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Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George — Interface

Posted on February 25, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Computers, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Fiction, Freedom, Friends, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, People, Photos, Politics, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Systems, Talk Radio, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

stephensonInterface-Neal-Stephenson-Paperback15-lge neal-stephenson

Neal Stephenson on Optimism

Neal Stephenson Discusses Why His Novels Haven’t Been Made Into Movies

Neal Stephenson – “We Are All Geeks Now.”

Neal Stephenson on Anathem: The genesis of the novel and its main ideas

Neal Stephenson Creates a New Language for ANATHEM

Authors@Google: Neal Stephenson

Authors Neal Stephenson visits Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, Ca, to discuss his book “Anathem”. This event took place September 12, 2008, as part of the Authors@google series. For more info, please visit http://www.nealstephenson.com/

Anathem, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, is a magnificent creation: a work of great scope, intelligence, and imagination that ushers readers into a recognizable—yet strangely inverted—world.

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside “saecular” world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent’s walls. Three times during history’s darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside—the Extramuros—for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Neal Stephenson is the author of seven previous novels. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Neal Stephenson interview – Reamde

Solve for X: Neal Stephenson on getting big stuff done

Neal Stephenson: 2011 National Book Festival

2012 10 18 LTA Bookclub Neal StephensonHQ

Black Hat USA 2012 – An Interview with Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson, Author – Turing Festival 2013 Keynote

ASTC 2013 Keynote – A Conversation with Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson is Awesome

 

Neal Stephenson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson 2008 crop.jpg
Stephenson at Science Foo Camp 2008

BornNeal Town Stephenson
October 31, 1959 (age 55)
Fort Meade, Maryland, United StatesPen nameStephen Bury
(with J. Frederick George)OccupationNovelist, short story writer, essayistNationalityAmericanPeriod1984–presentGenreSpeculative fiction, historical fiction, essaysLiterary movementcyberpunk, postcyberpunk,maximalismWebsitenealstephenson.com

Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer and game designer known for his works of speculative fiction.

His novels have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and “postcyberpunk“. Other labels, such as “baroque“, often appear.

Stephenson explores subjects such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired.

He has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system, and is also a cofounder ofSubutai Corporation, whose first offering is the interactive fiction project The Mongoliad. He has also written novels with his uncle, George Jewsbury (“J. Frederick George”), under the collective pseudonym Stephen Bury.

Life

Born on October 31, 1959 in Fort Meade, Maryland,[1] Stephenson came from a family of engineers and scientists; his father is a professor of electrical engineering while his paternal grandfather was a physics professor. His mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, and her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson’s family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1960 and then in 1966 to Ames, Iowa. He graduated from Ames High School in 1977.[2]

Stephenson studied at Boston University,[2] first specializing in physics, then switching to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe.[3] He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in geography and a minor in physics.[2] Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.[2]

Career

Discussing Anathem at MIT in 2008

Stephenson’s first novel, The Big U, published in 1984, was a satirical take on life at American Megaversity, a vast, bland and alienating research university beset by chaotic riots.[4][5] His next novel, Zodiac (1988), was a thriller following the exploits of a radical environmentalist protagonist in his struggle against corporate polluters.[4] Neither novel attracted much critical attention on first publication, but showcased concerns that Stephenson would further develop in his later work.[4] The Big U went out of print until 2001, when Stephenson allowed it to be republished after realizing that this book that he considered inferior to his others was being sold at inflated prices for used copies because of its scarcity and collectors’ value.[citation needed]

Stephenson’s breakthrough came in 1992 with Snow Crash,[5] a comic [6] novel in the late cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk tradition fusing memetics, computer viruses, and other high-tech themes with Sumerian mythology, along with a sociological extrapolation of laissez-faire capitalism and collectivism. Snow Crash can be considered to be the first expression of Stephenson’s mature style. Stephenson at this time would later be described by Mike Godwin as “a slight, unassuming grad-student type whose soft-spoken demeanor gave no obvious indication that he had written the manic apotheosis of cyberpunk science fiction.”[7] In 1994, Stephenson joined with his uncle, J. Frederick George, to publish a political thriller, Interface, under the pen name “Stephen Bury”;[8] they followed this in 1996 with The Cobweb.

Stephenson’s next solo novel, published in 1995, was The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, which introduced many of today’s real world technological discoveries. Seen back then as futuristic, Stephenson’s novel has broad range universal self-learning nanotechnology, dynabooks, extensive modern technologies, robotics, cybernetics and cyber cities. Weapons implanted in characters’ skulls, near limitless replicators for everything from mattresses to foods, smartpaper, air and blood-sanitizing nanobots, set in a grim future world of limited resources populated by hard edged survivalists, an amalgamation hero is accidentally conceptualized by a few powerful and wealthy creatives, programmers and hackers.

This was followed by Cryptonomicon in 1999, a novel concerned with concepts ranging from computing and Alan Turing‘s research into codebreaking and cryptography during the Second World War at Bletchley Park, to a modern attempt to set up a data haven. It has subsequently been reissued in three separate volumes in some countries, including in French and Spanish translations. In 2013, Cryptonomicon won thePrometheus Hall of Fame Award.

The Baroque Cycle, Stephenson’s next novel, is a series of long historical novels set in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is in some respects a prequel to Cryptonomicon. It was originally published in three volumes of two or three books each – Quicksilver (2003), The Confusion (2004) and The System of the World (2004) – but was subsequently republished as eight separate books: Quicksilver, King of the Vagabonds, Odalisque,Bonanza, Juncto, Solomon’s Gold, Currency, and System of the World. (The titles and exact breakdown varies in different markets.) The System of the World won the Prometheus Award in 2005.

Following this, Stephenson published a novel titled Anathem (2008), a very long and detailed work, perhaps best described as speculative fiction. It is set in an Earthlike world (perhaps in an alternative reality), deals with metaphysics, and refers heavily to Ancient Greek philosophy, while at the same time being a complex commentary on the insubstantiality of today’s society.

In May 2010, the Subutai Corporation, of which Stephenson was named chairman, announced the production of an experimental multimedia fiction project called The Mongoliad, which centered around a narrative written by Stephenson and other speculative fiction authors.[9][10]

REAMDE, a novel, was released on September 20, 2011.[11] The title is a play on the common filename README. This thriller, set in the present, centers around a group of MMORPG developers caught in the middle of Chinese cyber-criminals, Islamic terrorists, and Russian mafia.[12]

On August 7, 2012, Stephenson released a collection of essays and other previously published fiction entitled Some Remarks : Essays and Other Writing.[13] This collection also includes a new essay and a short story created specifically for this volume.

In 2012 Stephenson launched a Kickstarter campaign for CLANG, a realistic swordfighting fantasy game. The game uses motion control to provide an immersive experience. The game will contain a distinctive world and plotline. The campaign’s funding goal of $500,000 was reached by the target date of July 9, 2012 on Kickstarter, but funding options remained open and were still taking contributions to the project on their official site.[14] The project ran out of money in September 2013.[15] This, and the circumstances around it, has angered some backers.[16] There has even been talk, among the backers, of a potential class action lawsuit.[17] The project to develop the game ended in September 2014 without the game being completed. Stephenson took part of the responsibility for the project’s failure, stating that “I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment”.[18]

In late 2013, Stephenson claimed to be working on a multi-volume work, historical novels that would “have a lot to do with scientific and technological themes and how those interact with the characters and civilisation during a particular span of history”. He expected the first two volumes to be released in mid-to-late 2014.[19] However, at about the same time, he shifted his attention to a science fiction novel, Seveneves, which was completed about a year later and will be published in May of 2015.[20]

In 2014, Stephenson was hired as Chief Futurist[21] by the Florida-based company Magic Leap. Magic Leap claims to be developing a revolutionary form of augmented reality, not too different from technologies Stephenson previously has described in his science fiction books.

Non-fiction

The science fiction approach doesn’t mean it’s always about the future;
it’s an awareness that this is different.

– Neal Stephenson, September 1999[22]

Stephenson has also written non-fiction. In The Beginning Was The Command Line, an essay on operating systems including the histories of and relationships between DOS, Windows, Linux, and BeOS from both cultural and technical viewpoints and focusing especially on the development of the Graphical User Interface, was published in book form in 2000.[5] Various other essays have been published in magazines such as Wired.

With the 2003 publication of Quicksilver, Applied Minds debuted The Metaweb, an online wiki annotating the ideas and historical period explored in the novel. The project was influenced by the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and its content included annotations from Stephenson himself.[23]

Style

In his earlier novels Stephenson deals heavily in pop culture-laden metaphors and imagery and in quick, hip dialogue, as well as in extended narrative monologues. The tone of his books is generally more irreverent and less serious than that of previous cyberpunk novels, notably those of William Gibson.

Stephenson at the Starship Century Symposium at UCSD in 2013

Stephenson’s books tend to have elaborate, inventive plots drawing on numerous technological and sociological ideas at the same time. This distinguishes him from other mainstream science fiction authors who tend to focus on a few technological or social changes in isolation from others. The discursive nature of his writing, together with significant plot and character complexity and an abundance of detail suggests a baroque writing style, which Stephenson brought fully to bear in the three-volume Baroque Cycle.[24] His book The Diamond Age follows a simpler plot but features “neo-Victorian” characters and employs Victorian-era literary conceits. In keeping with the baroque style, Stephenson’s books have become longer as he has gained recognition. For example, the paperback editions of Cryptonomicon are over eleven hundred pages long[25]with the novel containing various digressions, including a lengthy erotic story about antique furniture and stockings.

Works

Stephenson at the National Book Festivalin 2004

Novels

Short fiction

Other fiction projects

  • Project Hieroglyph, founded in 2011, administered by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination since 2012. Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, ed. Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer, which includes contributions by Stephenson, was published by William Morrow in September, 2014.

Non-fiction

References

  1. Jump up^ Fisher, Lawrence M. (April 17, 1994). “SOUND BYTES; Orwell – Class of 1994″. The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Stephenson, Neal. “Biography”. Neal Stephenson’s Site (MobileMe). Archived from the original on June 28, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  3. Jump up^ “Neal Stephenson – Biography”. ElectricInca.com. Retrieved August 7, 2010. He began his higher education as a physics major, then switched to geography when it appeared that this would enable him to scam more free time on his university’s mainframe computer.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c Booker, M Keith; Thomas, Anne-Marie, eds. (2009). “Neal Stephenson (1959–)”. The Science Fiction Handbook. Chichester, UK ; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 173. ISBN 1-4051-6205-8. OCLC 263498124.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Grassian, Daniel (2003). “From modernists to Gen Xers”. Hybrid fictions: American fiction and Generation X. Jefferson: McFarland & Co. pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-0-7864-1632-5. OCLC 52565833.
  6. Jump up^ Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Vol. 3. Greenwood Publishing. p. 1235. ISBN 0-313-32953-2. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  7. Jump up^ Godwin, Mike (February 2005). “Neal Stephenson’s Past, Present, and Future”. Reason (Reason Foundation). Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  8. Jump up^ “Neal Stephenson: Cryptomancer”. Locus Online. August 1, 1999. Retrieved August 7, 2010. …a thriller written in collaboration with his uncle, George Jewsbury, under pseudonym Stephen Bury
  9. Jump up^ Eaton, Kit (May 26, 2010). “The Mongoliad App: Neal Stephenson’s Novel of the Future?”. Fast Company. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  10. Jump up^ “Subutai Corporation – Team”. subutai.mn (Subutai Corporation). Retrieved August 7, 2010. Neal Stephenson, Chairman
  11. Jump up^ Anders, Charlie Jane (July 14, 2009). “Neal Stephenson Gets Half A Million Dollars, But Did He Have To Switch Genres To Get It?”. io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  12. Jump up^ “reamdeDescription”.
  13. Jump up^ Upcoming4.me. “New Neal Stephenson book Some Remarks announced!”. Upcoming4.me. RetrievedJune 26, 2012.
  14. Jump up^ Twitter / subutaicorp: @LordBronco We’re still taking. Twitter.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  15. Jump up^ Famous Kickstarter Turns Into Complete Disaster. Kotaku.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  16. Jump up^ THUD: Development Of Neal Stephenson’s CLANG Halted. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  17. Jump up^ Neal Stephenson Says His Dream Of Making A Video Game Isn’t Dead | Kotaku Australia. Kotaku.com.au. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  18. Jump up^ Stephenson, Neal (19 September 2014). “Final Update”. CLANG by Subutai Corporation. Kickstarter. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  19. Jump up^ Kelion, Leo. (2013-09-17) BBC News – Neal Stephenson on tall towers and NSA cyber-spies. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  20. Jump up^ http://nealstephenson.com/seveneaves.html
  21. Jump up^ http://www.magicleap.com/press/press_release5.pdf
  22. Jump up^ Catherine, Asaro (September 1999). “A Conversation With Neal Stephenson”. SF Site. RetrievedOctober 6, 2010.
  23. Jump up^ McClellan, Jim (November 4, 2004). “Neal Stephenson – the interview”. The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  24. Jump up^ Giuffo, John (October 1, 2004). “Book Capsule Review: The System of the World”. Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  25. Jump up^ ex: Stephenson, Neal (1999). Cryptonomicon. Avon Books. pp. 1152 p. ISBN 978-0-06-051280-4.
  26. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Kelly, Mark R. “The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees”. Locusmag.com(Locus Publications). Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  27. Jump up^ William Morrow. Harpercollinscatalogs.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  28. Jump up^ [1]. Nealstephenson.com. Retrieved on 2015-02-10.

External links

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

 

Interface (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Interface
First edition cover

First edition cover
credited to Stephen Bury
Author Neal Stephenson and George Jewsbury
Cover artist Bruce Jensen
Country United States
Language English
Genre Thriller, Novel
Publisher Bantam
Publication date
1 April 1994
Media type Print (Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-553-37230-0 (first edition, paperback)
OCLC 28148075
813/.54 20
LC Class PS3552.U788 I58 1994

Interface is a 1994 novel by Neal Stephenson and George Jewsbury. It was originally sold with the author pseudonym of Stephen Bury, then reissued as being by Bury and J. Frederick George ,[1] and most recently as being by Stephenson and George.

Interface is a near-future thriller, set in 1996, in which a shadowy coalition bent on controlling the world economy attempts to manipulate a candidate for president of the United States through the use of a computer bio-chip implanted in his brain.

In 2007, it was described by writer Cory Doctorow as an “underappreciated masterpiece”.[2]

Plot summary

The novel opens with the governor of Illinois, William Cozzano, suffering a stroke, and in a separate subplot, a trailer park inhabitant, unemployed African-American, Eleanor Richmond, discovering her husband dead after having committed suicide in their repossessed former home.

As events progress, an underground business coalition, the Network, is arranging for Cozzano to have a biochip implanted and for him to run for President of the United States. The Network is made up of a number of large fictional companies, with parallels in real business entities.

Eleanor Richmond, after publicly attacking a local cable TV Public-access television talk show personality who was running for Senate, has since found herself working in the offices of a Republican Colorado senator, and after an event where she accused the citizens of Colorado of being welfare queens, finds herself in the public eye as one of the candidates for Cozzano’s running mate.

The Network’s ability to perceive public opinion, skewed on the night of the vice presidential debate by a twist of fate, makes them select Richmond as vice presidential candidate, and a canny act of public relations work rescues Cozzano’s campaign, getting him elected as President.

However, Cozzano gets shot at his inauguration by a psychotic former factory worker who has somehow figured out the Network’s plans almost entirely, killing him almost instantly. Richmond ends up as the first black and first female President of the United States.

Characters in “Interface”

  • Eleanor Richmond – unemployed African-American woman, protagonist
  • William Cozzano – governor of Illinois
  • Mary Catherine Cozzano – daughter of governor, neurologist
  • Cy Ogle – campaign manager
  • Dr. Radhakrishnan – neurosurgeon

References

  1. Jump up^ Stephenson, Neal; George, J. Frederick (2005) [1994]. Interface. Bantam Spectra. ISBN 9780553383430.
  2. Jump up^ Interface: Neal Stephenson’s underappreciated masterpiece

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interface_(novel)

 

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The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Blogroll, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 2: The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

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_80980240_ukraine_ceasefire_lines_12.02.2015_624map2015-02-15_wor_7022384_I132-Russian-Tanks-Enter-Ukraine-600x399 easternukraineIslamic-States-Libya-affiliate-beheads-21-Coptic-Christians-from-Egyptukraine-ceaseFire-2-2-15-WEBukraine-maprussian_language_map_ukraine_73363841_ukraine_crimea_russia_map3_624easternukraineships-russia-s-black-sea-fleet-during-naval-parade-sevastopol-crimea-july-2014-photodpa_6-russia-will-add-80-new-warships-to-black-sea-fleetSoviet_and_Russian_Black_Sea_Fleet

eu-gas Europe_SourcesOfGas_ByCountry_2009_2012.png_web europe-russia-gas gas russian dependence Gas-graphic-1 map new routes russia_pipelines_416_1 russia_ukraine_belarus_baltic_republics_pipelines_map ukraine pipelines UKRAINEgasMAP

BBC News Ukraine crisis BBC meets last few Donetsk residents

Kerry says arming Ukrainian forces has not been ruled out

Conversation: Arming Ukraine with Lethal Weapons has Risks

Former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz discusses Ukraine ceasefire

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels now control key town

Shaky ceasefire in Ukraine

East Ukraine Opinion: Soldiers and residents in Artemivsk doubt ceasefire will last

Ukraine: Fighting continues despite truce

Fierce fighting is said to be continuing in the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, as the new ceasefire appears to be failing.

Rebels say they have taken most of the town, but the government says it is still in its control.

Gas Pipeline Blast Caught On Video, Hit By Shell In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine and Natural Gas

Ukraine promised not to steal Russian gas from Europe

Russia halts plans for natural gas pipleine to Europe

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Caspian pipeline politics of Europe, Russia and China

Russia supplies more then 25 percent of Europe’s hydrocarbon needs. Ever since the natural gas cutoffs in 2006 and 2009, the European countries have been searched for ways to reduce their dependency on Russian oil and natural gas. In this context, the crisis in Ukraine has sparked a new drive for the search for alternative sources of energy. One project that is of particular interest, but underappreciated in the media, is the Trans-Caspian pipeline. If realized it would significantly change the energy map of Europe in the long term.

Fulcrium – Like it or not, Russian natural gas is here to stay – panel on European Energy Security

The LBS GES Energy Security panel addressed geo-political issues and challenges decision-makers face in the pursuit of European energy supply security in the wake of the Ukraine Crisis. Bottom line: The EU will remain dependent on Russian natural gas for decades to come irrespective of sanctions, source of supply diversification, and renewables agendas ! Likewise Moscow is dependent on the EU for 60% of Gazprom’s revenues. Like it or not, the EU and Russia are highly co-dependent as far as Russian natural gas is concerned.

Days after this debate took place, Russian President Vladimir Putin shelved the $40bn South Stream project designed to bypass Ukraine as the key transit state for Russian gas to Europe. And in a further twist, on 16 December 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Bulgaria to enter into dialogue with Moscow to revive the South Stream project. Perhaps this is a signal of a softening EU stance in order to rebuild economic ties with Russia, more out of a necessity to safeguard Germany’s and Bulgaria’s interests. Other countries which stood to gain from South Stream, including Serbia and Hungary, also want to rescue the project. Russia supplies about 25 percent of EU gas needs; half of that flows via Ukrainian transit pipelines. The EU’s most powerful economy, Germany, is still highly dependent on Russian natural gas, importing 30% of it’s annual gas consumption from Russia.

Panel Chair: Raju Patel, Chief Executive, Fulcrium

Panellists:

Vladimir Drebentsov, Vice President, BP Russia / Head of Russia & CIS Economics, BP Plc

Dr Tatiana Mitrova, Head of Oil and Gas Department in the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI RAS), Board Director – E.ON Russia

Andrew Risk, Senior Associate – Political Risk, GPW + Co

David Buchan, Senior Research Fellow, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Impact on world energy markets of Ukraine Crisis

The Effect of the Ukrainian Crisis on the Economy | Made in Germany

Psaki. Minsk Ceasefire. 19 Feb 2015 (Ukraine)

Ukraine: EU says ceasefire agreement not a failure

Military Forces Pull Out Of Besieged Ukrainian Town – Feb 19, 2015

Putin Tells Kiev to Let Troops Surrender as Ukraine Ceasefire Unravels

NATO Slams Russian Role in Ukraine Conflict: Stoltenberg says Kremlin must end insurgent support

Will the Ukraine-Russia deal stick?

WW3 NEWS UPDATE: The Strategic Role of UKRAINE in WW3

The Road to World War 3: Oil Prices, Ukraine, Russia, America, Collapse U.S. Dollar

Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum

The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine’s Civil War

Paul Craig Roberts: The Real Story Behind Oil Prices

The Road to World War 3: Ukraine, Russia and American Imperialism

 

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Breaking: Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) Seeks Emergency Court Stay Order To Restart Immoral, Illegal and Unconstitutional Program To Give 4-5 Illegal Aliens Work Permits — Time To Impeach The Tyrant — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Demographics, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 1: Breaking:  Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) Seeks Emergency Court Stay Order To Restart Immoral, Illegal and Unconstitutional Program To Give 4-5 Illegal Aliens Work Permits — Time To Impeach The Tyrant — Videos

U.S. Justice Department seeks to block Texas immigration ruling – LoneWolf Sager

Fed Judge Blocks Pres Obama Immigration Plan – Andrew Napolitano – Sen Ted Cruz – The Kelly File

Immigration Showdown – Texas Judge Stalls Obama Executive Action – Special Report All Star Panel

Fed Judge Blocks Pres’ Deferred Deportations For Illegal Immigrants – Sheriff Joe Arpaio – Cavuto

Justice Department to seek stay in Texas immigration ruling

Obama to seek emergency order restarting immigration programs

By Mike Lillis

 

Officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) plan to seek what is known as an emergency stay that would essentially undo a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction from earlier this week. If the stay is granted, the government could restart a pair of executive programs that will shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said DOJ will file for the stay by “Monday at the latest.”

The emergency stay had been sought by immigrant rights advocates, who want to get the programs up and running as soon as possible while the appeals process plays out.

“We — as immigrants and as Americans — have waited for nearly a quarter century for these much-needed improvements to our broken immigration system,” Marielena Hincapié, head of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), said Friday in a statement. “We should not allow a flawed legal decision to delay these changes any longer.”
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Making good on earlier vows, DOJ will also file a separate appeal seeking to restart the executive programs.
“We will seek that appeal because we believe when you evaluate the legal merits of the arguments, that there is a solid legal foundation for the president to take the steps he announced last year to help reform our immigration system,” Earnest said.

At issue are two new initiatives launched unilaterally by Obama on Nov. 20.

The first expands eligibility for the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halts deportations and allows work permits for certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. The second, known as DAPA, would extend similar benefits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.

Combined, the programs could affect as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

Many states, however, were quick to object. And Texas — joined by 25 other states — filed a lawsuit contending the programs marked an abuse of executive authority that would cripple their budgets with exorbitant new costs.

In a decision announced near midnight on Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen agreed, arguing that the administration failed to comply with a federal law governing the adoption of new federal rules.

Hanen has not yet ruled on the merits of the states’ complaints, but said they have a significant enough case that both the DAPA and expanded DACA programs should be put on hold until the legal challenges are resolved.

The effects of the decision were immediate, as administration officials quickly announced that they would not begin accepting applications for either program until the court decisions are final.

Before the ruling, the Homeland Security Department was poised to begin accepting applications for the expanded-DACA program this week, and the for the DAPA program in May. Both have been suspended indefinitely.

Hanen’s injunction does not affect the original DACA program, which remains up and running.

 

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/233343-obama-to-seek-emergency-court-order-in-immigration-fight

 

BREAKING: Obama to Defy Federal Court – Seeks Emergency Order to Re-Start Amnesty Executive Order

By Reagan Wilson

As we reported earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction that would prevent President Obama’s “Executive Amnesty” program, which would essentially grant immigration amnesty to as many as five million illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

Now, we are getting reports that the President is seeking an emergency order (on Friday afternoon of course) that would allow the programs to continue effective immediately.

According to a report by The Hill:

The Obama administration will seek an emergency court order to move forward with President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) plan to seek what is known as an emergency stay that would essentially undo a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction from earlier this week. If the stay is granted, the government could restart a pair of executive programs that will shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said DOJ will file for the stay by “Monday at the latest.”

The emergency stay had been sought by immigrant rights advocates, who want to get the programs up and running as soon as possible while the appeals process plays out.

“We — as immigrants and as Americans — have waited for nearly a quarter century for these much-needed improvements to our broken immigration system,” Marielena Hincapié, head of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), said Friday in a statement. “We should not allow a flawed legal decision to delay these changes any longer.”

http://controversialtimes.com/news/breaking-obama-to-defy-federal-court-seeks-emergency-order-to-re-start-amnesty-executive-order/

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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The American People’s Grievance: Barack Obama Is An Islamic Terrorist Denier — Evil or Stupid? — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Yes, Both –Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Babies, Blogroll, Bomb, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Crisis, Demographics, Diasters, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Education, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Public Sector, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 1: The  American People’s Grievance: Barack Obama Is An Islamic Terrorist Denier — Evil or Stupid? — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Yes, Both –Videos
barack obama

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.  (Applause.)  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”  

~President Barack Obama, February 18, 2015

Guns-to-Terrorist-590-LI islam5 islamic-terrorism-cartoon-bok obama-see-no-terrorism-political-cartoon obama-terrorist-dinner-cartoon tv is

Forrest Gump (1/10) Best Movie Quote – Life is Like a Box of Chocolates (1994)

Obama schools Right Wing It is not Islamic Terrorism!

Afterburner w/Bill Whittle — Showtime: Evil or Stupid?

TERRORIST NATION

Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?

“To say that IS is outside of the interpretive parameters of Islam is factually incorecct. […] There is no question that these people are drawign inspiration from Islamic texts. And they know these texts better than most Muslims”, Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies responds to an open rejection letter of the IS movement signed by 126 Sunni scholars.

Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel also shared insights on the strand of Islamic tradition IS draws on and the reasons why these Sunni critics have been hesistant to condemn IS members as heretics.

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State

“Bin Laden was very proud that he had only spent 500.000 dollars on the 9/11 attacks. The US in response to those attacks has probably spent 3 trillion dollars. So as a return on investment, Bin Laden has done really well”.

Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the current US-led airstrike-campaign against the Islamic State. He explores how that will be framed by the jihadist Sunni movements Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and argues that these strikes will confirm their narrative of a conspiracy between the West, the Jews and the Shia Muslims. He stresses that “IS is not a Western problem, it is a Middle Eastern problem”. He also argues very strongly against foreign intervention, saying that: “Every time the West has intervened in the Middle East for the last 200 years it has led to a much worse situation both for the people of the region and for the West.”

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda

Is a Fractured Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s Future?

Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”

Who are the Muslim Brotherhood? – Truthloader

U.S. Policy and Islamism after the Arab Spring – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

The History of the Muslim Brotherhood in 3 minutes

Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Overview

The American Muslim Brotherhood President – Barack Hussein Obama

The Great Deception New World Order & Muslim Brotherhood

An Alternative for U.S. Policy – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

Islamism and Intervention against ISIS — Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

Reflections on Islamism: From the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State

Obama Behind Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate Conspiracy

Former Muslim Brotherhood member: “Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim Terrorist”

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

Why doesn’t Obama say “Islamic” terrorism?

While Obama Appeases Islamic Terrorists, Egyptian President Condemns Them! • Kelly File • 1/9/15 •

President Obama Islam Speech Summit Extremism (Full Speech) – We aren’t at war with Islam

Forrest Gump (1/9) Movie CLIP – Peas and Carrots (1994) HD

Remarks by the President in Closing of the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

South Court Auditorium

4:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat.

Well, thank you, Lisa, for the introduction.  Lisa is an example of the countless dedicated public servants across our government, a number of who are here today, who are working tirelessly every single day on behalf of the security and safety of the American people.  So we very much appreciate her.  And thanks to all of you for your attendance and participation in this important summit.

For more than 238 years, the United States of America has not just endured, but we have thrived and surmounted challenges that might have broken a lesser nation.  After a terrible civil war, we repaired our union.  We weathered a Great Depression, became the world’s most dynamic economy.  We fought fascism, liberated Europe.  We faced down communism — and won.  American communities have been destroyed by earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and floods — and each time we rebuild.

The bombing that killed 168 people could not break Oklahoma City.  On 9/11, terrorists tried to bring us to our knees; today a new tower soars above New York City, and America continues to lead throughout the world.  After Americans were killed at Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon, it didn’t divide us; we came together as one American family.

In the face of horrific acts of violence — at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, or at a Jewish community center outside Kansas City — we reaffirmed our commitment to pluralism and to freedom, repulsed by the notion that anyone should ever be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, or how they worship.

Most recently, with the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.  And I want to be as clear as I can be:  As Americans, all faiths and backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief and we offer our love and we offer our support.

My point is this:  As Americans, we are strong and we are resilient.  And when tragedy strikes, when we take a hit, we pull together, and we draw on what’s best in our character — our optimism, our commitment to each other, our commitment to our values, our respect for one another.  We stand up, and we rebuild, and we recover, and we emerge stronger than before.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

And I say all this because we face genuine challenges to our security today, just as we have throughout our history.  Challenges to our security are not new.  They didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago or a year ago.  We’ve always faced challenges.  One of those challenges is the terrorist threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL.  But this isn’t our challenge alone.  It’s a challenge for the world.  ISIL is terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq, beheads and burns human beings in unfathomable acts of cruelty.  We’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa and Sydney and, Paris, and now Copenhagen.

So, in the face of this challenge, we have marshalled the full force of the United States government, and we’re working with allies and partners to dismantle terrorist organizations and protect the American people.  Given the complexities of the challenge and the nature of the enemy — which is not a traditional army — this work takes time, and will require vigilance and resilience and perspective.  But I’m confident that, just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.

And part of what gives me that confidence is the overwhelming response of the world community to the savagery of these terrorists — not just revulsion, but a concrete commitment to work together to vanquish these organizations.

At the United Nations in September, I called on the international community to come together and eradicate this scourge of violent extremism.  And I want to thank all of you — from across America and around the world — for answering this call.  Tomorrow at the State Department, governments and civil society groups from more than 60 countries will focus on the steps that we can take as governments.  And I’ll also speak about how our nations have to remain relentless in our fight — our counterterrorism efforts — against groups that are plotting against our counties.

But we are here today because of a very specific challenge  — and that’s countering violent extremism, something that is not just a matter of military affairs.  By “violent extremism,” we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people.  We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists –the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence.  We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized.  Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths — which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths.  It’s not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.

But we are here at this summit because of the urgent threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL.  And this week we are focused on prevention — preventing these groups from radicalizing, recruiting or inspiring others to violence in the first place.  I’ve called upon governments to come to the United Nations this fall with concrete steps that we can take together.  And today, what I want to do is suggest several areas where I believe we can concentrate our efforts.

First, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideologies that these terrorist groups use to incite people to violence.  Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge.  So I want to be very clear about how I see it.

Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.  (Applause.)  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.  (Applause.)  

Now, just as those of us outside Muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the West and Islam are in conflict, or modern life and Islam are in conflict, I also believe that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well.  Al Qaeda and ISIL do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts.  They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilizations.

Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology.  They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.  No religion is responsible for terrorism.  People are responsible for violence and terrorism.  (Applause.)

And to their credit, there are respected Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith.  They want to make very clear what Islam stands for.  And we’re joined by some of these leaders today.  These religious leaders and scholars preach that Islam calls for peace and for justice, and tolerance toward others; that terrorism is prohibited; that the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind.  Those are the voices that represent over a billion people around the world.

But if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we’re going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people, if we’re going to lift up the voices of tolerance and pluralism within the Muslim community, then we’ve got to acknowledge that their job is made harder by a broader narrative that does exist in many Muslim communities around the world that suggests the West is at odds with Islam in some fashion.

The reality — which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to — is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances  — sometimes that’s accurate — does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it’s been polluted by Western values.

So those beliefs exist.  In some communities around the world they are widespread.  And so it makes individuals — especially young people who already may be disaffected or alienated — more ripe for radicalization.  And so we’ve got to be able to talk honestly about those issues.  We’ve got to be much more clear about how we’re rejecting certain ideas.

So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations.  Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims, it damages Islam and Muslims.  (Applause.)

And when all of us, together, are doing our part to reject the narratives of violent extremists, when all of us are doing our part to be very clear about the fact that there are certain universal precepts and values that need to be respected in this interconnected world, that’s the beginnings of a partnership.

As we go forward, we need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion — and we especially need to do it online.  We also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like ISIL firsthand, including former extremists.  Their words speak to us today.  And I know in some of the discussions these voices have been raised: “I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS.”  “It’s not a revolution or jihad…it’s a slaughter…I was shocked by what I did.”  “This isn’t what we came for, to kill other Muslims.”  “I’m 28 — is this the only future I’m able to imagine?”  That’s the voice of so many who were temporarily radicalized and then saw the truth.  And they’ve warned other young people not to make the same mistakes as they did.  “Do not run after illusions.”  “Do not be deceived.”  “Do not give up your life for nothing.”  We need to lift up those voices.

And in all this work, the greatest resource are communities themselves, especially like those young people who are here today.  We are joined by talented young men and women who are pioneering new innovations, and new social media tools, and new ways to reach young people.  We’re joined by leaders from the private sector, including high-tech companies, who want to support your efforts.  And I want to challenge all of us to build new partnerships that unleash the talents and creativity of young people — young Muslims — not just to expose the lies of extremists but to empower youth to service, and to lift up people’s lives here in America and around the world.  And that can be a calling for your generation.

So that’s the first challenge — we’ve got to discredit these ideologies.  We have to tackle them head on.  And we can’t shy away from these discussions.  And too often, folks are, understandably, sensitive about addressing some of these root issues, but we have to talk about them, honestly and clearly.  (Applause.)  And the reason I believe we have to do so is because I’m so confident that when the truth is out we’ll be successful.     Now, a second challenge is we do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances.  Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal.  There are millions of people — billions of people  — in the world who live in abject poverty and are focused on what they can do to build up their own lives, and never embrace violent ideologies.

Conversely, there are terrorists who’ve come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like Osama bin Laden.  What’s true, though, is that when millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliations on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentments fester.  The risk of instability and extremism grow.  Where young people have no education, they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas, because it’s not tested against anything else, they’ve got nothing to weigh.  And we’ve seen this across the Middle East and North Africa.

And terrorist groups are all too happy to step into a void. They offer salaries to their foot soldiers so they can support their families.  Sometimes they offer social services — schools, health clinics — to do what local governments cannot or will not do.  They try to justify their violence in the name of fighting the injustice of corruption that steals from the people — even while those terrorist groups end up committing even worse abuses, like kidnapping and human trafficking.

So if we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better.  And the United States intends to do its part.  We will keep promoting development and growth that is broadly shared, so more people can provide for their families.  We’ll keep leading a global effort against corruption, because the culture of the bribe has to be replaced by good governance that doesn’t favor certain groups over others.

Countries have to truly invest in the education and skills and job training that our extraordinary young people need.  And by the way, that’s boys and girls, and men and women, because countries will not be truly successful if half their populations — if their girls and their women are denied opportunity.  (Applause.)  And America will continue to forge new partnerships in entrepreneurship and innovation, and science and technology, so young people from Morocco to Malaysia can start new businesses and create more prosperity.

Just as we address economic grievances, we need to face a third challenge — and that’s addressing the political grievances that are exploited by terrorists.  When governments oppress their people, deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows the seeds of extremism and violence.  It makes those communities more vulnerable to recruitment.  Terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence.  And if peaceful change is impossible, that plays into extremist propaganda.

So the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy.  (Applause.)  It’s institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally.  It’s security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity.  It’s free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble and advocate for peaceful change.  It’s freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without fear and intimidation.  (Applause.)  All of this is part of countering violent extremism.

Fourth, we have to recognize that our best partners in all these efforts, the best people to help protect individuals from falling victim to extremist ideologies are their own communities, their own family members.  We have to be honest with ourselves.  Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIL deliberately target their propaganda in the hopes of reaching and brainwashing young Muslims, especially those who may be disillusioned or wrestling with their identity.  That’s the truth.  The high-quality videos, the online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist Twitter accounts — it’s all designed to target today’s young people online, in cyberspace.

And by the way, the older people here, as wise and respected as you may be, your stuff is often boring — (laughter) — compared to what they’re doing.  (Applause.)  You’re not connected.  And as a consequence, you are not connecting.

So these terrorists are a threat, first and foremost, to the communities that they target, which means communities have to take the lead in protecting themselves.  And that is true here in America, as it’s true anywhere else.  When someone starts getting radicalized, family and friends are often the first to see that something has changed in their personality.  Teachers may notice a student becoming withdrawn or struggling with his or her identity, and if they intervene at that moment and offer support, that may make a difference.

Faith leaders may notice that someone is beginning to espouse violent interpretations of religion, and that’s a moment for possible intervention that allows them to think about their actions and reflect on the meaning of their faith in a way that’s more consistent with peace and justice.  Families and friends, coworkers, neighbors, faith leaders — they want to reach out; they want to help save their loved ones and friends, and prevent them from taking a wrong turn.

But communities don’t always know the signs to look for, or have the tools to intervene, or know what works best.  And that’s where government can play a role — if government is serving as a trusted partner.  And that’s where we also need to be honest.  I know some Muslim Americans have concerns about working with government, particularly law enforcement.  And their reluctance is rooted in the objection to certain practices where Muslim Americans feel they’ve been unfairly targeted.

So, in our work, we have to make sure that abuses stop, are not repeated, that we do not stigmatize entire communities.  Nobody should be profiled or put under a cloud of suspicion simply because of their faith.  (Applause.)  Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance.  We can’t “securitize” our relationship with Muslim Americans — (applause) — dealing with them solely through the prism of law enforcement. Because when we do, that only reinforces suspicions, makes it harder for us to build the trust that we need to work together.

As part of this summit, we’re announcing that we’re going to increase our outreach to communities, including Muslim Americans. We’re going to step up our efforts to engage with partners and raise awareness so more communities understand how to protect their loved ones from becoming radicalized.  We’ve got to devote more resources to these efforts.  (Applause.)

And as government does more, communities are going to have to step up as well.  We need to build on the pilot programs that have been discussed at this summit already — in Los Angeles, in Minneapolis, in Boston.  These are partnerships that bring people together in a spirit of mutual respect and create more dialogue and more trust and more cooperation.  If we’re going to solve these issues, then the people who are most targeted and potentially most affected — Muslim Americans — have to have a seat at the table where they can help shape and strengthen these partnerships so that we’re all working together to help communities stay safe and strong and resilient.  (Applause.)

And finally, we need to do what extremists and terrorists hope we will not do, and that is stay true to the values that define us as free and diverse societies.  If extremists are peddling the notion that Western countries are hostile to Muslims, then we need to show that we welcome people of all faiths.

Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.  (Applause.)  Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America.  The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s.  America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota.  (Laughter.)

Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders, and protect our nation by serving in uniform, and in our intelligence communities, and in homeland security.  And in cemeteries across our country, including at Arlington, Muslim American heroes rest in peace having given their lives in defense of all of us.  (Applause.)

And of course that’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know — Muslims succeeding and thriving in America.  Because when that truth is known, it exposes their propaganda as the lie that it is.  It’s also a story that every American must never forget, because it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country.  It’s not just counterproductive; it doesn’t just aid terrorists; it’s wrong.  It’s contrary to who we are.

I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart.  It was the first Valentine I got.  (Laughter.)  I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one.  (Laughter.)  So she’s 11 years old.  She’s in the 5th grade.  She’s a young Muslim American.  And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.”  And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer — or a basketball player.  (Laughter.)  Which are good choices. (Laughter.)  But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.”  And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.”  (Applause.)  Now, those are the words — and the wisdom — of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America.  “We’re just like everybody else.”  And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.

As we move forward with these challenges, we all have responsibilities, we all have hard work ahead of us on this issue.  We can’t paper over problems, and we’re not going to solve this if we’re always just trying to be politically correct. But we do have to remember that 11-year-old girl.  That’s our hope.  That’s our future.  That’s how we discredit violent ideologies, by making sure her voice is lifted up; making sure she’s nurtured; making sure that she’s supported — and then, recognizing there are little girls and boys like that all around the world, and us helping to address economic and political grievances that can be exploited by extremists, and empowering local communities, and us staying true to our values as a diverse and tolerant society even when we’re threatened — especially when we’re threatened.

There will be a military component to this.  There are savage cruelties going on out there that have to be stopped.  ISIL is killing Muslims at a rate that is many multiples the rate that they’re killing non-Muslims.  Everybody has a stake in stopping them, and there will be an element of us just stopping them in their tracks with force.  But to eliminate the soil out of which they grew, to make sure that we are giving a brighter future to everyone and a lasting sense of security, then we’re going to have to make it clear to all of our children — including that little girl in 5th grade — that you have a place. You have a place here in America.  You have a place in those countries where you live.  You have a future.

Ultimately, those are the antidotes to violent extremism.  And that’s work that we’re going to have to do together.  It will take time.  This is a generational challenge.  But after 238 years, it should be obvious — America has overcome much bigger challenges, and we’ll overcome the ones that we face today.  We will stay united and committed to the ideals that have shaped us for more than two centuries, including the opportunity and justice and dignity of every single human being.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END

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Memo To Obama Administration: Read Graeme Wood’s Atlantic Monthly Article: What ISIS Really Wants? — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Babies, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Coptic Christian, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Demographics, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Education, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

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 Story 2: Memo To Obama Administration: Read Graeme Wood’s Atlantic Monthly Article: What ISIS Really Wants? — Videos

journalist-graeme-wood-on-the-is-1024x580

Journalist Graeme Wood on the Islamic State: VICE Meets

Islamic State militants ‘burn to death 45 in Iraq

Islamic State: The New Terror

The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State

The Islamic State (Full Length)

The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.

The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention — it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.

Flush with cash and US weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.

VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.

Embedded with Al-Qaeda in Syria: ISIS and al-Nusra

Three years ago, an uprising against the Assad regime turned into what looked like a straightforward civil war between Syrian government forces and rebels. However, over time, what had started as a largely secular opposition movement began to take on more of a radical Islamist tone, with two al Qaeda offshoots — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra — becoming the dominant forces on the ground across the rebel-held North.

One VICE filmmaker managed to secure unprecedented access to both al-Qaeda factions battling Syria’s government forces, despite the risk of journalists being kidnapped. This is a remarkable portrait of the foreign volunteers and local Syrians willing to fight and die to establish a new caliphate on Europe’s doorstep.

Ghosts of Aleppo (Full Length)

A City Left in Ruins: The Battle for Aleppo

Should ISIS Be Burning Captives? (David Wood)

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

heykel

Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?

Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda

IS is a symptom of a deep feeling amongst Sunni Arabs of being disenfranchised. […] It is the same sentiment that led to the emergence of Al-Qaeda.”

Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the root causes for the rise of the Islamic State, as a movement responding to the systemic disenfranchisement of Sunnis in the region.

Professor Haykel also explains why IS surpassed Al Qaeda in popularity and why the Arabian Peninsula has so vigorously supported U.S.- led airstrikes against IS.

Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel responded to questions such as:
Why do people from the West join the Islamic State?
Why do the recruits burn their passports?
Should Western governments withdraw citizenship from jihadis?
What should be done about returning jihadis?
Can they be de-radicalized?

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State

Killing Al-Baghdadi: the end of the Caliphate or part of the narrative?

SIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power – H. van Lynden lecture

The Henriette van Lynden lecture ‘ISIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power’, organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held on Friday, 14 November 2014 in de Rode Hoed, Amsterdam.

The rise of ISIS as a failure of governance & the need for a broader response than CT-policy, by Ms. Mina al-Oraibi [0:6:36]
Links of ISIS ideology to Saudi Arabia’s wahabism and policy options by Prof. Bernard Haykel [0:19:52]
Iran’s interests and vision in the fight against ISIS by Dr. Ali Vaez [0:35:44]
Panel discussion moderated by Ernesto Braam [0:50:20]
Audience Q&A [1:05:25]

Panel:
Ms. Mina al-Oraibi
Born in Iraq, she is the deputy editor-in-chief of prominent Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. She is an expert on transitions in the Arab region and American military doctrine. She regularly speaks with heads of state in the Middle East.

Prof. Bernard Haykel
Professor of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University, specialised in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. In addition, he is an Islam expert who focuses on Salafi movements and the roots of ISIS ideology. Particularly noteworthy is his contribution to the leading bestseller ‘Global Salafism’.

Dr. Ali Vaez
As an expert on Iran at the International Crisis Group in Washington D.C., he is a sought-after speaker on Iran’s influence in the region. He regularly appears on BBC and CNN, and publishes in Foreign Policy and the International Herald Tribune, among others.

Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”

Rising Sunni-Shiite violence threatens security in Iraq

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 1

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 2

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 3

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 4

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 5

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 6

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 7

Christiane Amanpour interviews Princeton Professor Bernard Haykel on Yemen

Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family and the State

Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Relationship with the U.S.

 Bernard Haykel / Princeton University

 

What ISIS Really Wants

By  Graeme Wood

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.

Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.

Nearly all the Islamic State’s decisions adhere to what it calls, on its billboards, license plates, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology.”
There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide. (As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”)

But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.
Control of territory is an essential precondition for the Islamic State’s authority in the eyes of its supporters. This map, adapted from the work of the Institute for the Study of War, shows the territory under the caliphate’s control as of January 15, along with areas it has attacked. Where it holds power, the state collects taxes, regulates prices, operates courts, and administers services ranging from health care and education to telecommunications.
I. Devotion

In November, the Islamic State released an infomercial-like video tracing its origins to bin Laden. It acknowledged Abu Musa’b al Zarqawi, the brutal head of al‑Qaeda in Iraq from roughly 2003 until his killing in 2006, as a more immediate progenitor, followed sequentially by two other guerrilla leaders before Baghdadi, the caliph. Notably unmentioned: bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, the owlish Egyptian eye surgeon who currently heads al‑Qaeda. Zawahiri has not pledged allegiance to Baghdadi, and he is increasingly hated by his fellow jihadists. His isolation is not helped by his lack of charisma; in videos he comes across as squinty and annoyed. But the split between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State has been long in the making, and begins to explain, at least in part, the outsize bloodlust of the latter.

Zawahiri’s companion in isolation is a Jordanian cleric named Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, 55, who has a fair claim to being al-Qaeda’s intellectual architect and the most important jihadist unknown to the average American newspaper reader. On most matters of doctrine, Maqdisi and the Islamic State agree. Both are closely identified with the jihadist wing of a branch of Sunnism called Salafism, after the Arabic al salaf al salih, the “pious forefathers.” These forefathers are the Prophet himself and his earliest adherents, whom Salafis honor and emulate as the models for all behavior, including warfare, couture, family life, even dentistry.

The Islamic State awaits the army of “Rome,” whose defeat at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.
Maqdisi taught Zarqawi, who went to war in Iraq with the older man’s advice in mind. In time, though, Zarqawi surpassed his mentor in fanaticism, and eventually earned his rebuke. At issue was Zarqawi’s penchant for bloody spectacle—and, as a matter of doctrine, his hatred of other Muslims, to the point of excommunicating and killing them. In Islam, the practice of takfir, or excommunication, is theologically perilous. “If a man says to his brother, ‘You are an infidel,’ ” the Prophet said, “then one of them is right.” If the accuser is wrong, he himself has committed apostasy by making a false accusation. The punishment for apostasy is death. And yet Zarqawi heedlessly expanded the range of behavior that could make Muslims infidels.

Maqdisi wrote to his former pupil that he needed to exercise caution and “not issue sweeping proclamations of takfir” or “proclaim people to be apostates because of their sins.” The distinction between apostate and sinner may appear subtle, but it is a key point of contention between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.

Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute.
Musa Cerantonio, an Australian preacher reported to be one of the Islamic State’s most influential recruiters, believes it is foretold that the caliphate will sack Istanbul before it is beaten back by an army led by the anti-Messiah, whose eventual death— when just a few thousand jihadists remain—will usher in the apocalypse. (Paul Jeffers/Fairfax Media)
Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe, and since men stopped dying in large numbers because of arcane theological disputes. Hence, perhaps, the incredulity and denial with which Westerners have greeted news of the theology and practices of the Islamic State. Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest.

Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims “ancient” was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.
Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.

Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to Haykel. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent.

According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

Our failure to appreciate the essential differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda has led to dangerous decisions.
The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. The tax on Christians finds clear endorsement in the Surah Al-Tawba, the Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Prophet, whom all Muslims consider exemplary, imposed these rules and owned slaves.

Leaders of the Islamic State have taken emulation of Muhammad as strict duty, and have revived traditions that have been dormant for hundreds of years. “What’s striking about them is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts,” Haykel said. “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness that Muslims don’t normally have.”

Before the rise of the Islamic State, no group in the past few centuries had attempted more-radical fidelity to the Prophetic model than the Wahhabis of 18th‑century Arabia. They conquered most of what is now Saudi Arabia, and their strict practices survive in a diluted version of Sharia there. Haykel sees an important distinction between the groups, though: “The Wahhabis were not wanton in their violence.” They were surrounded by Muslims, and they conquered lands that were already Islamic; this stayed their hand. “ISIS, by contrast, is really reliving the early period.” Early Muslims were surrounded by non-Muslims, and the Islamic State, because of its takfiri tendencies, considers itself to be in the same situation.

If al-Qaeda wanted to revive slavery, it never said so. And why would it? Silence on slavery probably reflected strategic thinking, with public sympathies in mind: when the Islamic State began enslaving people, even some of its supporters balked. Nonetheless, the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”

In October, Dabiq, the magazine of the Islamic State, published “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” an article that took up the question of whether Yazidis (the members of an ancient Kurdish sect that borrows elements of Islam, and had come under attack from Islamic State forces in northern Iraq) are lapsed Muslims, and therefore marked for death, or merely pagans and therefore fair game for enslavement. A study group of Islamic State scholars had convened, on government orders, to resolve this issue. If they are pagans, the article’s anonymous author wrote,

Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] … Enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.
II. Territory

Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are thought to have immigrated to the Islamic State. Recruits hail from France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Australia, Indonesia, the United States, and many other places. Many have come to fight, and many intend to die.

Peter R. Neumann, a professor at King’s College London, told me that online voices have been essential to spreading propaganda and ensuring that newcomers know what to believe. Online recruitment has also widened the demographics of the jihadist community, by allowing conservative Muslim women—physically isolated in their homes—to reach out to recruiters, radicalize, and arrange passage to Syria. Through its appeals to both genders, the Islamic State hopes to build a complete society.

In November, I traveled to Australia to meet Musa Cerantonio, a 30-year-old man whom Neumann and other researchers had identified as one of the two most important “new spiritual authorities” guiding foreigners to join the Islamic State. For three years he was a televangelist on Iqraa TV in Cairo, but he left after the station objected to his frequent calls to establish a caliphate. Now he preaches on Facebook and Twitter.

Cerantonio—a big, friendly man with a bookish demeanor—told me he blanches at beheading videos. He hates seeing the violence, even though supporters of the Islamic State are required to endorse it. (He speaks out, controversially among jihadists, against suicide bombing, on the grounds that God forbids suicide; he differs from the Islamic State on a few other points as well.) He has the kind of unkempt facial hair one sees on certain overgrown fans of The Lord of the Rings, and his obsession with Islamic apocalypticism felt familiar. He seemed to be living out a drama that looks, from an outsider’s perspective, like a medieval fantasy novel, only with real blood.
Last June, Cerantonio and his wife tried to emigrate—he wouldn’t say to where (“It’s illegal to go to Syria,” he said cagily)—but they were caught en route, in the Philippines, and he was deported back to Australia for overstaying his visa. Australia has criminalized attempts to join or travel to the Islamic State, and has confiscated Cerantonio’s passport. He is stuck in Melbourne, where he is well known to the local constabulary. If Cerantonio were caught facilitating the movement of individuals to the Islamic State, he would be imprisoned. So far, though, he is free—a technically unaffiliated ideologue who nonetheless speaks with what other jihadists have taken to be a reliable voice on matters of the Islamic State’s doctrine.

We met for lunch in Footscray, a dense, multicultural Melbourne suburb that’s home to Lonely Planet, the travel-guide publisher. Cerantonio grew up there in a half-Irish, half-Calabrian family. On a typical street one can find African restaurants, Vietnamese shops, and young Arabs walking around in the Salafi uniform of scraggly beard, long shirt, and trousers ending halfway down the calves.

Cerantonio explained the joy he felt when Baghdadi was declared the caliph on June 29—and the sudden, magnetic attraction that Mesopotamia began to exert on him and his friends. “I was in a hotel [in the Philippines], and I saw the declaration on television,” he told me. “And I was just amazed, and I’m like, Why am I stuck here in this bloody room?”

The last caliphate was the Ottoman empire, which reached its peak in the 16th century and then experienced a long decline, until the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, euthanized it in 1924. But Cerantonio, like many supporters of the Islamic State, doesn’t acknowledge that caliphate as legitimate, because it didn’t fully enforce Islamic law, which requires stonings and slavery and amputations, and because its caliphs were not descended from the tribe of the Prophet, the Quraysh.

Baghdadi spoke at length of the importance of the caliphate in his Mosul sermon. He said that to revive the institution of the caliphate—which had not functioned except in name for about 1,000 years—was a communal obligation. He and his loyalists had “hastened to declare the caliphate and place an imam” at its head, he said. “This is a duty upon the Muslims—a duty that has been lost for centuries … The Muslims sin by losing it, and they must always seek to establish it.” Like bin Laden before him, Baghdadi spoke floridly, with frequent scriptural allusion and command of classical rhetoric. Unlike bin Laden, and unlike those false caliphs of the Ottoman empire, he is Qurayshi.

The caliphate, Cerantonio told me, is not just a political entity but also a vehicle for salvation. Islamic State propaganda regularly reports the pledges of baya’a (allegiance) rolling in from jihadist groups across the Muslim world. Cerantonio quoted a Prophetic saying, that to die without pledging allegiance is to die jahil (ignorant) and therefore die a “death of disbelief.” Consider how Muslims (or, for that matter, Christians) imagine God deals with the souls of people who die without learning about the one true religion. They are neither obviously saved nor definitively condemned. Similarly, Cerantonio said, the Muslim who acknowledges one omnipotent god and prays, but who dies without pledging himself to a valid caliph and incurring the obligations of that oath, has failed to live a fully Islamic life. I pointed out that this means the vast majority of Muslims in history, and all who passed away between 1924 and 2014, died a death of disbelief. Cerantonio nodded gravely. “I would go so far as to say that Islam has been reestablished” by the caliphate.

I asked him about his own baya’a, and he quickly corrected me: “I didn’t say that I’d pledged allegiance.” Under Australian law, he reminded me, giving baya’a to the Islamic State was illegal. “But I agree that [Baghdadi] fulfills the requirements,” he continued. “I’m just going to wink at you, and you take that to mean whatever you want.”

To be the caliph, one must meet conditions outlined in Sunni law—being a Muslim adult man of Quraysh descent; exhibiting moral probity and physical and mental integrity; and having ’amr, or authority. This last criterion, Cerantonio said, is the hardest to fulfill, and requires that the caliph have territory in which he can enforce Islamic law. Baghdadi’s Islamic State achieved that long before June 29, Cerantonio said, and as soon as it did, a Western convert within the group’s ranks—Cerantonio described him as “something of a leader”—began murmuring about the religious obligation to declare a caliphate. He and others spoke quietly to those in power and told them that further delay would be sinful.

Social-media posts from the Islamic State suggest that executions happen more or less continually.
Cerantonio said a faction arose that was prepared to make war on Baghdadi’s group if it delayed any further. They prepared a letter to various powerful members of ISIS, airing their displeasure at the failure to appoint a caliph, but were pacified by Adnani, the spokesman, who let them in on a secret—that a caliphate had already been declared, long before the public announcement. They had their legitimate caliph, and at that point there was only one option. “If he’s legitimate,” Cerantonio said, “you must give him the baya’a.”

After Baghdadi’s July sermon, a stream of jihadists began flowing daily into Syria with renewed motivation. Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German author and former politician who visited the Islamic State in December, reported the arrival of 100 fighters at one Turkish-border recruitment station in just two days. His report, among others, suggests a still-steady inflow of foreigners, ready to give up everything at home for a shot at paradise in the worst place on Earth.
Bernard Haykel, the foremost secular authority on the Islamic State’s ideology, believes the group is trying to re-create the earliest days of Islam and is faithfully reproducing its norms of war. “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness” about the group’s dedication to the text of the Koran, he says. (Peter Murphy)
In London, a week before my meal with Cerantonio, I met with three ex-members of a banned Islamist group called Al Muhajiroun (The Emigrants): Anjem Choudary, Abu Baraa, and Abdul Muhid. They all expressed desire to emigrate to the Islamic State, as many of their colleagues already had, but the authorities had confiscated their passports. Like Cerantonio, they regarded the caliphate as the only righteous government on Earth, though none would confess having pledged allegiance. Their principal goal in meeting me was to explain what the Islamic State stands for, and how its policies reflect God’s law.

Choudary, 48, is the group’s former leader. He frequently appears on cable news, as one of the few people producers can book who will defend the Islamic State vociferously, until his mike is cut. He has a reputation in the United Kingdom as a loathsome blowhard, but he and his disciples sincerely believe in the Islamic State and, on matters of doctrine, speak in its voice. Choudary and the others feature prominently in the Twitter feeds of Islamic State residents, and Abu Baraa maintains a YouTube channel to answer questions about Sharia.
Since September, authorities have been investigating the three men on suspicion of supporting terrorism. Because of this investigation, they had to meet me separately: communication among them would have violated the terms of their bail. But speaking with them felt like speaking with the same person wearing different masks. Choudary met me in a candy shop in the East London suburb of Ilford. He was dressed smartly, in a crisp blue tunic reaching nearly to his ankles, and sipped a Red Bull while we talked.

Before the caliphate, “maybe 85 percent of the Sharia was absent from our lives,” Choudary told me. “These laws are in abeyance until we have khilafa”—a caliphate—“and now we have one.” Without a caliphate, for example, individual vigilantes are not obliged to amputate the hands of thieves they catch in the act. But create a caliphate, and this law, along with a huge body of other jurisprudence, suddenly awakens. In theory, all Muslims are obliged to immigrate to the territory where the caliph is applying these laws. One of Choudary’s prize students, a convert from Hinduism named Abu Rumaysah, evaded police to bring his family of five from London to Syria in November. On the day I met Choudary, Abu Rumaysah tweeted out a picture of himself with a Kalashnikov in one arm and his newborn son in the other. Hashtag: #GenerationKhilafah.

The caliph is required to implement Sharia. Any deviation will compel those who have pledged allegiance to inform the caliph in private of his error and, in extreme cases, to excommunicate and replace him if he persists. (“I have been plagued with this great matter, plagued with this responsibility, and it is a heavy responsibility,” Baghdadi said in his sermon.) In return, the caliph commands obedience—and those who persist in supporting non-Muslim governments, after being duly warned and educated about their sin, are considered apostates.

Choudary said Sharia has been misunderstood because of its incomplete application by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, which does behead murderers and cut off thieves’ hands. “The problem,” he explained, “is that when places like Saudi Arabia just implement the penal code, and don’t provide the social and economic justice of the Sharia—the whole package—they simply engender hatred toward the Sharia.” That whole package, he said, would include free housing, food, and clothing for all, though of course anyone who wished to enrich himself with work could do so.

Abdul Muhid, 32, continued along these lines. He was dressed in mujahideen chic when I met him at a local restaurant: scruffy beard, Afghan cap, and a wallet outside of his clothes, attached with what looked like a shoulder holster. When we sat down, he was eager to discuss welfare. The Islamic State may have medieval-style punishments for moral crimes (lashes for boozing or fornication, stoning for adultery), but its social-welfare program is, at least in some aspects, progressive to a degree that would please an MSNBC pundit. Health care, he said, is free. (“Isn’t it free in Britain, too?,” I asked. “Not really,” he said. “Some procedures aren’t covered, such as vision.”) This provision of social welfare was not, he said, a policy choice of the Islamic State, but a policy obligation inherent in God’s law.
Anjem Choudary, London’s most notorious defender of the Islamic State, says crucifixion and beheading are sacred requirements. (Tal Cohen/Reuters)
III. The Apocalypse

All Muslims acknowledge that God is the only one who knows the future. But they also agree that he has offered us a peek at it, in the Koran and in narrations of the Prophet. The Islamic State differs from nearly every other current jihadist movement in believing that it is written into God’s script as a central character. It is in this casting that the Islamic State is most boldly distinctive from its predecessors, and clearest in the religious nature of its mission.

In broad strokes, al-Qaeda acts like an underground political movement, with worldly goals in sight at all times—the expulsion of non-Muslims from the Arabian peninsula, the abolishment of the state of Israel, the end of support for dictatorships in Muslim lands. The Islamic State has its share of worldly concerns (including, in the places it controls, collecting garbage and keeping the water running), but the End of Days is a leitmotif of its propaganda. Bin Laden rarely mentioned the apocalypse, and when he did, he seemed to presume that he would be long dead when the glorious moment of divine comeuppance finally arrived. “Bin Laden and Zawahiri are from elite Sunni families who look down on this kind of speculation and think it’s something the masses engage in,” says Will McCants of the Brookings Institution, who is writing a book about the Islamic State’s apocalyptic thought.

During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers, by contrast, saw signs of the end times everywhere. They were anticipating, within a year, the arrival of the Mahdi—a messianic figure destined to lead the Muslims to victory before the end of the world. McCants says a prominent Islamist in Iraq approached bin Laden in 2008 to warn him that the group was being led by millenarians who were “talking all the time about the Mahdi and making strategic decisions” based on when they thought the Mahdi was going to arrive. “Al-Qaeda had to write to [these leaders] to say ‘Cut it out.’ ”
For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need. Of the Islamic State supporters I met, Musa Cerantonio, the Australian, expressed the deepest interest in the apocalypse and how the remaining days of the Islamic State—and the world—might look. Parts of that prediction are original to him, and do not yet have the status of doctrine. But other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.

The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.

“Dabiq is basically all farmland,” one Islamic State supporter recently tweeted. “You could imagine large battles taking place there.” The Islamic State’s propagandists drool with anticipation of this event, and constantly imply that it will come soon. The state’s magazine quotes Zarqawi as saying, “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify … until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.” A recent propaganda video shows clips from Hollywood war movies set in medieval times—perhaps because many of the prophecies specify that the armies will be on horseback or carrying ancient weapons.

Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. Western media frequently miss references to Dabiq in the Islamic State’s videos, and focus instead on lurid scenes of beheading. “Here we are, burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,” said a masked executioner in a November video, showing the severed head of Peter (Abdul Rahman) Kassig, the aid worker who’d been held captive for more than a year. During fighting in Iraq in December, after mujahideen (perhaps inaccurately) reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts or hostesses upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.

The Prophetic narration that foretells the Dabiq battle refers to the enemy as Rome. Who “Rome” is, now that the pope has no army, remains a matter of debate. But Cerantonio makes a case that Rome meant the Eastern Roman empire, which had its capital in what is now Istanbul. We should think of Rome as the Republic of Turkey—the same republic that ended the last self-identified caliphate, 90 years ago. Other Islamic State sources suggest that Rome might mean any infidel army, and the Americans will do nicely.

After mujahideen reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.
After its battle in Dabiq, Cerantonio said, the caliphate will expand and sack Istanbul. Some believe it will then cover the entire Earth, but Cerantonio suggested its tide may never reach beyond the Bosporus. An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.

“Only God knows” whether the Islamic State’s armies are the ones foretold, Cerantonio said. But he is hopeful. “The Prophet said that one sign of the imminent arrival of the End of Days is that people will for a long while stop talking about the End of Days,” he said. “If you go to the mosques now, you’ll find the preachers are silent about this subject.” On this theory, even setbacks dealt to the Islamic State mean nothing, since God has preordained the near-destruction of his people anyway. The Islamic State has its best and worst days ahead of it.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was declared caliph by his followers last summer. The establishment of a caliphate awakened large sections of Koranic law that had lain dormant, and required those Muslims who recognized the caliphate to immigrate. (Associated Press)
IV. The Fight

The ideological purity of the Islamic State has one compensating virtue: it allows us to predict some of the group’s actions. Osama bin Laden was seldom predictable. He ended his first television interview cryptically. CNN’s Peter Arnett asked him, “What are your future plans?” Bin Laden replied, “You’ll see them and hear about them in the media, God willing.” By contrast, the Islamic State boasts openly about its plans—not all of them, but enough so that by listening carefully, we can deduce how it intends to govern and expand.

In London, Choudary and his students provided detailed descriptions of how the Islamic State must conduct its foreign policy, now that it is a caliphate. It has already taken up what Islamic law refers to as “offensive jihad,” the forcible expansion into countries that are ruled by non-Muslims. “Hitherto, we were just defending ourselves,” Choudary said; without a caliphate, offensive jihad is an inapplicable concept. But the waging of war to expand the caliphate is an essential duty of the caliph.
Choudary took pains to present the laws of war under which the Islamic State operates as policies of mercy rather than of brutality. He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies—a holy order to scare the shit out of them with beheadings and crucifixions and enslavement of women and children, because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.

Choudary’s colleague Abu Baraa explained that Islamic law permits only temporary peace treaties, lasting no longer than a decade. Similarly, accepting any border is anathema, as stated by the Prophet and echoed in the Islamic State’s propaganda videos. If the caliph consents to a longer-term peace or permanent border, he will be in error. Temporary peace treaties are renewable, but may not be applied to all enemies at once: the caliph must wage jihad at least once a year. He may not rest, or he will fall into a state of sin.

One comparison to the Islamic State is the Khmer Rouge, which killed about a third of the population of Cambodia. But the Khmer Rouge occupied Cambodia’s seat at the United Nations. “This is not permitted,” Abu Baraa said. “To send an ambassador to the UN is to recognize an authority other than God’s.” This form of diplomacy is shirk, or polytheism, he argued, and would be immediate cause to hereticize and replace Baghdadi. Even to hasten the arrival of a caliphate by democratic means—for example by voting for political candidates who favor a caliphate—is shirk.

It’s hard to overstate how hamstrung the Islamic State will be by its radicalism. The modern international system, born of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, relies on each state’s willingness to recognize borders, however grudgingly. For the Islamic State, that recognition is ideological suicide. Other Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, have succumbed to the blandishments of democracy and the potential for an invitation to the community of nations, complete with a UN seat. Negotiation and accommodation have worked, at times, for the Taliban as well. (Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan exchanged ambassadors with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates, an act that invalidated the Taliban’s authority in the Islamic State’s eyes.) To the Islamic State these are not options, but acts of apostasy.

The United States and its allies have reacted to the Islamic State belatedly and in an apparent daze. The group’s ambitions and rough strategic blueprints were evident in its pronouncements and in social-media chatter as far back as 2011, when it was just one of many terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and hadn’t yet committed mass atrocities. Adnani, the spokesman, told followers then that the group’s ambition was to “restore the Islamic caliphate,” and he evoked the apocalypse, saying, “There are but a few days left.” Baghdadi had already styled himself “commander of the faithful,” a title ordinarily reserved for caliphs, in 2011. In April 2013, Adnani declared the movement “ready to redraw the world upon the Prophetic methodology of the caliphate.” In August 2013, he said, “Our goal is to establish an Islamic state that doesn’t recognize borders, on the Prophetic methodology.” By then, the group had taken Raqqa, a Syrian provincial capital of perhaps 500,000 people, and was drawing in substantial numbers of foreign fighters who’d heard its message.

If we had identified the Islamic State’s intentions early, and realized that the vacuum in Syria and Iraq would give it ample space to carry them out, we might, at a minimum, have pushed Iraq to harden its border with Syria and preemptively make deals with its Sunnis. That would at least have avoided the electrifying propaganda effect created by the declaration of a caliphate just after the conquest of Iraq’s third-largest city. Yet, just over a year ago, Obama told The New Yorker that he considered ISIS to be al-Qaeda’s weaker partner. “If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” the president said.

Our failure to appreciate the split between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the essential differences between the two, has led to dangerous decisions. Last fall, to take one example, the U.S. government consented to a desperate plan to save Peter Kassig’s life. The plan facilitated—indeed, required—the interaction of some of the founding figures of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and could hardly have looked more hastily improvised.

Given everything we know about the Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it appears the best of bad military options.
It entailed the enlistment of Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, the Zarqawi mentor and al-Qaeda grandee, to approach Turki al-Binali, the Islamic State’s chief ideologue and a former student of Maqdisi’s, even though the two men had fallen out due to Maqdisi’s criticism of the Islamic State. Maqdisi had already called for the state to extend mercy to Alan Henning, the British cabbie who had entered Syria to deliver aid to children. In December, The Guardian reported that the U.S. government, through an intermediary, had asked Maqdisi to intercede with the Islamic State on Kassig’s behalf.

Maqdisi was living freely in Jordan, but had been banned from communicating with terrorists abroad, and was being monitored closely. After Jordan granted the United States permission to reintroduce Maqdisi to Binali, Maqdisi bought a phone with American money and was allowed to correspond merrily with his former student for a few days, before the Jordanian government stopped the chats and used them as a pretext to jail Maqdisi. Kassig’s severed head appeared in the Dabiq video a few days later.
Maqdisi gets mocked roundly on Twitter by the Islamic State’s fans, and al‑Qaeda is held in great contempt for refusing to acknowledge the caliphate. Cole Bunzel, a scholar who studies Islamic State ideology, read Maqdisi’s opinion on Henning’s status and thought it would hasten his and other captives’ death. “If I were held captive by the Islamic State and Maqdisi said I shouldn’t be killed,” he told me, “I’d kiss my ass goodbye.”

Kassig’s death was a tragedy, but the plan’s success would have been a bigger one. A reconciliation between Maqdisi and Binali would have begun to heal the main rift between the world’s two largest jihadist organizations. It’s possible that the government wanted only to draw out Binali for intelligence purposes or assassination. (Multiple attempts to elicit comment from the FBI were unsuccessful.) Regardless, the decision to play matchmaker for America’s two main terrorist antagonists reveals astonishingly poor judgment.

Chastened by our earlier indifference, we are now meeting the Islamic State via Kurdish and Iraqi proxy on the battlefield, and with regular air assaults. Those strategies haven’t dislodged the Islamic State from any of its major territorial possessions, although they’ve kept it from directly assaulting Baghdad and Erbil and slaughtering Shia and Kurds there.

Some observers have called for escalation, including several predictable voices from the interventionist right (Max Boot, Frederick Kagan), who have urged the deployment of tens of thousands of American soldiers. These calls should not be dismissed too quickly: an avowedly genocidal organization is on its potential victims’ front lawn, and it is committing daily atrocities in the territory it already controls.

One way to un-cast the Islamic State’s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Al‑Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding. Former pledges could of course continue to attack the West and behead their enemies, as freelancers. But the propaganda value of the caliphate would disappear, and with it the supposed religious duty to immigrate and serve it. If the United States were to invade, the Islamic State’s obsession with battle at Dabiq suggests that it might send vast resources there, as if in a conventional battle. If the state musters at Dabiq in full force, only to be routed, it might never recover.
Abu Baraa, who maintains a YouTube channel about Islamic law, says the caliph, Baghdadi, cannot negotiate or recognize borders, and must continually make war, or he will remove himself from Islam.
And yet the risks of escalation are enormous. The biggest proponent of an American invasion is the Islamic State itself. The provocative videos, in which a black-hooded executioner addresses President Obama by name, are clearly made to draw America into the fight. An invasion would be a huge propaganda victory for jihadists worldwide: irrespective of whether they have given baya’a to the caliph, they all believe that the United States wants to embark on a modern-day Crusade and kill Muslims. Yet another invasion and occupation would confirm that suspicion, and bolster recruitment. Add the incompetence of our previous efforts as occupiers, and we have reason for reluctance. The rise of ISIS, after all, happened only because our previous occupation created space for Zarqawi and his followers. Who knows the consequences of another botched job?

Given everything we know about the Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it, through air strikes and proxy warfare, appears the best of bad military options. Neither the Kurds nor the Shia will ever subdue and control the whole Sunni heartland of Syria and Iraq—they are hated there, and have no appetite for such an adventure anyway. But they can keep the Islamic State from fulfilling its duty to expand. And with every month that it fails to expand, it resembles less the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammad than yet another Middle Eastern government failing to bring prosperity to its people.

The humanitarian cost of the Islamic State’s existence is high. But its threat to the United States is smaller than its all too frequent conflation with al-Qaeda would suggest. Al-Qaeda’s core is rare among jihadist groups for its focus on the “far enemy” (the West); most jihadist groups’ main concerns lie closer to home. That’s especially true of the Islamic State, precisely because of its ideology. It sees enemies everywhere around it, and while its leadership wishes ill on the United States, the application of Sharia in the caliphate and the expansion to contiguous lands are paramount. Baghdadi has said as much directly: in November he told his Saudi agents to “deal with the rafida [Shia] first … then al-Sulul [Sunni supporters of the Saudi monarchy] … before the crusaders and their bases.”

Musa Cerantonio and Anjem Choudary could mentally shift from contemplating mass death to discussing the virtues of Vietnamese coffee, with apparent delight in each.
The foreign fighters (and their wives and children) have been traveling to the caliphate on one-way tickets: they want to live under true Sharia, and many want martyrdom. Doctrine, recall, requires believers to reside in the caliphate if it is at all possible for them to do so. One of the Islamic State’s less bloody videos shows a group of jihadists burning their French, British, and Australian passports. This would be an eccentric act for someone intending to return to blow himself up in line at the Louvre or to hold another chocolate shop hostage in Sydney.

A few “lone wolf” supporters of the Islamic State have attacked Western targets, and more attacks will come. But most of the attackers have been frustrated amateurs, unable to immigrate to the caliphate because of confiscated passports or other problems. Even if the Islamic State cheers these attacks—and it does in its propaganda—it hasn’t yet planned and financed one. (The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January was principally an al‑Qaeda operation.) During his visit to Mosul in December, Jürgen Todenhöfer interviewed a portly German jihadist and asked whether any of his comrades had returned to Europe to carry out attacks. The jihadist seemed to regard returnees not as soldiers but as dropouts. “The fact is that the returnees from the Islamic State should repent from their return,” he said. “I hope they review their religion.”
Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like.

Even so, the death of the Islamic State is unlikely to be quick, and things could still go badly wrong: if the Islamic State obtained the allegiance of al‑Qaeda—increasing, in one swoop, the unity of its base—it could wax into a worse foe than we’ve yet seen. The rift between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda has, if anything, grown in the past few months; the December issue of Dabiq featured a long account of an al‑Qaeda defector who described his old group as corrupt and ineffectual, and Zawahiri as a distant and unfit leader. But we should watch carefully for a rapprochement.

Without a catastrophe such as this, however, or perhaps the threat of the Islamic State’s storming Erbil, a vast ground invasion would certainly make the situation worse.

V. Dissuasion

It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State “a problem with Islam.” The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.

Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy.

The Islamic State’s ideology exerts powerful sway over a certain subset of the population. Life’s hypocrisies and inconsistencies vanish in its face. Musa Cerantonio and the Salafis I met in London are unstumpable: no question I posed left them stuttering. They lectured me garrulously and, if one accepts their premises, convincingly. To call them un-Islamic appears, to me, to invite them into an argument that they would win. If they had been froth-spewing maniacs, I might be able to predict that their movement would burn out as the psychopaths detonated themselves or became drone-splats, one by one. But these men spoke with an academic precision that put me in mind of a good graduate seminar. I even enjoyed their company, and that frightened me as much as anything else.

Non-muslims cannot tell Muslims how to practice their religion properly. But Muslims have long since begun this debate within their own ranks. “You have to have standards,” Anjem Choudary told me. “Somebody could claim to be a Muslim, but if he believes in homosexuality or drinking alcohol, then he is not a Muslim. There is no such thing as a nonpracticing vegetarian.”

There is, however, another strand of Islam that offers a hard-line alternative to the Islamic State—just as uncompromising, but with opposite conclusions. This strand has proved appealing to many Muslims cursed or blessed with a psychological longing to see every jot and tittle of the holy texts implemented as they were in the earliest days of Islam. Islamic State supporters know how to react to Muslims who ignore parts of the Koran: with takfir and ridicule. But they also know that some other Muslims read the Koran as assiduously as they do, and pose a real ideological threat.

Baghdadi is Salafi. The term Salafi has been villainized, in part because authentic villains have ridden into battle waving the Salafi banner. But most Salafis are not jihadists, and most adhere to sects that reject the Islamic State. They are, as Haykel notes, committed to expanding Dar al-Islam, the land of Islam, even, perhaps, with the implementation of monstrous practices such as slavery and amputation—but at some future point. Their first priority is personal purification and religious observance, and they believe anything that thwarts those goals—such as causing war or unrest that would disrupt lives and prayer and scholarship—is forbidden.

They live among us. Last fall, I visited the Philadelphia mosque of Breton Pocius, 28, a Salafi imam who goes by the name Abdullah. His mosque is on the border between the crime-ridden Northern Liberties neighborhood and a gentrifying area that one might call Dar al-Hipster; his beard allows him to pass in the latter zone almost unnoticed.

A theological alternative to the Islamic State exists—just as uncompromising, but with opposite conclusions.
Pocius converted 15 years ago after a Polish Catholic upbringing in Chicago. Like Cerantonio, he talks like an old soul, exhibiting deep familiarity with ancient texts, and a commitment to them motivated by curiosity and scholarship, and by a conviction that they are the only way to escape hellfire. When I met him at a local coffee shop, he carried a work of Koranic scholarship in Arabic and a book for teaching himself Japanese. He was preparing a sermon on the obligations of fatherhood for the 150 or so worshipers in his Friday congregation.

Pocius said his main goal is to encourage a halal life for worshipers in his mosque. But the rise of the Islamic State has forced him to consider political questions that are usually very far from the minds of Salafis. “Most of what they’ll say about how to pray and how to dress is exactly what I’ll say in my masjid [mosque]. But when they get to questions about social upheaval, they sound like Che Guevara.”

When Baghdadi showed up, Pocius adopted the slogan “Not my khalifa.” “The times of the Prophet were a time of great bloodshed,” he told me, “and he knew that the worst possible condition for all people was chaos, especially within the umma [Muslim community].” Accordingly, Pocius said, the correct attitude for Salafis is not to sow discord by factionalizing and declaring fellow Muslims apostates.
Instead, Pocius—like a majority of Salafis—believes that Muslims should remove themselves from politics. These quietist Salafis, as they are known, agree with the Islamic State that God’s law is the only law, and they eschew practices like voting and the creation of political parties. But they interpret the Koran’s hatred of discord and chaos as requiring them to fall into line with just about any leader, including some manifestly sinful ones. “The Prophet said: as long as the ruler does not enter into clear kufr [disbelief], give him general obedience,” Pocius told me, and the classic “books of creed” all warn against causing social upheaval. Quietist Salafis are strictly forbidden from dividing Muslims from one another—for example, by mass excommunication. Living without baya’a, Pocius said, does indeed make one ignorant, or benighted. But baya’a need not mean direct allegiance to a caliph, and certainly not to Abu Bakr al‑Baghdadi. It can mean, more broadly, allegiance to a religious social contract and commitment to a society of Muslims, whether ruled by a caliph or not.

Quietist Salafis believe that Muslims should direct their energies toward perfecting their personal life, including prayer, ritual, and hygiene. Much in the same way ultra-Orthodox Jews debate whether it’s kosher to tear off squares of toilet paper on the Sabbath (does that count as “rending cloth”?), they spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that their trousers are not too long, that their beards are trimmed in some areas and shaggy in others. Through this fastidious observance, they believe, God will favor them with strength and numbers, and perhaps a caliphate will arise. At that moment, Muslims will take vengeance and, yes, achieve glorious victory at Dabiq. But Pocius cites a slew of modern Salafi theologians who argue that a caliphate cannot come into being in a righteous way except through the unmistakable will of God.

The Islamic State, of course, would agree, and say that God has anointed Baghdadi. Pocius’s retort amounts to a call to humility. He cites Abdullah Ibn Abbas, one of the Prophet’s companions, who sat down with dissenters and asked them how they had the gall, as a minority, to tell the majority that it was wrong. Dissent itself, to the point of bloodshed or splitting the umma, was forbidden. Even the manner of the establishment of Baghdadi’s caliphate runs contrary to expectation, he said. “The khilafa is something that Allah is going to establish,” he told me, “and it will involve a consensus of scholars from Mecca and Medina. That is not what happened. ISIS came out of nowhere.”

The Islamic State loathes this talk, and its fanboys tweet derisively about quietist Salafis. They mock them as “Salafis of menstruation,” for their obscure judgments about when women are and aren’t clean, and other low-priority aspects of life. “What we need now is fatwa about how it’s haram [forbidden] to ride a bike on Jupiter,” one tweeted drily. “That’s what scholars should focus on. More pressing than state of Ummah.” Anjem Choudary, for his part, says that no sin merits more vigorous opposition than the usurpation of God’s law, and that extremism in defense of monotheism is no vice.

Pocius doesn’t court any kind of official support from the United States, as a counterweight to jihadism. Indeed, official support would tend to discredit him, and in any case he is bitter toward America for treating him, in his words, as “less than a citizen.” (He alleges that the government paid spies to infiltrate his mosque and harassed his mother at work with questions about his being a potential terrorist.)

Still, his quietist Salafism offers an Islamic antidote to Baghdadi-style jihadism. The people who arrive at the faith spoiling for a fight cannot all be stopped from jihadism, but those whose main motivation is to find an ultraconservative, uncompromising version of Islam have an alternative here. It is not moderate Islam; most Muslims would consider it extreme. It is, however, a form of Islam that the literal-minded would not instantly find hypocritical, or blasphemously purged of its inconveniences. Hypocrisy is not a sin that ideologically minded young men tolerate well.

Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfir against Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted).

I suspect that most Muslims appreciated Obama’s sentiment: the president was standing with them against both Baghdadi and non-Muslim chauvinists trying to implicate them in crimes. But most Muslims aren’t susceptible to joining jihad. The ones who are susceptible will only have had their suspicions confirmed: the United States lies about religion to serve its purposes.

Within the narrow bounds of its theology, the Islamic State hums with energy, even creativity. Outside those bounds, it could hardly be more arid and silent: a vision of life as obedience, order, and destiny. Musa Cerantonio and Anjem Choudary could mentally shift from contemplating mass death and eternal torture to discussing the virtues of Vietnamese coffee or treacly pastry, with apparent delight in each, yet to me it seemed that to embrace their views would be to see all the flavors of this world grow insipid compared with the vivid grotesqueries of the hereafter.

I could enjoy their company, as a guilty intellectual exercise, up to a point. In reviewing Mein Kampf in March 1940, George Orwell confessed that he had “never been able to dislike Hitler”; something about the man projected an underdog quality, even when his goals were cowardly or loathsome. “If he were killing a mouse he would know how to make it seem like a dragon.” The Islamic State’s partisans have much the same allure. They believe that they are personally involved in struggles beyond their own lives, and that merely to be swept up in the drama, on the side of righteousness, is a privilege and a pleasure—especially when it is also a burden.

Fascism, Orwell continued, is

psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life … Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them, “I offer you struggle, danger, and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet … We ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.
Nor, in the case of the Islamic State, its religious or intellectual appeal. That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools may convince some potential converts that the group’s message is false, and military tools can limit its horrors. But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time.

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Senator Cruz Hails Victory of 26 States in Federal District Court with Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s Stopping Obama From Issuing of Work Permit Cards (Employment Authorization Document) for 4-5 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

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Story 1: Senator Cruz Hails Victory of 26 States in Federal District Court with  Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s Stopping Obama From Issuing of Work Permit Cards (Employment Authorization Document) for 4-5 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos
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US judge temporarily halts Obama’s immigration orders

A judge in Texas has temporarily halted a plan by US President Barack Obama to give a reprieve from deportation to millions of undocumented people.

The ruling by US District Judge Andrew Hanen gives a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders.

Some parts of the policy would have started to take effect on Wednesday.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said he is seeking to overturn the Texas ruling and the courts will ultimately decide.

The coalition of states, led by Texas and made up of mostly conservative states in the South and Midwest, say the order would increase costs for law enforcement, health care and education.

On Tuesday the White House defended the legality of its policy, announced by President Obama in November after immigration-reform efforts had failed repeatedly in Congress.

President Obama’s unilateral move angered Republicans who are working to stop the executive action.

The House has approved a bill that would remove funding for the policies from the Department of Homeland Security’s budget. The measure has failed to pass the Senate and President Obama is expected to veto the bill.

Republicans hailed Mr Hanen’s injunction.

“The Texas court decision reached last night is a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama’s lawless amnesty,” said Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.

The White House has said Obama’s executive order is not out of legal bounds and that the US Supreme Court and Congress have said federal officials can set priorities in enforcing immigration laws.

Twelve states as well as Washington DC and the US Conference of Mayors have come out in support of President Obama’s action, saying it would stimulate the economy.

The first of President Obama’s orders – to expand a programme that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US illegally as children – was set to start on Wednesday.

The other major part of President Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of US citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until 19 May.

Judge Nap: ‘Rare Ruling Against Obama Could Delay Amnesty Forever

Judge Andrew Napolitano said today that a new federal court ruling could actually delay President Obama’s immigration amnesty “forever.”

On FBN’s “Varney & Co.,” the judge explained the meaning behind the new ruling that temporarily blocks the implementation of Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

The ruling came late Monday after 26 states asked the court to delay the implementation until after the conclusion of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Obama’s orders.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted the preliminary injunction Monday after hearing arguments in Brownsville, Texas, last month. He wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case.”

“The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action.

The first of Obama’s orders — to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19.

Napolitano called Hanen’s ruling “rare,” saying one federal judge usually does not decide to stop the president from doing something. He said it’s more common for a federal judge to let an appeals court decide.

“You could count on one hand the number of times a single federal judge has done this to a President of the United States since World War II and you would not use all your fingers,” he said.

The case now moves to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that covers New Orleans and Houston.

Napolitano said the amnesty program is on hold “probably forever” unless the appeals court decides to overturn Hanen’s injunction.

He said it will probably take longer than two years – Obama’s remaining time in office – for the overall case to wind its way through the courts.

“The judge said the feds will probably lose and there is probably irreparable harm to the states, therefore I am going to stop this from happening and I’m going to stop it right now,” he explained.

Texas Judge’s Immigration Rebuke May Be Hard To Challenge

President Barack Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said. In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of people from deportation, U S District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans. The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which requires notice in a publication called the Federal Register as well as an opportunity for people to submit views in writing. The ruling, however narrow, marked an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders that would let up to 4. 7 million illegal immigrants stay without threat of deportation.

It’s a very procedural point – that he did this too quickly, said Michael Kagan, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Hanen’s ruling left in disarray U S policy toward the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally. Obama said on Tuesday he disagreed with the ruling and expected his administration to prevail in the courts. The U S Justice Department was preparing an appeal of Hanen’s temporary injunction to the 5th U S Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Obama said. The court could consider an emergency request to block Hanen’s ruling, potentially within days, although most of the 23 judges on the court were appointed by Republican presidents. There was no consensus among lawyers with expertise in administrative law and immigration law on whether Hanen would be reversed on appeal. But they said the judge was wise to focus on an area of administrative law where legal precedent is sometimes fuzzy. In the near term, the narrow approach allowed Hanen to issue a temporary injunction barring federal agencies from putting Obama’s plans into place. An appointee of President George W. Bush, Hanen had previously criticized U S immigration enforcement as too lax.

BRAKE ON PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONHanen’s ruling turned on the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirement that a proposed rule or regulation appear in the Federal Register so people have a chance to comment. The Federal Register is a daily journal of U S government proceedings. The notice and comment requirement acts as a brake on all presidents, slowing their plans by months or years. The requirement, though, does not apply to interpretative rules or legislative rules, an exception that Justice Department lawyers said applied to Obama’s announcement in November.

For Hanen, the pivotal question became whether the new rules, such as granting work permits to potentially millions of illegal immigrants, was binding on federal agents or merely general guidance. He ruled that they were binding, and that Obama should have allowed for notice and comment. Lawyers with expertise in administrative law said there was little guidance from the U S Supreme Court on what qualifies as a rule that needs to be published, leaving disagreement among lower courts and a grey area for Hanen to work in. The case law as to what qualifies as a legislative rule is remarkably unclear, said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a University of California Berkeley law professor.

LENGTHY PROCESS LOOMSO’Connell said it was hard to predict how the appeals court would rule in the end, although she thought it was likely the court would lift Hanen’s temporary injunction and allow the Obama administration to begin putting its program in place. The subject is not strictly partisan, she said, because sometimes a liberal interest group might favor a strict requirement for notice and comment. An appeal before the 5th Circuit could take months, as lawyers file written briefs.

Immigration Delays Likely as DOJ Weighs Legal Options

Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration executive action

Obama weighs in on Texas judge’s immigration ruling

Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration executive action

No Clear End in Sight to Avoid Shutdown of Department of Homeland Security

Obama’s New Jobs Program: Work Permits for Illegal Aliens

Ted Cruz: White House ‘Counterfeiting Immigration Documents’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes that the Obama administration is “counterfeiting immigration documents” under the president’s immigration plan.

Speaking to Fox News following a federal judge’s decision to temporarily halt President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the potential Republican presidential contender said the commander in chief is ignoring federal law.

“One of the things it points out is the president has claimed, rather absurdly, that the basis of his authority is ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ That he’s simply choosing not to prosecute 4.5 million people here illegally,” Cruz told Fox News. “But what the district court concluded, quite rightly, is they’re doing far more than that. The administration is printing work authorizations. It is affirmatively acting in contravention of federal law. Basically, what its doing is counterfeiting immigration documents, because the work authorizations its printing are directly contrary to the text of federal law. It is dangerous when the president ignores federal law.”

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.

In a memorandum accompanying his order, Hanen said the lawsuit should go forward and that the states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case” without a preliminary injunction.

“The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action.

Talking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said he disagreed with the ruling by Hanen that the administration had exceeded its authority. But he said that, for now, he must abide by it.

“We’re not going to disregard this federal court ruling,” Obama said, but he added that administration officials would continue to prepare to roll out the program. “I think the law is on our side and history is on our side,” he said.

Cruz called it a “major victory for the rule of law.”

“It’s interesting, (Obama) said the law is on his side. There’s at least one person who calls himself a legal scholar who disagrees, and his name is Barack Obama,” Cruz said. “Twenty-two times President Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to issue unilateral amnesty. Twenty-two times he says the constitution doesn’t allow it. He said, ‘This is not a monarchy.’ That’s his quote. And then after the last election, he said never mind and issued it anyway.”

Obama’s directives would make more than 4 million immigrants in the United States illegally eligible for three-year deportation stays and work permits. Mostly those are people who have been in the country for more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Applications for the first phase were to begin Wednesday, when as many as 300,000 immigrants brought illegally to the country as children could begin applying for an expansion of Obama’s 2012 program aimed at the younger immigrants known as Dreamers.

Hanen’s ruling late Monday night, in a case brought by 26 states led by Texas, said that Obama and his Homeland Security Department lacked the authority to take the actions they did.

“No statute gives the DHS the discretion it is trying to exercise here,” wrote Hanen, and he issued a stay blocking the actions from taking effect. His order was not a big surprise from a Republican-appointed judge who has showed a hard line on border issues.

The Obama administration could seek a stay of his order in addition to appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department was deciding its next move.

He said, “I’ve always expected that this is a matter that will ultimately be decided by a higher court — if not the Supreme Court then a federal court of appeals.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/02/18/ted-cruz-white-house-counterfeiting-immigration-documents/

Federal Judge Blocks Implementation of Obama’s Executive Amnesty, For Now

By Patrick Brennan

A federal judge for the Southern District of Texas granted an injunction tonight blocking the implementation of President Obama’s sweeping executive action on immigration from November, which offered a form of temporary legal status and work authorization to millions of illegel immigrants. The judge, Andrew Hanen, is considering a case brought by the attorney generals of 26 states, which alleges that the executive action is improper and unconstitutional, and will harm the states by forcing them to pay for some benefits granted to newly legal immigrants, such as drivers’ licenses, and for higher law-enforcement costs.

The federal government is expected to immediately ask for a stay of the injunction. That would allow the feds to resume the process of preparing to grant quasi-legal status to millions of illegal immigrants — applications for one category of the president amnesty were to open this week. For now, that can’t happen; the decision from a higher court will probably take a few weeks.

Whatever the final decision is, this ruling should a bit of ammunition for Republicans who are currently trying to force some Democrats into agreeing to a government-funding bill in Congress that blocks the implementation of the order, which many Democrats once opposed.

Such an injunction isn’t granted unless the judge feels the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” Hanen’s ruling offers analysis of whether the states have standing to sue (on a number of grounds, he says they do), and whether they have a good chance at success.

The basic argument from the states that Hanen favors isn’t one about constitutional improprieties (he doesn’t get to that question, which the states have raised); it’s that the Department of Homeland Security has effectively created a whole new program and procedure without following any of the legally necessary steps. The Obama administration’s use of deferred action amounts to new rulemaking, Hanen suggests, because there’s so little evidence that the system, based on DACA, involves case-by-case discretion, as the feds claim it does.

Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law who’s written about the executive-amnesty issue for NR, has analysis of the full ruling here.

The ruling is certainly exciting for those who were troubled by the president’s actions, but a few reasons why not to get too excited:

The Fifth Circuit, the federal-court region that includes Texas, could stay the injunction relatively soon, though, allowing the granting of legal status to go forward. (Although the program could, in theory, eventually still be struck down.)

Hanen is not necessarily anything but a mainstream judge, but he is a Bush appointee who, the Times notes, has a record of hawkish immigration opinions. That has no bearing on the logic of his decision, but it might suggest other judges won’t necessarily agree with Hanen’s reasoning.

Whether states even have the right to challenge the president’s action isn’t entirely clear, partly because immigration enforcement is almost exclusively a federal domain. Attorney Ian Smith laid out the states’ case for standing on NROhere. Congressional Republicans have said they’d like to challenge the president’s order in court, too; their case for standing is considered more far-fetched. On the upside, the judge’s decision in Texas grants standing to the states on multiple grounds where they argue they have it, though not all of them.

Relatedly, courts are just pretty deferential when it comes to fights between the other two branches. Hanen’s ruling notes this repeatedly, maintaining that in order for the courts to halt the executive branch, it has to be actively, affirmatively doing something unauthorized, rather than just overstepping its bounds or abdicating its powers.

An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled in December that Sheriff Joe Arpaio didn’t have standing to sue over the president’s actions — a different case, for sure, but not entirely separate, since the 26 states involved in this case are alleging that legalized immigrants pose a law-enforcement threat, as Arpaio argued, too. The other case that has gone against Obama on this issue, a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling that the amnesty is unconstitutional, has been considered flimsy and overreaching; Blackman notes that Hanen’s decision is much better reasoned.​

The lawsuit just challenges the executive action announced in November, which offers “deferred action” status, a form of theoretically temporary legal residency and work authorization, to illegal immigrants with specific ties to the U.S. — the parents of citizens, etc. The categories in all add up to 4 to 5 million eligible illegal aliens.

That comes on top of the close to a million illegal immigrants eligible for deferred action under the president’s 2012 executive action, which allowed illegal immigrants who’d come here at a young age and met a few other criteria to stay. The Texas court decision examines that program, known as DACA, in detail, but it isn’t at issue in the case. A number of outlets refer to this injunction as halting “DACA expansions,” which is true, but a bit of a misnomer: The “DACA expansions” are deferred action for adults and childhood arrivals who were older or otherwise ineligible for the DACA program the president started in 2012. They’re not really the same thing, and DACA itself — the status it gave to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and the application process they can still begin now if they haven’t gotten status — is unaffected.

This differs slightly from the political strategy Republicans have put forth in Congress: The bill the House passed earlier this year to fund the Department of Homeland Security would halt the DACA program, block the implementation of the president’s November action, and undo some of his other executive immigration policies, too.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/398741/federal-judge-blocks-implementation-obamas-executive-amnesty-now-patrick-brennan?utm_source=co2hog

Federal judge halts Obama amnesty; White House to appeal

By Stephen Dinan

A federal judge late Monday halted President Obama’s deportation amnesty, ruling he overstepped his powers in trying to grant legal status and “benefits and privileges” to millions of illegal immigrants, in a stunning decision that chides the president and throws the White House’s plans into disarray just a day before applications were to be accepted.

The White House said it will appeal Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision, but it’s unclear whether the case could reach the circuit court in New Orleans or even the Supreme Court before Wednesday, which is when the Homeland Security Department had planned to begin accepting the first applications under the new amnesty.

“The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence,’ ” Judge Hanen wrote in issuing an injunction. “In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”


SEE ALSO: FLASHBACK: Bush-appointee judge scorched Homeland Security before eviscerating amnesty


In the immediate sense, the ruling will become a major part of the debate over homeland security funding that has roiled Capitol Hill, with Republicans insisting Mr. Obama’s actions were unconstitutional and should be halted through Congress’s spending power, and Democrats backing their president by filibustering to block funding for the Homeland Security Department altogether.

The ruling doesn’t mean those illegal immigrants are going to be deported immediately — indeed, Judge Hanen said they are likely not to be deported at all under Mr. Obama, who had set “priorities” putting them in little danger of ever being kicked out of the country, even without the formal amnesty.

The judge said Mr. Obama does have the right to set those priorities, but said it is likely a step too far for him to have set up a proactive program to grant them other benefits.

“The DHS may continue to prosecute or not prosecute these illegally-present individuals, as current laws dictate. This has been the status quo for at least the last five years and there is little-to-no basis to conclude that harm will fall upon the defendants if it is temporarily prohibited from carrying out the … program.”

One immigrant-rights group called his decision “judicial vigilantism,” while another called it a “minor legal bump” and said it’s “merely a matter of time” before they win legal status.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was dismissive of the judge’s ruling, saying it contradicted Mr. Obama’s own lawyers, who told him he was “well within his legal authority.”

“Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision,” Mr. Earnest said early Tuesday.

Judge Hanen’s exhaustive opinion, which ran to 123 pages, eviscerated the administration’s legal arguments. Where Mr. Obama claimed he was only issuing “guidance” and using his powers of prosecutorial discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, the judge ruled that wording was “disingenuous” and ignored the substance of what the president was trying to do.

He also said Mr. Obama hurt his own case by saying he’d acted to “change the law,” implying a much more substantive legal program than his administration was arguing in court.

The president’s new plan, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, announced in November, was designed to cover more than 4 million illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, granting them a three-year stay of deportation, Social Security numbers and work permits to compete legally for jobs. The November order also expanded a 2012 program for so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The initial Dreamer program is still in place, and covers more than 600,000 illegal immigrants, but Judge Hanen halted its expansion, as well as the new program for parents.

About 95 percent of those who applied for the 2012 Dreamer program were approved, while nobody who didn’t meet the strict criteria was — both factors that Judge Hanen said suggested this wasn’t “discretion,” but rather a new substantive legal policy that should have gone through the usual rule-making process.

“While [the program] does not provide legal permanent residency, it certainly provides a legal benefit in the form of legal presence (plus all that it entails) — a benefit not otherwise available in immigration laws,” the judge wrote. “In this case, actions speak louder than words.”

Still, almost none of those who would have been approved for the amnesty are in danger of deportation, thanks to Mr. Obama’s other, less-noticed policies that order immigration agents only to go after illegal immigrants with serious criminal records. That likely means only a couple million of the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are likely to be in any danger of deportation.

Immigrant-rights advocates had expected the ruling and had been working ahead of time to discredit Judge Hanen, saying he had a “bias” against them, based on a December 2013 ruling.

In that ruling, Judge Hanen had spotted the surge of illegal immigrant children crossing the border earlier on, and had been critical of how Homeland Security officials had handled it, accusing them of being complicit in human trafficking because they would deliver the children to their illegal immigrant parents in the U.S. without trying to deport either party.

Last summer’s spike in illegal immigrant children from Central America bore out Judge Hanen’s concerns, with the administration belatedly admitting that the ease of getting across the border and being connected with family here in the U.S. was helping spur the surge.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/17/judge-andrew-s-hanen-halts-obama-amnesty/

Obama’s Amnesty Hits a Legal Roadblock
If a Texas judge’s temporary stay against it is upheld, it could be headed to the Supreme Court.

ate Monday, a federal district judge in Texasissued a temporary injunction that bars the Obama administration from proceeding with the president’s unilateral decree of effective amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.

To be clear, the order issued by Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. court for the southern district of Texas in Brownsville is a temporary stay. It is not a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit brought by 26 states that claim they will suffer profound financial and other damage from the president’s lawless executive action — an action that Obama himself many times conceded would be lawless before he finally took it late last year.

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Today, the Justice Department will seek an emergency order from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to block Judge Hanen’s injunction. There is a good chance the Justice Department will succeed, at least temporarily. If the Fifth Circuit blocks the injunction, that, too, would not be a ruling on the merits of the case. It would just mean a return to the status quo that allows Obama to proceed with the implementation of his amnesty decree.

I imagine we will know by late this afternoon whether the Fifth Circuit will set aside the district court’s injunction.

Judge Hanen’s order would temporarily prevent the Obama administration from implementing the executive action — in particular, the issuance of positive legal benefits, like work permits, for illegal aliens despite the lack of statutory authorization. The stay would also allow Judge Hanen a chance to issue a final ruling on the merits of the case. Again, he has not at this point conclusively ruled that Obama’s executive amnesty violates the Constitution or other federal law.

To justify issuing the stay, however, he had to decide that the states that brought the lawsuit had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. That is, in Hanen’s judgment, they have shown that they probably (1) have standing to sue, (2) will show that Obama violated the law, and (3) will suffer concrete harm from the violation (particularly economic harm).

The big question in the case is standing: Is the case properly brought by the states? If the Fifth Circuit, on an emergency appeal of the stay by the Justice Department, decides there is a likelihood that the states do not have standing, then it will vacate Judge Hanen’s stay. The appellate court could find a probability that standing is lacking because, for example, federal jurisprudence holds that immigration is mainly a federal responsibility, or because the harm the states say they will suffer from the executive amnesty is too speculative. (Again, note that we are talking about “likelihood” and “probability” here because these are preliminary, predictive determinations. The case has not been fully presented and ruled upon at this point.)

If the Fifth Circuit were to vacate the stay, that, again, would not be a ruling on the merits of the case. It would simply revert matters to where they stood before Judge Hanen’s order on Monday, meaning the administration could move ahead with its plans while we await a final ruling on the merits from Judge Hanen.

If, on the Justice Department’s emergency appeal, the Fifth Circuit were to decline to disturb Judge Hanen’s stay, there are at least three possibilities: (1) the Justice Department could appeal Judge Hanen’s stay to the Supreme Court; (2) the administration could accept the decision and hold off implementation of the executive order while waiting for Judge Hanen to issue a final ruling (which, all signs indicate, will go against the president); or (3) the president could do what he often does with statutes and court decisions that interfere with his agenda: simply ignore the judicial stay and begin implementing his amnesty decree.

I would bet on (1), an appeal to the Supreme Court. I do believe that Obama is inclined to (3), the lawless route, if all else fails. Obviously, however, the president would rather win in court if he can. That necessitates moving ahead with the judicial process while there are still rounds to play. The administration has a decent chance of getting the stay vacated in either the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court. Even if that fails, and Judge Hanen, as expected, renders a final decision against the president, the administration has a decent shot at getting such a ruling reversed by the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court. I expect the president to play this out. It may take many months, at least, and during that time there is a reasonable chance that some tribunal will lift the stay and allow him to begin implementing the amnesty pending a final appellate ruling on the merits.

This underscores what I have beenarguing for some time. The courts are a very unlikely avenue for checking presidential lawlessness. The proper constitutional way to check the president’s executive order is for Congress to deny the funding needed to implement it. That is what Republicans in the House have done, by fully funding the lawful activities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but denying the funding for the unlawful executive amnesty. Democrats are blocking that legislation in the Senate, in the hope that, as the budget deadline approaches, the pro-Obama press (with regrettable help from George Will and Senator John McCain, among others) will convince the country that it is somehow the Republicans who are “shutting down” DHS.

On that score, I will briefly repeat what I’ve contended before:

The fact that politicians hang a sign that says “Homeland Security” on a dysfunctional bureaucratic sprawl does not mean that denying funds to that bureaucracy would harm actual homeland security in any material way.

We have a DHS only because of typical Beltway overreaction to a crisis — the need to be seen as “doing something” in response to public anger over the government’s misfeasance prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland security in the United States is more than adequately provided for by the hundreds of billions of dollars that continue to be spent each year — and that Congress has already approved for this year — on the Justice Department, the FBI, the 17-agency intelligence community, the armed forces, and state and local police forces.

We did not have a DHS before 2003, and if it disappeared tomorrow, no one would miss it.

The agencies in DHS that actually contribute to protection of the homeland could easily be absorbed by other government departments (where they were housed before DHS’s creation).

Under Obama, the immigration law-enforcement components of DHS are not enforcing the immigration laws. Why should taxpayers expend billions of dollars on agencies that do not fulfill, and under this president have no intention of fulfilling, the mission that is the rationale for the funding?

In any event, as we await the next round in the courts, the speedy and certain way to stop a lawless president is to deny him the money he needs to carry out his designs.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/398755/obamas-amnesty-hits-legal-roadblock-andrew-c-mccarthy/page/0/1

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Obama’s and Clinton’s Failed Foreign Policy in Libya of Strategic Patience Leads To 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians Beheaded By Islamic Jihadist Terrorists — Islamic State — Videos

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Computers, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Corruption, Crime, Cult, Documentary, Economics, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

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Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

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Story 2: Obama’s and Clinton’s Failed Foreign Policy in Libya of Strategic Patience Leads To 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians Beheaded By Islamic Jihadist Terrorists — Islamic State — Videos

Islamic-States-Libya-affiliate-beheads-21-Coptic-Christians-from-EgyptmapvictimsIslamic State Coptsbeheading 1beheading --titlebeheadings 2beheadings 77beheadings 6

ISIS ISIL DAESH Libya video Beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians Breaking news

Islamic State exploits the chaos of civil war in Libya

Obama to NPR: ‘Strategic Patience’ Necessary In Foreign Affairs

Why ISIS Targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christians

Egypt bombs ISIL militants in Libya

Egypt Bombs Islamic State in Libya After Beheadings Video – Airstrikes aganist ISIS

ISIS Video Shows Beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians – Video

RAW VIDEO) SHOWS ISIS beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians

n a new propaganda video released Sunday by ISIS, the group claims to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.

The video shows an apparent mass execution with jihadists in black standing behind each of the victims, who are all are dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed behind them.

The five-minute video, released by the terror group’s propaganda wing al-Hayat Media, includes a masked English-speaking jihadi who says, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”

The Egyptian government has yet to confirm the killings.
ISIS releases video claiming beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians

Isis claims abduction of 21 Christians in Libya

Islamic State: The New Terror

The Islamic State: How Its Leadership Is Organized

The Islamic State (Full Length)

Susan Rice explains ‘strategic patience’

General Wesley Clark: The US will attack 7 countries in 5 years

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” –

General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied
Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia

Ben Stein The Arab Spring Is a Fraud

Uncommon Knowledge: Arab Spring: Can Middle East Countries Become Western Style Democracies?

CNN: Hillary Clinton ‘Libya conflict completely unacceptable’

Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: “We Came, We Saw and He Died, Hahaha” (Oct 24, 2011)

Hillary Clinton Rebuts GOP Charges During Libya Testimony

Rand Paul Grills Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi Hearing

ISIS BEHEADS 21 CHRISTIANS, PROMISES TO ‘CONQUER ROME, BY ALLAH’S PERMISSION’

The Islamic State terror group released a video on Sunday showing the Islamic jihadis beheading 21 Egyptian Christians who were previously kidnapped in Libya.

The Egyptian Copts, who were dressed in prisoner-like orange jump suits, were lined up along a beach and abruptly beheaded in the graphic five-minute video.

The Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the group that has published the previous beheading videos in the Middle East, produced the Libya video titled, “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”

“All praise is due to Allah the strong and mighty,” said an ISIS jihadist dressed in military fatigues in American-accented English. “And may blessings and peace be upon the ones sent by the sword as a mercy to all the worlds,” he added.

The masked ISIS member continues:

Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of Al-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time, and today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.

All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together. The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.

After the ISIS leader finishes speaking, his fellow terrorists then commence the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Christians. “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him,” The militant leader says after his comrades slaughter the Christian hostages.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi immediately brought in his national defense council after being notified about the brutal murder of the twenty-one Egyptians. “It is with deep sorrow that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi mourns the Egyptian victims of an abhorrent act of terrorism in Libya and offers his deepest condolences to the Egyptian people for their grave loss,” said a statement from the Egyptian president’s office.

Libya has largely fallen into a state of civil war and complete lawlessness following the U.S.-led effort that ultimately deposed its late autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Islamist militias, some of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have been fighting fierce battles against the forces of secular, anti-Islamist Libyan General Khalifa Haftar.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/02/15/isis-beheads-21-christians-promises-to-conquer-rome-by-allahs-permission/

 

Fact Sheet: The 2015 National Security Strategy

Fact Sheet:  The 2015 National Security Strategy

Today, the United States is stronger and better positioned to seize the opportunities of a still new century and safeguard our interests against the risks of an insecure world.  The President’s new National Security Strategyprovides a vision and strategy for advancing the nation’s interests, universal values, and a rules-based international order through strong and sustainable American leadership.  The strategy sets out the principles andpriorities that describe how America will lead the world toward greater peace and a new prosperity.

  • We will lead with purpose, guided by our enduring national interests and values and committed to advancing a balanced portfolio of priorities worthy of a great power.
  • We will lead with strength, harnessing a resurgent economy, increased energy security, an unrivaled military, and the talent and diversity of the American people.
  • We will lead by example, upholding our values at home and our obligations abroad.
  • We will lead with capable partners, mobilizing collective action and building partner capacity to address global challenges.
  • We will lead with all instruments of U.S. power, leveraging our strategic advantages in diplomacy, development, defense, intelligence, science and technology, and more.
  • We will lead with a long-term perspective, influencing the trajectory of major shifts in the security landscape today in order to secure our national interests in the future.

We will advance the security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners by:

  • Maintaining a national defense that is the best trained, equipped, and led force in the world while honoring our promises to service members, veterans, and their families.
  • Working with Congress to end the draconian cuts imposed by sequestration that threaten the effectiveness of our military and other instruments of power.
  • Reinforcing our homeland security to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks and natural hazards while strengthening our national resilience.
  • Transitioning to a sustainable global security posture that combines our decisive capabilities with local partners and keeps pressure on al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and their affiliates.
  • Striving for a world without nuclear weapons and ensuring nuclear materials do not fall into the hands of irresponsible states and violent non-state actors.
  • Developing a global capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to biological threats like Ebola through the Global Health Security Agenda.
  • Confronting the urgent crisis of climate change, including through national emissions reductions, international diplomacy, and our commitment to the Green Climate Fund.

We will advance a strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity by:

  • Strengthening American energy security and increasing global access to reliable and affordable energy to bolster economic growth and development worldwide.
  • Opening markets for U.S. goods, services, and investment and leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses to boost our economic competitiveness.
  • Advancing a trade agenda – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – that creates good American jobs and shared prosperity.
  • Leading efforts to reduce extreme poverty, food insecurity, and preventable deaths with initiatives such as Feed the Future and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
  • Proving new sustainable development models like the President’s Power Africa Initiative.

We will advance respect for universal values at home and around the world by:

  • Holding ourselves to the highest possible standard by living our values at home even as we do what is necessary to keep our people safe and our allies secure.
  • Promoting and defending democracy, human rights, and equality while supporting countries such as Tunisia and Burma that are transitioning from authoritarianism.
  • Empowering future leaders of government, business, and civil society around the world, including through the President’s young leaders initiatives.
  • Leading the way in confronting the corruption by promoting adherence to standards of accountable and transparent governance.
  • Leading the international community to prevent and respond to human rights abuses and mass atrocities as well as gender-based violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

We will advance an international order that promotes peace, security, and oppor­tunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges by:

  • Working with partners to reinforce and update the rules of the road, norms, and institutions that are foundational to peace, prosperity, and human dignity in the 21st century.
  • Strengthening and growing our global alliances and partnerships, forging diverse coalitions, and leading at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.
  • Rebalancing to Asia and the Pacific through increased diplomacy, stronger alliances and partnerships, expanded trade and investment, and a diverse security posture.
  • Strengthening our enduring commitment to a free and peaceful Europe by countering aggression and modernizing the NATO alliance to meet emerging threats.
  • Pursuing a stable Middle East and North Africa by countering terrorism, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and reducing the underlying sources of conflict.
  • Building upon the success of the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit by investing in Africa’s economic, agricultural, health, governance, and security capacity.
  • Promoting a prosperous, secure, and democratic Western Hemisphere by expanding integration and leveraging a new opening to Cuba to expand our engagement.
  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/06/fact-sheet-2015-national-security-strategy

 

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Bernard Haykel — Islamic State and Islam — Videos

Posted on February 19, 2015. Filed under: Ammunition, Blogroll, Bomb, Business, Communications, Corruption, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Employment, Energy, Ethic Cleansing, Faith, Family, Farming, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Shite, Sunni, Terrorism, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

heykel

Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?

Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda

IS is a symptom of a deep feeling amongst Sunni Arabs of being disenfranchised. […] It is the same sentiment that led to the emergence of Al-Qaeda.”

Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the root causes for the rise of the Islamic State, as a movement responding to the systemic disenfranchisement of Sunnis in the region.

Professor Haykel also explains why IS surpassed Al Qaeda in popularity and why the Arabian Peninsula has so vigorously supported U.S.- led airstrikes against IS.

Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel responded to questions such as:
Why do people from the West join the Islamic State?
Why do the recruits burn their passports?
Should Western governments withdraw citizenship from jihadis?
What should be done about returning jihadis?
Can they be de-radicalized?

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State

Killing Al-Baghdadi: the end of the Caliphate or part of the narrative?

SIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power – H. van Lynden lecture

The Henriette van Lynden lecture ‘ISIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power’, organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held on Friday, 14 November 2014 in de Rode Hoed, Amsterdam.

The rise of ISIS as a failure of governance & the need for a broader response than CT-policy, by Ms. Mina al-Oraibi [0:6:36]
Links of ISIS ideology to Saudi Arabia’s wahabism and policy options by Prof. Bernard Haykel [0:19:52]
Iran’s interests and vision in the fight against ISIS by Dr. Ali Vaez [0:35:44]
Panel discussion moderated by Ernesto Braam [0:50:20]
Audience Q&A [1:05:25]

Panel:
Ms. Mina al-Oraibi
Born in Iraq, she is the deputy editor-in-chief of prominent Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. She is an expert on transitions in the Arab region and American military doctrine. She regularly speaks with heads of state in the Middle East.

Prof. Bernard Haykel
Professor of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University, specialised in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. In addition, he is an Islam expert who focuses on Salafi movements and the roots of ISIS ideology. Particularly noteworthy is his contribution to the leading bestseller ‘Global Salafism’.

Dr. Ali Vaez
As an expert on Iran at the International Crisis Group in Washington D.C., he is a sought-after speaker on Iran’s influence in the region. He regularly appears on BBC and CNN, and publishes in Foreign Policy and the International Herald Tribune, among others.

Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”

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Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 1

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 2

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 3

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 4

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 5

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 6

Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 7

Christiane Amanpour interviews Princeton Professor Bernard Haykel on Yemen

Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family and the State

Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Relationship with the U.S.

 Bernard Haykel / Princeton University

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Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France Negotiate Ceasefire To Begin Sunday — World War 3 Averted? — Did Putin Blink or Bluff? — Videos

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Story 1: Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France Negotiate Ceasefire To Begin Sunday — World War 3 Averted? — Did Putin Blink or Bluff? — Videos

Civil-War-In-Ukrainemap ukraineRussian_language_map_Ukraineukraine-map

Will the Ukraine-Russia deal stick?

A previous cease-fire last year between Ukraine and the Russian-backed rebels barely took hold, eventually collapsing altogether. What are the chances the new agreement will last? Gwen Ifill talks to Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Can Russia-Ukraine Cease-Fire Hold Without U.S. Help?

Ukraine Russia ceasefire agreed

Minsk Deal Reaction: Participants emerge after night-long peace talks

Minsk deal provides hope for peace in eastern Ukraine but leaders warn ‘major obstacles’ remain

How This Cease-Fire Between Russia And Ukraine Is Different

New Ukraine Peace Deal Met With Distrust

Skepticism in Ukraine, after a peace deal is hammered out between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Under the agreement Ukraine will trade broad autonomy for the east to get back control of its Russian border by the end of 2015. (Feb. 12)

Putin briefs press after marathon Minsk talks on Ukraine peace deal

Russian president Vladimir Putin is giving a press conference after 14-hour talks with the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine on the Ukrainian crisis in Minsk, Belarus

Russia vs Ukraine – War & Peace 2015

The European Union may impose further sanctions if a ceasefire deal sealed in Minsk between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels is not fully implemented, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said after an EU summit in Brussels tonight.

Fresh from brokering a deal in Minsk between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ms Merkel told a news conference that EU leaders had asked the European Commission to prepare further sanctions in case the ceasefire did not hold.

“We hold open the possibility, if these new agreements are not implemented, that we must take further measures,” she said, adding that existing sanctions could only be lifted when the grounds that led to them are removed.The leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia had committed to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a joint declaration distributed by the Kremlin.

“The main thing which has been achieved is that from Saturday into Sunday there should be declared without any conditions at all, a general ceasefire,” Mr Poroshenko told journalists.

Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande had joined Mr Poroshenko and Mr Putin for a marathon negotiating session that began early on yesterday evening and continued into this morning. As the fighting escalated, the US began openly talking of arming Ukraine to defend itself from “Russian aggression”, raising the prospect of a proxy war in the heart of Europe between Cold War foes.

US President Barack Obama said he has yet to make up his mind on the question of sending weapons.

He spoke by phone to Mr Putin on Tuesday, and the White House said he warned the Russian leader that the costs would rise if Russia kept aiding the separatists.

The White House released a statement today welcoming the ceasefire, saying that the move represents a “potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

As the French and German leaders’ peace initiative was announced, pro-Russian rebels appeared determined to drive home their advantage ahead of a deal.

Armoured columns of Russian-speaking soldiers with no insignia have been advancing for days around Debaltseve, which has seen heavy fighting in recent days.

On the Russian side of the border, Russia has begun military exercises in 12 regions involving more than 30 missile regiments, RIA news agency reported this morning, citing a Defence Ministry official.

World War 3 : The Beast to arm Ukraine as the Russian Bear mobilizes 100,000 troops (Feb 02, 2015)

US ‘should send Ukraine arms’

Ukraine Conflict Reignites U.S. Considers Sending Arms | NBC Nightly News

The Ukraine Crisis: Withstand and Deter Russian Aggression

Obama on Ukraine: A diplomatic path for now

Last Hope for Minsk Peace Talks: Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France leaders to meet in Belarus

Russia cuts off gas supply via Ukraine

Published on Jan 19, 2015

Europe plunged into energy crisis as Russia cuts off gas supply via Ukraine Gas prices rise in London Bulgaria reaches ‘crisis’ point

Russia cut gas exports to Europe by 60 per cent today, plunging the continent into an energy crisis ‘within hours’ as a dispute with Ukraine escalated.

This morning, gas companies in Ukraine said that Russia had completely cut off their supply.

Six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas shipped via Ukraine today, in a sharp escalation of a struggle over energy that threatens Europe as winter sets in.

Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey all reported a halt in gas shipments from Russia through Ukraine.

Gas Battle: Ukraine Vs Russia – An Animated History

WW3 RUSSIA Set To CUT OFF All GAS SUPPLIES to UKRAINE

 

‘Ukraine gas poker with Russia not over’

Published on Oct 31, 2014

Moscow and Kiev have sealed a gas agreement after several hours of tense talks in Brussels. Previous rounds in recent weeks had failed. The deal on supplies and transit to Europe has allayed EU fears of staying in the cold this winter. Geopolitical analyst William Enghdal says the deal won’t solve anything in the longterm.

 

 

Marathon talks produce Ukraine peace deal; cease-fire Sunday

The peace deal reached Thursday for Ukraine, if it holds, would be a partial win for both Moscow and Kiev: Ukraine retains the separatist eastern regions and regains control of its border with Russia, while Russia holds strong leverage to keep Ukraine from ever becoming part of NATO.

But neither side came away from the marathon talks unscathed.

There’s no sign Russia will soon escape the Western sanctions that have driven its economy down sharply, and Kiev’s price for regaining control of the border with Russia is to grant significant new power to the east.

But the complicated calculus of whether any side came out truly ahead can’t be determined unless a single, straightforward term is fulfilled: halting the shooting and artillery salvos that have killed more than 5,300 people since April. That is supposed to happen on Sunday, at one minute after midnight.

A cease-fire called in September never fully took hold and fighting escalated sharply in the past month. Questions remain about whether either side possesses the will or discipline to ensure a truce this time.

The cease-fire is to be monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s observer mission in Ukraine.

But that “will probably go nowhere if there isn’t a huge political will to beef up the OSCE, pull in many more monitors, give them clear support,” said analyst Judy Dempsey, an associate of the Carnegie Europe think-tank.

The OSCE mission head, Ertugrul Apakan, said Thursday that he expected it would expand by the end of the month to about 500 observers, up from about 310 currently, the Interfax news agency reported.

Under the terms of the deal reached after 16 hours of talks between the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, the next step is to form a sizeable buffer zone between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels. Each side is to pull heavy weaponry back from the front line, creating a zone roughly 30-85 miles (50-140 kilometers) wide, depending on the weapon caliber.

Then come the knotty and volatile political questions.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters the deal envisages special status for Ukraine’s separatist regions, Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, maintained there was no consensus on any sort of autonomy or federalization for eastern Ukraine.

In addition, the agreement foresees the regions being able to form their own police forces and to trade freely with Russia, both of which would bring a degree of division and uncertainty within Ukraine that could be leverage to keep the country out of NATO.

Those measures would require constitutional reform, certain to be a highly fraught process.

“Anything that has to go through the Ukrainian parliament has a huge question mark attached to it,” said Eugene Rumer of the Carnegie center. “It is going to be the subject of a huge and very fierce debate in Kiev.”

Only after such reform is passed would Ukraine’s full control over its border with Russia be restored, according to the pact.

Aside from the political resolution of the east’s status, Ukraine also faces severe challenges with its troubled economy, which is close to bankruptcy. On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund agreed to give Ukraine a new bailout deal worth $17.5 billion (15.5 billion euros). The World Bank, meanwhile, announced it was ready to commit up to $2 billion to help Ukraine with reforms, to fight corruption and for other purposes.

Despite the uncertainties, the agreement’s initiators saw it as a step forward.

“We now have a glimmer of hope,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who brokered the talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk together with French President Francois Hollande.

“But the concrete steps, of course, have to be taken. And we will still face major obstacles. But, on balance, I can say what we have achieved gives significantly more hope than if we had achieved nothing.”

As for Putin, he told reporters: “It was not the best night of my life.”

“But the morning, I think, is good, because we have managed to agree on the main things despite all the difficulties of the negotiations,” the Russian leader said.

Battles continued Thursday even as the talks went on, and Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Russia sent 50 tanks and a dozen heavy weapons overnight into Ukraine.

In the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, residents who have seen their city pounded daily by artillery since late May were skeptical of the deal.

“We will see whether there will be a cease-fire or not,” said resident Tatyana Griedzheva. “You have seen it with your own eyes, the kind of cease-fire that we have already had.”

A previous cease-fire in September was violated repeatedly as Ukrainian forces and the rebels both tried to gain more ground.

Poroshenko stressed that the pact contains “a clear commitment to withdraw all foreign troops, all mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” a reference to the Russian soldiers and weapons that Ukraine and the West say Russia has sent into eastern Ukraine to back the rebels.

Moscow has denied the accusations, saying any Russian fighters were volunteers, but the sheer number of sophisticated heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession belies that.

Still, Merkel said, in the end, Putin exerted pressure on the separatists to get them to agree to the cease-fire.

“I have no illusions. We have no illusions. A great, great deal of work is still necessary. But there is a real chance to make things better,” she said.

In Brussels, European Union President Donald Tusk said the test of the Minsk agreement will be whether the weekend cease-fire holds in eastern Ukraine.

The French-German diplomatic offensive came as President Barack Obama considered sending U.S. lethal weapons to Ukraine, a move that European nations feared would only widen the hostilities.

“The true test of today’s accord will be in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The urgency felt by all sides was underlined by the extraordinary length of the talks, which began Wednesday evening and continued uninterrupted through the night as crowds of reporters waited anxiously in a marble-floored, chandeliered convention hall in Minsk.

While the four leaders hailed the agreement, Russia and Ukraine still disagreed on how to end the fighting around Debaltseve, a key transport hub between the rebels’ two main cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Putin said the rebels consider the Ukrainian forces there surrounded and expect them to surrender, while Ukraine says its troops have not been blocked.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/leaders-minsk-crucial-ukraine-peace-talks-28908311

 

 

Russia–Ukraine gas disputes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Natural gas pipelines from Russia to Europe

The Russia–Ukraine gas disputes refer to a number of disputes between Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Russian gas supplier Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices, and debts. These disputes have grown beyond simple business disputes into transnational political issues—involving political leaders from several countries—that threaten natural gas supplies in numerous European countries dependent on natural gas imports from Russian suppliers, which are transported through Ukraine. Russia provides approximately a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the European Union; approximately 80% of those exports travel through pipelines across Ukrainian soil prior to arriving in the EU.[1]

A serious dispute began in March 2005 over the price of natural gas supplied and the cost of transit. During this conflict, Russia claimed Ukraine was not paying for gas, but diverting that which was intended to be exported to the EU from the pipelines. Ukrainian officials at first denied the accusation,[2][3] but later Naftohaz admitted that natural gas intended for other European countries was retained and used for domestic needs. The dispute reached a crescendo on 1 January 2006, when Russia cut off all gas supplies passing through Ukrainian territory.[4] On 4 January 2006, a preliminary agreement between Russia and Ukraine was achieved, and the supply was restored. The situation calmed until October 2007 when new disputes began over Ukrainian gas debts. This led to reduction of gas supplies in March 2008. During the last months of 2008, relations once again became tense when Ukraine and Russia could not agree on the debts owed by Ukraine.[5]

In January 2009, this disagreement resulted in supply disruptions in many European nations, with eighteen European countries reporting major drops in or complete cut-offs of their gas supplies transported through Ukraine from Russia.[6][7] In September 2009 officials from both countries stated they felt the situation was under control and that there would be no more conflicts over the topic,[8][9] at least until the Ukrainian 2010 presidential elections.[10] However, in October 2009, another disagreement arose about the amount of gas Ukraine would import from Russia in 2010. Ukraine intended to import less gas in 2010 as a result of reduced industry needs because of its economic recession; however, Gazprom insisted that Ukraine fulfill its contractual obligations and purchase the previously agreed upon quantities of gas.[11]

On June 8, 2010, a Stockholm court of arbitration ruled Naftohaz of Ukraine must return 12.1 billion cubic metres (430 billion cubic feet) of gas to RosUkrEnergo, aSwiss-based company in which Gazprom controls a 50% stake. Russia accused Ukrainian side of siphoning gas from pipelines passing through Ukraine in 2009.[12][13] Several high-ranking Ukrainian officials stated the return “would not be quick”.[14]

Russia plans to completely abandon gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine after 2018.[15][16]

Historical background

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, oil import prices to Ukraine reached world market levels in 1993. However, gas import prices and transit fees remained below European levels for Russian exports to Europe through pipelines in Ukraine; these were set in bilateral negotiations.[17] At the same time Ukraine remained the main transit corridor for Russia’s gas export. In 2004–2005, 80% of Russian gas exports to the European Union were made through Ukrainian Territory.[18][19]Two-thirds of Gazprom’s revenue comes from the sale of gas that crosses Ukraine.[20]

Ukraine’s own annual gas consumption in 2004–2005 was around 80 billion cubic metres (2.8 trillion cubic feet), of which around 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet) were produced domestically, 36 billion cubic metres (1.3 trillion cubic feet) were bought from Turkmenistan, and 17 billion cubic metres (600 billion cubic feet) were received from Russia in exchange for transport of Russian natural gas. The remaining 8 billion cubic metres (280 billion cubic feet) were purchased from Russia.[21] The gas trading system differed substantially from the gas sale to the European Union and caused problems in the form of large-scale deliveries of relatively cheap Russian gas causing an increase of energy-intensive industries and supporting Ukraine’s status as one of the world’s least energy-efficientcountries and largest gas importers, the accumulation of Ukrainian debts and non-payment of same, unsanctioned diversion of gas and alleged theft from the transit system, and Russian pressure on Ukraine to hand over infrastructure in return for relief of debts accumulated over natural gas transactions.[17]

Gas trading was conducted under a framework of bilateral intergovernmental agreements which provided for sales, transit volumes, gas prices, gas storage, and other issues such as the establishment of production joint ventures.[citation needed] Commercial agreements were negotiated between the relevant companies within the guidelines and dictates of that framework and supplemented by annual agreements specifying exact prices and volumes for the following year.[citation needed] Gas sales prices and transit tariffs were determined in relationship to each other.[17] Commercial agreements and trade relations have been non-transparent and trade has been conducted via intermediaries such as Itera, EuralTransGaz, and RosUkrEnergo. RosUkrEnergo’s involvement in the Russian-Ukrainian gas trade has been controversial. There are allegations that the company is controlled by Semion Mogilevich and its beneficiaries include strategically placed officials in the Russian and Ukrainian gas industries and governmental structures related to the energy sector.[20][22] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has made accusations that RosUkrEnergo is owned by a business ally of Ukraine’s ex-president, Viktor Yushchenko.[23] The Ukrainian investigation into RosUkrEnergo, during Yulia Tymoshenko‘s first term as Prime Minister, was closed after she was fired by Yushchenko in September 2005.[24]

According to a contract between Gazprom and Naftohaz signed on 21 June 2002, payment for the transfer of Russian natural gas through the Ukrainian pipelinesystem had been made in exchange for no more than 15% of the gas pumped through Ukrainian territory to be taken in lieu of cash.[citation needed] This contract was supposed to be valid until the end of 2013.[citation needed] On 9 August 2004, the two companies signed an addendum to the contract, according to which the amount of gas given as a payment was calculated based on a tariff of US$1.09 for the transportation of 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas over a distance of 100 kilometres (62 mi); the addendum further stated the price of the natural gas supplied to Ukraine was to be $50 per 1,000 cubic meters (approximately $1.40 per million Btu).[25]This price was constant notwithstanding the gas prices in the European markets.[26] According to the addendum the price was not subject to change until the end of 2009.[25] Gazprom argued that this addendum was only applicable provided that the two countries sign an annual intergovernmental protocol that has higher legal status for specifying the terms of gas transit.[27] According to Gazprom, the addendum becomes void as the annual protocol had not been signed for 2006 under the required terms.[28] Russia claimed that Gazprom’s subsidies to the Ukrainian economy amounted to billions of dollars.[29]

According to the agreement of 2006, RosUkrEnergo was to receive no more than 20 percent of the total delivered gas, which in 2007 was 15 billion cubic metres (530 billion cubic feet) of 73 billion cubic metres (2.6 trillion cubic feet).[citation needed]

Disputes of the 1990s

Initial disputes concerning gas debts and non-payment appeared immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.[citation needed] As a result of disputes over non-payments by Ukraine, Russia suspended natural gas exports several times between 1992 and 1994. This led to the illicit diversion of Russian natural gas exports from transit pipelines by Ukrainian companies and institutions in September 1993 and November 1994.[citation needed] The siphoning of gas was acknowledged by Ukraine, while accusations of other diversions were disputed.[17] In September 1993, at a summit conference in Massandra, Crimea, Russian President Boris Yeltsin offered to Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk to forgive Ukrainian debts in return for control of the Black Sea Fleet and Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal.[30][citation needed]After a strong negative reaction from politicians in Kiev, the idea was abandoned.[17] An intergovernmental agreement was drafted on gas issues, including a clause stating Ukraine would permit Gazprom to participate in the privatization of Ukrainian enterprises in gas and other sectors.[citation needed] In March 1994, a Ukrainian deputy prime minister agreed with Russia that Gazprom could acquire a 51% stake in the pipeline system. In early 1995, Russia and Ukraine agreed to create a joint company, Gaztransit, to operate Ukraine’s natural gas transit infrastructure in exchange for the cancellation of a substantial portion of Ukraine’s debts to Russia. These agreements were never implemented, and in November 1995, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, adopted a law prohibiting the privatization of oil and gas assets.[17]

In 1998, Gazprom and Naftohaz made a contract under which Gazprom would pay for the transit of volumes of gas, which established a link between gas prices and transit tariffs,[citation needed] but this contract did not resolve the issue of already incurred gas debts.[17] In 1998, Gazprom alleged that Ukraine had illegally diverted gas meant for export to other European countries and suspended exports of oil and electricity to Ukraine in 1999.[citation needed] Gazprom also claimed that Ukraine’s gas debt had reached $2.8 billion.[18] In 2001, Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubyna acknowledged that in 2000 alone 8–7 billion cubic metres (280–250 billion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas had been siphoned off from export pipelines.[17] The debt issue was settled on 4 October 2001, by the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on Additional Measures Regarding the Provision of Transit of Russian Natural Gas on the Territory of Ukraine (the 2001 Transit Agreement).[18]

Dispute of 2005–2006

Then President of Russia Vladimir Putin at a meeting on 29 December 2005, with Alexei Kudrin (Russian Finance Minister), Viktor Khristenko(Russian Energy Minister), Alexander Medvedev (Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom board), Ivan Plachkov(Ukrainian Energy Minister) and Alexey Ivchenko (CEO of Naftohaz), in which the dispute was discussed.

In 2005, negotiations over gas prices for 2006 started. Gazprom insisted on a new price of $160 per 1,000 cubic meters.[citation needed] The Government of Ukraine agreed, with the stipulation that price increases were to be gradual, in return for increased gas transit fees and changing the method of payment for transit from payment in kind to cash.[31][verification needed] In May 2005, it was revealed that 7.8 billion cubic metres (280 billion cubic feet) of gas which Gazprom had deposited in Ukrainian storage reservoirs during the previous winter had not been made available to the company.[citation needed] It remained unclear if the gas was missing, had disappeared due to technical problems, or had been stolen.[32] This issue was resolved in July 2005 by agreement between Gazprom, Naftohaz and RosUkrEnergo, according to which Naftohaz received 2.55 billion cubic metres (90 billion cubic feet) of gas as partial settlement of the Russian gas transit over 2005 services and 5.25 billion cubic metres (185 billion cubic feet) was sold by Gazprom to RosUkrEnergo who has to receive it from Naftohaz.[33] However, the negotiations between Gazprom and Naftohaz over gas prices and a new gas supply agreement failed.[34] On 1 January 2006, Gazprom started reducing the pressure in the pipelines from Russia to Ukraine.[34]

Although Russia cut off supplies only to Ukraine, a number of European countries saw a drop in their supplies as well.[3] TheEuropean Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs and several affected member states warned that blocking of gas deliveries was unacceptable.[citation needed] Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation, expressed the opinion that all Post-Soviet states should pay market prices for their energy needs in order to improve the efficiency of their economies.[35]

The supply was restored on 4 January 2006, after the preliminary agreement between Ukraine and Gazprom was settled.[36] The five-year contract was signed, although with prices set for only six months. According to the contract, the gas was sold not directly to Naftohaz, but to the intermediary Russian-Swiss company RosUkrEnergo. The price of natural gas sold by Gazprom to RosUkrEnergo rose to $230 per 1,000 cubic metres, which, after mixing it in a proportion of one-third Russian gas to two-thirds cheaper supplies from Central Asia, was resold to Ukraine at a price of $95 per 1,000 cubic metres.[37][38] The parties also agreed to raise the tariff for transit from US$1.09 to US$1.60 per 1,000 cubic meters per 100 km; this applied not only to the transit of Russian gas to Europe, but also Turkmen gas through Russia to Ukraine.[citation needed] On 11 January 2006, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yushchenko confirmed that the conflict had been concluded.[citation needed]

One possible reason for this conflict is the more pro-NATO and European Union-style approach of the new “orange” government of Ukraine.[citation needed] Russia disagreed, stating they did not want to subsidize former Soviet republics.[39]

Dispute of 2007–2008

Then President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko at a meeting of the Russian–Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission at the Kremlin on 12 February 2008, at which the gas dispute was discussed.

On 2 October 2007, Gazprom threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine because of unpaid debt of $1.3 billion.[40] This dispute appeared to be settled on 8 October 2007.[41] On 5 January 2008, Gazprom warned Ukraine that it would reduce its gas supplies on 11 January if $1.5 billion in gas debts were not paid.[42] Presidents Putin and Yushchenko announced on 12 February 2008, an agreement on the gas issue.[43] Ukraine would begin paying off its debts for natural gas consumed in November–December 2007 and the price of $179.5 would be preserved in 2008.[44][44] The presidents also decided to replace RosUkrEnergo and UkrGazEnergo with two new intermediaries, creating them as joint ventures of Gazprom and Naftohaz.[45]

At the end of February 2008, Gazprom threatened to reduce the supply of natural gas to Ukraine beginning on 3 March 2008, unless the pre-payment for 2008 was paid.[46][47] The Ukrainian government said it paid for the natural gas which was consumed in 2007, but refused to pay the bill for 2008.[48] A Gazprom spokesman claimed that the bill for 1.9 billion cubic metres (67 billion cubic feet) of gas deliveries to Ukraine valued around $600 million remained unpaid. Ukraine disagreed as that debt accumulated in recent months when Russia used its own gas to make up for a shortfall in less expensive Central Asian gas.[49] On 3 March, Gazprom cut its shipments to Ukraine by 25% and an additional 25% the next day, claiming that the $1.5 billion debt still was not paid, although Ukrainian officials stated it had indeed been paid.[50] Gas supplies were restored on 5 March after Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Naftohaz CEO Oleh Dubyna agreed during negotiations by phone on a settlement. On 6 March, the Ukrainian cabinet refused to execute the gas agreements made by presidents Yushchenko and Putin. The Ukrainian cabinet did not want to pay in advance for 2008, and it opposed the creation of a Naftohaz–Gazprom venture that would sell gas in Ukraine.[51] Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko stated that Ukraine did not need any additional joint ventures, and as of 1 March 2008, UkrGazEnergo is no longer operating in Ukraine’s domestic gas market.[52]

Dispute of 2008–2009

Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yushchenko (12 February 2008)

The gas crisis of 2009 began with a failure to reach an agreement on gas prices and supplies for 2009. Ukraine owed a debt of $2.4 billion to Gazprom for gas already consumed, and Gazprom requested payment before the commencement of a new supply contract.[53] In December 2008, despite Ukraine’s repayment of more than $1 billion of its debt, Gazprom maintained its position, intending to cut the supply of natural gas to Ukraine on 1 January 2009, if Ukraine did not fully repay the remainder of $1.67 billion debt in natural gas supplies and an additional $450 million in fines levied by Gazprom.[54][55][56] On 30 December, Naftohaz paid $1.522 billion,[57] of the outstanding debt, but the two parties were not able to agree on the price for 2009. Ukraine proposed a price of $201, and later increased their proposed price to $235, while Gazprom demanded $250 per 1,000 cubic meters.[58] Negotiations between Gazprom and Naftohaz were interrupted on 31 December.[59]

On 1 January 2009, exports to Ukraine of 90 million cubic meters of natural gas per day were halted completely at 10:00 MSK. Exports intended for transhipment to the EU continued at a volume of 300 million cubic meters per day.[60] President Yushchenko requested that the European Union become involved in the settlement of this dispute in a letter to the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.[61] A Ukrainian delegation including Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan, Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Yeliseyev, the President’s Representative for Energy Issues Bohdan Sokolovsky, and Deputy Head of Naftohaz Vadym Chuprun visited the Czech Republic as the first stop on a tour of a number EU member states to hold consultations on the gas crisis.[62][63]

On 2 January 2009, Hungary, Romania, and Poland reported that pressure in their pipelines had dropped. Bulgaria also reported that their natural gas supply was dropping, affecting the shipment of natural gas to Turkey, Greece, andMacedonia. Furthermore, the United Kingdom Government announced that it was preparing to enter its gas reserves after gas pressure had dropped from the continent.[64][65][66] On 4 January 2009, both RosUkrEnergo and Gazprom filed lawsuits against Ukraine and Naftohaz respectively with the Stockholm Tribunal of the Arbitration Institute.[67][68] Ukraine also filed lawsuits with the tribunal.[69] According to Naftohaz, RosUkrEnergo owes the company $40 million for services in transportation of natural gas.[70] On 5 January 2009, Kiev’s economic court banned Naftohaz from transshipping Russian natural gas in 2009 at the price of $1.60 per 1,600 cubic meters per 100 kilometers. The court declared contracts made by Naftohaz for the transit of natural gas through Ukraine void because the contracts were signed by Naftohaz without authorization from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.[71] On 30 March 2010, the Stockholm tribunal ordered Naftohaz to pay RosUkrEnergo around $200 million as a penalty for various breaches of supply, transit, and storage contracts.[72] On 8 June 2010, the tribunal ordered Naftohaz to return 11 billion cubic metres (390 billion cubic feet) of natural gas to RosUkrEnergo. The tribunal further ordered that RosUkrEnergo would receive from Naftohaz a further 1.1 billion cubic metres (39 billion cubic feet) of natural gas in lieu of RosUkrEnergo’s damages for breach of contract.[72][73]

On 5 January 2009 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to reduce natural gas exports to Europe via transshipment through Ukraine by quantities equivalent to the amounts of gas which Ukraine had allegedly siphoned from the pipelines since deliveries ended on 1 January 2009.[74] On 7 January, all Russian natural gas exports via Ukraine were halted amid accusations between the two parties.[75][76][77] Several countries reported a major fall in supplies of Russian gas starting on 7 January; Bulgaria, Moldova, and Slovakia were among the most affected by these supply drops.[6][78][79]

Talks between Naftohaz and Gazprom resumed overnight on 8 January 2009.[75][80][81] Ukraine agreed to guarantee the unfettered transport of natural gas on the condition that Gazprom would guarantee and supply technical gas for Ukraine’s gas transit system to function; this was denied by Russia.[82] The supplies to Europe were not restored although the European Union, Ukraine, and Russia agreed to the deployment of an international monitoring group to the gas metering stations between Russia and Ukraine.[83][84][85][86] Naftohaz blocked the transit of gas, blaming a lack of pressure in the pipeline system and saying the design of the Soviet-built pipeline meant it could not ship gas entering through the Sudzha metering station governing gas leaving through the Orlivka metering station without cutting off the Donetsk region, Luhansk region, and portions of the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine.[87][88][89] Naftohaz suggested a technically more feasible alternative through the Valuyki and Pisarevka metering stations but was refused.[90][91][92]

Signing of the deal reached at theMoscow summit on 19 January 2009, byOleh Dubyna and Alexei Miller (with Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin standing in the background)

On 17 January 2009, Russia held an international gas conference in Moscow. The EU was represented by the Presidency, the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Říman, and the EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, so that the European Union could speak with one voice.[93][94][95] Ukraine was represented by the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.[96] The conference did not achieve any solution to the crisis, and the negotiations continued bilaterally between Prime Ministers Putin and Tymoshenko. Early on 18 January 2009, after five hours of talks, Putin and Tymoshenko reached a deal to restore gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine.[97][98] Both parties agreed that Ukraine would start paying European prices for its natural gas, less a 20% discount for 2009, and that Ukraine would pay the full European market price starting in 2010. In return for the discounts for 2009, Ukraine agreed to keep its transit fee for Russian gas unchanged in 2009. The two sides also agreed not to use intermediaries.[99][99] On 19 January 2009,Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and the head of Naftohaz Oleh Dubyna signed an agreement on natural gas supply to Ukraine for the period of 2009-2019.[100][101][102] Gas supplies restarted on 20 January 2009, and were fully restored on 21 January.[103]

According to the EU Commission and Presidency, the Russia–Ukraine gas disputes caused irreparable and irreversible damage to customers’ confidence in Russia and Ukraine, causing Russia and Ukraine to no longer be regarded as reliable partners.[89][91][95] According to reports, due to the gas crisis Gazprom lost more than $1.1 billion in revenue for the unsupplied gas.[104] Ukraine also incurred losses as a result of the temporary closure of its steel and chemical industries due to the lack of gas. Ukraine also lost $100 million of potential revenue in transit fees from natural gas.[104]

There were also accusations of illegal siphoning of natural gas by Ukraine; however, these accusations were not confirmed.[105][106] The issue of technical gas used to fuel compressor stations and to maintain gas pressure in the pipeline network remained unclear.[107][108] Some sources asserted that the responsibility for providing the technical gas falls to Ukraine,[109] while others say that this is the responsibility of Gazprom.[110]

There were several theories as to alleged political motives behind the gas disputes, including Russia exerting pressure on Ukrainian politicians or attempting to subvert EU and NATO expansions to include Ukraine.[111][112][113] Others suggested that Ukraine’s actions were being orchestrated by the United States.[86] Both sides tried to win sympathy for their arguments fighting a PR war.[114][115]

In August 2009, it was agreed that loans worth $1.7 billion would be given to Ukraine to help it provide stable supplies of Russian gas to Europe by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in return for reforms in Ukraine’s gas sector.[1]

On 28 December 2009, the Slovakian government announced that Russia warned it would stop oil supplies to Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic over a transit price dispute with Ukraine.[116] However, the next day, Ukraine’s Naftohaz issued a statement confirming that Russia agreed to a 30% increase in the transit fees through Ukraine. The alleged rise in the tariff would be from $7.8 to $9.50 (or €6.6) per tonne of oil going through Ukraine in 2010. Additionally, unlike previous payments, new payments would be made in Euros as this was one of Ukraine’s demands. Russia and Ukraine also agreed on the volume of oil to be transported through Ukraine. The overall amount of oil to be transported to Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary through Ukraine in 2010 will be 15 million tonnes—a decrease from 17.1 million tonnes in 2008.[117]

2010 natural gas agreement

Prologue

After meeting her Russian counterpart Putin, Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko declared on 3 September 2009, “Both sides, Russia and Ukraine, have agreed that at Christmas, there won’t be [any halt in gas supplies], as usually happens when there are crises in the gas sector. Everything will be quite calm on the basis of the current agreements”.[118] Tymoshenko also said that the Ukrainian and Russian premiers had agreed that sanctions would not be imposed on Ukraine for the country buying less gas than expected and that the price of Russian gas transit across Ukraine may grow 65% till 70% in 2010.[119] A week before Gazprom had said it expected gas transit fees via Ukraine to rise by up to 59% in 2010.[8]

On 8 October 2009 Tymoshenko announced that Ukrainian 2010 natural gas imports will be significantly less than in previous years “because we have less need for natural gas”. Because of its economic recession the industries require far less gas. In response to Tymoshenko Gazprom Chief Executive Alexey Miller stated that Ukraine should stick to the January (2009) contract for 2010.[11]

On 16 November 2009 Commissioner for Energy at the European Commission Andris Piebalgs stated that Russia and the European Union do not expect another gas conflict with Ukraine. According to him there were no gas price negotiations or questions other than that of gas payments.[120]

On 20 November 2009, the gas deal of 18 January 2009, was altered after a meeting between Tymoshenko and Putin in Yalta; meaning Ukraine would not be fined for buying less gas then the old contract stipulated, this was done in view of the 2008–2009 Ukrainian financial crisis.[121] On 24 November 2009 Gazprom and Naftohaz signed these supplements to the contract of 19 January 2009 on the purchase and sale of natural gas; according to the supplements, the annual contracted amount of gas to be supplied to Ukraine in 2010 has been set at 33.75 billion cubic metres (1.192 trillion cubic feet), instead of the 52 billion cubic metres (1.8 trillion cubic feet) contracted earlier. The documents signed by the sides also stipulated that there will be no fines related to the amount of gas consumed by Naftohaz in 2009.[122] Over the first ten months of 2009 Naftohaz has purchased 18.85 billion cubic metres (666 billion cubic feet) of gas with the contracted volume being 31.7 billion cubic metres (1.12 trillion cubic feet).[123]

On 15 December 2009, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko stated he expects no problems with Ukraine over gas supplies at New Year.[124]

Agreement

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko were in Moscow late March 2010 to negotiate lower gas prices; neither clearly explained what Ukraine was prepared to offer in return.[125] Following these talks Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated that Russia was prepared to discuss the revision of the price for natural gas it sells to Ukraine.[126]

Signing of the deal reached at the Kharkivsummit on 21 April 2010 by Dimitry Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych

On 21 April 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement[127] in which Russia agreed to a 30 percent drop in the price of natural gas sold to Ukraine. Russia agreed to this in exchange for permission to extend Russia’s lease of a major naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port ofSevastopol for an additional 25 years with an additional five-year renewal option (to 2042-47).[128] As of June 2010 Ukraine pays Gazprom around $234/mcm (thousand cubic meter).[129]

This agreement was subject to approval by both the Russian and Ukrainian parliaments.[128] They did ratify the agreement on 27 April 2010.[130] The Ukrainian parliament ratified it after several eggs were thrown towards thespeaker, Volodymyr Lytvyn, by deputies and other incidents.[131][132][133] Opposition members in Ukraine and Russia expressed doubts the agreement would be fulfilled by the Ukrainian side.[130][134]

Yanukovych has defended the agreement as a tool to help stabilise the state budget.[135] Opposition members in Ukraine described the agreement as a sell out of national interests.[135]

Dispute of 2013–2014

Crimean crises

Further information: 2014 Crimean crisis

In February 2014, Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz sued Chornomornaftogaz for delayed debt payments of 11.614 billion UAH (almost €1 billion) in the Economic Court of the Crimean Autonomous Republic.[136]

In March 2014, Crimean authorities announced that they would nationalize the company.[137] Crimean deputy prime minister Rustam Temirgaliev said that Russia’sGazprom would be its new owner.[138] A group of Gazprom representatives, including its head of business development, has been working at the Chornomornaftogaz head office since mid-March 2014.[139] On April 1, Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak said that Gazprom would finance an undersea gas pipeline to Crimea.[140]

On 11 April 2014 the U.S. Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it had added Chornomornaftagaz to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List as part of the third round of U.S. sanctions.[141] Reuters quoted an anonymous U.S. official who explained that the United States wanted to make it impossible for Gazprom to “have dealings with Chornomorneftegaz”, and if that were to happen, Gazprom itself could face sanctions.[140]

The European Union followed suit on May 13, 2014, the first time its sanctions list has included a company (in addition to Chornomorneftegaz, a Crimean oil supplier called Feodosia was also included).[142][143]

June 2014 gas supplies to Ukraine cut off

In an attempt at energy independence, Naftogaz signed a pipeline access deal with Slovakia‘s Eustream on April 28, 2014. Eustream and its Ukrainian counterpart Ukrtransgaz, owned by Naftogaz, agreed to allow Ukraine to use a never used (but aging, at 20 years old) pipeline on Slovakia’s eastern border with Uzhhorod inwestern Ukraine. The deal would provide Ukraine with 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas beginning in autumn of 2014 with the aim of increasing that amount to 10 billion cubic meters in 2015.[142]

On 1 April 2014 Gazprom cancelled Ukraine’s natural gas discount as agreed in the 17 December 2013 Ukrainian–Russian action plan because its debt to the company had risen to $1.7 billion since 2013.[144][145] Later that month the price “automatically” jumped to $485 per 1,000 cubic meters because the Russian government annulled an export-duty exemption for Gazprom in place since the 2010 Kharkiv Pact (this agreement was denounced by Russia on 31 March 2014[146]).[147][148] On 16 June 2014 Gazprom stated that Ukraine’s debt to the company was $4.5 billion.[147] On 30 May 2014 Ukraine paid $786 million to Gazprom.[149]

After intermediary (that had started in May 2014[147]) trilateral talks between EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Ukraine and Russia failed on 15 June 2014 the latter halted (after a deadline of 10 a.m. Moscow time passed without it receiving payment[147]) its natural gas supplies to Ukraine the next day.[144]Unilaterally Gazprom decided that Ukraine had to pay upfront for its natural gas.[150] The company assured that its supplies to other European countries would continue.[150] Ukraine vowed to “provide reliable supply of gas to consumers in Ukraine and we will provide reliable transit to the European Union”.[147] At the time about 15 percent of European Union’s demand depended on Russian natural gas piped through Ukraine.[147]

After trilateral months of talks between the European Union, Ukraine and Russia a deal was reached on 30 October 2014 in which Ukraine agreed to pay (in advance) $378 per 1,000 cubic metres to the end of 2014, and $365 in the first quarter (ending on 31 March) of 2015.[151] Of its debts to Gazprom Ukraine agreed to pay of $1.45bn immediately, and $1.65bn by the end of 2014.[151] It was agreed that the European Union will be acting as guarantor for Ukraine’s gas purchases from Russia and would help to meet outstanding debts (using funds from existing accords with the European Union and IMF).[151] The total package was worth $4.6bn.[151] According to European Union officials the deal secured that there would be no natural gas supply disruptions in other European countries.[151]

See also

Part of a series on the
History of Ukraine
Coat of arms of Ukraine
Ukraine portal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia%E2%80%93Ukraine_gas_disputes

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Department of Labor Revised Job Numbers in November of 414,000 and December of 329,000 Plus 257,000 in January — Wages Increase 12 Cents Per Hour — Solid Jobs Report — U-3 Unemployment Rate Increased From 5.6% to 5.7% and 9 Million Unemployed — 1 Million Additional Americans Looking For Jobs — Spread The Message of Liberty — Videos

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Story 1: Department of Labor Revised Job Numbers in November of 414,000  and December of 329,000 Plus 257,000 in January — Wages Increase 12 Cents Per Hour — Solid Jobs Report — U-3 Unemployment Rate Increased From 5.6% to 5.7% and 9 Million Unemployed — 1 Million Additional Americans Looking For Jobs — Spread The Message of Liberty — Videos

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Gallup CEO: Labor Department Numbers Are Misleading

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Gallup CEO Jim Clifton told CNBC he might “suddenly disappear” for telling the truth about the Obama unemployment rate.

The real Obama unemployment rate has never recovered and is still above 10%.
unemployment obama

Wall Street on Parade reported:

Years of unending news stories on U.S. government programs ofsurveillance,rendition and torture have apparently chilled the speech of even top business executives in the United States.

Yesterday, Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, an iconic U.S. company dating back to 1935, told CNBC that he was worried he might “suddenly disappear” and not make it home that evening if he disputed the accuracy of what the U.S. government is reporting as unemployed Americans.

The CNBC interview came one day after Clifton had penned a gutsy opinion piece on Gallup’s web site, defiantly calling the government’s 5.6 percent unemployment figure “The Big Lie” in the article’s headline. His appearance on CNBC was apparently to walk back the “lie” part of the title and reframe the jobs data as just hopelessly deceptive.

Clifton stated the following on CNBC:

“I think that the number that comes out of BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight.”

After getting that out of the way, Clifton went on to eviscerate the legitimacy of the cheerful spin given to the unemployment data, telling CNBC viewers that the percent of full time jobs in this country as a percent of the adult population “is the worst it’s been in 30 years.”

 

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/02/gallup-ceo-i-may-suddenly-disappear-for-telling-the-truth-about-obama-unemployment-rate-video/

Civilian Labor Force

157,180,000

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

civilian labor force level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153314(1) 153227 153377 153566 153492 153350 153276 153746 154085 153935 154089 153961
2012 154445(1) 154739 154765 154589 154899 155088 154927 154726 155060 155491 155305 155553
2013 155825(1) 155396 155026 155401 155562 155761 155632 155529 155548 154615 155304 155047
2014 155486(1) 155688 156180 155420 155629 155700 156048 156018 155845 156243 156402 156129
2015 157180(1)

Civilian Labor Participation Rate

62.9%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Labor Participation Rate

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.5 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.2 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.8
2014 63.0 63.0 63.2 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.7
2015 62.9

Employment Level

148,201,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

employment level

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139267(1) 139400 139649 139610 139639 139392 139520 139940 140156 140336 140780 140890
2012 141633(1) 141911 142069 141953 142231 142400 142270 142277 142953 143350 143279 143280
2013 143328(1) 143429 143374 143665 143890 144025 144275 144288 144297 143453 144490 144671
2014 145206(1) 145301 145796 145724 145868 146247 146401 146451 146607 147260 147331 147442
2015 148201(1)
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Employment Population Ratio

59.3 %

Series Id:           LNS12300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment-Population Ratio
Labor force status:  Employment-population ratio
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

employment population ratio

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 64.6 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.4 64.5 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.3 64.4
2001 64.4 64.3 64.3 64.0 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.2 63.5 63.2 63.0 62.9
2002 62.7 63.0 62.8 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.7 63.0 62.7 62.5 62.4
2003 62.5 62.5 62.4 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.1 62.1 62.0 62.1 62.3 62.2
2004 62.3 62.3 62.2 62.3 62.3 62.4 62.5 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.5 62.4
2005 62.4 62.4 62.4 62.7 62.8 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.7 62.8
2006 62.9 63.0 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.3 63.3 63.4
2007 63.3 63.3 63.3 63.0 63.0 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7
2008 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.5 62.4 62.2 62.0 61.9 61.7 61.4 61.0
2009 60.6 60.3 59.9 59.8 59.6 59.4 59.3 59.1 58.7 58.5 58.6 58.3
2010 58.5 58.5 58.5 58.7 58.6 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.3 58.2 58.3
2011 58.3 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.2 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.4 58.6 58.6
2012 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.4 58.6 58.8 58.7 58.6
2013 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.6 58.7 58.7 58.7 58.6 58.2 58.6 58.6
2014 58.8 58.8 59.0 58.9 58.9 59.0 59.0 59.0 59.0 59.2 59.2 59.2
2015 59.3

Unemployment Level

8,979,000

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

 

unemployment_level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 15046 15113 15202 15325 14849 14474 14512 14648 14579 14516 15081 14348
2011 14046 13828 13728 13956 13853 13958 13756 13806 13929 13599 13309 13071
2012 12812 12828 12696 12636 12668 12688 12657 12449 12106 12141 12026 12272
2013 12497 11967 11653 11735 11671 11736 11357 11241 11251 11161 10814 10376
2014 10280 10387 10384 9696 9761 9453 9648 9568 9237 8983 9071 8688
2015 8979

Unemployment Rate

5.7%

unemployment_rate

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.2 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.0 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.0 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.6 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7

 

Teenage 16-19 Years Unemployment Rate

18.8%

Series Id:           LNS14000012
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate - 16-19 yrs.
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 to 19 years

 

teenage unemployment

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 12.7 13.8 13.3 12.6 12.8 12.3 13.4 14.0 13.0 12.8 13.0 13.2
2001 13.8 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.4 14.2 14.4 15.6 15.2 16.0 15.9 17.0
2002 16.5 16.0 16.6 16.7 16.6 16.7 16.8 17.0 16.3 15.1 17.1 16.9
2003 17.2 17.2 17.8 17.7 17.9 19.0 18.2 16.6 17.6 17.2 15.7 16.2
2004 17.0 16.5 16.8 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.8 16.7 16.6 17.4 16.4 17.6
2005 16.2 17.5 17.1 17.8 17.8 16.3 16.1 16.1 15.5 16.1 17.0 14.9
2006 15.1 15.3 16.1 14.6 14.0 15.8 15.9 16.0 16.3 15.2 14.8 14.6
2007 14.8 14.9 14.9 15.9 15.9 16.3 15.3 15.9 15.9 15.4 16.2 16.8
2008 17.8 16.6 16.1 15.9 19.0 19.2 20.7 18.6 19.1 20.0 20.3 20.5
2009 20.7 22.3 22.2 22.2 23.4 24.7 24.3 25.0 25.9 27.2 26.9 26.7
2010 26.1 25.6 26.2 25.4 26.5 25.9 25.9 25.5 25.8 27.2 24.8 25.3
2011 25.7 24.1 24.4 24.6 23.9 24.6 24.7 25.0 24.4 24.2 24.2 23.3
2012 23.7 23.8 25.0 24.8 24.3 23.4 23.6 24.3 23.7 23.9 24.0 24.1
2013 23.9 25.2 24.1 24.1 24.2 23.3 23.2 22.5 21.1 22.2 20.9 20.4
2014 20.8 21.3 20.9 19.1 19.2 20.7 20.0 19.4 19.8 18.7 17.5 16.8
2015 18.8

U-6 Unemployment Rate

11.3%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

U-6 Total Unemployed

 

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                 USDL-15-0158
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 6, 2015

Technical information: 
 Household data:     (202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data: (202) 691-6555  •  cesinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	(202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov


                       THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2015


  NOTE: This news release was reissued on February 6, 2015, to correct data
  in table C for the employed (Dec.-Jan. change, after removing the population
  control effect). No other data were affected.


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 5.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities,
and manufacturing.

    ____________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                            |
   |                  Changes to The Employment Situation Data                  |
   |                                                                            |
   |Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual       |
   |benchmarking process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors. Also, |
   |household survey data for January 2015 reflect updated population estimates.|
   |See the notes at the end of this news release for more information about    |
   |these changes.                                                              |
   |____________________________________________________________________________|


Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate, at 5.7 percent, changed little in January and has shown no net
change since October. The number of unemployed persons, at 9.0 million, was little
changed in January. (See table A-1. See the note at the end of this news release and
tables B and C for information about annual population adjustments to the household
survey estimates.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (18.8 percent)
increased in January. The jobless rates for adult men (5.3 percent), adult women
(5.1 percent), whites (4.9 percent), blacks (10.3 percent), Asians (4.0 percent),
and Hispanics (6.7 percent) showed little or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2,
and A-3.)

In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million. These individuals accounted for 31.5 percent
of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down
by 828,000. (See table A-12.)

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian
labor force rose by 703,000 in January. The labor force participation rate rose by
0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent, following a decline of equal magnitude in the
prior month. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, increased by
435,000 in January, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at
59.3 percent. (See table A-1. For additional information about the effects of the
population adjustments, see table C.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged in January at 6.8 million.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In January, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
358,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a
job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 682,000 discouraged workers in January, down
by 155,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged
workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are
available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor
force in January had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or
family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January. Job gains occurred in
retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing.
After incorporating revisions for November and December (which include the impact of
the annual benchmark process), monthly job gains averaged 336,000 over the past
3 months. (See table B-1 and summary table B. See the note at the end of this news
release and table A for information about the annual benchmark process.)

Employment in retail trade rose by 46,000 in January. Three industries accounted
for half of the jobs added--sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000);
motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000); and nonstore retailers (+6,000). 

Construction continued to add jobs in January (+39,000). Employment increased in
both residential and nonresidential building (+13,000 and +7,000, respectively).
Employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contactors (+13,000). Over the
prior 12 months, construction had added an average of 28,000 jobs per month. 

In January, health care employment increased by 38,000. Job gains occurred in
offices of physicians (+13,000), hospitals (+10,000), and nursing and residential
care facilities (+7,000). Health care added an average of 26,000 jobs per month 
in 2014.

Employment in financial activities rose by 26,000 in January, with insurance 
carriers and related activities (+14,000) and securities, commodity contracts,
and investments (+5,000) contributing to the gain. Financial activities has added
159,000 jobs over the past 12 months. 

Manufacturing employment increased by 22,000 over the month, including job gains
in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000) and wood products (+4,000). Over the past
12 months, manufacturing has added 228,000 jobs. 

Professional and technical services added 33,000 jobs in January, including
increases in computer systems design (+8,000) and architectural and engineering
services (+8,000).

In January, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend
up (+35,000). In 2014, the industry added an average of 33,000 jobs per month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, wholesale
trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little
change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged
at 34.6 hours in January. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0
hours, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls
edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 12 cents to $24.75, following a decrease of 5 cents in December. Over
the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent. In January, average
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased
by 7 cents to $20.80. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +353,000
to +423,000, and the change for December was revised from +252,000 to +329,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in November and December were 147,000 higher than
previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses since the last published estimates and the monthly recalculation of
seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to these revisions.

_____________
The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday,
March 6, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).



                       Revisions to Establishment Survey Data


In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today have
been benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March 2014. These 
counts are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW),
which enumerates jobs covered by the unemployment insurance tax system. The benchmark
process results in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2013 forward.
Seasonally adjusted data from January 2010 forward are subject to revision. In addition,
data for some series prior to 2010, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate
revisions.

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2014 was revised upward by 91,000 (+67,000
on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or less than 0.05 percent). The average benchmark
revision over the past 10 years was plus or minus 0.3 percent. Table A presents revised
total nonfarm employment data on a seasonally adjusted basis for January through
December 2014.

An article that discusses the benchmark and post-benchmark revisions and other technical
issues can be accessed through the BLS website at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesbmart.pdf.
Information on the data released today also may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6555.


Table A. Revisions in total nonfarm employment, January-December 2014, seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

__________________________________________________________________________________________
                    |                                    |                                
                    |                Level               |      Over-the-month change     
                    |____________________________________|________________________________
    Year and month  |    As     |           |            |    As    |         |           
                    |previously |    As     | Difference |previously|   As    | Difference
                    |published  |  revised  |            |published | revised |           
____________________|___________|___________|____________|__________|_________|___________
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
          2014      |           |           |            |          |         |           
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
 January............|  137,539  |  137,642  |     103    |    144   |    166  |      22   
 February...........|  137,761  |  137,830  |      69    |    222   |    188  |     -34   
 March..............|  137,964  |  138,055  |      91    |    203   |    225  |      22   
 April..............|  138,268  |  138,385  |     117    |    304   |    330  |      26   
 May................|  138,497  |  138,621  |     124    |    229   |    236  |       7   
 June...............|  138,764  |  138,907  |     143    |    267   |    286  |      19   
 July...............|  139,007  |  139,156  |     149    |    243   |    249  |       6   
 August.............|  139,210  |  139,369  |     159    |    203   |    213  |      10   
 September..........|  139,481  |  139,619  |     138    |    271   |    250  |     -21   
 October............|  139,742  |  139,840  |      98    |    261   |    221  |     -40   
 November...........|  140,095  |  140,263  |     168    |    353   |    423  |      70   
 December (p).......|  140,347  |  140,592  |     245    |    252   |    329  |      77   
____________________|___________|___________|____________|__________|_________|___________

    p = preliminary


               Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey

Effective with data for January 2015, updated population estimates have been used in the
household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the
U.S. Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new
information and assumptions about the growth of the population since the previous
decennial census. The change in population reflected in the new estimates results
from adjustments for net international migration, updated vital statistics and other
information, and some methodological changes in the estimation process.

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey
estimates for December 2014 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population
adjustments, however, differences in selected December 2014 labor force series based on
the old and new population estimates are shown in table B.

The adjustments increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population
in December by 528,000, the civilian labor force by 348,000, employment by 324,000, and
unemployment by 24,000. The number of persons not in the labor force was increased by
179,000. The total unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force
participation rate were unaffected.

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the
comparability of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the
introduction of new population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force
measures between December 2014 and January 2015. Additional information on the 
population adjustments and their effect on national labor force estimates is
available at www.bls.gov/cps/cps15adj.pdf.


Table B. Effect of the updated population controls on December 2014 estimates by sex,
race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, not seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

_______________________________________________________________________________________
                              |      |     |      |       |        |       |           
                              |      |     |      |       |  Black |       |           
                              |      |     |      |       |    or  |       |  Hispanic 
            Category          |Total | Men | Women| White | African| Asian | or Latino 
                              |      |     |      |       |American|       | ethnicity 
                              |      |     |      |       |        |       |           
______________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|___________
                              |      |     |      |       |        |       |           
  Civilian noninstitutional   |      |     |      |       |        |       |           
   population.................|  528 | 173 |  354 |  139  |  114   |  243  |     243   
    Civilian labor force......|  348 | 131 |  218 |  101  |   81   |  144  |     141   
      Participation rate......|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |   .0  |   .0   |  -.1  |      .0   
     Employed.................|  324 | 120 |  204 |   94  |   72   |  138  |     133   
      Employment-population   |      |     |      |                        |           
       ratio..................|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |   .0  |   .0   |  -.1  |      .0   
     Unemployed...............|   24 |  10 |   14 |    7  |    9   |    7  |       7   
      Unemployment rate.......|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |   .0  |   .0   |   .0  |      .0   
    Not in labor force........|  179 |  42 |  137 |   38  |   33   |   99  |     102   
______________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|___________

   NOTE:  Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates for the above race
groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data
are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or
Latino may be of any race.


Table C. December 2014-January 2015 changes in selected labor force measures,
with adjustments for population control effects
(Numbers in thousands)

______________________________________________________________________________
                                       |           |            |             
                                       |           |            |  Dec.-Jan.  
                                       | Dec.-Jan. |    2015    |   change,   
                                       |  change,  | population |  after re-  
                Category               |    as     |   control  |  moving the 
                                       | published |   effect   |  population 
                                       |           |            |   control   
                                       |           |            |  effect (1) 
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________
                                       |           |            |             
  Civilian noninstitutional population.|    696    |     528    |     168     
    Civilian labor force...............|  1,051    |     348    |     703     
      Participation rate...............|     .2    |      .0    |      .2     
     Employed..........................|    759    |     324    |     435(c)     
      Employment-population ratio......|     .1    |      .0    |      .1     
     Unemployed........................|    291    |      24    |     267     
      Unemployment rate................|     .1    |      .0    |      .1     
    Not in labor force.................|   -354    |     179    |    -533     
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________
                                                                              
   c = corrected.
   1 This Dec.-Jan. change is calculated by subtracting the population 
control effect from the over-the-month change in the published seasonally
adjusted estimates.
   NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.


    ___________________________________________________________________________
   |                                                                           |
   |              Changes to The Employment Situation News Release             |
   |                                                                           |
   |Effective with this release, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics introduced|
   |several changes to The Employment Situation news release tables.           |
   |                                                                           |
   |Household survey table A-2 introduced seasonally adjusted series on the    |
   |labor force characteristics of Asians. These series appear in addition to  |
   |the not seasonally adjusted data for Asians displayed in the table. Also,  |
   |in summary table A, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Asians   |
   |replaced the not seasonally adjusted series that was previously displayed  |
   |for the group.                                                             |
   |                                                                           |
   |Household survey table A-3 introduced seasonally adjusted series on the    |
   |labor force characteristics of Hispanic men age 20 and over, Hispanic women|
   |age 20 and over, and Hispanic teenagers age 16 to 19. The not seasonally   |
   |adjusted series for these groups continue to be displayed in the table.    |
   |                                                                           |
   |The establishment survey introduced two data series: (1) total nonfarm     |
   |employment, 3-month average change and (2) total private employment,       |
   |3-month average change. These new series have been added to establishment  |
   |survey summary table B. Additionally, in the employment section of summary |
   |table B, the list of industries has been expanded to include utilities     |
   |(also published in table B-1). Also, hours and earnings of production and  |
   |nonsupervisory employees were removed from summary table B, although these |
   |series continue to be published in establishment survey tables B-7 and B-8.|
   |___________________________________________________________________________|



 

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]

CategoryJan.
2014Nov.
2014Dec.
2014Jan.
2015Change from:
Dec.
2014-
Jan.
2015

Employment status

 

Civilian noninstitutional population

246,915248,844249,027249,723-

Civilian labor force

155,486156,402156,129157,180-

Participation rate

63.062.962.762.9-

Employed

145,206147,331147,442148,201-

Employment-population ratio

58.859.259.259.3-

Unemployed

10,2809,0718,6888,979-

Unemployment rate

6.65.85.65.7-

Not in labor force

91,42992,44292,89892,544-

Unemployment rates

 

Total, 16 years and over

6.65.85.65.7-

Adult men (20 years and over)

6.35.45.35.3-

Adult women (20 years and over)

5.95.25.05.1-

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

20.817.516.818.8-

White

5.74.94.84.9-

Black or African American

12.111.010.410.3-

Asian

4.84.74.24.0-

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

8.36.66.56.7-

Total, 25 years and over

5.34.74.54.6-

Less than a high school diploma

9.68.58.68.5-

High school graduates, no college

6.55.65.35.4-

Some college or associate degree

5.94.94.95.2-

Bachelor’s degree and higher

3.33.22.92.8-

Reason for unemployment

 

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

5,3544,4804,3254,242-

Job leavers

815835798851-

Reentrants

2,9112,7612,7012,829-

New entrants

1,1811,0459711,033-

Duration of unemployment

 

Less than 5 weeks

2,4492,5052,3752,383-

5 to 14 weeks

2,4282,3782,2932,318-

15 to 26 weeks

1,6991,4031,2741,380-

27 weeks and over

3,6282,8222,7852,800-

Employed persons at work part time

 

Part time for economic reasons

7,2746,8516,7906,810-

Slack work or business conditions

4,4194,0684,0614,012-

Could only find part-time work

2,5922,4472,4322,460-

Part time for noneconomic reasons

19,31719,97119,73019,822-

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

 

Marginally attached to the labor force

2,5922,1092,2602,234-

Discouraged workers

837698740682-

- December – January changes in household data are not shown due to the introduction of updated population controls.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

 

 

 

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Jan.
2014
Nov.
2014
Dec.
2014(p)
Jan.
2015(p)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

166 423 329 257

Total private

183 414 320 267

Goods-producing

90 76 73 58

Mining and logging

5 1 3 -3

Construction

69 30 44 39

Manufacturing

16 45 26 22

Durable goods(1)

4 28 21 18

Motor vehicles and parts

-6.1 9.3 6.2 6.7

Nondurable goods

12 17 5 4

Private service-providing

93 338 247 209

Wholesale trade

17.5 8.0 11.3 12.7

Retail trade

-16.5 61.2 7.2 45.9

Transportation and warehousing

-2.7 25.9 33.8 -8.6

Utilities

-1.8 2.8 1.9 0.5

Information

0 7 4 6

Financial activities

4 28 9 26

Professional and business services(1)

36 96 80 39

Temporary help services

-5.2 30.8 25.0 -4.1

Education and health services(1)

19 51 48 46

Health care and social assistance

14.5 61.9 47.2 49.7

Leisure and hospitality

28 42 47 37

Other services

10 16 5 4

Government

-17 9 9 -10

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

197 298 324 336

Total private

203 289 317 334

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

Total nonfarm women employees

49.4 49.3 49.3 49.3

Total private women employees

47.9 47.9 47.9 47.8

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.6 82.5 82.5 82.5

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.4 34.6 34.6 34.6

Average hourly earnings

$24.22 $24.68 $24.63 $24.75

Average weekly earnings

$833.17 $853.93 $852.20 $856.35

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

99.6 102.4 102.7 102.9

Over-the-month percent change

0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

115.1 120.6 120.7 121.5

Over-the-month percent change

0.6 0.8 0.1 0.7

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

Total private (263 industries)

62.4 75.3 69.0 62.4

Manufacturing (80 industries)

57.5 76.3 64.4 58.1

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(p) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2014 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

US gains strong 257K jobs, pay jumps; jobless rate 5.7 pct.


By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER


 U.S. employers added a vigorous 257,000 jobs in January, and wages jumped by the most in six years — evidence that the job market is accelerating closer to full health.

The surprisingly robust report the government issued Friday also showed that hiring was far stronger in November and December than it had previously estimated. Employers added 414,000 jobs in November — the most in 17 years. Job growth in December was revised sharply up to 329,000 from 252,000.

Average hourly wages soared 12 cents in January to $24.75, the sharpest gain since 2008. Over the past 12 months, hourly pay, which has long been stagnant, has now risen 2.2 percent. That is ahead of inflation, which rose just 0.7 percent in 2014.

The unemployment rate last month rose to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. But that occurred for a good reason: More than 1 million Americans — the most since January 2000 — began looking for jobs, though not all of them found work, and their numbers swelled the number of people counted as unemployed. An influx of job hunters suggests that Americans have grown more confident about their prospects.

“For the average American, it’s certainly good news — 2015 is going to be the year of the American consumer,” said Russell Price, senior economist at the financial services firm Ameriprise. “With job growth being strong, we’re going to see a pickup in wages and salaries.”

Investors immediately responded to the better-than-expected jobs figures by selling ultra-safe U.S. Treasurys, sending yields up. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.88 percent from 1.81 percent shortly before the jobs report was released.

Stock market index futures also edged higher in pre-market trading. Futures that track the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average each rose about 0.4 percent.

A sharp drop in gas prices has held down inflation and boosted Americans’ spending power. Strong hiring also tends to lift pay as employers compete for fewer workers. A big question is whether last month’s jump in wages can be sustained.

Job gains have now averaged 336,000 for the past three months, the best three-month pace in 17 years. Just a year ago, the three-month average was only 197,000.

“The labor market was about the last thing to recover from the Great Recession, and in the last six months it has picked up steam,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “The benefits for the middle class are now solidifying.”

The stepped-up hiring in January occurred across nearly all industries. Construction firms added 39,000 jobs and manufacturers 22,000. Retail jobs jumped by nearly 46,000. Hotels and restaurants added 37,100, health care 38,000.

The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring wages and other job market data as it considers when to begin raising the short-term interest rate it controls from a record low near zero. The Fed has kept rates at record lows for more than six years to help stimulate growth. Most economists think the central bank will start boosting rates as early as June.

Steady economic growth has encouraged companies to keep hiring. The economy expanded at a 4.8 percent annual rate during spring and summer, the fastest six-month pace in a decade, before slowing to a still-decent 2.6 percent pace in the final three months of 2014.

There are now 3.2 million more Americans earning paychecks than there were 12 months ago. That tends to boost consumer spending, which drives about 70 percent of economic growth.

More hiring, along with sharply lower gasoline prices, has boosted Americans’ confidence and spending power. Consumer confidence jumped in January to its highest level in a decade, according to a survey by the University of Michigan. And Americans increased their spending during the final three months of last year at the fastest pace in nearly nine years.

A more confident, free-spending consumer could lend a spark that’s been missing for most of the 5½bd}-year-old economic recovery. Americans have been largely holding the line on spending and trying to shrink their debt loads. Signs that they are poised to spend more have boosted optimism that the economy will expand more than 3 percent this year for the first time in a decade.

One sector that has benefited from consumers’ increased willingness to spend has been the auto industry. Auto sales jumped 14 percent in January from the previous year, according to Autodata Corp. Last month was the best January for sales in nine years.

 

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150206/us–economy-5c2022abd1.html

 

NET U.S. JOB GAINS SINCE THE RECESSION HAVE GONE TO FOREIGN-BORN WORKERS

 

In the months and years since the recession began in December 2007, foreign-born workers have experienced a net increase in employment, while native-born Americans have experienced a net loss.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released updated employment data Friday.

The new BLS figures reveal that since the start of the recession in 2007 — which is said to have ended in June 2009 — the number of foreign workers employed in the United States rose by 1.7 million.

In December 2007 the number of foreign-born workers was 22,810,000 by January 2009 the number has increased to 24,553,000.

Meanwhile the number of American-born workers employed decreased by 1.5 million, from 123,524,000 to 121,999,000.

While the foreign-born and American-born population experienced different statistical employment fates, both categories of adults experienced net growth.

The numbers come as Congress continues to debate a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that would defund President Obama’s executive amnesty, which has opened the door for millions of illegal immigrants to legally work in the United States.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Immigration Subcommittee Chairman, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the president’s actions and the administration’s immigration policies, which he argues harms American workers.

Friday, his office highlighted the employment discrepancies between native- and foreign- born employment.

“There are two jobs narratives: the one from the Administration, and the one lived and experienced by American workers. Fewer American workers are employed today than when the recession began.  The President’s policies have profited the corporate immigration lobby and no-borders contingent, but have been only deleterious for wage-earners,” Session’s spokesman Stephen Miller emailed Breitbart News.

Miller highlighted that in addition to the annual flow of over 1.7 million permanent legal immigrants and nonimmigrant workers, as the Center for Immigration Studies recently exposed,  since 2009 the administration has also provided another 5.5 million immigrants with employment authorization documents (EAD).

“What we are seeing in the BLS stats is the human fallout from the President’s actions,” Miller continued. “Figures such as these should be leading the nightly news. One of the first questions posited ought to be: will Minority Leader [Harry] Reid’s (D-NV) caucus continue to shield the issuance of 5 million more EADs for those illegally here?”

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/06/net-u-s-job-gains-since-the-recession-have-gone-to-foreign-born-workers/

The Federal Reserve’s Dual Mandate

What Is the Dual Mandate?

In 1977, Congress amended The Federal Reserve Act, stating the monetary policy objectives of the Federal Reserve as:

 

“The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.”

 

This is often called the “dual mandate” and guides the Fed’s decision-making in conducting monetary policy. On January 25, 2012, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the principles regarding its longer-run goals and monetary policy strategy.

The statement notes that:

 

“The FOMC is firmly committed to fulfilling its statutory mandate from the Congress of promoting maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. The Committee seeks to explain its monetary policy decisions to the public as clearly as possible. Such clarity facilitates well-informed decision making by households and businesses, reduces economic and financial uncertainty, increases the effectiveness of monetary policy, and enhances transparency and accountability, which are essential in a democratic society.

 

Inflation, employment, and long-term interest rates fluctuate over time in response to economic and financial disturbances. Moreover, monetary policy actions tend to influence economic activity and prices with a lag. Therefore, the Committee’s policy decisions reflect its longer-run goals, its medium-term outlook, and its assessments of the balance of risks, including risks to the financial system that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.

 

The inflation rate over the longer run is primarily determined by monetary policy, and hence the Committee has the ability to specify a longer-run goal for inflation. The Committee judges that inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s statutory mandate. Communicating this inflation goal clearly to the public helps keep longer-term inflation expectations firmly anchored, thereby fostering price stability and moderate long-term interest rates and enhancing the Committee’s ability to promote maximum employment in the face of significant economic disturbances.

 

The maximum level of employment is largely determined by nonmonetary factors that affect the structure and dynamics of the labor market. These factors may change over time and may not be directly measurable. Consequently, it would not be appropriate to specify a fixed goal for employment; rather, the Committee’s policy decisions must be informed by assessments of the maximum level of employment, recognizing that such assessments are necessarily uncertain and subject to revision. The Committee considers a wide range of indicators in making these assessments. Information about Committee participants’ estimates of the longer-run normal rates of output growth and unemployment is published four times per year in the FOMC’s Summary of Economic Projections. For example, in the most recent projections, FOMC participants’ estimates of the longer-run normal rate of unemployment had a central tendency of 5.2 percent to 6.0 percent, roughly unchanged from last January but substantially higher than the corresponding interval several years earlier.”

 

Effective communications of the Committee’s objectives and economic forecasts increases the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of policy decisions. To this end, the FOMC publishes the participants’ projections for the key economic variables and their estimates of the longer-run normal rates of output growth and unemployment four times a year in the Summary of Economic Projections. The projections are made by all FOMC participants, irrespective of whether they are voting members or not. The projections are prepared ahead of the FOMC meetings and do not necessarily reflect the discussions at the meetings that inform the FOMC’s decisions.

https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/speeches/our-dual-mandate-background

What Are the Dual Mandate Projections?

Inflation and Unemployment

Chart of inflation

 

Chart of unemployment rate

 

These charts plot the current rates of inflation and unemployment, as well as the FOMC participants’ most recent projections over the next three years and in the longer run. The dots show the median forecasts for the next three years and the dashed lines give the upper and lower ranges of the central tendency of the long-run projections.

 

 

Policy

Chart of fed funds rate

This chart plots the federal funds rate and the rate after adjusting for the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy prices. Read more…

 

 

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

Charts of assets and liabilitiesDuring the financial crisis and in the period since the fed funds rate neared the zero lower bound, the FOMC has employed unconventional tools to improve the functioning of financial markets and to provide additional policy accommodation.

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

ChartDuring the financial crisis and in the period since the fed funds rate neared the zero lower bound, the FOMC has employed unconventional tools to improve the functioning of financial markets and to provide additional policy accommodation. As seen in the chart above, the use of these tools has increased the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and altered its composition. At the same, the increase in assets has been accompanied by an increase in liabilities of a similar magnitude, driven primarily by an increase in the reserve balances of depository institutions held at the Federal Reserve.

 

 

Federal Funds Rate Projections

Chart of target fed funds rate

In addition to its interest rate and balance sheet policies, the FOMC has enhanced its communications and increased transparency regarding its outlook, objectives and policy strategy. The dots represent individual policymakers’ projections of the appropriate federal funds rate target at the end of each of the next several years and in the longer run. It should be noted that these projections reflect the views of all the participants, irrespective of whether they are a voting member or not.

Federal Funds Rate Projections

ChartIn addition to its interest rate and balance sheet policies, the FOMC has enhanced its communications and increased transparency regarding its outlook, objectives and policy strategy. Forward guidance regarding the likely future path of policy is one such communications tool. In its March 2009 statement, the FOMC stated that it anticipates rates to remain at low levels for an extended period. At its August 2011meeting, the Committee elaborated further by stating that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low rates “at least through mid-2013.” In the January 2012 statement, in response to changes in current and expected economic conditions, the Committee altered its forward guidance regarding the period of exceptionally low rates to “at least through late-2014.” To further enhance its communications, the FOMC also published the participants’ projections for the federal funds rate in January 2012. In this chart, the dots represent individual policymakers’ projections of the appropriate federal funds rate target at the end of each of the next several years and in the longer run. It should be noted that these projections reflect the views of all the participants, irrespective of whether they are a voting member or not. Moreover, the projections are made in advance of the FOMC meetings and do not reflect how the participants’ views are enhanced from the discussions at the meetings. The statements released after each FOMC meeting reflect the policy decision of the voting members of the FOMC and their consensus view regarding the likely path of the federal funds rate in the future.

https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/speeches/our-dual-mandate

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The Federal Reserve Opposes More Congressional Oversight and Audit Proposed By Senator Rand Paul — Audit The Fed and Then End The Fed — Videos

Posted on February 8, 2015. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Homes, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Raves, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: The Federal Reserve Opposes More Congressional Oversight and Audit Proposed By Senator Rand Paul — Audit The Fed and Then End The Fed — Videos

rand Paul

janet-yellen

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Rand Paul – Audit the Fed!

Major Move! House Passes Bill to Audit Federal Reserve!

Senator Vitter (R-LA) asks Janet Yellen about Audit the Fed (S.209)

Rand Paul on Janet Yellen, Transparency At The Fed, And Nsa Spying Bloomberg

Rand Paul: ‘Audit the Fed’ – CNBC 5/22/2013

Audit the Fed. by Ron Paul. Harry Reid gets slammed -

Fed fires back at Rand Paul

The Federal Reserve is lashing out at Sen. Rand Paul’s plan to give Congress more oversight over the central bank, a proposal that could gain traction in the new Republican-led Congress.

The Kentucky Republican reintroduced his “Audit the Fed” legislation last month with 30 co-sponsors, including other potential 2016 GOP hopefuls, Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

The proposal — once championed by his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) —would subject the central bank to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Regional bank presidents from around the country are decrying the plan, which they argue could damage the economy.

“Who in their right mind would ask the Congress of the United States — who can’t cobble together a fiscal policy — to assume control of monetary policy?” Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said during an interview with The Hill.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen has already vowed to fight the legislation, and President Obama would likely veto it.

Still, Fed watchers note that Paul has become emboldened by the new Republican majority in Congress. And he possesses an ever louder national microphone, as he moves closer to a 2016 presidential run.

Together, those factors could elevate the issue in the coming months, a prospect that has spurred strong words from bank officials.

Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser told The Hill that financial auditing “already exists” for the Fed, and warned that Paul’s plan would empower Congress “to audit and question monetary policy decisions in real time.”

“This runs the risk of monetary policy decisions being based on short-term political considerations instead of the longer-term health of the economy,” Plosser said.

Paul pushed back against the criticism, saying Fed officials “will say and do anything to keep their business hidden from the American people.”

For Paul, the legislation allows him to burnish his Republican-libertarian credentials.

And he appears to want to make it part of his early presidential campaigning. On Friday, Paul will hold an Audit the Fed rally in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of a weekend trip to the early presidential caucus state.

The issue could give Paul an opening to tap into the public’s mistrust of the government, more than six years after the federal bailouts that followed the 2008 economic crisis.

“This secretive government-run bureaucracy promotes policies that have impacted the lives of all Americans,” Paul said. “Citizens have the right to know why the Fed’s policies have resulted in a stagnant economy and record numbers of people dropping out of the workforce.”

Fisher said lawmakers are looking to shift blame, having proven “unable to get together with their own colleagues on a working fiscal policy or construct a regulatory regime that incentivizes investment and job creation.”

“So they simply find it convenient to create a boogeyman out of an entity that does its job efficiently — the Federal Reserve,” Fisher said. “To some outsiders the Fed appears to be some kind of combination of Hogwarts, the Death Star, and Ebenezer Scrooge — especially to those who don’t take the time to read the copious amounts of reports and speeches and explanations we emit.”

The twelve presidents of the Fed’s regional banks are well connected, their boards of directors stacked with influential business leaders. They are likely to intensify their opposition to Paul’s proposal.

On Wednesday, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester criticized the legislation as “misguided” during public remarks in Columbus, Ohio.

“They really are about allowing political considerations to influence monetary policy decisions,” Mester said in her speech. “This would be a tremendous mistake, because it would ultimately lead to poorer economic performance.”

Yellen, who met with Senate Democrats last week on Capitol Hill, is scheduled to testify before Congress later this month. The appearance will be her first since Republicans seized control of the Senate, and she will likely face questions on the legislation.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), whose panel has jurisdiction on the bill, has also said he is interested in holding hearings on the issue.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/231822-fed-fires-back

Rand Paul Slams Federal Reserve’s Secrecy, Reintroduces Bill to ‘Audit the Fed’

Sen. Rand Paul is reviving his push to audit the Federal Reserve.

The Kentucky Republican and presumptive 2016 presidential candidate said he wants to bring several of the Fed’s monetary activities under congressional oversight.

In a statement released Monday, Paul said it was time to end the secrecy behind the Fed. He believes an audit is the best way to do it.

“[An] audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington.” Paul said.
He slammed the Fed’s current operating practices, saying it works “under a cloak of secrecy and it has gone on for too long.”

Paul concluded that “the American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation’s money supply.”

>>> Much More to Friedman Than Rule-Based Monetary Policy

Calls for a Fed audit increased after the 2008 financial crisis. The ensuing collapse in the housing market and financial industry sparked an ongoing effort to bring more sunlight to the agency.

Norbert Michel, a research fellow in financial regulations at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal he agreed with the senator.

“There is no justification for secrecy,” Michel said. “They should have a full policy audit and the Federal Open Market Committee’s full transcript, not just the minutes, should be released.”

Although the main goal of Paul’s legislation is to have a full audit of the Fed, completed within six months, there are several other reforms he’d like to implement. They include eliminating restrictions on the Government Accountability Office’s ability to conduct oversight and giving Congress oversight of Fed policies like quantitative easing.

>>> House Republicans Attempt to Lift ‘Veil of Secrecy’ From Federal Reserve

The bill has already gained popularity in the Republican caucus with 30 co-sponsors, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., potential presidential rivals in 2016.

“The Fed has expanded its balance sheet fivefold, yet economic growth is still tepid, businesses are sitting on cash, and median income and household wealth are depressed,” Cruz noted in a statement.

Cruz also slammed the Fed for its secrecy.

“Enough is enough,” Cruz said. “The Federal Reserve needs to fully open its books so Congress and the American people can see what has been going on. This is a crucial first step to getting back to a more stable dollar and a healthy economy for the long term.”

http://dailysignal.com/2015/01/29/rand-paul-slams-federal-reserves-secrecy-reintroduces-bill-audit-fed/

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