Nuclear

The Pronk Pops Show 882, April 27, 2017, Story 1: Senators Briefed At White House — Trump Administration Seeks To Stop North Korea Nuclear and Missile Testing But Not Regime Change — Land War Would Result in Millions of Causalties On Both Sides — Strategic Patience 2.0 — “tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners” — Videos — Story 2: Trump Accomplishments: One Supreme Court Justice and Canceling Obama Executive Orders — Issuing Executive Orders Are Not Results — Grade: Good Start But Incomplete — Videos

Posted on April 28, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Japan, Life, Media, MIssiles, National Interest, Nerve Gas, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Senate, South Korea, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Image result for 26 april senators briefed at executive office building on north korea

Image result for president trump cartoons north korea

Image result for president trump cartoons north korea

Story 1: Senators Briefed At White House — Trump Administration Seeks To Stop North Korea Nuclear and ICBM Testing But Not Regime Change — Land War Would Result in Millions of Casualties On Both Sides — Strategic Patience 2.0 — “tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners” — Videos —

Image result for cartoons branco trump north korea

Senators gather at Entire U.S. Senate attends White House meeting on North Korea

White House for North Korea briefing

TRUMP WARNS OF ‘MAJOR, MAJOR CONFLICT’ WITH NORTH KOREA ⚠

4/27/17, Interview with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson | Trump show

Bret Baier Rare Must-See Interview with Rex Tillerson – Special Report April 27, 2017

President Trump’s North Korea strategy

US prepared to take action against North Korea

What are President Trump’s options to take on North Korea?

President Donald Trump: North Korea Has ‘Gotta Behave’ | NBC Nightly News

Why tension between the US and N. Korea will only get worse

Who Are North Korea’s Allies?

How Does North Korea Have Nuclear Weapons?

The past 48 hours in Trump’s bizarre, ever-changing North Korea policy, explained

White House’s 14-page ‘100 Days of Accomplishments’ memo is leaked after Trump calls 100-day standard for achievement ‘ridiculous’

  • The list goes into detail about everything Trump plans to take credit for by the end of next weekend
  • The administration publicly bristles at the idea of being judged on just 100 days of work
  • ‘I think it’s got to be kept in context,’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday, calling it a ‘sort of artificial number’

Donald Trump‘s administration is preparing for a 100th-day victory lap, even as the White House emphasizes the arbitrary nature of evaluating the president’s performance on the basis of the idea of such a short period of time.

‘I think it’s got to be kept in context,’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday. ‘There is this sort of artificial number that gets thrown out.’

‘The context is – it’s 100 days. You have four years in your first term and eight years for two terms.’

Yet a 14-page draft titled ‘100 Days Of Accomplishments’ lists in detail everything the administration plans to take credit for by the end of next weekend.

WHAT 'HUNDRED DAYS'? Donald Trump has tried to downplay the significance of the 'First 100 Days' performance metric usually applied to new presidents, but his administration already has a 14-page-long list of accomplishments

WHAT ‘HUNDRED DAYS’? Donald Trump has tried to downplay the significance of the ‘First 100 Days’ performance metric usually applied to new presidents, but his administration already has a 14-page-long list of accomplishments

NOT SO MUCH: The document includes examples of accomplishments like the Syria airstrikes, but also the travel ban that has been held up in federal courts

NOT SO MUCH: The document includes examples of accomplishments like the Syria airstrikes, but also the travel ban that has been held up in federal courts

The document, first published by CNN, reads like the opposition research memos produced by the Republican National Committee’s research department, with each item followed by a citation in parentheses – and a link to an online document backing it up.

But instead of being a hit-piece meant to tear an opponent down, the list is intended to give administration officials a list of talking points to emphasize in Trump’s defense.

It runs the gamut from trade and job creation to immigration and national security, and ends with a reference to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Also included is ‘Travel Restrictions On Select Countries,’ the president’s travel-ban order that was quickly put on hold in federal court.

Of the 37 items overall, 23 of them were the result of executive orders or memoranda, directing federal agencies to take the kinds of action that don’t require buy-in from Congress.

WHO WROTE IT? The White House memo is formatted like opposition research papers produced at the Republican Party's headquarters

WHO WROTE IT? The White House memo is formatted like opposition research papers produced at the Republican Party’s headquarters

'RIDICULOUS': On Friday Trump used that word to describe the idea of measuring his performance based on less than 15 weeks of work

‘RIDICULOUS’: On Friday Trump used that word to describe the idea of measuring his performance based on less than 15 weeks of work

White House press secretary Sean Spicer pooh-poohed the 'first 100 days' standard on Monday, but then rattled off a list of the president's 'unbelievable' accomplishments

White House press secretary Sean Spicer pooh-poohed the ‘first 100 days’ standard on Monday, but then rattled off a list of the president’s ‘unbelievable’ accomplishments

Trump signs executive orders on financial services

President Trump was openly critical of President Barack Obama during his campaign for relying on unilateral executive orders to accomplish his agenda, instead of going through the legislative process.

Despite downplaying the significance of an arbitrary 100-day evaluation benchmark, Spicer leapt to defend the administration’s record – saying of the president that ‘it is unbelievable what he has been able to do.’

‘When you look at the number of pieces of legislation, the executive orders, business confidence, the place – the U.S.’s role in the world, there’s a lot that we feel, accomplishments that have occurred,’ he said.

‘And we feel very good about what we’ve done as we head up to this first 100 days. But I think you’re going to continue to see a lot of action and a lot of results going into the second 100 days, the third 100 days, all the way through.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4441558/Trump-100-Days-Accomplishments-memo-leaked.html#ixzz4fbNUpI3i
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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The Pronk Pops Show 877, April 20, 2017, Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos — Story 2: Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement Legacy Heading Towards The Wastebasket? No. Certification Granted and Sanctions Suspended — All Talk–No Action — Bad Appeasement Deal Stands — Videos– Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos — Story 4 Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —

Posted on April 20, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Bombs, Breaking News, Cartoons, Congress, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Foreign Policy, France, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Law, Life, Media, MIssiles, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, South Korea, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos —

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Iran could be the next North Korea

Tillerson Threatens Iran: ‘The Great Destabilizer’?

Trump Shies Away From Striking Down Obama Era Iran Deal: Why It Doesn’t Matter

What’s In The Iran Nuclear Deal?

Implementation of the JCPOA: Is It Working?

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson described a landmark Iran nuclear deal as a failure on Wednesday, only hours after the State Department said Tehran was complying with its terms. But the top United States diplomat stopped short of threatening to jettison the 2015 agreement that was brokered by world powers, or saying whether the Trump administration would punish Iran with new sanctions.

The whiplash left Republicans on Capitol Hill, who had universally excoriated the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and voted against its implementation, uncertain of how to respond. Its architects, however, said they were cautiously optimistic that the deal would stay in place.

The nuclear deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” Mr. Tillerson said. “It only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state.”

He said that Iran continued to threaten the United States and the rest of the world, and he announced that the Trump administration was reviewing ways to counter challenges posed by Tehran.

It was an attempt to clarify a State Department certification, issued shortly before a midnight deadline on Tuesday, that said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement that also eased crippling international sanctions against the Islamic republic’s economy. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump denounced the agreement as “the worst deal ever,” and Vice President Pence promised to rip it up.

In a hastily called news conference at the State Department on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson likened Iran to North Korea, whose nuclear weaponry and burgeoning missile technology is what the administration now believes is the gravest risk to world peace and security. Mr. Pence visited Seoul, South Korea, this week to declare that the United States was united with its allies to stem North Korea’s threat.

The Iran deal “represents the same failed approach to the past that brought us to the current imminent threat that we face from North Korea,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters. “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear: Iran’s provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world.”

Once the National Security Council completes a review of the nuclear deal, Mr. Tillerson said, “we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction.”

Hours earlier, late on Tuesday night, Mr. Tillerson sent a terse letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan pledging to evaluate whether earlier suspension of sanctions against Iran, as required under the terms of the nuclear agreement, “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

A man of few words, Mr. Tillerson has sometimes found that his cryptic remarks create more confusion than clarity among allies, friends and even adversaries. Earlier on Wednesday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, offered little additional information about the Iran certification. He refused to say whether the Trump administration would add the Iran deal to a series of other stunning foreign policy reversals it has made by deciding to retain it instead of ripping it up or renegotiating the agreement as promised.

“I think part of the review, the interagency process, is to determine where Iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the president on the path forward,” Mr. Spicer said.

The enigmatic remarks left top Republicans on Capitol Hill nonplused. Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican who led congressional opposition to the Iran deal, said in a statement that the administration’s “certification is shaky, and it doesn’t mean that the intentions behind Iran’s nuclear program are benign.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration appeared to be preparing a tougher line against Iran.

“Secretary Tillerson made clear that regardless of Iran’s technical compliance with the nuclear deal, the administration is under no illusion about the continued threat from Tehran and is prepared to work closely with Congress to push back,” Mr. Corker said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s certification extends sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for continued constraints on its nuclear program. American sanctions, as approved by Congress, were suspended instead of revoked; they can be reimposed with the stroke of a presidential pen.

The Trump administration has given itself 90 days to complete its review, but it will need to make a series of decisions in coming weeks about whether to continue its support of the deal, which was also brokered with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Those governments, along with representatives of the United States and Iran, will meet next week in Vienna to review the pact’s progress.

Mr. Trump faces a mid-May deadline, as imposed by Congress, to decide whether to continue the suspension of sanctions.

Backing away from the agreement would spur enormous consternation across Europe and in Moscow.

In their first congratulatory phone calls to Mr. Trump after his electoral victory, both President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany emphasized the need to keep the Iran deal in place. And after her first meeting with Mr. Tillerson in February, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign minister, said the Trump administration pledged “to stick to the full strict implementation of the agreement in all its parts.”

Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.

“I’m glad this deal has held up to this point, and I hope it continues to hold up,” said Wendy Sherman, a former under secretary of state who was deeply involved in negotiating terms of the deal during the Obama administration.

Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was involved in Iran policy under President Barack Obama, said it was “pretty much a foregone conclusion” that Mr. Trump would keep the nuclear agreement in place.

Still, the administration has sought since its first days in office to ratchet up pressure on Iran. In January, before he resigned, Michael T. Flynn, then the national security adviser, walked into the White House briefing room and declared that the administration was “officially putting Iran on notice” after it launched a ballistic missile.

The Trump administration has returned the United States to closer ties with its traditional Arab friends in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Part of those ties means supporting those nations, which are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, in their intense rivalry with Iran, a Shiite power.

By contrast, by the end of his second term, Mr. Obama had begun to view those sectarian tensions with a jaundiced eye, believing the United States should not intervene in a millennium-old religious struggle.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson attended a United States-Saudi Arabia chief executive summit meeting where he declared that he was “pleased to be here today to reaffirm the very strong partnership that exists between the United States and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that sought to defeat the Iran deal, said the administration may still walk away from the agreement or renegotiate it. He contended that the administration “should not be bound by arms control agreements that are deeply flawed.”

And even Ms. Sherman shied away from predicting it will remain in place. “I’m taking this one day at a time,” she said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/world/middleeast/trump-administration-grudgingly-confirms-irans-compliance-with-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement.
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location Vienna, Austria
Signatories Iran, P5+1, European Union
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; Persian: برنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, translit. barnāme jāme‘ eqdām moshtarak‎, acronym: برجامBARJAM),[3][4] known commonly as the Iran deal or Iran nuclear deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChina, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement and in July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 agreed on the plan.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.

Background

A nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (P-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[7][8][9] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[10] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary fornuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[11] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[9][11]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[12] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[12]

In 1979, the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[12] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[12]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khan network.[12] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment.”[12] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencies have long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[12] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[13]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility.[12][14] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[12] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[14] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[14]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[12][14] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[14] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[12][14] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[12] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[12]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[14][15] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[12][14] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[12][14]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[12][14] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[14] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[14] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[14] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[14]Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[16] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[16] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[12][14] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[16][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[12] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[22] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[14]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[23] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[23] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[23]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[24] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[24]

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[14][25] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[14][26] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[27] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[28] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[14][28]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[29] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[28] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[30] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[28][30]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the ArakIR-40heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[31]

Negotiations

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[32][33]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[34] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[35] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[36] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[37]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[38][39] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2014, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburg lasting for seventeen days.[40] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[40] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[40] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[40]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[41] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[42]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[43][44] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[43] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[43]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system.”[45]

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[46]

Signatories

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[33] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[33][47][48]

Nuclear

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[49]Belfer Center[50]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0 Unconstrained
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained Unconstrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg Unconstrained
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg Unconstrained
  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[33][51][52][53] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[51][52][54]However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[55] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[51][52][53] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[50][56]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[33][51] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[31][52][53] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[57][58] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[51]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[31] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[51]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[59] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[31] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[60] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[61] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[31]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[31][51][53]
  • Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[62]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[51][52][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[73] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[74] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[74][75] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[43][76] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[73]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[43]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[75] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[77] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[75] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[75] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[75] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[78][79] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[78] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[79]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[33][51][80][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[50] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[82][83] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[84]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[33][80] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[33][80] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[50]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to January 16, 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[85] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[86]

Sanctions

Further information: Sanctions against Iran

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[87]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[88]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[89] by presidential action or executive waiver.[90]Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[91]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[89][92][93]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[33][94]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[53][95] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[88]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[96]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[51][52][96]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[53][97] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[97] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[42][97] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[57]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[97] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[98]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[99][100][101][102][103]

The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II.[104] Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations CharterIran – has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[104][105][106] All other cases have ended through either regime change, war or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[107]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing countryIran[104][108] and backs an agreement (JCPOA) signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[104][109] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country –Iran– was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it –1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, 1929– without even one day of implementating them.[104]Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[104]

In the 47-year history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[110]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[111]Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[104] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[112] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[104]

Pictured here, Iranian foreign affairs minister and U.S. secretary of state shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquarters for the first time.[113]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates –sometimes multiple occasions a day– and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[114] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations –which counts as Iranian soil– to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[114][115] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, U.S. PresidentBarack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[116] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[117]

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

Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos — 

Image result for paris france shootings april 20, 2017 Image result for paris france shootings april 20, 2017

One Officer Killed, One Wounded In Paris Shooting | NBC News

Trump Says Paris Shooting Looks Like Terror Attack

BREAKING Paris ISLAMIC Terrorist with Machine Gun kills police officer 2nd hurt April 20 2017 News

BREAKING!!! TERROR ATTACK IN PARIS!!!

Paris shooting ‘looks like another terrorist attack’ Trump says: ‘It just never ends’

  • The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon in the White House’s East Room
  • French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act’ 
  • ‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump said 

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’

The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

‘It just never ends,’ he said of the terror threat from the White House’s East Room.

French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act.’

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today 'looks like another terrorist attack.'

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said just before the news conference began that Trump had been briefed on the shooting that happened while he was meeting with the Italian prime minister.

‘Condolences from our country to the people for France again. It’s happening it seems,’ Trump said from the podium. ‘I just saw it as I was walking in, so it’s a terrible thing and it’s a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today.’

Trump did not comment on the assault at the top of his remarks but said after he was asked for a reaction, ‘It looks like another terrorist attack, and what can you say? It just never ends.

‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump told Fox News’ John Roberts.

France is in the process of holding a national election. The first round of voting begins on April 23.

A gunman wielding an AK-47 killed one police officer and wounded another today on the Champs-Elysees. The assailant was killed in the showdown with police, Paris police have said. Another suspect is believed to have been involved, as well.

Police just two days ago arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015 and have killed over 230 people.

Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.

‘Stay back, stay back!’ Police warn after shooting in Paris

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

A French police officer was tonight shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) - just as presidential candidates took part in a TV debate nearby

A French police officer was tonight shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) – just as presidential candidates took part in a TV debate nearby

Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.

For weeks, centrist Emanuel Macron and National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen have been out in front.

Scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.

Opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round run-off on May 7 if none of them reach a majority in this weekend’s election.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4430264/Paris-shooting-looks-like-terror-Trump-says.html

PARIS SHOOTING

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and ‘two seriously injured’ as ‘ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s’ open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

The officers were gunned down in the central boulevard of the famous street at around 9pm local time

A POLICEMAN has died and two are seriously injured after at least one gunman opened fire “with an AK47” in central Paris this evening.

A 39-year-old gunman was killed by police following the “terror attack” at the central boulevard of the Champs-Élysé, which ISIS have claimed responsibility for.

Paris

REUTERS
Three policemen have been shot – one dead – in Paris

Paris

GETTY IMAGES
A man raises his arms in front of police officers close to the scene in Paris

Paris

REUTERS
Forensics search a car thought to have been driven by the attacker

Arc De Triomph

EPA
Emergency services guard the Arc De Triomph
 

Footage potentially show s the moments after the Paris shootingPolice say the suspect was from an eastern Paris in suburb, despite ISIS naming him as a Belgian national on their Amaq news agency.

He is thought to have been known to security services for “extremist links”.

The shooter’s house in an eastern Paris suburb and other addresses are being searched by officers, a source told Reuters.

Cops have said they are hunting a second suspect who may or may not be involved in the incident.

Local police advised people to avoid the area after shots were fired at around 9pm local time.

Witnesses said the attacker pulled up beside a stationery police car and fired through the window.

“He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov and I heard six gunshots,” a witness named Chelloug said.

“I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no one.

“In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police.

Champs-Élysée

TWITTER
The officers were gunned down at around 9pm local time

police

REUTERS
A police van at the scene in Paris, where a policeman has been shot
 

Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman

 

Two French police officers killed by gunman in Paris ‘terror’ attack”I think he hit a policeman. As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell, I think.

“As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside (a building). We hid and I went up to the first floor and we saw them (the policeman) shoot him (the perpetrator).”

He added: ” I was afraid. I have a two year-old girl and I thought I was going to die… He shot straight at the police officer.”

President Francois Hollande said officials are “convinced” the incident is a terror attack.

Paris Prosecutor’s anti-terror office has opened an inquiry.

Champs-Elysees boulevard

GETTY IMAGES
The shooting took place at the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard

as-map-paris-shooting

The policeman was shot dead on the central boulevard of the Champs-Elysees

Paris

Police on high alert after three officers were shot in Paris

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and 'two seriously injured' as 'ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s' open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

Women raise their arms as they head towards armed police

Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman

 

ISIS claims it was behind Paris police shootingYvan Assioma of the police union Alliance said: “The exact circumstances are still unclear but I can confirm the tragic death of one of our colleagues. Our thoughts are very much with the family.

“One or several attackers have been shot dead by the police. Some officers were hit but the bullets were stopped by their bulletproof vests, but two were hit.

“Nothing is being ruled out for the time being, terrorism or a criminal act.”

Eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower is seen behind police cars

Paris

TWITTER/JAMES MATE
As police car at the scene in Paris, where a police officer has reportedly been killed

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and 'two seriously injured' as 'ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s' open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

A soldier stands guard in front of the illuminated Arc De Triomphe
 

Champs-Elysees in Paris evacuated after two police officers shot dead

 

French police closes traffic on Champs Elysees after shootingA Government spokesperson said: “An automatic weapon was used against police, a weapon of war.

“The shooting started shortly after 9pm, when a car stopped alongside a stationary police car.

“A man immediately got out and opened fire on the police car, fatally wounding a police officer. He also wounded a second one, it would seem very seriously.”

The shooting happened near the Métro station Franklin D Roosevelt and the Marks and Spencer store on the Champs-Elysées.

It is one of the most famous streets in the world and a busy tourist hub.

Armed police and emergency services have been spotted at the scene.

Paris

Passersby raise their arms as they pass the scene

Police

An armed policeman stands guard with the Arc de Triomphe in the background

Police

Emergency services at the scene of a fatal shooting in Paris

Paris

Members of the public have been advised to steer clear of the area

police

A police cordon is in place around the scene
 

Armed officers tak e position behind a kiosk on the Champs ElyséesFrance’s President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings.

French Presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Francois Fill0n have cancelled their trips tomorrow.

The shooting comes just just days ahead of France’s presidential election.

On Tuesday, days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

PAris

A soldier guides people away from the scene in Paris

PAris

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
A police officer close to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris

Paris

Armed police at the scene in Paris

Paris

Emergency services rushed to the scene in Paris
 

Policeman shot dead and ‘two seriously injured’ on Champs-Élysé, Paris

 

Police officers evacuate people off the Champs Elysees after ‘terror attack’France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

The UK Foreign Office said: “The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.

“If you’re in the area and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3376910/paris-shooting-terror-attack-champs-elysees/

Story 4: Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —

House Republicans Close To Obamacare Repeal

Published on Apr 20, 2017

House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans are edging closer to a deal on repealing Obamacare. The agreement, brokered by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s community rating system, a rule that prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender, or health status. States that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.

Ryan Claims GOP Healthcare Bill Still Alive

Reviving Obamacare repeal and replace efforts an uphill battle for GOP?

Andy Puzder on Trump’s renewed push to repeal, replace ObamaCare

It’s going to be nearly impossible for Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare next week

Paul Ryan donald trump

The developing plan from House Republicans to push forward their overhaul of the US healthcare system has one big problem: timing.

According to reports, the White House is pushing to get a deal done on the American Health Care Act by April 28 to show progress on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days.

A new amendment leaked Wednesday night appears to be a compromise between the leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Tuesday Group that could produce some movement on the bill in that timeframe.

But Congress faces another looming deadline by April 28: funding the federal government. If no new funding bill is passed by next Friday, parts of the federal government will shut down.

Washington is not known for multitasking, and it could be difficult to get a funding bill passed as the White House and lawmakers push to add policy proposals to the funding bill. Given the political ramifications of the issue, the shutdown fight could consume the calendar.

According to Politico, the White House and Congress are considering passage of a one-week extension on funding in order to hash out a more considered funding bill and possibly give the House time to take up the AHCA, which became colloquially known as “Trumpcare.”

Barring such an extension, however, it would be highly unlikely that the American Health Care Act moves forward before Trump’s 100th day in the Oval Office.

http://www.businessinsider.com/trumpcare-ahca-house-gop-government-shutdown-problem-2017-4

Here’s the plan that some Republican leaders think will get their Obamacare repeal bill to pass

Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, said on Wednesday that the GOP was putting the “finishing touches” on an Obamacare deal. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Republicans are closing in on a deal to try — again — to push their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare through the House.

The compromise, first reported by Matt Fuller and Jonathan Cohn at The Huffington Post, would allow states to obtain a waiver from the federal government to do away with certain protections from the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

According to The Huffington Post, the deal would initially keep two provisions — essential health benefits and community rating — favored by moderate GOP lawmakers but allow states to waive these protections. In order to waive the protections, states would have to fulfill two provisions: prove that the waiver would bring down costs and either join a federal high-risk pool or establish their own.

The full text of the proposed amendment, obtained by Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, states that the waiver would be granted by the federal government if the state can prove that it has an alternative to “reduce premium costs, increase the number of persons with healthcare coverage, or advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

Essential health benefits require insurers to cover a baseline of health procedures such as prenatal care and emergency room visits. Community rating means that insurers must charge people living in the same area the same price for insurance regardless of things such as age, gender, or preexisting conditions.

“The gist of this is that federal protections for pre-existing conditions and required benefits remain…unless a state doesn’t want them to,” tweeted Larry Levitt, senior vice president at health policy think thank The Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday.

Without the community rating, insurers could charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums and some policy experts fear this could price sick people out of the market.

However, this means that the Trump administration, most likely Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, would have final say on whether or not a waiver is granted.

While the deal was reportedly reached by conservative House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows and moderate Tuesday Group chair Rep. Tom MacArthur, it also bears similarities to a previous deal that drew the ire of moderates for going too far in pulling back protections.

Additionally, it does not address the concerns of moderates such as the defunding of Medicaid expansion or the estimates that the Affordable Health Care Act could leave up to 24 million fewer people without health coverage over the next 10 years.

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported after the amendment’s outline was leaked that the GOP leadership is planning to release the exact language for the amendment later on Thursday and are targeting Wednesday for a vote on the revised bill, but that could change.

According to CNBC, a Freedom Caucus source said the changes would bring 18 to 20 members of the group who were originally against the AHCA over to a “yes” vote on the bill. It is unclear how many moderate Republicans would shift to a “no.” By most accounts the House GOP was as many as 33 votes short of the needed number when the AHCA went to the House floor on March 24.

The amendment comes the day after reports that the White House was pushing for a deal to be completed by the end of next week in order to show progress during Trump’s first 100 days as president. Additionally, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in London on Wednesday that the GOP was putting the “finishing touches” on an Obamacare deal.

Passing the AHCA, even with the proposed changes, would be difficult in the short-term as Congress must also pass a bill to fund the federal government before parts of it shut down on April 28.

Read the full summary of the amendment, via Politico (PDF) »

Treasury’s Mnuchin: We’re ‘pretty close’ to bringing forward ‘major tax reform’

Jacob Pramuk |

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at 2017 Institute of International Finance (IIF) policy summit in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2017.

Mnuchin: Most significant tax code change since Reagan  9 Hours Ago | 01:19

The Trump administration is close to bringing forward “major tax reform,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday, days after he tempered expectations for how quickly it will pass.

Mnuchin, who this week backed off of his earlier goal of passing tax reform by August, said the White House will unveil a plan “very soon.” However, the Trump administration previously missed several of its deadlines for releasing its tax plan.

In terms of timing, he said he hoped passing a tax overhaul will not “take till the end of the year.”

Mnuchin spoke at the Institute of International Finance Washington Policy Summit, where White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn was set to appear later Thursday.

In a Financial Times interview published Monday, Mnuchin said getting a bill to President Donald Trump‘s desk before August is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.” He said in February that he wanted to see “very significant” tax reform passed by Congress’ August recess.

The business community has hoped Republicans can move quickly on overhauling the American tax system, a prospect that partly fueled stock market gains in the months following Trump’s election. However, political realities have tempered expectations for changes to the tax system.

Republicans attempted to pass legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act before moving to a tax reform bill. That effort failed late last month, and Mnuchin said the setback contributed to his assessment that passing a tax overhaul by August could be difficult.

Trump put the pressure back on Tuesday after Mnuchin and Cohn appeared to walk back expectations for how quickly tax reform will happen. He called out Mnuchin by name during a speech at Snap-on headquarters in Wisconsin.

“So we’re in very good shape on tax reform. We have the concept of the plan. We’re going to be announcing it very soon,” Trump said at that time. “But health care, we have to get the health care taken care of, and as soon as health care takes care of we are going to march very quickly. You’re going to watch. We’re going to surprise you. Right, Steve Mnuchin? Right?”

Even though the president sounded optimistic Tuesday, the Trump administration has set deadlines for tax policy before that have not come to pass. In late February, Trump said the tax plan was “very well finalized,” only a day after press secretary Sean Spicer said it would be released “in the next couple weeks.

Republicans have refocused on resurrecting the effort to repeal the ACA, better known as Obamacare, as they get set to return from a recess next week. House GOP leaders are trying to balance the concerns of the both the party’s conservative and moderate wings as they try to follow through on a major campaign pledge.

Mnuchin said Thursday that “whether health care gets done or health care doesn’t get done, we’re going to get tax reform done.”

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/treasurys-mnuchin-were-pretty-close-to-bringing-forward-major-tax-reform.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 833, February 7, 2017, Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Coal, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Drones, Education, Egypt, Empires, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, House of Representatives, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Libya, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear, Oil, Pistols, Rifles, Russia, Senate, Solar, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 789: November 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 788: November 2, 2016

Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — 

The Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Bomb

Russia rejects Trump’s claim that Iran is top terrorist state

Iran Defends Test of Ballistic Missile

Trump blasts Iran over ballistic missile test

Is War With Iran Inevitable?

Donald Trump warns of the Muslim Problem

Trump on Iran: ‘They will know I am not playing games’

Donald Trump about fighting ISIS | Islamic State Terrorism | Trump Presidential Announcement

Trump’s First Military Action Obliterated 30 Innocent Civilians

Iran Vows More Missile Tests Despite ‘Notice’ | MSNBC

Iran ‘On Notice’: Will Trump Pull The Trigger?

Eric Shawn reports: The Iran deal meets Mr. Trump

Is War with Iran in the Cards with the Trump Foreign Policy Team?

IRAN WARNS UNITED STATES DONT MAKE A PROBLEM OVER MISSILE! BREAKING NEWS 01 02 2017 BREAKING NEWS

Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure

Trump Slams Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘It’s an Embarrassment to Our Country’

Islamic Republic vs Islamic State: What’s The Difference?

USA vs SYRIA & IRAN & RUSSIA Military Power Comparison 2017 (Middle East War) HD

IRAN vs ISRAEL | Military Power Comparison 2016 HD

IRAN Army | IRAN Military Power 2016

Saudi Arabia VS Iran | Military Power Comparison | 2016

Saudi Arabia Military Power 2016-2017 | Saudi Arabian Army

Can Saudi Arabia fight two wars at once? BBC News

Saudi Air Force ON THE WAY to help their “Moderate” Friends

The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

A Short History of Islam: From Muhammad to ISIS

What ISIS Wants

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

World War 3 Could Start This Month 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria

 

Published on Feb 16, 2016

WW3 Syria, Middle East, Turkey, Russia, World War 3 northern thunder
350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”.

Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno: Future of the U.S. Army

General Raymond Odierno Retiring {U.S. Army} 8-14-15

General Raymond T. Odierno Millitary Confession About Obama

OBAMA IS PISSED! Top Army Chief Of Staff General Drops Bombshell About Him As He Resigns

OBAMA JUST MADE A DRASTIC MOVE THAT LEFT AMERICA COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS

10 Countries Most Likely To Start WW3

Top 10 Countries That Would Not Survive WW3

10 Safest Countries If WW3 Breaks Out

10 Safest Spots During World War 3

Obama Recalls All Aircraft Carriers back to US, None At Sea Anywhere

Published on Jan 2, 2017

Barack Obama has recalled all 10 U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers from the Middle East, leaving the United States wide open to a potential attack.
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/…
News Stories about Carriers: http://yournewswire.com/obama-recalls…
https://www.superstation95.com/index….
Nwo Report: http://www.nworeport.me

No US carrier at sea leaves gap in Middle East

NOW PLAYINGUS Navy warship returns to ISIS fight

For the next week, not only will there be no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no American aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of worldwide threats facing the United States.

VIDEO: WHAT THE AIR FORCE NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH GLOBAL DEMAND

The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her strike group returned to Norfolk, Va., Friday following a seven-month deployment. The Ike launched hundreds of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Two destroyers in the Ike’s strike group also saw combat. The USS Nitze and USS Mason were attacked in the Red Sea when Iranian backed Houthi forces in Yemen launched cruise misisles, which were intercepted by the Mason. A retaliatory strike by the Nitze destroyed the radar installations in Yemen in October.

IRAN CONDUCTS ‘WAR-GAME’ EXERCISES, THREATENS TO SHOOT DOWN TRESPASSING AIRCRAFT

The Eisenhower’s replacement carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, was delayed by more than six months in the shipyards and will not be able to replace the Ike until early next year, according to Navy officials.

While there is no U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East right now, there is a large deck U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship with thousands of Marines on board as well as helicopters and some jets to respond to a crisis, according to officials.

In the meantime, the Navy tells Fox News the U.S. military has other jets available to make up for the aircraft carrier gap in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. The Navy can also “surge” a carrier now in port to deploy if necessary. But the absence of a deployed U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, long seen as a symbol of American power projection, is noteworthy. It is believed to be the first time since World War II that at least one U.S. aircraft carrier has not been deployed.

“We are not going to discuss the timing of operational movements of carrier strike groups into and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Capt. Terry Shannon, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman, in a statement to Fox News. Centcom is tasked with control over all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

It’s not the first time there was a carrier gap in the Middle East. Last fall, the U.S. Navy relied on a French aircraft carrier to fill the void when the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned home. At the time it was the first gap in carrier coverage in the Middle East since 2007.

Other factors contribute to the U.S. Navy not having an aircraft carrier deployed anywhere in the world right now. From 2011 to 2013, the Navy maintained two carriers in the Persian Gulf on the orders of Centcom’s then-commander, Gen. James Mattis, who is now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary.

The congressionally mandated budget cuts known as sequestration have also been felt on the waterfront since 2011. After billions of dollars were cut from the Navy’s budget, ships such as the George H.W. Bush were forced to prolong their time in the shipyards, which had a ripple effect down the line. If the Bush had left the shipyard on time, she would have relieved the Ike in the Gulf or the Mediterranean, officials tell Fox News.

Fox News recently flew out to the USS George H.W. Bush 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina to see the crew’s final tuneup.

With jets landing every 60 seconds, the flight deck crew worked on getting the time between “traps” (landings) down to 40 seconds.

Aboard the ship, 18- to 22-year-old men and women work 14 hour days on the flight deck, with little rest — all this before deploying and potentially dropping live rounds on ISIS.

“This is the military equivalent of spring training, because once we complete this at the end of December, then we’ll be going forward and it’ll be real forces that we’ll be going flying with and against,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike 2, interviewed on his perch above the four-acre flight deck known as “Vulture’s Row.”

In addition to fighting ISIS, the ship’s commanding officer says his crew will be ready to deal with a resurgent Russia or China if necessary.

“While we don’t have any emergent or pending conflicts with them, certainly, it is fair to say that we have divergent interests in many cases. and so we need to be prepared to understand how we will react to that if necessary,” said Capt. Will Pennington.

There is recent history with this ship.

On Aug. 8, 2014, a pair of F-18s from the Bush launched the first airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.

Now, two and a half years later, the ship is headed back to the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

“That doesn’t mean that three months or six months from now, that will be the priority for our country. So we have to be ready to execute anywhere, anytime, any mission,” said Capt. James McCall, commander of Air Wing 8, in charge of all of the aircraft on board.

Fox News’ Stephen Scarola contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/no-us-carrier-at-sea-leaves-gap-in-middle-east.html

Hey, Team Trump: Tell America what’s in the Iran deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Jan. 30, 2017, Iran tested a new ballistic missile, seemingly the long-range Khorramshahr. In response, the White House announced sanctions against 25 Iranian individuals and companies. It’s a small reaction to an extraordinary provocation that rips away the curtain obscuring America’s foreign-policy decisions, past and present.

The past first. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) congratulated the White House on the sanctions, which was a little hypocritical since he was one of the people who caused the problem in the first place.

In negotiating the secret Iran deal, President Barack Obama took the position that it wasn’t a treaty and therefore didn’t require Senate ratification under the Constitution. Had it been a treaty, Obama would’ve needed two-thirds of the upper chamber’s votes — which he wouldn’t have gotten.

Instead, Corker flipped the procedure around with a motion to condemn the treaty, which would’ve required a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto. That wasn’t going to happen, so Obama got his treaty.

But what was in the treaty? Ah, that was the great thing. No one knew. And now the Iranians are telling us that Obama secretly promised them they could build ballistic missiles capable of a 2,000-mile flight.

Why that number? Because the Iranians insisted they wanted to be able to strike every part of Israel, and the European members of the six-party Iran talks — Germany, France and Britain — didn’t mind so long as Iran couldn’t build longer-range missiles that could reach them. No skin off their noses if Israel were destroyed.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The administration thought the Iranian missile launched last month was a medium-range Shahab missile (postmarked Israel-only). It seems to have taken that from a speech by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan last September.

The problem is, that’s not what Dehghan said, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Iranians have been phasing out the Shahab missile, and what he was referring to were long-range missiles such as the Khorramshahr, which he said would be operational by March 2017, along with similar long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

The new missiles have a range of 2,500 to 5,000 miles and could easily reach all of Europe. Add a range of another 500 miles and that includes Boston. At the same time that we gave Iran the green light for its nuclear program, we gave it the means to attack us.

Lest any doubt remain, we watered down a UN Security Council resolution that might have gotten in the way.

Resolution 1929 banned Iran from conducting any activity concerning missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but this was amended by Security Council Resolution 2231 which substituted: “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

In other words, we gave the Iranians the wiggle room to say that, even if their missiles are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, that doesn’t matter because they weren’t designed with that in mind.

So who would be the recipient of the Iranians missiles? Israel, obviously. And also the United Kingdom and America. MEMRI reports that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps theoretician Hassan Abbasi has announced that Iran has “a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English.”

We told the Iranians we don’t care all that much about the ­Israelis, just leave us out of it. Except that it didn’t quite work out that way for Obama and Corker, as it didn’t work out for Neville Chamberlain when he called Czechoslovakia a “far-away country.” The Iran deal was supposed to bring peace to the region, but instead it handed Trump the equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis.

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn called the Iranian missile test a violation of the Security Council resolution. That’s an acknowledgment that the` new administration intends to be bound by Security Council resolutions, which is interesting in itself. But Flynn also needs to go public with the details of the Iran deal, including all the secret side agreements.

If we agreed to give Iran the means to attack Israel with a medium-range missile, we need to fess up. And if Iran has violated the agreement by testing longer-range missiles, our announced sanctions are a sadly inadequate response.

The Iran mess underscores the need for a revolution in American strategic thinking, one that recognizes the importance of an effort to recast our relationship with Russia and to rethink the purpose of the NATO alliance.

F.H. Buckley teaches at Scalia Law School. His most recent book is “The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America.”

http://nypost.com/2017/02/06/hey-team-trump-tell-america-whats-in-the-iran-deal/

 

Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

 

Judge Napolitano’s take on the travel ban legal battle

Is the president within his bounds with the travel ban?

How both sides see the legal challenge on Trump’s travel ban

Why I Left the Left

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The Pronk Pops Show 829, February 1, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos — Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution — Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos — Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Attack Saudi Missile Frigate — Killing Two Crewmen — Videos

Posted on February 1, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, China, Coal, Coal, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Libya, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Solar, Spying, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos —

Image result for president trump dover air force baseImage result for Chief Special Warfare Operator William Nawar Al Awlaki This was the president's first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved 'boots on the ground' at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKES UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO HONOR SLAIN NAVY SEAL

President Trump departs for Dover Air Force Base

FOX NEWS ALERT , SOON: President Trump at dover air force base to honor fallen seal killed in yemen

News Wrap: Trump makes surprise visit to honor Navy SEAL killed in Yemen

Navy SEAL Team 6 carries out daring raid in Yemen

Trump Releases Statement About SEAL Team Six Warrior Killed in Yemen Raid

U.S. Special Forces launch Raid against Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Raid in Yemen results in first U.S. combat death under Trump administration

Trump Leaves D.C. to Honor Fallen U.S. Navy Seal

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — Assuming the somber duties of commander in chief, President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip Wednesday to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in a weekend raid in Yemen.

Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office less than two weeks ago. More than half a dozen militant suspects were also killed in the raid on an al-Qaida compound and three other U.S. service members were wounded.

More than a dozen civilians were also killed in the operation, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric and U.S. citizen who was targeted and killed by a drone strike in 2011.

Trump’s trip to Delaware’s Dover Air Base was shrouded in secrecy. The president and his daughter, Ivanka, departed the White House in the presidential helicopter with their destination unannounced. A small group of journalists traveled with Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival.

Marine One landed at Dover shortly before a C-17 believed to be carrying Owens’ remains touched down. The president met with Owens’ family during a two-hour visit to the base. The sailor’s family had requested that Trump’s visit and the return of Owens’ remains be private.

Former President Barack Obama lifted a ban on media coverage of the casualty returns, though families may still request privacy. A spokeswoman at Dover said about half of families choose to allow media coverage.

Owens joined the Navy in 1998 and was the recipient of two Bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other honors. In a statement following his death, the Navy Special Command called Owens a “devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband.”

His death underscores the human costs of the military campaigns Trump now oversees. Far fewer troops are serving in combat now than in the wars Trump’s predecessors led in Afghanistan and Iraq, but thousands of Americans remain in hotspots around the world.

In Afghanistan, where America’s longest war continues, about 8,400 U.S. troops are training and advising local forces. More than U.S. 5,100 troops in Iraq and about 500 in Syria are involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group. The U.S. also engages in counterterrorism operations – mainly drone strikes – in Yemen, where Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war.

Sunday’s pre-dawn raid – which a defense official said was planned by the Obama administration but authorized by Trump – could signal a new escalation against extremist groups in Yemen.

As a candidate, Trump said he would be willing to “take out” the families of terrorists in order to root out extremism. On Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said no Americans “will ever be targeted” in raids against terror suspects.

The president’s trip to Dover comes as he begins weighing whether to reshape U.S. military activities around the world. As a candidate, he vowed to be tougher on the Islamic State and at one point said he would be willing to send up to 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the extremist group in Iraq and Syria. Last week, Trump gave the Pentagon and other agencies 30 days to submit a plan for defeating the Islamic State.

Trump has said little about his approach to Afghanistan. Obama had pledged to end the war there on his watch, but continuing security concerns prompted him to extend the U.S. military campaign, handing the war off to a third American president.

Trump, who never served in the armed forces and received student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War, had an uneven relationship with the military community during the presidential campaign.

About 60 percent of voters who served in the military supported Trump in the presidential election, compared with 34 percent who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But Trump was also criticized by military groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, for his feud with the Khan family, whose Muslim-American son was killed while serving in Iraq.

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRUMP_NAVY_SEAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-02-01-15-54-04

President Trump honors first military casualty of his presidency by meeting fallen SEAL’s coffin – and takes Ivanka with him

  • The body of fallen SEAL Team 6 member Officer William Owens arrived Tuesday afternoon at Dover Air Force Base
  • President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka flew to Delaware to meet him
  • Officials said that in the President’s first strike ‘almost everything went wrong’
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got emotional on Wednesday as he talked about the raid, which he admitted was not a ‘100% successs’ 
  • Nawar al-Awlaki, 8, was among several non-combatants killed in Trump’s first raid; she was the daughter of the American al Qaeda leader killed in a 2011 raid  

Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens, a 36-year-old from Illinois, was killed in Sunday's botched raid

Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens, a 36-year-old from Illinois, was killed in Sunday’s botched raid

President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president.

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington in Marine One, to receive the body of Chief Special Warfare Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens.

They touched down at Dover AFB at 3:51 pm.

The president and first daughter were accompanied by Delaware Sen. Chris Coons at the private return ceremony that Owens’ family also attended.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and their three children. They are believed to have arrived after the president and his daughtr in a Air Force C-17 transport.

Owens was killed in a pre-dawn raid, in which officials have said ‘almost everything went wrong,’ on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula last Sunday.

It was Trump’s first clandestine strike, and it was not one that had previously been ordered by former President Barack Obama.

Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was also among the non-combats killed in the raid, which resulted in the death of several Yemeni women.

Owens was a 36-year-old from Illinois.

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President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president

President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington, to receive the body of Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens

Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington, to receive the body of Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens

Today's journey is Ivanka's first trip on Marine One

Today’s journey is Ivanka’s first trip on Marine One

The pair exited the Oval Office to make the journey

The pair exited the Oval Office to make the journey

President Trump salutes a marine as he boards Marine One Wednesday afternoon from the South Lawn of the White House

President Trump salutes a marine as he boards Marine One Wednesday afternoon from the South Lawn of the White House

Marine One flew with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force 

Marine One flew with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force

Ivanka Trump leaves her home in Washington D.C. on Wednesday lunchtime

Ivanka Trump leaves her home in Washington D.C. on Wednesday lunchtime

She met her father at the White House and they rode together on Marine One to Dover

She met her father at the White House and they rode together on Marine One to Dover

SEAL Team 6 is the US Navy’s special forces team that gained worldwide fame for killing Osama bin Laden.

Dover AFB is traditionally the arrival point for service members killed in action.

Obama’s first trip to Dover was on Oct. 29, 2009, nine months into his administration.

He received 18 American soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. He reflected several hours later, in Oval Office remarks on the toll of war. ‘It is something that I think about each and every day,’ he stated.

The U.S. president was back at Dover again two years later, in 2011, to receive the remains of 30 soldiers who died in Extortion 17, a helicopter mission in Afghanistan that resulted in the most American military casualties in a single day since the beginning of the war on terror.

The Sunday raid that resulted in the death of Owens involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an AQAP near al Bayda in south central Yemen, officials confirmed in a statement to NBC news.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was visibly affected by the tragedy as he addressed it in his daily briefing with reporters before Trump’s trip to Dover.

The president’s spokesman admitted that the raid was not a ‘100 percent success.’

‘I think it’s hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life,’ Spicer said.

The White House official said Owens deployed 12 times ‘because he loved his country and he believed in the mission.’

Spicer said that 14 AQAP members were killed and U.S. forces gained ‘an unbelievable amount of intelligence’ in the raid ‘that will prevent potential deaths or attacks on American soil.’

‘You never want to call something a success 100 percent when someone is hurt or killed and that was the case here. But I think when you recognize that an individual like this loved this country so much and deployed over and over again because he knew the mission that he was conducting was so important to our protection, our freedom, our safety.’  

Ivanka has been filling in for some traditionally first lady roles with Melania in New York

Ivanka has been filling in for some traditionally first lady roles with Melania in New York

The First Lady is in New York until at least June, leaving Ivanka to fill the role

The First Lady is in New York until at least June, leaving Ivanka to fill the role

Marine One with US President Donald Trump and Ivanka on board, just before it lands at Dover Air Force Base

Marine One with US President Donald Trump and Ivanka on board, just before it lands at Dover Air Force Base

Ivanka's husband, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence watched from the Rose Garden as they left

Ivanka’s husband, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence watched from the Rose Garden as they left

An eight-year-old, Nora, killed in the raid was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured), an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago

An eight-year-old, Nora, killed in the raid was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured), an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago

Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter killed in first Trump sanctioned raid

Owens’ wife, Karen, stressed in her conversation with the president that while it is ‘an unbelievably sad and emotional time for her and her family that he loved doing this.’

‘And so again, I don’t think you ever call anything 100 percent success, but what he did for this nation and what we got out of that mission, I think, I truly believe and I know the president believes is going to save American lives.’

The eight-year-old who was killed in the raid, Nora, was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a U.S. strike Obama ordered five years ago.

Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone on September 30, 2011 after the Justice Department approved the strike in a memorandum that was not disclosed until 2014.

The memo said: ‘We do not believe that al-Awlaki’s US citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action.’

United States intelligence officiers believed that al-Awaki was a potential successor to Osama Bin Laden.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said of Owens in a statement, ‘Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.’

This was the president's first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved 'boots on the ground' at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

This was the president’s first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

Nora’s grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, is Yemen’s former agriculture minister. He told NBC news, ‘My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in the neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed.’

He said she died two hours after being shot.

Mr. al-Awlaki said hte SEALS ‘entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children’s teacher.’

Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nora, was among the non-combatants killed in the raid, which also resulted in the death of several Yemeni women

Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nora, was among the non-combatants killed in the raid, which also resulted in the death of several Yemeni women

The girl’s mother survived, NBC says, and sustained a minor wound. Al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, however, was killed in the raid.

An official told NBC that the raid was directed from a U.S. base in Djibouti. Officially, it was to search for ‘information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terrorist plots’.

After American service members landed on the ground, a two-hour gun battle ensued. Some al Qaeda fighters were women, and they were among the casualties, reported the San Diego Union Tribune.

Al Qaeda has claimed that 30 civilians have died, and the Tribune reported that four other Americans were wounded in the raid and complications in the aircraft landing.

National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods.

Trump said in December of 2015 that he wouldn’t fight a ‘politically correct war’ against ISIS. In a interivew on Fox & Friends, Trump said, ‘The other thing with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.

‘They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But when they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,’ he said.

The Geneva Conventions, of which the United States is a signatory, bars the killing of civillians.

Trump, then a GOP candidate for president, reversed his position in March, saying in a statement, ‘I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies.

‘I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.’

After Nora al-Awaki was killed in Sunday’s raid, the White House went a step further on Tuesday and Spicer unoquicivocally stated: ‘No American citizen will ever be targeted.’

One of Spicer’s deputies walked back her boss’ claim later that day. She said in a statement that the Trump administration would abide by the legal standard adopted by the Obama administration.

‘U.S. policy regarding the possible targeting of American citizens has not changed,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that was reported on by Bloomberg.

Pictured: The rubble of a building destroyed by a US drone air strike that targeted suspected al Qaeda militants. The strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar and brother of Nora. National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods

Pictured: The rubble of a building destroyed by a US drone air strike that targeted suspected al Qaeda militants. The strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar and brother of Nora. National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4181764/Trump-receives-SEAL-Team-6-member-killed-Yemen-raid.html#ixzz4XTutqj5c

One US service member killed, 3 injured in raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen

Published on Jan 29, 2017

DEVELOPING: One U.S. service member was killed and three wounded in a raid against a group of senior Al Qaeda leaders in central Yemen, officials said.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement Sunday that another service member was injured in a “hard landing” in a nearby location.

The aircraft used in the landing unable to fly afterward and “was then intentionally destroyed in place.”

A total of 14 fighters from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the assault, and U.S. service members captured “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” according to the military.

Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in central Bayda province killed three senior Al Qaeda leaders.

The surprise dawn attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, Yemeni officials said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of Al Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of Al Qaeda.

Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged Al Qaeda operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.

The tribal officials said the Americans were looking for Al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.

The war began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping government forces battle the rebels for nearly two years.

An 8-year-old American girl was killed during the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen

The 8-year-old daughter of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was among roughly 30 civilians who were killed during a raid carried out by US commandos Sunday in Yemen. About 14 Al Qaeda militants were killed during the operation, according to the Pentagon.

Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was shot during the raid carried out by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 against an Al Qaeda camp,according to NBC News.

“She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours,” her grandfather Nasser al-Awlaki told Reuters. “Why kill children? This is the new administration. It’s very sad — a big crime.”

SEAL Chief Petty Officer William (Ryan) Owens was also killed during the hourlong gun battle, and three other American commandos were injured. An MV-22 helicopter that crash-landed had to be destroyed before the SEALs left.

“Almost everything went wrong,” a senior US military official told NBC News of the operation, which was the first clandestine strike approved by President Donald Trump.

Born in New Mexico, Anwar al-Awlaki spoke at the Capitol and the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks but eventually left the US in 2002. The process of his radicalization accelerated after he was imprisoned in Yemen — with US encouragement — and he became a top recruiter and mentor to several Al Qaeda operatives, including Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people during the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down an American airliner in 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.

Awlaki was killed in a CIA Predator drone strike in 2011, the first time an American citizen was targeted and killed in such a way. Another US citizen, Samir Khan, who published the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, was also killed in the strike.

About two weeks later, a US drone strike killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. US officials denied he was their target.

Anwar al-Awlaki’s fiery online video sermons have continued to inspire militants in the years since his death.

His daughter’s death will likely be used in militant propaganda efforts, especially since she is the second of Anwar al-Awlaki’s children killed by the US. It was not immediately clear where she was born, but having an American father would have given her automatic dual citizenship in the US and the country of her birth.

“The perception will be that it’s not enough to kill al-Awlaki — that the US had to kill the entire family,” Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security, told NBC.

According to Middle East Monitor, the US is already being accused on social media of “assassinating children.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/awlaki-killed-seal-team-6-raid-yemen-2017-1

US soldier killed in Yemen

US servicemember killed in raid on al Qaeda in Yemen

US service member killed in raid 01:13

(CNN)A US Navy Seal died of wounds suffered during a raid in Yemen against al Qaeda — the first American combat death under President Donald Trump, US Central Command said Sunday.

Six other servicemembers also were wounded, all non-life threatening.
On Monday, the Pentagon identified the service member who was killed as Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday callled Owens’ family, the White House said.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described the call as a “very somber and lengthy conversation” with Owens’ wife, father and children.
“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
“In a successful raid against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) headquarters, brave US forces were instrumental in killing an estimated 14 AQAP members and capturing important intelligence that will assist the US in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world,” Trump said in a statement Sunday.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” he added. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.”
A US military official said the raid was not directed against specific individuals, but aimed at “site exploitation,” a military term to describe intelligence-gathering actions.
Sources in Yemen told CNN that three senior al Qaeda leaders were among those killed. That was later confirmed by a US official.

Donald Trump's Middle East challenges

Donald Trump’s Middle East challenges 03:06
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite servicemembers,” Commander of US Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel said. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”

Ongoing civil war

Central Command said an aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing, resulting in three US troops being injured. That aircraft, which a US defense official said was a V-22 Osprey, was unable to fly after the landing and was then intentionally destroyed in place.
The US operation resulted in an estimated total of 14 members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) being killed and the capture of information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.
A US defense official said the operation was authorized by Trump. The military said there were no civilian casualties as a result of the raid.
American military raids in Yemen are rare. The US did conduct several drone strikes on AQAP targets there last week.

The starving victims of Yemen's civil war

The starving victims of Yemen’s civil war 02:18
Yemeni officials told CNN that the raid took place in the Gaifa region in Yemen’s northern Baitha province.
US military officials believe AQAP is exploiting the ongoing civil war in Yemen to solidify its presence there.
Yemen is currently beset by a conflict between Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the north of the country, and the internationally recognized government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia is leading a military intervention against the Houthis in support of the government.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/us-servicemember-killed-in-raid-on-al-qaeda-in-yemen/

Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution —  Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos

Image result for iran missile launch January 31, 2017

Image result for iran missile launch January 31, 2017

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: ‘As of Today, We Are Officially Putting Iran on Notice’

UN To Hold Emergency Meeting Over Iran’s Missile Tests

Netanyahu Iran missile test must not go unanswered

Alleged missile test strains Iran nuclear deal

Iran tests medium-range ballistic missile

Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure 

Published on Jan 31, 2017

According to two U.S. defense officials, Iran has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile, the first launch of its kind since President Donald Trump took office.
According to the officials who spoke to NBC News on Monday, the United States deemed the launch to be a failure, after the missile flew more than 500 miles before crashing. The official spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the press.
The test-fire poses a challenge for Trump’s fledgling administration. During the campaign, he took several stances on the Iran nuclear deal signed by Barack Obama and other world powers in 2015. He vowed to strictly police the agreement or renegotiate it entirely.

Trump White House Puts Iran ‘On Notice’ After Missile Launch

Security adviser condemns Iran, but doesn’t specify action

U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—The White House on Wednesday sharply condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missile test launch and accused Tehran of threatening the U.S. allies in the region, and warned of unspecified consequences.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” national security adviser Michael Flynn told reporters during a daily press briefing.

Mr. Flynn said the latest missile test was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. He said similar actions by Iran in the past six months weren’t met with a sufficiently stern U.S. response and that President Donald Trump’s administration would take a tougher approach to blunt Tehran’s “destabilizing influence.”

“Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Mr. Flynn said.

White House officials declined to elaborate on what Mr. Flynn meant by his warning to Iran, but Mr. Trump has a number of options, including new sanctions. There is bipartisan support in Congress for additional sanctions, some of which were opposed by former President Barack Obama because he said they would violate the 2015 international deal with Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr. Flynn’s declaration came as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads to Asia for his first overseas trip and on the day Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has been confirmed.

The test launch was the first Iran has conducted since Mr. Trump took office almost two weeks ago, and the White House’s rhetoric suggested the two countries are headed for an early confrontation.

Mr. Trump staked out an antagonistic stance toward Tehran during the presidential campaign, and Iran was among seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens he barred from the U.S. in an executive order Friday, calling it a needed move to keep terrorists from entering the country.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-white-house-puts-iran-on-notice-after-missile-launch-1485979767

Khamenei ally says useless for U.S. to threaten Iran over missile test: Fars

By Parisa Hafezi
Reuters February 2, 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) – A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday Iran will not yield to “useless” U.S. threats from “an inexperienced person” over its ballistic missile program.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, said on Wednesday the United States was putting Iran on notice over its “destabilizing activity” after it test-fired a ballistic missile.

Trump echoed that language on Thursday, saying in a tweet “Iran has been formally put on notice” after his administration said it was reviewing how to respond to the launch that Iran said was solely for defensive purposes.

Iran said on Wednesday it had tested the new ballistic missile but said it did not breach a nuclear deal reached with six major powers in 2015 or a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord.

“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran … the American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless,” Ali Akbar Velayati said, without identifying any U.S. official specifically in his comments.

“Iran does not need permission from any country to defend itself,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. Khamenei is the country’s most powerful figure.

A U.S. official said Iran had test-launched the medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday and it exploded after traveling 630 miles (1,010 km). Iran said it had been a successful launch.

A series of tests conducted by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2016 caused international concern, with some powers saying any launch of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate U.N. Security Council resolution 2231.

NUCLEAR DEAL

The IRGC maintains an arsenal of dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles – the largest in the Middle East, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Under the nuclear agreement, most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago. But Iran is still subject to an U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the deal.

Trump has frequently criticized the Iran nuclear deal, which restricts Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of the sanctions, calling the agreement weak and ineffective. He tweeted on Thursday that Iran “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them”.

Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Thursday: “The missile test on Sunday was successful … the test was not a violation of a nuclear deal with world powers or any U.N. resolution.”

German newspaper Die Welt, citing unspecified intelligence sources, reported on Thursday that Iran had tested a home-made cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Tasnim news agency two years ago published pictures of the Sumar missile, reporting that it was successfully test-fired.

While Iran says its missile program is aimed at displaying the country’s “deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat”, some IRGC commanders have said that Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles were designed to be able to hit Israel.

Iran refuses to recognize Israel.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/top-khamenei-ally-says-useless-u-threaten-iran-112949295.html

Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Destroy Saudi Missile Frigate — Videos

Image result for map of yemen who controls area

Image result for saudi frigate damages y yemen rebels

Image result for saudi frigate damages y yemen rebels

Houthis Destroy Saudi Navy War Ship

Saudi Frigate Attacked by Houthi Rebels

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YEMEN UPDATE 30 01 2017 RISKING FAMINE!

When Houthis attack | January 2017 | Yemen – Saudi Arabia

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship

Suicide bomb attack may have been meant for American warship

The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.

The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea and was carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Two Saudi sailors were killed and three were wounded. At first the ship was thought to have been struck by a missile.

US OFFICIALS: IRAN CONDUCTS BALLISTIC MISSILE TEST

But based on new analysis of a video showing the attack, American intelligence officials now believe this was, in fact, a suicide bomber whose small boat rammed the side of the Saudi vessel.

In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, “Allahu akbar [God is great], death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.”

ISLAMIC BODY CALLS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS A ‘GRAVE CONCERN’

U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack, near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, occurred in the same area where U.S. Navy warships came under missile attack in October.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles — the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.

USS Nitze, an American destroyer, retaliated soon after, launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen.

This latest incident came a day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Saudi King to discuss setting up safe zones for refugees in Syria and Yemen. Senior U.S. defense officials who spoke with Fox News say they’re concerned by this latest incident, but are confident American warships can defend themselves.

The United States has supported a Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/01/31/exclusive-pentagon-believes-attack-on-saudi-frigate-meant-for-us-warship.html

Yemen conflict: Rebels in deadly attack on Saudi warship

  • 31 January 2017
Media captionRebel-controlled al-Masira TV broadcast what it said was footage of the attack on the Saudi warship

The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels says two crew members have been killed in an attack on one of its warships in the Red Sea.

A coalition statement said three Houthi “suicide boats” had approached a Saudi frigate west of Hudaydah on Monday.

One of the boats collided with the rear of the frigate and exploded, causing a fire, the statement added.

However, a rebel-controlled news agency cited a source as saying the warship had been hit by a guided missile.

In October, the Houthis were accused of firing missiles at a US warship and a civilian logistics ship chartered by the military of the United Arab Emirates.

The US-backed coalition has fought the rebels since March 2015, when they forced Yemen’s internationally recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi into exile.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and 40,000 wounded since then, according to the UN.

Grey line
Grey line

Warships have been deployed in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as part of what the coalition says is an operation to stop the Houthis receiving weapons from Iran, which backs the rebels but denies providing military support.

“A Saudi frigate came under a terrorist attack by three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias while on patrol west of the port of Hudaydah,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition statement as saying.

Map of Yemen

“The Saudi ship dealt with the boats as necessary. However, one of the boats collided with the rear of the vessel, resulting in the explosion of the boat and a fire at the rear of the ship. The crew extinguished the fire,” it added.

“Two members of the ship crew fell as martyrs and three others were injured.”

The Houthi-controlled Saba news agency cited a military source as confirming a warship had been targeted off western Yemen on Monday. But the source said the vessel had been hit by a guided missile as it tried to approach the coast.

Newly-recruited Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride a military vehicle in Sanaa on 3 January 2017Image 

Image captionThe Houthi rebel movement said its fighters had fired a guided missile at the warship

Yemeni pro-government forces outside the Red Sea port of Mocha on 20 January 2017
Image captionPro-government forces are also attempting to advance up Yemen’s Red Sea coast

“The targeting of this warship comes within the framework of the legal right of Yemen to defend the homeland and its sovereignty,” the source added.

Coalition and pro-government forces are also currently attempting to advance up the west coast in an attempt to drive the rebels out of Hudaydah and other ports.

The coalition warned that the Houthis’ use of Hudaydah “as a launching pad for terrorist operations is a serious development that would affect the international navigation and the flow of humanitarian and medical assistance into the port”.

The coalition’s naval blockade and the wider conflict have caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, leaving more than seven million people severely food insecure.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38808345

Houthis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Ansar Allah.
Houthis
الحوثيون
Participant in Houthi insurgency in Yemen, the Yemeni Revolution, and the Yemeni Civil War
Houthis emblem.svg

Houthi flag reading God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam. (See here for further explanation)
Active 1994–present
(armed since 2004)
Ideology Zaydi Revivalism[1]
Anti-imperialism[2][3][4]
Anti-Zionism[4]
Antisemitism[5] (officially rejected)[6]
Groups Houthis, allied Zaidi tribes in Sa’dah
Leaders
Headquarters Sa’dah, Yemen
Area of operations
Strength 29,000 (2011)[7][8]
Allies State allies

Non-state allies

[14]

Opponents State opponents

Non-state opponents

Battles and wars Houthi insurgency in Yemen

Yemeni Civil War

The Houthis (Arabic: الحوثيون‎‎ al-Ḥūthiyyūn IPA: [ħuːθijuːn]), officially called Ansar Allah (anṣār allāh أنصار الله “Supporters of God”), is a Zaidi Shia-led religious-political movement that emerged from Sa’dah, northern Yemen in the 1990s and has fought against the government of the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh on and off since 2004. In late 2014, Houthis fixed their relationship with the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, Houthis took control of the capital and much of the north.[22]

Like many of Iranian-backed military militia such as Hezbollah, the Houthi movement attracts its Zaidi-Shia followers in Yemen by promoting regional political-religious issues in its media, including the overarching US-Israeli conspiracy and Arab “collusion”.[23][24] In 2003, the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”, became the group’s trademark.[24] Beside, the movement claims that it has some local-political agenda such as ending the economic under-development, political marginalization in Yemen, as well as seeking autonomy in only the areas where they are predominant not all of Yemen.[25] Tension between the Houthis and the central government steadily grew in the 1990s, with war breaking out in 2004 with the group’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi,[26] leading a rebellion against then President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The group is now led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, brother of the first leader, who was reportedly killed by Saleh’s Yemeni army forces in 2004.[27][28]

The Houthis had some role in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, participating in the street protests and coordinating with other opposition groups. Houthis also had joined National Dialogue Conference in Yemen which is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. However, after they took over the government with the help from the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, they announced their rejection of the provisions of the November 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council deal, claiming that it did not fundamentally reform governance and describe it as “a conspiracy” against them. In addition, they have also some other claims such as that it will transform the country into a federation of six regions, arguing that “it divided Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and saw it as a blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions.[25]

In 2014–2015 Houthis took over the government in Sana’a with the help of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and announced the fall of the current government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.[29] Houthis have gained control of most of the north part of Yemen’s territory and are currently resisting the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen that claims seeking to restore the internationally-recognized Yemeni government[30] to the power. Houthis, Saleh forces, Yemen’s government, and the forces of Saudi Arabian-led coalition, have been attacked by the Islamic State militant group.[31][32]

Contents

 [show] 

History

Current territorial situation in Yemen. Houthi forces are shown in green.

The Houthis belong to the Shia tribesmen of North Yemen who are renowned among Yemeni tribes for their ruggedness, sharpshooting abilities, honour, and bravery in combat. This is while they are also disregarded as being ignorant or backward, by more metropolitan Yemenis, such as Sana’anis or Adenites. They have been known for being very moderate and are the closest to Sunni Islam of all the Shi’a sects.[33]

According to Ahmed Addaghashi, a professor at Sanaa University, the Houthis began as a moderate theological movement that preached tolerance and held a broad-minded view of Yemeni people.[34] Their first organization, “the Believing Youth” (BY), was founded in 1992 in Saada Governorate[33]:1008 by either Mohammed al-Houthi,[35]:98 or his brother Hussein al-Houthi.[36]

The Believing Youth established school clubs and summer camps[35]:98 in order to “promote a Zaidi revival” in Saada.[36] By 1994–1995, 15–20,000 students had attended BY summer camps. The religious material included lectures by Mohammed Hussein Fadhlallah (a Lebanese Shiite scholar) and Hassan Nasrallah (Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Party) “[35]:99[37]

The formation of the Houthi organisations have been described by Adam Baron of the European Council on Foreign Relations as a reaction to foreign intervention: shoring up Zaidi support against the perceived threat of Saudi-influenced ideologies in Yemen and a general condemnation of the former Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States, which, along with complaints regarding the government’s corruption and the marginalisation of much of the Houthis’ home areas in Saada constituted the group’s key grievances.[38]

Although Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004, had no official relation with Believing Youth, according to Zaid, he contributed to the radicalisation of some Zaydis after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. BY-affiliated youth adopted anti-American and anti-Jewish slogans which they chanted in the Saleh Mosque in Sana’a after Friday prayers. According to Zaid, the followers of Houthi’s insistence on chanting the slogans attracted the authorities’ attention, further increasing government worries over the extent of the al-Houthi movement’s influence. “The security authorities thought that if today the Houthis chanted `Death to America’, tomorrow they could be chanting `Death to the president [of Yemen]”. 800 BY supporters were arrested in Sana’a in 2004. President Ali Abdullah Saleh then invited Hussein al-Houthi to a meeting in Sana’a, but Hussein declined. On 18 June 2004 Saleh sent government forces to arrest Hussein.[39] Hussein responded by launching an insurgency against the government but was killed on 10 September 2004.[40] The insurgency continued intermittently until a ceasefire agreement was reached in 2010.[34]

The Houthis participated in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, as well as the ensuing National Dialogue Conference (NDC).[41] However, they rejected the provisions of the November 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council deal on the ground that “it divide[d] Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and also in response to assassination of their representative at NDC.[42][43]

As the revolution went on, Houthis gained control of greater territory. By 9 November 2011, Houthis were said to be in control of two Yemeni governorates (Saada and Al Jawf) and close to taking over their third governorate (Hajjah),[44] which would enable them to launch a direct assault on Yemeni capital Sana’a.[45] In May 2012, it was reported that the Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates; they had also gained access to the Red Sea and started erecting barricades north of the capital Sana’a in preparation for more conflict.[46]

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has openly allied with Houthis

By 21 September 2014, Houthis were said to control parts of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, including government buildings and a radio station.[47]While control of the capital expanded to the rest of Sana’a, as well as other towns such as Rada’, control was strongly challenged by Al-Qaeda. It was believed by the Gulf States that the Houthis had accepted aid from Iran while Saudi Arabia was aiding their Yemeni rivals.[48]

On 20 January 2015, Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace in the capital. President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was in the presidential palace during the takeover but was not harmed.[49] The movement officially took control of the Yemeni government on 6 February, dissolving parliament and declaring its Revolutionary Committee to be the acting authority in Yemen.[29] On 20 March 2015, The al-Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques came under suicide attack during midday prayers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant quickly claimed responsibility. The blasts killed 142 Houthi worshippers and wounded more than 351, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Yemen’s history.[50]

In a televised speech on 22 March, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorists attacks. He blamed regional Arab states for financing terrorist groups operating inside Yemen.[51] On 27 March 2015, in response to perceived Houthi threats to Sunni factions in the region, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a gulf coalition airstrike in Yemen.[52] The military coalition includes the United States which is helping with the planning of air strikes, as well as logistical and intelligence support.[53]

According to a 2015 September report by Esquire magazine, the Houthis, once the outliers, are now one of the most stable and organised social and political movements in Yemen. The power vacuum created by Yemen’s uncertain transitional period has drawn more supporters to the Houthis. Many of the formerly powerful parties, now disorganised with an unclear vision, have fallen out of favour with the public, making the Houthis — under their newly branded Ansar Allah name — all the more attractive.[4]

Membership and support

Ansar Allah fighters in Yemen, August 2009.

There is a difference between the al-Houthi family, which has about 20 members[35]:102 and the Houthi movement, which took the name “Houthi” after the death of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in 2004.[citation needed]

The Houthis avoid assuming a singular tribal identity. Instead, the group strategically draws support from tribes of the northern Bakil federation, rival to the Hashid federation which had been a traditional ally of the ousted central government. The Houthis’ lack of centralised command structure allows them to generate immense support, as Yemenis from diverse backgrounds have joined their cause.[54]

Membership of the group had between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters as of 2005[55] and between 2,000 and 10,000 fighters as of 2009.[56] In 2010, the Yemen Post claimed that they had over 100,000 fighters.[57] According to Houthi expert Ahmed Al-Bahri the Houthis had a total of 100,000-120,000 followers, including both armed fighters and unarmed loyalists.[58]

As of 2015, the group is reported to have managed to pick up swaths of new supporters outside their traditional demographics.[38] [59] On 5 February 2016, Iranian TV named PressTV reported that Men of Hamdan, one of Yemen’s most powerful tribes, rallied to the north of the capital, Sana’a, vowing to provide support in the form of potential mobilisation for the country’s fighters resisting the current elected Yemeni government. In a gathering held in the capital, hundreds of tribesmen from the southern parts pledged union against what they described as a U.S.-Israeli initiative targeting the country, which was being implemented by Saudi Arabia.[60]

Ideology

Houthis belong to the Zaidi branch of Islam, also known as Fivers, a sect of Islam almost exclusively present in Yemen.[61]

Zaydis make up about 45 percent of the population, Sunnis make up 53 percent, and there are also tiny minorities of Muslims who are members of other Shia sects — the Ismaili and Twelver communities. Al-Houthi Zaydis are estimated to make up about 30 percent of the population, according to Hassan Zaid, secretary-general of the al-Haq opposition party. The Zaydis ruled Yemen for 1,000 years up until 1962. During this time they ferociously defended their independence and fought off foreign powers (Egypt, the Ottomans) who controlled lower Yemen and tried to extend their rule to the north.[39]

Similar to Shia Muslims in matters of religious law and rulings, the Houthi belief in the concept of an Imamate as being essential to their religion makes them distinct from Sunnis.[62] As of 2014 it has been observed that “The Houthi group’s approach is in many ways similar to that of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Similarly religiously based and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran”.[63]

As a consequence, the Houthis have regularly been accused, even by many fellow Zaidis, of secretly being converts or followers of the Twelver sect, which is the official religion of their ally and backer Iran.[61][64][65][66]

Ethnoreligious groups in 2002. ZaidiShia followers make up over 42% of Muslims in Yemen.[67]

The Houthis have asserted that their actions are to fight against the expansion of Salafism in Yemen,[64] and for the defence of their community from discrimination, whereas the Yemeni government has in turn accused the insurgents of intending to overthrow the regime out of a desire to institute Zaidi religious law,[68] destabilising the government and stirring anti-American sentiment.[69][70] The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having ties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government.[71] In turn, the Houthis have countered with allegations that the Yemeni government is being backed by al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia,[72][73][74] The discord has led some publishers to fear that further confrontations may lead to an all-out Sunni-Shiite war.[75]

Flag and slogan

The group’s flag reads as following: “God Is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam“.[76] This motto is partially modelled on the motto of revolutionary Iran, which reads “Death to U.S. and death to Israel”.[77]

Some Houthi supporters stress that their ire for the U.S. and Israel is directed toward the governments of America and Israel. Ali al-Bukhayti, the spokesperson and official media face of the Houthis, tried to reject the literal interpretation of the slogan by stating that in one of his interview “We do not really want death to anyone. The slogan is simply against the interference of those governments [i.e. U.S. and Israel]”.[78] However, in the Arabic Houthi-affiliated TV and radio stations they use religious connotations associated with jihad against Israel and the US. They also call Saudi Arabia a U.S. puppet state.[24]

Charges of harassment against Jews

The Houthis have been accused of expelling or restricting some members of the ancient and impoverished rural Jews of Yemen. There have been also reports about supporters of the Houthis bullying or attacking the members of the Yemeni Jewish community.[79][6] Houthi officials, however, have denied any involvement in the harassment, asserting that under Houthi control Jews in Yemen would be able to live and operate freely as any other Yemeni citizen. “Our problems are with Zionism and the occupation of Palestine, but Jews here have nothing to fear,” said Fadl Abu Taleb, a spokesman for the Houthis. But despite insistence by Houthi leaders that the movement is not sectarian, a Yemeni Jewish rabbi has reportedly said that many Jews remain terrified by the movement’s slogan.[6] As a result, Yemeni Jews reportedly retain a negative sentiment towards the Houthis, who committed persecutions against them.[5] According to Ayoub Kara, Houthi militants had given an ultimatum telling Jews to “convert to Islam or leave Yemen”.[80]

Leaders

Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi

Motives and objectives

When armed conflict for the first time erupted back in 2004 between the Yemeni government and Houthis, the then-Yemeni President accused Houthis and other Islamic opposition parties of trying to overthrow the government and the republican system. However Houthi leaders for their part rejected the accusation by saying that they had never rejected the president or the republican system but were only defending themselves against government attacks on their community.[84] Zaidi Shi’ites compose one-third of the population of Yemen and Houthis have often voiced the grievances of the Zaidi population.[9]

The group has also exploited the popular discontent over corruption and reduction of government subsidies.[9] According to a February 2015 Newsweek report, Houthis are fighting “for things that all Yemenis crave: government accountability, the end to corruption, regular utilities, fair fuel prices, job opportunities for ordinary Yemenis and the end of Western influence”.[85]

Hassan al-Homran, a former spokesperson for Ansar Allah, has said that “Ansar Allah supports the establishment of a civil state in Yemen. We want to build a striving modern democracy. Our goals are to fulfil our people’s democratic aspirations in keeping with the Arab Spring movement.”[86] In an interview with Yemen Times, Hussein al-Bukhari, a Houthi insider, said that Houthis’ preferable political system is a republic with elections where women can also hold political positions, and that they do not seek to form a cleric-led government after the model of Islamic Republic of Iran for “we cannot apply this system in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi (Sunni) doctrine are bigger in number than the Zaydis.”[87]

Ali Akbar Velayati, International Affairs Advisor to Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, stated in October 2014 that “We are hopeful that Ansar-Allah has the same role in Yemen as Hezbollah has in eradicating the terrorists in Lebanon”.[88]

Activism and tactics

Political

During their campaigns against the ousted Hadi government, Houthis used civil disobedience. Following the Yemeni government’s decision in 13 July 2014 to increase fuel prices,[89] Houthi leaders succeeded in organising massive rallies in the capital Sana’a to protest the decision and to demand resignation of the incumbent government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for “state-corruption”.[90] These protests developed into the 2014-2015 phase of the insurgency. Similarly, following 2015 Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthis which claimed civilians lives, Yemenis responded to the Abdul-Malik al-Houthi‘s call and took to streets of the capital, Sana’a, in tens of thousands to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.[91][92]

Cultural

The Houthis have also held a number of mass gatherings since the revolution. On 24 January 2013, thousands gathered in Dahiyan, Sa’dah and Heziez, just outside Sana’a, to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth of Mohammed. A similar event took place on 13 January 2014, but this time at the main sports stadium in Sana’a. On this occasion, men and women were completely segregated: men filled the open-air stadium and football field in the centre, guided by appointed Houthi safety officials wearing bright vests and matching hats; women poured into the adjacent indoor stadium, led inside by security women distinguishable only by their purple sashes and matching hats. The indoor stadium held at least five thousand women — ten times as many attendees as the 2013 gathering.[4]

Combat and military

In 2009, US Embassy sources have reported that Houthis used increasingly more sophisticated tactics and strategies in their conflict with the government as they gained more experience, and that they fought with religious fervor and courage.[93][94]

Armed strength

Situation in March 2012

Saudi and former Yemeni officials have claimed that the Houthis have received significant support from Iran in the form of weapons, money and training since 2004, while Houthi leadership denies having received weapons or financial support from Iran.[9][95] Also, Tehran denied the allegation of Houthis arm support by Iran.[96] A December 2009 cable between Sanaa and various intelligence agencies disseminated by WikiLeaks states that US State Dept. analysts believed the Houthis obtained weapons from the Yemeni black market and corrupt members of the Republican Guard.[93] On the edition of 8 April 2015 of PBS Newshour, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the US knew Iran was providing military support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, adding that Washington “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilised”.[97]

Despite being less in numbers and equipment than the Saudi-led coalition, Ansar Allah managed to inflict heavy losses and destroy dozens of invading vehicles in the city of Ma’rib on 14 September 2015.[98] In addition, Ansar Allah managed to capture a Saudi soldier, Ibrahim Araj Mohammad Hakami whose confession was broadcast on Ansar Allah news channel Al-Masirah TV.[99][100][101] Recently on late 2015, Houthis announced the local production of short range ballistic missile Qaher-1 on Al-Masirah TV.[102]

Allegations of Iran’s support

Phillip Smyth of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy told Business Insider that Iran views Shia groups in the Middle East as “integral elements to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).” Smyth confirmed to Business Insider the strong bond between Iran and the Houthi uprising working to overthrow the government in Yemen. According to Smyth, in many cases Houthi leaders go to Iran for ideological and religious education, and Iranian and Hezbollah leaders have been spotted on the ground advising the Houthi troops.These Iranian advisers are likely responsible for training the Houthis to use the type of sophisticated guided missiles fired at the US Navy.[103] For Iran, supporting the revolt in Yemen is “a good way to bleed the Saudis,” Iran’s regional and ideological rival. Essentially, Iran is backing the Houthis to fight against a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States fighting to maintain government control of Yemen.[104]

In 2013, photographs released by the Yemeni government show the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces seized a class of shoulderfired antiaircraft missiles not publicly known to have been out of state control.[105]

According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, Fars News Agency, which is the official news agency of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has admitted to arming Houthis with missiles and training. The agency quoted “a prominent analyst” Seyed Sadeq al-Sharafi as saying that militias “are developing their missile power to target Riyadh and Dubai in the future, after they increased their missile and military capabilities and expanded the range of their military operations against the enemies”[106]

In April 2016, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. Navy ship stopped a massive Iranian arms shipment dead in its tracks, seizing thousands of weapons, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers that likely were headed to Yemen.[107]

Also, the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in conflicts with them for 2 decades and currently allied with them, has accused Iran of supporting the Houthi many times. Saleh stated in a New York Times’ interview that “The real reason they received unofficial support from Iran was because they repeat same slogan that is raised by Iran death to America, death to Israel”. He also said “The Iranian media repeats statements of support for these Houthi elements. They are all trying to take revenge against the USA on Yemeni territories”.[23]

Allegations of human rights violations

Houthis have been accused of violations of international humanitarian law such as using child soldiers,[108][109][110] shelling civilian areas,[111] forced evacuations, executions and human shielding.[93][112] According to the Human Right Watch, Houthis have inclined up their recruitment of children in 2015. The UNICEF mentioned that children with the Houthis and other armed groups in Yemen comprise up to a third of all fighters in Yemen.[113] Human Rights Watch has further accused Houthi forces of using landmines in Yemen’s third-largest city of Taizz which has caused many civilian casualties and prevent the return of families displaced by the fighting.[114] HRW has also accused the Houthis of interfering with the work of Yemen’s human rights advocates and organizations.[115]

The Yemen Times reported that most children working for the Houthis are not combatants.[109]

An HRW researcher, quoted in 2009 US embassy report, has downplayed the repeated allegations by the former government of Yemen accusing the Houthis of using civilians as human shields, by saying that they did not have enough evidence to conclude that the Houthis have been intentionally using civilians as human shields.[93][94]

Governance

According to the 2009 US Embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks, Houthis have reportedly established courts and prisons in areas they control. They impose their own laws on local residents, demand protection money, and dispense rough justice by ordering executions. AP‘s reporter, Ahmad al-Haj argued that the Houthis were winning hearts and minds by providing security in areas long neglected by the Yemeni government (currently ousted) while limiting the arbitrary and abusive power of influential sheikhs. According to the Civic Democratic Foundation, Houthis help resolve conflicts between tribes and reduce the number of revenge killings in areas they control. The US ambassador believed that the reports that explain Houthi role as arbitrating local disputes were more likely than the sinister[unbalanced opinion] suggestions.[93][94]

Areas under administration

Map last updated 30 January 2015

The Houthis exert de facto authority over the bulk of North Yemen. North Yemen was united with South Yemen in 1990; the Yemen government has repeatedly suppressed separatist protests by force.[116] The Houthis’ direct administration includes the following territories:

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 819, January 18, 2017, Story 1: President Obama The Last Press Conference — Bankrupting America and Burdening Future Generations With Massive Debt — A Legacy of Lies and Failures — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 808: December 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 804: November 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 803: November 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 802: November 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 801: November 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 800: November 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 799: November 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 798: November 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 797: November 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 796: November 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 795: November 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 794: November 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 793: November 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 792: November 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 791: November 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 790: November 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 789: November 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 788: November 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 787: October 31, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 786: October 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 785: October 27, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 784: October 26, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 783: October 25, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 782: October 24, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 781: October 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 780: October 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 779: October 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 778: October 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 777: October 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 776: October 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 775: October 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 774: October 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 773: October 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 772: October 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 771: October 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

 

“The history of the failure of war can almost be summed up in two words: too late.
* Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy.
* Too late in realizing the mortal danger.
* Too late in preparedness.
* Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.

* Too late in standing with one’s friends.”
– General Douglas Macarthur

Great Speeches

General Douglas McArthur’s

Farewell Address to West Point

National Debt Clock————————————————————————————————————————–

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

 

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

Image result for branco cartoons on obama lies and failures

President Obama Final Press Conference Highlights

President Obama Holds his Final Press Conference

Hannity: Obama hiding the truth about his failed presidency

President Obama’s job performance

65 Outrageous Lies by President Obama

Obama Administration – 8 Years of Lies and Corruption – Just another puppet after all

Obama’s Failures / Explosive Video rocks You Tube (please share)

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off

MUST SEE VIDEO!!! Who is the REAL Barack Obama – The Liar Deceiver Puppet Satan

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes

Tom Drake — Full Interview

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

“You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying

Snowden – The 10 Biggest schoking Revelations

The Snowden Case What You’re Not Being Told

The Truth About Edward Snowden

Obama’s ties to Rashid Khalidi

FOX: Gibson (Obamas relationship with Khalidi)

Obama/Khalidi tape

Mark Levin: L.A. Times refuses to release the tape of Obama’s Khalidi party. What’s the reason?

LA TIMES suppresses Hides Video Linking Obama with Terrorist Khalidi Palestinian PLO

President Obama’s Final News Conference Video by The New York Times

The following is the full transcript of a news conference that President Obama held in Washington on Wednesday, as prepared by the Federal News Service.

For further updates and coverage, follow our live analysis.

OBAMA: Let me start off by saying that I was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today…

(LAUGHTER)

… for my last press conference

OBAMA: But Michelle, whose fashion sense is a little better than mine, tells me that’s not appropriate in January.

I covered a lot of the ground that I would want to cover in my farewell address last week, so I’m just going to say a couple of quick things before I start taking questions.

Continue reading the main story

First, we have been in touch with the Bush family today after hearing about President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush being admitted to the hospital this morning. They have not only dedicated their lives to this country.

OBAMA: They have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel for Michelle and me over the years. They are as fine a couple as we know, and so we want to send our prayers and our love to them. Really good people.

Second thing I want to do is to thank all of you. Some of you have been covering me for a long time. Folks like Christie (ph) and Lynn (ph). Some of you I’ve just gotten to know. We have traveled the world together. We did a few singles, a few doubles together. I’ve offered advice that I thought was pretty sound, like don’t do stupid stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

And even when you complained about my long answers, I just want you to know that the only reason they were long was because you asked six-part questions.

(LAUGHTER)

But I have enjoyed working with all of you. That does not, of course, mean that I’ve enjoyed every story that you have filed, but that’s the point of this relationship. You’re not supposed to be (inaudible) fans, you’re supposed to be skeptics, you’re supposed to ask me tough questions. You’re not supposed to be complimentary, but you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that.

And you have done it for the most part in ways that I could appreciate for fairness, even if I didn’t always agree with your conclusions. And having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we’re able to deliver on what’s been requested by our constituents. And for example, every time you’ve asked why haven’t you cured Ebola yet or why is there still that hole in the Gulf, it has given me the ability to go back and say, “Will you get this solved before the next press conference?”

(LAUGHTER)

I spent a lot of time on my — in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power.

So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. And so my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself.

I have no doubt that you will do so, I’m looking forward to being an active consumer of your work, rather than always the subject of it. I want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy.

And with that, I will take some questions and I will start with Jeff Mason, whose term is apparently not up.

(LAUGHTER)

I thought, you know, we’d be going out together, brother, but you’ve got to hang around for a while.

QUESTION: I’m staying put.

OBAMA: Jeff Mason from Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Are you concerned, Mr. President, that commuting Chelsea Manning’s sentence will send a message that leaking classified material will not generate (inaudible) groups like WikiLeaks? How do you reconcile that in light of WikiLeak’s connection to Russia’s acting in (inaudible) election?

And related to that, Julian Assange has now offered to come to the United States. Are you seeking that? And would he be charged or arrested if he came here?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, let’s be clear. Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence, so the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.

It has been my view that given she went to trial; that due process was carried out; that she took responsibility for her crime; that the sentence that she received was very disproportional — disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received; and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence.

And, you know, I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent that when it comes to our national security, that wherever possible we need folks who may have legitimate concerns about the actions of government or their superiors or the agencies in which they work, that they try to work through the established channels and avail themselves of the whistleblower protections that have been put in place.

I recognize that there’s some folks who think they’re not enough. And, you know, I think all of us when we’re working in big institutions may find ourselves at times at odds with policies that are set. But when it comes to national security, we’re often dealing with people in the field whose lives may be put at risk or, you know, the safety and security and the ability of our military or our intelligence teams or our embassies to function effectively.

And that has to be kept in mind. So, with respect to WikiLeaks, I don’t see a contradiction. First of all, I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked. I don’t pay a lot of attention to Mr. Assange’s tweets, so that wasn’t a consideration in this instance. And I’d refer you to the Justice Department for any criminal investigations, indictments, extradition issues that may come up with him.

You know, I — what I can say broadly is that in this new cyber age, we’re going to have to make sure that we continually work to find the right balance of accountability and openness and transparency that is the hallmark of our democracy. But also recognize that there are adversaries and bad actors out there who want to use that same openness in ways that hurt us, whether that’s in trying to commit financial crimes or trying to commit acts of terrorism or folks who want to interfere with our elections.

And we’re going to have to continually build the kind of architecture to make sure our — the best of our democracy is preserved; that our national security and intelligence agencies have the ability to carry out policy without advertising to our adversaries what it is that we’re doing, but do so in a way that still keeps citizens up to speed on what their government is doing on their behalf.

But with respect to Chelsea Manning, I looked at the particulars of this case the same way I have the other commutations and pardons that I’ve done. And I felt that in light of all the circumstances, that commuting her sentence was entirely appropriate.

Margaret Brennan?

QUESTION: Mr. President.

OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: Thank you.

The president-elect has said that he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if they substantially reduced their nuclear stockpile.

QUESTION: Given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that’s an effective strategy? Knowing this office and Mr. Trump, how would you advise his advisers to help him be effective when he deals with Vladimir Putin. And given your actions recently on Russia, do you think those sanctions should be (inaudible).

OBAMA: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I think it is in America’s interest and the world’s interest that we have a constructive relationship with Russia. That’s been my approach throughout my presidency. Where our interests have overlapped we’ve worked together.

At the beginning of my term, I did what I could to encourage Russia to be a constructive member of the international community and tried to work with the president and the government of Russia in helping them diversify their economy, improve their economy, use the incredible talents of the Russian people in more constructive ways.

I think it’s fair to say that after President Putin came back into the presidency, that an escalating anti-American rhetoric and an approach to global affairs that seem to be premised on the idea that whatever America’s trying to do must be bad for Russians, so we want to try to counter act whatever they do. That returned to an adversarial spirit that I think existed during the Cold War, has made the relationship more difficult.

And it was hammered home when Russia went into Crimea and portions of Ukraine. The reason we imposed the sanctions, recall, was not because of nuclear weapons issues, it was because the independence and sovereignty of a country, Ukraine, had been encroached upon by force, by Russia. That wasn’t our judgment, that was the judgment of the entire international community.

And, Russia continues to occupy Ukrainian territory and meddle in Ukrainian affairs and support military surrogates who have violated basic international laws and international norms. What I’ve said to the Russians, is as soon as you stop doing that, the sanctions will be removed. And I think it would probably best serve, not only American interests, but also the interests of preserving international norms if we made sure that we don’t confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues.

On nuclear issues, in my first term we negotiated the START II Treaty and that has substantially reduced our nuclear stock piles, both Russia and the United States. I was prepared to go further, I told President Putin I was prepared to go further. They have been unwilling to negotiate.

If President-elect Trump is able to restart those talks in a serious way, I think there remains a lot of room for our two countries to reduce their our stock piles. And part of the reason we’ve have been successful on our non-proliferation agenda and on our nuclear security agenda, is because we were leading by example. I hope that continues.

But I think it’s important just to remember that the reason sanctions have been put in place against Russia, has to do with their actions in Ukraine. And it is important for the United States to stand up for the basic principal that big countries don’t go around and invade and bully smaller countries.

I’ve said before, I expect Russia and Ukraine to have a strong relationship. They are historically bound together in all sorts of cultural and social ways, but Ukraine is an independent country and this is a good example of the vital role that America has to continue to play, around the world, in preserving basic norms and values. Whether it’s advocating on behalf of human rights, advocating on behalf of women’s rights, advocating on behalf of freedom of the press.

OBAMA: You know, the United States has not always been perfect in this regard, there are times where we — by necessity are dealing with allies or friends or partners, who themselves are not meeting the standards that we would like to see met when it comes to international rules and norms.

But I can tell you that in every multilateral setting in the United Nations, in the G-20, in the G-7, the United States typically has been on the right side of these issues and it is important for us to continue to be on the right side of these issues because if we, the largest, strongest country and democracy in the world, are not willing to stand up on behalf of these values, then certainly China, Russia and others will not.

Kevin Corke.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. You have been a strong supporter of the idea of a peaceful transfer of power demonstrated not terribly far from the Rose Garden. And yet, even as you and I speak, there are more than five dozen Democrats that are going to boycott the inauguration of the incoming president. Do you support that? And what message would you send to Democrats to better demonstrate the peaceful transfer of power?

And if I could follow, I wanted to ask you about your conversations with the president-elect previously. And without getting into too much of the personal side of it, I’m just curious, were you able to use that opportunity to convince him to take a fresh look at some of the important ideas that you will leave this office with; maintaining some semblance of the Affordable Care Act, some idea of keeping DREAMers here in the country without fear of deportation? Were you able to use personal stories to try to convince him? And how successful were you?

OBAMA: Well, I won’t go into details of my conversations with President-elect Trump. As I’ve said before, they were cordial. At times, they’ve been fairly lengthy and they’ve been substantive.

I can’t tell you how convincing I’ve been. I think you’d have to ask him whether I’ve been convincing or not. I have offered my best advice, counsel about certain issues both foreign and domestic. And you know, my working assumption is that having won an election, opposed to a number of my initiatives and certain aspects of my vision for where the country needs to go, it is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values. And I don’t expect that there’s going to be, you know, enormous overlap. It may be that on certain issues, once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to in fact provide healthcare for everybody, something he says he wants to do, or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country, that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that I arrived at once I got here. But I don’t think we’ll know until he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk. And I think a lot of his views are going to be shaped by his advisers, the people around him, which is why it’s important to pay attention to these confirmation hearings.

I can tell you that — and this is something I have told him — that this is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself. You are enormously reliant on a team. Your Cabinet, your senior White House staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s but who are executing on significant responsibilities. And so, how you put a team together to make sure that they’re getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions.

OBAMA: That’s probably the most useful constructive advice and the most constructive advice that I’ve been able to give him, that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything or if you haven’t created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you’ve made, that’s when you start making mistakes.

And as I indicated in some of my previous remarks, reality has a way of biting back if you’re not paying attention to it.

With respect to the inauguration, I’m not going to comment on those issues. All I know is I’m going to be there. So is Michelle. And I have been checking the weather and I’m heartened by the fact that it won’t be as cold as my first inauguration.

(LAUGHTER)

Because that was cold.

Janna Rodriguez (ph)?

QUESTION: (inaudible), Mr. President (inaudible). You have said that you would come back and fight for the Dreamers. You said that a couple of weeks ago. Are you fearful for the status of those Dreamers — the future of the young immigrants and all immigrants in this country, with a new administration?

And what did you mean when you said you would come back? Would you lobby Congress? Maybe explore the political arena again?

And if I may ask a second question: Why did you take action on (inaudible) a week ago?

OBAMA: Well, let me be absolutely clear. I did not mean that I was going to be running for anything anytime soon. So, what I meant is that it’s important for me to take some time to process this amazing experience that we’ve gone through; to make sure that my wife, with whom I will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to re-up and put up with me for a little bit longer.

I want to do some writing. I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much. I want to spend precious time with my girls.

So those are my priorities this year. But as I said before, I’m still a citizen. And I think it is important for Democrats or progressive who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this election to be able to distinguish between the normal back-and-forth, ebb-and-blow of policy. Now, are we going to raise taxes or are we going to lower taxes? Are we going to, you know, expand this program or eliminate this program? You know, how — how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change?

Those are all normal parts of the debate. And as I’ve said before, in a democracy sometimes you’re going to win on those issues and sometimes you’re going to lose. I’m confident about the rightness of my positions on a lot of these points, but we’ve got a new president and a Congress that are going to make their same determinations.

And there will be a back-and-forth in Congress around those issues. And you guys will report on all that.

But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. I put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise.

OBAMA: I’d put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country. They are our kids’ friends and their classmates, and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military, that the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out.

It doesn’t mean that I would get on the ballot anyway.

With respect to wet foot, dry foot, we underwent a monumental shift in our policy towards Cuba. My view was after 50 years of a policy not working, it made sense for us to try to reopen diplomatic relations, to engage a Cuban government, to be honest with them about the strong disagreements we have around, you know, political oppression and treatment of dissenters and freedom of press and freedom of religion, but that to make progress for the Cuban people, our best shot was to suddenly have the Cuban people interacting with Americans and seeing the incredible success of the Cuban-American community and engaging in commerce and business and trade, and that it was through that process of opening up these bilateral relations that you would see over time serious and significant improvement.

Given that shift in the relationship, the policy that we had in place with wet foot, dry foot, which treated Cuban immigrants completely different from folks from El Salvador or Guatemala or Nicaragua or any other part of the world, one that made a distinction between whether you got here by land or by foot. You know, that was a carryover of a old way of thinking that didn’t make sense in this day and age, particularly as we’re opening up travel between the two countries.

And so, you know, we had very length think consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, we had some tough negotiations with the Cuban government, but arrived at a policy which we both think is both fair and appropriate to the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries.

Nadia (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity and I want to wish you and your family the best of luck in the future.

OBAMA: Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. President you have been criticized and even (inaudible) attacked for the U.N. Security Council resolution that considered Israeli settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace. Mr. Trump promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He appointed an ambassador that doesn’t believe in a two-state solution.

How worried are you about the U.S. leadership in the Arab world and beyond as (inaudible)? With this ignite (inaudible) protect Israel? And in retrospect, do you think that you should have held Israel more accountable, like President Bush Senior did with (inaudible)? Thank you.

OBAMA: I am — I continue to be significantly worried about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And I’m worried about it both because I think the status quo is unsustainable, that it is dangerous for Israel, that it is bad for Palestinians, it is bad for the region and it is bad for America’s national security.

OBAMA: And you know, I came into this office wanting to do everything I could to encourage serious peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. And we invested a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of effort first year, second year, all the way until last year. Ultimately, what has always been clear is that we cannot force the parties to arrive at peace. What we can do is facilitate, provide a platform, encourage, but we can’t force them to do it. But in light of shifts in Israeli politics and Palestinian politics, a rightward drift in Israeli politics, weakening of President Abbas’ ability to move and take risks on behalf of peace in the Palestinian territories.

In light of all the dangers that have emerged in the region and the understandable fears that Israelis may have about the chaos and rise of groups like ISIL and the deterioration of Syria, in light of all those things, what we at least wanted to do, understanding that the two parties wouldn’t actually arrive at a final status agreement, is to preserve the possibility of the two-state solution because we do not see an alternative to it.

And I’ve said this directly to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I’ve said it inside of Israel, I’ve said it to Palestinians as well. I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy. Because if you do not have two states, then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation, functionally you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second class residents.

You can’t even call them citizens necessarily. And so – so the goal of the resolution was to simply say that the settlements, the growth of the settlements are creating a reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible. And we’ve believed consistent with the position that has been taken with previous U.S. administrations for decades now that it was important for us to send a signal, a wakeup call that this moment may be passing.

And Israeli voters and Palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing. And – and hopefully, that then creates a debate inside both Israeli and Palestinian communities that won’t result immediately in peace but at least will lead to a more sober assessment of what the alternatives are. So, the president-elect will have his own policy. The ambassador or the candidate for the ambassadorship obviously has very different views than I do.

That is their prerogative, that’s part of what happens after elections, and I think my views are clear. We’ll see how – how their approach plays itself out. I don’t want to – I don’t want to project today what could end up happening but obviously it’s a volatile environment. What we’ve seen in the past is when sudden unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive.

And what we’ve tried to do in the transition is just provide the context in which the president-elect may want to make some of these decisions.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

OBAMA: Well, that’s part of what we’ve tried to indicate to the incoming team in our transition process, is pay attention to this because this is – this is volatile stuff. People feel deeply and passionately about this and as I said – as I’ve said, I think, many times, the actions that we take have enormous consequences and ramifications. We’re – we’re the biggest kid on the block and I think it is right and appropriate for a new president to test old assumptions and reexamine the old ways of doing things.

But if you’re going to make big shifts in policy, just make sure you’ve thought it through and understand that there are going to be consequences and actions typically create reactions. And so you want to be intentional about it. You don’t want to do things off the cuff when it comes to an issue this – this volatile.

QUESTION: On LGBT rights —

OBAMA: I’m sorry where’s Chris (ph)?

QUESTION: I’m right here in the back.

OBAMA: I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.

QUESTION: On LGBT rights, we’ve seen a lot of achievements over the past eight years, including (inaudible) hate crimes (inaudible), marriage quality nationwide and insuring transfer (ph) people feel visible and respected.

How do you think LGBT rights will rank in terms of your accomplishments in your life? And how confident are you that progress will endure or continue under the president-elect?

OBAMA: I — I could not be prouder of the transformation that’s taken place in our society just in the last decade. And, I’ve said before, I think we made some useful contributions to it, but the primary heroes in this stage of our — our growth as a Democracy and a society are all the individual activists and sons and daughters and couples who courageously said, this is who I am and I’m proud of it.

And, that opened people’s minds and opened their hearts. And, eventually, laws caught up. But, I don’t think any of that would have happened without the activism, in some cases loud and noisy, but in some cases just quiet and very personal. And — and I think that what we did as an administration was to help to — the society to move in a better direction, but to do so in a way that didn’t create an enormous backlash and was — was systematic and respectful of the fact, you know, in some cases these issues were controversial.

I think the way we handled, for example, don’t ask, don’t tell, being methodical about it, working with the joint chiefs, making sure we showed this would not have an impact on the effectiveness of the greatest military on Earth. And then to have Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Chairman Mike Mullen and joint chiefs who were open to evidence and ultimately worked with me to do the right thing.

I am proud of that, but again, none of that would have happened without this incredible transformation that was happening in society out there. You know, when I gave Ellen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I meant what I said. I think somebody that kind and likable, projecting into, you know, living rooms around the country. You know, that changed attitudes. And that wasn’t easy to do for her. And that’s just one small example of what was happening in countless communities all across the country.

So — so I’m proud that in certain places we maybe provided a good block down field to help the movement advance. I don’t think it is something that will be reversible because American society has changed, the attitudes of young people, in particular, have changed. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be some fights that are important, legal issues, issues surrounding transgender persons. There’s still going to be some battles that need to take place.

OBAMA: But, if you talk to young people, Malia, Sasha’s generation, even if their Republicans, even if their Conservative, many of them will tell you, I don’t understand how you would discriminate against somebody because of sexual orientation. That’s just sort of burned into them in — in pretty powerful ways.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: April Ryan (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

Long before today, you’ve been considered a (inaudible) president. Under your watch, people have said that you have expanded the rubber-band of inclusion. And with the election and the incoming administration, people are saying that the rubber-band has recoiled and maybe is even broken.

And I’m (inaudible) back to a time on Air Force One going to Selma, Alabama, when you said your job was to (inaudible). With that, what gaps still remain when it comes to rights issues on the table? And also, what part will you play in fixing those gaps after — in your new life?

And lastly, you are the first black president. Do you expect the country to see this again?

OBAMA: Well, I’ll answer the last question first. I think we’re going to see people of merit rise up from every race, faith, corner of this country. Because that’s America’s strength. When we have everybody getting a chance and everybody’s on the field, we end up being better.

I — I think I’ve used this analogy before. We — we killed it in the Olympics in Brazil. And Michelle and I, we always have our — the Olympic team here. And it’s a lot of fun, first of all, just because, you know, anytime you’re meeting somebody who’s the best at anything, it’s impressive.

And these mostly very young people are all just so healthy looking and they just beam and exude fitness and health. And so we have a great time talking to them. But they are of all shapes, sizes, colors. You know, the genetic diversity that is on display is remarkable.

And if you look at Simone Biles, and then you look at a Michael Phelps, they’re completely different. And it’s precisely because of those differences that we’ve got people here who can excel at any sport.

And by the way, more than half of our medals came from women. And the reason is is because we had the foresight several decades ago with something called Title IX to make sure that women got opportunities in sports, which is why our women compete better, because they have more opportunities than folks in other countries.

So, you know, I use that as a metaphor and if in fact we continue to keep opportunity open to everybody, then yeah, we’re going to have a woman president. We’re going to have a Latino president. And we’ll have a Jewish president, a Hindu president. You know, who knows who we’re going to have.

I suspect we’ll have a whole bunch of mixed up presidents at some point that nobody really knows what to call them.

(LAUGHTER)

And that’s fine.

Now, what do I worry about? I — I obviously spent a lot of time on this, April, at my farewell address on Tuesday. So I won’t go through the whole list.

I worry about inequality because I think that if we are not investing in making sure everybody plays a role in this economy, the economy will not grow as fast and I think it will also lead to further and further separation between us as Americans — not just along racial lines. I mean, there are a whole bunch of folks who voted for the president-elect because they feel forgotten and disenfranchised.

They feel as if they’re being looked down on. They feel as if their kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities as they did.

And you don’t want to — you don’t want to have an America in which a very small sliver of people are doing really well, and everybody else is fighting for scraps, as I said last week. Because that’s oftentimes when racial divisions get magnified, because people think, well, the only way I’m going to get ahead is if I make sure somebody else gets less; somebody who doesn’t look like me or doesn’t worship the same place I do.

That’s not a good recipe for our democracy. I worry about, as I said in response to a previous question, making sure that the basic machinery of our democracy works better. We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote rather than easier. And that dates back. There’s an ugly history to that that we should not be shy about talking about.

QUESTION: Voting rights?

OBAMA: Yes, I’m talking about voting rights.

The reason that we are the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote is — it traces directly back to Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise (ph). And that’s not who we are. That shouldn’t be who we are. That’s not when America works best. So I hope that people pay a lot of attention to making sure that everybody has a chance to vote. Make it easier, not harder.

This whole notion of election — voting fraud, this is something that has constantly been disproved, this — this is fake news. The notion that there are a whole bunch of people out there who are going out there and are not eligible to vote and want to vote. We have the opposite problem. We have a whole bunch of people who are eligible to vote who don’t vote. And so the idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn’t make sense. And then the — you know, as I said before, political gerrymandering that makes your vote matter less because politicians have decided you live in a district where everybody votes the same way you do so that these aren’t competitive races and we get 90 percent Democratic districts, 90 percent Republican districts, that’s bad for our democracy too. I worry about that.

I think it is very important for us to make sure that our criminal justice system is fair and just, but I also think it’s also very important to make sure that it is not politicized, that it maintains an integrity that is outside of partisan politics at every level. I think at some point, we’re going to have to spend — and this will require some action by the Supreme Court, we have to re- examine just the flood of endless money that goes into our politics, which I think is very unhealthy.

So there are a whole bunch of things I worry about there. And as I said in my speech on Tuesday, we’ve got more work to do on race. It is not — it is simply not true that things have gotten worse. They haven’t. Things are getting better and I have more confidence on racial issues in the next generation than I do in our generation or the previous generation. I think kids are smarter about it. They’re more tolerant. They are more inclusive by instinct than we are, and hopefully, my presidency maybe helped that along a little bit.

But you know, we — when we feel stress, when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions and racial stereotypes, and it’s very hard for us to break out of those and to listen and to think about people as people and to imagine being in that person’s shoes.

And by the way, it’s no longer a black and white issue alone. You got Hispanic folks and you got Asian folks, this is not just the same old battles that — we’ve got this stew that’s bubbling up from people everywhere and we’re going to have to make sure that we in our own lives and our own families and work places do a better job of treating everybody with basic respect and understanding that not everybody starts off in the same situation and imaging what would it be like if you were born in an inner city and had no job prospects anywhere within a 20 mile radius or how does it feel being born in some rural county where there’s no job opportunities within in a 20 mile radius and seeing those two things as connected as opposed to separate.

So, you know, we got work to do, but overall, I think on this front, the trend lines, ultimately, I think will be good.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Christie Parsons (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you.

OBAMA: And Christie (ph), you are going to get the last question. Christie (ph)…

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: … is, you know, I’ve — I’ve been knowing her since Springfield, Illinois. When I — when I was a state senator, she listened to what I had to say. So the least I can do is give her the last question as president of the United States. Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: There you go, go ahead.

QUESTION: Well, thank you, Mr. President. It has been an honor.

OBAMA: Thank you.

QUESTION: And I have a personal question for you, because I know how much you like those.

The first lady put the stakes of the 2016 election in very personal terms, in a speech that resonated across the country. And she really spoke the concerns of a lot women, LGBT, people of color, many others. And — so I wonder now, how you and the first lady on talking to your daughters about the meaning of this election and how you interpret it for yourself and for them?

OBAMA: You know, every parent brags on their daughters or their sons. You know, if your mom and dad don’t brag on you, you know you got problems.

(LAUGHTER)

But man, my daughters are something. And — and they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. And, so these days when we talk, we talk as parent to child, but also we learn from them. And, I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted. They were disappointed.

They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses. But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.

And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude. I think neither of them intend to pursue a future of politics and in that, too, I think their mother’s influence shows.

(LAUGHTER)

But, both of them have grown up in an environment where I think they could not help, but be patriotic to love this country deeply, to see that it’s flawed, but see that they have responsibilities to fix it. And that they need to be active citizens. And they have to be in a position to talk to their friends and their teachers and their future co-workers in ways that try to shed some light as opposed to just generate a lot of sound and fury. And I expect that’s what they’re going to do. They do not — they don’t mope.

And — and what I really am proud of them, but what makes me proudest about them, is that they also don’t get cynical about it. They — they have not assumed because their side didn’t win or because some of the values that they care about don’t seem as if they were vindicated that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values. I don’t think they feel that way.

I think they have in part through osmosis, in part through dinner time conversations appreciated the fact that this is a big complicated country and democracy is messy, it doesn’t always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn’t guarantee certain outcomes. But if you — if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country and there’s a core decency to this country and — that they got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.

And in that sense, they are representative of this generation that makes me really optimistic. I’ve been asked — I had — I’ve had some off-the-cuff (ph) conversations with some journalists where they said, “OK, you seem like you’re OK, but really, what are you really thinking?”

(LAUGHTER)

And I’ve said, “No, what I’m saying really is what I think.” I — I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That’s what this presidency has tried to be about. And I see that in the young people I’ve worked with. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

And so, this is not just a matter of no drama Obama, this is — this is what I really believe. It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly…

(LAUGHTER)

… and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted and I know that you will help us do that. Thank you very much, Press Corps, good luck.

END

National debt of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Federal Debt Held by the Public as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), from 1940 to 2016 with future projections

Graph of GDP and the gross national debt

The National debt of the United States is the amount owed by the federal government of the United States. The measure of the public debt is the value of the outstanding Treasury securities at a point of time that have been issued by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. The terms national deficit and national surplus usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative total. A deficit year increases the debt because more money is spent than is received; a surplus year decreases the debt because more money is received than spent.

There are two components of gross national debt:[1]

  • Debt held by the public, such as Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including those held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System and foreign, state and local governments.
  • Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt, such as non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts administered by the federal government that are owed to program beneficiaries, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of these accounts that have been invested in Treasury securities.

In general, government debt increases as a result of government spending, and decreases from tax or other receipts, both of which fluctuate during the course of a fiscal year. In practice, Treasury securities are not issued or redeemed on a day-by-day basis,[2] and may also be issued or redeemed as part of the federal government’s macroeconomic monetary management operations. The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling.[3]

Historically, the US public debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus or due to growth of GDP and inflation. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 35 years. In recent decades, however, aging demographics and rising healthcare costs have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government’s fiscal policies.[4]

On November 7, 2016, debt held by the public was $14.3 trillion or about 76% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[5][6][7][8] Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.4 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $19.8 trillion or about 106% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[7] $6.2 trillion or approximately 45% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were China and Japan at about $1.25 trillion for China and $1.15 trillion for Japan as of May 2016.[9]

History

US federal debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP, from 1790 to 2013, projected to 2038

US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP since World War II, with presidential terms marked.

The United States government has continuously had a fluctuating public debt since its formation in 1789, except for about a year during 1835–1836. To allow comparisons over the years, public debt is often expressed as a ratio to gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, the United States public debt as a share of GDP has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined.

The United States public debt as a percentage of GDP reached its highest level during Harry Truman‘s first presidential term, during and after World War II. Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1974 under Richard Nixon. Debt as a share of GDP has consistently increased since then, except under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Public debt rose during the 1980s, as Ronald Reagan cut tax rates and increased military spending. It fell during the 1990s, due to decreased military spending, increased taxes and the 1990s boom. Public debt rose sharply in the wake of the 2007–08 financial crisis and the resulting significant tax revenue declines and spending increases.

Valuation and measurement

Public and government accounts

Detailed breakdown of government holders of treasury debt and debt instruments used of the public portion

On January 26, 2016, debt held by the public was $13.62 trillion or about 75% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[5][6][7][8] Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.34 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $18.96 trillion or about 104% of the previous 12 months of GDP.[7]

The national debt can also be classified into marketable or non-marketable securities. Most of the marketable securities are Treasury notes, bills, and bonds held by investors and governments globally. The non-marketable securities are mainly the “government account series” owed to certain government trust funds such as the Social Security Trust Fund, which represented $2.74 trillion in 2011.[10]

The non-marketable securities represent amounts owed to program beneficiaries. For example, in the case of the Social Security Trust Fund, the payroll taxes dedicated to Social Security were credited to the Trust Fund upon receipt, but spent for other purposes. If the government continues to run deficits in other parts of the budget, the government will have to issue debt held by the public to fund the Social Security Trust Fund, in effect exchanging one type of debt for the other.[11] Other large intragovernmental holders include the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal Savings and Loan Corporation’s Resolution Fund and the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (Medicare).[citation needed]

Accounting treatment

U.S. debt from 1940 to 2011. Red lines indicate the “debt held by the public” and black lines indicate the total national debt or gross public debt. The difference is the “intragovernmental debt,” which includes obligations to government programs such as Social Security. Stated as a formula, National Debt = Debt held by the Public + Intragovernmental Debt. The second panel shows the two debt figures as a percentage of U.S. GDP (dollar value of U.S. economic production for that year). The top panel is deflated so every year is in 2010 dollars.

Only debt held by the public is reported as a liability on the consolidated financial statements of the United States government. Debt held by government accounts is an asset to those accounts but a liability to the Treasury; they offset each other in the consolidated financial statements.[12]

Government receipts and expenditures are normally presented on a cash rather than an accrual basis, although the accrual basis may provide more information on the longer-term implications of the government’s annual operations.[13] The United States public debt is often expressed as a ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP). The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus as well as due to growth of GDP and inflation.[citation needed]

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac obligations excluded

Under normal accounting rules, fully owned companies would be consolidated into the books of the owner, but the large size of Fannie and Freddie has made the U.S. government reluctant to incorporate Freddie and Fannie into its own books. When Freddie and Fannie required bail-outs, White House Budget Director Jim Nussle, on September 12, 2008, initially indicated their budget plans would not incorporate the GSE debt into the budget because of the temporary nature of the conservator intervention.[14] As the intervention has dragged out, pundits have started to further question this accounting treatment, noting that changes in August 2012 “makes them even more permanent wards of the state and turns the government’s preferred stock into a permanent, perpetual kind of security”.[15]

The government controls the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which would normally criticize inconsistent accounting practices, but it does not oversee its own government’s accounting practices or the standards set by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. The on- or off-balance sheet obligations of those two independent GSEs was just over $5 trillion at the time the conservatorship was put in place, consisting mainly of mortgage payment guarantees and agency bonds.[16] The confusing independent but government-controlled status of the GSEs has resulted in investors of the legacy common shares and preferred shares launching various activist campaigns in 2014.[17]

Guaranteed obligations excluded

U.S. federal government guarantees are not included in the public debt total, until such time as there is a call on the guarantees. For example, the U.S. federal government in late-2008 guaranteed large amounts of obligations of mutual funds, banks, and corporations under several programs designed to deal with the problems arising from the late-2000s financial crisis. The guarantee program lapsed at the end of 2012 when Congress declined to extend the scheme. The funding of direct investments made in response to the crisis, such as those made under the Troubled Assets Relief Program, are included in the debt.

Unfunded obligations excluded

The U.S. government is obligated under current law to make mandatory payments for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) projects that payouts for these programs will significantly exceed tax revenues over the next 75 years. The Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) payouts already exceed program tax revenues, and social security payouts exceeded payroll taxes in fiscal 2010. These deficits require funding from other tax sources or borrowing.[18] The present value of these deficits or unfunded obligations is an estimated $45.8 trillion. This is the amount that would have had to be set aside in 2009 in order to pay for the unfunded obligations which, under current law, will have to be raised by the government in the future. Approximately $7.7 trillion relates to Social Security, while $38.2 trillion relates to Medicare and Medicaid. In other words, health care programs will require nearly five times more funding than Social Security. Adding this to the national debt and other federal obligations would bring total obligations to nearly $62 trillion.[19] However, these unfunded obligations are not counted in the national debt.[citation needed]

Measuring debt burden

GDP is a measure of the total size and output of the economy. One measure of the debt burden is its size relative to GDP, called the “debt-to-GDP ratio.” Mathematically, this is the debt divided by the GDP amount. The Congressional Budget Office includes historical budget and debt tables along with its annual “Budget and Economic Outlook.” Debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP rose from 34.7% GDP in 2000 to 40.5% in 2008 and 67.7% in 2011.[20]

Mathematically, the ratio can decrease even while debt grows, if the rate of increase in GDP (which also takes account of inflation) is higher than the rate of increase of debt. Conversely, the debt to GDP ratio can increase even while debt is being reduced, if the decline in GDP is sufficient.

According to the CIA World Factbook, during 2015, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio of 73.6% was the 39th highest in the world. This was measured using “debt held by the public.”[21] However, $1 trillion in additional borrowing since the end of FY 2015 has raised the ratio to 76.2% as of April 2016 [See Appendix#National debt for selected years]. Also, this number excludes state and local debt. According to the OECD, general government gross debt (federal, state, and local) in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $22.5 trillion (125% of GDP); subtracting out $5.25 trillion for intergovernmental federal debt to count only federal “debt held by the public” gives 96% of GDP.[22]

The ratio is higher if the total national debt is used, by adding the “intragovernmental debt” to the “debt held by the public.” For example, on April 29, 2016, debt held by the public was approximately $13.84 trillion or about 76% of GDP. Intra-governmental holdings stood at $5.35 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $19.19 trillion. U.S. GDP for the previous 12 months was approximately $18.15 trillion, for a total debt to GDP ratio of approximately 106%.[23]

Calculating the annual change in debt

Comparison of deficits to change in debt in 2008

Conceptually, an annual deficit (or surplus) should represent the change in the national debt, with a deficit adding to the national debt and a surplus reducing it. However, there is complexity in the budgetary computations that can make the deficit figure commonly reported in the media (the “total deficit”) considerably different from the annual increase in the debt. The major categories of differences are the treatment of the Social Security program, Treasury borrowing, and supplemental appropriations outside the budget process.[24]

Social Security payroll taxes and benefit payments, along with the net balance of the U.S. Postal Service, are considered “off-budget”, while most other expenditure and receipt categories are considered “on-budget”. The total federal deficit is the sum of the on-budget deficit (or surplus) and the off-budget deficit (or surplus). Since FY1960, the federal government has run on-budget deficits except for FY1999 and FY2000, and total federal deficits except in FY1969 and FY1998–FY2001.[25]

For example, in January 2009 the CBO reported that for fiscal year 2008 (FY2008) the “on-budget deficit” was $638 billion, offset by an “off-budget surplus” (mainly due to Social Security revenue in excess of payouts) of $183 billion, for a “total deficit” of $455 billion. This latter figure was the one commonly reported in the media. However, an additional $313 billion was required for “the Treasury actions aimed at stabilizing the financial markets,” an unusually high amount due to the Subprime mortgage crisis. This meant that the “debt held by the public” increased by $768 billion ($455B + $313B = $768B). The “off-budget surplus” was borrowed and spent (as is typically the case), increasing the “intra-governmental debt” by $183 billion. So the total increase in the “National debt” in FY2008 was $768B +$183B = $951 billion.[24] The Treasury Department reported an increase in the National Debt of $1,017B for FY2008.[26] The $66 billion difference is likely due to “supplemental appropriations” for the War on Terror, some of which were outside the budget process entirely until President Obama began including most of them in his FY2010 budget.[27]

In other words, spending the “off budget” Social Security surplus adds to the total national debt (by increasing the intragovernmental debt) while the “off-budget” surplus reduces the “total” deficit reported in the media. Certain spending called “supplemental appropriations” is outside the budget process entirely but adds to the national debt. Funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was accounted for this way prior to the Obama administration.[27]Certain stimulus measures and earmarks were also outside the budget process. The federal government publishes the total debt owed (public and intragovernmental holdings) monthly.[28]

Reduction

Negative real interest rates

Since 2010, the U.S. Treasury has been obtaining negative real interest rates on government debt, meaning the inflation rate is greater than the interest rate paid on the debt.[29] Such low rates, outpaced by the inflation rate, occur when the market believes that there are no alternatives with sufficiently low risk, or when popular institutional investments such as insurance companies, pensions, or bond, money market, and balanced mutual funds are required or choose to invest sufficiently large sums in Treasury securities to hedge against risk.[30][31]

Economist Lawrence Summers and blogger Matthew Yglesias have stated that at such low interest rates, government borrowing actually saves taxpayer money and improves creditworthiness.[32][33]

In the late 1940s through the early 1970s, the US and UK both reduced their debt burden by about 30% to 40% of GDP per decade by taking advantage of negative real interest rates, but there is no guarantee that government debt rates will continue to stay so low.[30][34] Between 1946 and 1974, the US debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 121% to 32% even though there were surpluses in only eight of those years which were much smaller than the deficits.[35]

Converting fractional reserve to full reserve banking

The two economists, Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof, working for the International Monetary Fund, published a working paper called The Chicago Plan Revisited suggesting that the debt could be eliminated by raising bank reserve requirements, converting from fractional reserve banking to full reserve banking.[36][37] Economists at the Paris School of Economics have commented on the plan, stating that it is already the status quo for coinage currency,[38] and a Norges Bank economist has examined the proposal in the context of considering the finance industry as part of the real economy.[39] A Centre for Economic Policy Research paper agrees with the conclusion that, “no real liability is created by new fiat money creation, and therefore public debt does not rise as a result”.[40]

Debt ceiling

US debt ceiling at the end of each year from 1981 to 2010

The debt ceiling is a legislative mechanism to limit the amount of national debt that can be issued by the Treasury. In effect, it will restrain the Treasury from paying for expenditures after the limit has been reached, even if the expenditures have already been approved (in the budget) and have been appropriated. If this situation were to occur, it is unclear whether Treasury would be able to prioritize payments on debt to avoid a default on its debt obligations, but it would have to default on some of its non-debt obligations.

In 1995[41] and 2011,[42][43] congressional Republicans unsuccessfully made threats of default on the national debt through non-renewal of the debt ceiling to try to obtain political concessions from President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, respectively.[citation needed]

Debt holdings

Estimated ownership each year

Because a large variety of people own the notes, bills, and bonds in the “public” portion of the debt, Treasury also publishes information that groups the types of holders by general categories to portray who owns United States debt. In this data set, some of the public portion is moved and combined with the total government portion, because this amount is owned by the Federal Reserve as part of United States monetary policy. (See Federal Reserve System.)

As is apparent from the chart, a little less than half of the total national debt is owed to the “Federal Reserve and intragovernmental holdings”. The foreign and international holders of the debt are also put together from the notes, bills, and bonds sections. To the right is a chart for the data as of June 2008:

Foreign holdings

Composition of U.S. Long-Term Treasury Debt 2000–2014, from U. S. Department of the Treasury, TIC reporting system

As of September 2014, foreigners owned $6.06 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $12.8 trillion and 34% of the total debt of $17.8 trillion.[44] The largest holders were China, Japan, Belgium, the Caribbean banking centers, and oil exporters.[46]

The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 13% of the public debt in 1988[47] to 25% in 2007.[48]

As of September 2014 the largest single holder of U.S. government debt was China, with 21% of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities (10% of total U.S. public debt).[49]China’s holdings of government debt, as a percentage of all foreign-held government debt are up significantly since 2000 (when China held just 6 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities).[50]

This exposure to potential financial or political risk should foreign banks stop buying Treasury securities or start selling them heavily was addressed in a June 2008 report issued by the Bank of International Settlements, which stated, “Foreign investors in U.S. dollar assets have seen big losses measured in dollars, and still bigger ones measured in their own currency. While unlikely, indeed highly improbable for public sector investors, a sudden rush for the exits cannot be ruled out completely.”[51]

On May 20, 2007, Kuwait discontinued pegging its currency exclusively to the dollar, preferring to use the dollar in a basket of currencies.[citation needed] Syria made a similar announcement on June 4, 2007.[52] In September 2009 China, India and Russia said they were interested in buying International Monetary Fund gold to diversify their dollar-denominated securities.[53] However, in July 2010 China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange “ruled out the option of dumping its vast holdings of US Treasury securities” and said gold “cannot become a main channel for investing our foreign exchange reserves” because the market for gold is too small and prices are too volatile.[citation needed]

According to Paul Krugman, “It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.”[54]

Forecasting

Further information: United States federal budget

CBO: Public Debt Under “Extended” and “Alternate” Scenarios

Spending for mandatory programs is projected to rise relative to GDP, while discretionary programs decline

Interest to GDP, a measure of debt burden, was very low in 2015 but is projected to rise with both interest rates and debt levels over the 2016–2026 period.

CBO short-term outlook

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in its February 2014 Budget and Economic Outlook (which covers the 2014–2024 period) that deficits were projected to return to approximately the historical average relative to the size of the economy (GDP) by 2014. The CBO estimated that under current law, the deficit would total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014 or 3.0% GDP. Deficits would then slowly begin rising again through 2024 due primarily to the pressures of an aging population and rising healthcare costs per person. The debt to GDP ratio would remain stable for much of the decade then begin rising again toward the end of the 10-year forecast window, from 74% in 2014 to 79% in 2024.[55]

CBO long-term outlook

The CBO reports its Long-Term Budget Outlook annually, providing at least two scenarios for spending, revenue, deficits, and debt. The 2014 Outlook mainly covers the 25-year period through 2039. The “extended baseline scenario” assumes that the laws currently on the books will be implemented, for the most part. The CBO reported in July 2014 that under this scenario:

If current laws remained generally unchanged in the future, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next few years. After that, however, growing budget deficits would push debt back to and above its current high level. Twenty-five years from now, in 2039, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP. Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely. By 2039, the deficit would equal 6.5 percent of GDP, larger than in any year between 1947 and 2008, and federal debt held by the public would reach 106 percent of GDP, more than in any year except 1946—even without factoring in the economic effects of growing debt.[56]

The “extended alternative fiscal scenario” assumes the continuation of present trends, which result in a more unfavorable debt position and adverse economic consequences relative to the baseline scenario. The CBO reported in July 2014 that under this scenario:

[C]ertain policies that are now in place but are scheduled to change under current law are assumed to continue, and some provisions of current law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period are assumed to be modified. Under that scenario, deficits excluding interest payments would be about $2 trillion larger over the first decade than those under the baseline; subsequently, such deficits would be larger than those under the extended baseline by rapidly increasing amounts, doubling as a percentage of GDP in less than 10 years. CBO projects that real GNP in 2039 would be about 5 percent lower under the extended alternative fiscal scenario than under the extended baseline with economic feedback, and that interest rates would be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher. Reflecting the budgetary effects of those economic developments, federal debt would rise to 183 percent of GDP in 2039.[56]

Over the long-term, the CBO projects that interest expense and mandatory spending categories (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) will continue to grow relative to GDP, while discretionary categories (e.g., Defense and other Cabinet Departments) continue to fall relative to GDP. Debt is projected to continue rising relative to GDP under the above two scenarios, although the CBO did also offer other scenarios that involved austerity measures that would bring the debt to GDP ratio down.[56]

The CBO estimated under the baseline scenario that the U.S. debt held by the public would increase approximately $8.5 trillion between the end of 2014 and 2024. Under a $2 trillion deficit reduction scenario during that first decade, federal debt held by the public in 2039 would stand at 75 percent of GDP, only slightly above the value of 72 percent at the end of 2013. Under a $4 trillion deficit reduction scenario for that decade, federal debt held by the public would fall to 42 percent of GDP in 2039. By comparison, such debt was 35 percent of GDP in 2007 and has averaged 39 percent of GDP during the past 40 years.[56]

The CBO reported in September 2011: “The nation cannot continue to sustain the spending programs and policies of the past with the tax revenues it has been accustomed to paying. Citizens will either have to pay more for their government, accept less in government services and benefits, or both.”[57]

Risks and debates

Risks due to increasing entitlement spending, according to GAO’s projections of future trends

CBO risk factors

The CBO reported several types of risk factors related to rising debt levels in a July 2010 publication:

  • A growing portion of savings would go towards purchases of government debt, rather than investments in productive capital goods such as factories and computers, leading to lower output and incomes than would otherwise occur;
  • If higher marginal tax rates were used to pay rising interest costs, savings would be reduced and work would be discouraged;
  • Rising interest costs would force reductions in government programs;
  • Restrictions to the ability of policymakers to use fiscal policy to respond to economic challenges; and
  • An increased risk of a sudden fiscal crisis, in which investors demand higher interest rates.[58]

Concerns over Chinese holdings of U.S. debt

Many American and other economic analysts have expressed concerns on account of the People’s Republic of China’s “extensive” holdings of United States government debt,[59][60] as part of their reserves.

The National Defense Authorization Act of the fiscal year 2012 included a provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a “national security risk assessment of U.S. federal debt held by China.” The Department issued its report in July 2012, stating that “attempting to use U.S. Treasury securities as a coercive tool would have limited effect and likely would do more harm to China than to the United States. As the threat is not credible and the effect would be limited even if carried out, it does not offer China deterrence options, whether in the diplomatic, military, or economic realms, and this would remain true both in peacetime and in scenarios of crisis or war.”[61]

The 112th United States Congress introduced legislation whose aim was the assessment of the implications of China’s ownership of U.S. debt.[61] The 2013 Report claimed that “[a] potentially serious short-term problem would emerge if China decided to suddenly reduce their liquid U.S. financial assets significantly” [emphasis in the original text], noting, also, that Federal Reserve System Chairman Ben Bernanke had, in 2007, stated that “because foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities represent only a small part of total U.S. credit market debt outstanding, U.S. credit markets should be able to absorb without great difficulty any shift of foreign allocations.”[61]

A significant number of economists and analysts dismiss any and all concerns over foreign holdings of United States government debt denominated in U.S. dollars, including China’s holdings.[62][63][64][65]

Sustainability

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States is on a “fiscally unsustainable” path because of projected future increases in Medicare and Social Security spending.[18]

Risks to economic growth

Debt levels may affect economic growth rates. In 2010, economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart reported that among the 20 developed countries studied, average annual GDP growth was 3–4% when debt was relatively moderate or low (i.e. under 60% of GDP), but it dips to just 1.6% when debt was high (i.e., above 90% of GDP).[66] In April 2013, the conclusions of Rogoff and Reinhart’s study came into question when a coding error in their original paper was discovered by Herndon, Ash and Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[67][68] Herndon, Ash and Pollin found that after correcting for errors and unorthodox methods used, there was no evidence that debt above a specific threshold reduces growth.[69] Reinhart and Rogoff maintain that after correcting for errors, a negative relationship between high debt and growth remains.[70] However, other economists, including Paul Krugman, have argued that it is low growth which causes national debt to increase, rather than the other way around.[71][72][73]

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in April 2010 that “Neither experience nor economic theory clearly indicates the threshold at which government debt begins to endanger prosperity and economic stability. But given the significant costs and risks associated with a rapidly rising federal debt, our nation should soon put in place a credible plan for reducing deficits to sustainable levels over time.”[74]

Interest and debt service costs

Components of interest on the debt

Despite rising debt levels, interest costs have remained at approximately 2008 levels (around $450 billion in total) due to lower than long-term interest rates paid on government debt in recent years.[75] However, interest rates may return to higher historical levels.[76]

The cost of servicing the U.S. national debt can be measured in various ways. The CBO analyzes net interest as a percentage of GDP, with a higher percentage indicating a higher interest payment burden. During 2015, this was 1.3% GDP, close to the record low 1.2% of the 1966–1968 era. The average from 1966 to 2015 was 2.0% of GDP.[77] However, the CBO estimated in 2016 that the interest amounts and % GDP will increase significantly over the following decade as both interest rates and debt levels rise: “Interest payments on that debt represent a large and rapidly growing expense of the federal government. CBO’s baseline shows net interest payments more than tripling under current law, climbing from $231 billion in 2014, or 1.3 percent of GDP, to $799 billion in 2024, or 3.0 percent of GDP—the highest ratio since 1996.”[78]

Definition of public debt

Economists also debate the definition of public debt. Krugman argued in May 2010 that the debt held by the public is the right measure to use, while Reinhart has testified to the President’s Fiscal Reform Commission that gross debt is the appropriate measure.[71] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) cited research by several economists supporting the use of the lower debt held by the public figure as a more accurate measure of the debt burden, disagreeing with these Commission members.[79]

There is debate regarding the economic nature of the intragovernmental debt, which was approximately $4.6 trillion in February 2011.[80] For example, the CBPP argues: that “large increases in [debt held by the public] can also push up interest rates and increase the amount of future interest payments the federal government must make to lenders outside of the United States, which reduces Americans’ income. By contrast, intragovernmental debt (the other component of the gross debt) has no such effects because it is simply money the federal government owes (and pays interest on) to itself.”[79]

However, if the U.S. government continues to run “on budget” deficits as projected by the CBO and OMB for the foreseeable future, it will have to issue marketable Treasury bills and bonds (i.e., debt held by the public) to pay for the projected shortfall in the Social Security program. This will result in “debt held by the public” replacing “intragovernmental debt”.[81][82]

Intergenerational equity

One debate about the national debt relates to intergenerational equity. For example, if one generation is receiving the benefit of government programs or employment enabled by deficit spending and debt accumulation, to what extent does the resulting higher debt impose risks and costs on future generations? There are several factors to consider:

  • For every dollar of debt held by the public, there is a government obligation (generally marketable Treasury securities) counted as an asset by investors. Future generations benefit to the extent these assets are passed on to them.[83]
  • As of 2010, approximately 72% of the financial assets were held by the wealthiest 5% of the population.[84] This presents a wealth and income distribution question, as only a fraction of the people in future generations will receive principal or interest from investments related to the debt incurred today.
  • To the extent the U.S. debt is owed to foreign investors (approximately half the “debt held by the public” during 2012), principal and interest are not directly received by U.S. heirs.[83]
  • Higher debt levels imply higher interest payments, which create costs for future taxpayers (e.g., higher taxes, lower government benefits, higher inflation, or increased risk of fiscal crisis).[58]
  • To the extent the borrowed funds are invested today to improve the long-term productivity of the economy and its workers, such as via useful infrastructure projects or education, future generations may benefit.[85]
  • For every dollar of intragovernmental debt, there is an obligation to specific program recipients, generally non-marketable securities such as those held in the Social Security Trust Fund. Adjustments that reduce future deficits in these programs may also apply costs to future generations, via higher taxes or lower program spending.[citation needed]

Krugman wrote in March 2013 that by neglecting public investment and failing to create jobs, we are doing far more harm to future generations than merely passing along debt: “Fiscal policy is, indeed, a moral issue, and we should be ashamed of what we’re doing to the next generation’s economic prospects. But our sin involves investing too little, not borrowing too much.” Young workers face high unemployment and studies have shown their income may lag throughout their careers as a result. Teacher jobs have been cut, which could affect the quality of education and competitiveness of younger Americans.[86]

Credit default

The US has never fully defaulted.[87][88]

In April 1979, however, the United States may have technically defaulted on $122 million in Treasury bills, which was less than 1% of U.S. debt. The Treasury Department characterized it as a delay rather than as a default, but it did have consequences for short-term interest rates, which jumped 0.6%.[89] Others view it as a temporary, partial default.[90][91][92]

Appendix

National debt for selected years

Fiscal year Total debt
[93][94][95]
Total debt
as % of GDP
Public debt Public debt
as % of GDP
GDP
($ billions)
[96]
1910 2.65/- 8.1% 2.65 8.1% est. 32.8
1920 25.95/- 29.2% 25.95 29.2% est. 88.6
1927 [97] 18.51/- 19.2% 18.51 19.2% est. 96.5
1930 16.19/- 16.6% 16.19 16.6% est. 97.4
1940 42.97/50.70 43.8–51.6% 42.77 43.6% -/98.2
1950 257.3/256.9 92.0% 219.0 78.4% 279.0
1960 286.3/290.5 53.6–54.2% 236.8 44.3% 535.1
1970 370.9/380.9 35.4–36.4% 283.2 27.0% 1,049
1980 907.7/909.0 32.4–32.6% 711.9 25.5% 2,796
1990 3,233/3,206 54.2–54.6% 2,400 40.8% 5,915
2000 a15,659 a55.8% a3,450 33.9% 10,150
2001 a25,792 a54.8% a3,350 31.6% 10,550
2002 a36,213 a57.1% a3,550 32.7% 10,900
2003 a6,783 a 59.9% a3,900 34.6% 11,350
2004 a7,379 a 61.0% a4,300 35.6% 12,100
2005 a47,918 a 61.4% a4,600 35.7% 12,900
2006 a58,493 a 62.1% a4,850 35.4% 13,700
2007 a68,993 a 62.8% a5,050 35.3% 14,300
2008 a710,011 a 67.9% a5,800 39.4% 14,750
2009 a811,898 a 82.5% a7,550 52.4% 14,400
2010 a913,551 a 91.6% a9,000 61.0% 14,800
2011 a1014,781 a 96.1% a10,150 65.8% 15,400
2012 a1116,059 a100.2% a11,250 70.3% 16,050
2013 a1216,732 a101.3% a12,000 72.6% 16,500
2014 a1317,810 a103.4% a12,800 74.2% 17,200
2015 a1418,138 a101.3/101.8% a13,100 73.3% 17,900
2016 (Oct. ’15 –
Jul. ’16 only)
~19,428 ~106.1% ~13,998 ~76.5%

On June 25, 2014, the BEA announced: “[On July 30, 2014, i]n addition to the regular revision of estimates for the most recent 3 years and for the first quarter of 2014, GDP and select components will be revised back to the first quarter of 1999.

Fiscal years 1940–2009 GDP figures were derived from February 2011 Office of Management and Budget figures which contained revisions of prior year figures due to significant changes from prior GDP measurements. Fiscal years 1950–2010 GDP measurements were derived from December 2010 Bureau of Economic Analysis figures which also tend to be subject to revision, especially more recent years. Afterwards the OMB figures were revised back to 2004 and the BEA figures (in a revision dated July 31, 2013) were revised back to 1947.

Regarding estimates recorded in the GDP column (the last column) marked with a “~” symbol, absolute differences from advance (one month after) BEA reports of GDP percent change to current findings (as of November 2013) found in revisions are stated to be 1.3% ± 2.0% or a 95% probability of being within the range of 0.0–3.3%, assuming the differences to occur according to standard deviations from the average absolute difference of 1.3%. E.g. with an advance report of a $400 billion increase of a $10 trillion GDP, for example, one could be 95% confident that the range in which the exact GDP dollar amount lies would be 0.0 to 3.3% different than 4.0% (400 ÷ 10,000) or within the range of $0 to $330 billion different than the hypothetical $400 billion (a range of $70-730 billion). Two months after, with a revised value, the range of potential difference from the stated estimate shrinks, and three months after with another revised value the range shrinks again.

Fiscal years 1940–1970 begin July 1 of the previous year (for example, Fiscal Year 1940 begins July 1, 1939 and ends June 30, 1940); fiscal years 1980–2010 begin October 1 of the previous year. Intragovernmental debts before the Social Security Act are presumed to equal zero.

1909–1930 calendar year GDP estimates are from MeasuringWorth.com[98] Fiscal Year estimates are derived from simple linear interpolation.

(a1) Audited figure was “about $5,659 billion.”[99]

(a2) Audited figure was “about $5,792 billion.”[100]

(a3) Audited figure was “about $6,213 billion.”[100]

(a) Audited figure was said to be “about” the stated figure.[101]

(a4) Audited figure was “about $7,918 billion.”[102]

(a5) Audited figure was “about $8,493 billion.”[102]

(a6) Audited figure was “about $8,993 billion.”[103]

(a7) Audited figure was “about $10,011 billion.”[103]

(a8) Audited figure was “about $11,898 billion.”[104]

(a9) Audited figure was “about $13,551 billion.”[105]

(a10) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Public debt figure as $14,781 billion.[106]

(a11) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Public debt figure as $16,059 billion.[106]

(a12) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $16,732 billion.[107]

(a13) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $17,810 billion.[6]

(a14) GAO affirmed Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s figure as $18,138 billion.[108]

Interest paid

Fiscal
Year
Historical
debt outstanding,
$billions, US[109]
Interest paid
$billions, US[110]
Interest rate
2014 17,824 430.8 2.42%
2013 16,738 415.7 2.48%
2012 16,066 359.8 2.24%
2011 14,790 454.4 3.07%
2010 13,562 414.0 3.05%
2009 11,910 383.1 3.22%
2008 10,025 451.2 4.50%
2007 9,008 430.0 4.77%
2006 8,507 405.9 4.77%
2005 7,933 352.4 4.44%
2004 7,379 321.6 4.36%
2003 6,783 318.1 4.69%
2002 6,228 332.5 5.34%
2001 5,807 359.5 6.19%
2000 5,674 362.0 6.38%
1999 5,656 353.5 6.25%
1998 5,526 363.8 6.58%
1997 5,413 355.8 6.57%
1996 5,225 344.0 6.58%
1995 4,974 332.4 6.68%
1994 4,693 296.3 6.31%
1993 4,411 292.5 6.63%
1992 4,065 292.4 7.19%
1991 3,665 286.0 7.80%

Foreign holders of US Treasury securities

The following is a list of the top foreign holders (over $100 billion) of US Treasury securities as listed by the US Treasury (revised by November 2016 survey):[111]

Leading foreign holders of US Treasury securities as of November 2016
Country Billions of dollars (est.) Ratio of owned US debt
to 2015 GDP (est.)[112][113]
Percent change since
November 2015
 Japan 1,108.6 23% − 3%
 China 1,049.3 5% −17%
 Ireland 275.2 89% +12%
 Cayman Islands 260.6 n/a +10%
 Brazil 258.3 15% + 1%
  Switzerland 229.5 35% + 1%
 Luxembourg 221.0 362% +15%
 United Kingdom 211.9 8% + 4%
 Hong Kong 185.5 59% − 6%
 Taiwan 183.1 35% + 3%
 India 118.7 5% + 3%
 Belgium 113.5 24% −21%
 Saudi Arabia 100.1 16% −13%
Others 1,628.9 n/a + 1%
Grand total 5,944.3 n/a − 3%

Statistics

Revenue and Expense as percent of GDP

US federal debt as percent of GDP by presidential party from 1940 to 2015

U.S. federal debt as percent of GDP by Senate majority party from 1940 to 2009

  • U.S. official gold reserves as of 31 July 2014 total 261.5 million troy ounces with a book value of approximately $11.04 billion.[114]
  • Foreign exchange reserves $140 billion as of September 2014.[115]

    United States balance of trade (1980–2014), with negative numbers denoting a trade deficit

  • The national debt equates to $59,143 per person U.S. population, or $159,759 per member of the U.S. working taxpayers, as of March 2016.[116]
  • In 2008, $242 billion was spent on interest payments servicing the debt, out of a total tax revenue of $2.5 trillion, or 9.6%. Including non-cash interest accrued primarily for Social Security, interest was $454 billion or 18% of tax revenue.[103]
  • Total U.S. household debt, including mortgage loan and consumer debt, was $11.4 trillion in 2005. By comparison, total U.S. household assets, including real estate, equipment, and financial instruments such as mutual funds, was $62.5 trillion in 2005.[117]
  • Total U.S Consumer Credit Card revolving credit was $931.0 billion in April 2009.[118]
  • The U.S. balance of trade deficit in goods and services was $725.8 billion in 2005.[119]
  • According to the U.S. Department of Treasury Preliminary 2014 Annual Report on U.S. Holdings of Foreign Securities, the United States valued its foreign treasury securities portfolio at $2.7 trillion. The largest debtors are Canada, the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands, and Australia, whom account for $1.2 trillion of sovereign debt owed to residents of the U.S.[120]
  • The entire public debt in 1998 was attributable to the cost of research, development, and deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-related programs during the Cold War.[121][122][123]

A 1998 Brookings Institution study published by the Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Committee (formed in 1993 by the W. Alton Jones Foundation), calculated that total expenditures for U.S. nuclear weapons from 1940 to 1998 was $5.5 trillion in 1996 Dollars.[121] The total public debt at the end of fiscal year 1998 was $5,478,189,000,000 in 1998 Dollars[124] or $5.3 trillion in 1996 Dollars.

International debt comparisons

Gross debt as percentage of GDP
Entity 2007 2010 2011
United States 62% 92% 102%
European Union 59% 80% 83%
Austria 62% 78% 72%
France 64% 82% 86%
Germany 65% 82% 81%
Sweden 40% 39% 38%
Finland 35% 48% 49%
Greece 104% 123% 165%
Romania 13% 31% 33%
Bulgaria 17% 16% 16%
Czech Republic 28% 38% 41%
Italy 112% 119% 120%
Netherlands 52% 77% 65%
Poland 51% 55% 56%
Spain 42% 68% 68%
United Kingdom 47% 80% 86%
Japan 167% 197% 204%
Russia 9% 12% 10%
Asia 1 37% 40% 41%
South America and Mexico 2 41% 37% 35%

Sources: Eurostat,[125] International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook (emerging market economies); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economic Outlook (advanced economies)[126]

1China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand

2Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico

Recent additions to the public debt of the United States

Deficit and Debt Increases 2001–2016

Recent additions to U.S. public debt[7][93][94][96]
Fiscal year (begins
Oct. 1 of year prior
to stated year)
GDP
$Billions
New debt
for
fiscal year
$Billions
New debt
as
% of GDP
Total debt
$Billions
Total debt
as % of GDP
(Debt to GDP
ratio)
1994 $7,200 $281–292 3.9–4.1% ~$4,650 64.6–65.2%
1995 7,600 277–281 3.7% ~4,950 64.8–65.6%
1996 8,000 251–260 3.1–3.3% ~5,200 65.0–65.4%
1997 8,500 188 2.2% ~5,400 63.2–63.8%
1998 8,950 109–113 1.2–1.3% ~5,500 61.2–61.8%
1999 9,500 127–130 1.3–1.4% 5,656 59.3%
2000 10,150 18 0.2% 5,674 55.8%
2001 $10,550 $  133 1.3% $ 5,792 54.8%
2002 10,900 421 3.9% 6,213 57.1%
2003 11,350 570 5.0% 6,783 59.9%
2004 12,100 596 4.9% 7,379 61.0%
2005 12,900 539 4.2% 7,918 61.4%
2006 13,700 575 4.2% 8,493 62.1%
2007 14,300 500 3.5% 8,993 62.8%
2008 14,750 1,018 6.9% 10,011 67.9%
2009 $14,400 $1,887 13.1% $11,898 82.5%
2010 14,800 1,653 11.2% 13,551 91.6%
2011[127] 15,400 1,230 8.0% 14,781 96.1%
2012 16,050 1,278 8.0% 16,059 100.2%
2013 16,500 673 4.1% 16,732 101.3%
2014 17,200 1,078 6.3% 17,810 103.4%
2015 17,900 328 1.8% 18,138 101.3%
2016 (Oct. ’15 –
Jul. ’16 only)
~1,290 ~7.0% ~19,428 ~106.1%

On July 29, 2016 the BEA released a revision to 2013–2016 GDP figures. The figures for this table were corrected the next week with changes to figures in those fiscal years.

On July 30, 2015 the BEA released a revision to 2012–2015 GDP figures. The figures for this table were corrected on that day with changes to FY 2013 and 2014, but not 2015 as FY 2015 is updated within a week with the release of debt totals for July 31, 2015.

On June 25, 2014 the BEA announced a 15-year revision of GDP figures would take place on July 31, 2014. The figures for this table were corrected after that date with changes to FY 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The more precise FY 1999–2014 debt figures are derived from Treasury audit results. The variations in the 1990s and FY 2015 figures are due to double-sourced or relatively preliminary GDP figures respectively. A comprehensive revision GDP revision dated July 31, 2013 was described on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website. In November 2013 the total debt and yearly debt as a percentage of GDP columns of this table were changed to reflect those revised GDP figures.

Historical debt ceiling levels

See also

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 770, October 6, 2016, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Leader and Winner Mild Mannered Mike Pence vs. Follower and Loser Crude Rude Tim Kaine — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

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Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Leader and Winner Mild Mannered Mike Pence vs. Follower and Loser Crude Rude Tim Kaine — Videos

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VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE SPLIT SCREEN (C-SPAN)

VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE 2016 (FULL !!)• PENCE VS KAINE !! #debate

Pence edges Kaine in VP debate instant poll

Mike Pence scored a narrow win over Tim Kaine in the vice presidential debate Tuesday night,according to a CNN/ORC instant poll, with 48% of voters who watched the debate saying Pence did the better job while 42% think Kaine had the best night.

With two relatively unknown politicians taking the stage, those watching seemed more impressed by Pence than Kaine. About two-thirds of debate-watchers said Pence’s performance was better than they expected, just 14% said he did worse than they thought he would. Reviews of Kaine tilted toward the negative, with 43% saying he did worse than they expected and 38% saying he outperformed their expectations.
The debate itself focused more on the candidates at the top of the ticket than the two men on stage. Most debate watchers said Kaine did the better job defending Hillary Clinton, 58%, while just 35% thought Pence better defended Donald Trump.
Still, 29% of debate watchers said what they saw Tuesday made them more apt to vote for Trump, compared with 18% who said it made them more likely to back Clinton. Most debate watchers, 53%, said their vote was not swayed by Tuesday’s face off. After the first Clinton-Trump debate last week, 34% said it made them more apt to vote Clinton, 18% Trump.
Kaine’s performance fell short of Clinton’s on several other measures in the poll as well. Tuesday’s debate watchers were split on which candidate expressed his views more clearly, 47% named each, a metric on which Clinton soundly beat Trump in last week’s presidential debate.
And 48% said Kaine had a better understanding of the issues, edging out Pence at 41%. Clinton topped Trump by a better than 2-to-1 margin on that score after their first debate.
Kaine and Pence emerge from the debate with near identical and net-positive favorability ratings, but Kaine appears to have taken a hit among those who watched. Pence, meanwhile, boosted his numbers somewhat.
Pence was largely seen as the more likeable candidate on the stage, 53% to 37%, and nearly all of the movement in Kaine’s favorability rating post-debate was toward the negative side: His unfavorable rating rose from 28% among this same group of debate watchers when they were interviewed pre-debate to 40% after, while his favorability number held about even at 55%. For Pence, his favorability rating bumped up 7 points to 57%, from 50% pre-debate. His unfavorable numbers held about even 40%.
Both men are broadly judged qualified to take over the office of president if needed, 77% say Pence is qualified, 70% that Kaine is. Most voters who watched Tuesday night said Kaine’s positions on the issues are about right ideologically (57%) while 36% see him as too liberal and 5% too conservative. Assessing Pence’s positions, about half, 49%, think he’s about right, 46% too conservative and just 3% too liberal.
The CNN/ORC post-debate poll includes interviews with 472 registered voters who watched the October 4 vice presidential debate. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Respondents were originally interviewed as part of a September 28-October 2 telephone survey of a random sample of Americans, and indicated they planned to watch the debate and would be willing to be re-interviewed when it was over.

Mike Pence

Michael RichardMikePence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician, attorney, and the 50th Governor of Indiana. He is the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election.

After losing two bids for a U.S. congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he became a conservative radio and television talk show host from 1994 to 1999. Pence successfully ran for Congress in 2000 and represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013, rising to the position of chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011.[1]

In 2012 Pence was elected the 50th Governor of Indiana. In the midst of a re-election campaign for governor, he dropped out in July 2016 to become the vice presidential running mate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Pence is a conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement.[2][3]

Early life and career

Pence, born in Columbus, Indiana, was one of six children of Nancy Jane (née Cawley) and Edward J. Pence, Jr., who ran a string of gas stations.[4][5] His family were Irish Catholic Democrats.[6] He was named after his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, a Chicago bus driver and Irish immigrant, who came from County Sligo to the United States through Ellis Island.[7] His maternal grandmother’s parents were from Doonbeg, County Clare.[8][9]

Pence graduated from Columbus North High School in 1977. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Hanover College in 1981, and a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1986. While at Hanover, Pence joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, serving as his chapter’s president.[10] After graduating from Hanover, Pence was an admissions counselor at the college, from 1981 to 1983.[11]

After graduating from law school in 1986, Pence was an attorney in private practice.[12] After running unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he returned to his law practice. In 1991, he became the president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a self-described free-market think tank and a member of the State Policy Network.[13]

Pence left the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1993, a year after beginning to host The Mike Pence Show, a talk radio program based in WRCR-FM in Rushville, Indiana.[14][15] Pence called himself “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” since he considered himself politically conservative while not as outspoken as Limbaugh.[16] The show was syndicated by Network Indiana and aired weekdays 9 a.m. to noon (ET) on 18 stations throughout the state, including WIBC in Indianapolis.[14] From 1995 to 1999, Pence also hosted a weekend political talk show out of Indianapolis.[17][18]

U.S. House of Representatives

Pence as a U.S. Congressman

In 1988, Pence ran for Congress against Democratic incumbent Phil Sharp, but lost the election.[19] Pence ran against Sharp again in 1990, quitting his job in order to work full-time in the campaign, but once again lost the election.[19] During the race, Pence used “political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.”[20] While the spending was not illegal at the time, it reportedly undermined his campaign.[20]

During the 1990 campaign, Pence ran a television advertisement in which an actor, dressed in a robe and headdress and speaking in a thick Middle Eastern accent, thanked his opponent, Sharp, for doing nothing to wean the United States off imported oil as chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and power.[20][21] In response to criticism, Pence’s campaign responded that the ad was not about Arabs; rather, it concerned Sharp’s lack of leadership.[20][21] In 1991, Pence wrote an essay, “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner”, published in the Indiana Policy Review, in which he apologized for running negative ads against Sharp.[16][20][22]

Mike Pence rejuvinated his political career by running for the U.S. House of Representatives again in 2000, this time winning the seat in Indiana’s 2nd congressional district after six-year incumbent David M. McIntosh opted to run for governor of Indiana. The district (renumbered as Indiana’s 6th congressional district beginning in 2002) comprises all or portions of 19 counties in eastern Indiana. As a Congressman, Pence adopted the slogan he had used frequently on the radio, describing himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”[23]

In his first year in office Pence established a reputation as one with strong convictions willing to go his own way. He opposed President George W. Bush‘s No Child Left Behind Act in 2001,[24] as well as President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug expansion the following year.[25] Pence was re-elected four more times by comfortable margins. In the 2006 and 2008House elections, he defeated Democrat Barry Welsh.

Pence began to climb the party leadership structure and from 2005 to 2007 served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans.[26] In November 2006, Pence announced his candidacy for leader of the Republican Party (minority leader) in the United States House of Representatives.[27] Pence’s release announcing his run for minority leader focused on a “return to the values” of the 1994 Republican Revolution.[28] However, he lost the bid to Representative John Boehner of Ohio by a vote of 168 for Boehner, 27 for Pence, and one for Representative Joe Barton of Texas).[29] In January 2009, Pence was elected as the Republican Conference Chairman, the third-highest-ranking Republican leadership position. He ran unopposed and was elected unanimously. He was the first representative from Indiana to hold a House leadership position since 1981.[1]

In 2008, Esquire magazine listed Pence as one of the ten best members of Congress, writing that Pence’s “unalloyed traditional conservatism has repeatedly pitted him against his party elders.”[30] Pence was mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2008[2] and 2012.[31] In September 2010, he was the top choice for president in a straw poll conducted by the Values Voter Summit.[32][33] That same year he was encouraged to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Evan Bayh,[34][35][36] but opted not to enter the race,[37] even after Bayh unexpectedly announced that he would retire.[38]

Governor of Indiana

2012 election

Governor Mike Pence speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27, 2015

In May 2011, Mike Pence announced that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012.[39] Incumbent Republican Governor Mitch Danielswas term-limited. Despite strong name recognition and a popular outgoing governor of the same party, Pence found himself in a heated race, eventually pulling out a close win with just under 50 percent of the vote against Democrat John R. Gregg and Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham.[40] Pence was sworn in as the 50th governor of Indiana on January 14, 2013.[41]

Fiscal and economic policy initiatives

Pence “inherited a $2 billion budget reserve from his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, and the state has added to that reserve under his watch, though not before requiring state agencies, including public universities, to reduce funding in years in which revenue fell below projections.”[42] The state finished fiscal year 2014 with a reserve of $2 billion; budget cuts ordered by Pence for the $14 billion annual state budget include $24 million cut from colleges and universities; $27 million cut from the Family and Social Services Administration; and $12 million cut from the Department of Correction.[43] During Pence’s term as governor, the unemployment rate reflected the national average.[44] Indiana’s job growth lagged slightly behind the national trend.[45] In 2014, Indiana’s economy was among the slowest-growing in the U.S., with 0.4% GDP growth, compared to the national average of 2.2%; this was attributed in part to sluggish manufacturing sector.[46] Carrier Corp. and United Technologies Electronic Controls (UTEC) announced in 2016 that they would be closing two facilities in Indiana, sending 2,100 jobs to Mexico; Pence expressed “deep disappointment” with the moves.[47][48] Pence was unsuccessful in his efforts to persuade the companies to stay in the state, although the companies agreed to reimburse local and state governments for certain tax incentives that they had received.[48][49]

In 2013, Pence signed a law blocking local governments in Indiana from requiring businesses to offer higher wages or benefits beyond those required by federal law. In 2015, Pence also repealed an Indiana law that required construction companies working on publicly funded projects to pay a prevailing wage.[50][51][52][53] Indiana enacted right-to-work legislation under Pence’s predecessor, Republican governor Mitch Daniels. Under Pence, the state successfully defended this legislation against a labor challenge.[51]

Pence made tax reform, namely a 10% income-tax rate cut, a priority for 2013.[54][55] While he did not get the 10% cut he advocated, Pence did accomplish his goal of cutting state taxes.[54] Legislators cut the income tax by 5% and also killed the inheritance tax.[54] Speaker of the House Brian Bosma said that the legislative package was the “largest tax cut in our state’s history, about $1.1 billion dollars.”[56] By signing Senate Bill 1, the state corporate income tax would be dropped from 6.5% to 4.9% by 2021, which would be the second-lowest corporate income tax in the nation[57]

On June 12, 2013, the Indiana Legislature overrode Pence’s veto of a bill to retroactively authorize a local tax. Lawmakers overrode Pence’s veto in a 68–23 vote in the House and a 34–12 one in the Senate.[58] With an interesting twist, Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted against Pence, while most Democrats supported his veto.[59] The Jackson–Pulaski tax fix, one of three bills vetoed by Pence during the session, addressed a 15-year-old county income tax which had been imposed to fund the construction of jail facilities with the stipulation that the tax be lowered by 1% after the first several years. The reduction was not implemented and thus county residents paid an additional 1% tax that they were legally not required to pay. The bill, which was passed by a huge majority of legislators and subsequently vetoed by Pence, allowed money to be kept and not returned to the tax payers as would have otherwise been necessary.[60][59]

As governor, Pence pressed for a balanced budget amendment to the state’s constitution. He initially proposed the initiative in his State of the State address in January 2015. The legislation passed the state Senate and is progressing through the House.[61] Indiana has had AAA credit ratings with the three major credit-rating agencies since 2010, before Pence took office; these ratings have been maintained throughout Pence’s tenure.[62]

In 2014, Pence supported the Indiana Gateway project, a $71.4 million passenger and freight rail improvement initiative paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the federal stimulus package), which Pence had voted against while a congressman.[63] In October 2015, Pence “announced plans to pay off a $250 million federal loan” to cover unemployment insurance payments that spiked during the recession.[42] In March 2016, Pence signed legislation to fund a $230 million two-year road-funding package.[42]

Education policies

During his tenure as governor, Pence supported significant increases in education funding to pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools, but frequently clashed with supporters of traditional public schools.[64][65] In 2014, a little over one year after taking office, Pence helped establish a $10 million state preschool pilot program in Indiana and testified personally before the state Senate Education Committee in favor of the program to convince fellow Republicans (several of whom opposed the proposal) to approve the plan.[64][65] Although the plan was initially defeated, Pence successfully managed to revive it, “getting Indiana off the list of just 10 U.S. states that spent no direct state funds to help poor children attend preschool.”[65] Demand for enrollment in the program “far outstripped” capacity, and Pence at first refused to apply for up to $80 million in federal Health and Human Services Preschool Development Grant program funding,[64] arguing that “Indiana must develop our own pre-K program without federal intrusion.”[66] After coming under sustained criticism for this position, Pence reversed course and sought to apply for the funds.[64][67]

In 2015, Pence secured significant increases in charter-school funding from the Legislation, although he did not get everything he had proposed.[65] Legislation signed into law by Pence in 2013 greatly increased the number of students in Indiana who qualify for school vouchers, making it one of the largest voucher programs in the United States.[68][69] [70][71] The annual cost of the program is estimated to be $53 million for the 2015-16 school year.[70][71]

Pence opposed the Common Core State Standards, calling for the repeal of the standards in his 2014 State of the State address. The Indiana General Assembly then passed a bill to repeal the standards, becoming the first state to do so.[64][65]

Despite successful advocacy for more funding for pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools, Pence has frequently clashed with teachers unions and supporters of public schooling.[64][65] In one of his first acts as governor, Pence removed control of the Educational Employment Relations Board, which is in charge of handling conflicts between unions and school boards, from Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who is the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (a separately elected position in the state).[72] Pence created a new “Center for Education and Career Innovation” (CECI) to coordinate efforts between schools and the private sector; Ritz opposed the Center, viewing it as a “power grab” and encroachment on her own duties. Pence eventually disestablished the Center in order to help defuse the conflict.[64][65] In May 2015, Pence signed a bill stripping Ritz of much of her authority over standardized testing and other education issues, and reconstituting the State Board of Education dominated by Pence appointees.[73] The bill also allowed the board to appoint a chairman other than the Superintendent of Public Instruction starting in 2017, and added the State Board of Education (controlled by Pence) as a “state educational authority” along with the Department of Education (controlled by Ritz) for purposes of accessing sensitive student data.[73] Pence and Ritz also clashed over non-binding federal guidelines that advised Indiana public schools must treat transgender students in a way that corresponds to their gender identity, even if their education files indicate a different gender.[74]

Energy and environment

During Pence’s term in office, the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly has “repeatedly tried to roll back renewable energy standards and successfully ended Indiana’s energy efficiency efforts.”[75] Pence is an outspoken supporter of the coal industry, declaring in his 2015 State of the State address that “Indiana is a pro-coal state,” expressing support for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” and stating: “we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to end.”[75][76] In 2015, Pence sent a letter to President Obama denouncing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (which would regulate carbon emissions from existing power plans) and stating that Indiana would refuse to comply with the plan.[75][77] Indiana joined other states in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the plan.[75] In 2016, Pence stated that even if legal challenges failed, Indiana would continue to defy the rule and would not come up with its own plan to reduce emissions.[78]

Gun policy

In 2014, over the opposition of Indiana school organizations, Pence signed a bill which allows firearms to be kept in vehicles on school property.[79] In 2015, following a shooting in Chattanooga, Pence recruited theNRA to train the Indiana National Guard on concealed carry. Some National Guard officials from other states questioned why a civilian organization would be involved in a military issue.[80] In May 2015, Pence signed into law Senate Bill 98, which limited lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers and retroactively terminated the City of Gary‘s still-pending 1999 lawsuit against gun manufacturers and retailers that allegedly made illegal sales of handguns.[81][82] The bill was supported by Republicans such as state Senator Jim Tomes, who hoped that the measure would attract more gun-related businesses to Indiana, but opposed by Gary mayor and former Indiana attorney general Karen Freeman-Wilson, who viewed the measure as “an unprecedented violation of the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of state government.”[82] In 2016, Pence signed Senate Bill 109 into law, legalizing the captive hunting of farm-raised deer in Indiana.[83]

Public health issues

Beginning in December 2014, there was an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana.[84] In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions.[85] The Republican controlled legislature and Pence defunded Planned Parenthood.[86] Scott County has been without an HIV testing center for two years.[85] Pence had long been a vocal opponent of needle exchange programs, which allow drug users to trade in used syringes for sterile ones in order to stop the spread of diseases, despite evidence that such programs prevent the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C, and do not increase drug abuse.[84]

In March 2015, after the outbreak began, Pence allowed at least five counties to open needle exchanges, but has not moved to lift the state ban on funding for needle exchanges.[84] Critics say Pence’s compromise has been ineffective because counties had no way to pay for needle exchanges themselves. Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams defended Pence, saying that publicly-funded needle exchange programs are controversial in many conservative communities. In middle America, Adams said, you can’t “just point your finger at folks and say, ‘You need to have a syringe exchange and we’re going to pay for it with your tax dollars.’”[87]

In 2015, Pence and the Obama administration agreed to expand Medicaid in Indiana, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.[88][89] As part of the expansion, Pence negotiated modifications to the program for Indiana that included co-payments by participants. The co-payments are linked to healthy behaviors on the part of the participants, so that, for example, a participant who quit smoking would receive a lower co-payment. Participants can lose benefits for failing to make the payments.[90]

Controversies

See also: Indiana SB 101

Mike Pence addressing supporters at a church service at the Living Word Bible Church.

Despite several successful policy initiatives, Pence found himself in several high profile controversies, including some that brought national attention. On March 26, 2015, Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, also known as the Indiana “religious objections” bill (Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA), into law.[91] The law’s signing was met with widespread criticism by people and groups who felt the law was carefully worded in a way that would permit discrimination against LGBT persons.[92][93][94][95] Such organizations as the NCAA, the gamer convention Gen Con, and the Disciples of Christ spoke out against the law. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff condemned the law, with Salesforce.com saying it would halt its plans to expand in the state.[96][97] Angie’s List announced that they would cancel a $40 million expansion of their Indianapolis based headquarters due to concerns over the law. The expansion would have moved 1000 jobs into the state. The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle banned official travel to Indiana.[98] Thousands protested against the policy.[92] Five GOP state representatives voted against the bill, and Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, criticized it as sending the “wrong signal” about the state.[99]

Pence defended the law, stating that it was not about discrimination. In an appearance on the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos,[100] Pence stated, “We are not going to change this law”, while refusing to answer whether examples of discrimination against LGBT people given by Eric Miller of anti-LGBT group Advance America would be legal under the law.[101] Pence denied the law permitted discrimination and wrote in a March 31, 2015, Wall Street Journal op-ed, “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it.”[102] In the wake of the backlash against the RFRA, on April 2, 2015, Pence signed legislation revising the law to prevent potential discrimination.[103]

Another controversy arose in March 2016 when Pence signed into law H.B. 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason for the procedure given by the pregnant person was the fetus‘ race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated, which according to the Guttmacher Institute is not currently required in any other state.[104][105][106] The law was described as “exceptional for its breadth”; if implemented, it would have made Indiana “the first state to have a blanket ban on abortions based solely on race, sex or suspected disabilities, including evidence of Down syndrome.”[105] Days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill from taking effect, with U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt determining that the bill was likely to be unconstitutional and that the State of Indiana would be unlikely to prevail at trial.[105]

In June 2013, Pence was criticized for deleting comments of others posted on his official government Facebook page; he apologized.[107]

Pence at the 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis, 2015

On January 26, 2015 it was widely reported that Pence had planned to launch a state-run, taxpayer-funded news service for Indiana.[108] The service, called “JustIN”, was to be overseen by a former reporter for The Indianapolis Star, and would feature breaking news, stories written by press secretaries, and light features.[108] At the time, it was reported that the two employees who would run the news service would be paid a combined $100,000 yearly salary.[108] The target audience was small newspapers that had limited staff, but the site would also serve to communicate directly with the public. The publisher of the Commercial Review of Portland, Indiana, said, “I think it’s a ludicrous idea … the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.”[108] There was speculation that the news service would publish pro-administration stories that would make Pence look good in the event of a presidential run.[109]

According to the Associated Press, the idea “of stories prewritten for the media set off a wave of criticism from journalists around the country, who likened the Indiana endeavor to state-run media in Russia and China. Headlines like ‘Pravda in the Plains’ accompanied calls for Pence to scrap the idea.”[110] David A. Graham of The Atlantic regarded the announcement of JustIN as evidence of a disturbing changing trend in how the public gets news.[111] After a week or so of controversy about the idea, Pence scrapped the idea saying, “However well-intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing you to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the JustIN website immediately.”[112]

As governor, Pence attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Indiana.[113] In February 2016, a federal judge ruled that Pence’s order to cut off federal funds for a local non-profit refugee resettlement agency was unconstitutional; Pence has appealed.[113] In December 2015, Pence stated that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional”.[114]

Re-election campaign and withdrawal

Pence ran for a second term as governor. He was unopposed in the May 3, 2016, Republican primary for governor. He was to face Democrat John R. Gregg, former speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, in a rematch of the 2012 race. However, Pence filed paperwork ending his campaign on July 15, 2016, as Trump announced his selection of Pence as his vice presidential running mate.[115]

2016 vice presidential campaign

Pence at a town hall and campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

Pence endorsed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.[2]

Donald Trump considered naming Pence as his vice presidential running mate along with other finalists including New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The Indianapolis Star reported July 14 that Pence would end his re-election campaign and accept the Republican vice presidential nomination instead.[116] This was widely reported on July 14, 2016. The following day, Trump officially announced on Twitter that Pence would be his running mate.[117][118][119]

Immediately after the announcement, Pence said that he was “very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States”.[120] Pence said that he was “absolutely” in sync with Trump’s Mexican wall proposal, stating that Mexico is “absolutely” going to pay for it.[121]

According to a FiveThirtyEight rating of candidates’ ideology, Pence is the most conservative vice-presidential candidate in the last forty years.[122]

Pence has stated that his role model as vice president would be Dick Cheney.[123]

During Pence’s preparations for the vice presidential debate in October 2016, Scott Walker played the role of Tim Kaine.[124] (In Kaine’s own debate prep, Robert Barnett was selected to play Pence).[125]

Issues

Pence was the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans, from 2005 to 2007.[126]

His committee assignments in the House were the following:

While in Congress, Pence belonged to the Tea Party Caucus.[133]

During Pence’s twelve years in the House, he introduced 90 bills and resolutions; none became law.[134]

Abortion and Planned Parenthood

Pence began seeking to defund Planned Parenthood in 2007,[135] by introducing legislation aimed at preventing any organization that provides abortion services from receiving Title X funding.[136]

Birthright citizenship

In 2009, Pence opposed birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”). He co-sponsored a bill that would have limited citizenship to children born to at least one parent who is a citizen, immigrants living permanently in the U.S. or non-citizens performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.[137]

Campaign finance

Pence praised the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission when it was announced. Pence said:

Freedom won today in the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling in the Citizens United case takes us one step closer to the Founding Fathers’ vision of free speech, a vision that is cherished by all Americans and one Congress has a responsibility to protect. If the freedom of speech means anything, it means protecting the right of private citizens to voice opposition or support for their elected representatives. The fact that the court overturned a 20-year precedent speaks volumes about the importance of this issue.[138]

Pence described the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, known as McCain–Feingold, which regulates the financing of political campaigns, as “oppressive restrictions on free speech.”[139]

Earmarks