Freedom

March 14, 2018, Story 1: Student March For More Government Intervention After Numerous Government Failures in Florida — Government School Indoctrination Will Get You Killed — Baby Sitting Indoctrination Centers (Schools and Colleges) Are Dangerous To Your Mental and Physical Health — Government Control Not Gun Control — Videos — Story 2: Stephen Hawking Dead At 76 — Videos

Posted on March 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, College, Communications, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, High School, history, Journalism, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Pistols, Political Correctness, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Spying, Strategy, Terrorism, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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We are too solicitous for government intervention, on the theory, first, that the people themselves are helpless, and second, that the Government has superior capacity for action. Often times both of these conclusions are wrong.

Calvin Coolidge

“If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate.

If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist.”
~ Joseph Sobran

I’m a little embarrassed about how long it took me to see the folly of most government intervention. It was probably 15 years before I really woke up to the fact that almost everything government attempts to do, it makes worse.

John Stossel

Best 7 minutes on gun control I have ever seen!

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Students across the country walk out to protest gun violence

#SchoolShootings Coverage: Blame #Trump and #Guns But Never #PsychMeds Per #BigPharma Instructions

Megyn Kelly On National School Walkout: ‘What A Thing To See Students Rise Up’ | Megyn Kelly TODAY

Government Interference

Yaron Answers: Capitalizing On Government Intervention

Story 2: Stephen Hawking Dead At 76 — Videos

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Stephen Hawking’s final warning to humanity: Legendary physicist believed we must leave Earth in the next 200 years or face EXTINCTION

  • Professor Hawking believed life on Earth could easily be wiped out
  • Dangers include asteroids, AI, over-population and climate change 
  • Making contact with aliens and human aggression could also spell the end 
  • Future generations must forge a new life in space if we want to survive, he said

Humans must leave Earth in the next 200 years if we want to survive.

That was the stark warning issued by Professor Stephen Hawking in the months before his death today at the age of 76.

The legendary physicists believed that life on Earth could be wiped out by a disaster such as an asteroid strike, AI or an alien invasion.

He also warned over-population, human aggression and climate change could cause humanity to self-destruct.

He believed, if our species had any hope of survival, future generations would need to forge a new life in space.

Scroll down for video

Humans must leave Earth within 200 years if we want to survive. That was the stark warning issued by Professor Stephen Hawking in the months before he death today at the age of 76 

Climate change

One of Hawking’s main fears for the planet was global warming.

‘Our physical resources are being drained, at an alarming rate. We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change,’ Hawking warned in July.

‘Rising temperatures, reduction of the polar ice caps, deforestation, and decimation of animal species. We can be an ignorant, unthinking lot.’

Hawking said that Earth will one day look like the 460°C (860°F) planet Venus if we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Hawking said that Earth (stock image) will one day look like the 460°C (860°F) planet Venus if we don't cut greenhouse gas emissions

‘Next time you meet a climate change denier, tell them to take a trip to Venus. I will pay the fare,’ Hawking quipped.

The physicist also believed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has doomed our planet.

He warned Trump’s decision would caused avoidable damage to our ‘beautiful planet’ for generations to come.

‘We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,’ the celebrated scientist told BBC last year.

Asteroid strikes

If global warming doesn’t wipe us out, Hawking believed Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid strike.

‘This is not science fiction. It is guaranteed by the laws of physics and probability,’ he said.

‘To stay risks being annihilated.

‘Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity. It may also determine whether we have any future at all.’

Hawking was working with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Starshot project to send a fleet of tiny ‘nanocraft’ carrying light sails on a four light-year journey to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth.

‘If we succeed we will send a probe to Alpha Centauri within the lifetime of some of you alive today,’ he said.

Astronomers estimate that there is a reasonable chance of an Earth-like planet existing in the ‘habitable zones’ of Alpha Centauri’s three-star system.

If global warming doesn't wipe us out, Hawking believed Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid strike (stock image)

‘It is clear we are entering a new space age. We are standing at the threshold of a new era’, said Hawking.

‘Human colonisation and other planets is no longer science fiction, it can be science fact.’

Hawking believed that In the long run the human race should not have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet.

‘I just hope we can avoid dropping the basket until then’, he said.

 

AI could replace humans

Hawking claimed that AI will soon reach a level where it will be a ‘new form of life that will outperform humans.’

He even went so far as to say that AI may replace humans altogether, although he didn’t specify a timeline for his predictions.

The chilling comments during a recent interview with Wired.

He said: ‘The genie is out of the bottle. I fear that AI may replace humans altogether.

Hawking even went so far as to say that AI may replace humans altogether, although he didn't specify a timeline for his predictions (stock image)

The world pays tribute to the late Stephen Hawking on Twitter
‘If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself.

‘This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.’

He also he said the AI apocalypse was impending and ‘some form of government’ would be needed to control the technology.

During the interview, Hawking also urged more people to take an interest in science, claiming that there would be ‘serious consequences’ if this didn’t happen.

Stephen Hawking’s pearls of wisdom

– On the reason why the universe exists: ‘If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God’ – A Brief History Of Time, published 1988.

– On being diagnosed with motor neurone disease: ‘My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus’ – Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

– On black holes: ‘Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice’. Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen’ – The Nature Of Space And Time, published 1996.

– On God: ‘It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going’ – The Grand Design, published 2010.

– On commercial success: ‘I want my books sold on airport bookstalls’ – Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

– On fame: ‘The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away’ – Interview on Israeli TV, December 2006.

– On an imperfect world: ‘Without imperfection, you or I would not exist’ – In Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking, The Discovery Channel, 2010.

– On euthanasia: ‘The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope’ – Quoted in People’s Daily Online, June 2006.

– On intellectual showboating: ‘People who boast about their IQ are losers’ – Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

– On the possibility of contact between humans and aliens: ‘I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low’ – In Naked Science: Alien Contact, The National Geographic Channel, 2004.

– On the importance of having a sense of humour: ‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny’ – Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

– On death: ‘I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first’ – Interview in The Guardian, May 2011.’

Human aggression

Hawking has previously warned aggression is humanity’s biggest failing and could ‘destroy it all’.

The remark was made back in 2015 in response to a question about what human shortcomings he would change.

Talking to an audience in the Science Museum, the renowned scientist said ‘The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression’.

‘It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all’, writes the Independent.

He said he feared evolution has ‘inbuilt’ it into the human genome, commenting that there was no sign of conflict lessening.

What’s more, he said the development of militarised technology and weapons of mass destruction could make this instinct even more dangerous.

He said empathy was the best of human emotions and meant we could be brought together in a loving state.

Aliens

Hawking also warned that if we ever did find aliens they would probably wipe us out.

‘As I grow older I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone,’ he said in a video posted online called Stephen Hawking’s Favourite Places.

The clip showed him visiting different locations across the cosmos, writes the Independent.

One of the places he visits is Gliese 832c, a planet that people speculate could be home to alien life.

‘One day we might receive a signal from a planet like Gliese 832c, but we should be wary of answering back.

‘Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well’, he said.

Hawking became increasing convinced there was other life out there as he got older and he led a new project called the Breakthrough Listen project to find out.

He said that any alien civilisation would be ‘vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.’

Overpopulation

The renowned scientist also warned that a man-made catastrophe could spell the end for our species.

The renowned physicist believed that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as asteroid strikes, epidemics, over-population (stock image) and climate change

The renowned physicist believed that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as asteroid strikes, epidemics, over-population (stock image) and climate change

‘For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together,’ Hawking said in a Guardian opinion piece in 2016.

‘We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

‘Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity’, he said.

In November 2016, Hawking was more conservative in his estimates.

Jane and Stephen in the mis-1960s, shortly after his diagnosis with motor neurone disease and being given two years to live

Jane and Stephen in the mis-1960s, shortly after his diagnosis with motor neurone disease and being given two years to live

He warned that humans could not survive another 1,000 years on ‘fragile’ Earth.

At a talk in Cambridge, Hawking gave a one-hour whirlwind history of man’s understanding of the origin of the universe from primordial creation myths to the most cutting edge predictions made by ‘M-theory’.

He said: ‘Perhaps one day we will be able to use gravitational waves to look back into the heart of the Big Bang.

‘Most recent advances in cosmology have been achieved from space where there are uninterrupted views of our Universe but we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.

Astrophysicist Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet in April 2007. The modified jet carrying Hawking, physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida

Astrophysicist Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet in April 2007. The modified jet carrying Hawking, physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida

‘I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet.’

Hawking, who has said he wanted to go into space on Virgin boss Richard Branson’s Ride Virgin Atlantic spaceship, continued: ‘I therefore want to encourage public interest in space, and I have been getting my training in early.’

Hawking added: ‘It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics.

‘Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution.

‘The fact that we humans who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature have been able to come so close to understanding the laws that are governing us and our universe is a great achievement.’

Hawking has previously described his views on the future of space travel, in the afterword of the book, ‘How to Make a Spaceship.’

He said: ‘I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers,’ he said.

‘I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.’

Making a poignant plea to his young audience of students from the University of Oxford, where he himself did his undergraduate degree, he said: ‘Remember to look up to the stars and not down at your feet.

‘Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.

‘Be curious and however life may seem there’s always something you can do and succeed at – it matters that you don’t just give up.’

‘Medical miracle’ Stephen Hawking defied the odds for 55 years

Stephen Hawking was one of the world’s most acclaimed cosmologists, a medical miracle, and probably the galaxy’s most unlikely superstar celebrity.

After being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22, he was given just a few years to live.

Yet against all odds Professor Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday nearly half a century later as one of the most brilliant and famous scientists of the modern age.

Despite being wheelchair-bound, almost completely paralysed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesiser, he wrote a plethora of scientific papers that earned him comparisons with Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.

At the same time he embraced popular culture with enthusiasm and humour, appearing in TV cartoon The Simpsons, starring in Star Trek and providing the voice-over for a British Telecom commercial that was later sampled on rock band Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell album.

His rise to fame and relationship with his first wife, Jane, was dramatised in a 2014 film, The Theory Of Everything, in which Eddie Redmayne put in an Oscar-winning performance as the physicist battling with a devastating illness.

He was best known for his work on black holes, the mysterious infinitely dense regions of compressed matter where the normal laws of physics break down, which dominated the whole of his academic life.

Hawking is pictured with his  children Robert, Lucy & Tim and his first wife Jane 

Hawking is pictured with his  children Robert, Lucy & Tim and his first wife Jane

Prof Hawking’s crowning achievement was his prediction in the 1970s that black holes can emit energy, despite the classical view that nothing – not even light – can escape their gravity.

Hawking Radiation, based on mathematical concepts arising from quantum mechanics, the branch of science that deals with the weird world of sub-atomic particles, eventually causes black holes to ‘evaporate’ and vanish, according to the theory.

Had the existence of Hawking Radiation been proved by astronomers or physicists, it would almost certainly have earned Prof Hawking a Nobel Prize. As it turned out, the greatest scientific accolade eluded him until the time of this death.

Born in Oxford on January 8 1942 – 300 years after the death of astronomer Galileo Galilei – Prof Hawking grew up in St Albans.

He had a difficult time at the local public school and was persecuted as a ‘swot’ who was more interested in jazz, classical music and debating than sport and pop.

Although not top of the class, he was good at maths and ‘chaotically enthusiastic in chemistry’.

As an undergraduate at Oxford, the young Hawking was so good at physics that he got through with little effort.

He later calculated that his work there ‘amounted to an average of just an hour a day’ and commented: ‘I’m not proud of this lack of work, I’m just describing my attitude at the time, which I shared with most of my fellow students.

‘You were supposed to be brilliant without effort, or to accept your limitations and get a fourth-class degree.’

Hawking got a first and went to Cambridge to begin work on his PhD, but already he was beginning to experience early symptoms of his illness.

During his last year at Oxford he became clumsy, and twice fell over for no apparent reason. Shortly after his 21st birthday he went for tests, and at 22 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The news came as an enormous shock that for a time plunged the budding academic into deep despair. But he was rescued by an old friend, Jane Wilde, who went on to become his first wife, giving him a family with three children.

After a painful period coming to terms with his condition, Prof Hawking threw himself into his work.

At one Royal Society meeting, the still-unknown Hawking interrupted a lecture by renowned astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle, then at the pinnacle of his career, to inform him that he had made a mistake.

An irritated Sir Fred asked how Hawking presumed to know that his calculations were wrong. Hawking replied: ‘Because I’ve worked them out in my head.’

Eddie Redmayne won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in 2014 

Eddie Redmayne won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in 2014

In the 1980s, Prof Hawking and Professor Jim Hartle, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, proposed a model of the universe which had no boundaries in space or time.

The concept was described in his best-selling popular science book A Brief History Of Time, published in 1988, which sold 25 million copies worldwide.

As well as razor sharp intellect, Prof Hawking also possessed an almost child-like sense of fun, which helped to endear him to members of the public.

He booked a seat on Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space plane and rehearsed for the trip by floating inside a steep-diving Nasa aircraft – dubbed the ‘vomit comet’ – used to simulate weightlessness.

On one wall of his office at Cambridge University was a clock depicting Homer Simpson, whose theory of a ‘doughnut-shaped universe’ he threatened to steal in an episode of the cartoon show. He is said to have glared at the clock whenever a visitor was late.

From 1979 to 2009 he was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the university – a post once held by Sir Isaac Newton. He went on to become director of research in the university’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Upheaval in his personal life also hit the headlines, and in February 1990 he left Jane, his wife of 25 years, to set up home with one of his nurses, Elaine Mason. The couple married in September 1995 but divorced in 2006.

Throughout his career Prof Hawking was showered with honorary degrees, medals, awards and prizes, and in 1982 he was made a CBE.

But he also ruffled a few feathers within the scientific establishment with far-fetched statements about the existence of extraterrestrials, time travel, and the creation of humans through genetic engineering.

He has also predicted the end of humanity, due to global warming, a new killer virus, or the impact of a large comet.

In 2015 he teamed up with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner who has launched a series of projects aimed at finding evidence of alien life.

Hawking and his new bride Elaine Mason pose for pictures after the blessing of their wedding at St. Barnabus Church September 16, 1995

Hawking and his new bride Elaine Mason pose for pictures after the blessing of their wedding at St. Barnabus Church September 16, 1995

The decade-long Breakthrough Listen initiative aims to step up the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) by listening out for alien signals with more sensitivity than ever before.

The even bolder Starshot Initiative, announced in 2016, envisages sending tiny light-propelled robot space craft on a 20-year voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system.

Meanwhile Prof Hawking’s ‘serious’ work continued, focusing on the thorny question of what happens to all the information that disappears into a black hole. One of the fundamental tenets of physics is that information data can never be completely erased from the universe.

A paper co-authored by Prof Hawking and published online in Physical Review Letters in June 2016 suggests that even after a black hole has evaporated, the information it consumed during its life remains in a fuzzy ‘halo’ – but not necessarily in the proper order.

Prof Hawking outlined his theories about black holes in a series of Reith Lectures broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January and February 2016.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5498731/Stephen-Hawkings-final-warning-humanity.html#ixzz59lrOeYUJ

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March 13, 2018, Story 1: Trump’s Game of Chairs: Fires Rex Tillerson and Replaces Him With CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Who is Replaced By Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel — Videos — Story 2: Trump Views Prototypes of Wall — Miles Built 0 and Illegal Aliens Deported Less Than 1% of 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Trump Promises Still Not Kept — Videos — Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Either Appoints Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Many Crimes Obama Administration and Bill and Hillary Clinton or Is Next To Be Fired– Videos

Posted on March 13, 2018. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Documentary, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Health, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, IRS, Journalism, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, Narcissism, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Resources, Reviews, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Torture, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Trump’s Game of Chairs: Fires Rex Tillerson and Replaces Him With CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Who is Replaced By Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel — Videos —

Flurry of staff changes sends shockwaves through Washington

Sources: McMaster, Kelly poised to depart soon

James Clapper: I support Trump’s pick for CIA director

Trump’s removal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson long anticipated

Tex Tillerson, Trump have different world views: Fmr. Asst. Secretary of State

Donald Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson | ITV News

Trump fires Tillerson after clashes

Rex Tillerson Thought He Was ‘Moderating’ President Donald Trump | TODAY

Tillerson speaks out after being fired

Donald Trump’s Pick For CIA Director Gina Haspel Reportedly Tortured People | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Trump Might Replace Tillerson With CIA’s Pompeo

Tillerson’s Bounced as #SoS, Ex-CIA Pompeo’s In and #MSM Yet Again Have to Learn About in on Twitter

Live Stream: Tillerson’s Unceremonious Boot and Trump’s Alleged Torture Mistress CIA Chief

Ben Shapiro Reacts To Rex Tillerson Firing

Trump didn’t speak to me for THREE HOURS after firing me on Twitter says Rex Tillerson as he leaves the State Department without a word of praise for the president

  • Rex Tillerson spoke Tuesday afternoon at the State Department hours after Trump fired him on Twitter
  • He said it had been more than three hours between the announcement he was going and Trump speaking to him from Air Force One 
  • Made no tribute to Trump and offered him no thanks as he said he was returning to private life 
  • Dramatic morning tweet by the president announced that Rex Tillerson has been fired as Secretary of State and replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo
  • Tillerson’s last act was to blame Russia for the poisoning of its former spy Sergei Skripal at a British pizza restaurant – something White House had not done 
  • Tillerson, the former boss of Exxon Mobil, had just been on a trip to Africa and was last seen boarding his Air Force place on Monday  
  • Gina Haspel becomes first ever women to be Director of the CIA after clandestine career and involvement in ‘black sites’ 
  • Tillerson had disagreed with Trump on Iran and North Korea, the president said – but he had also been reported to have called the president a ‘f***ing moron’ 

And in a statement to reporters, Tillerson pointedly neglected to thank Trump for the opportunity to serve in the role once inhabited by Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Webster and Henry Kissinger. Instead he thanked ‘the 300-plus million Americans’ whom he ultimately served, and said he would soon thank his front-office and policy planning staff in person.

He said shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he had talked with Trump around lunchtime. The president’s unexpected tweet came before 9:00 a.m.

‘I received a call today from the President of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One,’ he said.

‘I’ve also spoken to White House Chief of Staff Kelly to ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead.’

The shaken-sounding outgoing cabinet secretary explained that his official ending date will be March 31, and that he aims for an ‘orderly and smooth transition’ for his replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will assume Tillerson’s duties at midnight. But Tillerson said his official ‘commission’ – his grant of authority from the president – wouldn’t expire until the end of the month.

Trump effectively fired Tillerson on Tuesday without telling him personally, announcing on Twitter that he would dismiss him and elevate the nation’s spymaster to the role of global diplomat-in-chief.

And he said he will appoint a woman to lead the CIA for the first time in history.  

Quitting: Rex Tillerosn issued a statement at the State Department telling how it had been hours between his firing on Twitter and Trump speaking to him

Final act: Tillerson said he will return to 'private life' after 14 months of turbulent leadership of the State Department and refused to take questions as he left the podium 

Final act: Tillerson said he will return to ‘private life’ after 14 months of turbulent leadership of the State Department and refused to take questions as he left the podium

Rex Tillerson is pictured leaving his home on Tuesday, en route to the State Department for what would be his last act as secretary of state

Rex Tillerson is pictured leaving his home on Tuesday, en route to the State Department for what would be his last act as secretary of state

This is on me: Trump used twitter to terminate the career of Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil boss who had been secretary of state for 15 months. An official revealed the president did not speak to Tillerson
Rex Tillerson spotted for the first time since Trump fired him

You're fired: Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired by Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in a single tweet

Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department

Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department and Gina Haspel, a career CIA officer who was its deputy director will become the first woman to lead it

After clashes, Trump fires Tillerson and immediately taps Pompeo

Family: Rex Tillerson had stepped down as CEO of Exxon Mobil when he was offered the job by Trump. His wife Renda St. Clair persuaded him to take it saying: ‘I told you God’s not through with you.’

YOU’RE ALL FIRED! DONALD TRUMP’S ASTONISHING LIST OF SENIOR DEPARTURES

Who went and when: 

March 13, 2018: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

March 12, 2018: Special Assistant and personal aide to the president John McEntee

March 6, 2018: Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Gary Cohn

Feb. 28, 2018: Communications Director Hope Hicks

Feb. 27, 2018: Deputy Communications Director Josh Raffel

Feb. 7, 2018: Staff Secretary Rob Porter

Dec. 13, 2017: Communications Director for the White House Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault Newman

Dec. 8, 2017: Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell

Sept. 29, 2017: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

Aug. 25, 2017: National security aide Sebastian Gorka

Aug. 18, 2017: Chief strategist Steve Bannon

July 31, 2017: Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci

July 28, 2017: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

July 21, 2017: Press secretary Sean Spicer

May 30, 2017: Communications Director Michael Dubke

May 9, 2017: FBI Director James Comey

March 30, 2017: Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh

Feb. 13, 2017: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein said in a statement that Tillerson had ‘had every intention of staying.’

‘The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve,’ Goldstein added.

He was later fired himself for departing from the official White House line – which was that Trump had told Tillerson on Friday that he would be leaving.

Tillerson’s last public act had been firmly blaming Russia for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter – which the White House had pointedly avoided saying was carried out by Vladimir Putin’s government.

As he left the White House for a trip to California, Trump told reporters that he and Tillerson had been ‘talking about this for a long time’ but that he ‘made the decision by myself.’

‘We disagreed on things,’ Trump said, citing the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran. ‘I think Rex will be much happier now,’ he declared.

‘We were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.’

Trump made no mention of the most notorious tussle between him and Tillerson, when the secretary of state was reported to have called the president a ‘f***ing moron’ then refused to deny it.

The State Department said Tillerson only learned of his termination when he read Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning.

Two senior department officials said Tillerson received a call from John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, on Friday, but was only told that there might be a presidential tweet that would concern him.

Kelly didn’t tell Tillerson what the tweet might say or when it might actually publish, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

Tillerson had told reporters on his plane he had cut short his trip by one night because he was exhausted after working most of the night two nights in a row and getting sick in Ethiopia.

There were no obvious signs from his behavior or his aides on the plane that his departure was imminent.

‘I felt like, look, I just need to get back,’ Tillerson said.

Instead he was fired and left to spend time with his wife, Renda St. Clair, who had told him to take the job when he was reluctant to himself.

He had revealed last year how when Trump offered him the role ‘I was going to the ranch to be with my grandkids.’

Instead his wife shook her finger in his face and told him: ‘I told you God’s not through with you.’

But by last week Trump was through with Tillerson instead.

One senior White House official said that when Trump made the dramatic and sudden decision last Friday to meet with Kim Jong Un – a decision made while Tillerson was in Africa – an aide asked if Tillerson should weigh in on the matter.

Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump shared a tense moment in China last November which shed light on their troubled relationship, the Wall Street Journalreported.

They and other U.S. officials were in the Great Hall of the People and having a meal in a private room courtesy of their Chinese hosts. 

But an unappetizing Caesar salad which arrived with wilted greens was sitting on the table – and Trump grew worried it would offend the hosts.

‘Rex, eat the salad,’ Trump told Tillerson.

Tillerson laughed off the remark but did not follow orders and left the salad untouched.

 Trump said there was no reason to consult him because no matter what the group decided, Tillerson would be against it, the official said.

On the White House lawn Trump gushed that his future secretary Mike Pompeo has ‘tremendous energy, tremendous intellect, we’re always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good.’

The president had tweeted earlier that Pompeo ‘will do a fantastic job!’

‘Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!’

Haspel was the CIA’s deputy director, a career officer who was a longtime clandestine officer.

She was involved in running a black site during the notorious CIA detention program which saw prisoners waterboarded, and could face a highly rocky confirmation hearing in front of the Senate.

Haspel, 61, was the boss of a prison in Thailand codenamed Cat’s Eye where al Qaeda suspects were held., including Abu Zubatdah, who was waterboarded 83 times in a month, sleep deprived and lost his left eye.

She also ordered the destruction of tapes from the facility and when she was appointed deputy CIA director, Democratic senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee urged Trump to reconsider his decision, setting up a confrontational confirmation hearing.

 Key figure: Trump repeatedly crossed swords with Rex Tillerson, including a public episode in October where the president chided him on Twitter for ‘wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man’ – a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un – which Trump is now going to do face-to-face

In a statement, Trump said Pompeo ‘graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.’

He called Haspel’s move to the CIA’s reins ‘a historic milestone.’

Trump also had words of praise for Tillerson: ‘A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,’ he said.

The president, however, had clashed with Tillerson over and over again in the past year, seeing him as a relic of the Republican establishment at a time when the nation needed more unconventional thinking.

The Washington Post reported that Tillerson was ousted on Friday, suggesting that a White House known best for leaking information kept it a secret all weekend.

The outgoing diplomat’s last act in office was a shot across Vladimir Putin’s bow, saying Monday that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the UK ‘clearly came from Russia’ – and vowing to respond – hours after the White House refused to blame the Kremlin.

In a strongly worded statement, he slammed Russia as an ‘irresponsible force of instability in the world’ and gave the British government his backing after Prime Minister Theresa May pointed her own finger toward Moscow.

‘We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,’ Tillerson said Monday.

 Final meeting: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari was the last world leader to receive Tillerson as he wrapped up a swing through Africa
 Goodbye: Rex Tillerson was last seen on Monday boarding his plane home to the United States after a tour of Africa which concluded in Abuja, Nigeria, after taking in countries including Ethiopia and Kenya
Tillerson out! Trump replaces Secretary of State with Mike Pompeo
Downhill from here: Rex Tillerson was sworn in by Mike Pence in the Oval Office on February 1 2017, with his wife Renda St. Clair holding the Bible. She had told him to take the job over his own reluctance
Family time: There was no sign of Rex Tillerson at hiss home in D.C.’s upscale Kalorama Tuesday. Also fired was Steven Goldstein, under secretary of state for public affairs who revealed Tillerson had been blindsided by his firing – then got axed himself

Simulation: Some of the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ used at the CIA ‘black site’ run by Trump’s pick to direct it were shown on Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for bin Laden

‘There is never a justification for this type of attack, the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation, and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior.

‘Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.’

He added that those responsible ‘must face appropriately serious consequences.’

Trump seemed to back him up on Tuesday, saying that he would be speaking with May later in the day.

‘It sounds to me like it would be Russia,’ he said, ‘based on all of the evidence that they have.’

Tillerson made the remarks during his trip to Africa just hours after the the White House broke a week-long silence to condemn the chemical attack, but declined to mention Moscow.’

Trump had repeatedly crossed swords with the former Exxon Mobil executive, including a public episode in October where the president chided him on Twitter for ‘wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man’ – a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Foreign policy veterans said at the time that they couldn’t recall an instance where a sitting president had undermined his secretary of state in such a humiliating fashion.

Lost an eye: Abu Zubaydah was one of those subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ which critics called torture. He was waterboarded 83 times and lost an eye

But five months later the president himself accepted Kim’s invitation for a face-to-face meeting over the hermit kingdom’s nuclear missile program.

Tillerson raised eyebrows in Washington last year with reports about his ‘f***ing moron’ verdict following a national security meeting in July about America’s nuclear posture.

He never directly denied making the caustic remark, leaving that to a State Department spokeswoman. Trump said the same day that he had ‘total confidence in Rex.’

Later that month, newly installed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis begged Tillerson to stay on.

The following month, after Trump angered Americans on both sides of the aisle with tone-deaf comments about the role of neo-Nazis in a Virginia race riot, a furious Tillerson declined to defend him.

‘The president speaks for himself,’ Tillerson said at the time during a ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview.

Even then, the White House outwardly professed comfort with Tillerson and confidence in his abilities.

Tillerson took credit Tuesday for executing Trump’s ‘maximum pressure campaign’ against North Korea, a policy credited for bringing Kim to the table for direct nuclear negotiations.

Haspel will need to face a Senate confirmation hearing.

Pompeo will not – at least not right away – because the Senate confirmed him as the CIA director just three days into the Trump administration.

A different committee will ultimately have to grill him, however.

Trump said that his incoming secretary of state ‘has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community.’

‘I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture,’ he added.

‘He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’

Rex Tillerson says Trump decided to meet Kim Jong Un himself

MIKE POMPEO, TRUMP’S NEW SECRETARY OF STATE, PURSUED HILLARY AND JOKED ABOUT ASSASSINATING KIM JONG-UN

Mike Pompeo, named Tuesday to be US secretary of state, comes from a one-year stint leading the Central Intelligence Agency where he earned Donald Trump’s trust delivering the president’s daily national security briefings and by toeing Trump’s line politically.

Pompeo, who replaces Rex Tillerson, brings the discipline of a former standout at West Point, the prestigious US military academy, as well as the political wiles of a four-term member of the House of Representatives, where he served on the controversial Intelligence Committee.

AS CIA director he cut a path into Trump’s inner circle with ready praise of the president, personally delivering many of the Oval Office’s crucial daily intelligence briefings.

He echoes Trump’s hard line against Iran and North Korea. But, currying the president’s favor, Pompeo has also avoided directly contradicting Trump’s insistence that Russia did not work to support his election in 2016 — even though that is what the CIA concludes.

‘With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process,’ Trump said Tuesday.

Pompeo, 54, has had a meteoric career that leaned heavily on political opportunities that ultimately led him to Trump.

Born and raised in southern California, he attended the US Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated top of his class in 1986, specializing in engineering.

He served in the military for five years – never in combat – and then left to attend Harvard Law School.

He later founded an engineering company in Wichita, Kansas, where financial backers included the conservative Koch brothers, oil industry billionaires and powerful movers and shakers in the Republican Party.

Pursuit: Pompeo made his name going after Hillary Clinton as a member of special committee formed to investigate the 2012 killing of a US ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

The Kochs backed his successful first run for Congress in 2010, and energy-related legislation he promoted in his first years in the House of Representatives was seen as very friendly to them.

He moved quickly onto the House Intelligence Committee, where, as overseer of the CIA and other agencies, he was privy to the country’s deepest secrets.

But he made his name on the special committee Republicans formed to investigate the 2012 killing of a US ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

It made him a leading voice against Trump’s political nemesis, Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state at the time was blamed by Republicans for the deaths.

As director of the CIA, Pompeo has matched the tone of Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements.

‘The CIA, to be successful, must be aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless,’ he said.

He joked about assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which raised fears of a return to the agency’s penchant for backing assassinations of dictators not in US favor.

He earned the president’s trust in the daily national security briefings, where he has readily accommodated the president’s aversion to reading long reports by having intelligence staff prepare simple graphic presentations of global risks and threats.

When pressed in public, he has said he supports the January 2017 report by the country’s top intelligence chiefs that concludes that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential race in an effort to help Trump defeat Clinton.

Meanwhile, he has also stomached the president’s ugly attacks on the CIA, calling their report on Russia meddling fake news and accusing them of political bias.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5495087/Trump-FIRES-Rex-Tillerson-secretary-state.html

 

Story 2: Trump Views Prototypes of Wall — Miles Built 0 and Illegal Aliens Deported Less Than 1% of 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Trump Promises Still Not Kept — Videos —

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Trump: Governor Brown has done a poor job running California

President Trump inspects border wall prototypes

President Trump tours U.S.-Mexico border, looks at border wall prototypes

See How President Donald Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes Are Taking Shape | NBC News

SPECIAL COVERAGE: President Trump Reviews Border Wall Prototypes

DOJ takes on California over sanctuary status

DOJ sues California over sanctuary status

Tucker: If GOP betrays voters on immigration, they’re toast

Trump administration suing California over sanctuary laws

California’s sanctuary city laws harm the immigrant community: ICE

Trump administration takes on California

Democrats want amnesty for the worst illegals: Ann Coulter

 

‘If you don’t have a wall system it would be BEDLAM!’ Trump inspects his border barricade options yards from Mexico and says existing wall ‘restored law and order’

  • President Trump’s first stop in California Tuesday was to see prototypes of his ‘big beautiful wall’ he wants constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border 
  • ‘If you won’t have a wall system it would be bedlam,’ the president told reporters making brief remarks during his tour 
  • During his prototype tour, the president said he wanted a see-through wall, that’s also difficult to climb

On Tuesday President Trump finally got a chance to see the eight towering prototypes that could be used to build his long-promised ‘big beautiful wall’ between the United States and Mexico.

‘If you don’t have a wall system, you’re not going to have a country,’ Trump said making brief remarks to reporters as he pointed out the various features of the walls. ‘If you don’t have a wall system it would be bedlam.’

Today marked the first time the president visited liberal California as president, and his first stop in San Diego was to see the wall options, where he stood on the U.S. side of the border just feet from Tijuana, Mexico, with protesters audibly chanting from the other side.

Speaking to a Border Control agent, the president was happy to hear that the current structure, an aging metal wall, had ‘re-established law and order’ when it was put in.

The president hoped his wall would prevent ’99 per cent’ of people and drugs from coming through.

President Trump speaks to reporters in front of a prototype for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico 

President Trump speaks to reporters in front of a prototype for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico

President Trump gave brief remarks after surveying the border wall prototypes Tuesday in San Diego, California 

President Trump gave brief remarks after surveying the border wall prototypes Tuesday in San Diego, California

President Trump stands alongside an option for a border wall Tuesday as he visits California for the first time 

President Trump stands alongside an option for a border wall Tuesday as he visits California for the first time

A number of border wall prototypes are seen looming behind President Trump (right) as he visits the state of California for the first time while in office 

A number of border wall prototypes are seen looming behind President Trump (right) as he visits the state of California for the first time while in office

President Trump is seen grinning as he discusses border wall prototypes with officials Tuesday in San Diego, California 

President Trump is seen grinning as he discusses border wall prototypes with officials Tuesday in San Diego, California

President Trump (center) takes a look at border wall designs in San Diego, California flanked by his Chief of Staff John Kelly (left) and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (right) 

President Trump arrives with his motorcade to look at prototypes for his proposed wall Tuesday in San Diego 

President Trump arrives with his motorcade to look at prototypes for his proposed wall Tuesday in San Diego

President Trump speaks in front of a prototype of a wall that he wants to see built between the United States and Mexico 

President Trump speaks in front of a prototype of a wall that he wants to see built between the United States and Mexico

Options for President Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico are seen behind him as he speaks to officials in San Diego on Tuesday alongside DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (center) and Chief of Staff John Kelly (left) 

President Trump takes a look at some of the wall designs Tuesday in San Diego, directly across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

President Trump and his entourage walk by one of the border wall prototypes Tuesday as the Republican takes his first trip to California as president 

President Trump brought up the border wall on his second California stop as well, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar 

Trump said he’d like the new wall to be partially see-through – in case there were cartels just on the other side – with concrete or a mix of steel and concrete at the top, something not easily climbable.

During the tour he claimed that Californians are actually more supportive of his border wall than they let on.

‘And by the way the state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas, they don’t tell you that, and we said we won’t do that until we build the whole wall,’ Trump said.

He also used his brief remarks at the wall to rag on the state’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

‘I think Governor Brown has done a very poor job running California,’ Trump said.

The president complained about the state’s high taxes and that many California jurisdictions are so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ where local authorities won’t turn undocumented immigrants over to the feds.

He suggested that has brought ‘dangerous people’ and drugs ‘pouring’ into the state.

‘You know, hey, I have property in California, I will say. I don’t think too much about my property anymore, but I have great property in California,’ Trump said. ‘The taxes are way, way out of whack. And people are going to start to move pretty soon.’

‘So the governor of California – nice guy, I think he is a nice guy, I knew him a long time ago – has not done the job,’ Trump said.

After Trump’s wall stop, he addressed Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, also in San Diego.

There, he touted the wall project as well.

‘We don’t have a choice. We need it. We need it for the drugs. We need it for the gangs,’ he said. ‘It will be 99.5 per cent successful,’ he added, upping the wall’s success rate by half a point.

‘People won’t be able to come over it. The drugs will stop by a lot,’ he said, adding the aside, ‘although we have to get a lot tougher with drug dealers, have to.’

The president has floated the idea of drug dealing being a capital crime.

Trump told the crowd of Marines that his trip to the border wall prototypes was ‘fascinating.’

‘We have two or three that really work,’ Trump said.

He argued that constructing prototypes first was the way to go.

‘I’m a builder. What I do best is build,’ the president continued. ‘You know other people they’d build a wall and say it doesn’t work. Well, wait a minute, we just built 1,000 miles of wall. Well, we made a mistake, it doesn’t work. We should have done it a different way.’

‘We are doing it before we build, better idea, don’t you think?’ Trump asked the troops.

‘We are going to have a great wall, it’s going to be very effective, it’s going to stop people, you’re not going to see them climbing over this wall too easily – that I can tell you,’ the president added.

By mid-afternoon he was off to Los Angeles to attend a fundraiser in the tony neighborhood of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles where he’s expected to raise $5 million. He’ll be staying in the state overnight.

There was a heavy police presence in San Diego for President Trump's visit to the border wall prototypes Tuesday afternoon 

Protesters are holding up signs in Tijuana, Mexico, as President Trump visits prototypes, seen behind them, for his so-called 'big, beautiful wall' 

Protesters are holding up signs in Tijuana, Mexico, as President Trump visits prototypes, seen behind them, for his so-called ‘big, beautiful wall’

A sign on the Mexican side of the border reads 'Trump, stop mass deportations.' It hangs on the current border fence that the president wants to replace with a taller, more fortified wall 

A sign on the Mexican side of the border reads ‘Trump, stop mass deportations.’ It hangs on the current border fence that the president wants to replace with a taller, more fortified wall

A pinata made to resemble the president is held up by a protester in Mexico Tuesday, as they stand along the current U.S.-Mexico border wall 

A pinata made to resemble the president is held up by a protester in Mexico Tuesday, as they stand along the current U.S.-Mexico border wall

President Trump's motorcade is seen heading to the area where the president would inspect several prototype walls to be used to construct his long-promised border wall with Mexico 

President Trump’s motorcade is seen heading to the area where the president would inspect several prototype walls to be used to construct his long-promised border wall with Mexico

A protester's sign is seen as President Trump arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California on Tuesday 

A protester’s sign is seen as President Trump arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California on Tuesday

An invitation to the fundraiser, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, shows ticket prices starting at $35,000.

Couples can also pay $100,000 for a photo with the president. The $250,000 tickets are for those who want to participate in a roundtable discussion with the commander-in-chief.

Funds will go toward the joint fundraising committee comprised of Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Trump’s arrival will come just days after his Justice Department sued to block a trio of state laws designed to protect people living in the U.S. illegally.

Brown likened it to ‘an act of war’ with Trump’s administration.

‘The State of California is sheltering dangerous criminals in a brazen and lawless attack on our Constitutional system of government,’ Trump complained in his weekly address, accusing California’s leaders of being ‘in open defiance of federal law.’

President Trump waves to a crowd of reporters as he leaves the White House Tuesday for his first trip to California as president 

President Trump waves to a crowd of reporters as he leaves the White House Tuesday for his first trip to California as president

President Trump will visit the prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico while in San Diego. He'll also address the Marines in the Southern city before heading to Los Angeles for a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills 

President Trump will visit the prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico while in San Diego. He’ll also address the Marines in the Southern city before heading to Los Angeles for a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills

U.S. Border Patrol agents are seen preparing for President Trump's visit to San Diego on Tuesday 

U.S. Border Patrol agents are seen preparing for President Trump’s visit to San Diego on Tuesday

Law enforcement was out Tuesday morning preparing for President Trump's visit to San Diego later in the day 

Law enforcement was out Tuesday morning preparing for President Trump’s visit to San Diego later in the day

A protester awaits the arrival of President Trump along the U.S.- Mexico border in San Diego on Tuesday 

A protester awaits the arrival of President Trump along the U.S.- Mexico border in San Diego on Tuesday

A supporter of President Trump awaits the president as he takes his first trip to California on Tuesday. He'll look at prototypes of his pledged border wall between the U.S. and Mexico 

A supporter of President Trump awaits the president as he takes his first trip to California on Tuesday. He’ll look at prototypes of his pledged border wall between the U.S. and Mexico

Supporters and protesters await President Trump's arrival in California on Tuesday. In San Diego he'll look a prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico 

Supporters and protesters await President Trump’s arrival in California on Tuesday. In San Diego he’ll look a prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico

Trump is expected to visit these prototypes of border walls in San Diego, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

Trump is expected to visit these prototypes of border walls in San Diego, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

‘They don’t care about crime. They don’t care about death and killings. They don’t care about robberies,’ he said, calling on Congress to block the state’s federal funds.

Further north in tony Beverly Hills, Trump will entertain 1-percenters at a fundraising dinner where attendees will pay as much as $250,000 each

Last week, Oakland’s mayor warned residents of an impending immigration raid – a move that Trump called disgraceful and said put law enforcement officers at risk.

He brought up the Oakland mayor during his visit to the border wall today mid-way through his assault on the state’s governor.

‘You have sanctuary cities where have you criminals living in the sanctuary cities, and then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when ICE is going in to pick them up,’ Trump said. ‘And many of them were criminals with criminal records and very dangerous people,’ he added.

The state has also joined lawsuits aimed at stopping construction of Trump’s stalled border wall.

And its judges have repeatedly ruled against policies Trump has tried to enact.

In recent months, Trump and other administration officials have threatened both to flood the state with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and to pull ICE out of the state completely.

‘I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crying mess like you’ve never seen in California,’ Trump said last month, predicting ‘crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country.’

Meanwhile, Trump’s acting ICE director has repeatedly threatened to increase its enforcement footprint in the state in retaliation for its limited cooperation with federal immigration authorities – and he appears to be making good on his promise.

‘California better hold on tight. They’re about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers,’ Thomas Homan said on Fox earlier this year before his agency conducted a series of raids.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says California's Democratic politicians are 'stepping out of bounds' by 'refusing to follow federal law' on immigration

White House officials said the trip has been in the works for months and the timing so close to recent flare-ups was coincidental.

When asked if Trump planned to play nice on the trip, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, ‘Look, I think if anybody is stepping out of bounds here, it would be someone who is refusing to follow federal law, which is certainly not the president.’

‘And we’re going for what we hope to be an incredibly positive trip,’ Huckabee Sanders added.

Trump’s appearances in the left-leaning state during the 2016 campaign were marked by sometimes-violent clashes between his supporters and opposition groups.

In some cases, protesters blocked traffic and threw rocks and beer bottles.

Trump has insisted Mexico pay for the wall but Mexico has adamantly refused to consider the idea.

Organizers on both sides were urging people to remain peaceful after recent scuffles at rallies in Southern California, including brawls at a Dec. 9 rally near where the prototypes stand.

Trump’s more than yearlong absence from the nation’s most populous state – home to 1 in 8 Americans and, by itself, the world’s sixth-largest economy – has been conspicuous but not surprising. Trump country, it’s not.

As a candidate, Trump suggested he could win California, a state that hasn’t supported a Republican for the White House in three decades.

Since his election, Sacramento has emerged as a vanguard in the so-called Trump resistance. Democratic state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed nearly 30 lawsuits to block administration proposals.

California was the home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but Republican influence here has been fading for years as a surge in immigrants transformed the state and its voting patterns.

The number of Hispanics, blacks and Asians combined has outnumbered whites since 1998. Meanwhile, the state’s new voters, largely Latinos and Asians, lean Democratic, and Democrats hold every statewide office and control both chambers of the legislature by hefty margins.

Trump may not get the hero's welcome in California that he received Saturday night in western Pennsylvania

Two of the border wall prototypes are seen from the Mexican side of the border in Tijuana

Trump touts tighter border security at Latino National Council

Polls have found Trump deeply unpopular in the state, with most residents opposed to policies he’s championed, such as expanding offshore drilling.

Jessica Hayes, chairwoman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric plays especially poorly in a state with close trade and tourism connections with Mexico.

‘These are our neighbors. These are our friends,’ she said.

Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of flying in to pick the winning design for the border wall, telling rallygoers last year in Alabama: ‘I’m going to go out and look at them personally and pick the right one.’

The Department of Homeland Security has said there’s nothing to stop Trump from turning the wall design contest into a Miss Universe-style pageant.

But the department also says it doesn’t anticipate that a single prototype will be selected. Instead, the samples are expected ‘to inform future border wall design standards,’ said spokesman Tyler Houlton.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5495683/Protests-high-dollar-donors-greet-Trump-California-trip.html

Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Either Appoints Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Many Crimes Obama Administration and Bill and Hillary Clinton or Is Next To Be Fired– Videos

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Jeff Sessions reacts to calls for a second special counsel

Gowdy: Special counsel necessary to investigate FBI process

Gowdy, Goodlatte make case for second independent counsel

Trump lashes out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Jay Sekulow talks potential special counsel on FISA abuses

Grassley, Graham push for an investigation into Trump dossier author

Rep. Jordan: What’s it going to take to get a second special counsel?

GOP lawmakers call for second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch

Clinton, Lynch tarmac meeting details revealed in new emails

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March 12, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Unloads on Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Keep America Great! — Videos — Story 2: Case Closed: Absolutely No Evidence of Collusion of Trump or Cinton Campaign With Russians — Obama and Clinton Democratic Conspiracy and Destruction of Democratic Party — Video

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Story 1: President Trump Unloads on Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos —

Trump calls Chuck Todd ‘sleeping son of a bitch’

Trump veers off script with insults about Democrats

Full video: Trump rallies for Saccone in final days before Pennsylvania special election

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1980s: How Donald Trump Created Donald Trump | NBC News

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Victor D Hanson; Explains Perfectly how Trump pulled off the biggest Upset in Presidential History

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Story 2: Absolutely No Evidence of Collusion of Trump or Cinton Campaign With Russians — Obama and Clinton Democratic Conspiracy and Destruction of Democratic Party — Video

House Intelligence Committee ends Russia probe interviews

The Situation Room w/ Wolf Blitzer 03/12/18| House GOP ending Russia probe, says no collusion found

Adam Schiff Used Debunked ‘Dirty Dossier’ to LEAK Fake News to Media

Tucker: Russian collusion proof points to Dems, not Trump

Tucker Carlson Tonight (Mar 12, 2018) – Fox News

Clinton Foundation is a criminal enterprise: Judge Napolitano

Victor D Hanson Explains The Complete Corruption of the Obama Administration helped Sabotage Hillary

Victor Davis Hanson: the “Great” Lie about Trump’s Connection with Russia

Victor Davis Hanson: The Hypocrisy of the Left over Equality

How the Obama Precedent Empowered Trump

Historian Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s Incompetence To Blame For Putin’s Aggression

Victor Davis Hanson on Obama and the current administartion

House Republicans say probe found no evidence of collusion between Trump, Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Intelligence Committee Republicans said on Monday the panel had finished conducting interviews in its investigation of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, and found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s associates and Moscow’s efforts to influence the campaign.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” committee Republicans said as they released an overview of their probe.

Representative Mike Conaway, who has led the panel’s investigation, said the panel had finished the interview phase of its probe.

“You never know what you never know, but we found no reason to think that there’s something we’re missing in this regard. We’ve talked to everybody we think we need to talk to,” Conaway said in an interview on Fox News Channel.

Committee Democrats had no immediate response to the announcement, which was expected. Panel Republicans have been saying for weeks they were near the end of the interview phase of the probe.

Reflecting a deep partisan divide on the House of Representatives panel, Democrats have been arguing that the probe is far from over. Representative Adam Schiff, the panel’s ranking Democrat, said last week that there were dozens more witnesses who should be called before the panel, and many more documents that should be subpoenaed.

Democrats have accused Republicans on the committee of shirking the investigation in order to protect Trump and his associates, some of whom have pleaded guilty to charges including lying to investigators and conspiring against the United States.

Trump has repeatedly denied collusion between his associates and Russia.

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Johnan B. Peterson — 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

Posted on March 10, 2018. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Corruption, Diet, Diet, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Environment, Essays, Exercise, Faith, Family, Freedom, Friends, Health, Heroes, Homes, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Mastery, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Sleep, Spying, Strategy, Stress Reduction, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Vacations, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Absolutely

Jordan Peterson LIVE: 12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos

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Jordan Peterson: Advice for Hyper-Intellectual People

A Critique of Jordan B. Peterson

ALEXANDER BLUM

Far from being a darling of the alt-right or secretly promoting fiendish racist ideology, the largest contradiction in Jordan B. Peterson’s sprawling intellectual enterprise is simply the notion that capitalist classical liberalism is the only game we can successfully play on Earth, even as it contradicts the depths of Christian symbols.

Now, this is not intended to be a hit-piece on Dr. Peterson. I have listened to him since the fall of 2016, and he has radically shaped the way I view the world. He is one of the only people on the North American continent I would consider to be a true intellectual. But in the dregs of hero worship, it is too tempting to simply nod along with all that he says. Why wouldn’t I? He is far older, far wiser. But he is also in the archetypal position of ‘dead father’. He represents the golden sphere of the knowledge of both the ancient past and an intellectual development amid the dynamics of the Cold War. In order to effectively embody the spirit of the son, who resurrects the archaic tradition and redeems the blindness of his father, I must pry where there are cracks and make known the fact that no human being is infallible. In fact, if we believe that any human being has secured the total truth on any subject, then every successive generation is an unnecessary appendage insofar as they seek to develop that subject. The son who is incapable of surpassing the father signals the death of humankind, the end of evolution. As such, I must now bring rhetorical wounds against a man who is simultaneously master, bulwark and gatekeeper.

I attended a New York City talk delivered by Dr. Peterson, where much of his worldview crystallized. He explained that the Soviet Union and the West were engaged in a spiritual war over which type of ‘game’ is tenable to play. He concluded that the system of Western capitalism, built upon Enlightenment and mythological foundations (we will return to the mythological) was objectively superior to the Marxist rejection of hierarchy and obsession with central planning. Human nature, so it goes, aligns with the liberal capitalist mode of production.

But Dr. Peterson has made one profound oversight. It is precisely this: capitalism and classical liberalism have destroyed myth. The technological revolution, and the transformation of communal, local bonds of people with shared values into rent-seekers, wage-searchers and otherwise atomized, separate individuals united only by the search for profit, has destroyed the original foundations of human wellbeing. Economics has completely seized and determined culture. Peterson’s notion that economic success equates to playing a good game, or otherwise participating in the good, ultimately leads to a world defined by Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Trump.

The dominance hierarchy is a point of massive spiritual contention. How can the dominance hierarchies of the West be competent when at the very point of Peterson’s peak fame, they are occupied by Trump, a sophist, a marketer, a chronic liar with no internal life, no self-reflection, who will hand over all his wealth to unremarkable, unspecial, mediocre children? The Trump children earned nothing but by virtue of birth, and yet they are in possession of the keys to the world in ways ordinary lowborn people will never experience. How is this not a fundamental, fatal corruption of hierarchy, existing at the pinnacle of the world’s power? Peterson avoids speaking about Trump for this reason: it would force him to admit that liberal capitalism dissolves, finally, into a kind of madness. Decrying left-right polarization, Peterson upholds a center: that center is capitalist realism. The theorist Mark Fisher wrote a whole book about ‘Capitalist Realism’, the notion that social contract capitalism is the final system of economic-political life, and that’s simply that. Except Fisher rejected it, because capitalism destroys community, tradition and culture. It monetizes all these things and produces economically workshopped monoculture. Is it truly heroic to live in a circle for all of existence, the economization of perpetual Star Wars films serving as the only permanent narrative link between us? That is what Nietzsche’s ‘time is a flat circle’ meant – and it is a kind of hell. A world defined by those who purchased it two generations ago is no treading ground for heroes. Of that, I am certain.

Jordan Peterson lives doing what he loves. He makes a fortune off of Patreon and his new book. There is nothing wrong with that – he played the right game. He lived a life of the mind and was paid for it. The upcoming generation will not know what that feels like. University tenure is a non-starter. Being paid to write means working full-time in retail or food service, and not just throughout one’s 20s. Perhaps for one’s entire life. Monetizing a life of the mind is extremely rare. At Peterson’s lecture, I was surrounded by intensely bright, thoughtful young people, mostly young men. But how many of them will get to live a satisfying life of the mind? How many will instead work in offices, and ultimately aspire toward a more fulfilling life than the conditions of an impersonal network of capital that we are supposed to believe is in any way mythically inspired? I suspect that a new generation of Cains will arise out of the low-wage workers who thought they were promised something better.

When we reach the Biblical stories, we reach deeper problems. Equating Earthly success to playing the right game and achieving the good is, in essence, no better than Oprah’s prosperity gospel. People succeed off of bad ideas all the time. Worse, there are bad ideas we don’t even understand are bad, and are structurally incapable of facing. Here’s one: Professor Peterson gave the example of a person buying land, building a factory, and employing others as a total net good. But what if the factory creates irresolvable climate change over the course of 250+ years and sabotages future generations? What if the factory multiplies and creates a monoculture, stifling all new voices and claiming the globe, as Amazon and Google seek to do? When James Damore was fired by Google, Dr. Peterson was rightfully upset. But this is the consequence of prioritizing economics above culture and spirit – economic entities can slaughter free expression. That is entirely left out of a capitalist’s worldview. In fact, by merely writing controversial material, one can be rightfully denied a job by property owners. Fans of Peterson know as well as I do the deep taboos that linger in science. The subject of IQ alone will ruin lives – if intelligence is the predicate of a good life, and only a minority of us will have high IQs, what is to become of the bulk of us? Well, we will merely be followers, members of a herd. That, again, is no hero’s journey.

I always feel put-off by audiences. I felt frankly alienated, when Dr. Peterson said that rule-breaking, criminal children, if not addressed by the ages of 3 or 4, will be rule-breakers for their entire lives and ultimately end up in jail. Peterson’s words didn’t disgust me, but rather, the audience’s reaction did – it was laughter. We are talking about the doom and mass incarceration of millions of lives. We are talking about fate inscribed in biology – and the audience finds pause to laugh it off as just ‘unruly children are funny’? Perhaps they’re not taking this seriously. Perhaps the depths of this problem aren’t fully understood.

Peterson simultaneously argues for self-improvement in the game of atomized profit-seeking, but also that one’s genes largely determine intelligence and the qualities of success, i.e., disagreeableness, conscientiousness, and so on. Monetizing one’s creativity is largely an expression of personality – intelligence plus conscientiousness, with disagreeableness tossed in to ensure you keep coming out on top of negotiations. If you are born without that cocktail, you must work against your own brain where others have a smooth ride. The same is ultimately true in relation to identity. You can tell black people to pull up their bootstraps all you want – but ultimately, if you don’t understand that black people today bear the culture and last names of their former slave owners, and according to certain insane IQ studies, have a lower IQ on average than whites (a claim that debunks meritocracy and individualism in one swoop), you must prepare for the consequences. You must prepare for moral rebellion. What would you do in their situation? Every anxiety compounded by identity-wounds? It would be a hell that young white men do not face. And imagine being transgender and dealing with the world! Peterson is right to say that you must face the world, no matter what – but also wrong to defend the free market and suggest that pulling up your bootstraps is the only mode of life in which responsibility may properly manifest in individuals. The conservative desire for a totally brutal, independent society for ordinary citizens, while enabling state subsidies and legal tax evasion schemes (Apple pays no taxes) for the wealthy, is an infuriating double standard upheld by centrist capitalism.

In a Quora question from years ago, the Professor once argued against universal health care, saying that it is wrong to ‘force’ the hands of doctors, the same line of argument used by Ben Shapiro. I will never understand this in any sense. If you are paid, you have to do work, whether it’s a private or public hospital. Either way, declining work means getting fired. There is no real distinction in ‘forced’ labor here. Of what use are our myths if we share no common community worth funding, for those who would otherwise be bankrupted by their bills? If you say churches or local organizations should provide these services, then see to it that megachurches provide anything at all from their coffers. I guarantee you these ‘Christians’ will cling to their purse strings.

On the topic of transgender people, I split in certain ways with Peterson. As I understand it, he is only opposed to the legal requirement to adhere to proper pronouns, which I understand. I reject state authority as well. But what is the transgender individual, at a deeper level? At its core, it is an attempt to break free from the constraints of biology and achieve ‘one’ where previously there were two. This is a good thing. I see much hope in the transgender movement. And it is mythologically driven.

For all that Peterson speaks of the Bible, so far, he leaves out one vital figure, perhaps the most vital figure: Sophia. In Carl Jung’s Answer to Job, Jung calls Sophia the logos itself. He names Sophia the mediator between humankind and God. Who is Sophia? Wisdom. She is the feminine wisdom exiled from the world, because in Gnostic Christian mythology, she created the world without consent from God, and in doing so, created a false God called the Demiurge, and the serpent and the fall. The redemption of the world is the return of Sophia from exile.

In his epic work of Christian mysticism, Valentin Tomberg wrote that the complete Holy Trinity is not father-son-holy spirit. In fact, it is the Holy Trinity plus mother, daughter and holy soul. The Holy Trinity, according to the greatest master of Catholic mysticism I have ever read, is actually composed of six parts, not three, and it is feminine and masculine in nature. It is intersex, or both sexes, it is fundamentally androgynous. There is so much we do not yet understand about human identity – why must traditionalists cut off all possibility for transformation out of fear alone?

To combine the feminine and the masculine is the goal of all this gender trouble, to make ‘one’ where there is now division. In the Answer to Job, Jung refers to Yahweh, or God himself, as “unconscious”, a monster, a beast of nature. It is only Sophia who is able to create self-reflection through the mediation between Yahweh and Job. it is the feminine out of which the logos is born. If modern feminism is corrupt in spite of this fact, it is because culture itself is corrupt. If the transgender movement is incomplete, it is because it is too political and not enough immersed in the archaic foundations for transforming gender, the mythical synthesis of male and female. But we also have ourselves to blame for removing Sophia entirely from our retellings of the Biblical story – Sophia is the feminine Christ. Without her, there is only cruel and delusional Yahweh, the primal God who shaped the world but who is not fit to run it alone.

But in the Q&A after the talk, Peterson explicitly defined the relationship between male and female as that of Christ and Mary. In other words, Mary raises Christ. The purpose of women is not to become heroes, but to raise them. That is impossible for a truly ambitious woman. If I were born a woman, obsessed with these mystical and philosophical questions, I would resent that statement so deeply I may never recover. Peterson’s philosophy is centered, in this way, upon a male subject. In order to redeem the father, the next generation of mythical thinkers must reorient the woman out of this secondary position. Perhaps that entails changing the very biology of childbirth – with artificial wombs, who knows what will follow. The tranhumanist idea must return Sophia to the world, not be finished at the half-answer of Mary. Valentin Tomberg, interestingly enough, spoke of the Mary-Sophia as the ultimate form of the woman. Both raiser of heroes and the hero herself. That is completeness and perfection. Not this half-answer of women in one corner, men in another, men striving, women bearing children. The reason for the fall and the progress of history is to return to Eden with higher values and more complete myths, not merely to repeat the past. Of that I am certain.

Lastly, the paradoxes of Genesis are not fully appreciated by Peterson’s focus on Western capitalism, property, and contractual profit-seeking life. Ultimately, success in this world is success of the serpent. That much is clear. Satan, and the serpent, are the Gods of this world. And God obeys the serpent! God listens to evil, and bullies Job. God allows evil to run rampant. And this world, crafted in the image of the serpent, is not the place to lay down and hand over one’s lifeblood. Financial success in this nature, this fallen nature, genetic, cyclical birth-death-birth-death nature, is only temporal. Manipulating the mechanisms of fallen nature to secure a wife and get a job are not the full extent of the hero’s journey. The true extent of the hero’s journey is in solving the problem of the fall. It is the return of Christ crucified to heaven. Now, the Marxists have tried to solve this problem, to create paradise and equality on Earth, and they have failed. But I am still committed to the attempt through means other than Marxism.

Finally, Christ himself is the ultimate paradox. I mean, let’s be serious about this. Pontius Pilate and the Romans who crucified Christ were victorious on the dominance hierarchy. Christ was defeated, destroyed. So why, then, is he the maximal expression of the hero in Christian myth? He was crucified by those who did secure wives and careers, and who passed down judgement, and succeed over others. And yet, the man who was destroyed, and not his destroyers, is the ultimate hero. It is because worldly success is not true success. There is a difference. There is absolutely a difference.

My ultimate concern with Peterson’s capitalism is that the modern world has become a place ill-suited for heroes, designed to make us dumb, dull and conformist, and he acknowledges this – he sees the difficulty of the situation, but it is the young, careerless and unmarried who will truly have to figure out a solution. In truth, we will be the ones who face it. The young, those who grew up immersed in the virtual, and the chaotic fragmentation of the decaying liberal order under Donald Trump. That is our inheritance – not the Cold War, not cultural Marxism. Those are both side-shows that make us feel good about our own cultural signaling, while resolving virtually nothing. At the Q&A, two people who asked questions were indicative of madness. One of them opened the question session by asking why Jews have been trying to destroy Russia for two-hundred years. Peterson, wisely, said “I can’t do it”. Touching that question is touching a fine sprinkled dust born of unkempt hair, the aesthetic of the alt-right, But another questioner was taken seriously, though he bothered me immensely. All I could think when he spoke was “Joseph McCarthy”. This kid asked Peterson: “How can we tell the difference between the Marxists trying to destroy Western civilization and the useful idiots?” Some in the crowd cheered. I saw the true nature of that question – authoritarianism. Let’s not be deluded by present culture wars – the right is just as authoritarian as the left, and more successful at implementing its ideas. The original dissident intellectual was the Western leftist. The pendulum will always swing back and forth, and the only way to reject it is to reject the mindset of these damn inquisitors. Yes, I’ve got problems with Western civilization. I live because there are problems to be solved. They are major problems. If the structure is good enough so that nothing major must be changed, then I was born after history ended, and will simply work my way to a cyclical grave. No. I’d rather make a world fit for heroes.

What is a hero? Someone who redeems the blind sight of the past and renews myth by speaking the truth. Well, the truth is that the world of fetishizing Earthly games as a path to goodness and truth is the world that leads to a monoculture dictated by Google, Amazon and Facebook. Individuals unrestrained by mythical truth, modern capitalists, have transformed their ideas into leviathans more massive and powerful than any idea can functionally be. If Jordan Peterson opposes communism, he must also oppose the corporate communism of a world split between a handful of companies that determine the communications, ideas and structure of the world. And that corporate communism is the consequence of believing that classical liberal capitalism is the only way we can possibly live. One entrepreneur, with one idea, one hero – Mark Zuckerberg? No. Something went wrong. He is no Hercules. The myth has degenerated into marketing. It must be made into something more.

 

 

Jordan Peterson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jordan Peterson
Peterson Lecture (33522701146).png

Peterson at the University of Toronto, 2017
Born Jordan Bernt Peterson
June 12, 1962 (age 55)
EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Citizenship Canadian
Education Political science (B.A., 1982)
Psychology (B.A., 1984)
Clinical psychology (Ph.D., 1991)
Alma mater
Spouse(s) Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologistcultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief,[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson studied at the University of Alberta and McGill University. He remained at McGill as a post-doctoral fellow from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. In 1998, he moved to the University of Toronto as a full professor.

His first book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief was published in 1999, a work which examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and motivation for genocide.[4][5][6] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[7][8][9]

In 2016, Peterson released a series of videos on his YouTube channel in which he criticized political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16. He subsequently received significant media coverage.[7][8][9]

Childhood

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada. He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[10] His middle name is Bernt (/bɛərnt/ BAIRNT), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[11][12]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley – mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[13] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party due to what he saw as a preponderance of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[10] He left the NDP at age 18.[14]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in 1982.[14] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he developed an interest in the psychological origins of the Cold War, particularly 20th century European totalitarianism,[2][15] and was plagued by apocalyptic nightmares about the escalation of the nuclear arms race. As a result, he became concerned about mankind’s capacity for evil and destruction, and delved into the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[10] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[15] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychologyin 1984.[16] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][17]

Career

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggressionarising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[14] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[8] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][16]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers.[18] Peterson has over 20 years of clinical practice, seeing 20 people a week, but in 2017, he decided to put the practice on hold because of new projects.[7]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[10][16][19] He has also appeared on that network on shows such as Big Ideas, and as a frequent guest and essayist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin since 2008.[20][21]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything – anything – to defend ourselves against that return.

— Jordan Peterson, 1998 (Descensus ad Inferos)[22]

In 1999, Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaningbeliefs and make narratives using ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[14][22][23]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[14]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[14][22][23] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[23]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[7][8][9] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[24][25][26] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News. In a short time the interview received considerable attention and over seven million views on YouTube.[27][28][29] The book was ranked the number one bestselling book on Amazon in the United States and Canada and number four in the United Kingdom.[30][31] It also topped bestselling lists in Canada, US and the United Kingdom.[32][33]

YouTube channel and podcasts

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[34]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 800,000 subscribers and his videos have received more than 35 million views as of January 2018.[35] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received via the crowd-sourced funding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017 to more than $50,000 by July 2017.[13][35][36]

Peterson has appeared on The Joe Rogan ExperienceThe Gavin McInnes ShowSteven Crowder‘s Louder with CrowderDave Rubin‘s The Rubin ReportStefan Molyneux‘s Freedomain Radioh3h3Productions‘s H3 PodcastSam Harris‘s Waking Up podcast, Gad Saad‘s The Saad Truth series and other online shows.[37] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has 39 episodes as of February 20, 2018, including academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker,[38] while on his channel he has also interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others. Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[9]

In May 2017, Peterson began The Psychological Significance of the Biblical stories,[39] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Genesis as patterns of behavior vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[9][40]

Self Authoring Suite

Peterson and his colleagues Robert O. Pihl, Daniel Higgins, and Michaela Schippers[41] produced a writing therapy program with series of online writing exercises, titled the Self Authoring Suite.[42] It includes the Past Authoring Program, a guided autobiography; two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[43][44] The Self Authoring Programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Pennebaker demonstrated that writing about traumatic or uncertain events and situations improved mental and physical health, while Latham demonstrated that personal planning exercises help make people more productive.[44] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[10]

Critiques of political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[37][45][46] Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[47] while in The SpectatorTim Lottstated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[15] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[48]

According to his study – conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy – of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: PC-Egalitarianism and PC-Authoritarianism, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[49] The first type is represented by a group of classical liberals, while the latter by the group known as “social justice warriors[10] who “weaponize compassion“.[2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[49]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[48] He watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[50] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[15][51][52]

Of postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politics throughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[51]

Peterson believes that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s,[45] while typically claiming to reject Marxism and Communism, because they were discredited as economic ideologies as well by the exposure of crimes in the Soviet Union, have actually built upon and extended their core tenets. He states that it is difficult to understand contemporary society without considering the influence of postmodernism which initially spread from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He argues that they “started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name … The people who hold this doctrine – this radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identity or sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount – they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well”.[51][18]

He emphasizes that the state should halt funding to faculties and courses he describes as neo-Marxist, and advises students to avoid disciplines like women’s studiesethnic studies and racial studies, as well other fields of study he believes are “corrupted” by the ideology such as sociologyanthropology and English literature.[53][54] He states that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[55] cult-like behaviour,[53] safe-spaces,[56] and radical left-wing political activism for students.[45] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses AI to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[57][58]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that, “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[45] In response to the 2017 protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, he criticized the far right‘s use of identity politics, and said that “the Caucasians shouldn’t revert to being white. It’s a bad idea, it’s a dangerous idea, and it’s coming fast, and I don’t like to see that!” He stated that the notion of group identity is “seriously pathological … reprehensible … genocidal” and “it will bring down our civilization if we pursue it”.[59] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[60]

Of Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[13][61] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty as part of compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[61][62]

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transsexual student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[63] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[64] Other academics challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16,[63] while some scholars such as Robert P. George supported Peterson’s initiative.[13]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive”.[13] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[65][66][67] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me … If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no … If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[67] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[68]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[13]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16 after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[69] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[70]

In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[71] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said “[c]ommittees assess only the information contained in the application”.[72] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[73] The campaign raised $195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[74]

In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak on the bill.[70]

In August 2017, an announced event at Ryerson University titled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses”, organized by former social worker Sarina Singh with panelists Peterson, Gad Saad, Oren Amitay, and Faith Goldy was shut down because of pressure on the university administration from the group “No Fascists in Our City”.[75] However, another version of the panel (without Goldy) was held on November 11 at Canada Christian College with an audience of 1,500.[76][77]

In November 2017 a teaching assistant (TA) at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) was censured by her professors and WLU’s Manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16, during a classroom discussion.[78][79][80] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate” and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[81] The case was criticized by several newspaper editorial boards[82][83][84] and national newspaper columnists[85][86][87][88] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. WLU announced a third-party investigation.[89] After the release of the audio recording of the meeting in which the TA was censured,[90] WLU President Deborah MacLatchy and the TA’s supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana published letters of formal apology.[91][92][93] According to the investigation no students had complained about the lesson, there was no informal concern related to Laurier policy, and according to MacLatchy the meeting “never should have happened at all”.[94][95]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[13] They have one daughter and one son.[10][13] He became a grandfather in August 2017.[96]

Politically, Peterson has described himself as a classic British liberal.[97][15] He is a philosophical pragmatist.[40] In a 2017 interview, Peterson identified as a Christian,[98] but in 2018 he did not.[99] He emphasized his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what it is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[99] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[7] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[15]

Bibliography

Books

Journal articles

Top 15 most cited academic papers from Google Scholar and ResearchGate:

References

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

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John Birch Society — They’re Back — Eagles Rising — Videos

Posted on February 12, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, media, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Television, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

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National Review’s Neoconservative Agenda

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Seth Rich Murdered for DNC Leak to WikiLeaks, Says Roger Stone

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The Problem With Voting for ‘Conservatives’: Part II

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Is Obama Leading a Shadow Government to Torpedo Trump?

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G. Edward Griffin Interviews the John Birch Society (1984)

This is The John Birch Society

What is The John Birch Society?

Ron Paul’s Keynote Speech at the 50th Anniversary of JBS

John Birch Society on the Illuminati and the New World Order

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History

Formed by Robert Welch in December 1958, The John Birch Society takes its name from the legendary World War II Army Captain John Birch. The organization’s overall goal, never altered in the 50-plus years of its existence, has always been to create sufficient understanding amongst the American people about both their country and its enemies, so that they could protect freedom and ensure continuation of the nation’s independence.

Always an education and action organization, the Society has never deviated from its opposition to communism and any other form of totalitarianism, certainly including the steady drift toward total government currently arising from within our own shores. But the positive promise of what can be built in an atmosphere of freedom has always been more of a motivation for members than any negative fear of what must be opposed.

While the Society has always focused on combating — or occasionally applauding — actions taken by government, the organization was also built on a moral foundation. Its motto proclaims the long-range goal of “Less government, more responsibility, and – with God’s help – a better world.” How much “less” government? Officials point to the U.S. Constitution and claim that adherence to its many limitations on power would result in the federal government being 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost.

As for “more responsibility,” the Society insists that the Ten Commandments should guide all personal and organizational conduct. Agreeing with numerous pronouncements of our nation’s Founders, Society members believe that national freedom cannot long endure without moral restraint.

Soon after its creation, enemies discovered the Society’s potential to arouse and inform a generally sleeping population. At that point, there arose a totally unfair and withering smear campaign painting the organization and its members with an array of nasty and completely false charges, none of which ever had any validity.

With a membership made up of Americans of all races, colors, creeds, and national origins, the Society is currently enjoying a surge in activity, a large growth in acceptance, and increased hope for a future marked by less government and more responsibility. It is that combination that surely will, with God’s help, lead to the better world desired by all men and women of good will.

https://www.jbs.org/about-jbs/history

The John Birch Society Is Back

Bircher ideas, once on the fringe, are increasingly commonplace in today’s GOP and espoused by friends in high places. And the group is ready to make the most of it.

Robert Welch, founder and president of the John Birch Society, in a May 1961 photo.

Robert Welch, founder and president of the John Birch Society, in a May 1961 photo. | AP Photo

In an unseasonably warm Saturday in January, Jan Carter, a short, graying, 75-year-old retiree, appears pleased. The Central Texas Chapter of the John Birch Society, which Carter leads, is conducting a workshop titled “The Constitution Is the Solution” in the farming town of Holland—home to 1,200 residents, three churches, one stoplight and an annual corn festival. Carter was unsure if anyone would drive to such a remote area early on a weekend morning to get lectured about the Constitution, but, one by one, people are showing, renewing Carter’s “hope that the country can be saved.”

In the Holland Church of Christ, around the corner from a main street lined with abandoned buildings, Carter sits down to talk. She says that the John Birch Society—a group she was convinced could save the nation from a global conspiracy of leftists and communists more than half a century ago—has come roaring back to life in the nick of time. The more she thinks about the situation, the more she sees parallels to the 1950s and 1960s: evil domestic and international terrorists threatening to undo all that is good and holy in the United States.

These days, to the extent that most people know of the John Birch Society—that far-right group founded in the thick of the Cold War to fight communists and preach small government—it’s purely as a historical relic of a bygone era of sock hops and poodle skirts. But the John Birch Society lives. And though it is not the same robust organization it was in its 1960s heyday—when, by some counts, it had as many as 100,000 dues-paying members around the country and 60 full-time staff—after decades of declining membership and influence, the Birchers insist they are making a comeback. And they point to Texas as the epicenter of their restoration.

“There definitely is an increase in [our] activity, particularly in Texas, because Americans are seeking answers, but they can’t quite put their finger on what some of the real problems are,” says Bill Hahn, the John Birch Society’s vice president of communications, who spoke to Politico Magazine on the phone from the Society’s headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Carter, the head of the Central Texas Chapter, says that statewide, the group’s membership has doubled over the last three years (she declined to disclose exact numbers, as did Hahn, citing Society policy). “State legislators are joining the group,” she says, citing it as proof that their ideas are gaining salience as “more and more people are ready to fight the liberals who preach globalism and want to take away our freedom, our guns, religious values and our heritage.”

In that quest, they have common cause with powerful allies in Texas, including Senator Ted Cruz, Representative Louie Gohmert and a smattering of local officials. Recently at the state level, legislators have authored Bircher-esque bills that have made it further through the lawmaking process than many thought possible in Texas, even just a few years ago—though these are less the cause of the John Birch Society’s influence than an indication of the rise of its particular strain of politics. These include bills that would forbid any government entity from participating in “Agenda 21,” a UN sustainable development effort which JBS pamphlets describe as central to the “UN’s plan to establish control over all human activity”; prevent the theoretical sale of the Alamo to foreigners (since 1885 the state has owned the former mission, Texas’ most visited historic landmark, where the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution occurred); and repeal the Texas DREAM Act, which allows undocumented students who graduate from Texas high schools to pay in-state tuition at public colleges. And last month, Governor Greg Abbott signed the “American Laws for American Courts” Act into law, guarding against what the society has called “Sharia-creep” by prohibiting the use of Islamic Sharia law in Texas’ court system.

This is what the 21st-century John Birch Society looks like. Gone is the organization’s past obsession with ending the supposed communist plot to achieve mind-control through water fluoridation. What remains is a hodgepodge of isolationist, religious and right-wing goals that vary from concrete to abstract, from legitimate to conspiracy minded—goals that don’t look so different from the ideology coming out of the White House. It wants to pull the United States out of NAFTA (which it sees as the slippery slope that will lead us to a single-government North American Union), return America to what they call its Christian foundations, defundthe UN, abolish the departments of education and energy, and slash the federal government drastically. The John Birch Society once fulminated on the idea of Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government; now, it wants to stop the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible collusion with the campaign of President Donald Trump.

The Society’s ideas, once on the fringe, are increasingly commonplace in today’s Republican Party. And where Birchers once looked upon national Republican leaders as mortal enemies, the ones I met in Texas see an ally in the president. “All of us here voted for Trump,” says Carter. “And we’re optimistic about what he will do.”

***

The John Birch Society formed on a frigid Monday morning in December 1958, when 11 of the nation’s richest businessmen braved single-digit temperatures to attend a mysterious meeting in suburban Indianapolis.

They had arrived at the behest of candy magnate Robert Welch, who had made a fortune with his caramel-on-a-stick confection known as the “Sugar Daddy,” and now intended to spend that money defeating the wide-slung Communist conspiracy he was certain had infiltrated the federal government. Welch had invited these men to Indianapolis without giving a reason, and asked them to stay for two days.

After exchanging firm handshakes in the breakfast room of a sprawling, Tudor-style house in the tony Meridian Park neighborhood, Welch explained why he had brought this group together: The United States faced an existential threat from an “international Communist conspiracy” hatched by an “amoral gang of sophisticated criminals.” The power-hungry, God-hating, government worshipers had infiltrated newsrooms, public schools, legislative chambers and houses of worship. They were frighteningly close to total victory—Welch felt it in his gut. “These cunning megalomaniacs seek to make themselves the absolute rulers of a human race of enslaved robots, in which every civilized trait has been destroyed,” Welch wrote in The Blue Book of the John Birch Society, the organization’s founding history.

The chosen few gathered here would form the vanguard of a new political movement, an army of brave American patriots dedicated to preserving the country’s Christian and constitutional foundations. Welch christened the group the John Birch Society—named in memory of a U.S. soldier-turned-Baptist missionary killed by Chinese Communists in 1945—and laid out its goal: Destroying the “Communist conspiracy … or at least breaking its grip on our government and shattering its power within the United States.”

 

 

The Society was Welch’s attempt to root out the reds—an end goal he offered as justification for his opposition to the United Nations (“an instrument of Communist global conquest”), the civil rights movement (an attempt to establish an “independent Negro-Soviet Republic”), public water fluoridation, and Dwight Eisenhower (“a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy”), among myriad other targets of his suspicion.

Prominent Texans quickly became fans. Dallas oilman H.L Hunt, the richest man in the world and a major Republican donor, espoused Bircher views on his popular radio program starting in the 1950s. Dallas Reverend W.A. Criswell, a segregationist and head of the largest Southern Baptist congregation in the world, praised Bircher positions from his pulpit and railed against “the leftists, the liberals, the pinks, and the welfare statists who are soft on communism and easy towards Russia.” Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker, born in small-town Texas and commander of 10,000 troops stationed in post-war Europe, distributed Bircher material to the men under his command. Walker, who called Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt “definitely pink,” resigned after being investigated by the Kennedy administration for engaging in partisan political activity on the job in 1961. East Texas Congressman Martin Dies, the founder of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, was a regular contributor to the Society’s publications in the mid-1960s. These sons of the Lone Star State saw a nation careening towards unfettered Communism. They refused to remain silent.

Popular as Welch’s brand of post-McCarthy McCarthyism was with a certain segment of the right-wing populace, many other conservatives found his beliefs a mixture of detestable and impolitic—including, most famously, William F. Buckley, the founder and editor of National Review.

In the 1950s, Buckley was friendly with Welch, writes Buckley biographer Alvin Felzenberg, even promising to give a “little publicity” to his upstart organization. But the acidity of Welch’s anti-communist paranoia—alleging, for instance, that the cabal of communist agents atop the U.S. government included President Eisenhower, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Director Allen Dulles among its ranks—ate away at any relationship with Buckley, who saw such ramblings as a danger to conservatives.

By 1961, Buckley began to see the John Birch Society in general and Welch in particular as threats to the nascent presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater, the rock-ribbed conservative whom Buckley wanted to receive the GOP’s presidential nomination in 1964. If conservatives counted the Birchers as allies, Buckley wrote in an April 1961 National Review column, the left could “anathematize the entire American right wing.”

In the popular memory, it was the first in a series of increasingly antagonistic columns in which Buckley “expelled” the Birchers from the conservative movement. But in reality, the John Birch Society never went away. It was weakened, yes, and its ranks have atrophied drastically. As an organization, the Society lacks its former influence and numbers. It is a pale imitation of its former self. But the increased popularity of the brand of paranoid, conspiracy-minded conservatism it pioneered suggests its finger is still firmly on the pulse of a certain type of anti-government ideology—one that is closer to the levers of power than ever before, especially in Texas, home of Alex Jones, Ron Paul and Ted Cruz.

***

In the annex of the Holland Church of Christ, Carter invites me to look at the assorted John Birch Society literature spread across a white plastic table. Pamphlets forecast the threat posed by Agenda 21, the “UN’s plan to establish control over all human activity.” The New Americanmagazine, the Society’s house organ, warns about the federal government gathering personal data from the pervasive technology all around us—toys, smartphones, appliances, even pacemakers. Nearby, there’s a stack of DVDs with titles like “Exposing Terrorism: Inside the Terror Triangle,” which promises to reveal the real culprits behind global terrorism.

Six people have shown up for part one of the “Constitution Is the Solution” workshop, which consists of six 45-minute lectures on DVD, divided over two Saturday mornings. The session’s official facilitator is Dr. Joyce Jones, a thin, neatly coiffed, middle-aged woman who is, by day, a professor of psychology at Central Texas College in Killeen. Jones hands us worksheets with fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions to answer while we watch. “In other words, we won’t be just zoning out in front of the TV,” she says.

In the first video, “The Dangers of Democracy,” lecturer Robert Brown, a clean-cut white man in a dark suit, defines democracy as “mob rule,” and emphasizes that the United States is a republic, not a democracy. “It wasn’t what government did that made America great,” Brown says in the recording. “It was what government was prevented from doing that made the difference.”

After the first video lecture ends, Dr. Jones offers a quote from Mao Zedong: “Democracies inevitably lead to collectivism, which leads to socialism, which leads to communism, which leads to totalitarianism.”

Welch, who called democracy a “weapon of demagoguery,” ran the JBS as an autocracy, based on his own opinions about what was best, governing it without the democratic nods found in many other members-based groups, lest it suffer from, as he put it, “infiltration, distortion, or disruption.” Considering how much the JBS has declined since its glory days when Welch governed it by fiat, it’s hard not to read the Birchers’ opinions of democracy as words spoken from experience.

The second video lecture stresses that the federal government has overstepped its constitutional authority and encroached on states’ rights. Most of the attendees, all of whom who are white, nod their heads at the mention of state’s rights. Two hours into the workshop we start the third video, which advocates that the Federal Reserve be abolished and the United States return to the gold standard.

One week later, I returned to Holland for part two. While the lectures from the first weekend explained a political theory that could be boiled down to a few things—government programs and socialism are bad; the free market and Christianity are good—the titles of the second set of lectures suggested a more provocative call to action: “Exposing the Enemies of Freedom” and “Constitutional War Powers and the Enemy Within.”

I picked up the worksheet for this week’s video lessons. A multiple-choice question asks you to identify “the Illuminati.” Is it: (A) a myth, (B) an alien race of shape-shifters, or (C) a group founded in the late 1700s, seeking world government? Correct answer: C.

The accompanying lecture warns about a massive, well-organized conspiracy of elites that is determined to destroy religion, glorify immorality, take children from their parents and give them to the state and ultimately form a one-world government. These global elites, we are told, coalesced in Bavaria in 1776 and call themselves the Illuminati. Though the “Illuminati” conspiracy theory has been, of late, widely known and ridiculed, it’s a longtime Bircher hobbyhorse; the Illuminati, Welch wrote in a 1966 essay, has “grandiose dreams of overthrowing all existing human institutions, and of rising out of the resulting chaos as the all-powerful rulers of a ‘new order’ of civilization.”

After learning about the Illuminati, we are lectured about a much newer, but no less pernicious conspiracy: the Council on Foreign Relations. Founded in 1921, the nonpartisan think tank and publisher’s mission is to advocate globalization and free trade. Board members have included banker David Rockefeller, journalist Tom Brokaw and former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. For $19.95, you can order a documentary film from the John Birch Society website called “ShadowRing,” which promises to “set the record straight” on the “criminal deeds” of the Council on Foreign Relations. To the Birchers, CFR shares the same goals as the Illuminati: “to destroy the freedom and independence of the United States and lead our nation into a world government,” in the words of John McManus, the John Birch Society’s president emeritus.

And the last, best hope of fighting these nefarious elitist outfits happens to be a group founded by a millionaire at an invitation-only meeting of wealthy industrialists.

***

The John Birch Society isn’t just gaining purchase in the Lone Star state’s tiny backwaters. Texas’s largest cities, Houston and Dallas, are home to active JBS chapters. At 10 minutes past noon on a Thursday in February, about 40 members of the Houston chapter gather at Christine’s Steaks and Seafood in the Bayou City. They have come to the restaurant, which sits next to an eight-lane road lined with shopping centers, to hear a speech from the most famous of the country’s founding fathers.

But George Washington is running late.

Mark Collins, who has a robust career as both a pastor at a Baptist church and an impersonator of America’s first president, had to drive in from Yorktown, Texas, about an hour away. He has portrayed Washington on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, at former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Prayer Breakfast, and in the Nicholas Cage movie “National Treasure 2: The Book of Secrets.” When he finally enters the dining room, the 6’4” Collins looks every bit the part, bedecked in yellow breeches, a blue military coat with gold epaulettes and brass buttons the size of half dollars, and a gray revolutionary pigtail. “So happy to be here with you patriots,” he bellows. “The JBS is the tip of the spear.”

Today, Collins is preaching his Americanist gospel to fervent believers in frenetic Houston. The sprawling metropolis, home to the nation’s biggest oil companies, the world’s largest rodeo and former President George H.W. Bush, has exploded from a sleepy mid-sized town to become the nation’s fourth largest city. It’s also among the most ethnically diverse cities in America, though Collins’ audience in the restaurant is entirely white. The pastor stands in front of a banner featuring a bald eagle, a slogan (“Less government, more responsibility, and—with God’s help—a better world.”) and the John Birch Society’s toll-free telephone number, 1-800-JBS-USA1.

“We must teach our children their heritage,” Collins tells the crowd. “We’ve slowly forgotten our principles.” But there is a powerful reason to rejoice, Collins adds, a reason for renewed optimism: God has sent America a new, powerful leader. He’s a good man, a moral man. God has delivered Donald J. Trump to save the United States of America.

The great struggles American patriots face today are not new, Collins shouts. The enthusiastic crowd—people are smiling and clapping—seems to invigorate Collins. He is pacing back and forth, brimming with energy. “And don’t forget this is not the first time the United States has gone to war with Muslims terrorists. In 1801, we waged war against Muslim terrorists in Tripoli.”

Collins is referencing the First Barbary War, which pitted the United States against Algiers, Morocco, Tunis and Tripoli. In 1801, Tripoli seized American merchant vessels and demanded ransom for their return. President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay, and instead sent the Navy. Academic consensus holds that religion had little to do with the war, but Collins’ remark about fighting Muslim terrorists resonates with the crowd, and many in the audience nod their heads as Collins continues.

“And let us not forget in 1774 the government, the British government, tried to ban the original assault rifle … the Brown Bess. That attempt to seize weapons brought about a revolution.” More than a dozen audience members applaud. “Just horrible,” says an elderly woman sitting next to me in a wheelchair.

Collins’ voice grows louder. “Many today don’t realize that we are facing the same gun-control tactics by our own federal government that our forefathers faced from the British,” he says. “Just horrible,” the elderly woman says again.

For 15 minutes, Collins orates on George Washington’s close relationship with Christ. Washington spent the first and last hour of every day in prayer, Collins says. Then, the presidential impersonator lays down a challenge: “Make no mistake, there is a war for the soul of this nation. But with work and sacrifice the United States can be restored as a nation. All it takes is an on-fire minority setting fire in the minds of men.”

***

Chip Berlet, former senior analyst at Political Research Associates in Somerville, Massachusetts, a left-leaning think tank, and co-author of “Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort,” has studied the John Birch Society for three decades.

Berlet tells me the resurgence of the John Birch Society taps into populism which surfaces periodically, especially during times of cultural and demographic upheaval. The nation’s demographic landscape has undergone dramatic shifts since the Birchers’ heyday. From 1955 to 2014, the percentage of U.S. citizens who identified as Protestant sunk from 70 percent to 46 percent, according to polls by Gallup. The percentage of citizens who identified as non-Hispanic white decreased from 89 percent to 63 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Such changes, mixed with man’s evolutionary tendency toward tribalism, means that many white Christian Americans are full of anxiety.

“The John Birch Society views white Anglo-Saxon Protestant ethnocentrism as the true expression of America,” Berlet says. “They use constitutionalist arguments and conspiracist scapegoating to mask this.”

Placing blame on conspiracies is seductive to social conservatives because of the way their brains are hardwired, says Colin Holbrook, an evolutionary psychologist and research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s not a pathology, nor because they’re less intelligent,” Holbrook tells me.

Holbrook co-authored a 2017 study for the journal Psychological Science, in which subjects were presented with a series of false statements such as, “Terrorist attacks in the U.S. have increased since Sept. 11, 2001,” and “Hotel room keycards are often encoded with personal information that can be read by thieves.”

In Holbrook’s study, social conservatives were more credulous about claims of danger in the world, and the phenomenon has roots in evolutionary psychology—being hyper-aware of threats could potentially save your life. But that evolutionary advantage also makes social conservatives more susceptible to claims about things that could potentially hurt them, according to Holbrook. “That’s what you’re probably seeing with the John Birchers in Texas and the conspiracies they fear,” he says.

After speaking with Holbrook, I thought back to a conversation I had with Jan Carter after the “Constitution is the Solution” workshop in Holland. I told her that it was hard for me to believe that our elected officials are part of a secret conspiracy to form a one-world government, or that they are members of the Illuminati. What about staunchly conservative Texas Republicans, like Gov. Abbott or President George W. Bush?

Carter immediately corrected me. “George W. Bush didn’t have noble intentions. He wanted a one-world government.”

I suggested to Carter that Abbott, at least, seems to genuinely distrust the federal government. He’s a man who, after all, when serving as Texas’ attorney general, sued the Obama administration at least two dozen times. And in April 2015, when some Texans feared that a U.S. military training exercise called “Jade Helm 15” was a covert attempt by the federal government to invade the state, seize Texans’ guns, and imprison conservative citizens in abandoned Wal-Marts, Abbott deployed the Texas State Guard to monitor the U.S. military. It’s tough to imagine a more Bircher-friendly move.

Carter shrugged her shoulders.

“Sometimes politicians do things just for show,” she said.

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Paul Ekman — Telling Lies: Clues To Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics and Marriage — Pamela Meyer — Lie Spotting — Stan B. Walters — The Truth About Lying: How to Spot a Lie and Protect Yourself from Deception –From Lie Spotting To Truth Seeking — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos

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Paul Ekman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paul Ekman
Paulekman bio.jpg
Born February 15, 1934 (age 83)
Washington, D.C.
Residence United States
Known for MicroexpressionsLie to Me
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Mason, J.D., Ph.D.
Awards Named by the American Psychological Association as one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century based on publications, citations and awards (2001)
Honorary Degree, University of Fernando Pessoa, Portugal (2007)
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Adelphi University (2008)
Honorary Degree, University of Geneva, Switzerland (2008)
Named of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine (2009)
Honorary Degree, Lund University, Sweden (2011)
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Anthropology
Doctoral advisor John Amsden Starkweather
Influences Charles DarwinSilvan Tomkins

Paul Ekman (born February 15, 1934) is an American psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco who is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He has created an “atlas of emotions” with more than ten thousand facial expressions, and has gained a reputation as “the best human lie detector in the world”.[1]

He was ranked 59th out of the 100 most cited psychologists of the twentieth century.[2] Ekman conducted seminal research on the specific biological correlations of specific emotions, demonstrating the universality and discreteness of emotions in a Darwinian approach.[3][4]

Biography

External video
 Conversations with History: Paul Ekman on YouTubeUniversity of California Television, 58:00, April 2008

Childhood

Paul Ekman was born to Jewish parents[5] in 1934 in Washington, D.C., and grew up in New JerseyWashingtonOregon, and California. His father was a pediatrician and his mother was an attorney. His sister, Joyce Steingart, is a psychoanalytic psychologist who before her retirement practiced in New York City.[6]

Ekman originally wanted to be a psychotherapist, but when he was drafted into the army in 1958 he found that research could change army routines, making them more humane. This experience converted him from wanting to be a psychotherapist to wanting to be a researcher, in order to help as many people as possible.[7]

Education

At the age of 15, without graduating from high school, Paul Ekman enrolled at the University of Chicago where he completed three years of undergraduate study. During his time in Chicago he was fascinated by group therapysessions and understanding group dynamics. Notably, his classmates at Chicago included writer Susan Sontag, film director Mike Nichols, and actress Elaine May.[8]

He then studied two years at New York University (NYU), earning his BA in 1954.[4] The subject of his first research project, under the direction of his NYU professor, Margaret Tresselt, was an attempt to develop a test of how people would respond to group therapy.[9]

Next, Ekman was accepted into the Adelphi University graduate program for clinical psychology.[9] While working for his master’s degree, Ekman was awarded a predoctoral research fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1955.[9] His Master’s thesis was focused on facial expression and body movement he had begun to study in 1954.[9] Ekman eventually went on to receive his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Adelphi University in 1958, after a one-year internship at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute.[9][10]

Military service

Ekman was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 to serve 2 years as soon as his internship at Langley Porter was finished.[9] He served as first lieutenant-chief psychologist, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he did research on army stockades and psychological changes during infantry basic training.[9][11][12][13]

Career

Upon completion of military service in 1960, he accepted a position as a research associate with Leonard Krasner at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital, working on a grant focused on the operant conditioning of verbal behavior in psychiatric patients. Ekman also met anthropologist Gregory Bateson in 1960 who was on the staff of the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. Five years later, Gregory Bateson gave Paul Ekman motion picture films taken in Bali in the mid-1930s to help Ekman with cross-cultural studies of expression and gesture.[9]

From 1960 to 1963, Ekman was supported by a post doctoral fellowship from NIMH. He submitted his first research grant through San Francisco State College with himself as the principal investigator (PI) at the young age of 29.[14] He received this grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1963 to study nonverbal behaviour. This award would be continuously renewed for the next 40 years and would pay his salary until he was offered a professorship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1972.

Encouraged by his college friend and teacher Silvan S. Tomkins, Ekman shifted his focus from body movement to facial expressions. He wrote his most famous book, Telling Lies, and published it in 1985. The 4th edition is still in print. He retired in 2004 as professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). From 1960 to 2004 he also worked at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute on a limited basis consulting on various clinical cases.

After retiring from the University of California, San Francisco, Paul Ekman founded the Paul Ekman Group (PEG) and Paul Ekman International.[15] The Paul Ekman Group, “develops and offers online emotional skills-building programs such as the Micro Expression Training Tool, offers workshops, supports researchers in our field, and builds online community around these topics.” They do not take individual cases.[16] Also, PEG offers a micro expression and subtle expression training tool for sale on their website.[17]

Media

In 2001, Ekman collaborated with John Cleese for the BBC documentary series The Human Face.[18]

His work is frequently referred to in the TV series Lie to Me.[19] Dr. Lightman is based on Paul Ekman, and Ekman served as a scientific adviser for the series; he read and edited the scripts and sent video clip-notes of facial expressions for the actors to imitate. While Ekman has written 15 books, the series Lie to Me has more effectively brought Ekman’s research into people’s homes.[19] Lie to Me has aired in more than 60 countries.[20]

He has also collaborated with Pixar‘s film director and animator Pete Docter in preparation of his 2015 film Inside Out.[21] Ekman also wrote a parent’s guide to using Inside Out to help parents talk with their children about emotion, which can be found on his personal website http://www.paulekman.com.

Influence

He was named one of the top Time 100 most influential people in the May 11, 2009 edition of Time magazine.[22] He was also ranked fifteenth among the most influential psychologists of the 21st century in 2014 by the journal Archives of Scientific Psychology.[23] He is currently on the Editorial Board of Greater Good magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley. His contributions include the interpretation of scientific research into the roots of compassion, altruism, and peaceful human relationships.[24]

Research work

Measuring nonverbal communication

Ekman’s interest in nonverbal communication led to his first publication in 1957, describing how difficult it was to develop ways of empirically measuring nonverbal behaviour.[25] He chose the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, the psychiatry department of the University of California Medical School, for his clinical internship partly because Jurgen Ruesch and Weldon Kees had recently published a book called Nonverbal Communication (1956).[9][26][27]

Ekman then focused on developing techniques for measuring nonverbal communication. He found that facial muscular movements that created facial expressions could be reliably identified through empirical research. He also found that human beings are capable of making over 10,000 facial expressions; only 3,000 relevant to emotion.[28] Psychologist Silvan Tomkins convinced Ekman to extend his studies of nonverbal communication from body movement to the face, helping him design his classic cross-cultural emotion recognition studies.[29] Interestingly enough, Tomkins also supervised Carroll Izard at the same time, fostering a similar interest in emotion through cross-cultural research.

Emotions as universal categories

In The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals published in 1872, Charles Darwin theorized that emotions were evolved traits universal to the human species. However, the prevalent belief during the 1950s, particularly among anthropologists, was that facial expressions and their meanings were determined through behavioural learning processes. A prominent advocate of the latter perspective was the anthropologist Margaret Mead who had travelled to different countries examining how cultures communicated using nonverbal behaviour.

Through a series of studies, Ekman found a high agreement across members of diverse Western and Eastern literate cultures on selecting emotional labels that fit facial expressions. Expressions he found to be universal included those indicating wrath, grossness, scaredness, joy, loneliness, and shock. Findings on contempt were less clear, though there is at least some preliminary evidence that this emotion and its expression are universally recognized.[30] Working with his long-time friend Wallace V. Friesen, Ekman demonstrated that the findings extended to preliterate Fore tribesmen in Papua New Guinea, whose members could not have learned the meaning of expressions from exposure to media depictions of emotion.[31] Ekman and Friesen then demonstrated that certain emotions were exhibited with very specific display rules, culture-specific prescriptions about who can show which emotions to whom and when. These display rules could explain how cultural differences may conceal the universal effect of expression.[32]

In the 1990s, Ekman proposed an expanded list of basic emotions, including a range of positive and negative emotions that are not all encoded in facial muscles.[33] The newly included emotions are: AmusementContemptContentmentEmbarrassmentExcitementGuiltPride in achievementReliefSatisfactionSensory pleasure, and Shame.[33]

Visual depictions of facial actions for studying emotion

Ekman’s famous test of emotion recognition was the Pictures of Facial Affect (POFA) stimulus set published in 1976. Consisting of 110 black and white images of Caucasian actors portraying the six universal emotions plus neutral expressions, the POFA has been used to study emotion recognition rates in normal and psychiatric populations around the world. Ekman used these stimuli in his original cross-cultural research. Many researchers favor the POFA because these photographs have been rated by large normative groups in different cultures. In response to critics, however, Ekman eventually released a more culturally diverse set of stimuli called the Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion (JACFEE).[34]

By 1978, Ekman and Friesen had finalized and developed the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)[35] to taxonomize every human facial expression. FACS is an anatomically based system for describing all observable facial movement for every emotion. Each observable component of facial movement is called an action unit or AU and all facial expressions can be decomposed into their constituent core AUs.[36] An update of this tool came in the early 2000s.

Other tools have been developed, including the MicroExpressions Training Tool (METT), which can help individuals identify more subtle emotional expressions that occur when people try to suppress their emotions. Application of this tool includes helping people with Asperger’s or autism to recognize emotional expressions in their everyday interactions. The Subtle Expression Training Tool (SETT) teaches recognition of very small, micro signs of emotion. These are very tiny expressions, sometimes registering in only part of the face, or when the expression is shown across the entire face, but is very small. Subtle expressions occur for many reasons, for example, the emotion experienced may be very slight or the emotion may be just beginning. METT and SETT have been shown to increase accuracy in evaluating truthfulness.

Detecting deception

Ekman has contributed to the study of social aspects of lying, why we lie,[37] and why we are often unconcerned with detecting lies.[38] He first became interested in detecting lies while completing his clinical work. As detailed in Ekman’s Telling Lies, a patient he was involved in treating denied that she was suicidal in order to leave the hospital. Ekman began to review videotaped interviews to study people’s facial expressions while lying. In a research project along with Maureen O’Sullivan, called the Wizards Project (previously named the Diogenes Project), Ekman reported on facial “microexpressions” which could be used to assist in lie detection. After testing a total of 20,000 people[39] from all walks of life, he found only 50 people who had the ability to spot deception without any formal training. These naturals are also known as “Truth Wizards”, or wizards of deception detection from demeanor.[40]

In his profession, he also uses oral signs of lying. When interviewed about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he mentioned that he could detect that former President Bill Clinton was lying because he used distancing language.[41]

Contributions to the world’s understanding of emotion

In his 1993 seminal paper in the psychology journal American Psychologist, Ekman describes nine direct contributions that his research on facial expression has made to the understanding of emotion.[42] Highlights include:

  • Consideration of both nature and nurture: Emotion is now viewed as a physiological phenomenon influenced by our cultural and learning experiences.
  • Emotion-specific physiology: Ekman led the way by trying to find discrete psychophysiological differences across emotions. A number of researchers continue to search for emotion-specific autonomic and central nervous system activations. With the advent of neuroimaging techniques, a topic of intense interest revolves around how specific emotions relate to physiological activations in certain brain areas. Ekman laid the groundwork for the future field of affective neuroscience.
  • An examination of events that precede emotions: Ekman’s finding that voluntarily making one of the universal facial expressions can generate the physiology and some of the subjective experience of emotion provided some difficulty for some of the earlier theoretical conceptualizations of experiencing emotions.
  • Considering emotions as families: Ekman & Friesen (1978) found not one expression for each emotion, but a variety of related but visually different expressions. For example, the authors reported 60 variations of the anger expression which share core configurational properties and distinguish themselves clearly from the families of fearful expressions, disgust expressions, and so on. Variations within a family likely reflect the intensity of the emotion, how the emotion is controlled, whether it is simulated or spontaneous, and the specifics of the event that provoked the emotion.

Criticisms

Most credibility-assessment researchers agree that people are unable to visually detect lies.[43] The application of part of Ekman’s work to airport security via the Transportation Security Administration‘s “Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques” (SPOT) program has been criticized for not having been put through controlled scientific tests.[43] A 2007 report on SPOT stated that “simply put, people (including professional lie-catchers with extensive experience of assessing veracity) would achieve similar hit rates if they flipped a coin”.[44] Since controlled scientific tests typically involve people playing the part of terrorists, Ekman says those people are unlikely to have the same emotions as actual terrorists.[43] The methodology used by Ekman and O’Sullivan in their recent work on Truth wizards has also received criticism on the basis of validation.[45]

Other criticisms of Ekman’s work are based on experimental and naturalistic studies by several other emotion psychologists that did not find evidence in support of Ekman’s proposed taxonomy of discrete emotions and discrete facial expression.[46]

Ekman received hostility from some anthropologists at meetings of the American Psychological Association and the American Anthropological Association from 1967 to 1969. He recounted that, as he was reporting his findings on universality of expression, one anthropologist tried to stop him from finishing by shouting that his ideas were fascist. He compares this to another incident when he was accused of being racist by an activist for claiming that Black expressions are not different from White expressions. In 1975, Margaret Mead, an anthropologist, wrote against Ekman for doing “improper anthropology”, and for disagreeing with Ray Birdwhistell‘s claim opposing universality. Ekman wrote that, while many people agreed with Birdwhistell then, most came to accept his own findings over the next decade.[14] However, some anthropologists continued to suggest that emotions are not universal.[47] Ekman argued that there has been no quantitative data to support the claim that emotions are culture specific. In his 1993 discussion of the topic, Ekman states that there is no instance in which 70% or more of one cultural group select one of the six universal emotions while another culture group labels the same expression as another universal emotion.[42]

Ekman criticized the tendency of psychologists to base their conclusions on surveys of college students. Hank Campbell quotes Ekman saying at the Being Human conference, “We basically have a science of undergraduates.”[48]

The pioneer F-M Facial Action Coding System 2.0 (F-M FACS 2.0) [49] was created in 2017 by Dr. Freitas-Magalhães, and presents 2,000 segments in 4K, using 3D technology and automatic and real-time recognition.

Publications

  • Nonverbal messages: Cracking the Code ISBN 978-0-9915636-3-0
  • Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion (Times Books, 2008) ISBN 0-8050-8712-5
  • Unmasking the Face ISBN 1-883536-36-7
  • Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life (Times Books, 2003) ISBN 0-8050-7516-X
  • Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (W. W. Norton & Company, 1985) ISBN 0-393-32188-6
  • What the Face Reveals (with Rosenberg, E. L., Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 0-19-510446-3
  • The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions (with R. Davidson, Oxford University Press, 1994) ISBN 0-19-508944-8
  • Darwin and Facial Expression: A Century of Research in Review ISBN 0-12-236750-2
  • Facial Action Coding System/Investigator’s ISBN 99936-26-61-9
  • Why Kids Lie: How Parents Can Encourage Truthfulness (Penguin, 1991) ISBN 0-14-014322-X
  • Handbook of Methods in Nonverbal Behavior Research ISBN 0-521-28072-9
  • Face of Man ISBN 0-8240-7130-1
  • Emotion in the Human Face ISBN 0-08-016643-1
  • Handbook of Cognition and Emotion (Sussex, UK John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 1999)

See also

References

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

FBI launches new Clinton Foundation investigation

 The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.

FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in the coming weeks.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.One witness recently interviewed by the FBI described the session to The Hill as “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough” and focused on questions about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.

The witness discussed his interview solely on the grounds of anonymity. He said the agents were from Little Rock and their questions focused on government decisions and discussions of donations to Clinton entities during the time Hillary Clinton led President Obama’s State Department.

The FBI office in Little Rock referred a reporter Thursday to Washington headquarters, where officials declined any official comment.

Clinton’s chief spokesman, Nick Merrill, on Friday morning excoriated the FBI for re-opening the case, calling the probe “disgraceful” and suggesting it was nothing more than a political distraction from President Trump‘s Russia controversies.

“Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill said. “This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.”

Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian took a more muted response, saying the new probe wouldn’t distract the charity from its daily work.
“Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waver in our mission to help people,” Minassian said. “The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process.”

The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that several FBI field offices, including the one in Little Rock, had been collecting information on the Clinton Foundation for more than a year. The report also said there had been pushback to the FBI from the Justice Department.

A renewed law enforcement focus follows a promise to Congress late last year from top Trump Justice Department officials that law enforcement would revisit some of the investigations and legal issues closed during the Obama years that conservatives felt were given short shrift. It also follows months of relentless criticism on Twitter from President Trump, who has repeatedly questioned why no criminal charges were ever filed against the “crooked” Clintons and their fundraising machine.

For years, news media from The New York Times to The Daily Caller have reported countless stories on donations to the Clinton Foundation or speech fees that closely fell around the time of favorable decisions by Clinton’s State Department. Conservative author Peter Schweizer chronicled the most famous of episodes in his book “Clinton Cash” that gave ammunition to conservatives, including Trump, to beat the drum for a renewed investigation.

Several GOP members of Congress have recently urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to look at the myriad issues surrounding the Clintons. Justice officials sent a letter to Congress in November suggesting some of those issues were being re-examined, but Sessions later testified the appointment of a special prosecutor required a high legal bar that had not yet been met.

His decision was roundly criticized by Republicans, and recent revelations that his statement was watered down by edits and that he made the decision before all witness interviews were finished have led to renewed criticism.

A senior law enforcement official said the Justice Department was exploring whether any issues from that probe should be re-opened but cautioned the effort was not at the stage of a full investigation.

One challenge for any Clinton-era investigation is that the statute of limitations on most federal felonies is five years, and Clinton left office in early 2013.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/367541-fbi-launches-new-clinton-foundation-investigation

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Story 1: Nationwide Protests In Iran Turn Increasingly Violent With More Than 22 Deaths — Videos

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Trump praises protesters for challenging Iran’s ‘brutal and corrupt’ regime after official warns demonstrators face the DEATH PENALTY as nine die overnight and 450 have been arrested

  • US President said Iranians are ‘finally acting against brutal and corrupt regime’
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘has met senior officials for talks’
  • Notes from meeting say ‘God help us’ and reveal economic impact of unrest
  • Khamenei this morning said ‘enemies’ of the Islamic Republic had stirred unrest 
  • Nine more have been killed overnight while 450 have been arrested during riots

Donald Trump has praised protesters for challenging Iran‘s ‘brutal and corrupt’ regime after a Tehran official warned demonstrators face the death penalty.

After days of unrest that have seen 21 people killed and more than 450 arrested, the US President said Iranians were ‘finally acting’.

‘All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!’ he wrote this morning.

Iran’s foreign ministry hit back saying Trump should focus on ‘homeless and hungry people’ in his own country rather than insulting Iranians.

It comes after nine people died in overnight clashes and the head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court reportedly warned detained protesters could be executed.

The death toll from violent protests in Iran has risen to 21 after nine more people were killed in clashes overnight. New pictures have emerged showing some of the unrest on New Year's Eve with a building on fire in Dorud

Six of the most recent decent deaths happened when protesters clashed with security forces as they tried to storm a police station in Qahderijan, a town of 30,000 in the Isfahan region of central Iran. People stand near a burning car in Tuyserkan, Hamadan Province, Iran on December 31

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured today) has blamed the country's 'enemies' for riots that have claimed nine more lives overnight
 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured today) has blamed the country’s ‘enemies’ for riots that have claimed nine more lives overnight
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured) has dismissed the protests taking place across Iran on Monday as 'nothing', in a bid to downplay the significance of the increasingly violent demonstrationsIranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured) has dismissed the protests taking place across Iran on Monday as ‘nothing’, in a bid to downplay the significance of the increasingly violent demonstrations

Donald Trump has praised protesters for challenging Iran's 'brutal and corrupt' regime after a Tehran official warned demonstrators face the death penalty. In a tweet, the US President said saluted Iranians for 'finally acting' after days of unrest that have seen 21 people killed and more than 450 arrested

Donald Trump has praised protesters for challenging Iran’s ‘brutal and corrupt’ regime after a Tehran official warned demonstrators face the death penalty. In a tweet, the US President said saluted Iranians for ‘finally acting’ after days of unrest that have seen 21 people killed and more than 450 arrested

Mousa Ghazanfarabadi said: ‘Obviously one of their charges can be Moharebeh,’ or waging war against God. That’s a death penalty offense in Iran. He was also quoted as saying some protesters will come to trial soon on charges of acting against national security and damaging public properties.

It comes after Iran‘s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the country’s ‘enemies’ for the riots. Khamenei is said to have met with top political leaders and security chiefs to discuss a clamp down on protests.

A report of the meeting states: ‘God help us, this is a very complex situation and is different from previous occasions.’

The documents emerged as nine were killed in clashes overnight bringing to 21 the total number of those killed in the unrest so far. Six deaths happened when protesters clashed with security forces as they tried to storm a police station in Qahderijan, a town of 30,000 in the Isfahan region of central Iran.

A member of the Revolutionary Guards and a passer-by were killed in nearby Kahriz Sang. Around 100 people were arrested overnight in the same region, Iranian state television reported.

Khamenei this morning said enemies of the Islamic Republic had stirred unrest, using ‘different tools including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles’.  

According to Fox News,  a leaked report of his meeting was given to the National Council of Resistance of Iran by senior government sources. It suggested the protests have hit the country’s economy and ‘threatens the regime’s security’.

‘The first step, therefore, is to find a way out of this situation,’ it added.

Twelve people have been reported dead during a fourth straight night of protests in Iran, including reports of three people killed in the city of Isfahan

Video purportedly taken in Isfahan on Sunday night shows dozens of people on the street before what sounds like gunshots are heard

Khamenei this morning said enemies of the Islamic Republic had stirred unrest, using 'different tools including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles'

‘Religious leaders and the leadership must come to the scene as soon as possible and prevent the situation (from) deteriorating further. God help us, this is a very complex situation and is different from previous occasions.’

Despite the unrest, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday dismissed the protests as ‘nothing’

Earlier reports had already said a policeman was killed and three others injured in Najafabad after being shot with a hunting rifle.

That brings the estimated death toll to 21 in unrest linked to the protests, that began last Thursday in second city Mashhad and quickly spread across the country.

The unrest has remained focused on provincial towns and cities, with only sporadic protests reported in Tehran on Monday evening.

Some 450 people have been arrested in the Iranian capital, an official told local media on Tuesday.

‘200 people were arrested on Saturday, 150 on Sunday and around 100 on Monday,’ Ali-Asghar Naserbakht, a deputy in the Tehran city governor’s office, told the reformist-linked ILNA news agency.

IRAN BLOCKS SOCIAL MEDIA IN BID TO STOP SPREAD OF UNREST

Iran has shut down social media in an attempt to stop unrest from spreading widely as deadly anti-government protests continue across the country.

Authorities have blocked access to Instagram and the Telegram messaging app as part of a clamp down on its citizens’ internet communications.

Meanwhile, Google has faced calls to lift restrictions on its services for internet users in Iran so that millions of protesters can ‘connect and organise’.

President Hassan Rouhani has insisted people are ‘absolutely free’ to express their anger but ‘criticism is different to violence and destroying public property.’

But the demonstrations, which have claimed 21 lives and led to 450 arrests so far, were fanned in part by messages sent on social media platforms prompting a black out of some services on Sunday.

Iran has shut down social media in an attempt to stop unrest from spreading widely as deadly anti-government protests continue across the country. An iranian man is pictured showing how one of his apps is no longer functioning 

Iran has shut down social media in an attempt to stop unrest from spreading widely as deadly anti-government protests continue across the country. An iranian man is pictured showing how one of his apps is no longer functioning

Telegram in particular is very popular in Iran, with more than 50 per cent of the country’s 80m population said to be active on the app.

Iran state TV website reported the decision citing an anonymous source who said it was ‘in line with maintaining peace and security of the citizens.’

The source said: ‘With a decision by the Supreme National Security Council, activities of Telegram and Instagram are temporarily limited.’

Google meanwhile has been urged to lift internet restrictions in the country.

Dr Steven Murdoch, a security researcher in the Computer Science Department, University College London, told Sky News that Google blocks users from Iran from accessing many of its services because of US sanctions.

But as a result, people have encountered difficulties trying to use counter-censorship apps such as Signal, which was set up to bypass blocking by disguising itself amongst Google’s services.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden later tweeted: ‘Many US politicians say they want to help Iranian protesters. If they’re serious, one phone call could get @Google to restore millions of protesters’ ability to connect and organize.’

Google has not yet responded to requests for comments, Sky said.

Iran’s reformist politicians on Tuesday condemned violence that has rocked the country in recent days, accusing the US of stirring unrest while still calling on their government to address economic grievances.

‘Without doubt the Iranian people are confronted with difficulties in their daily lives… and have the right to peacefully demand and protest,’ said a statement from the Association of Combattant Clerics, headed by reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami.

‘But the events of recent days have shown that opportunists and trouble-makers have exploited the demonstrations to create problems, insecurity and destroy public buildings, while insulting sacred religious and national values.’

Khatami led the country from 1997 to 2005 but was later barred from public appearances for his role in leading mass demonstrations in 2009.

The group said the violence seen through five days of protests across the country would help Iran’s ‘enemies’.

‘The enemies of Iran, headed by the United States and their agents… have encouraged the trouble-makers and the violent actions.’

Protests have been relatively small in Tehran compared with many parts of the country since the unrest began last Thursday.

‘We feel the situation in Tehran is more calm than previous days. Already yesterday, it was calmer than before,’ said Naserbakht.

He added that no request had yet been put to the Revolutionary Guards to intervene in the capital.

Crowds continued to gather in Iran despite the government blacking out the Telegram messaging app and Instagram

Police have used water cannon to disperse protesters who had  gathered in Ferdowsi Square, Tehran

‘We will not permit insecurity to continue in any way in Tehran. If it continues, officials will take decisions to finish it,’ said Esmail Kowsari, a deputy commander for a local branch of the Revolutionary Guards, on state television.

Rouhani yesterday attempted to downplay the significance of the mass demonstrations.

In what has become the biggest threat to Iranian leaders since the presidential protests in 2009, Rouhani’s words have so far failed to quell the increasingly violent uprising.

‘Our great nation has witnessed a number of similar incidents in the past and has comfortably dealt with them. This is nothing,’ Rouhani said in a meeting with Iranian members of parliament on Monday, CNN reported.  

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, described the unrest – the biggest challenge to the regime since mass protests in 2009 – as a ‘proxy war against the Iranian people’.

‘Hashtags and messages about the situation in Iran come from the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia,’ he told local media.

Iran’s intelligence ministry released a statement saying ‘instigators’ have been identified ‘and will be dealt with seriously soon’.

Iranian police use water cannon to disperse protesters

Hassan Rouhani said people were ‘completely free to express their criticism’ of the government but violence would not be tolerated in his first public remarks on the crisis

Protests started in the north east city of Mashhad last week but have since spread around the country in the most serious challenge to the regime since 2009 

Protests started in the north east city of Mashhad last week but have since spread around the country in the most serious challenge to the regime since 2009

The Revolutionary Guards have yet to fully intervene against the protesters, but published photos on Monday of three wanted people and called on the public to report any ‘seditionist elements’.

Pro-regime rallies were held across several towns and cities – reflecting continued support among a large conservative section of society.

Reporting restrictions remained tight, but videos on social media continued to show widespread anti-government protests in many areas.

Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but high living costs and a 12 percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow.

The young are most affected, with as many as 40 percent out of work according to analysts, and rural areas particularly hard-hit.

‘People have had enough, especially the young people. They have nothing to be happy about,’ said Sarita Mohammadi, a 35-year-old teacher in Tehran.

‘The situation is far worse in provinces. Agriculture has been destroyed. I know many who have left the north of the country to come to Tehran to work,’ she added.

Rouhani acknowledged there was ‘no problem bigger than unemployment’ in a speech on Sunday, and also vowed a more balanced media and more transparency.

President Trump continued his attacks on the Iranian regime via Twitter as Rouhani said he has 'no right to feel pity for the people of Iran'

President Trump continued his attacks on the Iranian regime via Twitter as Rouhani said he has ‘no right to feel pity for the people of Iran’

US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticised Tehran over four days of demonstrations, said it was ‘time for a change’ and that Iran’s people were ‘hungry’ for freedom.

The European Union on Monday pushed Iran to guarantee the right to protest and separately British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said ‘the UK is watching events in Iran closely’.

‘We believe that there should be meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are raising and we look to the Iranian authorities to permit this,’ Johnson said in a statement.

In 2009, authorities ruthlessly put down protests against the re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At least 36 people were killed in 2009, according to an official toll, while the opposition says 72 died. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5227833/Death-toll-Iran-protests-climbs-21-9-die.html#ixzz534IMCTCI

 

e pro-Western foreign policy of the regime it overthrew. Since then, Iran has oscillated between the two opposing tendencies of revolutionary ardour (promoting the Islamic revolution and struggling against non-Muslim tendencies abroad) and moves towards pragmatism (economic development and normalization of foreign relations). Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa calling for the killing of British citizen Salman Rushdie for his allegedly blasphemous book, The Satanic Verses, demonstrated the willingness of the Islamic revolutionaries to sacrifice trade and other ties with western countries to threaten an individual citizen of a foreign country living thousands of miles away. On the other hand, Khomeini’s death in 1989 led more pragmatic policies, with Presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami leading the charge for more stable relations with the west as well as its surrounding, non-Revolutionary-Islamic neighbors—i.e., Saudi Arabia. Following the 2005 election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Iran has returned to more a more hardline stance, frequently antagonizing the west and its neighbors while battling for control over the region.

In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, the Islamic Republic went to war against Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq after the latter launched a military offensive in the 1980s. With most foreign aid going to Iraq, Iran was forced to accept a ceasefire by 1988. Tensions with Iraq remained long after the war; it was not until the death of Saddam himself that Iran and Iraq have started improving their relations.

The Islamic Republic founded and sponsored the Lebanese group known as Hezbollah; its leaders were followers of Khomeini. The creation of Hezbollah, and its funding from Iran, was in response to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Since then, Hezbollah has served as both an ally and a surrogate for Iran during its conflict with America and Israel. Author Olivier Roy describes the Islamic Republic’s as having “lost most of its allure among non-Iranian Shia’s,” giving as examples the 1995 house arrest in Qom of the two sons of Grand Ayatollah Shirazi, spiritual leader of the Bahraini Shia; and the close cooperation between the Afghan Shia party Wahdat and the U.S. Army after November 2001.[7]

The Islamic Republic strongly supports the Palestinian cause. Government aid goes to everything from Palestinian hospitals to arms supplies. There is vigorous media publicity, an official “Quds (Jerusalem) Day”, and squares and streets named after Palestine crisscross Iranian cities. Some question whether the issue has domestic grassroots support, arguing that Iranians “lack emotional and cultural ties to Palestinians,”[8] or has been too costly in terms of opportunity cost compared to peaceful coexistence.[9]

Human development

Net Iranian migration (1979–2008). A positive value represents more people entering Iran than leaving the country.

Despite stagnation in the economy, Iran’s Human Development Index rating (including life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living) improved significantly in the years after the revolution, climbing from 0.569 in 1980 to 0.759 in 2007/8.[10] It now ranks 94th out of 177 countries with data.[11] This is approximately the same rate, as neighbor Turkey which has a somewhat higher HDI rating (0.775).[12] One factor in the HDI rise has been literacy rates among Iranian women which “rose from 28% to 80% between 1976 and 1996.”[13]

Although the Shah’s regime had created a popular and successful Literacy Corps and also worked to raise literacy rates,[14] the Islamic Republic based its educational reforms on Islamic principles. The Literacy Movement Organization (LMO), replaced the Literacy Corps following the revolution[15] and is credited with much of Iran’s continued success in reducing illiteracy from 52.5 per cent in 1976 to just 24 per cent, at the last count in 2002.[16]The movement has established over 2,000 community learning centers across the country, employed some 55,000 instructors, distributed 300 easy-to-read books and manuals, and provided literacy classes to a million people, men as well as women.[17][18] The increase in literacy “meant that for the first time in history most of the population, including Azeris, Kurds, Gilakis, and Moazanderanis, could converse and read in Persian.”[19]

In the field of health, maternal and infant mortality rates have been cut significantly.[20] Infant mortality per 1000 dropped from 104 to 25.[19]

In particular conditions improved in the countryside. The Reconstruction Jihad “extended roads, electricity, piped water, and most important of all, health clinics into villages. … turning peasants into farmers. Soon most farmers had access not only to roads, schools, … but also … radios, refrigerators, telephones, televisions, motorbikes, even pickup trucks. …on the eve of the revolution, life expectancy at birth had been less than 56; by the end of the century, it was near 70.”[19]

Economy

Under the Islamic Republic, Iran’s economy has been dominated by oil and gas exports which constituted 70% of government revenue and 80% of export earnings as of 2008.[21] It has a large public sector, with an estimated 60% of the economy directly controlled and centrally planned by the state.[22] A unique feature of Iran‘s economy is the large size of the religious foundations, or Bonyads, whose combined budgets are said to make up as much as half that of the central government.[22][23]

Top oil-producing countries
(million barrels per day)

Economic problems include the shattering of the Iranian oil sector and consequent loss of output from the revolution and Iran–Iraq War (Iran sustained economic losses estimated at $500 billion[24]), a soaring population over the same period, inefficiency in the state sector, dependence on petroleum exports,[25] and corruption.[26][27]

The constitution of the Islamic Republic calls for the state sector “to include all large-scale and mother industries, foreign trade”, natural resources and communication; and calls on the private sector to “supplement the … state and cooperative sectors.”[28][29]

The International Monetary Fund reports that Iran’s gross national income per capita (PPP model) more than doubled since the revolution despite strong population growth—one year after the revolution it was $4,295 and grew to $11,396 by 2010.[30]

However, complaining about the economy is said to have become “a national pastime” among Iranians.[31] According to international economic consultant Jahangir Amuzegar, as of 2003:

Despite a 100 percent rise in average annual oil income since the revolution, most indicators of economic welfare have steadily deteriorated. … Average inflation in the years after the revolution has been at least twice as high as during the 1970s, unemployment has been three times higher, and economic growth is two-thirds lower. As a result, Iran’s per capita income has declined by at least 30 percent since 1979. By official admission, more than 15 percent of the population now lives below the absolute poverty line, and private estimates run as high as 40 percent.[32]

Per capita income declines when the price of oil declines (per capita income reportedly fell at one point (1995) to 1/4 of what it was prior to the revolution);[33][34] Accumulated assets of the Iranian middle class—carpets, gold, apartments—that were acquired in the four-year boom after the 1973 oil price rise and served to cushion the fall in standards of living, have now reportedly “largely been sold off.”[35][36]

The poor have also exhibited dissatisfaction. Absolute poverty rose by nearly 45% during the first 6 years of the Islamic revolution[37] and on several occasions the mustazafin have rioted, protesting the demolition of their shantytowns and rising food prices. Disabled war veterans have demonstrated against mismanagement of the Foundation of the Disinherited.[38] Hardship has compelled some children to take odd jobs rather than go to school.[39]

A 2002 study leaked from Iran’s Interior Ministry, reported nearly 90% of respondents dissatisfied with the present government according to Amuzegar. Of this total, 28% wanted “fundamental” changes, 66% “gradual reforms.” 10% expressed satisfaction with the status quo.

According to British-Iranian scholar, Ali M. Ansari, “Iranians joke” that with the world’s second or third largest reserves of oil and natural gas, extensive deposits of coppergolduranium, as well as an educated and cohesive workforce, “they are blessed with all the facilities to be the industrial engine of the region, except good governance.”[40]

Corruption

Sahabi family (Ezzatollah Sahabi, Yadollah and Haleh Sahabi), active members of National party were imprisoned and Haleh was killed for their peaceful activism.

Corruption is a problem in the Islamic Republic.[26][27] According to some observers, its level compares unfavorably with pre-revolutionary days. Foreign journalist Robin Wright quotes a bazaari as saying “The clergy tries to keep itself clean. But you can’t-do anything anymore without paying off this mullah’s son or that mullah’s brother-in-law – and these days usually both.”

Bribery in Iran was increasingly becoming the biggest part of business deals—and a lot of other transactions too. Iranians called it “oiling the mustache,” and it was commonly practiced before the revolution, but payoffs then were usually a one-time thing of a known amount. Two decades after the revolution, even the smallest service called for bribes to several different parties.[41]

Emigration

Journalists report complaints that, “these days, if a student is lucky enough to study in the West, he will rarely come home. There are so few good jobs that everyone, from students to middle-aged engineers, is looking for a way out.”[42] An estimated “two to four million entrepreneurs, professionals, technicians, and skilled craftspeople (and their capital)” emigrated to other countries following the revolution,[43] and continue to do so at a rate of more than 150,000 a year. This flight of intellectual capital is estimated to come to almost $6 billion a year in growth opportunities, based on the average Iranian professional contributing $40,000 per year to gross capital formation.[citation needed]

Emigration from Iran, starting with young males fleeing from the Iran–Iraq War draft, is thought by some to be the feature of the Islamic Republic most resented by Iranians. According to Shirin Ebadi, “If you ask most Iranians what keener, what grievance, they nurture most bitterly against the Islamic Republic, it is the tearing apart of their families … had the revolutionaries tempered their wild radicalism, had they not replaced the Shah with a regime that prompted mass flight, their families would still be whole.”[44]

Society

While the revolution brought about some re-Islamisation of Iran, particularly in terms of personal appearance—beards, hijab—it has not prompted a reversal of some modernizing trends or a return to traditional patterns of family life, (such as polygamy and the extended family with numerous children).

Despite the lowering of the legal age of marriage for women fell to 9,[45] and the Ayatollah Khomeini’s support for early marriage for females,

It is recommended that one hurries in giving the husband to a daughter who has attained puberty, meaning that she is of the age of religious accountability. His Holiness, Sadegh [the 6th Imam] salutations to him, bade that it is one of a man’s good fortunes that his daughter does not see menses in his own house.[46]

the actual average age of marriage for women rose to 22 by 1996. Thus the age difference between husbands and wives in Iran actually fell between 1980 and 2000, from 7 to 2.1 years.[47] (The man’s average age at marriage has remained around 24.4 over the past 20 years, which means greater educational equality between spouses.)

Nor has Islamisation of family law lead to an increase in the number of polygamous families or more frequent divorces. Polygamy has remained at about 2% of permanent marriages during the past 40 years and the divorce rate has decreased slightly since the 1970s.[48]

Population growth was encouraged for the first nine years of the revolution, but in 1988 youth unemployment concerns prompted the government to do “an amazing U-turn” and Iran now has “one of the world’s most effective” family planning programs.[49]

After the Iranian revolution, Iranian women have continued to occupy high positions in the political system. In the late 1990s, Iranians sent more women to Iranian parliament than Americans sent to U.S. senate.[50]

Gharbzadegi (“westoxification”) or western cultural influence stubbornly remains, entering via (illegal) music recordings, videos, and satellite dishes,[51] despite government efforts. Compulsory hijab (veiling) for women has been given extensive police enforcement,[52]Shorts, necklaces, “glamorous” hairstyles, and neckties (in government buildings) are forbidden for men.[53][54] Western music is banned even more thoroughly,[55] but observers note it is nonetheless popular and widespread.[56] One post-revolutionary opinion poll found 61% of students in Tehran chose “Western artists” as their role models with only 17% choosing “Iran’s officials.”[57]

Human Rights

In the first five years of the Islamic Republic, during its consolidation, approximately 8000 political opponents were executed. Thousands of political prisoners were also executed in 1988. Like other revolutions before it, the Iranian Revolution took a higher toll on those who had participated in the revolution than those in the regime it overthrew.[58]

In recent years the killing of dissidents has been much less frequent and reported abuses are more likely to include harsh penalties for crimes; punishment of fornication, homosexuality, apostasy, poor hijab (covering the head for women); restrictions on freedom of speech, and the press, including the imprisonment of journalists; unequal treatment according to religion and gender; torture to extract repudiations by prisoners of their cause and comrades on video for propaganda purposes,[59] and allowing prisoners to die by withholding medical treatment.[60]

Religion

The funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hosein-Ali Montazeri who challenged the regime for several decades.

Iran is governed by Sharia law. It is one of the few Muslim countries where hijab for women is required by law. At the same time, it has “the lowest mosque attendance of any Islamic country,” according to Zohreh Soleimani of the BBC.[61] Iranian clergy have complained that more than 70% of the population do not perform their daily prayers and that less than 2% attend Friday mosques.[62]

For religious minorities, life has been mixed under the Islamic Republic. Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims (Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in Iran).[63] Pre-revolutionary statements by Khomeini were antagonistic towards Jews, but shortly after his return from exile in 1979, he issued a fatwa ordering that Jews and other minorities (except Baha’is) be treated well.[64][65] Non-Muslim religious minorities do not have equal rights in the Islamic Republic (For example, senior government posts are reserved for Muslims and Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian schools must be run by Muslim principals[66]) but four of the 270 seats in parliament are reserved for three non-Islamic minority religions.

The 300,000 members of the Bahá’í Faith, are actively harassed. “Some 200 of whom have been executed and the rest forced to convert or subjected to the most horrendous disabilities.”[67] Starting in late 1979 the new government systematically targeted the leadership of the Bahá’í community by focusing on the Bahá’í leadership.[68]

Natural disasters

The 6.6 Mw Bam earthquake shook southeastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), leaving more than 26,000 dead and 30,000 injured. The 7.4 Mw Manjil–Rudbar earthquake struck northern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), killing 35,000–50,000, and injuring 60,000–105,000.

Scientific development

Iran’s scientific progress is subject to many problems including funding, international sanctions, and management. However, in some areas such as medicinesurgerypharmacologystem cell research and theoretical physics (e.g. string theory),[69] Iranian scientists have found international reputation since the Iranian revolution. Nuclear technology and stem cell research were the two fields that have enjoyed special support from the central government and Iranian leadership since the revolution.

In 2005 Iran’s national science budget was less than $1 billion and had not been subject to any significant increase since 15 years ago.[70] But according to Science-Metrix, since 1990 Iran’s scientific production has had a rapid buildup, and Iran currently has the fastest growth rate in science and technology worldwide.[71]

Iran is among the international leaders of stem cell technology[72] and was the 10th country to produce embryonic human stem cells,[73] although in terms of articles per capita basis, it reportedly ranked 16th in the world.[74][75]

Khomeini’s reign

Ayatollah Khomeini was the ruler of (or at least dominant figure in) Iran for a decade, from the founding of the Islamic Republic in April 1979 until his death in mid-1989. During that time the revolution was being consolidated as a theocratic republic under Khomeini, and Iran was fighting a costly and bloody war with Iraq.

Islamic Revolution

The Islamic Republic of Iran began with the Iranian Revolution. The first major demonstrations to overthrow Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi began in January 1978.[76] The new theocratic Constitution — whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country — was approved in December 1979. In between, the Shah fled Iran in January 1979 after strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, and on February 1, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians.[77] The final collapse of the Pahlavi dynasty occurred shortly after on February 11 when Iran’s military declared itself “neutral” after guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting. Iran officially became the Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.[78]

Initial international impact

The initial impact of the Islamic revolution around the world was tremendous. In the non-Muslim world it has changed the image of Islam, generating much interest in the politics and spirituality of Islam,[79] along with “fear and distrust towards Islam” and particularly the Islamic Republic and its founder.[80] In the Mideast and Muslim world, particularly in its early years, it triggered enormous enthusiasm and redoubled opposition to western intervention and influence. Islamist insurgents rose in Saudi Arabia (the 1979 week-long takeover of the Grand Mosque), Egypt (the 1981 machine-gunning of the Egyptian President Sadat), Syria (the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion in Hama), and Lebanon (the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy and French and American peace-keeping troops).[81]

Consolidation of the Revolution

Instability in Iran did not end with the creation of the Islamic Republic and remained high for a few years. The country’s economy and apparatus of government had collapsed. Military and security forces were in disarray. But by 1982[82] (or 1983)[83] Khomeini and his supporters had crushed the rival factions and consolidated power.

Constitution

The first draft of the constitution for the Islamic Republic contained a conventional president and parliament but its only theocratic element was a Guardian Council to veto unIslamic legislation.[84] However, in the summer of 1979 an Assembly of Experts for Constitution, dominated by Khomeini supporters, was elected. Their new draft gave the guardians much more power and added a powerful post of guardian jurist ruler intended for Khomeini.[85] The new constitution was opposed by non-theocratic groups, both secular and Islamic, and set for approval by referendum in December 1979.

Hostage crisis

US hostages were released after 444 days of detention in Tehran.

An event that helped pass the constitution, radicalize the revolution and strengthen its anti-American stance, was the Iran hostage crisis. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran holding 52 embassy employees hostage for 444 days. The Carter administration severed diplomatic relations and imposed economic sanctions on April 7, 1980, and later that month unsuccessfully attempted a rescue that further enhanced Khomeini’s prestige in Iran. On May 24 the International Court of Justice called for the hostages to be released. Finally, the hostages were released 20 January 1981, by agreement of the Carter Administration, see Algiers Accords Jan. 19, 1981. The crisis also marked the beginning of American legal action, or sanctions, that economically separated Iran from America. Sanctions blocked all property within US jurisdiction owned by the Central Bank and Government of Iran.[86]

Suppression of opposition

Revolutionary factions disagreed on the shape of the new Iran. Those who thought the Shah would be replaced by a democratic government soon found Khomeini disagreed. In early March 1979, he announced, “do not use this term, ‘democratic.’ That is the Western style.”[87]

In succession the National Democratic Front was banned in August 1979, the provisional government was disempowered in November, the Muslim People’s Republican Party banned in January 1980, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran guerrillas came under attack in February 1980, a purge of universities was begun in March 1980, and leftist President Abolhassan Banisadr was impeached in June 1981.

Explanations for why Khomeini supporters were successful in crushing the opposition include lack of unity in the opposition. According to Asghar Schirazi, the moderates lacked ambition and were not well organized, while the radicals (such People’s Mujahedin of Iranor PMOI) were “unrealistic” about the conservatism of the Iranian masses and unprepared to work with moderates to fight against theocracy. Moderate Islamists, such as Banisadr, were “credulous and submissive” towards Khomeini.[88]

Terrorist attacks

The ouster of President Banisadr did not put an immediate end to the opposition but moved it to terror. Hundreds of PMOI supporters and members were killed from 1979 to 1981, and some 3,000 were arrested,[89] but unlike other opposition is driven underground by the regime, the PMOI was able to retaliate.

On 28 June 1981, bombs were detonated at the headquarters of the since-dissolved Islamic Republic Party. Around 70 high-ranking officials, including Chief Justice Mohammad Beheshti (who was the second most powerful figure in the revolution after Ayatollah Khomeini at the time), cabinet members, and members of parliament, were killed. The PMOI never publicly confirmed or denied any responsibility for the deed, but only stated the attack was `a natural and necessary reaction to the regime’s atrocities.` Khomeini did accuse them of responsibility and, according to BBC journalist Baqer Moin, the PMOI were “generally perceived as the culprits” for it in Iran.[90] Two months later on August 30, another bomb was detonated killing President Rajai and Premier Mohammad Javad Bahonar. A member of the PMOI, Mas’ud Kashmiri, was announced as the perpetrator, and according to regime reports came close to killing the entire government including Khomeini.[91] The reaction following both bombings was intense with thousands of arrests and hundreds of executions of PMOI and other leftist groups,[92] but “assassinations of leading officials and active supporters of the regime by the PMOI were to continue for the next year or two.”[93]

Iran–Iraq War

The eight-year-long Iran–Iraq War (September 1980 – August 1988) was the most important international event for the first decade of the Islamic Republic and possibly for its history so far. It helped to strengthen the revolution although it cost Iran much in lives and treasure.

Shortly after the success of the revolution, revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini began calling for Islamic revolutions across the Muslim world, including Iran’s Arab neighbor Iraq,[94] the one large state besides Iran in the Gulf with a Shia Muslim majority population. The leadership in Tehran believed that they would launch a massive Shiite uprising across the Middle East and after Iraq’s defeat, march on Israel and destroy it.

The war began with Iraq‘s invasion of Iran, in an attempt by Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein to take advantage of the perceived post-revolutionary military weakness in Iran and the Revolution’s unpopularity with Western governments. Much of the top leadership of Iran’s once-strong Iranian military had been executed. Saddam sought to expand Iraq’s access to the Persian Gulf and the oil reserves in Khuzestan (which also only has a substantial Arab population), and to undermine Iranian Islamic revolutionary attempts to incite the Shi’a majority of his country. The Iraqis used the WMDs against Iranian soldiers. Iranians also believe Saddam invaded with the encouragement of the United StatesSaudi Arabia and other countries.

A combination of fierce resistance by Iranians and military incompetence by Iraqi forces soon stalled the Iraqi advance and by early 1982 Iran regained almost all the territory lost to the invasion. The invasion rallied Iranians behind the new regime, enhancing Khomeini’s stature and allowed him to consolidate and stabilize his leadership. After this reversal, Khomeini refused an Iraqi offer of a truce, declaring “the regime in Baghdad must fall and must be replaced by the Islamic Republic.”[95][96]

The war continued for another six years under the slogans `War, War until Victory,` and `The Road to Jerusalem Goes through Baghdad,`[97] but other countries, particularly the Soviet Union gave crucial aid to Iraq. As the costs mounted and Iranian morale waned, Khomeini finally accepted a truce called for by UN Security Council Resolution 598. By 1988, Iran was nearly bankrupted by the ruinous costs of the war and its manpower pool also exhausted. The Iranian Army in desperation began resorting to using boys as young as 14 in human wave attacks against Iraqi machine gun emplacements. Khomeini remarked that agreeing to peace with Iraq was “like drinking hemlock”, but there was no other choice.[98] Although neither borders nor regimes were changed[99] the war helped to `awaken the people and to fight the problems that threaten the revolution,` according to future president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[100] An estimated 200,000 Iranians were killed[101] and the war is estimated to have cost Iran $627 billion in total direct and indirect charges (in 1990 dollars).[102]

Early laws of the Islamic Republic

The new regime undid the Shah’s old Family Protection Law, lowering the marriage age for girls back to nine and allowed husbands to divorce wives with the Triple talaq, without court permission. It purged women from the judiciary and secular teachers from the educational system. It removed Baha’is from government positions, closed down Baha’i Centers, and arrested and even executed their leaders. A strict “Islamic code of public appearance” was enforced—men were discouraged from wearing ties, women were obliged to wear either scarf and long coats or preferably the full chador.[103]

Economy

Iran’s economy suffered during the first decade following the revolution. Its currency, the rial, fell from 7 to the dollar before the revolution, to 1749 to the dollar in 1989.[104] The revolution also is said to have put an end to the influence of “the notables”, and created a very large public sector of the economy, when the government “nationalizing their enterprises in order to keep their employees working… the state ended up with more than 2000 factories many of them operating in the red.”[105]

Human Rights

In its early years, the revolutionary regime was especially criticized for its human rights record.[106] In the first 28 months of the Islamic Republic, between February 1979 and June 1981, revolutionary courts executed 497 political opponents as “counterrevolutionaries”, and “sowers of corruption on earth” (Mofsed-e-filarz). In the next four years from June 1981 until June 1985, the courts sentenced more than 8000 opponents to death.[107] After a relative lull, thousands of political prisoners were executed in 1988. Like other revolutions before it, the Iranian Revolution took a higher toll on those who had participated in the revolution than those in the regime it overthrew.[58]

Rafsanjani administration

Ideological changes by fatwa and constitution

Two major changes in the ideological underpinnings of the Islamic Republic occurred toward the end of Khomeini’s reign. In January 1988, he issued an edict declaring that the Islamic “Government is among the most important divine injunctions and has priority over all peripheral divine orders … even prayers, fasting and the Hajj.”[108] In April of the next year he decreed a task force to revise the country’s constitution to separate the post of Supreme Leader of Iran from that of Shia marja, (the `highest source of religious emulation`), since he found none of Marja to be suitable successors as none had given strong support for his policies.[109] The amendments were drafted and approved by the public about one month after Khomeini’s death (1989 July 9). They paved the way for Ali Khamenei – a long time lieutenant of Khomeini, but a relatively low ranking cleric – to be Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader,[110] but to critics they undermined the “intellectual foundations” of the Islamic Republic theocracy,[111][112] breaking “the charismatic bond between leader and followers.”[113]

Political struggle

The first post-war decade in Iran has been described as a time of pragmatism, and an `economy-first` policy.[114] According to Shirin Ebadi, “about two years into the postwar period, the Islamic Republic quietly changed course. … It was fairly clear by then that the Shiarevolution would not be sweeping the region.”[115]

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was elected president shortly after Khomeini’s death, and has been described as less revolutionary and “isolationist” than his rivals — “economically liberal, politically authoritarian, and philosophically traditional.”[116] (He served from August 17, 1989, to August 1997.) While Leader Khamenei and the Council of Guardians generally supported these policies, in the parliament radical deputies initially had control, outnumbered Rafsanjani’s “pragmatic-conservative camp” 90 to 160.[117]

The two groups differed strongly over economic and foreign policy, with radicals tending to support mass political participation and state control of the economy, and oppose normalization of relations with the West.[118] Conservatives used the power to disqualification candidates from running for office to deal with this problem. “The Council of Guardians disqualified nearly all radical candidates from the fall 1990 Assembly of Experts elections because they had failed to pass written and oral tests in Islamic jurisprudence.”[119] In the winter and spring of 1992 nearly one-third of the 3150 candidates for the 1992 election for the parliament were rejected, including 39 incumbents. Leading radicals such as Khalkhali, Nabvi, Bayat, and Hajjat al-Islam Hadi Ghaffari were sent packing because they lacked the “proper Islamic credentials.”[120]

In late 1992 Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyed Mohammad Khatami and director of the Voice and Vision Broadcasting company Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani (brother of the president) were both forced out. By 1994 “hundreds of intellectuals and supposed dissidents were in prison and some had been executed.” These purges cleared the regime of opponents but are thought to have set the stage for the reform movement, as exiled radicals warmed to the “liberal” values of freedom of speech, assembly, due process, etc.[120]

Persian Gulf War

Iraq invaded and overran Kuwait on August 2, 1990, causing a multinational coalition of UN forces to be assembled in response. Although Iran criticized the invasion and supported sanctions against its neighbor, it refused any active participation in the war, not surprising given the country’s anti-Western attitudes and state of exhaustion from the recent conflict with its neighbor. As a result of the war and its aftermath, more than one million Kurds crossed the Iraqi border into Iran as refugees.

Economy

Iran’s total debt service as percent of exports of goods services and income increased sixfold between 1990 and 1997.

Despite the “economy first” focus, Iran suffered serious economic problems during the Rafsanjani era. According to economist Bijan Khajehpour, economic growth in Iran between 1989 and 1994 was “mainly financed through the accumulation of some $30 billion in foreign debt. In 1993, the ratio of Iran’s foreign debt to the country’s GDP reached 38%, which was alarming.”[121] A lack of foreign investment along with a fall in oil prices from $20 to $12 per barrel added to this external debt, and triggered an economic recession. The Iranian rial plummeted from 1749 to 6400 to the dollar in 1995. Unemployment reached 30%. The price of sugar, rice, and butter rose threefold, and that of bread sixfold.[104]

In part this economic downturn came from American economic sanctions leveled in 1995, when America suspended all trade with Iran, accusing Iran of supporting terrorist groups and attempting to develop nuclear weapons. The sanctions, in turn, may be traceable to the earlier hostage crisis and the enmity of the US government which continued to see Iran as a major regional threat both to America and Israel.[104]

Birth control

A new policy regarded as a success of the new government was its promotion of birth control. In 1989, the government, “having previously encouraged population growth, reversed gears and declared that Islam favored families with only two children”. Birth control clinics were opened – especially for women. Condoms and pills were distributed. Subsidies to large families were cut. Sex education was introduced into the school curriculum, mandatory classes for newlyweds were held.[122])

Khatami administration

Between March 2001 and April 2003, the TSE index (Topix) bucked the trend by going up nearly 80%.[123]

The eight years of Mohammad Khatami‘s two terms as president in 1997–2005 are sometimes called Iran’s Reform Era.[124]

Khatami based his campaign on a reform program promising a more democratic and tolerant society, promotion of civil society, the rule of law and improvement of social rights.[125][126] This included city council elections, adherence to Iran’s constitution, freedom to criticize high ranking authorities – including the supreme leader, permission to operate newspapers of a wide range of political views, reopening the embassies of all European countries, reorganizing the Ministry of Intelligence of Iran after the Iran’s Chain Murders of Intellectuals, initiating a dialogue between people of different faith inside and outside Iran, also called “Dialogue Among Civilizations.”

Iran’s large youth demographic (by 1995, about half of the country’s 60.5 million people had not been born after the Islamic Revolution) is one of Khatami’s bases of support.

Political and cultural changes

At first, the new era saw significant liberalization. The number of daily newspapers published in Iran increased from five to twenty-six. Journal and book publishing also soared. Iran’s film industry boomed under the Khatami regime and Iranian films won prizes at Cannes, and Venice.[127] Local elections promised in the Islamic Republic’s constitution but delayed for over a decade were held for towns, villages, and hamlets and the number of elected officials in Iran increased from 400 to almost 200,000.[128]

Conservative reaction

After taking office, Khatami faced fierce opposition from his powerful opponents within the unelected institutions of the state which he had no legal power over, and this led to repeated clashes between his government and these institutions (including the Guardian Council, the state radio, and television, the police, the armed forces, the judiciary, the prisons, etc.).

In 1999, new curbs were put on the press. Courts banned more than 60 newspapers.[127] Important allies of President Khatami were arrested, tried and imprisoned on what outside observers considered “trumped up”[129] or ideological grounds. Tehran mayorGholamhossein Karbaschi was tried on corruption charges and Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri for “sacrilege” – despite their credentials as activists in the Islamic revolution.[citation needed] In 2002 history professor and reformist activist Hashem Aghajari was sentenced to death for apostasy for calling for “Islamic Protestantism” and reform in Islam.[130]

In July 1999 conservatives closed the reformist newspaper, Salam, and attacked a Tehran University student dormitory after students protested the closing. Prodemocracy student demonstrations erupted at Tehran University and other urban campuses. These were followed by a wave of counter-demonstrations by conservative factions.

Reformers won a substantial victory in Feb. 2000, parliamentary elections, capturing about two-thirds of the seats, but conservative elements in the government forced the closure of the reformist press. Attempts by parliament to repeal restrictive press laws were forbidden by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Despite these conditions, President Khatami was overwhelming re-elected in June 2001. Tensions between reformers in parliament and conservatives in the judiciary and the Guardian Council, over both social and economic changes, increased after Khatami’s reelection.

Foreign policy

Military expenditures (% GDP)

Khatami worked to improve relations with other countries visiting many other countries and holding a dialogue between civilizations and encouraged foreigners to invest in Iran. He announced Iran would accept a two-state solution for Palestine if Palestinians agreed to one, relaxed restrictions on the Bahais, and assured Britain Iran would not implement the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.[131] Several European Union countries began renewing economic ties with Iran in the late 1990s, and trade and investment increased. In 1998, Britain re-established diplomatic relations with Iran, broken since the 1979 revolution. The United States loosened its economic embargo, but it continued to block more normalized relations, arguing that the country had been implicated in international terrorism and was developing a nuclear weapons capacity. In his State of the Union Address, United States President George W. Bush labeled Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as an “Axis of evil.”

Tensions with the United States increased after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, as U.S. officials increasingly denounced Iran for pursuing the alleged development of nuclear weapons.

The reform era ended with the conservatives defeat of Iranian reformists in the elections of 2003, 2004 and 2005 – the local, parliamentary, and presidential elections. According to at least one observer, the reformists were defeated not so much by a growth of support for conservative Islamist policies as by division within the reformist movement and the banning of many reform candidates which discouraged pro-reform voters from voting.[5]

Ahmadinejad’s administration

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected to the presidency twice, in 2005 and 2009. Ahmadinejad ran for office as a conservative populist pledging to fight corruption, defend the interests of the poor, and strengthen Iran’s national security.[132] In 2005 he defeated former president Rafsanjani by a wide margin in the runoff, his victory credited to the popularity of his economic promises and a very low reformist voter turnout compared to the 1997 and 2001 elections.[132] This victory gave conservatives control of all branches of Iran’s government.

His administration has been marked by controversy over his outspoken pronouncements against American “arrogance” and “imperialism,” and description of the state of Israel as a “fabricated entity … doomed to go,”[133] and over high unemployment and inflation opponents blamed on his populist economic policies of cheap loans for small businesses, and generous subsidies on petrol and food.[134]

In 2009 Ahmadinejad’s victory was hotly disputed and marred by large protests that formed the “greatest domestic challenge” to the leadership of the Islamic Republic “in 30 years”,[135] as well as clashes with parliament.[136] Despite high turnout and large enthusiastic crowds for reformist opponent Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad was officially declared to have won by a 2–1 margin against three opponents. Allegations of voting irregularities and protest by Mousavi his supporters were immediate and continued off and on into 2011. Some 36–72 were killed and 4000 arrested.[137][138][138] Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared Ahmadinejad’s victory a “divine assessment”[139] and called for unity. He and others Islamic officials blamed foreign powers for fomenting the protest.[140]

However, by late 2010 several sources detected a “growing rift” between Ahmadinejad, and Khamenei and his supporters,[141] with talk of impeachment of Ahmadinejad.[142] The dispute centered on Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a top adviser and close confidant of Ahmadinejad,[143] and accused leader of a “deviant current”[144] opposing greater involvement of clerics in politics.[145]

Foreign relations

Although functions such as the appointment of the commanders of the armed forces and the members of national security councils are handled by the Supreme Leader and not by Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad gained considerable international attention for his foreign policy. Under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s strong ties with the Republic of Syria and Hezbollah of Lebanon continued, and new relationships with predominantly Shia neighbor Iraq and fellow opponent of U.S. foreign policy Hugo Chavez of Venezuela were developed.

Ahmadinejad’s outspoken pronouncements in foreign affairs included personal letters to a number of world leaders including one to American president George W. Bush inviting him to “monotheism and justice”,[146] an open letter to the American people,[147] the declaration that there were no homosexuals in Iran,[148] an expression of happiness at the 2008 global economic crisis which would “put an end to liberal economy”.[149]

Hezbollah’s dependence on Iran for military and financial aid is not universally supported in Iran. The 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War exposed the world to a number of weapons in Hezbollah possession said to be Iranian imports.[citation needed]

Controversy concerning remarks about Israel

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad also made several controversial statements about the Holocaust and Israel, and was quoted in foreign media sources as saying “Israel should be wiped off the map.”[150] Iran’s foreign minister denied that Tehran wanted to see Israel“wiped off the map,” saying “Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood.” It was asserted that the correct translation of Ahmadinejad’s remark was, “the regime currently occupying Jerusalem will be erased from the pages of time.” Reviewing the controversy over the translation, New York Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner observed that “all official translations” of the comments, including the foreign ministry and president’s office, “refer to wiping Israel away”.[151] His comments were strongly criticized by a number of foreign leaders.[152][153]

Iran’s stated policy on Israel is to urge a one-state solution through a countrywide referendum in which a government would be elected that all Palestinians and all Israelis would jointly vote for; which would normally be an end to the “Zionist state”. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, rejecting any attack on Israel, called for a referendum in Palestine. Ahmadinejad himself has also repeatedly called for such solution.[154][155][156][157] Moreover, Khamenei’s main advisor in foreign policy, Ali Akbar Velayati, said that Holocaust was a genocide and a historical reality.[158] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other prominent officials have however on other occasion called for the destruction of Israel.[159]

Controversy about Iran’s nuclear program

After, in August 2005, Iran resumed converting raw uranium into gas, a necessary step for enrichment, the IAEA passed a resolution that accused Iran of failing to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and called for the agency to report Iran to the UN Security Council. The timetable for the reporting, however, was left undetermined. Iran’s stated position is that it is in full compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, that it has allowed the IAEA inspections beyond what is required, and that it has no ambitions to build atomic weapons.

In February 2004, elections, conservatives won control of parliament, securing some two-thirds of the seats. Many Iranians, however, were unhappy with the failure of the current parliament to achieve any significant reforms or diminish the influence of the hardliners. In mid-2004 Iran began resuming the processing of nuclear fuel as part of its plan to achieve self-sufficiency in civilian nuclear power production, stating that the negotiations with European Union nations had failed to bring access to the advanced nuclear technologythat was promised. The action was denounced by the United States as one which would give Iran the capability to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA said that there was no evidence that Iran was seeking to develop such arms. However, the IAEA also called for Iran to abandon its plans to produce enriched uranium. In November 2004, Iran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment but subsequently indicated that it would not be held to the suspension if the negotiations the EU nations failed.

During an October 2013 meeting, however, Iran agreed, in negotiations with several Western European nations, to toughen international inspections of its nuclear installations.[160] Nonetheless, the international community continued to express concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. At least five Iranian nuclear scientists during 2010 and 2011 had been killed, by unknown attackers.[161]

Economy

Ahmadinejad’s populist economic policies of cheap loans for small businesses, and generous subsidies on petrol and food were helped by soaring petroleum export revenues until the Global financial crisis of 2008.[134]

Corruption

President Ahmadinejad has vouched to fight “economic Mafia” at all echelons of government.[162] President Ahmadinejad has also proposed that lawmakers consider a bill, based on which the wealth and property of all officials who have held high governmental posts since 1979 could be investigated.[163]

According to Farda newspaper, the difference between President Ahmadinejad administration’s revenues and the amount deposited with the Central Bank of Iran exceeds $66 billion.[164] This is a large number as it is equal one-tenth of Iran’s total oil revenuessince the 1979 revolution. This amount is broken down as follows:

  • $35 billion in imported goods (2005–2009),
  • $25 billion in oil revenues (2005–2008),[165]
  • $2.6 billion in non-oil export revenues,
  • $3 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

Vice President for Executive Affairs Ali Saeedlou said in 2008 that “mafia groups” in Iran are trying to divert public opinion away from the government’s determination to fight economic corruption by creating impediments, spreading rumors and promoting despair in the society.[166][167]

In 2010, more than 230 lawmakers in a letter to Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said it is the duty of his organization to start from the top echelons of power in the drive against corruption. The letter added,

“It is the duty of the judiciary to start from higher echelons of power in this challenging but sacred drive. It does not make a difference whether the suspect is a high-ranking official or kith and kin of the officialdom. The legislators assure the people that they will endorse this Jihad of the judiciary alongside the Leader and people.”[168][169]

Controversies over economic policy

In June 2006, 50 Iranian economists wrote a letter to Ahmadinejad that criticized his price interventions to stabilize prices of goods, cement, government services, and his decree issued by the High Labor Council and the Ministry of Labor that proposed an increase of workers’ salaries by 40 percent. Ahmadinejad publicly responded harshly to the letter and denounced the accusations.[170][171]

In July 2007, Ahmadinejad ordered the dissolution of the Management and Planning Organisation of Iran, a relatively independent planning body with a supervisory role in addition to its responsibility to allocate the national budget,[172] and replaced it with a new budget planning body directly under his control, a move that may give him a freer hand to implement populist policies.[173][174]

In November 2008, a group of 60 Iranian economists condemned Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, saying Iran faces deep economic problems, including stunted growth, double-digit inflation, and widespread unemployment, and must drastically change course. It also criticized Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy calling it “tension-creating” and saying it has “scared off foreign investment and inflicted heavy damage” on the economy. Ahmadinejad replied that Iran has been “least affected by this international financial crisis.”[175]

2007 Gas Rationing Plan in Iran

In 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s cabinet launched the Gas Rationing Plan to reduce the country’s fuel consumption. Although Iran is one of the world’s largest producers of petroleummismanagementkleptocracy, rapid increases in demand and limited refining capacity has forced the country to import about 40% of its gasoline, at an annual cost of up to $7 billion.[176][177]

Domestic policy

Human Rights

According to the group Human Rights Watch, Iran’s human rights record “has deteriorated markedly” under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Beginning in 2005, the number of offenders executed increased from 86 in 2005 to 317 in 2007. Months-long arbitrary detentions of “peaceful activists, journalists, students, and human rights defenders” and often charged with “acting against national security,” has intensified.[178]

Population, cultural and women’s issues

In April 2007, the Tehran police began the most fierce crackdown on “bad hijab” in more than a decade. In the capital Tehran thousands of Iranian women were cautioned over their poor Islamic dress and several hundred arrested.[52] In 2011, an estimated 70,000 police in Tehran alone, patrolled for clothing and hair infractions.[179] As of 2011, men are barred from wearing necklaces, “glamorous” hairstyles, ponytails, and shorts.[53] Neckties are forbidden in the holy city of Qom.[53] After a leading cleric (Hojatoleslam Gholamreza Hassani) issued a fatwa against keeping dogs as pets, a crackdown on dog ownership commenced.[180]

Several controversial proposals by President Ahmadinejad and conservatives have not come to fruition. Plans to encourage larger families,[181] to encourage polygamy by permitting it despite the opposition of a husband’s first wife; and to put a tax on Mahriyeh—a stipulated sum that a groom agrees to give or owe to his bride which is seen by many women “as a financial safety net in the event a husband leaves the marriage and is not forced to pay alimony”[182][183]—have not gone anywhere.

2009 election controversy

Ahmadinejad’s 2009 election victory was hotly disputed and marred by large protests that formed the “greatest domestic challenge” to the leadership of the Islamic Republic “in 30 years”.[135] Despite high turnout and large enthusiastic crowds for reformist opponent Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad was officially declared to have won by a 2–1 margin against three opponents. Allegations of voting irregularities and protest by Mousavi his supporters were immediate and by 1 July 2009 1000 people had been arrested and 20 killed in street demonstrations.[184] Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and others Islamic officials blamed foreign powers for fomenting the protest.[140] However, according to World Public Opinion (a United States poll), the protest does not mean Iran is in a “pre-revolutionary” situation as a WPO poll of Iranians taken in early September 2009 found high levels of satisfaction with the regime. 80% of the Iranians respondents said President Ahmadinejad was honest, 64% expressed a lot of confidence in him, and nine in ten said they were satisfied with Iran’s system of government.[185]

Public opinion

According to the (U.S.) International Peace Institute‘s 2010-poll conducted in Persian by a representative sample of the Iranian people:[186]

  • Iranians are divided on the government‘s performance.
  • Dissatisfied with the economy.
  • Worry over sanctions and isolation.
  • Want to focus on domestic affairs.
  • Favor closer ties to the West.
  • Rising tensions sparked hostility toward the US, Europe, and U.N.
  • Favor nuclear arms and do not want to back deals to halt enrichment.
  • Independent polls do not contradict official turnout of 2009 election, which gave around 60% of the vote to Ahmadinejad.

Post election of Rouhani in 2013

Hassan Rouhani was elected as President of Iran on 12 June 2013 and took office on 3 August. He is known as a moderate left-leaner, supported by reformists in the election. He has open ideas in the area of economics and a high-level foreign policy, as he served as a diplomat before his election. He has moved quickly to engage in diplomatic negotiations with Western countries, seeking the lifting of crippling economic sanctions on oil exports in exchange for Iran’s cooperation with UN treaties regarding the development of nuclear weapons.

See also

References

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

 

 

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Story 1: Iran’s Government Blocks Internet as Third Day of Economic Protests Against High Unemployment and Prices and Corrupt Dictatorship Continues Across Islamic Republic of Iran — Eighth Anniversary of Green Revolution — Videos

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Story 1: Iran’s Government Blocks Internet as Third Day of Economic Protests Against High Unemployment and Prices Continues Across Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for economic protests in iranSee the source image

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New economic protests in Tehran challenge Iran’s government

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment.

The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims.

The protests in the Iranian capital, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting about them, raised the stakes. It also apparently forced state television to break its silence, acknowledging it hadn’t reported on them on orders from security officials.

“Counterrevolution groups and foreign media are continuing their organized efforts to misuse the people’s economic and livelihood problems and their legitimate demands to provide an opportunity for unlawful gatherings and possibly chaos,” state TV said.

The protests appear sparked by social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies, like eggs and poultry. Officials and state media made a point Saturday of saying Iranians have the right to protest and have their voices heard on social issues.

Amateur video emerged on Saturday showing large protests in the central Iranian city of Hojedk. The footage showed protesters throwing stones at security officials and chanting “down with dictator”. (Dec. 30)

However, protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanted against high-ranking government officials and made other political statements, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Hundreds of students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University, with riot police massing at the school’s gates as they shut down surrounding roads.

Fars also said protests on Friday also struck Qom, a city that is the world’s foremost center for Shiite Islamic scholarship and home to a major Shiite shrine.

Social media videos purport to show clashes between protesters and police in several areas. At least 50 protesters have been arrested since Thursday, authorities said. State TV also said some protesters chanted the name of Iran’s one-time shah, who fled into exile just before its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi send a message by Twitter to the CEO of messaging service Telegram, Pavel Durov, saying: “A telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest.” Telegram responded saying it had suspended the account.

“A Telegram channel (amadnews) started to instruct their subscribers to use Molotov cocktails against police and got suspended due to our ‘no calls for violence’ rule. Be careful – there are lines one shouldn’t cross.” Durov tweeted.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the deputy commander of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard base, Brig. Gen. Ismail Kowsari, as saying: “Peace has returned to city of Tehran and its surroundings.” He added that if inflation was the reason the protesters took to the streets they should not have destroyed property, according to the report.

The Semi-official ILNA news agency reported on Saturday that the security deputy of Tehran’s governor, Mohsen Hamedani, said that Tehran’s provincial security council held a meeting to address the protests, but that its decisions were “classified.”

Earlier Saturday, hard-liners rallied across the country to support Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others. The rallies, scheduled weeks earlier, commemorated a mass 2009 pro-government rally challenging those who rejected the re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad amid fraud allegations.

State TV aired live the pro-government “9 Dey Epic” rallies, named for the date on the Iranian calendar the 2009 protests took place. The footage showed people waving flags and carrying banners bearing Khamenei’s image.

In Tehran, some 4,000 people gathered at the Musalla prayer ground in central Tehran for the rally. They called for criminal trials for Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, leaders in the 2009 protests who have been under house arrest since 2011. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose administration struck the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, campaigned on freeing the men, though they remain held.

Mohsen Araki, a Shiite cleric who serves in Iran’s Assembly of Experts, praised Rouhani’s efforts at improving the economy. However, he said Rouhani needed to do more to challenge “enemy pressures.”

“We must go back to the pre-nuclear deal situation,” Araki said. “The enemy has not kept with its commitments.”

Ali Ahmadi, a pro-government demonstrator, blamed the U.S for all of Iran’s economic problems.

“They always say that we are supporting Iranian people, but who should pay the costs?” Ahmadi asked.

Iran’s economy has improved since the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the end of some of the international sanctions that crippled its economy. Tehran now sells its oil on the global market and has signed deals for tens of billions of dollars of Western aircraft.

That improvement has not reached the average Iranian, however. Unemployment remains high. Official inflation has crept up to 10 percent again. A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 percent, which a government spokesman has blamed on a cull over avian flu fears, appears to have been the spark for the economic protests.

While police have arrested some protesters, the Revolutionary Guard and its affiliates have not intervened as they have in other unauthorized demonstrations since the 2009 election. The economic protests initially just put pressure on Rouhani’s administration.

Trump tweeted out support for the protests Saturday.

“The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most….” he tweeted. “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!”

It’s unclear what effect Trump’s support would have. Iranians already are largely skeptical of him over his refusal to re-certify the nuclear deal and Iran being included in his travel bans. Trump’s insistence in an October speech on using the term “Arabian Gulf” in place of the Persian Gulf also has also riled the Iranian public.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments in June to Congress saying American is working toward “support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government” has been used by Iran’s government of a sign of foreign interference in its internal politics.

The State Department issued a statement Friday supporting the protests, referencing Tillerson’s earlier comments.

“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” the statement said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments.

“The noble Iranian nation never pays heed to the opportunist and hypocritical mottos chanted by the U.S. officials and their interfering allegations on domestic developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the state-run IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

https://apnews.com/ce07ad7aea0a4d1a86f9c90f6104a1ba/Iran-hard-liners-rally-as-new-protests-challenge-government

‘Death to the dictator’: Thousands of protesters in Iran attack president and mullahs in second day of clashes as demonstrations spread to eight cities

  • Videos show protesters chanting ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Rouhani’
  • Police said 52 people have been arrested as riot police fired tear gas into crowds
  • In one clip, mullah is chanted at aggressively as he walks through angry group
  • Last major demonstrations in Iran were over the disputed 2009 general election 

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran to demonstrate against the country’s president, mullahs and price rises for the second day.

Videos show crowds chanting ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Rouhani’ across the Islamic republic – including Iran’s holy second city, Mashhad – as the protests spread to at least eight other cities.

State media said 52 people have been arrested, with footage recorded by protesters yesterday showing tear gas being thrown into crowds by riot police.

In one clip, a mullah – an Islamic cleric and representative of the feared religious class which runs theocratic Iran – is chanted at aggressively as he walks through a group of protesters.

State media said 52 people have been arrested, with footage recorded by protesters yesterday showing tear gas being thrown into crowds by riot police

The protests have spread across the country, including to Yazd, Birjand, Kashmar and Shahroud

Shocking footage shows police in Iran violently kick protestors

Videos show crowds chanting ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Rouhani’ in cities across the Islamic republic – including Iran’s holy second city, Mashhad – as the protests spread to at least eight cities

Police forces use water cannons on protesters in Iran
Protesters have been sprayed with water cannon by police as the demonstrations spread across the country

In one clip, a mullah – an Islamic cleric and representative of the feared religious class which runs theocratic Iran – is chanted at aggressively as he walks through a group of protesters

Political protests are rare in Iran – but demonstrations are often held by workers over layoffs or non-payment of salaries and people who hold deposits in non-regulated bankrupt financial institutions

They shout: ‘Mullahs, be ashamed – and leave Iran’.

Another video appears to show police kicking protesters.

Some also chanted: ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran’ – a reference to anger at the government’s repeated interventions abroad.

One activist reported on social media that crowds also shouted: ‘Leave Palestine and think about us’.

Political protests are rare in Iran – but demonstrations are often held by workers over layoffs or non-payment of salaries and people who hold deposits in non-regulated bankrupt financial institutions.

Political protests of national significance took place most recently in 2009 when Mahmoud Amadinejad’s re-election as president ignited an eight-month firestorm of street demonstrations. His pro-reform rivals said the vote was rigged. Prominent conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda was quoted as saying: ‘If the security and law enforcement agencies leave the rioters to themselves, enemies will publish films and pictures in their media and say that the Islamic Republic system has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad,’ .

Alamolhoda, the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in northeastern Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of yesterday’s protests against rising prices to raise slogans against Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts.

‘Some people had came to express their demands, but suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, a small group that did not exceed 50, shouted deviant and horrendous slogans such as “Let go of Palestine”, “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I’d give my life for Iran”,’ Alamolhoda said.

Videos on social media also showed demonstrators chanting ‘Leave Syria, think about us’, criticising Iran’s military and financial support for President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting opponents of the government in Syria’s six-year-old civil war.

Videos on social media also showed demonstrators chanting ‘Leave Syria, think about us’, criticising Iran’s military and financial support for President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting opponents of the government in Syria’s six-year-old civil war

The prices of several staples, including eggs, have risen by up to 40 per cent in recent days, with farmers blaming the hikes on higher prices for imported feed. Pictured: Protesters in Iran yesterday

Political protests of national significance took place most recently in 2009 when Mahmoud Amadinejad’s re-election as president ignited an eight-month firestorm of street demonstrations. His pro-reform rivals said the vote was rigged

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close ally of President Rouhani, suggested that hardline opponents of the president may have started the protests.

‘When a social and political movement is launched on the streets, those who started it will not necessarily be able to control it in the end,’ IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying.

‘Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers. They think they will hurt the government by doing so.’

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted the governor of the northeastern city of Mashhad, Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, as saying there was an illegal ‘No to high prices’ gathering in the city.

‘Police gave them the necessary notifications and treated them with great tolerance,’ he said.

Norouzian said police arrested a number of people who intended to destroy public property, without elaborating.

The prices of several staples, including eggs, have risen by up to 40 per cent in recent days, with farmers blaming the hikes on higher prices for imported feed.

Poultry is an important part of the diet of many of Iran’s 80 million people, and previous price increases have caused political problems for its leaders in the years since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Inflation has returned to 10 per cent, Iran’s central bank says. Youth unemployment also remains high.

As well as Mashhad, there were smaller protests in Yazd in southern Iran, Shahroud in the north and Kashmar in the northeast.

Tempers rose after Rouhani submitted his 2018 budget to parliament, which raises departure taxes for those flying out of the country.

Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close ally of President Rouhani (pictured), suggested that hardline opponents of the president may have started the protests

Tehran-based analyst Saeed Leilaz said that Rouhani’s political rivals may have played a role in organising the protests, saying ‘the hands of political groups could be seen in today’s gathering in Mashhad.’

But he said the administration still faces a major challenge.

‘There are more than 3 million jobless in Iran, and more than 35 percent of Iranians are under the poverty line. These are Rouhani’s problems, and could kill any government. I won’t be shocked if inflation hits 12 per cent.’

All this comes as the US Congress weighs President Donald Trump’s refusal to re-certify the nuclear deal.

Many Iranians now say they agree with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s repeated warnings the US can’t be trusted.

Khamenei has also kept up his criticism of how Rouhani’s administration has handled the economy, which includes the supreme leader’s opposition to allowing foreign firms to fully enter Iran.

The Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary organization, has vast economic interests in the country.

But the Guard did not mobilise its Basij volunteer forces to counter any of the protests yesterday.

However, some protests included attacks on Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war, in which the Guard has played a major role.

Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran – which considers itself a government in exile – said he believes the protests show a ‘desire for regime change’.

He added: ‘One has to keep in mind that the people have been on the streets in large numbers across Iran for two days despite huge risks and the regime’s total mobilisation of its oppressive forces.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5220273/Thousands-protesters-Iran-attack-president.html#ixzz52mvNj8Zf

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Story 1: Protests in Islamic Republic of Iran — Death to Dictator — Videos

Posted on December 29, 2017. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Economics, Employment, Energy, European History, Faith, Family, Farming, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, Health, history, Islam, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Middle East, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Religious, Religious, Resources, Shite, Speech, Strategy, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , |

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IRAN – 28 Dec. 2017: Thousand protest chanting “Death to Dictator”

Thousand Chant “Death to Dictator” “Death to Rouhani” in Iranian Cities

Price protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread

DUBAI (Reuters) – Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans in several cities across Iran on Friday, Iranian news agencies and social media reports said, as price protests turned into the largest wave of demonstrations since nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009.

Police dispersed anti-government demonstrators in the western city of Kermanshah as protests spread to Tehran and several other cities a day after rallies in the northeast, the semi-official news agency Fars said.

The outbreak of unrest reflects growing discontent over rising prices and alleged corruption, as well as concern about the Islamic Republic’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq.

An official said a few protesters had been arrested in Tehran, and footage posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the capital and some other cities.

Washington criticized the arrests. ”The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.

About 300 demonstrators gathered in Kermanshah after what Fars said was a “call by the anti-revolution”. They shouted: “Political prisoners should be freed” and “Freedom or death”, and some public property was destroyed. Fars did not name any opposition groups.

The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an earthquake killed over 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds rallied in Iran’s second largest city Mashhad to protest at high prices and shout anti-government slogans.

Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators yelling, “The people are begging, the clerics act like God”.

Fars said there were protests in the cities of Sari and Rasht in the north, Qazvin west of Tehran and Qom south of the capital, and also in Hamadan in western Iran. It said many marchers who wanted to raise economic demands left the rallies after demonstrators shouted political slogans.

PRO-GOVERNMENT RALLIES PLANNED

State television said annual nationwide rallies and events were scheduled for Saturday to commemorate pro-government demonstrations held in 2009 to counter protests by reformists.

https://www.youtube.com/results?sp=EgIIAw%253D%253D&search_query=iran+rebellion+protests+fox+news

Iran Developing: Large Protests in Mashhad and Other Cities Over Inflation

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Screenshot of protesters in Mashhad, Iran, December 28, 2017

Video is circulating of large protests in several Iranian cities on Thursday over rising prices.

Demonstrations are reported in Iran’s second city Mashhad, Neyshabur, and Kashmar, all in the northeast in Khorasan Province, and Yazd in the center. Slogans include “Death to [President] Rouhani”, “Death to the dictator”, “You took Islam as a staircase to power but left the people”, and “Don’t be scared, we are all together.”

There were also calls for Iran’s officials to focus on domestic issues and pull back from interventions, with chants such as “No Gaza, No Lebanon” — a refrain of lines after the disputed 2009 Presidential election — and “Forget about Syria, think about us”.

The rallies began earlier this week in Isfahan after officials warned of worsening unemployment, with more than 27,000 people fired from their jobs because firms went bankrupt over the past nine months.

Demonstrators in Mashhad gathered in a central square and then moved towards the shrine of Imam Reza, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam:

The Governor of Khorasan Province, Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, said the gathering was illegal but “the police force was very tolerant”. However, video showed tear gas being used to disperse demonstrators:

In Neyshabur, “Leave Syria, think of us”:

Footage has also been posted of the Yazd rally, with protesters shouting, “What a mistake I made to vote for Rouhani!”.

A cartoon showing the Supreme Leader closing his ears to the demands for action, as he thinks of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine:

KHAMENEI PROTEST CARTOON 12-17

A compilation of the demonstrations in Neyshabur, Yazd, Shahrud, Kashmar and Mashhad:

Protesters arrested in Iran after rally against price hikes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iranians angry over rising food prices and inflation protested in the country’s second-largest city and other areas Thursday, putting new pressure on President Hassan Rouhani as his signature nuclear deal with world powers remains in peril.

The protests in Mashhad saw police make an unspecified number of arrests, local authorities said, though the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard and its affiliates did not intervene as they have in other unauthorized demonstrations since Iran’s disputed 2009 election.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people took part in Thursday’s protests, though social media posts suggest several thousand likely demonstrated at rallies across at least three other cities.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted the governor of the northeastern city of Mashhad, Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, as saying there was an illegal “No to high prices” gathering in the city.

“Police gave them the necessary notifications and treated them with great tolerance,” he said.

Norouzian said police arrested a number of people who intended to destroy public property, without elaborating.

The prices of several staples, including eggs, have risen by up to 40 percent in recent days, with farmers blaming the hikes on higher prices for imported feed. Poultry is an important part of the diet of many of Iran’s 80 million people, and previous price increases have caused political problems for its leaders in the years since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

So has inflation, which Iran’s Central Bank says has returned to 10 percent. Youth unemployment remains high.

Tempers rose further after Rouhani submitted his 2018 budget to parliament, which raises departure taxes for those flying out of the country.

Tehran-based analyst Saeed Leilaz told The Associated Press that Rouhani’s political rivals may have played a role in organizing the protests, saying “the hands of political groups could be seen in today’s gathering in Mashhad.”

But he said the administration still faces a major challenge.

“There are more than 3 million jobless in Iran, and more than 35 percent of Iranians are under the poverty line. These are Rouhani’s problems, and could kill any government. I won’t be shocked if inflation hits 12 percent.”

All this comes as the U.S. Congress weighs President Donald Trump’s refusal to re-certify the nuclear deal. Many Iranians now say they agree with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s repeated warnings the U.S. can’t be trusted.

Khamenei also has kept up his criticism of how Rouhani’s administration has handled the economy, which includes the supreme leader’s opposition to allowing foreign firms to fully enter Iran. The Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary organization, has vast economic interests in the country.

The Guard did not mobilize its Basij volunteer forces to counter any of the protests Thursday. However, some protests saw criticism of Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war, in which the Guard has played a major role.

___

Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5218105/Protesters-arrested-Iran-rally-against-price-hikes.html#ixzz52hIxftUq
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Story 1: Chinese ships caught shipping oil to North Korea — After Winter Olympics Eliminate North Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran Nuclear and Missile Threats — Videos

Posted on December 28, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Chinese, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Diet, Documentary, Economics, Elections, Employment, European History, Family, Farming, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government spending, Health, history, Law, Life, Links, media, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Trade, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Story 1: Chinese ships caught shipping oil to North Korea — After Winter Olympics Eliminate North Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran Nuclear and Missile Threats — VideosSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for china ships oil to north korea See the source image

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Is China secretly selling oil to Kim Jong-un? US satellites ‘have spotted Beijing tankers transferring fuel to North Korean ships 30 times in three months’ despite UN trade embargo

  • Satellite images ‘show Chinese and North Korean ships tied together off China’
  • South Korea claims there have been 30 such transactions in just three months 
  • Such trades are banned under a UN resolution adopted in September this year

US satellites have spotted Chinese tankers transferring oil to North Korean ships 30 times in three months – despite strict UN trade embargoes, it has been claimed.

Overhead images appear to show ships from the two countries shackled together for a fuel transfer in the West Sea off China.

Such ship-to-ship trades are banned under a UN Security Council resolution adopted in September.

But according to South Korean government sources, American satellites have pictured large vessels from both China and North Korea illegally trading in a stretch of the West Sea on multiple occasions.

US satellites have spotted Chinese tankers transferring oil to North Korean ships 30 times in three months - despite strict UN trade embargoes, it has been claimed. One picture (above), reportedly taken on October 19, shows a ship called Ryesonggang 1 connected to a Chinese vessel in the West Sea off China

One picture, reportedly taken on October 19, shows a ship called Ryesonggang 1 connected to a Chinese vessel, The Chosun Ilbo reports.

The US Treasury Department later placed six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels on sanctions list.

It said the activity appeared to show attempts to bypass sanctions, though it has not been suggested that Chinese authorities were aware of the transactions.

Cai Jian, an expert on North Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai, said: ‘This is a natural outcome of the tightening of the various sanctions against North Korea.

The tightening ‘reflects China’s stance’, he said.

Professor of political science at the Pusan National University in South Korea told the Telegraph the reports were easily believable.

He said: ‘There is a lot of under-the-radar on the Chinese side. Beijing does not police the border strictly or enforce the sanctions toughly. This could be that.’

It comes a day after Chinese customs data was revealed claiming Beijing exported no oil products to North Korea in November.

The figures apparently go above and beyond sanctions imposed earlier this year by the United Nations in a bid to limit petroleum shipments to the isolated country.

Tensions have flared anew over North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile programmes, pursued in defiance of years of U.N. resolutions. Last week, the U.N. Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year.

Beijing also imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, the second full month of the latest trade sanctions imposed by U.N.

China, the main source of North Korea’s fuel, did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its isolated neighbour last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.

Sanctions have been placed on Kim Jong-un's secretive nation after he accelerated his nuclear and missile programmes

Sanctions have been placed on Kim Jong-un’s secretive nation after he accelerated his nuclear and missile programmes

November was the second straight month China exported no diesel or gasoline to North Korea. The last time China’s jet fuel shipments to Pyongyang were at zero was in February 2015.

‘This is a natural outcome of the tightening of the various sanctions against North Korea,’ said Cai Jian, an expert on North Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai.

The tightening ‘reflects China’s stance’, he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she didn’t know any details about the oil products export situation.

‘As a principle, China has consistently fully, correctly, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea. We have already established a set of effective operating mechanisms and methods,’ she said at a regular briefing on Tuesday, without elaborating.

Since June, state-run China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has suspended sales of gasoline and diesel to North Korea, concerned that it would not get paid for its goods, Reuters previously reported.

Beijing’s move to turn off the taps completely is rare.

In March 2003, China suspended oil supplies to North Korea for three days after Pyongyang fired a missile into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

It is unknown if China still sells crude oil to Pyongyang. Beijing has not disclosed its crude exports to North Korea for several years.

Industry sources say China still supplies about 520,000 tonnes, or 3.8 million barrels, of crude a year to North Korea via an aging pipeline. That is a little more than 10,000 barrels a day, and worth about $200 million a year at current prices.

North Korea also sources some of its oil from Russia.

Chinese exports of corn to North Korean in November also slumped, down 82 percent from a year earlier to 100 tonnes, the lowest since January. Exports of rice plunged 64 percent to 672 tonnes, the lowest since March.

Trade between North Korea and China has slowed through the year, particularly after China banned coal purchases in February. In November, China’s trade with North Korea totalled $388 million, one of the lowest monthly volumes this year.

China has renewed its call on all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, urging the use of peaceful means to resolve issues.

But tensions flared again after North Korea on Nov. 29 said it had tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that put the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile Chinese exports of liquefied petroleum gas to North Korea, used for cooking, rose 58 percent in November from a year earlier to 99 tonnes. Exports of ethanol, which can be turned into a biofuel, gained 82 percent to 3,428 cubic metres.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5214787/China-ships-selling-oil-sanction-hit-North-Korea.html#ixzz52boFYOhA

 

Where The North Korean Crisis Meets The Iran Nuclear Deal

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

This article was originally published at Stratfor.com.

By Reva Goujon

By virtue of its military might, the United States has the unique ability to quickly — and credibly — place its most intractable adversaries under existential threat. Command over the world’s most powerful military gives a country options, and the option of regime change can be a tempting one for Washington as it tries to work through some of its more maddening foreign policy dilemmas.

A government living under the constant, lurking threat of decapitation does not particularly enjoy stewing in its own paranoia over what social fissures its enemies can exploit, which allies they can turn and what chain of events could finally push the United States into action. That’s why a nuclear deterrent is such an alluring prospect: What better way to kill your adversaries’ fantasy of regime change than to stand with them as near-equals on a nuclear plane?

This is North Korea’s rationale as the country closes in on demonstrating that it has a fully functional nuclear weapon and delivery arsenal. But Washington’s nuclear dilemma doesn’t end with Pyongyang. Whether Tehran attempts to return to its treacherous path toward nuclear armament rests in large part on just how seriously the White House entertains and attempts to execute a policy of regime change.

Preventing Another North Korea

North Korea is set to prove to the world that it has attained a nuclear deterrent. With the Nov. 29 test of its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile yet — and plenty more demonstrations to come in the months ahead — the country is on track to show that it could field a reliable, nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States and that it has the arsenal necessary to weather a first strike. The window to launch a preventive strike on North Korea is rapidly closing. And in turn, the odds are growing that the United States, along with the countries in and around the Korean Peninsula, will have to accept the reality of a nuclear-armed North Korea and prepare instead for a pre-emptive strike in case Pyongyang decides to launch an attack.

The result will be a new and unstable pattern of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century, one in which the unique challenges of communicating with the North Korean government will leave the door open to potential miscalculations. More Cold War-era arms agreements that rest on reliable communication among nuclear peers will come under threat. China and Russia, after all, fear that the irreversible buildup of the United States’ ballistic missile defense network will undermine their own strategic deterrents and will have less incentive to abide by obsolete arms pacts as a result. Despite continued calls for diplomacy to bring Pyongyang to the table and somehow prevent North Korea from crossing the nuclear Rubicon, the chances are slim that Kim Jong Un’s administration will trust a last-ditch negotiation. No amount of security guarantees from the United States will persuade Pyongyang that Washington, its allies or even Beijing has wholly abandoned their designs for regime change. Furthermore, Kim has commissioned an assassination campaign with global reach to ensure that any potential alternatives to his rule are eliminated early on. With its survival on the line, North Korea has an existential commitment to achieve its nuclear objectives.

The United States is weighing the risks of carrying out a preventive military campaign to avoid entering the dangerous new global order. But the associated costs of starting a war in Northeast Asia and plunging the world into recession make this scenario less likely. Even though he inherited a near-impossible timeline to neutralize the threat, U.S. President Donald Trump won’t take kindly to North Korea fulfilling its nuclear ambitions on his watch. When the time comes to reckon with this reality, his administration will probably reframe the issue as the product of decades of negligent and ineffective policy. The president will then set his sights on Iran, vowing to avoid a repeat of such a colossal failure in U.S. foreign policy.

In fact, the effort to shift attention from North Korea to Iran has been underway for some time. Trump has made clear that he sees the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the deal his predecessor, along with four other countries, made with Iran to deter it from pursuing nuclear capabilities — as flimsy and wholly insufficient. The U.S. administration, moreover, has expressed its frustration that the deal’s terms inhibit the imposition of economic sanctions in response to other threats from Iran. By decertifyng the JCPOA, Trump meant to send the message that he was serious about confronting the Islamic republic. To strike a deal in the first place, the previous administration and the JCPOA’s other signatories had to focus negotiations solely on Iran’s nuclear program, setting aside broader problems, such as Tehran’s covert support for militant proxies, its development of ballistic missiles and its alleged human rights abuses. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the JCPOA’s other parties affirm that Iran is upholding its end of the agreement. Yet the current occupants of the White House have used infractions unrelated to the deal, such as ballistic missile testing, to blur the JCPOA’s terms and justify reintroducing sanctions.

Iran Recalculates

Consequently, Iran will have much to contemplate in the coming year as it weighs the pros and cons of abiding by the JCPOA. Compared with North Korea, Iran sees a nuclear deterrent as more of a luxury than a strict necessity. Iran’s reliance on global energy trade, its heavy exposure to intelligence oversight from hawkish neighbors like Israel and its people’s ability to channel economic discontent into political change make its pursuit of nuclear arms more perilous. At the same time, the country’s layered political structure, formidable security apparatus, challenging terrain and ability to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz offer it useful insulation against its adversaries’ attempts to bring down the clerical government. In addition, Iran’s influence across the Middle East gives it leverage with the United States. Either by helping U.S. interests, for example in the fight against the Islamic State, or by hindering them — through threatening maritime vessels or backing militant proxies against U.S. allies — Tehran can influence its dealings with Washington. These factors led Iran to conclude that it could strike a bargain with the United States over its nuclear program to get economic reprieve from sanctions and reduce the potential for a military conflict in the Persian Gulf.

But the JCPOA wasn’t just about the nuclear program. Implicit in the framework was a deeper understanding between Washington and Tehran. Both sides understood there would remain a number of points of contention between them as they competed in proxy battlegrounds across the region. Still, in signing the deal, the United States was downgrading the potential for conflict in the Gulf region, thereby signaling to Tehran that it was taking any earlier plans for regime change off the table.

Now, in trying to directly discredit the JCPOA, the Trump administration risks stripping away those security guarantees and putting Iran back in an existential mindset that could push it onto the nuclear path once more.

A spate of leaks and acknowledgments from the U.S. president himself over the past year have revealed Trump’s disdain for anyone trying to block his Iran agenda and his respect for hawks on Iran policy. (The former group includes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, while the latter category includes U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton, who has been rumored to be next in line to head the CIA should Trump decide to replace Tillerson with Pompeo.) The more frustrated he becomes with the North Korean dilemma, the more energy the U.S. president has put into lining up loyalists to try to limit interference in his agenda for Iran. Two key figures in the Middle East have exerted heavy influence over that agenda: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders, in fact, are so eager for the opportunity to shape a more aggressive U.S. policy toward Iran that they are downplaying their animosity for each other and collaborating in the open.

Iran’s leaders will now have to assess how far the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli triumvirate will go in trying to contain their country. Iran still has the benefit of a strong European defense for the JCPOA. The White House would risk a major confrontation with the Continent’s powers were it to attempt to unilaterally end sanctions waivers and reinstate secondary sanctions on foreign firms doing business with Iran. And enforcing additional sanctions would be difficult without buy-in from Iran’s main trading partners. With that in mind, Tehran will probably take care in the coming months to avoid blatantly violating the JCPOA and driving the Europeans back to the United States’ side on sanctions — even as a growing competition with Washington emboldens Iran’s hard-line politicians. At the same time, Tehran will look for ways to strengthen its burgeoning relationship with Russia to counterbalance the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli alliance.

Even if the framework of the JCPOA survives, however tenuously, Iran will still be on alert for other aggressive U.S.-backed efforts to destabilize its political system. After all, if the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia believe that the nuclear deal is fundamentally flawed and that they must compel Tehran back to the negotiating table, they’ll need to find ways to credibly threaten the Iranian government’s continued existence. Iran will be on the lookout for a range of threats, from a concerted military campaign against its Lebanese proxy militia, Hezbollah, to a cyberattack on its critical infrastructure to covert efforts to sow sedition in the Islamic republic. And even if the United States could coerce Iran to renegotiate the nuclear deal, Washington’s reputation for honoring that kind of pact is already deep in question. Agreeing to abandon the quest for nuclear weapons didn’t save Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, as Pyongyang and Tehran well know.

Overturning the JCPOA will compound the challenges the United States faces in finding diplomatic solutions to nuclear-sized problems. Moreover, a nuclear-armed North Korea would only complicate matters further. The cash-strapped country may find its coveted deterrent to be a lucrative asset in a pinch. And should the United States convince Iran of the JCPOA’s impending demise, Pyongyang may have a willing customer in Tehran.

The Luxury of Distance

Trump’s more assertive stance toward Iran isn’t an anomaly in U.S. foreign policy. Since the JCPOA took effect — a milestone that was arguably necessary to reduce the threat of military conflict in the Persian Gulf and to freeze Iran’s nuclear program — the Islamic republic’s economic recovery and re-engagement with the West has threatened to upset the balance of power in the Middle East. Iran, free from the fetters of sanctions, suddenly had more energy and resources to throw into its proxy battles in the region, at the expense of critical Sunni powers. The United States, in turn, was bound to shore up support for its Sunni allies and seek out new ways to keep Iran contained, regardless of who was conducting policy in the White House.

Even so, there is such thing as an overcorrection in policymaking. Trump’s willingness to wholeheartedly endorse the Saudi plan for cutting Iran back down to size sets him apart from his political contemporaries and predecessors. Along with trying to discredit the JCPOA, the U.S. administration has backed Riyadh’s short-sighted campaigns to isolate Qatar and to try to force a Saudi agenda down the Lebanese government’s throat. These moves, all sorely lacking in subtlety, at times suggest an ideological bent to target Iran at any cost.

But the United States doesn’t have to shoulder the historical baggage and the centuries of animosity that drive competition in the Middle East. It has the luxury of distance, from which it can manipulate the balance of power at will. In other words, while Israel and Saudi Arabia perceive Iran to be an existential threat, the same may not be true for the United States. Its removal from the situation gives Washington the space to manage Iran through a more assertive policy of strategic containment that stops short of reintroducing the menace of regime change and thus keeps the country from having to resort to more extreme measures. Therein lies the difference between strategic and ideological policymaking. As the North Korea conundrum gives rise to a more precarious age of nuclear deterrence, that difference will matter all the more.

This article was originally published by Stratfor Worldview, a leading geopolitical intelligence platform and advisory firm based in Austin, Texas.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stratfor/2017/12/07/where-the-north-korean-crisis-meets-the-iran-nuclear-deal/#56ded7c9e9a6

Scoop: U.S. and Israel reach joint plan to counter Iran

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after delivering a speech during a visit to the Israel Museum on May 23, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel have reached a joint strategic work plan to counter Iranian activity in the Middle East. U.S. and Israeli officials said the joint understandings were reached in a secret meeting between senior Israeli and U.S. delegations at the White House on December 12th.

What it means: A senior U.S. official said that after two days of talks the U.S. and Israel reached at a joint document which included understandings on countering Iranian actions in the region. The U.S. official said the document goal’s was to translate President Trump’s Iran speech to joint U.S.-Israeli strategic goals regarding Iran and to set up a joint work plan.

At the table: The Israeli team was headed by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and included senior representatives of the Israeli military, Ministry of Defense, Foreign Ministry and intelligence community. The U.S. side was headed by national security adviser H.R. McMaster and included senior representatives from the National Security Council, State Department, Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

As part of the understandings that were reached the U.S. and Israel decided to form several working groups according to the joint goals:
  1. Covert and diplomatic action to block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons – according to the U.S. official this working group will deal with diplomatic steps that can be taken as part of the Iran nuclear deal to further monitor and verify that Iran is not violating the deal. It also includes diplomatic steps outside of the nuclear deal to put more pressure on Iran. The working group will deal with possible covert steps against the Iranian nuclear program.
  2. Countering Iranian activity in the region, especially the Iranian entrenchment efforts in Syria and the Iranian support for Hezbollah and other terror groups. This working group will also deal with drafting U.S.-Israeli policy regarding the “day after” in the Syrian civil war.
  3. Countering Iranian ballistic missiles development and the Iranian “precision project” aimed at manufacturing precision guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon for Hezbollah to be used against Israel in a future war.
  4. Joint U.S.-Israeli preparation for different escalation scenarios in the region concerning Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Senior Israeli officials confirmed that the U.S. and Israel have arrived at strategic understandings regarding Iran that would strengthen the cooperation in countering regional challenges.

The Israeli officials said:

“[T]he U.S. and Israel see eye to eye the different developments in the region and especially those that are connected to Iran. We reached at understandings regarding the strategy and the policy needed to counter Iran. Our understandings deal with the overall strategy but also with concrete goals, way of action and the means which need to be used to get obtain those goals.”

https://www.axios.com/scoop-u-s-and-israel-reach-joint-plan-to-counter-iran-2520518565.html

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Story 1: When Will The Chinese People Overthrow The Communist Party of China? — Massive Censorship By Controlling The Internet — Videos

Posted on December 26, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Chinese, Communications, Computers, Computers, Crisis, Cult, Documentary, Elections, Employment, Energy, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, Health Care, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Media Streamers, Mobile Phones, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Photos, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religious, Reviews, Security, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Technology, Television, Television, Terrorism, Torture, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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China hands down harshest sentence yet in crackdown on activists

By Christian Shepherd

Reuters 

China sentenced a prominent rights activist to eight years in jail for subversion on Tuesday, his lawyer said, the harshest sentence passed in a government crackdown on activism that began more than two years ago.

In a separate case, a rights lawyer avoided criminal punishment despite being found guilty of inciting subversion, because he admitted his crimes, the Chinese court trying him said.

Wu Gan, a blogger better known by his online name “Super Vulgar Butcher”, plans to appeal against the eight-year sentence handed down by the Tianjin Municipality’s No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, his lawyer, Yan Xin, told Reuters.

The harshness of the sentence prompted the German embassy in Beijing to issue a statement expressing disappointment.

Wu regularly championed sensitive cases of government abuses of power, both online and in street protests. He was detained in May 2015 and charged with subversion.

The activist criticized China’s political system online and used performance art to create disturbances, as well as insulting people and spreading false information, according to a statement from the court posted on its website.

“He carried out a string of criminal actions to subvert state power and overthrow the socialist system and seriously harmed state security and social stability,” the court said.

Before his arrest, Wu used his platform to cast doubt on the official version of events in an incident in early May 2015, in which a police officer shot a petitioner in a train station in northern Heilongjiang province.

Wu’s refusal to bow to pressure or admit guilt likely explains his harsh sentence, said Kit Chan, Hong Kong-based director of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

“Wu Gan is being punished for his non-conformity,” she said.

His sentence is the most severe in what rights groups have called an unprecedented attack on China’s rights activists and lawyers, known as the 709 crackdown, which began in full force on July 9, 2015.

The hardline approach to rights activism has shown no sign of softening as Chinese President Xi Jinping enters his second five-year term in office.

In the other case concluded on Tuesday, rights lawyer Xie Yang received no punishment after being found guilty of inciting subversion and disrupting court order, the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court said on social media.

The court released a video of the proceedings, in which Xie said he accepted the outcome and would not appeal. He also thanked authorities and said he will be a law-abiding citizen.

Xie had worked on numerous cases deemed sensitive by Chinese authorities, such as defending supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. In May, he confessed to the charges against him in what rights groups called a scripted “sham” trial.

In January, Xie’s wife and lawyer released detailed accounts of torture suffered by Xie at the hands of the authorities, which were widely reported on in the international media.

Chinese state media branded those reports “fake news” and said the accounts were concocted as a means of gaining attention. Xie’s lawyer told Reuters he stands by the account.

“In both cases these have been serious concerns about violations of due process of law,” the German embassy in Beijing said in a statement.

The decision to hand down both sentences the day after Christmas, when there would likely be less attention from diplomats and international observers, “reeks of cynical political calculation”, said Patrick Poon, Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International.

Asked about the verdicts, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing that Amnesty is biased when it comes to China and should not be believed, adding that China abides by the rule of law.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/china-hands-down-harshest-sentence-yet-multi-rights-023955698.html

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Story 1: Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Counting The Days To Early Retirement in March 2018 — Videos

Posted on December 23, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government spending, Journalism, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Video, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , |

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Facing Republican attacks, FBI’s deputy director plans to retire early next year


Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, has become a lightning rod in the political storms buffeting the agency. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
 December 23 at 4:14 PM
Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.McCabe spent hours in Congress this past week, facing questions behind closed doors from members of three committees. Republicans said they were dissatisfied with his answers; Democrats called it a partisan hounding.McCabe, 49, holds a unique position in the political firestorm surrounding the FBI . He was former director James B. Comey’s right-hand man, a position that involved him in most of the FBI’s actions that vex President Trump and in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a matter that still riles Democrats.McCabe won’t become eligible for his full pension until early March. People close to him say he plans to retire as soon as he hits that mark. “He’s got about 90 days, and some of that will be holiday time. He can make it,’’ one said.

McCabe ‘absolutely’ pledges to tell Congress if White House meddles in Russia probe

He also asserted there had “been no effort to impede our investigation to date.” 

A spokesman for McCabe declined to comment, as did an FBI spokesman.

Word of McCabe’s plans drew a response Saturday from Trump, who in a Twitter postcharacterized the move as “racing the clock to retire with full benefits.”

When Trump fired Comey in May, McCabe stayed to run the agency until a new director was in place and to take the political heat for decisions made by his former boss.

“Andy’s in a difficult position now . . . because of the hyperpartisan political environment,’’ said John Pistole, who held the FBI’s No. 2 job for six years under former director Robert S. Mueller III. Mueller now serves as special counsel, running the investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russian agents to interfere with the 2016 election.

Pistole said McCabe “is weathering the storm.”

“It’s disappointing,” he added, “to see how the criticism of the FBI is being used to try to undermine the credibility of the Mueller investigation. I think they’ve figured out they can’t undermine Bob’s integrity, so they’re just going to go after whoever they can dig up any dirt on.’’

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is escorted by U.S. Capitol Police before a meeting with lawmakers Thursday on Capitol Hill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Within the agency, there is praise — but also some criticism — for how McCabe has handled his role. Still, he has become a lightning rod in the political storms buffeting the bureau. Conservatives have called for heads to roll at the FBI, and McCabe is atop the lists of many. But current and former FBI officials said it would be dangerous to appease those demands.

“It would send a terrible message to move him now, but it’s also a terrible situation he’s in,’’ said one law enforcement official.

Last week, the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, told colleagues he was being reassigned, according to people familiar with the matter.

The pressure on McCabe has only intensified. He got an eight-hour grilling from the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and returned to Congress on Thursday to face more than nine hours of questions from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

Other senior FBI officials, including those who worked closely with McCabe and Comey, are expected to face similar questioning from Congress next year.

Republicans are focusing in particular on the FBI’s relationship with the author of a dossier containing allegations against Trump. The bureau offered to pay the author of that document after the election to keep pursuing leads and information, but the agreement was never finalized, The Washington Post reported earlier this year.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has called for McCabe’s ouster, saying he “ought to go for reasons of being involved in some of the things that took place in the previous administration. We want to make sure that there’s not undue political influence within the FBI — the [Justice] Department and the FBI.”

Democrats emerging from Thursday’s questioning of McCabe urged him to resist Republicans’ calls to step down, saying the GOP’s new focus on McCabe smells of political opportunism.

McCabe should not be fired because of “biased political commentary,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.).

Trump and his supporters have made clear they want McCabe gone, but as a civil service employee, he can’t be fired outright without a clear finding of major wrongdoing.

Christopher A. Wray became the FBI’s director in August, and a new leader typically appoints a new deputy to help run the agency. When Comey became director in 2013, for example, he got a new deputy after about two months.

But within the FBI, even reassigning McCabe is viewed by many as a bad idea. It would be seen as caving to political demands and might provoke calls for additional housecleaning, according to current and former law enforcement officials.

McCabe rose quickly through the FBI’s senior ranks, only to find himself, beginning last year, the subject of intense partisan fighting about his conduct.

Republicans attacked him after reports that his wife, a Democratic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the political action committee led by a close ally of the Clintons. He had also been part of discussions with Justice Department officials that critics said prevented FBI agents from more aggressively pursuing their investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Agents were trying to determine whether donations to the foundation were made with an expectation of government favors from Clinton or her allies.

After reports about those issues surfaced in October 2016, then-candidate Trump singled out McCabe for criticism, and congressional Republicans demanded detailed answers from the FBI about his role in the Clinton probes — questions they insist remain unanswered.

In a separate Twitter post on Saturday, Trump expressed his incredulity once more, asking how “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?”

McCabe’s role is being examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who has said a report on how the Clinton probe was handled should be finished by spring.

In May came Comey’s firing, which left the FBI, according to one person inside the bureau, “permanently playing defense.’’

McCabe was suddenly in charge, and, according to people familiar with the matter, law enforcement officials began to investigate the president for obstruction of justice.

In early December, McCabe faced yet another controversy. The Post reported that one of his senior advisers, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had exchanged numerous pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages with Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent on Mueller’s probe. The special counsel removed Strzok when he learned of their communications; Page had left the Mueller team two weeks earlier for what officials said were unrelated reasons. In one text, Strzok wrote that he thought Clinton should win “100,000,000-0.’’

More problematic for McCabe is a text in which Page told Strzok, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.’’

Republican lawmakers have seized on the text as evidence that Strzok, Page and possibly McCabe were involved in an effort to somehow ensure Trump would not win the election. But people familiar with the exchange said that the two were debating how overtly they should begin investigating Trump, and that one of the factors they considered was the likelihood he could win the presidency — which they deemed small.

Even that explanation presents a headache for McCabe because it places a conversation in his office about how the expected election outcome should or should not affect the FBI’s investigative decisions.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/facing-republican-attacks-fbis-deputy-director-plans-to-retire-early-next-year/2017/12/23/b4802b8c-e67a-11e7-a65d-1ac0fd7f097e_story.html?utm_term=.c724e3cc1f16

 

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Story 1: U.S. Personal Consumption Spending and Inflation Rising — Videos

Posted on December 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Freedom, Friends, government spending, Health, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Journalism, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Video, Welfare, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Story 1: U.S. Consumption Spending and Inflation Rising — Videos

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U.S. Inflation Gains in Nov., While Core CPI Cools

Will retail earnings get a boost from consumer spending increase?

Gary Shilling Explains Why The US Should Focus Less On Consumption

What is inflation? | Inflation | Finance & Capital Markets | Khan Academy

What Is Consumer Price Index (CPI)? | Show Me | NBC News

U.S. Consumer Spending Tops Forecasts as Inflation Accelerates

U.S. consumer spending rose more than forecast in November and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge advanced to an eight-month high, signs of economic vitality that should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates gradually in 2018.

Purchases rose 0.6 percent after a 0.2 percent advance that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent gain. Incomes rose 0.3 percent, slightly below projections, though the three-month gain was the fastest since early 2017.

While partly reflecting rising prices and spending related to energy, the results indicate strength in consumption, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy and is likely to drive U.S. growth again this quarter. Inflation moving closer to the Fed’s target may also reinforce expectations for interest- rate hikes next year under incoming Chairman Jerome Powell, and tax legislation awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature could provide a further boost to the economy.

One caveat: The report showed Americans’ spending is increasingly coming at the expense of storing up funds. The saving rate fell to 2.9 percent in November, the lowest since November 2007, just before the last recession began.

What Our Economists Say…

The results “support Bloomberg Economics’ forecast for consumer-spending growth to accelerate in the fourth quarter to the fastest pace since the beginning of the year. Importantly, robust personal spending is supported by strong income gains in November, suggesting that households are well-positioned to spend in the near term. Income gains should intensify going into the next year as wage pressures increase.”

— Yelena Shulyatyeva, Bloomberg Economics

For more on the data from BE, click here.

The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — tied to consumption — rose 0.2 percent in November from the previous month and 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the fastest since March. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices rose 0.1 percent from October and 1.5 percent from November 2016, matching estimates.

Inflation has missed the central bank’s 2 percent target for most of the past five years. While energy prices have helped drive the pickup in headline inflation, the rise in the core gauge should also hearten Fed officials, who expect inflation will slowly reach their goal as transitory downward pressures dissipate.

With steady hiring and rising stock and home prices boosting households’ ability to increase purchases, some analysts project the holiday season will be the best since before the recession began. Recent government figures showed retail sales rose more than forecast in November amid broad-based demand.

The latest results follow Commerce Department figures released Thursday that showed third-quarter gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annualized pace, revised down slightly though still the fastest since early 2015. That reflected a somewhat slower rate of household consumption.

Economists expect growth of 2.7 percent in the October-December period, based on the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Other Details

  • Wages and salaries rose 0.4 percent in November from the prior month; disposable income, or earnings adjusted for taxes and inflation, was up 0.1 percent after a 0.3 percent advance in October
  • Consumer spending on durable goods, adjusted for inflation, rose 0.2 percent for a second month; nondurable goods jumped 0.7 percent after a 0.2 percent advance; recreational goods and vehicles contributed to gains
  • Household outlays on services, adjusted for inflation, rose 0.4 percent after a 0.1 percent decline in prior month; gain reflects spending on electricity and gas

— With assistance by Jordan Yadoo, Catarina Saraiva, and Sophie Caronello

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-22/u-s-consumer-spending-tops-forecasts-as-inflation-accelerates

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Hezbollah Drug Ring Not Pursued To Save Iran Nuclear Deal — Project/Operation Cassandra Stopped By Obama — Drug and Nuclear Proliferation Obama’s Appeasement of Radical Islamic Terrorism — Junk Journalism At Big Lie Media Ignored The Story –Videos

Posted on December 20, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Essays, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Proliferation, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Television, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Hezbollah Drug Ring Not Pursued To Save Iran Nuclear Deal — Operation Cassandera Stopped By Obama — Drug and Nuclear Proliferation Obama’s Appeasement of Radical Islamic Terrorism — Videos

Politico: Obama Admin Blocked Efforts To Dismantle Hezbollah Drug Ring – Tucker Carlson

Rpt: Obama Admin Protected Terrorist Drug Ring To Secure Iran Nuclear Deal – Story

Did Obama let Hezbollah off the hook to seal Iran nuke deal?

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Rpt: Obama Blocked pursuit of Hezbolllah’s Drug Ring to protect Iran Deal – The Five

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Proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensifies

 

 

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.

PART I

A GLOBAL THREAT EMERGES

How Hezbollah turned to trafficking cocaine and laundering money through used cars to finance its expansion.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

They followed cocaine shipments, tracked a river of dirty cash, and traced what they believed to be the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

December 15, 2011

Hezbollah is linked to a $483,142,568 laundering scheme

The money, allegedly laundered through the Lebanese Canadian Bank and two exchange houses, involved approximately 30 U.S. car buyers.

Read the document

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David AsherDavid AsherVeteran U.S. illicit finance expert sent from Pentagon to Project Cassandra to attack the alleged Hezbollah criminal enterprise., who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/

Obama protected Hezbollah drug ring to save Iran nukes deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Obama administration stymied a sprawling investigation into the terror group Hezbollah — and its highly lucrative drug- trafficking networks — to protect the Iran nuclear deal, according to a bombshell report.

A team at the Drug Enforcement Administration had been working for almost a decade to bring down the Iran-backed militant organization’s sophisticated $1 billion-a-year drug ring, which laundered money and smuggled cocaine into the United States, Politico reported.

But the departments of Justice and Treasury repeatedly undermined agents’ efforts to arrest and prosecute key members of the criminal network — because the Obama White House feared upsetting Tehran ahead of the nuclear agreement, according to Politico.

Former Treasury official Katherine Bauer even admitted in little-noticed testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last February that “under the Obama administration . . . these [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”

When the Iran agreement took effect in January 2016, the investigation — dubbed Project Cassandra — was effectively dismantled.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, an expert in illicit finance who helped found the project. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

The task force worked for eight years out of a top-secret facility in Virginia, with the help of 30 American and foreign security agencies, to unravel the global crime syndicate that was funding Hezbollah’s jihadist operations.

Politico also reported that late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was in cahoots with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah in cocaine trafficking and other activities meant to undermine US influence.

In 2007, Venezuela’s state-run Conviasa airline was ferrying drugs and cash from Caracas to Tehran via Syria each week, according to Politico.

DEA agents nicknamed the airline “Aeroterror” because the planes would come back carrying weapons, along with Hezbollah and Iranian operatives.

But the Obama administration never fought to have two major players in the scheme extradited to the United States to face charges when it had the opportunity, task force members charged.

Others the team sought to bring to justice were Abdallah Safieddine, Hezzbollah’s envoy to Tehran, and a shadowy operative nicknamed “Ghost,” whom it considered one of the biggest cocaine smugglers in the world.

“Hezbollah operates like the Gambino crime family on steroids, and [Safieddine] is its John Gotti,” ex-DEA agent Jack Kelly, who created the task force, told Politico. “Whatever Iran needs, Safieddine is in charge of getting it for them.”

Safieddine was ultimately linked to a massive drug-smuggling and money-laundering network allegedly led by Lebanese businessman Ayman Joumaa.

Agents discovered Joumaa had smuggled tons of cocaine into the States — then laundered $200 million a month by buying used cars from American dealers.

The cars were sent to Benin in West Africa, where satellite photos taken in 2015 showed rows upon rows of used cars in a lot.

But the Obama administration repeatedly thwarted efforts to prosecute Safieddine, Politico reported.

An Obama spokesman denied the operation was derailed for political reasons, noting several Hezbollah members were arrested.

Other administration officials suggested those involved were blind to the bigger picture.

“The world is a lot more complicated than viewed through the narrow lens of drug trafficking,” one official said. “So you’re not going to let CIA rule the roost, but you’re also certainly not going to let DEA do it either.”

https://nypost.com/2017/12/18/obama-protected-hezbollah-drug-ring-to-save-iran-nukes-deal/

Report: Obama ‘Derailed’ DEA Probe into Hezbollah in Latin America to Save Iran Deal

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration “derailed” a DEA operation targeting Hezbollah’s multi-million-dollar drug trafficking activities in Latin America to secure approval of the controversial Iran nuclear deal, reports Politico.

Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah is involved in a plethora of criminal activities in Latin America, ranging from money laundering to massive drug trafficking.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” David Asher, a veteran Pentagon illicit finance expert deployed to combat the alleged Hezbollah criminal enterprise, told Politico, referring to the DEA operation, dubbed Project Cassandra. “They [Obama administration] serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

For years, the U.S. military has been sounding the alarm on the threat against the United States posed by the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in America’s backyard — Latin America.

However, the Obama administration argued that Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere was “waning,” reported the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ watchdog arm, in late September 2014, months before world powers and Iran approved the nuclear deal in July 2015.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), the chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, chastised the Obama administration for undermining the DEA operation.

In a statement, Pittenger, the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, declared:

The nexus between terrorists organizations, including Hezbollah, and Latin American drug cartels is a subversive alliance which provides hundreds of millions of dollars to global jihad. “The witnesses providing account of the Obama administration derailing and stonewalling the prosecution of this illicit funding investigation has resulted in the most serious consequences of the misguided and injudicious actions of President Obama and his team.”

In June 2016, Michael Braun, a former DEA agent, told lawmakers that Hezbollah is generating hundreds of millions from a “cocaine money laundering scheme” in Latin America that “provides a never-ending source of funding” for its terrorist operations in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Iran has deployed thousands of Hezbollah militants to fight on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a move that has allowed the ruthless leader to remain in power.

Both the U.S. military and State Department have warned against the menace that Hezbollah and Iran’s presence in Latin America represents.

Politico reveals:

As Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

Soon after U.S.-led world powers and Iran approved the nuclear pact, Obama predicted that Iran would use sanction relief funds to boost its terrorist proxies, namely Hezbollah, saying in August 2015:

Let’s stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to … Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies — including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq.

A day after the deal’s approval, Obama also said:

Do we think that with the sanctions coming down, that Iran will have some additional resources for its military and for some of the activities in the region that are a threat to us and a threat to our allies? I think that is a likelihood that they’ve got some additional resources. Do I think it’s a game-changer for them? No.

They are currently supporting Hezbollah, and there is a ceiling — a pace at which they could support Hezbollah even more, particularly in the chaos that’s taking place in Syria. So can they potentially try to get more assistance there? Yes.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Iran has dramatically increased its financial support to Hezbollah from $200 million to $800 million per year, two years after the nuclear deal was signed by Iran and world powers.

In 2010, John Brennan, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and then CIA director, confirmed that former president’s administration was trying to build up “moderate elements” within Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah is a very interesting organization,” Brennan told a Washington conference, saying it had evolved from “purely a terrorist organization” to a militia and, ultimately, a prominent Shiite political party in Lebanon, reported Reuters.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/12/18/obama-sabotaged-dea-operation-targeting-hezbollah-in-latin-america-to-secure-iran-nuclear-deal/

Ex-CIA Adviser Denies Report That Obama Thwarted anti-Hezbollah Operation to Save Iran Deal
Brian O’Toole, who was a senior officer in the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, calls the Politico report ‘a grand conspiracy led by Hezbollah’

Haaretz Dec 19, 2017 9:54 PM
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.829978

Obama administration reportedly shielded Hezbollah from DEA and CIA to save Iran nuclear deal
Nasrallah: Hezbollah to focus on Jerusalem, best response to Trump would be third intifada
Israeli intel minister to Saudi media: Israel can strike Iranian missile plants in Lebanon, ‘as is happening in Syria’

A former CIA adviser denied a Politico report in a series of tweets on Tuesday, calling it “a grand conspiracy led by Hezbollah.” According to the Monday report, the Obama administration thwarted a covert operation against the militant Lebanese group in order to save the Iran nuclear deal.
In a tweet, Brian O’Toole called Politico’s sources “malcontents” who turned to the press despite the fact that no one in the civil service agreed with them.
skip – Brian O’Toole Tweets
According to the Atlantic Council think tank, O’Toole was a CIA adviser and worked in the intelligence department of the Department of the Treasury from 2009 until this year, and then became senior members of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and a specialist on sanctions.

O’Toole wrote that he would be careful with what he reveals, because “unlike the many sources cited by name here, I actually intend to honor the non-disclosure agreement I signed with the CIA and treasury.”
“What this story and these people allege is a grand conspiracy led by Hezbollah. They’d have you believe it involved multiple world leaders and centers around Hezbollah actively trafficking in narcotics. They’ve based these assessments on classic analytical overreach, however,” added O’Toole.

According to Politico’s Monday report, the White House directly prevented actions by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to battle Hezbollah drugs and weapons trafficking operations in order to avoid hurting what was then a delicate emerging nuclear agreement with Iran.
“It disgusts me that they would go public with this conclusion because no one else in the career civil service would agree with them. These weren’t politicals at every turn, but seasoned analysts who knew much more than they did,” wrote O’Toole.

He added that in his opinion, the Politico report was possible due to the fact that the sources knew that they would receive “no rebuke” from the Trump administration, which he called “deparate to hammer Iran and unwilling to discuss classified info in public.”
He further said the report “may well end up helping Hezbollah.”

Other independent journalists have begun investigating into who the quoted sources are in the Politico report. One of them may be Katherine Bauer, who worked in the U.S. Ministry of the Treasury during the Obama Administration. The report quotes statements made by Bauer to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in which she said that “these investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”

The report, however, did not say that Bauer currently works at a research institute founded by AIPAC, which opposes the nuclear deal. David Asher, one of the founders of the operation against Hezbollah, called the Cassandra Project, was also quoted, as saying that the closer they got to a deal with Iran, the more operations were cancelled. Today Asher works at the Foundations for the Defense of Democracy, a think tank that testified before Congress 17 times against the nuclear deal.

The Politico report was based on a number of interviews, according to which the DEA tracked Hezbollah’s criminal activities including cocaine trafficking and money laundering for eight years. They evidence showed that Hezbollah’s inner circle and Iran’s supporters were involved in these activities — but that the administration prevented or delayed arrests and investigations into Hezbollah operatives.

 https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.829978

 

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House Passes Tax Cut 227-203 and Senate Expected To Vote Tonight — Tax Cuts Yes — Absolutely Not Tax Reform: Income Tax Complicated, Inefficient, Unfair With 7 Brackets — Two Party Tax Tyranny — Fair Tax Less The Answer — Simple, Fair, Efficient and Replaces All Federal Tax With A Single Broadbased Consumption Spending Tax — Videos

Posted on December 19, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Economics, Economics, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health, history, History of Economic Thought, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Law, Life, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Photos, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , |

 House Passes Tax Cut 227-203 and Senate Expected To Vote Tonight — Tax Cuts Yes — Absolutely Not Tax Reform: Income Tax Complicated, Inefficient, Unfair With 7 Brackets — Two Party Tax Tyranny — Fair Tax Less The Answer — Simple, Fair, Efficient and Replaces All Federal Tax With A Single Broadbased Consumption Spending Tax — VideosSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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U.S. Debt Clock.org

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Pence on the Fair Tax

Published on Apr 17, 2009
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LIVE: US Senate Votes on Historic Trump Tax Bill Vote LIVE Stream 12/19/17

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The History of Taxation | Charles Adams

Taxes in American History | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The Income Tax: Root of all Evil? or Necessary Evil?

For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes Charles Adams discussed the research behind his book, For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization published by Madison Books. The book examines the role of taxation in several historical events, including the fall of Rome, the American Revolution and the signing of the Magna Carta. Mr. Adams spoke on the history of tax policy throughout human civilization, as well as various aspects of taxation policies around the world and social policies’ relationship with taxes.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?40556-1/for-good-evil-impact-taxes

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 1: The Making of a Tax Historian | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 2: The Bible’s World of Taxes | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 3: The Kaleidoscopic Romans | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 4: The Middle Ages | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 5: The Swiss: From William Tell to No Tell | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 6: Tax Revolt in the Netherlands | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 7: After the Magna Carta | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 8: The Civil War | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 9: American Taxation | Charles Adams

A New History of Taxation, Lecture 10: Learning from the Past: What History Teaches | Charles Adams

Middle Class to Get 23% of Tax Cuts for Individuals Under GOP Bill

Benefits mostly peter out after a decade, joint committee on taxation finds

President Donald J. Trump, shown in Washington, D.C., on Monday, plans to sign the Republican tax-overhaul bill this week.
President Donald J. Trump, shown in Washington, D.C., on Monday, plans to sign the Republican tax-overhaul bill this week. PHOTO: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

That amounts to 23% of the tax cuts that go directly to individuals. By 2027, however, these households would get a net tax increase, because tax cuts are set to expire under the proposed law.

The calculations are based on JCT estimates of cuts going to households that earn $20,000 to $100,000 a year in wages, dividends and benefits. Those households account for about half of all U.S. tax filers, with nearly a quarter making more and a quarter making less.

The Trump administration has emphasized the benefits of the tax plan for middle-income households.

What the Tax Bill’s Passage Will Mean for 2018 Politics
Senate Republicans have lined up behind the final version of a tax-overhaul bill, setting the stage for final passage this week. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains the immediate political impact the bill will have. Photo: AP

America’s most-affluent households, those earning $500,000 or more a year, which account for 1% of filers, would also get $61 billion in cuts in the first year, according to the JCT analysis. They would get a cut of $12 billion by 2027.

That includes income earned by pass-through businesses such as partnerships and S-corporations that pay taxes on individual returns. It doesn’t include the benefits of estate-tax reductions.

Much of the rest would go to businesses in the form of corporate tax cuts, according to the JCT analysis.

The tax plan took another step toward passage Monday, when Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who had been on the fence, said she would support the bill. Mr. Trump plans to sign the bill later this week.

Trump administration officials argue the business tax cuts will help individuals, too, because it will induce companies to hire more and boost workers’ wages.

“I don’t think it necessarily changes my life one way or another,” said Lisa Joles of Concord, Ohio, who runs the heat and air-conditioning repair shop her parents started in the 1970s. Her business brought in about $1.5 million this past year, and she takes home about $50,000 a year. “It could give me or someone else in the middle class that little bit of extra money that they may go out and spend, and it may boost the economy, but I almost feel like that would be a short-term effect.”

The muted reaction is consistent with polls showing that the tax cuts aren’t very popular. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that 55% of those surveyed disapprove of the tax plan, compared with 26% who support it. Republicans were the only group who supported the tax plan, with the support of 66%.

Biggest Benefits to Biggest Earners

Taxpayers earning $500,000 or more a year would see the biggest cuts in average tax rates under the Republican tax plan, while lower-income households would see smaller cuts in the early years of the decade and then petering out or reversing as tax cuts expire.

Average federal tax rates for these income categories would be cut by 1.4 to 3.1 percentage points at the outset before returning to about where they would be under current law.

Rates for lower-income households would see smaller decreases and by 2027 would actually be higher than under existing tax policy because the individual tax cuts largely

expire after 2025.

Note: For all federal taxes, including payroll taxes and corporate taxes, but excluding the estate tax. Some of the changes are due to the repeal of the mandate to have health insurance.

Source: Joint Committee on Taxation

Many households are still weighing how the complicated plan will affect them. The plan recasts many features of the individual tax code—doubling a child tax credit and the standard deduction for households, while narrowing deductions for state and local taxes, mortgages and the personal exemption. That means it will play out differently for many, depending on factors su