S&P Global Platts впервые за десятилетие расширит список сортов нефти, используемых для расчета цены Brent, добавив к четырем существующим - Brent, Forties, Oseberg и Ekofisk (BFOE) - нефть с месторождения Troll, оператором которого является норвежская Statoil.
Bid to commemorate bar which saw debut gig by Stiff Little Fingers and birth of a teenage peace processThe old punks of “Alternative Ulster” are rebelling again, this time over the refusal of a request to recognise the role of bands such as Stiff Little Fingers in uniting Protestants and Catholics at the height of the Troubles.Amateur punk historian Dee Wilson, author of The Punk Trilogy, approached the Ulster Historical Circle with a proposal that a blue plaque should be erected at what is now Wolsey’s Bar in the seaside town of Bangor, east of Belfast. Forty years ago bands including Stiff Little Fingers and Ruefrex made their debuts at the bar, then known as the Trident. Continue reading...
Leon Hadar Security, Americas Political-military alliances are supposed to reflect common strategic interests. In response to President Trump’s recent animated telephone conversations with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, pundits expressed concern that the exchanges would devastate the U.S. relationship with two “long-time allies.” But should Mexico be regarded as an “ally” of the United States? It is certainly a geographical neighbor and a trade partner. Many Mexicans live in the United States as legal and illegal immigrants, and much of the cooperation between Washington, DC and Mexico is actually aimed at preventing more Mexicans from crossing the border into a relatively unwelcoming neighbor. Yet geographical proximity doesn’t necessarily make for a friendly, neighborly relationship, as attested by the history of relations between Germany and France or Turkey and Greece. If anything, common land borders can lead to tensions between countries. Nor do robust economic ties create the conditions for close alliances. The United States is Venezuela's largest trading partner, and much has been written and said about the growing trade and investment links between China and the United States. But no one would describe Caracas and Beijing as allies of the United States. In fact, relations with those governments tend to be adversarial on many levels. That millions of citizens and noncitizens of Mexican extraction live in the United States may have helped strengthen the bonds between the two countries, but that has also been a source of tensions in the relationship. And in any case, despite the fact that German Americans are the largest of the ancestry groups, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau (with an estimated size of forty-six million in 2014), the United States and Germany ended up fighting two shattering world wars in the twentieth century. The relations between Australia and the United States do exhibit almost all the marks of an alliance—and also feel that way. They have been formalized by the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty and the two countries’ membership in the exclusive Five Eyes group, or FVEY, an intelligence alliance that consists of the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand. The alliance commits them to joint cooperation in signals intelligence. Read full article
With communities on edge as crackdowns begin, grassroots groups are acting quickly to form information-sharing networks and raise awareness of legal rightsThe rumour began spreading around noon last Saturday: immigration officials were set to conduct raids near churches in Kansas City. Local activists immediately reacted by forming a resistance plan.Forty-five people – attorneys, faith leaders, volunteers – showed up at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in downtown Kansas City at 6am the following morning. Continue reading...
Forty-one people were arrested in the five boroughs of New York City over the last week as part of a national Immigration and Customs Enforcement “targeted enforcement action,” a spokeswoman for the New York field office of ICE said Monday. ICE said 38 of the people arrested had criminal convictions, but did not provide a full list of the what those criminal convictions were, or a breakdown of the nationalities of the people who were arrested. Instead they said the arrests included “A citizen of El Salvador with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member, a citizen of Jamaica with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11,” and “a citizen of Mexico with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11.”Three individuals who were arrested had no criminal convictions, ICE said. The raids sparked widespread fear among the city's immigrant communities, and across the country. In an emailed statement on the raids, Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said, "ICE continues to try to obscure the fact that the principal effect of its raids is to separate families and sow panic in the immigrant community." She called the information ICE provided on the arrests "outrageously incomplete," saying "We will not be fooled by the spin of this notoriously non-transparent agency, which has a long track record of being dishonest in its operations."Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that raids conducted last week in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City yielded a total of 680 arrests. He said 75 percent of the people arrested were "criminal aliens" with prior convictions. Those arrested were people who “pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” Kelly's statement said. He also dismissed the idea that there was anything unusual about the raids conducted last week, and in a fact sheet, ICE said the raids were the latest in a string of “national fugitive enforcement actions.”Similar efforts in March of 2015, August of 2013, April of 2012 and September and June of 2011 yielded 12,119 arrests. “ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years,” Kelly said. “The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.”“President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our Department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally,” he added. Mayor Bill de Blasio has not publicly commented on the raids, but his office issued a statement over the weekend saying New Yorkers should know that city officials will never ask people about their immigration status, and New York Police Department officers “will never become immigration enforcement agents.”Rosemary Boeglin, a spokesperson for the mayor, said in an emailed statement that the mayor is "closely monitoring" reports of ICE raids.“We will continue to stand with the nearly 40 percent of New Yorkers who are foreign born - documented or undocumented - and we will use all of the tools at our disposal to protect them from any federal overreach,” she said.The New York Immigration Coalition, one of several immigrant advocacy groups that raised concerns about the raids, is planning a rally Tuesday in Foley Square to protest the ICE operation.
Daniel R. DePetris Security, Asia We’ve followed North Korean hawks’ advice for two decades—with little to show for it. If Iran’s ballistic missile launch two weeks ago was a prime opportunity for President Donald Trump to sound tough and resolute, North Korea’s testing of an intermediate range missile over the weekend was the first time that the forty-fifth president had to deal with a crisis during the late hours of the night—at his vacation home, no less. Indeed, Pyongyang’s test occurred about a week after Defense Secretary James Mattis visited South Korea and Japan during his first overseas trip, and on the same night that Trump was hosting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at his palatial Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago. The message from Kim Jong-un seemed to be crystal clear: we don’t care about your Twitter posts, and we’re going to keep developing our missile capability as long as Washington continues its “hostile policy” towards North Korea. Like clockwork, the foreign-policy establishment in Washington responded to Kim’s latest act of belligerence with the usual recommendations. Sen. Cory Gardner, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, pressed for additional economic sanctions “to send a message to Kim Jon un that we remain committed to deterring the North Korean threat.” The U.S., South Korean and Japanese delegations called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on North Korea for Monday, which will supposedly culminate in yet another statement denouncing yet another North Korean missile test as a violation of countless Security Council resolutions. We can expect more poking and prodding of the Chinese in the hope that Xi Jinping will see the wisdom of pressuring his frenemy across the border to give up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles unconditionally, without reservation. The result of all of this will likely be the same: more missile tests from Pyongyang, more talk about tweaking or refining the sanctions to make them more effective, and more griping directed Beijing’s way for being a Kim enabler. Read full article
Michael Peck Security, Europe You love their chocolate—so why not some missiles? Little Belgium is known for producing excellent chocolates and machine guns, not rockets that shoot down ICBMs. Yet Belgium has quietly made the decision to build frigates equipped with exoatmospheric interceptors that sound a lot like the U.S. Navy’s Aegis system. This would make Belgium—a country the size of Maryland—the first European nation to have the capability to destroy ballistic missiles in space. “Our frigates will, if desired, be deployable in a ballistic missile defense system, as they will be able to launch missiles capable of engaging ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere,” said Belgian government spokeswoman Laurence Mortier in an e-mail to the National Interest. The new frigates are being jointly developed by Belgium and the Netherlands, according to Dutch maritime site Marineschepen.nl. At this point, only Belgium intends to install interceptors on its ships, which would replace Belgium’s existing M-class frigates, according to the website. What Belgium is proposing sounds very much like America’s exoatmospheric defense network: the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system of forty-four land-based rockets emplaced in silos in Alaska and California, and most especially the U.S. Navy’s thirty-three Aegis cruisers and destroyers equipped with missile detection radars and SM-3 interceptors. These weapons are designed to smash warheads by essentially slamming them with big rocket-propelled darts. Interception occurs during midcourse, the middle phase of a ballistic missile’s journey when it cruises through space for perhaps twenty minutes before the warhead plunges into the atmosphere. Several European states already have a ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability through NATO’s BMD program. For example, Turkey hosts a missile-warning radar, Britain is designing its own, Spain hosts U.S. Aegis ships at its Rota base and Poland will base U.S. SM-3 interceptors. The Netherlands and Denmark also plan to install BMD radar on some of their warships. Read full article
James Jay Carafano Politics, Americas America shouldn't try to infer Trump's policy from his social-media style. Forty years ago, a series of commercials with the tag line “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” made the stock brokerage firm one of the most recognizable brands in America. Thanks largely to his tweets, President Trump can make the same claim. When he tweets, not only do people listen, some of them get very angry. China’s state media even called him out for his “ill-advised Twitter diplomacy.” Certainly, Trumpian tweets can be unsettling. But the issue is: How much will they drive both American foreign policy and the world’s response? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is probably not much. Bridging Action and Rhetoric Both talk and action define national policy. Words, however, are the handmaiden of governance, not its mistress. History remembers Reagan’s historic foreign-policy demand: “Tear down this wall.” It still resonates, not so much because it was a great line, but because the words were backed by action. Pushing back against the Soviet Union was a core tenet of Reagan’s foreign policy. In the end, the wall did come down. But it took more than a speech to make it happen. In contrast, it is hard to recall a single memorable statement from President Obama’s 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt. Doubtless it contained lines that could have been worth remembering. But the policy articulated in the speech failed to deliver any historic achievement. Instead, global terrorism got worse, the old animosities linger, and the region appears as fractious as ever. For the most part, rhetoric unmatched by action is not a particularly powerful force on the world stage. Further, rhetoric is a small part of governance. If government could have been run by tweet, both Bush and Obama would have done that long ago. Weathering the Tweet Storm Much of the complaint about Trump’s tweeting is that, at this point, there is little much else to go on. That’s a fair comment, particularly before the inauguration when there was no government action to analyze. Read full article
Robert Farley Security, Europe The pride of Rome or a total bust? Italy’s Regia Marina was one of the busiest navies of the interwar period. Four old battleships were rebuilt so completely that they barely resembled their original configuration. This helped Italy achieve what was really, by the late 1930s, significant ship-to-ship superiority over the French Navy. The reconstruction of these ships helped generate ideas as to what their new battleships should look like. The new ships were to have enough speed to catch Dunkerque and Strasbourg (a new pair of French fast battleships), and enough firepower to destroy them. The result was the first post–Washington Treaty class of genuine fast battleships, the Littorio class. The third ship of the Littorio class, Roma displaced forty-two thousand tons, could make thirty-two knots, and carried nine fifteen-inch guns in three triple turrets. Although well protected from shellfire, Roma and its sisters (Littorio and Vittorio Veneto) were built with an experimental underwater protection system designed by Italian naval architect Umberto Pugliese. This system proved disastrous in practice; Roma’s sisters repeatedly suffered heavy damage from torpedo attacks. Like the German Bismarck class, but unlike Allied battleships of the day, Roma did not carry a dual-purpose secondary armament, a measure that would have saved weight and improved its antiaircraft capabilities. The Italian fifteen-inch gun was also something of a disappointment, as it fired a very heavy shell at a high velocity, but was difficult to reload, was inaccurate and incurred serious barrel wear. Finally, Roma had a very short range, although this was of little concern in the Mediterranean. All in all, Roma and its sisters were probably the least capable of the world’s final generation of fast battleships, with the likely exception of Bismarck and Tirpitz. Nevertheless, they were useful ships, and in battle the practical difference between Roma and the most of the modern Allied fast battleships would have been minimal. Read full article
A strong early resistance offers hope. In 1852, long before the advent of reality television, a self-taught former slave delivered what students of rhetoric know as the Fourth of July speech to the citizens of Rochester. It was a bracing tirade. Here is a snippet: "Your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity," are, to the slave, he said, "mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages." Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, suffragist, author, and statesman. He died in 1895. Last week, our forty-fifth president, who shows no sign of an education, marked the beginning of Black History Month by reducing this legendary orator to an employee of the month: "Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice." I suppose we should be grateful that our nitwit-in-chief quickly moved on to his favorite subject of himself before he could challenge Cedric the Entertainer's character in Barbershop for the most offensive take on a revered African American. I only wish Trump were similarly fictional. That was but one in a series of farcical incidents during Trump's first two weeks in office. In a call to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump threatened an invasion to deal with that country's "bad hombres." In a call to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, he insulted our staunch ally over 1,250 refugees we had agreed to take. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he jokingly called for prayers to lift Arnold Schwarzenegger's ratings for "The Apprentice." He signed an executive order against refugees without consulting anyone with a clue or a Constitution, then insulted a judge for blocking his dictatorial impulses. He decided he could botch a raid in Yemen just as well from the dinner table as from the Situation Room. He excused Vladimir Putin's murder of opponents and critics by suggesting America is just as bad. His counselor Kellyanne Conway cited a nonexistent Bowling Green Massacre and slammed the press for not covering it. Some of us clung to our sanity by trading memes. The slogan "I'm with her" accompanied a picture of the Statue of Liberty. A still from the Alien film series was posted in which the horrible creature getting up in Ripley's face was replaced with Ms. Conway. I'm afraid we are giggling past the graveyard. Gay friends of mine who came to America seeking asylum from persecution remain afraid despite assurances from their attorneys. They wonder what Trump will do next. A draft executive order has been circulating that would allow discrimination in the name of religious freedom, ignoring the fact that mutual tolerance is the bedrock of a diverse society. Congressional Republicans moved to gut healthcare and financial reforms, repeal ethics rules, abolish environmental protections, even restore gun access to the mentally ill. A bright beacon during these dark days has been the surge of protest and action by everyone from immigration attorneys and the ACLU to ordinary citizens in response to Trump's constitutionally questionable executive order aimed at Muslim refugees. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates sacrificed her job by refusing to defend the order. A rebuke from the Gospel struck a deep chord in many Christians: "I was a stranger and you did not welcome me." (Matthew 25:43) The Resistance is in its early stages. Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and at this point are showing more unity than Democrats, who as Sen. Elizabeth Warren points out, are in need of a backbone. Several cabinet nominees have been (or are about to be) confirmed whose records conflict with the missions of their agencies. The president's closest advisor is Steve Bannon, who, as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi observed, is a white supremacist. During his takedown of red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1954, journalist Edward R. Murrow reminded American viewers, "We are not descended from fearful men." He was holding ordinary citizens responsible for the evil done in their names. In a similar vein, Sen. Kamala Harris tweets: "If you've ever wondered what you would have done during the Civil Rights Movement, this is your opportunity to find out. #goodtrouble" This piece originally appeared in the Washington Blade and Bay Windows. Copyright © 2017 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
In America, we cherish our milestones, and 2017 promises to be full of important historical anniversaries for all of us to enjoy. Already this year we’ve celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first U.S. troops to arrive in Europe to fight in World War II, without whom we’d have never been able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Super Bowl. Later this year, we’ll commemorate such occasions as the quincentennial of Martin Luther’s 95 theses, 100 years of a National Hockey League and 50 years of human heart transplants. That’s quite a bit of hullabaloo! So much so that it’s important we don’t lose sight of an important historical milestone we’re hitting today: the 50th anniversary of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Are you excited? You should be! It’s so great to have the good old 25th Amendment, you guys. And it’s something we don’t herald often enough. Much like a concert piano tuner or an Office of Government Ethics, we don’t often notice the work that the 25th Amendment does because it really only receives attention when something is going wrong. But the 25th Amendment ― which was proposed by Congress on July 6, 1965, and finally ratified on Feb. 10, 1967, thanks to Minnesota and Nevada ― has been quietly operating in the background, adding stability to our nation for half a century. Great job, 25th Amendment! As you might know, the 25th Amendment deals exclusively with presidential succession and has codified a set of procedures to follow in case the office of the president becomes vacant or the president is unable to do the job. These were all things that the Constitution endeavored to address in Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 ― but after many decades of experience, lawmakers came to believe that something more specific was necessary. For example, history buffs might remember how Edith Wilson kind of took over the presidency for a time after President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke. And “Drunk History” buffs might remember Courteney Cox playing Edith Wilson. I mean, can a woman even be president? It still seems uncertain to this day, sometimes! But this is precisely why more guidance was needed. And in the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy assassination, Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.) took up the task of creating a Constitutional amendment that would finally spell out the succession process and how a president could be deemed incapacitated. Of all the things Birch Bayh fathered, the 25th Amendment was definitely not the worst. Here is the text of the 25th Amendment, in all its glory: Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress. Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President. Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office. Pretty great, huh? Definitely a vast improvement on what the Constitution originally offered, in terms of guidance. Now, there’s one part of the amendment that’s never been invoked: Section 4. That’s the part where the vice president and “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” may ― if their judgment leads them to make the decision ― let Congress know that the president is unable to perform the duties of his office. As you can see from the text above, this might touch off a back-and-forth between the president and the vice president, all of which could end up with Congress making the final decision about whether the president should be removed. What sort of impairment would lead to an invocation of Section 4? The amendment is rather vague on the subject. In 1981, when President Ronald Reagan was in surgery after John Hinckley Jr.’s assassination attempt, it might have been invoked. Bayh argued that it should have been invoked in a 1995 editorial in The New York Times. The only other time when anyone flirted with invoking Section 4 came in 1987, on the weekend when Howard H. Baker Jr. replaced Donald Regan as Reagan’s White House chief of staff. The matter was briefly addressed in a PBS “American Experience” documentary about Reagan: Howard Baker, chief of staff (archival): I will be on the job Monday. Full time. And, in the meantime, Jim Cannon and Tom Griscom will be my transition team. Narrator: What Baker’s transition team was told by Don Regan’s White House staff that weekend shocked them. Reagan was “inattentive,” “inept” and “lazy,” and Baker should be prepared to invoke the 25th Amendment to relieve him of his duties. Edmund Morris, official biographer: The incoming Baker people all decided to have a meeting with him on the Monday morning, their first official meeting with the president, and to cluster around the table in the Cabinet Room and watch him very, very closely to see how he behaved, to see if he was indeed losing his mental grip. They positioned themselves very strategically around the table so they could watch him from various angles, listen to him and check his movements, and listen to his words and look into his eyes. And I was there when this meeting took place. And Reagan, who was, of course, completely unaware that they were launching a death watch on him, came in stimulated by the press of all these new people and performed splendidly. At the end of the meeting they figuratively threw up their hands realizing he was in perfect command of himself. Howard Baker, chief of staff (archival): Ladies and gentlemen, is this president fully in control of his presidency? Is he alert? Is he fully engaged? Is he in contact with the problems? And I’m telling ya, it’s just one day’s experience and maybe that’s not enough, but today he was superb. While the amendment offers only vague guidance, clearly there is precedent for considering a Section 4 invocation if there are worries about the president’s mental fitness. So, it’s good to have the 25th Amendment around when people have misgivings about a president’s mental fitness. Can you imagine having these kind of concerns? Hey, don’t worry. Maybe it’s nothing. But if there is just cause for apprehension, it’s great to have the 25th Amendment around. Think about it like this: The 25th Amendment, like the rest of the Constitution, is with us at all times. Why, it’s practically right there in the room with you. You wouldn’t want to forget that it was right there in front of you when you need it, would you? Of course not. So, let’s celebrate the birthday of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution, a quiet and stabilizing friend to this nation. What’s the best way to show your appreciation? I’m not sure. But it seems to me that when you turn 50, the best gift you can receive is to just feel appreciated, useful and wanted. Maybe someone should reach out to the 25th Amendment today! ~~~~~ Jason Linkins edits “Eat the Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:53 P.M. EST MR. SPICER: Here we go. Good afternoon, everyone. As you just saw, the President was honored to host the swearing-in of Attorney General Sessions in the Oval Office just a short time ago. Under Attorney General Sessions, the Justice Department will return to its original, core mission: to uphold the rule of law to ensure that justice is administered and enforced fairly and impartially for all Americans. Attorney General Sessions is a world-class legal mind and experienced prosecutor, and the President is pleased to have him finally in place as our nation’s top law enforcement officer. After the Attorney General’s swearing-in, the President signed three executive orders dedicated to standing behind the police officers who risk their lives every day to protect us and our communities, reducing crime, and stopping cartel violence. The first executive order directs the newly installed Attorney General to develop a strategy for more effectively prosecuting people who commit violence against members of law enforcement. We must better protect those who protect us. Our men and women in blue need to know that we're with them 100 percent as they patrol our streets. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. Law enforcement officials have been vocal about the lack of support they received under the past administration. This lack of support demoralized many officers and, in some cases, led to their discouraging their engagement with local communities, only causing further harm and deterioration. It's imperative that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies better coordinate and share information across jurisdictions to better serve and protect our communities. This order will start the important work of doing just that, instituting a holistic approach that involves the whole of government. It also directs the Department of Justice to work with other federal agencies to come up with ways to further reduce violence against law enforcement, and orders a hard look at how the Department of Justice and other agencies use their law enforcement grants. The second order establishes a task force, led by the new Attorney General, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across America. Together, the members of this task force are going to come up with specific recommendations -- how we can change existing federal law to better prevent crime and improve public safety, and develop stronger working relationships with our state and local partners. The President is confident that this task force will develop a systematic strategy to help further protect the American people. Communities across our nation have been devastated by a surge in violent-crime rates, particularly in our major cities. Over the last eight years, we've experienced declining focus on law and order. Crime reduction will clearly be a priority for this White House. The last executive order re-focuses the energy and resources of the federal government to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, such as drug cartels. It's important to emphasize that we cannot reduce crime in the United States without additionally addressing illegal immigration and illegal drugs. Through this executive order, the President instructs the Attorney General to form a comprehensive and decisive approach to destroying transnational crime organizations and drug cartels. These cartels represent a clear and present danger to our nation. They bring dangerous criminals, drugs, and violence to once-peaceful neighborhoods both here at home and in other parts of the world. They have fueled addiction and overdose deaths, and they can no longer be allowed to operate with impunity in our country or our hemisphere. This order pulls together the experience and resources of federal agencies to work towards emphasizing specific goals in this regard. Number one, to upgrade our information-gathering about these transnational organizations and cartels. Without accurate information about these threats, and the ability and willingness to share this information, we're not going to be able to tackle this problem. It's important to note that, prior to this administration, if you had called the Department of Justice to ask for these statistics, they never kept them. So knowing what we're facing is a big part of addressing the problem. Number two, improving the speed and efficiency of removing criminal aliens, cartel members, and people who help cartels from our nation. Unlike during the last eight years, these criminals are finally going to go home. Three, shift whatever resources we can to tackling these organizations and prevent them from disrupting our society any further. Now, on to the President’s schedule. This morning, the President held a breakfast and listening session with key stakeholders in the airline industry. We've got a participant list if you're interested. The President thanked the attendees for the 10 million jobs and $1 trillion in annual economic activity they contribute to our economy, and praised them for moving approximately 2 million passengers per day in spite of the outdated infrastructure and equipment that they have in terms of air traffic control and other infrastructure measures. The President asked the aviation leaders what the government can do to help their industry grow and create more well-paying jobs for Americans. The leaders commented that they had never been given the opportunity to truly work alongside the President in such an open and constructive way. And they were unanimous in asking for the President to offer relief from the duplicative and burdensome regulations that are stifling job creation, which he assured them he'd do. The President also reaffirmed his commitment to foregoing -- to forging, rather, public-private partnerships that will rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. He pledged to work closely with the airline industry to modernize the technology systems that keep our nation’s airports running, and to expedite the approval process for future airline infrastructure projects. It's the President’s goal to make sure the United States has the most advanced airline system in the world, and this meeting was an important first step in achieving that. After the executive order signing, the President spoke with the President of Afghanistan and the Emir of Qatar. My understanding is that we should have readouts shortly on both of those calls. Just concluding, a few moments ago the President held a Supreme Court and legislative listening session and lunch with Democratic and Republican senators. In attendance were Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa; Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota; Senator Tester of Montana; Senator Donnelly of Indiana; Senator Manchin of West Virginia; Senator Moore Capito, also of West Virginia; Senator Cornyn of Texas; Senator Alexander Of Tennessee; Senator Coons of Delaware, and Senator Bennet of Colorado. The President expressed his hope that these senators and their colleagues will give Judge Gorsuch a fair consideration and vote based on his qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. With over 100 federal judicial nominations potentially happening during this administration, it's critical for us to have open dialogue and work towards bipartisan agreement so that our justice system returns to its important work on behalf of the American people. Later today, the President will speak with the Emir of Kuwait and the Prime Minister of Iraq. He will provide readouts -- or we will provide readouts of those calls moving towards the conclusion of them. We also anticipate that the Senate will hold a vote to confirm Secretary-designate Price this evening or into the early hours of Friday to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. The President was glad to see that the Army Corps of Engineers announced last night the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. With this final federal authorization completed, and the President working to reduce further unnecessary delays, this infrastructure project can finally continue to move forward. The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline was one of the President’s campaign promises and the subject of one of his first executive orders. The administration is pleased that Americans will be going to work building this pipeline, and building it with American steel whenever possible. Now, looking to the upcoming schedule. Tomorrow, the President will welcome Prime Minister Abe of Japan. The President and the Prime Minister will hold a press conference at 1:00 p.m. in the East Room. They will depart Washington around 3:00 tomorrow afternoon for Mar-A-Lago, where the President is honored to host the Prime Minister at the Winter White House. As we recently announced just earlier today, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada will visit the White House on Monday. The President looks forward to a constructive conversation and strengthening the deep relationship that exists between the United States and Canada. The President will also host Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel next Wednesday. We’ll have further guidance on the press availability potentials for either one of those. One last thing before I take your questions, amid surging levels of CEO confidence and in the wake of the incredible jobs announcement made at the White House yesterday by Intel, there's also new numbers released today by the Department of Labor showing that unemployment claims are at near historic lows. The President knows better than anyone what businesses need to create jobs, and the market is responding to his policy improvements. This administration will continue to roll back burdensome regulations and lower the overall tax burden on Americans so they can hire even more people and create even more innovative projects. With that, I’ll take your questions. Kaitlan Collins. Q Thank you. Hundreds of bureaucrats at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau make more than members of Congress. Forty of them make more than Vice President Mike Pence. Does the President have plans to revamp this agency? And if so, does he feel that he should be able to fire the head of the agency at his will? MR. SPICER: I think I've addressed this before, but we have no updates right now on the head of CFPB. If we do, I’ll let you know. With respect to the first part of that question, I think one of the things that you’re going to continue to see from this President is a respects for taxpayers’ dollars, the money they spend, and how they’re spent. We are going to continue to review all aspects of government. I think you’ll see further announcements as far as how he’s going to look at -- how he’s going to approach and innovate and update government. The bottom line is that we should be paying people a fair wage for their service to this country, but that we should doing it in the most effective and efficient manner. And I think that’s what the President has already shown towards his commitment towards helping reduce the cost of several programs through the government and bringing back jobs. But there’s going to be a respect for taxpayers in this administration, so that whether it's salaries or actual positions or programs, he’s going to have a very, very tough look at how we’re operating government, how many positions they're in, what people are getting paid. But the President understands that most Americans are out there working night and day trying to get by, and that Washington truly needs to respect the money that they spend, and that we should be doing it in a way that shows that -- with a level of respect in terms of how many people are hiring, what they’re paid, what programs we’re looking at, whether or not that program is duplicative. But it’s not just about one department or one agency. It’s really about looking at how government as a whole operates. John. Q Sean, questions have been raised after Kellyanne Conway did an interview, I believe it was with Fox News this morning, where she appeared to, from the confines of the Brady Briefing room, promote the products of Ivanka Trump. Do you believe that she crossed an ethical line? MR. SPICER: Kellyanne has been counseled and that’s all we’re going to go with. She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it. Q And could I ask a question. Reuters has a story out that includes a partial transcript of the President’s call with Vladimir Putin, in which he appears to express doubts about the New START Treaty. Does he indeed have doubts about the New START Treaty? Would he like to see that renegotiated? MR. SPICER: The President’s conversation with President Putin is a private call between the two of them, and I’m going to leave it at that. We put a readout on the call, and we have nothing further beyond that. John Gizzi. Q Thank you, Sean. One question today. MR. SPICER: Wow. Q (Laughter.) On February 2nd, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is a well-known filmmaker in Russia and was a close associate of the late Boris Nemtsov, the dissident, found himself in critical condition. His wife has since said she believes this is poisoning, very much like the conditions that almost took his life two years ago. And does the administration have any comment about that, or the frustration of Mr. Navalny, the opponent of President Putin to get on the ballot as a candidate? MR. SPICER: I think our State Department is aware of the situation, we’re monitoring it, and I’ll leave it at that. Blake. Q Sean, the President said today in the airlines representative meeting that he hopes to have an announcement within the next two to three weeks about lowering the burden of taxes for businesses. At the Super Bowl interview, he was asked, can Americans expect a tax break in 2017, and he said, "I think so, yes. I would like to say yes." It sounds like he’s a little bit more confident for the businesses than individual tax breaks for Americans. Is the business component at this point ahead of the individual component? MR. SPICER: No, it’s a comprehensive -- yeah -- thanks for asking. I think we’re looking at, in the next few weeks, rolling out the outline of a comprehensive tax plan that we’ll be working with Congress on that will address both the business side of the tax ledger as well as the individual rates. But it’s going to be a comprehensive plan, something that we haven’t seen since 1986. But I think when you look at the segueing of that, we’ve got two opportunities for reconciliation this year. One is using the FY17 budget, which you can easily get Obamacare repeal and replace done, and then you can use the FY18 budget to utilize the second opportunity at reconciliation to do comprehensive reform. But we recognize the need. I mean, it’s been since 1986 that something like this, of this scale and magnitude, had happened. The President recognizes that middle-class Americans need tax relief, and that’s going to be part of that. But we also recognize -- and you saw that in all of these businesses meetings, whether it’s inversions or other means in which people are shipping jobs overseas or reestablishing themselves or the profits that are kept over there -- we need fundamental, comprehensive tax reform that addresses both sides of that income stream. Q Can you say if this is going to be a mix between what he had put out there on the campaign and what House Republicans had put out there before? Because there’s some similarities but clearly some differences as well. MR. SPICER: I’m just going to say that you're going to have to wait a couple weeks before we put out that outline. But I can tell you that it’s something that is going to spur economic growth. It’s going to recognize the need to give so many working Americans the relief that they need. But more importantly, I think part of the issue that we continue to see over and over again with businesses is that we're facing competition from abroad because of our tax code. It favors companies from not wanting to stay, and the President recognizes that. And what he wants to do is create a tax climate that not only keeps jobs here but makes it -- incentivizes companies to want to come here, to grow here, to create jobs here, to bring their profits back here. So I think -- I don't want to get any further ahead of it, but I will tell you that it is going to be the first time that this nation has seen a full comprehensive tax reform in a long, long time. Yes. Q Yes, the President this morning tweeted that our country is “bogged down in conflict all over the place.” Where are we bogged down? MR. SPICER: I think there are several places that we've been -- Q What does he mean by that? MR. SPICER: I think that if you look at ISIS in particular and the hotspots around the country, the places that we have to monitor, there's a lot of countries through the Middle East in particular -- Northern Africa -- that we are having to address and deal with and monitor because of the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. There's no question that the spread of it has gone -- in the last eight years has proliferated. And I think that the resources that we have to spend -- this isn’t a traditional war where you're just looking at the other enemy with a uniform and saying, here’s the country we're fighting. The proliferation of ISIS throughout this country has made it so that we have to focus a lot more in a lot more places and expend a lot more resources because it’s more of a disparate approach that we have to employ, as opposed to having one country that you're facing at one time. Q But “bogged down” suggests it’s something we can't get out of? MR. SPICER: I just answered the question. I understand. Q Thank you, Sean. And happy Lantern Festival to you. MR. SPICER: Happy Lantern Festival to you. Q Thank you. Regarding the very nice letter that President Trump sent to President Xi Jinping last night, I’m curious about the timing. And also in the letter, President Trump said he’s looking forward to the event of constructive relationship with China. So could you elaborate the importance of this bilateral relationship to the U.S.? MR. SPICER: Well, I think it’s obviously important to us. And the President understands that. I think he’s spoken fairly often about China, and he understands both the national and economic interests that we have, the desire for our companies to access the Chinese market, but also the national security interests that we have. And so he obviously wants to do what he can to have a fruitful and constructive relationship with China, and he looks forward to developing that as we go forward. Sarah. Q Sean, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said today that they could use a few thousand more troops in Afghanistan to help the coalition efforts there. Going off Mike’s question, if we're trying to get out of conflicts like that, does the administration plan to send those additional forces to Afghanistan? MR. SPICER: I think the President will heed the advice of the generals and Secretary Mattis. That conversation has yet to happen -- and if we have any further announcements. But I think that's right now a Department of Defense issue that you should raise with. Hallie. Q Sean, two questions for you. I want to get to one on immigration. But first on the comments from Judge Gorsuch that have been reported out, I just have a two-parter. But does the President still stand by his nomination? MR. SPICER: Absolutely. Q Given where Gorsuch stands -- MR. SPICER: That's number one? Q No, the second part of a two-part. MR. SPICER: Oh. (Laughter.) Q Given where -- MR. SPICER: I’m not calling on you anymore. Q Given Judge Gorsuch’s position on the President’s attitude toward the judiciary, and given that the President has praised Neil Gorsuch for his intellect and for his integrity, does the President have any regrets about the comments that he’s made about federal judges? MR. SPICER: I think the President’s comments speak for -- no, he has no regrets. But he’s very proud of the selection that he’s made, and he’s going to make a great associate justice to the Supreme Court. Q Now about the selection, but about the comments that he said, for example, about Judge -- MR. SPICER: I understand that, I just -- he has no regrets. Thank you. Q On immigration, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos -- MR. SPICER: Look what you started, April Ryan. Q Why are you calling me out? I didn’t do anything. (Laughter.) Q I know the White House, I'm sure, has been following the situation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos. And so I want to know, does the President believe she should have been deported? And what message does he have to others in her position? MR. SPICER: Yeah, I’m going to refer you back to ICE on that. That’s an ICE matter. Q The President has no comment? MR. SPICER: The issue is developing in Arizona right now, and I would refer you back to ICE. Margaret. Q She’s in Mexico right now, though. MR. SPICER: I’d refer you back to ICE. Q Sean, in that lunch meeting, the President said that -- he basically said Senator Blumenthal’s comments were taken out of context, and that -- MR. SPICER: Well, no, Judge Gorsuch’s comments were -- yeah. Q Judge Gorsuch, right. And that his relaying of Judge Gorsuch’s comments were taken out of context. However, Senator Ayotte, who is working with the White House to help shepherd Judge Gorsuch through the Hill, released a statement confirming those same remarks, “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” MR. SPICER: Right, so here’s what -- Q Is the President aware of that? Because she was in that meeting. MR. SPICER: No, no, of course he’s aware. This is what Senator Ayotte said: "Judge Gorsuch has made it very clear in all of his discussions with senators, including Senator Blumenthal, that he could not comment on [any] specific cases, and that judicial ethics prevent him from commenting on political matters. He has also emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary, and while he made clear that he was not referencing* [referring to] any specific case, he said that he finds any criticism of a judge’s integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing.” So there is a big difference between commenting on the specific comments that had been made in the tweet and his general philosophy about the judiciary and his respect for his fellow judges. And I think the senator’s comments were very clear about how those are two distinct issues. Q Right. And the judge’s comments as relayed through others were also in that context of the President’s attacks on the judiciary, which is what the senator you just read out was also talking about there. MR. SPICER: Right. Q Was the President aware of that? Because Senator Ayotte was sitting right across from him when he said that those comments were inaccurately reported or conveyed. MR. SPICER: No, the way that Senator Blumenthal characterized them, he was talking about the tweets and saying that he was disheartened. That’s not what the judge said. He was making two very complete, distinct arguments about how he views the comments that he should not be commenting on a political matter or on specific things. But as a whole, he doesn’t like attacks in general on the judiciary. It was a very distinct argument that he was making. And I think that that’s where I think we’ve got to be clear, and that’s what Senator Ayotte was saying this morning. Very, very different. Cecilia. Q Is he to take that on board? I mean -- MR. SPICER: Is he what? Q Is he taking that on board? I mean, you just said he doesn’t regret his past attacks on the judiciary. MR. SPICER: Right. Q But now you have these confirmed remarks, which you were saying were exactly what the judge was talking about. MR. SPICER: No, no -- Q And that’s not changing the President’s own -- MR. SPICER: But hold on -- but, again, I think it’s important to understand that the judge was very clear that he was not commenting on any specific matter, right? And then the he was asked about his general philosophy. So you can’t then take that -- equate it back to the specific. He literally went out of his way to say, I’m not commenting on a specific instance. So to take what he said about a generalization and apply it to a specific is exactly what he was intending not to do. Q In other words, the President will continue to speak like this. MR. SPICER: Of course he will. The President is going to speak his mind. It goes back to Thomas Jefferson, that Presidents have commented on judicial nominees. I mean, the idea of one branch talking about or commenting on another branch is as old as our republic. So I don’t know why -- and I find it interesting when President Obama criticized the Supreme Court for its Citizens United comments in the State of the Union, there wasn’t a similar concern about that. The idea that this is -- Q Well, I guess the "so-called judge" portion of it, the personal attack. MR. SPICER: But at some point it seems like there is clearly a double standard when it’s -- how this is applied. When President Obama did it, there was no concern from this briefing room. When he does it, it’s a ton of outrage. So I just -- with all due respect, I think the President has made very clear that he was concerned about how that executive order in particular, which is what we’re talking about, was applied. And I think we’ve addressed it from this briefing room over and over and over again that the U.S. code gives the President very clear authority to make this happen. Cecilia. Q I want to make sure I understand what you’re saying. Are you saying that “demoralizing” and “disheartening” was not specifically about the President’s comments and what he said? And if so, how does the President know that? Has he spoken to the Judge? MR. SPICER: No, I think the Judge literally made it very clear in his comments. Q But three senators have come out and said that they corroborate that statement, and said that -- MR. SPICER: I understand that. Senator Ayotte, who was there, made it very clear that he was commenting in general about attacks on the judiciary. That was it. Plain and simple. Q But three other senators have said, and the spokesman and for the Judge, on the record. MR. SPICER: I understand that, Cecilia. I can tell you that Senator Ayotte, who has been with him on every single thing, was very clear about that. There’s no -- so I understand that. And that is -- she has made it very clear over and over again. Yes. Q Sean, your answer about the context doesn't make sense when you think about what Senator Ben Sasse said today and this morning on TV. He said that he asked Judge Gorsuch specifically about the President’s “so-called judge” tweet. And in response -- MR. SPICER: Phil, this is like the fourth time I’ve asked and answered. Q No, but this is a different context, Sean. MR. SPICER: I understand that. Phil, I have asked -- Q This is directly about the President's tweet. MR. SPICER: I understand that. And I’ve said exactly what Senator Ayotte said about it. I don't know how many times you guys -- Q But her comment was only about Blumenthal. MR. SPICER: I understand, thank you. Q Sean, I'm going to continue on this line, despite what was just happening there. Why isn’t the White House, why isn’t the President concerned about the influence or the appearance of the influence on the independent judiciary? MR. SPICER: Why isn’t he -- I mean, he is free to speak his mind. Where has this outrage been for the last hundred years? There has been -- Q I'm not asking about the Obama administration or any previous administration, I’m talking about this President and this White House. MR. SPICER: I understand that. And the President has -- part of the reason the President got elected is because he speaks his mind. He doesn't hold it back. He’s authentic. And he’s not going to sit back, I think, when he feels very passionately about something as much as the executive order. He was doing it to make sure Americans were safe. The order -- the U.S. code is crystal-clear on this. I think I’ve read it for like three days in a row. And it can't be any clearer how much authority it gives the President to do what he can to keep us safe. He’s concerned that he’s doing what he can to keep this country safe, and there has been a lot of activity to stand in the way. So I’m not sure how many more times I can read the code to you. But 8 U.S. Code, 1182 -- Q Yes, but you and me talking about it is not how the judicial process works. MR. SPICER: Thank you. You've asked the question now eight times. Q One more I’d like to ask you. One more about a different set of comments. MR. SPICER: You've got -- hold on. I understand. Thank you, go ahead. Q About a different set of comments that have been made, Sean, also from Kellyanne Conway earlier this week. Q Let him go. Let him go. Q Earlier this week. You say the -- this is in context of Nordstrom and not about what she was counseled about, but about something she said to CNN earlier this week, is that the President doesn't comment on everything. And so I want to contrast the President’s repeated statements about Nordstrom with the lack of comments about some other things, including, for example, the attack on a Quebec mosque and other similar environments. Why is the President -- when he chooses to -- MR. SPICER: Do you -- hold on -- because you just brought that up. I literally stand at this podium and opened a briefing a couple days ago about the President expressing his condolences. I literally opened the briefing about it. So for you to sit there and say -- Q I was here. MR. SPICER: I know. So why are you asking why he didn't do it when I literally stood here and did it? Q The President’s statement -- MR. SPICER: I don't understand what you're asking. Q Kellyanne’s comments were about that the President doesn't have time to tweet about everything. MR. SPICER: Right. Q He’s tweeting about this. MR. SPICER: Right. Q He’s not tweeting about something else. MR. SPICER: I came out here and actually spoke about it and said the President spoke -- Q I'm talking about the President’s time. MR. SPICER: What are you -- you're equating me addressing the nation here and a tweet? I don't -- that's the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Q I’m talking about an attack on Nordstrom on -- MR. SPICER: Okay, I’m done. This is silly. Okay, next. Q -- and an attack on people, and you're equating -- MR. SPICER: Thank you. You've asked your question. Thank you. Q Does that not diminish the language that you're using? MR. SPICER: Thank you. Go ahead. Q Thank you, Sean. One of the criticisms leveled at President Trump’s predecessor, President Obama, by Republicans was his excessive use of executive orders. The President signed three more executive orders today. Why isn’t that criticism applicable to President Trump in the same manner that President Obama -- MR. SPICER: I think when you look at the context of what they -- yes, what those executive orders did, and there’s things that are within the bounds of trying to protect this country and ordering police officers -- nothing that I think even Democrats would complain, with the exception of the one that we've had conversations on. Most of them have been widely praised by both parties to keep this country safe, to get jobs creation back. Most of them have widely applauded. I think the difference with what President Obama did was stretch the executive order to take actions that had largely been within the realm of Congress, and to do things that didn't allow for prior input. The stuff that the President is doing is almost entirely highly applauded by both sides of the aisle and won tremendous praise. There's a big difference in the context in which those two administrations operated. Q One of the criticisms in addition to that was that President Obama in using those EOs was governing by executive fiat, he wasn’t working with Congress. Does the President plan to use -- MR. SPICER: Right. But again, I think -- Q -- Congress in a legislative manner? MR. SPICER: Absolutely. And I just mentioned both tax reform and repealing and replacing Obamacare -- immigration. There are so many areas where the President -- he literally just -- we held up this briefing a little so that eight United States senators could walk out and talk about -- and again, that meeting, while it was focused on the judiciary, they talked about infrastructure. They talked about other priorities that they have. He has shown a commitment to work across the aisle to bring folks in, to listen, to hear their thoughts, to get ideas on a legislative agenda that they can move together with. So I think there is a big difference between the last administration that sort of shunned Congress’s role, and this administration where the President is actively seeking their input and ideas, and helping them craft an agenda to move the country forward. Alexis. Q Can I follow up on the tax question? MR. SPICER: Sure. Q Because there are revenue elements of the Affordable Care Act, if it is repealed and replaced -- there has been discussion on the Hill about what would be the appropriate track to get that into tax legislation or how to treat the tax legislation. If the President is interested in unveiling a tax package that is as comprehensive as you just described, would the revenue elements of the Affordable Care Act be on a separate track? Or is he talking about folding them into one reconciliation package? MR. SPICER: So right now, as I mentioned at the outset, I think we're primarily looking at two reconciliation tracks -- one utilizing the 2017 budget. So you could put your Obamacare repeal and replace in the 2017 reconciliation package, and then you could potentially do tax reform -- comprehensive tax reform in the 2018 budget. But I also want to say -- just so we're clear, these aren't prescriptive. I think we continue to work towards Congress on a range of options and ideas to accomplish both of those and other goals. Those seem primarily the two most opportune ways to get this thing done. But I wouldn’t want to rule in or anything out. I think both Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell are going to weigh in on what best vehicles can be utilized to make this thing happen. So I don't want to be prescriptive. Ben. Q You talked about the President’s tax reform plan in coming weeks. Is that something he’s talked about with leaders in both houses of Congress? And are they prepared for this? MR. SPICER: Absolutely. I mean, as I mentioned, he has met with -- just wrapped up a meeting with Republicans and Democratic senators. But this is something that the legislative affairs team, as well as the President himself has engaged with members of Congress to talk about this both privately and in bigger groups. But there is a very large conversation going on to achieve bipartisan support for a package of this nature. Jonathan. Q Does the President believe that it’s possible to balance the budget without major entitlement reform? Any sort of House -- MR. SPICER: I think one of the things that the President has looked at is not just the cutting side, but the revenue stream. One area in particular -- natural resources regulation and tax reform, how we can grow the economy and bring in additional revenues to the government on the revenue side. So there is a balance to how the President is looking at bringing down the deficit. And I think before I get -- he’s going to -- we’ll have a budget out in a few weeks. I think that will answer a lot. But again, when it comes to deficit reduction, which is something that he is very interested in, that is not a one-side-of-the-ledger option; that a lot of what he is trying to talk about in these meetings and with business executives is how we can expand the economy. And that expanded economy, that job creation, those explorations of natural resources and additional new jobs also bring additional tax revenue in. So there's a way to do this. If we start bringing businesses back, creating more things, creating more jobs, that creates a revenue stream that has a significant impact on the deficit -- on being able to drive down the deficit and balancing the budget. So I think it’s not something I want to get in too much detail now, but I will tell you that I think the President has been very, very keen on trying to make sure that we look at the revenue side as much as we're looking at the spending side. When it comes to the spending side, again, you're looking at a whole-of-government approach at how we look at every department, every agency, every job, the spending -- or the hiring freeze being one of them. How do we make sure that we're looking at are these positions necessary? Are they duplicative? Are we using taxpayer money in the best possible way? Those are the whole -- it isn’t a single -- like, look at those particular programs and try to figure out what we can do. He’s looking at everything and figuring out if we can make it more effective and efficient. Yes, Scott. Q Yes, Sean, Monday, the House Oversight Committee is going to mark up Congressman Chaffetz’s bill to strike down the District of Columbia's Death with Dignity Act, the assisted suicide law. It could soon come to the White House. Has the President articulated any thoughts on that or the other bills to strike down D.C.’s gun laws, marijuana, funding for federal -- for abortions in the District? Any thoughts on all these things that are coming your way? MR. SPICER: As they come our way and they get passed by both houses and come this way, we will issue statements of administration policy. At this time, they are not at that position. So thank you, guys, very much. We’ll see you tomorrow with the Prime Minister. Take care. Q On Mar-a-Lago -- Q One question. Q Come back. MR. SPICER: Sorry, one quick one. On Mar-a-Lago, someone asked about it yesterday, so a quick follow-up. The President has offered as a gift to the Prime Minister, he will be his guest at Mar-a-Lago. No one else will be staying there, as far as I know, from the Japanese delegation. They will stay out in town with the rest of the staff. But that is a gift that the President is extending to the Prime Minister. Thank you, guys. END 2:26 P.M. EST
Zachary Keck Security, Middle East Tehran would be in big trouble if war came. Should the U.S. have to resort to the military option against Iran’s nuclear program, the B-2 stealth bomber would figure prominently in the operations. One of Iran’s best defenses is its massive and unforgiving geography. The country is three times larger than Iraq and roughly equivalent to the size of all of Western Europe. Most of its major nuclear facilities, as well as some of its important military sites, are located deep inside the country. Some of these are also located near important cities, such as the Fordow nuclear enrichment plant that is located near the important religious city of Qom. This and four others, make up the weapons America would use to go to war against Iran. The Islamic State of Iran was born in enmity toward the United States. Led by the fiery cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, revolutionary leaders animated crows in Iran by lambasting “Great Satan” for any number of crimes, both real and imagined. It didn’t take long for this animosity to turn kinetic. As the Iran-Iraq War intensified throughout 1984, the two combatants began targeting each other’s oil shipments as a way to gain military advantage. According to Global Security, “Seventy-one merchant ships were attacked in 1984 alone, compared with forty-eight in the first three years of the [Iran-Iraq] war.” This drew the ire of global powers, none more so than the United States, who sent in a naval task force to escort oil tankers and merchant ships through the Persian Gulf. This led the U.S. and Iran to exchange fire on a number of occasions. Not surprisingly, the U.S. came out on top in most of these exchanges. This helped cement the United States as public enemy number one in the minds of many Iranian leaders, including those in the military. Since that time, Iran has sought to develop asymmetric military capabilities to offset America’s insurmountable conventional superiority. Five U.S. weapons should be foremost in their minds. F-22 Raptor: When Iranian aircraft began targeting U.S. drones conducting surveillance over Iran in 2013, Washington responding by providing the UAVs with High Value Air Asset Escorts. These escorts often took the form of the F-22 Raptor. Read full article
People residing on the East and West coasts are most likely to be living paycheck to paycheck, while salaries went furthest in the South.
Photo: Kremlin.ru Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Moscow’s famous Tretyakov Arts Gallery on Feb. 8 night where he had a tour of two exhibitions underway there - "Roma. Aeterna. The Masterpieces of the Vatican’s Pinacoteca" and "The Masterpieces of Byzantine". He began the tour of the Vatican display with a rare 12th century work of the Roman school, "The Redeemer Conferring a Blessing" that had never left the walls of the Holy See previously. The next work he stopped by was "The St Francis of Assisi" painted by Margaritone d’Arezzo in the 13th century. Photo: Kremlin.ru Tretyakov Gallery workers said the painting is featured in all textbooks on the history of arts and it represents the earliest known portrait of the saint who played a crucial role in the rise the Western Church. Putin was also shown the works of masters of the Gothic style, whose paintings are extremely rare in Russian museum collections. The exhibition "Roma. Aeterna. The Masterpieces of the Vatican’s Pinacoteca. Bellini, Rafael, Caravaggio" represents a unique project as the Vatican Museums are showing the best part of their collection of 12th to the 18th centuries in Russia for the first time ever. Photo: Kremlin.ru The forty-two canvasses by Giovanni Bellini, Melozzo da Forli, Perugino, Rafael, Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Guercino, Nicolas Poussin come across as real treats to the visitors. A preliminary agreement on preparing the exhibition was reached in the course of President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Pope Francis I in Vatican City in June 2015. The President also had a tour of the "Masterpieces of Byzantine" display. Source: TASS Read more: Vatican Museums exhibition in Moscow extended by 10 days amid huge success
Unflinching in its portrayal of the horror of the slave trade and with a breakout performance from former EastEnder Malachi Kirby, the story of Kunta Kinte deserves a wider audienceForty years after the original US TV adaptation of Alex Haley’s book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the History channel releases this new version, Roots (BBC4), first shown in the US last year. I was two when the original became a runaway hit and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t sought out the DVD since. The original isn’t the kind of series broadcasters seem keen to repeat for some reason. But this harrowing tale of human subjugation and suffering has lost none of its power to shock. At a time when many are trying to focus on what unites rather than divides us (for obvious reasons), it’s a shame this remake is tucked away on BBC4 where a relatively small audience will find it. It should be required viewing for anyone with just an abstract idea of what slavery actually means.The relentlessly distressing tale of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century Mandinka tribesman abducted from his village in the Gambia and sold as a slave in the US, stars former EastEnders actor Malachi Kirby in a stunning breakout performance. He infuses the young Kinte with a dignified rage and tense physicality that he deploys with absolute precision. It’s no easy thing to play someone in a permanent state of fury without ever letting that internal pot of wrath boil over. He controls it admirably and demands your eyes whenever he is on screen. Continue reading...
Democratic voters are sending a clear message to their elected officials in Washington: Stop Donald Trump at all costs. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that just 34 percent of Democratic voters want their party’s elected officials to find ways to work with the new president. A 56-percent majority say Democrats in Congress should stick to their principles, even “if that means blocking all legislation or nominees for government posts.”The survey — conducted Feb. 2 through Feb. 4 — is instructive, as Trump and Republicans begin to plot their legislative plans on everything from repealing and replacing Obamacare to tax reform. Democrats, in the minority in both chambers, are being squeezed by their base to stop Trump’s agenda in its tracks, even if they lack the power to do so. "There was talk after the election that Trump might be a president who Democrats could work with, at least on certain issues like infrastructure. But this new data indicates that, even if deals are possible, that's not primarily what Democratic voters are looking for," said Morning Consult Chief Research Officer and Co-Founder Kyle Dropp.The survey, which was conducted among 2,070 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, shows skepticism about cooperating with Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). For example, just 23 percent of Democrats want to confirm Neil Gorsuch as the next justice on the Supreme Court, and they believe that the Senate should only vote to approve a judge if he garners 60 votes, instead of 51. A clear majority of all voters – 58 percent – say Gorsuch should be considered on his qualifications, not his views on issues that might come before the court. Forty-eight percent of respondents said Gorsuch would make the court more conservative, while just 18 percent said his confirmation would not change the balance of the court. Gorsuch is replacing late Justice Antonin Scalia, another conservative jurist who passed away nearly a year ago.Across the board, Trump is finding pretty widespread support for nearly all of his policy prescriptions. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they approve of Trump’s new immigration restrictions, which curtail the flow of people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Only 38 percent of voters oppose the order.Other polls show far less support for the immigration restrictions. Each poll uses its own wording to describe the executive order, and only some pollsters offer an explicit "don't know" option to respondents. But, generally, the finding is consistent with other online polls that show more support for Trump's actions than live-interview telephone polls.That disparity extends to Trump's overall approval rating. While live-interview polls from Gallup and Quinnipiac University show majorities disapprove of Trump's job performance, his approval rating in the POLITICO/Morning Consult survey, 48 percent, is slightly greater than his 46-percent disapproval rating.Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: http://politi.co/2k0eNso | Crosstabs: http://politi.co/2k0oQmd
В Европе уничтожают банкиров целыми семьямиВ Западной Европе продолжается череда таинственных убийств высокопоставленных банкиров. Их убивают нарочито жестоко вместе с детьми и женами. С января этого года было убито уже 14 топ-менеджеров ведущих банков, ни одно из преступлений не было раскрыто. Такими темпами, банкиры по примеру Депардье вскоре начнут просить политубежище в России.В пятницу, 18 апреля, стало известно, что в бельгийском городе Визе был убит 37-летний директор BNP Paribas Fortis вместе со своей супругой и девятилетним племянником в результате стрельбы из проезжающего мимо них автомобиля. Согласно заявлениям мэра Визе Марселю Невену, ничто не может объяснить, что вызвало жестокую стрельбу поздней ночью 18 апреля. До сих пор не найдены ни убийца, ни внятный мотив для совершения этого преступления.Ранее финансовый мир был озабочен загадочным убийством бывшего генерального директора ABN Amro и членов его семьи, позже стало известно о гибели главы Bank Frick & Co. Юргена Фрика в Лихтенштейне.Всего, не считая последнего убийства, начиная с январе в Европе и США погибло уже 13 банкиров.Часть смертей полиция классифицирует как самоубийства, а некоторые называют необъяснимыми или просто отказывается раскрывать подробности, что только усиливает подозрения в умышленных убийствах.№1. УИЛЬЯМ БРОКСМИТ58-летний бывший топ-менеджер Deutsche Bank был найден мертвым в своем доме в центре Лондона 26 января. Полиция классифицирует эту смерть как самоубийство.№2. КАРЛ СЛИМ51-летний управляющий директор Tata Motors был найден мертвым на четвертом этаже отеля Shangri-La в Бангкоке 27 января.№3. ГАБРИЭЛЬ МАГИ39 -летний сотрудник JP Morgan умер после падения с крыши европейской штаб-квартиры JP Morgan в Лондоне 27 января.№4. МАЙК ДЮКЕР50-летний главный экономист инвестиционного банка США был найден мертвым недалеко от Такомского моста в штате Вашингтон.№5. РИЧАРД ТЭЛЛИ57-летний основатель Title Services был найден мертвым в начале этого месяца. Судя по всему, он сам выстрелил в себя из ружья.№6. ТИМ ДИКИНСОНДиректор по коммуникациям британской Swiss Re AG также умер в прошлом месяце, однако обстоятельства его смерти до сих пор неизвестны.№7. РАЙАН ГЕНРИ КРЕЙН37-летний топ-менеджер JP Morgan умер несколько недель назад . Подробностей трагедии нет, в качестве причины называется самоубийство. О его смерти свидетельствует лишь небольшой некролог в Stamford Daily Voice.№8. ЛИ ДЖУНДЖИ33-летний банкир из Гонконга покончил с собой, спрыгнув с крыши штаб-квартиры JP Morgan в Гонконге на этой неделе.№9. ДЖЕЙМС СТЮАРТБывший генеральный директор National Bank of Commerce найден мертвым в Скоттдейл, штат Аризона, утром 19 февраля. Представитель семьи отказался называть причину смерти.№10. ЭДМУНД РЕЙЛИ47-летний трейдер Midtown’s Vertical Group совершил самоубийство, прыгнув под поезд.№11. КЕННЕТ БЕЛЛАНДО28-летний трейдер Levy Capital, ранее работающий инвестиционно-банковским аналитиком в JPMorgan, выпрыгнул из окна своей квартиры.№12. ЯН ПЕТЕР ШМИТТМАНН57-летний бывший главный исполнительный директор банка ABN Amro Group найден мертвым у себя дома недалеко от Амстердама вместе с женой и дочерью.№13. ЮРГЕН ФРИК48-летний бывший генеральный директор Bank Frick & Co. был застрелен в подземном гараже одной из финансовых компаний в Лихтенштейне.