velopThe Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018, Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos — Story 2: Invincible Ignorance of Former FBI Directory James Comey: Revealed Partisan Bias And Failure To Disclose Clinton Campaign and DNC Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Was Basis of Surveillance of Trump Campaign! — Videos — Story 3: Rule 8: Tell The Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie — Buy and Read Jordan B. Peterson New Book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One-Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos

Edwin Starr – War (w/lyrics + Vietnam War footage)

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing
Songwriters: Barret Strong / Norman Whitfield
War lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Why Trump’s “limited strike” on Syria probably won’t work

Trump Orders Attack On Syria, Criticizes Russia And Iran

LIVE: Pentagon officials brief reporters on Syria air strikes

Mission accomplished!’ Trump touts success of Syria strike

The Monumentally Insane Thesis As to the Source of the Alleged Douma Gas Attack of Syrian ‘Rebels’

What does the US accomplish by striking Syria?

US, France and Britain launch missile strikes on Syrian weapons facilities

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Syria air strikes: The mood in Damascus – BBC News

Syria strikes: 12 hours in two minutes – BBC News

100 years of chemical weapons – BBC News

Theresa May defends Syria strikes in parliament

Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

Jeremy Corbyn: Launching Syria air strikes on humanitarian grounds “legally debatable” – BBC News

Protests in and out of Parliament over UK’s Syria airstrikes | ITV News

Russia’s ambassador to UN condemns airstrikes on Syria – Daily Mail

President Trump Announces Precision Strikes In Syria | NBC News

Mattis: Assad didn’t get the message last year

President Donald Trump Bombs Syria. Again.

Syrian MOAB: The Mother of All Bullsh*t — Here We Go Again, Sparky! Just When You Thought We Learnt

My Response to the Syria Strikes: Unhelpful, but Part of a Larger Situation

Daniel McAdams on What You Need to Know About Syria

Tucker: Why is Washington united behind a war in Syria?

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Act of War: The Real Reason Syria was Attacked

Trump launches airstrikes on Syria in response to ‘evil and despicable’ chemical attack by ‘monster’ Assad and directly challenges Putin for supporting ‘mass murder of innocents’

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in a Friday evening address
  • Strikes are in retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed up to 75 people people on April 7
  • Trump said combined operation with France and UK will continue until Assad stops using chemical weapons 
  • Warned Russia and Iran about their association with Assad, saying they’ll ‘be judged by the friends they keep’
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed’
  • Shortly after the attack, the Syrian presidency posted on Twitter: ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated’ 
  • Syrian state-run TV said three civilians have been wounded on the attack on a military base in Homs 

 

American, British and French forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

Donald Trump addressed the U.S. while British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both gave speeches justifying the use of force.

Trump delivered a national address just after 9 pm EDT as missiles rained down on three sites in Syria. He said he ordered the precision strikes in direct retaliation to Bashar al-Assad’s ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

‘This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.’ Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. ‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.’

Trump forcefully confronted Iran and Russia for aligning themselves with ‘barbarism and brutality’ and said the United States and its allies in the strike, France and Britain, are prepared ‘to sustain this response’ until Assad discontinues his use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons.

‘What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?’ Trump asked. ‘The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.’

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russia will respond either in the region or around the world

A chemical weapons scientific research center outside Damascus and a chemical weapons storage site and a command post west of Homs were hit in the attack that occurred in early Saturday morning local time.

Shortly after the assault, the Syrian government tweeted, ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated.’

State TV said the country’s air defenses shot down 13 missiles in the Kiswah area south of Damascus and claimed three civilians were wounded in the attack on the military base.

The strikes carried out by the United States consisted of more than 100 missiles, the Pentagon indicated, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis describing the number as ‘a little over double the number of weapons’ that were used in last year’s air assault on Syria.

That April 7, 2017 attack on a Syrian airbase after Assad’s confirmed use of chemical weapons on civilians consisted of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Mattis said the latest round of strikes ‘sent a very strong message’ to Assad and his ‘murderous lieutenants’ and that ‘right now this is a one-time shot’ driving home a message that conflicted with the president’s.

‘That will depend on Mr. Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future,’ Mattis said of future strikes.

In a news conference that followed Trump’s remarks, Mattis confirmed that chlorine gas, and possibly sarin, was used by Assad’s forces to poison Syrians a week ago.

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

A fighter jet lands at Akrotiri military British Royal Air Force Base, Cyprus, on Saturday, April 14

A fighter jet prepares to land at RAF Akrotiri, a military base Britain maintains on Cyprus

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission. Four Royal Air Force Tornado's took off to conduct strikes

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission.Four Royal Air Force Tornado’s took off to conduct strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Trump said the purpose of the U.S.-led strike was to ‘establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use’ of such chemical weapons. But he said America does not seek ‘an indefinite presence’ in Syria and looks forward to the day when it can withdraw its troops from Syria.

In a statement, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region.’

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity,’ she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed.’

‘We cannot tolerate the trivialization of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and our collective security,’ Macron said. ‘This is the direction of the diplomatic initiatives put forward by France at the United Nations Security Council.’

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (second from right) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon

A photo released on the Twitter page of the Syrian governments central military media shows anti-aircraft fire through a night-vision device on the outskirts of Damascus

Loud explosions rocked Syria’s capital and and lit up the sky with heavy smoke. Hours later crowds of Assad supporters gathered in the center of Damascus in a show of defiance.

Hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.

‘We are your men, Bashar,’ they shouted.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said that all three areas the coalition ‘struck and destroyed’ were specific to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

The scientific research center was used for the development and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology, he said. Another target, a storage facility west of Homs, was a primary location for sarin and precursor production equipment. The third target was a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command force.

General Dunford said U.S., British and French entrenched naval and air forces were involved, but for operational security, he would not be more specific than that.

The U.S. and the U.K. emphasized that steps had been taken to minimize civilian casualties.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime 'crossed a red line' with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers 

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime ‘crossed a red line’ with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a 'limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region'

‘We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,’ Trump in his address said.

He also said in the remarks that lasted a little more than eight minutes that he had a message for ‘two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime’ — Iran and Russia.

‘In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise,’ he said. ‘Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.’

He added, ‘Hopefully someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday strongly condemned the attacks on Syria and said Washington and its allies would bear the responsibility of the raids’ consequences in the region and beyond, Iranian state media reported.

‘Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence… will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism,’ Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Russian lawmaker and the deputy head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said Moscow was likely to call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the air strikes.

‘The situation is being analysed right now. Russia will demand a meeting of the U.N. security council, I am sure.’

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered 'precision strikes' on Syria in retaliation for the 'evil and despicable' poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in retaliation for the ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A poison gas attack killed up to 75 people that the U.S. and its allies say was carried out by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on April 7 in Douma near Damascus

'These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,' Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,’ Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

Trump also warned Russia and Iran about their association with the Syrian government. President Putin is pictured on April 12

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

My fellow Americans: a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.

Tonight I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force.

Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. the evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.

These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.

Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.

The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic.

We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents. I also have a message tonight for two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.

To Iran and to Russia I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.

In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.

Hopefully some day we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.

In Syria the United States with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.

The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS effort. Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS.

America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria. Under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home and great warriors they are.

Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny. No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.

In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of World War I, more than 1 million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.

So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality. Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions.

We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God there guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America. Thank you, and good night. Thank you

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States warned the White House on Friday that military strikes against its ally ‘will not be left without consequences’.

‘Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,’ Anatoly Antonov saidl ‘The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries,’ he added.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump ‘can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time – because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union,’ according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in a statement on Facebook, said the U.S. struck Syria when the country finally had a chance at peace.

‘One must be really exceptional to strike Syria’s capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future,’ she wrote.

Israeli officials backed the move, with an unnamed spokesman telling Reuters that the three allies were right to enforce the ban on chemical warfare.

‘Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom enforced that line,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also backed the attack. ‘Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria,’ Trudeau said.

‘Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.’

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

U.S. air strikes had been expected since harrowing footage surfaced of the aftermath of the toxic gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago. Trump had reacted with a tweet warning Assad and his allies that the action would not go unchecked.

‘Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,’ he declared. ‘President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.’

Trump told reporters that the list of people he’d punish included Russian President Vladimir Putin, if appropriate.

‘Everybody’s gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will,’ the U.S. president said.

After Russia rejected a U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing a probe of the gas attack and vowed to shoot down U.S. missiles fired upon Syria, Trump took aim at the Kremlin.

‘Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’ Trump tweeted.

The White House left open the possibility of direct, military engagement with Russia after the tweet.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, just brushed the rebuke off, however, saying, according to state media, ‘We cannot depend on the mood of someone on the other side of the ocean when he wakes up, on what a specific person takes into his head in the morning.’

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. 

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

The Friday night assault earned tepid support from Democrats in Congress who said they are awaiting additional information from the Trump administration about the targets and goals of the strike.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the upper chamber’s Intelligence Committee, said, ‘While the U.S. and our allies must not turn a blind eye to Assad’s vile and inhumane attacks against his own citizens, military action in Syria must be measured, as part of a coherent strategy to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons without further destabilizing an already-volatile region or inadvertently expanding the conflict.’

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said that Assad’s weapons attack was a ‘brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.

But she argued, ‘One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy.

‘The President must come to Congress and secure an Authorization for Use of Military Force by proposing a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians,’ the leading House Democrat insisted in a statement. ‘President Trump must also hold Putin accountable for his enabling of the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people.’

Vice President Mike Pence briefed Pelosi and other congressional leaders by phone after skipping a reception and rushing back to his hotel in Lima, Peru.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received calls notifying them of the action before the president’s address, the vice president’s communications director, Jarrod Agen, said. So did Pelosi. Pence was unable to reach Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer until afterward, Pence’s spokesman explained, because the top-ranking Democrat was on a flight.

The vice president was attending a summit in Peru on Friday in Trump’s stead. Trump called off his trip as he mulled how to respond to the attack in Syria.

House Speaker Paul Ryan meanwhile praised Trump’s ‘decisive action in coordination with our allies,’ adding, ‘We are united in our resolve.’

Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain applauded the airstrikes but said ‘they alone will not achieve U.S. objectives in the Middle East.’

‘I hope these strikes impose meaningful costs on Assad. The message to Assad must be that the cost of using chemical weapons is worse than any perceived benefit, that the United States and our allies have the will and capability to continue imposing those costs, and that Iran and Russia will ultimately be unsuccessful in protecting Assad from our punative response,’ McCain said in a statement.

Schumer said the airstrikes were ‘appropriate’ yet cautioned the Trump administration ‘to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.’

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there ‘is absolutely no question’ the gas attack merits a strong response. However, he said he remains concerned the U.S. will become mired in the ‘horrific and complex civil war that has been raging in Syria.

‘While these joint American, British and French strikes are morally justified against the Assad regime’s gassing of its own people, they take place with no congressional authorization,’ he asserted.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, also said: ‘President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless.

‘Last week, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. was leaving Syria imminently. This week, he is opening a new military front. Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but Presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn’t an imminent threat to American lives.’

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said his committee would convene a hearing next week on U.S. policy for the region. ‘The administration needs to begin fully explaining its strategy for the months ahead,’ he said.

‘Military force cannot be the only means of responding to these atrocities. The U.S. must leverage strong diplomacy and serious financial pressure. That’s why, last year, the House led in passing tough new sanctions against Assad and his enablers. The Senate needs to move this legislation to the president’s desk quickly.’

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest’: Theresa May’s statement in full

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

‘This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.

‘We are acting together with our American and French allies.

‘In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

‘The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.

‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

‘And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.

‘This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons.

‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

‘But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.

‘So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.

‘This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.

‘It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

‘At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women – and our French and American partners – who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism.

‘The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.

‘This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.

‘We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.

‘We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

‘History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.

‘That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do. ‘

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5614593/Donald-Trump-expected-make-major-announcement-Syria-9pm-ET.html#ixzz5CfdpDAFj

 

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Willful blindness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Willful blindness (sometimes called ignorance of law,[1]:761willful ignorance or contrived ignorance or Nelsonian knowledge) is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping himself or herself unaware of facts that would render him or her liable. In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225

Description

Willful blindness is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping oneself unaware of facts that would render liability.

Although the term was originally—and still is—used in legal contexts, the phrase “willful ignorance” has come to mean any situation in which people intentionally turn their attention away from an ethical problem that is believed to be important by those using the phrase (for instance, because the problem is too disturbing for people to want it dominating their thoughts, or from the knowledge that solving the problem would require extensive effort).

Precedent in the United States

In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225 In a number of cases in the United States of America, persons transporting packages containing illegal drugs have asserted that they never asked what the contents of the packages were and so lacked the requisite intent to break the law. Such defenses have not succeeded, as courts have been quick to determine that the defendantshould have known what was in the package and exercised criminal recklessness by failing to find out the package’s contents.[citation needed] Notably, this rule has only ever been applied to independent couriers, and has never been used to hold larger services that qualify as common carriers (e.g., FedExUnited Parcel Service, or the U.S. Postal Service) liable for the contents of packages they deliver.

A famous example of such a defense being denied occurred in In re Aimster Copyright Litigation,[2] in which the defendants argued that the file-swapping technology was designed in such a way that they had no way of monitoring the content of swapped files. They suggested that their inability to monitor the activities of users meant that they could not be contributing to copyright infringement by the users. The court held that this was willful blindness on the defendant’s part and would not constitute a defense to a claim of contributory infringement.

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Criminal Law – Cases and Materials, 7th ed. 2012, Wolters Kluwer Law & BusinessJohn KaplanRobert WeisbergGuyora BinderISBN 978-1-4548-0698-1[1]
  2. Jump up^ 334 F.3d 643 (7th Cir. 2003)

External links

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

James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
James Comey
James Comey official portrait.jpg
7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Deputy Sean M. Joyce
Mark F. Giuliano
Andrew McCabe
Preceded by Robert Mueller
Succeeded by Andrew McCabe (Acting)
31st United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
December 9, 2003 – August 15, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Larry Thompson
Succeeded by Paul McNulty
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
In office
January 7, 2002 – December 15, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Mary Jo White
Succeeded by David N. Kelley
Personal details
Born James Brien Comey Jr.
December 14, 1960 (age 57)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Political party Independent (2016–present)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Republican (before 2016)
Spouse(s) Patrice Failor
Children 5
Education College of William and Mary(BS)
University of Chicago (JD)
Signature

James Brien Comey Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer, who served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from September 4, 2013, until his dismissal on May 9, 2017.[2]Comey has been a registered Republican for most of his life but has recently described himself as unaffiliated.[3]

Comey was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and subsequently the United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005 in the administration of President George W. Bush. Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to be the Special Counsel to head the grand jury investigation into the Plame affair after Attorney General John Ashcroftrecused himself.

In August 2005, Comey left the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and became general counsel and senior vice president of Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland.[4] In 2010, he became general counsel at Bridgewater Associates, based in Westport, Connecticut. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He served on the board of directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013.[5]

In September 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Comey to the position of Director of the FBI.[6] In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clintonemail controversy. His role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly with regard to his public communications, was highly controversial.[7] Some analysts feel that Comey’s decisions might have cost Clinton the presidency. In one of those decisions, he reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before the election.[8][9][10] Comey also received heavy criticism from Republicans, in part after it was revealed that he had begun drafting an exoneration letter for Clinton before the investigation was complete.[11]

President Donald Trump dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017.[12][13][14] Statements from Trump and the White House suggested that he had been dismissed to ease the “pressure” Trump was under due to the Russia investigation.[15][16][17] Later that month he arranged for a friend to tell the press about a memo he had written after a February 14 private meeting with the president. It said Trump had asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor. The dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s subsequent Congressional testimony were interpreted by some commentators as evidence of obstruction of justice by the President, and became part of a widening investigation by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[18]

Early life

Comey was born in 1960 in Yonkers, New York, to parents Joan Marie Comey (née Herald)[19] and J. Brien Comey.[20] His grandfather, William J. Comey, was an officer and later commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department.[21] The family moved to Allendale, New Jersey, in the early 1970s.[22][23] His father worked in corporate real estate and his mother was a computer consultant and homemaker.[24] Comey is of Irish heritage.[25] He attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale.[26] Comey graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1982, majoring in chemistry and religion. His senior thesis analyzed the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelistJerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action.[27] He received his Juris Doctor(JD) from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.[28]

Early career (1985–1993)

After law school, Comey served as a law clerk for then-United States District Judge John M. Walker Jr. in Manhattan. Then, he was an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in their New York office. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked from 1987 to 1993. While there, he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and helped prosecute the Gambino crime family.[29]

Clinton administration (1996–2001)

Assistant U.S. Attorney

From 1996 to 2001, Comey served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.[10] In 1996, Comey acted as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee.[30] He also served as the lead prosecutor in the case concerning the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.[31] While in Richmond, Comey served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law.[28]

Bush administration (2002–2005)

U.S. Attorney

Comey was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from January 2002 to the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General on December 11, 2003.[28] Among his first tasks was to take over the investigation into President Bill Clinton‘s controversial pardon of Marc Rich.[30] In November 2002, he led the prosecution of three men involved in one of the largest identity fraud cases in American history.[32] The fraud had lasted two years and resulted in thousands of people across the country collectively losing well over $3 million.[32] He also led the indictment of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas for bank fraudwire fraud, and securities fraud. Rigas was convicted of the charges in 2004 and in 2005, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Adelphia Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy after it acknowledged that it took $3.3 billion in false loans. It was “one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history”.[33][34][35][36]

In February 2003, Comey was the lead prosecutor of Martha Stewart, who was indicted on the charges of securities fraudobstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent.[10] She sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, making $227,824. The next day, the Food and Drug Administration refused to accept the company’s application for Erbitux.[37] In March 2003, he led the indictment of ImClone CEO Samuel Waksal, who pleaded guilty to avoiding paying $1.2 million in sales taxes on $15 million worth of contemporary paintings. The works were by Mark RothkoRichard SerraRoy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning.[38] In April 2003, he led the indictment of Frank Quattrone, who allegedly urged subordinates in 2000 to destroy evidence sought by investigators looking into his investment banking practices at Credit Suisse First Boston.[39] In November 2003, he led the prosecutions in “Operation Wooden Nickel”, which resulted in complaints and indictments against 47 people involved in foreign exchange trading scams.[40]

Deputy Attorney General

NSA domestic wiretapping

In early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of its investigation into domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to certify the legality of central aspects of the NSA program.[41] In order for the program to continue, the certification was required under White House procedures.[42]

In March 2004, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller III and Comey threatened the Bush administration with their resignations if the White House overruled the DOJ finding that the domestic wiretapping under the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) was unconstitutional, if such were done without a court warrant.[43] On March 10, 2004, United States Attorney General (USAG) John Ashcroft was being visited by his wife as he was treated in the intensive care unit at the George Washington University Hospital. She solicited Mueller and Comey to join them, and shortly after their arrival, they were joined by Jack Goldsmith of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and Patrick Philbrin. In Goldsmith’s 2007 memoir, he said Comey had come to the hospital to give Ashcroft support in withstanding pressure from the White House.[44] None of the four visitors wanted the TSP reauthorized. After the quartet’s arrival, Ashcroft refused to give his consent to its extension, despite being pressured at the hospital soon afterward by Andrew H. Card Jr.White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then-White House counsel and future Attorney General. The two were requesting that Ashcroft waive the DOJ ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to continue beyond its imminent expiration date. Ashcroft additionally informed the pair that due to his illness, he had delegated his powers as USAG to Comey.[45][42] Comey later confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on May 16, 2007.[46][47][48][49][50][51] FBI director Mueller’s notes on the March 10, 2004, incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he “Saw (the) AG, John Ashcroft in the room (who was) feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.”[52]

Comey and Mueller withdrew their threats to resign after meeting directly on March 12, 2004, with President Bush, who gave his support to making requisite changes in the surveillance program.[53]

Enhanced interrogation techniques

When Comey was Deputy Attorney General in 2005, he endorsed a memorandum that approved the use of 13 enhanced interrogation techniques that included waterboarding[41] and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, which would be used by the CIA when interrogating suspects.[54][55] Comey objected to a second memorandum, drafted by Daniel Levin and signed by Steven G. Bradbury, which stated that these techniques could be used in combination.[54] Comey was one of the few members of the Bush administration who had tried to prevent or limit the use of torture.[56][57][58]

During his 2013 confirmation hearing, Comey stated that in his personal opinion, waterboarding was torture,[59] the United Nations Convention against Torture was “very vague” and difficult to interpret as banning the practice.[44] Even though the practice was legal at the time,[54] he strongly disagreed with the techniques and as a matter of policy, he opposed implementing them.[55][60] His objections were ultimately overruled by the National Security Council.[61]

Private sector (2005–2013)

In the fall of 2005, Comey announced that he was leaving the Department of Justice.[62] In August 2005, it was announced that Comey would enter the private sector, becoming the General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Department of Defense‘s largest contractor.[63] Comey’s tenure took effect on October 1, 2005,[64] serving in that capacity until June 2, 2010, when he announced he would leave Lockheed Martin to join the senior management committee at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment management firm.[65] Comey received a three million dollar payout from Bridgewater, and his net worth is estimated at 14 million dollars.[66][67] February 1, 2013, after leaving Bridgewater, he was appointed by Columbia University Law School as a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law.[68] He was also appointed to the board of directors of the London-based financial institutionHSBC Holdings,[69] to improve the company’s compliance program after its $1.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department for failing to comply with basic due diligence requirements for money laundering regarding Mexican drug cartels and terrorism financing.[70][71] Since 2012, he has also served on the Defense Legal Policy Board.[72]

Testimony before congressional committees

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

In May 2007, Comey testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the U.S. Attorney dismissal controversy.[62] His testimony contradicted that of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who had said the firings had been due to poor performance on the part of some of the dismissed prosecutors. Comey stressed that the Justice Department had to be perceived as nonpartisan and nonpolitical to function.[73]

The Department of Justice, in my view, is run by political appointees of the President. The U.S. attorneys are political appointees of the President. But once they take those jobs and run this institution, it’s very important in my view for that institution to be another in American life, that—because my people had to stand up before juries of all stripes, talk to sheriffs of all stripes, judges of all stripes. They had to be seen as the good guys, and not as either this administration or that administration.[73]

Supreme Court considerations

Politico reported in May 2009 that White House officials pushed for Comey’s inclusion on the short list of names to replace Associate JusticeDavid Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.[74]Politico later reported liberal activists were upset about the possibility of Comey’s name being included. John Brittain of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated, “[Comey] came in with the Bushies. What makes you think he’d be just an inch or two more to the center than [John] Roberts? I’d be greatly disappointed.”[75]

In 2013, Comey was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[76]

FBI Director

Comey, President Obama, and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller at Comey’s nomination to become FBI Director, June 21, 2013

Comey at the Oval Office following the San Bernardino shooting, December 3, 2015

Obama receives an update from Comey and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco on the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, June 12, 2016

May 2013 reports became official the following month when President Barack Obama revealed that he would nominate Comey to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing outgoing director Robert Mueller.[77][78][79] Comey was reportedly chosen over another finalist, Lisa Monaco, who had overseen national security issues at the Justice Department during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.[80][81]

On July 29, 2013, the Senate confirmed Comey to a full ten-year term as FBI Director. He was confirmed by a vote of 93-1. Two senators voted present.[82] He was sworn in as FBI director on September 4, 2013.[83] President Donald Trump fired him on May 9, 2017.[12]

Police and African Americans

Comey at annual FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute conference, May 25, 2016

In February 2015, Comey delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., regarding the relationship between police and the African American community.[84][85] He said that, “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo – a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups”, mentioning as an example his own Irish ancestors, who he said had often been regarded as drunks and criminals by law enforcement in the early 20th century. He added: “The Irish had some tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans”, going on to highlight current societal issues such as lack of opportunities for employment and education which can lead young black men to crime.[84] Comey stated:

Police officers on patrol in our nation’s cities often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color. Something happens to people of good will working in that environment. After years of police work, officers often can’t help be influenced by the cynicism they feel. A mental shortcut becomes almost irresistible.[84]

In October 2015, Comey gave a speech in which he raised concerns that body worn video results in less effective policing; this opinion contradicted the President’s public position.[86] Days later, President Obama met with Comey in the Oval Office to address the issue.[87] In an October 23 speech at the University of Chicago Law School, Comey said:

I remember being asked why we were doing so much prosecuting in black neighborhoods and locking up so many black men. After all, Richmond was surrounded by areas with largely white populations. Surely there were drug dealers in the suburbs. My answer was simple: We are there in those neighborhoods because that’s where people are dying. These are the guys we lock up because they are the predators choking off the life of a community. We did this work because we believed that all lives matter, especially the most vulnerable.[88]

Comments on Poland and the Holocaust

In April 2015, Comey spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, arguing in favor of more Holocaust education.[89] After The Washington Post printed a version of his speech, Anne Applebaum wrote that his reference to “the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary” was inaccurately saying that Poles were as responsible for the Holocaust as Germans.[90] His speech was also criticized by Polish authorities, and Stephen D. MullUnited States Ambassador to Poland, was called to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[91] Applebaum wrote that Comey, “in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself”.[92]

Ambassador Mull issued an apology for Comey’s remarks.[93] When asked about his remarks, Comey said, “I regret linking Germany and Poland … The Polish state bears no responsibility for the horrors imposed by the Nazis. I wish I had not used any other country names because my point was a universal one about human nature.”[94]

OPM hack

In June 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting the records of as many as four million people.[95] Later, Comey put the number at 18 million.[96] The Washington Post has reported that the attack originated in China, citing unnamed government officials.[97] Comey said: “It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”[98]

Hillary Clinton email investigation

On July 10, 2015, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.[7] On June 29, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton met aboard her plane on the tarmac of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, leading to calls for her recusal. Lynch then announced that she would “fully” accept the recommendation of the FBI regarding the probe.[7] On July 2, FBI agents completed their investigation by interviewing Hillary Clinton at FBI headquarters, following which Comey and his associates decided there was no basis for criminal indictments in the case.[7]

Release of information about the investigation

On July 5, 2016, Comey announced the FBI’s recommendation that the United States Department of Justice file no criminal charges relating to the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[99] During a 15-minute press conference in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Comey called Secretary Clinton’s and her top aides’ behavior “extremely careless”, but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”.[99] It was believed to be the first time the FBI disclosed its prosecutorial recommendation to the Department of Justice publicly.[99] On July 7, 2016, Comey was questioned by a Republican-led House committee during a hearing regarding the FBI’s recommendation.[100][101]

Comey’s October letter

On October 26, 2016, two weeks before the presidential election, Comey learned that FBI agents investigating an unrelated case involving former Congressman Anthony Weiner had discovered emails on Weiner’s computer between his wife, Huma Abedin, and Hillary Clinton.[7] Believing it would take months to review Weiner’s emails, Comey decided he had to inform Congress that the investigation was being reopened due to new information.[7]Justice Department lawyers warned him that giving out public information about an investigation was inconsistent with department policy, but he considered the policy to be “guidance” rather than an ironclad rule.[102] He decided that not to reveal the new information would be misleading to Congress and the public.[103] On October 28, Comey sent a letter to members of Congress advising them that the FBI was reviewing more emails. Members of Congress leaked the information to the public within minutes.[104] Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as the Clinton and Trump campaigns, called on Comey to provide additional details.

The Clinton campaign and numerous former officials and other commentators criticized his decision to announce the reopened investigation.[105][106][107][108][109][110] Law professor Richard Painter filed complaints with the United States Office of Special Counsel and the United States Office of Government Ethics over Comey’s letter to Congress.[111]

The investigators received additional resources so they could complete their review of the new emails before Election Day,[7] and on November 6, 2016, Comey wrote in a second letter to Congress that “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July”.[112]

Comey was broadly criticized for his actions from both the right and the left.[113][114] According to the Clinton campaign, the letters effectively stopped the campaign’s momentum by hurting Clinton’s chances with voters who were receptive to Trump’s claims of a “rigged system”.[115] Statistician Nate Silver said that Comey had a “large, measurable impact on the race”.[116][117][116][8] Other analysts, such as Democratic strategist David Axelrod, said that Comey’s public actions were just one of several cumulative factors that cost Clinton the election.[118][119] On May 2, 2017, Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off.”[120] On May 3, 2017, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election”, but that “honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”[121][122]

Investigations

On January 12, 2017, the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General announced a formal investigation into whether the FBI followed proper procedures in its investigation of Clinton or whether “improper considerations” were made by FBI personnel.[123]

On July 27, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee decided to request documents related to Comey, including the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, Comey’s conduct during the 2016 election, and his release of his memo to the press.[124][125] The committee’s Republicans also wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to appoint a second special prosecutor to investigate these issues.[126]

In September 2017, two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, alleged that Comey planned to exonerate Hillary Clinton in her email scandal long before the agency had completed its investigation.[127] The story was confirmed by the FBI in October, which released a Comey memo dated May 2. Comey interviewed Clinton as part of his investigation on July 2. Former FBI official Ron Hosko reacted saying, “You tend to reach final conclusions as the investigation is logically ended. Not months before.” Donald Trump called it “disgraceful.” In contrast, former Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller wrote on Twitter, “The decision is never ‘made’ until the end, even when there’s a 99% chance it is only going to go one way.”[128]

Comey’s original draft of the exoneration stated that Clinton had committed “gross negligence,” which is a crime. However, the language was later changed to “extreme carelessness.”[129] In December, it was revealed that the change had been made by Peter Strozk, an FBI official who would later join Mueller’s probe and be dismissed after exchanging private messages with an FBI lawyer that could be seen as favoring Clinton politically.[130]

Russian election interference investigation

On the day of Comey’s July press conference, the FBI acquired the Donald Trump-Russia dossier by Christopher Steele.[7] In late July, the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign.[7] Comey asked President Obama for permission to write an op-ed, which would warn the public that the Russians were interfering in the election. The President denied the request.[7] CIA Director John O. Brennan then gave an unusual private briefing on the Russians to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid; Reid then publicly referred to the briefing.[7] Comey, however, refused to confirm—even in classified Congressional briefings—that the Trump Campaign was under investigation.[7] In early October, meetings were held in the White House Situation Room; National Security Advisor Susan Rice argued that the information should be released, while Comey argued that disclosure was no longer needed.[7]

In January 2017, Comey first met Trump when he briefed the President-elect on the Steele dossier.[131] On January 27, 2017, Trump and Comey dined alone at the White House.[131] According to Trump, Comey requested the dinner so as to ask to keep his job and, when asked, told Trump that he was not under investigation. Trump has stated that he did not ask Comey to pledge his loyalty.[131] However, according to Comey’s associates, Trump requested the dinner, asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, twice, to which Comey replied, twice, that he would always be honest, until Trump asked him if he would promise “honest loyalty”, which Comey did.[131]

On February 14, the day after President Trump fired Michael T. Flynn, Comey met with the President during a terrorism threat briefing in the Oval Office.[132] At the end of the meeting Trump asked the other security chiefs to leave, then told Comey to consider imprisoning reporters over leaks and that “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”[132] Comey, as is usual, immediately documented the meeting in a memo and shared it with FBI officials.[132] In his Congressional testimony, Comey clarified that he took Trump’s comment to be “an order” to drop the Flynn investigation, but “that he did not consider this an order to drop the Russia investigation as a whole.”[133]

On March 4, 2017, Comey asked the Justice Department for permission, which was not given, to publicly refute Trump’s claim that his phones had been wiretapped by then-President Obama.[134]

On March 20, 2017, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirmed that the FBI has been investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether any crimes were committed.[135] During the hearing, the White House Twitter account posted “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process”, which Comey, when then read the tweet by Congressman Jim Himes, directly refuted.[136] Comey also refuted the President’s Trump Tower wiretapping allegations, testifying “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI”.[137]

Representative Chris Stewart asked Comey in the hearing: “Mr. Clapper then went on to say that to his knowledge there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. We did not conclude any evidence in our report and when I say ‘our report,’ that is the NSA, FBI, and CIA with my office, the director of national intelligence said anything – any reflection of collusion between the members of Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that in our report. Was Mr. Clapper wrong when he said that?” Comey responded: “I think he’s right about characterizing the report which you all have read.”[138] Press Secretary Sean Spicer and a White House tweet then highlighted this testimony as proof that Clapper was “right” there was no evidence of collusion, causing Clapper to release a statement clarifying he had been referring to the evidence as gathered in January and that more investigation is needed.[136]

On May 3, 2017, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey said that Russia is the “greatest threat of any nation on Earth … One of the biggest lessons learned is that Russia will do this again. Because of 2016 election, they know it worked.”[139] He also said that Russia should pay a price for interfering.[140]

In early May, a few days before he was fired, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in funding and personnel for the Russia probe.[13] On May 11, 2017, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he was unaware of the request and stated, “I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately.”[141][142]

Comey had been scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, but after he was dismissed on May 9, committee chair Senator Richard Burr said that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would appear instead.[143] Comey spoke before the Committee on June 8.[144][145] His prepared opening statements were pre-released by the Intelligence Committee on their website one day before the official hearings.[146][147][148]

Government surveillance oversight

In his July 2013 FBI confirmation hearing, Comey said that the oversight mechanisms of the U.S. government have sufficient privacy protections.[149] In a November 2014 New York Times Magazine article, Yale historian Beverly Gage reported that Comey keeps on his desk a copy of the FBI request to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. “as a reminder of the bureau’s capacity to do wrong”.[150]

In 2016, he and his agency were criticized for their request to Apple Inc. to install a “back door” for U.S. surveillance agencies to use. Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stated: “Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally. And, frankly, I think on balance that actually harms American safety and security, even though it might make Jim’s job a bit easier in some specific circumstances.”[151]

Comey, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in 2017, told the audience, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach.”[152]

Dismissal

File:'Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.' (C-SPAN).webm
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Comey: “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.”

Trump’s letter firing Comey

President Trump formally dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017, less than 4 years into his 10-year term as Director of the FBI. Comey first learned of his termination from television news reports that flashed on screen while he was delivering a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office.[153] Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination. Comey immediately departed for Washington, D.C., and was forced to cancel his scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[154] Trump reportedly called Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the next day, demanding to know why Comey had been allowed to fly back to Washington on an FBI jet after he had been fired.[155]

On May 10, Comey sent a letter to FBI staff in which he said, “I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.”[156] In the absence of a Senate-confirmed FBI director, McCabe automatically became Acting Director.[157]

Reasons for dismissal

The White House initially stated the firing was on the recommendation of United States Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney GeneralRod Rosenstein, both men whom Comey reported to.[158] Rosenstein had sent a memorandum to Sessions, forwarded to Trump, in which Rosenstein listed objections to Comey’s conduct in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.[159] This allowed the Trump administration to attribute Comey’s firing to Rosenstein’s recommendation about the Clinton email controversy. It was later revealed that on May 8, Trump had requested Sessions and Rosenstein to detail in writing a case against Comey.[160][161]Rosenstein’s memo was forwarded to Trump on May 9 and was then construed as a recommendation to dismiss Comey, which Trump immediately did. In Trump’s termination letter to Comey, he attributed the firing to the two letters from Sessions and Rosenstein.[162][163] On May 10, Trump told reporters he had fired Comey because Comey “wasn’t doing a good job”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the FBI rank and file had lost faith in Comey and that she had “heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision”.[165]

By May 11, however, in a direct contradiction of the earlier statements by the White House, Vice President Mike Pence, and the contents of the dismissal letter itself, President Trump stated to Lester Holt in an NBC News interview that Comey’s dismissal was in fact “my decision” and “I was going to fire [Comey] regardless of recommendation [by Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein].”[166][167] Trump later said of the dismissal “when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”[168] In the same televised interview, Trump labelled Comey “a showboat” and “grandstander”.

On May 19, the New York Times published excerpts of an official White House document summarizing Trump’s private meeting, the day after the firing, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov that he “just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Trump added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[17][169][170][171]

According to reports, Trump had been openly talking to aides about finding a reason to fire Comey for at least a week before both the dismissal and the requesting of memoranda from Sessions and Rosenstein the day prior to the dismissal. Trump was angry and frustrated when, in the week prior to his dismissal, Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He felt Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to internal leaks to the press from within the government.[163][172] Shortly before Comey was fired, Comey had requested additional money and resources to further expand the probe into Russian interference into the Presidential election.[13] Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty to Trump personally, and Comey’s judgment to act in accordance to a loyalty to Trump.[173] Moreover, Trump was angry that Comey would not support his claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped.[174]

Reference to tapes

On May 12, Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”,[175] which the media, political and legal analysts, as well as opposition politicians, interpreted as a threat to Comey.[176]

On June 8, when Comey was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee about the existence of tapes, he replied “Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would have no problem with the public release of any recordings.[177]

On June 22, faced with a subpoena for the tapes that Trump alluded to, Trump issued a tweet stating “I have no idea […] whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[178] Hours later, when asked to clarify the non-denial denial wording of Trump’s tweet regarding the tapes, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[179]Questions raised for clarification on Trump’s tweet centered principally around whether Trump ever had knowledge of said tapes having ever existed and whether he is simply no longer privy to the knowledge of whether said tapes still exist; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump having made said tapes or recordings, and; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump currently having or previously having had in their possession said tapes or recordings. U.S. Representative for California, Democrat Adam Schiff, stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers,” and that in any event, the tweet did not comply with the 23 June deadline, and that Schiff would move forward with subpoenas for the tapes, adding that “[r]egardless of whether the President intends his tweets to be an official reply to the House Intelligence Committee, the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[180]

Aftermath

Comey’s termination was immediately controversial. It was compared to the Saturday Night massacre, President Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal,[181][182] and to the firing of Acting Attorney GeneralSally Yates in January 2017. Many members of Congress expressed concern over the firing and argued that it would put the integrity of the investigation into jeopardy.[183] Critics accused Trump of obstruction of justice.[184]

In the dismissal letter, Trump alleged that Comey had told Trump “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.”[185] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record at that time of Comey directly stating that Trump was not personally under investigation.[186] However, in later Congressional testimony, Comey confirmed that on three occasions he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under FBI investigation.[187][188]

According to Comey associates interviewed by news organizations, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him, to which Comey demurred, instead offering him “honesty”.[131][189] Comey has indicated he is willing to testify about his dismissal in an open hearing.[190] He declined an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before a closed-door session.[190]

On May 11, Acting Director McCabe testified before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does” and that “the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey”. This contradicted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said she had heard from “countless” FBI agents in support of the firing.[191]

On May 16, The New York Times revealed the existence of a memo Comey had written after a February 14 meeting with Trump. It said that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Mike Flynn, who had been fired as National Security Advisor the day before.[192] Comey later explained that he had arranged, through a friend, for the memo to be shared with the press in hope it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.[193]

On June 8, 2017, Comey gave public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his firing. When asked why thought he had been fired, he said he had been confused by the shifting explanations for it but that “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[194] He said that he had made contemporaneous notes about several of his conversations with the president because “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I felt the need to document it.”[194]He said he had not done so with the two previous presidents he had served.

Writings

In August 2017, Macmillan Publishers‘ Flatiron Books announced that it had acquired the rights to Comey’s first book, to be released in spring 2018, in which he will discuss ethics, leadership, and his experience in government.[195] Several publishers had submitted bids in an auction conducted by literary agency Javelin.[196]

In November 2017, the title of his book was revealed to be A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership with a release date of May 1, 2018.[197][198] The release date was moved up to April 17 because of scrutiny faced by the FBI during the Special Counsel investigation.[199] On March 18, presale orders of the not-yet-released book made it the top seller on Amazon.[200] The boom was attributed to a series of Twitter attacks on Comey by Trump, in which Trump claimed that Comey “knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”[201] In response Comey tweeted, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”[200]

Comey confirmed that the Twitter account @projectexile7 (later changed to @formerbu), which uses “Reinhold Niebuhr” as its display name, is operated by him.[202]

Post-government life

In the summer of 2017, Comey gave the convocation speech and a series of lectures at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. During the fall of 2018, Comey will return to his alma mater, the College of William & Mary, to teach a course of ethical leadership. He will be an executive professor in education, a nontenured position at the College. Comey will join assistant professor Drew Stelljes to teach the course during the 2018-2019 academic year.[203]

Party affiliation

Although Comey was a registered Republican for most of his life, he disclosed during Congressional testimony on July 7, 2016, that he was no longer registered with any party.[1] Comey donated to Senator John McCain‘s campaign in the 2008 presidential election and to Governor Mitt Romney‘s campaign in the 2012 presidential election.[204]

Personal life

Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, are the parents of five children.[205] They have also been foster parents.[206] He is of Irish descent and was raised in a Roman Catholic household.[207][208] Comey subsequently joined the United Methodist Church, and has taught Sunday school.[205] He is 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall.[209]

References

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

Dismissal of James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letter from President Donald Trump dismissing FBI Director James Comey

James Comey, the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was dismissed by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.[1] Comey had been criticized in 2016 for his handling of the FBI‘s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy and in 2017 for the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections as it related to possible collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.[2][3]

Trump dismissed Comey by way of a termination letter in which he stated that he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.[4][5][6] In the following days, he gave numerous explanations of the dismissal that contradicted his staff and also belied the initial impression that Sessions and Rosenstein had influenced his decision.[7][8] Trump publicly stated that he had already decided to fire Comey;[9] it later emerged that he had written his own early draft of the termination letter,[10] and had solicited the Rosenstein memo the day before citing it.[11] He also stated that dismissing Comey relieved unnecessary pressure on his ability to engage and negotiate with Russia, due to Comey’s “grandstanding and politicizing” the investigation.[12][13] Trump was reportedly “enormously frustrated” that Comey would not publicly confirm that the president was not personally under investigation.[14] After his dismissal, Comey publicly testified to the Congress that he told Trump, on three occasions, that he was not personally under investigation in the counterintelligence probe.[15]

Shortly after his termination, in a move that he hoped would prompt a special counsel investigation, Comey asked a friend to leak excerpts to the press of a memo he had written when he was FBI Director, recounting a private conversation with Trump in February 2017.[16] According to Comey, Trump had asked him to “let go” of potential charges against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn whom Trump had fired the day before.[17][18] In light of the dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, several media figures, political opponents and legal scholars said that Trump’s acts could be construed as obstruction of justice, while others disagreed.[19][20][21][22]

Following Comey’s dismissal, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian meddling and related issues that Comey had supervised during his tenure.[23] Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.[24] [25]

Background

President Barack Obama (right) and James Comey (left) in the White House Rose Garden, Washington, D.C., June 21, 2013, as Obama announced Comey’s nomination as FBI Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President and, since 1972, confirmed by the Senate.[26] Beginning in 1976, the director’s term has been limited to ten years,[27] which is a relatively long tenure that is meant to deter political pressure.[28] The term can be extended with the approval of the Senate. Nevertheless, although the FBI director is appointed for a 10-year term, the president has the power to dismiss the director for any reason.

Before becoming FBI director, Comey, a registered Republican, served in the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Attorney General.[29] He was appointed FBI Director by President Barack Obama.[29] Comey was confirmedby the Senate in 2013 by vote of 93–1.[30]

During his tenure as director of FBI, Comey said there was a need for the Bureau to be independent from politics.[31] But, beginning in 2015 the Bureau became embroiled in investigations that affected the 2016 presidential election.[32] In March 2015, it came to light that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had used a private e-mail server for her work as Secretary of State under President Obama. The FBI launched an investigation to determine whether Clinton had violated the law and whether national security had been jeopardized. In July 2016 Comey announced that he was not recommending that any charges be brought against Clinton. The decision was decried by Republican leaders and candidates, including then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. In late October 2016, Comey announced that the investigation was being re-opened because of additional documents that had been obtained. Two weeks later he announced that no new information had been discovered and the investigation was again being closed.[33] The announcement of the re-opened investigation was seen by many observers as unnecessary and harmful to Clinton’s campaign, and the re-closing of that investigation was also met with complaints.[32][34]

On October 7, 2016,[35] the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly stated that individuals working on behalf of the Russian government had hacked servers and e-mail accounts associated with the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, and forwarded their contents to WikiLeaks.[36] This would be confirmed by numerous private security experts and other government officials. The FBI launched investigations into both the hackings, and contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

In January 2017, Comey testified to Congress confirming Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and confirmed an ongoing investigation although he refused to comment specifically on the Trump organization. President-elect Trump stated his intention to keep Comey as the FBI director. In March, Comey finally confirmed that the FBI was investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also refuted Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration had wiretapped him.[33]

During the weeks leading up to May 9, grand jury subpoenas were issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, to associates of Michael Flynn for the purpose of obtaining records relating to the investigation of Russia’s role in the election. News outlets became aware of these subpoenas on May 9.[37]

Trump’s dismissal of Comey on May 9, 2017—four years into Comey’s ten-year term[28]—raised the issue of possible political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by a leading law enforcement agency,[28] as well as other issues.[which?] Although presidents have occasionally clashed with FBI directors,[38] Comey was only the second director to be dismissed since the Bureau’s foundation.[28] The only other occasion was under “dramatically different circumstances”:[39] in 1993 President Bill Clinton fired FBI Director William S. Sessions after a Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility report—published under Clinton’s predecessor, George H. W. Bush—accused Sessions of tax evasion and other ethical lapses.[40][41]

In May, Comey gave additional testimony before the Senate regarding the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Russia probe.[33] News media reported that Comey had requested additional personnel from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to expand the probe into Russia interference.[42] Commenting on the matter, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe “said he was unaware of any such request” but left open the possibility that Comey had requested the president to shift existing resources to the Russian investigation.[43][44]

The dismissal

Comey‘s official portrait as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

On May 8, 2017, Trump directed Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to provide advice and input in writing.[45] On Trump’s direction, on May 9, Rosenstein prepared and delivered a memorandum to Sessions relating to Comey (Sessions and Rosenstein had already begun considering whether to dismiss Comey months earlier).[45] Rosenstein’s memorandum said that the “reputation and credibility” of the FBI had been damaged under Comey’s tenure, and the memo presented critical quotes from several former attorneys general in previously published op-eds; Rosenstein concluded that their “nearly unanimous opinions” were that Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was “wrong.”[5] In his memo Rosenstein asserted that the FBI must have “a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” He ended with an argument against keeping Comey as FBI director, on the grounds that he was given an opportunity to “admit his errors” but that there is no hope that he will “implement the necessary corrective actions.”[46] Rosenstein also criticized Comey on two grounds: for usurping the prerogative of the Justice Department and the Attorney General in his July 2016 public statements announcing the closure of the investigation into Clinton’s emails, and for making derogatory comments about Clinton in that same meeting.[47] Both of these actions, he argued, were in conflict with longstanding FBI practice. To Comey’s previous defense that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest, Rosenstein argued that in such a case, it is the duty of the Attorney General to recuse herself, and that there is a process for another Justice Department official to take over her duties.[48]

Termination letter

On May 9, 2017, President Trump sent a termination letter to James Comey:

Dear Director Comey:

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

— Donald J. Trump

Reasons for dismissal

Recommendations of the Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein

Letter from Atty. GeneralSessions recommending the dismissal

Opinion from Deputy Atty. Gen. Rosenstein (3 pages)

Sessions, in his letter to Trump, cited Rosenstein’s memo as the reason for his own recommendation that Comey be dismissed. In the dismissal letter, Trump cited the recommendations by Sessions and Rosenstein as the reason for Comey’s dismissal.[4][49] Immediately after Trump’s termination announcement. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sessions and other administration associates stated that Trump fired Comey solely on the recommendations of Sessions and Rosenstein.[50]

On September 1, 2017, The New York Times reported that Trump had drafted a letter to Comey over the weekend of May 4–7, 2017. The draft, which is now in the possession Special Counsel Mueller, was dictated by Trump and written up by Trump aide Stephen Miller. It notified Comey he was being fired and gave a several-page-long explanation of the reasons. The draft was described by people who saw it as a “screed” with an “angry, meandering tone”.[10] On May 8 Trump showed it to senior White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn. McGahn was alarmed at its tone and persuaded Trump not to send that letter. McGahn arranged for Trump to meet with Sessions and Rosenstein, who had been separately discussing plans to fire Comey. Rosenstein was given a copy of the draft and agreed to write a separate memo on the subject. His memo, delivered to Trump on May 9 along with a cover-letter recommendation from Sessions, detailed Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as the reason to dismiss him. Trump then cited Rosenstein’s memo and Sessions’ recommendation as the reason for terminating Comey.[10] Trump had previously praised Comey for renewing the investigation into Clinton’s emails in October 2016.[51]

Based on other reasons

Several other reasons were soon offered. On May 9, a statement by the White House claimed that Comey had “lost the support” of “rank and file” FBI employees, so that the President had no choice but to dismiss him.[52] However, FBI agents “flatly rejected” this assertion,[53] saying that Comey was in fact relatively well-liked and admired within the FBI.[54] In testimony given to the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabecontradicted the White House’s claim that Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI rank-and-file, saying that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI and does to this day.”[55] Comey, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, objected strongly to Trump’s description of the FBI as “in disarray” and “poorly led”. “The administration chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[56][57]

On May 10, Trump told reporters he fired Comey “because he wasn’t doing a good job”.[58] On May 11, Trump said that he was going to fire Comey irrespective of any recommendation from the Justice Department.[59][60] On May 18, Rosenstein told members of the Senate that he wrote the dismissal memo while knowing that Trump had already decided to fire Comey.[61] Rosenstein had been contemplating firing Comey for many months.[45]

Within a few days, Trump and other White House officials directly linked the dismissal to the FBI’s Russia investigation. During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump told the Russian officials “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” He added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[62][12] The comments were recorded in official White House notes made during the meeting.[63][64] On May 11 Trump told Lester Holt in an NBC News interview, “When I decided [to fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story”,[13] while reiterating his belief that there was no proof Russia was behind any election interference.[65][66] White House officials also stated that firing Comey was a step in letting the probe into Russian election interference “come to its conclusion with integrity”.[67][68] White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed the hope that firing Comey would help bring the Russia investigation to an end.[66]

Other reasons have been offered. Insider sources have claimed that Trump was furious at Comey for refusing during March to back up Trump’s wiretap accusations against former President Barack Obama, as well as not defending him from accusations of collusion with the Russian government.[69][70] According to Comey associates interviewed by The New York TimesAssociated Press, and CBS News, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge his loyalty to him, and Comey declined to make this pledge, saying that he would give him “honesty” and what Trump called “honest loyalty”.[71][72] Trump denied that he asked Comey for his loyalty, but says such a discussion would not necessarily have been inappropriate.[73] On June 7, 2017, during an interview with MSNBC, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that it’s “obviously” inappropriate for the president to ask the FBI director for loyalty.[74] According to sources, Comey’s unwillingness to offer personal loyalty to Trump was one of the reasons for the firing.[70][75] Another source told The Atlantic that Trump fired Comey because Trump was concerned about what Flynn would testify in court.[76] The next day, several FBI insiders said Comey was fired because “he refused to end the Russia investigation.”[77] Prior to the firing, senior White House officials had made inquiries to intelligence officials, such as “Can we ask [Comey] to shut down the investigation [of former national security adviser Flynn]? Are you able to assist in this matter?”[78] After his dismissal, Comey recounted that Trump had told him the following in March 2017: “If there were some satellite associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out there.”[79][80]

Announcement of dismissal

President Trump had the letter dismissing Comey delivered in a manila folder to FBI headquarters[69] in Washington on the evening of Tuesday, May 9, and a press statement was made by Sean Spicer at the same time.[47] Comey was in Los Angeles that day giving a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office, and Comey learned of the termination through a news report being telecast while he was speaking. (Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination.) Comey immediately left for Washington, D.C., and cancelled another scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[81]

Timing of the dismissal

Observers were suspicious of the timing of the dismissal, given the ongoing Russia investigation.[82][83][84] In an interview with CNN, President Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up of the Russia investigation.[85] The dismissal took place just a few days after Comey reportedly requested additional resources to step up the Russia investigation; however the Justice Department denied that such a request was made.[69][42] On May 9, before the dismissal, it was revealed that federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to Flynn’s associates, representing a significant escalation in the FBI’s Russia investigation.[37][86]

Comey was scheduled to testify at the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11.[87] Andrew McCabe, as acting FBI director, gave the report instead.[88]

Other events of May 9

On the same day, May 9, President Trump hired a law firm to send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any business or other connections to Russia, “with some exceptions”. The law firm itself turned out to have “deep ties” to Russia, and had even been selected as “Russia Law Firm of 2016”.[89][90] No evidence was provided in the letter itself, such as tax returns.[91] The letter was a response to earlier statements by Senator Lindsey Graham stating that he wanted to know whether there were any such ties.[3]

Reactions

Media reports cast doubt on the original justification for Comey’s dismissal; Trump’s decision to fire Comey had reportedly happened first, then Trump sought “advice and input” from Sessions and Rosenstein on May 8, who responded by writing letters to justify the decision.[9][45] Sessions and Rosenstein had already been considering whether to dismiss Comey before Trump decided to do so, with their stated objectives including restoration of the FBI’s credibility, limiting public announcements by the FBI, stopping leaks, and protecting the authority of the Department of Justice over the FBI.[45]

According to an anonymous source who spoke to The Washington Post, Rosenstein threatened to resign after his letter was cited as the primary reason for Comey’s dismissal.[92] Other media noted the disconnect between the dismissal and Trump’s praise of Comey’s actions in the campaign and throughout his presidency until a week beforehand.[93]

News commentators characterized the termination as extraordinary and controversial. CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went so far as to characterize it as an “abuse of power”.[94] It was compared to the Saturday Night MassacrePresident Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal.[95] John Dean, White House Counsel under President Nixon, called it a “a very Nixonian move” saying that it “could have been a quiet resignation, but instead it was an angry dismissal”.[96] Among the two reporters noted for investigating the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward said that “there is an immense amount of smoke” but that comparisons of the Comey dismissal to Watergate were premature,[97] while Carl Bernstein said that the firing of an FBI director overseeing an active investigation was a “potentially more dangerous situation than Watergate.”[98]

The New York Times Editorial Board published an editorial slamming the move, calling Trump’s explanation “impossible to take at face value” and stating Trump had “decisively crippled the FBI’s ability to carry out an investigation of him and his associates”.[99]

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer renewed his call for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in the election and its influence on members of the Trump campaign and administration.[100][101] Republican Senator John McCain renewed his call for a special congressional committee to investigate.[102] Democratic Representative Adam Schiff observed that Sessions had previously recused himself from involvement in the Russia investigation and suggested that recommending Comey’s termination violated that pledge because Comey was the lead investigator.[103] In addition to the criticisms from Democratic leaders, some Republican leaders also expressed concern, including Richard BurrRoy BluntBob CorkerJustin Amash, and others.[104][105] Other Republican leaders came to Trump’s defense including Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham.[106]

Senator Al Franken called Sessions’ actions in recommending Comey’s dismissal a breach by Sessions of his commitment in March 2017 to recuse himself from anything to do with the investigation into ties between Trump’s team and Russia, as well as from the Clinton email controversy. Franken called Sessions’ action a “complete betrayal” of his promise to recuse.[107]

Immediate response from the White House regarding concerns from congressional leaders and the media was limited. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Tucker Carlson of Fox News that it was time to “move on” from accusations of collusion between Trump and Russia, but added that “Comey’s firing would not impact the ongoing investigations”: “You will have the same people that will be carrying it out to the Department of Justice. The process continues both, I believe, in the House and Senate committees, and I don’t see any change or disruption there.”[108][109] Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up.[85] Trump furthermore commented on Twitter, mocking Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, saying that Schumer “stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant” and that Blumenthal “devised one of the greatest military frauds in U.S. history”.[110]

Post-dismissal

Criticism of Trump’s decision came immediately from various experts on governance and authoritarianism,[111][112][113][114] and various politicians from across the political spectrum.[100][101][115] Top Republican politicians supported the firing.[116] Many elected officials called for a special prosecutor or independent commission to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election,[115] while some Republicans stated that such a move would be premature.[116]

Reactions from within the FBI

File:FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey.webmhd.webm

‘FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey’. Video from Voice of America.

Comey was generally well-liked within the FBI, and his sudden dismissal shocked many FBI agents, who admired Comey for his political independence. Agents were stunned that Comey was fired in the midst of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[54][53] The dismissal reportedly damaged morale within the Bureau.[54][53] The way that Comey had first learned that he had been fired—from television news reports, while he was in Los Angeles—also angered agents, who considered it a sign of disrespect from the White House.[53]

Messaging from the White House

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Trump tweet “not a threat”, Spicer says. Video from Voice of America.

News reports indicated that President Trump continued to be surprised and frustrated by the reactions to Comey’s termination, both from the political leadership and from the media.[117][118] Administration officials struggled with messaging and media reports indicated frustration among the officials in trying to keep up with the President’s thinking. Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly rattled by the changing messaging as he attempted to support the President.[119] According to media sources, morale within the White House plummeted in the days immediately following and the President isolated himself not only from the media but from his own staff.[119] Interaction between the Press Secretary’s office and the President was strained. Following the termination announcement, Sanders took over press briefings from Press Secretary Sean Spicer, because Spicer had duties with the Navy Reserve.[120] Spicer eventually resumed the briefings.

On June 9, in response to Comey’s testimony the day before, Trump’s lawyer threatened to file legal complaints against Comey for sharing his memo with Richman and the press. Kasowitz said he intends to file a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, against Comey for revealing “privileged” information. However, the memo was not classified and Trump had not invoked executive privilege with regard to his discussions with Comey.[121] Also, the Inspector General has limited jurisdiction since Comey no longer works for the Justice Department.[122] Some commentators suggested the threat could amount to intimidation of a witness.[121] On June 28 Bloomberg reported that Trump’s attorneys are postponing the threatened complaint, although they still intend to file it eventually. The postponement is reportedly intended as a courtesy to Special Counsel Mueller and an attempt to back away from the White House’s confrontational attitude toward him.[123]

Succession

After Comey’s dismissal, FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe became the acting FBI Director.[53] Several people were interviewed to succeed Comey.[124] On June 7, 2017, on the day before Comey was to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee,[125] President Trump tweeted that he intended to nominate Christopher A. Wray as the new FBI Director.[126] Trump made Wray’s formal nomination to the Senate on June 26.[127] The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination on July 20.[128] The full Senate confirmed the appointment on August 1,[129] and he was sworn in the next day.[130]

FBI investigation of Russian interference

Assurances to Trump by Comey

In the Comey termination letter, Trump asserted that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he (Trump) was not under investigation.[131] The assertion was challenged.[132] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record, and the White House declined to provide any more detail.[133] According to a May 10 article in The Washington Post, sources knowledgeable about the matter stated that Trump’s assertion as well as other assertions made by Trump about events leading up to the dismissal were false.[11][134]

However, in the written opening statement for his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he had assured Trump on three separate occasions that he personally was not the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.[135] Comey said Trump repeatedly pressed for him to say so publicly.[135] Comey added that Trump’s private comments urging him to drop the Flynn probe led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful.[136] Comey also indicated that he had prepared notes on each of his interactions with Trump and had arranged for them to be publicly released.[136]

Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz declared in a statement that Comey’s testimony made Trump feel “completely and totally vindicated”.[137][138] However, on June 16 following newspaper reports that the special counsel is investigating him for obstruction of justice, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated” and called the investigations a “witch hunt”.[139] Trump’s lawyer later clarified that Trump has not been notified of any investigation.[140]

Possible existence of recordings

In a Twitter post on May 12, Trump implied that he might have recorded his conversations with Comey, saying, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”[141] The comment was taken by many Democrats and commentators as a threat, an attempt to intimidate Comey into not discussing his conversations with Trump during intelligence committee hearings.[142][143][144][145] Trump’s hint about secret tapes created pressure on him to make any tapes and other evidence available to investigators.[141] For more than a month thereafter, in interviews and White House briefings, Trump and his spokespersons refused to confirm or deny the existence of ‘tapes’, or to comment on whether there are listening or recording devices in the White House.[141][146]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey said “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would consent to the release of any such recordings.[147]

On June 9, members of Congress from both parties called on Trump to say once and for all whether any ‘tapes’ exist.[148] The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called for the White House to hand over any tapes, if they exist, to the committee, and threatened subpoenas if the White House did not comply with the deadline by June 23.

On June 22, Trump tweeted “I have no idea […] whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[149] Commentators noted that Trump’s tweet was a non-denial denial which merely denied personal involvement in the making of recordings and denied his present knowledge and present possession of said recordings. The tweet failed to deny that recordings do or did exist, that Trump ever had past knowledge of their existence, or that they may have been made by a third party other than Trump whom Trump is or was aware of.[150] When asked to clarify Trump’s tweet several hours later, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[151]

Schiff stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers” and that “the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[150] The White House responded on June 23 with a letter to House and Senate Committees which copied and pasted Trump’s non-denial denial tweet of the previous day.[152] On June 29, in a joint statement, the two leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they had written to the White House to press it to comply fully with their June 9 request, adding “should the White House not respond fully, the committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure a satisfactory response”.[153]

Comey memos

On May 16, 2017, it was first reported that Comey had prepared a detailed memo following every meeting and telephone call he had with President Trump.[154][18][155]

February 14 meeting

One memo referred to an Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, during which Comey says Trump attempted to persuade him to abort the investigation into Michael Flynn.[154][18][156] The meeting had begun as a broader national security briefing, the day after Trump had dismissed Flynn as National Security Advisor. Near the conclusion of the briefing, the President asked those in attendance other than Director Comey to leave the room—including Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions. He then reportedly said to Comey “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”[18] Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[18]

The White House responded to the allegations by stating that “the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” and “this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”[154]

Leaks to the press

The Comey memos were first mentioned in a May 16, 2017, New York Times article, published about a week after Trump had dismissed Comey as FBI director, and four days after he had implied on Twitter that his conversations with Comey may have been recorded.[141]The report cited two people who read the memos to the Times reporter.[18] The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post independently reported on the memos’ existence.[154][157]

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey revealed that he had been the source, through a friend (later revealed to be Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman), of the public revelation of his February 14 memo. He said he decided to make it public in hopes that it might “prompt the appointment of a special counsel”. Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.[16]

On May 19, another friend of Comey, Lawfare Blog founder Benjamin Wittes, came forward as the principal source for the initial New York Times story.[158]

Congressional requests

Rep. Jason Chaffetz‘s letter to FBI demanding to produce all Comey memos

After the NYT report, leaders of the House Oversight Committee and Intelligence Committee, as well as those of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee, requested the production of all Comey memos, with a deadline of May 24. On May 25, the FBI said it was still reviewing the Committees’ requests, in view of the appointment of the special counsel.[159] To date,[when?] the Comey memos have still not been produced or released to the public.

Motivation

The New York Times reported that Comey had created the memos as a “paper trail” to document “what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation”.[18] Comey shared the memo with “a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department.”[157] Comey and other senior FBI officials perceived Trump’s remarks “as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret—even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation—so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.”[18]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey explained that he had documented his conversations with Trump because he “was honestly concerned he (Trump) might lie” about them. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened,” he said.[56] The Washington Post reported that two Comey associates who had seen the memo described it as two pages long and highly detailed.[157] The Times noted that contemporaneous notes created by FBI agents are frequently relied upon “in court as credible evidence of conversations.”[18]

Legal considerations

Several Republican politicians and conservative journalists asserted that Comey could be subject to legal jeopardy for not disclosing the contents of his memos around the time he wrote them. Several legal experts, including Alan Dershowitz and Robert M. Chesney, contested this view.[160]

Anonymous officials told The Hill that 4 of the 7 memos contained information deemed “secret” or “classified”.[161][162] Comey testified that he deliberately wrote some memos without classified information so that they could be shared.[163]

Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz criticized Comey for leaking the contents of his memos to the press, saying that they were “unauthorized disclosures”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Comey for leaking to the press and alleged that he broke the law. Sanders cited an article by the legal analyst Jonathan Turley which alleged that Comey broke his employment agreement and FBI protocol.[165]

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post analyzed Turley’s arguments and contested Sanders’ claims that Comey’s actions were “illegal”.[165] Turley himself has contested Kessler’s legal analysis of Comey’s actions.[166] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladecksaid that there would “no legal blowback” for Comey, unless “the memos involve ‘information relating to the national defense'” or deprived “government of a ‘thing of value'”.[167] Bradley P. Moss, a partner in the law office of Mark Zaid, argued that Comey’s actions were legally justified by laws protecting whistleblowers from unjust persecution.[168]

Pursuit of leakers

According to a Washington Post report, the memos also document Trump’s criticism of the FBI for not pursuing leakers in the administration and his wish “to see reporters in jail”.[157] The report outraged journalists and free-speech groups, who likened the statement to intimidation tactics used by authoritarian regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron were among those who criticized the statement.[169]

Appointment of special counsel

Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters

Immediately after Comey’s dismissal, many Democrats renewed their calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election. Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and D.C. signed a letter calling for a special prosecutor.[170]

The White House continued to insist that no special prosecutor was necessary in the Russia investigation, instead saying that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the next FBI director could lead the investigation.[171] The White House has also said that it was “time to move on” after the 2016 election.[108] President Trump tweeted that Democratic members of Congress calling for a special prosecutor and criticizing the dismissal of Comey are “phony hypocrites!”[172]

On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as acting Attorney General, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.[23][173] The Trump administration cited an obscure ethics rule to suggest that Mueller might have a conflict of interest.[174] On May 23, 2017, Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[175]

On June 3, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller, if he were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in Comey’s dismissal.[176] In that event, the third senior officer in the Justice Department would take over the supervision of Mueller’s investigation—namely, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[177]

Reactions from Congress

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‘Trump’s Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm’ – video from Voice of America

Several Democratic members of Congress – among them, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and California Rep. Maxine Waters – and some commentators suggested that Trump’s rationale for Comey’s dismissal in the interview amounted to a de facto admission to obstruction of justice.[178][179][180][181][182] Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democratic member said it was “extremely important that Comey come to an open hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as quickly as possible and testify as to the status of the U.S.–Russia investigation at the time of his firing”.[87]

Among members of Congress:

  • 138 Democrats, two independents (Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and two Republicans (Representatives Mike Coffman[183] and Tom McClintock), called for a special prosecutor, independent prosecutor, or an independent commission to examine ties between the Russian government and Trump’s associates.[115]
  • 84 Democrats and five Republicans called for an independent investigation into Russian ties. For example, Republican Senator John McCain said “I have long called for a special congressional committee” while Democratic Representative Salud Carbajal stated, “anything less would imperil our democracy”.[115]
  • 42 Republicans, and 8 Democrats, expressed “questions or concerns” about Comey’s firing; examples of members of Congress in this group are Republican Senator Marco Rubio (“I do have questions”); Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (“serious cause for concern”); Democratic Representative Marcia L. Fudge (“the American people deserve answers”).[115]
  • 98 Republicans, but no Democrats, were neutral or supportive of Comey’s firing.[115]
  • 141 Republicans and 11 Democrats did not release a statement.[115]

Multiple Democratic members of Congress discussed an “impeachment clock” for Trump, saying that he was “moving” toward impeachment and raising the possibility of bringing forth articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice and criminal malfeasance if proof of illegal activity is found.[184][185] Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated in an interview: “It may well produce another United States v. Nixon on a subpoena that went to United States Supreme Court. It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.”[186]

Congressional testimony by Comey

On May 10, 2017, the day after being fired by Trump, Comey was invited to testify before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16, 2017.[187][188][189] Comey declined to testify at a closed session, indicating that he would be willing to testify at a public, open hearing.[190][191] On May 17, the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to testify publicly.[192] Comey accepted the invitation and testified on June 8.[193][194]

On June 7, 2017 an advance copy of Comey’s prepared congressional testimony was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee.[195] In it, he said that on February 14, 2017, the President attempted to persuade him to “let go” of any investigation into Michael Flynn.[17] He clarified that “I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”[196] He added that Trump requested his personal loyalty, to which Comey replied he would give his “honest loyalty” to the President.[196]

Comey stated that, on three occasions, he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under investigation.[196][15] Comey stated that Trump requested that he publicly declare this so that his image could be improved, but Comey also stated that he did not respond to Trump’s request with an explanation of why he would not do so; Comey testified that his primary reason for not publicly saying Trump was not under investigation was to avoid a “duty to correct” in the event Trump later became subject to investigation.[197][198]In the termination letter of May 9, 2017 Trump said “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….”[131]

In his live testimony, Comey was asked why he thought he was fired and he replied, “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[199] He took strong exception to Trump’s claims that he had fired Comey because the FBI was in “disarray” and “poorly led”, saying “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[200] Comey also confirmed that the FBI investigations had not targeted Trump personally.[201]

In June 9 and June 11 Twitter comments on Comey’s testimony, Trump accused Comey of “so many false statements and lies” and “very cowardly” leaks but added that Comey’s testimony had amounted to “total and complete vindication” of Trump. Later that day Trump held a brief news conference, during which he insisted that he did not ask Comey to end the investigation into Flynn and was willing to say so under oath. He twice dodged questions about whether there are tapes of White House conversations.[202][203]

Commentary

Scholars

A number of professors of law, political science, and history have criticized the firing and argue that Trump’s action destabilizes democratic norms and the rule of law in the U.S.[111][112][113][114][204][205][206][207] Some have argued that Trump’s action creates a constitutional crisis.[112] Parallels have been drawn with other leaders who have slowly eroded democratic norms in their countries, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; political science professor Sheri Berman said those leaders slowly “chipped away at democratic institutions, undermined civil society, and slowly increased their own power.”[114]

In a May 2017 essay published in The Washington PostHarvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe wrote: “The time has come for Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.” Tribe argued that Trump’s conduct rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.[208][209] He added, “It will require serious commitment to constitutional principle, and courageous willingness to put devotion to the national interest above self-interest and party loyalty, for a Congress of the president’s own party to initiate an impeachment inquiry.”[208]

Duke law professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel W. Buell said that Trump’s attempt to quiet Comey by referencing secret tapes of their conversations in retaliation could be viewed as an effort to intimidate a witness to any future investigation on obstruction of justice.[191]

GW Law professor Jonathan Turley, who participated in impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, cautioned that the Comey memo is not a sufficient basis for impeachment, and raises as many questions about Comey’s behavior as about Trump’s.[210][211]

Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith says that claims of “grandstanding” or “politicization” by Comey of the FBI probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia were unsubstantiated. Goldsmith wrote, “the only thing Comey ever said publicly about the investigation into the Russia-DNC Hack-Trump Associates imbroglio was to confirm, with the approval of the Attorney General, its existence.”[212][non-primary source needed]

New York University law professor Ryan Goodman wrote, “if President Donald Trump orchestrated the decision to fire the Director of the FBI to subvert or undermine the integrity of investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia, it may amount to an obstruction of justice.”[213][214]

A report published by the Brookings Institution in October 2017 raised the question of obstruction of justice in the dismissal of Comey, stating that Trump, by himself or conspiring with subordinates, may have “attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election”.[215] The report put aside the subject of impeachment pending the outcome of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.[216][217][218]

Comey memos and obstruction of justice

Legal experts are divided as to whether Trump’s alleged request that Comey end the investigation can be considered obstruction of justice.[219] Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University Law School and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University have argued that the request does not neatly fit into any of the practices commonly considered to fall under the obstruction of justice statute.[220] Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Julie O’Sullivan of the Georgetown University Law Center argued that it is hard to prove that Trump had an intent to obstruct the investigation.[221] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that “it’s a very, very high bar to get over obstruction of justice for a president.”[222] Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith noted that it was implausible to indict a sitting president, noting that “the remedy for a criminal violation would be impeachment” instead.[223] Erwin Chereminsky of University of California, Irvine School of Law, have argued that it was obstruction of justice.[224]

Noah Feldman of Harvard University noted that the alleged request could be grounds for impeachment.[225] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said that it was reasonable for people to “start talking about obstruction”.[223] Harvard law professor Alex Whiting said that Trump’s actions were “very close to obstruction of justice … but still isn’t conclusive”.[226] Christopher Slobogin of Vanderbilt University Law School said that a “viable case” could be made but that it was weak.[224] John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, called the memo about the private conversation with President Trump concerning the Flynn investigation a “smoking gun” and noted that “good intentions do not erase criminal intent”.[227]

Comey testimony and obstruction of justice

In Comey’s June 8 testimony, he said it was not for him to say whether Trump’s February 14 request amounted to obstruction of justice, adding “But that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward, to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”[228] Some legal experts have said that Comey’s testimony advanced the argument that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in his dealings with then-FBI Director James Comey.[229] Diane Marie Amann of University of Georgia, Paul Butler of Georgetown University, Brandon Garrett of University of Virginia, Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University, Alexander Tsesis of Loyola University, and Alex Whiting of Harvard University said that an obstruction of justice case was advanced by the fact that Comey understood Trump’s words as an order to drop an ongoing FBI investigation.[229][230][231] Joshua Dressle of Ohio State University and Jimmy Gurulé of University of Notre Dame said after the testimony that “a prima facie case of obstruction of justice” had been established.[229]Samuel Gross of University of Michigan and Dressle said that there were sufficient grounds to indict Trump for obstruction of justice were he not President, but that a sitting President cannot be indicted, only impeached.[229] Samuel Buell of Duke University said, “Based on Comey’s testimony, we know to a virtual certainty that the President is now under investigation for obstruction of justice.”[231] Mark Tushnet of Harvard University said that there are “lots of pieces of evidence that could go into making a criminal case and very little to weaken such a case but nothing that in itself shows criminal intent.”[229]

Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC News om June 11, 2017, “there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” regarding obstruction of justice by Trump.[232] Bharara went on to note, “No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. [But] there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.”[232]

Media

Many media outlets continued to be highly critical of the move. For many critics, the immediate worry was the integrity of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.[233] Some commentators described Comey’s firing by the Trump administration as a “Nixonian” act, comparing it to Richard Nixon’s orders to three of his cabinet officials to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation. A number of commentators – including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, former CBS Newsjournalist Dan Rather, and former New Yorker editor Jeffrey Frank – accused the Trump administration of a cover-up by firing Comey with the intent to curtail the FBI’s investigation out of fear of a possible discovery of the extent of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.[234][235][236] Soon after Trump’s election, Benjamin Wittes writing in Lawfare had predicted a future firing of Comey, writing “If Trump chooses to replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.”[237] Immediately after the dismissal, they reiterated their position, stating that Trump’s firing of Comey “undermines the credibility of his own presidency” and implying that the reason given for it was probably a pretext, as Trump had previously praised Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.[48]

Some commentators observed an emerging pattern of Trump firing government officials involved in investigating his interests: Sally YatesPreet Bharara, and Comey.[238][239]

Other media outlets were more supportive. Some sources have stated that, regardless of circumstances, Comey had lost the confidence of the political leadership on all sides of the spectrum and, therefore, his termination was unavoidable in spite of criticizing the president’s handling of it and questioning his motives.[240] Some went so far as to decry Democrats and other Trump opponents who criticized the termination after previously having criticized Comey himself for the handling of the Clinton scandal.[241] A few called for a re-opening of the Clinton investigation now that Comey had left.[242]

French daily Le Monde described the firing as a “coup de force” against the FBI.[114] German magazines Der Spiegel and Bild drew parallels with Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, with Der Spiegel saying that “few believe” that Comey was not fired for overseeing a criminal probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia.[114][243] The Economist wrote in an editorial that Comey’s firing “reflects terribly” on Trump and urged “principled Senate Republicans” to put country before party and establish “either an independent commission” similar to the 9/11 Commission, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations, with either body to have “substantial investigatory resources” and subpoena power.[244]

References

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018,  Story 1: Trump Declares Trade War With Huge Tax/Tariff Increase on Steel and Aluminum Imports — Government Intervention or Meddling Is Not The Answer — Currency Wars Lead To Trade Wars Lead To Real Wars — Competition and Consumer Sovereignty Is The Answer — Big Government Interventionist Trump The New Hoover/Roosevelt/Nixon Progressive Interventionist and Big Spender — Decline and Fall of The American Empire — QT — Quantitative Tightening and Inflation — Videos — Story 2: New Cold War and Arms Race Between United States and Russia — Targeting Trump in Florida — Videos

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Republicans furious as Trump announces huge new tariffs: ‘A massive tax increase on American families’

President Donald Trump.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday announced new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, setting off a firestorm among Republicans.
  • Sen. Ben Sasse called the move “a massive tax increase on American families.”
  • Conservative policy groups also came out against the move.

Republicans and conservative groups were furious with President Donald Trump’s Thursday’s announcement that the US would impose new tariffs — taxes on imports — of 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum.

The move is designed to boost domestic production of US metals, but economists, lawmakers, and even many White House officials are worried it could lead to devastating consequences for the US economy.

In response, several Republicans painted Trump’s announcement as a grave mistake.

“Let’s be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families,” Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in a statement. “Protectionism is weak, not strong. You’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a key figure in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement who supports free-trade policies, also urged Trump to reconsider.

“Tariffs on steel and aluminum are a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford,” Hatch said in a statement. “I encourage the president to carefully consider all of the implications of raising the cost of steel and aluminum on American manufacturers and consumers.”

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-highest-ranking member of the Republican Senate leadership, told Business Insider that the move was coming from a good place but could lead to negative outcomes such as a trade war.

“Obviously we don’t want to be taken advantage of by our trading partners, but then there is always a danger of retaliation and creating trade wars,” Cornyn said. “So it’s a very delicate balance.”

Cornyn also said that while senators knew the decision was “imminent,” the announcement on Thursday was unexpected.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the head of the agriculture committee, told CNN that the move would be likely to lead to retaliation against American farmers.

“Every time you do this, you get a retaliation, and agriculture is the No. 1 target,” Roberts said. “I think this is terribly counterproductive for the ag economy, and I’m not very happy.”

In addition to lawmakers, conservative action groups joined the pile-on. Adam Brandon, the president of FreedomWorks, said the decision could reverse economic gains from the new GOP tax law.

“The Trump administration would mar its otherwise strong economic record by imposing these tariffs,” Brandon said in a statement. “These could be a lethal blow to all the economic success this administration has ushered in. Higher costs to producers and distributors of goods always get passed on to us, the consumers.”

Joe Perticone contributed reporting.

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-tariff-on-steel-aluminum-imports-republicans-blast-2018-3

 

Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs could rattle Canada’s economy and NAFTA

  • Canada’s weak economy had GDP growth of 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, and its stock market is down 5 percent year-to-date.
  • Canada exports nearly 90 percent of its steel to the U.S., the most of any country.
  • Canada accounts for 41 percent of America’s aluminum imports.
  • Tariffs could impact the interconnected supply chain of many industries, including autos, and this could hurt NAFTA renegotiation talks.
  • On Monday Trump signaled he may drop tariffs if a ‘fair’ NAFTA agreement is signed.
Bryan Borzykowski, special to CNBC.com

Canada's Justin Trudeau: Tariffs 'absolutely unacceptable'

Canada’s Justin Trudeau: Tariffs ‘absolutely unacceptable’  

There’s never a good time for a trade war, but for Canada the announcement of possible tariffs on steel and aluminum imports comes at a particularly difficult moment for the country.

The Great White North is currently engaged in what’s become a bitter battle over NAFTA’s future, and it was announced Friday that its GDP grew at 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, much slower than the 4 percent it was growing at previously. Its stock market is down about 5 percent year-to-date and was flat over the last 12 months.

On Monday, Trump tweeted that his hasty announcement may not be implemented for Canada and Mexico if a fair NAFTA agreement is negotiated. Canadian market watchers are hoping this will be the case.

After aerospace-related trade flare-ups, fights over softwood lumberand President Donald Trump’s continuous verbal jabs at the country, the last thing Canada needs now is to get into another cross-border brawl.

“Canada seems to get kicked when they’re down,” said Barry Schwartz, vice president and chief investment officer at Baskin Financial Services, a Toronto-based wealth management firm. “We’re dealing with so many things at the same time, and Canada hasn’t even done anything wrong.”

The hit on Canada’s economy

Imports on tariffs could hit the country particularly hard. Canadaexports nearly 90 percent of its steel to the United States, while it accounts for 16 percent of all U.S. steel imports, the most out of any country. It also accounts for 41 percent of America’s aluminum imports. Trump’s main target in this, China, barely exports any steel to the United States, with America ranking 26th as a destination for Chinese steel imports, according to the International Trade Administration.

While there aren’t publicly listed steel and aluminum companies in Canada of any significance anymore — they were all bought in the mid-2000s by larger international concerns when demand for commodities from China was soaring — putting a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum should make goods in other sectors, such as auto, defense and aerospace, more expensive to produce and pricier to buy. If that happens, then people and companies may spend less in other areas, which could then impact a number of sectors.

Here’s how Trump’s tariffs could affect Canada

Here’s how Trump’s tariffs could affect Canada  

“Resources will be shifted toward these two sectors and away from everything else,” said John Curtis, a senior fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute and the founding chief economist at what used to be Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. “That means people will have to pay more, so they’ll buy less of everything else in the economy.”

Where a steel tariff might have the most impact, though, is on Canada and America’s interconnected supply chain, of which many companies big and small are a part of, Curtis said. For instance, cars assembled in Canada have parts made in the United States and vice versa. Cars are often being shipped back and forth between the two countries until final assembly.

“Parts move back and forth until it might finally get made in Canada,” said Patrick Leblond, a senior fellow the Ottawa’s Centre For International Governance Innovation. “Then that car will get exported back to the U.S. Is there going to be tax every time that happens?”

Trade war worries

Steel and aluminum tariffs should be worrisome for companies and investors alike, but the big question that everyone has on their minds now is, what does this mean for NAFTA?

That question likely won’t be answered anytime soon. In a tweet Monday morning, Trump called out Canada: “We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must treat our farmers much better.”

Threatening to remove tariffs only if the administration gets what it thinks is a good deal from NAFTA surely won’t go over well with Canada and Mexico. (And the United States has a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.)

Still, Leblond doesn’t think these tariffs will impact discussions, as negotiators likely are focused more on technical and legal issues right now than steel. Also, when the U.S. slapped a 20.8 percent tariff on Canadian lumber producers for softwood lumber imports, NAFTA talkskept going. (Canada did take its fight with the United States to the World Trade Organization, though.)

However, it certainly doesn’t help things, Curtis said, and could make negotiations much more awkward and tense. Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, who is part of the negotiating team, said sternly that these tariffs were “absolutely unacceptable” and that Canada is prepared to “take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed Freeland’s comments, adding that “any disruption to this integrated market would be significant and serious.”

Some market analysts do foresee a grave threat to NAFTA in Trump’s tariff move. But if Canada and other countries do indeed retaliate with tariffs of their own and a trade war begins in earnest, then whether NAFTA stays or goes could ultimately be of lesser importance. It could upend global trade as we know it, Leblond said. He’s particularly concerned about Trump using a national security excuse to impose tariffs.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said it’s a double-edged sword in terms of the NAFTA negotiations. Unless Canada gains an exemption, a war of words and actions on trade isn’t a helpful backdrop for reasoned negotiations. But it also helps satisfy Trump’s protectionist voting bloc, perhaps easing the pressure on the White House to take a hard line on the NAFTA deal.

These sorts of disputes underscore why Canada believes that the appeal process under NAFTA is a critical piece of the puzzle. The Trump administration wants a deal that excludes that provision, but without it Canada can face spurious rulings against its exports even with a “free trade” agreement in force, Shenfeld said. “The latest claim, that U.S. national security is imperiled by the use of Canadian steel or aluminum in U.S. manufacturing, seems baseless, considering that Canada has been America’s steadfast ally,” he said.

“If everyone can now say we’re going to impose tariffs because we need to protect what’s important and use national security as a justification, then everyone will lose,” Leblond said. “[Canada] could put a ban on California wine; China could impose constraints on intellectual property rights or innovation. The fear is that it will undermine the WTO process, and for what? To protect a small portion of U.S. manufacturing jobs?”

Sagging stocks

While things could change between now and April 11, when Trump will decide whether to impose the steel tariff, and April 19, when he must make a decision on aluminum tariffs, stocks have taken a hit from the announcement.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index representing Canadian stocks hasn’t been hit as hard as the S&P 500 — the market is almost flat now since the announcement — but some companies have seen their share prices decline more significantly. Global auto parts supplier Magna, for example, is down 3.9 percent and shares of aerospace giant Bombardier fell by nearly 6 percent when the markets opened Friday but have regained some ground since.

More from Global Investing Hot Spots:

If Trump thinks he’s taking a trade war to China, he’s not

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Risky retirement investors reaching for income in foreign bonds

Jeff Mills, managing director and co-chief investment strategist at Pittsburgh-based PNC Asset Management Group, isn’t surprised that stocks in the United States and elsewhere are selling off post-announcement, though U.S. stock did rebound on Friday afternoon.

“The policy change will very likely increase costs for all consumers, which means it will serve to reduce some of the benefit of the recently passed tax bill,” he said. “Markets are now worried about countermeasures from other countries, and investors are starting to wonder what other protectionist measures Trump could take.”

Baskin Financial’s Schwartz doesn’t think the Canadian stock market will take that much of a hit over these tariffs specially — the S&P/TSX is already underperforming other markets – but if a trade war heats up then stocks in Canada and around the globe will see big declines.

“Who knows what will happen, but I presume the direction would be negative,” he said. “The price of goods for everything around the world would go up, inflation would rise, and while companies ultimately adjust to inflation, stocks will be negative while that adjustment period happens.”

Global investors can’t do much now, added Mills, as the exact details are still largely unknown, though he does think, generally, people should be making sure they’re comfortable with the risk they’re taking in their portfolios. Any investors interested in Canada, though, should hope that Trump, at the very least, makes the country tariff-exempt.

“Canada is probably the most penalized as things stand today,” Mills said. “Perhaps cooler heads prevail over the weekend and the tariffs end up being less broad-based.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/02/trumps-steel-aluminum-tariffs-may-rattle-canadas-economy-and-nafta.html

 

‘Trade wars are good,’ Trump says, defying global concern over tariffs

The European Union raised the possibility of taking countermeasures, France said the duties would be unacceptable and China urged Trump to show restraint. Canada, the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States, said it would retaliate if hit by U.S. tariffs.

U.S. stock indexes recouped some losses on Friday, but were on track to end the week in the red as investors fretted over a possible global trade war. World equity markets slid further and the U.S. dollar dropped to its lowest point in more than two years against the yen.

Trump said on Thursday that a plan for tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum products would be formally announced next week.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump said on Twitter on Friday.

In a later social media post, Trump said his aim was to protect U.S. jobs in the face of cheaper foreign products.

“We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!” he wrote.

Many economists say that instead of increasing employment, price increases for consumers of steel and aluminum such as the auto and oil industries will destroy more U.S. jobs than they create.

RETALIATION LIKELY

Major U.S. trade partners are likely to hit back.

Europe has drawn up a list of U.S. products on which to apply tariffs if Trump follows through on his plan.

“We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told German television.

Trump’s threats to unleash a trade war over steel crushed any hopes of substantial progress in current talks with Canada and Mexico to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would be“absolutely unacceptable” and vowed to continue to engage with U.S. officials on the issue.

The International Monetary Fund also expressed concern about the proposed tariffs and said they likely would damage the U.S. economy as well as the economies of other nations.

Trump’s announcement came after what one person with direct knowledge of the discussions described as a night of“chaos” in the White House due to frequent switching of positions in the administration.

While Trump often lays out stark policy positions which he later rolls back as part of a negotiating tactic, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the levels of the planned tariffs were not expected to change.

 

Capital Alpha Partners, a policy research group in Washington, said a quick reversal by Trump was highly unlikely.

“We also don’t see a chance for fine tuning, exceptions, carve outs, or a country-by-country policy” in the short term, the group said in a research note.“We would be hopeful that the policy could be modified in time.”

The United States is the world’s biggest steel importer, buying 35.6 million tonnes in 2017.

Peter Navarro, a White House adviser with largely protectionist views on trade, brushed off the negative effects of tariffs on U.S. industry.

    He said a 10 percent tariff on aluminum would add one cent to the cost of a can of beer, $45 to a car and $20,000 to a Boeing 727 Dreamliner.“Big price effects? Negligible price effects,” he told Fox News.

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But home appliance maker Electrolux (ELUXb.ST) said it was delaying a $250 million expansion of its plant in Tennessee as it was worried U.S. steel prices would rise and make manufacturing there less competitive.

Trump’s administration has imposed a series of trade duties on a range of goods from solar panels to washing machines.

It is even studying whether America’s rubber band makers need protection as he seeks to boost domestic manufacturing and employment. The decision on steel and aluminum was the most wide ranging and provocative to date and there is the prospect of more to come, with the government holding an investigation into alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property by China.

The EU, which sees itself as a global counterweight to a protectionist-leaning Trump, made no mention of retaliation but spoke of countermeasures that conform with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Safeguard measures, last deployed by Europe in 2002 after then-U.S. President George W. Bush imposed steel import duties, would be designed to guard against steel and aluminum being diverted to Europe from elsewhere if U.S. tariffs come in.

But to conform with WTO rules such measures would have to apply to imports from all countries and could also hit producers including China, India, Russia, South Korea and Turkey.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a fellow Republican, urged Trump to rethink the tariffs.

“If the president wants to protect good-paying, family-supporting jobs in America, especially here in Wisconsin, then he should reconsider the administration’s position on these tariffs, particularly on ultra-thin aluminum,” Walker said in a statement.

China, which Trump frequently accuses of unfair trade practices, called for restraint from the United States.

“China urges the United States to show restraint in using protective trade measures, respect multilateral trade rules, and make a positive contribution to international trade order,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Although China accounts for only 2 percent of U.S. steel imports, its massive industry expansion has helped produce a global steel glut that has driven down prices.

Economists say that Trump’s own expansionary budget policies will fuel ever larger trade deficits, essentially defeating his stated aim of having“balanced trade” with individual countries.

Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Tom Daly in Beijing, Philip Blenkinsop and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels, Doina Chiacu, Eric Walsh and Makini Brice in Washington, and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Writing by David Clarke and Alistair Bell; Editing by Paul Simao and James Dalgleish

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade/trade-wars-are-good-trump-says-defying-global-concern-over-tariffs-idUSKCN1GE1PM

The White House’s war over steel tariffs, explained

The move sparked an internal feud at the White House. Then the stock market plunged.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Trump administration may have finally launched the trade war many expected was coming.

President Trump announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports — a move that will likely anger US trading partners and American businesses that buy steel. Wall Street panned the move, with the Dow falling more than 500 points in the hours after Trump’s statement.

The announcement came amid a fierce fight within the White House over the proposed tariffs, according to CNBC. News reports Thursday morning said that Trump would disclose the new policy later in the day. Then the announcement was reportedly postponed. Finally, at a White House meeting with steel executives, Trump said that the tariffs would indeed be implemented. “We’ll be signing it next week,” he told the group, according to a pool report. “And you’ll have protection for a long time in a while.”

The dispute pitted free trade advocates, such as chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, against trade hawks like White House adviser Peter Navarro.

In the end, the trade hawks won. The Commerce Department will impose the tariffs under a rarely used law that allows emergency trade sanctions for “national security.”

Protecting the US steel industry from foreign competition has been a top priority for Trump’s trade team since day one. They’ve framed the issue as a fight to preserve jobs for American steelworkers, who have seen their jobs disappear as a result of automation and globalization.

Coincidentally (or not), Trump’s trade team has deep ties to the US steel industry, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made his fortune investing in distressed steel companies. (It’s also worth noting, as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias points out, that the Metals Service Center Institute, a trade group that favors anti-import measures, held last year’s annual conference at the Trump Doral resort in Miami.)

https://www.vox.com/2018/3/1/17066838/white-house-trump-steel-tariffs

What you need to know about the Trump steel tariffs US president chooses the most drastic option available to him Share on Twitter (opens new window)

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Shawn Donnan in Washington YESTERDAY

Donald Trump has said he will impose new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium, fuelling fears that the US is about to start a trade war with China and other major trading partners.

The move triggered a sharp sell-off in financial markets, and prompted complaints from across the broader business community that US companies would be hit by higher prices.

Here are five things you need to know.

Mr Trump has chosen the most drastic option available The president said he would sign an order announcing 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminium imports. The announcement followed investigations that Mr Trump ordered last year into whether a surge in imports undermined the US’s ability to source the steel and aluminium it needs to build military equipment such as tanks and warships, as well as the nation’s broader economic security. Last month, the commerce department recommended three separate options for each metal: a global tariff, tariffs targeted at China and other key countries mixed with quotas, and a universal quota. Mr Trump opted for the global tariff option, potentially subjecting imports from all countries to the hefty levy.  Question is whether this makes sense economically The US steel and aluminium industries argue that they have faced an existential assault for more than a decade from China, which has become the world’s largest producer of both metals and has flooded global markets with cheap products. The tariffs are intended to restrict imports and allow the US steel and aluminium industries to increase production and use idle capacity, as well as rehire workers.  But history shows that imposing tariffs to protect one industry often results in pain for another. According to industry groups, about 6.5m people are employed in the US in businesses that use steel and aluminium. After President George W Bush imposed tariffs on steel imports in 2002, a study found that the move had cost the US about 200,000 jobs.  As a result, many Republicans see tariffs as a mistake, and worry that such a broad move will undermine other efforts such as tax reform intended to boost economic growth.  “The president is right to target unfair trade, but blanket tariffs that sweep up fairly traded steel and aluminium can backfire and harm our businesses and workers,” said Kevin Brady, the Republican congressman who chairs the House ways and means committee. China is unlikely to suffer the consequences The US aluminium and steel industries have long been clamouring for protection from what they claim is unfair competition from China. But following a series of product and country-specific tariffs introduced in recent years, China now accounts for very little of the steel or aluminium imported into the US. Instead, the leading source for the US of both metals is Canada. Other major Nato members such as Germany are also major exporters of steel to the US.  Many trade experts expect there will be a process for countries and companies to apply to be exempted from the tariffs. For example, Canada has long been considered part of the US national security industrial base, which, lawyers say, means it has a strong case to be exempted. Mexico could also apply for an exception given its membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement, although that pact is now being renegotiated.  But such a process is also likely to lead to furious lobbying of the president by companies who will have to seek to curry favour with the administration, said Phil Levy, a former trade adviser to Mr Bush. “It is just about the polar opposite of draining the swamp,” Mr Levy said. China and the EU are likely to retaliate EU officials have made clear that they are prepared to retaliate against any US move to impose tariffs and challenge them in the World Trade Organization.

EU member states have already begun discussing possible targets for retaliation. In the EU’s line of fire are likely to be politically sensitive products such as Kentucky Bourbon — from top Republican senator Mitch McConnell’s home state — and cheese from Wisconsin, the home of House Speaker Paul Ryan.  Wendy Cutler, a former senior US trade official who heads the Asia Society Policy Institute, said China would also likely respond with “quick and proportional” trade measures.

Ending a longstanding ceasefire in the global trading system Ever since it was established following the second world war, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade has included a loophole that allows countries to invoke “national security” to impose tariffs and other trade barriers in the event of war or other national threats. But the US and other countries have studiously stayed away from using that loophole for decades, for fear that doing so would lead others to do the same.  By invoking national security in the steel and aluminium tariffs, Mr Trump is throwing out that decades-old gentleman’s agreement. Part of the problem is that the president has made his disdain for the WTO clear.

If the US is challenged at the WTO and a panel finds that Washington wrongly invoked national security, Mr Trump — if he is still president — could decide to ignore the finding, or even pull the US out of the body altogether. Others worry that it could also have the long-feared “domino effect”, with countries such as China using national security as an excuse for their own trade measures.

“This will either close the door on being able to self-define ‘national security’ or open the door on being able to block imports simply by waving the ‘national security’ flag,” said John Veroneau, who served as a senior trade official in the administration of Mr Bush and is now at law firm Covington & Burling.

Elsewhere, the proposed tariffs are unlikely to sway US monetary policy in the short term given the direct impact on America’s $19tn economy is likely to be modest.

Even if import prices are lifted by the amount of the tariff it would add a modest 5 basis points of price pressure – which may or many not be passed onto consumer prices, according to JP Morgan calculations. If the Trump administration’s approach, however, triggers retaliation and escalates into a broader trade war, the consequences would be more serious, adding to inflationary pressures in the US while damaging growth and complicating the policy outlook.

https://www.ft.com/content/d8c3812a-1d97-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6

Trump Repeats Nixon’s Folly

This president isn’t the first to embrace a “trade war” to bolster his populist credentials—but in the end, it’s ordinary people who will bear its cost.

President Trump just raised the price of cars, beer, vacations, and apartment rentals.

That’s not what most headlines say. Those headlines say that Trump will raise tariffs on steel and aluminum. Higher tariffs mean higher prices for those inputs—and therefore for the products ultimately made from those outputs. Automotive and construction top the largest users of steel in the United States. Aluminum is heavily used to make airplanes, cars and trucks, and beverage containers, and also in construction.

The last time the U.S. imposed steel tariffs, back in 2002, the project was abandoned after 20 months. A 2003 report commissioned by industries that consumed steel estimated that the Bush steel tariffs cost in excess of 200,000 jobs—or more than the total number of people then employed in the entire steel industry at the time.

This time the cost-benefit ratio is likely to skew much worse. There are fewer steel jobs to protect this time. Auto sales growth has stalled. The first warnings of consumer price inflation are appearing.

But Trump wanted tariffs, and tariffs he has got. Even by Trump standards, the decision-making process was chaos. As late as 9 p.m. last night, it remained undecided whether there would be an announcement today at all—never mind what that announcement would be. Key congressional committee chairs were unconsulted and uninformed.

The president as so often relied on junk information. The advice of the economic populist Peter Navarro(previously best known for blood-curdling anti-China documentaries) was heeded over that of actual trade experts. Industries seeking protection reportedly bought commercials on Fox & Friends. Apparently a decisive event in the debate was the firing of staff secretary Rob Porter, after revelations that he had engaged in spousal abuse. Porter had also chaired the weekly trade debate, forcing the president to confront the costs and harms of protectionism. His removal also empowered Trump’s worst instincts.

The usual rules of trade policy were ignored. For authority, Trump invoked a trade law premised on protecting war-essential industries. Yet this authority is plainly a pretext. The Department of Defense intervention in the debate shredded the logic of protectionists like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, himself a former steel man.

U.S. military requirements for steel and aluminum each only represent about 3 percent of U.S. production. Therefore, DoD does not believe that the findings in the reports [of harm to domestic steel and aluminum producers from foreign competition] impact the ability of DoD programs to acquire the steel or aluminum necessary to meet national defense requirements.

What did alarm the Department of Defense about proposed steel and aluminum tariffs was potential harm to vital U.S. alliances. China does not rank among the top 10 steel exporters to the United States. That list is topped by Canada, followed by Brazil. In third place is South Korea, an indispensable ally in the preemptive war the Trump administration is now contemplating against North Korea.

Canada also heads the list of aluminum exporters. For that reason, DoD pleaded for even more caution with regard to aluminum tariffs than steel. “[If] the Administration takes action on steel, DoD recommends waiting before taking further steps on aluminum.”

Trump announced simultaneous action on both—without itemizing which countries would be subject to the tariffs, and which exempt. Trump’s unpredictability and threatening language have not only jolted U.S. financial markets, but have done further damage to the U.S.-led alliance system. European Union trade ministers agreed earlier this week to retaliate if the U.S. imposes steel tariffs, further degrading a U.S.-EU relationship already badly damaged by Trump’s hostility to NATO and deference to Russia.

Donald Trump is often compared to Richard Nixon in his disdain for law and ethics. The parallel applies to economics too. Nixon in 1971 quit the Bretton Woods agreement and imposed a surtax on all imports. The “shock” disrupted the world economy and profoundly angered formerly trusting friends already uneasy over the war in Vietnam. But Nixon, who knew little and cared less about economics, had his eye fixed on one concern only: the 1972 election. His emergency economic measures—joined to a loosening of monetary policy and a big increase in Social Security payouts the next year—were selected with an eye to one concern only. In the words of Allen Matusow, the shrewdest student of Nixon’s economic policy, “Somehow he had to make the economy hum by 1972 or face likely defeat in his quest for reelection.” What that meant in practice, Matsuow wrote, was that Nixon governed not according to what would work in the long term, but according to “the prevailing mood of the two-thirds of the country he called the ‘constituency of uneducated people.’”

Nixon did indeed win in 1972. He also bequeathed his country not only the worst political scandal in its history to date, but a decade of stagflation that bore most heavily upon the very people Nixon claimed to champion. We’ve been there before; it looks like we’re returning there again.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/steel-tariffs-consequences/554690/

Peter Navarro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Navarro
White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro in Orval Office in January 2017.jpg

Peter Navarro in the White HouseOval Officein January 2017
Director of the National Trade Council
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Personal details
Born July 15, 1949 (age 68)
Political party Democratic
Education Tufts University (BA)
Harvard University (MPAPhD)

Peter Navarro (born July 15, 1949) is an American economist who currently serves as the Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy, and the Director of the White House National Trade Council, a newly created entity in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government.[1] A former professor of economics and public policy at the Paul Merage School of BusinessUniversity of California, Irvine, Navarro is the author of over a dozen books, including Death by China.

Navarro is known as a staunch critic of China and strong proponent of reducing U.S. trade deficits. He has accused Germany and China of currency manipulation. He has called for increasing the size of the American manufacturing sector, setting high tariffs, and repatriating global supply chains. He is also a strong opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. His views on trade are widely considered unorthodox by other economists.

Early life and education

Navarro was born on July 15, 1949. Navarro’s father, a saxophonist and clarinetist, led a house band, which played summers in New Hampshire and winters in Florida.[2] His parents divorced when he was 9 or 10.[2]Subsequently, he lived with his mother, a Saks Fifth Avenue secretary, in Palm Beach, Florida.[2] He lived in Bethesda, Maryland, during his teenage years.[2]

Navarro graduated from Tufts University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1979, and a PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1986.[3] Shortly after graduation from Tufts, Navarro spent three years in the U.S. Peace Corps, serving in Thailand.[3]

Career

Policy analysis

In the 1970s, Navarro served as a policy analyst for the Urban Services Group, the Massachusetts Energy Office, and the United States Department of Energy.[3]

Professor Peter Navarro talks his work Death by China and how China cheats in the world trade system at University of Michigan in 2012

Navarro’s work has appeared in Barron’sBloomberg BusinessweekLos Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the International Herald TribuneThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalHarvard Business ReviewMIT Sloan Management Review and The Journal of Business.[4] He has appeared on Bloomberg TV and radio, BBCCNNNPR, and Marketplace. He is a contributor to CNBC and has appeared on 60 Minutes.[4] He also writes investment articles for thestreet.com.[5] In 2012, Navarro directed and produced a poorly received[6]documentary film based on his book, Death by China.[7] The film was released under the same title and narrated by Martin Sheen.

Navarro’s policy prescriptions include that “U.S. should be tough on trade, crack down on intellectual property theft, tax Chinese exports, combat Chinese mercantilism, [and] bring jobs home.”[8]

Academics

professor of economics and public policy at University of California, Irvine for over 20 years, Navarro has worked on energy issues and the relationship between the United States and Asia.[9] He has received multiple teaching awards for MBA courses he has taught.[10] Before joining the UC Irvine faculty, Navarro worked as a research associate in Harvard University’s Energy and Environmental Policy Center from 1981 to 1985.

As a doctoral student in 1984 Nararro wrote a book titled, The Policy Game: How Special Interests and Ideologues are Stealing America, which discussed that special interest groups had led the United States to “a point in its history where it cannot grow and prosper.” In the book he also called for greater worker’s compensation by those that had lost jobs to trade and foreign competition. His doctoral thesis on why corporations donate to charity is one of his highest cited works. He has also done research in the topic of wind energy with Frank Harris, a former student of his.[11]

He then lectured at the University of California, San Diego, where he also served as an assistant professor, teaching courses in business and government.[3] Prior to teaching, Navarro worked in Washington, D.C. as an energy and environmental policy analyst.[12] Navarro has published peer-reviewed economics research on energy policy, charity, deregulation and the economics of trash collection.[8][13][14] According to the Economist, Navarro “is a prolific writer, but has no publications in top-tier academic journals.”[15]

Academic and research authorship

Navarro is a prolific author with nearly a dozen books written on various topics in economics and specializing in issues of balance of trade. The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought, How They Can Be Won is a book by published by FT Press in (2006). Navarro examines China as an emerging world power confronting challenges at home and abroad as it struggles to exert itself in the global market. He also investigates how China’s role in international commerce is creating conflicts with nations around the world over energynatural resources, the environment, intellectual property, and other issues. A review in Publishers Weekly describes the book as “comprehensive” and “contemporary” and concludes that it “will teach readers to understand the dragon, just not how to vanquish it”.[16]

Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – A Global Call to Action (2011) is a non-fiction book by Navarro and Greg Autry[17] that chronicles “from currency manipulation and abusive trade policies, to deadly consumer products,” the alleged threats to America’s economic dominance in the 21st century posed by China’s Communist Party. Navarro argues that China violates fair trade by “illegal export subsidies and currency manipulation, effectively flooding the U.S. markets” and unfairly making it “virtually impossible” for American companies to compete.[18] It is a critique of “global capitalism” including foreign labor practices and environmental protection.[19] Currency manipulation and subsidies are stated as reasons that “American companies cannot compete because they’re not competing with Chinese companies, they’re competing with the Chinese government.”[20] Ronnie Scheib, from Variety, says “One need not fully subscribe to Peter Navarro’s demonization to appreciate his lucid wake-up call to the imminent dangers of the huge U.S.-China trade imbalance and its disastrous impact on the American economy.”[18]

Politics

Navarro ran for office in San DiegoCalifornia three times as a Democrat. In 1992, he ran for mayor as an Independent, finishing first (38.2%) in the all-party primary, but losing (48.0%) to Republican Susan Golding in the runoff.[21] In 1996, he ran for the 49th Congressional District as the Democratic Party nominee (41.9%), but lost to Republican Brian Bilbray (52.7%).[22] In 2001, Navarro ran in a special election to fill the District 6 San Diego city council seat, but lost in the primary.[23]

President Trump’s chief trade advisor

Director Peter Navarro addresses President Donald Trump‘s promises to American people, workers, and domestic manufacturers (Declaring American Economic Independence on 6/28/2016) in the Oval Office with Vice PresidentMike Pence and Secretary of CommerceWilbur Ross before President Trump signs Executive Orders regarding trade in March 2017[24][25]

In 2016, Navarro served as a policy adviser to Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign.[1] Navarro and the international private equity investor Wilbur Ross authored an economic plan for the Donald Trump presidential campaign in September 2016.[26] Navarro was invited to be an adviser after Jared Kushner saw on Amazon that he co-wrote Death by China, while he was researching China for Trump.[27] When told that the Tax Policy Centerassessment of Trump’s economic plan would reduce federal revenues by $6 trillion and reduce economic growth in the long term, Navarro said that the analysis demonstrated “a high degree of analytical and political malfeasance”.[28] When the Peterson Institute for International Affairs estimated that Trump’s economic plan would cost millions of American their jobs, Navarro said that writers at the Peterson Institute “weave a false narrative and they come up with some phony numbers.”[29] According to MIT economist Simon Johnson, the economic plan essay authored by Navarro and Wilbur Ross for Donald Trump during the campaign had projections “based on assumptions so unrealistic that they seem to have come from a different planet. If the United States really did adopt Trump’s plan, the result would be an immediate and unmitigated disaster.”[30] When 370 economists, including nineteen Nobel laureates, signed a letter warning against Donald Trump’s stated economic policies in November 2016, Navarro said that the letter was “an embarrassment to the corporate offshoring wing of the economist profession who continues to insist bad trade deals are good for America.”[31][32]

In October 2016, with Wilbur Ross and Andy Puzder, Navarro coauthored the essay titled “Economic Analysis of Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”.[33] On December 21, 2016, Navarro was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to head a newly created position, as director of the White House National Trade Council.[34] He outlines President Trump’s trade policy as aiming to create jobs, revive the manufacturing sector, and improve the country’s trade balance. He warned that trade deficits could jeopardize U.S. national security by allowing unfriendly nations to encroach on American supply chains. One of his main missions is to focus on behaviors by other countries that he considers abusive, cheating, illegal, and unfair against the U.S.[35][36][37]

By July 2017, Politico reported that Navarro’s influence within the White House was weak.[38]Axios reported the same in November 2017.[39] By July 2017, Navarro only had two staffers, and the National Trade Council had essentially become part of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing policy.[38] By September 2017, the Office of Trade and Manufacturing policy had been folded into the National Economic Council, which meant that Navarro would have to report to NEC Director Gary Cohn.[40] However, in February 2018, several media outlets reported that Navarro’s influence in the administration was rising again and that he would likely be promoted shortly.[41][42]Josh Rogin, writing for The Washington Post, reported that Navarro had used his time of lowered influence to lead several low-profile policy items, such as working to increase military funding, drafting Executive Order 13806, and leading the effort to solve a dispute between the United States and Qatar over the Open Skies Agreement between the two countries.[43]

Opinions and assessment of trade policy

Navarro has been a staunch critic of trade with China and strong proponent of reducing U.S. trade deficits. He has attacked Germany, Japan and China for currency manipulation. He has called for increasing the size of the American manufacturing sector, setting high tariffs, and repatriating global supply chains. He was a fierce opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

According to Politico, Navarro’s economic theories are “considered fringe” by his fellow economists.[44] Al-Jazeera notes that “few other economists have endorsed Navarro’s ideas.”[45] A New Yorker reporter described Navarro’s views on trade and China as so radical “that, even with his assistance, I was unable to find another economist who fully agrees with them.”[46] The Economist described Navarro as having “oddball views”.[47] The George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen has praised him as “one of the most versatile and productive American economists of the last few decades”, but Cowen noted that he disagreed with his views on trade, which he claimed go “against a strong professional consensus.”[44] University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers described Navarro’s views as “far outside the mainstream,” noting that “he endorses few of the key tenets of” the economics profession.[48] According to Lee Branstetter, economics professor at Carnegie Mellon and trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Navarro “was never a part of the group of economists who ever studied the global free-trade system … He doesn’t publish in journals. What he’s writing and saying right now has nothing to do with what he got his Harvard Ph.D. in … he doesn’t do research that would meet the scientific standards of that community.”[49] Marcus Noland, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, described a tax and trade paper written by Navarro and Wilbur Ross for Trump as “a complete misunderstanding of international trade, on their part.”[28]

Border adjustment tax

Navarro supports a tax policy called “border adjustment”, which essentially taxes all imports.[49] In response to criticism that the border adjustment tax could hurt U.S. companies and put jobs at risk, Navarro called it “fake news.”[49]

Critic of China trade policy

According to Politico, “Navarro is perhaps the most extreme advocate in Washington, and maybe in all of economics, for an aggressive stance toward China.”[44] Navarro put his attention to China in the mid-2000s.[6] His first publication on the subject is the 2006 book The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought, How They Can Be Won.[50] Navarro has said that he started to examine China when he noticed that his former students were losing jobs, concluding that China was at fault.[6]

IPoliticos description of the book, “Navarro uses military language to refer to China’s trade policies, referring to its ‘conquest’ of the world’s export markets, which has ‘vaporized literally millions of manufacturing jobs and driven down wages.’ … China’s aspirations are so insatiable, he claims, that eventually there will be a clash over “our most basic of all needs—bread, water, and air.'”[50] Navarro has described the entry of China to the World Trade Organization as one of the United States’ biggest mistakes.[6] To respond to the Chinese threat, Navarro has advocated for 43% tariffs, the repudiation of trade pacts, major increases in military expenditures and strengthened military ties with Taiwan.[50][6] The New York Times notes that “a wide range of economists have warned that curtailing trade with China would damage the American economy, forcing consumers to pay higher prices for goods and services.”[51]Navarro has reportedly also encouraged President Trump to enact a 25-percent tariff on Chinese steel imports, something that “trade experts worry… would upend global trade practices and cause countries to retaliate, potentially leading to a trade war”.[52]

Navarro has said that a large part of China’s competitive advantage over the United States stems from unfair trade practices.[15] Navarro has criticized China for pollution, poor labor standards, government subsidies, producing “contaminated, defective and cancerous” exports, currency manipulation, and theft of US intellectual property.[15][45][53] In his poorly received 2012 documentary, Navarro said that China caused the loss of 57,000 US factories and 25 million jobs.[45] While Navarro maintains that China manipulates its currency, neither the U.S. Treasury nor most economists believe that it is the case.[49][6]

According to Foreign Policy, “well-regarded China analysts are almost universal in their derision of [Navarro’s] views.”[6] Of the more than dozen China specialists contacted by Foreign Policy, most either did not know of him or only interacted with him briefly.[6] Kenneth Pomeranz, University of Chicago professor of Chinese History, said that his “recollection is that [Navarro] generally avoided people who actually knew something about the country.”[6] Columnist Gordon G. Chang was the only China watcher contacted by Foreign Policywho defended Navarro, but even then noted that he disagreed with Navarro’s claims of currency manipulation, opposition to the TPP and calls for high tariffs.[6] Navarro does not appear to speak Chinese nor has he spent any time in the country.[6] James McGregor, a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said that Navarro’s books and documentary on China “have close to zero credibility with people who know the country,” and are filled with “hyperbole, inaccuracies” and a “cartoonish caricature of China that he puts out.”[6]

Germany

Navarro drew controversy when he accused Germany of using a “grossly undervalued” euro to “exploit” the US and its EU partners.[54]Politico noted that Germany does not set the value of the euro.[50] Economists and commentators are divided on the accuracy of Navarro’s remarks.[55][56]Paul Krugman said that Navarro was right and wrong at the same time: “Yes, Germany in effect has an undervalued currency relative to what it would have without the euro… But does this mean that the euro as a whole is undervalued against the dollar? Probably not.”[57] Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff described Navarro’s accusation of Germany as a currency manipulator as “#stupideconomics”.[58]

Manufacturing

Navarro argues that the decline in US manufacturing jobs is chiefly due to “unfair trade practices and bad trade deals. And if you don’t believe that, just go to the booming factories in Germany, in Japan, in Korea, in China, in Malaysia, in Vietnam, in Indonesia, in Italy—every place that we’re running deficits with.”[59] However, many economists attribute the decline in manufacturing jobs chiefly to automation and other innovations that allow manufacturing firms to produce more goods with fewer workers, rather than trade.[59][60]

Navarro has been a proponent of strengthening the manufacturing sector’s role in the national economy: “We envision a more Germany-style economy, where 20 percent of our workforce is in manufacturing. … And we’re not talking about banging tin in the back room.”[49]The New York Times notes that “experts on manufacturing … doubt that the government can significantly increase factory employment, noting that mechanization is the major reason fewer people are working in factories.”[51]

Opposition to NAFTA

Navarro has called for the United States to leave NAFTA.[52]Politico reported that Navarro tried to convince President Trump of leaving NAFTA.[52]

Repatriation of global supply chains

Navarro has called for repatriating global supply chains.[50][53] According to Politico’s Jacob Heilbrunn, such a move “would be enormously costly and take years to execute”.[50]

Trade as a national security risk

Navarro has framed trade as a national security risk.[50][61][62] According to Politico, “he’s a hard-line mercantilist who insists that military confrontation with some trading partners is almost inevitable.”[50]

Navarro has characterized foreign purchases of U.S. companies as a threat to national security, but according to NPR, this is “a fringe view that puts him at odds with the vast majority of economists.”[63] Dartmouth economist Douglas Irwin noted that the US government already reviews foreign purchases of companies with military or strategic value, and has on occasion rejected such deals.[63] Irwin said that Navarro had not substantiated his claim with any evidence.[63]

Navarro has also said that the United States has “already begun to lose control of [its] food supply chain”, which according to NPR, “sounded pretty off-the-wall to a number of economists” who noted that the US is a massive exporter of food.[63] Dermot Hayes, an agribusiness economist at Iowa State University, described Navarro’s statement as “uninformed”.[63]

Trade deficits

Navarro is a proponent of the notion that trade deficits are bad in and of themselves, a view which is widely rejected by trade experts and economists across the political spectrum.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][2][excessive citations] In a white paper co-authored with Wilbur Ross, Navarro stated, “when a country runs a trade deficit by importing more than it exports, this subtracts from growth.”[69][74] In a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending his views, Navarro stated, “If we are able to reduce our trade deficits through tough, smart negotiations, we should be able to increase our growth.”[75] Harvard University economics professor Gregory Mankiw has said that Navarro’s views on the trade deficit are based on the kind of mistakes that “even a freshman at the end of ec 10 knows.”[76][77] Tufts University professor Daniel W. Drezner said about Navarro’s op-ed, “as someone who’s written on this topic I could not for the life of me understand his reasoning”.[61] According to Tyler Cowen, “close to no one” in the economics profession agrees with Navarro’s idea that a trade deficit is bad in and of itself.[68] Nobel laureate Angus Deaton described Navarro’s attitude on trade deficits as “an old-fashioned mercantilist position.”[73]

The Economist magazine has described Navarro’s views on the trade deficit as “dodgy economics” and “fantasy”,[15] while the Financial Times has described them as “poor economics”.[78] Economists Noah Smith,[79]Scott Sumner,[80][81]Olivier Blanchard,[53] and Phil Levy[82] have also criticized Navarro’s views on the trade deficit.

Opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership

Navarro opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[83] In an April 2015 op-ed, Navarro said, “To woo us, their spinmeisters boast the TPP will spur American exports to stimulate sorely needed economic growth. In truth, the American economy will suffer severely. This is because the TPP will hammer two main drivers of economic growth – domestic investment and ‘net exports.'”[83] Navarro said in March 2017 that TPP “would have been a “death knell” to America’s auto and vehicle parts industry that we “urgently need to bring back to full life.”[53]Politico‘s Jacob Heilbrunn and theEconomist argue that there may be a disconnect between Navarro’s policy on China and his opposition to the TPP, as scuttling the TPP will strengthen China’s hand.[50][15]

Personal life

Navarro is married to architect Leslie Lebon.[84] They live in Laguna Beach, California.[85]

Bibliography

References

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

Story 2: New Cold War and Arms Race Between United States and Russia — Targeting Trump in Florida — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Putin touts nuclear-powered, intercontinental cruise missile

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How Russia’s ‘invincible’ new weapons work

  • 05/03/2018
  • Dan Satherley

Vladimir Putin reveals the new weapons. Credits: APTN

Vladimir Putin’s claim Russia now has “invincible” weapons that can strike anywhere in the world is probably true, experts say.

On Friday (NZ time), the Russian President said Moscow’s new weapons could strike anywhere in the world, and evade missile defence shields.

“They need to take account of a new reality and understand that everything I have said today is not a bluff.”

But how? Missile defence expert Laura Grego explained to Livescience’s Rafi Letzterthat Russia’s new nuclear arsenal is largely not of the ballistic missile variety.

“Ballistic missiles, true to the name, go on a ballistic trajectory,” she told the site on Monday (NZ time). “They use these powerful engines to get themselves moving really fast, but after the engines burn out they’re just coasting.”

It’s not hard to figure out where a ballistic missile is going to land, she explains, so it’s not hard to shoot them out of the sky.

Russia’s new weapons evade defences in three ways. The first is by attaching nuclear warheads to cruise missiles, which don’t coast to their destination high up in the air – they fly close to the ground, out of radar’s sight.

“In theory, a cruise missile carrying a nuclear bomb could slip under American defenses and detection systems, and detonate before Americans could mobilise a response,” wrote Mr Letzter.

And being nuclear-powered, the missiles in theory have enough power to travel across the world.

Russian S-400 missile air defence systems in a military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad.
Russian S-400 missile air defence systems in a military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad. Photo credit: Reuters

The second method is a new nuclear torpedo, difficult to detect before it detonates on the coast.

“A missile that can deploy multiple warheads, all of which enter the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds – up to 20 times the speed of sound – and could perform evasive manoeuvres in flight before striking their targets,” writes Mr Letzter.

Multiple warheads bear down on Florida in an animation.
Multiple warheads bear down on Florida in an animation. Photo credit: Russia/APTN

Dr Grego said the escalation in missile technology is a partly a result of the US abandoning the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001 – part of which disallowed states from building missile defence shields for this very reason.

“By building a defence, rather than discourage your adversary, your adversary is likely to just build more so that they can get up and over your defence. And then you build more defence. So it’s an arms race cycle.”

Former adviser to US Presidents and nuclear weapons expert Philip Coyle told Livescience much the same thing.

“In 2004, Putin himself warned the United States that if we kept going the way we were going, this is what he was going to do. And he did it.”

Mr Putin’s US counterpart, Donald Trump, has called for the US to build more nuclear weapons.

In January, a group of scientists said the world was inching closer to ‘Doomsday’ thanks to North Korea’s nuclear programme and Mr Trump’s aggressive rhetoric.

Newshub.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2018/03/how-russia-s-invincible-new-weapons-work.html

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017, Story 1: Big Government Interventionist and Open Borders Advocate President George W. Bush Speech Insults American People Who Wanted Immigration Laws Fully Enforced By Both Him and Former President Obama By Calling American Citizens “Nativists” –While The United States Was Invaded By 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens — American Citizens First — Illegal Aliens Please Go Home — Videos — Story 2: Actual Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Deficits — $666 Billion — Big Government Two Party Tyranny — Spending Addiction Disorder Continues Until 2027! — Videos

Posted on October 25, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Fast and Furious, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Pro Life, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Science, Social Security, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Clause 8: Oath or affirmation

Presidential Oath of Office

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,

and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Clause 5: Caring for the faithful execution of the law

“take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion;

and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

Bush warns of nationalism becoming nativism, people failing to see image of God in one another

George W. Bush: Nativism ‘Casual Cruelty’ Pulling Us Apart 10/19/17 FULL Speech

Karl Rove, With A Straight Face, Just Said George W. Bush’s Speech Was Not About Trump

Rush Limbaugh: What most troubles me about President Bush’s speech (audio from 10-20-2017)

Mark Levin Show: George W. Bush gave a speech criticizing Donald Trump and his policies (10-19-2017)

Laura Ingraham Reacts to George W. Bush Speech

LIMBAUGH: George W. Bush Is Calling Out Trump Voters With ‘Bush Version Of Hillary’s DEPLORABLES’

Michael Savage reacts to George W. Bush his attack on Trump

Steve Bannon: President George W. Bush ‘Embarrassed Himself’

Coulter Discusses George W. Bush Speech & Steve Bannon

President George W. Bush Jr betrays conservatives on immigration

George W. Bush on Immigration

GW Bush on immigration: 24 may07 @ 37th Press Conf.

Bush fields a question from the Wall St Journal on the pending immigration bill at his 37th Press Conference since comming into office in 2001 held at the White House Rose Garden May 24, 2007

George W Bush Takes a Shot at Trump, Nationalism

George W. Bush speech takes down Trump without even mentioning his name

George W. Bush Full Speech at the George W. Bush Institute in New York City (10 19 17)

George W. Bush Attacks Trump

State Of The Union Address 2007 on Illegal Immigration

Pres. Bush Pushes for Immigration Reform

From the Vault: President Bush pushes for immigration reform

Comprehensive immigration reform was a key issue for President George W. Bush during his second term. On May 15, 2006 President Bush laid out his vision for the country’s immigration law during a primetime address to the nation. Gwen Ifill explored the debate over comprehensive immigration reform, the ethnic tensions surrounding the issue and the pushback the president faced from some fellow Republicans with Gebe Martinez of the Houston Chronicle and John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal.

“100 Million Immigrants on the Way??” Tucker Reacts to Latest Projections

Tucker: Illegal immigration is literally costing US big-time

Rush Limbaugh on George W. Bush [11.12.2008]

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

A startling look at how U.S. immigration will add 300 million people to the country this century if immigration policies are not changed. This dramatic presentation of the latest Census data raises serious immigration questions about the ability of the country to achieve environmental sustainability and to meet the quality-of-life infrastructure needs of the national community considering current immigration policy. Presented by immigration author/journalist Roy Beck

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 1. Census Bureau estimates of the number of illegals in the U.S. are suspect and may represent significant undercounts. The studies presented by these authors show that the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S. could range from 20 to 38 million. On October 3, 2007, a press conference and panel discussion was hosted by Californians for Population Stabilization (http://www.CAPSweb.org) and The Social Contract (http://www.TheSocialContract.com) to discuss alternative methodologies for estimating the true numbers of illegal aliens residing in the United States. This is a presentation of five panelists presenting at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on October 3, 2007. The presentations are broken into a series of video segments: Wayne Lutton, Introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5KHQR… Diana Hull, part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6WvFW… Diana Hull, part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYuRNY… James H Walsh, part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB0RkV… James H. Walsh, part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbmdun… Phil Romero: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ohvJ… Fred Elbel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNTJGf… For complete articles on the topic, see the Summer, 2007 issue of The Social Contract at

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Immigration Crisis Exposes Failed Central America Program

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

President Trump statement on immigration, green card reform with Sen Tom Cotton, Sen David Perdue.

Immigrants! Don’t Vote for What You Fled

How to solve the illegal immigration problem

Ann Coulter On Illegal Immigrant Amnesty

Democrat vs. Republican is Outdated – Learn Liberty

Making Sense Of “Trumpism” – Learn Liberty

Exposing The Religion of Government

G. Edward Griffin: The Collectivist Conspiracy

G. Edward Griffin: Donald Trump is an Amazing Phenomenon

George W. Bush Breaks Silence With Stunning Confession About President Trump – Hot News

Media pressures Bush to attack Trump, backfires

Trump Won’t Win – Funniest before and after clips of Liberals getting it WRONG

The only 3 who predicted Trump would win!

Professor stands by prediction that Trump will win

Miller Time: Trump victory reaction

Dissecting Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton

Judge Jeanine: This wasn’t an election, it was a revolution

Tucker Carlson: The point of Trump movement is democracy

Tucker Carlson: Trump owes nothing to lobbyist community

The people revolt, Trump wins

Hannity: The American people have finally been heard

Full text: George W. Bush speech on Trumpism

Below is a transcript of George W. Bush’s speech delivered Oct. 19, 2017 at the at the “Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World” event in New York.

Thank you all. Thank you. Ok, Padilla gracias. So, I painted Ramon. I wish you were still standing here. It’s a face only a mother could love – no, it’s a fabulous face. (Laughter.) I love you Ramon, thank you very much for being here.

I am thrilled that friends of ours from Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Venezuela are here as well. These are people who have experienced the absence of freedom and they know what it’s like and they know there is a better alternative to tyranny.

Laura and I are thrilled that the Bush Center supporters are here. Bernie [Tom Bernstein], I want to thank you and your committee. I call him Bernie. (Laughter.)

It’s amazing to have Secretary Albright share the stage with Condi and Ambassador Haley. For those of you that kind of take things for granted, that’s a big deal. (Laughter and Applause.) Thank you.

We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.

Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other.
And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

We know, deep down, that repression is not the wave of the future. We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to, or owned by, any culture; it is the inborn hope of our humanity. We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

This is not to underestimate the historical obstacles to the development of democratic institutions and a democratic culture. Such problems nearly destroyed our country – and that should encourage a spirit of humility and a patience with others. Freedom is not merely a political menu option, or a foreign policy fad; it should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.

That appeal is proved not just by the content of people’s hopes, but a noteworthy hypocrisy: No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies. Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.

Yet for years, challenges have been gathering to the principles we hold dear. And, we must take them seriously. Some of these problems are external and obvious. Here in New York City, you know the threat of terrorism all too well. It is being fought even now on distant frontiers and in the hidden world of intelligence and surveillance. There is the frightening, evolving threat of nuclear proliferation and outlaw regimes. And there is an aggressive challenge by Russia and China to the norms and rules of the global order – proposed revisions that always seem to involve less respect for the rights of free nations and less freedom for the individual.

These matters would be difficult under any circumstances. They are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence. Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis. We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism, and deep questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union.

America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.

There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.

We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.

We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.

We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.

In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.

This is part of the reason we meet here today. How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That’s the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. That is what Pete Wehner and Tom Melia, who are with us today, have answered with “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World,” a Call to Action paper.

The recommendations come in broad categories. Here they are: First, America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.

America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions – including cyber-attacks, disinformation and financial influence – should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.

The second category of recommendations concerns the projection of American leadership – maintaining America’s role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets.

Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement: In the cultivation of new markets for American goods. In the confrontation of security challenges before they fully materialize and arrive on our shores. In the fostering of global health and development as alternatives to suffering and resentment. In the attraction of talent, energy and enterprise from all over the world. In serving as a shining hope for refugees and a voice for dissidents, human rights defenders, and the oppressed.

We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization. People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can’t wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions.
And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind. The first step should be to enact policies that encourage robust economic growth by unlocking the potential of the private sector, and for unleashing the creativity and compassion of this country.

A third focus of this document is strengthening democratic citizenship. And here we must put particular emphasis on the values and views of the young.

This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.)
And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.

We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.

For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.

In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.

Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague. The goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. The Prague Charter, signed by champions of liberty Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, Jose Maria Aznar, called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that suppress peaceful opponents by threats or violence.

Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. Little did we know that repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and to undermine the legitimacy of elections.

Repressive rivals, along with skeptics here at home, misunderstand something important. It is the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority. Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal.

Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence. But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation. The American spirit does not say, “We shall manage,” or “We shall make the best of it.” It says, “We shall overcome.” And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/19/full-text-george-w-bush-speech-trump-243947

 

What Is a Nativist?

And is Donald Trump one?

Carlo Allegri / Reuters 
To understand the ideas shaping the Trump administration, the political scientist Cas Mudde once told me, you have to understand populism, authoritarianism, and nativism, because Donald Trump “fires on all three cylinders.” I’ve previously explored the definitions of populism and authoritarianism. But what is nativism? How is it different from “nationalism” or “patriotism”—words that the alleged nativists themselves typically use to describe their ideology? Is Trump, the man who just ordered air strikes against a foreign leader for attacking people in a foreign country, really a nativist? And why, when it would seem to raise valid questions about the rights of natives versus non-natives, does nativism have such negative associations?

What is a nativist?

There’s a reason the word “nativism” appears regularly in the U.S. media and not elsewhere: According to Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia, nativism is an almost exclusively American concept that is rarely discussed in Western Europe. The term’s origins lie with mid-19th century political movements in the United States—most famously the Know Nothing party—thatportrayed Catholic immigration from countries such as Germany and Ireland as a grave threat to native-born Protestant Americans. (Never mind that the Protestant “natives” were themselves migrants relative to another native population.) Nativism arose in a natural place: a nation constructed through waves of migration and backlashes to migration, where the meaning of “native” is always evolving.

Europeans tend to talk about “ultra-nationalism” or “xenophobia” or “racism” rather than nativism, said Mudde, who is Dutch. But this language, in his view, doesn’t fully capture the phenomenon, which “isn’t just a prejudice [against] non-natives” but also “a view on how a state should be structured.”

Nativism, Mudde told me, is “xenophobic nationalism.” It is “an ideology that wants congruence of state and nation—the political and the cultural unit. It wants one state for every nation and one nation for every state. It perceives all non-natives … as threatening. But the non-native is not only people. It can also be ideas.” Nativism is most appealing during periods when people feel the harmony between state and nation is disappearing.

Eric Kaufmann, a political scientist at the University of London’s Birkbeck College, calls nativism a “crude” term and prefers something more precise: “majority-ethnic nationalism,” which applies to people who consider themselves native to or settlers of a country and want to protect their “demographic predominance in that territory.”

Some types of nationalism are concerned with ideology (America as the leader of the free world) or status (American as the most powerful country in the world). But ethnic nationalism is “less concerned with getting to the moon and being number one,” Kaufmann said. It’s a “boundary-based nationalism.”

Nativists typically spend more time defining “them” (non-natives) than “us” (natives), Mudde added, because the more specific the “us,” the more it raises thorny questions of national identity and excludes segments of the population who might otherwise support the nativist politician. The native is often depicted as the unspoken inverse of The Other: “The other is barbarian, which makes you modern. The other is lazy, which makes you hardworking. The other is Godless, which makes you God-fearing.”

Long before Trump embraced the slogan “America First,” Elisabeth Ivarsflaten taught her students at the University of Bergen in Norway to think of nativist politicians as the “my-country-first party.” All political leaders should (theoretically) put their country’s interests first. But nativism goes beyond that logic. “The idea that these parties roughly engage is that too much emphasis is being put on internationalization and accommodating people who want to come into the country” but aren’t originally from there, Ivarsflaten said. Whether nativism involves opposing the European Union because Germans have to bail out Greeks, or opposing multiculturalism because it means accepting forms of Islamic dress, the idea is that “there is a native population or a native culture that should be given priority over other kinds of cultures.”Ivarsflaten places nativism in the broader category of right-wing populism, an ideology premised on representing the virtuous “people” against a corrupt “elite.” She has found that all the populist-right parties that performed well in Western European elections in the early 2000s had one thing in common: They tapped into people’s complaints about immigration. Other grievances—regarding the European Union, economic policy and the state of the economy, or political elitism and corruption—did not account for the success of these parties as consistently or powerfully as immigration issues did. “As immigration policy preferences become more restrictive, the probability of voting for the populist right increases dramatically,” she wrote at the time.

Is Donald Trump a nativist?

Mudde argues that nativism was one of the first features of Trump’s “core ideology” as a presidential candidate, though he acknowledges that Trump isn’t a consistent ideologue. (Mudde believes Trump adopted populism more recently, under the influence of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.)

And Trump quickly learned that nativism was popular; Mudde notes that Trump’s campaign speeches were initially quite boring—with lengthy digressions about his real-estate deals—but that crowds erupted in applause when he spoke about building a border wall with Mexico or barring radical Islamic terrorists from the country.

Several top officials in the Trump administration, including Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, could be described as nativist, Mudde added, and a number of the administration’s early policies, including the travel ban and the creation of an office focused on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, could be as well.

Asked whether Trump qualifies as a nativist, Kaufmann focused on Trump’s supporters rather than the man himself. He cited findings that Americans who were worried about immigrants threatening U.S. values and eroding the white majority in the United States were more likely to enthusiastically back Trump during the campaign. Kaufmann interprets Trump’s “Make America Great Again” nationalism as less about reasserting American power in the world than “about restoring a kind of cultural particularism and identity.” Trump’s core supporters, in Kaufmann’s view, are “people who feel that they’ve become disoriented culturally,” not people who are alarmed by a loss of American prestige overseas.

Still, Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, not some small, European-style nativist party, Ivarsflaten points out. “He can’t really reinvent the whole Republican ideology through a nativist lens.” She also suggested that Trump isn’t so much an ideologue as a blank canvas onto which others project ideologies. The president’s decision to bomb the Syrian military for using chemical weapons against civilians, for example, seems to represent a victory for traditional Republican internationalists over the Bannonite wing of the Trump administration, though the triumph might prove temporary. It’s also difficult to square Trump the America-First nativist with Trump the globe-trotting businessman.“I have no idea what the ideological lens of Donald Trump is actually,” Ivarsflaten said. “You tell me.”

So what if Trump is a nativist?

One reason Donald Trump’s presidency is so momentous is that, if he is indeed a nativist, he would be one of the first of his ilk to come to power in the West since 1980. In a 2012 paper on nativism in Europe and North America, Mudde observed that in the rare instances in which nativist parties had been part of government—in European countries such as Austria, Italy, and Switzerland—they had played a significant role in introducing restrictive immigration policies. But the story was different in the United States and Canada.

“In the United States,” Mudde wrote at the time, “nativist actors have had indirect effects on policy at best, as the nativist voices within the Republican Party, for example, have not made it into prominent positions in government.” The closest America had come to having a viable nativist party, Mudde noted, was with Pat Buchanan’s Reform Party in the 2000 presidential election. (Buchanan’s slogan? “America First!”)

Now nativism, conceived in the United States and revived in Europe, has returned with force to its native land.“Nativism is the core feature of the radical right today,” Mudde told me, and the other ideological dimensions of contemporary radical-right politicians—like populism and authoritarianism—tend to pass through a nativist filter. In terms of populism, he said, “the elite is considered to be corrupt because it works in the interest of the non-natives or it undermines the native group.” In terms of authoritarianism, which emphasizes the enforcement of law and order, “crime is almost always linked” to outsiders. While nativist movements have long argued that immigrants pose a multifaceted threat to the culture, security, and economic well-being of natives, Mudde writes in his 2012 paper, in the post-9/11 era the cultural and security threats have become intertwined with religion. “Increasingly the immigrant is seen as a Muslim, not a Turk or Moroccan,” he notes.Some studies indicate that as levels of immigration to a country rise, so does support for nativist, radical-right politicians. But Mudde contends that the connection is more complicated than that: It’s not sufficient for the ranks of the foreign-born in a nation to swell; immigration also has to be turned into a political issue. It has to be made visible to a large part of the population. He pointed out that labor-migration flows to Western Europe increased in the years before the 1973 oil crisis, but that immigration wasn’t politicized there until the 1980s and ’90s, when asylum-seekers flocked to the region, efforts to integrate immigrants and their children into society and the labor market sputtered, and radical-right parties like the National Front in France began achieving political success.
Trump, for his part, rose to power at a time when more Mexican immigrants were leaving than arriving in the United States, and when the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. was flatlining. “This doesn’t mean that Trump [made] people xenophobic or nativist,” Mudde said. “A large portion of the population everywhere in the world is nativist.” But those people might have based their vote in previous elections on other issues. When a politician manages to shift the debate to matters of security and immigration, it can change how people vote.Nativists, like populists, “raise some important questions,” Mudde said. “The argument that borders should be controlled” shouldn’t be controversial, “and it’s definitely not undemocratic. It’s the democratic right of a state and its population to decide who can come in [to the country] and under which conditions.”But nativists, like populists, give “highly problematic” answers, according to Mudde. “Populism sees the people as one and pure. Nativism sees the people as one in a cultural, ethnic, predetermined sense. And that nation doesn’t exist. The nation is changing virtually on a daily basis.” This singular vision threatens a central component of liberal democracies like the United States: pluralism, which holds that society is composed of different groups with different interests that must all be considered legitimate.Yet what is also legitimate, according to Kaufmann, is for people to try and shore up their ethnic group’s culture and share of the population, so long as they are open to processes like assimilation and intermarriage. He cited the contrast that the Brookings scholar Shadi Hamid has made between racism and racial self-interest. “There is an important distinction between disliking other groups, treating them badly, or seeking some kind of racial purity, all of which would be dangerous and things that I think you’d call racism, from racial self-interest, which could be just trying to maintain the vitality of your group and even perhaps seeking for your group not to decline,” Kaufmann said. “If the majority feels that it can’t express those views without being tarred as racist, I’m not sure that’s a good state of affairs.”Kaufmann referenced a poll he helped conduct showing that 73 percent of white Hillary Clinton voters say a white American who wants to reduce immigration to maintain his or her group’s share of the population is being racist, while only 11 percent of white Trump voters agree. (A similar but narrower difference was observed between white British “Remain” and “Leave” voters in the United Kingdom’s recent referendum on the European Union.) “There’s a much wider definition of racism among Clinton voters and a much narrower definition among Trump voters,” Kaufmann told me.Nativism is currently gaining traction across the Western world because ethnic majorities are under demographic pressure, Kaufmann explained. Fertility rates are falling, which, in aging societies, creates a need for immigration. (This is the dynamic the Republican congressman Steve King recently referred to in his widely condemnedtweet that “culture and demographics are our destiny” and that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”) And the message from political leaders, Kaufmann said, is often, “‘If you’re the majority, you’re kind of the past. And you’ve got to embrace diversity.’ The subtext of that is, ‘You’re shrinking.’”If politicians want to blunt the appeal of nativism, Kaufmann argued, they need to highlight the successes of assimilation—the signs of continuity and not just change—and tone down the diversity talk (he believes this rhetoric about multiculturalism is in part responsible for people overestimating the size of minority populations in their country). They need to reassure ethnic majorities that they have a future and offer a vision of what that future might look like.https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/04/what-is-nativist-trump/521355/

Story 2: Actual Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Deficit — $666 Billion — Big Government Two Party Tyranny — Spending Addiction Disorder — Will Fiscal Year 2018 Be Greater — Yes — If U.S. Economy Goes Into Recession — Videos

Senate republicans pass budget with $1.5 trillion deficit, in step closer to tax reform

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GOP Congress Presides Over Highest Spending Since Obama’s Stimulus

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 20, 2017 | 2:09 PM EDT

(Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) – Real federal spending in fiscal 2017, which ended on Sept. 30, was higher than in any year in the history of the United States other than fiscal 2009, which was the year that President Barack Obama’s $840 billion stimulus law was enacted.

Fiscal 2017 also saw the second highest real federal individual income tax totals of any year in U.S. history, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

Total federal tax revenues were the third highest in U.S. history.

While it was collecting the third highest total tax revenues in U.S. history, the federal government ran a deficit $665,712,000,000 because of its high total spending.

Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives since 2011, after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 election. They have controlled the Senate since 2015, after winning a majority in the 2014 election. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, a Congress in which the Republican Party controls both houses was responsible for enacting all federal spending legislation.

Total federal spending in fiscal 2017, according to the Treasury, was $3,980,605,000,000. Total federal tax revenue was $3,314,893,000,000.

Prior to this year, the highest level of real federal spending was the $4,024,794,600,000 in constant 2017 dollars (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator) that the Treasury spent in fiscal 2009.

In the years after 2009, real federal spenpding hit its lowest level ($3,633,572,490,000 in constant 2017 dollars) in fiscal 2014. In fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 federal spending has been on the rise again—reaching $3,980,605,000,000 this year, the second highest spending level in the nation’s history.

On the tax side, federal individual income taxes hit their all-time peak in fiscal 2015, when the Treasury took in $1,598,265,180,000 in constant 2017 dollars in individual income taxes.

In fiscal 2016, individual income tax collections dropped to $1,580,598,300,000 in 2017 dollars.

Then, in fiscal 2017, individual income tax collections climbed back up to $1,587,119,000,000, the second largest sum in individual income taxes the federal government has ever collected.

Total federal tax revenue also peaked in 2015 at $3,369,881,960,000 in 2017 dollars. It then dropped to $3,339,631,960,000 in fiscal 2016, and dropped again to $3,314,894,000,000 in fiscal 2017.

According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, the largest budgetary impact of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law hit in fiscal 2010, which began on Oct. 1, 2009. The three first fiscal  years under the law–2009, 2010, 2011–saw the biggest spending increases from it. “By CBO’s estimate, close to half the impact occurred in fiscal 2010, and more than 95 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact was realized by the end of December 2014,” said the CBO study.

According to the CBO, Obama’s stimulus increased federal spending by $114 billion in fiscal 2009, $235 billion in fiscal 2010, and $147 billion in fiscal 2011. In fiscal 2012, the spending increase caused by the stimulus dropped to $59 billion. The CBO estimates that in the four fiscal years from 2016 through 2019, the Obama stimulus will only add a total of $28 billion to federal spending.

[Correction: This story originally reported that real federal spending hit an all-time high in fiscal 2010, when spending from the Obama stimulus peaked. In fact, real federal spending hit an all-time high in fiscal 2009, the year that the Obama stimulus was enacted.]

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/gop-congress-presides-over-highest-spending-obamas-stimulus

 

The FY 2018 Senate Budget and Budget Gimmicks

OCT 18, 2017 |BUDGETS & PROJECTIONS

The Senate Budget Committee recently passed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget resolution that proposes a path to on-budget balance after ten years exclusively by cutting spending. Unfortunately, the budget relies on several gimmicks to achieve these savings.

Prior to the budget’s release, we warned of eight possible “budget gimmicks” that could be used to make the budget appear more responsible than it actually is. This budget unfortunately relies on a number of these gimmicks, including rosy growth assumptions and “magic asterisks” (unspecified savings). At the same time, the budget does include small positive steps to reduce the use of certain gimmicks.

The budget claims $4.7 trillion of on-budget savings over a decade versus its chosen baseline that assumes a quick drawdown in war spending, and $6 trillion of savings compared to current law (see our summary at Senate Budget Committee Releases FY 2018 Budget). As a result, debt would fall from 77 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) today to 70 percent by 2027. However, half of this $6 trillion in savings comes from budget gimmicks rather than real policy choices.

Without the budget’s rosy economic assumptions and unspecified savings, the debt would rise to 81 percent of GDP and roughly stabilize there, rather than falling to 70 percent. Making matters worse, the legitimate savings are not included in reconciliation. While the budget claims trillions of savings, its reconciliation instructions would actually facilitate a $1.5 trillion increase in deficits.

Specifically, the budget includes a large process gimmick by exempting a deficit-increasing reconciliation bill from the Senate Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rule, while attempting to strengthen the rule otherwise. Though not a gimmick, the budget also creates some confusion by focusing on “on-budget” deficits instead of unified budget deficits.

The budget’s positive steps crack down on other gimmicks that would affect legislation, including by restricting the use of phony Changes in Mandatory Programs (CHIMPs) as offsets and creating a point of order against use of the Overseas Contingency Operations designation. These improvements would affect actual legislation and should be included in any future conferenced budget.

The budget’s gimmicks, however, should be removed.

Rosy Growth Assumptions ($1.2 trillion on-budget)

For the past 25 years, every budget resolution but one has based their assumptions for economic growth on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) projections. Given an aging population, CBO projects real economic growth will average a modest 1.8 percent over the decade, while other forecasters estimate growth rates between 1.6 and 2.1 percent per year.

In contrast, this resolution (like its <a< span=””></a<>< span=””> href=”http://www.crfb.org/papers/fy-2018-house-budget-and-budget-gimmicks”>House companion) assumes 2.6 percent average real GDP growth after its enacted policies, well outside of the mainstream and over 40 percent (0.8 percentage points) higher than CBO’s baseline. The budget does not include important details on tax, immigration, or regulatory reforms to explain its growth assumption. CBO estimated the growth from the budget’s deficit reduction, but it only explains less than one-tenth of the additional growth claimed by the budget. Actually getting to 2.6 percent sustained growth will require many pro-growth policy changes and significant luck.

These rosy assumptions make the budget’s deficit numbers look $1.2 trillion better by assuming higher revenue collection and GDP, thus decreasing debt and deficits as a share of the economy. The budget does not provide any information to support this large of an effect on growth or what effects that growth might have on the off-budget portions of revenue.

To be sure, a few previous budget resolutions have incorporated some economic feedback as do all President’s budgets. But this feedback has always been calculated by official scorekeepers at the CBO and generally been modest. Indeed, this budget also counts that feedback, resulting in a further $178 billion of deficit reduction on top of the $1.2 trillion.

Congress should not simply make a rosy economic growth assumption and build its budget based on that (nor should the President). To be credible, the Congressional budgets should instead rely on CBO’s growth assumptions and make the tough choices from there to achieve its fiscal goal.

Magic Asterisks and Unspecified Savings ($1.8 trillion)

We’ve warned about “magic asterisks” in the past, when a budget takes credit for savings without specifying the policies that produce them. Savings levels in each budget function (like defense, transportation, and education) should be backed up with specific policies that could legitimately be expected to produce those savings. More egregious in budget resolutions are undistributed cuts. Undistributed cuts should be used only sparingly to reflect policies that may cut across multiple functions or legitimate rescissions, not as a mechanism to make the numbers add up without providing substance behind them.

Unfortunately, the Senate budget contains $1.6 trillion in undistributed outlay savings (of which about $1 trillion are from mandatory spending and $600 billion are from discretionary spending). After accounting for the interest cost, the unspecified cuts account for $1.8 trillion over ten years.

Thought of another way, of the $6.2 trillion of spending cuts and related interest savings in the budget, only $4.4 trillion are specified in terms of where they would apply. Making matters worse, only a minimum of $1 billion need to be “reconciled,” suggesting the Senate may only intend to enact 0.02 percent of its claimed spending reductions.

Exempting Reconciliation from Senate PAYGO

The Senate budget resolution contains changes to the existing Senate PAYGO rules. Senate PAYGO is a Senate-only rule that provides for a 60-vote point of order against legislation that increases the deficit over the first five or ten years following a bill’s enactment. Senate PAYGO is in place to remind Senators that they should pay for legislation and to prohibit actions that do add to the debt unless they get 60 votes to waive the point of order.

The Senate budget in some ways strengthens PAYGO by adding a first-year test. But at the same time, it substantially weakens PAYGO by exempting a $1.5 trillion reconciliation package from enforcement.

The $1.5 trillion exemption from Senate PAYGO comes in the form of a reserve fund allowing the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee to essentially clear PAYGO consideration for the bill. While this provision does not change the numbers in the budget itself, it allows policymakers to evade the rules that help ensure a bad debt situation does not continue to get worse.

Any positive gains from adding one-year PAYGO would be more than wiped out by clearly and blatantly avoiding PAYGO rules.

Other Issues and Improvements

Though the Senate budget resolution uses several gimmicks, it also contains a couple praiseworthy provisions to limit specific budget gimmicks in future legislation. If the proposed budget were to be adopted, these limits would restrict this year’s legislation from using these gimmicks. These provisions should be contained in a future concurrent budget resolution.

The budget resolution limits the use of two gimmicks. First, it continues to phase down the use of phony CHIMPs with no outlay savings as offsets for appropriations. The limits were originally in place for 2018 and 2019 and are now extended to 2020 as well. Limits were first established in the FY 2016 budget. Additionally, there is a separate point of order against CHIMPs in excess of $11.2 billion from the Crime Victims Fund in FY 2018.

Second, the budget adds a point of order against spending that is designated as war spending, also known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). While there are many legitimate uses of the OCO designation, in pastyears it has been abused as a way of backfilling capped defense and non-defense discretionary spending. The point of order applies to any designation of OCO and thus will force appropriators to take an extra look to evaluate how reasonable the OCO funding is. One such test might be to see if OCO funding is larger than the President’s request for that year.

On the other hand, the budget does make one internal change that – while not a gimmick – could create confusion. In the past, budgets have measured the “unified” budget deficit, which includes the “on-budget” deficit as well as “off-budget” deficits attributable to Social Security and the Post Office. This year, the budget switched to only focusing on the “on-budget” deficit. As a result, the budget claims to achieve balance but actually leaves a unified budget deficit of $149 billion. This level of deficit is not particularly problematic as a fiscal matter, but it does create some confusion and misperception.

Adding It All Up – How Much Does the Budget Really Reduce Deficits and Debt?

In total, gimmicks reduce the Senate budget resolution’s projected deficit reduction by half, from $6.0 trillion to $2.9 trillion. This means debt would rise to and then essentially stabilize at around 81 percent of GDP by 2027 rather than fall to 70 percent with all of the on-budget claimed savings. This would still be an improvement over CBO’s June projection that debt will rise to 91 percent of GDP by 2027.

It also means the budget would not reach on-budget balance in 2027, instead showing a $416 billion on-budget deficit. This translates to a $767 billion unified deficit at 2.7 percent of GDP. Still, this is a noticeable improvement over CBO’s projection of a $1.5 trillion deficit in 2027 (5.2 percent of GDP).

Importantly, even these numbers may paint a misleading picture of what the Senate budget would do. While the budget shows real deficit reduction relative to current law, it facilitates large deficit increases through $1.499 trillion of net deficit-increasing reconciliation instructions. If these instructions were followed, debt would rise to 97 percent of GDP by 2027 and unified deficits would reach $1.66 trillion (5.9 percent of GDP).

*    *    *    *    *

The United States faces serious fiscal challenges, with high and rising debt for the foreseeable future. Gimmicks make it difficult to take Congress’s commitment to fiscal responsibility seriously. The Senate budget is not fiscally responsible as it relies on gimmicks to artificially improve its numbers and contains very real reconciliation instructions that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

http://www.crfb.org/papers/fy-2018-senate-budget-and-budget-gimmicks

 

2018 United States federal budget

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2018 Budget of the United States federal government
Submitted March 16, 2017
Submitted by Donald Trump
Submitted to 115th Congress
Total revenue $3.654 trillion
Total expenditures $4.094 trillion[1]
Deficit $440 billion
GDP $20,237 billion
Website https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget
‹ 2017

The United States federal budget for fiscal year 2018, named America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, was the first budget proposed by newly-elected President Donald Trump, submitted to the 115th Congress on March 16, 2017. If passed, the $4.1 trillion budget will fund government operations for fiscal year 2018, which runs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.[2][3]

Background

Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States during the November 8, 2016 elections, campaigning for the Republican Party on a platform of tax cuts and projects like the Mexican border wall. During his campaign, Trump promised to cut federal spending and taxes for individuals and corporations.

Trump administration budget proposal

The Trump administration proposed its 2018 budget on February 27, 2017, ahead of his address to Congress, outlining $54 billion in cuts to federal agencies and an increase in defense spending.[4] On March 16, 2017, President Trump sent his budget proposal to Congress, remaining largely unchanged from the initial proposal.[5]

CBO scoring of the budget

CBO chart explaining the impact of the 2018 budget on spending, tax revenue, and deficits over the 2018–2027 periods.

The Congressional Budget Office reported its evaluation of the budget on July 13, 2017, including its effects over the 2018–2027 period.

  • Mandatory spending: The budget cuts mandatory spending by a net $2,033 billion (B) over the 2018–2027 period. This includes reduced spending of $1,891B for healthcare, mainly due to the proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare); $238B in income security (“welfare”); and $100 billion in reduced subsidies for student loans. This savings would be partially offset by $200B in additional infrastructure investment.
  • Discretionary spending: The budget cuts discretionary spending by a net $1,851 billion over the 2018–2027 period. This includes reduced spending of $752 billion for overseas contingency operations (defense spending in Afghanistan and other foreign countries), which is partially offset by other increases in defense spending of $448B, for a net defense cut of $304B. Other discretionary spending (cabinet departments) would be reduced by $1,548B.
  • Revenues would be reduced by $1,000B, mainly by repealing the ACA, which had applied higher tax rates to the top 5% of income earners. Trump’s budget proposal was not sufficiently specific to score other tax proposals; these were simply described as “deficit neutral” by the Administration.
  • Deficits: CBO estimated that based on the policies in place as of the start of the Trump administration, the debt increase over the 2018–2027 period would be $10,112B. If all of President Trump’s proposals were implemented, CBO estimated that the sum of the deficits (debt increases) for the 2018–2027 period would be reduced by $3,276B, resulting in $6,836B in total debt added over the period.[6]
  • CBO estimated that the debt held by the public, the major subset of the national debt, would rise from $14,168B (77.0% GDP) in 2016 to $22,337B (79.8% GDP) in 2027 under the President’s budget.[7]

Department and program changes

The proposed 2018 budget includes $54 billion in cuts to federal departments, and a corresponding increase in defense and military spending.[8][9]

Department Budget Amount change Percent change Notes
Department of Agriculture $17.9 billion $-4.7 billion −21% Includes the elimination of food for education and water and wastewater loan programs. Decreases funding for the United States Forest Service by $118 million.[10]
Department of Commerce $7.8 billion $−1.4 billion −16% Includes cuts to coastal research programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the elimination of the Economic Development Administration
Department of Defense $574 billion $52 billion +9% Includes an increase in the size of the Army and Marine Corps, as well as the Naval fleet
Department of Education $68.2 billion $−9.2 billion −14% Cuts programs and grants for teacher training, after-school and summer care, and aid to low-income students. Eliminates $1.2 from the 21st Century Community Learning Center program and cuts $732 million from the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Eliminates Striving Readers/Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants as well as cuts funding for Supporting Effective Instruction State grants by $2.3 billion[11].
Department of Energy $28 billion $−1.7 billion −6% Largest cuts go to the Office of ScienceARPA-E and Departmental Loan Programs eliminated. Increases spending on National Nuclear Security Administration by 11.4% while slashing high energy physics and almost all other science programs (Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, Infrastructure and Administration, Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists) by 18%. The only science program not to receive a cut is the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program, which is to receive a small budget increase of $101 million. Money spent on the NNSA would go to the modernization and upkeep of nuclear weapons as well as $1.5 billion going to naval nuclear reactors. The budget cuts funding for energy programs by over 50% reducing the funding by $2.4 billion. Energy programs cut include: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy Research and Development.[12][13]
Department of Health and Human Services $65.1 billion $−15.1 billion −18% Cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health and training programs
Department of Homeland Security $44.1 billion $2.8 billion +7% Increases spending on border security and immigration enforcement and builds a wall on the US-Mexico border. Cuts funding for certain FEMA grant programs.
Department of Housing and Urban Development $40.7 billion $−6.2 billion −13% Eliminates grant programs for community development, investment partnerships, home-ownership, and Section 4 affordable housing
Department of the Interior $11.7 billion $−1.6 billion −12% Eliminates over 4000 jobs. Eliminates funding for 49 National Historic Sites and decreases funding for land acquisition. Decreases funding for Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. Cuts funding by $2 million for dealing with invasive species.[14][15]
Department of Justice $27.7 billion $−1.1 billion −4% Reduces spending on prison construction and reimbursements to state and local governments for incarceration of undocumented immigrants
Department of Labor $9.6 billion $−2.6 billion −21% Eliminates funding for senior-work programs, grants for non-profits and public agencies used for health training, and closes some Job Corps centers
State Department $27.1 billion $−10.9 billion −29% Eliminates funding for United Nations programs, including peacekeeping and climate change mitigation
Department of Transportation $16.2 billion $−2.4 billion −13% Eliminates funding for the Federal Transit Administration‘s New Starts grant program, long-distance Amtrak service, cuts the TIGER grant program and eliminates funding for the Essential Air ServiceAir traffic control would be shifted to private service under the proposal.
Treasury Department $11.2 billion $−0.5 billion −4% Reduces funding for the Internal Revenue Service
Department of Veteran Affairs $78.9 billion $4.4 billion +6% Expands health services and the benefit claims system. Slashes disability benefits to 225,000 elderly veterans. The VA currently provides additional disability compensation benefits to Veterans, irrespective of age, who it deems unable to obtain or maintain gainful employment due to their service-connected disabilities through a program called Individual Unemployability (IU). The IU program is a part of VA’s disability compensation program that allows VA to pay certain Veterans disability compensation at the 100 percent rate, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at the total level. These Veterans have typically received an original disability ratings between 60 and 100 percent. Under this proposal, Veterans eligible for Social Security retirement benefits would have their IU terminated upon reaching the minimum retirement age for Social Security purposes, or upon enactment of the proposal if the Veteran is already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits.These Veterans would continue to receive VA disability benefits based on their original disability rating, at the scheduler evaluation level. IU benefits would not be terminated for Veterans who are ineligible for Social Security retirement benefits, thus allowing them to continue to receive IU past minimum retirement age. Savings to the Compensation and Pensions account are estimated to be $3.2 billion in 2018, $17.9 billion over five years, and $40.8 billion over ten years.[16]
Environmental Protection Agency $5.7 billion $−2.5 billion −31% Eliminates more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs
National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) $19.1 billion $-0.1 billion −1% Cuts funding for Earth science programs and missions, and eliminates the Office of Education. Cuts funding for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate by $166 million (−21%). Cuts funding for Space Technology research by $148.4 million (−18%). Cuts funding for Human Exploration Operations by $4478.9 million (−53%). Cuts funding for the Education program by $62.7 million (−62.7%).[17][18]
Small Business Administration $.8 billion $−0.1 billion −5% Eliminates technical-assistance grant programs

The $971 million budget for arts and cultural agencies, including the Corporation for Public BroadcastingNational Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities, would be eliminated entirely.

Criticism

Economist Joseph Stiglitz said about the 2018 budget proposal: “Trump’s budget takes a sledgehammer to what remains of the American Dream”. Senator Bernie Sanders also criticized the proposal: “This is a budget which says that if you are a member of the Trump family, you may receive a tax break of up to $4 billion, but if you are a child of a working-class family, you could well lose the health insurance you currently have through the Children’s Health Insurance Program and massive cuts to Medicaid”.[19]

Related fiscal legislation

115th Congress

On September 8, 2017, Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017. The bill contained a continuing resolution and a suspension of the debt ceiling lasting until December 8, as well as additional disaster funding for FY2017.[20][21]

On October 17, 2017, the Senate started to debate the 2018 proposed budget.[22] On October 19, 2017, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) proposed an amendment to prevent tax increases on people making less than $250,000 a year. It would have also required the Senate to approve a tax-reform bill with 60 votes rather than a simple majority. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) called this language a “poison pill,” and the amendment was defeated 51-47.[23] Several Republican amendments were adopted with broad support. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) proposed language to make the “American tax system simpler and fairer for all Americans,” which passed 98-0. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) proposed an amendment in support of increasing the child tax credit, which passed by voice vote, meaning it was approved without any Senator raising an issue.[23] The Senate approved the 2018 Republican-proposed budget, a step forward for the GOP’s effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered an amendment to ensure increases in federal defense spending are prioritized over increases in spending in other areas. “Defense and nondefense are not of the same urgency,” he told reporters Thursday. “We have men and women serving in the military today who are being wounded and killed because they’re not sufficiently funded, armed, trained and equipped.”[23] At the end of the debates and amendments, the Senate narrowly voted 51-49 to pass the fiscal year 2018 budget. All 48 Senate Democrats and Senator Rand Paul voted no. By passing the 2018 budget, it gives way for the tax reform the Republicans want.[24][25]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_United_States_federal_budget

 

 

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-messenger-2009

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The Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017, Story 1: American Collectivism (Resistance Is Futile) vs. American Individualism (I have not yet begun to fight!) — Federal Income, Capital Gains, Payroll,Estate and Gift Taxes, Budget Deficits, National Debt, Unfunded Liabilities, Democratic and Republican Parties, Two Party Tyranny of The Warfare and Welfare State and American Empire Are The Past — The Future Is Fair Tax Less, Surplus Budgets, No Debts, No Unfunded Liabilities, and American Independence Party with A Peace and Prosperity Economy, Representative Constitutional American Republic Are The Future — Lead, Follow or Get Out of The Way — Those Without Power Cannot Defend Freedom — Videos

Posted on September 13, 2017. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Congress, Corruption, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: American Collectivism (Resistance Is Futile) vs. American Individualism (I have not yet begun to fight!) — Federal Income, Capital Gains, Payroll,Estate and Gift Taxes, Budget Deficits, National Debt, Unfunded Liabilities, Democratic and Republican Parties, Two Party Tyranny of The Warfare and Welfare State and American Empire Are The Past — The Future Is Fair Tax Less, Surplus Budgets, No Debts, No Unfunded Liabilities, and American Independence Party with A Peace and Prosperity Economy, Representative Constitutional American Republic Are The Future — Lead, Follow or Get Out of The Way — Those Without Power Cannot Defend Freedom — Videos

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Trump’s tax cutting plan faces a watered-down version

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Inside Politics 09/13: TRUMP INVITES PELOSI, SCHUMER TO DINNER AT WHITE HOUSE

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100 Years of the Income Tax

A taxing history: The origin of U.S. income tax laws

How Did We Start Paying Income Tax?

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Irwin Schiff on Stossel 20/20

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Irwin Schiff’s Secrets of Living an Income Tax-Free Life Part 1

Secrets of Living an Income Tax Free Life Part 2

Irwin Schiff’s Life Sentence and America’s End Game

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Peter Schiff on Why His Father Irwin Died In Prison While the Wolf of Wall Street Roams Free

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Episode 86: Taxation: How the Government Funds Itself (with Daniel J. Mitchell)

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Trump hosting Pelosi, Schumer for dinner in extension of Dem outreach

President Trump is taking his outreach to Democrats to a new level, planning to host House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House for dinner Wednesday night.

The dinner date comes after the president stunned GOP congressional leaders by striking a deal last week with the two senior Democrats for a short-term spending and debt-ceiling deal. While GOP leaders wanted a longer-term package, the deal helped ensure immediate aid to hurricane victims while averting a government shutdown for now.

Now, Trump is trying to jump-start his legislative agenda beginning with tax cuts and tax reform. He had dinner with bipartisan senators Tuesday night.

A source familiar with Wednesday’s planned Pelosi-Schumer dinner told Fox News the meeting will follow up on last week’s sit-down with the Hill leaders.

Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi, D-Calif., are expected to press the president on protections for “dreamers,” young illegal immigrants who had been shielded from deportation under a 2012 Obama administration policy that Trump has since announced he intends to roll back. The Democrats also plan to discuss ways to stabilize the health care markets.

Trump and his aides have defended the president’s new outreach to the minority party – which comes amid some frustration at the White House over the performance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

A senior source inside Tuesday’s dinner with bipartisan senators told Fox News that Trump’s new strategy is to meet and work with lawmakers across the aisle — in part, an effort to “shed” the guidance from the Reince Priebus-era where the former chief of staff and his aides held the view that the president should only work with GOP leaders like Ryan and McConnell.

But after the failure of the health care bill and other legislative frustrations, Trump is reverting to a strategy that has worked for him in the past, before his time in the White House. The source said Trump ran an “unconventional campaign” with “unconventional” methods – and the “conventional” methods that were used in the first part of the year were not working for him.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/13/trump-hosting-pelosi-schumer-for-dinner-in-extension-dem-outreach.html

Consumption tax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

consumption tax is a tax on spending on goods and services. The tax base of such a tax is the money spent on consumption. Consumption taxes are usually indirect, such as a sales tax or a value-added tax. However, a consumption tax can also be structured as a form of direct, personal taxation, such as the Hall–Rabushka flat tax.

Types

Value-added tax

A value-added tax (VAT) applies to the market value added to a product or material at each stage of its manufacture or distribution. For example, if a retailer buys a shirt for $20 and sells it for $30, this tax would apply to the $10 difference between the two amounts. A simple VAT would be proportional to consumption but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels, as consumption falls as a percentage of income. Savings and investment are tax-deferred until they become consumption. A VAT may exclude certain goods to make it less regressive. It is used in European Union countries.

In AustraliaCanadaNew Zealand and Singapore, it is instead called a Goods and Services Tax (GST). In Canada it is also called Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) when it is combined with a provincial sales tax.

Sales tax

A sales tax typically applies to the sale of goods, sometimes also to the sales of services. The tax is applied at the point of sale. Laws may allow sellers to itemize the tax separately from the price of the goods or services, or they may require it to be included in the price (tax-inclusive). The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale. When a tax on goods or services is paid to a governing body directly by a consumer, it is usually called a use tax. Often laws provide for the exemption of certain goods or services from sales and use tax.

Excise tax

An excise tax is a sales tax that applies to a specific class of goods, typically alcohol, gasoline (petrol), or tourism. The tax rate varies according to the type of good and quantity purchased and is typically unaffected by the person who purchases it.

Expenditure tax

A direct, personal consumption tax may take the form of an expenditure tax or an income tax that deducts savings and investments, such as the Hall–Rabushka flat tax.[1] A direct consumption tax may be called an expenditure tax, a cash-flow tax, or a consumed-income tax and can be flat or progressive. Expenditure taxes have been briefly implemented in the past in India and Sri Lanka.[2]

This form of tax applies to the difference between an individual’s income and increase/decrease savings. Like the other consumption taxes, simple personal consumption taxes are regressive with respect to income. However, because this tax applies on an individual basis, it can be made as progressive as a progressive personal income tax. Just as income tax rates increase with personal income, consumption tax rates increase with personal consumption.[3][4]

History

Consumption taxes, specifically excise taxes, have featured in several notable historic events. In the U.S., the stamp tax, the tax on tea, and whisky taxes produced revolts, the first two against the British government and the latter against the nascent American Republic. In India, an excise tax on salt led to Gandhi‘s famous Salt Satyagraha, a seminal moment in his struggle to win independence from the U.K.

United States

In the early U.S., taxes were levied principally on consumption. Alexander Hamilton, one of the two chief authors of the anonymous The Federalist Papers, favored consumption taxes in part because they are harder to raise to “confiscatory” levels than incomes taxes.[5] In The Federalist Papers (No. 21), Hamilton wrote:

It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end proposed—that is, an extension of the revenue. When applied to this object, the saying is as just as it is witty that, “in political arithmetic, two and two do not always make four.” If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.[6]

Although personal and corporate income taxes provide the bulk of revenue to the federal government, consumption taxes continue to be a primary source of income for state and local governments. One of the first detailed proposals of a personal consumption tax was developed in 1974 by William Andrews.[7]

Japan

The Liberal Democratic Party government of Masayoshi Ōhira had attempted to introduce a consumption tax in 1979. Ohira met a lot of opposition within his own party and gave up on his attempt after his party suffered badly in the 1979 election. Ten years later Noboru Takeshita successfully negotiated with politicians, bureaucrats, business and labor unions to introduce a consumption tax,[8] which was introduced at a rate of 3% consumption tax in 1989.

In April 1997[9] under the government of Ryutaro Hashimoto[10] it was increased to 5%.[11] The 5% is made up of a 4% national consumption tax and a 1% local consumption tax.[12] Shortly after the tax was introduced Japan fell into recession,[13] which was blamed by some on the consumption tax increase,[14] and by others on the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he had no intention of raising the tax during his government, but after his massive victory in the 2005 election he lifted a ban on discussing it.[15] Over the following years a number of LDP politicians discussed raising it further, including prime ministers Shinzō Abe,[16] Yasuo Fukuda,[17] and Tarō Asō.[18]

The Democratic Party of Japan (now the DP) came to power in the August 2009 elections with a promise not to raise the consumption tax for four years.[19] The first DPJ prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama was opposed, but Naoto Kan replaced him and called for the consumption tax to be raised. The following prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda “staked his political life” on raising the tax.[20] Despite an internal battle that saw former DPJ leader and co-founder Ichirō Ozawa and many other DPJ diet members vote against the bill and then leave the party; on June 26, 2012, the lower house of the Japanese diet passed a bill to double the tax to 10%.[21]

Despite considerable opposition and an attempted no-confidence motion from minor opposition parties the bill was successfully passed through the upper house on August 10, 2012, so the tax was increased to 8% by April 2014 and will be increased to 10% by October 2019 (twice postponed from the original date of October 2015).[22][23]

Savings effect

Consumption taxes do not tax savings, which allows invested assets to grow more quickly. If, in the absence of taxes, $1 of savings is put aside for retirement at 9% compound interest, savings will grow to $7.86 after 24 years. Alternatively, by assuming a 33% tax rate, the same $1 is reduced to about $0.67 after taxes when earned. The effective interest rate, thereafter, is reduced to 6%, since the rest of the yield is paid in taxes.

After 24 years, the balance increases only to $2.64. The cumulative taxes in the latter case are $0.96. The missing $4.26 is not lost by the economy in any sense, as the $4.26 is what the government would make in interest, if they invested their tax revenue. If the initial investment amount is not taxed when earned, but the earnings are taxed thereafter, the cumulative taxes paid are about the same, but are spread more evenly across the period and the asset grows to more than $4. These results are primarily sensitive to the rate of return. With a 3% return, most of the tax receipts come from the tax on the initial $1.00.

To the extent that taxing something results in less of it (whether income or consumption), taxing consumption instead of income should encourage both work and capital formation, which will increase economic growth, while discouraging consumption.[3][4] Secondly, the tax base will be larger because all consumption will be taxed.

Some critics argue that sales and consumption taxes can shift the tax burden to the less well-off. The ratio of tax obligation shrinks as wealth grows because the wealthy spend proportionally less of their income on consumables.[24] An individual unable to save will pay taxes on 100%, but individuals who save or invest a portion of their income will be taxed only on the remaining income.

Practical considerations

Many proposed consumption taxes share some features with the current income tax systems. Under these proposals, taxpayers would be given exemptions and a standard deduction in order to ensure that the poor do not pay any tax. In a pure consumption tax, other deductions would not be permitted, because all savings would be deductible.[3]

A withholding system might also be put into place in order to estimate the total tax liability. It would be difficult for many taxpayers to pay no tax all year, only to be faced with a large tax bill at the end of the year.

A consumption tax could also eliminate the concept of basis when computing the value of investments. All income that is put in investments (such as property, stocks, savings accounts) is tax-free. As the asset grows in value, it is not taxed. Only when the proceeds from the asset are spent is any tax imposed. This is in contrast with the current system where if one buys land for $10,000 and sells it for $15,000, one has a taxable gain of $5,000. A consumption tax taxes only consumption, so if one sells an investment to buy another investment, no tax is imposed.

Andrews notes the inherent problem with housing. Renters necessarily “consume” housing, so they will be taxed on the expenditure of rent. However, homeowners also consume housing in the same way, but as they pay down a mortgage, the payments are classified as savings, not consumption (because equity is being built in an asset).

The disparity is explained by what is known as the imputed rental value of a home. A homeowner could choose to rent the home to others in exchange for money but instead chooses to live in the home to the exclusion of all possible renters. Therefore, the homeowner is also consuming housing by not permitting renters to pay for and occupy the home. The amount of money that the homeowner could receive in rent is the imputed rental value of the home.

A true consumption tax would tax the imputed rental value of the home (which could be determined in the same way that valuation occurs for property tax purposes) and would not tax the increase in the value of the asset (the home). Andrews proposes to ignore this method of taxing imputed rental values because of its complexity. In the United States, home ownership is subsidized by the federal government by permitting a deduction for mortgage interest expense and exempting a significant increase in value from the capital gains tax. Therefore, treating renters and homeowners identically under a consumption tax may not be feasible there.

Also, a consumption tax could utilize progressive rates in order to maintain “fairness.” The more that someone spends on consumption, the more that the person will be taxed. The rate structure could look like the current bracket system, or a new bracket system could be implemented.

Economic impact

The temporal neutrality of a consumption tax, however, is that consumption itself is taxed, so it is irrelevant what good or service is being consumed in terms of allocation of resources. The only possible effect on neutrality is between consumption and savings. Taxing only consumption should, in theory, cause an increase in savings.[3] William Gale, Co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, offers a simplified way to understand a consumption tax: Assume that our current tax system remains the same but remove limitations to contributing to and removing funds from a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Thus, a person would essentially have a bank account where they could place tax-free earnings at any time, but unsaved (or consumed) withdrawals would be subject to taxation. Having an unrestricted IRA under the current system would approximate a consumption tax at the federal level.

Many economists and tax experts favor consumption taxes over income taxes for economic growth.[25][26][27]

Depending on implementation (such as treatment of depreciation) and circumstances, income taxes either favor or disfavor investment. (On the whole, the US system is thought to disfavor investment.[3]) By not disfavoring investment, a consumption tax might increase the capital stock, productivity, and therefore increase the size of the economy.[3][4] Consumption more closely tracks long-run average income.[4] An individual or a family’s income often varies dramatically from year to year. The sale of a home, a one-time job bonus, and various other events can lead to temporary high income that will push a low or middle income person into a high tax bracket. On the other hand, a wealthy individual may be temporarily unemployed and will pay no taxes.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The Flat Tax Archived 2010-05-23 at the Wayback Machine., By Robert E. Hall and Alvin Rabushka, Hoover Institution
  2. Jump up^ “Taxation”. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f Andrews, Edmund L. (2005-03-04). “Fed’s Chief Gives Consumption Tax Cautious Backing”The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d Auerbach, Alan J (2005-08-25). “A Consumption Tax”The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  5. Jump up^ Bartlett, Bruce (2002-04-05). “The Founders and the consumption tax”. Townhall.com. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  6. Jump up^ Federalist Paper No. 21
  7. Jump up^ Andrews, William D. “A Consumption-Type or Cash Flow Personal Income Tax”, 87 Harv. L. Rev. 1113 (1974)
  8. Jump up^ The Daily Yomiuri Website Reflections on Leadership – 2 / Leaders should build network of contacts, keep enemies closeRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  9. Jump up^ The Daily Yomiuri Is the “cash payout plan” the most effective solution for stimulating the economy? Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  10. Jump up^ News Channel Asia Aso says raising consumption tax will not aid Japan’s economy Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  11. Jump up^ Bloomberg website “Japan’s Kan Tackles Sales Tax ‘Taboo’ That Obama Won’t Touch” Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  12. Jump up^ JETRO website Section 3. Taxes in Japan – 3.6 Overview of consumption tax Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  13. Jump up^ East Asia Forum Japan’s aging population and public deficitsRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  14. Jump up^ MSNBC Japan firms want ‘safety first’ on nuclear restarts: pollRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  15. Jump up^ electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies Can the Democratic Party Finally Raise Japan’s Consumption Tax?Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  16. Jump up^ The Japan Times Sales tax hike would need voter OK via Lower House poll Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  17. Jump up^ The Financial Express Fukuda Vows To Continue Reform In Japan Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  18. Jump up^ Reuters Japan PM Aso says consumption tax hike unavoidable Retrieved on July 2012
  19. Jump up^ Asashi Shimbun DPJ’S Governing Fiasco: Party never challenged Finance Ministry Archived 2012-04-07 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  20. Jump up^ Forbes magazine For PM Noda: A Week of Political Drama and the Challenge Ahead Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  21. Jump up^ Asahi Shimbun Update: Lower House passes bills to double consumption tax Archived 2013-06-22 at the