President Trump is emphasizing “Made in America” products at a White House event to celebrate products manufactured in the U.S.A. Approximately 344,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since the President took office:
Against the backdrop of U.S. withdrawing from the ill-fated Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA); and against the backdrop of looming U.S. sanctions therein; there has been an ongoing geopolitical simmering/positioning between allies and adversaries surrounding the current and future disposition of Iran.
Recently China, likely responding to economic trade leverage from the U.S., made a deal with Saudi Arabia for petroleum purchases weakening their alliance with Iran. At the same time Turkey, a tenuous NATO ally, began positioning in advance of U.S. sanctions and removing Iran oil purchases. Collectively, and with President Trump putting pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin via Syria and Iranian influence, this has led to Iran feeling an economic squeeze similar to the previous Trump Doctrine leverage as witnessed in N-Korea.
This follows on the immediate heels of a speech given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, CA.
There is a clearly coordinated and unified message:
[Transcript] SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Well, thank you, Fred, for that kind introduction. It reminded me when I was going through my confirmation process they were chasing down all the people I’d known my whole life, and they found one of the young men who played basketball with me at Los Amigos, and his quote was – they asked how good I was. And he said, “Well, he made the most of what he had.” (Laughter.)
Thanks for the kind introduction and thanks for hosting me here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. It’s a very special place and an honor for me to be here.
I also want to thank my friend Tom for joining me here tonight. He and I have been on multiple missions together, and I am confident we will continue to do so in the days and weeks and years ahead.
And it’s great to see Governor Wilson here. I voted for you a couple times a long time ago. (Laughter.)
And I know we have many members of the Iranian American community with us this evening. This is just a fraction of the quarter million Iranian Americans in Southern California alone. We have many Iranian American guests from all across the United States here as well. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you this evening, learning more about the situation in Iran as you see it, and understanding what your loved ones and friends are going through living in that place.
And I recognize the Iranian diaspora is diverse. There are many faith backgrounds and many different walks of life, and that’s a good thing, and not all Iranian Americans see things the same way. But I think everyone can agree that the regime in Iran has been a nightmare for the Iranian people, and it is important that your unity on that point is not diminished by differences elsewhere.
To our Iranian American and – to our Iranian American friends, tonight I want to tell you that the Trump administration dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do, and through our labors and God’s providence that day will come true. (Applause.)
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. As I’ll spell out more in a moment, the 40 years of fruit from the revolution has been bitter. Forty years of kleptocracy. Forty years of the people’s wealth squandered on supporting terrorism. Forty years of ordinary Iranians thrown in jail for peaceful expression of their rights. Why has the regime conducted itself in such an abhorrent way over the past 40 years and subjected its people to these conditions? It’s an important question.
The answer is at root in the revolutionary nature of the regime itself. (Applause.)
The ideologues who forcibly came to power in 1979 and remain in power today are driven by a desire to conform all of Iranian society to the tenets of the Islamic Revolution. The regime is also committed to spreading the revolution to other countries, by force if necessary. The total fulfillment of the revolution at home and abroad is the regime’s ultimate goal. It drives their behavior. Thus, the regime has spent four decades mobilizing all elements of the Iranian economy, foreign policy, and political life in service of that objective. To the regime, prosperity, security, and freedom for the Iranian people are acceptable casualties in the march to fulfill the revolution.
Economically, we see how the regime’s decision to prioritize an ideological agenda over the welfare of the Iranian people has put Iran into a long-term economic tailspin. During the time of the nuclear deal, Iran’s increased oil revenues could have gone to improving the lives of the Iranian people. Instead they went to terrorists, dictators, and proxy militias. Today, thanks to regime subsidies, the average Hizballah combatant makes two to three times what an Iranian firefighter makes on the streets of Iran. Regime mismanagement has led to the rial plummeting in value. A third of Iranian youth are unemployed, and a third of Iranians now live below the poverty line.
The bitter irony of the economic situation in Iran is that the regime uses this same time to line its own pockets while its people cry out for jobs and reform and for opportunity. The Iranian economy is going great – but only if you’re a politically-connected member of the elite. Two years ago, Iranians rightfully erupted in anger when leaked paystubs showed massive amounts of money inexplicably flowing into the bank accounts of senior government officials.
And there are many more examples of the widespread corruption.
Take Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary. He is worth at least $300 million dollars. He got this money from embezzling public funds into his own bank account. The Trump administration sanctioned Larijani in January for human rights abuses, because we aren’t afraid to tackle the regime at its highest level. (Applause.) Call me crazy – you won’t be the first – but I’m a little skeptical that a thieving thug under international sanctions is the right man to be Iran’s highest-ranking judicial official. (Laughter and applause.)
Former IRGC officer and Minister of Interior Sadeq Mahsouli is nicknamed “the Billionaire General.” He went from being a poor IRGC officer at the end of the Iran-Iraq war to being worth billions of dollars. How’d that happen? He somehow had a knack for winning lucrative construction and oil trading contracts from businesses associated with the IRGC. Being an old college buddy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just might have had something to do with it as well. (Laughter.)
The ayatollahs are in on the act, too. Judging by their vast wealth, they seem more concerned with riches than religion. These hypocritical holy men have devised all kinds of crooked schemes to become some of the wealthiest men on Earth while their people suffer.
Grand Ayatollah Makaram Shirazi is known as the “Sultan of Sugar” for his illicit trading of sugar, which has generated over $100 million for him. He has pressured the Iranian Government to lower subsidies to domestic sugar producers while he floods the market with his own more expensive imported sugar. This type of activity puts ordinary Iranians out of work.
Another ayatollah, one of Tehran’s Friday prayer leaders for the last 30 years, had the government transfer several lucrative mines to his foundation. He too is now worth millions of dollars.
And not many people know this, but the Ayatollah Khamenei has his own personal, off-the-books hedge fund called the Setad, worth $95 billion, with a B. That wealth is untaxed, it is ill-gotten, and it is used as a slush fund for the IRGC. The ayatollah fills his coffers by devouring whatever he wants. In 2013 the Setad’s agents banished an 82-year-old Baha’i woman from her apartment and confiscated the property after a long campaign of harassment. Seizing land from religious minorities and political rivals is just another day at the office for this juggernaut that has interests in everything from real estate to telecoms to ostrich farming. All of it is done with the blessing of Ayatollah Khamenei.
This list goes on, but we’ve got places to go tonight. The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government.
On foreign policy, the regime’s mission of exporting the revolution has produced a decades-long campaign of ideologically-motivated violence and destabilization abroad. Assad, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Shia militant groups in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen feed on billions of regime cash while the Iranian people shout slogans like “Leave Syria, think about us.”
Our partners in the Middle East are plagued by Iranian cyberattacks and threatening behavior in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The regime and its allies in terror have left a trail of dissident blood across Europe and the Middle East.
Indeed, our European allies are not immune to the threat of regime-backed terrorism.
Just earlier this month, an Iranian “diplomat” based in Vienna was arrested and charged with supplying explosives for a terrorist bomb scheduled to bomb a political rally in France. This tells you everything you need to know about the regime: At the same time they’re trying to convince Europe to stay in the nuclear deal, they’re covertly plotting terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe.
And because fighting the United States and destroying Israel is at the core of the regime’s ideology, it has committed and supported many acts of violence and terrorism against both countries and our citizens. As just one example, well over a thousand American service members have been killed and wounded in Iraq from Iranian-made IEDs.
Today, multiple Americans are detained and missing inside of Iran. Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, Xiyue Wang are unjustly held by the regime to this day, and Bob Levinson has been missing in Iran for over 11 years. There are others, too. And we in the Trump administration are working diligently to bring each of those Americans home from having been wrongfully detained for far too long. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Shouting.) President Trump imprisons children. The Trump-Pence regime is kidnapping children. Trump and Pence —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Despite – despite the regime’s –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Shouting off-mike.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Shouting off-mike.)
AUDIENCE: USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Shouting off-mike.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: If there were – if there were only so much freedom of expression in Iran. (Cheers and applause.)
You know, despite the regime’s clear record of aggression, America and other countries have spent years straining to identify a political moderate. It’s like an Iranian unicorn. (Laughter.) The regime’s revolutionary goals and willingness to commit violent acts haven’t produced anyone to lead Iran that can be remotely called a moderate or a statesman.
Some believe that President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif fit that bill. The truth is they are merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry. Their nuclear deal didn’t make them moderates; it made them wolves in sheep’s clothing. Governments around the world worry that confronting the Islamic Republic harms the cause of moderates, but these so-called moderates within the regime are still violent Islamic revolutionaries with an anti-America, anti-West agenda. You only have to take their own words for it. And for that matter, the evidence reveals that their agenda is a anti-Iran agenda as well.
The regime’s absolute adherence to the Islamic Revolution mean it cannot endure any ideas in the Iranian society that would contradict or undermine it – unlike we just did here this evening. It’s why the regime has for decades heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity, and fundamental freedoms.
It’s why the Iranian police detained a teenage Iranian gymnast for posting an Instagram video of herself dancing.
It’s why the regime arrests hundreds of Ahwazis, members of Iran’s minority Arab community, when they speak out to demand respect for their language and for their basic beliefs. The government’s morality police beat women in the streets and arrest those who do not wish to wear the hijab.
On “White Wednesday” activist recently – one activist was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for protesting compulsory hijab wearing.
The desire to uphold the Islamic Revolution has especially resulted in gross suppression of the freedom of religion in Iran, often to barbaric ends.
Last month, a simple man, a bus driver, a father of two children, and a member of the Iranian Gonabadi Sufi Dervish Community, was convicted and sentenced to death. His sentence came on questionable grounds following violent clashes between security forces and the Dervishes. He was reportedly denied access to a lawyer before, during – before and during his grossly unfair trial. This man, Mr. Salas – and his supporters – maintains his innocence throughout, reportedly stating he had been tortured into a forced confession. Sadly, on June 18th, the regime hanged Mr. Salas in prison.
His death was part of a larger crackdown that began in February, when at least 300 Sufis demanding the release of their fellow faith members were unjustly arrested. Right now, hundreds of Sufi Muslims in Iran remain imprisoned on account of their religious beliefs, with reports of several having died at the hands of the regime’s brutal security forces.
Among those imprisoned is the 91-year-old leader, Dr. Noor Ali Tabandeh, who has been under house arrest for at least the last part of four months – the greatest part of four months. He is in need of immediate medical care.
The religious intolerance of the regime in Iran does not only extend to Sufi Muslims. The same goes for Christians and Jews and Sunnis and Baha’is and Zoroastrians and members of many other groups inside Iran who live with the fear that their next prayer may be indeed their last.
What grieves us so badly about the treatment of religious minorities in Iran is that their presence far pre-dates the regime. They are a historic part of the rich fabric of an ancient and vibrant Iranian civilization. That fabric has been torn by intolerant, black-robed enforcers. When other faiths are suppressed, the image of Iran becomes a self-portrait of the ayatollahs and of the IRGC.
In response to myriad government failures, corruption, and disrespect of rights, since December Iranians have been taking to the streets in the most enduring and forceful protests since 1979. Some shout the slogan, “The people are paupers while the mullahs live like gods.” Others choose to shut down the Grand Bazaar in Tehran. The specific grievances do differ, but all those voicing dissatisfaction share one thing: They have been ill-treated by a revolutionary regime. Iranians want to be governed with dignity, accountability, and respect. (Applause.)
The regime – this is important. The regime’s brutal response to these peaceful protests reflects the intolerance that its revolutionary worldview has produced. Last January, the regime welcomed in the new year with the arrests of up to 5,000 of its own people. They were peacefully calling for a better life. Hundreds reportedly remain behind bars, and several are dead at the hands of their own government. The leaders cynically call it suicide.
Overall, it is clear the regime’s ideology has led many Iranians to be angry they cannot call their homeland a “normal” country.
They know that a constitution that enshrines the export of Islamic revolution and the destruction of its neighbors and the restriction of citizenship is not normal.
Ordinary Iranians know that their government’s torture of its own people is not normal.
Earning multiple rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council is not normal.
Inciting chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” is not normal.
Being the number one state sponsor of terror is similarly abnormal.
Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitized to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses.
And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. (Applause.)
In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.
When the United States sees the shoots of liberty pushing up through rocky soil we pledge our solidarity, because we too took a hard first step towards becoming a free country a few years back.
Right now, the United States is undertaking a diplomatic and financial pressure campaign to cut off the funds that the regime uses to enrich itself and support death and destruction. (Applause.) We have an obligation to put maximum pressure on the regime’s ability to generate and move money, and we will do so.
At the center of this campaign is the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors.
As we have explained over the last few weeks, our focus is to work with countries importing Iranian crude oil to get imports as close to zero as possible by November 4th. Zero.
Recently – (applause). Recently, as part of this campaign, we designated the Bahraini Shia militia terrorist organization Saraya al-Ashtar, and with the UAE we have jointly disrupted a currency exchange network that was transferring millions of dollars to the IRGC.
And there’s more to come. Regime leaders – especially those at the top of the IRGC and the Quds Force like Qasem Soleimani – must be made to feel painful consequences of their bad decision making. (Applause.) We are asking every nation, every nation who is sick and tired of the Islamic Republic’s destructive behavior, to join our pressure campaign. This especially goes for our allies in the Middle East and Europe, people who have themselves been terrorized by violent regime’s activity for decades.
And you should know that the United States is not afraid to spread our message on the airwaves and online inside of Iran either. (Applause.) For 40 years the Iranian people have heard from their leaders that America is the “Great Satan.” We do not believe they are interested in hearing the fake news any longer. (Laughter and applause.)
Today, one in four Iranians – 14 million people – watches or listens to U.S. Government broadcasts each week. And it’s more important than ever now to refute the regime’s lies and repeat our deep desire for friendship with the Iranian people. Right now, our U.S. Board – Broadcasting Board of Governors is taking new steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship as well. The BBG is also launching a new 24/7 Farsi-language TV channel. It will span not only television, but radio, digital, and social media format, so that the ordinary Iranians inside of Iran and around the globe can know that America stands with them. (Applause.)
And finally – and finally, America is unafraid to expose human rights violations and support those who are being silenced.
We continue to raise our concerns over the Islamic Republic’s dire record of human rights abuses each time we speak at the UN and with our partners who maintain diplomatic relations with that country. We make it clear that the world is watching, and as the regime continues to make its own people the longest-suffering victims, we will not stand silent. (Applause.)
And now we call on everyone here in the audience and our international partners to help us shine a spotlight on the regime’s abuses and to support the Iranian people.
The goal of our efforts is to one day see Iranians in Iran enjoying the same quality of life that Iranians in America enjoy. (Cheers and applause.)
Iranians in America enjoy all the freedoms secured by their government, not trampled by it. They are free to pursue economic opportunities they believe are best for them and their families, and they can be proud of their country and practice their faiths in the way they desire.
There are a few individuals with us I want to highlight tonight who embody what we hope for the Iranian people.
Goli Ameri came to the United States as a freshman at Stanford and has founded successful companies and has served at the State Department and at the UN.
Susan Azizzadeh was forced to leave everything behind and come here in 1979. Today she is the leader of the Iranian American Jewish Federation. (Cheers and applause.)
Makan Delrahim – I think I saw him – came to America with his family when he was just 10 years old. (Applause.) He is now the Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice – quite amazing. (Applause.)
We hope that the successes of Goli and Susan and Makan and the many others American – Iranian Americans among the diaspora in the United States remind all Iranians of what is possible under a government that respects its people and governs with accountability. Iranians should not have to flee their homeland to find a better life. (Applause.)
While it is ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country, the United States, in the spirit of our own freedoms, will support the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people. Our hope is that ultimately the regime will make meaningful changes in its behavior both inside of Iran and globally. As President Trump has said, we’re willing to talk with the regime in Iran, but relief from American pressure will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies.
I thought I’d close tonight in a perfectly appropriate way by invoking the words of a man who routinely made the case for freedom and respect far more eloquently than I ever could, President Ronald Reagan. In 1982 – (applause).
In 1982, President Reagan gave a speech to the British Parliament that became known as the Westminster address. He urged other Western governments to support those around the world trying to break free of tyranny and injustice. His reason why was simple and powerful. He said, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable right and universal right of every human being.”
This is why we also call on all governments to end their flirtations with a revolutionary regime and come quickly to the aid of the Iranian people. (Applause.) On that same day in those same remarks, President Reagan said, “Let us ask ourselves: ‘What kind of people do we think we are?’ And let us answer, ‘Free people, worthy of freedom, and determined not only to remain so, but to help others gain their freedom as well.’”
Today, the United States condemns oppression levied on the Iranian people by those who rule unjustly, and we proudly amplify the voices of those in Iran longing to have those inalienable and universal human rights cease to be ignored and instead to be honored. We do so knowing that many in the streets and marketplaces speak for those who the regime has permanently silenced over the years – who may even have been loved ones who are in the audience tonight.
It’s America’s hope that the next 40 years of Iran’s history will not be marked by repression and fear – but with freedom and fulfillment – for the Iranian people.
Thank you. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, you’ve answered all the questions.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ll take another swing. Thank you.
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, Mr. Secretary, I had some questions for you, but you actually answered almost all of them quite eloquently.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ll see if I can give the same answer when I’m not – got remarks in front of me. (Laughter.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, let me just start with this one. Is it realistic to think that the Iranian people will ever regain control of their country in what we would term the foreseeable future?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Of course. (Applause.) Well, of course. Of course. I always remind those who think it’s not possible or think the time horizon will be measured in centuries not hours, I always remind them that things change. There are disjunctive moments. There are times when things happen that are unexpected, unanticipated. Our revolution would be one of them. I could go on. You all could name them, too.
We don’t know the right moment. We don’t know the day that the behavior of the Iranian regime will change. But we do know the things that the world is obligated to do so that when the right time comes, when the right moment comes, that opportunity is even more likely to find its fulfillment.
GOVERNOR WILSON: Would you synthesize your excellent speech and really in a few words say what you think the best way to effect that change within the Iranian Government is and how the Trump administration is helping the Iranian people in their struggle to become freed from this current tyrannical administration there?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So President Trump has been absolutely unequivocal on this not only in the message but in the fact that this is a real priority for the administration as well. I think that’s important. One could have a objective, but if one doesn’t rank it sufficiently high attention spans are short and resources limited. The President has put this as something he considers to be incredibly important.
The mission set for our team is clear. It’s to deny the Iranian leadership the resources, the wealth, the funds, the capacity to continue to foment terrorism around the world and to deny the people inside of Iran the freedoms that they so richly deserve. How’s that in 30 seconds? (Laughter.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: That’s pretty good. (Applause.) There is a perception among some that Iranians, including students and including legitimate visitors, can’t obtain U.S. visas because of a travel ban. Would you clarify what U.S. policy is regarding what we will call Iranian civil society visitors?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Sure, I’d be happy to do that. So President Trump has made clear with respect to a number of countries that weren’t providing us with sufficient information that we had risks of American security that we were going to do our best to work with those countries to develop the information that we needed. Iran continues to deny us the basic data-sharing systems that hundreds of countries – or, excuse me, dozens and dozens of countries have already provided us. We would like Iran to do that.
We still allow students to come in. There are many students. I’m sure there are students here tonight who are Iranians who are here studying. We welcome that. But this administration does have as one of its primary policies to make sure that we appropriately vet all those who come to the nation so that we can keep our country safe. That’s the plan. That’s the policy. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, on perhaps an unduly optimistic note, what could be a basis for reconciliation between the United States and Iran?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So it’s always possible. (Laughter.) And the President has made clear the fact that – I shouldn’t have joked. The President has made clear he would love that, he would welcome that. I’ve now made three trips to Pyongyang, a regime that has treated its citizens in way that also denies them their freedoms.
The President has said if we can get this change, if we can get the leadership to make a strategic decision about how to ensure its well-being and the well-being of its peoples, that we’re prepared to have a conversation and to discuss how that might proceed. The President has stated at least once, perhaps more than once, that he is prepared to do that with the leadership in Iran, but not until such time as there are demonstrable, tangible, irreversible changes in the Iranian regime that I don’t see happening today. But I live in hope. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: And what would be your advice for students – hopefully many in the audience today – who will be interested in being part of that effort and seek a career at the State Department? How can they best prepare and what challenges should they anticipate?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we welcome all hardworking, talented patriotic folks to come be part of a great diplomatic team in the United States. It’s an incredible honor. I’m now 12 weeks, almost to the day, as the Secretary of State. The team is fantastic. My wisdom for them is no different than the same wisdom I gave my son. If he was here he’d be rolling his eyes about now. (Laughter.)
Work hard, study, tell the truth every place you go. We have lots of folks who speak different languages who have spent time in other countries who have been able to learn about other cultures. It’s critically important that we get that skill set at the State Department. Those are the kinds of things that young people who want a wonderful, exciting, rewarding, important career working as an American diplomat ought to think about doing as they move their way through college and beyond and we welcome. Go to state.gov. It’s easy to find. We’ve got lots of great places for talented young Americans to come be part of our great team. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, Mr. Secretary, you have been quite clear, and it’s, I think, clear to all of us who are privileged to be in this audience and in this house dedicated to the preservation and the enhancement of the Ronald Reagan legacy that you understand it better than perhaps anybody I’ve come across in a long time. (Applause.)
We, I think, both remember that at a critical time in the history of this country he said, with a smile, “Trust, but verify.” (Laughter.) And it seems to me that’s your message very clearly, and we thank you for the distinguished service that you have given from the moment that you left the Point, number one in your class. I find that quite impressive. (Applause.) And whoever that opponent was against whom you were playing basketball at Los Amigos, I think he would have to say when he said, “Well, he made the most of what he could,” you made the most of a very generous helping from the good Lord of brains and courage and directness. We are lucky to have you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Pete. That’s very kind. (Applause.) Thank you, thank you. That’s very kind.
GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, it’s sincere.
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s very, very kind. Thank you, sir. (Applause.) [link]
This was all very predictable:
Everything is about the economics. All politics is about the economics. The current battles waged are multinationals (economic globalists) fighting to retain their position against an uprising of previously diminished economic nationalists. Peel all the layered skin from the onion and the core issue is about money; wealth. Always the money.
As you read this, remember – the Mexican Electoral Tribunal (a political construct similar to the electoral college) has *not* formally declared AMLO President-Elect.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday slammed a decision by the electoral authority to fine his party $10 million over a campaign financing breach, calling it an “act of vengeance” against his landslide victory.
[…] “This is an act of vengeance,” Lopez Obrador said outside his team’s offices in Mexico City, accusing the INE of behaving “tendentiously” and of overreaching.
“They’re acting this way because they don’t accept the new reality,” the 64-year-old said, resorting to the sort of combative tone he used in the campaign to attack the government.
[…] As a result, Lopez Obrador said he would not attend a summit meeting of leaders from the Pacific Alliance trading bloc in the western city of Puerto Vallarta next week.
He will, however, meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland when she and other ministers from the Canadian Cabinet visit Mexico City on Wednesday, he said. (read more)
Interesting dynamic. AMLO is rebuking the globalist multinationals who have constructed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), ie. Wall Street…. and holding economic court with the Canadian Socialists to discuss NAFTA.
“That’s right, crew…. Let’s go get us some pesos.”
President Trump gave CNBC anchor Joe Kernen an extensive interview on Thursday just outside the Oval Office at the White House. You probably have not seen this interview, because it does not support the media narrative du jour; this interview destroys the narrative(s).
When you watch the interview you’ll see why the media made the decision not to sound-bite-it throughout broadcast, headlines and column inches. In fact, you’ll probably understand why CNBC didn’t upload the interview content until today.
The conversation with President Trump touched on the state of the U.S. economy; America’s trade reset; the timing of the trade reset juxtaposed against the current value of the U.S. stock market; the president’s news-making remarks about the Federal Reserve’s ongoing interest-rate hikes; and pragmatic insight behind the meeting with Vladimir Putin. Watch it, you’ll see:
Yesterday U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sat down for a discussion about the White House workforce development program that aims to bridge the skills gap for American workers. Secretary Ross discusses the initiative and also shares insight to President Trump’s trade agenda.
The important and interesting trade discussion begins at 04:15 and Secretary Ross outlines his initial sense of contact with Mexican President-elect AMLO on NAFTA:
On the “trade-war” meme, I have to laugh at the anonymous interest [07:25] who worries the Wall Street equity markets could lose value at a rate of 23%. Why laugh? Here’s my reference point – Yes “equity markets”, ie. “investment markets” will drop while the U.S. economy expands…. Yes. It will happen. Here’s why: Main Street -vs- Wall Street.
Initiative/Executive Order – Expanded HERE
Amid ongoing maneuvers by China and Russia to influence the activity of North Korea; and amid both Chinese and Russian interests in violating ongoing trade and economic sanctions against North Korea; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley meet with the U.N. Security Council.
[Transcript] SECRETARY POMPEO: Good afternoon, everyone. First I want to commend my good friend Ambassador Haley and her excellent team here at the United Nations. Her leadership in advancing American interest on North Korea and many other issues has been evident here this morning, and she’s got a great team behind her helping. So thank you, Nikki.
The main reason I came here today was to meet with members of the UN Security Council – South Korea and Japan as well – to convey details of my work on the trip to North Korea earlier this month and the progress that was made there. I also had the opportunity to meet with UN Secretary-General Guterres to discuss the topic and other topics as well.
The countries of the Security Council are united on the need for final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, as agreed to by Chairman Kim. Strict enforcement of sanctions is critical to our achieving this goal.
Members of the UN Security Council, and by extension all UN member-states, have unanimously agreed to fully enforce sanctions on North Korea, and we expect them to continue to honor those commitments. When sanctions are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization are diminished. Right now, North Korea is illegally smuggling petroleum products into the country at a level that far exceeds the quotas established by the United Nations. These illegal ship-to-ship transfers are the most prominent means by which this is happening.
These transfers happened at least 89 times in the first five months of this year and they continue to occur. The United States reminds every UN member-state of its responsibility to stop illegal ship-to-ship transfers, and we urge them to step up their enforcement efforts as well.
We must also crack down on other forms of sanctions evasion, including the smuggling of coal by sea, smuggling by overland borders, and the presence of North Korean guest workers in certain countries. North Korean cyber thefts and other criminal activities are also generating significant revenues for the regime, and they must be stopped.
President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects of denuclearization of North Korea. So do I, as progress is happening. It is the Trump administration’s hope that one day the DPRK could be in our midst here at the United Nations – not as a pariah, but as a friend. Imagine UN Security Council meetings in which the DPRK nuclear and missile programs were not the agenda time and time again. We’ll be able to focus our energy on so many urgent problems that face our world.
I believe this reality is possible, and so does President Trump. But it will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there. It will also take Chairman Kim following through on his personal commitments that he made to President Trump in Singapore. The path ahead is not easy; it will take time. But our hopes for a safer world for all of us and a brighter future for North Korea remains our objective, and that hope endures.
Thank you. Ambassador Haley.
AMBASSADOR HALEY: Thank you so much. And I’m very grateful to my friend, Secretary Pompeo, for coming out and meeting with the Security Council today.
This is what we know. Eighteen months ago when I came in, our biggest concern was North Korea. Everyone was wondering when that new test was going to happen, everyone was wondering when the new threat would occur, and the entire international community knew something had to happen. It was a herculean task by the Security Council to pass three massive sanctions packages, getting rid of all exports, 90 percent of their trade, 30 percent of their oil, expelling all labor workers and scheduling that down, making sure all joint ventures stopped. All of that combined with the international community coming together and expelling diplomats and stopping communication, and with the President’s tough stance, all of that was really the combination that brought North Korea to the table.
Now, North Korea and the U.S. have started to have talks. And as those things are happening, we and the Security Council and the international community have to support those talks. And the best way we can support those talks is to not loosen the sanctions. And what we have been seeing is certain countries wanting to do waivers, certain countries saying, “Let’s lift sanctions,” certain countries wanting to do more. And what – I appreciate Secretary Pompeo coming up and what we continue to reiterate is we can’t do one thing until we see North Korea respond to their promise to denuclearize. We have to see some sort of action. And so until that action happens, the Security Council’s going to hold tight, the international community – we ask you to hold tight as we go forward.
The problem that we are encountering is that some of our friends have decided that they want to go around the rules. You saw that there was violations of the oil ban. We have, as Secretary Pompeo said, seen 89 times where that has happened. We have photographs of proof of ship-to-ship transfers. And our friends, what we decided was let’s come together and let’s make sure that this stops. So the U.S. put yesterday a halt to all additional refined petroleum shipments to North Korea. China and Russia blocked it.
Now for China and Russia to block it, what are they telling us? Are they telling us that they want to continue supplying this oil? They claim they need more information. We don’t need any more information. The sanctions committee has what it needs. We all know it’s going forward. We put pressure today on China and Russia to abide and be good helpers through this situation and to help us continue with denuclearization.
And so I think this was a day of very frank talk between the Secretary, the foreign minister of South Korea, our Japanese friends as well, as well as the Security Council to say: If we want to see success, we have to see a response from Chairman Kim, and we have to continue to hold the line until that happens. And so very successful day, again, promising that the Security Council has remained united and continuing to put pressure on our members to not fall through on that process. Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary —
MS NAUERT: Three quick – three quick questions. Rich Edson, Fox News.
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, UN Ambassador Haley mentioned that Russia isn’t being all that helpful to sanctions enforcement. The President mentioned after his meeting with President Putin that President Putin was going to help on North Korea. Is Russia reneging on an agreement that it made with the President? And is – what else did the two presidents agree to when they met?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So enforcement of sanctions is a continuing process. There are many places where the Russians have been helpful. Certainly since the very beginning of the time of the UN Security resolutions the Russians have done many things to enforce these sanctions, and we’re deeply appreciative of that. What we need now, though, is we need to continue that. We need to make sure that the world doesn’t begin to see this – this is not an American demand for the North Koreans to denuclearize; it is the world’s demand and we need the world to continue to participate.
And so where we find issues where any country, whether it’s Russia or another one, not doing their part to enforce it, we’re going to make sure that we provide the information to them so they can all see it and the world can see it, and we’re going to demand that every country in the world do their part.
MS NAUERT: Kylie from CBS News.
QUESTION: Just following up, Mr. Secretary, on a question about Russia, because that’s kind of what everyone in Washington is talking about today. Why is it a good idea for the President to invite Vladimir Putin to the White House? What does the U.S. have to gain from that visit?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I’m happy that the two leaders of two very important countries are continuing to meet. If that meeting takes place in Washington, I think it’s all to the good. Those conversations are incredibly important. We have our senior leaders meeting all across the world with people where we have deep disagreements with. It is incredibly valuable to the people of the United States of America that President Putin and President Trump continue to engage in dialogue to resolve the difficult issues that our countries face between each other. I think this makes enormous sense, and I’m very hopeful that that meeting will take place this fall.
MS NAUERT: And final question, Michelle from Reuters.
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, what concrete steps do you need to see North Korea take now to show that they are committed to denuclearization? And on Russia, the Russian defense ministry said this morning that they’ve sent proposals to Washington about the return of millions of Syrian refugees. They said it’s based on an agreement that was reached by President Putin and President Trump. Have you seen those proposals, and what is this agreement that they’ve reached?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ll take the second one first. So lots of discussion taking place. There was a discussion between President Trump and President Putin about the resolution in Syria and how we might get the refugees back. The President shared with me the conversations that they’d had. It is important to the world that at the right time, through a voluntary mechanism, these refugees are able to return to their home country. It’s what we’ve all been working on. It’s what the UN has been working on with Staffan de Mistura working on that very same problem set. And President Putin and President Trump did discuss that. There’s lots of work to do to figure out how to implement that, but the United States certainly wants to be part of help achieving that resolution in Syria, make no mistake about it.
Your first question was about what we need to see. It’s really pretty straightforward, right? And it’s not my – it’s not my description of what needs to take place. Chairman Kim made a promise. Chairman Kim told not only President Trump, but President Moon that he was prepared to denuclearize. The scope and scale of that is agreed to. The North Koreans understand what that means. There’s no mistake about what the scope of denuclearization looks like.
So what do we need to see? We need to see Chairman Kim do what he promised the world he would do. It’s not very fancy, but it’s the truth.
MS NAUERT: All right. Thank you. Thank you.
[White House] The economy has come roaring back to life under President Trump. In May, unemployment fell to 3.8 percent—its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Optimism among employers, particularly manufacturers and small businesses, has reached historic highs in the 6 months since tax reform became law.
Many economists expect the winning streak to continue, predicting second quarter GDP growth to exceed 4 percent. This high-energy growth environment presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that companies must find more workers with specific skill sets to fill an increasing number of open jobs. The opportunity is that with more affordable, relevant training, many American workers will now have the chance to move into better jobs that deliver bigger paychecks:
It’s time to fix that. In its first 500 days, the Trump Administration has already taken action to expand apprenticeships; increase access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for K–12 students; and encourage companies to invest more of what they earn in American workers and American production.
Now, President Trump has signed an Executive Order to establish the National Council for the American Worker. Comprised of senior Administration officials, the Council is charged with developing a National strategy for training and retraining the workers needed across high-demand industries. The group will convene voices from the public, private, education, labor, and not-for-profit sectors to enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages.
Most important, they will focus on getting results. That task begins by asking companies and trade groups to sign a new Pledge to America’s Workers.
Today, more than 20 companies and associations were the first to sign that pledge at the White House. They committed to creating new opportunities over the next five years for American students and workers, including through apprenticeships and work-based learning, continuing education, on-the-job training, and reskilling.
“By signing the Pledge to America’s Workers, these great companies . . . are affirming their commitment to train American workers for American jobs,” President Trump said. “Because America’s strength, America’s heart, and America’s soul is found in our people.”
One of the initial areas of focus for the Council will be finding ways to increase access to available job data, including data on which regions offer the most opportunities. Unlike piling burdensome regulations on employers, this focus on transparency helps the economy, allowing students and workers alike to make informed decisions about education, job selection, and career paths.
Growing America’s workforce is an important goal. To help achieve it, the Council will develop a national campaign to raise awareness of workforce issues, such as the urgency of the skills crisis and the importance of STEM education. It will also create a plan for recognizing companies that demonstrate excellence in workplace education, retraining, and workforce investment. (link)
Action oriented. Yesterday President Trump introduced the workforce initiative to develop American workers to support the dynamic economic resurgence. A group of private employers signed a pledge to help train and develop over 3.8 million workers for the 21st century American economy.
However, no plan, no pledge and no promise, can succeed without: 1) establishing clear goals; 2) evaluating progress; and 3) measuring the effectiveness in the results. President Trump introduces the results-oriented business action plan to the public sector.
[Executive Order] By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide a coordinated process for developing a national strategy to ensure that America’s students and workers have access to affordable, relevant, and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete and win in the global economy, and for monitoring the implementation of that strategy, it is hereby ordered as follows:
♦Section 1. Purpose. Our Nation is facing a skills crisis. There are currently more than 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the United States, and American workers, who are our country’s most valuable resource, need the skills training to fill them. At the same time, the economy is changing at a rapid pace because of the technology, automation, and artificial intelligence that is shaping many industries, from manufacturing to healthcare to retail.
For too long, our country’s education and job training programs have prepared Americans for the economy of the past. The rapidly changing digital economy requires the United States to view education and training as encompassing more than a single period of time in a traditional classroom. We need to prepare Americans for the 21st century economy and the emerging industries of the future.
We must foster an environment of lifelong learning and skills-based training, and cultivate a demand-driven approach to workforce development. My Administration will champion effective, results-driven education and training so that American students and workers can obtain the skills they need to succeed in the jobs of today and of the future.
♦Sec. 2. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to work with private employers, educational institutions, labor unions, other non-profit organizations, and State, territorial, tribal, and local governments to update and reshape our education and job training landscape so that it better meets the needs of American students, workers, and businesses.
♦Sec. 3. Establishment and Composition of the President’s National Council for the American Worker. (a) There is hereby established the President’s National Council for the American Worker (Council), co-chaired by the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Advisor to the President overseeing the Office of Economic Initiatives (Co-Chairs).
(b) In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Council shall include the following officials, or their designees:
(i) the Secretary of the Treasury;
(ii) the Secretary of Education;
(iii) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
(iv) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(v) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
(vi) the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination;
(vii) the Director of the National Economic Council;
(viii) the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;
(ix) the Director of the National Science Foundation; and
(x) the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
♦Sec. 4. Additional Invitees. As appropriate and consistent with applicable law, the Co-Chairs may, from time to time, invite the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), or other senior officials in the White House Office, to attend meetings of the Council.
♦Sec. 5. Council Meetings. The Co-Chairs shall convene meetings of the Council at least once per quarter.
♦Sec. 6. Functions of the Council.
(a) The Council shall develop recommendations for the President on policy and strategy related to the American workforce, and perform such other duties as the President may from time to time prescribe.
(b) The Council shall develop recommendations for:
(i) a national strategy for empowering American workers, which shall include recommendations on how the Federal Government can work with private employers, educational institutions, labor unions, other non-profit organizations, and State, territorial, tribal, and local governments to create and promote workforce development strategies that provide evidence-based, affordable education and skills-based training for youth and adults to prepare them for the jobs of today and of the future;
(ii) fostering close coordination, cooperation, and information exchange among the Federal Government, private employers, educational institutions, labor unions, other non-profit organizations, and State, territorial, tribal, and local governments as related to issues concerning the education and training of Americans; and
(iii) working with agencies to foster consistency in implementing policies and actions developed under this order.
♦Sec. 7. Initial Tasks of Council. Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Council shall:
(a) develop a national campaign to raise awareness of matters considered by the Council, such as the urgency of the skills crisis; the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; the creation of new industries and job opportunities spurred by emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence; the nature of many careers in the trades and manufacturing; and the need for companies to invest in the training and re-training of their workers and more clearly define the skills and competencies that jobs require;
(b) develop a plan for recognizing companies that demonstrate excellence in workplace education, training, and re‑training policies and investments, in order to galvanize industries to identify and adopt best practices, innovate their workplace policies, and invest in their workforces;
(c) examine how the Congress and the executive branch can work with private employers, educational institutions, labor unions, other non-profit organizations, and State, territorial, tribal, and local governments to support the implementation of recommendations from the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion established in Executive Order 13801 of June 15, 2017 (Expanding Apprenticeships in America), including recommendations related to:
(i) developing and increasing the use of industry‑recognized, portable credentials by experienced workers seeking further education, displaced workers seeking skills to secure new jobs, students enrolled in postsecondary education, and younger Americans who are exploring career and education options before entering the workforce;
(ii) increasing apprenticeship, earn-and-learn, and work-based learning opportunities;
(iii) expanding the use of online learning resources; and
(iv) increasing the number of partnerships around the country between companies, local educational institutions, and other entities, including local governments, labor unions, workforce development boards, and other non-profit organizations, in an effort to understand the types of skills that are required by employers so that educational institutions can recalibrate their efforts toward the development and delivery of more effective training programs.
(d) consider the recommendations of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (Board) established in section 8 of this order and, as appropriate, adopt recommendations that would significantly advance the objectives of the Council. The Council shall continue to consider and, as appropriate, adopt the Board’s recommendations beyond the initial 180‑day period provided by this section;
(e) recommend a specific course of action for increasing transparency related to education and job-training program options, including those offered at 4‑year institutions and community colleges. The Council shall also propose ways to increase access to available job data, including data on industries and geographic locations with the greatest numbers of open jobs and projected future opportunities, as well as the underlying skills required to fill open jobs, so that American students and workers can make the most informed decisions possible regarding their education, job selection, and career paths. The Council shall also propose strategies for how best to use existing data tools to support informed decision making for American students and workers;
(f) develop recommendations on how the public sector should engage with the private sector in worker re-training, including through the use of online learning resources. In developing these recommendations, the Council shall examine existing private sector efforts to re‑train workers or develop them professionally, and consider how investments in worker training and re-training programs compare to investments in other human-resource related areas, such as recruitment, health benefits, and retirement benefits; and
(g) examine public and private-sector expenditures, including tax expenditures, related to providing Americans with knowledge and skills that will enable them to succeed in the workplace at various stages of life (such as during primary and secondary education, postsecondary education, continuing professional development, and re-training), consider the effectiveness of those expenditures, and make suggestions for reforms in order to serve American workers and students better.
♦Sec. 8. Establishment of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
(a) There is hereby established the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
(b) The Board shall be composed and function as follows:
(i) The Board shall be composed of the Secretary of Commerce and the Advisor to the President overseeing the Office of Economic Initiatives, and up to 25 members appointed by the President from among citizens outside the Federal Government, and shall include individuals chosen to serve as representatives of the various sectors of the economy, including the private sector, employers, educational institutions, and States, to offer diverse perspectives on how the Federal Government can improve education, training, and re-training for American workers;
(ii) The Board shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and the Advisor to the President overseeing the Office of Economic Initiatives;
(iii) Members appointed to the Board shall serve for a term of 2 years. If the term of the Board established in subsection (a) of this section is extended, members shall be eligible for reappointment, and may continue to serve after the expiration of their terms until the appointment of a successor;
(iv) The Board shall advise the Council on the workforce policy of the United States. Specific activities of the Board shall include, to the extent permitted by law, recommending steps to encourage the private sector and educational institutions to combat the skills crisis by investing in and increasing demand-driven education, training, and re-training, including through apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities;
(v) Members of the Board shall serve without any compensation for their work on the Board. Members of the Board, while engaged in the work of the Board, may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, to the extent permitted by law for persons serving intermittently in Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707), consistent with the availability of funds;
(vi) The Board shall terminate 2 years after the date of this order, unless extended by the President; and
(vii) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), may apply to the Board, any functions of the President under that Act, except for those in section 6 and section 14 of that Act, shall be performed by the Secretary of Commerce, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Administrator of General Services.
♦Sec. 9. Administrative Provisions.
(a) The Department of Commerce shall provide the Council and the Board with funding and administrative support as may be necessary for the performance of their functions.
(b) The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Co-Chairs of the Council, shall designate an official to serve as Executive Director, to coordinate the day-to-day functions of the Council.
(c) To the extent permitted by law, including the Economy Act (31 U.S.C. 1535), and subject to the availability of appropriations, other agencies may detail staff to the Council, or otherwise provide administrative support, in order to advance the Council’s functions.
(d) Agencies shall cooperate with the Council and provide such information regarding its current and planned activities related to policies that affect the American workforce as the Co-Chairs shall reasonably request, to the extent permitted by law.
♦Sec. 10. Termination of Council. The Council shall terminate 2 years after the date of this order, unless extended by the President.
♦Sec. 11. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.