Story 1: 6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged — Obama’s National Police Force For The 21st Century! — Videos
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
Breaking News – Specific charges, profiles of Freddie Gray officers
6 Baltimore Cops Charged In Freddie Gray’s Death
Sheriff Clarke: Baltimore is “George Zimmerman, Duke Lacross all over again..”
SHARPTON CALLS FOR DOJ TO TAKE OVER POLICING
Judge Nap: Gov’t Cannot Be Confronted By Blue Wall of Silence in Freddie Gray Case
Napolitano: There’s a ‘Serious Absence of Leadership’ in Baltimore
Judge Nap: Arrest of Black Man Who Died From Spinal Injury ‘Unconstitutional’
DOJ Targets Racism in Police Forces – CNN.com
Will Police Departments Face Scrutiny After DOJ Ferguson Report?
Al Sharpton called to Baltimore by Mayor
Al Sharpton Calls For Nationalization Of Police In Wake Of Baltimore Riots (Limbaugh responds)
OBAMA RIPS US POLICE: Target Poor, African Americans
What They Won’t Tell You About Baltimore Riots
BALTIMORE RIOTS – Maryland Governor Activates 5,000 National Guard Troops. Martial Law Coming?
Bishop Jackson to Rev. Sharpton: ‘March Right Back to N.Y. & MSNBC’
Sheriff David Clarke: Al Sharpton Should ‘Go Back into the Gutter He Came From’
Baltimore Mayor Hand Picked by Obama for Task Force, Plan to Nationalize Police
BALTIMORE MAYOR NAMED IN OBAMA NATIONAL POLICE FORCE DOCUMENT. FALSE FLAG
Obama Civilian Security
Obama National Police Force
Heads Up! Obama Just Federalized Police Forces In 6 US Cities
Glenn Beck Digs into Obama’s Civilian National Police Force
President Obama Meets with the Task Force on 21st Century Policing
Radley Balko on the Militarization of America’s Police Force: VICE Meets
Gestapo Hitler’s Secret Police
LARKE: FREDDIE GRAY CHARGES ‘DUKE LACROSSE CASE ALL OVER AGAIN’
by IAN HANCHETT
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) declared the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners,” offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob” on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.
Clarke said of the charges, “it’s a miscarriage of justice. This neophyte prosecutor stood up there and made a political statement, Neil, and I say that because she’s chanting or voicing some of the chants from this angry mob. Her job is to tune that out. She said, I hear the voices. She’s not supposed to hear anything as she reviews this case that is not consistent with the rule of law and our system of justice. Look, I’m an experienced and a veteran homicide detective. I’ve had — I’ve participated in charging conferences. There is no way I have ever gotten a criminal charge within 24 hours after taking over all the reports and evidence to a prosecutor. A prosecutor who is thorough needs several days to sift through hundreds of pages of reports. They usually want to interview some of the witnesses themselves, in person, and they have to sift through all of the evidence, piece by piece, and they have to wait for some of the forensics evidence to conclude, to come back and that’s why I say on a minimum, three to four days. She just got this case yesterday. This is political activism. She’ll never prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’m not going to silently stand by and watch my brother officers, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob, just to appease this angry mob.” And that “she rushed this thing through.”
After his interview was cut off to carry a Fraternal Order of Police press conference live, he continued, “she knows she’s not going to be able to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This is George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again. A politically active district attorney or state’s attorney, you can tell the emotion in her voice, she almost did this with glee. And that’s why I believe, like they [the FOP] do…she needs to remove herself from the case. I hope the state’s attorney general gets involved in this, and sees the error of her ways. The smart thing for her to do is recuse herself and name a special prosecutor.”
He added that “there may be and probably are, some civil torts here, but what little I know, and I don’t know all the facts, but I’m listening to the emotion in their voice, and listening to those political statements that she made at the end of that news conference, that’s political activism, it’s wrong, it’s probably in violation of her code of ethics as a lawyer. And again, I’m going to take my time with this, but I’m not going to sit idly by, and I want to call out to every law enforcement officer in the country to pay attention to this. Because, I see a pattern, at least demands from an angry mob, that we be offered up as human sacrifices. We don’t do that in our system of justice in the United States just to please an angry mob. And I sense from what I heard her say, Neil, that that’s what is going on here.”
Clarke concluded, “there are some things I find in this case — what little I know — that are problematic from a procedural standpoint, but Neil, it doesn’t make it criminal. These cops are political prisoners. I’m calling them political prisoners because this state’s attorney, stood up there and made a political statement at the end, talking about she hears the voices, and no justice and no peace.”
Being educated in social work and community organizing, I have long suspected that Obama’s deception runs much deeper than many may realize. I have argued in other articles that blacks in America are deliberately being impoverished so they can easily be called upon to protest against the system; after all, that is the job of the community organizer, to stir up hate and discontent. This isn’t really a far fetched idea seeing as though some of the most impoverished cities in the country have been governed by Democrats for decades. I wrote in my article “Critical Projection Theory,” that the real reason Democrats push the race card so much is to hide their true history as the real oppressor of minorities in America. Watching events unfold as they have, I have to say I am more convinced of this than ever before. Are we witnessing the Hegelian Dialectic at play here?
This week in New York, another white police officer was not indicted for the death of another black man, and protests have been called. This is the case where the police officer in question choked Eric Gardner to death on the sidewalk July 17th of this year. To be honest with you, after watching the video I find myself wondering why he wasn’t indicted. In my opinion this looks like a clear cut case of police brutality. Is it possible that the same communist agitators that flamed the Ferguson riots have manipulated events concerning the jury’s decision not to indict, in order to encourage more resentment? While it may seem like a far fetched idea, it is in fact, the way “psychopolitical operatives” (communists) operate. This could very well be an expert application of the Hegelian Dialectic at work;create the problem, cause a crisis and then offer the solution. In this case the solution Obama wants may be a nationalized police force.
It isn’t hard to come to this conclusion when you remember what Obama said about a civilian security force that is better funded and more “well trained” than the military. Alleged racism in the police precincts across the country gives Obama and his communist cohorts the perfect excuse. We even have the U.N. expressing concerns about racially charged police brutality in America. The facts about white police killing blacks, as Janna B. reported, matter little because their is an agenda, and that agenda is disarming America and creating a national gestapo.
Public Law 87-297, State Department Publication NO. 7277, which is called The Arms Control And Disarmament act, calls for the complete and total disarmament of America. In fact, the first target of this plan is the United States military. If you haven’t noticed, our military has been decimated over the past couple of years. The plan then calls for disarming the public. Is it possible that disarming the police forces is also on the agenda? There would have to be a level of “psychological disarmament” before police forces across the countries would accept being under federal control; however, once this was accomplished they would certainly lack any ability to push back against the enveloping arms of the federal leviathan.
While much of this seems like crazy speculation, you have to remember that a great deal of what Obama accomplished was at one point, considered to be the same. The man keeps pushing for more and more and honestly, the less the cowardly Republicans do to stop him, the more he will push. I realize that sometimes many people will think I’m reaching far out there to come to conclusions that may never come to pass. The truth is, I hope they are right; however, when I see the racial divide Obama has created, and videos that appear to represent his own personal army in training, I get a little concerned. Keep your eyes open America, the next two years promise to be the most trying.
Marilyn Mosby Charges 6 Baltimore Police Officers in Death of Freddie Gray
Maryland State Attorney for the city of Baltimore Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday morning that Freddie Gray‘s death in police custody was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, and that there is sufficient probable cause to file criminal charges against the six officers involved.
The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray will now face criminal charges ranging from murder to manslaughter to assault. The driver of the police van was charged with second-degree murder, while three officers were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Other officers were also charged with assault in connection with the murder.
Officers Charged In Freddie Gray’s Death, State’s Attorney Said Arrest Was Illegal
May 1, 2015 3:45 PM
City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says Freddie Gray received his critical injuries in Baltimore police custody and has charged all six officers involved in his death.
The city state’s attorney outlined where they say the officers went wrong from the moment they arrested Gray all the way to the time they took him out of the van and realized he wasn’t breathing.
On April 12, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray first made eye contact with a city police officer and ran away, officers chased him down and arrested him at 1700 Pressbury Street.
Bystanders then began recording the arrest, watching as Gray was placed in the police van. The prosecutor faults the three arresting officers for not properly restraining or seatbelting Gray in the van, calling his arrest illegal to begin with.
“Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray,” Mosby said.
The van made its first stop at Baker Street, where Gray was removed, put in flex cuffs and leg shackles and, again, not properly restrained. It is here prosecutors believe he was injured.
“Following transport from Baker’s Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being restrained, handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained by his feet inside the Baltimore Police Department wagon,” she said.
That van stopped again at the intersection of Mosher and Freemont Street. The driver got out and observed Gray, but gave him no medical aid—and Gray still wasn’t in a seatbelt. The van made a third stop at Dolphin and Druid Hill Street, where Gray said he couldn’t breathe and asked twice for medical attention.
“However, despite Mr. Gray’s request for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition. At no point did they restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order, nor did they render or request medical attention,” she said.
The van then headed to North Avenue and Pennsylvania, where it stops to pick up Donta Allen. At that time, Gray was already unresponsive, according to Mosby. The officers did not get him medical help; he was still not properly secured in the van. Finally, the van drove to the Western District Police Station, where officers first removed the other prisoner from the van, before realizing that Gray had stopped breathing and was now in cardiac arrest.
“The findings of our comprehensive, thorough, and independent investigation coupled with the ME’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide which we received today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Mosby said.
She charged all six officers in the death of Gray and said his arrest was illegal.
Mosby described the morning’s event:
She said Lt. Brian W. Rice along with Officer Garret Miller & Officer Edward M. Nero were on bike patrol when they made eye contact with Gray. Gray ran from Rice and Rice dispatched he was involved in a foot pursuit. Other officers got involved.
Gray surrendered to Miller and Nero and the officer handcuffed him behind his back, Mosby said. Gray asked for an inhaler because he “could not breathe,” but the officers did not get him medical attention.
They found a knife clipped inside his pants packet — the knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law, she said.
The officers then restrained Gray in a “leg lace,” and held him down until the transport van arrived, while he “flailed and screamed.”
The officers failed to find probable cause for Gray’s arrest, Mosby said. When the police transport van arrived, he was placed into the wagon driven by Officer Caesar B. Goodson, but without a seatbelt.
“At no point was he secured by a seatbelt while in the wagon contrary to a BPD general order,” she added. “Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray’s condition, at no point did he seek nor render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray.”
Gray was then removed from the wagon at Baker Street, places flex cuffs on his wrists and leg shackles on his ankles — while they completed paperwork. He was then placed back into the wagon’s floor head first and stomach down — without a seatbelt.
“Following transport from Baker Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon,” Mosby said.
After leaving Baker Street, the officers stopped again to check on Gray’s condition, but they did not seek medical attention for Gray. Again, Goodson drove off without buckling Gray into the van.
The van stopped once again, this time Officer William G. Porter met up with Goodson and checked on gray. Gray asked for medical attention stating he couldn’t breathe. Porter asked Gray if he needed a medic and although Gray insisted he did, the officers allegedly placed him back on the bench and decided he did not need a medic.
Then Porter left to assist with another arrest on West North avenue and Goodson shortly followed with Gray in the back of the police van to help transport another suspect. When they arrived at that located they Sgt. Alicia White, Goodson and Porter saw Gray was unresponsive on the floor of the back of the wagon.
White spoke to the back of Gray’s head and was advised he needed a medic, but Mosby said she made no effort to determine his condition.
The officer did not get Gray medical attention until they returned to the Western District station.
Mosby said the officers are being charged with a number of counts of manslaughter, assault and misconduct. One officer will even be charged with a count of murder.
Officer Caeser B. Goodson, Jr. was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of manslaughter by vehicle and misconduct in office.
Officer William G. Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Lt. Brian W. Rice was charged with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Officer Edward M. Nero charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Officer Garret Miller charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Sgt. Alicia White involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the officers.
“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man,” Mosby added.
The officers could face up to 20 years in prison for the charges. The driver — Goodson — could face up to 63 years in prison. They are expected to turn themselves in later today.
As groups take to the streets of Baltimore to celebrate the news, several officials reacted to the findings.
The Baltimore Police Fraternal Order of Police No. 3 issued a letter to Mosby Friday morning on behalf of the officers involved saying that the death was not the officers’ faults and they also requested a special prosecutor citing conflicts of interest with Mosby’s office.
“Each of the officers involved is sincerely saddened by Gray’s passing. They are all committed police officers who have dedicated their careers to the Baltimore City Police Department,” the letter states, “And that has been lost in all the publicity.”
“All death is tragic,” the FOP states. “And death associated with interaction with police is both shocking and frightening to the public.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings reacted to the charges filed against the officers in a press conference Friday afternoon.
“Let the wheels of justice roll, and it’s good that they are rolling, instead of standing still,” Cummings said. “”One of things that I’m determined to do and I’m hoping we’re able to do is make Baltimore a model for the nation.”
Gov. Larry Hogan who has been working from Baltimore this week due to the state of emergency also commented on Mosby’s findings:
“We finally get the process moving forward, but it’s a process. The criminal justice system is gonna work it’s way through, we believe in the criminal justice system. It’s just one component of what’s going on down here. There’s the Freddie Gray case, there’s the safety of the people of Baltimore, and then there’s the longer term issues,” Hogan said. “My role in the process is to try to keep folks safe.” … “I know emotions are running high. We want to keep the peace, keep the calm. We’ve got a lot folks out there demonstrating tonight and tomorrow and we want to continue to have the kind of success we’ve had over the past three days of keeping people calm.”
Hogan said he doesn’t have a timeline for when curfew will be lifted.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, was taken into custody by the Baltimore Police Department for allegedly possessing a switchblade; however, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby subsequently stated “The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law”. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center. Gray died on April 19, 2015. His death was ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord. On April 21, 2015, pending an investigation of the incident, six Baltimore police officers were temporarily suspended with pay.
The circumstances of the injuries were initially unclear; eyewitness accounts suggested that the officers involved had partaken in unnecessary use of force against Gray while arresting him—a claim denied by an officer involved.Commissioner Anthony Batts reported that the officers did not buckle him inside the van when being transported to the police station—a report supported by a medical investigation which found that Gray had sustained the injuries while in transport.
On May 1, 2015, Baltimore prosecutors ruled that Gray’s death was a homicide, and that his arrest was illegal because the alleged switchblade was a legal-sized pocket knife. The prosecutors stated that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six police officers who were believed to be involved in his death. One officer was charged with second degreedepraved-heart murder, and others were charged with crimes ranging from manslaughter to illegal arrest.
Freddie C. Gray was the 25-year-old son of Gloria Darden. He had a twin sister, Fredericka, as well as another sister, Carolina. At the time of his death, Gray lived in the home owned by his sisters in the Gilmor Homes neighborhood. He stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) and weighed 145 pounds (66 kg).
Gray had a criminal record, mainly for misdemeanors and drug-related offenses. He had been arrested a total of 22 times in Maryland, primarily for possession and distribution of illegal narcotics. Gray had been involved in 20 criminal court cases, five of which were still active at the time of his death.
Arrest and death
Police encountered Freddie Gray on the morning of April 12, 2015, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore, an area known to have high levels of home foreclosures, poverty, drug deals and violent crimes. According to the charging documents submitted by the Baltimore police, Gray attempted to flee “unprovoked” on foot, but police on bicycles chased and tackled Gray, found what they claimed was a switchblade in his pocket, and took him into custody at 8:40 a.m. Two bystanders captured Gray’s arrest with video recordings, showing Gray being dragged into the van by officers. A bystander with connections to Gray stated that the officers were “folding” Gray—with one officer bending Gray’s legs backwards, and another holding Gray down by pressing a knee into Gray’s neck. Another witness told the Baltimore Sun that they had witnessed Gray being beaten with batons.
According to the police timeline, Gray was placed in a transport van within 11 minutes of his arrest, and within 30 minutes, paramedics were summoned to take Gray to a hospital. The van made four confirmed stops while Gray was detained. At 8:46 a.m., Gray was unloaded in order to be placed in leg irons because police said he was “irate.” A later stop, recorded by a private camera, shows the van stopped at a grocery store. At 8:59 a.m., a second prisoner was placed in the vehicle while officers checked on Gray’s condition, and 27 minutes later the van made its final stop so paramedics could transport an unconscious Gray to the hospital. He was taken to the University of MarylandR Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in a coma. The statement of charges filed by Officer Garrett Miller against Gray accused him of possessing a switchblade. Miller wrote, “The defendant was arrested without force or incident.” Officers also reported “that he suffered a medical emergency during transport”. The media has suggested the possibility of a so-called “rough ride“—where a handcuffed prisoner is placed without a seatbelt in an erratically driven vehicle—as a contributing factor in Gray’s injury.
In the following week, according to the Gray family attorney, Gray suffered from total cardiopulmonary arrest at least once but was resuscitated without ever regaining consciousness. He remained in a coma, and underwent extensive surgery in an effort to save his life. According to his family, he lapsed into a coma with three fractured vertebrae, injuries to his “voice box”, and his spine “80% severed” at his neck. Police confirmed that the spinal injury led to Gray’s death. The attorney also disputed the claim that Gray had been in possession of a switchblade, and stated that it was actually a “pocketknife of legal size”. He died on April 19, 2015, a week after his arrest.
The Baltimore Police Department suspended six officers with pay pending an investigation of Gray’s death. The six officers involved in the arrest were identified as Lieutenant Brian Rice, 41 (18 years on the force), Sergeant Alicia White, 30 (5 years on the force), Officer William Porter, 25 (5 years on the force), Officer Garrett Miller, 26 (3 years on the force), Officer Edward Nero, 29 (3 years on force), and Officer Caesar Goodson, 45 (16 years on the force). On April 24, 2015, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” Batts also acknowledged police did not follow procedure when they failed to buckle Gray in the van while he was being transported to the police station. The U.S. Department of Justice also opened an investigation into the case.
On April 30, 2015, Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Gray’s arrest, was arrested at gunpoint following “harassment and intimidation” by police. Moore stated to have cooperated with police and gave over his video of Gray’s arrest for investigation. He claimed, despite aiding in the investigation, his photo was made public by police for further questioning. The same day, medical examiners reported Gray sustained more injuries as a result of him slamming into the inside of the transport van, “apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van”. 
On May 1, 2015, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office ruled that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide, and that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six officers involved. Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore City, said that the Baltimore police had acted illegally and that “No crime had been committed” (by Freddie Gray). Mosby said that Gray “suffered a critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside the BPD wagon.” It was also ruled that the arrest of Gray was false imprisonment, because he was carrying a pocket knife of legal size, and not the switchblade police claimed he had possessed at the time of his arrest.
Officer William G. Porter: Involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; misconduct in office
Lt. Brian W. Rice: Involuntary manslaughter; two counts of second degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Officer Edward M. Nero: Two counts of second degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Officer Garrett E. Miller: Two counts of second degree assault; two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Sgt. Alicia D. White: Involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; misconduct 
As of May 1st, five of the six officers were in custody.
Response to charges
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said there was no place in the Baltimore Police department for those police officers who “choose to engage in violence, brutality, racism and brutality. Gene Ryan, president of the police union chapter said that despite the tragic situation, “none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray.”
Protesters at a police station near the site of Gray’s arrest on April 25
Public reaction to the death has drawn parallels to the response to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, as part of a larger string of controversial uses of force by police officers in the United States. As of April 30, 2015, 22 demonstrations had been held nationwide in direct response to Gray’s death or in solidarity with Baltimore.
On April 18, 2015, hundreds of people participated in a protest outside the Baltimore Police Department. Three days later, on April 21, 2015, according to Reuters, “[h]undreds of demonstrators gathered in Baltimore”, protesting Gray’s death.The next day, Gene Ryan, the president of the local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed sympathy for the Gray family, but criticized the “rhetoric of protests” and suggested that “the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob.” William Murphy, attorney for the Gray family, demanded an “immediate apology and a retraction”. Ryan defended his statement two days later, while admitting that the wording was poor.Charles M. Blow of The New York Times, reminded of a column he wrote several years ago, said that comparing protests to lynch mobs was too extreme because it inflames racial tensions by belittling the significance of the history of lynching in the United States.
On April 25, 2015, protests were organized in downtown Baltimore, and the protests turned violent as protesters threw rocks and set fires. At least 34 people were arrested, and 15 officers were injured. On April 27, rioting and looting began after the funeral of Gray, with two patrol cars destroyed and 15 officers reported injured. Protesters looted and burned down a CVS Pharmacy location in downtown Baltimore.
At a press conference, Baltimore’s mayor announced there would be a citywide curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. School trips were canceled until mid-May, and Baltimore’s city schools were closed on April 28. In addition, both the University of Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore and the Mondawmin Mall were closed early.
Protests outside Baltimore also took place in other U.S. cities. In New York City, 143 people at Union Square were arrested on April 29, 2015 for blocking traffic and refusing to relocate. On the same day, outside the White House in Washington, D.C., nearly 500 protesters converged without an incident. In Denver, eleven people were arrested as protesters were involved in physical altercations with officers. Other protests in response to Gray’s death took place in cities including Philadelphia,Minneapolis, and Portland.
Story 1: Divide and Conquer Obama Blames Baltimore Police and Black Thugs For Rioting, Looting and Burning — Jobs For Millions of Illegal Aliens — Black Thugs and Criminals Need Not Apply — The Big Fail Of The Welfare State — What’s Going On – What’s Happening Brother — More Black Gang Thugs Coming To Baltimore! — The Fire Next Time –Videos
Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On – What’s Happening Brother”
“What’s Going On”
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring somelovin’ here today – YaFather, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring somelovin’ here todayPicket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going onIn the mean time
Right on, baby
Right onMother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
OhPicket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on – Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby
Obama: Violence in Baltimore is ‘counterproductive…
President Obama On Baltimore Riots FULL SPEECH ‘We, as a Country, Have to Do Some Soul-Searching’
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The Class of 2015: Book Burners Afraid of Matches | Bill Whittle
The Leftism of today’s college campuses will lead to the Fascism and Socialism of a Hitler or a Stalin. These Occupy-ers are essentially book burners.
The Hard Line | Ed Berliner commentary, “Telling it Like it is”
‘Thugs’ Riot in Baltimore Over Freddie Gray’s Death
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Baltimore Burning, Fire Hoses Cut, Chaos over Freddie Gray
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James Baldwin Debates William F Buckley 1965
In 1963, there was a noted change in Baldwin’s work with The Fire Next Time. This collection of essays was meant to educate white Americans on what it meant to be black. It also offered white readers a view of themselves through the eyes of the African-American community. In the work, Baldwin offered a brutally realistic picture of race relations, but he remained hopeful about possible improvements. “If we…do not falter in our duty now, we may be able…to end the racial nightmare.” His words struck a cord with the American people, and The Fire Next Time sold more than a million copies.
That same year, Baldwin was featured on the cover of Time magazine. “There is not another writer—white or black—who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South,”Time said in the feature.
Baldwin wrote another play, Blues for Mister Charlie, which debuted on Broadway in 1964. The drama was loosely based on the 1955 racially motivated murder of a young African-American boy named Emmett Till. This same year, his book with friend Richard Avalon, entitled Nothing Personal, hit bookstore shelves. The work was a tribute to slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Baldwin also published a collection of short stories, Going to Meet the Man, around this time.
In his 1968 novel Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, Baldwin returned to popular themes—sexuality, family, and the black experience. Some critics panned the novel, calling it a polemic rather than a novel. He was also criticized for using the first-person singular, the “I,” for the book’s narration.
By the early 1970s, Baldwin seemed to despair over the racial situation. He witnessed so much violence in the previous decade—especially the assassinations of Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—because of racial hatred. This disillusionment became apparent in his work, employing a more strident tone than in earlier works. Many critics point to No Name in the Street, a 1972 collection of essays, as the beginning of the change in Baldwin’s work. He also worked on a screenplay around this time, trying to adapt The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley for the big screen.
While his literary fame faded somewhat in his later years, Baldwin continued to produce new works in a variety of forms. He published a collection of poems, Jimmy’s Blues: Selected Poems, in 1983 as well as the 1987 novel Harlem Quartet. Baldwin also remained an astute observer of race and American culture. In 1985, he wrote The Evidence of Things Not Seen about the Atlanta child murders. Baldwin also spent years sharing his experiences and views as a college professor. In the years before his death, he taught at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hampshire College.
Baldwin died on December 1, 1987, at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France. Never wanting to be a spokesperson or a leader, Baldwin saw his personal mission as bearing “witness to the truth.” He accomplished this mission through his extensive body of work.
Homeland Security Working Overtime to Add ‘New Americans’ by 2016 Election
Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.
President Obama’s amnesty by edict has always been about adding new Democrats to the voter rolls, and recent action by the Department of Homeland Security provides further proof. Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — the “Electronic Immigration System” — to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.
This effort is part of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.”
PJ Media has obtained an internal “Dear Colleague” letter written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans.” The letter refers to a White House report called “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents.”
Leon Rodriguez has a tainted history — not only was he a central player in the radicalization of Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division, he also “undertook a purportedly illegal search” of a government employee’s computer in Montgomery County, Maryland. (Messy details are at the Washington Post.)
The Rodriguez letter states:
This report outlines an immigrant integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.
“Full participation” is a term commonly used to include voting rights. To that end, resources within DHS have been redirected toward pushing as many as aliens and non-citizens as possible to full citizenship status so they may “fully participate” in the 2016 presidential election. For example, the internal DHS letter states one aim is to “strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement.”
Naturalization plus mobilization is the explicit aim of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.” Multiple sources at DHS confirm that political appointees are prioritizing naturalization ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Empirical voting patterns among immigrants from minority communities demonstrate that these new voters will overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates. If the empirical rates of support for Democrats continued among these newly naturalized minority voters, Democrats could enjoy an electoral net benefit of millions of new voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Other DHS sources report that racial interest groups such as La Raza (translated to “The Race”) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have been playing a central and influential role in rewriting the administration’s immigration policies — both the public policies as well as internal and largely unseen guidelines.
One DHS official who disagrees with the administration’s policies told me DHS “intends to ‘recapture’ ‘unused’ visas from years past to grant more visas and LPR [green card] status. In addition to this ‘visa blizzard,’ the agency will allow folks to jam in applications during the blizzard, knowing that the visa applicant/beneficiary is not eligible for the visa.”
This means that DHS is not only rushing green card holders toward citizenship before the next election, but also jamming previous visa holders toward green card status. These policies and priorities add to the brazen public positions of the president toward enforcing immigration laws.
Bloods and Crips Team Up to Protest Baltimore’s Cops
Things are apparently so bad in Baltimore that even the city’s gang adversaries—along with the Nation of Islam—are joining forces.
Editor’s Note: Hours after this story published, the Baltimore Police Department issued a warning about a “credible threat” against law enforcement from gangswho they say have formed a partnership to “take out” officers. A police spokesman declined to say whether the threat is related to Freddie Gray’s death.
Before protests over Freddie Gray’s death turned chaotic, an unlikely alliance was born in Baltimore on Saturday: Rivals from the Bloods and the Crips agreed to march side by side against police brutality.
The alleged gang members are pictured on social media crowding together with Nation of Islam activists, who told The Daily Beast they brokered the truce in honor of Gray, who died last week after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody.
In one photo, a gang activist in a red sweatshirt crouches to fit into a group photo with rivals decked out in blue bandanas.
“I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” said Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6. “At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended.”
The detente was only a small part of the demonstration drawing 1,200 people to Baltimore’s City Hall, but it raised eyebrows among activists. Are things so bad that even Baltimore’s gang adversaries are joining forces to combat law enforcement?
“We can unite and stop killing one another, and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”
“We can unite and stop killing one another,” Muhammad told The Daily Beast, “and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”
DeRay McKesson, an organizer known for his work in Ferguson, also confirmed the street-crime ceasefire. He live-tweeted Saturday’s mostly peaceful demonstration, which later descended into clashes with police and smashed storefronts and cop cars, and alerted followers of a possible respite in gangland.
“The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson told The Daily Beast. “The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system.”
Still, it’s not the first time gangsters called a truce to focus on another foe. In August, the MadameNoire web publication reported on two former Bloods and Crips rivals in St. Louis—now protesting against police in Ferguson, Missouri—who held a sign in red and blue letters: “NO MORE CRIPS. NO MORE BLOODS. ONE PEOPLE. NO GANG ZONE.”
“Young black men are dying from the police and they are dying from the gangs too,” one activist said. “But this is a bigger problem, so we took it upon ourselves to focus our energy on making a better solution for the community we live in.”
On Sunday, Baltimore police announced that 35 people were arrested and six police officers were injured in demonstrations.
The unrest prompted a mayoral press conference on Saturday evening, when Gray’s twin sister Fredericka made her first public statements. “My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?” she pleaded. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”
But before Fredericka spoke, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanked those who were discouraging violence—and even singled out Nation of Islam’s peacekeeping efforts.
“I want to also thank the Nation of Islam, who have been very present in our efforts to keep calm and peace in our city,” she said.
On Friday, authorities acknowledged that Gray, 25, should have received medical attention immediately following his April 12 arrest. Gray suffered deadly injuries during transport, though it’s unclear what happened. His spine was severed, he fell into a coma, and died a week later.
Funeral services will be held for Gray today. Muhammad told The Daily Beast he expects Bloods and Crips members to join Nation of Islam to support mourners.
“This is our part in helping to keep peace and to keep protesters in a situation where they’re not in confrontation with police,” Muhammad said.
The Baltimore Police Department said Monday that it considers threats to “take out” cops from the Bloods, Crips, and the Black Guerilla Family (among other gangs) to be a credible threat. “Law-enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers,” the a Baltimore PD press release said. KateBriquelet reports that the Bloods andCrips have quit fighting each other in order to team up and protest police in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/04/27/baltimore-pd-gang-threats-credible.html
As dusk comes to Baltimore, officials hope for peace but see angry protesters
Protests remained largely peaceful in Baltimore as dusk began to fall over the riot-racked city Tuesday, but police said they noticed an increasingly angry tone among demonstrators as thousands of police and National Guard troops readied to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew.
About 2,000 National Guard troops and more than 1,000 police officers have deployed to the streets of Baltimore, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. The city has been under a state of emergency after stone-throwing and arson erupted Monday hours after the funeral of a black man who suffered a mortal injury while in police custody.
“Maintaining law and order, protecting innocent lives and property is our No. 1 priority,” Hogan, who has temporarily moved his office from the Capitol in Annapolis to Baltimore, said at a televised news conference. “We’ve got a long night ahead of us.”
As darkness fell, Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters that in one group of demonstrators that had gathered on the streets, “There has been an increase in the level of anger and frustration in the crowd, and that is starting to grow. … We hope for peace.”
In a late afternoon news conference, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the city had been relatively calm Tuesday, and she thanked residents and community leaders who helped clean up the debris from Monday night’s riots.
“Today I think we saw a lot more of what Baltimore is about,” she said. “We saw people coming together to reclaim our city.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said protests had been peaceful. Officers arrested a few looters on the east side of the city Tuesday morning and one or two demonstrators who were part of a large march that moved down Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.
“This is where we live. This is where we worship,” Batts said. “This is where our kids go to school, so don’t destroy it.”
Earlier, officials tallied the toll since unrest began Monday afternoon: 235 arrests, including 34 juveniles; 15 structure fires; 144 vehicles destroyed; and more than 20 police officers injured. At least one civilian was reported in critical condition, but no other details were given.
At the news conference, Batts said nearly all of the officers, some who suffered hand injures when deflecting rocks and bottles, had been treated and released. One was hospitalized overnight with a serious head injury but is expected to recover.
In earlier remarks, Kowalczyk said police would enforce a curfew, set to begin at 10 p.m. and run until 5 a.m., but would use common sense. Those seeking medical care and returning from work were exempt from the curfew, he said.
He defended the police response.
“When we deployed our officers yesterday, we were deploying for a high school event,” Kowalczyk said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that would expect us to deploy with automatic weapons and armored vehicles for 13- 14- and 15-year-olds.”
He added: “What we saw last night was a group of people take advantage of a situation, a very unfortunate situation, and use that to tear down their own neighborhoods.”
Hogan, the governor, said after touring the stricken areas earlier in the day, “This violence isn’t accomplishing anything. It’s counterproductive.”
He pledged that violence would be dealt with forcefully and that the city would not have to endure a repeat of Monday night.
“This is not the Baltimore we love,” the governor said.
As residents prepared for the start of the weeklong curfew, much of the city remained closed Tuesday. Schools and many businesses were shuttered, and the Baltimore Orioles postponed a second straight game against the Chicago White Sox. The Orioles and White Sox will play their regularly scheduled game Wednesday, but it was moved from the evening to the afternoon, and no fans will be admitted, Major League Baseball announced.
Camouflage-clad National Guard troops, armed with assault rifles, surrounded major public spaces such as City Hall and the Inner Harbor with a show of force that included heavy-duty military vehicles.
The governor said thousands of officers and troops were on the streets, with more expected. He thanked fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey for sending 150 state troopers, among the dozens from surrounding cities and states.
Baltimore residents struggled to shake off the nightmarish violence that began hours after Freddie Gray was buried.
Baltimore police commissioner served in California, dealt with Oakland unrest
Gray died April 19 of a severed spine, a week after he was taken into custody by Baltimore police. Officials are investigating the events, which drew early small and peaceful protests that escalated over the weekend and turned Baltimore into a battle zone Monday.
At a Washington news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Obama said the issues of relations between African Americans and police were larger than the looters, whom he condemned.
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday,” Obama said. “It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement – they’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”
But the president also defended the right to protest and called for a broader discussion of how the nation deals with racism and police.
“We can’t just leave this to the police. I think there are police departments that have to do some soul-searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul-searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul-searching. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades.”
Meanwhile, some parts of Baltimore tried to return to a semblance of normalcy.
Holding brooms and shovels from their own homes, Baltimore residents showed up in droves to clean up the riot debris: shattered windows, rocks, ashes.
On a sunny Tuesday morning, the mood was much more cordial toward police, who were repeatedly offered bottled water as they stood guard over damaged retail shops. But there was a pervasive feeling that the goodwill could sour at any time.
“The anger you saw is about decades of pain and abuse in our community,” said Megan Kenny, 38, an education provider in the city. “The movement isn’t going to end. I mean, how do you end racism?”
Kenny and her boyfriend, Paul Mericle, 31, who works for Baltimore public schools, took the opportunity of an unexpected day off to join residents along North Avenue to clean up debris.
“People have been up cleaning since before dawn,” Mericle said in the shadow of EZ Mart Tobacco and Convenience, which had been ransacked with shelves emptied.
Across the street, a big rig with a green trailer sat with piles of garbage bags as people with dust trays and snow shovels walked by.
Farther down the street, though, was a stark reminder of the tension. The CVS on North and Pennsylvania avenues sat smoldering as lines of county police stood with defensive shields. Opposite them was a crowd – one man with a bullhorn – talking about the death of Gray. As more residents began massing on the east side of Pennsylvania, police began handing out more shields out of a small trailer to the police.
“The violence isn’t over,” said a Baltimore police officer who was not authorized to speak publicly on the rioting. “We have a long way to go with the community here. We have a lot of wounds to heal.”
Rawlings-Blake spoke of healing as she toured the damage. She said public transportation would be up and running and that she was working to make sure that “most government services can operate normally.”
Speaking at the West Baltimore CVS, Rawlings-Blake said: “What happened last night means that more people are struggling…. We worked very hard to get CVS to come here.”
Hogan said state insurance officials would work on helping residents. As the rioting ended, questions have continued about whether the city and state moved quickly enough to stop the violence. The governor was careful not to assign any blame to city officials, whom he praised.
Hogan said the state had prepared to mobilize the National Guard and issue an emergency declaration on Monday afternoon as television broadcast the first images of the confrontation between teenagers and police. The formal declarations came about 6 p.m., seconds after they were requested by the city, he said.
Asked if the mayor should have called for help sooner, Hogan replied that he didn’t want to question what Baltimore officials were doing: “They’re all under tremendous stress. We’re all on one team.”
During comments as she toured the damaged areas of her city, Rawlings-Blake pushed back against her critics. “There are always going to be armchair quarterbacks that have never sat in my seat,” she told reporters. “This isn’t the first emergency that I’ve had to deal with, and I know you have to put in the work and manage the crisis on the ground.”
Batts, the police commissioner, said late Monday that the city simply didn’t have enough officers to maintain control of all the neighborhoods, as looting and fires spread from one end of the city to the other.
“They just outnumbered us and outflanked us,” he said. “We needed to have more resources.”
He said the extra manpower arriving late Monday and Tuesday would help the police regain control of neighborhoods and enforce a weeklong curfew. Batts said he was dismayed by scenes of Baltimore’s teenagers looting and burning.
“This is not protesting. This is not your 1st Amendment rights,” he said.
He praised one woman who was filmed smacking her teenage son on the head and pulling off his hood. “I wish we had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”
Story 1: Black Thug Gangs On Rampage in Baltimore — “A Space To Destroy” — Really — Arrest Them All — Failed Progressive Policies On Parade — Who Is Your Daddy? — Welfare State! — Videos
“It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed
In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend.
Why Black Conservatives Are Hated By Liberals
John Stossel – The State Against Blacks
Walter Williams: Up From the Projects
Thomas Sowell — Dismantling America
Sheriff David Clarke: Failed Liberal Policies Behind Ferguson, Baltimore Riots
Baltimore Mayor Let Rioters And Vandals Run Rampant
Baltimore riot video: The gentrified crowd under attack.
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Cummings Downplays Baltimore Riots
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Walter E Williams – Black Families and The Welfare State
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Police targeted, stores looted in Baltimore riots
Rioters looted stores and pelted police with rocks in Baltimore on Monday after the funeral of an African American man whose death in custody has reignited outrage over US police conduct towards blacks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the port city of 620,000 and activated the National Guard as rioters prowled in small groups, ransacking shops and trashing police vehicles. Other cars were set on fire.
At least seven officers were injured in the violence, and police said one was “unresponsive.”
Local and state police in riot gear struggled to restore order as the rioters veered off in different directions, refusing to heed dispersal orders.
“We have seven officers injured during the course of this. They have broken bones; one is unresponsive,” Baltimore police spokesman Captain Eric Kowalczyk told reporters.
“You’re going to see tear gas… We’re going to use appropriate methods to ensure that we’re able to preserve the safety of that community.”
NBC affiliate WBAL reported there had been at least one arrest, and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team postponed its evening game against the Chicago White Sox.
– ‘Absolutely inexcusable’ –
Rioting erupted soon after Gray was buried — possibly spurred by a cryptic message on social media declaring an after-school “purge,” which is street slang for random acts of lawlessness.
Fear of unrest prompted the University of Maryland’s downtown campus, corporate offices and the city’s famous Lexington Market to shut down early.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the rapidly evolving situation by his newly sworn in Attorney General Loretta Lynch and city mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the White House said.
Thousands had converged on New Shiloh Baptist church in Baltimore’s poverty-ridden Sandtown neighborhood earlier Monday to pay final respects to Gray, who died on April 19 of severe spinal injuries apparently sustained during his arrest a week earlier.
His death was the latest in a string of high-profile confrontations between African Americans and police, including the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
Gray’s grieving family had explicitly asked for no protests.
“Today of all days, the family was clear this was a day of sacred closure,” pastor Jamal Bryant of the city’s Empowerment Temple mega-church, who delivered the eulogy, told reporters as the violence spiralled.
“So for us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable. I’m asking every young person to go back home.”
– Weekend unrest –
On Saturday, 34 people were arrested, and six police officers injured, when violence erupted after an orderly rally for Gray outside Baltimore city hall.
In the hours before Monday’s riots, police announced they had received a “credible threat” that criminal gangs in Baltimore had “entered into a partnership to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers.”
At the funeral, Gray’s body was in a white casket next to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap and a sign reading “Peace y’all.”
Crowds swayed to hymns at the service, chanting, “Justice shall prevail, peace will prevail” in the church, where a photo of Gray — who had a record of petty drug offenses, in a grim part of Baltimore notorious for crime, poverty and joblessness — was displayed among floral wreaths.
Supporters, many dressed in all white, filled the building’s 2,200 seats and hundreds of others stood, with the words “Black lives matter and all lives matter” projected on the wall.
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson denounced the “epidemic of murders in the country.”
“We have become too violent, too full of hate,” Jackson told reporters before the service. “We need training, employment, housing, access to health, a reconstruction project. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction.”
– Tensions high –
Tensions have been on the rise in Baltimore since Gray’s death, which his family’s lawyers say was caused when 80 percent of his spine was severed following his arrest.
Six officers have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of a police investigation that is to be submitted to state prosecutors by Friday.
The US Justice Department, which was already looking into Baltimore’s use of force, has also opened its own civil rights probe.
Police confirmed Gray requested medical help and an inhaler after he was detained and acknowledged that he should have received medical attention sooner.
They also revealed that Gray, contrary to policy, was not buckled into his seat in a police van, which made at least three unexplained stops on its way to the city’s Western District station, now the scene of nightly protests.
Gray’s arrest was caught on video by bystanders, and he can be heard howling in apparent pain as his limp body is dragged into the van.
Officers Injured, Baltimore Businesses Shut Down Amid Violent Riots
Several officers have been injured as a large riot continues to grow violent Monday afternoon in Baltimore.
Baltimore Police sprayed mace at rioters, but say a large group of teenagers is continuing to throw bricks, rocks and other items at officers.
WNEW’s Karen Adams reports police have arrested two people so far. The protests started in the area of Mondawmin Mall have spilled into nearby streets and neighborhoods.
Police say the group has refused to follow orders and the department is continuing to deploy resources into the neighborhoods near the mall. Officers are also using fire extinguishers to put out small fires that rioters started.
Sometimes a protest is just a riot camouflaged in self-righteousness. It might not start that way, and the actors might not think that it is. But nonetheless, sometimes it is.
A few miles from my apartment, the Miami neighborhood Liberty City has yet to shake the aftereffects of the 1980 riots that sprang from the acquittal of four officers in the killing of a black man. In California, neighborhoods and property values remain scarred from the Watts Riots in 1965 and the Rodney King Riots in 1992. More recently in Ferguson, Mo., the long-term consequences of a few nights of looting and burning are starting to be felt by residents and property owners.
What no one expected is what Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake admitted in a press conference on Sunday: that she asked the Baltimore Police Department to “give those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
“We work very hard to keep that balance [between free speech and destructive elements], and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate,” she said.
Overall, Baltimore police said 34 arrests were made during Saturday’s main demonstration, and six officers were allegedly injured.
Several downtown storefronts were smashed, and some police cars were damaged.
But overall, the most of the damage was cosmetic, and it might not cost the city or property owners a fortune to fix. Either that, or it might have been worth the calculation from city officials to sacrifice a little public property for the sake of allowing protesters to vent their anger, hopefully quelling unrest in the long run.
Despite her comments about creating a “space” for more destructive elements in protests, Mayor Rawlings-Blake expressed disappointment on Sunday night at the “outside forces” who she said were “inciting some of the ‘shut this city down’ sort of messaging,” according to the Baltimore Sun.
Then, she made a call for peace, which might not be too far away. Gray will be buried on Monday, and the Baltimore Police Department’s full report on Gray’s death should be released before next weekend.
It could be very well that protests in Baltimore have already reached their peak of violence and destruction. Considering how volatile the situation looked going into last weekend, if it all pans out, there could be a case for other leaders to handle widespread protests like this differently.
Because sometimes, punching the punching bag really does take your anger away. And on the flip side, telling you not to punch the punching bag can only make you angrier.
—Today, Howard Libit, Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, issued the following statement regarding Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s comments on the rights of protesters:
“What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.
The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement.”
This clarification is regarding comments made by Mayor Rawlings-Blake during a recent press conference. The mayor’s original quote follows (emphasis and clarification added):
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also [as a result] gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
Death of Freddie Gray
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about a person who has recently died. Some information, such as the circumstances of the person’s death and surrounding events, may change as more facts become known. Initial news reports may beunreliable.
Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, died of a spinal injury on April 19, 2015. A week earlier, police had taken Gray into custody in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Within an hour of his arrest, police had transported him to a trauma clinic, and he was in a coma.
The incident has led to protests in Baltimore. Six Baltimore police officers have been suspended with pay.
Freddie Gray was 25 years old, and had two sisters. As children, he and his sisters were found to have lead poisoning in their blood levels. According to a 2008lawsuit against a Sandtown-Winchester housing complex where Gray and his sisters lived, the lead poisoning caused medical, behavioral, and educational problems for the children. Terms of the settlement were not publicly revealed. At the time of his death, Gray lived in the Gilmor Homes neighborhood. He stood 5 feet and 8 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds. Gray had a criminal record, mainly for drug-related offenses.
Police encountered Freddie Gray on April 12, 2015, in an area of Baltimore a police spokesman said was known for drug deals and violent crimes. He ran; according to court documents Gray “fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence”. Police chased and tackled Gray, found a switchblade in his pocket, and took him into custody at 8:40 a.m.
Two bystanders captured Gray’s arrest with video recordings.
According to the police timeline, Gray was in a transport van within 11 minutes of his arrest, and within 30 minutes “units request paramedics to the Western District to transport the suspect to an area hospital.” He was taken to the University of MarylandR. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, in a coma within an hour of being taken into police custody.
The statement of charges filed by Officer Garrett Miller against Gray accused him of possessing a switchblade. Miller wrote, “The defendant was arrested without force or incident.” Officers also reported “that he suffered a medical emergency during transport”.
In the following week, according to the Gray family attorney, Gray died, was resuscitated, remained in a coma, and underwent extensive surgery in an effort to save his life. According to his family, he lapsed into a coma after his spine was “80% severed” at his neck, he had three fractured vertebrae, and his larynx was injured. He died the following Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Protestors at a police station near the site of Gray’s arrest
The Baltimore Police Department suspended six officers pending an investigation of Gray’s death. On April 24, 2015, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” Batts also acknowledged police did not follow procedure when they failed to buckle Gray in the van while he was being transported to the police station.
By April 21, 2015, according to Reuters, “[h]undreds of demonstrators gathered in Baltimore” to protest Gray’s death.
On April 25, 2015, protests were organized in downtown Baltimore. Protesters marched from the Baltimore City Hall to Inner Harbor. After the final stage of the official protest event, some protesters became violent. They damaged at least five police vehicles, and several people shoved police officers and threw various objects at the police. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said most protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened”. Rawlings-Blake said of those who destroyed property while protesting Gray’s death, “… we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well…” At least 35 people were arrested, and six officers were injured.
A photographer for Baltimore City Paper, who filmed the protest, reported having been beaten by two police officers in riot gear. Thereafter, City Paper published a video on its website documenting the violence. A Reuters photographer with visible press credentials, who filmed the beating from a public sidewalk, was detained and received a citation for “failure to obey orders”.
On April 27, 2015, some lootings happened, some police vehicles put on fire and stones thrown into officers.
From 1990 to 1998, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee, and in 1993, she served as the Annapolis lobbyist for the Young Democrats of Maryland.
In 1997, Rawlings-Blake began serving as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, which offers free civil legal services to Maryland’s low-income residents. She went on to serve as a staff attorney with theMaryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District (District 1, Baltimore City) from 1998 to 2006.
Baltimore City Council
In 1995, Rawlings-Blake became the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council. She represented the council’s District 5 from 1995 to 2004 and District 6 from 2004 to 2007 (following a redistricting of the council).
From 1999 to 2007, Rawlings-Blake served as vice president of the Baltimore City Council.
City council president
Rawlings-Blake became President of the Council on January 17, 2007, when then-City Council President Sheila Dixon became mayor. The Charter of Baltimore City states that, “If it becomes necessary for the president of the City Council to fill the unexpired term of the mayor…the City Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall elect a new president for the unexpired term.”
On June 14, 2007, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would seek a full four-year term as council president. Her platform included improving education and reducing crime in the city. Rawlings-Blake won the Democratic primary with 49 percent of the vote. In the general election, Rawlings-Blake defeated her only opponent with 82 percent of the vote.
Mayor of Baltimore
On January 6, 2010, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon announced, following her conviction for embezzlement, that she would resign from office, effective February 4, 2010. Per the Charter of Baltimore City, in the case of a mayoral vacancy, the sitting city council president shall automatically succeed the vacating mayor and serve the remainder of the term. Consequently, following Dixon’s resignation on February 4, 2010, Rawlings-Blake became mayor of Baltimore City.
Rawlings-Blake went on to seek a full term as mayor, and in November 2011, she was elected to her first full term as mayor, receiving 87 percent of the vote in the general election.
Rawlings-Blake has stated that her goal as mayor is to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families.
Political positions and policies
On February 6, 2013, Baltimore City released a 10-year fiscal forecast, which the City had commissioned from independent financial consulting firm Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) at Rawlings-Blake’s direction. The report outlined a number of fiscal obstacles facing the City in subsequent years.
To address the challenges outlined in the fiscal forecast, Rawlings-Blake presented Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore, the City’s first long-range financial plan. Among other major reforms, the plan outlined proposed changes to Baltimore City’s employee pensions and benefits system, City tax structure, and overall municipal operations. By implementing elements of this plan, Baltimore City has been able to extinguish $300 million from a cumulative budgetary shortfall forecasted at approximately $750 million.
At the time Rawlings-Blake took office, Baltimore City had approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, resulting from a half-century of population decline. In November 2010, in an effort to reduce urban blight caused by vacant structures, Rawlings-Blake introduced the Vacants to Value (V2V) initiative. The initiative’s strategies include streamlining code enforcement and disposition of City-owned vacant properties, offering incentives targeted at home buyers who purchase previously vacant homes, supporting large-scale redevelopment in deeply distressed areas, and targeting demolition to improve long-term property values.
In 2013, Baltimore Housing won the Urban Land Institute’s Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards for the V2V initiative. V2V has also been recognized by the Obama Administration, the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, ABCD Network, and the Financial Times.
In 2015, Rawlings-Blake became the first mayor to appear in Chicago, saying “I am honored to be the first mayor to appear in Chicago—one of the most historic shows in Broadway history—and I want to reassure the cast and crew that I am already hard at work rehearsing my lines. I always love to show off the ‘razzle dazzle’ of Baltimore’s flourishing cultural scene, from expanding our Arts & Entertainment Districts, to growing Baltimore’s downtown theater corridor and all that jazz. I cannot wait to make my big debut in an amazing show like Chicago.” She appeared in a one night performance on March 4, 2015, as an ensemble performer throughout the night. The mayor later thanked the Nation of Islam for what she said was “for helping quash violence” despite NOI’s leaders calls to “Teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can’t bite.”
Awards and honors
In in 2007 and 2011, Rawlings-Blake was honored by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
She is a recipient of the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence (2010), the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ Distinguished Leadership Award (2012), the Maryland State Senate‘s First Citizen Award (2013), and the Baltimore Black Pride ICONS We Love Award (2013).
In 2014, Vanity Fair included Rawlings-Blake in its list of the Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors.
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The most important quote from Obama’s Iran deal speech
There is one quote, buried in the middle of Obama’s Thursday address on the new Iran nuclear deal, that really captures his approach to what has become one of his key foreign policy priorities. It explains both why Obama wants this deal so badly — and how he’s planning to tackle the inevitable political fallout now that a basic framework for an agreement has been struck.
Here’s the passage:
When you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question: do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented backed by the world’s powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?
The question, for Obama, isn’t whether this deal is perfect (though he clearly thinks it’s pretty good). It’s whether there are any alternatives that might be better. And the president, quite fundamentally, believes there aren’t.
Obama sees a deal with Iran as the least-worst option
As he said in the speech, Obama thinks there are only two possible alternatives to the deal that’s shaping up if the US wants to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Either America could go to war with Iran, or it could withdraw from negotiations and hope sanctions would force Tehran to give up its hopes for a bomb.
The second option hasn’t worked so far. “Is [a deal] worse than doing what we’ve done for almost two decades with Iran moving with its nuclear program and without robust inspections?” he asked. “I think the answer will be clear.”
That leaves only one real alternative: war. Obama (along with most military experts) believes that war would delay Iran’s nuclear program at best. He believes, deeply and in his bones, that international inspections are a more effective way of stopping Iran from getting nukes — and that the consequences of war would be severe. This is, after all, a president who was elected on the basis of his opposition to the Iraq War.
This argument — that all of the alternatives to the deal are worse — also explains how Obama plans to handle the political challenges to the deal. At home, Republicans will vociferously oppose the deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of America’s closest ally in the Middle East, will do the same. Both believe Iran can’t be trusted, and appear to believe that terms of this agreement aren’t enough to ensure Iran won’t get a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu and the Republicans are perhaps the most important of the “inevitable critics” Obama mentioned in his speech. His response to them is clear: what do you have that’s better? What is the credible alternative to what I’m doing, and how — specifically — could it prevent Iran from getting a bomb without taking us to war?
Or is it war you want?
This argument isn’t just an exercise in spin. If Congress chooses to pass new sanctions, and enough Democrats vote with Republicans to override Obama’s veto, it can kill the Iran deal. This line about alternatives is likely what the president and his aides will peddle to legislators, especially congressional Democrats tempted to side with Republicans, in the days to come.
Essentially, we’re about to get a test of whether enough Democrats share the president’s belief that “there is no alternative” to a deal — and whether that argument, together with partisanship and party loyalty, are enough to save the deal from the coming political fight.
Obama announces outlines of a nuclear deal: ‘If Iran cheats, the world will know’
By Juliet Eilperin
President Obama on Thursday announced a potentially historic nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the culmination of intense negotiations between the United States, Iran and several world powers.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama stressed that the deal — which none of the parties involved have yet formally agreed to — represented the best possible path to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Sanctions alone could not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us,” Obama said. “Today, after many months of tough principle diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal.
“And it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” the president added.
[Fact sheet from State Department: Parameters of plan on Iran nuclear program]
As part of the unprecedented framework, the Iranian government has agreed not to stockpile materials it could use to build a nuclear weapon. In exchange, the United States and several world powers have agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions placed on it by the international community.
The president said that sanctions placed on Iran “for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program” will remain in place.
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Lausanne, Switzerland, said that the final agreement “will not rely on promises, it will rely on proof,” saying that diplomatic relations moving forward will depend on Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.
Both the president and Kerry stressed that Iran will be under close scrutiny moving forward.
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” Obama said. “With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So, this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb.”
President Obama has made the negotiations between Iran, six major world powers and the European Union a centerpiece of his foreign policy, investing any final outcome with major potential benefits and risks.
The pact came after an all-night work session that extended well past the talks’ original deadline of March 31. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted Thursday afternoon, “For those keeping track, it’s 6am in Lausanne. That was truly an all-nighter.”
Iran, world powers agree on parameters of Iranian nuclear deal(3:01)
Negotiators from Iran and major world powers reached agreement on a framework for a final agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, participants in the talks said. (Yahoo News)
Obama had been slated to leave early Thursday afternoon to deliver an economic speech in Louisville, but remained in the White House as the deal in Lausanne, Switzerland coalesced.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted just before 1 p.m. ET, “Solutions on key parameters of Iran #nuclear case reached. Drafting to start immediately, to finish by June 30th.”
Before coming out to speak Obama spoke separately with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to a statement released by the White House, “The leaders affirmed that while nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
The president also called Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to discuss the agreement, and said during his speech he plans to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Thursday.
As Obama’s motorcade made its way to Joint Base Andrews shortly after the speech large, cheering throngs stood along the route through the Mall and along the Tidal Basin. At 3:21 p.m. the motorcade arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, roughly three hours behind schedule, and the president jogged up the stairs to Air Force One as he prepared to take off on the flight to Kentucky.
Hitting the sweet spot: How many Iranian centrifuges?
With the deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and Germany) right around the corner, the negotiating parties are starting to reveal more of their cards in hopes of striking a deal. Along with the creative solutions that the West has put on the table, there are now reports about it showing more flexibility on what remains the talks’ key sticking point: enrichment.
News reports indicate that the current numbers of centrifuges that the two sides are discussing fall in the range of about 4,000 to 5,000 of the machines. This is the “sweet spot” for both sides, when it comes to how many centrifuges Iran can have for enriching uranium.
How far both sides have come. The negotiations surrounding Iran’s enrichment capacity would make any Iranian rug merchant haggling in the bazaar proud. Many in the West were pushing for a few hundred centrifuges. This past summer, Iran’sSupreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (link in Persian) stirred things up when he put a specific number on his country’s enrichment goals. Given his status as Iran’s highest political authority, the large number he had announced made many nervous that a deal would no longer be reachable. Khamenei formulated Iran’s goal of enrichment capacity as 190,000 separative work units, or SWUs. (An SWU is a measure of the work expended during enrichment.)
For the country to be able to reach this number, Iran would likely need at least 190,000 and perhaps as many as about 243,000 first-generation centrifuges, known as IR-1 centrifuges. (The efficiency of these first-generation centrifuges varies a good deal, from about 0.78 SWU per unit per year to 0.9 SWU, but in the past couple of years most of them have been producing at the lower end of the scale. All of which means that Iran may need a lot more than first anticipated to reach the goal of 190,000 SWU produced annually.)
The news came at a time when most of those discussing Iran’s practical needs—how much fuel the country requires to keep its domestic nuclear energy program running—said they could be met with roughly 1,500 centrifuges, or fewer than one percent of Khamenei’s figure.
Tehran has made it clear that its goal is to have industrial-scale enrichment. But while fixing a clear and concrete goal, Khamenei’s speech also gave a lot of room for his negotiating team to maneuver. This part of the speech was lost in translation in the United States. Many in the arms control community and Congress focused on that 190,000 SWU figure, with those in favor of a deal becoming worried that this number would tie the hands of negotiators. Those opposing it cited this figure as a reason why the talks would fail.
In fact, what Khamenei had stated was: “Our officials say we need 190,000 SWU. It is possible this need is not for this year, the next couple of years, or the next five years, but this is the country’s undeniable need.”
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, explained Khamenei’s statement, noting that 190,000 SWU would meet the Bushehr civilian nuclear power plant’s need for fuel for one year. This wouldn’t mean that Iran could take care of all of its fuel needs domestically, but it would give it a backup plan in case its suppliers fail again. This number, however, seems way above Bushehr’s needs alone.
Oddly, while fixing a redline, Khamenei’s statement also opens the doors wider for the negotiating team—and Iran’s nuclear industry in general—on the matter. It is significant that he doesn’t give a timeline for industrial-scale enrichment.
It is also significant that Iran has been adhering to the interim deal reached in November 2013. Even though it has more advanced and efficient technologies, such as the recently installed cascades of second-generation, IR-2m centrifuges (which produce approximately 5 SWU per machine per year, or more than four or five times that of an IR-1), Iran has chosen not to feed their new machines with natural uranium hexafluoride gas—a vital step to enrichment.
And in practical terms, Iran is nowhere close to being able to produce 190,000 SWU any time soon. Of the more than 190,000 IR-1 centrifuges needed, the country currently only has approximately 20,000—and only half of those are actually operating. While Iran also has a number of centrifuges even more advanced than the IR-2m under research and development at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, those centrifuges are not currently operating. And Tehran has undertaken to not install any new machines. Consequently, 190,000 SWU is not a number Iran can realistically attain any time soon.
Spinning out the implications. If the negotiating team accepts the 4,000- to 5,000-centrifuge proposal on the table, it can sell the deal back home in Iran using Khamenei’s guidelines, depending on the timeframe fixed in the final agreement. This is especially true if this proposal is part of a larger package that the team can stand behind. The current deal includes an attractive offer from the P5+1 on other sticking points, including the Arak heavy water reactor and the underground enrichment facility in Fordow.
But in Iran, the issue of enrichment is the most visible component of the nuclear talks. Many people may not be aware of the other sticking points such as Arak or Fordow, but virtually everyone in Iran is aware of the enrichment debate. Any limitation on enrichment will likely cause some factions to criticize the negotiating team, but no deal is possible without some kind of limitation. So far, the Rouhani government has let the issue of enrichment become the centerpiece of debate about the negotiations, and the only measure of the team’s success. But knowing that any deal of any kind would diminish Iran’s enrichment capacity, the government must step up and begin to publicize to the Iranian public the benefits of the other components of the agreement, such as the considerable concessions it is getting from the P5+1. This will allow the Iranian government to sell the deal as a whole, and not be judged by the number of centrifuges it is “losing.”
During his 2013 presidential campaign, Hassan Rouhani famously declared that the centrifuges should spin, but that people’s lives should run too. He hadn’t said how many centrifuges should spin but this has become one of the key issues of the first eighteen months of his presidency. Something in the range of 4,000 to 5,000 centrifuges is a good compromise, a “win-win” formula for both sides. They’ll allow the Iranian negotiating team to go back to Tehran and state that they started negotiating at a time when their opponents at the bargaining table were pushing for Iran to be limited to a few hundred centrifuges, and that the Iranian team successfully kept over half of the current operating centrifuges. They can also say that they managed to keep Arak with some design modifications, and Fordow as a research facility. Meanwhile, the White House can tell Congress that it has effectively rolled back approximately half of Iran’s enrichment capacity.
For Iran, anything less than 4,000 centrifuges will be a hard pill to swallow. The Iranian parliament, or Majles, won’t roll out a red carpet for the negotiating team if it comes back with a lower number. Likewise, on the US side, selling more than 5,000 centrifuges to Congress would be extremely difficult. Many congressmen still believe any enrichment to be a major concession to Tehran, let alone about half of the country’s current number of operating centrifuges.
With nearly a month left until the November 24 deadline, the Iranian government should step up its promotional campaign to its people regarding the negotiations, and accept a number falling between 4,000 and 5,000 centrifuges.
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News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions
Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.
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Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency
By Greg Jaffe
Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.
The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.
The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.
The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.
Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.
The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.
“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”
The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.
“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”
Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.
The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.
Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.
In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.
His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.
Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.
The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.
The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.
“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”
A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.
In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.
It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.
“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”
U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday
By LAURENCE NORMAN
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.
But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.
The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.
Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.
The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.
Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.
“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.
U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.
The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.
Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.
President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.
An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.
“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.
The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.
Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.
After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.
The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.
As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.
Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.
U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.
Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.
Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.
At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.
While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.
A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.
“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.
—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.
Corrections & Amplifications
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.
Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:
Is Tuesday the big day or not?
It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.
What’s the objective here?
The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.
Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.
The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
So, what’s the deal with the deadline?
The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.
U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.
Is there a harder deadline?
The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.
What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?
There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.
Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.
Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?
It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.
What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?
Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.
Have they done any of that?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.
Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?
Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.
Have sanctions been eased already?
Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.
That’s a lot of money!
Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.
What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?
The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.
Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?
He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.
Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark., sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.
Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.
Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.
How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?
This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.
The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.
Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.
Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel
White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord
By GERALD F. SEIB
As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.
In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.
This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.
As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.
All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.
The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.
Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.
In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.
Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.
In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.
Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.
And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.
What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.
Story 1: Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John, Chapter 8
Catechism of The Catholic Church
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
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A Colorado Judge Orders Baker To Bake Cake for an Event ~ Illiberal Egalitarianism
‘gay wedding cake’ | Baker To Stop Making Wedding Cakes Altogether After Losing Discrimination Case
DISCRIMINATION – Oregon Bakery, ‘Sweet Cakes Bakery’ Refuses To Make Cake for Lesbian Wedding
Homophobic Bakery Goes Bankrupt
Joey Heatherton – “I’ve Got Your Number”
Joey Heatherton ‘Someone To Watch Over Me”
Joey Heatherton on the Dean Martin Show
Nice People | Bishop Fulton J.Sheen
Youth and Sex – Venerable Fulton Sheen
Marriage & Incompatibility – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
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His Last Words ~ Ven Fulton J Sheen
Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law
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Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law
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In Defense of Indiana
by RICH LOWRY
The anti-RFRA backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance.
Indiana is experiencing its two minutes of hate. It is doubtful that since its admittance into the union in 1816, the heretofore inoffensive Midwestern state has ever been showered with so much elite obloquy.
Indiana’s sin is that its legislature passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, setting out a legal standard for cases involving a clash between a person’s exercise of religion and the state’s laws. To listen to the critics, you’d think the law was drafted by a joint committee of attorneys from the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church. The enlightened are stumbling over themselves in their rush to boycott Indiana. Seattle and San Francisco are banning official travel there, and Connecticut is following suit. In a Washington Post op-ed, Apple CEO Tim Cook pronounced the Indiana law part of a “very dangerous” trend that allows “people to discriminate against their neighbors” (never mind that his company is happy to do business in Communist China). The anti-Indiana backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance, supercharged by the particularly censorious self-righteousness of the Left.
All the Indiana law says is that the state can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling governmental interest at stake and it is pursued by the least restrictive means. The law doesn’t mandate any particular outcome; it simply provides a test for the courts in those rare instances when a person’s exercise of religion clashes with a law.
Nineteen other states have similar protections, and they are all modeled on a federal version of the law that passed Congress with near unanimity in 1993 (Indiana’s law is arguably a little more robust than the federal version, because it also applies to private suits). If these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts were the enablers of discrimination they are portrayed as, much of the country would already have sunk into a dystopian pit of hatred.
Legal historians a century from now may be mystified by how a measure that was uncontroversial for so long suddenly became a mark of shame. They will find their answer in the Left’s drive to crush any dissent from its cultural agenda, especially on gay marriage.
The religious-freedom laws once were associated with minorities that progressives could embrace or tolerate — Native Americans who smoke peyote as part of religious ceremonies, Amish who drive their buggies on the roads, and the like. That was fine. It is the specter of Christian small-business people — say, a baker or a florist — using the laws to protect themselves from punishment for opting out of gay-wedding ceremonies that drives progressives mad.
Why? It’s a large, diverse country, with many people of differing faiths and different points of view. More specifically, the country has an enormous wedding industry not known for its hostility to gays. The burgeoning institution of gay marriage will surely survive the occasional florist who doesn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.
As a practical matter, such a dissenting florist doesn’t make a difference; the affected couple might be offended but can take its business elsewhere. But for the Left, it’s the principle of the thing. For all its talk of diversity, it demands unanimity on this question — individual conscience be damned. So it isn’t bothered when religious wedding vendors are sued or harassed under anti-discrimination laws for their nonparticipation in ceremonies they morally oppose.
It’s not clear that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts will shield these kinds of business people (they haven’t, to this point). It might be that more specific exemptions are necessary. But the mere possibility that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act might protect a baker opposed to gay marriage is enough to create a furious, unhinged reaction.
Yes, there is intolerance afoot in the debate over Indiana, but it’s not on the part of Indianans.
He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told.
“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.
“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.
But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.
ISCA, which has come under fire from regime hardliners critical of Mr Rouhani, issued a statement denying that Mr Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it.
“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, it said.
However, critics said Mr Mottaghi was “prey of the exiled counter-revolutionaries” and had gone to Lausanne with the sole purpose of seeking refugee status in Switzerland.
In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.
“The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to continue fighting against vital threats to the national security of his country.
He added: “We will never close our eyes and we will continue to operate against every threat in every generation, and of course in this generation.”
Netanyahu predicted that many countries in the region would be immediately affected by a bad deal.
“Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement,” he said.
On Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister expressed concern with the Iranian regime’s growing sphere of influence and control.
“After the Beirut-Damascus- Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu suggested in the meeting that the impending nuclear deal likely “paves Iran’s way to the [nuclear] bomb.”
The foreign ministers of Iran and the entire P5+1 world powers met in Switzerland on Monday in hopes to secure a basic framework for a nuclear deal by Tuesday’s March 31 deadline. This marked the first time that all of the negotiating foreign minister’s gathered together at the same event.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media, “I think it is possible to reach a deal by [Tuesday] night. The gaps are narrowing. I am always optimistic.”
“Our deadline is tomorrow night so obviously we are working very hard,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.
The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
Ted Cruz announces presidential bid at Liberty University
Ted Cruz Liberty University FULL SPEECH Ted Cruz Announces He’s Running For President 2016
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday formally announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, promising a campaign that would be about “re-igniting the promise of America.” Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Announce Presidential Bid for 2016. Ted Cruz Opens 2016 As the Election’s Self-Declared Conservative Champion
The Texas senator and presidential candidate kicked off his “The power of the American people as we stand up and fight for liberty knows no bounds,” Mr. Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in which he talked at length about his family and his faith as he laid out a case for his candidacy.
imagine you compiled a list of all the things Cruz asked his young audience to “imagine” being fulfilled through his presidency: “…millions of courageous conservatives rising up to say in unison, ‘we demand our liberty.’” “…millions of people in faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.” “…millions of young people standing together saying ‘We will stand for liberty.’” “…booming economic growth” “…record number of small businesses” “…young people coming out of college with four, five, six job offers” (lulz) “…innovation thriving on the internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay.” “…America finally becoming energy self-sufficient.” “…a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” “…health care reform that keeps government out of the way of your and your doctor.” “…a simple flat tax.” “…abolishing the IRS.” “…a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.” “…a legal immigration that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the America dream.” “…a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.” “…a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.” “…a federal government that fights to keep the right to bear arms.” “…a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.” “…repealing every word of Common Core.” “…embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation.” “…a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” “…a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.” “…a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” “…it’s 1775.” “…it’s 1777.” “…it’s 1943.” “…it’s 1979.”
Drawing on a stump speech he has developed in recent months, Mr. Cruz struck a tone of defiance and appealed to conservatives to “imagine a president” who would repeal the Affordable Care Act, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, secure the border and forbid same-sex marriage.
His criticism of President Obama also extended to foreign policy, where he denounced the administration’s positions on Israel, Iran’s nuclear program and Islamic extremism.
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Transcript: Read Full Text of Sen. Ted Cruz’s Campaign Launch
Thank you so much, President Falwell. God bless Liberty University. I am thrilled to join you today at the largest Christian university in the world.
Today I want to talk with you about the promise of America.
Imagine your parents when they were children. Imagine a little girl growing up in Wilmington, Delaware during World War II, the daughter of Irish and Italian Catholic family, working class. Her uncle ran numbers in Wilmington. She grew up with dozens of cousins because her mom was the second youngest of 17 kids. She had a difficult father, a man who drank far too much, and frankly didn’t think that women should be educated.
And yet this young girl, pretty and shy, was driven, was bright, was inquisitive, and she became the first person in her family ever to go to college. In 1956, my mom, Eleanor, graduated from Rice University with a degree in math and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s and 1960s.
Imagine a teenage boy, not much younger than many of you here today, growing up in Cuba. Jet black hair, skinny as a rail.
Involved in student council, and yet Cuba was not at a peaceful time. The dictator, Batista, was corrupt, he was oppressive. And this teenage boy joins a revolution. He joins a revolution against Batista, he begins fighting with other teenagers to free Cuba from the dictator. This boy at age 17 finds himself thrown in prison, finds himself tortured, beaten. And then at age 18, he flees Cuba, he comes to America.
Imagine for a second the hope that was in his heart as he rode that ferry boat across to Key West, and got on a Greyhound bus to head to Austin, Texas to begin working, washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour, coming to the one land on earth that has welcomed so many millions.
When my dad came to America in 1957, he could not have imagined what lay in store for him. Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life.
When I was three, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son. And yet when he was in Houston, a friend, a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a Bible study, invited him to Clay Road Baptist Church, and there my father gave his life to Jesus Christ.
And God transformed his heart. And he drove to the airport, he bought a plane ticket, and he flew back to be with my mother and me.
There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family there’s not a second of doubt, because were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would have been saved and I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household.
Imagine another little girl living in Africa, in Kenya and Nigeria. That’s a diverse crowd. Playing with kids, they spoke Swahili, she spoke English. Coming back to California.
Where her parents who had been missionaries in Africa raised her on the Central Coast. She starts a small business when she’s in grade school baking bread. She calls it Heidi’s Bakery. She and her brother compete baking bread. They bake thousands of loaves of bread and go to the local apple orchard where they sell the bread to people coming to pick apples. She goes on to a career in business, excelling and rising to the highest pinnacles, and then Heidi becomes my wife and my very best friend in the world.
Heidi becomes an incredible mom to our two precious little girls, Caroline and Catherine, the joys and loves of our life.
Imagine another teenage boy being raised in Houston, hearing stories from his dad about prison and torture in Cuba, hearing stories about how fragile liberty is, beginning to study the United States Constitution, learning about the incredible protections we have in this country that protect the God-given liberty of every American. Experiencing challenges at home.
In the 1980s, oil prices crater and his parents business go bankrupt. Heading off to school over a thousand miles away from home, in a place where he knew nobody, where he was alone and scared, and his parents going through bankruptcy meant there was no financial support at home, so at the age of 17, he went to get two jobs to help pay his way through school.
He took over $100,000 in school loans, loans I suspect a lot of y’all can relate to, loans that I’ll point out I just paid off a few years ago.
These are all of our stories. These are who we are as Americans.
And yet, for so many Americans, the promise of America seems more and more distant. What is the promise of America? The idea that — the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.
And that the purpose of the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the mischief of government.
The incredible opportunity of the American dream, what has enabled millions of people from all over the world to come to America with nothing and to achieve anything. And then the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill.
That’s the promise of America. That is what makes this nation an indispensable nation, a unique nation in the history of the world.
And yet, so many fear that that promise is today unattainable. So many fear it is slipping away from our hands.
I want to talk to you this morning about reigniting the promise of America: 240 years ago on this very day, a 38-year-old lawyer named Patrick Henry stood up just a hundred miles from here in Richmond, Virginia, and said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
I want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives, all across America, rising up together to say in unison “we demand our liberty.”
Today, roughly half of born again Christians aren’t voting. They’re staying home. Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.
Today millions of young people are scared, worried about the future, worried about what the future will hold. Imagine millions of young people coming together and standing together, saying “we will stand for liberty.”
Think just how different the world would be. Imagine instead of economic stagnation, booming economic growth.
Instead of small businesses going out of business in record numbers, imagine small businesses growing and prospering. Imagine young people coming out of school with four, five, six job offers.
Imagine innovation thriving on the Internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay and more and more opportunity is created.
Imagine America finally becoming energy self-sufficient as millions and millions of high-paying jobs are created.
Five years ago today, the president signed Obamacare into law. Within hours, Liberty University went to court filing a lawsuit to stop that failed law. Instead of the joblessness, instead of the millions forced into part-time work, instead of the millions who’ve lost their health insurance, lost their doctors, have faced skyrocketing health insurance premiums, imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.
Imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the way between you and your doctor and that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable.
Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends met, imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard.
Imagine abolishing the IRS.
Instead of the lawlessness and the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.
And imagine a legal immigration system that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the American dream.
Instead of a federal government that wages an assault on our religious liberty, that goes after Hobby Lobby, that goes after the Little Sisters of the Poor, that goes after Liberty University, imagine a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.
Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.
Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights, that seeks to ban our ammunition, imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans.
Instead of a government that seizes your emails and your cell phones, imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.
Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core.
Imagine embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation. That every single child, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or ZIP code, every child in America has a right to a quality education. And that’s true from all of the above, whether it is at public schools or charter schools or private schools or Christian schools or parochial schools or home schools — every child.
Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.
Instead of a president who seeks to go to the United Nations to end-run Congress and the American people, imagine a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Imagine a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will call it by its name. We will defend the United States of America.
Now all of these seem difficult. Indeed to some, they may seem unimaginable. And yet if you look in the history of our country … Imagine it’s 1775 and you and I were sitting there in Richmond listening to Patrick Henry say “Give me liberty or give me death.” Imagine it’s 1776 and we were watching the 54 signers of the Declaration of the Independence stand together and pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to igniting the promise of America.
Imagine it was 1777 and we were watching General Washington as he lost battle after battle after battle in the freezing cold as his soldiers with no shoes were dying fighting for freedom against the most powerful army in the world. That too seemed unimaginable.
Imagine it’s 1933 and we were listening to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tell America at a time of crushing Depression at a time of a gathering storm abroad that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Imagine it’s 1979 and you and I were listening to Ronald Reagan and he was telling us that we would cut the top marginal tax rate from 70 percent all the way to (unclear) percent. That we would go from crushing stagnation to booming economic growth to millions being lifted out of poverty and into prosperity and abundance. That the very day he was sworn in, our hostages who were languishing in Iran would be released and that within a decade we would win the Cold War and tear the Berlin Wall to the ground. That would have seemed unimaginable, and yet with the grace of God, that’s exactly what happened.
From the dawn of this country, at every stage America has enjoyed God’s providential blessing. Over and over again, when we faced impossible odds, the American people rose to the challenge. You know, compared to that, repealing Obamacare and abolishing the IRS ain’t all that tough! The power of the American people when we rise up and stand for liberty knows no bounds.
If you’re ready to join a grassroots army across this nation, coming together and standing for liberty, I’m going to ask you to break a rule here today and to take our your cell phones and to text the word CONSTITUTION to the number 33733. You can also text IMAGINE, we’re versatile. Once again, text CONSTITUTION to 33733.
God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation and I believe God isn’t done with America yet. I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America. And that is why today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States.
It is a time for truth. It is a time for liberty. It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States. I am honored to stand with each and every one of you courageous conservatives as we come together to reclaim the promise of America, to reclaim the mandate, the hope and opportunity for our children and our children’s children; we stand together for liberty.
This is our fight. The answer will not come from Washington. It will come only from the men and women across this country, from men and women, from people of faith, from lovers of liberty, to protect the Constitution, it will only come as it has come at every other time of challenge in this country, when the American people stand together and say we will get back to the principles that have made this country great. We will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.
CRUZ TARGETS CONSERVATIVES AS HE STARTS WHITE HOUSE RUN
BY PHILIP ELLIOTT
Launching his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas asked Christian conservative voters to imagine a United States without the IRS, Obamacare or abortion rights – and to imagine they can make that happen by supporting him.
His aspirational appeal on Monday, aimed at America’s most conservative voters, could quickly run into challenges in winning over moderate voters – and eventually deep difficulties in governing should Cruz win the White House.
But it’s a message that Cruz, the first major 2016 contender to declare himself a candidate, is expected to forcefully emphasize in the coming year before voters start to pick nominees.
“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe that God isn’t done with Americans,” Cruz declared at Liberty University, a Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
“I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America. And that is that is why, today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States of America.”
Cruz won’t be the sole GOP contender for long. Two Senate colleagues, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio, are eyeing campaign launches soon. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, are expected to follow, among others.
The 44-year-old Cruz is betting his White House hopes on profoundly conservative voters and their opposition to policies they find abhorrent.
Within such circles, there is deep distrust of the IRS, which was revealed last year to have been scrutinizing tea party groups’ nonprofit status.
Scuttling President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, called by some “Obamacare,” is a rallying cry, as well. And abortion is a major issue for Christian conservatives who have tremendous sway in the lead-off caucus and primary election states of Iowa and South Carolina.
During his 30-minute kickoff speech, delivered like a sermon without notes or cue cards, Cruz made clear he sees electoral potential in his unbending advocacy.
“Today, roughly half of born-again Christians aren’t voting – they’re staying home,” Cruz said. “Imagine, instead, millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.”
Following his election to the Senate in 2012, the former Texas solicitor general quickly established himself as an uncompromising figure willing to take on Democrats and sometimes Republicans, too. Divisive within his own GOP, he won praise from tea party activists for leading the effort to shut the federal government during an unsuccessful bid to block money for the health law.
He spoke on the fifth anniversary of that law – legislation that prompted Cruz to stand for more than 21 hours in the Senate to denounce it in a speech that delighted his supporters and other Obamacare foes.
Cheers rose Monday in the hall when Cruz reminded the crowd that Liberty University filed a suit against the law right after its enactment.
But the partial government shutdown was not widely popular, and Democrats signaled that it would be central to their criticism of the first-term senator.
“His reckless approach to governing would make life worse, not better, for Americans and he isn’t the type of fighter that America’s middle-class families need,” Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
The son of an American mother and Cuban-born father, Cruz would be the first Hispanic president.
To the enthusiastic crowd, he urged students to “imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.”
He also nodded to the tea party, which emphasizes limited federal spending and a libertarian-leaning view of government.
“Imagine a simple flat tax,” he said. “Imagine abolishing the IRS.”
He left unexplained how the government would collect taxes without the Internal Revenue Service. The flat tax has never gone anywhere in Congress because the only way it can work is either by dramatically cutting spending or significantly increasing taxes for most low- and middle-income families. Now, wealthy families in general pay federal income taxes at higher rates than the rest of the population.
On abortion, Cruz said: “Imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life.”
By announcing a candidacy that has long been obvious, Cruz triggers accounting and reporting requirements for the money he is raising and spending. To help build his campaign account, he is heading this week to donor-heavy New York.
For his announcement, Cruz bypassed Texas, which he represents in the Senate, as well as early nominating states such as New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination in 2012, and Iowa.
By getting in early – in a late-night message on Twitter and then his kickoff speech – Cruz was hoping to claim ownership of the influential corner of the Republican Party for whom cultural issues are supreme. It was a move at crowding out figures such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who has made his Catholic faith a cornerstone of his political identity.
Cruz’s parents returned to Houston in 1974, after working in the Alberta oil fields, when a slump hit the price of oil and they sold their first seismic data company.They divorced while Cruz was in law school.
Cruz’s senior thesis on the separation of powers, titled “Clipping the Wings of Angels,” draws its inspiration from a passage attributed to PresidentJames Madison: “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Cruz argued that the drafters of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of their constituents, and the last two items in the Bill of Rights offered an explicit stop against an all-powerful state. Cruz wrote: “They simply do so from different directions. The Tenth stops new powers, and the Ninth fortifies all other rights, or non-powers.”
Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.
Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court. Cruz’s record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress. Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights.”
Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5-4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.
Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row. With the support of the George W. Bush Administration, the petitioners argued that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the convicted nationals of their opportunity to receive legal aid from the Mexican consulate. They based their case on a decision of the International Court of Justice in the Avena case which ruled that failing to allow access to the Mexican consulate, the US had breached its obligations under the Convention. Texas won the case in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that ICJ decisions were not binding in domestic law and that the President had no power to enforce them.
After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, he worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in a U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013. At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.
In 2009-2010, while working for Morgan Lewis, Cruz formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.
Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst. In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler’s 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates garnered the remaining 3% of the vote. According to a poll by Cruz’s pollster Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, taken six weeks after the 2012 general election, Cruz received 40% of the Hispanic vote, vs. 60% for Sandler, outperforming Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the Hispanic vote by 6 points.
After Time magazine reported on a potential violation of ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, Cruz called his failure to disclose these connections an inadvertent omission.
Cruz is a gun-rights supporter. On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening that they would filibuster any legislation that would entail gun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows. On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.
Cruz has raised concerns that the National Security Agency has not done effective surveillance of potential terrorists while intruding needlessly into the lives of ordinary Americans.
Cruz opposes the Marketplace Fairness Act, saying that it would hurt competition by creating additional costs for internet-based businesses.
He was an original co-sponsor of the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, Senate Bill 1 of the 114th Congress. And on January 29, 2015, he voted for its passage. It passed the Senate 62-36, the goal of the bill was to approve the construction of the transnational pipeline. Cruz wants Congress to approve the exportation of U.S. natural gas to World Trade Organization countries.
Since being elected, Cruz has spent a great deal of time speaking about what he characterizes as the misguided economic policies of the Obama Administration. Chiding the GOP over its 2012 electoral losses, he stated that “Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent”  and has also noted that the words “growth and opportunity” ought to be tattooed on every Republican’s hand.
In February 2014, Cruz opposed an unconditional increase in the debt limit. He said that Republican politicians feared the truth and “they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home they didn’t do it.”
On foreign policy, Cruz has said that he is “somewhere in between” Rand Paul‘s isolationism and John McCain‘s active interventionism.
In 2004, he criticized Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry for being “against defending American values, against standing up to our enemies, and, in effect, for appeasing totalitarian despots.”  Cruz helped defeat efforts to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing that the treaty infringed on US sovereignty.
In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no “dog in the fight” during the Syrian civil war and stated that America’s armed forces should not serve as “al-Qaeda‘s air force”. In 2014, Cruz criticized the Obama administration: “The president’s foreign policy team utterly missed the threat of ISIS, indeed, was working to arm Syrian rebels that were fighting side by side with ISIS.”, calling ISIS “the face of evil”. Cruz has called for bombing ISIS, but is doubtful that the United States “can tell the good guys from the bad guys” in a plan to arm “moderate” rebels, and the plan to defeat ISIS should not be “laden with impractical contingencies, such as resolving the Syrian civil war.”
In 2014, Cruz spoke at an event held by the watchdog group In Defense of Christians (IDC). Cruz was booed by the group after making statements considered pro-Israel that were viewed by some pundits as intentionally provocative. When the audience refused to stop booing, Cruz eventually left the stage. The resulting controversy expanded beyond Cruz and some commentators believe has resulted in the conservative movement becoming divided between those who sided with Cruz and Israel, and those who sided with Middle Eastern Christians and argued that Cruz’s comments were out-of-bounds. Republican representative Charlie Dent labeled Cruz’s actions “outrageous and incendiary”. Others who criticized Cruz included Mollie Hemingway and Ross Douthat, as well as Scott McConnell, who claimed the controversy was about more than just Cruz, suggesting it is already causing a schism within the conservative movement over issues relating to Israel and Middle Eastern Christians.Matthew Yglesias described the controversy as a “conservative war”. Cruz apologized for questioning the motives of his critics and said that all should be united in speaking out against persecution of religious minorities.
In 2014 Cruz gave majority leader Harry Reid the procedural opening he needed to allow a Senate vote to confirm Vivek Murthy, who had raised concerns about the health effects of gun ownership, to be United States Surgeon General.
On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown. Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was “no longer able to stand”. Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes. His speech was the fourth-longest in United States Senate history. Following Cruz’s speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a “procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown”. Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care by voting against the cloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.
Cruz is believed to be a major force behind the U.S. government shutdown in 2013. Cruz delivered a message on October 11, 2013 to fellow Republicans against accepting Obamacare and, describing it as a “train wreck”, claimed the American people remain “energized” around the goal of gutting the law. Cruz stated Obamacare is causing “enormous harm” to the economy. Republican strategist Mike Murphy stated: “Cruz is trying to start a wave of Salem witch trials in the G.O.P. on the shutdown and Obamacare, and that fear is impacting some people’s calculations on 2016.” Cruz said that he “didn’t threaten to shut down the government” and blamed the shutdown on President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.
The Houston Chronicle which had endorsed Cruz in the general election, regretted that he had not lived up to the standard set by the previous U.S. Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison. After a deal was made to end the shutdown and to extend the debt-ceiling deadline, Senate Republican leaderMitch McConnell called Cruz’s actions “not a smart play” and a “tactical error”, and Cruz stated: “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare. The test that matters. . . is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?”
Cruz has sponsored 25 bills of his own, including:
S.177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, introduced January 29, 2013
S.505, a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States, introduced March 7, 2013
S.729 and S. 730, bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking, introduced March 15, 2013
S.1336, a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections, introduced July 17, 2013
Under the headline “A bipartisan message to Iran”, Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing his bill S 2195 into law. The letter published in the magazinePolitico on April 18, 2014 starts with “Thanks to President Obama for joining a unanimous Congress and signing S 2195 into law”. Cruz also thanked senators from both political parties for “swiftly passing this legislation and sending it to the White House.”
Senator Cruz speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Commentators have expressed their opinion that Cruz will run for President in 2016. On March 14, 2013, Cruz gave the keynote speech at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC. He came in tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast. In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit Presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote. Cruz came in first place in the two most recent Presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.
Cruz did speaking events in the summer of 2013 across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, early primary states, leading to speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a run for President in 2016. Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobindescribes Cruz as the first potential Presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.
On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens United. The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates. In his speech, Cruz mentioned that Latinos, young people and single mothers, are the people most affected by the recession, and that the Republican Party should make outreach efforts to these constituents. He also said that the words “growth and opportunity” should be tattooed on the hands of every Republican politician.
On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced on his Twitter page “I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!”. He is the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.
Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government in The Hill, on December 27, 2013, named Cruz “2013 Person of the Year.” Manning stated that “of course, Cruz made his biggest mark when he and fellow freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) led a last-ditch national grassroots effort to defund ObamaCare before the law went into effect fully. Imagine how many Senate Democrats wish right now that they had heeded Cruz’s entreaties and agreed to delaying or defunding it for one year. Now, they are stuck with the law and all its consequences.”
When he was a child, Cruz’s mother told him that she would have to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him, so his family assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship. In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship, he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada, on May 14, 2014.
Story 1: Fed Desperate To Rise Above the Near Zero Fed Funds Rate Target Range — Need Three Months Of 300,000 Plus Per Month Job Creation, Wage Growth and 3% First Quarter 2015 Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Numbers To Jump to .5 – 1.0% Range Fed Funds Rate Target — June 2015 Launch Date Expected — Fly Me To The Moon — Summertime — Launch — Abort On Recession — Videos
Amazing seven year old sings Fly Me To The Moon (Angelina Jordan) on Senkveld “The Late Show”
Forrest Gump JFK “I Gotta Pee” Scene
Fed Decision: The Three Most Important Things Janet Yellen Said
Press Conference with Chair of the FOMC, Janet L. Yellen
Monetary Policy Based on the Taylor Rule
Many economists believe that rules-based monetary policy provides better economic outcomes than a purely discretionary framework delivers. But there is disagreement about the advantages of rules-based policy and even disagreement about which rule works. One possible policy rule would be for the central bank to follow a Taylor Rule, named after our featured speaker, John B. Taylor. What would some of the advantages of a Taylor Rule be versus, for instance, a money growth rule, or a rule which only specifies the inflation target? How could a policy rule be implemented? Should policy rule legislation be considered? Join us as Professor Taylor addresses these important policy questions.
Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman pre1971
On Milton Friedman | by Murray N. Rothbard
Who Was the Better Monetary Economist? Rothbard and Friedman Compared | Joseph T. Salerno
Joseph Salerno “Unmasking the Federal Reserve”
Rothbard on Alan Greenspan
Milton Friedman – Money and Inflation
Milton Friedman – Abolish The Fed
Milton Friedman On John Maynard Keynes
Hayek on Keynes’s Ignorance of Economics
Friedrich Hayek explains to Leo Rosten that while brilliant Keynes had a parochial understanding of economics.
On John Maynard Keynes | by Murray N. Rothbard
Hayek on Milton Friedman and Monetary Policy
Friedrich Hayek: Why Intellectuals Drift Towards Socialism
Capitalism, Socialism, and the Jews
The Normal State of Man: Misery & Tyranny
Peter Schiff Interviews Keynesian Economist Laurence Kotlikoff 01-18-12
Larry Kotlikoff on the Clash of Generations
Extended interview with Boston University Economics Professor Larry Kotlikoff on his publications about a six-decade long Ponzi scheme in the US which he says will lead to a clash of generations.
Kotlikoff also touches on what his projections mean for the New Zealand economy and why Prime Minister John Key should take more attention of New Zealand’s ‘fiscal gap’ – the gap between all future government spending commitments and its future revenue track.
Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Society
Angelina Jordan – summertime
Angelina Jordan synger Sinatra i semifinalen i Norske Talenter 2014
Release Date: March 18, 2015
For immediate release
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat. Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate. A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish. Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power. Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened. Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of energy price declines and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.
The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.
When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Dennis P. Lockhart; Jerome H. Powell; Daniel K. Tarullo; and John C. Williams.
Note: Projections of change in real gross domestic product (GDP) and projections for both measures of inflation are percent changes from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated. PCE inflation and core PCE inflation are the percentage rates of change in, respectively, the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and the price index for PCE excluding food and energy. Projections for the unemployment rate are for the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year indicated. Each participant’s projections are based on his or her assessment of appropriate monetary policy. Longer-run projections represent each participant’s assessment of the rate to which each variable would be expected to converge under appropriate monetary policy and in the absence of further shocks to the economy. The December projections were made in conjunction with the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on December 16-17, 2014.
1. The central tendency excludes the three highest and three lowest projections for each variable in each year. Return to table
2. The range for a variable in a given year includes all participants’ projections, from lowest to highest, for that variable in that year. Return to table
3. Longer-run projections for core PCE inflation are not collected. Return to table
Figure 1. Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections, 2015-17 and over the longer run
Central tendencies and ranges of economic projections for years 2015 through 2017 and over the longer run. Actual values for years 2010 through 2014.
Change in real GDP Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
Unemployment rate Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
PCE inflation Percent
Upper End of Range
Upper End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Central Tendency
Lower End of Range
Note: Definitions of variables are in the general note to the projections table. The data for the actual values of the variables are annual.
Figure 2. Overview of FOMC participants’ assessments of appropriate monetary policy
Appropriate timing of policy firming
Number of participants
Note: In the upper panel, the height of each bar denotes the number of FOMC participants who judge that, under appropriate monetary policy, the first increase in the target range for the federal funds rate from its current range of 0 to 1/4 percent will occur in the specified calendar year. In December 2014, the numbers of FOMC participants who judged that the first increase in the target federal funds rate would occur in 2015, and 2016 were, respectively, 15, and 2.
Appropriate pace of policy firming: Midpoint of target range or target level for the federal funds rate Number of participants with projected midpoint of target range or target level
Midpoint of target range
or target level (Percent)
Note: In the lower panel, each shaded circle indicates the value (rounded to the nearest 1/8 percentage point) of an individual participant’s judgment of the midpoint of the appropriate target range for the federal funds rate or the appropriate target level for the federal funds rate at the end of the specified calendar year or over the longer run.
Janet Yellen Isn’t Going to Raise Interest Rates Until She’s Good and Ready
The key words in Janet L. Yellen’s news conference Wednesday were rather pithy, at least by central bank standards. “Just because we removed the word ‘patient’ from the statement doesn’t mean we are going to be impatient,” Ms. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, said.
With this framing, Ms. Yellen was putting her firm stamp on the policy of an institution she has led for just over a year — and making clear that she will not be boxed in. Her words and accompanying announcements conveyed the message that the Yellen Fed has no intention of taking the support struts of low interest rates away until she is absolutely confident that economic growth will hold up without them.
Ms. Yellen’s comments about patience versus impatience were part of that dance. But the dual message was even more powerful when combined with other elements of the central bank’s newly released information, which sent the signal that members of the committee intend to move cautiously on rate increases.
By eliminating the reference to “patience,” Paul Edelstein, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a research note, “The Fed did what it was expected to do.”
“But beyond that,” he added, “the committee appeared much more dovish and in not much of a hurry to actually pull the trigger.”
Fed officials’ forecasts of how high rates will be at year’s end for 2015, 2016 and 2017 all fell compared to where they were in December. They marked down their forecast for economic growth and inflation for all three years, implying that the nation’s economic challenge is tougher and inflation risks more distant than they had seemed a few months ago.
Particularly interesting was that Fed officials lowered their estimate of the longer-run unemployment rate, to 5 to 5.2 percent, from 5.2 to 5.5 percent. With joblessness hitting 5.5 percent in February, that implied that policy makers are convinced the job market has more room to tighten before it becomes too tight. Fed leaders now forecast unemployment rates in 2016 and 2017 that are a bit below what many view as the long-term sustainable level, which one would expect to translate into rising wages.
In other words, they want to run the economy a little hot for the next couple of years to help spur the kinds of wage gains that might return inflation to the 2 percent level they aim for, but which they have persistently undershot in recent years.
Apart from the details of the dovish monetary policy signals Ms. Yellen and her colleagues sent, it is clear she wanted to jolt markets out of any feeling that policy is on a preordained path.
At times over the last couple of years, the Fed had seemed to set a policy course and then go on a forced march until it got there, regardless of whether the jobs numbers were good or bad, or whether inflation was rising or falling. That is certainly how it felt when the Fed decided in December 2013 to wind down its quantitative easing policies by $10 billion per meeting, which it did through the first nine months of 2014 with few signs of re-evaluation as conditions evolved.
In her first news conference as chairwoman a year ago, Ms. Yellen had suggested that rate increases might be on a similar preordained path by saying that she could imagine rate increases “around six months” after the conclusion of quantitative easing. (That comment increasingly looks to have been a rookie mistake, and she later backed away from it.)
There are likely to be plenty of twists and turns in the coming months. After this week’s meeting, Ms. Yellen reinforced the message she has been trying to convey that the committee really will adapt its policy to incoming information rather than simply carry on with the path it set a year ago.
If the strengthening dollar and falling oil prices start to translate into still-lower expectations for future inflation, the Fed will hold off from rate rises — and the same if wage gains and other job market indicators show a lack of progress.
Conversely, if the job market recovery keeps going gangbusters and it becomes clear that inflation is going to rise back toward 2 percent, Ms. Yellen does not want to be constrained by language about “patience.”
“This change does not necessarily mean that an increase will occur in June,” Ms. Yellen said, “though we cannot rule that out.”
She has now bought herself some latitude to decide when and how the Fed ushers in an era of tighter money. Now the question is just how patient or impatient American economic conditions will allow her to be.
In economics, a Taylor rule is a monetary-policy rule that stipulates how much the central bank should change the nominal interest rate in response to changes in inflation, output, or other economic conditions. In particular, the rule stipulates that for each one-percent increase in inflation, the central bank should raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point. This aspect of the rule is often called the Taylor principle.
The rule of was first proposed by John B. Taylor, and simultaneously by Dale W. Henderson and Warwick McKibbin in 1993. It is intended to foster price stability and full employment by systematically reducing uncertainty and increasing the credibility of future actions by the central bank. It may also avoid the inefficiencies of time inconsistency from the exercise ofdiscretionary policy. The Taylor rule synthesized, and provided a compromise between, competing schools of economics thought in a language devoid of rhetorical passion. Although many issues remain unresolved and views still differ about how the Taylor rule can best be applied in practice, research shows that the rule has advanced the practice of central banking.
As an equation
According to Taylor’s original version of the rule, the nominal interest rate should respond to divergences of actual inflation rates from target inflation rates and of actual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from potential GDP:
In this equation, both and should be positive (as a rough rule of thumb, Taylor’s 1993 paper proposed setting ). That is, the rule “recommends” a relatively high interest rate (a “tight” monetary policy) when inflation is above its target or when output is above its full-employment level, in order to reduce inflationary pressure. It recommends a relatively low interest rate (“easy” monetary policy) in the opposite situation, to stimulate output. Sometimes monetary policy goals may conflict, as in the case of stagflation, when inflation is above its target while output is below full employment. In such a situation, a Taylor rule specifies the relative weights given to reducing inflation versus increasing output.
The Taylor principle
By specifying , the Taylor rule says that an increase in inflation by one percentage point should prompt the central bank to raise the nominal interest rate by more than one percentage point (specifically, by , the sum of the two coefficients on in the equation above). Since the real interest rate is (approximately) the nominal interest rate minus inflation, stipulating implies that when inflation rises, the real interest rate should be increased. The idea that the real interest rate should be raised to cool the economy when inflation increases (requiring the nominal interest rate to increase more than inflation does) has sometimes been called the Taylor principle.
During an EconTalk podcast Taylor explained the rule in simple terms using three variables: inflation rate, GDP growth, and the interest rate. If inflation were to rise by 1%, the proper response would be to raise the interest rate by 1.5% (Taylor explains that it doesn’t always need to be exactly 1.5%, but being larger than 1% is essential). If GDP falls by 1% relative to its growth path, then the proper response is to cut the interest rate by .5%.
Alternative versions of the rule
While the Taylor principle has proved very influential, there is more debate about the other terms that should enter into the rule. According to some simple New Keynesian macroeconomic models, insofar as the central bank keeps inflation stable, the degree of fluctuation in output will be optimized (Blanchard and Gali call this property the ‘divine coincidence‘). In this case, the central bank need not take fluctuations in the output gap into account when setting interest rates (that is, it may optimally set .) On the other hand, other economists have proposed including additional terms in the Taylor rule to take into account money gap or financial conditions: for example, the interest rate might be raised when stock prices, housing prices, or interest rate spreads increase.
Although the Federal Reserve does not explicitly follow the Taylor rule, many analysts have argued that the rule provides a fairly accurate summary of US monetary policy under Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan. Similar observations have been made about central banks in other developed economies, both in countries like Canada and New Zealand that have officially adopted inflation targeting rules, and in others like Germany where the Bundesbank‘s policy did not officially target the inflation rate. This observation has been cited by Clarida, Galí, and Gertler as a reason why inflation had remained under control and the economy had been relatively stable (the so-called ‘Great Moderation‘) in most developed countries from the 1980s through the 2000s. However, according to Taylor, the rule was not followed in part of the 2000s, possibly leading to the housing bubble. Certain research has determined that some households form their expectations about the future path of interest rates, inflation, and unemployment in a way that is consistent with Taylor-type rules.
Athanasios Orphanides (2003) claims that the Taylor rule can misguide policy makers since they face real-time data. He shows that the Taylor rule matches the US funds rate less perfectly when accounting for these informational limitations and that an activist policy following the Taylor rule would have resulted in an inferior macroeconomic performance during the Great Inflation of the seventies.
Jump up^Henderson, D. W.; McKibbin, W. (1993). “A Comparison of Some Basic Monetary Policy Regimes for Open Economies: Implications of Different Degrees of Instrument Adjustment and Wage Persistence”. Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy39: 221–318. doi:10.1016/0167-2231(93)90011-K.