Demographics

Queen Hillary — Radical Hag in Drag — Clinton Is The One — Game of Thrones — Hillary Clinton Scandals: The Gift That Keeps On Giving — Phony Psychopath President — Obama’s Third Term — Give Me A Break — Run Jerry Run — California Governor Jerry Brown — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Story 1: Queen Hillary — Radical Hag in Drag — Clinton Is The One — Game of Thrones  — Hillary Clinton Scandals: The Gift That Keeps On Giving — Phony Psychopath President — Obama’s Third Term — Give Me A Break — Run Jerry Run — California Governor Jerry Brown — Videos

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

~Lord ActonQueen-Hillary-Clinton

2014-cartoon-funny-queen-hillary-clinton-thinks-about-runnin Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Hillary's "dead broke" commenthillary-elitehillary_queen2Bruce Plante Cartoon: Hillary Clinton's emailsborkehillary-clinton-what-difference-does-it-make-burying-benghazi-groundwork-2016-political-cartoonwopper2016_Hillary-Clintontransparencyhillary baggageebatesdrawinghillary-clinton-witchhillary_clinton_boobs_bill_cleavagehillary close upgame of thrones

Hillary Clinton Election Video Cold Open – SNL

Hillary Clinton Cold Open – SNL

Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton

Reagan, Clinton, Ford, Bush I and Bush II Explain it all to Obama

Hillary Clinton: ‘I’m Running for President’

Hillary Clinton announces presidential run

Hillary Clinton Camp Announces Her 2016 Presidential Run

Finally: Hillary Makes 2016 Run Official

Hillary Clinton says she’s running for president in 2016

Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016

Romney: ‘Hillary Clinton Is Just Not Trustworthy’

Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer

Rand Paul asks Hillary Clinton About Involvement in Transferring Weapons to Turkey out of Libya

Clinton on talking points: ‘What difference at this point does it make?’

‘What Difference, Does it Make?’ – Hillary Clinton at Benghazi Hearing

PJTV: Afterburner: What Difference Does It Make?

PJTV — Young Hillary Clinton Supporters Struggle to Name Her Achievements

Dummies On The Street (DOTS)

THE CRIMINAL ARROGANCE OF HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary the Scandals

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYW5nmS9ps

Exposed: Hillary Clinton’s Sex Scandal

The real story behind the Clinton scandals

Genius Quotes of Frank Underwood, House of Cards Seven Minutes

Bill Clinton Loves ‘House Of Cards & ‘Scandal’ | Overheard On The Hill | msnbc

THE CLINTON MURDERS

Will Jerry Brown Challenge Hillary? Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Bill Clinton Versus Jerry Brown 1992

Why Is Hillary Clinton Even Running?

Victor Davis Hanson

I. Who Else?

One, there is no other credible Democrat who could run for presidency. The senior party leadership — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Dianne Feinstein — is shrill and buffoonish. They all have either tried before and failed, or are ossified has-beens — or both. There are no up-and-coming governors with distinguished records of executive success. There are no young charismatic Democratic senators — other than the well-preserved, 65-year-old Harvard populist Elizabeth Warren — out to make a name, who can speak well and mirror image a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mario Rubio. Congressional-district gerrymandering that encourages ethnic chauvinism and hard-left polarization has almost ensured that there will not be another minority star, like Barack Obama, who can win crossover votes and statewide office as a springboard to the White House.

 

II. Her Turn

Two, Hillary Clinton, like a Walter Mondale, Bob Dole or John McCain, believes that it is finally her turn. In her case she lost in 2008 and loyally served the man who defeated and often humiliated her (“you’re likable enough, Hillary” Obama condescendingly remarked during a debate of Democratic presidential candidates in January of 2008).

She feels that she was robbed of a sure nomination by the upstart Obama, who cut in front of the line with his inane “hope and change” banalities and subtle race carding, as if racial chauvinism must always trump gender pandering. She blew a huge lead in the primaries, licked her wounds, and now it is time for the party to unite loyally behind her the way she did with Obama.

III. First Woman

Three, she thinks she can win largely on the issue of being the first woman president in the manner that Barack Obama milked his racially iconic status in lieu of a record. Her supporters believe that they can reignite the old wars: the Republican war on women, war on minorities, war on immigrants, war on the environment, war on the poor, war on everybody — and thereby galvanize the supposedly oppressed, as in 2008-2012, to register, turn out, and vote in lockstep in record numbers. Thereby they will more than make up for the millions of independents and white, blue-collar so-called Reagan Democrats that she will lose by such racial and gender histrionics.

V. Money, Money, Money…

Four, Hillary Clinton assumes that she can buy her way to the White House and trump even the Obama shakedowns of the one-percent elite. No one grubs money better than the Clintons, who have turned a so-so presidential foundation into a money-laundering machine for their global jetting and politicking.

Both Bill and Hillary have an uncanny insight into the very wealthy of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Upper West Side, and the Florida coast. They understand the formula: when many of the rich become very rich they no longer worry about high tax rates, either on the assurance that they have the capital and know-how to avoid them, or in the belief that that a 50% federal and state rate could hardly eat away much of their enormous pile. Huge federal redistributionist policies may fail and hurt the minorities and poor, but for now they are felt to be about the only insurance that the gates of the rich will not be stormed or their private schools and neighborhoods flooded.

The Clintons rightly sense that the one-percenters in certain fleeting moments feel awfully bad about their privilege. Thus they will feel much better about indulging their endless material appetites, if they give large tax-deductible contributions to the spread-the-wealth, help-the-helpless shtick of elite Democrats. The lifestyles of Hill and Bill over the last two decades reassure wealthy liberals that it is OK to wallow in the material good life as long as you pay occasional penance for such indulgence — and there is no better atonement than helping Hillary Clinton out in 2016 to speak truth to power. After all, with students facing $1 trillion in aggregate debt, Clinton marched into UCLA, check-listed some liberal nostrums for 30 minutes and walked away with $300,000 without a complaint — or about $165 in scarce university dollars for each second of her pieties. In other words, Hillary is running because she has invested enough in the past that the money will be harvested as never before in a presidential race.
: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/why-is-hillary-clinton-even-running/#ixzz3XFPKX8o3

‘Everyday Americans need a champion': Wealthy Hillary Clinton finally enters formal race to be president with video telling middle class voters ‘the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top’ of the economy

  • ‘Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,’ says the multimillionaire politician in a launch video
  • Her chief of staff stepped on her big moment with an email to donors saying, ‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me’
  • Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’ 
  • Official campaign website is full of biographical material but includes no policy statements or issue platforms 
  • Republican Party fires its opening salvo: ‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton’
  • Hillary will start her ‘listening tour’ in Iowa and New Hampshire without huge fanfare, and then have a more formal launch event in May
  • Wunderkind campaign manager, 35, was a child when she was first lady and didn’t live through her defining White House scandals

Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president, leaning on a message of middle-class rescue and claims that America’s economy is ‘still stacked in favor of those at the top,’ according to a campaign video that went online Sunday afternoon.

‘I’m getting ready to do something,’ Clinton says in the brief ad, following a series of clips of ordinary-looking Americans describing what they’re ‘getting ready’ for.

‘I’m running for president,’ she says.

‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.’

That message is a daring one, given Clinton’s wealth. When she left the U.S. State Department in 2013, her financial disclosure report showed that her combined net worth with her husband was between $5.2 and $25.5 million. Millions more rolled in when she published her memoirs.

She famously claimed last year that she and former president Bill Clinton were ‘dead broke’ whenthey left the White House in 2001 – when they moved into a palatial home in a tree-lined New York City suburb.

Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta pushed a similar ‘middle-class’ message, but stepped on her announcement with his own email to a group of donors.

HILLARY'S TURN: Mrs Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America's first female commander-in-chief if things go her way

HILLARY’S TURN: Mrs Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America’s first female commander-in-chief if things go her way

PITCH: The former First Lady announced her run with a video that showed her interacting with citizens

PITCH: The former First Lady announced her run with a video that showed her interacting with citizens

DIVERSITY: The video makes a point of featuring same-sex couples, Hispanic citizens, parents and the elderly

DIVERSITY: The video makes a point of featuring same-sex couples, Hispanic citizens, parents and the elderly

SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary's big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House

SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary’s big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House

SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back

SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back

‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,’ Podesta wrote.

He said the former secretary of state ‘is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month.’

‘We need to make the middle class mean something again,’ Podesta’s email closed. ‘We can do this.’

From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.
Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’

Podesta leads the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. He was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama until February.

Clinton, too, is part of the upper-crust of America’s wealth pool, earning millions since she left public office.

The campaign’s internal schedule had called for a 12:00 p.m. tweet linked to a video, revealing the worst-kept secret in America to more than 3 million online followers. In reality, the big reveal was nearly two and a half hours late.

Clinton is entering the 2016 race without a splashy announcement of the kind that Republicans are staging for cheering throngs this month.

That strategy will help her skirt the kind of uncomfortable media questions that tend to dog anyone named Clinton.

There will be no press conferences, no grand speeches until at least early May, and few interviews.

Also missing: Her campaign website includes a lengthy biography but no discussion of issues, no policy platforms and no staked-out ideological territory.

Hillary for America, the official campaign organization, said in a statement that Clinton is ‘committed to spending the next 6 to 8 weeks in a “ramp up” period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters.’

‘In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live-streams,’ the statement said, ‘Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.

In a sign of her campaign’s fundraising trajectory – her insiders are said to be eyeing a staggering $2.5 billion war chest – a political action committee called HillaryPAC had its first solicitation email out 18 minutes before the campaign’s own press release.

That announcement to reporters, perhaps finished in haste, included an embarrassing mistake in the omission of a key word.

Hillary, it said, has ‘fought children and families all her career.’

‘I’m running for President': Hillary Clinton enters 2016 race

BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton's time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya 

BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton’s time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya

TRANSCRIPT: HILLARY’S LAUNCH VIDEO – ‘GETTING STARTED’

Most of Clinton’s video announcement is composed of hopeful stories told by ordinary Americans – exactly the image she wants to project:

WOMAN TENDING A GARDEN: ‘It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready, and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood.’

MOTHER #1: ‘My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving so she can belong to a better school.’

LATINO MAN: ‘My brother and I are starting our first business.’

MOTHER #2: ‘After five years of raising my children, I am now going back to work.’

YOUNG WOMAN: ‘Every day we’re trying to get more and more ready and more prepared.’

HER HUSBAND: ‘Baby boy, coming your way.’

FEMALE STUDENT: ‘Right now I’m applying for jobs. It’s a look into what the real world will look like after college.’

SAME-SEX COUPLE: ‘I’m getting married this summer to someone I really care about.’

AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILD: ‘I’m gonna be in the play, and I’m going to be in a fish costume. [Sings] From little tiny fishes…’

OLDER WOMAN: ‘I’m getting ready to retire soon. Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways.’

WOMAN: ‘Well, we’ve been doing a lot of home renovations.’

HER HUSBAND: ‘But most importantly, we just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash.’

WOMAN: ‘And so we have high hopes for 2015 that that’s going to happen.’

FACTORY WORKER: ‘I’ve started a new career recently. This is a fifth generation company, which means a lot to me. This country was founded on hard work, and it really feels good to be a part of that.’

HILLARY CLINTON: ‘I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.

‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead, and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.

‘So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.’

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic favorite, has a storied and rocky relationship with the press, one that sometimes brings out snippiness, mistrust and a temper that her handlers are loath to provoke.

But ‘Hillary’ sports a one-name celebrity ID, like Madonna or Beyonce; she doesn’t need the TV time to build name-recognition.

Republicans were quick on the trigger with their opening salvos.

‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton,’ Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

‘Over decades as a Washington insider, Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal, and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds.’

‘The Clintons believe they can play by a different set of rules and think they’re above transparency, accountability, and ethics,’ Priebus said. ‘Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton.’

Ted Cruz, the fire-breathing Texas GOP senator who was the first major party candidate to join the race, blasted her in a Web video of his own.

‘Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past,’ he said in the brief online ad, referring dismissively to the ‘Obama-Clinton foreign policy.’

‘There’s going to be a very clear choice to make in 2016. Does America want a third Obama term or are we ready for strong conservative leadership to make America great again?’

Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary Clinton’s President announcement

Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3035748/Everyday-Americans-need-champion-Wealthy-Hillary-Clinton-enters-race-president.html

Hillary Clinton camp announces her 2016 presidential run

With an announcement on social media, she picks up where she left off 7 years ago.

By Hillary Clinton on Sunday formally announced her second run for the White House, declaring on a new campaign website that “everyday Americans need a champion.” As part of the eagerly anticipated digital launch, Clinton debuted a slogan “New Adventures. Next Chapters.” and posted a video that hit on what are expected to be major themes of her campaign — middle-class empowerment and social equality issues.

Clinton’s camp previewed other parts of her kick-off. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, on Sunday emailed supporters and alumni of Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, saying that Clinton is hitting the road in Iowa to talk to voters. He also said that there will be a formal kickoff event next month.

The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a presidential run that the party is deeply invested in. “For months I’ve been getting calls from people who donate good money, asking when are we having an event, who are we writing a check to,” said Jay Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat, and a longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser. “It’s completely topsy-turvy. The groundswell has been percolating for so long. This thing had to get going, I can’t imagine we could have waited much longer.” Clinton is the first candidate in the thin Democratic field to formally announce a 2016 run, and is unlikely to face any real challenge until the general election. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – the most likely candidates to run in a primary – would face a steep uphill climb against Clinton. Two party stalwarts who might pose a bigger threat, Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have given few signals they are planning to enter the race. The Republican field is shaping up more quickly, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul holding splashy events in recent weeks to declare their campaigns. Sen. Marco Rubio is due to hold his own kick-off event at the Freedom Tower in Miami on Monday evening, which threatens to be overshadowed by the intense media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s launch. For the past year, the former secretary of state has been treated like a candidate while lacking the structure around her to support one. That has led to some rusty moments as Clinton has sometimes painfully re-entered public life, outside of the State Department’s protective bubble. The missteps began on her high-profile international book tour. When pressed during an interview with Diane Sawyer last June about why she was spending her time delivering highly paid speeches, Clinton delivered a tin-eared answer: She said that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Clinton — who has raked in more than $5 million on the paid speaking circuit since leaving Foggy Bottom and earned a reported $14 million advance on her latest book deal — admitted later that she regretted the comment and that it was “inartful.” But it fueled an emerging GOP storyline that she is out of touch with ordinary Americans. She was the subject of bruising headlines again last month after the New York Times reported that Clinton had relied solely on a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. Supporters were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn’t hiding official documents. But they were less forgiving of her clunky response.

“It took eight days to provide a pretty straight forward simple answer,” said one Clinton insider, referring to her press conference at the United Nations, where she finally addressed the issue. “All of us thought, why didn’t you give that

a day and a half after?”

Other Clinton backers considered the past year a useful proving ground. “She was bound to be rusty,” one insider said. “She’d been insulated and protected.” Clinton’s time on the paid speaking circuit has enabled her to hone a campaign stump speech: in recent months, she has been highlighting her decades-long record fighting for women’s rights and supporting equal pay and legislation like paid sick leave. The speeches, in controlled environments filled with supporters, have provided Clinton with the opportunity for a soft launch before entering the fray. As expected, Clinton’s formal entrance into the race immediately unleashed Republican attacks. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to launch his own campaign in the coming weeks, released a video Sunday morning linking Clinton to Obama’s presidency. “We must to do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies,” Bush said. “Better than their failed, big-government policies that grow our debt and stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity.” Rand Paul also jumped in, jabbing at both Clinton’s use of private email and the foreign money that has freely flowed to the Clinton Foundation. “It’s going to be hard for her to say she’s for women’s rights when she’s accepting money from sort of stone-age sort of regimes that really abuse the rights of women,” said Paul on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” She faces some skepticism from the left, too, for her perceived closeness to Wall Street and her husband’s deregulatory moves during his presidency. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive who managed Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign, declined a chance to endorse her. “Like a lot of people in this country, I want to see a vision,” de Blasio said on Meet the Press. When asked if he was endorsing Clinton, he demurred: “Not until I see — and I would say this about any candidate — till I see an actual vision of where they want to go.” In assembling a campaign team and vision — for an effort many close to Clinton estimate will raise and spend $1.5-to-$2 billion — Clinton has been careful to learn from the mistakes that marred her 2008 bid against Barack Obama. In a mission statement handed out to the team Saturday, campaign manager Robby Mook outlined how important it will be for the team to operate as a unified team, and as a diverse “family.” The memo’s point was clear: Mook and senior staffers are determined to set a collaborative tone — a sharp contrast from the last campaign, when Clinton’s operation was crippled by infighting and discord among the top aides. The memo also reminded staffers of one of the campaign’s animating themes: that the election “is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us — it’s about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.” That point was lost during the 2008 run, which carried the scent of coronation and when even Clinton’s first official announcement had a imperious and self-centered ring to it: “I’m in, and I’m in to win.” Even as Clinton seeks a fresh start, she has many supporters who have been waiting for her to run again since the day she lost. “There are 18 million people who have been ready since June 3, 2008,” said Jeffrey Campagna, who served on Clinton’s 2008 finance committee and LGBT steering committee. The official announcement “means everybody can press send — everybody has mailing lists, everybody has social networks.” President Obama, Clinton’s one-time rival, offered support Saturday at a press conference in Panama. “She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” Obama said. “She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president. And I’m not on the ballot. So I’m not gonna step on her lines.” He added: “The one thing I can say is she’s going to be able to handle herself very well in a conversation or debates around foreign policy. And her track record with respect to domestic policy is I think one that cares about working families.” Many of Clinton’s allies admit they would have preferred a shorter campaign, and would have liked to delay her official entry into the race for as long as possible, but they realize that has become impossible as the anticipation of her run got ahead of her. “The race has already begun, the coverage has already begun, she has to be part of the debate right now,” said New York labor leader Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a labor group that endorsed Clinton in 2008. “It’s going to be long and intense.” Clinton’s official announcement also marks the official end for Ready for Hillary, the independent super PAC that for two years has been building grassroots support for Clinton’s run. “People have wanted it to be real for two years,” said Tracy Sefl, a senior advisor to Ready for Hillary. And while some supporters have expressed skepticism in recent days about a digital launch, fearing it would do little to humanize Clinton, Sefl said she supported the approach. “There is something symbolic and also very real about going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class and issues that people care about, which don’t have to do with Beltway/Acela corridor stuff,” she said. “She’s going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class. It seems perfect.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/hillary-clinton-2016-election-presidential-launch-116888.html

Second shot: Hillary Clinton running again for president

By KEN THOMAS and LISA LERER Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said. As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations. This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama. Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders. Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to the approach Obama took in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession. Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy. “It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.

The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.” Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments. Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights. “I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.” Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible. Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html

Grandmama Mia!

WHEN my brother Michael was a Senate page, he delivered mail to John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, who had offices across the hall from each other.

He recalled that Kennedy never looked up or acknowledged his presence, but Nixon would greet him with a huge smile. “Hi, Mike,” he’d say. “How are you doing? How’s the family?”

It seemed a bit counterintuitive, especially since my dad, a D.C. police inspector in charge of Senate security, was a huge Kennedy booster. (The two prominent pictures in our house were of the Mona Lisa and J.F.K.) But after puzzling over it, I finally decided that J.F.K. had the sort of magnetism that could ensorcell big crowds, so he did not need to squander it on mail boys. Nixon, on the other hand, lacked large-scale magnetism, so he needed to work hard to charm people one by one, even mail boys.

Hillary Clinton has always tried to be more like the Democratic president she lived with in the White House, to figure out how he spins the magic. “I never realized how good Bill was at this until I tried to do it,” she once told her adviser, Harold Ickes. But she ends up being compared with the Republican president she investigated as a young lawyer for the House Judiciary’s Watergate investigation.

Her paranoia, secrecy, scandals and disappearing act with emails from her time as secretary of state have inspired a cascade of comparisons with Nixon.

Pat Buchanan, a former Nixon adviser, bluntly told Jason Zengerle recentlyin New York magazine: “She reminds me of Nixon,” another pol who’s more comfortable behind the scenes than grinding it out in the arena.

As Hillary finally admits the axiomatic — she wants to be president — she will take the Nixon approach, trying to charm people one by one in the early states for 2016, an acknowledgement that she cannot emulate the wholesale allure of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.

That reality hit her in 2008, when throngs waited hours to get in to hear The One. “Enough with the speeches and the big rallies,” a frustrated Hillary cried out to a Cincinnati crowd.

She wants to avoid the coronation vibe this time, a member of her orbit told Politico’s Glenn Thrush, even though Martin O’Malley, a potential rival, objected that “the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families” and The Onion reported her campaign slogan is “I deserve this.”

Hillary’s team plans to schedule low-key events where she can mingle with actual voters. “I think it’s important, and Hillary does, too, that she go out there as if she’s never run for anything before and establish her connection with the voters,” Bill Clinton told Town & Country for a cover story.

The Big Dog, who got off his leash last time in South Carolina, said he will start small as well, noting: “My role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election.”

Democratic strategists and advisers told The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan and Dan Balz that “the go-slow, go-small strategy” plays to her strengths, “allowing her to meet voters in intimate settings where her humor, humility and policy expertise can show through.”

As the old maxim goes, if you can fake humility, you’ve got it made. Butseeing Rahm and Hillary do it in the same season might be too much to take.

President Obama has said: “If she’s her wonderful self, I’m sure she’s going to do great.” But which self is that?

Instead of a chilly, scripted, entitled policy wonk, as in 2008, Hillary plans to be a warm, spontaneous, scrappy fighter for average Americans. Instead of a woman campaigning like a man, as in 2008, she will try to stir crowds with the idea of being the first woman president. Instead of haughtily blowing off the press, as in 2008, she will make an effort to play nice.

SECOND SHOT: HILLARY CLINTON RUNNING AGAIN FOR PRESIDENT

Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said.

As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes.

“So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations.

This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama.

Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders.

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion,” she said in the video.

“So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.”

Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to Obama’s approach in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession.

Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy.

“It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.

The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.”

Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments.

Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights.

“I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.”

Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible.

Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEM_2016_CLINTON?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-04-12-10-39-06

Five Reasons Why Hillary Wins in 2016

by MYRA ADAMS

Many voters will hold their noses but still pull the lever for Clinton. As Hillary Clinton famously said, “What difference at this point does it make?”

The difference is that half of Americans believe the other half are insane if they vote the Clintons back into the White House. The sane voters know that Hillary Clinton is not trustworthy and represents all that is wrong with Washington.

We know that she carries more baggage than an airport luggage carousel. Hillary is a 20th-century politician, and as of yesterday her lame new 21st-century video message is, “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.” (Perhaps instead she should run for president of Greyhound?)

Even our Democratic friends cannot name a single real accomplishment by Hillary Clinton.

We all know that if she were a man, she would be long past her political expiration date. But despite all that (topped off by her botched announcement), here are five reasons why Hillary Clinton is likely to be elected the 45th president of the United States. Any one of these five factors gives her a huge advantage over whoever the Republican nominee may be, and, taken together, they make her victory almost inevitable (barring some major campaign catastrophe).

First Female President Hillary’s official announcement video was devoid of a clear campaign message — but does she really need one other than, “It’s time for a woman president”?

Running as a historic candidate will be her default position — with her mantra being that “It’s time,” rather than that it’s her time. And she will downplay, of course, the fact that her last attempt was hijacked by the first African-American nominee. Writing as a Republican baby-boomer woman, I cannot emphasize enough how emotionally rewarding it would be for Democratic and Independent baby-boomer women to elect the first female president.

Older women feel this way too — my 89-year-old mother in her nursing home recently spoke these exact words: “It’s time for a woman president.” And those raised on girl power — women aged 50 and younger, who twice helped elect President Obama — are the most rah-rah for “It’s time.” For the record, in 2012 53 percent of all voters were women. In that election, President Obama won this group by an 11-point margin — 55 to 44 percent — over GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Hillary is banking on surpassing those numbers just by having her name on the ballot. Therefore, any Republican pundit or pollster who downplays the true meaning and potential of Hillary’s historic candidacy is being untruthful, or has his head in the sand. The Electoral College Is the GOP’s Worst Enemy Our constitutionally mandated Electoral College has evolved to a point where it is slanted in favor of the Democratic party’s nominee. If Hillary is indeed the 2016 Democratic nominee, all she has to do to win the necessary 270 electoral votes is sustain the historic equation outlined in my November National Review piece “Breaking the Blue Barrier.”

That equation is: 1992 + 1988 + Florida = a Democrat in the White House. That first number represents the ten states with a total of 152 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1992.

The second number represents the nine states with a total of 90 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1988. Together, those states command 242 electoral votes.

Thus, if Hillary follows the Electoral College precedent that has held since 1992 and also wins Florida, with its 29 electoral votes (or any combination of states yielding 28 votes), Bill Clinton would be elected First Dude. (Mothers, hide your daughters!) Florida, need I remind you, was won by Obama, though by small margins, in both 2008 and 2012, ensuring that in 2016 Mrs. Clinton will become a de facto resident of the Sunshine State. Obama’s Third Term

There has been much talk about Hillary either winning or losing Obama’s “third term.” My theory is that she will find a way to take only what she needs and jettison the rest. And what she needs is Obama’s winning voter coalition of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, voters aged 18 to 44, voters with incomes under $50,000, and those belonging to a union. It is no coincidence that Hillary’s high command is stacked with seasoned veterans from Obama’s two campaigns who are adept at delivering these voter groups.

Additionally, the CEO of Hillary 2016 is John Podesta, who was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and who was “counselor to the president” in Obama’s White House until he stepped down in February. Podesta, known as one of Washington’s fiercest political operators, was also the mastermind behind Obama’s excessive use of executive orders. Now, Republicans, get ready for some astounding news: President Obama’s current job approval rating stands at 45.3 percent, with a 50.3 percent disapproval rating, according to Real Clear Politics.

These are highly respectable approval numbers for a seventh presidential year, which explains the following paragraph from yesterday’s New York Times: “Mrs. Clinton and her team have decided that, on balance, the risk of lining up near Mr. Obama’s record is worth taking.

Rather than run from Mr. Obama, she intends to turn to him as one of her campaign’s most important allies and advocates — second only, perhaps, to her husband, the other president whose record will hover over her bid.” This brings us to Hillary’s advantage number four: Bill Clinton’s Third Term Revolting as that sounds to Republican ears, here is a Washington Post headline from March 13: “Bill Clinton is incredibly popular. How much will that help Hillary’s 2016 campaign?”

The piece reported: “Bill Clinton is almost certainly the most popular person in American politics. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed that 56 percent of people have a positive view of the former president while just 26 percent hold a negative one.”

The article continues, referring to Bill Clinton: “‘The campaigner in chief is always more an asset than anything,’ said Jef Pollock, a New York–based Democratic pollster. ‘He’s good for money, he’s good for strategy, and he’s good for turnout. That’s the holy trinity of good campaigning.’”

Therefore, Hillary will have the unusual advantage of running for both Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s “third term.” Watch her switch back and forth between the achievements (real or imagined) of the former and current presidents whenever it makes good political sense.

In turn, the 42nd and 44th presidents will each campaign and fundraise for Hillary in places and to groups where they are most popular. You can just hear each of them say, “A vote for Hillary is a vote for me,” and the crowd will go wild. Republicans and the General-Election Curse In five out of the past six presidential elections, starting with 1992, Republicans have lost the popular vote.

The key for a 2016 GOP victory will be to nominate a candidate who can attract a winning coalition of voter groups beyond those won by Mitt Romney in 2012.

Here are the groups won by Romney over Obama:

• Whites: 59 to 39 percent • Men: 52 to 45 percent

• Voters aged 45 to 64: 51 to 47 percent • Voters aged 65 and over: 56 to 44 percent

• College graduates: 51 to 47 percent (interestingly, Romney lost postgraduate-educated voters to Obama 42 to 55 percent)

• Voters with incomes between $50,000 and $90,000: 52 to 46 percent.

• Voters with incomes of $100,000 and over: 54 to 44 percent. MORE HILLARY CLINTON ON THE ROAD WITH HILLARY CLINTON SNL’S HILLARY ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO SPOOF INCLUDED A BILL CAMEO HOW TO DEFEAT HILLARY

The trouble is that older, whiter, richer male college graduates — the kind of voters who show up for midterm elections and vote Republican — are overwhelmed by the sheer number of female, younger, poorer, less educated, and less white voters who tend to flood the polls in presidential-election years.

And, as I mentioned earlier, Clinton will target these same voter groups as she tries to assemble the coalition that gave Obama his two victories.

Finally, anything can happen, and much will, between now and November 8, 2016. However, these five factors will likely form the foundation of Hillary Clinton’s victory (even though many of her voters will be holding their noses). In addition, many low-information voters will pull the Clinton lever because they have been led to believe that a Republican alternative is far more dangerous than letting Bill and Hill back in the White House.

Now, friends, please don’t shoot the messenger. Just tell me why I am wrong.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416867/five-reasons-why-hillary-wins-2016-myra-adams

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Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos

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Story 1: Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John, Chapter 8

Catechism of The Catholic Church

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

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wedding_cake2012_Romantic_Wedding_Cake_Toppers

topper First Gay Wedding show In Parisgay couplepersonalized-two-brides-cake-top200184313-001lesbian cake topper 2

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In Defense of Indiana

by RICH LOWRY

The anti-RFRA backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance.

Indiana is experiencing its two minutes of hate. It is doubtful that since its admittance into the union in 1816, the heretofore inoffensive Midwestern state has ever been showered with so much elite obloquy.

Indiana’s sin is that its legislature passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, setting out a legal standard for cases involving a clash between a person’s exercise of religion and the state’s laws. To listen to the critics, you’d think the law was drafted by a joint committee of attorneys from the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church. The enlightened are stumbling over themselves in their rush to boycott Indiana. Seattle and San Francisco are banning official travel there, and Connecticut is following suit. In a Washington Post op-ed, Apple CEO Tim Cook pronounced the Indiana law part of a “very dangerous” trend that allows “people to discriminate against their neighbors” (never mind that his company is happy to do business in Communist China). The anti-Indiana backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance, supercharged by the particularly censorious self-righteousness of the Left.

All the Indiana law says is that the state can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling governmental interest at stake and it is pursued by the least restrictive means. The law doesn’t mandate any particular outcome; it simply provides a test for the courts in those rare instances when a person’s exercise of religion clashes with a law.

Nineteen other states have similar protections, and they are all modeled on a federal version of the law that passed Congress with near unanimity in 1993 (Indiana’s law is arguably a little more robust than the federal version, because it also applies to private suits). If these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts were the enablers of discrimination they are portrayed as, much of the country would already have sunk into a dystopian pit of hatred.

Legal historians a century from now may be mystified by how a measure that was uncontroversial for so long suddenly became a mark of shame. They will find their answer in the Left’s drive to crush any dissent from its cultural agenda, especially on gay marriage.

The religious-freedom laws once were associated with minorities that progressives could embrace or tolerate — Native Americans who smoke peyote as part of religious ceremonies, Amish who drive their buggies on the roads, and the like. That was fine. It is the specter of Christian small-business people — say, a baker or a florist — using the laws to protect themselves from punishment for opting out of gay-wedding ceremonies that drives progressives mad.

Why? It’s a large, diverse country, with many people of differing faiths and different points of view. More specifically, the country has an enormous wedding industry not known for its hostility to gays. The burgeoning institution of gay marriage will surely survive the occasional florist who doesn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.

As a practical matter, such a dissenting florist doesn’t make a difference; the affected couple might be offended but can take its business elsewhere. But for the Left, it’s the principle of the thing. For all its talk of diversity, it demands unanimity on this question — individual conscience be damned. So it isn’t bothered when religious wedding vendors are sued or harassed under anti-discrimination laws for their nonparticipation in ceremonies they morally oppose.

It’s not clear that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts will shield these kinds of business people (they haven’t, to this point). It might be that more specific exemptions are necessary. But the mere possibility that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act might protect a baker opposed to gay marriage is enough to create a furious, unhinged reaction.

Yes, there is intolerance afoot in the debate over Indiana, but it’s not on the part of Indianans.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416196/defense-indiana-rich-lowry

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Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party’s War on People of Faith By Opposing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Law — 19 Other States Have Similar Laws — Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 — Does Not Discriminate Against Any One Including Gays and Lesbians– Videos

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Story 3: Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party’s  War on People of Faith By Opposing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Law — 19 Other States Have Similar Laws — Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 — Does Not Discriminate Against Any One Including Gays and Lesbians– Videos

Religious-Freedom-Restoration-ActRFRA1religionmap2013gay-marriage-cartoon-beeler

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Mark Steyn On The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

Swarens: Gov. Mike Pence to push for clarification of ‘religious freedom’ law

Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”

The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.

Asked if that legislation might include making gay and lesbian Hoosiers a protected legal class, Pence said, “That’s not on my agenda.”

Amid the deepest crisis of his political career, Pence said repeatedly that the intense blowback against the new law is the result of a “misunderstanding driven by misinformation.”

He adamantly insisted that RFRA will not open the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. But he did acknowledge that Indiana’s image — and potentially its economic health — has been hurt badly by the controversy.

I spoke with Pence on the same day that thousands of people rallied at the Statehouse in opposition to the law. And the same day that Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced that his company will abandon a deal with the state and city to expand the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis because of RFRA’s passage.

Oesterle’s statement is a telling sign that the outrage over RFRA isn’t limited only to the political left. Oesterle directed Republican Mitch Daniels’ 2004 campaign for governor. And it’s a signal that the damage from the RFRA debacle could be extensive.

Behind the scenes, Pence and his team have been scrambling to mitigate that damage — both to the state and to the governor’s political career.

Pence said, for example, that he had a “cordial and productive” conversation with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, who announced shortly after Pence signed the RFRA legislation on Thursday that the company will cancel all corporate-related travel to Indiana. That conversation, however, has not led to a reversal of the Salesforce decision.

I asked the governor if he had anticipated the strongly negative reaction set off by the bill’s passage. His response made it clear that he and his team didn’t see it coming.

“I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state,” he said. “I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill.”

In defense of the legislation, he noted that 19 other states and the federal government have adopted RFRA laws similar to Indiana’s. And he pointed out that President Barack Obama voted for Illinois’ version of RFRA as a state senator.

The governor also criticized the news media’s coverage of the legislation. “Despite the irresponsible headlines that have appeared in the national media, this law is not about discrimination,” he said. “If it was, I would have vetoed it.”

Yet, those justifications, cited repeatedly by the governor’s supporters in recent days, have done little to quell the controversy.

Which is why the proposal to clarify the law’s intent with a new bill has gained traction among Pence’s advisers in the past couple of days.

Pence also plans to fight back in the state and national media. He’s scheduled, for instance, to defend the law Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. “I’m not going to take it (the criticism) lying down,” he said.

As we wrapped up the conversation, I asked Pence: What answer do you have for the many gays and lesbians — and their friends and families — who’ve asked this past week if they are still welcome in Indiana?

“First, this law is not about discrimination. It’s about protecting religious liberty and giving people full access to the judicial system,” he said. “But, yes, Hoosier hospitality is about making all people feel welcome in our state. We did that with the Super Bowl and with many other events, and with bringing businesses here. We will continue to do that.”

Whether Pence can get that message across — whether he still has the credibility to get people to believe it — will help determine the extent of RFRA’s damage. First, and most important, for the state. But also for Mike Pence’s political future and legacy.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 25, 2014
Decided June 30, 2014Full case nameSylvia Burwell, Secretary ofHealth and Human Services, et al., Petitioners v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Mardel, Inc., David Green, Barbara Green, Steve Green, Mart Green, and Darsee Lett; Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, et al., Petitioners v. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al.Docket nos.13-354
13-356Citations573 U.S. ___ (more)

134 S.Ct. 2751, WL 2921709, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4505, 123 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 621

HoldingAs applied to closely held for-profit corporations, the Health and Human Services(HHS) regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion under the RFRA. The Court assumes that guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is a compelling governmental interest, but the Government has failed to show that the mandate is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.Court membership

Case opinionsMajorityAlito, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, ThomasConcurrenceKennedyDissentGinsburg, joined by Sotomayor; Breyer, Kagan (all but part III-C-1)DissentBreyer and KaganLaws applied

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), is a landmark decision[1][2] by the United States Supreme Courtallowing closely held for-profit corporations to be exempt from a law its owners religiously object to if there is a less restrictive means of furthering the law’s interest. It is the first time that the court has recognized a for-profit corporation’s claim of religious belief,[3] but it is limited to closely held corporations.[a] The decision is an interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and does not address whether such corporations are protected by the free-exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

For such companies, the Court’s majority directly struck down the contraceptive mandate, a regulation adopted by theUS Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring employers to cover certain contraceptives for their female employees, by a 5-4 vote.[4] The court said that the mandate was not the least restrictive way to ensure access to contraceptive care, noting that a less restrictive alternative was being provided for religious non-profits, until the Court issued an injunction 3 days later, effectively ending said alternative, leaving no employer-sponsored alternative for any female employees of closely held corporations that do not wish to provide birth control.[5]

The ruling could have widespread impact, allowing corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws.[6][7]

Background

Federal law

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) that a person may not defy neutral laws of general applicability[b] even as an expression of religious belief. “To permit this,” wrote Justice Scalia, “would make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.” He wrote that generally applicable laws do not have to meet the standard of strict scrutiny, because such a requirement would create “a private right to ignore generally applicable laws”. Strict scrutiny would require a law to be the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest.

In 1993, the US Congress responded by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring strict scrutiny when a neutral law of general applicability “substantially burden[s] a person’s[c] exercise of religion”.[8] The RFRA was amended in 2000 by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to redefine exercise of religion as any exercise of religion, “whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief”, which is to be “construed in favor of a broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter and the Constitution”. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the RFRA as applied to federal statutes in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita in 2006.

Affordable Care Act

Most Americans are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which relies on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to specify what kinds of preventive care for women should be covered in certain employer-based health plans. HHS exempted religious employers (churches and their integrated auxiliaries, associations of churches, and any religious order), non-profit organizations that object to any required contraception,[9] employers providing grandfathered plans (that have not had specific changes before March 23, 2010), and employers with fewer than 50 employees. The HRSA decided that all twenty contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be covered.[10] Companies that refuse are fined $100 per individual per day,[11] or they can replace their health coverage with higher wages and a calibrated tax.

Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts company founded by self-made billionaire[12] David Green and owned by the Evangelical Christian Green family with about 21,000 employees.[11] It provided the contraceptives Plan-B and Ella until it dropped its coverage in 2012, the year it filed its lawsuit.[13][14] It is the largest funder of theNational Christian Charitable Foundation that uses its billion-dollar endowment to fund a network of political groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom, which recently supported the Arizona SB 1062 bill that attracted national controversy.[15] The Hobby Lobby case also involved Mardel Christian and Educational Supply, which is owned by Mart Green, one of David’s sons.

Hobby Lobby’s case was consolidated with another case by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a furniture company owned by the Mennonite Hahn family that has about 1,000 employees. They were being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.[16]

Specific contraceptives contested by plaintiffs

The Green and Hahn families believe that life begins at conception which they equate to fertilization, and object to their closely held for-profit corporations providing health insurance coverage to their female employees of four FDA-approved contraceptives that the Green and Hahn families believe may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg (many doctors and scientists disagree), which the Green and Hahn families believe constitutes an abortion.[17][18][19][20]

Lower court history

In September 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against enforcement of the contraception rule based on the RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The district court denied Hobby Lobby’s request for a preliminary injunction. In March 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit granted a hearing of the case. In June, the appeals court ruled that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is a person who has religious freedom.[6] The court ordered the government to stop enforcement of the contraception rule on Hobby Lobby and sent the case back to the district court, which granted preliminary injunction in July. In September, the government appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.[21]

Two other federal appeals courts ruled against the contraception coverage rule, while another two upheld it.[11]

The case was previously titled Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. Sylvia Burwell was automatically substituted as petitioner when she was approved by the United States Senate as the Secretary of Health and Human Services after being nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Kathleen Sebelius following Sibelius’ resignation on April 10, 2014.

U.S. Supreme Court consideration

Acceptance and briefs

On November 26, the Supreme Court accepted and consolidated the case with Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Two dozen amicus briefs support the government, and five dozen support the companies. American Freedom Law Center‘s brief argues that birth control harms women because men will only want them “for the satisfaction of [their] own desires.”[22] Another brief argues that the contraception rule leads to “the maximization of sexual activity”.[7] Two of the briefs oppose each other on the constitutionality of the RFRA. Two briefs that do not formally take sides oppose each other on whether the right to religion applies to corporations.[23] One of those briefs argues that if shareholders are separated by the corporate veil from corporate liabilities, then their religious values are also separate from the corporation. It mentions the ruling in Domino’s Pizza, Inc. v. McDonald made against the African American owner of JWM Investments whose contracts were breached due to racial discrimination. The brief argues that if JWM Investments could not suffer discrimination through its owner, then Hobby Lobby could not suffer religious burden through its owner.[24][25] Two briefs were filed by LGBT groups concerned that future anti-discrimination laws would be pre-emptively harmed if employers could claim to be religiously exempt.[26][27][28]

Argument and deliberation

Oral arguments were held on March 25, 2014 for 30 minutes more than the usual one hour.[8] The three women in the court focused their questioning on Hobby Lobby’s lawyer, Paul D. Clement, while the men focused on the administration’s lawyer, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr.[29] Justice Sotomayor quoted the ruling from United States v. Lee (1982) saying that an employer can’t deprive employees of a statutory right because of religious beliefs. Clement replied that Lee does not apply because it was a challenge against a tax rather than against a significant burden. Sotomayor said that instead of paying the burden of the penalty, Hobby Lobby could replace its health care with the equivalent expense of higher wages and a calibrated tax, which the government would use to pay for the employees’ health care.[30][31] Near the end of Clement’s argument, Justice Kennedy expressed concern for the rights of the employees who may not agree with the religious beliefs of their employers.[32] When Verrilli argued that the ruling in Cutter v. Wilkinson requires the court to weigh the impact on third parties in every RFRA case, Justice Scalia said that the RFRA does not require the court to balance the interest of the religious objector to the interest of other individuals. Verilli returned to Lee,saying that granting an exemption to an employer should not impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.[30][33]

Opinion of the Court

Majority opinion

On June 30, 2014, Associate Justice Samuel Alito delivered the judgment of the court. Four justices (Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas) joined him to strike down the HHS mandate, as applied to closely held corporations with religious objections, and to prevent the plaintiffs from being compelled to provide contraception under their healthcare plans. The ruling was reached on statutory grounds, citing the RFRA, because the mandate was not the “least restrictive” method of implementing the government’s interest. The ruling did not address Hobby Lobby’s claims under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.[34]

The court argued that the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of shareholders, officers, and employees.[35] It said that “allowing Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel to assert RFRA claims protects the religious liberty of the Greens and the Hahns.”[36] The court found that for-profit corporations could be considered persons under the RFRA. It noted that the HHS treats nonprofit corporations as persons within the meaning of RFRA. The court stated, “no conceivable definition of the term includes natural persons and nonprofit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.”[37] Responding to lower court judges’ suggestion that the purpose of for-profit corporations “is simply to make money”, the court said, “For-profit corporations, with ownership approval, support a wide variety of charitable causes, and it is not at all uncommon for such corporations to further humanitarian and other altruistic objectives.”[38] The court rejected the contention that “the Nation lacks a tradition of exempting for-profit corporations from generally applicable laws,” pointing to a federal statute from 1993 that exempted any covered health care entity from engaging in “certain activities related to abortion”.[39]

The court held that the HHS contraception mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion, rejecting an argument that the $2,000-per-employee penalty for dropping insurance coverage is less than the average cost of health insurance. Responding to HHS’s argument that the provision of coverage does not itself result in destruction of embryos, the Court asserted that the argument dodges the substantial burden question that the Court is supposed to address. The Court added, citing Jesuit moral manuals, that the argument is also the religious question of the morality of enabling the immoral acts of others, to which HHS had provided “a binding national answer”. The Court argued that federal courts should not answer religious questions because they would in effect be deciding whether certain beliefs are flawed.[40][41] The court argued that “companies would face a competitive disadvantage in retaining and attracting skilled workers,” that increased wages for employees to buy individual coverage would be more costly than group health insurance, that any raise in wages would have to take income taxes into account, and that employers cannot deduct the penalty.[42]

The court found it unnecessary to adjudicate on whether the HHS contraceptive mandate furthers a compelling government interest and held that HHS has not shown that the mandate is “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest”.[43] The court argued that the most straightforward alternative would be “for the Government to assume the cost…” and that HHS has not shown that it is not “a viable alternative”.[44] The court said that the RFRA can “require creation of entirely new programs”.[45] The court also pointed out that HHS already exempts any nonprofit organization from paying for any required contraception by allowing it to certify its religious objection to its insurance issuer, which must “[p]rovide separate payments for any contraceptive services required to be covered”.[46] However, the court said the approach might not necessarily be the least restrictive alternative for all religious claims.[47]

The court concluded by addressing “the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction”. The court said that their decision “provides no such shield”, and that “prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.”[48] The court also said that the requirement to pay taxes despite any religious objection is different from the contraceptive mandate because “there simply is no less restrictive alternative to the categorical requirement to pay taxes.”[49] The court acknowledged the dissent’s “worries about forcing the federal courts to apply RFRA to a host of claims made by litigants seeking a religious exemption from generally applicable laws…”, noting that this point was “made forcefully by the Court in Smith“. The court responded by saying, “Congress, in enacting RFRA, took the position that ‘the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests’…The wisdom of Congress’s judgment on this matter is not our concern. Our responsibility is to enforce RFRA as written, and under the standard that RFRA prescribes, the HHS contraceptive mandate is unlawful.”[50]

Concurring opinion

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion, responding to the “respectful and powerful dissent”, by emphasizing the limited nature of the ruling and saying that the government “makes the case that the mandate serves the Government’s compelling interest in providing insurance coverage that is necessary to protect the health of female employees”, but that the RFRA’s least-restrictive way requirement is not met because “there is an existing, recognized, workable, and already-implemented framework to provide coverage,” the one that HHS has devised for non-profit corporations with religious objections. “RFRA requires the Government to use this less restrictive means. As the Court explains, this existing model, designed precisely for this problem, might well suffice to distinguish the instant cases from many others in which it is more difficult and expensive to accommodate a governmental program to countless religious claims based on an alleged statutory right of free exercise.” (Kennedy, J., concurring, p. 3, 4)

Dissenting opinions

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the primary dissent, which was joined by Justice Sotomayor in full and by Justices Breyer and Kagan as to all but Part III–C–1[51] on “whether a corporation qualifies as a ‘person’ capable of exercising religion”.[52] Ginsburg began, “In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. … Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a ‘less restrictive alternative.’ And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there always will be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religion-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab.”[53]

She challenged the majority’s unprecedented view of for-profit religion saying “Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities[54]…Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”[55] Responding to the majority’s argument that the government should “assume the cost” of contraceptives, Ginsburg said that “the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for safety net family planning services…” is not designed to absorb the unmet needs of those already insured. She noted that “a less restrictive alternative” has not been written into law by Congress.[56] Ginsburg warns, “The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield…”[57]

Justices Breyer and Kagan wrote a one-paragraph dissenting opinion, saying that “the plaintiffs’ challenge to the contraceptive coverage requirement fails on the merits” and that they “need not and do not decide whether either for-profit corporations or their owners may bring claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”[58]

Reactions

Barbara Green, co-founder of Hobby Lobby, said “Today, the nation’s highest court has reaffirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles. The court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith.”[59]

Conestoga CEO Anthony Hahn said, “Americans don’t have to surrender their freedom when they open a family business.”[59]

Organizations

Conservative and pro-life groups praised the ruling. The National Review said that the Supreme Court ruling “[led] Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Bowman to call Hobby Lobby an ‘inclusive decision’ that advances everyone’s freedom.”[60] Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “This is a great victory for religious liberty – the bedrock of our founding. In living out our religious convictions, there are certain things we must not do. This is why we are at a watershed moment. Religious people will no longer be ordered to take action that our religion says we must not take.”[61] Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, “The Supreme Court has delivered one of the most significant victories for religious freedom in our generation. We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family businesses owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines.”[61] The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business…Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.”[62]

Pro-choice and civil-liberties groups criticized the ruling. Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “Today, the Supreme Court ruled against American women and families, giving bosses the right to discriminate against women and deny their employees access to birth control coverage. This is a deeply disappointing and troubling ruling that will prevent some women, especially those working hourly-wage jobs and struggling to make ends meet, from getting birth control.”[63] Deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union Louise Melling said, “This is a deeply troubling decision. For the first time, the highest court in the country has said that business owners can use their religious beliefs to deny their employees a benefit that they are guaranteed by law.”[64]

In an editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine called the decision “a setback for both the ACA’s foundational goal of access to universal health care and for women’s health care specifically”, voicing concern that “in assessing the competing claims about abortion and birth control, the Court’s majority focused on the religious claims of the corporations without discussing scientific or medical opinions.”[65] In JAMA Internal Medicine, Alta Charo wrote that “consistent with a disturbing trend among courts and legislatures to misstate or misuse scientific information in the context of women’s reproductive rights and health, the Supreme Court’s decision ignored the well-accepted distinction between contraception and abortion.”[66] The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, representing 90% of U.S. board-certified gynecologists, supported a bill to overturn the Hobby Lobby ruling.[67]

Government

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “Congress needs to take action to solve this problem that’s been created and the administration stands ready to work with them to do so. President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their bosses deciding for them. Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies.”[64]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, “If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will. We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room.”[3]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “[T]he Obama administration cannot trample on the religious freedoms that Americans hold dear.”[3]

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who introduced the RFRA in 1993, said his law “was not intended to extend the same protection to for-profit corporations, whose very purpose is to profit from the open market.”[68]

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “The mandate overturned today would have required for-profit companies to choose between violating their constitutionally-protected faith or paying crippling fines, which would have forced them to lay off employees or close their doors.”[69]

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Although the Court restricted their ruling to ‘closely-held’ companies, this ruling will immediately affect the lives of millions of women across the country. Over 90 percent of America’s businesses are ‘closely-held,’ including such large employers as Koch Industries and Bechtel.[69]Women should not be forced to jump through extra hoops to secure the fundamental health care they need. Allowing employers and CEOs to limit the health care available to employees is a gross violation of their workers’ religious rights. It’s just not her boss’ business.”[64]

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, “Today’s victory in the Hobby Lobby case is terrific news—but now is no time to rest. We cannot rely on the courts alone to defend our religious liberty.”[61]

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to protect the religious freedom of all Americans, both individually and collectively. The notion that religious freedom belongs only to some, and even then only in private, defies our nation’s traditions, our laws, and our Constitution. And as the Supreme Court rightfully said today, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could not have been clearer in saying religious liberty of all Americans must be equally protected and not unnecessarily burdened.”[61]

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) said, “I am extremely encouraged by today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the religious liberty rights of the Green family of Hobby Lobby.”[61]

Aftermath

Cases following SCOTUS ruling

Forbes reported that following the ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, “the Supreme Court vacated the judgment against Eden Foods and sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for further consideration.”[70]

Wheaton College order

On July 3, 2014, the Supreme Court granted a temporary exemption to the approach it suggested as a less restrictive alternative in Hobby Lobby, where the plaintiffs would send a form (EBSA Form 700)[71] to its insurance issuer, which would pay for the contraception. In an unsigned emergency injunction for Wheaton College in Illinois, the court said that instead of notifying its insurance issuer, Wheaton can notify the government. Once notified, the government should notify the issuer. Wheaton believed that by transferring the obligation to cover contraceptives to its insurance issuer, it was triggering that obligation. The emergency injunction does not constitute a ruling on the merits of Wheaton’s religious objection. The court said “Nothing in this interim order affects the ability of the applicant’s employees and students to obtain, without cost, the full range of FDA approved contraceptives.”[72]

In a 15-page dissent joined by the other two women on the court, Justice Sotomayor criticized the majority’s reasoning: “Wheaton’s application comes nowhere near the high bar necessary to warrant an emergency injunction from this court…The court’s actions in this case create unnecessary costs and layers of bureaucracy, and they ignore a simple truth: The government must be allowed to handle the basic tasks of public administration in a manner that comports with common sense.”[73]

In January, the Supreme Court granted a similar temporary injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor.[74][75][76]

In dueling commentaries between regular SCOTUSblog contributor Marty Lederman and co-founder Tom Goldstein, Lederman argued that only Form 700 can require an insurance provider to pay for contraception coverage. Goldstein argued that an existing regulation allows the government to specify an alternative to Form 700. He pointed out that “the Court didn’t accept Wheaton’s most aggressive argument” that it cannot be required to do anything. He said that Justice Kennedy’s concurrence is controlling and makes clear that the RFRA is not violated by requiring Wheaton to notify the government.[77][78]

Implications

Religious exemption from laws that apply to the general public

Although the court stated clearly that the decision is limited to the contraceptive mandate (Syllabus p. 4-5), the ruling is seen to have consequences extending far beyond contraception. Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general said, “for the first time, commercial enterprises could successfully claim religious exemptions from laws that govern everyone else.” Fifteen states had filed a brief arguing that businesses would be able to deny coverage for transfusions, stem cell treatments, and psychiatric care.[6] In line with the dissenting opinion, The American Prospect asked, “[W]ill the taxpayers have to send a check to employees if employers feel that minimum wage laws violate their religious beliefs?”[79] Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that objections to paying health benefits for same-sex spouses will get traction.[80] The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLT) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights withdrew their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed by the Senate, saying that its religious exemptions would allow companies to fire or refuse to hire LGBT workers in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling. NGLT executive director Rea Carey said, “We do not take this move lightly. We’ve been pushing for this bill for 20 years.”[81]

Such concerns are focused on the court’s application of the federal RFRA law and were driven by national controversy over a state RFRA amendment bill in Arizona. Douglas Laycock, law professor at the University of Virginia, said, “The whole secular left has decided” that RFRA laws “are very dangerous because they care so much more about the contraception cases and gay rights.” He said RFRA laws are mischaracterized because they do not dictate outcomes favoring religious objectors, they only require courts to use the highest standard of scrutiny on any law challenged.[6] Mark Kernes, Senior Editor and Chief Legal Analyst forAVN magazine stated in an op-ed piece, “If the Hobby Lobby decision supports the ‘right’ of companies not to make available birth control that will prevent women from “catching” a pregnancy, what’s to keep those same religious companies from arguing that providing access to PrEP drugs like Truvada, which help prevent gays (and, admittedly, everyone) from catching HIV shouldn’t similarly be excluded from their health plans?”[82]

Imposition of religious beliefs onto others

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said that the Supreme Court has never ruled that companies have religious beliefs and that “it has never held that religious exercise provides a license to harm others, or violate the rights of third parties.” Louise Melling, ACLU deputy legal director, said religious freedom “gives us all the right to hold our beliefs, but it doesn’t give you the right to impose your beliefs on others, to discriminate against others.”[7] The editorial board of The New York Times wrote that the decision “swept aside accepted principles of corporate law and religious liberty to grant owners of closely held, for-profit companies an unprecedented right to impose their religious views on employees.”[83] A Fox News columnist wrote, “[W]ith all of the debate about the religious beliefs of the Hobby Lobby owners, what about the religious beliefs of their employees? They are just as important, and should not be trampled upon.”[84]The director of the United Church of Christ’s Washington, D.C. office, said that the ruling “may embolden private employers to claim religious objections to particular health care services, in effect forcing their own religious views upon their employees.”[85] Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely-held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom, which means that the…corporation’s employers can impose their religious beliefs on their employees.”[86] The Center for American Progress said that the ruling “moves in the direction this court has been moving already, which is talking about corporate personhood—really treating corporations like people, saying that the corporation has a religion itself and that should be imposed on its employees.”[80] Interfaith Alliance leader Rev. Welton Gaddy said, “The First Amendment is at its best when it is used to protect the rights of minorities from the whims of the powerful. Today’s decision, which gives the powerful the right to force their religious beliefs on those around them, is a far cry from the best traditions of religious freedom.”[62]

Scholars on the other side (including some on the left) disagree, arguing that companies owned and run by liberals will likewise benefit from the freedom to operate according to their conscience or values – which has not been viewed as “imposing” views, because people routinely choose whom to associate with based on philosophical compatibility.[87] This debate reflects a larger recurring ideological issue over what constitutes “coercion” or “imposing” – e.g., whether burdens imposed by law onto employers are better or worse than burdens imposed by employers on employees.[88]

Corporate liability

The New York Times editor Dorothy J. Samuels wrote, “If owners indicate that they are not entirely separate from their corporation—by denying corporation employees’ birth control coverage based on their personal religious beliefs—the case could be made in future state-court litigation that they have waived their right to be shielded from responsibility for corporate financial liabilities.”[89] The dean of the UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky said, “The liabilities of the corporation are not attributed to the owners, so why should the owners be able to attribute their beliefs to the company?”[90] Samuels leaves her readers with an adage: “Be careful what you wish for.”[89] Several legal scholars wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court for this case arguing this danger, while scholars on the other side counter that incorporated non-profit organizations enjoy liability protection despite their activities based on religious or other values/conscience-based causes.[91]

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burwell_v._Hobby_Lobby_Stores,_Inc.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For state versions of the RFRA, see State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.
For the Indiana legislation, see Indiana SB 101.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to protect the free exercise of religion.
Acronyms(colloquial) RFRA
Enacted by the 103rd United States Congress
Effective November 16, 1993
Citations
Public Law 103-141
Statutes at Large 107 Stat. 1488
Codification
Titles amended 42 U.S.C.: Public Health and Social Welfare
U.S.C. sections created 42 U.S.C. ch. 21B § 2000bb et seq.
Legislative history
United States Supreme Court cases
City of Boerne v. Flores
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4 (also known as RFRA), is a 1993 United States federal law aimed at preventing laws that “substantially burden” a person’s free exercise of religion. The bill was introduced by Congressman Chuck Schumer (DNY) on March 11, 1993 and passed by a unanimous U.S. House and a near unanimous U.S. Senate with three dissenting votes[1] and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

The RFRA was held unconstitutional as applied to the states in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision in 1997, which ruled that the RFRA is not a proper exercise of Congress’s enforcement power. However, it continues to be applied to the federal government—for instance, in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal—because Congress has broad authority to carve out exemptions from federal laws and regulations that it itself has authorized. In response to City of Boerne v. Flores, some individual states passed State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that apply to state governments and local municipalities.

Provisions

This law reinstated the Sherbert Test, which was set forth by Sherbert v. Verner, and Wisconsin v. Yoder, mandating that strict scrutiny be used when determining whether the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing religious freedom, has been violated. In the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Congress states in its findings that a religiously neutral law can burden a religion just as much as one that was intended to interfere with religion;[2] therefore the Act states that the “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”[3]

The law provided an exception if two conditions are both met. First, the burden must be necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.”[3] Under strict scrutiny, a government interest is compelling when it is more than routine and does more than simply improve government efficiency. A compelling interest relates directly with core constitutional issues.[4] The second condition is that the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

Background and passage

This tipi is used for Peyote ceremonies in the Native American Church, one of the main religions affected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to all religions, but is most pertinent[dubious ] to Native American religions that are burdened by increasing expansion of government projects onto sacred land. In Native American religion the land they worship on is very important. Often the particular ceremonies can only take place in certain locations because these locations have special significance.[5] This, along with peyote use, are the main parts of Native American religions that are often left unprotected.

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment states that Congress shall not pass laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. In the 1960s, the Supreme Court interpreted this as banning laws that burdened a person’s exercise of religion (e.g.Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972)). But in the 1980s the Court began to allow legislation that incidentally prohibited religiously mandatory activities as long as the ban was “generally applicable” to all citizens. Also, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, intended to protect the freedoms of tribal religions, was lacking enforcement. This led to the key cases leading up to the RFRA, which were Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988) and Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). In Lyng, the Court was unfavorable to sacred land rights. Members of the Yurok, Tolowa and Karok tribes tried to use the First Amendment to prevent a road from being built by the U.S. Forest Service through sacred land. The land that the road would go through consisted of gathering sites for natural resources used in ceremonies and praying sites. The Supreme Court ruled that this was not an adequate legal burden because the government was not coercing or punishing them for their religious beliefs.[6] In Smith the Court upheld the state of Oregon‘s refusal to give unemployment benefits to two Native Americans fired from their jobs at a rehab clinic after testing positive for mescaline, the main psychoactive compound in the peyote cactus, which they used in a religious ceremony. Peyote use has been a common practice in Native American tribes for centuries. It was integrated with Christianity into what is now known as the Native American Church.[7]

The Smith decision outraged the public. Many groups came together. Both liberal (like the American Civil Liberties Union) and conservative groups (like theTraditional Values Coalition) as well as other groups such as the Christian Legal Society, the American Jewish Congress, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and the National Association of Evangelicals joined forces to support RFRA, which would reinstate the Sherbert Test, overturning laws if they burden a religion.[8] The act, which was Congress’s reaction to the Lyng and Smith cases, passed the House unanimously and the Senate 97 to 3 and was signed into law byU.S. President Bill Clinton.

Applicability

The RFRA applies “to all Federal law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise”, including any Federal statutory law adopted after the RFRA’s date of signing “unless such law explicitly excludes such application.”[9]

Challenges and weaknesses

The Peyote cactus, the source of the peyote used by Native Americans in religious ceremonies.

In 1997, part of this act was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antoniowanted to enlarge a church in Boerne, Texas. But a Boerne ordinance protected the building as a historic landmark and did not permit it to be torn down. The church sued, citing RFRA, and in the resulting case, City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507(1997), the Supreme Court struck down the RFRA with respect to its applicability to States (but not Federally), stating that Congress had stepped beyond their power of enforcement provided in the Fourteenth Amendment.[8] In response to the Boerneruling, Congress passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) in 2000, which grants special privileges to religious land owners.[10]

The Act was amended in 2003 to only include the federal government and its entities, such as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.[11] A number of states have passed state RFRAs, applying the rule to the laws of their own state, but the Smith case remains the authority in these matters in many states.[12]

The constitutionality of RFRA as applied to the federal government was confirmed on February 21, 2006, as the Supreme Court ruled against the government inGonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), which involved the use of an otherwise illegal substance in a religious ceremony, stating that the federal government must show a compelling state interest in restricting religious conduct.

Post-Smith, many members of the Native American Church still had issues using peyote in their ceremonies. This led to the Religious Freedom Act Amendments in 1994, which state, “the use, possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bona fide traditional ceremony purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or any state. No Indian shall be penalized or discriminated against on the basis of such use, possession or transportation.”[3]

Applications and effects

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act holds the federal government responsible for accepting additional obligations to protect religious exercise. In O’Bryan v. Bureau of Prisons it was found that the RFRA governs the actions of federal officers and agencies and that the RFRA can be applied to “internal operations of the federal government.”[13] RFRA, in conjunction with President Bill Clinton‘s Executive Order in 1996, provided more security for sacred sites for Native American religious rites.[3]

As of 1996, the year before the RFRA was found unconstitutional as applied to states, 337 cases had cited RFRA in its three year time range.[14] It was also found that Jewish, Muslim, and Native American religions, which make up only three percent of religious membership in the U.S., make up 18 percent of the cases involving the free exercise of religion.[14] The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was a cornerstone for tribes challenging the National Forest Service’s plans to permit upgrades to Snow Bowl Ski Resort. Six tribes were involved, including the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, and Hualapai. The tribes objected on religious grounds to the plans to use reclaimed water. They felt that this risked infecting the tribal members with “ghost sickness” as the water would be from mortuaries and hospitals. They also felt that the reclaimed water would contaminate the plant life used in ceremonies. In August 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their RFRA claim.[15][16]

In the case of Adams v. Commissioner, the United States Tax Court rejected the argument of Priscilla M. Lippincott Adams, who was a devout Quaker. She tried to argue that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, she was exempt from federal income taxes. The U.S. Tax Court rejected her argument and ruled that she was not exempt. The Court stated: “…while petitioner’s religious beliefs are substantially burdened by payment of taxes that fund military expenditures, the Supreme Court has established that uniform, mandatory participation in the Federal income tax system, irrespective of religious belief, is a compelling governmental interest.”[17] In the case of Miller v. Commissioner, the taxpayers objected to the use of social security numbers, arguing that such numbers related to the “mark of the beast” from the Bible. In its decision, the U.S. Court discussed the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, but ruled against the taxpayers.[18]

The RFRA figured prominently in oral arguments in the case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, heard by the Supreme Court on March 25, 2014.[19] In a 5-4 decision, Justice Alito stated, that the RFRA did not just restore the law as before Smith but contains a new regulation that allows to opt out of federal law based on religious beliefs.[20]

20th anniversary

A day-long symposium was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7, 2013, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Restored or Endangered? The State of the Free Exercise of Religion in America” featured three panel discussions and two keynote addresses.

The first keynote address was from Oliver S. Thomas, the former general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the chair of the diverse “Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion” in the 1990s that worked for the passage of RFRA. The second was from Douglas Laycock, who was an author of RFRA. His address traced the legal history of RFRA and discussed its impact on current debates, including the contraception mandate and same-sex marriage laws.

The panel discussions covered the history and impact of RFRA, religious freedom and the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, and current and future challenges to the free exercise of religion in a diverse society. The addresses and panel discussions are all available online, as well as a special downloadable resource with more on RFRA, published by the Baptist Joint Committee.[21]

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on thefreedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights was originally proposed as a measure to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Courtapplied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson‘s correspondence to call for “a wall of separation between church and State”, though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.

The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.

Text

The Bill of Rights in theNational Archives

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[1]

Background

Main article: Anti-Federalism

In 1776, the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence “The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.” Eight of the other thirteen states made similar pledges. However, these declarations were generally considered “mere admonitions to state legislatures”, rather than enforceable provisions.[2]

James Madison, drafter of the Bill of Rights

After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring among other changes a stronger chief executive. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, proposed that the Constitution include a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason’s proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations.[3]

For the constitution to be ratified, however, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification (“Anti-Federalism”) was partly based on the Constitution’s lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification (including Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York) successfully proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. The U.S. Constitution was eventually ratified by all thirteen states. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures’ request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments, which were then condensed to twelve and forwarded to the states. Ten of these were ratified and became the Bill of Rights.[4] The First Amendment passed the House and Senate with almost no recorded debate, complicating future discussion of the Amendment’s intent.[5][6] The First Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, and adopted on December 15, 1791.[7][8]

Establishment of religion

Main article: Establishment Clause

Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists (a religious minority concerned about the dominant position of the Congregationalist church in Connecticut):

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.[9]

In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Supreme Court used these words to declare that “it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach [only those religious] actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” Quoting from Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom the court stated further in Reynolds:

In the preamble of this act […] religious freedom is defined; and after a recital ‘that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty,’ it is declared ‘that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere [only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.’ In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to the federal government, and some states continued official state religions after ratification. Massachusetts, for example, was officially Congregationalist until the 1830s.[10] In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Establishment Clause (i.e., made it apply against the states). In the majority decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.[11]

In Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits states and the federal government from requiring any kind of religious test for public office. In the Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994),[12] Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.”[13] In a series of cases in the first decade of the 2000s—Van Orden v. Perry (2005),McCreary County v. ACLU (2005), and Salazar v. Buono (2010)—the Court considered the issue of religious monuments on federal lands without reaching a majority reasoning on the subject.[14]

Separationists

U.S. President Thomas Jeffersonwrote in his correspondence of “a wall of separation between church and State”.

Everson used the metaphor of a wall of separation between church and state, derived from the correspondence of PresidentThomas Jefferson. It had been long established in the decisions of the Supreme Court, beginning with Reynolds v. United States in 1879, when the Court reviewed the history of the early Republic in deciding the extent of the liberties of Mormons. Chief Justice Morrison Waite, who consulted the historian George Bancroft, also discussed at some length the Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by James Madison, who drafted the First Amendment; Madison used the metaphor of a “great barrier.”[15]

Justice Hugo Black adopted Jefferson’s words in the voice of the Court.[16] The Court has affirmed it often, with majority, but not unanimous, support. Warren Nord, in Does God Make a Difference?, characterized the general tendency of the dissents as a weaker reading of the First Amendment; the dissents tend to be “less concerned about the dangers of establishment and less concerned to protect free exercise rights, particularly of religious minorities.”[17]

Beginning with Everson, which permitted New Jersey school boards to pay for transportation to parochial schools, the Court has used various tests to determine when the wall of separation has been breached. Everson laid down the test that establishment existed when aid was given to religion, but that the transportation was justifiable because the benefit to the children was more important. In the school prayer cases of the early 1960s, (Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp), aid seemed irrelevant; the Court ruled on the basis that a legitimate action both served a secular purpose and did not primarily assist religion. In Walz v. Tax Commission (1970), the Court ruled that a legitimate action could not entangle government with religion; in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), these points were combined into the Lemon test, declaring that an action was an establishment if:[18]

  1. the statute (or practice) lacked a secular purpose;
  2. its principal or primary effect advanced nor inhibited religion; or
  3. it fostered an excessive government entanglement with religion.

The Lemon test has been criticized by justices and legal scholars, but it remains the predominant means by which the Court enforces the Establishment Clause.[19]In Agostini v. Felton (1997), the entanglement prong of the Lemon test was demoted to simply being a factor in determining the effect of the challenged statute or practice.[20] In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the opinion of the Court considered secular purpose and the absence of primary effect; a concurring opinion saw both cases as having treated entanglement as part of the primary purpose test.[19] Further tests, such as the endorsement test and coercion test, have been developed to determine the whether a government action violated the Establishment Clause.[21][22]

In Lemon the Court stated that that the separation of church and state could never be absolute: “Our prior holdings do not call for total separation between church and state; total separation is not possible in an absolute sense. Some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable,” the court wrote. “Judicial caveats against entanglement must recognize that the line of separation, far from being a “wall,” is a blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.”[23]

Accommodationists

Accommodationists, in contrast, argue along with Justice William O. Douglas that “[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being”.[24]This group holds that the Lemon test should be applied selectively.[24] As such, for many conservatives, the Establishment Clause solely prevents the establishment of a state church, not public acknowledgements of God nor “developing policies that encourage general religious beliefs that do not favor a particular sect and are consistent with the secular government’s goals.”[25][26]

Free exercise of religion

Main article: Free Exercise Clause

“Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order,” In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court found that while laws cannot interfere with religious belief and opinions, laws can be made to regulate some religious practices (e.g., human sacrifices, and the Hindu practice of suttee). The Court stated that to rule otherwise, “would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances.”[27] In Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), the Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied the Free Exercise Clause to the states. While the right to have religious beliefs is absolute, the freedom to act on such beliefs is not absolute.[28]

In Sherbert v. Verner (1963),[29] the Supreme Court required states to meet the “strict scrutiny” standard when refusing to accommodate religiously motivated conduct. This meant that a government needed to have a “compelling interest” regarding such a refusal. The case involved Adele Sherbert, who was denied unemployment benefits by South Carolina because she refused to work on Saturdays, something forbidden by her Seventh-day Adventist faith.[30] In Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the Court ruled that a law that “unduly burdens the practice of religion” without a compelling interest, even though it might be “neutral on its face,” would be unconstitutional.[31][32]

The need for a compelling interest was narrowed in Employment Division v. Smith (1990),[33] which held no such interest was required under the Free Exercise Clause regarding a law that does not target a particular religious practice.[34] In Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993),[35] the Supreme Court ruled Hialeah had passed an ordinance banning ritual slaughter, a practice central to the Santería religion, while providing exceptions for some practices such as thekosher slaughter. Since the ordinance was not “generally applicable,” the Court ruled that it needed to have a compelling interest, which it failed to have, and so was declared unconstitutional.[36]

In 1993, the Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), seeking to restore the compelling interest requirement applied in Sherbert andYoder. In City of Boerne v. Flores (1997),[37] the Court struck down the provisions of RFRA that forced state and local governments to provide protections exceeding those required by the First Amendment, on the grounds that while the Congress could enforce the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a constitutional right, the Congress could not impose its own interpretation on states and localities.[38] According to the court’s ruling in Gonzales v. UDV (2006),[39] RFRA remains applicable to federal laws and so those laws must still have a “compelling interest”.[40]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

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United States Nuclear Deal is Another Obama Disaster — Just Walk Away Kerry — Back To Punishing Economic Sanctions — Iranian Regime Change — Videos

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Data, Demographics, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, Music, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Proliferation, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Science, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 2: United States Nuclear Deal is Another Obama Disaster — Just Walk Away Kerry — Back To Punishing Economic Sanctions — Iranian Regime Change — Videos

Treaty Clause

“The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2

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Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee

  1. And when I see the sign that points one way
    The lot we used to pass by every day
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
    You’re not to blame
    From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
    From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
    For me, it cries
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
    For me, it cries
    Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
    Still finds a way to haunt me though they’re so small
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
    You’re… Full lyrics on Google Play

    Herman’s Hermits – Walk Away Renee (1968)

    The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)

Pro-Hassan Rouhani Iranian editor defects while covering nuclear talks in Lausanne

Amir Hossein Motaghi says he no longer sees any “sense” in his profession as he could only write as he was told

A close media aide to Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, has sought political asylum in Switzerland after travelling to Lausanne to cover the nuclear talks between Tehran and the West.

Amir Hossein Motaghi, who managed public relations for Mr Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign, was said by Iranian news agencies to have quit his job at the Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA).

He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told.

“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.

“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.

But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.


Jason Rezalan

He is said to have been a friend of Jason Rezaian, the Iranian-American reporter for the Washington Post who has been detained in Tehran, and to have campaigned privately for his release.

ISCA, which has come under fire from regime hardliners critical of Mr Rouhani, issued a statement denying that Mr Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it.

“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, it said.

However, critics said Mr Mottaghi was “prey of the exiled counter-revolutionaries” and had gone to Lausanne with the sole purpose of seeking refugee status in Switzerland.

In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11500145/Pro-Hassan-Rouhani-Iranian-editor-defects-while-covering-nuclear-talks-in-Lausanne.html

NETANYAHU: NUKE DEAL A ‘REWARD FOR IRAN’S AGGRESSION’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.

“The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to continue fighting against vital threats to the national security of his country.

He added: “We will never close our eyes and we will continue to operate against every threat in every generation, and of course in this generation.”

Netanyahu predicted that many countries in the region would be immediately affected by a bad deal.

“Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement,” he said.

On Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister expressed concern with the Iranian regime’s growing sphere of influence and control.

“After the Beirut-Damascus- Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu suggested in the meeting that the impending nuclear deal likely “paves Iran’s way to the [nuclear] bomb.”

The foreign ministers of Iran and the entire P5+1 world powers met in Switzerland on Monday in hopes to secure a basic framework for a nuclear deal by Tuesday’s March 31 deadline. This marked the first time that all of the negotiating foreign minister’s gathered together at the same event.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media, “I think it is possible to reach a deal by [Tuesday] night. The gaps are narrowing. I am always optimistic.”

“Our deadline is tomorrow night so obviously we are working very hard,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.

Treaty Clause

The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2

Teacher’s Companion Lesson (PDF)

The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.

Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:

The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.

Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”

The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.

At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.

The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.

Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?

While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.

A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.

A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.

A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).

The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.

Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.

Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.

Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.

A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.

Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.

The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.

http://www.heritage.org/constitution#!/articles/2/essays/90/treaty-clause

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Story 1: Clash of Islamic Sects — War On: Middle East Islamic Sectarian War (Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Persians) — Sunni Coalition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait vs. Islamic Republic of Iran vs. Iranian Proxies (Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iraqi Shite Militias, Yemen Houthis) vs. Islamic State vs. Al Quaeda vs Israel and United States of America — Videos

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: Ammunition, Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Demographics, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Math, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Nuclear, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Clash of Islamic Sects — War On:  Middle East Islamic Sectarian War (Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Persians) — Sunni Coalition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait vs. Islamic Republic of Iran vs. Iranian Proxies (Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iraqi Shite Militias, Yemen Houthis) vs. Islamic State  vs. Al Quaeda vs Israel and United States of America  — Videos

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arab league meets

Arab League agrees to set up a joint military force

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Saudi Arabia And Iran’s Fight to Control The Middle East

Why is Saudi Arabia launching airstrikes in Yemen?

What Is ISIS And What Do They Want In Iraq?

Who Supports ISIS?

Iran accused of proxy war in Yemen

U.S. assistance offered for Saudi-led strikes in Yemen

Saudi Arabia Conducts Airstrikes On Shiite Houthi Rebels In Yemen – Yemen War 2015

FDD Chairman James Woolsey comments on the presence of Iranian proxies in Yemen

Yemen: A Failed State

Saudi Arabia & Iran Have Nukes!

Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

Thomas Reed: A Political History of Nuclear Weapons: 1938 – 2008

Arab leaders agree joint military force

By Haitham El-Tabei

Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism.

Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defence ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders.

“Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit.

On Sunday, Arabi told the meeting the region was threatened by a “destructive” force that threatened “ethnic and religious diversity”, in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group.

“What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world,” he said.

Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Arabi, reading a statement at the conclusion of the summit, said on Sunday the offensive would continue until the Huthis withdraw from regions they have overrun and surrender their weapons.

Several Arab states including Egypt are taking part in the military campaign, which Saudi King Salman said on Saturday would continue until the Yemeni people “enjoy security”.

– ‘Months to create’ –

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi at the start of the summit called for the offensive to end only when the Huthis “surrender”, calling the rebel leader an Iranian “puppet”.

However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders to find a peaceful resolution in Yemen.

“It is my fervent hope that at this Arab League summit, leaders will lay down clear guidelines to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen,” he said.

James Dorsey, a Middle East analyst with the Singapore-based S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that despite support for a joint-Arab force, “it would still take months to create and then operate on an ad-hoc basis.

“I don’t think we will get an integrated command anytime soon, as no Arab leader would cede control of any part of their army anytime soon,” he said.

“Today we will have a formal declaration that would be negotiated every time during action.”

Sisi said in a recent interview that the proposal for a joint force was welcomed especially by Jordan, which might take part alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Aaron Reese, deputy research director at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said “each of these countries would bring a different capability.

“The Jordanians are well known for their special forces capability… the Egyptians of course have the most manpower and bases close to Libya.”

Before Egyptian air strikes in February targeting the IS in Libya, the United Arab Emirates, which shares Cairo’s antipathy towards Islamists, had reportedly used Egyptian bases to launch its own air strikes there.

Cairo had sought UN backing for intervention in Libya, dismissing attempted peace talks between the rival governments in its violence-plagued North African neighbour as ineffective.

http://news.yahoo.com/arab-leaders-agree-joint-military-force-egypts-sisi-102805435.html

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Operation Jade Helm: America’s Military Training Exercise in Southwest United States With 1,200 Special Forces — DisInfo Psyop Against American People — Texas Is Hostile — Ruling Elite Afraid of American People? — Videos

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Demographics, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Literacy, media, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Rifles, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: Operation Jade Helm: America’s Military Training Exercise in Southwest United States With 1,200 Special Forces — DisInfo Psyop Against American People — Texas Is Hostile — Ruling Elite Afraid of American People?  — Videos

jade-helm

2015-03-25-16_09_14-258605525-Jade-Helm-Martial-Law-WW3-Prep-Document-1.pdf-Adobe-Readerspecial forces

 SOCOM Plans to Invade HOSTILE Texas Revealed

MSM Caught Lying: Breaking Jade Helm Update

OPERATION:JADE HELM 1 5…GOV TRAINING TO TAKE OVER TEXAS

ARMY and MSM Launch DisInfo Psyop Against American People

Army Betrays One Of Their Own

Jade Helm 15: 2 More States Join, Green Beret Says Drill Ends On 9/11 In Florida

Jade Helm 15: 10 States Now Involved with Massive US Military Exercise

Army Planing a Surprise Visit to US Towns! WHY? The Answer Will Make You Rethink Everything!

Jade Helm 15 – the low down

DEBUNK THIS: OP JADE HELM 15 Surgical Strikes Included

Psy Op Colonel Texas Needs To Submit

Army Special Ops Command Pushes Back Against Infowars

PSYOP and MISO

History of Psychological Operations and Military Information Support Operations

What is United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Command(Airborne)

Army MOS 37F Psychological Operations Specialist

304th PSYOP Company – Information video

US Army Reserves Psychological Operations

37F Psychological Operations Specialist (Reserve)

PSYOP Soldiers Training

Army embeds PSYOPS soldiers at local TV stations

Heather Wokusch on ‘Welcome to the Jungle: US Military Psychological Operations’

Sentient World Simulation by James Corbett

The Sentient World Simulation’s aim, according to its creator, is to be a “continuously running, continually updated mirror model of the real world that can be used to predict and evaluate future events and courses of action.” In practical terms that equates to a computer simulation of the planet complete with billions of “nodes” representing every person on the earth.

The EyeOpener- PSYOPS 101: The Technology of Psych Warfare

Yuri Bezmenov: Psychological Warfare Subversion & Control of Western Society (Complete)

Soviet Subversion of the Free World Press, 1984 – Complete

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

An excellent lecture by G. Edward Griffin entitled “The Quigley Formula: A conspiratorial view of history as taught by the conspirators themselves”

“Quigley” is the late Carroll Quigley, a Council on Foreign Relations member and historian, as well as mentor to CFR & Trilateral Commission member Bill Clinton.

The lecture is based around the following quote from his book Tragedy & Hope, pp. 1247-1248:

“The National parties and their presidential candidates, with the Eastern Establishment assiduously fostering the process behind the scenes, moved closer together and nearly met in the center with almost identical candidates and platforms, although the process was concealed as much as possible, by the revival of obsolescent or meaningless war cries and slogans (often going back to the Civil War)….The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. … Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

Carroll Quigley on Tragedy And Hope

Michael Hastings: Army Deploys Psychological Operations on U.S. Senators in Afghanistan War Effort

Sgt. Biggs On Military Life and Why Michael Hastings was Murdered

Michael Hastings Widow Speaks Out For The First Time To Piers Morgan,Piers Asks Was His Death

Infowars Special Report: Introduction to Media Manipulation & Psychological Operations

Minority Report: Fiction Has Become Reality

Minority Report 2012 Full – CG (Tom Cruise)

Special forces set to swarm Southwest and operate undetected among civilians in massive military exercise

  • Operation Jade Helm will see 1,200 service members including Green Berets and SEALs and special forces from the Air Force and Marines in July
  • Soldiers armed with blank rounds will operate in and around towns in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado for 8 weeks
  • The so-called Realistic Military Training has some residents fearful the drill is a preparation for martial law

Seven Southwestern states will soon be infiltrated by 1,200 military special ops personnel as part of a controversial domestic military training in which some of the elite soldiers will operate undetected among civilians.

Operation Jade Helm begins in July and will last for eight weeks. Soldiers will operate in and around towns in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado where some of them wil drop from planes while carrying weapons loaded with blanks in what military officials have dubbed Realistic Military Training.

But with residents of the entire states of Texas and Utah dubbed ‘hostile’ for the purposes of the exercises, Jade Helm has some concerned the drills are too realistic.

Hostile: An unclassified military document reveals the states involved in a controversial multi-agency training exercises that will place 1,200 military personnel into 7 Southwest states--with residents of Utah, Texas and part of Southern California designated as 'hostile'

Hostile: An unclassified military document reveals the states involved in a controversial multi-agency training exercises that will place 1,200 military personnel into 7 Southwest states–with residents of Utah, Texas and part of Southern California designated as ‘hostile’

Special ops: Operation Jade Helm will involve Green Berets and SEALs and special forces from the Air Force and Marines starting in July and lasting 8 weeks

Special ops: Operation Jade Helm will involve Green Berets and SEALs and special forces from the Air Force and Marines starting in July and lasting 8 weeks

Headlines like Freedom Outpost‘s ‘Operation Jade Helm—military trains for martial law in American South-west’ abound across the Right-leaning blogosphere and Info Wars warns that Jade Helm is simply ‘an effort to test the effectiveness of infiltration techniques’ on the American public.

‘They’re having Delta Force, Navy SEALS with the Army trained to basically take over,’ Info Wars’ Alex Jones said Sunday. ‘Texas is listed as a hostile sector, and of course, we are…We’re here defending the republic.’

The Houston Chronicle reports that, among the planned exercises, soldiers will attempt to operate undetected among civilian populations.

Residents, in turn, will be asked to report suspicious activity in order to gauge the effectiveness of the soldiers.

Military officials say they’ve gotten the go ahead for the operations from local authorities such as mayors and county commissions.

And sheriff’s deputies told the Houston Chronicle they would ensure residents living near where aircraft were slated to create disturbances and drop soldiers, civilian and military vehicles will barrel through and where blank rounds would be fired.

Jim Stewart with the Brazos County, Texas Sheriff’s Office told the Chronicle that such exercises are far from anything new.

‘Special ops for years have trained off-post for years, where they go out and have folks that are role players out on the economy,’ said the Army intelligence veteran. ‘They’ll have a scenario they’ll be following and they’ll interact with these role players as if they’re in another country.’

However, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command themselves say Jade Helm is different.

Reassuring? Sheriff's deputies say they will ensure residents living near where aircraft were slated to create disturbances and drop soldiers, civilian and military vehicles will barrel through and where blank rounds would be fired [FILE PHOTO]

Reassuring? Sheriff’s deputies say they will ensure residents living near where aircraft were slated to create disturbances and drop soldiers, civilian and military vehicles will barrel through and where blank rounds would be fired [FILE PHOTO]

Texas, which the military has designated as 'hostile' for the purposes of the training, was chosen to be a hub of the unprecedentedly large program because 'Texans are historically supportive of efforts to prepare our soldiers' writes the USASOC

Texas, which the military has designated as ‘hostile’ for the purposes of the training, was chosen to be a hub of the unprecedentedly large program because ‘Texans are historically supportive of efforts to prepare our soldiers’ writes the USASOC

‘The size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states,’ the USASOC wrote in a March 24 release.

‘The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.’

The military has also reacted to widespread fear of the operation by calling some ultra-conservative coverage of the ‘martial law’ drills alarmist and inaccurate.

‘This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3013900/Fears-martial-law-special-ops-set-swarm-Southwest-operate-undetected-civilians-ve-deemed-HOSTILE-massive-military-exercise.html

Army Special Operations Command pushes back against alarmist claims about upcoming exercise

U.S. Army Special Operations Command is pushing back against alarmist claims that an upcoming U.S. military exercise is a preparation for imposing martial law or subduing right-leaning groups and individuals.

Conspiracy theories about the exercise, known as JADE HELM 15, appeared online this week. Some commentators railing against the event referred to an online slide show allegedly created by USASOC, which outlined a special operations exercise slated to take place across multiple states, outside the confines of U.S. military bases. In the slide show, a map of the southwest region of the United States labels Texas and other territory as “hostile” or “insurgent pocket.” The document also refers to coordination with law enforcement agencies.

Officials at USASOCM were not able to immediately verify the authenticity of the slide show because their computer firewalls prevented them from accessing the websites where the document appeared.

Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a USASOC spokesman, confirmed that there is an upcoming exercise called Jade Helm 15 which is scheduled to take place this summer at locations in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, California and Nevada. But he denied the event is preparation for some sort of military takeover.

“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises,” he said in an email. “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.”

He said the only thing unique about this particular exercise, which is slated to take place between July 15 and Sept. 15, is “the use of new challenging terrain” which was chosen because it is similar to conditions special operations forces operate in overseas.

Lastoria said coordination with local law enforcement is necessary for safety reasons because some of the training will take place outside of military bases where civilian agencies have jurisdiction.

He said his office has been receiving a lot of calls from people who heard about the exercise and are concerned about “the nature of the training objectives.”

http://www.stripes.com/news/us/army-special-operations-command-pushes-back-against-alarmist-claims-about-upcoming-exercise-1.335949

Psychological Operations (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States Military Information Support Operations
PSYOPpics.JPG
Country United States
Allegiance Federal
Branch  United States Army
Type Special operations force
Part of Active Army – =United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command
US Army Special Operations Command SSI.svg United States Army Special Operations Command

Reserve Army – U.S. Army Civil Affairs Psychological Operations Command(USACAPOC)Garrison/HQFort Bragg, NCPatronSaint GabrielMotto”Persuade, Change, Influence”ColorsArmyBottle-green piped withsilver gray.InsigniaIdentification
symbolArmyKnight chess piece (Often mistaken for the Trojan Horse)

Psychological operations (PSYOP) or, as it has been known since 2010, Military Information Support Operations (MISO),[1] are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[2]

The purpose of United States psychological operations is to induce or reinforce behavior favorable to U.S. objectives. They are an important part of the range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities available to the U.S. They can be utilized during both peacetime and conflict. There are three main types: strategic, operational, and tactical. Strategic PSYOP include informational activities conducted by the U.S. government agencies outside of the military arena, though many utilize Department of Defense (DOD) assets.Operational PSYOP are conducted across the range of military operations, including during peacetime, in a defined operational area to promote the effectiveness of the joint force commander’s (JFC) campaigns and strategies. Tactical PSYOP are conducted in the area assigned to a tactical commander across the range of military operations to support the tactical mission against opposing forces.

PSYOP can encourage popular discontent with the opposition’s leadership and by combining persuasion with a credible threat, degrade an adversary’s ability to conduct or sustain military operations. They can also disrupt, confuse, and protract the adversary’s decision-making process, undermining command and control.[3] When properly employed, PSYOP have the potential to save the lives of friendly or enemy forces by reducing the adversary’s will to fight. By lowering the adversary’s morale and then its efficiency, PSYOP can also discourage aggressive actions by creating disaffection within their ranks, ultimately leading to surrender.

The integrated employment of the core capabilities of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.[4]

Products

A Somali boy holding up a leaflet dispersed during Operation Restore Hope in the early 1990s

PSYOP involves the careful creation and dissemination of a product message. There are three types of products that are used to create these messages. They include White products which are used in overt operations and Gray and Black products which are used in covert PSYOP. White, Gray, and Black don’t refer to the product’s content but rather the methods used to carry out the operation.

In order for PSYOP to be successful they must be based in reality. All messages must be consistent and must not contradict each other. Any gap between the product and reality will be quickly noticed. A credible “truth” must be presented which is consistent to all audiences. Primarily it is a component of offensive counterinformation but can be used defensively as well. PSYOP are used in support of special operations, unconventional warfare, and counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. PSYOP can include military operations other than warfare and also include joint operations. They include counterterrorism operations, peace operations, noncombatant evacuation, enforcement of sanctions and maritime interception operations, strikes and raids, etc.

White PSYOP

White PSYOP is attributable to PSYOP as a source.

U.S. Army PSYOP soldiers with Detachment 1080, 318th Psychological Operations Company distribute newspaper products in the East Rashid region of Baghdad, Iraq, July 11, 2007.

White is acknowledged as an official statement or act of the U.S. Government, or emanates from a source associated closely enough with the U.S. Government to reflect an official viewpoint. The information should be true and factual. It also includes all output identified as coming from U.S. official sources.

Authorized to engage in white activity directed at foreign audiences are: The State Department, USIA, the Foreign Operations Administration (a predecessor of the Agency for International Development), the Defense Department and other U.S. Government departments and agencies as necessary.[5]

Gray PSYOP

The source of the gray PSYOP product is deliberately ambiguous.

The true source (U.S. Government) is not revealed to the target audience. The activity engaged in plausibly appears to emanate from a non-official American source, or an indigenous, non-hostile source, or there may be no attribution.

Gray is that information whose content is such that the effect will be increased if the hand of the U.S. Government and in some cases any American participation are not revealed. It is simply a means for the U.S. to present viewpoints which are in the interest of U.S. foreign policy, but which will be acceptable or more acceptable to the intended target audience than will an official government statement.[5][dead link]

Black PSYOP

The activity engaged in appears to emanate from a source (government, party, group, organization, person) usually hostile in nature. The interest of the U.S. Government is concealed and the U.S. Government would deny responsibility. It is best used in support of strategic plans.

Covert PSYOP is not a function of the U.S. military but instead is used in special operations due to their political sensitivity and need for higher level compartmentalization. Further, black PSYOP, to be credible, may need to disclose sensitive material, with the damage caused by information disclosure considered to be outweighed by the impact of successful deception.[6] In order to achieve maximum results and to prevent compromise of overt PSYOP, overt and covert operations need to be kept separate. Personnel involved in one must not be engaged in the other.

Media

PSYOP conveys messages via visual, audio, and audiovisual media. Military psychological operations, at the tactical level, are usually delivered by loudspeaker, and face to face communication. For more deliberate campaigns, they may use leaflets, radio or television. Strategic operations may use radio or television broadcasts, various publications, airdropped leaflets, or, as part of a covert operation, with material placed in foreign news media.

Process

In order to create a successful PSYOP the following must be established: 1) clearly define the mission so that it aligns with national objectives 2) need a PSYOP estimate of the situation 3) prepare the plan 4) media selection 5) product development 6) pretesting – determines the probable impact of the PSYOP on the target audience 7) production and dissemination of PSYOP material 8) implementation 9) posttesting – evaluates audience responses 10) feedback

Before these steps can occur, intelligence analysts must profile potential targets in order to determine which ones it would be most beneficial to target. In order to figure this out, analysts must determine the vulnerabilities of these groups and what they would be susceptible to. The analysts also determine the attitudes of the targets toward the current situation, their complaints, ethnic origin, frustrations, languages, problems, tensions, attitudes, motivations, and perceptions, and so on. Once the appropriate target(s) have been determined, the PSYOP can be created.

Psychological operations should be planned carefully, in that even a tactical message, with modern news media, can spread worldwide and be treated as the policy of the United States. The U.S. Army is responsible for military psychological warfare doctrine.[6] See the World War I section for an example of how a tactical leaflet, not properly coordinated, can cause national-level harm.

Psychological operations, at any level, must be consistent with the policies of higher levels of command

The message to be delivered can be adapted to tactical situations, but promises made must be consistent with national policy.

U.S. PSYOP forces are forbidden to target (i.e., attempt to change the opinions of) U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.[7] However, commanders may use PSYOP forces to provide public information to U.S. audiences during times of disaster or crisis. The use of PSYOP forces to deliver necessary public information to a U.S. audience was established in relief activities after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Tactical Psychological Operations teams (TPTs) were employed to disseminate information by loudspeaker on locations of relief shelters and facilities. Information support to a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) by PSYOP forces to provide evacuation information to U.S. and third-country nationals would also adhere to the order.[6]

As an example of the use of PSYOP in a humanitarian relief operation Major General Anthony Zinni, Director of Operations for Unified Task Force Somalia, said

Psychological operations were a key Battlefield Operating System used extensively to support Unified Task Force (UNITAF) Somalia operations. In order to maximize the PSYOP impact, we established a Joint PSYOP Task Force under the supervision of the Director of Operations, integrated PSYOP into all plans and operations, and limited the PSYOP focus to the operational and tactical levels. Psychological operations do not accomplish missions alone. They work best when they are combined with and integrated in an overall theater campaign plan. In Operation RESTORE HOPE, we were successful in doing that.[6]

Psychological Operations Units

The bulk of U.S. military psychological units are in the Army. White PSYOP can come from the Voice of America or regional radio/TV. Central Intelligence Agencyunits are apt to have responsibility, on a strategic level, for black and some gray propaganda. White propaganda, especially at the strategic level, comes from theVoice of America or United States Information Agency.

In the United States Department of Defense, Psychological Operations units exist as the Army‘s 4th Psychological Operations Group and Air Force with COMMANDO SOLO units[8] under the Air Force Special Operations Command’s 193rd Special Operations Wing. The United States Navy also plans and executes limited PSYOP missions.[9]

United States PSYOP units and soldiers of all branches of the military are prohibited by law from conducting PSYOP missions on domestic audiences.[7] While PSYOP soldiers may offer non-PSYOP related support to domestic military missions, PSYOP can only target foreign audiences. Though, it is worth noting that this does not rule out PSYOP targeting foreign audiences of allied nations. Additionally, in the Information Operations Roadmap made public January 2006 but originally approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, it stated “information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa.”[10]

Army

Chieu Hoi Mission by Craig L. Stewart, U. S. Army Vietnam Combat Artists Team IX (CAT IX 1969-70). Painting shows army soldiers airdropping Psy Op leaflets during the Vietnam War.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 350th Tactical Psychological Operations, 10th Mountain Division, drop leaflets over a village near Hawijah in Kirkuk province, Iraq, on March 6, 2008.

U.S. Army PSYOP Force structure

Until recently, the Army’s Psychological Operations elements were administratively organized alongside Civil Affairs to form the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), forming a part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). However, in May 2006 USCAPOC was reorganized to instead fall under the Army reserve command, and all active duty PSYOP elements were placed directly into USASOC. While reserve PSYOP forces no longer belong to USASOC, that command retains control of PSYOP doctrine. Operationally, PSYOP individuals and organizations support Army and Joint maneuver forces or interagency organizations.

Army Psychological Operations support operations ranging from strategic planning down to tactical employment.

PSYOP Support Elements generally support Corps sized elements. Tactical Psychological Operations Companies typically support Division sized elements, with Tactical Control through G-3. Brigades are typically supported by a Tactical PSYOP Detachment. The PSYOP Commander maintains Operational Control of PSYOP elements, advises the Commander and General Staff on the psychological battlespace.

The smallest organizational PSYOP element is the Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT). A TPT generally consists of a PSYOP team chief (Staff Sergeant or Sergeant), an assistant team chief (Sergeant or Specialist), and an additional soldier to serve as a gunner and to operate the speaker system (Specialist). A team is equipped with a Humvee fitted with a loud speaker, and often works with a local translator indigenous to the host or occupied country.

Generally, each maneuver battalion-sized element in a theater of war or operational area has at least one TPT attached to it. Women are not allowed to serve on TPTs in a war zone due to a PSYOP team’s high chance of contact with the enemy.

U.S. Army PSYOP branch of service collar insignia and regimental distinctive insignia.

PSYOP soldiers are required to complete nine weeks of Basic Combat Training. All enlisted PSYOP soldiers report to Fort Bragg to complete the 13-week Psychological Operation Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course. After AIT, the active duty-component PSYOP soldier is then required to attend Airborne training. Sometime after initial training, PSYOP soldiers will spend up to a year (or perhaps more for specific languages) in foreign language qualification training. Certain reserve soldiers serving in units designated as Airborne are also required to attend Airborne training, while language training and Airborne qualification for PSYOP soldiers assigned to non-Airborne units is awarded on a merit and need basis.

A U.S. Army field manual released in January 2013 states that “Inform and Influence Activities” are critical for describing, directing, and leading military operations. Several Army Division leadership staff are assigned to “planning, integration and synchronization of designated information-related capabilities.”[11]

Army Units

301st PSYOP Company, United States Army Reserve, hand out school supplies in Baghdad, Iraq, 2005.

There are four psychological operations units in the U.S. Army:

The 4th Military Information Support Group (Airborne), based in Fort Bragg, had been the only active duty PSYOP element in the United States Army, until the 8th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) was activated on the 26th of August, 2011. The 2nd and the 7th Psychological Operations Groups are in the Army Reserve.

Inactive Units

245th Psychological Operations Company (POC) – Dallas, Texas
  • *Became the 345th PSYOP Company. Deployed soldiers during Operation Desert Storm (The Gulf War).
  • The 345th also deployed post 9-11 to Afghanistan working with U.S. Army Special Forces. In 2003 the 345th deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since November 2001, the 345th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) has continuously had a detachment of deployed soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and / or Horn of Africa.
244th Psychological Operations Company (POC)

Air Force

Commando Solo flies low over theStatue of Liberty in New York Harbor in 2001.

The Air National Guard provides support for Psychological Operations using a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft named EC-130 COMMANDO SOLO, operated by the 193d Special Operations Wing. The purpose of COMMANDO SOLO is to provide an aerial platform for broadcast media on both television and radio. The media broadcast is created by various agencies and organizations. As part of the broader function of information operations, COMMANDO SOLO can also jam the enemy’s broadcasts to his own people, or his psychological warfare broadcasting.

The Commando Solo aircraft currently is the only stand-off, high-altitude means available to PSYOP forces to disseminate information to large denied areas. Two orbits were established during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, one in the northern area and one in the southern part of the country, both far enough from harm’s way to keep the aircraft out of reach of potential enemy attack. At their operational altitude of 18,000 feet (5,500 m) and assuming clear channels, these aircraft can transmit radio and TV signals approximately 170 miles (270 km), which does not reach the objective areas near Baghdad. Straightforward physics dictate the range, given the power installed and the antenna configuration and assuming clear channels.

The enhanced altitude capability of the Commando Solo EC–130J (now funded) is increasing transmitter range. While this is an improvement over 130E capability, it is a small step, since the

increase in altitude is only 7,000 feet (less than 50 percent) and the range increase is governed by a square root function (that is, a 14 percent increase in range).[12]

A challenge to COMMANDO SOLO is the increasing use of cable television, which will not receive signals from airborne, ground, or any other transmitters that the cable operator does not want to connect to the system. At best, in the presence of cable TV, COMMANDO SOLO may be able to jam enemy broadcasts that are not, themselves, transmitted by cable.

Navy

Navy psychological operations policy is specified in OPNAVINST 3434.1, “Psychological Operations”.[9] The Navy provides support to Joint PSYOP programs by providing assets (such as broadcast platforms using shortwave and very high frequency (VHF) frequencies) for the production and dissemination of PSYOP materials. With the ability of naval vessels (especially the larger task forces) to produce audio-visual materials the Navy can often produce PSYOP products for use in denied areas. Leaflets are dropped utilizing the PDU-5B dispenser unit (aka Leaflet Bomb). The Navy coordinates extensively with the Army as the majority of PSYOP assets reside within USASOC. PSYOP planning and execution is coordinated through the Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) and the Naval Information Operations Command (NIOC), both located in Norfolk, VA.

The U.S. Navy possesses the capability to produce audiovisual products in the Fleet Audiovisual Command, Pacific; the Fleet Imagery Command, Atlantic; the Fleet Combat Camera Groups; Naval Imaging Command; various film libraries; and limited capability from ships and aircraft of the fleet. A Naval Reserve PSYOP audiovisual unit supports the Atlantic Fleet. Navy personnel assets have the capability to produce documents, posters, articles, and other material suitable for PSYOP. Administrative capabilities exist ashore and afloat that prepare and produce various quantities of printed materials. Language capabilities exist in naval intelligence and among naval personnel for most European and Asian languages. The Fleet Tactical Readiness Group provides equipment and technical maintenance support to conduct civil radio broadcasts and broadcast jamming in the amplitude modulation frequency band. This unit is not trained to produce PSYOP products and must be augmented with PSYOP personnel or linguists when necessary. The unit is capable of being fully operational within 48 hours of receipt of tasking. The unit’s equipment consists of a 10.6 kW AM band broadcast radio transmitter; a broadcast studio van; antenna tuner; two antennas (a pneumatically raised 100-foot (30 m) top-loaded antenna mast and a 500-foot (150 m) wire helium balloon antenna); and a 30 kW generator that provides power to the system.

Central Intelligence Agency

Psychological operations was assigned to the pre-CIA Office of Policy Coordination, with oversight by the Department of State.[13] The overall psychological operations of the United States, overt and covert, were to be under the policy direction of the U.S. Department of State during peacetime and the early stages of war:

The Secretary of State shall be responsible for:

(1) The formulation of policies and plans for a national foreign information program in time of peace. This program shall include all foreign information activities conducted by departments and agencies of the U. S. Government.[13]

(2) The formulation of national psychological warfare policy in time of national emergency and the initial stages of war.[13]

(3) The coordination of policies and plans for the national foreign information program and for overt psychological warfare with the Department of Defense, with other appropriate departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, and with related planning…[13]

(4) Plans prepared by this organization for overt psychological

warfare in time of national emergency or the initial stages of war shall

provide for:[13]

a. Coordination of overt psychological warfare with:

  1. Covert psychological warfare.
  2. Censorship.
  3. Domestic information.[13]

b. The employment and expansion, insofar as is feasible, of the activities and facilities which compose the national foreign information program in time of peace, in order to assure rapid transition to operations in time of national emergency or war.[13]

c. Control of the execution of approved plans and policies by:

(1) the Department of Defense in theaters of military operations;

(2) the Department of State in areas other than theaters of military operations.[13]

d. Transmittal of approved psychological warfare plans and policies to theater commanders through the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[13]

After the OPC was consolidated into the CIA,[5] there has been a psychological operations staff, under various names, in what has variously been named the Deputy Directorate of Plans, the Directorate of Operations, or the National Clandestine Service.

History of U.S. Psychological Warfare

World War I

During World War I, the Propaganda Sub-Section was established under the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) Military Intelligence Branch within the Executive Division of the General Staff in early 1918. Although they produced most propaganda, the AEF Propaganda Sub-Section did not produce a few of the leaflets. General Pershing is supposed to have personally composed Leaflet “Y,” Austria Is Out of the War, which was run off on First Army presses, but distributed by the Propaganda Sub-Section. That Sub-Section, perhaps reflecting some professional jealousy, thought the leaflet sound in principle, but too prolix and a little too “brotherly.” Corps and Army presses issued several small leaflet editions containing a “news flash,” after the Sub-Section had approved their content. But in one or two cases that approval was not obtained, and in one unfortunate example a leaflet in Romanian committed the Allies and the United States to the union of all Romanians in Austria-Hungary with Romania. Such geopolitics was emphatically not the job of AEF propaganda and had the potential to cause serious embarrassment.[6]

World War II

There was extensive use of psychological operations in World War II, from the strategic to the tactical. National-level white propaganda was the responsibility of theOffice of War Information, while black propaganda was most often the responsibility of the Morale Operations branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).[14]

Psychological operations planning started before the U.S. entry into the war, with the creation of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA), under Nelson Rockefeller, with the responsibility for psychological operations targeted at Latin America.[15] Special operations and intelligence concerning Latin America was a bureaucratic problem throughout the war. Where the OSS eventually had most such responsibilities, the FBI had its own intelligence system in Latin America.

On 11 July 1941, William Donovan was named the Coordinator of Information, which subsequently became the OSS. At first, there was a unit called the Foreign Information Service inside COI, headed by Robert Sherwood, which produced white propaganda outside Latin America.[15]

To deal with some of the bureaucratic problems, the Office of War Information (OWl) was created with Elmer Davis as director. FIS, still under Sherwood, became the Overseas Branch of OWl, dealing in white propaganda. OSS was created at the same time. Donovan obtained considerable help from the British, especially with black propaganda, from the British Political Warfare Executive (PWE), part of the Ministry of Economic Warfare. PWE was a sister organization to the Special Operations Executive, which conducted guerilla warfare. The British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as MI6), was an essentially independent organization. For the U.S., the OSS included the functions of SIS and SOE, and the black propaganda work of PWE.

The OSS Morale Operations (MO) branch was the psychological operations arm of OSS. In general, its units worked on a theater-by-theater basis, without a great deal of central coordination.[15] It was present in most theaters, with the exception of the Southwest Pacific theater under Douglas MacArthur, who was hostile to OSS.

OSS was responsible for strategic propaganda, while the military commanders had operational and tactical responsibility. Dwight Eisenhower was notably supportive of psychological operations, had psychological warfare organization in the staff of all his commands, and worked with OSS and OWI.[15] The military did theater-level white propaganda, although the black propaganda function varied, often carried out by joint U.S.-UK organizations.

For the first time in U.S. history, American psywarriors employed electronic psywar in the field, in September 1944. Engineers of the 1st Radio Section of the 1st MRBC recorded POW interviews for front- line broadcasts, and reproduced the sound effects of vast numbers of tanks and other motor vehicles for Allied armored units in attempts to mislead German intelligence and lower enemy morale.[6]

Leaflets were delivered principally from aircraft, but also with artillery shells.[16]

Cold War

Radio

The U.S. engaged in major worldwide radio broadcasts to combat communism, through Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.[17][18]

Korea

U.S. Army loudspeaker team in action in Korea

Psychological operations were used extensively during the Korean War. The first unit, the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, was sent to Korea in fall 1950.[19][20] Especially for the operations directed against troops of the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK; North Korea), it was essential to work with Republic of Korea (ROK; South Korea personnel) to develop propaganda with the most effective linguistic and cultural context.

Since the war was a United Nations mandated operation, political sensitivities were high. While rules limited mentioning thePeoples Republic of China or the Soviet Union, first due to fear it would increase their intervention, and later because it might demoralize ROK civilians, Stalin was depicted and Chinese troops were targeted in leafleting.[21][20]

Various methods were used to deliver propaganda, with constraints imposed by exceptionally rugged terrain and that radios were relatively uncommon among DPRK and PRC troops. Loudspeaker teams often had to get dangerously close to enemy positions. Artillery and light aircraft delivered leaflets on the front lines, while heavy bombers dropped leaflets in the rear. Over 2.5 billion leaflets were dropped over North Korea during the war.[19] There was a somewhat artificial distinction made between strategic and tactical leaflets: rather than differentiating by the message, tactical leaflets were delivered within 40 miles (64 km) of the front lines and strategic leaflets were those delivered farther away.

Less direct and immediate correlation between tactical PSYOP efforts and target audience behavior may still be substantiated after the fact, especially by means of polling and interviews. For example, in the Korean War, approximately one-third of the total prisoner of war (POW) population polled by the United Nations (UN) forces claimed to have surrendered at least in part because of the propaganda leaflets. The contributions of PSYOP in the first Persian Gulf War have also been corroborated through POW interviews. Ninety-eight percent of the 87,000 POWs captured either possessed or had seen PSYOP leaflets that provided them with instructions on how to approach U.S. troops to surrender. Fifty-eight percent of the prisoners interviewed claimed to have heard coalition radio broadcasts, and 46 percent believed that the coalition broadcasts were truthful despite coming from their enemy. Again, some portion of the surrenders might have occurred even without PSYOP encouragement; but certainly, there would appear to be a correlation between PSYOP, which offered the enemy a way to escape the onslaught of U.S. military power, and their compliance with those instructions.[12]

One such operation, is Operation Moolah. The objective of the psychological operation was to target Communist pilots to defect to South Korea with a MiG-15, in order for the U.S. to conduct analysis of the capabilities of the MiG.

Some leafleting of North Korea was resumed after the Korean War, such as in the Cold War Operation Jilli from 1964 to 1968.[22]

Guatemala

The CIA’s operation to overthrow the Government of Guatemala in 1954 marked an early zenith in the Agency’s long record of covert action. Following closely on two successful operations, one of which was the installation of the Shah as ruler of Iran in August 1953, the Guatemalan operation, known as PBSUCCESS, was both more ambitious and more thoroughly successful than either precedent. Rather than helping a prominent contender gain power with a few inducements, PBSUCCESS used an intensive paramilitary and psychological campaign to replace a popular, elected government with a political non-entity. In method scale and conception it had no antecedent, and its triumph confirmed the belief of many in the Eisenhower Administration that covert operations offered a safe, inexpensive substitute for armed force in resisting what they declared was Communist inroad in the Third World.[23]

Vietnam

Psychological operations were extensively used in Vietnam, with white propaganda under the United States Information Agency and Military Assistance Command Vietnam, and grey and black propaganda under the Central Intelligence Agency and the Studies and Observation Group.

As early as August 1964, almost one year before the activation of the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO), General William Westmoreland told a CA and PSYOP conference that “psychological warfare and civic action are the very essence of the counterinsurgency campaign here in Vietnam…you cannot win this war by military means alone.” Westmoreland’s successor, Creighton Abrams, is known to have sent down guidelines to the 4th Psychological Operations Group that resulted in the drawing up of no fewer than 17 leaflets along those lines. In fact, the interest in PSYOP went all the way up to the Presidency; weekly reports from JUSPAO were sent to the White House, as well as to the Pentagon and the Ambassador in Saigon. In sum, it is a myth that the United States, stubbornly fixated on a World War II-style conventional war, was unaware of the “other war.”[6]

Safe conduct pass.

During the Vietnam era, the organization of the 4th Psychological Operations Group was very different. The four battalions of the group were divided by geographic region rather than area of expertise as they are now.

  • The 6th PSYOP Battalion was stationed at Bien Hoa and provided services to the tactical units, both American and Vietnamese, and to the various political entities such as provinces and cities in the area of III Corps.
  • The 7th PSYOP Battalion was stationed in Da Nang and provided service to I Corps.
  • The 8th PSYOP Battalion was based at Nha Trang, but it its B Company, which was its field teams, was based out ofPleiku nearly 100 kilometers away. The 8th Battalion served the II Corps area of Vietnam.
  • The 10th PSYOP Battalion was stationed in Can Tho and served IV Corps.

The A company of each battalion consisted of a command section, S-1, S-2, S-3, and a Psyop Development Center (PDC). Additionally, they generally had extensive printing facilities.

The B companies consisted of the field teams that were stationed throughout their respective corps billeted with MACV teams and combat units.

Nicaragua

The CIA wrote a manual for right-wing rebels—the Contras—entitled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare in order to bolster their fight against the MarxistSandinistas. See also CIA activities in Nicaragua

Sweden

There are individual authors who claim that U.S. submarines and other vessels “frequently” and “regularly” operated in the territorial waters of neutral Sweden, including in Stockholm harbor, as part of an elaborate psychological warfare operation whose target was the Swedish people. The Swedish people and government were led to believe that the vessels were Soviet. U.S. operations were likely conducted by the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office (NURO) and aspects of the operations were coordinated with the secret NATO “stay-behind” network deployed in Sweden. See Strategy of tension and Operation Gladio. British submarines also participated in such secret operations. The campaign was successful in totally changing the psychology of the Swedish people: the Swedish population was convinced of the “present danger” posed by the desired enemy, the Soviet Union, and was prepared for war against it. Also, since the Swedish government continued to release “enemy” submarines, large parts of the Swedish population turned against their government’s conciliatory attitude and adopted more hard-line views.[24]

Russian Whiskey-Class Submarine stranded===

Grenada and Panama

Most PSYOP activities and accomplishments in Panama were hardly noticed by either the U.S. public or the general military community. But the special operations community did notice. The lessons learned in Panama were incorporated into standard operating procedures. Where possible, immediate changes were made to capitalize on the PSYOP successes of the Grenada and Panama operations. This led to improved production, performance, and effect in the next contingency, which took place within 6 months after the return of the last PSYOP elements from Panama. Operations [in Iraq] employed PSYOP of an order of magnitude and effectiveness which many credit to the lessons learned from Panama.[6]

The broader scope of information operations in Panama included denying the Noriega regime use of their own broadcasting facilities. A direct action missionremoved key parts of the transmitters.[25] After-action reports indicate that this action should have had a much higher priority and been done very early in the operation.

An unusual technique, developed in real time, was termed the “Ma Bell Mission”, or, more formally, capitulation missions. There were a number of Panamian strongpoints that continued to have telephone access. By attaching Spanish-speaking Special Forces personnel to a combat unit that would otherwise take the strongpoint by force, the Spanish-speaking personnel would phone the Panamian commander, tell him to put away his weapons and assemble his men on the parade ground, or face lethal consequences. Because of the heavy reliance on telephones, these missions were nicknamed “Ma Bell” operations. “During this ten day period, TF BLACK elements were instrumental in the surrender of 14 cuartels (strongpoints), almost 2,000 troops, and over 6,000 weapons without a single U.S. casualty. Several high-ranking cronies of Manuel Noriega who were on the “most wanted” list were also captured in Ma Bell operations.[25]

Psychological operations sometimes are intimately linked to combat operations, with the use of force driving home the propaganda mission. During the Panamanian operation, it was necessary ? Ft. Amador, an installation shared by the U.S. and Panamanian Defence Forces (PDF). There were U.S. dependents at the installation, but security considerations prevented evacuating them before the attack. Concern for U.S. citizens, and rules of engagement (ROE) that directed casualties be minimized, PSYOP loudspeaker teams, from the 1st Bn, 4th PSYOP Gp, became a key asset. When the PDF did not surrender after initial appeals, the message changed, with the tactical commander warning “that resistance was hopeless in the face of overwhelming firepower and a series of demonstrations took place, escalating from small arms to 105 mm howitzer rounds. Subsequent broadcasts convinced the PDF to give up. The entire process allowed Ft. Amador to be secured with few casualties and minimal damage.”[26]

United States PSYOP became a part of popular culture during the U.S. invasion of Panama, the America public watched on TV as PSYOP soldiers blasted rock music into the Vatican Embassy to drive out ousted leader Manuel Noriega. However, it is widely believed inside the PSYOP community that the reasoning for the music was not actually to drive Noriega out, but to keep American news reporters from listening in on the negotiations for Noriega’s surrender.[citation needed]

The 1991 Gulf War

Psychological Operations was extremely valuable during the Gulf War due to the Iraqi military’s desire to avoid combat. Through leaflets and loudspeaker broadcasts, PSYOP forces walked many enemy soldiers through successful surrender.

Coalition forces worked extensively with Saudi, Kuwaiti, and other partners, to be sure psychological operations were culturally and linguistically appropriate.[27] One unusual technique involved dropping leaflets telling Iraqi troops that they would be bombed the next day by B-52 bombers, and urged them to surrender and save their lives. After the bombing the next day, which was not done in a manner to maximize casualties, another set of leaflets were dropped, saying the promise was kept and the survivors should surrender to save themselves. Variants of this technique were used on other units, telling them the specific unit that had been bombed the previous day. By the number of prisoners who surrendered, presenting the leaflet that identified itself as a safe-conduct pass, this program was effective.

Bosnia and Kosovo

TV station secured by SFOR

United States PSYOP was widely employed in both Bosnia and Kosovo, most famously for their “mine awareness” campaign and its Superman comic.[citation needed]

The broader scope of information operations in Bosnia included denying groups, breaking the peace agreement, of the use of their own broadcasting facilities, with capture or destruction of the transmitters.[citation needed]

Controversies

CNN and NPR interns incident

In the 1990s it came to light that soldiers from the 4th Psychological Operations Group had been interning at the American news networks Cable News Network (CNN) and National Public Radio (NPR). The program was an attempt to provide its PSYOP personnel with the expertise developed by the private sector under its “Training with Industry” program. The program caused concern about the influence these soldiers might have on American news and the programs were terminated.

National Public Radio reported on April 10, 2000:

The U.S. Army’s Psychological Operations unit placed interns at CNN and NPR in 1998 and 1999. The placements at CNN were reported in the European press in February of this year and the program was terminated. The NPR placements will be reported this week in TV Guide.[28]

Toppling of Saddam Hussein statue

Arguably the most visible image of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square in central Baghdad. Allegations that the event was staged have been published. It is claimed it was actually an idea hatched by an Army psychological operations team.[29] Allegations surfaced that not only were the cheering group of people surrounding the statue in fact smaller than they were made out to be, in media depictions, but that also the group were not local to the area and were instead brought in by the military for the specific purpose of watching and lending credence to the pre-planned toppling.[30][31][32]

Use of music in the interrogation of prisoners

PSYOP pamphlet disseminated inIraq. The text translates as “This is your future al-Zarqawi,” and depicts al-Qaeda terrorist al-Zarqawi caught in a rat trap which is being held by an Iraqi Army soldier or an Iraqi Policeman.

In 2003 Sergeant Mark Hadsell claimed to have used loud music during the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners:[33]

“These people haven’t heard heavy metal. They can’t take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”[33]

Other reports of the use of music during interrogation have occasionally plagued PSYOP.[34]

On 9 December 2008 the Associated Press reported that various musicians were coordinating their objections to the use of their music as a technique for softening up captives through an initiative called Zero dB.[35][36] However, not all musicians have taken issue with the possibility that their music is being used during interrogations. Stevie Benton of the groupDrowning Pool commented supportively:[36]

“I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that.”[36]

Afghanistan burning bodies incident

On 1 October 2005 in Gumbad, Afghanistan, Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne decided to burn the bodies of two Taliban fighters killed in a firefight the previous day for hygienic reasons. Despite Islamic customs that forbid cremation, they chose to proceed. The Platoon Leader also failed to properly notify his Battalion Commander of the decision prior to burning the bodies. When his Battalion Commander was notified, he ordered the flaming bodies extinguished. An official investigation into the incident found evidence of poor decision making, poor judgement, poor reporting, a lack of knowledge and respect for local Afghan custom and tradition. The Infantry Officer received a General Officer letter of reprimand. Reserve PSYOP soldiers were involved because they heard about the incident and used the information to incite Taliban fighters in another area where freelance journalist Stephen Dupont was located. Dupont reported that the PSYOP soldiers claimed the bodies were to be burned due to hygiene concerns.[37]

During the War on Terror, U.S. PSYOP teams often broadcast abrasive messages over loudspeakers to try tempting enemy fighters into a direct confrontation where the Americans have the upper hand. Other times, they use their loudspeaker to convince enemy soldiers to surrender. In the Afghanistan incident, a PSYOP sergeant allegedly broadcast the following message to the Taliban:

Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be.

Another soldier stated:

You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Talibs but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are.

U. S. authorities investigated the incident and the two Reserve PSYOP Soldiers received administrative punishment for broadcasting messages which were not approved. Investigators found no evidence that the bodies were burned for a psychological effect. They concluded that the broadcast violated standing policies for the content of loudspeaker messages and urged that all soldiers in the command undergo training on Afghan sensitivities.[38]

Pentagon Analysts and the Main Stream Media

In 2008, The New York Times exposed how analysts portrayed in the U.S. news media as independent and objective were in fact under the tutelage of the Pentagon.[39] From the NYT:

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance

2009 congressional delegation to Afghanistan

In February 2011, journalist Michael Hastings published an article in Rolling Stone reported that Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the supposed leader of a PSYOP group in Afghanistan, alleged that Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell a three-star General in charge of training troops in Afghanistan,[40] ordered Holmes and his group to perform in-depth research on visiting U.S. congressmen in order to spin presentations and visits.[41] According to Holmes, his team was tasked with “illegally providing themes and messages to influence the people and leadership of the United States.”[42] Reported targets included United States Senators John McCain,Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken, Carl Levin, Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and think-tank analysts.[41] Under the 1948 Smith–Mundt Act, such operations may not be used to target Americans. When Holmes attempted to seek counsel and to protest, he was placed under investigation by the military at the behest of General Caldwell’s chief of staff.[41]

Caldwell’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Shawn Stroud, denied Holmes’s assertions, and other unnamed military officials disputed Holmes’s claims as false and misleading, saying there are no records of him ever completing any PSYOP training. Subsequently Holmes conceded that he was not a Psychological Operations officer nor was he in charge of a Psychological Operations unit and acknowledged that Caldwell’s orders were “fairly innocuous.”[43] Officials say that Holmes spent his time in theater starting a strategic communications business with Maj. Laural Levine, with whom he conducted an improper relationship in Afghanistan. A former aid said, “At no point did Holmes ever provide a product to Gen. Caldwell”. General David Petraeus has since ordered an investigation into the alleged incident.[42]

Portrayals in popular culture

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_Operations_%28United_States%29

 

Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Sentient World Simulation)

Purdue University‘s Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations, or SEAS, is currently being used by Homeland Security and the US Defense Department to simulate crises on the US mainland.[1] SEAS “enables researchers and organizations to try out their models or techniques in a publicly known, realistically detailed environment.”[2] It “is now capable of running real-time simulations for up to 62 nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and China. The simulations gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary information such as military intelligence. […] The Iraq and Afghanistan computer models are the most highly developed and complex of the 62 available to JFCOM-J9. Each has about five million individual nodes representing things such as hospitals, mosques, pipelines, and people.”[1]

SEAS was developed to help Fortune 500 companies with strategic planning. Then it was used to help “recruiting commanders to strategize ways to improve recruiting potential soldiers”. In 2004 SEAS was evaluated for its ability to help simulate “the non-kinetic aspects of combat, things like the diplomatic, economic, political, infrastructure and social issues”.[3]

Sentient World Simulation is the name given to the current vision of making SEAS a “continuously running, continually updated mirror model of the real world that can be used to predict and evaluate future events and courses of action.”[4]

Development and use

SEAS technology resulted from over ten years of research at Purdue University, funded by the Department of Defense, several Fortune 500 companies, the National Science Foundation, the Century Fund of the state of Indiana, and the Office of Naval Research. Originally, SEAS was developed to help Fortune 500 companies with strategic planning. It was also used to model the population of the U.S. that is eligible for military service to help “recruiting commanders to strategize ways to improve recruiting potential soldiers”[3]and to study biological attacks.[5]

In January 2004 SEAS was evaluated by the Joint Innovation and Experimentation Directorate (J9) of the US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) for its ability to help simulate “the non-kinetic aspects of combat, things like the diplomatic, economic, political, infrastructure and social issues” at the Purdue Technology Park during Breaking Point 2004, an environment-shaping war game resulting in the conclusion that it “moves us from the current situation where everyone comes together and sits around a table discussing what they would do, to a situation where they actually play in the simulation and their actions have consequences.”[3]

In 2006 JFCOM-J9 used SEAS to war game warfare scenarios for Baghdad in 2015. In April 2007 JFCOM-J9 began working with Homeland Security and multinational forces in a homeland defense war gaming exercise.[1]

Sentient World Simulation

The Sentient World Simulation project (SWS) is to be based on SEAS. The ultimate goal envisioned by Alok R. Chaturvedi on March 10, 2006 was for SWS to be a “continuously running, continually updated mirror model of the real world that can be used to predict and evaluate future events and courses of action. SWS will react to actual events that occur anywhere in the world and incorporate newly sensed data from the real world. […] As the models influence each other and the shared synthetic environment, behaviors and trends emerge in the synthetic world as they do in the real world. Analysis can be performed on the trends in the synthetic world to validate alternate worldviews. […] Information can be easily displayed and readily transitioned from one focus to another using detailed modeling, such as engineering level modeling, to aggregated strategic, theater, or campaign-level modeling.”[4]

Personnel

Alok R. Chaturvedi is the founder and the Director of SEAS Laboratory[6] as well as the technical lead for the Sentient World Simulation project initiated by US Joint Forces Command.[7]

See also

Sources and notes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c The Register article Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale published June 23, 2007
  2. Jump up^ SEAS
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c Purdue University article USJFCOM teams with Purdue University to add the human factor to war game simulations published February 6, 2004
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Purdue University abstract from Alok Chaturvedi titled Computational Challenges for a Sentient World Simulation published March 10, 2006
  5. Jump up^ Purdue University article Indiana researchers tap into grid computing to prepare for disasters published June 24, 2002
  6. Jump up^ Purdue University Dr. Alok R. Chaturvedi – Director, SEAS Labs
  7. Jump up^ Indiana University WITS 2006 Discussion Panel

Further reading

  • Live and Computational Experimentation in Bio-terror Response Alok Chaturvedi – Purdue Homeland Security Institute – Krannert School of Management – Department of Computer Sciences – Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN, USA
  • Application of Proven Parallel Programming Algorithmic Design to the Aggregation/De-aggregation Problem
  • NATO article Using the Multinational Experiment 4 (MNE4) Modeling and Simulation Federation to Support Joint Experimentation begins with: “Multinational experimentation is a critical element of the United States Joint Forces Command’s (USJFCOM) Experimentation Directorate (J9) joint concept development and experimentation program. The Multinational Experiment (MNE) series explores ways to achieve a coalition’s political goals by influencing the behaviour of our adversaries by relying on the full weight of the coalition’s collective national powers (diplomatic, information, military and economics actions). MNE4, conducted in February – March 2006, was one such experimentation venue that explored new ways to apply the various elements of the coalition’s considerable influence, short of direct military conflict. MNE4 required an extensive international modeling and simulation (M&S) development effort with models provided by France, Germany and the United States.”

 

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Fed Desperate To Rise Above the Near Zero Fed Funds Rate Target Range — Need Three Months Of 300,000 Plus Per Month Job Creation, Wage Growth and 3% First Quarter 2015 Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Numbers To Jump to .5 – 1.0% Range Fed Funds Rate Target — June 2015 Launch Date Expected — Fly Me To The Moon — Summertime — Launch — Abort On Recession — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: Fed Desperate To Rise Above the Near Zero Fed Funds Rate Target Range — Need Three Months Of 300,000 Plus Per Month Job Creation, Wage Growth and 3% First Quarter 2015 Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Numbers To Jump to .5 – 1.0% Range Fed Funds Rate Target — June 2015 Launch Date Expected —  Fly Me To The Moon — Summertime — Launch — Abort On Recession — Videos

moonspace

moon earthstarsApollo_17_The_Last_Moon_Shot_Edit1launch_abort_buttons

Amazing seven year old sings Fly Me To The Moon (Angelina Jordan) on Senkveld “The Late Show”

Forrest Gump JFK “I Gotta Pee” Scene

Fed Decision: The Three Most Important Things Janet Yellen Said

Press Conference with Chair of the FOMC, Janet L. Yellen

Monetary Policy Based on the Taylor Rule

Many economists believe that rules-based monetary policy provides better economic outcomes than a purely discretionary framework delivers. But there is disagreement about the advantages of rules-based policy and even disagreement about which rule works. One possible policy rule would be for the central bank to follow a Taylor Rule, named after our featured speaker, John B. Taylor. What would some of the advantages of a Taylor Rule be versus, for instance, a money growth rule, or a rule which only specifies the inflation target? How could a policy rule be implemented? Should policy rule legislation be considered? Join us as Professor Taylor addresses these important policy questions.

Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman pre1971

On Milton Friedman | by Murray N. Rothbard

Who Was the Better Monetary Economist? Rothbard and Friedman Compared | Joseph T. Salerno

Joseph Salerno “Unmasking the Federal Reserve”

Rothbard on Alan Greenspan

Milton Friedman – Money and Inflation

Milton Friedman – Abolish The Fed

Milton Friedman On John Maynard Keynes

Hayek on Keynes’s Ignorance of Economics

Friedrich Hayek explains to Leo Rosten that while brilliant Keynes had a parochial understanding of economics.

On John Maynard Keynes | by Murray N. Rothbard

Hayek on Milton Friedman and Monetary Policy

Friedrich Hayek: Why Intellectuals Drift Towards Socialism

Capitalism, Socialism, and the Jews

The Normal State of Man: Misery & Tyranny

Peter Schiff Interviews Keynesian Economist Laurence Kotlikoff 01-18-12

Larry Kotlikoff on the Clash of Generations

Extended interview with Boston University Economics Professor Larry Kotlikoff on his publications about a six-decade long Ponzi scheme in the US which he says will lead to a clash of generations.

Kotlikoff also touches on what his projections mean for the New Zealand economy and why Prime Minister John Key should take more attention of New Zealand’s ‘fiscal gap’ – the gap between all future government spending commitments and its future revenue track.

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Society

Angelina Jordan – summertime

Angelina Jordan synger Sinatra i semifinalen i Norske Talenter 2014

Release Date: March 18, 2015

For immediate release

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat. Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate. A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish. Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power. Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened. Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of energy price declines and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.

The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.

When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Jerome H. Powell; Daniel K. Tarullo; and John C. Williams.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20150318a.htm

Advance release of table 1 of the Summary of Economic Projections to be released with the FOMC minutes

Percent

Variable Central tendency1 Range2
2015 2016 2017 Longer run 2015 2016 2017 Longer run
Change in real GDP 2.3 to 2.7 2.3 to 2.7 2.0 to 2.4 2.0 to 2.3 2.1 to 3.1 2.2 to 3.0 1.8 to 2.5 1.8 to 2.5
December projection 2.6 to 3.0 2.5 to 3.0 2.3 to 2.5 2.0 to 2.3 2.1 to 3.2 2.1 to 3.0 2.0 to 2.7 1.8 to 2.7
Unemployment rate 5.0 to 5.2 4.9 to 5.1 4.8 to 5.1 5.0 to 5.2 4.8 to 5.3 4.5 to 5.2 4.8 to 5.5 4.9 to 5.8
December projection 5.2 to 5.3 5.0 to 5.2 4.9 to 5.3 5.2 to 5.5 5.0 to 5.5 4.9 to 5.4 4.7 to 5.7 5.0 to 5.8
PCE inflation 0.6 to 0.8 1.7 to 1.9 1.9 to 2.0 2.0 0.6 to 1.5 1.6 to 2.4 1.7 to 2.2 2.0
December projection 1.0 to 1.6 1.7 to 2.0 1.8 to 2.0 2.0 1.0 to 2.2 1.6 to 2.1 1.8 to 2.2 2.0
Core PCE inflation3 1.3 to 1.4 1.5 to 1.9 1.8 to 2.0 1.2 to 1.6 1.5 to 2.4 1.7 to 2.2
December projection 1.5 to 1.8 1.7 to 2.0 1.8 to 2.0 1.5 to 2.2 1.6 to 2.1 1.8 to 2.2

Note: Projections of change in real gross domestic product (GDP) and projections for both measures of inflation are percent changes from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated. PCE inflation and core PCE inflation are the percentage rates of change in, respectively, the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and the price index for PCE excluding food and energy. Projections for the unemployment rate are for the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year indicated. Each participant’s projections are based on his or her assessment of appropriate monetary policy. Longer-run projections represent each participant’s assessment of the rate to which each variable would be expected to converge under appropriate monetary policy and in the absence of further shocks to the economy. The December projections were made in conjunction with the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on December 16-17, 2014.

1. The central tendency excludes the three highest and three lowest projections for each variable in each year.  Return to table

2. The range for a variable in a given year includes all participants’ projections, from lowest to highest, for that variable in that year.  Return to table

3. Longer-run projections for core PCE inflation are not collected.  Return to table

Figure 1. Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections, 2015-17 and over the longer run

Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections for years 2015 through 2017 and over the longer run. Actual values for years 2010 through 2014.

Change in real GDP
Percent

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Longer Run
Actual 2.7 1.7 1.6 3.1 2.4
Upper End of Range 3.1 3.0 2.5 2.5
Upper End of Central Tendency 2.7 2.7 2.4 2.3
Lower End of Central Tendency 2.3 2.3 2.0 2.0
Lower End of Range 2.1 2.2 1.8 1.8

Unemployment rate
Percent

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Longer Run
Actual 9.5 8.7 7.8 7.0 5.7
Upper End of Range 5.3 5.2 5.5 5.8
Upper End of Central Tendency 5.2 5.1 5.1 5.2
Lower End of Central Tendency 5.0 4.9 4.8 5.0
Lower End of Range 4.8 4.5 4.8 4.9

PCE inflation
Percent

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Longer Run
Actual 1.3 2.7 1.6 1.0 1.1
Upper End of Range 1.5 2.4 2.2 2.0
Upper End of Central Tendency 0.8 1.9 2.0 2.0
Lower End of Central Tendency 0.6 1.7 1.9 2.0
Lower End of Range 0.6 1.6 1.7 2.0

Note: Definitions of variables are in the general note to the projections table. The data for the actual values of the variables are annual.

Figure 2. Overview of FOMC participants’ assessments of appropriate monetary policy

Appropriate timing of policy firming

2015 2016
Number of participants 15 2

Note: In the upper panel, the height of each bar denotes the number of FOMC participants who judge that, under appropriate monetary policy, the first increase in the target range for the federal funds rate from its current range of 0 to 1/4 percent will occur in the specified calendar year. In December 2014, the numbers of FOMC participants who judged that the first increase in the target federal funds rate would occur in 2015, and 2016 were, respectively, 15, and 2.

Appropriate pace of policy firming: Midpoint of target range or target level for the federal funds rate
Number of participants with projected midpoint of target range or target level

Midpoint of target range
or target level (Percent)
2015 2016 2017 Longer Run
0.125 2
0.250
0.375 1 1
0.500
0.625 7
0.750
0.875 3
1.000
1.125 1 1
1.250
1.375 2
1.500
1.625 1 6
1.750
1.875 3
2.000 1
2.125 1
2.250 1
2.375
2.500
2.625 1 3
2.750
2.875 2
3.000 1
3.125 4
3.250
3.375 2 1
3.500 7
3.625 2
3.750 1 2 6
3.875 1
4.000 1 2
4.125
4.250 1

Note: In the lower panel, each shaded circle indicates the value (rounded to the nearest 1/8 percentage point) of an individual participant’s judgment of the midpoint of the appropriate target range for the federal funds rate or the appropriate target level for the federal funds rate at the end of the specified calendar year or over the longer run.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcprojtabl20150318.htm

Janet Yellen Isn’t Going to Raise Interest Rates Until She’s Good and Ready

The key words in Janet L. Yellen’s news conference Wednesday were rather pithy, at least by central bank standards. “Just because we removed the word ‘patient’ from the statement doesn’t mean we are going to be impatient,” Ms. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, said.

With this framing, Ms. Yellen was putting her firm stamp on the policy of an institution she has led for just over a year — and making clear that she will not be boxed in. Her words and accompanying announcements conveyed the message that the Yellen Fed has no intention of taking the support struts of low interest rates away until she is absolutely confident that economic growth will hold up without them.

Photo

Janet Yellen held a news conference after a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in Washington on Wednesday. CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ms. Yellen’s comments about patience versus impatience were part of that dance. But the dual message was even more powerful when combined with other elements of the central bank’s newly released information, which sent the signal that members of the committee intend to move cautiously on rate increases.

By eliminating the reference to “patience,” Paul Edelstein, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a research note, “The Fed did what it was expected to do.”

“But beyond that,” he added, “the committee appeared much more dovish and in not much of a hurry to actually pull the trigger.”

Fed officials’ forecasts of how high rates will be at year’s end for 2015, 2016 and 2017 all fell compared to where they were in December. They marked down their forecast for economic growth and inflation for all three years, implying that the nation’s economic challenge is tougher and inflation risks more distant than they had seemed a few months ago.

Particularly interesting was that Fed officials lowered their estimate of the longer-run unemployment rate, to 5 to 5.2 percent, from 5.2 to 5.5 percent. With joblessness hitting 5.5 percent in February, that implied that policy makers are convinced the job market has more room to tighten before it becomes too tight. Fed leaders now forecast unemployment rates in 2016 and 2017 that are a bit below what many view as the long-term sustainable level, which one would expect to translate into rising wages.

In other words, they want to run the economy a little hot for the next couple of years to help spur the kinds of wage gains that might return inflation to the 2 percent level they aim for, but which they have persistently undershot in recent years.

Apart from the details of the dovish monetary policy signals Ms. Yellen and her colleagues sent, it is clear she wanted to jolt markets out of any feeling that policy is on a preordained path.

At times over the last couple of years, the Fed had seemed to set a policy course and then go on a forced march until it got there, regardless of whether the jobs numbers were good or bad, or whether inflation was rising or falling. That is certainly how it felt when the Fed decided in December 2013 to wind down its quantitative easing policies by $10 billion per meeting, which it did through the first nine months of 2014 with few signs of re-evaluation as conditions evolved.

In her first news conference as chairwoman a year ago, Ms. Yellen had suggested that rate increases might be on a similar preordained path by saying that she could imagine rate increases “around six months” after the conclusion of quantitative easing. (That comment increasingly looks to have been a rookie mistake, and she later backed away from it.)

There are likely to be plenty of twists and turns in the coming months. After this week’s meeting, Ms. Yellen reinforced the message she has been trying to convey that the committee really will adapt its policy to incoming information rather than simply carry on with the path it set a year ago.

If the strengthening dollar and falling oil prices start to translate into still-lower expectations for future inflation, the Fed will hold off from rate rises — and the same if wage gains and other job market indicators show a lack of progress.

Conversely, if the job market recovery keeps going gangbusters and it becomes clear that inflation is going to rise back toward 2 percent, Ms. Yellen does not want to be constrained by language about “patience.”

“This change does not necessarily mean that an increase will occur in June,” Ms. Yellen said, “though we cannot rule that out.”

She has now bought herself some latitude to decide when and how the Fed ushers in an era of tighter money. Now the question is just how patient or impatient American economic conditions will allow her to be.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/upshot/janet-yellen-isnt-going-to-raise-interest-rates-until-shes-good-and-ready.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

Taylor rule

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John B. Taylor

Not to be confused with Taylor Law or Taylor’s law.

In economics, a Taylor rule is a monetary-policy rule that stipulates how much the central bank should change the nominal interest rate in response to changes in inflation, output, or other economic conditions. In particular, the rule stipulates that for each one-percent increase in inflation, the central bank should raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point. This aspect of the rule is often called the Taylor principle.

The rule of was first proposed by John B. Taylor,[1] and simultaneously by Dale W. Henderson and Warwick McKibbin in 1993.[2] It is intended to foster price stability and full employment by systematically reducing uncertainty and increasing the credibility of future actions by the central bank. It may also avoid the inefficiencies of time inconsistency from the exercise ofdiscretionary policy.[3][4] The Taylor rule synthesized, and provided a compromise between, competing schools of economics thought in a language devoid of rhetorical passion.[5] Although many issues remain unresolved and views still differ about how the Taylor rule can best be applied in practice, research shows that the rule has advanced the practice of central banking.[6]

As an equation

According to Taylor’s original version of the rule, the nominal interest rate should respond to divergences of actual inflation rates from target inflation rates and of actual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from potential GDP:

i_t = \pi_t + r_t^* + a_\pi  ( \pi_t - \pi_t^* )  + a_y ( y_t - \bar y_t ).

In this equation, \,i_t\, is the target short-term nominal interest rate (e.g. the federal funds rate in the US, the Bank of England base rate in the UK), \,\pi_t\, is the rate ofinflation as measured by the GDP deflator, \pi^*_t is the desired rate of inflation, r_t^* is the assumed equilibrium real interest rate, \,y_t\, is the logarithm of real GDP, and \bar y_tis the logarithm of potential output, as determined by a linear trend.

In this equation, both a_{\pi} and a_y should be positive (as a rough rule of thumb, Taylor’s 1993 paper proposed setting a_{\pi}=a_y=0.5).[7] That is, the rule “recommends” a relatively high interest rate (a “tight” monetary policy) when inflation is above its target or when output is above its full-employment level, in order to reduce inflationary pressure. It recommends a relatively low interest rate (“easy” monetary policy) in the opposite situation, to stimulate output. Sometimes monetary policy goals may conflict, as in the case of stagflation, when inflation is above its target while output is below full employment. In such a situation, a Taylor rule specifies the relative weights given to reducing inflation versus increasing output.

The Taylor principle

By specifying a_{\pi}>0, the Taylor rule says that an increase in inflation by one percentage point should prompt the central bank to raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point (specifically, by 1+a_{\pi}, the sum of the two coefficients on \pi_t in the equation above). Since the real interest rate is (approximately) the nominal interest rate minus inflation, stipulating a_{\pi}>0 implies that when inflation rises, the real interest rate should be increased. The idea that the real interest rate should be raised to cool the economy when inflation increases (requiring the nominal interest rate to increase more than inflation does) has sometimes been called the Taylor principle.[8]

During an EconTalk podcast Taylor explained the rule in simple terms using three variables: inflation rate, GDP growth, and the interest rate. If inflation were to rise by 1%, the proper response would be to raise the interest rate by 1.5% (Taylor explains that it doesn’t always need to be exactly 1.5%, but being larger than 1% is essential). If GDP falls by 1% relative to its growth path, then the proper response is to cut the interest rate by .5%.[9]

Alternative versions of the rule

While the Taylor principle has proved very influential, there is more debate about the other terms that should enter into the rule. According to some simple New Keynesian macroeconomic models, insofar as the central bank keeps inflation stable, the degree of fluctuation in output will be optimized (Blanchard and Gali call this property the ‘divine coincidence‘). In this case, the central bank need not take fluctuations in the output gap into account when setting interest rates (that is, it may optimally set a_y=0.) On the other hand, other economists have proposed including additional terms in the Taylor rule to take into account money gap[10] or financial conditions: for example, the interest rate might be raised when stock prices, housing prices, or interest rate spreads increase.

Empirical relevance

Although the Federal Reserve does not explicitly follow the Taylor rule, many analysts have argued that the rule provides a fairly accurate summary of US monetary policy under Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan.[11][12] Similar observations have been made about central banks in other developed economies, both in countries like Canada and New Zealand that have officially adopted inflation targeting rules, and in others like Germany where the Bundesbank‘s policy did not officially target the inflation rate.[13][14] This observation has been cited by Clarida, Galí, and Gertler as a reason why inflation had remained under control and the economy had been relatively stable (the so-called ‘Great Moderation‘) in most developed countries from the 1980s through the 2000s.[11] However, according to Taylor, the rule was not followed in part of the 2000s, possibly leading to the housing bubble.[15][16] Certain research has determined that some households form their expectations about the future path of interest rates, inflation, and unemployment in a way that is consistent with Taylor-type rules.[17]

Criticisms

Athanasios Orphanides (2003) claims that the Taylor rule can misguide policy makers since they face real-time data. He shows that the Taylor rule matches the US funds rate less perfectly when accounting for these informational limitations and that an activist policy following the Taylor rule would have resulted in an inferior macroeconomic performance during the Great Inflation of the seventies.[18]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Taylor, John B. (1993). “Discretion versus Policy Rules in Practice”. Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 39: 195–214. (The rule is introduced on page 202.)
  2. Jump up^ Henderson, D. W.; McKibbin, W. (1993). “A Comparison of Some Basic Monetary Policy Regimes for Open Economies: Implications of Different Degrees of Instrument Adjustment and Wage Persistence”. Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 39: 221–318. doi:10.1016/0167-2231(93)90011-K.
  3. Jump up^ Athanasios Orphanides (2008). “Taylor rules,” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. v. 8, pp. 2000-2004.Abstract.
  4. Jump up^ Paul Klein (2009). “time consistency of monetary and fiscal policy,” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. 2nd Edition. Abstract.
  5. Jump up^ Kahn, George A.; Asso, Pier Francesco; Leeson, Robert (2007). “The Taylor Rule and the Transformation of Monetary Policy”. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper 07-11. SSRN 1088466.
  6. Jump up^ Asso, Pier Francesco; Kahn, George A.; Leeson, Robert (2010). “The Taylor Rule and the Practice of Central Banking”. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper 10-05. SSRN 1553978.
  7. Jump up^ Athanasios Orphanides (2008). “Taylor rules,” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. v. 8, pp. 2000-2004, equation (7).Abstract.
  8. Jump up^ Davig, Troy; Leeper, Eric M. (2007). “Generalizing the Taylor Principle”. American Economic Review 97 (3): 607–635. doi:10.1257/aer.97.3.607.JSTOR 30035014.
  9. Jump up^ Econtalk podcast, Aug. 18, 2008, interview conducted by Russell Roberts, sponsored by the Library of Economics and Liberty.
  10. Jump up^ Benchimol, Jonathan; Fourçans, André (2012). “Money and risk in a DSGE framework : A Bayesian application to the Eurozone”. Journal of Macroeconomics34 (1): 95–111, Abstract.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Clarida, Richard; Galí, Jordi; Gertler, Mark (2000). “Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Theory and Some Evidence”. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 (1): 147–180. doi:10.1162/003355300554692.JSTOR 2586937.
  12. Jump up^ Lowenstein, Roger (2008-01-20). “The Education of Ben Bernanke”. The New York Times.
  13. Jump up^ Bernanke, Ben; Mihov, Ilian (1997). “What Does the Bundesbank Target?”.European Economic Review 41 (6): 1025–1053. doi:10.1016/S0014-2921(96)00056-6.
  14. Jump up^ Clarida, Richard; Gertler, Mark; Galí, Jordi (1998). “Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence”. European Economic Review 42 (6): 1033–1067. doi:10.1016/S0014-2921(98)00016-6.
  15. Jump up^ Taylor, John B. (2008). “The Financial Crisis and the Policy Responses: An Empirical Analysis of What Went Wrong”.
  16. Jump up^ Taylor, John B. (2009). Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis. Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 0-8179-4971-2.
  17. Jump up^ Carvalho, Carlos; Nechio, Fernanda (2013). “Do People Understand Monetary Policy?”. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2012-01.SSRN 1984321.
  18. Jump up^ Orphanides, A. (2003). “The Quest for Prosperity without Inflation”. Journal of Monetary Economics 50 (3): 633–663. doi:10.1016/S0304-3932(03)00028-X.

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_rule

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Conservatives Challenge Democrat Neutered No Balls House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — Republican Party Leadership Betrayed American Voters and Committed Political Suicide Over Funding Legal Status For Illegal Aliens — Deport The 30-50 Million Illegal Aliens In United States — It Is The Law — Videos

Posted on March 12, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DHS Head Thanks Congress for Funding

Congress Approves Homeland Security Funding Without Immigration Fight

Speaker Boehner’s Embarrassing, Humiliating DHS Funding Failure

Phyllis Schlafly: We’re tired of GOP’s Losers

Dana Bash to GOP Rep: ‘Impossible’ for Speaker Boehner to Govern Because of You

Boehner Facing Possible Coup over DHS Funding Fight

Battle Over Dept. of Homeland Security Funding – Leslie Marshall on The Real Story 2/25/15

Treason? Congressional Republicans Turn Backs on the GOP

A message to the Republican Party leadership

Mark Levin: Federal Government Shutdown ‘Horror Story Possibilities’ Nothing But ‘A Lie’

Mark Levin CPAC 2015 Full Speech

Boehner Survives, Conservatives Cope: Ongoing Saga of the 114th (Updated)

It was an unconditional, unmitigated cave. In the battle to defund President Barack Obama’s immigration action, Democrats won. Republicans lost. So why does Speaker John A. Boehner’s job look as secure now as it did a month ago? And why aren’t conservatives more outraged?

“To be honest with you,” Rep. Paul Gosar told CQ Roll Call, “not all of it is his fault.”

It's not all Boehner's fault, says Gosar, echoing a lot of House Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

The conservative Arizona Republican, who didn’t back Boehner for speaker in January’s election, said much of the frustration in GOP circles outside of Washington came because Republicans promised a fight on the Department of Homeland Security once the GOP controlled the Senate.

“Well where’s [Senate Majority Leader]Mitch McConnell? Where are our senator friends?” Gosar asked. “I mean, they took a bail on this one as well.”

Asked about Boehner’s overall performance, Gosar paused, then admitted he has questions. But he noted his staff is scheduled to meet with Boehner’s team to discuss a statutory tactic for blocking the executive action on immigration. “I want to send him a lifeline,” Gosar said. “If it works, who knows? We’ll see what happens.”

Conservatives aren’t exactly pleased with how leadership has handled the first two months of the 114th Congress. The sudden capitulation on the DHS fight — after months of tough talk — angered many on the right. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said he was “horribly disappointed, almost heartbroken” that Republicans gave in. Still, even the most conservative elements of the Republican Conference are surprisingly understanding of Boehner’s difficult job.

And with the DHS funding fight out of the way, Republicans — some of whom are suddenly attuned to the concept of “governing” — see an opportunity to get stuff done: a budget, Trade Promotion Authority, even changes to Obamacare.

Republicans just need everyone to forget January and February. Please.

Asked about the leadership team’s performance thus far, Rep. Randy Weber’s first reaction was laughter.

“On the record?” he inquired. The Texas Republican said he knew there had been “some unhappiness” with a lack of regular order. But, Weber said he understood Boehner’s position.

“He’s caught, you know, in a continuum of 247 Republican members — from the most conservative to the least conservative. So that’s a hard place to be,” he said.

Asked for his perspective on leadership’s performance at this point, Virginia’s Dave Brat was slightly more candid about his disappointment. “Well,” he said, after dramatically slumping his head and taking a short pause, “that’s up to you reporters to find out and answer one question.”

That question, according to the man who deposed former Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary, was whether Republicans truly fought “tooth and nail” (as Boehner had promised) to block Obama’s executive action.

“I didn’t see any fight,” Brat said. “You report on it. Go see if you found the fight. See if you can find it.”

Brat said the only fight he saw was one in which an outside GOP group with Boehner ties — Barry Jackson, the speaker’s former chief of staff, is a senior board member for American Action Network — was running $400,000 worth of ads against conservatives such as House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and Tea Party Caucus Chairman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

That bit of news seemed to fire up conservatives almost as much as the DHS bill.

“Again the hypocrisy,” Raúl R. Labrador told CQ Roll Call. “They complain about outside groups, but then they’re using outside groups to attack conservatives.”

The Idaho Republican claimed it was “a dangerous precedent” for moderate Republicans, “and I’m not sure they want to go down this road.”

Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon offered a similar warning: “There’s an old adage: When you play with fire, you get burned.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel distanced the speaker from the ads, noting the law forbids members from coordinating with outside groups. “But the speaker does not think these ads are helpful,” he said.

Tensions inside the conference were inevitable, given the bumpy first two months that saw leadership forced to pull bills dealing with abortion, border security and education from floor consideration.

Then came the DHS debacle. Still, Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise succeeded in averting a DHS shutdown.

Rep. Trey Gowdy defended Team Boehner.

“There’s a reason very few people raise their hands and ask to be in leadership,” said the South Carolina Republican, who heads the Special Committee on Benghazi. “It’s much easier where I sit to just second guess what other people do. So I have a tendency to blame the inmates more than the warden.”

Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer, who isn’t part of the most conservative wing of the GOP but has voted against leadership this Congress, said given it’s a diverse group, he’d give Boehner “pretty good marks.”

Even those in the conference who are clearly disappointed thus far are looking ahead.

Jordan told CQ Roll Call the HFC’s next focus would be on “doing a good budget.” Does that mean conservatives will forget the immigration action?

“No, we’re going to keep talking about it,” Jordan said. “We hope the court does the right thing. But [we’re] just disappointed in the U.S. Senate that they couldn’t — Democrats in the Senate — couldn’t go to conference.”

When CQ Roll Call pointed out it was Senate and House Republicans who ultimately gave in, Jordan refused to attack his own party. “Just remember,” he said, Senate Minority Leader “Harry Reid wouldn’t let the bill come up.”

But if blaming Reid isn’t enough for some on the right — if Republican leadership did cave — why aren’t conservatives more upset?

For one, the GOP surrender on DHS unfolded exactly the way most predicted. Even conservatives privately conceded the outcome. The only question for GOP leaders was whether a DHS shutdown would be the only thing to placate hard-liners. Boehner was unwilling to go that far, which may vex conservatives — but there’s little those Republicans, still seething from last year’s “cromnibus” fight that set up the DHS clash, can do.

Two months into a new Congress, Boehner isn’t going anywhere. And talk of efforts to steal his gavel is overblown.

Of course, there is chatter of a coup, members and aides told CQ Roll Call on background. But it’s not coming from — strictly speaking — GOP conservatives. It’s coming from members who believe the party would benefit from a shakeup. The only problem for those members is they’re counting on “troublemakers” such as members of the HFC to be the spark that ignites the proverbial powder keg — and, contrary to the belief of many Republicans, HFC members aren’t seriously discussing an effort to take down the speaker. (See related story from CQ Weekly at roll.cl/TheRightRecalibrates.)

One HFC member told CQ Roll Call that holding a vote to vacate the chair would probably work in Boehner’s favor. Instead of undermining him, it would likely affirm that Boehner, and only Boehner — the man who has held the No. 1 spot in the conference since 2007 — can muster 218 votes for speaker.

Democrats would get to participate in such a vote, and conservatives know that, absent a deal with Democrats, Boehner isn’t going anywhere. If there were somehow a deal with Democrats, whoever could theoretically topple Boehner with the help of Democrats would be even less to the right wing’s liking.

Under the current dynamic in the House, there’s hardly any positive outcome for conservatives trying to embarrass Boehner. They are more likely to incur the wrath of a speaker many moderates believe has been too forgiving of dissension — embarrassing themselves instead.

Related:

CQ Weekly: The Right Recalibrates

The Real Reason Some Members Voted Against Boehner

Boehner Weighs Punishments for Speaker Election Dissidents

Louie Gohmert: Does Leadership Staff Call the Shots?

GOP Leaders Boot Webster, Nugent Off Rules Committee (Updated)

Boehner and House GOP Regroup After Tumultuous Speaker Election

Weber, Backing Gohmert Over Boehner, Says ‘Retaliation’ Has Begun (Updated)

GOP Insurgents Scramble for Anti-Boehner Votes

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Science, Security, Shite, Space, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

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 Story 1: Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Iran-Nuke-Fixiran_cartoonbombNegotiatingWithTehran-bigmichael_ramirez_michael_ramirez_kerry-cartoonKerry-Chamberlain_Varvelarabs_israelkerry-and-bibiCartoon-Iran-Nuke-Dealtrustkeep nuclearprogram
reactor
rocketssyria-iran-middle-east-map

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nuclear enrichment sitesiran-nuclear-facilitiesiran incidencesiranarsenal_missilesUS-preventative-strike-against-Iranian-nuclear-facilities-and-ballistic-missile-basesShia-Sunni percentagesmid_east_shias2_map416mapMEethnicmuslim-distributionreligious-minorities-chart2iran_ethnic_groupsLegalSystemsberglee-fig08_055menapopulationtablepoplChangeturkey-map

Iran Nuclear Site: Natanz Uranium Enrichment Site

natanz

Inside Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Plan

A Briefing on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

O’Reilly on Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘Let’s See It’

Sen Rand Paul sounds off on Iran nuclear negotiations latest news today

Kerry says demanding Iran’s ‘capitulation’ is no way to secure nuclear deal

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Meeting of Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Joint Meeting of Congress benjamin netanyahu speech to congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress Netanyahu on Tensions Over Iran Speech to Congress FULL Benjamin Netanyahu Speech To US Congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress The quickest of takes are already coming in, but few seem to agree about whether Netanyahu’s speech was a boom or a bust for President Obama and talks with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress

“This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple. It addressed the gravity of the threats we face and why we cannot allow a nuclear Iran, or any semblance of a path to a nuclear Iran. It demonstrated why there is such deep-seated – and bipartisan – concern about the deal that is being made. I thank my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, who took the time to hear the Prime Minister’s address on behalf of their constituents, and I hope all Americans will have the chance to see it for themselves.” – Speaker John Boehner

Kerry says demanding Iran’s ‘capitulation’ is no way to secure nuclear deal

Iran Nuclear Talks Advancing, no Deal Likely Next Week

Negotiations on an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program have advanced substantially, but difficult issues remain and a senior U.S. official said he did not expect a deal in the coming week. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will join in talks next week between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Montreux, Switzerland. The United States and five major powers are seeking a deal under which Iran would restrain its nuclear program in exchange for the gradual easing of economic sanctions that have crippled the oil exporter’s economy. Washington and some of its allies believe Iran is seeking to develop an atomic bomb, which they regard as a direct threat to Israel as well as to Arab allies of the United States. Iran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

Kerry Tries to Ease Gulf Countries’ Concerns On Iran Nuclear Talks

Krauthammer: Sanctions on Iran Are Only Way to Avoid Capitulation or War

Iran rejects US Nuclear Freeze Call

Rubio to Iran: You Can Have An Economy or Nukes Program, Not Both

Graham Discusses Secretary’s Kerry’s Testimony on U.S.-Iran Nuclear Negotiations

DNI James Clapper on Israel, Iran and Nuclear Negotiations (Mar. 2, 2015) | Charlie Rose

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, talks to Charlie Rose about the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and whether the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services are “on the same page” regarding their assessment of Iran’s capabilities. The full interview airs March 2, 2015 on PBS.

Ambassador John Bolton, American Enterprise Institute CPAC 2015

 

John Bolton: Obama giving Iran “an open path to nuclear weapons”

“The odds are right now the deal will be signed and that Iran will have an open path to nuclear weapons…there’s no guarantee that the verification mechanisms that are required are going to work. You really think we really know everything about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, like whether some of it’s being conducted in North Korea? I have no faith in our verification capabilities, number one. Number two, to the extent Iran is allowed any continuing uranium enrichment capability at all, and that’s where the administration’s concessions are moving, it has in its hands the long pole in the tent that any aspiring nuclear weapons state wants” he said. Adding that appeasing Iran is “par for the course for the Obama administration. The negotiation with Iran over its nuclear weapons program is a policy of appeasement, and the president is desperate to get this deal done so it doesn’t slip between his fingers.”

Iran Nuclear Talks – Negotiations Continue As Deadline Nears – Special Report All Star

Obama’s Nuclear Demand Unacceptable To Iran

Chairman Royce on CNN Discusses Iran Nuclear Negotiations & Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

No Deal…Yet: Iran Nuclear Talks Extended

Why Iran Nuclear Deal Is An Urgent Issue For President Obama

Staged Attack Coming As Result of Iran Nuclear Deal

Could Israel Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Sites? Experts Say Perhaps, But….

Israel’s countdown to a Nuclear Iran: Can and will Jerusalem strike?

History of Modern Iran A Nuclear Islamic Republic – BBC Documentary – YouTube

Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal

Kerry Visiting Saudi Arabia to assuage concerns

By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

DUBAI—It isn’t just about Bibi.

The Israeli prime minister’s public confrontation with PresidentBarack Obama over the U.S. administration’s pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran may have drawn all the spotlight this week. But America’s other key allies across the Middle East—such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates—are just as distraught, even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress.

ANALYSIS

These nations’ ties with Washington have already frayed in recent years, dented by what many officials in the region describe as a nagging sense that America doesn’t care about this part of the world anymore.

Now, with the nuclear talks nearing a deadline, these allies—particularly in the Gulf—fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.

“A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,” said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. “The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.”

Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew Wednesday to Saudi Arabia. There, he is slated to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region.

In remarks after Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged Iran’s “ambitions when it comes to territory or terrorism”—but argued that “if, in fact, they obtain a nuclear weapon, all those problems would be worse.”

Steven Simon, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who served as senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the White House in 2011-12, noted that the Gulf countries—while genuinely alarmed by the U.S. outreach—can’t really propose a viable alternative.

“The alternative to what the administration is doing with Iran is war,” he said. “And I don’t think the Saudis and the Emiratis and others are actually prepared for war.”

America’s other key allies across the Middle East are just as distraught about Obama’s pursuit of a nuclear grand bargain with Iran. WSJ’s Yaroslav Trofimov discusses. Photo: AP

A joint effort to contain Iran and its proxies after the 1979 Islamic revolution was the key reason for the massive architecture of military, political and economic ties that the U.S. built with its regional allies in recent decades.

Even before the revolution, Iran tried to dominate the Gulf, laying claim to Shiite-majority Bahrain and seizing disputed islands claimed by the U.A.E.

Taking advantage of the Obama administration’s attempt to pivot away from the region, Tehran in recent years asserted its influence in Baghdad and solidified its control in Damascus and Beirut. Last month, pro-Iranian Houthi Shiite militias seized power in Yemen’s capital San’a and ousted that country’s U.S.-backed president.

The Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia that are engaged in proxy conflicts with Tehran in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon view this confrontation as an existential zero-sum game—and interpret any American opening to Iran, and any relaxation of the economic sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s ability to project power, as succor to the enemy.

“Some of these countries are more worried about the consequences of the deal, about how it will change the balance of power in the region, rather than the actual contents of the deal,” explained Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank. These fears are overblown, he said: “The reality is that the U.S. may have a tactical overlap in its interests in the region with Iran, but strategically it sees the region in a very different way.”

That may be true, but this tactical overlap has already created strategic consequences in the crucial battlefields of Syria and Iraq, cementing Iran’s sway in both nations.

The White House decision to focus the U.S. military effort exclusively on Islamic State, sparing the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has allowed the regime and its Iranian-backed allies to regain ground there.

This means that even the fighters of the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army, which is supposed to help defeat Islamic State one day, are no longer sure about which side Washington really supports.

“America wants to back whoever is stronger, and the strongest now are Iran and Bashar. This is clear to all people,” said Bakri Kaakeh, a senior FSA officer in Aleppo province.

In Iraq’s war against Islamic State, the U.S. has in fact become a cobelligerent with Iran, which maintains brutal Shiite militias and is directly involved in running major campaigns, such as the current assault on the Sunni city of Tikrit.“Any opportunities that the Arab countries will have to undermine the deal, they will not miss it,” said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “They will all conclude that the U.S. is no longer a reliable strategic ally, and that the U.S. can sell them out any minute.”

John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday.
John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Moeen al-Kadhimi, a senior commander in the largest Iraqi Shiite militia, Badr, which is armed by Iran and staffed with Iranian advisers, said he’s yearning for the day when Tehran and Washington will finally reconcile.

“It’s our wish as Iraqis for this to happen. We will be happy, and the entire Middle East will be stabilized,” he said.

Stability under an Iranian tutelage, of course, isn’t the most desirable outcome for other powers in the region, particularly in the Gulf. The big question is what can these allies do about it.

Not much, said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a think tank close to the Obama administration.

“All of the fuss shows how much they need America. Who are they going to turn to? Russia or China?” he wondered. “ No one has the security footprint, capabilities, and network of partnerships across the region.”

But that doesn’t mean the disgruntled allies won’t start looking for ways to torpedo any U.S. opening to Iran—and for alternatives, including a nuclear option of their own, if that fails. Their dismay with the administration’s Iran policy—while not displayed as publicly as Mr. Netanyahu’s—is just as strong.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/like-israel-u-s-arab-allies-fear-obamas-iran-nuclear-deal-1425504773

The complete transcript of Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing a joint meeting of Congress; here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you…

(APPLAUSE)

… Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

(APPLAUSE)

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

(LAUGHTER)

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

[READ: Republicans loved every word of Bibi’s address]

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

(APPLAUSE)

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

(APPLAUSE)

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

(APPLAUSE)

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

(APPLAUSE)

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…

(APPLAUSE)

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

(APPLAUSE)

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…

(APPLAUSE)

… no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

(APPLAUSE)

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

(APPLAUSE)

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

(APPLAUSE)

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

(APPLAUSE)

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

(APPLAUSE)

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

(APPLAUSE)

But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

(APPLAUSE)

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/03/full-text-netanyahus-address-to-congress/

 

Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program

The Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program is a topic in a series of negotiations among Iran and theP5+1United states, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany.

The prospective agreement is to be achieved based on the context of the Geneva agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). The Geneva agreement was an interim deal forged on November 24, 2013,[1] under which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program for relief from some sanctions. The interim agreement went into effect on January 20, 2014.[2] Later the parties agreed to extend their talks. The first extension deadline was set to 24 November 2014[3]and, when it expired, the second extension deadline was set to 1 July 2015.[4]

List of declared nuclear facilities in Iran

 The following is a partial list of nuclear facilities in Iran (IAEA, NTI and other sources):[5][6]

Negotiations under the Joint Plan of Action

First round: 18–20 February

Catherine Ashton and Javad Zarif in final news conference; The negotiation was described “Useful”.

The first round of negotiations was held at the UN’s center in Vienna from February 18 to 20, 2014. A timetable and framework for negotiating a comprehensive agreement was achieved, according to Catherine Ashton and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.[7]

Second round: 17–20 March

Diplomats from the six nations, as well as Ashton and Zarif, met again in Vienna on March 17, 2014. A series of further negotiations were to be held before the July deadline.[8]

Fourth round: 13–16 May

This fourth round of Vienna negotiations ended on May 16. The Iranian and U.S. delegations headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman held a bilateral meeting. Both sides intended to begin drafting a final agreement, but made little progress. A senior U.S. official said “We are just at the beginning of the drafting process and we have a significant way to go,” while Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters that “the talks were serious and constructive but no progress has been made” and “we have not reached the point to start drafting the final agreement.” The U.S. official emphasized that negotiations had been “very slow and difficult,” saying talks would resume in June and all parties want to keep the July 20 deadline and adding: “we believe we can still get it done.” Negotiators had made progress on one issue, the future of Iran’s planned Arak reactor, but remained far apart on whether Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium should shrink or expand. The U.S. delegation also raised the issues of Iran’s ballistic missile program and military dimensions of its past nuclear research. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton conducted negotiations with Zarif and Wendy Sherman joined the talks at the end the last meeting.[9][10][11]

Fifth round: 16–20 June

The fifth round of talks ended on June 20 “with substantial differences still remaining.” The negotiating parties will meet again in Vienna on July 2. Under Secretary Sherman noted after the talks that it was “still unclear” whether Iran would act “to ensure the world that its nuclear program was strictly meant for peaceful purposes.”[12] Foreign Minister Zarif said the United States was making unreasonable demands of Iran, saying “the United States must take the most difficult decisions.”[13]

Under the Geneva interim agreement Iran agreed to convert some of its up to 5 percent LEU into an oxide powder that is not suitable for further enrichment. According to the monthly IAEA report released during this round the conversion of LEU has not been started yet. This means that Iran’s LEU stockpile “is almost certainly continuing to increase for the time being, simply because its production of the material has not stopped, unlike that of the 20 percent uranium gas.”[14]

Sixth (final) round: 2–20 July

The sixth round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group started in Vienna on 2 July 2014. The parties are headed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.[15]

John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif conduct a bilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western foreign ministers arrived at Vienna to break a deadlock in the nuclear talks with Iran,[16] but their joint efforts failed to advance the negotiations. “There has been no breakthrough today,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague on 13 July 2014 after meetings with the foreign ministers of USA, France, Germany and Iran. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “It is now time for Iran to decide whether they want co-operation with the world community or stay in isolation.”[17] The European foreign ministers left Vienna the same day. The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the talks had “made some important headway.” [18] After three days of talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister Secretary of State Kerry headed back to Washington where he will consult with President Barack Obama and Congress leaders. No decision on an extension of negotiations beyond the July 20 deadline has been taken yet.[19] In order to continue talks a decision of each member of P5+1 is required.[20]

Wrapping-up the sixth round the Foreign Minister Zarif said that the achieved progress convinced the sides to extend their talks and the ultimate deadline would be November 25. He also expressed the hope that the new British foreign secretaryPhilip Hammond “will adopt a constructive diplomacy” towards Iran.[21] Several sources reported that all parties were prepared to extend negotiations but extension faced opposition in the U.S. Congress. Republicans and Democrats in Congress made it clear that they view a prolongation of the talks as allowing Iran to play for time. The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce said he hoped “the administration will finally engage in robust discussions with Congress about preparing additional sanctions against Iran”.[22][23]

Before the expiration of the six months imposed by the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) the sides agreed to extend negotiations by four months with a final deadline set for 24 November 2014. Additionally, in exchange for Iranian consent to convert some of its 20% enriched uranium into fuel for a research reactor, United States will unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds. Negotiations will resume in September. John Kerry said that tangible progress had been made, but “very real gaps” remained. Ed Royce stated that he did not see “the extension as progress”.[3][24][25]

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has testified before the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the status of the talks. At her testimony on July 29, 2014 she said: “We made tangible progress in key areas, including Fordow, Arak, and IAEA access. However, critical gaps still exist…” Both Republicans and Democrats have insisted that a final agreement be put to a vote.[26]

Negotiations under the First Extension of JPA

Seventh (first extended) round: New York

Negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program were resumed on 19 September 2014. They started on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts were given the opportunity to join the talks.[27][28] The talks were planned to last until September 26.[29][30]

Eighth round: Vienna

Negotiating teams of Iran and the P5+1 have held their eighth round of talks in Vienna on 16 October 2014. The meeting was led jointly by Foreign Minister Zarif and High Representative Ashton and the parties made an effort to sort out their differences.[31] Ashton’s spokesman stated: “Diplomatic efforts to find a resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue are now in a critical phase”.[32]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov pointed that the issues of Iran’s enrichment programme, the schedule for sanction lifting and the future of the reactor in Arak were not settled and the subjects of inspection and transparency, duration of the agreement and some others were not completely agreed yet. Ryabkov expressed his opinion that a comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran will require no ratification. “We are negotiating a binding document, but under a generally recognized doctrine international political liabilities are equated with legal,” he said and admitted that some resolutions of the Security Council on Iran will need to be adjusted.[33]

Ninth round: Muscat

The round of talks took place on November 11 in the Omani capital Muscat and lasted one hour. At the meeting, Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi exchanged views with their counterparts from the P5+1.[34] The round, chaired by former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was scheduled to brief the P5+1 members on Kerry and Zarif’s talks.[35] Local media reported that some representatives of the parties remained in Muscat to continue the talks.[36]

Tenth round: Vienna

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed in Vienna on 18 November 2014 with participation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU chief negotiator Catherine Ashton, and foreign ministry officials. The talks were supposed to continue until the November 24 deadline.[37][38]

P5+1 Ministers and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna, Austria, November 24, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry, after meeting British and Omani foreign ministers in London and Saudi and French foreign ministers in Paris, will arrive in Vienna for talks with Zarif and Ashton. Kerry’s meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal were considered critical.[39] After his Paris talks with Kerry Saudi Foreign Minister was due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.[40]

At IAEA meeting held on 20 November in Vienna the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano, referring to allegations related to Iran’s engagement in weaponization activities, said that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures.”[41] The same day at a press conference in Brussels The International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) presented its 100-page investigation report and claimed that Iran was hiding its nuclear military program inside a civil program. The report was endorsed by John Bolton and Robert Joseph and authored by ISJ President Alejo Vidal‐Quadras, a professor in nuclear physics and the former Vice-President of the European Parliament.[42][43][44][45]

The tenth round of nuclear negotiations and the first extension of the Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 have ended on November 24. The two sides have failed to cut a deal at this round of talks and agreed to extend the Joint Plan of Action for the second time. The new deadline for a comprehensive deal was set to July 1, 2015. British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said it was not possible to meet the November deadline due to wide gaps on well-known points of contention. He stressed that while July 1 was the new deadline, the expectation was that broad agreement would be in place by March 1. According to Hammond, expert level talks will resume in December and Iran will receive about $700 million per month in frozen assets.[46][4]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press conference after the Vienna talks: “Today the Iranian nuclear program is internationally recognized and no one speaks about our enrichment right…”[47] While answering a question about “fundamental gaps over how much enrichment capacity Iran would be allowed to retain”, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a news conference: “I’m not going to confirm whether or not there’s a gap or not a gap or where the gaps are. There obviously are gaps. We’ve said that.”[48]

Negotiations under the Second Extension of JPA

Eleventh round: Geneva

Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 were resumed on 17 December 2014 in Geneva and lasted one day. No statements were issued after the closed-door talks either by the U.S. negotiating team or by EU spokesmen. Deputy foreign minister Araqchi said that it was agreed to continue the talks “next month” at a venue to be decided. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov said that Arak heavy-water reactor and sanctions against Iran were the two key outstanding issues in the nuclear talks.[49][50]

Twelfth round: Geneva

The round, held at the level of political directors of Iran and the P5+1, took place on January 18, 2015 following the four-day bilateral talks between the United States and Iran.[51] EU political director Helga Schmid chaired the meetings. After the talks France’s negotiator Nicolas de la Riviere told reporters: “The mood was very good, but I don’t think we made a lot of progress.”[52] “If there is progress it is a very slow one and there are no guarantees that this progress will transform into a decisive shift, breakthrough, into a compromise,” Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov told journalists, adding that “major disagreements remain on the majority of disputed issues.” [53]

Thirteenth round: Geneva

Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 met on February 22 at the EU mission in Geneva. Nicolas de la Riviere said after the meeting: “It was constructive, we will know results later.”[54][55]

Bilateral and trilateral talks<