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“doveryai no proveryai” (trust, but verify) — Who Do You Trust? President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, and/or Islamic Republic of Iran Led By Terrorist Mullahs? None of The Above — No Trust — Eliminate All Iranian Nuclear Weapon Facilities — Overthrow The Terrorist Mullahs with Crippling Sanctions — Support The Iranian People! — What Do The Iranian People Think? — Death To The Dictator and Mullahs — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 435: March 25, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

 Story 1: “doveryai no proveryai” (trust, but verify) — Who Do You Trust? President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, and/or Islamic Republic of Iran Led By Terrorist Mullahs?  None of The Above — No Trust — Eliminate All Iranian Nuclear Weapon Facilities — Overthrow The Terrorist Mullahs with Crippling Sanctions — Support The Iranian People! — What Do The Iranian People Think? — Death To The Dictator and Mullahs — Videos

Amid nuke talks, Ayatollah says ‘death to America’

Iran Supreme Leader “Ali Khamenei” Chants “Dead to America”

funny iranian mullah lost his mind

Iranian Mullah (Haeri Shirazi): Kill the Protestersاظهارات

Iranian Mullah (Haeri Shirazi): Kill the Protesters
In a television appearance shocking in its candidness, a leading Iranian ayatollah says that it would be far better for the Islamic Republic to simply murder those protesting against the regime, rather than arrest and beat them. Meanwhile, an unknown group claiming to represent Iranian soldiers threatens to take up arms against the regime.
Killing the opposition protesters, the ayatollah insists, ‘is sanctioned by obedience to Allah.’

In a live interview broadcast on the Islamic Republic’s national television station sometime within the last two weeks, Ayatollah Mehyaddin Haeri Shirazi described a Communist protest movement from the early years of the Islamic Republic, noting how it was effectively crushed by the authorities. The government targeted opposition activists, he said, “arrested them in the afternoon and the same night announced the names of 30 people killed or executed by the government forces.”
In reaction to the arrests and killings, Shirazi continued, “nothing happened. Why? Because they killed them.”
Expanding on what he sees as the lesson from those events, the ayatollah said,”The more of them [the opposition] are killed, the more beneficial [to the people]. If the armed forces kill some of them, it is to our benefit.”
On the other hand, Shirazi continued, “When they are arrested, it is bad [for public opinion], when they are captured [it is bad for public opinion]. Do not make victims out of them.”
Killing the opposition protesters, the ayatollah insists, “is sanctioned by obedience to Allah and the prophet and is handed down to the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei]. When it is sanctioned by such a power, there is no need to go through the government powers.”
Shirazi warned the opposition forces, “Do not look upon the Supreme Leader [simply] as a person with a soft turban on his head, and that you can beat him. His support comes from the Hidden Imam Mahdi, he [Khamenei] is made of iron. It will come back down to break your own heads.”

doveryai no proveryaitrust but verifyMassie_TrustButVerifylgfirebird

reagan

AV473-18

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

~President Ronald Reagan

“While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan. In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.”

~Hassan Rouhani, was a lead nuclear negotiator years ago

Trust but verify

Trust but Verify: Reagan, Russia and Me

In Trust but Verify, Suzanne Massie shares her interactions with President Reagan during the days that were to transform America’s relationship with its most dangerous adversary. She was to become “Reagan’s window on the Soviet Union” at a critical time in his efforts to reduce, if not end, the threat of nuclear weapons. The President called and wrote to her often and invited her back to the White House sixteen times to help him better understand the Russian spirit that lay behind the mask of Communist power. It was she who introduced the President to the now famous Russian proverb — “doveryai no proveryai” (trust, but verify) — that became his signature phrase when addressing U.S. and Soviet Union relations.

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

A timely and powerful documentary presenting the danger posed to the free world by a nuclear Iran. The film exposes the radical Islamic ideology guiding Iran’s leaders, and the destruction it causes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Iran “the greatest terrorist regime in the world”

Obama UN Speech On Iran: We Are Not Seeking Regime Change

NUCLEAR IRAN: FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT SAYS IRAN WILL DECEIVE US AGAIN

As a possible nuclear deal with Iran draws near, Dr. Behzad Tabatabaei addressed a crowded room at the Westlake Village Inn on behalf of the Thousand Oaks Republican Women Federation, where he provided a comprehensive history as to why the regime cannot be trusted.

“80% of our problems right now would be solved if there was a regime change in Iran,” said Dr. Tabatabaei. “The single most destructive regime on the planet is the clerical regime of Iran. And they have no incentive to come to a negotiated deal with the United States.”

Tabatabaei is an international business and political economist who has advised several foreign governments in strategic and intergovernmental affairs. He also was an advisor to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team during the last presidential election. His area of expertise is in international economic development and the state sponsorship of terrorism.

Tabatabaei noted that “the majority of people want the change. Only the people who have political power at the top want the regime to stay the same.”

He recounted how Iran’s 2009 “Green Revolution” was a missed opportunity for America to help Iranians overthrow the regime. The revolution began after reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what is believed to have been a rigged election.

“People were chanting, ‘Obama are you with us or are you with them?’ He chose the wrong side. He clearly chose the wrong side of history,” by not providing U.S. support to the masses.”

As for why Iran is so unstoppable, Tabatabaei said: “Because it is a learned behavior. This clerical Iranian Regime was never truly punished for its inequities and bad behavior,” he said, referring to the hostage crisis of 1979-1981.

Iran was deceitful again during the Iran-Contra affair (1985-1987) when they released three U.S. hostages in Lebanon only to kidnap three more almost directly afterwards.

But it was in 1986, he said, that the Iranians realized Reagan was a force to be reckoned with. It was on April 18 of that year when, according to the New York Times, “six American ships destroyed two Iranian oil platforms in what the Reagan Administration said was retaliation for the mining that damaged a Navy vessel” the week before.

After Reagan, however, the Iranians continued down their path of deceit, Tabatabaei said, which has enabled them to increase their power.

Tabatabaei noted to Breitbart News that Iran’s current, Hassan Rouhani, was a lead nuclear negotiator years ago, In a 2004 speech to his colleagues, which was only made public in 2013, Rouhani admitted flat-out that the regime had been lying and buying time with Europeans in order to advance its nuclear program right under their noses: “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan. In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.”

“That’s the kind of regime you’re dealing with,” Tabatabaei told Breitbart News.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/03/22/nuclear-iran-foreign-policy-expert-says-iran-will-deceive-us-again/

Rouhani speaks with French, British, Russian leaders as nuclear talks resume

Iran’s president spoke with the leaders of France, Britain, China and Russia on Thursday in an apparent effort to break an impasse holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers.

He also raised the Saudi-led military operation against Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen, a divisive issue. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also brought Yemen up ahead of nuclear negotiations in Switzerland with Tehran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The United States is pushing for a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers before a March 31 deadline, and officials close to the talks said some kind of preliminary agreement was possible.

Western powers fear Iran wants to build nuclear bombs, though Tehran says its atomic research is for peaceful purposes. The powers hope to persuade Iran to scale back its nuclear activity in return for the removal of sanctions.

France, Britain and Russia announced the phone calls, which were confirmed on Rouhani’s Twitter feed. Rouhani also said he spoke with his Chinese counterpart and sent a letter outlining Tehran’s position to the leaders of all six countries negotiating with Tehran — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

In the rare direct exchange between Paris and Tehran, French President Francois Hollande said Iran had a right to civilian nuclear power but insisted on a “lasting, robust and verifiable Iranian nuclear program that guarantees Iran will not get an atomic weapon”, a statement from the French presidency said.

Last week officials close to the negotiations said France was demanding more stringent conditions than its Western allies for any future agreement.

Rouhani reiterated Tehran’s principal demand — that the most crippling sanctions be lifted immediately.

“All unjust sanctions against the Iranian nation should be lifted,” he said on Twitter.

“Lifting all sanctions is the main issue that can help us reaching the final solution … This is a unique opportunity which is in the benefit of the region and the world and should be seized.”

Western powers insist that sanctions relief must come gradually, though European and U.S. measures against Iranian energy and financial sectors and some U.N. sanctions could be suspended quickly, officials close to the talks said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman told reporters after the call that the two sides agreed it was possible to conclude a framework nuclear deal by end-March.

Rouhani also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said.

Rouhani said on his Twitter feed that he had raised military operations in Yemen launched by Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia with all four leaders.

KERRY MEETS ZARIF

Meanwhile, Kerry and Zarif met twice on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland after resuming negotiations aimed at clinching a nuclear deal before a March 31 deadline.

Kerry raised the Yemen crisis before those conversations began, a State Department spokesman said, though a senior U.S. official told Reuters the issue did not have any impact on the nuclear negotiations.

Washington and Tehran take opposing stands on Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen against Shi’ite Houthi rebels allied to Iran who are fighting to oust Yemen’s president.

Earlier, Iranian media quoted Zarif as condemning the Saudi-led military operation against the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi fighters in Yemen, and demanding that it stop.

By contrast, Kerry spoke to the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council members on Thursday and welcomed their decision to take action against the Houthis, a senior U.S. official said.

Iran and the six powers are seeking a political framework accord by the end of this month that would lay the foundations for a full nuclear deal by June 30.

Under a final settlement, Tehran would halt sensitive nuclear work for at least a decade and in exchange, international sanctions would be lifted.

Speaking to reporters traveling with Kerry from Washington on Wednesday, a senior State Department official said the six powers would not rush to complete a framework agreement just because there was a March 31 deadline.

But the official said the parties had made progress at last week’s inconclusive round of negotiations in Lausanne.

“We very much believe we can get this done by the 31st,” the official said. “We see a path to do that.” The official added, however, that there was no guarantee of success.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, also said a deal was possible but not certain. “It is difficult to forecast whether we can reach a result at this round of talks but we are moving toward reaching a mutual understanding in all technical issues,” he told Iranian state television.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, France and the U.S. Congress have all raised concerns that the administration of President Barack Obama might be willing to conclude a deal that would allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability in the future.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/26/us-iran-nuclear-idUSKBN0ML1Y120150326

 

AP EXCLUSIVE: IRAN MAY RUN CENTRIFUGES AT FORTIFIED SITE

The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.

The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.

Instead of uranium, which can be enriched to be the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, any centrifuges permitted at Fordo would be fed elements such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science, the officials said. The number of centrifuges would not be enough to produce the amount of uranium needed to produce a weapon within a year – the minimum time-frame that Washington and its negotiating partners demand.

The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the sensitive negotiations as the latest round of talks began between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. The negotiators are racing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach an outline of an agreement that would grant Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement is June 30.

One senior U.S. official declined to comment on the specific proposal but said the goal since the beginning of the talks has been “to have Fordo converted so it’s not being used to enrich uranium.” That official would not say more.

The officials stressed that the potential compromise on Fordo is just one of several options on a menu of highly technical equations being discussed in the talks. All of the options are designed to keep Iran at least a year away from producing an atomic weapon for the life of the agreement, which will run for at least 10 years. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has joined the last several rounds as the negotiations have gotten more technical.

Experts say the compromise for Fordo could still be problematic. They note it would allow Iran to keep intact technology that could be quickly repurposed for uranium enrichment at a sensitive facility that the U.S. and its allies originally wanted stripped of all such machines – centrifuges that can spin uranium gas into uses ranging from reactor fuel to weapons-grade material.

And the issue of inspector access and verification is key. Iran has resisted “snap inspections” in the past. Even as the nuclear talks have made progress, Iran has yet to satisfy questions about its past possible nuclear-related military activity. The fact that questions about such activity, known as Possible Military Dimensions, or PMDs, remain unresolved is a serious concern for the U.N. atomic watchdog.

In addition, the site at Fordo is a particular concern because it is hardened and dug deeply into a mountainside making it resistant – possibly impervious – to air attack. Such an attack is an option that neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out in case the talks fail.

And while too few to be used for proliferation by themselves, even a few hundred extra centrifuges at Fordo would be a concern when looked at in the context of total numbers.

As negotiations stand, the number of centrifuges would grow to more than 6,000, when the other site is included. Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran nuclear file as a deputy director general of the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency until 2010, says even 6,000 operating centrifuges would be “a big number.”

Asked of the significance of hundreds more at Fordo, he said, “Every machine counts.”

Iran reported the site to the IAEA six years ago in what Washington says was an attempt to pre-empt President Barack Obama and the prime ministers of Britain and France going public with its existence a few days later. Tehran later used the site to enrich uranium to a level just a technical step away from weapons-grade until late 2013, when it froze its nuclear program under a temporary arrangement that remains in effect as the sides negotiate.

Twice extended, the negotiations have turned into a U.S.-Iran tug-of-war over how many of the machines Iran would be allowed to operate since the talks resumed over two years ago. Tehran denies nuclear weapons ambitions, saying it wants to enrich only for energy, scientific and medical purposes.

Washington has taken the main negotiating role with Tehran in talks that formally remain between Iran and six world powers, and officials told the AP at last week’s round that the two sides were zeroing in on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges at Natanz, Iran’s main enrichment site.

That’s fewer than the nearly 10,000 Tehran now runs at Natanz, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise.

One of the officials said discussions focus on an extra 480 centrifuges at Fordo. That would potentially bring the total number of machines to close to 6,500.

David Albright of Washington’s Institute for Security and International Security says a few hundred centrifuges operated by the Iranians would not be a huge threat – if they were anywhere else but the sensitive Fordo site.

Beyond its symbolic significance, “it keeps the infrastructure in place and keeps a leg up, if they want to restart (uranium) enrichment operations,” said Albright, who is a go-to person on the Iran nuclear issue for the U.S. government.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAN_NUCLEAR_TALKS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-03-26-12-09-16

Suzanne Massie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Suzanne Massie is an American author and played an important role in the relations between Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War.[1]

Massie is the daughter of a Swiss diplomat. She was born in New York and graduated from Vassar College, but also studied at the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

In 1975, Suzanne Massie and her then-husband Robert K. Massie chronicled their experiences as the parents of a hemophiliac child, Robert Kinloch Massie IV, and the significant differences between the American and French health-care systems in their jointly-written book, Journey. She subsequently married Seymour Papert.

Reagan first became interested in Massie when he read her book Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia. She eventually visited the White House where she became an informal messenger between the President and Mikhail Gorbachev and his administration. She also asked Reagan to learn the now famous Russian phrase “doveryai, no proveryai”, which means “Trust, but verify”. Her importance in contributing to Reagan’s understanding of the Russian people, assisting in reaching a peaceful end to the Cold War, was described in detail in a number of documentary films. She applied for the job of Soviet ambassador via a letter to Reagan but was rejected, as the post had already been filled.

A fellow of the Harvard Russian Research Center (now the Davis Center) from 1985-97, Massie has also served on the Board of the International League for Human Rights. In 1991 she was appointed as the only lay member of the Permanent Episcopal-Orthodox Coordinating Committee which has involved bi-annual discussions in Russia and the United States with hierarchs of the church, including Patriarch Aleksy II.

Massie currently resides in Maine, but travels regularly to Russia and is writing a book about her experiences and her interpretation of the years of dramatic change in American-Russian relations.

Books by Suzanne Massie

  • Massie, Suzanne, Trust but Verify: Reagan, Russia and me, Maine Authors Publishing, 2013: Paperback and Hardcover
  • Massie, Suzanne, Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia, Simon & Schuster 1980: Paperback; Touchstone 1982
  • Massie, Suzanne, Pavlovsk: The Life of a Russian Palace, Little Brown & Co. 1990: Paperback; HeartTree Press 1999
  • Massie, Suzanne, The Living Mirror, Doubleday & Co. Garden City New York 1972: Paperback: Anchor 1972
  • Massie, Suzanne & Robert Massie, Journey, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1975: Paperback: Warner’s 1976; Ballantine Books 1984

References

  1. Jump up^ Mann, James – The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan:a history of the end of the cold war, Penguin Group 2009, p. 67

External links

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

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Army Charges Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl For Dissertion and Miss behavior — If Found Guilty Should Be Executed — Death To Deserters and Traitors — Remember The Six Soldiers Who Were Killed Searching For Bergdahl — Pfc. Matthew Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen. Bottom row from left: Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews — Do Not Forget President Obama Released 5 Taliban Commanders For 1 Deserter — A Federal Crime of Giving Aid and Support To Terrorists — Impeach Obama — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: Army Charges Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl For Dissertion and Miss Behavior — If Found Guilty Should Be Executed — Death To Deserters and Traitors — Remember The Six Soldiers Who Were Killed Searching For Bergdahl — Pfc. Matthew Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen. Bottom row from left: Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews — Do Not Forget President Obama Released 5 Taliban Commanders For 1 Deserter — A Federal Crime of Giving Aid and Support To Terrorists — Impeach Obama — Videos

US-AFGHANISTAN-MILITARY-HOSTAGE-BERGDAHLheroes_bergdahl_AWOL

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion

Army statement on Sgt Bowe Bergdahl court martial

Could This POW Be Charged With Desertion

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters Smoking Hot ➡ Nukes Obama Admin On Bergdahl Return To Regular Duty

The Bergdahl Decision – Lt Col Ralph Peters: The White House Is Pressuring The Army – Hannity

Six Soldiers Who Served with Bergdahl Speak Out • Kelly File • 6/5/14 •

Platoon Mates Say Bowe Bergdahl Was A Deserter • Kelly File • 6/2/14

What happened the night he disappeared

O’Reilly: Bergdahl Deal Another Example of Obama’s Damaged Leadership

Col. David Hunt: Clean up Bergdahl and then court martial him for being a deserter

Bergdahl’s Fellow Soldier: He’s “At Best A Defector, At Worst A Traitor”

Bowe Bergdahl: A Case Study In Desertion (Part 1)

Bowe Bergdahl: A Case Study In Desertion (Part 2)

Priceless cost for Bowe Bergdahl desertion 6 killed searching

High Priceless cost for Bowe Bergdahl desertion and the minimum six men reportedly killed during the search for him. Top row from left: Pfc. Matthew Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen. Bottom row from left: Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews

Bowe Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers consider him a deserter

The REAL Reason Obama Traded Taliban Defector Bergdahl For Five Terrorists

Bill O’Reilly: Is Susan Rice a moron?

Susan Rice: Bergdahl Served With ‘Honor and Distinction’

Ambassador Susan Rice on Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Susan Rice: Bergdahl Served with “Honor and Distinction” 

Carney Won’t Say If Susan Rice Misspoke When She Said Bergdahl Served “With Honor And Distinction”

Susan Rice Defends Bowe Bergdahl Comments

Army nears decision on charges of desertion for Bergdahl

Officials: Detainee Swapped For Bergdahl Suspected Of Militant Activities

Bowe Bergdahl to face desertion charges: NBC

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

Traitor Bowe Bergdahl Linked to Michael Hastings Murder

Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion and Misbehavior Before the Enemy

Bowe Bergdahl, once missing U.S. soldier, charged with desertion

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who was recovered in Afghanistan last spring after five years in captivity, is being charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, told The Washington Post that his client was handed a charge sheet on Tuesday. Army officials announced they will provide an update in his case at 3:30 p.m. at Fort Bragg, N.C., but declined to discuss new developments ahead of the news conference.

Bergdahl, 28, went missing from his base in Paktika province on June 30, 2009, and is believed to have grown disillusioned with the U.S. military’s mission in Afghanistan. He was held captive in Pakistan by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group allied with the Taliban, until the White House swapped him for five Taliban officials in a deal brokered through the government of Qatar.

The charges come after a lengthy investigation launched last June after his recovery and a review by Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg. Bergdahl has faced a slew of accusations from his fellow soldiers that he abandoned them on the battlefield and triggered a manhunt that diverted resources from the war effort and put lives in danger.

Bergdahl will faces charges under articles 85 and 99 of the military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice, Fidell said.

Article 85, desertion, applies to a service member who “quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service.” The maximum sentence for those convicted is death, although no soldier has faced that punishment since 1944, when Pvt. Eddie Slovik was executed by a firing squad after running away from combat duty in France.

Article 99, misbehavior before the enemy, applies to a service member who has run away in the face of the enemy, abandoned his unit, cast aside his weapon or ammunition or willfully failed “to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy.”

Thousands of U.S. service members are believed to have deserted their units during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Bergdahl’s case is uncommon because he allegedly did so while on the battlefield. Most have escaped while in the United States, escaping prosecution in Canada, parts of Europe or other relatively friendly locations.

Bergdahl’s case has been controversial, with questions over whether the Obama administration handled the prisoner swap legally. Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security, also provoked criticism when she said after Bergdahl’s recovery that he had served “with honor and distinction.” She later acknowledged the remark was controversial, and said she was referring to the soldier’s decision to enlist in the first place.

“That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing,” she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/03/25/bowe-bergdahl-once-missing-u-s-soldier-charged-with-desertion/?hpid=z1

How did 6 die after Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance?

By Jake Tapper, CNN

Much attention has been given to the claim made by the former platoonmates of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that he is partly to blame for the deaths of six soldiers who were killed in the months after Bergdahl disappeared.

Some soldiers have gone so far as to say the six died while searching for Bergdahl. Others say he is indirectly to blame — after Bergdahl vanished, essentially every operation became a mission to find their lost colleague in one way or another, they say.

“I can’t really say I blame Bergdahl to the fullest extent,” former Staff Sgt. Justin Gerleve, Bergdahl’s squad leader, told CNN last week, “but if he wouldn’t have deserted us, these soldiers very well could have been in a different place at a different time, rather than the place at the time of their death.”

Soldiers killed after Bergdahl left unitSoldiers killed after Bergdahl left unit

Interviews with soldiers familiar with the specific missions in which the six died suggest the charge is complicated — but not without merit given how much the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment became focused on “PR” — personnel recovery — after Bergdahl vanished from his guard post on June 30, 2009.

Bergdahl’s five years in captivity

Bergdahl’s friend: I want to know why

Who is Bowe Bergdahl?

“The fact of the matter is, when those soldiers were killed, they would not have been where they were at if Bergdahl had not have left,” said former Sgt. Evan Buetow, Bergdahl’s former team leader. “Bergdahl leaving changed the mission.”

Those charges were repeated by a noncommissioned officer who requested anonymity because he is still in the Army, one who described himself as a two-time voter for President Obama, lest anyone think his comments were political in any way.

“If Bergdahl hadn’t left it’s entirely plausible that they wouldn’t have had those follow-on missions or been where they were,” said the NCO, who served in the 501st.

Some also argue that the personnel recovery mission angered the local population, and created patterns in troops’ movement that made insurgent attacks easier.

None of that has been enough to quell critics who accuse the soldiers of smearing Bergdahl and exaggerating the role his disappearance played in the deaths of the six men.

A New York Times story cited by critics of the soldiers from the 501st now calling Bergdahl a deserter doesn’t go into much detail about the six men from Bergdahl’s battalion, instead focusing on a separate attack that killed two mortarmen.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he didn’t “know of circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sgt. Bergdahl.”

A U.S. official told CNN last week that Pentagon and Army officials have looked at the claims, and “right now there is no evidence to back that up.”

The six men killed were in the 501st Infantry. All of them were killed in Paktika Province between August 18 and September 6, 2009, after the intense initial search for Bergdahl concluded but within the two- to three-month period when, by accounts from more than 20 members of the 501st, essentially every mission in the province had a PR component to it. One of those killed was from Comanche Company, two of those killed were in Bergdahl’s Blackfoot Company, three were from Headquarters Company.

Here are the circumstances and details, gleaned from interviews with more than a dozen troops in the 501st, all of whom said they were motivated entirely by getting the truth out, regardless of the politics.

1) August 18, 2009 — Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker were killed by an IED

Bowen and Morris were part of Headquarters Company, but attached to Comanche Company, which “was conducting a recon of polling sites in order to prepare for the election on August 20,” recalls a former officer from the 501st, one of whom describes his politics as left of center but who asked not to be named because of the rhetoric and accusations being leveled against troops who served with Bergdahl.

In the aftermath of the initial search for Bergdahl, called DUSTWUN (for DUTY STATUS: WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN), the officer recalls, “there were numerous polling sites that had to be closed because security was so poor. Their platoon slept overnight at a remote site, and when they started rolling again the next morning, an IED detonated.

A 501st soldier with Comanche Company recalled the device “had been located right under their right back tire.”

The mission was not specifically focused on personnel recovery but the officer said he believes Bergdahl’s disappearance played something of a role in the attack since this “was the absolute worst part of western Paktika province, and it was the subject of numerous air assaults in July” that were directly focused on Bergdahl. “I believe those contributed to the worsening security situation.”

Bowen, 29, was from San Antonio, Texas. Walker, 23, was from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

2) August 26, 2009 — Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss is killed by small arms fire

This incident occurred after the battalion received information that the Taliban shadow sub-governor of Sar Hawza district in Paktika province — a man who went by the name “Muslim” — had effectively taken a local clinic hostage as he received medical treatment for wounds he received during the election, according to the former officer from the 501st.

To the leadership of the 501st, the name “Muslim” prompted an immediate response as he was supposedly connected to Bergdahl’s captors, the former officer said.

An intelligence source told CNN the incident involved a commander with the terrorist Haqqani network, working directly for Mullah Sangin Zadran, the Paktika shadow governor, widely believed to have Bergdahl in his custody. “He was important as part of the mission to get to Bergdahl,” the source said.

The former 501st officer echoed that detail: “The relation to Bergdahl made him a priority target.”

The 4th Platoon from Delaware Company was sent to seize the Taliban official. Some from the insurgent group surrendered, but “Muslim” was nowhere to be found.

“Curtiss took his squad to search an empty building adjacent to the clinic that the Afghan National Police had supposedly cleared,” the officer recalled. “It was empty, but a storage room door was wedged shut. He and his squad kicked in the door, and Curtiss was the first guy in.”

Troops there that day say “Muslim” had been in the room hiding with three bodyguards, who shot Curtiss.

Additionally, 501st sources say, the insurgents threw Curtiss’ grenades at the squad, after which a two-hour firefight ensued — one that ended with Apache helicopters strafing the building. The building caught fire and killed all the insurgents except for one bodyguard, who was severely wounded. Curtiss’ body was recovered before the fire.

Curtiss, 27, was from Salt Lake City, and had already done two deployments in Iraq. He left behind a wife, son and daughter.

3) September 4, 2009 — 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc.Matthew Michael Martinek are attacked by an IED and a rocket-propelled grenade

Andrews and Martinek were in Bergdahl’s company, Blackfoot, and were in the village of Palau, just outside of Yaya Kayhl, one of the last places where Bergdahl was believed to have gone. After Bergdahl disappeared, local Afghans and intercepted insurgent chatter placed him in that area, according to multiple sources with the 501st.

Andrews and Martinek were there to conduct atmospherics — basically check anything and everything around Palau.

According to several sources in Blackfoot Company, among the many questions those soldiers wanted answered was: where is Bergdahl? Where are the guys who have him? Was Palau connected with the insurgents — who by then it was believed — had transported Bergdahl to Pakistan?

But the platoon hit an IED. In the aftermath, a cluster of soldiers tried to hook the vehicle up to chains for the wrecker and were stuck out there for hours on end. In the midst of the effort, an RPG hit them and an insurgent ambush began, according to multiple soldiers with Blackfoot company.

Andrews yelled that the RPG was coming and knocked a bunch of guys out of the way. “Jason watch out,” were said to have been his last words, soldiers told Andrews’ father. He was killed instantly.

The ambush brought relentless amounts of RPG and heavy artillery fire on the platoon. Martinek was trying to call for air support when he took a severely debilitating artillery round. He lived long enough to get to Landstuhl in Germany where he was taken off life support and died on September 11.

Other members of the platoon faced severe wounds, from a jaw blown off, to deafness, to severe psychological issues from that day, according to sources in Blackfoot company and the 501st. It wasn’t a formal DUSTWUN mission, but it wasn’t unrelated, the former 501st officer said.

Moreover, says Buetow, Blackfoot Company’s mission tasking was about to change.

“We were told we were moving south to start focusing on another area of the province,” Buetow says. “Our four-day mission to Observation Post Mest was going to be our last trip out there before moving south. Bowe Bergdahl left, so we then stayed in that area for several more months. We stayed in the area because Bergdahl was last known to be in that area. If he had never deserted, Andrews and Martinek would not have been on patrol in that area.”

Andrews, 34, was from Dallas. He and his wife had a 2-year-old son and were expecting their second child when he was killed. Martinek, 20, was from Dekalb, Illinois.

Andrews’ heroism eats at former Spc. Jose Baggett, a member of Blackfoot Company. “He pushed a sergeant out of the way” of the RPG, “and now I’m stuck watching” Bergdahl get attention from politicians, the military and the media “and they’re dead and he’s alive.”

4) September 5, 2009 — Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey is hit by an IED

Da Dila Panegir village was part of an area that had been subject to searches during the DUSTWUN, and Comanche Company was charged with trying to win the locals back. That day they conducted a foot patrol to hand out supplies and meet with the leaders. In the course of the mission, Murphrey stepped on a pressurized plate that unleashed an IED and was severely wounded; he died at Forward Operating Base Sharana’s hospital the next day.

That mission “wasn’t an exact search, it was a ‘Keep your eyes out for Bowe Bergdahl while you’re there,'” said former Spc. Joseph Cox of Comanche Company, who calls Murphrey his best friend and squad leader.

And yet, the intensity of the DUSTWUN search had also enraged Afghans, soldiers said.

“Our platoon alone conducted more than 20 inserted missions operations within three days. There were massive insertions to find him,” Cox said.

“This mission was probably the least related to Bergdahl” of the four missions, the former officer said, “but it was definitely in an area previously targeted — an area where they already hated us before, but hated us more because of the search.”

Murphrey, 25, left behind a wife, son, and daughter.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby had no specific comment about the four operations.

“Each death in war is tragic in its own right,” Kirby said. “We will always keep in our thoughts and prayers those we have lost, as well as their families. The Army will review the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance and captivity. Our focus right now is on making sure Sgt. Bergdahl gets the care he needs to recover and reunite with his family.”

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/08/us/bergdahl-search-soldiers/

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Conservatives Cheer Cruz Candidacy — Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom ~ First — Videos

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Corruption, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Music, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Obamacare, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Conservatives Cheer Cruz Candidacy — Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom ~ First — Videos

cted cruz runs

ted cruz makes pointted_cruz_cnn1

the competition

2016 Republican Presidential Nomination

Polling Data

Poll Date Bush Walker Carson Huckabee Paul Christie Rubio Cruz Perry Jindal Santorum Kasich Spread
RCP Average 1/25 – 3/15 16.6 16.6 10.6 10.2 8.4 6.4 5.0 4.6 3.0 2.0 1.8 1.7 Tie
CNN/ORC 3/13 – 3/15 16 13 9 10 12 7 7 4 4 1 1 2 Bush +3
McClatchy/Marist 3/1 – 3/4 19 18 9 10 7 6 5 4 3 2 Bush +1
Quinnipiac 2/26 – 3/2 16 18 7 8 6 8 5 6 1 2 2 1 Walker +2
PPP (D) 2/20 – 2/22 17 25 18 10 4 5 3 5 3 Walker +7
FOX News 1/25 – 1/27 15 9 10 13 13 6 5 4 4 3 2 2 Bush +2

All 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Polling Data

fox-cpac-straw-poll

CPAC2015

• Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz • One-On-One • Hannity • 3/23/15 •

Ted Cruz announces presidential bid at Liberty University

Ted Cruz Liberty University FULL SPEECH Ted Cruz Announces He’s Running For President 2016

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday formally announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, promising a campaign that would be about “re-igniting the promise of America.” Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Announce Presidential Bid for 2016. Ted Cruz Opens 2016 As the Election’s Self-Declared Conservative Champion
The Texas senator and presidential candidate kicked off his “The power of the American people as we stand up and fight for liberty knows no bounds,” Mr. Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in which he talked at length about his family and his faith as he laid out a case for his candidacy.
imagine you compiled a list of all the things Cruz asked his young audience to “imagine” being fulfilled through his presidency: “…millions of courageous conservatives rising up to say in unison, ‘we demand our liberty.’” “…millions of people in faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.” “…millions of young people standing together saying ‘We will stand for liberty.’” “…booming economic growth” “…record number of small businesses” “…young people coming out of college with four, five, six job offers” (lulz) “…innovation thriving on the internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay.” “…America finally becoming energy self-sufficient.” “…a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” “…health care reform that keeps government out of the way of your and your doctor.” “…a simple flat tax.” “…abolishing the IRS.” “…a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.” “…a legal immigration that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the America dream.” “…a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.” “…a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.” “…a federal government that fights to keep the right to bear arms.” “…a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.” “…repealing every word of Common Core.” “…embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation.” “…a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” “…a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.” “…a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” “…it’s 1775.” “…it’s 1777.” “…it’s 1943.” “…it’s 1979.”
Drawing on a stump speech he has developed in recent months, Mr. Cruz struck a tone of defiance and appealed to conservatives to “imagine a president” who would repeal the Affordable Care Act, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, secure the border and forbid same-sex marriage.

His criticism of President Obama also extended to foreign policy, where he denounced the administration’s positions on Israel, Iran’s nuclear program and Islamic extremism.

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Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995[8][11] and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996.[7] Cruz was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[46]

Private practice

After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, which is now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, from 1997 to 1998.[47] While with the firm, Cruz worked on matters relating to the National Rifle Association, and helped prepare testimony for the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.[48] Cruz also served as private counsel for CongressmanJohn Boehner during Boehner’s lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott for releasing a tape recording of a Boehner telephone conversation.[49]

Bush Administration

Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.[47]

Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devise strategy, and draft pleadings for filing with the Supreme Court of Floridaand U.S. Supreme Court, the specific case being Bush v. Gore, during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, leading to two successful decisions for the Bush team.[11][50] Cruz recruited future Chief Justice John Roberts and noted attorney Mike Carvin to the Bush legal team.[48]

After President Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[7][50] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[7][21][50]

Texas Solicitor General

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott,[8][51] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[29][11] The office had been established in 1999 to handle appeals involving the state, but Abbott hired Cruz with the idea that Cruz would take a “leadership role in the United States in articulating a vision of strict construction.” As Solicitor General, Cruz would argue before the Supreme Court nine times, winning five cases and losing four.[48]

Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[8][21][32] Cruz’s record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress.[52] Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights.”[52]

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[32][53] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[32][54]

In addition to his success in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in Van Orden v. Perry.[21][32][11]

In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow,[21][11] in which Cruz wrote a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states.[55] The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruz’s brief.

Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5-4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.[11][56]

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.[8][21][32][11] With the support of the George W. Bush Administration, the petitioners argued that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the convicted nationals of their opportunity to receive legal aid from the Mexican consulate.[57][48] They based their case on a decision of the International Court of Justice in the Avena case which ruled that failing to allow access to the Mexican consulate, the US had breached its obligations under the Convention.[58] Texas won the case in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that ICJ decisions were not binding in domestic law and that the President had no power to enforce them.[57][48]

Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[51][59] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America,[60][61] and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[62][63]

Private practice

After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, he worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in a U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013.[35][11][64] At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[64]

In 2009-2010, while working for Morgan Lewis, Cruz formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.[20]

U.S. Senate

2012 election

Cruz speaking to the Values Voters Summit in October 2011

Cruz’s election has been described by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds.”[65] On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call.[14] In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed first by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and then by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee;[66] Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState;[67] the FreedomWorks for America super PAC;[68] nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin;[69] former Attorney General Edwin Meese;[50] Tea Party Express;[70] Young Conservatives of Texas;[71] and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn,[72] Jim DeMint,[73] Mike Lee,[74] Rand Paul[75] and Pat Toomey.[76] He was also endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin[77] and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul,[78] George P. Bush,[50] and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.[79]

Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst.[80] In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler’s 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates garnered the remaining 3% of the vote.[15] According to a poll by Cruz’s pollster Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, taken six weeks after the 2012 general election, Cruz received 40% of the Hispanic vote, vs. 60% for Sandler, outperforming Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the Hispanic vote by 6 points.[81][82]

After Time magazine reported on a potential violation of ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, Cruz called his failure to disclose these connections an inadvertent omission.[83]

Political positions

Cruz is pro-life, with an exception only when a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.[84][85] Cruz opposes same-sex marriage, stating that he instead supports marriage “between one man and one woman,”[86] but believes that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to each state to decide.[87] On February 10, 2015, Cruz re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act.[88]

Cruz is a gun-rights supporter.[89] On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening that they would filibuster any legislation that would entail gun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows.[90] On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.[91] Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.[92]

Cruz has raised concerns that the National Security Agency has not done effective surveillance of potential terrorists while intruding needlessly into the lives of ordinary Americans.[93]

Cruz opposes net neutrality because he argues that the Internet economy has flourished in the United States simply because it has remained largely free from government regulation.[94] He believes regulating the Internet will stifle online innovation and create monopolies.[95] He has expressed support for stripping theFederal Communications Commission (FCC) of its power under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to ensure net neutrality,[94] and opposes reclassifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.[96]

Cruz opposes the Marketplace Fairness Act, saying that it would hurt competition by creating additional costs for internet-based businesses.[97]

He was an original co-sponsor of the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, Senate Bill 1 of the 114th Congress.[98] And on January 29, 2015, he voted for its passage.[99] It passed the Senate 62-36, the goal of the bill was to approve the construction of the transnational pipeline.[100] Cruz wants Congress to approve the exportation of U.S. natural gas to World Trade Organization countries.[101]

Cruz opposes the legalization of marijuana, but believes it should be decided at the state level.[102]

Economy

Since being elected, Cruz has spent a great deal of time speaking about what he characterizes as the misguided economic policies of the Obama Administration.[103] Chiding the GOP over its 2012 electoral losses, he stated that “Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent” [104] and has also noted that the words “growth and opportunity” ought to be tattooed on every Republican’s hand.[105]

In February 2014, Cruz opposed an unconditional increase in the debt limit.[106] He said that Republican politicians feared the truth and “they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home they didn’t do it.”[107]

Foreign affairs

On foreign policy, Cruz has said that he is “somewhere in between” Rand Paul‘s isolationism and John McCain‘s active interventionism.[108]

In 2004, he criticized Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry for being “against defending American values, against standing up to our enemies, and, in effect, for appeasing totalitarian despots.” [109] Cruz helped defeat efforts to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing that the treaty infringed on US sovereignty.[48]

In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no “dog in the fight” during the Syrian civil war and stated that America’s armed forces should not serve as “al-Qaeda‘s air force”.[110] In 2014, Cruz criticized the Obama administration: “The president’s foreign policy team utterly missed the threat of ISIS, indeed, was working to arm Syrian rebels that were fighting side by side with ISIS.”, calling ISIS “the face of evil”.[111] Cruz has called for bombing ISIS, but is doubtful that the United States “can tell the good guys from the bad guys” in a plan to arm “moderate” rebels, and the plan to defeat ISIS should not be “laden with impractical contingencies, such as resolving the Syrian civil war.”[112]

In 2014, Cruz spoke at an event held by the watchdog group In Defense of Christians (IDC). Cruz was booed by the group after making statements considered pro-Israel that were viewed by some pundits as intentionally provocative. When the audience refused to stop booing, Cruz eventually left the stage.[113] The resulting controversy expanded beyond Cruz and some commentators believe has resulted in the conservative movement becoming divided between those who sided with Cruz and Israel, and those who sided with Middle Eastern Christians and argued that Cruz’s comments were out-of-bounds.[114] Republican representative Charlie Dent labeled Cruz’s actions “outrageous and incendiary”.[115] Others who criticized Cruz included Mollie Hemingway and Ross Douthat,[116] as well as Scott McConnell, who claimed the controversy was about more than just Cruz, suggesting it is already causing a schism within the conservative movement over issues relating to Israel and Middle Eastern Christians.[117] Matthew Yglesias described the controversy as a “conservative war”.[118] Cruz apologized for questioning the motives of his critics and said that all should be united in speaking out against persecution of religious minorities.[119]

Health care

Cruz is a strong critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which he usually refers to as “Obamacare”. He has sponsored legislation that would repeal the health care reform law and its amendments in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

After the launch of the HealthCare.gov website, Cruz stated, “Obamacare is a disaster. You have the well-publicized problems with the website. It just isn’t working.”[120] He called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.[120]

In 2014 Cruz gave majority leader Harry Reid the procedural opening he needed to allow a Senate vote to confirm Vivek Murthy, who had raised concerns about the health effects of gun ownership, to be United States Surgeon General.[121]

In the summer of 2013, Cruz started a “nationwide tour” sponsored by The Heritage Foundation to promote a congressional effort to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, arguing that a shutdown of the government would not be a disaster for America or the Republican Party (GOP).[122][123]

On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown.[124][125] Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was “no longer able to stand”.[126] Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes.[127] His speech was the fourth-longest in United States Senate history.[128] Following Cruz’s speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a “procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown”.[129] Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care by voting against the cloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.[130]

Cruz is believed to be a major force behind the U.S. government shutdown in 2013.[131][132] Cruz delivered a message on October 11, 2013 to fellow Republicans against accepting Obamacare and, describing it as a “train wreck”, claimed the American people remain “energized” around the goal of gutting the law.[133] Cruz stated Obamacare is causing “enormous harm” to the economy.[133] Republican strategist Mike Murphy stated: “Cruz is trying to start a wave of Salem witch trials in the G.O.P. on the shutdown and Obamacare, and that fear is impacting some people’s calculations on 2016.”[132] Cruz said that he “didn’t threaten to shut down the government” and blamed the shutdown on President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.[134]

The Houston Chronicle which had endorsed Cruz in the general election, regretted that he had not lived up to the standard set by the previous U.S. Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison.[135][136] After a deal was made to end the shutdown and to extend the debt-ceiling deadline, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Cruz’s actions “not a smart play” and a “tactical error”,[137] and Cruz stated: “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare. The test that matters. . . is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?”[138]

Legislation

Cruz has sponsored 25 bills of his own, including:[139]

  • S.177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, introduced January 29, 2013
  • S.505, a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States, introduced March 7, 2013
  • S.729 and S. 730, bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking, introduced March 15, 2013
  • S.1336, a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections, introduced July 17, 2013
  • S.2170, a bill to increase coal, natural gas, and crude oil exports, to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, to expand oil drilling offshore, onshore, in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, and in Indian reservations, to give states the sole power of regulating hydraulic fracturing, to repeal theRenewable Fuel Standard, to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases, to require the EPA to assess how new regulations will affect employment, and to earmark natural resource revenue to paying off the federal government’s debt, introduced March 27, 2014
  • S.2415, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to eliminate all limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office, introduced June 3, 2014

Senate bill 2195

On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced Senate bill 2195, a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nationswho has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.[140] The bill was written in response to Iran‘s choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador.[141] Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis, in which of a number of American diplomats from the US embassy in Tehran were held captive in 1979.[141][142][143]

Under the headline “A bipartisan message to Iran”, Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing his bill S 2195 into law. The letter published in the magazinePolitico on April 18, 2014 starts with “Thanks to President Obama for joining a unanimous Congress and signing S 2195 into law”. Cruz also thanked senators from both political parties for “swiftly passing this legislation and sending it to the White House.”[144][145][146]

Committee assignments

Presidential campaign

Senator Cruz speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Commentators have expressed their opinion that Cruz will run for President in 2016.[147][148][149] On March 14, 2013, Cruz gave the keynote speech at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC.[150] He came in tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast.[151] In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit Presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote.[152] Cruz came in first place in the two most recent Presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference[153] and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.[154]

Cruz did speaking events in the summer of 2013 across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, early primary states, leading to speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a run for President in 2016.[155] Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobindescribes Cruz as the first potential Presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.[48]

Since Cruz was born in Canada, commentators for the Austin American-Statesman[156] and the Los Angeles Times,[157] have speculated about Cruz’s legal status as a natural-born citizen. Because he was a U.S. citizen at birth (his mother was a U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years as required by the Nationality Act of 1940), most commentators believe Cruz is eligible to serve as President of the United States.[19][158][159][160]

On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens United.[161] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[162] In his speech, Cruz mentioned that Latinos, young people and single mothers, are the people most affected by the recession, and that the Republican Party should make outreach efforts to these constituents. He also said that the words “growth and opportunity” should be tattooed on the hands of every Republican politician.[161]

On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced on his Twitter page “I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!”.[163] He is the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.[164][165]

Awards

Senator Cruz speaking at the 2015Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government in The Hill, on December 27, 2013, named Cruz “2013 Person of the Year.”[166] Manning stated that “of course, Cruz made his biggest mark when he and fellow freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) led a last-ditch national grassroots effort to defund ObamaCare before the law went into effect fully. Imagine how many Senate Democrats wish right now that they had heeded Cruz’s entreaties and agreed to delaying or defunding it for one year. Now, they are stuck with the law and all its consequences.”[166]

Cruz was also named “2013 Man of the Year” by TheBlaze,[167] FrontPage Magazine[168] and The American Spectator,[169]“2013 Conservative of the Year” by Townhall.com,[170] “2013 Statesman of the Year” by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida[171][172] and was a finalist in both “2013 Texan of the Year” by The Dallas Morning News[173] and a “2013 Person of the Year” finalist by Time.[174]

Personal life

Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz (née Nelson), have two daughters. Cruz met his wife while working on the George W. Bush presidential campaign of 2000. Cruz’s wife is currently head of the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and previously worked in the White House forCondoleezza Rice and in New York as an investment banker.[175]

When he was a child, Cruz’s mother told him that she would have to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him, so his family assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship.[176] In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship,[160] he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada, on May 14, 2014.[176][177]

Electoral history

2012 Republican primary
Republican primary results, May 29, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Dewhurst 624,170 44.6
Republican Ted Cruz 479,079 34.2
Republican Tom Leppert 186,675 13.3
Republican Craig James 50,211 3.6
Republican Glenn Addison 22,888 1.6
Republican Lela Pittenger 18,028 1.3
Republican Ben Gambini 7,193 0.5
Republican Curt Cleaver 6,649 0.5
Republican Joe Argis 4,558 0.3
Total votes 1,399,451 100
2012 Republican primary runoff
Republican runoff results, July 31, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 631,316 56.8
Republican David Dewhurst 480,165 43.2
Total votes 1,111,481 100
2012 General Election
General Election, November 6, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 4,469,843 56.45
Democratic Paul Sadler 3,194,927 40.62
Libertarian John Jay Myers 162,354 2.06
Green David Collins 67,404 0.85
Total votes 7,864,822 100

See also

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

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Become A Hardliner and Stand Against Iranian Regime and With The Iranian People — Oppose Obama’s Agreement With The Iranian Terrorist Mullahs — Islamic Republic of Iran — Stop Nuclear Proliferation in The Middle East — Raise The Economic Sanctions To Overthrow Iranian Regime — Videos

Posted on March 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Drones, Education, Energy, Ethic Cleansing, European History, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, Geology, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Missiles, Money, Narcissism, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Science, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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

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: Become A Hardliner and Stand Against Iranian Regime and With The Iranian People — Oppose Obama’s Agreement With The Iranian Terrorist Mullahs — Islamic Republic of Iran — Stop Nuclear Proliferation in The Middle East — Raise The Economic Sanctions To Overthrow Iranian Regime — Videos

Nuclear_weaponsIran_nuclear_program_map-en

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

The Day After (Attack Segment)

The Frightening Reality of EMP: A Fox News Primer

JEANINE PIRRO: “Lights Out: The Danger to US Power Grid” – The EMP Threat

Gaffney: EMP Attack on US Means 9 Out of 10 Dead Within 12 Months

Could EMP attack Send America Back to ‘Dark Ages’? [PART 1]

Could EMP attack Send America Back to ‘Dark Ages’? [PART 2]

Petraeus: ISIS Isn’t Our Biggest Problem in Iraq…Iran Is

What are Iran’s True Intentions: Walid Phares

As the Obama Administration continues to move forward negotiating with Iran, there has been little attention paid to the underlying motivations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. What is the Iranian end game? What are the ideological motivators of the Islamic regime in its conflict with the United States of America and Israel? Are the genocidal threats issued by Iranian leaders to”wipe Israel off the map” and achieve a “world without America” only posturing? Or are these goals the Iranian regime is committed to achieving?

EMET and the Center for Security Policy have put together a great panel of experts to address these questions and answer, what are Iran’s true intentions?

Dr. Walid Phares serves as an Advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives and is a Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism, a Euro-American Caucus, since 2009. Dr Phares briefs and testify to the US Congress, the European Parliament and the United Nations Security Council on matters related to international security and Middle East conflict. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Task Force on Future Terrorism of the Department of Homeland Security and the Advisory Task force on Nuclear Terrorism. Dr Phares teaches Global Strategies at the National Defense University. He has published several books in English, Arabic and French including the latest three post-9/11 volumes: Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West; The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy and The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.

Dr. Walid Phares on Hannity on Fox News

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

John Bolton: Reasons to thwart Kerry’s deal on Iran (& N. Korea) nuclear weapons

Inside Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Plan

Iran Nuclear Talks’ Progress Unclear

Iran’s Fight For Nuclear Power

How Powerful Is Iran?

New Tensions Between White House & Israel PM – Benjamin Netanyahu – The Kelly File

Bill O’Reilly: Iraq War ‘Was a Victory Until Obama Mucked It Up’

Obama vs Netanyahu “Negotiating with Mullahs”

Netanyahu’s Address – Mark Levin & Lt Col Ralph Peters Weigh In – Hannity

Ezekiel 38 : Saudi Arabia will allow Israel use of its airspace to strike Iran (Feb 28, 2015)

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

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

Obama’s Message To Iran On Diplomatic Deal

Benjamin Netanyahu on Kelly File – Post Election Interview

Linda Chavez – Iranian Regime, A threat to the World

Obama tells Netanyahu U.S. to “reassess” policy on Israel, Mideast diplomacy

Netanyahu: Deal Paves Iran’s “Path” To Bomb – The Kelly File

Is the far left appeasing the Iranian mullahs?

Israeli PM Netanyahu Addresses U.S. Congress | FULL SPEECH – March 3, 2015

President Obama: Benjamin Netanyahu and I Have Difference on Iran Sanctions

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

Making Iranian mullahs fear, the MEK, come true – Speech by General Hugh Shelton

Iran ,Islamic Republic ,Tehran , Green Revolution !

Will Israel Bomb Iran BBC This World Documentary – YouTube

outstanding Explanation: Why Israel can’t withdraw to its pre ’67 borders line – Please Share

Bolton: Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Is Already Underway

MIR: Israel vs. Iran: The Writing Is on the Wall

Barack Obama Speech on North Korea Nuclear Weapons

New Documentaries 2015 Nuclear Nightmare Understanding North Korea (Full Documentary)

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 431

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 408-413

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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

Posted on March 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crisis, Culture, Demographics, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Entertainment, Family, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Government Land Ownership, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Music, Music, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Obamacare, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Reviews, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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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Up Up and Away Interest Rates Will Go — Until The Next Recession Hits — Fed Debates Use of Word Patient — It Is The Economy Stupid, Not The Stock Market and Wealth Effect — The Coming Deflation Caused By The Fed? — The Failure of Command and Control of Money’s Price — Interest Rates — Videos

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Story 1: Up Up and Away Interest Rates Will Go — Until The Next Recession Hits — Fed Debates Use of Word Patient — It Is The Economy Stupid, Not The Stock Market and Wealth Effect — The Coming Deflation Caused By The Fed? — The Failure of Command and Control of Money’s Price — Interest Rates — Videos

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WHAT IT MEANS IF FED NO LONGER SAYS IT’S ‘PATIENT’ ON RATES

For the Federal Reserve, patience may no longer be a virtue.

Surrounding the Fed’s policy meeting this week is the widespread expectation that it will no longer use the word “patient” to describe its stance on raising interest rates from record lows.

The big question is: What will that mean?

Many economists say the dropping of “patience” would signal that the Fed plans to start raising rates in June to reflect a steadily strengthening U.S. job market. Others foresee no rate hike before September. And a few predict no increase before year’s end at the earliest.

Complicating the decision is a surging U.S. dollar, which is keeping inflation far below the Fed’s target rate and posing a threat to U.S. corporate profits and possibly to the economy. A rate increase could send the dollar even higher.

In a statement it will issue when its meeting ends Wednesday and in a news conference Chair Janet Yellen will hold afterward, the Fed isn’t likely to telegraph its timetable. Yellen has said that any decision to raise rates will reflect the latest economic data and that the Fed must remain flexible.

Still, nervous investors have been selling stocks out of concern that a rate increase – which could slow borrowing and spending and weigh on the economy – is coming soon.

“I think the odds are better than 50-50 that the Fed … will drop the word `patient’ at the March meeting, and that would put an initial rate hike in play, perhaps as early as the June meeting,” said David Jones, author of several books about the Fed.

Historically, the Fed raises rates as the economy strengthens in order to control growth and prevent inflation from overheating. Over the past 12 months, U.S. employers have added a solid 200,000-plus jobs every month. And unemployment has reached a seven-year low of 5.5 percent, the top of the range the Fed has said is consistent with a healthy economy.

The trouble is that the Fed isn’t meeting its other major policy goal – achieving stable inflation, which it defines as annual price increases of around 2 percent. According to the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, prices rose just 0.2 percent over the past 12 months. In part, excessively low U.S. inflation reflects sinking energy prices and the dollar’s rising value, which lowers the prices of goods imported to the United States.

It isn’t just inflation that remains below optimal levels. Though the job market has been strong, the overall economy has yet to regain full health. The economy slowed to a tepid 2.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, and economists generally think the current quarter might be even weaker. Manufacturers are struggling with falling exports, partly because of the strong dollar, and consumers – the drivers of the economy – have seemed reluctant to spend their windfall savings from cheaper energy.

What’s more, pay for many workers remains stagnant, and there are 6.6 million part-timers who can’t find full-time jobs – nearly 50 percent more than in 2007, before the recession began.

For those reasons, some analysts think it would be premature to raise rates soon.

“The last thing the Fed wants to do right now is spook the markets and the economy into an even slower growth trajectory,” said Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Tufts University.

After it met in December, the Fed said for the first time that it would be “patient’ about raising rates. Yellen said that meant there would be no increase at the Fed’s next two meetings. And in testimony to Congress last month, she cautioned that even when “patient” is dropped, it won’t necessarily signal an imminent rate hike – only that the Fed will think the economy has improved enough for it to consider a rate increase on a “meeting-by-meeting basis.”

Some economists say the Fed may tweak its policy statement this week to signal that a higher inflation outlook would be needed before any rate hike. And they expect the Fed to go further in coming months to ready investors for the inevitable.

“The process is going to be glacial,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “They want to prepare the markets for change, but they don’t want to scare them.”

Though Swonk thinks the Fed will drop “patient” from its statement this week, she doesn’t expect a rate hike before September. Even then, she foresees only small increases in its benchmark rate.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University, suggested that the Fed’s strategy in beginning to raise rates won’t be to slow the economy. Rather, he thinks the goal will be to manage the expectations of investors, some of whom weren’t even in business in 2004, the last time the Fed began raising rates.

“The Fed is just trying to send a message that the world is about to enter a new age after a long period of low interest rates to a period of rising rates,” Sohn said.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FEDERAL_RESERVE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-03-16-12-46-02

Fed Watch: The End of “Patient” and Questions for Yellen

Tim Duy:

The End of “Patient” and Questions for Yellen, by Tim Duy: FOMC meeting with week, with a subsequent press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Remember to clear your calendar for this Wednesday. It is widely expected that the Fed will drop the word “patient” from its statement. Too many FOMC participants want the opportunity to debate a rate hike in June, and thus “patient” needs to go. The Fed will not want this to imply that a rate hike is guaranteed at the June meeting, so look for language emphasizing the data-dependent nature of future policy. This will also be stressed in the press conference. Of interest too will be the Fed’s assessment of economic conditions since the last FOMC meeting. On net, the data has been lackluster – expect for the employment data, of course. The latter, however, is of the highest importance to the Fed. I anticipate that they will view the rest of the data as largely noise against the steadily improving pace of underlying activity as indicated by employment data. That said, I would expect some mention of recent softness in the opening paragraph of the statement. I don’t think the Fed will alter its general conviction that low readings on inflation are largely temporary. They may even cite improvement in market-based measures of inflation compensation to suggest they were right not to panic at the last FOMC meeting. I am also watching for how they describe the international environment. I would not expect explicit mention of the dollar, but maybe we will see a coded reference. Note that in her recent testimony, Yellen said:

But core PCE inflation has also slowed since last summer, in part reflecting declines in the prices of many imported items and perhaps also some pass-through of lower energy costs into core consumer prices.

Stronger dollar means lower prices of imported items. The press conference will be the highlight of the meeting. Presumably, Yellen will continue to build the case for a rate hike. Since the foundation of that case rests on the improvement in labor markets and the subsequent impact on inflationary pressures, it is reasonable to ask:

On a scale of zero to ten, with ten being most confident, how confident is the Committee that inflation will rise toward target on the basis on low – and expected lower – unemployment?

Considering that low wage growth suggests it is too early to abandon Yellen’s previous conviction that unemployment is not the best measure of labor market tightness, we should consider:

Is faster wage growth a precondition to raising interest rates?

I expect the answer would be “no, wages are a lagging indicator.” The Federal Reserve seems to believe that policy will still remain very accommodative even after the first rate hike. We should ask for a metric to quantify the level of accommodation:

What is the current equilibrium level of interest rates? Where do you see the equilibrium level of interest rates in one year?

A related question regards the interpretation of the yield curve:

Do you consider low interest long-term interest rates to be indicative of loose monetary conditions, or a signal that the Federal Reserve needs to temper its expectations of the likely path of interest rates as indicated in the “dot plot”?

Relatedly, differential monetary policy is supporting capital inflows, depressing US interest rates and strengthening the dollar. This dynamic ignited a debate of what it means for the economy and how the Fed should or should not respond. Thus:

The dollar is appreciating at the fastest rate in many years. Is the appreciating dollar a drag on the US economy, or is any negative impact offset by the positive demand impact of looser monetary policy abroad? How much will the dollar need to appreciate before it impacts the direction of monetary policy?

Given that the Fed seems determined to raise interest rates, we should probably be considering some form of the following as a standard question:

Consider the next six months. Which is greater – the risk of moving too quickly to normalize policy, or the risk of delay? Please explain, with specific reference to both risks.

Finally, a couple of communications questions. First, the Fed is signaling that they do not intend to raise rates on a preset, clearly communicated path like the last hike cycle. Hence, we should not expect “patient” to be replaced with “measured.” But it seems like the FOMC is too contentious to expect them to shift from no hike one meeting to 25bp the next, then back to none – or maybe 50bp. So, let’s ask Yellen to explain the plan:

There appears to be an effort on the part of the FOMC to convince financial markets that rate hikes, when they begin, will not be on a pre-set path. Given the need for consensus building on the FOMC, how can you credibly commit to renegotiate the direction of monetary policy at each FOMC meeting? How do you communicate the likely direction of monetary policy between meetings?

Finally, as we move closer to policy normalization, the Fed should be rethinking the “dot plot,” which was initially conceived to show the Fed was committed to a sustained period of low rates. Given that the dot-plot appears to be fairly hawkish relative to market expectations, it may not be an appropriate signal in a period of rising interest rates. Time for a change? But is the Fed considering a change, and when will we see it? This leads me to:

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester has suggested revising the Summary of Economic Projections to explicitly link the forecasts of individual participants with their “dots” in the interest rate projections. Do you agree that this would be helpful in describing participants’ reaction functions? When will this or any other revisions to the Summary of Economic Projections be considered?

Bottom Line: By dropping “patient” the Fed will be taking another step toward the first rate hike of this cycle. But how long do we need to wait until that first hike? That depends on the data, and we will be listening for signals as to how, or how not, the Fed is being impacted by recent data aside from the positive readings on the labor market. http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/fed_watch/

Fed Watch: ‘Patient’ is History

Tim Duy:

Patient’ is History: The February employment report almost certainly means the Fed will no longer describe its policy intentions as “patient” at the conclusion of the March FOMC meeting. And it also keep a June rate hike in play. But for June to move from “in play” to “it’s going to happen,” I still feel the Fed needs a more on the inflation side. The key is the height of that inflation bar. The headline NFP gain was a better-than-expected 295k with 18k upward adjustment for January. The 12-month moving average continues to trend higher:

NFPa030615

Unemployment fell to 5.5%, which is the top of the central range for the Fed’s estimate of NAIRU. Still, wage growth remains elusive:

NFPb030615

Is wage growth sufficient to stay the Fed’s hand?  I am not so sure. Irecently wrote:

My take is this: To get a reasonably sized consensus to support a rate hike, two conditions need to be met. One is sufficient progress toward full-employment with the expectation of further progress. I think that condition has already been met. The second condition is confidence that inflation will indeed trend toward target. That condition has not been met. To meet that condition requires at least one of the following sub-conditions: Rising core-inflation, rising market-based measures of inflation compensation, or accelerating wage growth. If any were to occur before June, I suspect it would be the accelerating wage growth.

I am less confident that we will see accelerating wage growth by June, although I should keep in mind we still have three more employment reports before that meeting. Note, however, low wage growth does not preclude a rate hike. The Fed hiked rates in 1994 in a weak wage growth environment:

NFPg030615

And again in 2004 liftoff occurred on the (correct) forecast of accelerating wage growth:

NFPf030615

So wage growth might not be there in June to support a rate hike. And, as I noted earlier this weaker, I have my doubts on whether core-inflation would support a rate hike either. That leaves us with market-based measures of inflation compensation. And at this point, that just might be the key:

NFPe030615

If bond markets continue to reverse the oil-driven inflation compensation decline, the Fed may see a way clear to hiking rates in June. But the pace and timing of subsequent rate hikes would still be data dependent. I would anticipate a fairly slow, halting path of rate hikes in the absence of faster wage growth. Bottom Line:  “Patient” is out. Tough to justify with unemployment at the top of the Fed’s central estimates of NAIRU. Pressure to begin hiking rates will intensify as unemployment heads lower. The inflation bar will fall, and Fed officials will increasingly look for reasons to hike rates rather than reasons to delay. They may not want to admit it, but I suspect one of those reasons will be fear of financial instability in the absence of tighter policy. June is in play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvYh53vbD3g

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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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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Obama– The Great Divider and Liar — “Hands Up Don’t Shot” — A False Narrative (Lie) — The Propaganda Agitators Big Lie — Two Cops Shot In Ferguson — Videos

Posted on March 12, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fox’s Powers and Tantaros Battle over Ferguson Blame Cops Got Shot ‘Before Obama’

Megyn Kelly Debunks The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” Symbol For Ferguson Protests

Ferguson Protestors Praise Police Shooting

Michael Brown vs Furgoson Police:” Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is Totally False Narration?

Dem Reps Make ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Protest Gesture on House Floor

OBAMA on OFFICER WILSON & FERGUSON RIOTS – Report Exposed Racially Biased System

Obama Responds to Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson Shooting Case

Obama on Ferguson Police Shooting Protests

Hands Up Don’t Shoot/ Berkeley, CA

TheNewsCommeneter Via FoxNews ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ a Lie

Two officers shot outside Ferguson police dept.

Two cops shot in Ferguson after chief resigns

Two Cops Shot in Ferguson, Video Timeline

FOX News Now: Press Conference on Cops Shot in Ferguson

CNN’s Don Lemon Wonders If ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Is A ‘False Narrative’

NFL Stars Do “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” Protest During Game, Cops Furious

The Truth About Michael Brown and the Ferguson Riots

‘Searing’ Ferguson report claims revenue came before public safety

State, county police take over Ferguson

By Greg Botelho

 

With tensions running high after the shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri, state and county police are once again taking over protest security in the St. Louis suburb.

St. Louis County Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will “assume command of the security detail regarding protests” at 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET), St. Louis County Police said in a statement.

Ferguson Police will remain responsible for routine policing services in the city, the statement said.

The takeover comes less than a day after two police officers standing guard outside Ferguson police headquarters were shot in what St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar called an “ambush,” spurring a manhunt for those responsible for targeting the line of officers.

“We could have buried two police officers,” Belmar told reporters. “… I feel very confident that whoever did this … came there for whatever nefarious reason that it was.”

This isn’t the first time that county police and state troopers have stepped in to handle protest security.

When clashes between police and protesters boiled over last year, Missouri’s governor declared a state of emergency and tapped the State Highway Patrol to take over. After that emergency declaration expired in December, Ferguson Police resumed command of protest security. Officers from other agencies have continued to provide backup at larger protests.

Protest organizers are meeting to determine whether they’ll demonstrate again Thursday night.

“The most important thing is the safety of the protesters, so we’re meeting to organize what tonight would look like, if we’re coming out, because we know that tensions are high within the Police Department after the incident that occurred last night, so we just want to make sure that people are safe,” said Kayla Reed of the Organization for Black Struggle.

If protesters return, they’ll see a different security situation on the streets, said Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

“It’s a very tense situation, as you can well imagine,” he told CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “In my communications as a union official with police commanders, I’ve been assured that tactics will be different tonight. I assume that means not only more officers, but a wider perimeter, with coverage, perhaps, of these blind spots from which the shots were fired last night.”

The shots rang out shortly after midnight, at the end of a protest against the Ferguson Police Department. That department has been under fire since one of its officers, Darren Wilson, shot and killed black teen Michael Brown in August, and more recently since a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report came out documenting a pattern of racial discrimination. Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned from his post Wednesday.

While the demonstrators’ focus was Ferguson, neither of the wounded officers works in that St. Louis suburb’s police department.

Two officers shot outside Ferguson Police Department

Two officers shot outside Ferguson Police Department 01:56
PLAY VIDEO

One is from Webster Groves, a city about 13 miles south of Ferguson. The officer — a 32-year-old with seven years’ experience — was shot at the high point of his cheek, just under his right eye, Belmar said. The bullet that hit him was still lodged behind his ear as of late Thursday morning.

The other wounded officer was hit in the shoulder and the bullet came out the middle of his back, Belmar said. He is a 41-year-old from St. Louis County Police who has been in law enforcement for the past 14 years.

Both men were treated and released from St. Louis’ Barnes Jewish Hospital, according to a Thursday morning post on the St. Louis County Police’s Facebook page.

The officers were standing next to each other when they were struck, Belmar said.

3 questioned by investigators

Authorities haven’t indicated they know who shot the officers, though Belmar did say “several people … have been very forthright with” investigators. Police have also recovered shell casings that may be tied to the shooting.

Heavily armed officers converged on one Ferguson home as part of the investigation, St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said. Video from CNN affiliate KMOV showed three of them trying to pry a hole in the roof, while others went through the front door of the one-story residence.

By late morning, when the operation was over, two men and one woman were being questioned by police, according to Shawn McGuire, another police spokesman. McGuire said no one was officially in custody in the case at that point.

It’s not known what connection, if any, the shooter or shooters had to Wednesday night’s protest.

Belmar noted this isn’t the first time gunshots have rung out in and around demonstration sites since the protests began. It is the first time, though, that an officer has been hit.

“I think it’s a miracle that we haven’t had any instances similar to this over the summer and fall, (given) the amount of gunfire,” said the chief.

‘Muzzle flashes … about 125 yards away’

At its peak, some 150 protesters congregated Wednesday night in front of the Ferguson police station, Belmar said. That number had fallen by about half, with the chants over, when gunfire erupted.

The shots came from a hill overlooking the station, according to witnesses. Belmar said officers saw “muzzle flashes … about 125 yards away.”

One demonstrator, DeRay McKesson, told CNN he has no “indication that leads me to believe that … a protester … did it,” saying he and fellow demonstrators believe in nonviolence.

Belmar believes someone targeted the police, who have braved heated criticism for months, for a reason. “These police officers were standing there, and they were shot just because they were police officers,” he said.

Brown’s parents condemned the shooting as “senseless,” saying such violence against law enforcement “will not be tolerated.”

So did the White House, with a tweet signed with President Barack Obama’s initials offering prayers for the wounded officers and calling “violence against police … unacceptable.”

And U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — who visited Ferguson in the aftermath of Brown’s shooting and unrest that spurred — decried what happened as a “heinous and cowardly (and) repugnant attack.”

“What happened last night was a pure ambush,” Holder said. “This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson. This was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord.”

‘Armed phalanx of officers’

One irony is that, for some protesters, Wednesday was a day to celebrate: They’d called for Jackson’s resignation for months, and finally it was happening.

But for others, it was not enough. That’s why they congregated in Ferguson, to demand changes like disbanding the city’s entire Police Department and ousting Mayor James Knowles. The now familiar racial overtones hung over the protests, a product of the fact that Brown was African-American and Wilson is white, along with the DoJ report on Ferguson.

Some chanted, “Racist cops have got to go.” Others held signs with slogans such as “They don’t really care about us!” and “Black lives matter.”

“It was a great group (with) great, great energy,” protester Markus Loehrer said.

Three were arrested in a crowd Belmar characterized as agitated and “pretty rowdy” at times, though McKesson said one fight that occurred had nothing to do with the protests. About 70 law enforcement officers from multiple departments came in to stand in front of the station, as they have on many other nights — with the turnout of demonstrators the highest since the November grand jury decision not to indict Wilson, albeit smaller than the days immediately after Brown’s death.

These protesters were in the process of leaving when gunfire erupted “no less than 100 feet” away, Kayla Reed said. McKesson, at the base of the hill where he and others say the bullets came from, heard about four shots.

Several police gathered around their wounded comrades, while others took cover and drew their guns.

“It was kind of shocking to see this armed phalanx of officers to immediately pull their weapons,” Loehrer said.

‘Very difficult’ environment

So what happens next?

There’s the manhunt, of course. And then there’s the likelihood of more protests — and the possibility of more violence as well.

Even though Jackson, City Manager John Shaw, Ferguson’s top court clerk and two police officers are gone or on their way out, some activists are vowing to keep pressing for change.

“We aren’t satisfied with this,” Reed said of the police chief’s exit. “It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not what total justice looks like in Ferguson.”

Jackson expressed optimism that, in his view, the Justice Department report concluded that Ferguson “can do the tough work to see this through and emerge the best small town it can be.”

But what are the prospects after Thursday’s shooting?

Loehrer worried that the shooting will undercut the protesters’ message against discrimination and violence.

“It’s a shame that somebody had to take advantage of this great group,” he said, “to do something so despicable.”

And Belmar said it underscores the fact that, eight months after Brown’s death, the streets of Ferguson are still simmering and law enforcement officers there are on edge.

“This is beginning at times to be very difficult for any law enforcement agencies, anywhere, to really wrap their arms around,” he said. “I want everybody … to understand how difficult this is.”

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/12/us/ferguson-protests/index.html

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The Mutual Assured Destruction of Obama and Clinton: E-Mails Over Benghazi Show Central Intelligence Agency Shipping Arms To Syrian Rebels Including Al-Qaeda and Islamic State — Time To Stop The Democratic and Republican Parties Leadership Coverup — Replace Chairman Trey Gowdy If He Will Not Ask The Important Questions — Videos

Posted on March 11, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, British History, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Data, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Energy, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Raves, Rifles, Security, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Malzberg | Andrew McCarthy discusses his hard hitting piece about Republicans and Email-Gate

Hillary Clinton’s press conference raises more questions

Mark Steyn says Hillary Clinton doesn’t pass the smell test

Andrew McCarthy on Getting to the Bottom of Benghazi

Trey Gowdy: “Huge gaps” in Clinton’s Libya-related emails

Benghazi Accountability Coalition Event: What you can do to help

Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood

BENGHAZI: The Real Reason Behind Obama’s Cover-up

IT TAKES TREY GOWDY JUST THREE MINUTES TO SILENCE THE MEDIA

RUSH: Benghazi Cover-Up Blown Wide Open And Nobody’s Talking About It

Watch the Full Clinton-Paul Exchange from the Benghazi Hearing

Hillary Clinton testifies before Senate on 1-23-2013 regarding Benghazi, Libya Terror Attack

The Benghazi Committee’s Belated Interest in Hillary’s Hidden E-mails

By Andrew McCarthy

In assessing the Benghazi select committee headed up by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), there are two possibilities, and they are not mutually exclusive: (1) The committee is just a Potemkin probe erected by the Republican establishment to get restive conservatives to pipe down, and (2) the committee is incompetent.

The panel, of course, was commissioned by the Republican-controlled House to investigate the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2012, attack in which al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans — information-management officer Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, cohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKkkTXSfygontract employees whose valor saved dozens of lives during the siege.

The select committee’s ten sleepy months of operation have not warranted much attention — except to observe its lethargy. But questions about it arise thanks to the newly erupted Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. Mostly, it is one question: Why is the scandal newly erupted?

The Benghazi massacre was the lowlight of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Suddenly this week, the public was informed, for the first time, that during those four tumultuous years, she conducted State Department business through a private e-mail system designed to evade government record-keeping requirements. The scheme is redolent of Clintonian hypocrisy: Even while Mrs. Clinton was exclusively using personal e-mail, she admonished State Department personnel that doing so was prohibited as a major security breach, and she forced the resignation of the U.S. ambassador to Kenya for, among other things, using private e-mail for public business. The scheme’s revelation has been redolent of tendentious Clintonian parsing: Suspicions that Mrs. Clinton violated not only e-mail retention regulations but also criminal laws are being countered by lawyerly dilations on the definition of a “government record.”

And who wouldn’t want to relive That Nineties Show?

In Washington’s best headline-grabbing fashion, Chairman Gowdy leaped on the latest Clinton scandal to announce that his Benghazi committee, on Wednesday, issued subpoenas for all of Clinton’s communications related to Libya. On the same day, the committee subpoenaed the State Department “for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation,” and issued “preservation letters” to telecom firms directing them to retain potentially relevant documents.

What on earth took them so long?

In announcing the new subpoenas, Gowdy, a highly experienced prosecutor with a real courtroom flair, offered his signature biting barbs that sweep conservatives off their feet. Mrs. Clinton “did not use personal email in addition to government e-mail,” he inveighed, “she used personal e-mail in lieu of government e-mail.” He authoritatively explained that she had more than one private e-mail account. He scalded the State Department for its inability to account for Clinton’s communications because they neither have them nor control access to them — only Clinton does.

Just the fiery outrage we’ve come to expect from Congressman Gowdy.

But for all the big wind, there never seems to be much rain. Speaking of which, Gowdy let something else slip while unburdening himself to Politico: he and his committee have known since last summer that Mrs. Clinton conducted business by private e-mail.

So what you’re just finding out now, Gowdy has known for at least six months. So what did he do about it? According to Politico, “He said the committee has worked with Clinton advisers and the department to gain access to documents relating to the Benghazi attacks.”

Fabulous! Gowdy just got finished railing about how Clinton used private e-mail precisely to avoid the government-mandated paper trail. So what’s he been doing about it for six months? Discussing the matter with Clinton’s loyal staffers — i.e., people who helped her carry out the scheme — and with the State Department — i.e., the people he just got done telling you have neither the relevant e-mails nor access to them.

Gowdy just got finished railing about how Clinton used private e-mail precisely to avoid the government-mandated paper trail. So what’s he been doing about it for six months? Discussing the matter with Clinton’s loyal staffers — i.e., people who helped her carry out the scheme — and with the State Department — i.e., the people he just got done telling you have neither the relevant e-mails nor access to them.

 

But that’s not the half of it. Unanswered questions abound:

What mission was so important to Obama and Clinton that it was worth assigning American personnel to work in Benghazi, a notorious hotbed of anti-American jihadism?

Was the United States involved in facilitating the transfer of arms from jihadists in Libya to jihadists in Syria?

Why were Americans kept in Benghazi despite months of terrorist attacks on the U.S. facilities and other Western targets?

Why during those months, when other nations had the good sense to withdraw their forces because Benghazi was too dangerous, did the Obama administration not only maintain ours there but also reduce security?

Why, in particular, did Secretary Clinton turn a deaf ear to Ambassador Stevens’s personal pleas for more protection?

Why, in light of the history of attacks and the ratcheting up of terrorist threats on the eve of the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, were military assets not moved closer to hot spots like Benghazi and placed on high alert?

Why in the aftermath of the terrorist attack did the administration concoct for public consumption a fraudulent story framing the siege as a “spontaneous protest” over an anti-Muslim video, rather than an attack by jihadist terrorists?

Why, when it is now clear that the State Department knew from the first moments of the siege that a terrorist attack was underway, and knew within the first hours that the local al-Qaeda affiliate was claiming credit, did Secretary Clinton put out a press statement blaming the video?

What administration officials were involved in the Justice Department’s shameful S.W.A.T.-style arrest and prosecution of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the video producer?

It has been ten months since the Benghazi select committee was appointed. We have no answers.

When Trey Gowdy took this high-profile assignment, he vowed to conduct it with energetic prosecutorial rigor. That has been the excuse for the paucity of public hearings over the last ten months: they are too busy meticulously scrutinizing documents and lining up witnesses to conduct hearings.

Indeed, the few short hearings the committee has held focused on the recommendations of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation. Not only was that an utter waste of time in light of how discredited the ARB report is; the committee also steered clear of evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s top aides o

 

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415046/benghazi-committees-belated-interest-hillarys-hidden-e-mails-andrew-c-mccarthy

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Michael D. Evans — Showdown With Nuclear Iran

Posted on March 10, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Dirty Bomb, Education, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, history, Islam, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Raves, Religion, Resources, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Video, War, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sen. Cotton On Iran: ‘If Congress Doesn’t Approve A Deal, Congress Won’t Accept A Deal’

Joe Biden blasts Republicans over letter to Iran leaders

President Obama mocks Republican letter to Iran over nuclear talks

News Wrap: GOP senators write open letter to Iran over nuclear deal

Nuclear Showdown in Iran Book Trailer

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

Iran – The Greatest Threat to Western Civilization

Mike Evans Interview at the 700 Club

Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)

JOHN BOLTON: “ISRAEL HAS 0 DAYS TO STRIKE IRAN” 8-17-2010

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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

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: 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

Nuclear_weaponsIran_nuclear_program_map-en

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

U.S.-Iran bilateral talks

According to a statement of the U.S. State Department bilateral nuclear consultations between the U.S. and Iranian officials “will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations”. The talks were held August 7 in Geneva and only few details about them were provided. The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and included Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. The Iranian delegation included Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi.[56][57]

Deputy Minister Abbas Araqchi said that the bilateral talks were useful and focused on “the existing differences” in the negotiations.[58] Deputy Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi made it clear that Iran will not accept a weak enrichment programme, while saying “we will not accept that our uranium enrichment programme becomes something like a toy”.[59]

Mohammad Javad Zarif, John Kerry and Catherine Ashton at a trilateral meeting in New York, September 26, 2014

The second round of the bilateral talks between representatives from the USA and Iran took place in Geneva on September 4–5. The negotiations consisted of 12 hours long political talks and 8 hours long expert talks.[60] The third round of the bilateral talks between the two countries took place in New York on September 18, 2014.[61]

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. has turned negotiations with Iran into a series of bilateral talks between the two countries that “race to seal a deal”.[62] Gary Samore, former White House coordinator for arms control and WMD, participating in a panel, said: “Any deal will have to be struck between Washington and Tehran and then ratified by the P5+1 and ultimately the UN Security Council.”[63]

On October 14 Iranian negotiators headed by the deputy foreign minister held a bilateral meeting with Senior U.S. Officials William Burns and Wendy Sherman in Vienna. Among other issues the negotiators set the stage for the trilateral meeting with Secretary Kerry, Baroness Ashton, and Foreign Minister Zarif that was convened for the next day.[64][65]

The US and Iranian delegations met on December 15 to 16 in Geneva in preparation for the multilateral talks, led by the US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. A member of Tehran’s team told IRNA that uranium enrichment and how to remove sanctions were sticking points in the bilateral talks.[49] [50]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif met with Secretary of State John Kerry on January 14 in Geneva and on January 16 in Paris.[66] According to Al-Monitorthe negotiators have worked intensively to try draft a joint document called the Principles of Agreement. The document is supposed to be an element of the framework agreement between Iran and P5+1, which is to be completed by March.[67]

Two rounds of bilateral negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry occurred on February 6 and 8 on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich.[68][69] During the conference, Mohammad Zarif gave an interview in which he claimed that IAEA inspected Iran for 10 years or more and found no evidence that Iran’s program wasn’t peaceful. He also claimed that JPA did not imply step-by-step removal of sanctions and the removal of sanctions has been “a condition for an agreement”. Foreign Minister Zarif stated: “I don’t think if we don’t have an agreement, it’ll be the end of the world. I mean, we tried, we failed, fine.”[70] IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who also took part in the conference, pointed out that Iran must provide urgent clarification on key aspects of its nuclear program. Making this more specific Yukiya Amano said: “Clarification of issues with possible military dimension and implementation of the Additional Protocol and beyond is essential.”[71]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif held three bilateral meetings in Geneva on February 22 and 23.[72] The Associated Press reported progress on a deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then “ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.” After the talks Mohammad Zarif spoke about “a better understanding” between the parties and John Kerry said: “We made progress.”[73] The columnist Charles Krauthammer commented on the leaked “sunset clause” that an agreement, containing this and other concessions to Iran, will mean “the end of nonproliferation.”[74]

U.S.-EU-Iran trilateral talks

Iran, EU and U.S. held two trilateral meetings at the foreign minister level in New York in September 2014. The U.S. State Department has argued that there are points when it makes sense for the foreign ministers at the trilateral level to get together to talk. “In part because the majority of the sanctions are EU and U.S., the trilateral makes sense.”[65]

On October 15 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Secretary of State John Kerry have met again, this time in Vienna. A senior U.S. Department of State official said at a briefing with reporters that the parties were focused on the November 24 deadline and had not discussed an extension of the talks. The negotiators were working on a full agreement – the understandings and the annexes to them. “This is a situation where unless you have the detail, you do not know that you have the agreement,” explained the official.[75][76]

Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have held talks on November 9–10 inMuscat seeking to bridge differences on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Officials from all delegations have abstained from briefing reporters.[77] The talks ended without an imminent breakthrough.[78]

After arriving in Viena on 20 November John Kerry met for more than two hours with Mohammad Zarif and Catherine Ashton. It was not reported whether they made any headway.[79][80]

Main Points

Uranium stockpile and enrichment

Diagram of nuclear power and weapons cycle

Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity is the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement.[11][59][81][82][83][84] The Security Council in its resolution 1929 has required Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.[85][86] For many years the United States held that no enrichment program should be permitted in Iran. In signing the Geneva interim agreement the U.S. and its P5+1 partners shifted away from zero enrichment to limited enrichment objective.[87][88] Additionally, they have determined that the comprehensive solution will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon” and once it has expired Iran’s nuclear program will not be under special restrictions.[89]

Limited enrichment would mean limits on the numbers and types of centrifuges. Shortly before the comprehensive negotiations began, Iran was estimated to have 19,000 centrifuges installed, mostly first generation IR-1 machines, with about 10,000 of them operating to increase the concentration of uranium-235. The Iranians strive to expand their enrichment capacity by a factor of ten or more while the six powers aim to cut the number of centrifuges to no more than a few thousand.[88][90]

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the IAEA, said in a radio interview that the agency does not have a complete picture of Iran’s nuclear profile since inspectors have been kept out of some sites. In particular, IAEA has not been able to assess “how much uranium has been produced in Iran over these years” and to verify the completeness of Iran’s declaration about the number of its centrifuges. Heinonen also pointed out that Iran has an “unfortunate history of misleading and not disclosing all its nuclear material.”[91]

Western analysts argued there were two distinct paths to deal with Iran’s nuclear program: complete dismantling or allowing limited activities while preventing Iran from a nuclear “breakout capability”.[92][93] The measures that would lengthen breakout timelines include “limits on the number, quality and/or output of centrifuges”.[94] The former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Robert Joseph has argued that attempts to overcome the impasse over centrifuges by using a malleable SWU metric “as a substitute for limiting the number of centrifuges is nothing more than sleight of hand.” He has also quoted former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying “any enrichment will trigger an arms race in the Middle East.”[95]

In order to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, constraints should be put on its uranium enrichment. This should include the number and quality of centrifuges, research and development of more advanced centrifuges, the size of low-enriched uranium stockpile. The constraints are interrelated with each other – the more centrifuges Iran would have, the less stockpile the U.S. and P5+1 can accept, and vice versa. Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, estimated in May 2014 that Iran’s stockpile was large enough to build 6 nuclear weapons and it had to be reduced.[96]Lengthening breakout timelines requires a substantial reduction in enrichment capacity and many experts talk about an acceptable range of about 2000-6000 first-generation centrifuges. But Iran stated that it wants to extend its capability substantially. In May 2014 Robert J. Einhorn, former Special Advisor on Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the U.S. State Department, expressed confidence that if Iran will continue to insist on that huge number of centrifuges, there would be no agreement, since this robust enrichment capacity would bring the breakout time down to weeks or days.[97]

Plutonium production and separation

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that a good deal will be one that cuts off Iran’s uranium, plutonium and covert pathways to obtain nuclear weapon.[26] Secretary of State John Kerry has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and expressed great concerns about the Arak nuclear reactor facility. “Now, we have strong feelings about what will happen in a final comprehensive agreement. From our point of view, Arak is unacceptable. You can’t have a heavy-water reactor,” he said.[98] President Barack Obama, while addressing the House of Representatives and Senate, emphasized that “these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb.”[99]

Arak Heavy Water Reactor (IR-40)

Despite these statements, some analysts have feared that Obama administration might accept dangerous concessions to achieve a deal with Iran. For example, Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and Chief of Staff to Undersecretaries of State for Arms, believed that such concessions were being proposed, and, as he explained: “… most dangerous is that we are considering letting Iran keep the Arak heavy water reactor which will be a source of plutonium. Plutonium is the most desired nuclear fuel for a bomb, it has a lower critical mass, you need less of it which is important in building missile warhead.”[100]

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview that the heavy water reactor of Arak was designed as a research reactor and not for plutonium production. It will produce about 9 kg of plutonium but not weapons-grade plutonium. Dr. Salehi explained that “if you want to use the plutonium of this reactor you need a reprocessing plant”. “We do not have a reprocessing plant, we do not intend, although it is our right, we will not forgo our right, but we do not intend to build a reprocessing plant.” Further in the interview Salehi expressed his opinion that the pressure on Iran has not been genuine, it has been just an excuse to put “political pressure” and the concern about developing nuclear weapons was “fabricated”.[101]

According to information provided by the Federation of American Scientists, a sizable research program involving the production of heavy water might raise concerns about a plutonium-based weapon program, especially if such program was not easily justifiable on other accounts.[102] Gregory S. Jones, a senior researcher and a defense policy analyst, warned that if the heavy-water-production plant at Arak was not dismantled, Iran would be granted a “plutonium option” for acquiring nuclear weapons in addition to the dangerous centrifuge enrichment program.[103]

Agreement’s duration

According to an editorial in the Washington Post, the most troubling part of the Geneva interim agreement has been the “long-term duration” clause. This provision means that when the duration expires, “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party” to the NPT. Thus, once the comprehensive agreement expires, Iran will be able to install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.”[104] Many Western analysts have referred to the comprehensive agreement as a “final” nuclear agreement with Iran “but clearly it will only be a long-term interim agreement”.[89]

Iran wants any agreement to last for at most 5 years while the U.S. prefers 20 years.[105] The twenty years is viewed as a minimum amount of time to develop confidence that Iran can be treated as other non-nuclear weapon states and allow the IAEA enough time to verify that Iran is fully compliant with all its non-proliferation obligations.[106]

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in May 2014: “Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought.”[107] This and other declarations of jihadist principles by Ayatollah Khamenei[108] leave no doubt about Iran’s adoption of religiously-inspired combat against the U.S. and the West.[109] These principles include aramesh (hudna)[110] and such a truce cannot exceed 10 years.[111]

Some analysts suggested that if a single 20-year duration for all provisions of the agreement is too constraining, it would be possible to agree on different durations for different provisions. Some provisions could have short duration, and others could be longer. A few constraints, like enhanced monitoring at specific facilities, could be permanent.[112]

Possible covert paths to fissile material

Fordow Underground Fuel Enrichment Facility near Qom

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. “We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so,” Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said, according to a translation of an interview with him.[113] Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pronounced a fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.[114] Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

The Iranian uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz (FEP and PFEP) and Fordow (FFEP) were constructed covertly and designed to operate in a similar manner. The facilities were declared by Iran only after they were revealed by other sources. Thus, only in September 2009, Iran notified the IAEA about constructing the Fordow facility.[116][117] The 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimateon Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions stated among the key judgments : “We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.” Additionally the Estimate stated that after 2003 Iran has halted the covert enrichment for at least several years.[118][119]

The Estimate also stated: “We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities — rather than its declared nuclear sites — for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.”[119] Despite this assessment some analysts have argued that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, as well as most public discussions, were focused on Iran’s overt nuclear facilities while there existed alternative paths to obtain fissile material. Graham Allison, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Oren Setter, a research fellow at Belfer Center, compared this approach with Maginot’sfixation on a single threat “that led to fatal neglect of alternatives”. They have pointed out at least three additional paths to obtain such material:[120][121]

  • Covert make
  • Covert buy
  • Hybrid pathway (a combination of overt and covert paths)

William Tobey, former Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, has outlined the possible ways to nuclear weapons as follows:[118]

  • Break out of the Nonproliferation Treaty, using declared facilities
  • Sneak out of the Treaty, using covert facilities
  • Buy a weapon from another nation or rogue faction

Some sources published recommendations for agreement provisions relating to monitoring and verification in order to prevent covert activities and to provide tools to react if needed.[122][123][124][118] One of the sources warned the P5+1 that “if the monitoring elements that we recommend are not pursued now to diminish the risks of deception, it is difficult to envision that Iran would be compliant in the future, post-sanctions environment.”[125] According to the recommendations the agreement with Iran should include:

  • A requirement to cooperate with the IAEA inspectors in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions
  • Transparency for centrifuges, mines and mills for uranium ore and yellowcake
  • Monitoring of nuclear-related procurement
  • Obligation to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol[126] and to provide the IAEA enhanced powers beyond the Protocol
  • Adhering to the modified Code 3.1[127][128]
  • Monitoring of nuclear research and development (R&D)
  • Defining certain activities as breaches of the agreement that could provide basis for timely intervention

IAEA inspection

According to multiple resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1929), enacted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, Iran is obligated to cooperate fully with the IAEA on “all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA…” On 11 November 2013 the IAEA and Iran signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to cooperate and resolve all present and past issues in a step by step manner. As a first step, the Framework identified six practical measures to be completed within three months.[129] The IAEA reported that Iran had implemented those six measures in time.[130] In February and May 2014[131][132] the parties agreed to additional sets of measures related to the Framework.[133] In September the IAEA continued to report that Iran was not implementing its Additional Protocol, which is a prerequisite for the IAEA “to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities.” Under those circumstances, the Agency reported it will not be able to provide “credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”[134][126]

The implementation of interim Geneva Accord has involved transparency measures and enhanced monitoring to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. It was agreed that the IAEA will be “solely responsible for verifying and confirming all nuclear-related measures, consistent with its ongoing inspection role in Iran”. IAEA inspection has included daily access to Natanz and Fordow and managed access to centrifuge production facilities, uranium mines and mills, and the Arak heavy water reactor.[135][136][137] To implement these and other verification steps, Iran committed to “provide increased and unprecedented transparency into its nuclear program, including through more frequent and intrusive inspections as well as expanded provision of information to the IAEA.”[138]

Yukiya Amano and Mohammad Javad Zarif

Thus, there have been two ongoing diplomatic tracks — one by the P5+1 to curb Iran’s nuclear program and a second by the IAEA to resolve questions about the peaceful nature of Iran’s past nuclear activities. Although the IAEA inquiry has been formally separate from JPA negotiations, Washington said a successful IAEA investigation should be part of any final deal and that may be unlikely by the deadline of 24 November 2014.[139]

One expert on Iran’s nuclear program, David Albright, has explained that “It’s very hard if you are an IAEA inspector or analyst to say we can give you confidence that there’s not a weapons program today if you don’t know about the past. Because you don’t know what was done. You don’t know what they accomplished.” Albright argued that this history is important since the “infrastructure that was created could pop back into existence at any point in secret and move forward on nuclear weapons.”[140]

Iranian and IAEA officials met in Tehran on 16 and 17 August 2014 and discussed the five practical measures in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation agreed in May 2014.[141] Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, made a one-day visit to Tehran on August 17 and held talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials.[142] After the visit Iranian media criticized the IAEA while reporting that President Rouhani and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Salehi both tried “to make the IAEA chief Mr. Amano understand that there is an endpoint to Iran’s flexibility.”[143] The same week Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Iran will not give IAEA inspectors access to Parchin military base. Yukiya Amano has noted previously that access to the Parchin base was essential for the Agency to be in position to certify Iran’s nuclear programme as peaceful.[144] Tehran was supposed to provide the IAEA with information related to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations until August 25, but it failed to address these issues.[145] The two issues are associated with compressed materials that are required to produce a warhead small enough to fit on top of a missile.[146] During its October 7–8 meetings with IAEA in Tehran, Iran failed to propose any new practical measures to resolve the disputable issues.[147]

Nuclear-related issues beyond the negotiations

There are many steps toward nuclear weapons.[148] However, an effective nuclear weapons capability has only three major elements:[149]

  • Fissile or nuclear material in sufficient quantity and quality
  • Effective means for delivery, such as a ballistic missile
  • Design, weaponization, miniaturization, and survivability of the warhead

Evidence presented by the IAEA has shown that Iran has pursued all three of these elements: it has been enriching uranium for more than ten years and is constructing a heavy water reactor to produce plutonium, it has a well-developed ballistic missile program, and it has tested high explosives and compressed materials that can be used for nuclear warheads.[150]

Some analysts believe that Iran’s nuclear program should be negotiated in its entirety — it must include not only fissile material discussions but also ballistic missile development and weaponization issues.[151][152]

Priorities in monitoring and prevention

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, has explained in his recent book (2014): “The best—perhaps the only—way to prevent the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability is to inhibit the development of a uranium-enrichment process …”

Joint Plan of Action[153] has not explicitly addressed the future status of Iran’s ballistic missile program. However, having been an interim agreement, it could not take into account all the issues that should be resolved as part of a comprehensive agreement. If a comprehensive agreement with Iran “does not tackle the issue of ballistic missiles, it will fall short of and may undermine … UN Security Council Resolutions.” Moreover, shifting “monitoring and prevention aims onto warheads without addressing Iran’s ballistic missile capacity also ignores U.S. legislation that forms the foundation of the sanctions regime against Iran”.[154]

Additionally, “monitoring warhead production is far more difficult than taking stock” of ballistic missiles and the U.S. government is far less good at detecting advanced centrifuges or covert facilities for manufacturing nuclear warheads.[154]

Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and a holder of the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted the view that the U.S. and other members of the P5+1, along with their attempts to limit Iran’s breakout capability and to prevent it from getting even one nuclear device, should mainly focus “on reaching a full an agreement that clearly denies Iran any ability to covertly create an effective nuclear force.”[155]

Ballistic missile program

Iran’s ballistic missiles have been tied to its nuclear-weapons program. Security Council Resolution 1929 “decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”[156] In May–June 2014 a U.N. Panel of Experts submitted a report pointing to Iran’s engagement in ballistic missile activities. The Panel reported that over the last year Iran has conducted a number of ballistic missile test launches, which were a violation of paragraph 9 of the resolution.[157]

Shahab-3 estimated threat range

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper testified on March 12, 2013, that Iran’s ballistic missiles were capable of delivering WMD.[158] According to some analysts, the liquid-fueled Shahab-3 missile and the solid-fueled Sejjil missile have the ability to carry a nuclear warhead.[159] Iran’s ballistic missile program is controlled by IRGC Air Force (AFAGIR), while Iran’s combat aircraft is under the command of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF).[160]

The United States and its allies view Iran’s ballistic missiles as a subject for the talks on a comprehensive agreement since they regard it as a part of Iran’s potential nuclear threat. Members of Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna insisted the talks won’t focus on this issue.[161]

A few days before May 15, date when the next round of the negotiations was scheduled,[162] Iran’s Supreme Leader AyatollahAli Khamenei told the IRNA news agency that Western expectations on limits to Iran’s missile program were “stupid and idiotic” and called on the country’s Revolutionary Guards to mass-produce missiles.[163]

In his testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, Managing Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Michael Singh argued “that Iran should be required to cease elements of its ballistic-missile and space-launch programs as part of a nuclear accord.” This question was off the table since Iran’s Supreme Leader has insisted that Iran’s missile program is off-limits in the negotiations and P5+1 officials have been ambiguous.[151]

According to Debka.com, U.S. in its direct dialogue with Iran outside the P5+1 framework demanded to restrict Iran’s ICBM, whose 4,000 kilometers range places Europe and the United States at risk. This demand did not apply to ballistic missiles, whose range of 2,100 km covers any point in the Middle East. These medium-range missiles may also be nuclear and are capable of striking Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.[164]

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated at a press conference on August 2014 that Iran’s missile capability issue was not included in the comprehensive talks with the P5+1 countries and “will by no means be negotiated with anyone”.[165]

In a Senate committee hearing former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has expressed believe that Iran’s missile program and its ICBM capability, as well as its support of the terrorism, should also be on the table.[166]

Possible military dimensions

Since 2002, the IAEA has become concerned and noted in its reports that some elements of Iran’s nuclear program could be used for military purposes. More detailed information about suspected weaponization aspects of Iran’s nuclear program – the possible military dimensions (PMD) – has been provided in the IAEA reports issued in May 2008 and November 2011. The file of Iran’s PMD issues included development of detonators, high explosives initiation systems, neutron initiators, nuclear payloads for missiles and other kinds of developments, calculations and tests. The Security Council Resolution 1929 reaffirmed “that Iran shall cooperate fully with the IAEA on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA.”[116][167][168]

In November 2013 Iran and the IAEA have signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to resolve all present and past issues.[129] In the same month the P5+1 and Iran have signed the Joint Plan of Action, which aimed to develop a long-term comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA continued to investigate PMD issues as a part of the Framework for Cooperation. The P5+1 and Iran have committed to establish a Joint Commission to work with the IAEA to monitor implementation of the Joint Plan and “to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern” with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, including PMD of the program and Iran’s activities at Parchin.[153][169] Some analysts asked what happens if Iran balks and IAEA fails to resolve significant PDM issues. According to the U.S. Department of State, any compliance issues wouldn’t be discussed by the Joint Commission but would be dealt “at the expert level, and then come up to the political directors and up to foreign ministers if needed.” Thus, an unresolved issue might be declared sufficiently addressed as a result of a political decision.[170]

Prior to the signing of an interim nuclear agreement, it was commonly understood in Washington that Iran must “come clean about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program,” as Undersecretary Wendy Sherman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2011. The Iranians have refused to acknowledge having a weaponization program. Meanwhile, analysts close to the Obama administration begin to boost so-called limited disclosure option.[171]Nevertheless, 354 members of U.S. Congress were “deeply concerned with Iran’s refusal to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.” On October 1, they sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stating that “Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.”[172]

Some organizations have published lists of suspected nuclear-weaponization facilities in Iran.[173][174] Below is a partial list of such facilities:

  • Institute of Applied Physics (IAP)
  • Kimia Maadan Company (KM)
  • Parchin Military Complex
  • Physics Research Center (PHRC)
  • Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

In September 2014 the IAEA reported about ongoing reconstructions at Parchin military base. The Agency has anticipated that these activities will further undermine its ability to conduct effective verification if and when this location would be open for inspection.[175] A month later, The New York Times reported that according to a statement by Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General, Iran had stopped answering the Agency’s questions about suspected past weaponization issues. Iran has argued that what has been described as evidence is fabricated.[176] In his speech at Brookings Institution Yukiya Amano said that progress has been limited and two important practical measures, which should have been implemented by Iran two months ago, have still not been implemented. Mr. Amano stressed his commitment to work with Iran “to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme”. But he also warned: “this is not a never-ending process. It is very important that Iran fully implements the Framework for Cooperation – sooner rather than later.”[177]

Supreme leader’s Fatwa against nuclear weapon

Ali Khamenei, Iranian leader issued a Fatwa (religious edict) denouncing nuclear weapon and calling it as “Haraam” (Forbidden by religion). American officials noticed the topic several times and called it as a point to start discussions. In an interview in Jordan, Kerry said he respect the idea.[178]

Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i, a ayatollah based in Paris, has given a detailed explanation why it is “more than evident” that there is no fatwa to back up the regime’s officials when they claim that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Ayatollah Ganje’i has concluded his comments as follows: “President Obama and other Western leaders cannot set policy according to non-binding and easily reversible remarks by Khamenei. Doing so would put the world in great peril on the basis of a fantasy.”[179] The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made “a clear-cut distinction between the notion of pure Islam of the Prophet Mohammad and the American-style Islam”, but ‘Paris-style’ Islam has not been declared illegal.[180]

Arak reactor

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in April 2014 that a dispute between world powers and Iran over its heavy water reactor at Arak had been “virtually resolved” and the reactor will be redesigned to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it.[181]

In May 2014, after the fourth round closing, Abbas Araqchi announced on Iranian TV that Arak reactor will remain a heavy water facility and would continue its work with 40 megawatts of power.[182]

In June 2014, Salehi announced that Iran was redesigning the Arak reactor to produce less than 1 kg of plutonium per year, compared to 9–10 kg per year with the original design. Princeton University experts had proposed a redesign involving changing the reactor’s fuel and reducing its power level, with a similar effect on plutonium production. However, the concern remained that this redesign could be reversed.[183]

After the sixth round of negotiations Abbas Araqchi had made clear that “any agreement about Arak or Fordo nuclear facilities is denied”.[184]

Uranium enrichment

France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on June 10, 2014 that the biggest point of disagreement in the talks is how many centrifuges Iran will be allowed. The six powers say Iran may keep some hundreds of centrifuges while the Iranians say they require hundreds of thousands of centrifuges.[185] “…what is the purpose of having thousands of centrifuges if we’re not heading towards an atomic bomb? So the question that will be asked in the coming weeks is whether Iran is really ready to accept to give up the atomic bomb or not,” Fabius said.[84]

Negotiating countries

Islamic Republic of Iran

The U.S. and Iran cut off diplomatic ties in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for more than a year. After Barack Obama’s inauguration, he personally authorized talks with Iran in order to reach out to this country.[186]

The FATF has been “particularly and exceptionally concerned” about Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing. Iran was included in FATF blacklist.[187]In 2014 Iran remained a state of proliferation concern. Despite multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear proliferation activities, Iran has continued to violate its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.[188]

Iran insists that its nuclear program is “completely peaceful and has always been carrying out under supervision of the IAEA”.[189] Some analysts argue that “Iranian actions, including the evidence of work on weaponization, the development of long-range ballistic missiles, and the placement of the program within the IRGC” indicate that Iran’s arsenal is not virtual.[190]

According to policy documents published by the Obama administration, it believes in the efficacy of traditional Cold War deterrence as the remedy to the challenge of states acquiring nuclear weapons. Another assumption of the administration is that the Iranian regime is “rational” and hence deterrable. Dr. Shmuel Bar, former Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, has argued in his research that the Cold War deterrence doctrine will not be applicable to nuclear Iran. The inherent instability of the Middle East and its regimes, the difficulty in managing multilateral nuclear tensions, the weight of religious, emotional, and internal pressures, and the proclivity of many of the regimes toward military adventurism and brinkmanship give little hope for the future of the region once it enters the nuclear age. By its own admission, the Iranian regime favors revolution and is against the status quo in the region.[191] Shmuel Bar has characterized the regime as follows:

“Since its inception, it has been committed to ‘propagation of Islam’ (tablighi eslami) and ‘export of revolution’ (sudur inqilab). The former is viewed by the regime as a fundamental Islamic duty and the latter as a prime tenet of the regime’s ideology, enshrined in the constitution and the works of the Imam Khomeini. Together they form a worldview that sees Islamic Iran as a nation with a ‘manifest destiny': to lead the Muslim world and to become a predominant regional ‘superpower’ in the Gulf, the heart of the Arab world, and in Central Asia.” [191]

A quite different approach to Iran has been proposed by The Economist:

“The disastrous presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the failed Green revolution—which sought to topple him in 2009—and the chaotic Arab spring have for the moment discredited radical politics and boosted pragmatic centrists. The traditional religious society that the mullahs dreamt of has receded… Although this hardly amounts to democracy, it is a political marketplace and, as Mr Ahmadinejad discovered, policies that tack away from the consensus do not last. That is why last year Iran elected a president, Hassan Rohani, who wants to open up to the world and who has reined in the hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”[192]

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has declared on September 4, 2014 that the way forward for his regime is to ramp up its “eqtedar” (might). Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i has explained that Iranian regime intended to achieve this by one of two ways: to expand regional influence through the export of terrorism, officially described as “export of revolution” or to develop nuclear weapons.[179]

The fighters from Hezbollah and Quds forces have been publicly operating in several foreign territories. Iran and pro-Iranian proxies have been military involved inSyria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and other regional nations. Iranian state TV has been showing the pictures of the commander of Quds force in foreign territories and pointing to the Islamic Republic’s indispensable power and influence in the Middle East. Iranian leaders have been attempting to reassert their power and supremacy in the region more publicly and sending the signal to other states that “Iran is in fact the sole regional power to rely on rather than the United States and Western allies.”[193]

Iran has developed a close and cooperative relationship with Cuba and Venezuela against the U.S. Having limited military capabilities and substantial distance from the region, Iran, in case of a conflict with the U.S., would be able to launch an asymmetrical offensive against the U.S. “through surrogate terrorist states and paramilitary organizations.”[194] Iran and Hizbullah also maintain a considerable presence in other countries of Latin America.[195]

On January 4, 2015 President of Iran Hassan Rouhani pointed out that the Iranians cause was not connected to a centrifuge, but to their “heart and willpower”. He added that Iran couldn’t have sustainable growth while it was isolated. So he would like some economic reforms passed by referendum. These words could be considered as willingness to work with international powers.[196] But a few days later Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who makes final and conclusive decisions on all matters of Iranian national security, warned that “Americans are impudently saying that even if Iran backs down on the nuclear issue, all the sanctions will not be lifted at once.” Iran should therefore “take the instrument of sanctions out of enemy’s hands” and develop “economic of resistance.”[197]

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, testifying in January 2015 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, said about Iranian nuclear ambitions:

“They’re trying to develop nuclear weapons. There is no sensible explanation for the extent, the money, the talent they’ve devoted to their nuclear thing, other than that they want a nuclear weapon. It can’t be explained any other way.”
“They give every indication, Mr. Chairman, that they don’t want a nuclear weapon for deterrence, they want a nuclear weapon to use it on Israel. So it’s a very threatening situation.”[166]

P5+1

United States

In its Nuclear Posture Review in April 2010 the U.S. has stated that in Asia and the Middle East – where there were no military alliances analogous to NATO – it had mainly extended deterrence through bilateral alliances and security relationships and through its forward military presence and security guarantees. According to the Review Report: “The Administration is pursuing strategic dialogues with its allies and partners in East Asia and the Middle East to determine how best to cooperatively strengthen regional security architectures to enhance peace and security, and reassure them that U.S. extended deterrence is credible and effective.”[198] Since 2010 the U.S. position has been less clear and it seems “to be deliberately lowering its profile – either because it might interference with negotiations by the 5+1 or because it has less support within the Obama Administration.”[199]

Two weeks after the Geneva interim deal was achieved, President Barack Obama disclosed in an interview that while taking office, he decided to “reach out to Iran” and open up a diplomatic channel. He emphasized: “the best way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons is for a comprehensive, verifiable, diplomatic resolution, without taking any other options off the table if we fail to achieve that.” The President also expressed strong belief that an end state can be envisioned, where Iran will not have breakout capacity. Barack Obama, however, added: “If you asked me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state that I was just describing earlier, I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50/50.”[200][201]

About fourteen months after the Geneva interim agreement was signed, President Barack Obama reiterated his assessment that the chances to “get a diplomatic deal are probably less than 50/50.”[202] Shortly afterwards, in his State of the Union presented to a joint session of the United States Congress, the President announced: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”[203] The accuracy of this statement has been challenged by some media sources. For example, based on experts’ assessments Glenn Kessler from the Washington Post has come to the conclusion that between 2013 and 2014 the amount of nuclear material, which could be converted by Iran to a bomb, has been increased. Olli Heinonen observed that the interim agreement “is just a step to create negotiation space; nothing more. It is not a viable longer term situation.” Jeffrey Lewis observed that Obama’s statement was an oversimplification, and that while Iran’s stockpiles of the “most dangerous” nuclear materials had declined, overall stocks had increased.[204] Right-wing publications The Federalist and The Washington Free Beacon have said that the Iranians have exploited loopholes in the interim agreement and made significant progress on all areas of their nuclear program. Right-wing commentator Fred Fleitz stated in The National Review Online that the “number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency”.[205][206][207]Both, the mainstream Washington Post and the conservative National Review Online, presented the Center for Security Policy’s chart that illustrates Iran’s build-up of nuclear material since 2009.[208]

United Kingdom

United Kingdom is interested in constructive relationship with Iran. For decades Iran has been regarded as a threat to the security of the UK and its regional partners in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. The UK believes that negotiations in Vienna are the most appropriate framework for coping with Iranian nuclear intentions. The British Government is satisfied with the convergence of UK and US policy on Iran and with a united front maintained by the P5+1 countries. It also assures that the agreement with Iran does not imply any diminution in the commitments to the alliances in the region and to the struggle against terrorism. Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons expressed opinion that the comprehensive agreement should include the issues of Parchin Military Complex.[209]

Non-negotiating countries’ positions

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia fears that a deal with Iran could come at expense of Sunni Arabs. President Barack Obama paid a visit to Riyadh in March 2014 and assured King Abdullah that he is determined to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that USA will not accept a bad deal. However, an editorial in Al Riyadh newspaper claimed that the president did not know Iran as the Saudis did, and could not convince them that Iran will be peaceful.[210]

Israel

After the meetings between Western foreign ministers and Iranian counterpart on 13 July 2014 Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with Fox News warned that “a bad deal is actually worse than no deal.” He explained that allowing Iran to stockpile nuclear material or to preserve the capability of uranium enrichment in return for the presence of international inspectors would lead to a “catastrophic development”.[211] At his meeting with Barack Obama in Washington in October 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President not to accept any Iran deal that would allow Tehran to become a “threshold nuclear power.” Netanyahu’s remark highlighted the long-standing disagreement between Israel and the Obama administration on the nuclear talks with Iran.[212]

In his speech presented to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the negotiated deal was bad because of its two major concessions: leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. “It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” said the Prime Minister. Netanyahu also urged the leaders of the world “not to repeat the mistakes of the past” and expressed his commitment that “if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”[213]

What-if analysis

Oil prices

Iran needs oil at $136 a barrel to finance its spending plans. In 2013 it spent $100 billion on consumer subsidies, about 25% of GDP. “Sanctions mean it cannot borrow its way out of trouble”.[214]

Collapse of negotiations]

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman warned that a failure of the nuclear negotiations with Iran will lead to a dangerous escalation by both Tehran and the West. “That is why I say the stakes are quite high here,” she said on October 23, 2014. “The alternatives are quite terrible.”[215]

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has supposed that if the parties don’t reach an agreement by the June 30, 2015, the United States may turn on its ability “to use cyberweapons to attack Iranian nuclear facilities” and Iran may turn on its ability “to wage covert war through its proxies in the Middle East.”[216]

Cutting a bad nuclear deal with Iran

A deal “that removes the most important sanctions but does not extend Iran’s breakout scenario to at least six months, that does not address the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work, that does not allow for rigorous monitoring and transparency, that places only short duration constraints that are easily reversible, and that unravels sanctions against Iran’s support for terrorism and gross human rights violations as well” is a bad deal. This definition has been given by a former senior analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense J. Matthew McInnis at his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 18, 2014.[217]

A bad deal will leave everyone in the region uncertain about Iran’s intentions and potential nuclear weapons capabilities. It will lead other countries to take potentially dangerous decisions, such as acquiring nuclear weapons or making strategic accommodation with Iran. According to McInnis, “In the worst case scenario, we could eventually face a nuclear Iran, for whom classic containment and deterrence approaches are unlikely to be effective.”[217]

Testifying before the Committee David Albright said that in order to avoid a bad nuclear deal with Iran “the P5+1 must hold strong on achieving an agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program to a reasonable civilian capability, significantly increases the timelines for breakout to nuclear weapons, and introduces enhanced verification that goes beyond the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.”[218]

Albright also highlighted at his testimony that a “sound deal” will require Iran to address IAEA’s concerns about PMD of its nuclear program before a deal is finalized or the economic or financial sanctions are relieved. To achieve a “verifiable solution” Iran will have to significantly reduce the number of its centrifuges and uranium stocks, as well as to limit its centrifuge R&D programs.[218]

U.S. President vs Congress

The president remains in overall control of foreign policy and defence. “Mr Obama would probably veto any bill that tightened sanctions against his wishes.”[219]

According to Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School professor and a former Bush administration official, President Obama has the authority to “waive most if not all sanctions against Iran for the remaining two years of his term.” If he does so, the deal with Iran “will be tenuous”. The President believes that Congress will not cooperate on this issue now. “So if he wants a deal with Iran (which he clearly does), Obama must strike the deal on his own.”[220] If President Obama suspends sanctions the entire sanctions regime will probably collapse. “The end result would be a deal that expires when Obama leaves and a sanctions regime in tatters. Iran will then have exactly what it wants — relief from sanctions, a deal that doesn’t block it from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability … and a revived economy,” has argued Jennifer Rubin, a lawyer and a columnist for The Washington Post.”[221]

The lawyer Alan Dershowitz is of the view that if “Congress chooses to assert its constitutional power to participate in foreign policy decisions”, Obama would not have a completely free hand in making a deal with Iran. In case of a constitutional conflict between these branches of government, the Supreme Court may resolve the conflict but it is unclear how the judges would deal with it.[222]

Next Supreme Leader Appointment

The Supreme Leader is the most powerful man in Iran. He has the ultimate say on Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear programme. Iran’s Supreme Leader is appointed by the Assembly of Experts in the event of the death, resignation, or dismissal of the leader. While the Assembly of Experts has the formal role in the appointment, in practice the decision will be influenced by powerful lobbies. The most powerful political organization is Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that has control over the military, politics, economy, and nuclear program. The IRGC and the office of the current Supreme Leader will be the key selecting players. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American scholar at Harvard University, has argued that the IRGC will attempt to choose an individual who serves its objectives: “obtaining nuclear capabilities, having a monopoly over economic and political affairs, having power in foreign policy and having the capability to intervene in other countries’ affairs without hurdles from any political figures including the Supreme Leader.”[223][224]

Clifton W. Sherrill, an assistant professor of international relations at Troy University, has come to the conclusion that with “no consensus successor and with concerns that dividing power among a council may diminish the strength of the regime, the conditions are ripe for an IRGC power grab.” Explaining the role of the IRGC, Sherrill has written (2011): “Today, it has its own air force, navy, and infantry; maintains its own intelligence service; runs strategic think tanks, defense research and development programs, and its own universities; coordinates Iranian support for Islamist terrorist groups abroad; and holds primary responsibility for the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”[225]

See also

Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

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

 

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