employee: 2.90%
  • Total tax rate paid by self-employed: 2.90%
  • Beginning in 2013, workers pay an additional 0.9 percent of their earnings above $200,000 (for those who file an individual return) or $250,000 (for those who file a joint income tax return)

Medicare Part A Benefits (2018):

Hospital Benefits – Initial deductible: $1,340

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 60th day)
  • $335 (61st ~ 90th day)
  • $670 (91st ~ 150th day, lifetime reserve days)
Skilled Nursing Facility Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 20th day)
  • $167.50 (21st ~ 100th day)
  • – No benefits starting the 101st day
Home Health Services Benefits – No deductible

– 20% of Medicare –approved amount for durable medical equipment

Hospice Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Up to $5 co-payment per prescription for outpatient drugs for pain and symptom management

Medicare Part B

Financing:

  • About 25% by monthly premiums;
  • About 75% from general federal revenues

Medicare Part B Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Physician and outpatient care, medical supplies, home health, and preventive services
Standard Monthly premiums: The standard Part B premium is $134.00. However, most people who receive Social Security benefits will pay less ($130 on average) because Part B premiums increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2018 Social Security benefits. Monthly premiums have been means-tested since 2007.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below $134.00
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $187.50
$107,001 – $133,500 $214,001 – $267,000 $267.90
$133,501 – $160,000 $267,001 – $320,000 $348.30
above $160,000 Above $320,000 $428.60
Initial deductible: $183.00
Co-pay: 20% of covered expenses
Penalty for late enrollment : 10% of monthly premium for each full 12 months of late enrollment for life (Exception: late enrollment due to cancellation of an employer-sponsored group insurance)

Medicare Part D

Financing:

• About 13% by monthly premiums;

• About 78% from general federal revenues

• About 9% from state payments and interest

Medicare Part D Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Outpatient prescription drugs
Monthly premiums: The national base beneficiary premium for 2018 is $35.02. As of 2011, monthly premiums are mean-tested.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below Plan Premium
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $13.00+Plan Premium
$107,001 – $160,000 $214,001 – $320,000 $33.60+Plan Premium
$160,001 – $214,000 $320,001 – $428,000 $54.20+Plan Premium
above $214,000 Above $428,000 $74.80+Plan Premium
Annual deductible $405*
Co-insurance: 25% of drug costs between $405 and $3,750*:
Coverage gap: 44% out-of-pocket spending for generic drug costs between $3,750~$5,000*. A 65% discount is available on covered brand-name prescription drugs at the time of purchase.
Extra help: Benefit for people with income less than $18,210 for an individual ($24,690 for a married couple living together) and up to $14,100 in resources ($28,150 for a married couple).
Note: Individual states might apply different criteria for extra help.
Penalty for late enrollment: 1% of the national average premium for each month not enrolled for life (Exception for late enrollment due to having prescription drug coverage that is as good as Medicare’s).

* Varies by individual plans and indexed to the annual percentage increase in Part D expenditures thereafter.

Supplemental Insurance

Medigap:

  • Each state offers up to 10 standard plans.
  • Starting June 1 2010, plans E, H, I, or J are no longer available to buy. People who already have one of these plans are able to continue with it. Also, Plans M and N are new policies introduced in 2010.
  • 23% of all Medicare beneficiaries have a Medigap policy.

Medicare Savings Programs:

Benefit for dual eligibles (those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid benefits):

·   20% of Medicare beneficiaries received Medicaid in 2017.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries
(QMBs)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,032 for an individual or $1,392 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part A & B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs) – Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,234 for an individual or $1,666 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Qualifying Individuals
(QIs)
– Limited number of beneficiaries per year

– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,386 for an individual or $1,872 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Medicaid Only
(Non QMB, SLMB, or QI)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A and/or Part B and are eligible for full Medicaid benefits

– Typically, these individuals need to spend down to qualify for
Medicaid or fall into a Medicaid eligibility poverty group

– Coverage: Full Medicaid benefits, Medicare cost-sharing
liability

Note: Individual states might have less restrictive criteria for dual eligibility.

Medicare Advantage (MA):

  • Eligibility to choose a MA plan: People who are enrolled in both Medicare A and B, pay the Part B monthly premium, do not have end-state renal disease, and live in the service area of the plan.
  • Formerly know as Medicare+Choice or Medicare Health Plans.
  • Benefits are provided by private insurance companies.
  • Premiums, cost sharing, and coverage vary by plan.
  • 18.4 Million enrollees (32% of all Medicare enrollees) in 2016.

http://www.ncpssm.org/our-issues/medicare/medicare-fast-facts/

 

WATCH LIVE: President Trump to discuss lowering drug prices

Trump announces plan to bring drug prices “back down to Earth”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar On President Donald Trump’s Drug Price Plans | CNBC

Trump unveils sweeping plan to lower prescription drug costs

White House press briefing with Sarah Sanders | Friday, 11 May 2018

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Medicaid

HHS Sec. Alex Azar Presents “The Most Comprehensive Attack On Prescription Drug Affordability In History”

Following Friday’s announcement on lowering prescription drug costs, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained the president’s new 50-point plan to lower health costs at the White House press briefing:

(You can watch Sarah Sanders answer questions for Friday here)

“There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president,” Azar explained.

Trump’s plan, called “American Patients First,” seeks to increase competition, improve negotiation and create incentives to lower list prices of prescription drugs. It also includes rebate-sharing in Medicare drug plans, promoting generics and copycat versions of drugs and requiring drug manufacturers to publish list prices for drugs in television advertisements.

AZAR: Thank you, Sarah. Good afternoon, everyone. Well, as the president said earlier, we need a system for prescription drug prices that puts American patients first and one that takes case of America’s patients and doesn’t take advantage of them. What I wanted to do was try to just put a frame together for the actions that you’ll see in the blueprint and what the president and I talked about today to – so you just have a sense where we’re going here.

There are four major problems that we face. The first is high list prices for drugs. The second is government rules that get in the way of plans getting good deals for our senior citizens in our Medicare program. The third if foreign countries free riding off of American innovation. And the fourth is high out of pocket costs, especially for our seniors.

So, as you heard from the president today, this administration has already made a lot of progress in this regard. So, in the first year and a half in office the FDA has approved more generic drugs than ever before in history saving $8.8 billion in the first year. We also changed Medicare’s reimbursement rules to bring down the out of pocket spending for senior citizens saving them $320 million out of pocket on the drugs that they buy each year.

That work and the work that we’re laying out now in the president’s blueprint, it’s focused on four strategies to help fix this very complex problem that we face. First, increase competition. Second, increased and better negotiation. Third, incentives to actually lower list prices. And, fourth, lowering out of pocket costs.

So, first, it’s crucial that we have more competition in the prescription drug markets. That means we need a vital and vibrant generic drug industry and generic drug market. We need to foster and nurture a new competitive biosimilar generic drug market. Those are the generics essentially for those really complex, expensive biologic medicines. AZAR: We need to foster and nurture that. We also have to get after pharma companies who engage in anti-competitive practices and try to block the entry of generics or biosimilar products to market by, for instance, blocking access to their product so they can’t do the studies they need to do in order to get approval of an affordable generic or biosimilar market.

So, we’re going to go after all these kinds of abuses. Second, we’ve got to bring more private sector negotiation and better tools to our Medicare program so we get the best deals.

The Part D drug discount program for senior citizens is now 15 years old. I was there when we created it and helped to launch it. And when we did it, it was the — it was — it still is a great program, but it had the best tools, it was the best at negotiating great deals for our senior citizens.

And really was able to drive type formularies that were very efficient, and that’s what’s helped keep the cost of that Part D drug plan down below forecast and constantly low premiums throughout its time. But, over 15 years as so often happens with government programs, it got frozen in place.

And the private sector kept adapting and learning, especially after the economic crisis in 2007 how to control drug spend even better, OK? Part D stayed more static. We need now to bring the same tools that are available to the private sector to those Part D drug plans so they can negotiate better.

We need to unleash them so they can drive great deals for our seniors. We also have another part of our program, a major part which is called Part B. These are the drugs the physician administers. Mentioned those in the Rose Garden.

Those are — these right now are paid basically on a list price plus a markup. They send us a bill, we write a check. There’s no negotiation involved in that at all and the President has proposed in his budget, and we are reemphasizing we have got to figure out ways to move those drugs, especially the high cost ones into the private Part D drug plan negotiations.

So that we can get a deal and start getting bargains on that for our seniors and for taxpayers, we need to look at other mechanisms. And you’ll see that in the blueprint, some other ones that also help us negotiate better deals there for those plans.

Third, and this is a very complex area. Right now we have to bring incentives to lower list drug prices, OK? Right now, every incentive in the system is to increase and have high list drug prices. Because everybody in the system except the patient and the taxpayer is wetting their beak along the way.

They’re getting a — they’re getting a percent of that list price. List price goes up, list price higher, everybody makes more money along the way, so that it’s just — the math just works that way. We need to try to flip the incentives backwards so that financially it makes less sense to increase prices.

So one of the things we’re going to do, the President — I talked about this in the Rose Garden, is that we are having the FDA look at how we can require, in direct to consumer TV ads, that you have to disclose the list price of your drug.

We believe it’s an important part of fair balance, that if you’re telling a patient, activating a patient to have a discussion with their doctor about a drug, telling them all the good things that drug can do for them, it’s material and relevant to know if it’s a $50,000 or a $100 drug.

Because often that patient is going to have to bear a lot of that cost. In addition, we have in Medicaid and Medicare some key incentives that we can turn around on list prices. As part of Obamacare, one of the deals with the pharma industry was capping the statutory rebates on drugs in the Medicaid program at 100 percent.

We are going to work with Congress to look at overturning that cap on rebates. That again will make the math work so that when you increase your list price, it’s going to cost more money if you’re a pharma executive thinking about raising prices. AZAR: We’re also proposing — we want to think about some really creative ideas of — in our programs of reversing those incentives. So right now in our drug discount program, if you have a drug that fits into one of these protected classes, it’s almost impossible for the drug plan to negotiate and get any kind of discount from you, OK?

Well, that’s a — that — everybody gets that. What if, instead, we say, “You only get to be in that protected class if you haven’t raised your list price in the previous 18 months”? What if we say, “You can be exempt from these specialty tiers, where you — where the patient has to pay a lot out of pocket, but only if you haven’t increased your list price in the previous 18 months”? So a lot of tools like that.

The other big area we have to look at is the entire system of rebates that we have with pharmacy benefit managers. We are calling into question today the entire structure of using rebates as the method of negotiating discounts in the pharmacy channel, because right now, every incentive is for the drug company to have a very high list price, and to negotiate rebates down, often in a very nontransparent way.

What if, instead, we said, “No rebates. Flat price, fixed price in the contracts”; take away this whole, what’s called the gross-to-spread that removes that, and makes people indifferent to what the list price is in — in — in that system, and takes away the incentives, where even the pharmacy benefit manager makes money from higher list prices?

We also have a — a real issue that we’ve got a look at, which is the role of compensation for pharmacy benefit managers. They’re taking it now from both sides. They’re getting compensated by their customers, the insurance companies, but they’re also getting compensated by the drug companies they’re supposed to be negotiating against. They’re getting rebates, and keeping some of the rebates. They’re getting administrative fees.

Should we move to a fiduciary model, where the pharmacy benefit manager works for the insurance company or the individual, and only is compensated by the insurance company or individual; forbid renumeration from the — from the pharmaceutical company, so that it’s all completely on one side there, complete alignment of interest?

And then finally, how do we lower out-of-pocket drug costs? Well, as the president talked about it, we’re going to get rid of — we’re going to get rid of these gag rules, OK? Right now, some pharmacy benefit managers are telling pharmacists, “You’re not allowed to tell the patient that if they paid cash for this generic drug, it would be cheaper for you than if you run it through your insurance.” We think that’s unconscionable, and in part D, we’re going to work to — we’re going to work to block that.

We also think it’s a right, that when you’re sitting there with your doctor, you ought to be able to know what your out-of-pocket is for drug you’re going to be prescribed under your precise drug plan, and you ought to have that information. And you ought to have information on what competing drugs are that your doctor’s not prescribing, and what you would pay out-of-pocket for that. And that ought to be across the part B plan, and the part D plan.

Let me give you an example: You’re in with a doctor. This doctor has an infusion clinic, OK, as part of their office. OK, so they write you a drug that might be an infused drug. You might have a $300 co-pay for that. Well, wouldn’t you like to know that if the doctor instead wrote you a self-injectable drug, you’d have a $20 co-pay? And you could at least have an informed discussion. So we think that kind of informed consumer on out-of-pocket will also help drive real savings in the system.

So these are just some of the measures. There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president. And I’m just grateful President Trump is, you know, standing behind us to — and — and encouraging us to do these kind of bold measures.

So with that said, let me open it up to questions.QUESTION: There’s a tremendous number of moving parts in — in this blueprint, many of which will require legislative action. How much of this works without the rest? Do you have to do it all, or can you do just part of it?

And — and how much can be done through executive action versus legislation?

AZAR: That’s a great question. Most of this, we believe, can be done by executive action. Now, we are more than happy to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis, so many of these solutions ought to be attracting bipartisan support. We all acknowledge this. These are problems we have to deal with.

But we believe most of these actions are steps that we can take using our regulatory authorities, especially with the power in the Medicare program.

They are — few of them are interdependent, and so it’s not as if any one is requiring a preceding act, there. We think we can attack many of these steps.

It is complex, though. It is very — because the system is rocket science. It’s unbelievably complex. And this — it is a very sophisticated approach, hitting at so many of the financial and business levers behind the system.

Instead of throwing just sort of political speak at this as — as it would have been easy to do, it’s a very business mindset focus on how do you actually change the underlying financial levers here to genuinely solve the problems?

That’s what the president wants. He wants it to actually solve the problem and lead to results.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Hi.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. How soon will consumers actually see lower drug prices?

AZAR: Yes, so already they’re seeing lower drug prices from that historic level of generic drug approval last year. That’s almost $9 billion a year from all those generics on the market. The cuts that we made on how we reimburse on Medicare drugs, $320 million a year from that already; As we make more of these — we’re going to — we are — we are certainly moving forward with any of these changes to make sure that they’re going to see it in the pocketbook right away.

You know, let’s — so it — it’ll — it’s going to take time. Some of this will take regulatory action. We’ll have to go through the administrative process.

But I can tell you, as soon as I walked out of the Rose Garden — you know what the first question the president and the chief of staff had was?

QUESTION: (Inaudible)?

AZAR: When’s the execution? I want the execution framework. We’re going to have a meeting next week on the timelines and getting it all done.

So there’s…

QUESTION: Is it a matter of weeks or is it months, that consumers could actually see that benefit?

AZAR: It’s — it’s going to be months for the kind of actions that we need to take, here. Again, this is — this is — it took decades to erect this very complex interwoven system.

We’re talking about entrenched market players, complex financial arrangements that have — would have to be redesigned.

So I don’t want to overpromise that, somehow, you know, on Monday, there’s a radical change. But there’s a deep commitment that this is — this is fundamental, structural change that we’re talking about, to — to our system.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much (ph). India is making a lot of jokes (ph). (Inaudible) how India is going to be effected to this (inaudible) today?

Also, at the same time, next month is Yoga International Day announced by the United Nations and the prime minister of India. How yoga can help — maybe you don’t need any drugs if you have yoga?

AZAR: Well, I’ll stick with the first one, which is the generic — which is generic drugs. Generic drugs, competition in our system is absolutely vital. That’s why — deep commitment of the administration to remove any anti-competitive barriers to generic competition.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: You talked about calling into question the entire rebate structure.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Specifically what steps are you doing to — now, and when might consumers see change on that?

AZAR: Yes. So as part of the blueprint, we’re releasing a request for information that’s the initiation of seeking input. This is — this is the restructure — this is the possible restructuring of a major sector of the economy.

One doesn’t do that lightly. It’s beginning a national dialogue with the public, with — with stakeholders, with Congress on — if we were to do this, if we were to outlaw rebates, say in the Part D Drug Discount Program, and instead require that the products be discounted at a fixed price.

So, for instance, just to explain how this works now, let’s say you have $1,000 drug. You go to the pharmacy benefit manager and say, hey, if you cover my drug, I’ll give you a 30 percent rebate on that after the fact if any of your patients use this. OK, so a $300 rebate on that.

What this would say is instead of that, you would have to negotiate and the contract would say you get reimbursed $700 this year, and then maybe $702 next year, if — for — for some inflation. So, it’s fixed and indifferent than to list price. So this game — what goes on now is frankly, a bit of a game, which is the drug company negotiates this 30 percent rebate and then, the next day, increases price 30 percent.

And it’s — it’s this game of chase that goes on. Instead, fix price, make everything indifferent to this list price and all the fees not be based on — on a percent of this artificial list price, which for so many people is like the rack rate on the back of your hotel room door. You know, almost nobody pays it. But too many people now in the health care system are paying it, and they’re suffering from that.

QUESTION: But, any timeline for this, like how long it’s going to take, or?

AZAR: Well that’s a — so, this is out today and we’re going to seek comment. And we want to learn. And then we’ll — we’re going to — we’re going to move forward on that if it makes sense. And we need to learn how to restructure — restructure things.

I believe that even one pharmacy benefit manager just yesterday talked about this precise issue of restructuring their contracts to get out of this rebate spread conundrum that the world is in. So I believe it’s doable and I think it will have tremendous systemic impact. Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there are a couple of notorious examples in the last couple of years of drug companies buying drugs that have been on the market for years and suddenly raising their prices extraordinarily.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Is there anything in this blueprint that addresses that…

AZAR: There is, yes.

QUESTION: … For example, the — the EpiPen situation a couple years ago?

AZAR: There is. So, one of the elements on increasing the power of negotiation that we’re doing in this plan is if a sole-source generic drug — which is what these instances that have gotten so much attention in the past several years, this is when you have one generic drug out there.

And if there is any increase in price by a sole-source generic, we are going to allow the drug plan to reopen their drug formulary immediately and take action against that drug, whereas right now they have to wait the — for the end of the year on the new plan cycle. They can immediately go after that drug, come up with alternative drugs or create preferential treatment for other drugs right away, if there’s any increase in price of a sole-sourced generic.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes. So you’re talking about the increases in drug prices, while in areas like Maryland and Virginia insurers are talking about double digit health insurance premium increases. There’s a Maryland regulator that’s said something like the ACA is in the death spiral and echoing past words (ph) of the president. What are you doing to deal with that? Does HHS just accept these premium predictions as reality? What are you doing to reduce those costs?

AZAR: So — so, some of these premium submissions right now, it is the very beginning of a process that happens with state regulators around — around those insurance designs. These price increases were happening under President Obama. They continue because of the structural infirmities in how Obamacare was designed.

This is why the president has been so adamant about producing alternative, affordable options for patients because for so many — the 28 million forgotten men and women in this country have been forced out of the individual market. And they’re sitting there without insurance, even though they were promised they would have accessible, affordable, competitive insurance that they could keep.

You know, 6.7 million Americans paid $3.1 billion in the Obamacare taxes for the privilege of not buying insurance they couldn’t afford and didn’t want. And 80 percent of them make $50,000 or less.

So we’re trying to bring short-term plans as an option for people. We’re trying to bring association health plans out of the Labor Department as options for people. The president is just — We want to keep looking for more options to get people out of some of the traps that the — the Obamacare system has created of these high-cost and uncompetitive plans for people.

Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have a question about another issue at HHS — HHS (ph), actually. Justice Department has indicated the department is set to change an Obamacare rule that would bar medical practitioners from denying mental treatment to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery. Will HHS repeal that rule?

AZAR: I’m not familiar with that — with that particular issue, so I’m going to — I’m — I’m going to talk about drug price. I’m not familiar with that. I’ll look into that when I get back over to the department. Thank you.

Yes?

QUESTION: Thank you. So you talked about Medicare Part B, negotiating better — better prices. That is same thing that the president referred to when he said that other countries’ socialized Medicare — medicine systems are — are ripping us off. Why is that OK for Medicare, but not for other countries?

AZAR: So the difference is — the difference is having entities negotiate in a competitive environment. So what happens in some of these socialist countries? I dealt with them in the past. What they do is they say, “You don’t come into this country unless you pay this low price, and here’s — here’s a low, below-market, noncompetitive price. You either pay it, or you don’t come into this country.” And they don’t really care if the people of their country don’t get access to that drug, and the people aren’t informed, even, that they don’t have access to that medicine in these — in these ration systems.

And so that’s completely different from what we’re doing, where we’re harnessing the power of the private negotiating market to negotiate deals.

So for instance, the way Part D works, the system that we want to try to emulate and use tools from in that Part B, is one drug plan might say, “I’m not going to cover this drug because I didn’t get a good enough deal,” and then another plan might cover that drug because they think they got a good enough deal. But the key is, the senior citizen’s in the driver’s seat. They get to say, “All right, then I’m going to choose. I need that drug. I’m going to buy this plan, and I’ll pay the premium for that plan, because I want insurance there.”

You know, if you’re in a socialized country, it’s one-size-fits-all. You can’t exit, except gone and — getting on an airplane to America, where you can get access to that medicine.

So yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. When people hear about this plan, read about this plan over the upcoming days, they’re presumably going to learn about yourself as well, and they might say, “Wait a minute. Somebody who was a pharma executive is now going to be the one in charge of lowering drug prices.” How is that going to work? Your pitch to Americans, that they can trust you to oversee this effort would be what?

AZAR: I’d say trust us by our actions, and by the deeds in the blueprint: over 50 action plans that are hard-hitting. It’s the hardest-hitting plan ever proposed by a president across the entire spectrum of every player in this industry to drive down drug prices, and make drugs more affordable. And this is exactly — I know this from having been on the other side, running a drug company, in these — and these issues, which is, I actually looked at, if you could lower drug prices. It didn’t work for any one company. You —

This is how perverse the system is: You put yourself at a disadvantage in the system by having a lower-list-price drug than others, again, because every player in the system makes more money as a percent off of that list price. This is precisely why I’m so excited to be here in government, with the knowledge that I’ve got, and this team has about how we can change the rules of the road, and actually change the system, so that we can reverse those incentives to make that work, make those choices work, bring down drug prices, and make things more affordable.

Trump Promises Lower Drug Prices, but Drops Populist Solutions

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The plan announced by President Trump and Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, on Friday would give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Friday to “bring soaring drug prices back down to earth” by promoting competition among pharmaceutical companies, and he suggested that the government could require drugmakers to disclose prices in their ubiquitous television advertising.

But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. And he chose not to allow American consumers to import low-cost medicines from abroad.

He would instead give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.

Speaking in the sun-splashed Rose Garden of the White House, Mr. Trump said that a “tangled web of special interests” had conspired to keep drug prices high at the expense of American consumers.Everyone involved in the broken system — the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others — contribute to the problem,” Mr. Trump said. “Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse. But under this administration we are putting American patients first.”

His proposals hardly put a scare into the system he criticized.

Ronny Gal, a securities analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said the president’s speech was “very, very positive to pharma,” and he added, “We have not seen anything about that speech which should concern investors” in the pharmaceutical industry.

Shares of several major drug and biotech companies rose immediately after the speech, as did the stocks of pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” who Mr. Trump said had gotten “very, very rich.” The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 2.7 percent on Friday. CVS Health, which manages pharmacy benefits for many insurers and employers, finished up 3.2 percent.

Mr. Trump and other Republicans are eager to show an achievement on health care this year to counter arguments by Democrats who say that Americans are losing coverage because of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Soaring pharmaceutical prices are directly hitting consumer wallets, and high-profile cases — like the sudden jump in the price of EpiPens or the jailing of the hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, who greatly increased the price of a drug under his control — have turned pharmaceuticals into a hot political topic.

Many of Mr. Trump’s ideas can be put into effect through regulations or guidance documents. Some will require legislation.

Republicans in Congress welcomed the president’s attention to high drug prices and promised to review his proposals, which Mr. Trump said would “derail the gravy train for special interests.”

Democrats embraced the opportunity to push health care back to the center of the political debate.

“President Trump offered little more than window dressing to combat the rising cost of drugs — a problem that is pinching the pocketbook of far too many Americans,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said after the speech. “We Democrats have offered a better deal on prescription drugs through true transparency, Medicare Part D negotiation, and a cop on the beat to police and stop exorbitant price hikes.”

After supporting some of those same proposals on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pivoted to a different approach. He said his administration would provide new powers for Medicare’s private prescription drug plans, known as Part D, to negotiate lower prices but he would not use the purchasing power of the federal government to conduct direct negotiations. He said he would make it easier for pharmacists to inform patients of cheaper alternatives and would speed the approval of over-the-counter drugs “so that patients can get more medicines without prescription.”

Mr. Trump also denounced foreign countries that he said “extort unreasonably low prices from U.S. drugmakers” so that their citizens often pay much less than American consumers for the same drugs.

“America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries,” Mr. Trump said. He directed his trade representative to “make fixing this injustice a top priority” in negotiations with every trading partner.

“It’s time to end the global freeloading once and for all,” Mr. Trump said.

It is not clear why higher profits in other countries would be passed on to American consumers in the form of lower prices, and officials in those countries pushed back hard.

“With our price regulations, drug companies are still making profits — just lower profits than in the United States,” said Dr. Mitchell Levine, the chairman of Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which reviews prices to ensure they are not excessive.

The administration floated several ideas that could radically change the marketing of prescription drugs.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said the Food and Drug Administration would explore requiring drug companies to disclose list prices in their television advertisements.

The government, he said, will consider whether to “outlaw rebates” — the discounts and price concessions that are a key link in the drug supply chain. Pharmacy benefit managers are hired by insurers and large employers to negotiate lower drug prices, but they also receive rebate payments from drugmakers, creating a potential conflict of interest, the administration said.

Mr. Trump said he would end “the dishonest double-dealing that allows the middleman to pocket rebates and discounts that should be passed on to consumers and patients.”

Mark Merritt, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents drug benefit managers, said the real problem was the high prices set by drugmakers.

“Getting rid of rebates and other price concessions would leave patients and payers, including Medicaid and Medicare, at the mercy of drug manufacturers’ pricing strategies,” Mr. Merritt said.

Thomas M. Moriarty, an executive vice president of CVS Health, said his company already offers clients the option to share rebates and discounts with consumers when they fill prescriptions.

Experts said some of the president’s ideas could help lower drug prices.

“It’s framed as a pro-competitive agenda, and touches on a range of government programs that the administration can change through regulation — so that the president can take unilateral action,” said Daniel N. Mendelson, the president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company. “The trick here for the administration is to do something visible before the midterm elections, so they can take credit for an action that reduces drug prices for consumers.”

Mr. Trump’s “blueprint to lower drug prices” has four main themes: increasing competition in drug markets; giving private plans more tools to negotiate discounts for Medicare beneficiaries; providing new incentives for drug manufacturers to reduce list prices; and cutting consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

The administration would lower out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients by requiring prescription drug plans to pass on some of the discounts and rebates they receive from drug manufacturers. Patients could see those savings at the pharmacy counter. At the same time, Medicare officials say, there could be a modest increase in premiums for Medicare drug coverage.

Health policy experts like this idea because it reduces the burden on patients with serious chronic illnesses and spreads the expense of needed medications across the entire insured population.

But Democrats said Mr. Trump’s policy prescriptions fell far short of what was needed, especially next to the populist promises he made during the 2016 campaign.

“I think very expensive champagne will be popping in drug company boardrooms across the country tonight,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who has been investigating drug prices for the last year. “The president is apparently abandoning his campaign promise to authorize Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prices.”

Administration officials were somewhat defensive about the president’s plan, saying it was bold and significant even though it was not what Democrats wanted — or what candidate Trump favored.

In a round of television interviews on Friday, Mr. Azar said the president’s plan included “over 50 different initiatives — very sophisticated, the kind of thing you’d expect from a C.E.O. like Donald Trump, getting at the real heart of the business problem.”

Mr. Azar said the president’s plan would “unleash those who negotiate for us with the greater powers of the private sector” to obtain good deals.

In trade negotiations, the White House wants to put pressure on other countries to increase the prices of brand-name drugs, with the expectation that pharmaceutical companies would then lower prices here at home.

America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Mr. Azar, a former top executive at the drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company. “And they’re doing it on the backs of their patients. God help you if you get cancer in some of these countries.”

Other nations, also struggling with high drug prices, scorned Mr. Trump’s advice on this issue.

“Drug manufacturers in the United States set their own prices, and that is not the norm elsewhere in the world,” a spokesman for the 28-member European Union said on Friday. “E.U. member states have government entities that either negotiate drug prices or decide not to cover drugs whose prices they deem excessive. No similar negotiating happens in the U.S.”

Katie Thomas contributed reporting from Chicago, and Peter Baker from Washington.

6 Takeaways From Trump’s Plans to Try to Lower Drug Prices

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Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, and President Trump announced a “blueprint” to try to lower drug prices.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

President Trump has the power to sink pharmaceutical stocks with a single jab about high drug prices.

But in a much-anticipated speech on the topic on Friday, Mr. Trump largely avoided the issues the industry fears the most, such as allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, or allowing Americans to import drugs. Investors noticed: Stocks of major drug companies rose after his speech, as did those of pharmacy benefit managers, or the “middlemen” that Mr. Trump said were getting “very, very rich.”

As the health care world parsed the president’s newly released “blueprint” to lower drug prices, the overarching insight seemed to be this: The drug industry’s formidable lobbyists had won some key victories, even if they did not escape entirely unscathed. Many proposals were light on detail and will need action by Congress to become real.

Yet Mr. Trump won some praise for having taken a stab at tackling such a complex and vitally important issue to many Americans.

Here is a rundown of the key proposals unveiled on Friday.

Lower drug prices for older people

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump embraced allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of the drugs it buys for older people, an issue traditionally supported by Democrats but long opposed by Republicans — and the powerful drug industry.

Friday’s proposal falls far short of that goal. But it does include some ideas for giving the government better leverage in negotiating with drug companies. It calls for exploring whether to allow Medicare drug plans to pay different amounts for the same drug, depending on the illness involved. And it would experiment with “value-based purchasing” in federal programs, essentially a money-back guarantee in which a drugmaker promises to refund money if a medication does not work as expected. Drug companies and insurers are increasingly entering into these kind of arrangements, although the evidence is far from clear that they lower costs.

The administration also reiterated earlier proposals: making generic drugs free for some low-income older people on Medicare and allowing people to keep a portion of the rebates that are normally pocketed by the insurers that manage the Medicare drug program.

Persuade other countries to pay more

One key proposal would involve pressuring other countries to raise their prices for prescription medicines. Drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world; many countries with centralized health care systems have successfully negotiated lower prices from pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Trump, echoing the longstanding position of the drug industry, has said these companies are “free-riding” off the ingenuity of American corporations, and that high drug prices in the United States are subsidizing innovation that benefits the whole world.

The Trump administration plans to work with several federal agencies to address what it described as this “unfair disparity.”

But it is unclear whether other countries would be willing to raise their prices, or whether doing so would lead drug companies — which are beholden to shareholders hungry for profit — to lower prices in the United States.

Require drug ads to include the price

Prescription drug commercials are ubiquitous. But what if those ads had to disclose the drug’s price? That is something the Trump administration says it wants to explore.

The idea would certainly grab attention, and fear of a consumer backlash could pressure some drugmakers into dropping their prices.

But the notion poses a lot of issues For one: which price? The list price, which is about what a pharmacy would charge if someone paid for the drug in cash? Or the discounted price that insurers and employers pay? Most consumers have health insurance and pay a much smaller out-of-pocket cost, although that can still add up to thousands of dollars a month.

Other questions include whether such a requirement would survive a First Amendment challenge, and whether posting a high sticker price — which few ultimately pay — could dissuade patients seeking out a necessary drug.

Story 3: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Against Trump Using Intelligence Community — CIA, FBI, NSA, and Department of Justice — Failed Attempt To Use Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska To Establish Trump Link With Russians/Putin Through Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Manager — Massive Cover-Up and Political Scandal — Video

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Oleg Deripaska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oleg Deripaska
Дерипаска Олег Владимирович.jpg

Deripaska in 2012
Born Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska
2 January 1968 (age 50)
DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastRussian SFSR
Residence Moscow, Russia
Citizenship Russia
Cyprus[1]
Alma mater Moscow State UniversityPlekhanov Russian Academy of Economics
Occupation Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element Company
Net worth DecreaseUS$3.7 billion (April 2018)[2]
Spouse(s) Polina Yumasheva (m. 2001)
Children 2
Awards
Website Basic Element
Deripaska.com

Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska (Russian: Оле́г Влади́мирович Дерипа́ска; born January 2, 1968)[3] is a Russian oligarch of Jewish descent, aluminium magnate and philanthropist.[1] He is the founder and owner of one of the largest Russian industrial groups Basic Element. He was the president of En+ Group and United Company Rusal, the second largest aluminium company in the world,[4] until 2018.[5]

After graduating from Moscow State University with a degree in physics, Deripaska became a metals broker specialized in trading aluminium before expanding into energy, machinery, financial services and agribusiness. In 2000, Deripaska founded Rusal, the result of a partnership between Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital.[6] In 2007, Rusal merged with SUAL Group and Glencore International AG to form UC Rusal, with Deripaska as chairman.[7]

He was once Russia’s richest man, worth $28 billion, but nearly lost everything due to mounting debts amid the 2007–08 financial crisis. As of May 2017, his wealth was estimated by Forbes at $5.2 billion.[8] Deripaska is also known for his close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as his connection to American political consultant Paul Manafort, whom Deripaska employed from at least 2005 to 2009.[9]

Deripaska is also the founder of Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest charitable foundation, and is reported to have donated more than $250 million to mostly educational causes. He is married to Polina Yumasheva, step-granddaughter of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and daughter of Valentin Yumashev, Yeltsin’s son-in-law and close advisor.

Deripaska was also granted Cypriot citizenship in 2017.[1]

Education and early career

Early life

Deripaska was born in DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastSoviet Russia and grew up in Ust-LabinskKrasnodar Krai. His parents were from Kuban[10]. He is of Russian-Jewish ancestry.[11]. Deripaska grew up on the family’s small farm, where from the age of 5 or 6, he learned how to live off the land from his grandparents,[12] who primarily raised him after his widowed mother, an engineer, had to leave to find work.[13] Deripaska credits his grandparents for teaching him the discipline of hard work along with farming.[12] Both his grandfathers fought in the Second World War; one was killed in battle and buried in a mass grave in Austria, the other returned to Russia after the war ended.[14]

Deripaska’s first job was at the Ust-Labinsk plant where his mother worked. At age 11, he became an electrician’s apprentice doing maintenance on electrical motors.[14] Deripaska acquired a passion for reading; his favorite authors were Mayne Reid and Jack London.[14]Today, Basic Element’s headquarters contain walls of books, reflecting Deripaska’s lifelong love of reading.[14] His talent for math allowed him to enroll at the physics faculty of Moscow State University in 1985.[12] One year into his studies, he was conscripted into the armed forces and served in the Soviet army’s Strategic Missile Forces[12] in the Trans-Baikal area, Siberia, from 1986–1989.[14]

Education

In 1993, Deripaska graduated with honors in physics from Moscow State University;[15] however, the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly eliminated academic funding and made it impossible for him to continue his studies as a theoretical physicist.[14] There were no stipends or grants for students either. “We had no money. It was an urgent and practical question every day. How do I earn money to buy food and keep studying?” he recalls.[14] In 1996, he earned a master’s degree from the Plekhanov University of Economics.[13]

Early career

At the age of 25, teaming up with fellow physicists, engineers and rocket scientists, Deripaska set up his first metal trading company, VTK. He adopted a systematic, scientific approach to commodity trading. “I represented companies that were buying and selling raw materials”, Deripaska said.[12] Deripaska undertook export arbitrage, buying metal at low Russian prices and selling it abroad at significantly higher international market prices. Deripaska traded primarily through the Baltic state of Estonia as the Russian system of export licenses was in disarray.[12] “I started my business at an unusual moment in history. The country in which I was born raised had disappeared, although the new country was not fully formed. The first one gave me an excellent education; the second one gave me the chance of success”, Deripaska recalled in an interview with Metal Bulletin.[14]

He used nearly all his arbitrage and trading profits to acquire his initial package of shares in the Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter in Southern Siberia.[16] Between 1993 and 1994, Deripaska bought vouchers and shares in Sayanogorsk, and accumulated a 20% stake in the factory, becoming the biggest individual shareholder after the Russian State — to the annoyance of the plant’s Communist-era bosses.

In 1994, Deripaska became director general of the plant at the age of 26.[12] In 1997, the smelter became the core asset of Sibirsky (Siberian) Aluminium Group.[17] Deripaska was general manager and the main shareholder of the Sayanogorsk Smelter (1994–97) and held the post of president of Sibirsky Aluminium Investment Industrial Group (1997–2001), which later became the core asset of RUSAL.[18]

Growth with RUSAL

RUSAL went on to become the largest aluminium producer in the world, until the China Hongqiao Group surpassed it in 2015. In 2010, under Deripaska’s leadership, Rusal became the first Russian company to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[14]

Beyond metals, which remain at the core of his diversified industrial holding, Deripaska has acquired stakes in a wide range of companies in various sectors, including energy, manufacturing, commercial vehicles, auto components, financial and insurance services,[19]leasing businesses, construction,[20] aviation, and agriculture. Among his assets are a Siberian power company EuroSibEnergo,[21] that is Russia’s biggest private energy company; Ingosstrakh, one of Russia’s largest insurance companies; GAZ Group, a producer of cars, trucks and buses, agricultural business (Kuban Agro Holding);[22][23] and transport companies, such as a cluster of airports in the Krasnodar region, including Sochi and Krasnodar.[24] All these assets form part of the diversified investment and industrial group Basic Element.[25]

In fact, Basic Element built several Olympic facilities for 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, including the Coastal Olympic Village, Imeretisnkiy sea port, Doubler of Kurortny Avenue in Sochi, renovation of the Sochi International Airport. The total investments account for over $1.4 billion.[26]

Later business career

EN+ Group

The group was formed in 2006, with Oleg Deripaska as President and controlling shareholder.[27] The EN+ Group is a diversified mining, metals and energy groups. It owns a majority stake in UC Rusal (48.13%[28]) and in EuroSibEnergo. EN+ also holds interests in SMR, one of the world’s largest ferromolybdenum producers.

In 2017, it reported adjusted core earnings of $2.3 billion, on revenues totaling $9.8 billion.[29] Due to ongoing recovery in the commodity industry, EN+ Group announced plans to be listed at the London Stock Exchange in the first half of 2017.[30] EN+ could be valued between $10 billion and $12 billion.[30]

Basic Element

Deripaska is the sole owner and Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element, a diversified investment group established in 1997. Basic Element’s assets are concentrated in five sectors: energy, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, construction and aviation. The major assets include United Company RUSAL[31] the world’s largest aluminium and alumina producer; GAZ Group, an automotive companyIngosstrakh, the country’s oldest insurance company; Bank SOYUZ (Банк «СОЮЗ»);[32] Aviakor aircraft manufacturer; EuroSibEnergo (ЕвроСибЭнерго), an investment and energy supply company;[21] Glavmosstroy (Главмосстрой), a construction company;[33] Kuban Agroholding, an agricultural company;[22] and Basel Aero, an aviation business comprising the four largest airports in the Krasnodar territory (in joint venture with Changi Airports International).[24]

Basic Element owns companies and subsidiaries in Russia, the CIS countries, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America. It employs as many as 250,000 people.[25]

Metals and mining

RUSAL

United Company RUSAL is the world’s second largest aluminium company. It was the largest until it was overtaken by China Hongqiao Group in 2015. UC RUSAL accounts for almost 7% of the world’s primary aluminium output and 7% of the world’s alumina production. UC RUSAL was formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2000, Deripaska’s Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital created a partnership to manage the aluminium and alumina assets they controlled, and founded RUSAL.[34]

In 2003, businesses led by Deripaska increased their stake in those companies under common management to 75% by acquiring half of the interest managed by Millhouse Capital.[35]

In 2004, the consolidation of RUSAL’s ownership by companies related to Deripaska was completed with the acquisition of the remaining 25% equity interest in RUSAL managed by Millhouse Capital.[34]

In order to ensure a stable supply of alumina to its smelters, several mergers and acquisitions were accomplished by RUSAL under Deripaska’s guidance. At the beginning of the 2000s, RUSAL acquired bauxite mines in Guinea, a country with the world’s largest bauxite reserves. Subsequently, RUSAL acquired a stake in an alumina refinery in Australia. After the merger with Glencore, bauxite and alumina assets in Jamaica, Italy and Ireland were added to RUSAL’s portfolio. These transactions converted RUSAL from a company with few supplies of the raw material bauxite into a vertically integrated corporation.[36]

In parallel, Deripaska invested significantly in the operational improvement of smelters inside Russia. He said, “We consolidated the industry, and located bauxites that do not exist in Russia. We established the company that became the leader of industry in less than twelve years. But to become the number one alumimium producer in the world, we had to improve our operations practice. To apply the best practices in the world, we looked at Toyota, which had utilized a precise, deep and well thought-through process for almost thirty years of operations.”[37]

Deripaska himself has been an active supporter Japanese production efficiencies made popular by the “Toyota Way.” RUSAL smelters have adopted the concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement and involves training workers in standardized production techniques. “It’s important to change both the company’s mind set and reporting lines,” Deripaska said. “Instead of top-down management, you should understand everything is in the hands of your operator and empower that operator to drive efficiencies and improvements directly on the factory floor.”[12]

Under Deripaska’s leadership, RUSAL undertook large-scale modernization projects at a number of its facilities, including the Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk aluminium smelters.[38]

At Deripaska’s behest, in 2007, RUSAL; SUAL Group, one of the world’s top 10 aluminum producers; and Glencore International AG, the Swiss natural resources group, merged their assets to form United Company RUSAL, the world’s largest aluminum and alumina producer.[39]

With the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, UC Rusal was provided with a $4.5 billion loan from Russian state bank VEB to ease the company’s debt burden.[40]

In the middle of the financial crisis, Deripaska returned in 2009 to RUSAL as CEO to lead the company through the debt restructuring process. “I worked 16-hour days. We were in default, although none of the parties involved wanted to call it default.” As part of contingency measures, Deripaska cut costs at RUSAL by 25% in 2009. By December 2009, Deripaska reached a final agreement with over 70 Russian and international lenders to refinance US$17 billion of debt.[12]

In 2017, Rusal issued two Eurobonds to finance its debts. The first one, worth $600 million, was issued in February[41], followed by the second one in April, worth $500 million.[42] Also in February, plans were announced to sell 10 billion yuan worth of seven-year onshore bonds to finance purchases in China. This made Rusal the first foreign company to offer panda bonds on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[43] The company also agreed on a pre-export finance mechanism with international lenders worth $1.7 billion for debt refinancing.[44]

In 2013, Deripaska was awarded the “Aluminium Industry Ambassador Award” in the Metal Bulletin Awards for Excellence for his “great influence within the global aluminium industry and the wider market”.[45]

As of 2017, Deripaska maintains his position as president of RUSAL, focusing on the strategic development of the company, which employs more than 61,000 people in 20 countries on five continents.[46]

Energy

EuroSibEnergo

Oleg Deripaska owns a 100% stake in EuroSibEnergo, the world’s largest private hydrogeneration company and the largest private power company in Russia.[47] It controls and manages 18 power plants with a combined installed energy capacity of 19.5 GW, including 15 GW provided by hydrogeneration. The company produces approximately 9% of all electricity in Russia and is also the leader in the Siberian energy market, with a market share totaling 41%. Some of EuroSibEnergo’s key clients include the largest aluminum plants in Russia. The company owns large fuel resources, which satisfy over 85% of the coal needs of its thermal power and boiler plants. Its coal reserves amount to 1.26 billion tons, with annual coal production exceeding 12 million tons.[47]

Deripaska’s En+ Group, of which EuroSibEnergo is a subsidiary, is investing in a joint venture with China’s largest hydroelectric power generation company China Yangtze Power Co to build new power plants in Siberia, primarily hydroelectric ones, with a total capacity of up to 10 GWt.[48]

Machinery

Russian Machines

Russian Machines corporation was established in 2005 and unites Oleg Deripaska’s machine building assets. It comprises industrial and engineering assets in the following industries: automotive OEM (GAZ Group), automotive components (RM-Systems), rail industry (RM Rail), aircraft OEM (Aviacor), road construction (RM-Terex) and agricultural machinery (AGCO-RM).[49]

Russian Machines Corporation manages 24 facilities located across 12 regions in Russia.[49]

GAZ Group

In 2000, Deripaska started acquiring machine building assets. His first acquisition was Nizhny Novgorod-based Gorkovsky Automobile Plant (GAZ), which was previously a government-run company. In 2005, GAZ Group was established by combining the businessman’s machine building assets.[50]

The Russian automotive conglomerate, GAZ Group, comprises 18 manufacturing facilities in eight regions of Russia, as well as sales and service organizations. GAZ Group produces light and medium commercial vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, cars, road construction equipment, power units, and automotive components.[49]

Airports

Oleg Deripaska’s airport business is managed by Basel Aero, a company-operator of the SochiKrasnodarGelendzhik, and Anapa airports.[51]

These airports handle more than 7% of the total passenger flow in Russia.[52] Sochi International Airport was the main gateway to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and successfully serviced the guests and participants of the Games.[51]

In October 2014, Sochi was granted open skies status, meaning that any foreign carrier may pick up and drop off passengers and cargo with no restrictions on aircraft type, frequency, and regardless of interstate agreements.[53]

Financial services

Deripaska personally holds 10% of Ingosstrakh‘s ordinary shares. The company is a leading insurer of complex risks such as insurance for ship owners, ship hull insurance, insurance against aviation and space-related risks, and insurance of transportation companies. Ingosstrakh has 83 branches in Russia and the company’s offices operate in 220 Russian towns and cities.[54]

Agribusiness

Oleg Deripaska fully owns Kuban Agroholding, a massive agribusiness in southern Russia. The company integrates two dairy farms, а 16,000 pig capacity breeding complex, three elevators with non-recurrent grain storage capacity of more than 270,000 tonnes, three-seed plants, a sugar factory and the Sunrise horse breeding farm, specializing in the breeding of English thoroughbred horses. It is one of the top-20 largest agribusinesses and top-5 most efficient land users in Russia.[55]

Kuban Agroholding is one of the few agrocompanies in Russia involved in embryo transfer technology that allows for the reproduction of high-yielding milk cows out of less productive recipients.[56]

The company has gained significant media attention about its corn-seeding program, deploying several dozen corn brands selected by its genetic specialists.[56]

Other business appointments

In 2004, Deripaska was appointed by the President of Russia to represent the country in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He has been Chairman of ABAC Russia since 2007. Deripaska is the vice president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, chairman of the executive board of the Russian national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Council, an agency of the Russian government.[57]

He has been a permanent participant at World Economic Forum sessions since 2007, when RUSAL became a WEF strategic partner.[58]

In May 2007, Magna International chairman Frank Stronach announced that Deripaska was becoming a strategic partner in Magna.[59]

Deripaska is also a member of the International Council at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[60]

Deripaska personally initiated construction of the Centre for Epidemic and Microbiological Research and Treatment in the Guinean Kindia province. The Centre was designed and constructed by RUSAL specialists with the assistance of Rospotrebnadzor scientists (RUSAL has invested $10 million).[61]

Controversies

Cherney lawsuit

Michael Cherney brought legal action against Deripaska in the Commercial Court of the High Court in London.[62] Cherney sought a declaration that he was the beneficial owner of 20% of RUSAL stock which, he claimed, Deripaska held in trust for him. The claim was denied. On 3 May 2007, Justice Langley ruled that Deripaska had not been properly served, and that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claim as Deripaska did not live in England or Wales.[63]

On 3 July 2008, Justice Christopher Clarke ruled that the case should be tried in England, although “the natural forum for this litigation is Russia”, because, he held, “risks inherent in a trial in Russia…are sufficient to make England the forum in which the case can most suitably be tried in the interest of both parties and the ends of justice”.[64] On 22 July 2008, he granted Deripaska leave to appeal. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales refused the appeal on 31 July 2009.[65]

At a June 2011 case management conference, the judge deferred a decision on whether Cherney would be allowed to give evidence by video link from Israel rather than appear in person. An outstanding arrest warrant issued by Interpol meant that the British would detain him if he travelled to the UK.[66][67] In late July 2011, the High Court ruled to allow Cherney to give evidence at the trial by video link from Israel, and also set trial for April 2012.[68] Deripaska denied that Cherney was owed any stake in RUSAL, and asserted payments made to Cherney had been for unavoidable “protection” at a time when violence was sweeping the region and posed an existential threat to any profitable business in the country. In an interview with The Telegraph, Deripaska said he was one of the few who worked to clean up Russian industry and provided support to law enforcement agencies. However, in this early chaotic period paying protection money to criminal gangs was inescapable, as revealed in court testimony.[69]

In September 2012, Cherney terminated his UK lawsuit against Deripaska.[70]

U.S. investigation

In 2015, Deripaska filed a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley, accusing the bank of using insider information to short sell the businessman’s $1.5 billion investment in shares of Magma in 2008.[71]

In 2007, Deripaska’s Veleron investment vehicle acquired stock in Canadian based Magna International through a $1.2 billion loan from BNP Paribas, with Magna shares serving as collateral.[72] Morgan Stanley was involved in the deal through a swap agreement with BNP Paribas where the US bank assumed the risks of the loan in return for a fixed payment from Paribas.[73]

In September 2008, Magna’s stocks plummeted, hit by the global economic downturn. BNP issued a $93 million margin call to Veleron. Morgan Stanley, in turn, learned that Veleron was unlikely to meet the call and sold the stock short.[74] Deripaska claimed that Morgan Stanley abused its duties and engaged in unlawful insider trading that resulted in significant financial damage to Veleron, estimated at $15 million to $25 million.[73] A New York jury determined in November 2015 that Morgan Stanley had “acquired inside information and traded on it despite a duty to keep it confidential and not trade on it,” finding as well that Morgan Stanley did not have the intent to defraud Veleron. Veleron strongly disagreed with and said it would file an appeal.[74][when?]

In July 2006, whilst Deripaska was involved in a bid to buy the Daimler Chrysler Group, it was reported that the United States canceled his entry visa; the unnamed official declined to give a reason for the revoking of the visa. The Wall Street Journal reported that it could have been because Deripaska has been accused of having links to organized crime in Russia and cited as their sources two unnamed U.S. law enforcement officials.[75] Deripaska had received a multiple-entry visa in 2005; a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigationspokesman refused to comment. Lobbying on his behalf had been done by former Senate Republican leader and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole and his Alston & Bird law partners, Senate records show. Alston & Bird was paid about US$260,000 in 2005 for work on “Department of State visa policies and procedures” tied to Deripaska.[75]

In 2009, Deripaska was again allowed entry and visited the United States twice. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to two unnamed FBI administration officials, Deripaska had met with agents regarding a continuing criminal probe, the details of the probe were not known or reported. During Deripaska’s visits, he met with leading management figures from investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The Aluminum company that Deripaska heads, United Company RUSAL, was in preparations for an initial public offering. The easing of Deripaska’s visa issues which were an issue for possible investors helped to reassure bankers. The State Department has never said why it revoked his visa and refused to comment on his 2009 visits. The visits were arranged outside of the usual process as the U.S. continues to have concerns about Deripaska’s business associations. Deripaska has repeatedly denied a connection to any organized crime and said business rivals have caused the visa to be revoked by smearing him. When interviewed by the BBC in July 2009, Deripaska said that the authorities in the United States had been attempting to blackmail him by revoking his visa and thus affecting possible investors in a negative way and thereby hoping to push Deripaska into cooperating with them.[76]

Spanish investigation

According to an article in El Mundo, Deripaska and Iskander Makhmudov (head of UGMK) were asked by Spanish police to answer questions in relation to a money-laundering enquiry.[77] The Spanish state prosecutor’s office subsequently confirmed Deripaska’s interrogation.[78]

While Deripaska has been interrogated previously as a witness in Spain and England and by the FBI in cases of money laundering, he has never been charged with any crimes in those probes.[79]

On 25 January 2010, the Financial Times published a story “Rusal: A lingering heat” exploring Deripaska’s business relations with Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, alleged heads of Russian organized crime groups.[80] Deripaska has accused Michael Chernoy of using Malevsky and the Izmailovskaya syndicate to extort US$250 million from him as part of a protection racket.[81] However, Deripaska has himself been accused of having similar links to Malevsky, who, with his brother Andrei, owned a 10% stake in Deripaska’s company. Deripaska denies the claims.[82]

In November 2011, Spain’s High Court sent the criminal cases against Deripaska to the Russian General Prosecutor’s office because the root of the cases is Russian.[83]

Political relationships

Vladimir Putin and Deripaska, March 19, 2002

Vladimir Putin

Deripaska is noted for his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their relationship was visibly strained amidst Deripaska’s financial struggles in 2009, but in a widely broadcast incident on Russian television, Putin visited a stalled cement factory owned by Deripaska and berated its management. He forced Deripaska to sign a contract promising to pay nearly $1 million in unpaid wages.[13][84] Their relationship recovered, however, and Deripaska has been described as “Putin’s favorite industrialist“.[85] Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad”.[86] In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Tye Burt, who knows Deripaska and is the CEO of Kinross Gold said that, “I believe Russia recognizes Oleg’s major role in building a renewed economic base in a broad range of domestic businesses and rejuvenating ailing companies and infrastructure.”[13]

Nathaniel Rothschild and Peter Mandelson

Deripaska is a friend of Nathaniel Rothschild, a major investor in both Glencore and United Company RUSAL. Together Deripaska and Rothschild hosted George Osborne and Peter Mandelson on Deripaska’s yacht in Corfu in the summer of 2008.[87] Osborne was then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a friend of Rothschild from school and university. It was reported that Peter Mandelson have maintained private contacts over several years with Oleg Deripaska[88]

News of the contacts sparked criticism because, as European Union Trade Commissioner, Mandelson had been responsible for decision to cut aluminium tariffs from 6 to 3%, a decision that had benefited Deripaska’s Company RusAl.[89] Mandelson insisted that he had never discussed aluminium tariffs with Deripaska.[90] On 26 October 2008 the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed the “whole country” wanted “transparency” about Mandelson’s previous meetings with Deripaska. In response, Prime Minister Gordon Brownsaid Mandelson’s dealings with Deripaska had been “found to be above board”.[91] Mandelson said that meeting business figures from “across the range” in emerging economies was part of his brief as EU Trade Commissioner.[92] On 29 October 2008, while Mandelson was on a ministerial visit to Moscow,[93] it was alleged in the British press that Valery Pechenkin, the head of security at Deripaska’s company Basic Element, had organised a swift entry visa for Mandelson when he turned up in Moscow to visit Deripaska in 2005.[94]

Paul Manafort

On 22 March 2017, the Associated Press published a report alleging that Paul ManafortDonald Trump‘s former presidential campaign manager, negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[95] Both Deripaska and Manafort have confirmed to have worked together in the past,[96] but rejected the contents of the AP story. Manafort argued that his work had been inaccurately presented, and that there was nothing “inappropriate or nefarious” about it.[97]

Responding to the allegations, on March 28, 2017, Deripaska published open letters in the print editions of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, in which he denied having signed a $10 million contract with Manafort in order to benefit the Putin government.[98] He also stated his willingness to testify before the United States Congress to dispel these allegations,[99] and argued that the accusations fall “into the negative context of current US-Russian relations.”[100] According to Congressional sources cited by The New York Times, lawmakers declined Deripaska’s request, after it emerged that he had asked for immunity. Unnamed officials argued that “immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators”.[101]

On May 15, 2017, Deripaska filed a defamation and libel lawsuit against the Associated Press in a U.S. District Court in D.C., arguing that[102] the outlet’s report falsely claimed that Deripaska had signed a contract with Manafort to advance the goals of the Russian government.[103] However, the lawsuit was dismissed in October 2017 on the grounds that Deripaska had not disputed “any material facts” in the story by the Associate press [104]

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[105][106] Behaviors such as these were seen as an attempt by Manafort to please an oligarch tied to Putin’s government.[107]

Navalny video

In February 2018, Alexei Navalny published a video about a meeting between Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Sergei Eduardovich Prikhodko on a yacht traveling near Norway. According to Navalny, Deripaska probably served as a middle man between the Russian government represented by Prikhodko and Paul Manafort during Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[104] Prikhodko denied the allegations, accusing Navalny of “mixing the facts” about his “friend” Deripaska, Donald Trump and Paul Manafort, while also voicing his wish to have talk with Navalny as a “man with a man”.[108][109][110]

A day after the video was published the Roskomnadzor added the video to the Federal List of Extremist Materials, thus making accessing the video illegal for all Russian citizens.[111] It also ordered YouTube to remove seven videos and Instagram to take down 14 points that were cited in the investigation; neither YouTube nor Instagram had responded as of February 12, 2018. According to a Roskomnadzor representative who spoke to Vedomosti, a “court injunction of this sort against content hosted on Instagram and YouTube is unprecedented for Russia”. The New York Times noted that this may presage a “more aggressive approach by the Russian government” to control online activities.[112]

The New York Times reported on 5 March 2018, that Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian national currently incarcerated in Bangkok, claims to have over 16 hours of audio recordings she says could shed light on possible Russian interference in American elections. She is offering the recordings to American authorities in exchange for asylum, to avoid extradition to Belarus. Vashukevich claims to be close to Deripaska and asserts the recordings include him discussing the 2016 presidential election with associates Vashukevich did not name. “Deripaska had a plan about elections,” The New York Times quoted Vashukevich as saying. She stated that some of the recorded conversations, which she asserts were made in August 2016, included three individuals who spoke fluent English and whom she believed were Americans. The New York Times reported that her claims might be easily dismissed were it not for the Navalny video.[113]

U.S. sanctions

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals.[114][115] In the statement from the United States Department of the Treasury it was stated that Deripaska “has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering”. According to the US treasury statement there are allegations that Deripaska ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group.[116]

Personal life

In February 2001, Deripaska married Polina Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin‘s top adviser Valentin Yumashev and stepdaughter of Yeltsin’s daughter Tatyana. While Yeltsin was president, Deripaska’s close ties put him in Yeltsin’s inner circle, dubbed “The Family”.[117] The Deripaskas have two children: a son, Pyotr (born 2001), and daughter, Maria (born 2003).[118] Deripaska practices yoga, swimming, horseback riding, and hiking. His favorite pets are dogs. At his home near Moscow, he has seven horses and six dogs.[12]

In March 2018, it was reported that Deripaska had successfully purchased Cypriot citizenship in 2017 under Cyprus’ “golden visa” that generates billions of revenue for the island nation. According to documents seen by The Guardian, Deripaska’s first attempt to become a citizen of a country in the EU was unsuccessful because of an preliminary inquiry into his activities in Belgium. The inquiry was dismissed in 2016.[1]

Philanthropy

Volnoe Delo

In 1998, Deripaska established Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest[citation needed] private charitable foundation.[119][additional citation(s) needed] The fund supports over 400[citation needed] initiatives across Russia aimed at developing education and science, preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, and improving standards in public health.[120][additional citation(s) needed] It helps children, old people, talented youths, teachers, eminent scientists and other participants of the programs. Since 1998, Oleg Deripaska has invested more than RUB10.6 billion[citation needed] in more than 500 charity programs in 50 regions of Russia.[121][additional citation(s) needed]

Volnoe Delo has supported research activities in the 2,550-year-old city of Phanagoria since 2004. More than $10 million has been allocated to Phanagoria fieldwork over the past[which?] decade. Today, Phanagoria is one of the best-equipped archeological expeditions in Russia and has its own scientific and cultural center, cutting edge equipment and technology for above-ground and underwater excavation as well as a large team of specialists involved in the excavation process.[122]

In 2014, Volnoe Delo foundation launched a programme on students’ early career guidance and professional training—JuniorSkills.[123] The first, pilot, championship on professional skills, JuniorSkills Hi-Tech, was held in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in 2014, part of the nationwide championship on cross-industry blue-collar professions in high-tech WorldSkills.

Climate change

Deripaska is one of the 16 global business leaders who drafted CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders, a document outlining the international business community’s proposals to tackle global warming. The proposals were signed by more than 100 of the world’s leading corporations and handed to the Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda on 20 June 2008. The G8 leaders discussed the recommendations during the summit in Japan on 7–9 July 2008. The process was coordinated by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.[124]

Deripaska actively advocates cutting the global carbon footprint and calls for the creation of an enforcement mechanism with consequences for countries that do not reduce carbon-intensive emissions, such as those produced by coal-fired powerplants.[125] He also remains a strong advocate of a legally binding climate change deal, but has publicly voiced concern about the potential competitive impact of a Paris climate agreement and also about the absence of binding measures to curb each country’s emissions in the near future.[125] “Everyone is in favour; we just need to have more or less fair regulation. There shouldn’t be any pockets where people can cheat the system. People shouldn’t agree on something that creates another Kyoto protocol that creates nice polished statements”, he told the Financial Times in January 2016.[125]

Other activities

In February 2014, Deripaska financed the construction of makeshift kennels to house stray dogs that had been abandoned by construction workers after completing work on the Sochi Olympic Village. Officials said the number of strays exceeded 2,000 and the animals presented a risk of rabies, so they contracted out their extermination. Many of these dogs were saved and more were re-homed in a global adoption program that Deripaska created.[126]

He sits on the board of trustees of the School of Business Administration, the School of Public Administration, and the School of Economics at Moscow State University as well as the School of Business Administration at St. Petersburg State University. Deripaska is a co-founder of the National Science Support Foundation and the National Medicine Fund. In 1999, he was awarded the Order of Friendship, a state award of the Russian Federation. He was named businessman of the year in 1999, 2006, and 2007 by Vedomosti, a Russian business daily.

He sits on the board of trustees of the Bolshoi Theatre, and has financed ballet performances like Flames of ParisLa Sylphide, and Paquita as well as operas like The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden FevroniyaCarmen, and Wozzeck.[127]

Net worth

In 2008, Forbes estimated his wealth at US$28 billion, making him the then ninth richest man in the world.[128] In 2009, Deripaska’s ranking fell to a ranking of No. 164, with Forbes stating: “[H]e may not withstand collapsing markets and heavy debts”.[129] In 2010, however, his estimated $10.7 billion fortune allowed him to rise to No. 57 of the World’s Billionaires list.[130] According to Forbes magazine, he removed the heads of his two largest companies and personally negotiated with the Russian government, banks, and other creditors to restructure his loan obligations.[131] Deripaska himself in 2007 was reported to have consistently said that the estimate of his wealth was exaggerated, that it did not completely account for the amount of debt he incurred, and that he should be ranked far below the top ten on the list of the Russian billionaires.[132]

Deripaska has owned the Haft mansion near Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., through a company incorporated in Delaware since 2006.[133]

Forbes estimated his fortune at $3.3 billion in 2015[2] and $5.2 billion in 2017.[8]

See also

References

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

 

 

Robert Levinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Levinson
Robert-Levinson.png

Levinson while in captivity, taken November 2010
Born March 10, 1948 (age 70)
Disappeared March 9, 2007 (aged 58)
Kish Island
Status Missing for 11 years, 2 months and 6 days
Nationality American
Known for Disappearance in Iran

Robert Alan “Bob” Levinson (born March 10, 1948)[1] is an American former Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared mysteriously in 2007 in Kish IslandIran. He is believed[according to whom?] to be currently[when?] held captive by the government of Iran.[2][3] He disappeared on March 9, 2007, when visiting Iran’s Kish Island while supposedly researching a cigarette smuggling case.

U.S. officials believed Levinson had been arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the U.S. government believed Levinson was probably dead.[4] He was last seen alive in photographs from April 2011, wearing a jumpsuit and holding signs apparently asking for help in broken English.[5]

On December 12, 2013, the Associated Press reported that their investigations revealed that Levinson had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[6][7] contradicting the U.S.’s statement that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture.[8]

In an interview, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts.”[9] John Miller of CBS described this statement as a “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”.[10]

Iranian involvement

On April 4, 2007, a little over three weeks after Levinson was arrested, an article by Iranian state-run PressTV stated that he “has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9” and “authorities are well on the way to finishing the procedural arrangements that could see him freed in a matter of days”. The same article explained that it was established that Levinson’s trip to Kish “was purely that of a private businessman looking to make contact with persons who could help him make representations to official Iranian bodies responsible for suppressing trade in pirated products which is a major concern of his company”.[11]

On January 8, 2013, the Associated Press reported that “the consensus now among some U.S. officials involved in the case is that despite years of denials, Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family. ‘The tradecraft used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them’, the officials said… While everything dealing with Iran is murky, their conclusion is based on the U.S. government’s best intelligence analysis.”[12]

Family investigation

Media reported in August 2007 that Christine Levinson, wife of Robert, was planning a trip to Iran with their oldest son, Dan. The Department of State stressed that there was a travel warning to that country and they would be doing so at their own risk.[13] Iran announced on September 23, 2007, that they would be allowed to visit the country.[14]

In December 2007, Christine and Dan traveled to Iran to attempt to learn more about Levinson’s disappearance. They met with Iranian officials in Tehran and traveled to Robert’s hotel on Kish, the Hotel Maryam.[15] Airport officials allowed Christine and Dan to view the flight manifests for all flights leaving Kish during the time Robert was due to leave, but his name did not appear on any of the lists provided. They were also able to view Robert’s signature from the hotel check-out bill on March 9. Iranian officials promised to provide an investigative report to the family, but have yet to do so.[16] In July 2008 and subsequent interviews, Christine and Dan have said they wanted to travel to Iran again soon.[17]

President Ahmadinejad’s statements on Levinson

Pressed by Charlie Rose in an interview for CBS This Morning in September 2012, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “did not deny Iran still has Levinson in its custody, and hinted that there had been talks about a prisoner exchange”. Rose asked, “Is there anything that could happen, a trade or something, that could allow him to come back to the United States?” Ahmadinejad responded:

I remember that last year Iranian and American intelligence groups had a meeting, but I haven’t followed up on it. I thought they’d come to some kind of an agreement.

CBS’ John Miller says that “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”, in and of itself, “is a big step”.[10]

In a 2008 interview with NBC‘s Brian Williams, Ahmadinejad was questioned regarding Levinson’s case and its status. He responded:

There was a claim made some time ago, some people came over, the gentleman’s family came over. They talked and met with our officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran through official channels, to have problems here. Our security officials and agents have expressed their willingness to assist the FBI, if the FBI has any information about his travels around the world. We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter. There are certain informations that only the FBI at the moment has. I am not an expert in that field, as you might appreciate, so I’m not going to make a judgment here whether that information, as they say, is true and only held by the FBI or other parties for that matter.[18]

U.S. government investigation

President Barack Obama meets with Christine Levinson in the Oval Office on March 6, 2012

In June 2007, President George W. Bush released a statement on Levinson’s case, saying: “I am … disturbed by the Iranian regime’s refusal so far to provide any information on Robert Levinson, despite repeated U.S. requests. I call on Iran’s leaders to tell us what they know about his whereabouts.” [19]

On January 13, 2009, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson revealed during Hillary Clinton‘s confirmation hearing that he believes Robert Levinson is being held in a secret prison in Iran. “The door has been closed at every turn,” Nelson said during Clinton’s confirmation hearing. “We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison.”[20]

According to The New York Times, Levinson had been meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, (an American convert to Islam wanted for the 1980 murder of an Iranian dissident in the US) “just before he went missing”.[21][22]

On March 8, 2013, the Obama administration released a statement to mark the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s kidnapping. Press Secretary Jay Carney said,

Finding him remains a high priority for the United States, and we will continue to do all that we can to bring him home safely to his friends and family, so they may begin to heal after so many years of extraordinary grief and uncertainty. The Iranian Government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues.[23]

Secretary of State John Kerry also met with Levinson’s wife and son “to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family”.[24]

Reward

On March 6, 2012, approaching the five-year anniversary of Robert Levinson’s captivity, The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $1-million reward for information leading to his safe recovery and return. In addition, a campaign was launched, using billboards, radio messages, flyers, and a telephone hotline to publicize this reward and obtain information of his whereabouts.[25] In conjunction with this announced reward, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it was giving the two youngest Levinson children $5,000 each to help with their college costs.[25]

On March 9, 2015, the CIA increased the reward to up to $5 million for information regarding Levinson’s whereabouts.[26]

Proof of life

According to the Associated Press, Levinson’s family received “irrefutable proof” of life late in 2010.[27] On December 9, 2011, the family released the hostage video dated from November 2010. In the video, Robert appears to have lost considerable weight, and repeatedly pleads for help in returning home.[28]

On January 8, 2013, Levinson’s family released photos to the media showing the former agent in an orange jumpsuit with overgrown and unkempt hair. A family spokesman told CNN the photographs were received in April 2011. CNN reported: “Asked why the family is releasing the images now, more than 18 months later, the spokesman said: ‘The family is anxious that not enough is being done. There is frustration with the lack of progress on the case.'”[5]

President Rouhani’s statements on Levinson

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts”, Rouhani told Amanpour, “and we’re willing to cooperate on that”.[9]

In a subsequent interview with Charlie Rose, Rouhani said, “As to where his whereabouts when he disappeared, I personally have no information on those details, but naturally when someone disappears their family is suffering in specific. Everyone must help. It’s natural that everyone must help”.[29]

President Obama’s discussion of case with Rouhani

During the Obama-Rouhani phone call on September 27, 2013, the first communication between the presidents of the two countries in 34 years, President Obama noted his concern about Levinson’s disappearance to Rouhani, and expressed his interest in seeing him reunited with his family.[9]

Recent status

On November 26, 2013, Levinson, if he is still alive, became the longest-held hostage in American history, surpassing Terry A. Anderson. According to his family, he suffers from type 1 diabetesgout, and hypertension.[30] His passport has never shown up in any other country.[31]

United States Senate call for release

In a unanimous decision, on May 11, 2015, the United States Senate voted on a resolution for the release of Robert Levinson, which passed without amendment.[32] This resolution states that it is U.S. policy that: (1) the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should immediately release Saeed AbediniAmir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return Robert Levinson; and (2) the U.S. government should undertake every effort using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their release.[33]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “- INTERPOL”interpol.int.
  2. Jump up^ Goldman, Adam (December 13, 2013). “National Security”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Pat Milton (2007-05-10). “Intrigue Surrounds Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in Iran Two Months Ago”San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-01-08.
  4. Jump up^ “Missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in hostage video: ‘Help me'”. Associated Press. 2011-12-09.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Family releases photos of captive American”. CNN.com. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  6. Jump up^ Missing American in Iran was working for CIA, Associated Press, December 12, 2013, retrieved December 12, 2013
  7. Jump up^ “American who vanished in Iran was on unsanctioned CIA mission – report”rt.com.
  8. Jump up^ “White House: Robert Levinson not a government employee”BBC News, BBC, December 13, 2013, retrieved December 13,2013
  9. Jump up to:a b c “U.S. official: Obama, Rouhani discussed fate of three Americans – CNN.com”. Edition.cnn.com. September 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  10. Jump up to:a b “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drops clue about Robert Levinson, ex-FBI agent who vanished 5 years ago in Iran”. CBS News. 2012-09-25.
  11. Jump up^ “Ex-FBI man in Iran not “missing” at all”. PressTV. 2007-04-04.
  12. Jump up^ “US sees Iran behind hostage photos of ex-FBI agent”. PAP. 2013-01-09.
  13. Jump up^ “U.S. woman plans trip to Iran to search for missing former FBI agent husband”. International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-02.
  14. Jump up^ “Iran: Missing American’s family can visit”CNN. September 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  15. Jump up^ Fathi, Nazila (December 24, 2007). “In Iran, Search for American Yields Little”New York Times.
  16. Jump up^ Levinson, Daniel (June 22, 2008). “Missing a Father in Iran”The Washington Post. p. B07. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  17. Jump up^ “Wife of ex-FBI agent to repeat Iran visit in search of her husband”Payvand. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  18. Jump up^ “Transcript: ‘Response … will be a positive one'” (NBC Nightly News). msnbc.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  19. Jump up^ “No ‘miracle’ for American missing in Iran”CNN. December 22, 2007.
  20. Jump up^ “Senator Says Former FBI Agent Who Vanished in 2007 Is in Secret Iran Prison”Fox News. January 13, 2009.
  21. Jump up^ Mackey, Robert (September 16, 2009). “Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran”.
  22. Jump up^ “Former FBI agent held in Iran: report”Reuters.
  23. Jump up^ “Statement by the Press Secretary on Robert Levinson”The White House.
  24. Jump up^ “John Kerry meets with family of ex-FBI agent missing in Iran”Reuters.
  25. Jump up to:a b “FBI — $1 Million Reward Offered for Missing Retired Agent”. Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  26. Jump up^ “FBI — Eight Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of Robert A. Levinson”FBI.
  27. Jump up^ ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO Associated Press (2011-03-03). “Years After Vanishing in Iran, US Man Proven Alive – ABC News”. Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  28. Jump up^ “Robert Levinson, missing ex-FBI agent in hostage video: ‘Help me'”Associated Press. December 9, 2011.
  29. Jump up^ mwolda (Sep 27, 2013). Charlie Rose asks Rouhani about Robert Levinson. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  30. Jump up^ “Son of captured American pleads for father’s release”Fox News.
  31. Jump up^ “Family Asks For Help Locating Man Possibly Missing In Iran”Daily Press. September 30, 2007.
  32. Jump up^ Deb Riechmann (11 May 2015). “Senate Passes Resolution for Release of Americans in Iran”. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015 – via washingtonpost.com.
  33. Jump up^ James, Risch, (20 May 2015). “S.Con.Res.16 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A concurrent resolution stating the policy of the United States regarding the release of United States citizens in Iran”http://www.congress.gov.

External links

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018, Story 1: No Official Intelligence From Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States Intelligence Services) For Commencing DOJ/FBI Investigation/Surveillance of Trump — Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Cabal With Obama DOJ, FBI and CIA Leadership and Employees Based on Democrat National Committee and Clinton Campaign Paid For Fabricated/Fraudulent Opposition Research From Paid Russian Government Agents — Appoint Second Special Counsel Now! — Videos — Story 2: Democratic National Committee Sues Trump campaign, Wikileaks, Russia over 2016 election — Videos — Story 3: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Vote Advances CIA Director Mike Pompeo To Secretary of State Full Vote In Senate — Videos

Posted on April 26, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Climate Change, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State,