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Lawrence B. Lindsey — Conspiracies of The Ruling Class: How To Break Their Grip Forever — Videos

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Lawrence B. Lindsey

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Lawrence B. Lindsey
Governor Lawrence B Lindsey 140501.jpg
4th Director of the National Economic Council
In office
January 20, 2001 – December 12, 2002
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Gene Sperling
Succeeded by Steve Friedman
Personal details
Born July 18, 1954 (age 64)
PeekskillNew YorkU.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Lindsey (Divorced 2013)
Children 3
Residence Clifton, Virginia
Education Bowdoin College (BA)
Harvard University (MAPhD)

Lawrence B. “Larry” Lindsey (born July 18, 1954) is an American economist. He was director of the National Economic Council (2001–2002), and the assistant to the president on economic policy for the U.S. President George W. Bush. He played a leading role in formulating President Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax cut plan, convincing candidate Bush that he needed an “insurance policy” against an economic turndown. He left the White House in December 2002 and was replaced by Stephen Friedman after a dispute over the projected cost of the Iraq War. Lindsey estimated the cost of the Iraq War could reach $200 billion, while Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld estimated that it would cost less than $50 billion.[1]

 

Biography and achievements

Lindsey was born on July 18, 1954 in Peekskill, New York. He graduated from Lakeland Senior High School in Shrub Oak, New York in 1972. An alumnus of Alpha Rho Upsilon fraternity at Bowdoin College, he received his A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bowdoin and his A.M. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

He is the author of The Growth Experiment: How the New Tax Policy is Transforming the U.S. Economy (Basic Books, New York, 1990, ISBN 978-0465050703), Economic Puppetmasters: Lessons from the Halls of Power (AEI Press, Washington, D.C., 1999, ISBN 978-0844740812), What A President Should Know …but most learn too late: An Insiders View On How To Succeed In The Oval Office (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Maryland, 2008, ISBN 978-0742562226), and Conspiracies of the Ruling Class: How to Break Their Grip Forever (Simon & Schuster, 2016, ISBN 978-1501144233). Also he has contributed numerous articles to professional publications. His honors and awards include the Distinguished Public Service Award of the Boston Bar Association, 1994; an honorary degree from Bowdoin College, 1993; selection as a Citicorp/Wriston Fellow for Economic Research, 1988; and the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the National Tax Association, 1985.

During the Reagan Administration, he served three years on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers as Senior Staff Economist for Tax Policy. He then served as Special Assistant to the President for Policy Development during the first Bush administration

Lindsey served as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for five years from November 1991 to February 1997. Additionally, Lindsey was Chairman of the Board of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, a national public/private community redevelopment organization, from 1993 until his departure from the Federal Reserve.

From 1997 to January 2001, Lindsey was a Resident Scholar and holder of the Arthur F. Burns Chair in Economics at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. He was also Managing Director of Economic Strategies, an economic advisory service based in New York City. During 1999 and throughout 2000 he served as then-Governor George W. Bush’s chief economic advisor for his presidential campaign. He is a former associate professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Lindsey is Chief Executive Officer of the Lindsey Group,[2] which he runs with a former colleague from the National Economic Council and writes for The Wall Street JournalWeekly Standardand other publications. He was a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Controversies

Lindsey is famous for spotting the emergence of the late 1990s U.S. stock market bubble back in 1996 while a Governor of the Federal Reserve. According to the meeting transcripts for September of that year, Lindsey challenged the expectation that corporate earnings would grow 11½ percent a year continually. He said, “Readers of this transcript five years from now can check this fearless prediction: profits will fall short of this expectation.” According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, corporate profits as a share of national income eroded from 1997 until 2001. Stock prices eventually collapsed, starting their decline in March 2000, though the S&P500 remained above its 1996 level, casting doubt on the assertion that there was a stock market bubble in 1996.

In contrast to Chairman Greenspan, Lindsey argued that the Federal Reserve had an obligation to prevent the stock market bubble from growing out of control. He argued that “the long term costs of a bubble to the economy and society are potentially great…. As in the United States in the late 1920s and Japan in the late 1980s, the case for a central bank ultimately to burst that bubble becomes overwhelming. I think it is far better that we do so while the bubble still resembles surface froth and before the bubble carries the economy to stratospheric heights.” During the 2000 Presidential campaign, Governor Bush was criticized for picking an economic advisor who had sold all of his stock in 1998.[citation needed]

According to the Washington Post,[3] Lindsey was on an advisory board to Enron along with Paul Krugman before joining the White House. Lindsey and his colleagues warned Enron that the economic environment was riskier than they perceived.

Cost of the Iraq War

On September 15, 2002, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lindsey estimated the high limit on the cost of the Bush administration’s plan in 2002 of invasion and regime change in Iraq to be 1–2% of GNP, or about $100–$200 billion.[4][5] Mitch DanielsDirector of the Office of Management and Budget, discounted this estimate as “very, very high” and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated that the costs would be under $50 billion.[1] Rumsfeld called Lindsey’s estimate “baloney”.[6]

As of 2007 the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq exceeded $400 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office in August 2007 estimated that appropriations would eventually reach $1 trillion or more.[7]

In October 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that by 2017, the total costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach $2.4 trillion. In response, Democratic RepresentativeAllen Boyd criticized the administration for firing Lindsey, saying “They found him a job outside the administration.”[8]

Presidential Campaign Leadership

Lindsey has been a senior advisor to several Republican campaigns. He led the economic team for then Governor George W. Bush’s successful presidential campaign in 2000, earning the trust of the future President who said at the time “I am very fond of Larry Lindsey and I value his advice”. [9] During the 2008 Presidential election, Lindsey served as Fred Thompson’s Senior Economic Advisor. [10] In 2012, Lindsey predicted on election day that Republican Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama. [11] In April 2016, Lindsey supported Ted Cruz over his only remaining opponent, current President Trump, explaining that Cruz was the best candidate because he had an economic program deserving of the “top grade”. [12]

References

  1. Jump up to:ab Wolk, Martin (2006-05-17). “Cost of Iraq war could surpass $1 trillion”. MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-03-10Back in 2002, the White House was quick to distance itself from Lindsey’s view. Mitch Daniels, director of the White House budget office, quickly called the estimate “very, very high.” Lindsey himself was dismissed in a shake-up of the White House economic team later that year, and in January 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the budget office had come up with “a number that’s something under $50 billion.” He and other officials expressed optimism that Iraq itself would help shoulder the cost once the world market was reopened to its rich supply of oil.
  2. Jump up^ http://www.thelindseygroup.com/bios/
  3. Jump up^ Once a Friend and Ally, Now a Distant MemoryWashington Post
  4. Jump up^ Davis, Bob (September 16, 2002). “Bush Economic Aide Says the Cost Of Iraq War May Top $100 Billion”The Wall Street Journal. Reprinted in Congressional Record, vol. 148, issue 117, 107th Congress, pp. S8643-S8644.[dead link]
  5. Jump up^ Engel, Matthew (September 17, 2002). “Cost of war put at $200bn, but that’s nothing, says US adviser”The Guardian. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  6. Jump up^ Bryne, John (2008-03-18). “Price of Iraq war now outpaces Vietnam”. The Raw Story. Archived from the original on 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  7. Jump up^ Bender, Bryan (2007-08-01). “Analysis says war could cost $1 trillion”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  8. Jump up^ “Congress told of war costs up to $2.4 trillion by 2017”The Register-Guard. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25.[dead link]
  9. Jump up^ Gosselin, Peter “Bush’s Economic Advisor Lindsey Is Man of Contradictions”LA Times, 02 January 2000.
  10. Jump up^ “Larry Lindsey Named as Fred Thompson’s Senior Economic Advisor”, 17 September 2007.
  11. Jump up^ “Larry Lindsey Changes Election Prediction”,CNBC, 6 November 2012.
  12. Jump up^ “Grading the candidates: Larry Lindsey”,CNBC, 18 April 2016.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_B._Lindsey

Lawrence B. Lindsey

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  • Tax policy
  • Monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy
  • International economic development
Lawrence B. Lindsey has held leading positions in government, academia, and business. He has been assistant to the president and director of the National Economic Council at the White House. He also served as a governor of the Federal Reserve System, special assistant to the president for domestic economic policy, and senior staff economist for tax policy at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Lindsey taught economics at Harvard University and is currently president and CEO of the Lindsey Group. He is the author of Economic Puppet Masters (AEI Press, 1999) and The Growth Experiment (Basic Books, 1990).

Experience

  • President and CEO, Lindsey Group, 2003-present
  • Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council, White House, 2001-2002
  • Chief Economic Adviser, George W. Bush Campaign, 1999-2000
  • Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Economics, AEI, 1997-2001
  • Managing Director, Economic Strategies, 1997-2001
  • Chairman, Board of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, 1993-97
  • Governor, Federal Reserve System, 1991-97
  • Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Economic Policy, White House, 1989-91
  • Associate Professor, Harvard University, 1984-89
  • Citicorp/Wriston Fellow for Economic Research, 1988
  • Senior Staff Economist for Tax Policy, President’s Council of Economic Advisers, 1981-84

Education

Ph.D., M.A., economics, Harvard University
A.B., Bowdoin College

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Brexit Breaking British Establishment and Prime Minister May with Betrayal of Brexit — Videos

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Trump tells Theresa May her soft Brexit plan will ‘kill’ any US trade deal after Britain leaves the EU, adds Boris will make a great PM and blames Sadiq Khan for terrorism in explosive start to UK visit

  • Trump said the PM has ignored his advice on Brexit negotiations, explaining: ‘I would have done it differently’
  • Sources close to president earlier warned lucrative transatlantic trade deal cannot happen with a soft Brexit 
  • It comes after May used a lavish welcome dinner for Trump at Blenheim Palace to press her case for a deal

Donald Trump sent the Special Relationship into meltdown today after lobbing a series of extraordinary verbal hand grenades at Theresa May on his visit to the UK.

The US president tore up diplomatic niceties to deliver a series of crushing blows to the PM, warning that her soft Brexit plan would ‘kill’ a trade deal with the US – and heaping praise on Boris Johnson, who quit in protest earlier this week.

Rampaging unapologetically into domestic politics, Mr Trump said Mrs May had ignored his advice to face down the EU in negotiations and condemned slack controls on immigration.

The bombshell intervention left ministers struggling to come up with a response, just hours before Mrs May is due to host the president at Chequers for talks on the second anniversary of her premiership.

Downing Street is braced for him to double down on his criticism at a joint press conference in what could be a devastating humiliation as she struggles to cling on to power amid a huge revolt by Tory Eurosceptics.

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan was sent out to try to put a brave face on the embarrassment this morning, stretching credibility by insisting the government did not regard Mr Trump’s behaviour as ‘rude’.

‘Donald Trump is in many ways a controversialist, that’s his style, that’s the colour he brings to the world stage,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, in Brussels for meetings, suggested the president had not yet studied the government’s Brexit plans properly.

But many MPs made no effort to hide their outrage – with universities minister Sam Gyimah tweeting: ‘Where are your manners, Mr President?’

Tory backbencher Sarah Wollaston raged that Mr Trump was ‘determined to insult’ Mrs May. In a sign of the growing chaos in UK politics, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry also leapt to Mrs May’s defence, branding him ‘extraordinarily rude’.

 ‘She is his host. What did his mother teach him?’ Mrs Thornberry said.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are welcomed at Blenheim Palace by Britain Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May

From left, first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May watch during the arrival ceremony at Blenheim Palace

Awkwardly grabbing Theresa May hand – in a replay of their White House meeting last year – Trump was treated to a fanfare welcome by the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards bands

Video playing bottom right…
President Trump's wife Melania wore a floor-length, pleated buttercup yellow gown for her first visit to Britain as First Lady

Trump and Melania in formal attire

President Trump and his wife walked hand-in-hand to Marine One which flew them from London to the evening’s gala dinner

US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May stand on steps in the Great Court watching and listening to the bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards perform a ceremonial welcome

Theresa May has used a lavish welcome dinner for Donald Trump at Blenheim Palace to press her case for an ambitious new trade deal with the US after Brexit

Theresa May has used a lavish welcome dinner for Donald Trump at Blenheim Palace to press her case for an ambitious new trade deal with the US after Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and her husband Philip May

Trump and May

Fanfare: Bandsmen from the Scots, Welsh and Irish Guards welcomed the Presidential party to Blenheim Palace last night

Dignitaries including International Trade minister Liam Fox (centre) awaited the President's arrival for the Blenheim dinner

Mr Trump’s outburst emerged last night just as Mrs May feted him at a lavish business dinner at Blenheim Palace – the family home of his hero Winston Churchill in Oxfordshire.

As the leaders posed for the cameras, even holding hands at one point, it was revealed that Mr Trump had launched a full-scale attack on Mrs May’s leadership in an interview with The Sun before arriving in Britain.

Giving a withering assessment of her Brexit plan to align with EU rules to ease trade and keep a soft Irish border, he said: ‘If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me’.

Sources close to the president earlier warned that a lucrative transatlantic trade deal would be impossible if the UK keeps close ties with Brussels – effectively meaning Britain must choose between the US and EU.

In an interview with the British newspaper, Mr Trump said he thought Boris Johnson would make a ‘great prime minister’ and that he was ‘saddened’ the former foreign secretary was out of the government.

The president also renewed his war of words with Sadiq Khan, saying the London mayor has ‘done a very bad job on terrorism’.

He said he thought that allowing ‘millions and millions’ of people into Europe was ‘very sad’ and pointed to crime being ‘brought in’ to London, criticising the Labour mayor for failing to deal with it.

Europe, he added, is ‘losing its culture’ because of mass migration and warned it will never be the same again unless leaders act quickly.

‘Look around,’ he said. ‘You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.’ He added: ‘Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.’

The White House tried to go on cleanup duty after the explosive interview.

‘The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

‘As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her.’ He thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person.’

Donald Trump and Theresa May give press conference at Chequers
Protests against Mr Trump are taking place in central London today, with a 'Baby Trump' blimp flying in Parliament Square

In an apparent plea to the president to remember his allies when he meets Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in Monday, May noted that Britain and America work closely together in the interests of their shared security, 'whether through targeting Daesh terrorists or standing up to Russian aggression'

She continued: ‘He is thankful for the wonderful welcome from the Prime Minister here in the U.K.’

Discussing protests – including the decision by anti-Trump activists to fly a giant blimp of the president wearing a nappy over the capital – he said they made him feel unwelcome in London.

He added that he used to love the city, but now feels little reason to go there because of the animosity directed towards him.

But he did say he respected the Queen, telling The Sun she is a ‘tremendous woman’ who has never made any embarrassing mistakes.

And the president also said he loves the UK and believes the British people ‘want the same thing I want’.

Mrs May had been trying to use the lavish welcome dinner for Mr Trump at Blenheim Palace to press her case for an ambitious new trade deal with the US after Brexit.

The president arrived in Marine One in a tuxedo alongside First Lady Melania, wearing a floor-length, pleated buttercup yellow gown.

Awkwardly grabbing Theresa May’s hand – in a replay of their White House meeting last year – Trump was treated to a fanfare welcome by the Welsh, Irish and Scots Guards’ bands.

The president was given a performance of Amazing Grace featuring a bagpipe solo during his red-carpet reception as well as Liberty Fanfare and the National Emblem.

Critics of the Prime Minister’s proposals for future relations with the EU claim that her willingness to align with Brussels rules on agricultural produce will block a US deal.

That is because Washington is certain to insist on the inclusion of GM crops and hormone-enhanced beef, which are banned in Europe.

But addressing the US president in front of an audience of business leaders at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Mrs May insisted that Brexit provides an opportunity for an ‘unprecedented’ agreement to boost jobs and growth.

Noting that more than one million Americans already work for British-owned firms, she told Mr Trump: ‘As we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more.

Mrs May said that the history, language, values and culture shared by the UK and US 'inspire mutual respect' and make the two nations 'not just the closest of allies, but the dearest of friends'

A member of security cleans the limousine of U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Blenheim Palace this evening 

President Trump is welcomed to Blenheim Palace by Theresa May
‘It’s an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the UK and right across the United States.

‘It’s also an opportunity to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘And it’s an opportunity to shape the future of the world through co-operation in advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence.’

She also highlighted the importance of trans-Atlantic business links to a president who has sometimes seemed more interested in forging new links with former adversaries around the world than nurturing long-standing partnerships.

And she told the president: ‘The strength and breadth of Britain’s contribution to the US economy cannot be understated.

‘The UK is the largest investor in the US, providing nearly a fifth of all foreign investment in your country.

‘We invest 30 per cent more than our nearest rival. More than 20 times what China invests. And more than France and Germany combined.

‘That all means a great deal more than simply numbers in bank accounts.

Trump says May’s Brexit plan may not be what Britons ‘voted for’

The Duke of Malborough, James Spencer-Churchill (right in both photos above), with his son The Marquess of Blandford, who both welcomed the Trumps to their ancestral home Blenheim Palace

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson arrives in a tuxedo at Blenheim Palace as President Donald Trump is given a formal welcome Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson arrives in a tuxedo at Blenheim Palace as President Donald Trump is given a formal welcome
Guests are expected to enjoy a meal of Scottish salmon, English beef and a desert of strawberries and cream. Pictured: William Hague arrives 

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his wife Lucia arrive at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, for a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May for President Donald Trump 

‘It means jobs, opportunities and wealth for hardworking people right across America.’

British firms represented at the Blenheim banquet alone employ more than 250,000 people in the US, she said.

Mr Trump earlier made clear that he did not approve of the softer stance the PM has been advocating despite fury from many Tory MPs.

‘Brexit is Brexit, the people voted to break it up so I would imagine that is what they’ll do, but they might take a different route. I’m not sure that’s what people voted for,’ Mr Trump said.

Mrs May dismissed the criticism as she departed the summit this afternoon, telling journalists: ‘We have come to an agreement at the proposal we’re putting to the European Union which absolutely delivers on the Brexit people voted for.

‘They voted for us to take back control of our money, our law and our borders and that’s exactly what we will do’.

Protesters against Donald Trump gather outside Blenheim Palace
The Presidential helicopter Marine One ferried the Trumps from the US ambassador's residence in London to Blenheim Palace

Protesters gathered at the security fence watch as US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump leave in Marine One from the US ambassador's residence, Winfield House

Several protesters hold up their placards outside Blenheim Palace, where President Donald Trump will have dinner tonight

Anti-Trump activists gather outside the 'Ring of Steel' fence put up to secure the president when he stays in Regent's Park, London 

The protesters promised to create a 'wall of sound' outside the official US ambassador's residence. Above, a woman strikes a colander with a ladle while others hold up signs expressing disapprobation of the president

Mr Trump also said the UK was a ‘pretty hot spot right now’ with ‘lots of resignations’.

‘Brexit is – I have been reading about Brexit a lot over the last few days and it seems to be turning a little bit differently where they are getting at least partially involved back with the European Union,’ he said.

‘I have no message it is not for me to say…’

He added: ‘I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it can go quickly – whatever they work out.

‘I would say Brexit is Brexit. When you use the term hard Brexit I assume that’s what you mean.

‘A lot of people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do but maybe they are taking a little bit of a different route. I don’t know if that’s what they voted for.

‘I just want the people to be happy…..I am sure there will be protests because there are always protests.’

Speaking about the prospect of demonstrations in the UK over his visit, Mr Trump told reporters: ‘They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration.’

Anti-Trump protesters gather outside Blenheim Palace
Angry anti-Trump activists hold up signs and bang pots and colanders outside the US ambassador's Regent's Park residence 

Angry anti-Trump activists hold up signs and bang pots and colanders outside the US ambassador’s Regent’s Park residence

He added: ‘I think that’s why Brexit happened.’

Mrs May was joined at Blenheim by ministers including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Business Secretary Greg Clark, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and her effective deputy David Lidington.

Boris Johnson missed out on a seat at the table by resigning as foreign secretary on Monday in protest at Mrs May’s Brexit policy, though Mr Trump has said he might try to speak to him during his visit.

Mrs May, dressed in an ankle length red gown and red high heeled shoes, and her husband Philip, in black tie, welcomed Mr Trump and wife Melania to the gala dinner on the first evening of the President’s working visit to the UK.

Mrs Trump was dressed in a floor length yellow ball gown.

In a near replay of their famous hand-holding at the White House, the president briefly took Mrs May’s hand as they went up the stairs into the palace.

The Trumps arrived from London by Marine One helicopter before being driven in the armoured presidential limousine, nicknamed The Beast, to the opulent 18th century palace near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

Built for the Duke of Marlborough in recognition of his military victories and named a Unesco World Heritage Site, Blenheim is one of a series of historic architectural gems Mr Trump will visit on a four-day trip.

His arrival was marked by a military ceremony, with bandsmen of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards playing the Liberty Fanfare, Amazing Grace and the National Emblem.

Leaders of the financial services, travel, creative, food, engineering, technology, infrastructure, pharmaceutical and defence sectors were among around 100 guests who dined on Scottish salmon, English Hereford beef fillet and strawberries with clotted cream ice-cream.

Mrs May told him: ‘Mr President, Sir Winston Churchill once said that ‘to have the United States at our side was, to me, the greatest joy’.

‘The spirit of friendship and co-operation between our countries, our leaders and our people, that most special of relationships, has a long and proud history.

‘Now, for the benefit of all our people, let us work together to build a more prosperous future.’

Mrs May said that the history, language, values and culture shared by the UK and US ‘inspire mutual respect’ and make the two nations ‘not just the closest of allies, but the dearest of friends’.

Blenheim’s glorious history: From 18th century gift to a victorious general to birthplace of Winston Churchill

Presented by Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill in 1704, Blenheim Palace has always been a symbol of British pride.

The astonishing Oxfordshire pile has seen everything from Sir Winston Churchill’s birth in 1874 to two World Wars in which it acted both as a military hospital and a college for boys.

Churchill, who also married his wife, Clementine Hozier at the palace once said: ‘At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions…’

The baroque-style site set in 11,500 acres was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987 and is owned by 13 trustees including Sir Rocco Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels.

Currently the 12th Duke of Marlborough, Jamie Blandford, and his family live in a section of the palace, although he does not appear to be on the board of trustees.

The astonishing Oxfordshire pile has seen everything from Sir Winston Churchill’s birth in 1874 to two World Wars in which it acted both as a military hospital and a college for boys

Churchill, who also married his wife, Clementine Hozier at the palace once said: ‘At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions...’

Churchill, who also married his wife, Clementine Hozier at the palace once said: ‘At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions…’

In more recent years, Blenheim has been used as a set in a number of blockbuster films.

The famous ‘Harry Potter tree’ that appeared in Severus Snape’s flashback scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix still stands in the palace grounds, despite fears the ancient Cedar had developed a deadly disease two years ago.

The palace’s additional film credits include the James Bond film, Spectre 007, in which it doubled as Rome’s Palazzo Cadenza, and Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, in which the building’s Green Writing Room acted as the set for a crucial meeting between the British Prime Minister and a secret agent.

Perhaps Mission Impossible’s location team were inspired by the events of September 1940, when MI5 used Blenheim Palace as a real-life base.

Originally called Woodstock Manor, the land was given to the first Duke of Marlborough by the British in recognition of an English victory over the French in the war of the Spanish Succession.

A Column of Victory stands central to the 2,000 acres of parkland and 90 acres of formal garden landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

At 134ft-tall the monument depicts the first Duke of Marlborough as a Roman General.

Meanwhile the magnificent Baroque palace was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh who reportedly aimed to create a ‘naturalistic Versailles’.

In an apparent plea to the president to remember his allies when he meets Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in Monday, she noted that Britain and America work closely together in the interests of their shared security, ‘whether through targeting Daesh terrorists or standing up to Russian aggression’.

The Countess of Wessex’s Orchestra played British and American hits of the 20th century during dinner.

And Mr Trump, whose mother was Scottish, was due to be piped out by the Royal Regiment of Scotland as he and Melania left to spend the night at the US ambassador’s residence in London’s Regent’s Park.

Outside the palace gates, several hundred protesters waved banners and placards reading Dump Trump, Not Welcome Here, Protect children Not Trump and Keep Your Tiny Hands Off My P****!

Trump touched down in Britain for his first official visit early yesterday after landing at Stansted Airport

He said: ‘I think they like me a lot in the UK’

Most people, a number of whom said they worked at the embassy in London, were tight-lipped as they left a secured area in the park near the US ambassador’s residence, where Mr Trump and his wife Melania stayed overnight.

Some cited ‘job restrictions’ while another said he was wary of the press. But one woman said Mr Trump had given a ‘short speech’ which she described as ‘lovely’.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania were given a guard of honour by the RAF after arriving in the UK today

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania were given a guard of honour by the RAF after arriving in the UK today

Earlier President Trump and Melania walked from Air Force One as they landed at Stansted Airport this afternoon
Britain's most elite counter terrorism police unit CTSFO are also shadowing the US President during his high-profile stay

The exterior of The Trump Arms public house in west London, formally named The Jameson, which has embraced the arrival of US President Donald Trump. Damien Smyth, from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, runs the establishment. He told the i newspaper: “America is our biggest ally. They’re our best friends in the world. They’d be the ones here first if something went wrong – not Germany, not France. I think these people protesting his visit are rude and insulting”

Donald Trump raises his fist in the air as he lands at the US Ambassador's historic London home at the start of his four-day tour
Donald Trump raises his fist in the air as he lands at the US Ambassador’s historic London home at the start of his four-day tour
Marine One carrying The Donald and his wife passes the BT Tower and comes in to land at the US Ambassador's central London residence this afternoon

Another man, who did not wish to give his name, said: ‘It was very complimentary to England and to the allies that we have, very positive.’

The US President, 72, who will meet the Prime Minister and Queen during a four-day red carpet visit, landed at Stansted Airport on Air Force One at just before 2pm and walked off hand-in-hand with First Lady Melania.

America’s Commander-in-Chief has 1,000 of his own staff in the UK and a giant motorcade led by his bomb-proof Cadillac nicknamed ‘The Beast’ as well as multiple helicopters including Marine One to fly him around.

The President and his First Lady were met on the tarmac by US Ambassador Woody Johnson and UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox before he was whisked off to Mr Johnson’s house near Regent’s Park.

Earlier Mr Trump gave an extraordinary press conference in Brussels after giving NATO leaders a bruising over defence cash, where he wrote off protesters and said Theresa May’s Brexit deal probably wasn’t what Britons voted for.

When asked about the threat of mass demonstrations he said: ‘I think it’s fine. A lot of people like me there. I think they agree with me on immigration. I think that’s why Brexit happened’.

President Donald Trump and First Lady arrive at Stansted Airport
Donald Trump salutes the US Marines who flew him from Stansted to Regent's Park in London on the first day of his four-day tour

Donald Trump salutes the US Marines who flew him from Stansted to Regent’s Park in London on the first day of his four-day tour

Mr Trump and Melania hold hands and talk to US Ambassador Woody Johnson, who will give them a place to stay tonight

Mr Trump and Melania hold hands and talk to US Ambassador Woody Johnson, who will give them a place to stay tonight

Marine One, the President's helicopter, is one of a large number of aircraft he has brought with him for the British visit (shown here landing with him inside)

His aerial entourage followed him, and included an Osprey helicopter carrying elite troops from the US Marine Corps protecting him in the UK

His aerial entourage followed him, and included an Osprey helicopter carrying elite troops from the US Marine Corps protecting him in the UK

Protesters, meanwhile, staged a noisy gathering near Winfield House where Trump and his wife Melania spent the night.

A large group of demonstrators adopted an alternative version of England’s World Cup anthem Three Lions as they sang and shouted, ‘He’s going home, he’s going home, he’s going, Trump is going home’ in Regent’s Park.

A wide range of campaigners, including unions, faith and environmental groups came together to unite in opposition to Mr Trump’s visit to the UK, organisers said.

Bells and whistles rang out alongside cheers and claps for speakers throughout the protest, staged near the US ambassador’s official residence, as the crowd was encouraged to shout loudly in the hope Mr Trump could hear.

Placards including ‘Dump Trump’ and ‘Trump not welcome’ were held aloft by the enthusiastic crowd before some began banging on the metal fence which has been erected in the park.

A clip of what organisers said was the sound of children crying at the US border after being separated from their parents was played and described by those listening as ‘disgusting’.

Donald Trump's motorcade speeds through Regent's Park led by elite British police from Scotland Yard

Marine One comes in to land at the US Ambassador's central London residence this afternoon, which sits next door to the London Central Mosque in Regent's Park (minaret pictured)

Days of protests are planned for The Donald's visit, including a march through central London tomorrow and everywhere he is visiting 

The 'Nuclear Football' - the suitcase containing the United States' nuclear codes - is shown being carried by a member of Trump's entourage after the president landed in Stansted 

This giant and controversial Trump balloon showing the world leader in a nappy will be flying over London this weekend

Sam Fullerton from Oklahoma said while Mr Trump may not see the protest from Winfield House which is set back inside the fenced-off area in the park, he hoped he would hear it or see it on television.

Mr Fullerton said: ‘He watches a lot of TV so he’ll see it on TV. Or they may be out in the backyard.’

His wife Jami, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said the protest was ‘democracy at its finest’.

‘I’m here to witness democracy outside of our own country to see how other democratic societies express themselves,’ she said.

‘I think it’s great. The British are pretty gentle people.’

John Rees, of the Stop The War group, described Mr Trump as a ‘wrecking ball’ as he addressed those gathered.

He said: ‘He’s a wrecking ball for race relations, he’s a wrecking ball for prosperity, he’s a wrecking ball for women’s rights, he’s a wrecking ball for any peace and justice in this world and we have to stop him.’

Some of those gathered said they planned to stay for Mr Trump’s return after the First Couple dine at Blenheim Palace with Theresa May.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5948311/Theresa-presses-Trump-post-Brexit-trade-deal-tears-bureaucratic-barriers.html

 

Brexit crisis – what´s next for Theresa May?

The resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis over Theresa May’s Brexit plans have fuelled fevered speculation that the Prime Minister could face a leadership challenge. Here are some key questions answered:

– How would rivals launch a leadership challenge?

To trigger a no-confidence vote in the PM, 15% of Tory MPs must write to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, currently Sir Graham Brady.

With 316 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons, Sir Graham must receive 48 letters to call a ballot.

– Are there enough?

According to reports, Sir Graham told a meeting on Monday night that he had not received the 48 letters required.

There are believed to be around 60 backbenchers in the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG), along with many others who would like to see a “harder” Brexit than the version set out at Chequers last week, making Mrs May vulnerable to an anti-EU revolt.

The ERG’s chairman, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has said he has not sent a letter to the 1922 Committee, and expects Mrs May to remain in office at least until Brexit Day in March 2019. Others may take their lead from him.

Brexit

– Who might take on the Prime Minister?

Mr Johnson and Mr Davis could be the front-runners in the event of a no-confidence vote, although other figures may launch bids of their own.

In his resignation letter, Mr Johnson did not back Mrs May to stay on as Prime Minister, while Mr Davis said she should.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Rees-Mogg said on Monday night that Mr Johnson would make an “brilliant” prime minister.

– What if Mrs May refuses to stand aside?

If she chose to fight, she would need the support of more than 50% of Conservative MPs – currently 159 – in the confidence vote to stay in office.

But even if she achieved that threshold, a narrow victory would seriously undermine her authority and may lead her to question whether it was worth carrying on.

If she lost the vote, she would not be able to stand in the subsequent leadership contest, arranged by the chairman of the ’22.

– Why would critics not want to challenge Mrs May?

There are a number of issues that may make Eurosceptic critics hold back from an attempt to unseat the PM.

Theresa May holding a cabinet meeting in 2016

Theresa May holding a cabinet meeting in 2016

Aside from the loyalty which MPs naturally feel towards their leader, many are concerned that Mrs May’s removal could plunge the party into chaos, with no obvious replacement lined up, potentially setting the scene for Jeremy Corbyn to seize power in a new general election.

Some Brexiteers think the most crucial issue is to ensure that Britain actually leaves the EU in March next year, and feel that whatever arrangements Mrs May has secured can always be renegotiated once that point has been reached.

– What has she said?

Mrs May raised the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government to appeal for Tory unity on Brexit at a meeting of the ’22 on Monday night.

She said the alternative to the party coming together could be a left-wing Labour administration.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-5936859/Brexit-crisis–s-Theresa-May.html

 

Ministers tell big business to stop ‘undermining’ Theresa May on Brexit in fears of increasing the risk of a bad deal with the EU

  •  Jeremy Hunt rounds on the Airbus for making ‘completely inappropriate’ threats
  •  Liam Fox urges businesses worried about a ‘no deal’ Brexit to pressure Brussels
  • Five business lobby groups warn that a lack of clarity ‘could cost the UK billions’

BY Georgina Downer

It’s been almost a year since the United Kingdom formally notified the European Union of its intention to leave the EU. Since then, the UK and EU have been engaged in intense negotiations about the mechanics of Brexit, all with a view to the UK’s formal departure on 29 March 2019. In the meantime, British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election in June 2017 in order to boost her majority and negotiating mandate – a strategy that failed dismally and delivered her a minority governmentand shaky hold on her own job.

The atmosphere in the UK is still intensely divided, with polls indicating support for Leave and Remain almost neck and neck. That said, more Britons than not think the UK should go ahead with Brexit rather than attempt to reverse the referendum result.

UK–EU negotiations have been tetchy and at times chaotic. There is no precedent for leaving the EU, only acceding to it, so both sides are in uncharted territory trying to disentangle the mess that is a 45-year EU membership. Further, the referendum result gave the UK Government no direction on the nature of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU. Among those who sensibly accept that Brexit is a fait accompli, two sides claim legitimacy for their own version of the result: the choice between hard or soft Brexit.

Hard Brexit means leaving both the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, ending the EU budget payments and withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Soft Brexit means the UK leaves the EU but remains part of the Customs Union and/or Single Market, as a sort of quasi-EU member without voting power and perhaps with less constraints on its sovereignty.

If the UK wants to sign its own Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) – and all indications are that it does aspire to FTAs with Australia, the United States, and even to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership – then it must leave the Customs Union. The EU Customs Union creates a trading area with a common external tariff, but within which there are no tariffs or quotas. Individual member states do not have the authority to enter into their own FTAs. Rather, the European Commission negotiates and enters into these agreements on behalf of the EU.

If the UK wants to restrict the movement of EU citizens to the UK – and, again, the indications are that the British people want this – then it cannot be a member of the Single Market whose “four freedoms” require member states to grant the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital.

Simply put, Theresa May and her government are largely in favour of a hard Brexit (articulated in May’s recent Mansion Housespeech), while the Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn favours a have-your-cake-and-eat-it soft Brexit.

With elections not due until May 2022, Corbyn’s position on Brexit as laid out in his recent Coventry speech is more posture than policy. (He wants a new, bespoke UK–EU Customs Union that would allow the UK to enter into its own trade agreements.) Brexit will be done and dusted by the time he gets a chance at the top job. Corbyn’s agenda, rather, is to place maximum pressure on an already weakened Theresa May, perhaps claim her scalp, and set himself up to lead Labour to a win in four years’ time.

In the meantime, when she’s not taking heat from Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, May must deal with the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Frenchmen Michel Barnier.

The EU’s latest offering in the negotiations is the Draft Withdrawal Agreement released on 28 February 2018. While the document raised many contentious issues, including the nature and length of the implementation or transition period, the biggest debate has raged over the treatment of the EU–UK border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. May has made the maintenance of a “soft border” between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland a negotiating red line for the UK, given the impact any change could have on the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland.

While much remains up in the air in the UK–EU negotiations, a few issues have settled relatively quickly. For example, the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK, and vice versa, are secure. These citizens can remain in their host country indefinitely after 29 March 2019 by applying for “settled status”, and then citizenship. Further, on the so-called Brexit divorce bill, depending on the final agreement, the UK has agreed to pay the EU a staggering £35–39 billion.

Whatever the nature of the final deal struck, it will need approval by the British Parliament. May’s numbers in the House of Commons are wafer thin – she holds government with the support of 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs from Northern Ireland – and the 11 Brexit rebels in her own party could prove problematic if they don’t like the final deal.

The Brexit negotiations, the implementation of the final deal, and the ramifications of whatever is agreed are not going away anytime soon. Britain might be technically free of the EU on 30 March 2019, but just how free remains an extremely vexed question.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/choice-between-hard-or-soft-brexit

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Angelo Codevilla — The Ruling Class vs. Country Class — Videos

Posted on June 16, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Data, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Entertainment, Essays, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Heroes, history, History of Economic Thought, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, Mastery, media, Movies, Movies, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Radio, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Speech, Spying, State, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Television, Television, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

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Charles Kesler Introduces Angelo Codevilla

1. America’s Ruling Class

3. What’s Wrong with the CIA?

The Revolution of America’s Regime

Angelo Codevilla – Does America Have a Ruling Class?

456. The Iron Fist of the Ruling Class | Angelo Codevilla

The Role of Intelligence in American National Security

Conservatism in the Trump Era: American Statecraft

See the source image

 

  • ANGELO M. CODEVILLA

July 16, 2010, 10:09 am

After the Republic

September 27, 2016

In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens. Our imperial regime, already in force, works on a simple principle: the president and the cronies who populate these channels may do whatever they like so long as the bureaucracy obeys and one third plus one of the Senate protects him from impeachment. If you are on the right side of that network, you can make up the rules as you go along, ignore or violate any number of laws, obfuscate or commit perjury about what you are doing (in the unlikely case they put you under oath), and be certain of your peers’ support. These cronies’ shared social and intellectual identity stems from the uniform education they have received in the universities. Because disdain for ordinary Americans is this ruling class’s chief feature, its members can be equally certain that all will join in celebrating each, and in demonizing their respective opponents.

And, because the ruling class blurs the distinction between public and private business, connection to that class has become the principal way of getting rich in America. Not so long ago, the way to make it here was to start a business that satisfied customers’ needs better than before. Nowadays, more businesses die each year than are started. In this century, all net additions in employment have come from the country’s 1,500 largest corporations. Rent-seeking through influence on regulations is the path to wealth. In the professions, competitive exams were the key to entry and advancement not so long ago. Now, you have to make yourself acceptable to your superiors. More important, judicial decisions and administrative practice have divided Americans into “protected classes”—possessed of special privileges and immunities—and everybody else. Equality before the law and equality of opportunity are memories. Co-option is the path to power. Ever wonder why the quality of our leaders has been declining with each successive generation?

Moreover, since the Kennedy reform of 1965, and with greater speed since 2009, the ruling class’s immigration policy has changed the regime by introducing some 60 million people—roughly a fifth of our population—from countries and traditions different from, if not hostile, to ours. Whereas earlier immigrants earned their way to prosperity, a disproportionate percentage of post-1965 arrivals have been encouraged to become dependents of the state. Equally important, the ruling class chose to reverse America’s historic practice of assimilating immigrants, emphasizing instead what divides them from other Americans. Whereas Lincoln spoke of binding immigrants by “the electric cord” of the founders’ principles, our ruling class treats these principles as hypocrisy. All this without votes or law; just power.

Foul is Fair and Fair is Foul

In short, precisely as the classics defined regime change, people and practices that had been at society’s margins have been brought to its center, while people and ideas that had been central have been marginalized.

Fifty years ago, prayer in the schools was near universal, but no one was punished for not praying. Nowadays, countless people are arrested or fired for praying on school property. West Point’s commanding general reprimanded the football coach for his team’s thanksgiving prayer. Fifty years ago, bringing sexually explicit stuff into schools was treated as a crime, as was “procuring abortion.” Nowadays, schools contract with Planned Parenthood to teach sex, and will not tell parents when they take girls to PP facilities for abortions. Back then, many schools worked with the National Rifle Association to teach gun handling and marksmanship. Now students are arrested and expelled merely for pointing their finger and saying “bang.” In those benighted times, boys who ventured into the girls’ bathroom were expelled as perverts. Now, girls are suspended for objecting to boys coming into the girls’ room under pretense of transgenderism. The mainstreaming of pornography, the invention of abortion as the most inalienable of human rights and, most recently, the designation of opposition to homosexual marriage as a culpable psychosis—none of which is dictated by law enacted by elected officials—is enforced as if it had been. No surprise that America has experienced a drastic drop in the formation of families, with the rise of rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites equal to the rates among blacks that was recognized as disastrous a half-century ago, the near-disappearance of two-parent families among blacks, and the social dislocations attendant to all that.

Ever since the middle of the 20th century our ruling class, pursuing hazy concepts of world order without declarations of war, has sacrificed American lives first in Korea, then in Vietnam, and now throughout the Muslim world. By denigrating Americans who call for peace, or for wars unto victory over America’s enemies; by excusing or glorifying those who take our enemies’ side or who disrespect the American flag; our rulers have drawn down the American regime’s credit and eroded the people’s patriotism.

As the ruling class destroyed its own authority, it wrecked the republic’s as well. This is no longer the “land where our fathers died,” nor even the country that won World War II. It would be surprising if any society, its identity altered and its most fundamental institutions diminished, had continued to function as before. Ours sure does not, and it is difficult to imagine how it can do so ever again. We can be sure only that the revolution underway among us, like all others, will run its unpredictable course.

All we know is the choice that faces us at this stage: either America continues in the same direction, but faster and without restraint, or there’s the hazy possibility of something else.

Imperial Alternatives

The consequences of empowering today’s Democratic Party are crystal clear. The Democratic Party—regardless of its standard bearer—would use its victory to drive the transformations that it has already wrought on America to quantitative and qualitative levels that not even its members can imagine. We can be sure of that because what it has done and is doing is rooted in a logic that has animated the ruling class for a century, and because that logic has shaped the minds and hearts of millions of this class’s members, supporters, and wannabes.

That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that is: religiously and socially reactionary, ignorant, even pathological, barriers to Progress. Thankfully, an enlightened minority exists with the expertise and the duty to disperse the religious obscurantism, the hypocritical talk of piety, freedom, and equality, which excuses Americans’ racism, sexism, greed, and rape of the environment. As we progressives take up our proper responsibilities, Americans will no longer live politically according to their prejudices; they will be ruled administratively according to scientific knowledge.

Progressivism’s programs have changed over time. But its disdain for how other Americans live and think has remained fundamental. More than any commitment to principles, programs, or way of life, this is its paramount feature. The media reacted to Hillary Clinton’s remark that “half of Trump’s supporters could be put into a ‘basket of deplorables’” as if these sentiments were novel and peculiar to her. In fact, these are unremarkable restatements of our ruling class’s perennial creed.

The pseudo-intellectual argument for why these “deplorables” have no right to their opinions is that giving equal consideration to people and positions that stand in the way of Progress is “false equivalence,” as President Obama has put it. But the same idea has been expressed most recently and fully by New York TimesCEO Mark Thompson, as well as Times columnists Jim Rutenberg, Timothy Egan, and William Davies. In short, devotion to truth means not reporting on Donald Trump and people like him as if they or anything they say might be of value.

If trying to persuade irredeemable socio-political inferiors is no more appropriate than arguing with animals, why not just write them off by sticking dismissive names on them? Doing so is less challenging, and makes you feel superior. Why wrestle with the statistical questions implicit in Darwin when you can just dismiss Christians as Bible-thumpers? Why bother arguing for Progressivism’s superiority when you can construct “scientific” studies like Theodor Adorno’s, proving that your opponents suffer from degrees of “fascism” and other pathologies? This is a well-trod path. Why, to take an older example, should General Omar Bradley have bothered trying to refute Douglas MacArthur’s statement that in war there is no substitute for victory when calling MacArthur and his supporters “primitives” did the trick? Why wrestle with our climate’s complexities when you can make up your own “models,” being sure that your class will treat them as truth?

What priorities will the ruling class’s notion of scientific truth dictate to the next Democratic administration? Because rejecting that true and false, right and wrong are objectively ascertainable is part of this class’s DNA, no corpus of fact or canon of reason restrains it or defines its end-point. Its definition of “science” is neither more nor less than what “scientists say” at any given time. In practice, that means “Science R-Us,” now and always, exclusively. Thus has come to pass what President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1960 Farewell address: “A steadily increasing share [of science] is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.… [T]he free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution…a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” Hence, said Ike, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded.” The result has been that academics rise through government grants while the government exercises power by claiming to act on science’s behalf. If you don’t bow to the authority of the power that says what is and is not so, you are an obscurantist or worse.

Under our ruling class, “truth” has morphed from the reflection of objective reality to whatever has “normative pull”—i.e., to what furthers the ruling class’s agenda, whatever that might be at any given time. That is the meaning of the term “political correctness,” as opposed to factual correctness.

It’s the Contempt, Stupid!

Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society? Or that saying that the lives of white people “matter” as much as those of blacks is evidence of racism? These strictures came about quite simply because some sectors of the ruling class felt like inflicting them on the rest of America. Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.

How far will our rulers go? Because their network is mutually supporting, they will go as far as they want. Already, there is pressure from ruling class constituencies, as well as academic arguments, for morphing the concept of “hate crime” into the criminalization of “hate speech”—which means whatever these loving folks hate. Of course this is contrary to the First Amendment, and a wholesale negation of freedom. But it is no more so than the negation of freedom of association that is already eclipsing religious freedom in the name of anti-discrimination. It is difficult to imagine a Democratic president, Congress, and Supreme Court standing in the way.

Above all, these inflictions, as well as the ruling class’s acceptance of its own members’ misbehavior, came about because millions of its supporters were happy, or happy enough, to support them in the interest of maintaining their own status in a ruling coalition while discomfiting their socio-political opponents. Consider, for example, how republic-killing an event was the ruling class’s support of President Bill Clinton in the wake of his nationally televised perjury. Subsequently, as constituencies of supporters have effectively condoned officials’ abusive, self-serving, and even outright illegal behavior, they have encouraged more and more of it while inuring themselves to it. That is how republics turn into empires from the roots up.

But it is also true, as Mao Tse-Tung used to say, “a fish begins to rot at the head.” If you want to understand why any and all future Democratic Party administrations can only be empires dedicated to injuring and insulting their subjects, look first at their intellectual leaders’ rejection of the American republic’s most fundamental principles.

The Declaration of Independence says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights—codified in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—are not civil rights that governments may define. The free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, keeping and bearing arms, freedom from warrantless searches, protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, trial by jury of one’s peers, etc., are natural rights that pertain to human beings as such. Securing them for Americans is what the United States is all about. But today’s U.S. Civil Rights Commission advocates truncating the foremost of these rights because, as it stated in a recent report, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon those civil rights.” The report explains why the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should not be permissible: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

Hillary Clinton’s attack on Trump supporters merely matched the ruling class’s current common sense. Why should government workers and all who wield the administrative state’s unaccountable powers not follow their leaders’ judgment, backed by the prestige press, about who are to be treated as citizens and who is to be handled as deplorable refuse? Hillary Clinton underlined once again how the ruling class regards us, and about what it has in store for us.

Electing Donald Trump would result in an administration far less predictable than any Democratic one. In fact, what Trump would or would not do, could or could not do, pales into insignificance next to the certainty of what any Democrat would do. That is what might elect Trump.

The character of an eventual Trump Administration is unpredictable because speculating about Trump’s mind is futile. It is equally futile to guess how he might react to the mixture of flattery and threats sure to be leveled against him. The entire ruling class—Democrats and Republicans, the bulk of the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the press—would do everything possible to thwart him; and the constituencies that chose him as their candidate, and that might elect him, are surely not united and are by no means clear about the demands they would press. Moreover, it is anyone’s guess whom he would appoint and how he would balance his constituencies’ pressures against those of the ruling class.

Never before has such a large percentage of Americans expressed alienation from their leaders, resentment, even fear. Some two-thirds of Americans believe that elected and appointed officials—plus the courts, the justice system, business leaders, educators—are leading the country in the wrong direction: that they are corrupt, do more harm than good, make us poorer, get us into wars and lose them. Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.

Yet the persons who express such revolutionary sentiments are not a majority ready to support a coherent imperial program to reverse the course of America’s past half-century. Temperamentally conservative, these constituencies had been most attached to the Constitution and been counted as the bedrock of stability. They are not yet wholly convinced that there is little left to conserve. What they want, beyond an end to the ruling class’s outrages, has never been clear. This is not surprising, given that the candidates who appeal to their concerns do so with mere sound bites. Hence they chose as the presidential candidate of the nominal opposition party the man who combined the most provocative anti-establishment sounds with reassurance that it won’t take much to bring back good old America: Donald Trump. But bringing back good old America would take an awful lot. What could he do to satisfy them?

Trump’s propensity for treating pronouncements on policy as flags to be run up and down the flagpole as he measures the volume of the applause does not deprive them of all significance—especially the ones that confirm his anti-establishment bona fides. These few policy items happen to be the ones by which he gained his anti-establishment reputation in the first place: 1) opposition to illegal immigration, especially the importation of Muslims whom Americans reasonably perceive as hostile to us; 2) law and order: stop excusing rioters and coddling criminals; 3) build a wall, throw out the illegals, let in only people who are vetted and certified as supporters of our way of life (that’s the way it was when I got my immigrant visa in 1955), and keep out anybody we can’t be sure isn’t a terrorist. Trump’s tentative, partial retreat from a bit of the latter nearly caused his political standing to implode, prompting the observation that doing something similar regarding abortion would end his political career. That is noteworthy because, although Trump’s support of the pro-life cause is lukewarm at best, it is the defining commitment for much of his constituency. The point here is that, regardless of his own sentiments, Trump cannot wholly discount his constituencies’ demands for a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction.

Trump’s slogan—“make America great again”—is the broadest, most unspecific, common denominator of non-ruling-class Americans’ diverse dissatisfaction with what has happened to the country. He talks about reasserting America’s identity, at least by controlling the borders; governing in America’s own interest rather than in pursuit of objectives of which the American people have not approved; stopping the export of jobs and removing barriers to business; and banishing political correctness’s insults and injuries. But all that together does not amount to making America great again. Nor does Trump begin to explain what it was that had made this country great to millions who have known only an America much diminished.

In fact, the United States of America was great because of a whole bunch of things that now are gone. Yes, the ruling class led the way in personal corruption, cheating on tests, lowering of professional standards, abandoning churches and synagogues for the Playboy Philosophy and lifestyle, disregarding law, basing economic life on gaming the administrative state, basing politics on conflicting identities, and much more. But much of the rest of the country followed. What would it take to make America great again—or indeed to make any of the changes that Trump’s voters demand? Replacing the current ruling class would be only the beginning.

Because it is difficult to imagine a Trump presidency even thinking about something so monumental as replacing an entire ruling elite, much less leading his constituency to accomplishing it, electing Trump is unlikely to result in a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction. Continuing pretty much on the current trajectory under the same class will further fuel revolutionary sentiments in the land all by itself. Inevitable disappointment with Trump is sure to add to them.

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/after-the-republic/

Senior Executive Service (United States)

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Senior Executive Service
SES Emblem.svg

Seal of the U.S. Senior Executive Service
Flag of the United States Senior Executive Service.svg

Flag of the U.S. Senior Executive Service

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a position classification in the civil service of the United States federal government, somewhat analogous to general officer or flag officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was created in 1979 when the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 went into effect under President Jimmy Carter.

Origin and attributes

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the SES was designed to be a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications, serving in key positions just below the top Presidential appointees as a link between them and the rest of the Federal (civil service) workforce. SES positions are considered to be above the GS-15 level of the General Schedule, and below Level III of the Executive Schedule. Career members of the SES ranks are eligible for the Presidential Rank Awards program.

Up to 10% of SES positions can be filled as political appointments rather than by career employees.[1] About half of the SES is designated “Career Reserved”, which can only be filled by career employees. The other half is designated “General”, which can be filled by either career employees or political appointments as desired by the administration. Due to the 10% limitation, most General positions are still filled by career appointees.[2]

Senior level employees of several agencies are exempt from the SES but have their own senior executive positions; these include the Federal Bureau of InvestigationCentral Intelligence AgencyDefense Intelligence AgencyNational Security AgencyTransportation Security AdministrationFederal Aviation AdministrationGovernment Accountability OfficeMembers of the Foreign Service, and government corporations.

Pay rates

(Effective on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2015)[3]
Minimum Maximum
Agencies with a Certified SES Performance Appraisal System $121,956 $183,300
Agencies without a Certified SES Performance Appraisal System $121,956 $168,700

Unlike the General Schedule (GS) grades, SES pay is determined at agency discretion within certain parameters, and there is no locality pay adjustment.

The minimum pay level for the SES is set at 120 percent of the basic pay for GS-15 Step 1 employees ($121,956 for 2015). The maximum pay level depends on whether or not the employing agency has a “certified” SES performance appraisal system:[4]

  • If the agency has a certified system, the maximum pay is set at Level II of the Executive Schedule ($183,300 for 2015).
  • If the agency does not have a certified system, the maximum pay is set at Level III of the Executive Schedule ($168,700 for 2015).

Total aggregate pay is limited to the salary of the Vice President of the United States ($230,700 for 2015).

Prior to 2004, the SES used a six-level system. It was replaced with the current open band system on January 1, 2014.[5]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Piaker, Zach (2016-03-16). “Help Wanted: 4,000 Presidential Appointees”Partnership for Public Service Center for Presidential Transition. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  2. Jump up^ “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (The Plum Book)” (PDF). U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 2012-12-01. p. 201. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  3. Jump up^ Obama, Barack (2014-12-19). “ADJUSTMENTS OF CERTAIN RATES OF PAY” (PDF). EXECUTIVE ORDER 13686. The White House. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
  4. Jump up^ “Performance & Compensation – Salary”U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  5. Jump up^ “Senior Executive Service Pay and Performance Awards”U.S. Office of Personnel Management. 2004. Retrieved 2018-03-31.

External links

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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

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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

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‘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

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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

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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

Posted on March 12, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Essays, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Islam, Journalism, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Missiles, Money, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religious, Resources, Rifles, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Video, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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

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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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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

Posted on December 30, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Computers, Computers, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Elections, Employment, Energy, Family, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Journalism, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Nuclear Power, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religion, Religious, Resources, Reviews, Science, Shite, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxation, Technology, Television, Torture, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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

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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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How Does China’s Government Work?

Why China And Taiwan Hate Each Other

China’s Internet Censorship Explained

Taiwan Declares It’s Been a Country the WHOLE TIME | China Uncensored

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

What is China censoring online? | CNBC Explains

 

China internet: ‘I know we’re being suppressed but it doesn’t affect me’

How China Is Changing Your Internet | The New York Times

Tension Is Rising Between the U.S. and China Over Taiwan. Here’s What You Need to Know

Here’s Why China’s Territorial Disputes May Lead to War

Videographic: What does China want? | The Economist

Why China is building islands in the South China Sea

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[中南海]Chinese Presidential Residence – White House of China

Xi Jinping Biography | Xi Jinping daughter | Xi Jinping net worth | Xi Jinping pronunciation

How Xi Jinping Went From Feeding Pigs to Ruling China

China’s Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitution

China’s Future MEGAPROJECTS (2016-2050’s)

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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F.B..I Deputy Director Andrew McCabe To RETIRE

Facing Republican attacks, FBIs deputy director plans to retire early next year

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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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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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Rush Limbaugh: Bombshell, that nobody will read: Obama let Hezbollah run cocaine into the U.S.

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Rpt: Obama Blocked pursuit of Hezbolllah’s Drug Ring to protect Iran Deal – The Five

At what cost was the nuclear deal with Iran reached?

Politico: Obama Admin Shielded Hezbollah Drug Ring From DEA To Save Iran Nuclear Deal – Cavuto

Joe Lieberman: Iran deal was bad for America

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The Middle East’s cold war, explained

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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Remembering The Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 — Vidoes

Posted on December 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Documentary, Education, Employment, Family, Foreign Policy, government spending, Heroes, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, Newspapers, People, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Spying, Success, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

Published on Dec 7, 2017

December 7, 2017, marks the 76th Anniversary of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Let us honor and remember our two last survivors, all of our U.S. Military and Civilians killed and injured in this attack.

Pearl Harbor: Admiral Chester Nimitz

Tora, Tora, Tora The True Story of Pearl Harbor Documentary

The Attack on Pearl Harbor || Full Documentary with subtitles

Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor (Full Episode)

How Pearl Harbor Was Attacked. The True Story

Rarely seen Pearl Harbor memorials

American Artifacts: USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor: “Bombing of Pearl Harbor” 1942 Castle News Parade; World War II

Japanese Navy Enters Pearl Harbor Flying The Rising Sun

Gung Ho Vids

Published on Jul 4, 2014

Footage of three ships and one submarine of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (formerly the Imperial Japanese Navy) as they enter Pearl Harbor flying the Japanese “Rising Sun” flag, the Naval ensign. The Imperial Japanese Navy was dissolved in 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. Since WWII, Japan’s Rising Sun flag has been criticized for its association with the country’s aggressive militaristic past.

The Attack On Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941

CVL23USSPRINCETON

Published on Dec 5, 2011

The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning) and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom,