Story 1: American People Do Not Trust Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties and The Political Elitist Establishment In Washington — New Political Party Formed When Independents Represent 50% or More of Voters — When? 2022 or 2024 — Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Constitutional Government, Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Taxes, and Stopping All Legal and Illegal Immigration Exceeding 1 Million Persons Per Year, Replacing The Warfare and Welfare State With A Peace and Prosperity Economy — Jobs For Everyone — I Have A Dream — The Winner Takes It All — Part 1 — Videos
ABBA – I Have A Dream (From The Late Late Breakfast Show, England 1982)
U.S. partisanship shifts to net-Republican after midterms
GOP also made gains after 1994 and 2002 midterms
Democrats made gains following 2006 midterms
PRINCETON, N.J. — Since the Republican Party’s strong showing on Election Day last month, Americans’ political allegiances have shifted toward the GOP. Prior to the elections, 43% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 39% identified as or leaned Republican. Since then, Republicans have opened up a slight advantage, 42% to 41%, representing a net shift of five percentage points in the partisanship gap.
The pre-election results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 17,259 U.S. adults, conducted between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4. The post-election interviews are based on 12,671 interviews conducted Nov. 5-30.
There have been similar “bandwagon” effects for the winning party in the past, including after the 1994 and 2002 midterm elections, when Republicans benefited, and after the 2006 election, when Democrats made gains.
The most dramatic shift occurred after the 1994 midterms, in which Republicans picked up more than 50 seats in the House of Representatives to gain a majority in that chamber for the first time in 40 years. Before the 1994 elections, Democrats enjoyed a four-point advantage in party affiliation, but after the GOP wave, Republicans emerged with a 12-point margin, for a total shift of 16 points in the gap.
In 2002, Republicans capitalized on the popularity of George W. Bush to accomplish the rare feat of having the president’s party gain seats in Congress in a midterm election. After that strong showing, partisanship moved from a five-point Democratic edge to a four-point Republican margin.
Four years later, with Bush’s job approval rating stuck below 40%, Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress. An already strong Democratic partisanship advantage of 14 points swelled to 22 points after the election.
Not every “wave” election has produced a distinct shift in a party’s advantage. The 1998 and 2010 midterms were also notable for their outcomes, but did not produce any apparent change in Americans’ basic party loyalties. In 1998, Democrats gained seats in the House even with a Democratic president in office. In 2010, Republicans gained a net of 63 seats in the House to win back control of that chamber. That year, the shifts in party allegiances seemed to be in place before the election, with the smallest Democratic edge seen in any recent midterm year. Consequently, in 2010 it appeared that shifts in party allegiances drove the election results, whereas in other years the election results seemed to produce shifts in party affiliation after the election.
The bandwagon effect can largely be explained by the amount of positive publicity given to the victorious party after its success. However, it is unclear why there would be a bandwagon effect following most midterm elections but not all of them.
No Clear Historical Pattern on How Long Post-Midterm Party Gains Last
One key question is how long the effects persist when they do occur. A review of the three elections with obvious bandwagon effects reveals no consistent pattern.
The 1994 Republican surge in partisanship was the largest and the longest lasting. Republicans maintained a healthy eight-point advantage in partisanship through December 1994, and an average four-point advantage from January through March 1995. By April, Democrats had regained a slight edge, and for the most part held it throughout the remainder of the year.
The 2002 Republican gains were fairly short-lived, evident in November and December and largely gone by January 2003. However, when the Iraq War commenced in March, Republicans saw another surge in partisanship.
The 2006 Democratic gains were the most brief, disappearing by December — though that still left the party with a healthy 12-point edge in partisanship.
The 2014 midterms were an unqualified success for the Republican Party. The GOP took control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House, giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006. And that success has caused Americans to view the Republican Party more favorably than the Democratic Party, as well as to say congressional Republicans should have more influence than President Barack Obama over the direction the nation takes in the next year. Americans are also now more likely to align themselves politically with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.
It is not clear how long these good feelings toward the GOP will last. That could be influenced by what Republicans do with their enhanced power. While they are unlikely to achieve many of their major policy objectives with a Democratic president in office, how they and the president navigate the key issues facing the nation over the next two years will go a long way toward determining where each party stands heading into the 2016 presidential election.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 5-30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 12,671 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Obama job approval among whites aged 18 to 29 is down to 34%
White millennials’ approval only 3 points above older whites’
Obama approval remains much higher among nonwhite 18-29s
PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in 2014 among white 18- to 29-year-olds is 34%, three points higher than among whites aged 30 and older. This is the narrowest approval gap between the president’s previously strong support base of white millennials and older white Americans since Obama took office.
By contrast, the president’s approval rating was nine percentage points higher among younger whites in 2009, and 10 points higher in 2010. Additionally, while the president’s approval among younger whites matched his overall national rating in his first two years in office, it is now eight points below the national average. These data underscore the gradual erosion of the disproportionately strong support Obama received from young white voters as he took office in 2009 and ran for re-election in 2012.
The data are based on yearly averages from Gallup’s Daily tracking, including 2014 data through November.
Obama’s support among white millennials has factored into his two presidential election successes. Exit polls conducted after the 2012 election, for example, showed that Obama received 44% of the vote of white 18- to 29-year-olds, about six points higher than he received among whites aged 30 and older. Obama’s 45% job approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old whites in 2012 mirrored these voting results closely. But the president’s 11-point drop among white 18- to 29-year-olds since 2012 is almost double the six-point drop among the national population and among older whites.
Younger Whites’ Approval Now Closer to All Other Age Groups
From a broader perspective, there is relatively little difference today in Obama’s job approval ratings among whites in any of the four major age groups. Whites aged 30 to 49, as well as those 65 and older, have given Obama a 31% approval rating so far in 2014, with 50- to 64-year-olds coming in at 32% and 18- to 29-year-olds at 34%. The spread among age categories was slightly larger in the earliest years of the Obama administration.
Support Down, but Still Higher Among Nonwhite Than Among White Young People
Although Obama’s approval rating has dropped among black, Hispanic and Asian 18- to 29-year-olds from 2009 to 2014, just as it has among white millennials, the president maintains a much higher level of support among these groups than among whites. Specifically, Obama’s approval is 80% among young blacks, 68% among young Asians, and 55% among Hispanic 18- to 29-year-olds — contrasted with his 34% approval among white young adults.
Age affects Obama’s approval ratings differently among each of these racial and ethnic groups. Obama does slightly less well among black young people than among older blacks, and significantly better among Asians younger than 50 than among those who are older. There is little significant difference in his approval rating by age within the Hispanic population.
While Obama is significantly more popular among nonwhites than among whites, he was able to count on proportionately stronger support from young whites than older whites in his 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns. Now, his support among white millennials appears to be waning, and these young Americans give Obama an approval rating that is only marginally higher than that among older whites.
These findings demonstrate the general importance of race and ethnicity when one talks about Obama’s job approval ratings by age. Obama continues to enjoy higher approval ratings among all 18- to 29-year-olds — regardless of race or ethnicity — than he does among the general population, but this is largely attributable to younger age groups in the U.S. being disproportionately composed of nonwhites. In other words, a big part of the age gap in Obama’s approval ratings today is attributable not so much to differences in approval within racial or ethnic groups, but to the fact that the white population in the U.S. skews older, while the nonwhite population skews younger.
The white vote has become an increasing challenge for Democratic presidential candidates in recent years, as well as Senate candidates in many Southern and swing states. Just this past weekend, a lack of strong support among white voters was instrumental in incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s loss in Louisiana’s senatorial runoff election. That loss gives the Republicans control of every southern Senate seat from Texas to the Carolinas. While Democrats are likely to be helped in coming years by a growing Hispanic population, Democratic presidential candidates — and senatorial candidates in many states — will continue to need the votes of a substantial minority of white voters in order to put together a winning coalition. Thus, Obama’s continuing loss of support among younger white voters highlights one of the potential challenges ahead for Democratic candidates in 2016.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey from 2009 through November 2014, with random samples of approximately 355,000 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for each of the 2009-2012 yearly samples; approximately 175,000 adults for 2013; and 163,847 adults for Jan. 2-Nov. 30, 2014. For results based on the total sample of national adults in each yearly average, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error for each year’s age subgroups varies by sample size.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Bar Chart Data Source: Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) published by the U. S. Treasury Department. WE DON’T MAKE THIS UP! IT COMES FROM THE U. S. GOVERNMENT! NO ADJUSTMENTS.
The MTS published in October, reports the final actual expenditures for the previous FY. This chart shows FY2014 actual spending data. Here is the link to download your own copy from the Treasury Department web site.
The chart normally shows the proposed budget line for the next fiscal year (FY2015 started 1 October 2014), but Congress has not passed a “budget” for FY2015; we’re still using continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.
The Congressional Budget Office reported on the Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis in this report on the non-budget.
NDAC Challenge: Look at the bar chart to find items that are growing and items that are being reduced. Example: One of the largest growth departments is at the Department of Agriculture; it handles Food Stamps (SNAP). You pay taxes, your money is paying for food stamps.
NDAC studies the Budget Proposals submitted to the U.S. Senate each year by the President of the United States and by the House of Representatives. The budget submissions include Budget Historical Tables published by OMB. Expenditures are shown in Table 4.1, scroll way right to find current years actuals and estimates. Our analysis is discussed on the home page of this web site.
— “Deficit” vs. “Debt”—
Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.
“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If theDEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.
Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site’s deficit analysis. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it dramatically cuts into our budget.
Cut spending??? What would you cut?
[All federal expenses are shown on the chart above].
And there is a lot of missing money! Where is it?
The Treasury Department has the third largest expense in the federal budget. Only Defense andentitlement programs (run by Departments of Health and Human Services, HUD, and Agriculture (food stamps)) spend more. As the debt increases, so does the interest payment. Entitlement spending is the largest item in our federal budget. Do you have “Compassion” for lower income earners?
In FY2013 the U. S. Treasury Department spent$416 Billion of your money on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt.
Compare that to NASA at $17B,
Agriculture at $156B,
Labor at $80B,
Transportation at $76B!Can the federal budget be balanced? Here’s a video about that.
When you buy something, all the companies involved in producing and delivering it, were charged a wide range of taxes, and those costs are part of the price ofeverything you buy. The price of everything you buy will go up to cover any business tax increases.You are paying those corporate taxes! Read more about the proposed Energy Tax increases. So don’t forget that the price of fuel is in the cost of everything.
The “Economic Stimulus” is shifting us from an “economic crisis” to a debt crisis!Consider this; if businesses could print their own money and give it away to customers so they could buy the products, many folks would be happy for a while; but the businesses would go bankrupt. Well, that’s what our government is currently doing, printing and giving away money.
It has been reported that about 50% of Americans pay no income tax. But, if those folks buy anything, they pay “embedded taxes”*. Here is a video about taxation.
*[About 22% of the price of any product you buy is because of taxation on the companies that were involved in that product being produced and being at a place where it could be bought; and that’s before local sales taxes were added.] Every company must cover ALL its costs (including taxation) in the price of its product; or it will go bankrupt.
Healthcare… some proponents want to pay for the new plan by taxing insurance companies.Insurance companies do not pay taxes. To a corporation, tax is just another cost. So policy premiums will go up to cover the cost.
Government Programs always cost more than originally predicted. What about Healthcare?
**The Government cannot provide anything to anyone without first taking money from someone else to pay for it.
“For society as a whole, nothing comes as a ‘right’ to which we are ‘entitled’. Even bare subsistence has to be produced…. The only way anyone can have a right to something that has to be produced is to force someone else to produce it… The more things are provided as rights, the less the recipients have to work and the more the providers have to carry the load.” Thomas Sowell, quoted in Forbes and Reader’s Digest.
According to Mr. Kneeland, “…all dollars come from the people. Where do [you] think Coca-Cola gets the money to pay its taxes, Exxon gets its money to pay the Exxon Valdez fines, Denny’s gets the money to pay its Justice Department fines, or even Microsoft gets the money to defend itself? It all ultimately can come from only one place, and that’s from individuals.” ED: When you buy a product, the price of that product has to cover ALL the costs to get that product to you.
“A politician cannot spend one dime on any spending project without first taking that dime from the person who earned it. So, when a politician votes for a spending bill he is saying that he believes the government should spend that particular dollar rather than the individual who worked for it.” Neal Boortz.
“There is no such thing as government money – only taxpayer money.” William Weld, quoted in Readers Digest.
“Who will provide the roof to protect you from the rain, the heat to comfort you from the cold, and the coffee to fill your stomach when the damn, greedy capitalists are all gone?” – David Berresford, Thursday, May 20, 2010, Canada Free Press.
SOCIAL SECURITYis not part of the Federal Budget (General Fund). It is a separate account from the General Fund, and has its own source of income (“Payroll Tax”). Social Security payments go in the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF), and should NOT be counted as general revenue. The SSTF is supposed to be used to pay benefits. But, the Government is under NO OBLIGATION to pay Social Security benefits, and has even borrowed substantially fromtheSSTF for general operations!As of August 2010, there is less being paid into the Social Security Trust Fund than is being paid out to beneficiaries. Social Security is now using its “surplus”.Other Government agencies borrowed from that trust fund, and now have to pay it back. But they already spent it! So how will they pay it back? Through bailouts and taxes. Here is a “must read” about the problem. Your payroll taxes are going into a bottomless hole!The Social Security Administration’s FAQ page about the Trust Fund, and their latestReport (May 2011) explain it well.Beware the term “Social Security Surplus”; there is no such thing. Social Security is aPonzi Scheme, there is never more in the Trust Fund than will ever be needed.
The Government does not have any money, it does nothing to earn money (maybe defense). Government takes money from you and borrows more (from your children), then spends that! The bailouts of 2008 and 2009 are purely deficit spending. Expect to see enormous deficits in the forseeable future, leading to much more debt.Interest payments on that growing debt will become the largest item in the federal budget. On C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: “We are out of money.”
In 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created with the duty of preserving the dollar, one 20-dollar bill could buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Today, fifty 20-dollar bills are needed to buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Under the Fed’s custody, the U.S. dollar has lost 98 percent of its value. The dollar is the storehouse of our wealth. Has the Fed faithfully safeguarded that storehouse? Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power let us hear no more of trust in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”
A perfect storm of historic dysfunction combined with a lame-duck Congress, a looming power change in the Senate, a budget deadline, the holidays and the countdown to the 2016 elections has not prodded lawmakers to make compromises or to do their basic budgetary work. It has, however, led to a brand-new Washington term. Enter the “cromnibus.”
That’s the name being assigned to a tortured GOP strategy to stick it to President Barack Obama and make a bold statement on immigration and border security – all while avoiding shutting down the federal government right before the holidays, a tactic that didn’t work out so well for the GOP when it happened last year.
Described as a trial balloon, the approach was floated by House Speaker John Boehner at the party’s Tuesday morning meeting last week. The GOP plan goes like this: Congress would pass an omnibus funding bill to keep almost the entire government running into September 2015. However, the Department of Homeland Security – the department that deals with the implementation of Obama’s executive action on immigration, which the Republicans hate – would limp along on a mere continuing resolution that would fund it until sometime next March. That would give Republicans time and opportunity to pressure the Obama administration into backing off its executive action somehow – or at least isolate the DHS budget so Republicans, who next year will control both the House and Senate, could deny the funds needed to implement the action. Meanwhile, House members were given a chance, before recessing for the year, to take what is widely regarded as a show vote to undo the executive action.
This way, lawmakers explained, House Republicans can vent about border security, Obama and the use of an executive action to grant temporary legal status to more than 4 million people in the country illegally, all without suffering the political consequences of another government shutdown.
Boehner acknowledged that there’s no easy way for congressional Republicans to undo Obama’s executive action; rank-and-file members have thrown around ideas ranging from refusing to provide funds to implement the action to a lawsuit or impeachment.
Each has its logistical and political complications: Refusing to fund Homeland Security could make Republicans look like they don’t care about the safety of the nation’s citizens; a lawsuit (even if the House is deemed to have standing to sue) could cause a political backlash; and impeachment could lead to a repeat of 1998, when a similar action against former President Bill Clinton backfired against the GOP.
In countering Obama on immigration, the GOP has to weigh the interests of the Hispanic community against the ideals of the party’s base.
And Republicans must be mindful of two important constituencies in 2016 – the GOP base, which wants the action undone and might reject a presidential primary candidate who won’t commit to doing so, and the Hispanic community, which might align itself even more firmly against Republicans if the GOP commits to a policy that would break up families living here with temporary legal status.
“We’re looking at a variety of options, both for right now and when Republicans control both houses of the Congress next year,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. “Frankly, we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly.”
Thus, GOP strategists have proposed the “cromnibus,” a compromise that would keep nearly all agencies and programs humming along until next September (since Congress has been unable to pass any of the appropriations bills that make up the federal budget) and avoid a government shutdown that would occur if nothing is done before the current continuing resolution expires Dec. 11.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security would be put on a short budgetary leash until March. By that point, Republicans reason, they will be running both chambers of Congress and will be able to pass legislation excising funding for the part of the department that deals with the new executive action, killing it by starvation.
“The most effective thing we can do is to limit spending,” says Rep. John Fleming, R-La. While Fleming says Obama is assuming excessive powers as the nation’s chief executive, “we’ve got our own power – the power of the purse,” he adds.
But Fleming, like some other House conservatives, is irked by the idea that the House should wait until next year to go full-force against the immigration action – meaning Boehner may need House Democrats to get such a plan approved.
“I don’t think anybody wants a shutdown,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. But “I think we have significant leverage.”
The simmering rebellion by House conservatives means Boehner is likely to continue to face the same internal divisions he’s had since 2011, when a wave of new tea party-aligned lawmakers gave the GOP the House majority and demanded a rightward turn in the way the party ran things. That pressure largely drove the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 – a development polls showed Americans blamed on Republicans. So would the public also blame the GOP if Homeland Security does not get the cash it needs to keep Americans safe?
“Republicans are blamed for everything, anyway – what difference does it make?” Fleming says.
However, Senate Democrats are determined not to end their reign with a shutdown, even if the GOP gets blamed for it. Getting almost all of the government funded until next fall would be “a big accomplishment,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.
Moreover, the GOP needs to worry about overreach, Democrats say. Any specific effort to undo the executive action is likely to be vetoed by Obama. That leaves Republicans in the same position as they were with the Affordable Care Act. They could hold a series of votes opposing it or defunding it, but none would get signed into law. And the difference with immigration, notes Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is that the substance of the order (as opposed to the process) is indeed popular with the public, in a way Obamacare is not.
“You’re talking about changing the trajectory of a family’s destiny for generations – that’s deep,” Cummings says.
Opposing Obama’s order as executive overreach might excite the GOP base, but Hispanic families are equally excited about the opportunity to stay intact in the U.S., he adds. For Boehner, the challenge may be keeping his Republican family united.
Urgent Issue Of Immigration & The Budget – Special Report 1st Segment
Americans: In Obama we don’t trust
President’s Unilateral Action on Immigration Undermines Americans’ Trust
***AMERICANS DONT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT *** there criminals.
Top 10 Government Lies – When said ‘Trust Us’
Krauthammer on Obama: American “People Think This Is Failed Presidency”
Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA? (Good Will Hunting)
U.S. Drones kill more people than ISIS: Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges, author, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and polemicist discusses the importance of resistance to empire, and passionately condemns US foreign policy, saying “There is no difference between a beheading by ISIL and a US drone strike.”
Chris Hedges: The Absurdity of American Empire [FULL INTERVIEW]
Chris Hedges Call to Action to create “New Movements” replacing corrupt Government
George Carlin on American Foreign Policy – Bombing Brown People
The Best of George Carlin: Exposing our government and fall of humanity one joke at a time
The Pursuit Of Happyness – Job Interview
Best scene pursuit of happyness, Will Smith at his best
Story 1: White House Throws Toga Party For Emperor Obama At Caesar’s Palace Only Democrats Invited– Emperor Obama Has No Clothes — Congress Throws Parade Thanks Obama — Twist and Shout Republicans Dance In The Streets — Videos
toga! toga! toga! Animal House
Ferris Bueller’s Twist And Shout
President Obama’s speech on immigration
Ted Cruz: We Are Witnessing A Constitutional Crisis • Kelly File
Krauthammer on Obama’s ‘flagrant assault’ on Constitution Fox News Video
Kurtz: Why broadcast networks are skipping Obama’s speech
O’Reilly to Jose Antonio Vargas: ‘You Don’t Have an Entitlement to Be Here’
Metro Detroit residents react to President Obama’s immigration plans
Locals, Governor Walker react to President Obama’s immigration address
USA: White House asked if Obama thinks he’s ‘emperor’ of the US
A Message Before the President’s Immigration Speech
‘Decimating Law Enforcement': Sessions Slams Obama
Obama: I Am Not A Dictator – 3/1/2013
Obama: The Problem Is … I’m Not the Emperor of the United States
President Obama’s Tea Party ‘Cousin’ Dr.Milton Wolf Wants to Stop Him From ‘Destroying America’
EXPLAINED: Why Obama is Authorizing up to 5 Million Illegals
Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration Is Unlikely to Include Health Benefits
BREAKING TODAY: Obama to Give 5 MILLION “Undocumented Immigrants” Amnesty!
Oath of office of the President of the United States
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The Constitution of the United States
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in aCongress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The executive Powershall be vested in aPresident of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Uniona Republican Form of Government, and shallprotect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
GOP senator warns of violence after immigration order
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”
Coburn, 66, is a conservative Republican but one who has a personal relationship with Obama. They entered the Senate in the same class, elected in 2004, and the new senators from opposite ends of the political spectrum and their spouses immediately hit it off at an orientation dinner. Last year, the president wrote a tribute in Time magazine to Coburn as “someone who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his principles.”
“I really like the guy,” Coburn, 66, told USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series Wednesday. “I thought he’s neat, and I think Michelle’s a neat lady.”
That history gives Coburn’s stark assessment a special sting. On immigration, he accuses Obama of acting like “an autocratic leader that’s going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway.” He says changes in immigration policy require passage by Congress, not just the president’s signature — a charge the White House disputes and on which legal experts disagree.
“Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we’re starting to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithesis of what this country was founded on,” Coburn says. “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president … then why should it apply to me?”
Coburn, who also served three terms in the House of Representatives, is retiring two years before his second Senate term is up as he battles a recurrence of cancer. He has been a leading deficit hawk, nicknamed “Dr. No” for his steadfast opposition to spending and his blunt-spoken manner.
Though he says both parties deserve some of the blame for Washington’s dysfunction, he argues that the president has the ability to chart a different path. Solid Republican control of Congress in the wake of this month’s midterm elections could make it easier to deal with an issue such as the structural problems associated with the deficit. Making the compromises necessary for that “requires divided government,” he says.
“If I were in his office, I’d say, if you want to have a successful second term, dig down, swallow your pride, get what you can get, compromise on everything you can for the best interests of the country,” he says. “Bring us back together.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is poised to claim broad authority to grant work permits to millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States and to protect them from deportation. But Republicans are vowing an all-out fight against it.
“Congress will act,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned on the Senate floor Thursday, hours before Obama’s 8 p.m. EST address.
Obama “will come to regret” his action, McConnell said. “We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”
Obama’s measures could make as many as 5 million people eligible for work permits, with the broadest action likely aimed at extending deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as long as those parents have been in the country for at least five years.
Other potential winners under Obama’s actions would be young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children but do not now qualify under a 2012 directive from the president that’s expected to be expanded. Changes also are expected to law enforcement programs and business visas.However, the plan would leave the fate of millions more unresolved. With more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, Obama’s actions would not offer specific protections to more than half.
Still, Obama was expected to ensure that many of those not covered — immigrants who have lived illegally in the U.S. for 10 years or more or parents of citizens or permanent residents who have been in the country fewer than five years — would be given a lower priority for deportation, essentially sanctioning what is already current practice.
“What I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said in a video posted Wednesday on Facebook.
On Thursday, Obama discussed the need for an overhaul of the immigration system in the context of science and technology, saying the U.S. benefits from innovations and discoveries by scientists and researchers who come here to pursue their work.
“Part of staying competitive in a global economy is making sure we have an immigration
system that doesn’t send away talent but attracts it,” Obama said at a White House ceremony recognizing achievements in science, technology and innovation. “So that’s what I’ll be talking about a little bit tonight.”But the vehement reactions of Republicans, who will have control of Congress come January, made clear that Obama was courting a serious partisan confrontation.
Some on the right pushed for using must-pass spending legislation to try to stop Obama’s effort. One lawmaker — Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — raised the specter of impeachment.
Party leaders warned against such talk and sought to avoid spending-bill tactics that could lead to a government shutdown. They said such moves could backfire, alienating Hispanic voters and others.
In a closed-door meeting with other Senate Republicans, McConnell urged restraint. Still, there were concerns among some Republicans that the potential 2016 presidential candidates in the Senate would use the announcement to elevate their standing, challenging Obama directly.
And as far-reaching as Obama’s steps would be, they fall far short of what a comprehensive immigration overhaul passed by the Senate last year would have accomplished. The House never voted on that legislation. It would have set tougher border security standards, increased caps for visas for foreign high-skilled workers and allowed the 11 million immigrants illegally in the country to obtain work permits and begin a 10-year path toward green cards and, ultimately, citizenship.
“This is not the way we want to proceed. It will not solve the problem permanently,” White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Thursday on MSNBC.
None of those affected by Obama’s actions would have a direct path to citizenship, and his actions could be reversed by a new president after he leaves office. Moreover, officials said the eligible immigrants would not be entitled to federal benefits — including health care tax credits — under Obama’s plan.
Some immigrant advocates worried that even though Obama’s actions would make millions eligible for work permits, not all would participate out of fear that Republicans or a new president would reverse the executive orders.
“If the reaction to this is that the Republicans are going to do everything they can to tear this apart, to make it unworkable, the big interesting question will be, will our folks sign up knowing that there is this cloud hanging over it,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.
Still, Democrats battered by election losses two weeks ago welcomed Obama’s steps.
“The last two weeks haven’t been great weeks for us,” said Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, one of 18 congressional Democrats who had dinner Wednesday night with Obama. “The president is about to change that.”
Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New YorkI want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heapThese little town blues, are melting awayEbola Theme Song — New York, New York
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New YorkNew York…New York
I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m A number one, top of the list
King of the hill, A number one….These little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New York New York!!!
Frank Sinatra – New York New York Song **Lyrics** [HD]
Frank Sinatra, My Way, With Lyrics
And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my wayRegrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my wayYes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my wayI’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way![instrumental]Yes, it was my way
Frank Sinatra – “It Was A Very Good Year”
“It Was A Very Good Year”
Here’s an awfully pretty folk songWhen I was seventeen it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights on the village green
When I was seventeen[brief instrumental]When I was twenty-one it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls who lived up the stair
With all that perfumed hair and it came undone
When I was twenty-one[brief instrumental]Then I was thirty-five it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means, we’d ride in limousines their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five[brief instrumental]But now the days grow short, I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year[brief instrumental]It was a mess of good years
Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year Medley Mix – Live
CHICAGO My Kind Of Town – Frank Sinatra
“My Kind Of Town”
Now this could only happen to a guy like me
And only happen in a town like this
So may I say to each of you most gratef’lly
As I throw each one of you a kissThis is my kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of people, too
People who smile at youAnd each time I roam, Chicago is
Calling me home, Chicago is
Why I just grin like a clown
It’s my kind of town[brief instrumental]My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of razzmatazz
And it has all that jazzAnd each time I leave, Chicago is
Tuggin’ my sleeve, Chicago is
The Wrigley Building, Chicago is
The Union Stockyard, Chicago is
One town that won’t let you down
It’s my kind of town
Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits (Full Album) – The Best Of Frank Sinatra
Story 1: NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos
Obama: NSA Proposal Satisfies Public Concerns
Obama announces overhaul of NSA metadata collection
NSA – Changes To Metadata Program – Special Report All Star
President Obama Names Michael Rogers As New Head Of The NSA
Background Articles and Videos
Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]
Published on Dec 30, 2013
Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying
From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.
Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”
Inside the NSA
Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales
AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic
For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”
NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program
The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.
NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks
William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)
‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’
The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake
Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013
Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower
The Truth About Edward Snowden
N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?
Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets
NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet
AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2
AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program
The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.
AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2
Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)
Background Articles and Videos
Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.
The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity. William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.
There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”. One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.
In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon. The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.
PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[Notes 1]PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN. It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.
A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.” The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012. The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum. Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet” to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US
Details of information collected via PRISM
PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC. Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017. According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.
PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles. The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012). The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”
The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States. The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally. Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”
Response from companies
The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.
Initial Public Statements
Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports. Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:
Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began
Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”
Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.” “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”
Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”
Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.” “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”
Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”
Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”
In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.” “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.
“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.
Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.
On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant. Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”
The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.” The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely. In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort. The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel. These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers” and the companies’ denials.
While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission. Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information. Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.
Post-PRISM Transparency Reports
In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.
On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.
Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.
Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.
Response from United States government
Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats. The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.” He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.” On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans. In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.
Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”
On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.” The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”
The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.” He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.
In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification, and others said that they had not been aware of the program. After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.
June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”
June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee
June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”
Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives
June 11 “He’s a traitor” (referring to Edward Snowden)
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act
June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.” “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”
Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”
June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.
Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)
June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”
June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.
Applicable law and practice
On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).” Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.” When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.
After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret. The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.
If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.
If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it. A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.
Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive. In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order. The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”
Involvement of other countries
The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.
Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”
Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.
Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed the Business Insider article about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.
In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”
In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)
The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,” and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”
Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.” Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.” He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.
In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case. An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.” Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.” Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.” In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.
In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers; the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.” George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.
On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.
Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California. When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”. The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style. Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.
Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”. He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.
The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.
William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.” David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.” Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”
Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.” The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.
Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”
A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”
A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.
ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun. The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority. The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.
ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections. A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.
Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail. It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.
NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.
The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation. The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.
Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens. Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.
In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000. SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman. SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.
Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. 
The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” 
In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.” The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.
In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule. In 2006 the program was shut down, after having cost billions of US Dollars. Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.
The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.
According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”
In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying. A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy. Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter. Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed. She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.
Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.
In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG) had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure. It had cost more than $1 billion.
In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative. Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.
In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.
In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917, part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”. The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.
In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities. It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian. According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.
Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.
Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).
NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.
Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian. The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.
Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008
The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.
The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”
Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.
ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.
The system has been reported in a number of public sources. Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001, and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States. The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.
Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.
The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:
the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
the National Security Agency of the United States,
the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands
The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.
The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic. During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication, and could be intercepted at great distances. The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”
The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber. The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%. Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video. Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.
One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt. A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.
Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.
See also: Industrial espionage
Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes. Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie. An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.
In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.
Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.
According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits. The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.
The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.” The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).
Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK. At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.
The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:
Likely satellite intercept stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:
Hong Kong (since closed)
Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)
Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)
Other potentially related stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:
Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
relocated to Griesheim in 2004
deactivated in 2008
Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)
Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.
Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T. The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.” Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.
The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.
The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T. Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.
Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.
Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.
PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States
Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.
Story 1: Democrats Lose 50 Year War on Poverty Start 100 Year War on Work: Millennial Moocher Mania — Grow The Government Shrink The Economy and Employment! — Progressive Permanent Poverty People — Videos Videos
The Chicago professor examined the law’s incentives for the poor not to get a job or work harder, and this week Beltway budgeteers agreed.
By JOSEPH RAGO
In September, two weeks before the Affordable Care Act was due to launch, President Obama declared that “there’s no serious evidence that the law . . . is holding back economic growth.” As for repealing ObamaCare, he added, “That’s not an agenda for economic growth. You’re not going to meet an economist who says that that’s a number-one priority in terms of boosting growth and jobs in this country—at least not a serious economist.”
In a way, Mr. Obama had a point: “Never met him,” says economist Casey Mulligan. If the unfamiliarity is mutual, the confusion is all presidential. Mr. Mulligan studies how government choices influence the incentives and rewards for work—and many more people may recognize the University of Chicago professor as a serious economist after this week. That’s because, more than anyone, Mr. Mulligan is responsible for the still-raging furor over the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that ObamaCare will, in fact, harm growth and jobs.
Rarely are political tempers so raw over an 11-page appendix to a dense budget projection for the next decade. But then the CBO—Congress’s official fiscal scorekeeper, widely revered by Democrats and Republicans alike as the gold standard of economic analysis—reported that by 2024 the equivalent of 2.5 million Americans who were otherwise willing and able to work before ObamaCare will work less or not at all as a result of ObamaCare.
As the CBO admits, that’s a “substantially larger” and “considerably higher” subtraction to the labor force than the mere 800,000 the budget office estimated in 2010. The overall level of labor will fall by 1.5% to 2% over the decade, the CBO figures.
Mr. Mulligan’s empirical research puts the best estimate of the contraction at 3%. The CBO still has some of the economics wrong, he said in a phone interview Thursday, “but, boy, it’s a lot better to be off by a factor of two than a factor of six.”
The CBO’s intellectual conversion is all the more notable for accepting Mr. Mulligan’s premise, which is that what economists call “implicit marginal tax rates” in ObamaCare make work less financially valuable for lower-income Americans. Because the insurance subsidies are tied to income and phase out as cash wages rise, some people will have the incentive to remain poorer in order to continue capturing higher benefits. Another way of putting it is that taking away benefits has the same effect as a direct tax, so lower-income workers are discouraged from climbing the income ladder by working harder, logging extra hours, taking a promotion or investing in their future earnings through job training or education.
The CBO works in mysterious ways, but its commentary and a footnote suggest that two National Bureau of Economic Research papers Mr. Mulligan published last August were “roughly” the most important drivers of this revision to its model. In short, the CBO has pulled this economist’s arguments and analysis from the fringes to center of the health-care debate.
For his part, Mr. Mulligan declines to take too much credit. “I’m not an expert in that town, Washington,” he says, “but I showed them my work and I know they listened, carefully.”
At a February 2013 hearing he pointed out several discrepancies between the CBO’s marginal-tax-rate work and its health-care work, and, he says, “That couldn’t persist forever. There would have to be a time where they would reconcile those two approaches somehow.” More to the point, “I knew eventually it would be acknowledged that when you pay people for being low income you are going to have more low-income people.”
Mr. Mulligan thinks the CBO deserves particular credit for learning and then revising the old 800,000 number, not least because so many liberals cited it to dispute the claims of ObamaCare’s critics. The new finding might have prompted a debate about the marginal tax rates confronting the poor, but—well, it didn’t.
Instead, liberals have turned to claiming that ObamaCare’s missing workers will be a gift to society. Since employers aren’t cutting jobs per se through layoffs or hourly take-backs, people are merely choosing rationally to supply less labor. Thanks to ObamaCare, we’re told, Americans can finally quit the salt mines and blacking factories and retire early, or spend more time with the children, or become artists.
Mr. Mulligan reserves particular scorn for the economists making this “eliminated from the drudgery of labor market” argument, which he views as a form of trahison des clercs. “I don’t know what their intentions are,” he says, choosing his words carefully, “but it looks like they’re trying to leverage the lack of economic education in their audience by making these sorts of points.”
A job, Mr. Mulligan explains, “is a transaction between buyers and sellers. When a transaction doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. We know that it doesn’t matter on which side of the market you put the disincentives, the results are the same. . . . In this case you’re putting an implicit tax on work for households, and employers aren’t willing to compensate the households enough so they’ll still work.” Jobs can be destroyed by sellers (workers) as much as buyers (businesses).
He adds: “I can understand something like cigarettes and people believe that there’s too much smoking, so we put a tax on cigarettes, so people smoke less, and we say that’s a good thing. OK. But are we saying we were working too much before? Is that the new argument? I mean make up your mind. We’ve been complaining for six years now that there’s not enough work being done. . . . Even before the recession there was too little work in the economy. Now all of a sudden we wake up and say we’re glad that people are working less? We’re pursuing our dreams?”
The larger betrayal, Mr. Mulligan argues, is that the same economists now praising the great shrinking workforce used to claim that ObamaCare would expand the labor market.
He points to a 2011 letter organized by Harvard’s David Cutler and the University of Chicago’s Harold Pollack, signed by dozens of left-leaning economists including Nobel laureates, stating “our strong conclusion” that ObamaCare will strengthen the economy and create 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually. (Mr. Cutler has since qualified and walked back some of his claims.)
“Why didn’t they say, no, we didn’t mean the labor market’s going to get bigger. We mean it’s going to get smaller in a good way,” Mr. Mulligan wonders. “I’m unhappy with that, to be honest, as an American, as an economist. Those kind of conclusions are tarnishing the field of economics, which is a great, maybe the greatest, field. They’re sure not making it look good by doing stuff like that.”
Mr. Mulligan’s investigation into the Affordable Care Act builds on his earlier work studying the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus.
The Keynesian economists who dominate Mr. Obama’s Washington are preoccupied by demand, and their explanation for persistently high post-recession unemployment is weak demand for goods and thus demand for labor. Mr. Mulligan, by contrast, studies the supply of labor and attributes the state of the economy in large part to the expansion of the entitlement and welfare state, such as the surge in food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and other safety-net programs. As these benefits were enriched and extended to more people by the stimulus, he argues in his 2012 book “The Redistribution Recession,” they were responsible for about half the drop in work hours since 2007, and possibly more.
The nearby chart tracks marginal tax rates over time for nonelderly household heads and spouses with median earnings. This index is a population-weighted average over various ages, jobs, employment decisions like full-time versus part-time. Basically, the chart shows the extra taxes paid and government benefits foregone as a result of earning an extra dollar of income.
The stimulus caused a spike in marginal rates, but at least it was temporary. ObamaCare will bring them permanently into the 47% range, or seven percentage points higher than in early 2007. Mr. Mulligan says the main response to his calculations is that people “didn’t realize the cumulative effect of these things together as a package to discourage work.”
Mr. Mulligan is uncomfortable speculating about whether the benefits of this shift outweigh the costs. Perhaps the public was willing to trade market efficiency for more income security after the 2008 crisis. “As an economist I can’t argue with that,” he says. “The thing that I argue with is the denial that there is a trade-off. I argue with the denial that if you pay unemployed people you’re going to get more unemployed people. There are consequences of that. That doesn’t mean the consequences aren’t worth paying. But you can’t deny the consequences for the labor market.”
One major risk is slower economic growth over time as people leave the workforce and contribute less to national prosperity. Another is that social programs with high marginal rates end up perpetuating the problems they’re supposed to be alleviating.
So amid the current wave of liberal ObamaCare denial about these realities, how did Mr. Mulligan end up conducting such “unconventional” research?
“Unconventional?” he asks with more than a little disbelief. “It’s not unconventional at all. The critique I get is that it’s not complicated enough.”
Well, then how come the CBO’s adoption of his insights is causing such a ruckus?
“I would phrase the question a little differently,” Mr. Mulligan responds, “which is: Why didn’t conventional economic analysis make its way to Washington? Why was I the only delivery boy? Why wasn’t there a laundry list?” The charitable explanation, he says, is that there was “a general lack of awareness” and economists simply didn’t realize everything that government was doing to undermine incentives for work. “You have to dig into it and see it,” he explains. “The Affordable Care Act’s not going to come and shake you out of your bed and say, ‘Look what’s in me.’ “
Judging by their reaction to the CBO report, the less charitable explanation is that liberals would have preferred that the public never found out.
Mr. Rago is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.
Lawmakers Spar Over CBO’s U.S. Health-Law Findings
Questions Over Impact on Workforce Create ‘Hysteria’ on Capitol Hill
A new report outlining the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the labor market continued to reverberate on Capitol Hill Wednesday, with lawmakers in both parties saying the findings bolstered their view of how the law would play out.
Republicans at a House Budget Committee hearing said the report, released Tuesday, shows the health law will drive people out of the work force. Democrats countered that the report shows the law will give workers flexibility to leave jobs they are locked into because of health-care benefits.
The sparring came in response to a Congressional Budget Office analysis concluding that subsidies in the law, combined with easier access to health care, would create incentives for many Americans to cut their work hours, leading to a net reduction of 1.5% to 2% from 2017 through 2024. This would be the equivalent of reducing the labor force by 2.5 million workers in 2024, the CBO found.
“The effects we estimated are almost entirely choices by people,” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said at the hearing. He said, for example, that the labor changes wouldn’t be driven by employers cutting jobs, but rather workers deciding to cut back on their hours to take care of their children, parents, or to pursue other interests.
The report struck a chord in Washington. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said at the hearing that the analysis by CBO, a nonpartisan agency that advises Congress, had caused “hysteria.”
Many Republicans said the CBO confirmed their long-held belief that the law would have a direct impact on the labor market and harm economic growth. They said it would expedite the decline in labor-force participation, which is expected to worsen in coming years as more aging Americans drop out of the work force.
“These changes—they disproportionately affect low-wage workers,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said. “Translation: Washington is making the poverty trap worse.”
Democrats on Wednesday said the study confirmed their belief that the law would free many Americans from a phenomenon known as “job lock,” or the idea that people don’t change their jobs for fear of losing their health benefits.
“More Americans will be able to voluntarily, choose—choose—to work fewer hours or not take a job because they don’t depend on that job any more for the provision of health insurance,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) said. “Before the Affordable Care Act, if you lost your job, you lost your health insurance.”
Mr. Elmendorf stressed that the law’s impact on the labor market could be difficult to predict. He agreed, for example, with one Republican lawmaker who said that by reducing the number of hours worked by many Americans, it would reduce overall wages and lower the amount of money people paid in taxes from 2017 through 2024.
But he also agreed with a Democratic lawmaker who said the law could—in the short-term—create some new jobs by freeing up disposable income from workers who previously had to set aside money for health coverage.
The law’s impact on the labor market has drawn the focus of researchers since it was passed, in part because the law makes so many changes to health-care delivery that its broader economic impacts have proved difficult to predict.
A 2013 study by researchers at Northwestern University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago estimated the Affordable Care Act’s impact could be particularly acute, including among Americans who are near retirement and hang on to jobs to retain health care before they qualify for Medicare at age 65.
The study found the new law “creates a nonemployer option for health insurance that is going to be fairly priced for a large number of Americans, and that hasn’t been available,” said Craig Garthwaite, an assistant professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and one of the study’s co-authors.
But he said there is a trade-off to the broader access to health care, and said “there should be some pause for concern here about any policies that actually weaken labor-force attachment.”
CBO Report Forecasts More People Will Opt to Work Less as They Seek Coverage Through Affordable Care Act
By LOUISE RADNOFSKY and DAMIAN PALETTA
The new health law is projected to reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs in 2021, a bigger impact on the workforce than previously expected, according to a nonpartisan congressional report.
The analysis, by the Congressional Budget Office, says a key factor is people scaling back how much they work and instead getting health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The agency had earlier forecast the labor-force impact would be the equivalent of 800,000 workers in 2021.
Because the CBO estimated that the changes would be a result of workers’ choices, it said the law, President Barack Obama‘s signature initiative, wouldn’t lead to a rise in the unemployment rate. But the labor-force impact could slow growth in future years, though the precise impact is uncertain.
Social programs in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Social Security Administration, created in 1935, was the first major federal welfare agency and continues to be the most prominent.
The programs vary in eligibility requirements and are provided by various organizations on a federal, state, local and private level. They help to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare and money to U.S. citizens through primary and secondary education, subsidies of college education, unemployment disability insurance, subsidies for eligible low-wage workers, subsidies for housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, pensions for eligible persons and health insurance programs that cover public employees. The Social Security system is the largest and most prominent social aid program.Medicare is another prominent program.
Not including Social Security and Medicare, Congress allocated almost $717 billion in Federal funds in 2010 plus $210 billion was allocated in state funds ($927 billion total) for means tested welfare programs in the United States–later (after 2010) expenditures are unknown but higher. As of 2011, the public social spending-to-GDP ratio in the United States was below the OECD average.
Total Social Security and Medicare expenditures in 2013 were $1.3 trillion, 8.4% of the $16.3 trillion GNP (2013) and 37% of the total Federal expenditure budget of $3.684 trillion.
In addition to government expenditures private welfare spending in the United States is thought to be about 10% of the U.S. GDP or another $1.6 trillion.
[hide]Characteristics of Households by Quintile 2010
Earners Per Household
Married couples (%)
Single Parents or Single (%)
Ages of Householders
65 years +
Work Status householders (%)
Worked Full Time (%)
Worked Part Time (%)
Did Not Work (%)
Education of Householders (%)
Less than High School
High School or some College
Bachelor’s degree or Higher
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Social programs have been implemented to promote a variety of societal goals, including alleviating the effects of poverty on those earning or receiving low income or encountering serious medical problems, and ensuring retired people have a basic standard of living.
Eligibility for welfare benefits depends on a variety of factors, including gross and net income, family size, pregnancy, homelessness, unemployment, and serious medical conditions like blindness, kidney failure or AIDS.
Drug Testing for applicants
Drug testing in order for potential recipients to receive welfare has become an increasingly controversial topic. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina claims he pushes for drug screening as a matter of “moral obligation” and that testing should be enforced as a way for the United States government to discourage drug usage.  Others claim that ordering the needy to drug test “stereotypes, stigmatizes, and criminalizes” them without need.  States that currently require drug tests to be performed in order to receive public assistance include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah.
A chart showing the overall decline of average monthly welfare benefits (AFDC then TANF) per recipient 1962–2006 (in 2006 dollars).
Some have argued that welfare has come to be associated with poverty. Martin Gilens, assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University, argues that blacks have overwhelmingly dominated images of poverty over the last few decades and states that “white Americans with the most exaggerated misunderstandings of the racial composition of the poor are the most likely to oppose welfare”. This perception possibly perpetuates negative racial stereotypes and could increase Americans’ opposition and racialization of welfare policies.
In FY 2010, African-American families comprised 31.9% of TANF families, white families comprised 31.8%, and 30.0% were Hispanic. Since the implementation of TANF, the percentage of Hispanic families has increased, while the percentages of white and black families have decreased. In FY 1997, African-American families represented 37.3% of TANF recipient families, white families 34.5%, and Hispanic families 22.5%. The population as a whole is composed of 63.7% whites, 16.3% Hispanic, 12.5% African-American, 4.8% Asian and 2.9% other races. TANF programs at a cost of about $20.0 billion (2013) have decreased in use as Earned Income Tax Credits, Medicaid grants, food stamps (SNAP),Supplemental Security Income (SSI), child nutrition programs (CHIP), housing assistance, Feeding Programs (WIC & CSFP) along with about 70 more programs have increase to over $700.0 billion more in 2013.
In 2002, total U.S. social welfare expenditure constitutes over 35% of GDP, with purely public expenditure constituting 21%, publicly supported but privately provided welfare services constituting 10% of GDP and purely private services constituting 4% of GDP. This compared to the “welfare” states of France and Sweden where welfare spending ranges from 30% to 35% of GDP.
The Great Recession made a large impact on welfare spending. In a 2011 article, Forbes reported, “The best estimate of the cost of the 185 federal means tested welfare programs for 2010 for the federal government alone is $717 billion, up a third since 2008, according to the Heritage Foundation. Counting state spending of about $210 million, total welfare spending for 2010 reached over $920 billion, up nearly one-fourth since 2008 (24.3%)”–and increasing fast. The previous decade had seen a 60% decrease in the number of people receiving welfare benefits, beginning with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, but spending did not decrease proportionally during that time period.
Impact of social programs
[hide]Average Incomes and Taxes
CBO Study 2009*
Tax rate %3
Taxes Pd. 5
Source: Congressional Budget Office Study
1. Market Income = All wages, tips, incomes etc. as listed on Income tax form
2. Federal Transfers = all EITC, CTC, medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), Social Security, SSI etc. received
3. Average tax rate includes all Social Security, Medicare, income, business income, excise, etc. taxes.
4. Net Federal taxes paid in dollars
5. Percent of all federal taxes paid
6. #W = Average number of workers per household in this quintile
7. % Net Income = percentage of all national income each quintile receives after taxes and transfers.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, social programs significantly raise the standard of living for low-income Americans, particularly the elderly. The poorest 20% of American households earn a before-tax average of only $7,600 – less than half of the federal poverty line. Social programs increase those households’ before-tax income to $30,500. Social Security and Medicare are responsible for two-thirds of that increase.
Public Health nursing made available through child welfare services, 1935.
Federal Social Welfare programs
Colonial legislatures and later State governments adopted legislation patterned after the English “poor” laws. Aid to veterans, often free grants of land, and pensions for widows and handicapped veterans, have been offered in all U.S. wars. Following World War I, provisions were made for a full-scale system of hospital and medical care benefits for veterans. By 1929, workers’ compensation laws were in effect in all but four States. These state laws made industry and businesses responsible for the costs of compensating workers or their survivors when the worker was injured or killed in connection with his or her job. Retirement programs for mainly State and local government paid teachers, police officers, and fire fighters—date back to the 19th century. All these social programs were far from universal and varied considerably from one state to another.
Prior to the Great Depression the United States had social programs that mostly centered around individual efforts, family efforts, church charities, business workers compensation, life insurance and sick leave programs along with some state tax supported social programs. The misery and poverty of the great depression threatened to overwhelm all these programs. The severe Depression of the 1930s made Federal action almost a necessity, as neither the States and the local communities, businesses and industries, nor private charities had the financial resources to cope with the growing need among the American people. Beginning in 1932, the Federal Government first made loans, then grants, to States to pay for direct relief and work relief. After that, special Federal emergency relief like the Civilian Conservation Corps and other public works programs were started. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s administration proposed to Congress federal social relief programs and a federally sponsored retirement program. Congress followed by the passage of the 37 page Social Security Act, signed into law August 14, 1935 and “effective” by 1939–just as World War II began. This program was expanded several times over the years.
After the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, for the first time a person who was not elderly or disabled could receive need-based aid from the federal government.[dubious – discuss] Aid could include general welfare payments, health care through Medicaid, food stamps, special payments for pregnant women and young mothers, and federal and state housing benefits.
In 1968, 4.1% of families were headed by a woman receiving welfare assistance; by 1980, the percentage increased to 10%. In the 1970s, California was the U.S. state with the most generous welfare system. Virtually all food stamp costs are paid by the federal government. In 2008, 28.7 percent of the households headed by single women were considered poor.
Welfare reform (1990s)
Before the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, welfare assistance was “once considered an open-ended right,” but welfare reform converted it “into a finite program built to provide short-term cash assistance and steer people quickly into jobs.” Prior to reform, states were given “limitless” money by the federal government, increasing per family on welfare, under the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. This gave states no incentive to direct welfare funds to the neediest recipients or to encourage individuals to go off welfare benefits (the state lost federal money when someone left the system). Nationwide, one child in seven received AFDC funds, which mostly went to single mothers.
In 1996, under the Bill Clintonadministration, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which gave more control of the welfare system to the states though there are basic requirements the states need to meet with regards to welfare services. Still, most states offer basic assistance, such as health care, food assistance, child care assistance, unemployment, cash aid, and housing assistance. After reforms, which President Clinton said would “end welfare as we know it,”amounts from the federal government were given out in a flat rate per state based on population.
Each state must meet certain criteria to ensure recipients are being encouraged to work themselves out of welfare. The new program is called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It encourages states to require some sort of employment search in exchange for providing funds to individuals, and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance. The bill restricts welfare from most legal immigrants and increased financial assistance for child care. The federal government also maintains an emergency $2 billion TANF fund to assist states that may have rising unemployment.
Following these changes, millions of people left the welfare rolls (a 60% drop overall), employment rose, and the child poverty rate was reduced. A 2007 Congressional Budget Office study found that incomes in affected families rose by 35%. The reforms were “widely applauded” after “bitter protest.”The Times called the reform “one of the few undisputed triumphs of American government in the past 20 years.”
Critics of the reforms sometimes point out that the massive decrease of people on the welfare rolls during the 1990s wasn’t due to a rise in actual gainful employment in this population, but rather, was due almost exclusively to their offloading into workfare, giving them a different classification than classic welfare recipient. The late 1990s were also considered an unusually strong economic time, and critics voiced their concern about what would happen in an economic downturn.
National Revieweditorialized that the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 will reverse the welfare-to-work provisions that Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s, and will again base federal grants to states on the number of people signed up for welfare rather than at a flat rate. One of the experts who worked on the 1996 bill said that the provisions would lead to the largest one-year increase in welfare spending in American history. The House bill provides $4 billion to pay 80% of states’ welfare caseloads. Although each state received $16.5 billion annually from the federal government as welfare rolls dropped, they spent the rest of the block grant on other types of assistance rather than saving it for worse economic times.
[hide]Spending on largest Welfare Programs
Federal Spending 2003-2013*
Medicaid Grants to States
Food Stamps (SNAP)
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Child Nutrition Program (CHIP)
Support Payments to States, TANF
Feeding Programs (WIC & CSFP)
Low Income Home Energy Assistance
* Spending in millions of dollars
The following is a short timeline of welfare in the United States:
1880s–1890s: Attempts were made to move poor people from work yards to poor houses if they were in search of relief funds.
1893–1894: Attempts were made at the first unemployment payments, but were unsuccessful due to the 1893–1894recession.
1932: The Great Depression had gotten worse and the first attempts to fund relief failed. The “Emergency Relief Act”, which gave local governments $300 million, was passed into law.
WIA Adult Employment and Training
formerly JTPA IIA Training for
Disadvantaged Adults & Youth
Food Stamp Employment
and Training Program
Native American Training
TANF Block Grant Services
Title XX Social Services Block Grant
Community Service Block Grant
Social Services for
Refugees Asylees and Humanitarian Cases
Safe and Stable Families
Title III Aging Americans Act
Legal Services Block Grant
Emergency Food and Shelter Program
Healthy Marriage and
Responsible Fatherhood Grants
Independent Living (Chafee
Foster Care Independence Program)
Independent Living Training Vouchers
Maternal, Infants and
Children Home Visitation
CHILD CARE AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Child Development Block Grant
Childcare Entitlement to the States
TANF Block Grant Child Care
CHILD CARE & CHILD DEVELOPMENT TOTAL
Community Development Block Grant
and Related Development Funds
Administration (Dept. of Commerce)
Appalachian Regional Development
Enterprise Communities Renewal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TOTAL
TOTAL in millions (2011)
Social Security OASDI (2013)
TOTAL in millions
* Spending in millions of dollars
2.3 Trillion Dollar Total of Social Security, Medicare and Means Tested Welfare
is low since latest 2013 means tested data not available but 2013
“real” TOTAL will be higher
The Social Security program mainly refers to the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, and possibly the unemployment insurance program. Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB), also known as Old-age Insurance Benefits, are a form of social insurance payments made by the U.S. Social Security Administration paid based upon the attainment old age (62 or older).
Unemployment insurance, also known as unemployment compensation, provides for money, from the United States and the state collected from employers, to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The unemployment benefits are run by each state with different state defined criteria for duration, percent of income paid, etc.. Nearly all require the recipient to document their search for employment to continue receiving benefits. Extensions of time for receiving benefits are sometimes offered for extensive work unemployment. These extra benefits are usually in the form of loans from the federal government that have to be repaid by each state.
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other special criteria like the End Stage Renal Disease program (ESRD). Medicare in the United States somewhat resembles a single-payer health care system but is not. Before Medicare, only 51% of people aged 65 and older had health care coverage, and nearly 30% lived below the federal poverty level.
Medicaid is a health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.
Per capita spending on tertiary education is among the highest in the world. Public education is managed by individual states, municipalities and regional school districts. As in all developed countries, primary and secondary education is free, universal and mandatory. Parents do have the option of home-schooling their children, though some states, such as California (until a 2008 legal ruling overturned this requirement), require parents to obtain teaching credentials before doing so. Experimental programs give lower-income parents the option of using government issued vouchers to send their kids to private rather than public schools in some states/regions.
As of 2007, more than 80% of all primary and secondary students were enrolled in public schools, including 75% of those from households with incomes in the top 5%. Public schools commonly offer after-school programs and the government subsidizes private after school programs, such as the Boys & Girls Club. While pre-school education is subsidized as well, through programs such as Head Start, many Americans still find themselves unable to take advantage of them. Some education critics have therefore proposed creating a comprehensive transfer system to make pre-school education universal, pointing out that the financial returns alone would compensate for the cost.
Tertiary education is not free, but is subsidized by individual states and the federal government. Some of the costs at public institutions is carried by the state.
The government also provides grants, scholarships and subsidized loans to most students. Those who do not qualify for any type of aid, can obtain a government guaranteed loan and tuition can often be deducted from the federal income tax. Despite subsidized attendance cost at public institutions and tax deductions, however, tuition costs have risen at three times the rate of median household income since 1982. In fear that many future Americans might be excluded from tertiary education, progressive Democrats have proposed increasing financial aid and subsidizing an increased share of attendance costs. Some Democratic politicians and political groups have also proposed to make public tertiary education free of charge, i.e. subsidizing 100% of attendance cost.
In the U.S., financial assistance for food purchasing for low- and no-income people is provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. This federal aid program is administered by the Food and Nutrition Serviceof the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but benefits are distributed by the individual U.S. states. It is historically and commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, though all legal references to “stamp” and “coupon” have been replaced by “EBT” and “card,” referring to the refillable, plastic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that replaced the paper “food stamp” coupons. To be eligible for SNAP benefits, the recipients must have incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line, and also own few assets. Since the economic downturn began in 2008, the use of food stamps has increased.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a type of United States Federal assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to states in order to provide a daily subsidized food service for an estimated 3.2 million children and 112,000 elderly or mentally or physically impaired adults in non-residential, day-care settings.
‘Duck Dynasty’ Reversal Shows GLAAD Has an Expiration Date
A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations
By Brandon Ambrosino
Phil v. The Gays. With which will we side? Or rather, against which will we side? This is the question that society demands we answer. Are we anti-Phil or anti-gay or anti-GLAAD or anti-A&E or anti- … ?
Perhaps no other word sums up the Duck Dynasty fiasco as aptly as the word “anti.”
Whenever I hear that someone is anti-this or that, I immediately think of the old quip about MADD – are there any mothers for drunk driving? – and ask myself if anyone is really in favor of the particular thing being protested. Since GLAAD has recently taken a hard-line stance against Phil Robertson’s “anti-gay” comments, I’ve been asking myself a similar question about defamation: Who among us is for it? Most of us are decidedly against defamation, although we choose not to publicly participate in institutional demonstrations to prove how against it we are. But, of course, GLAAD is an institution, and therefore their criticism reverberates at systemic levels.
Founded in 1985 in the wake of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD was formed to protest skewed coverage of LGBT issues and “to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting.” The original name was an acronym for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” and although the organization has recently rebranded itself by deciding that the letters G-L-A-A-D aren’t actually going to stand for anything any more, their reputation for protesting defamatory speech is well known both within and without the LGBT community.
It goes without saying that GLAAD has done a great deal of good for the LGBT community, and for that they deserve our applause and honor. As they noted in their announcement heralding their name change, their work continues to educate and influence the greater culture. Historically they’ve been a symbol of inclusion and tolerance, and they’ve worked tirelessly to infuse these values into our controlling media discourses. Frankly, though, I don’t think their hasty reaction to Phil Robertson displayed our LGBT community’s best values.
Before many of us even learned that Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ, GLAAD had already convinced us that Phil’s words were vile and offensive, and called upon A&E “to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” (I still wonder how many of us – commentators included – have read the actual story in GQ.) A&E offered its own kneejerk response to GLAAD’s kneejerk response, and placed Phil on “indefinite” hiatus, which then prompted some Evangelicals to offer up their own kneejerk response which had something to do with the freedom of speech and now – did I hear this correctly? – Chick-fil-A. In the end, after carefully reviewing all of the responses, A&E issued a final response explaining their decision to lift Phil’s suspension, which resulted in yet another predictable response from GLAAD. I’m not sure how we do it, but we manage to craft responses to our opponents without ever having actual conversations with them.
It isn’t shocking that a conservative Christian duck-hunter from Louisiana has opinions that GLAAD deemed “anti-gay,” and it isn’t shocking that A&E immediately kowtowed to GLAAD at the first drop of the word “homophobic.” What is shocking, however, is that A&E lifted Phil’s hiatus in spite of the fact that they knew GLAAD wasn’t going to be happy about it. A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations. A&E is certainly setting a precedent – which makes me wonder about where we are today with queer politics.
In the ’80s and ’90s, GLAAD was necessary, if only because top media outlets needed to be reminded that journalistic ethics applied to AIDS coverage, too. But in 2014, how necessary is GLAAD? I don’t mean to suggest that the organization isn’t doing some good for our world – as I’ve already noted, they are! But as America edges closer and closer to unqualified and full inclusion of LGBT persons, I wonder if an organization whose raison d’etre is to find and shame instances of discrimination isn’t just a bit archaic.
If our goal is to progress beyond defamation against LGBT persons, then that means GLAAD has a sell-by date. To put it in a different, albeit cheekier way: Defamation is good for GLAAD’s business. To bankrupt our society of LGBT defamation would certainly put GLAAD out of work. It’s hard for me to imagine I’m the only one who’s wondered about this. In fact, GLAAD’s recent name-change only confirms that their leadership has been reexamining and revising their purposes moving forward. Again, I’m not suggesting our world doesn’t need GLAAD: There certainly is a place for them. But A&E’s latest reversal should make us question what exactly that place is. http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/28/duck-dynasty-reversal-shows-glaad-has-an-expiration-date/
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Duck Commander Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty spoke to the congregation of Saddleback church in July on why people need Jesus and why the founders would agree — and I gotta say it was awesome. I watched it last night and knew I had to post it for you guys. Duck Commander’s message is really simple, that people need to love God and love each other and he delivers it beautifully. He really is a fantastic preacher.
‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Makes Shocking ‘Gay is Sin’ Comment
Duck Dynasty dared to mention Jesus
‘Duck Dynasty’ star slammed over anti-gay rant
By Andrea Morabito
Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” clan, is being slammed for controversial comments he made about homosexuality in an interview in the January issue of GQ.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me,” Robertson told the magazine. “I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
When the reporter asked Robertson what he found sinful, he said “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
The self-proclaimed Bible-thumper then went on to paraphrase Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
On Wednesday, GLAAD called Robertson’s statements “vile” and “littered with outdated stereotypes.”
“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe,” said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. “He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.
“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
An A&E spokesman had no comment, but Robertson released his own statement responding to the controversy.
“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior,” he said. “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.
“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
“Duck Dynasty” has been a ratings phenomenon for A&E, drawing 11.8 million viewers to its fourth season premiere last August, the most-watched nonfiction series telecast in cable history.
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John Boehner places blame for horrid Congress where it belongs
By David Horsey
Setting new lows for accomplishment in its first year, the 113th Congress is on track to wrest the title of Worst Congress Ever from the horrid 112th Congress. House Speaker John A. Boehner bears a great deal of blame for this dismal record, but he can be commended for finally calling out the conservative activist organizations that have been cheering on the congressional drive toward ignominy.
Last week, with Congress on the verge of actually doing something – passing a compromise two-year budget that would avoid another disastrous government shutdown – right-wing groups such as the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the tea party umbrella organization FreedomWorks demanded that Republicans vote against the spending plan and threatened that a “yes” vote could be used against incumbents in the 2014 GOP primaries.
At long last, Boehner had had enough. In a news conference Wednesday, the speaker hammered the conservative hard-liners, saying: “They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous. If you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”
In another gathering with reporters Thursday, Boehner took a repeat shot. “I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be,” he said. “And frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility.”
Boehner went on to lay blame for October’s government shutdown squarely with the right-wing money groups. Those groups pushed the shutdown as a bold plan, encouraging the tea party faction of the House Republicans to resist more moderate voices in their caucus. “My members know that wasn’t exactly the strategy I had in mind,” the speaker said.
Besides the satisfaction of seeing Boehner smack down the people who have helped turn the Republican Party into a narrow cult of neo-Confederates, it is gratifying to have him lay bare the preposterous lie many of his conservative compatriots tried to foist on the American people at the time of the shutdown. The very right-wingers who engineered the government closure and were eager for a rejection of the debt ceiling raise, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Michele Bachmann and the whole crew on Fox News, are the ones who tried to pin blame for it all on President Obama. Unsurprisingly, the faction of Americans who live in a paranoid, Obama-fearing bubble eagerly swallowed this canard.
Now, though, the Republican speaker has spoken the truth. One can hope it is the first small step toward the Grand Old Party being restored to sanity and the first sign that Congress is edging toward redemption.
Support for a compromise two-year budget deal grew on Monday ahead of a Tuesday vote in the Senate as Republicans concluded that a measure that achieved overwhelming bipartisan support in the House could not die in Congress’s upper chamber.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, announced his support for the measure on Monday, appearing to give it the 60 votes it would need to overcome a filibuster threat and bring it to a final vote, which would need only a majority. Mr. Hatch joined Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, all Republicans who have said they will vote to cut off debate.
“This agreement isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be, and it isn’t what I would have written,” Mr. Hatch said. “But sometimes the answer has to be yes. The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government.”
The deal, struck by Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, sailed through the House last week but ran into a toxic mix of re-election politics, presidential positioning and hurt feelings in the Senate.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, held a rare session on Sunday to formally file to end debate on the measure. Business groups, including the Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of the largest American corporations, pressed Senate Republicans to get on board, countering pressure from conservative groups that oppose the deal.
“The Ryan-Murray budget legislation, while not perfect, offers stability and the opportunity for the U.S. government to once again operate responsibly within the confines of an approved budget. It is both balanced and fiscally responsible. We are confident that if enacted it would help provide a platform for greater investment, job creation, and growth,” wrote Randall Stephenson, chairman-elect of the roundtable and chief executive of AT&T.
Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and his party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2012, and Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio worked behind the scenes to win support from Senate Republicans.
And with a public showdown looming, undecided Republicans decided on Monday to come off the fence. Even some Republicans who had privately signaled opposition last week were coming around, convinced that a deal that passed the House 332-94, with a strong majority of Republicans behind it, could not be derailed in the Senate.
Washington (CNN) - The budget deal struck by Republican and Democratic lawmakers that easily passed the House of Representatives last week has run into some opposition in the Senate. But according to CNN’s vote count, the deal appears to be nearing passage.
There are currently a total of 36 aye votes for the budget, according to the count, with four Republicans joining 31 Democrats and one independent. All no votes, according to the count, are coming from Republicans, with 20 Senate offices telling CNN they plan to vote against the deal.
While Democrats do not have the 50 votes needed for final passage, top aides in both parties privately expressed confidence on Friday the bill will get the necessary support, even if a couple of wary moderate Democrats end up voting “no.”
But before the measure faces a final vote, it will need to pass the higher threshold of 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles. But Republicans – like Richard Burr of North Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona – have said they plan to back the motions that will eventually allow Democrats to only need a straight majority to pass the bill.
The four Republicans who plan to support the deal are Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Hatch is the most recent Republican to come out in support of the bill. In a Monday statement, the Republican lawmaker said that “this agreement isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be, and it isn’t what I would have written. But sometimes the answer has to be yes.”
“The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government,” Hatch said. “Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for and, with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for.”
The deal worked out by House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray soared through the house, passing by a 332-94 vote. The budget – while smaller than some had wanted – is a bright spot of bipartisanship in what has been a year full of bitter partisanship.
For many, the deal represents a way to ensure that government doesn’t shut down again – like it did for 16 days in October.
In the Senate, however, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have questioned aspects of the deal. More liberal senators – like Tom Harkin for Iowa – complained that an unemployment benefit extension was not included in the deal.
“There’s over a million people now who cannot find a job, out of work, and right at this time of year their unemployment insurance is being cut off,” Harkin told Radio Iowa last week. “It’s really unconscionable.”
If lawmakers don’t act, unemployment benefits – at a cost of $26 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office – will expire for 1.3 million workers on December 28.
On the other side, more conservative members of the the Senate – like John Thune of South Dakota – told CNN he can’t support the deal because it doesn’t “include meaningful spending reforms that address our debt and deficit.”
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, along with other senators, have also raised question about reductions in cost of living benefits for military retirees.
“After careful review of the agreement, I believe it will do disproportionate harm to our military retirees,” Graham said in a release. “Our men and women in uniform have served admirably during some of our nation’s most troubling times. They deserve more from us in their retirement than this agreement provides.”
Over a quarter of the Senate remains on the fence – with 27 members, including 12 Democrats – telling CNN they have not yet decided how they plan to vote. Representatives from five offices – two Democrats and three Republicans – told CNN they are not announcing how they are voting.
“I will look closely at the details of this budget and evaluate how it meets the needs of New Mexicans and our country as a whole,” Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told CNN. Republicans also remain undecided, like John Cornyn of Texas, whose spokesman told CNN that the senator “will take a close look” at the deal but “is concerned about reversing spending cuts.”
For this vote count, CNN has reached out to all 100 Senate offices and 12 have not responded.
04/12/2007 – Legendary TV presenter, interviewer, producer and author, Sir David Frost talks about his remarkable career in television.
Sir David Frost has been described as a “one man conglomerate”. He hosted and co-created That Was the Week it Was, has produced countless television programmes, has written 15 books, produced 8 films, he is a lecturer, a publisher and an impresario.
But he is perhaps best known for being one of the best television interviewers in the world. His Nixon Interviews, according to the New York Times achieved “the largest audience for a news interview in history”. Peter Morgan’s play, Frost/Nixon achieved great success in London and Broadway this year.
He is the only person to have interviewed the last seven Presidents of the United States (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush) and the last seven Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom (Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown).
Sir David now presents Frost Over The World weekly for Al Jazeera English with a variety of newsmakers from Hamad Karzai, President Lula of Brazil, Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev and Benazir Bhutto after the assassination attempt, to Gerry Adams, Madeleine Albright, Gen. Wesley Clark, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dame Helen Mirren and the first interview with Lewis Hamilton and continues to make Frost Tonight weekly for ITV. He is taking Through The Keyhole into its 21st year on the BBC, has recorded The Frost Years for Radio 4 and is Executive Producing a remake of the film, The Dam Busters with Universal and Peter Jackson.
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Uploaded on Apr 23, 2011
That Was The Week That Was, also known as TW3, was a satirical television comedy programme that aired on BBC Television in 1962 and 1963.
Devised, produced and directed by Ned Sherrin, the programme was fronted by David Frost and cast members included improvising cartoonist Timothy Birdsall, political commentator Bernard Levin, and actors Lance Percival, who sidelined in topical calypsos, many improvised in response to suggestions from the audience, Kenneth Cope, Roy Kinnear, Willie Rushton (then known as ‘William’), Al Mancini, Robert Lang, David Kernan and Millicent Martin. The last two were also singers and the programme opened with a song – eponymously entitled That Was The Week That Was – sung by Martin to Ron Grainer’s theme tune and enumerating topics that had been in the past week’s news. Off-screen script-writers included John Albery, John Betjeman, John Bird, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Peter Cook, Roald Dahl, Richard Ingrams, Gerald Kaufman, Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Bill Oddie, Dennis Potter, Eric Sykes, Kenneth Tynan, Keith Waterhouse and others.
The programme was groundbreaking in its lampooning of the establishment. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was initially supportive of the programme, chastising the then Postmaster General Reginald Bevins (nominally in charge of broadcasting) for threatening to “do something about it”. During the Profumo affair, however, he became one of the programme’s chief targets for derision. After two successful seasons in 1962 and 1963, the programme did not return in 1964, as this was a General Election year and the BBC decided it would be unduly influential.
At the end of each episode, Frost would usually sign off with: “That was the week, that was.” At the end of the final programme he announced: “That was That Was The Week That Was…that was.”
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British broadcaster David Frost dies aged 74
By Agence France-Presse Sunday, September 1, 2013 12:07 EDT
British TV giant David Frost, who interviewed the world’s great and good in a half-century broadcasting career, has died aged 74 of a heart attack on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner, his family said Sunday.
Frost, celebrated for his 1977 talks with Richard Nixon that extracted an unexpected apology from the disgraced US president over the Watergate scandal, died Saturday.
Operator Cunard said the ship left its British home port of Southampton on Saturday on a 10-day Mediterranean.
“Sir David Frost died of a heart attack last night aboard the Queen Elizabeth where he was giving a speech,” his family said in a statement.
“His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time,” the statement said. “A family funeral will be held in the near future and details of a memorial service will be announced in due course.”
Frost’s interviewees read like a who’s who of the rich and famous, from big names in show business to world leaders, including South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Frost was the only person to have interviewed the last eight British prime ministers and the last seven US presidents before Barack Obama, and the last person to have interviewed the last shah of Iran, the Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
Other subjects included Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Yasser Arafat, F. W. de Klerk, Jacques Chirac and Benazir Bhutto.
“Hello, good evening and welcome” became his catchphrase, starting off interviews with a friendly veneer that belied a blunt determination to extract information.
“His scrupulous and disarming politeness hid a mind like a vice,” said Menzies Campbell, former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats. “David Frost could do you over without you realising it until it was too late.”
The lengthy interviews with Nixon were crucial for both men — Nixon was hoping to salvage his reputation for history, while Frost wanted to add another feather to his cap of famous interviews .
In the end, Frost wrung a mea culpa from Nixon over Watergate, the dirty tricks scandal which prompted his resignation in 1974 and left a lasting scar on the US political landscape.
“I let down my friends, I let down the country,” the former president said.
Frost told BBC television in 2009: “We knew what we were trying to do … and in the end his ‘mea culpa’ went further than even we had hoped.
“At the end of that I think we were aware that something sort of historic had happened and we’d gone further than expected.”
The encounter was turned into a play entitled “Frost/Nixon”, which was adapted into a 2008 film with Michael Sheen playing Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon. It was nominated for five Oscars.
Outside world affairs, Front’s roster included Orson Welles, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, Elton John, Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, the Beatles, Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, John Gielgud, Norman Mailer, Warren Beatty among countless others.
British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Frost as “an extraordinary man — with charm, wit, talent, intelligence and warmth in equal measure.
“He made a huge impact on television and politics. The Nixon interviews were among the great broadcast moments — but there were many other brilliant interviews,” Cameron said in a statement.
“He could be — and certainly was with me — both a friend and a fearsome interviewer.”
The son of a Methodist minister, David Paradine Frost was born in Kent, southeast England, on April 7, 1939.
Fresh out of Cambridge University, he presented the BBC’s groundbreaking “That Was The Week That Was”, which took an unprecedented satirical look at the week’s news between 1962 and 1963.
A globetrotter, Frost revelled in the Concorde jet-set high life, presenting five programmes a week in the United States and three in Britain.
In 1983, he married Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, second daughter of the Duke of Norfolk — the premier duke in the English nobility. They had three sons.
A successful businessman, Frost was knighted in 1993, becoming Sir David.
The broadcaster wrote 17 books, produced several films and started two British television networks, London Weekend Television and TV-am.
David Frost, Interviewer Who Got Nixon to Apologize for Watergate, Dies at 74
By BRIAN STELTER
David Frost, the British broadcaster whose interviews of historic figures like Henry Kissinger, John Lennon and, most famously, Richard M. Nixon often made history in their own right, died on Saturday aboard the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth, where he was scheduled to give a speech. He was 74.
The cause was a heart attack, his family said.
Mr. Frost’s highly varied television career mirrored the growth of the medium, from the black-and-white TV of the 1960s to the cable news of today.
He knew how to make his guests “make news,” as the television industry saying goes, either through a sequence of incisive questions or carefully placed silences. He showcased both techniques during his penetrating series of interviews with President Nixon, broadcast in 1977, three years after Mr. Nixon was driven from office by the Watergate scandal, resigning in the face of certain impeachment.
Mr. Frost not only persuaded Mr. Nixon to end a self-imposed silence, he also extracted an apology from the former president to the American people.
The sessions, described as the most-watched political interviews in history, were recalled 30 years later in a play and a film, both named “Frost/Nixon.” In the film, Mr. Frost was portrayed by Michael Sheen and Mr. Nixon by Frank Langella.
Since 2006, Mr. Frost’s television home had been Al Jazeera English, one of the BBC’s main competitors overseas. Mr. Frost brought prestige to the news network, while it empowered him to conduct the kind of newsmaker interviews he most enjoyed.
“No matter who he was interviewing, he was committed to getting the very best out of the discussion, but always doing so by getting to know his guest, engaging with them and entering into a proper conversation,” Al Anstey, the managing director of Al Jazeera English, said by e-mail.
He was “always a true gentleman,” Mr. Anstey added, alluding to the charm that others said made Mr. Frost so successful in securing such a wide array of guests.
Among those guests in recent years were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, the actor George Clooney and the tennis star Martina Navratilova. A new season of Mr. Frost’s program, “The Frost Interview,” began in July with the astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The season was to continue through mid-September.
One of his first interviews for Al Jazeera made headlines when his guest, Tony Blair, agreed with Mr. Frost’s assessment that the war in Iraq had, up until that point in 2006, “been pretty much of a disaster.” In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Blair said, “Being interviewed by him was always a pleasure, but also you knew that there would be multiple stories the next day arising from it.”
David Paradine Frost was born April 7, 1939, in Tenterden, England, to Mona and W. J. Paradine Frost. His father was a Methodist minister.
While a student, Mr. Frost edited both a student newspaper and a literary publication at Cambridge University, where he showed a knack for satire — something on which the BBC soon capitalized. In 1962, Mr. Frost became the host of “That Was the Week That Was,” a satirical look at the news on Saturday nights. While it lasted only two seasons in Britain, “TW3,” as it was known, was reborn briefly as a program on NBC, and it is remembered as a forerunner to “The Daily Show” and the “Weekend Update” segment on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
After “TW3,” Mr. Frost was the host of a succession of programs, from entertainment specials (“David Frost’s Night Out in London”) to more intellectually stimulating talk shows. While most of these were televised in Britain, Mr. Frost crossed the Atlantic constantly; he once said he had lost count of the number of times he had flown on the Concorde.
He filled in for Johnny Carson twice in 1968, and was subsequently offered a syndicated talk show, which premiered on a patchwork of stations across the United States a year later. That series came to an end in 1972.
His most memorable work happened several years later, when his interview with Mr. Nixon was broadcast around the world. At one point Mr. Frost asked about Mr. Nixon’s abuses of presidential power, prompting this answer: “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
“Upon hearing that sentence, I could scarcely believe my ears,” Mr. Frost wrote in a 2007 book about the interview, published to coincide with the “Frost/Nixon” movie. Mr. Frost said his task then “was to keep him talking on this theme for as long as possible.”
By then, Mr. Frost and Mr. Nixon had already spoken on camera several times. And they continued to speak: the interviews, for which Mr. Nixon was paid $600,000 and a share of the profit for the broadcasts, were taped over four weeks for about two hours at a time and eventually totaled nearly 29 hours.
On the last day, Mr. Frost pressed Mr. Nixon to acknowledge the mistakes of the Watergate period. “Unless you say it, you’re going to be haunted for the rest of your life,” Mr. Frost said.
“That was totally ad-lib,” Mr. Frost recalled. “In fact, I threw my clipboard down just to indicate that it was not prepared in any way.” He added: “I just knew at that moment that Richard Nixon was more vulnerable than he’d ever be in his life. And I knew I had to get it right.”
Mr. Nixon apologized for putting “the American people through two years of needless agony,” adding, “I let the American people down and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life.”
Mr. Frost, who was awarded a knighthood in 1993, had recently moved to a home close to Oxford, said Richard Brock, his executive producer at Al Jazeera. He also had a home in London.
Survivors include his second wife, Carina, and their three sons. His first wife, Lynne Frederick, a British actress, was the widow of Peter Sellers; they divorced in 1982. Mr. Frost was also once engaged to the American actress and singer Diahann Carroll.
In interviews, whenever Mr. Frost was asked about the highlight of his career, he cited the Nixon interview.
But Mr. Frost interviewed other presidents as well, including George H. W. Bush, whom he later praised as wise and determined.
“The Nixon interviews were among the great broadcast moments, but there were many other brilliant interviews,” Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said in a statement on Sunday morning.
Barney Jones, a longtime colleague of Mr. Frost at the BBC, told the news organizationthat Mr. Frost had an interview with Mr. Cameron scheduled for September.
Mr. Jones marveled at Mr. Frost’s contacts, recounting a day when “he took me into my little office, scrabbled around in his contacts book, and five minutes later he was talking to George Bush. I couldn’t believe it.”
Frost died on 31 August 2013, aged 74, on board the cruise ship MS Queen Elizabeth, on which he had been engaged as a speaker.
David Paradine Frost was born in Tenterden, Kent, on 7 April 1939, the son of a Methodist minister of Huguenot descent, the Rev. Wilfred John “W. J.” Paradine Frost, and his wife, Mona (Aldrich); he had two elder sisters. While living in Gillingham, Kent, he was taught in the Bible class of the Sunday school at his father’s church (Byron Road Methodist) by David Gilmore Harvey, and subsequently started training as a Methodist local preacher, which he did not complete.
Frost studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, from 1958, graduating from the university with a degree in English. He was editor of both the university’s student paper, Varsity, and the literary magazine Granta. He was also secretary of the Footlights Drama Society, which included actors such as Peter Cook and John Bird. During this period, Frost appeared on television for the first time in an edition of Anglia Television‘s Town And Gown, performing several comic characters. “The first time I stepped into a television studio”, he once remembered, “it felt like home. It didn’t scare me. Talking to the camera seemed the most natural thing in the world.”
According to some accounts, Frost was the victim of snobbery from the group with which he associated at Cambridge, which has been confirmed by Barry Humphries.Christopher Booker, while asserting that Frost’s one defining characteristic was ambition, commented that he was impossible to dislike. According to the satirist John Wells, the Old-Etonian actor Jonathan Cecil congratulated Frost around this time for “that wonderfully silly voice” he used while performing, but then discovered that it was Frost’s real voice.
After leaving university, Frost became a trainee at Associated-Rediffusion. Meanwhile, having already gained an agent, Frost performed in cabaret at the Blue Angel nightclub in Berkeley Square, London during the evenings.
That Was the Week That Was (TW3)
Frost was chosen by writer and producer Ned Sherrin to host the satirical programme That Was the Week That Was, alias TW3 after Frost’s flat mate John Bird suggested Sherrin should see his act at The Blue Angel. The series, which ran for less than 18 months during 1962-63, was part of the satire boom in early 1960s Britain and became a popular programme.
The involvement of Frost in TW3 led to an intensification of the rivalry with Peter Cook who accused him of stealing material and dubbed Frost “the bubonic plagiarist”. The new satirical magazine Private Eye also mocked him at this time. Frost visited the United States during the break between the two series of TW3 in the summer of 1963 and stayed with the producer of the New York production of Beyond The Fringe. Frost was unable to swim, but still jumped into the pool, and nearly drowned until he was saved by Peter Cook. At the memorial service for Cook in 1995, Alan Bennett recalled that rescuing Frost was the one regret Cook frequently expressed.
For the first three editions of the second series in 1963, the BBC attempted to limit the team by scheduling repeats of The Third Man television series after the programme, thus preventing overruns. Frost took to reading synopses of the episodes at the end of the programme as a means of sabotage. After the BBC’s Director General Hugh Greene instructed that the repeats should be abandoned, TW3 returned to being open-ended. More sombrely, on 23 November 1963, a tribute to the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, an event which had occurred the previous day, formed an entire edition of That Was the Week That Was.
An American version of TW3 ran after the original British series had ended. Following a pilot episode on 10 November 1963, the 30-minute US series, also featuring Frost, ran on NBC from 10 January 1964 to May 1965. In 1985, Frost produced and hosted a television special in the same format, That Was the Year That Was, on NBC.
Frost signed for Rediffusion, the ITV weekday contractor in London, to produce a “heavier” interview-based show called The Frost Programme. Guests included Sir Oswald Mosley and Rhodesian premier Ian Smith. His memorable dressing-down of insurance fraudster Emil Savundra, regarded as the first example of “trial by television” in the UK, led to concern from ITV executives that it might affect Savundra’s right to a fair trial. Frost’s introductory words for his television programmes during this period, “Hello, good evening and welcome”, became his catchphrase and were often mimicked.
Frost was a member of a successful consortium, including former executives from the BBC, which bid for an ITV franchise in 1967. This became London Weekend Television, which began broadcasting in July 1968. The station began with a programming policy which was considered ‘highbrow‘ and suffered launch problems with low audience ratings and financial problems. A September 1968 meeting of the Network Programme Committee, which made decisions about the channel’s scheduling, was particularly fraught, with Lew Grade expressing hatred of Frost in his presence. Frost, according to Kitty Muggeridge in 1967, had “risen without a trace.”
In 1968 he signed a contract worth £125,000 to appear on American television in his own show on three evenings each week, the largest such arrangement for a British television personality at the time. From 1969 to 1972, Frost kept his London shows and fronted The David Frost Show on the Group W (U.S. Westinghouse Corporation) television stations in the United States. His 1970 TV special, Frost on America, featured guests such as Jack Benny and Tennessee Williams.
In 1977 The Nixon Interviews, a series of five 90-minute interviews with former US President Richard Nixon, were broadcast. Nixon was paid $600,000 plus a share of the profits for the interviews, which had to be funded by Frost himself after the US television networks turned down the programme, describing it as “checkbook journalism“. Frost’s company negotiated its own deals to syndicate the interviews with local stations across the US and internationally, creating what Ron Howard described as “the first fourth network.”
Frost taped around 29 hours of interviews with Nixon over a period of four weeks. Nixon, who had previously avoided discussing his role in the Watergate scandal which had led to his resignation as President in 1974, expressed contrition saying “I let the American people down and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life”.
Frost was one of the “Famous Five” who launched TV-am in February 1983 but, like LWT in the late 1960s, the station began with an unsustainable “highbrow” approach. Frost remained a presenter after restructuring. Frost on Sunday began in September 1983 and continued until the station lost its franchise at the end of 1992. Frost had been part of an unsuccessful consortium, CPV-TV, with Richard Branson and other interests, which had attempted to acquire three ITV contractor franchises prior to the changes made by the Independent Television Commission in 1991. After transferring from ITV, his Sunday morning interview programme Breakfast with Frost ran on the BBC from January 1993 until 29 May 2005. For a time it ran on BSB before its later Sunday morning rebroadcast on BBC 1.
Frost hosted Through the Keyhole, which ran on several UK channels from 1987 until 2008 and also featured Loyd Grossman. Produced by his own production company, the programme was first shown in prime time and on daytime television in its later years.
After having been in television for 40 years, Frost was estimated to be worth £200 million by the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006, a figure he considered a significant over-estimate in 2011. The valuation included the assets of his main British company and subsidiaries, plus homes in London and the country.
Frost/Nixon was originally a play written by Peter Morgan, developed from The Nixon Interviews which Frost had conducted with Richard Nixon in 1977. Frost/Nixon was presented as a stage production in London in 2006, and on Broadway in 2007. The play was adapted into a Hollywood motion picture starring Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon, both reprising their stage roles. The film was directed by Ron Howard and released in 2008. It was nominated for five Golden Globe awards: Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score, and for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing.
Frost was known for several relationships with high profile women. In the mid-1960s, he dated British actress Janette Scott, between her marriages to songwriter Jackie Rae and singer Mel Tormé; in the early 1970s he was engaged to American actress Diahann Carroll; between 1972 and 1977 he had a relationship with British socialite Caroline Cushing; in 1981 he married Lynne Frederick, widow of Peter Sellers, but they divorced the following year. He also had an 18-year intermittent affair with American actress Carol Lynley.
On 19 March 1983, Frost married Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, daughter of the 17th Duke of Norfolk. Over the next five years, they had three sons, Miles, Wilfred and George, and for many years lived in Chelsea, with their weekend home at Michelmersh Court in Hampshire.
^ Harper, Lauren (19 July 2013). “Henry Kissinger Jokes About Making a Pawn of Bobby Fischer”. National Security Archive. Retrieved 2 August 2013. “The tournament was dramatic enough thanks to Fischer’s antics, but telephone conversation on 3 July 1972, capturing British journalist David Frost asking Kissinger to persuade the grandmaster to attend the championship adds more to the story. Kissinger had an intellectual interest in chess, and the Spassky-Fischer head-to-head alone would have likely piqued his interest in the match, but Frost wanted Kissinger to get involved to ensure Fischer’s participation.”
ENEMY OF THE STATE… (1998) MUST WATCH..TAKE SERIOUSLY..
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Enemy of the State
Enemy of the State is a 1998 American action-thriller about a group of rogue NSA agents who kill a US Congressman and try to cover up the murder. It was written by David Marconi, directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It stars Will Smith and Gene Hackman, with Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, and Regina King in supporting roles.
The film grossed over $250,000,000 worldwide ($111,549,836 within the US).
As the U.S. Congress moves to pass new legislation that dramatically expands the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies, Congressman Phil Hammersley (Robards) remains firmly opposed to its passage. To ensure the bill’s passage, National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Voight) kills Hammersley, but he is unaware of a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz (Lee) that has captured the entire incident. Zavitz discovers the murder, and alerts an underground journalist, at the same time transferring the video to an innocuous computer disc. Reynolds learns of Zavitz’s footage, and sends a team to recover the video. While fleeing, Zavitz runs into an old college friend, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Smith). Zavitz secretly passes the computer disc into Dean’s shopping bag without his knowledge. Zavitz flees and is killed when hit by a fire truck. Reynolds soon has the underground journalist killed.
When the NSA discovers that Dean may have the video, a team raids his house and plants surveillance devices. Unable to find the video, the NSA proceeds to falsely incriminate Dean of passing classified information to Rachel Banks (Bonet), a former girlfriend. The subterfuge destroys Dean’s life: he is fired from his job, his bank accounts are frozen, and his wife (King) throws him out of the house. Dean, trailed by the NSA, meets with Banks, who sets up a meeting with “Brill”, one of her secret contacts. After meeting an NSA agent posing as Brill (Byrne), Dean realizes his error, only to have the real Brill, retired NSA agent Edward Lyle (Hackman), ferry him to temporary safety and help rid Dean of most of the tracking devices he is unwittingly carrying. Dean ultimately rids himself of the final device and, fleeing his pursuers, escapes.
With Dean and Lyle in hiding, the NSA agents kill Banks and frame Dean for the murder. Lyle is able to find evidence that the NSA executed Hammersley’s murder, but it is destroyed during an escape from an NSA raid.
It is then revealed that Lyle was an expert in communications for the NSA; he was stationed in Iran before the Iranian Revolution. When the revolution occurred, Lyle made it out of the country, but his partner, Rachel’s father, was killed. Since then he has been in hiding. Lyle tries to coax Dean into trying to run away, but Dean is adamant about clearing his name.
Dean and Lyle blackmail another supporter of the surveillance bill, Congressman Sam Albert (Wilson), by videotaping him having an affair with his aide. Dean and Lyle “hide” bugs that Reynolds had used on Dean in Albert’s room so Albert will find them and have the NSA start an investigation. Lyle also deposits $140,000 into Reynolds’ bank account to make it appear that he is taking bribes.
Lyle contacts Reynolds to tell him he has the video of the Hammersley murder and asks to meet. Dean tells them that the Hammersley murder footage is in the hands of Mafia boss Joey Pintero (Sizemore), whose office is under FBI surveillance. Dean, Reynolds, and the NSA team head into Pintero’s restaurant, precipitating a gunfight that kills the mobsters, Reynolds, and several of his NSA team.
Dean and Lyle escape, with Lyle quickly disappearing from the authorities. The FBI discovers the plot behind the legislation, causing it to fail, though they cover up the NSA’s involvement. Dean is cleared of all charges and is reunited with his wife. Lyle escapes to a tropical location, but sends a “goodbye” message to Dean.
Will Smith as Robert Clayton Dean
Gene Hackman as Edward “Brill” Lyle
Jon Voight as Thomas Brian Reynolds
Barry Pepper as David Pratt
Regina King as Carla Dean
Ian Hart as John Bingham
Lisa Bonet as Rachel F. Banks
Jascha Washington as Eric Dean
James LeGros as Jerry Miller
Jake Busey as Krug
Scott Caan as Jones
Jamie Kennedy as Jamie Williams
Jason Lee as Daniel Leon Zavitz
Gabriel Byrne as Fake Brill
Stuart Wilson as Congressman Sam Albert
Jack Black as Fiedler
Anna Gunn as Emily Reynolds
Laura Cayouette as Christa Hawkins
Loren Dean as Loren Hicks
Bodhi Elfman as Van
Dan Butler as NSA Director Admiral Shaffer
Seth Green as Selby (uncredited)
Tom Sizemore as Boss Paulie Pintero (uncredited)
Jason Robards as Congressman Phil Hammersley (uncredited)
Philip Baker Hall as Attorney Mark Silverberg (uncredited)
Brian Markinson as Attorney Brian Blake (uncredited)
Larry King as Himself (uncredited)
Ivana Miličević as Ruby’s Sales Clerk
Although the story is set in both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, most of the filming was done in Baltimore. Location shooting began on a ferry in Fells Point. In mid-January, the company moved to Los Angeles to complete production in April 1998.
Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise were considered for the part that went to Will Smith, who took the role largely because he wanted to work with Gene Hackman and had previously enjoyed working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Bad Boys. George Clooney was also considered for a role in the film. Sean Connery was considered for the role that went to Hackman. The film’s crew included a technical surveillance counter-measures consultant who also had a minor role as a spy shop merchant. Hackman had previously acted in a similar thriller about spying and surveillance film, The Conversation (1974).
Enemy of the State was moderately well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes presented a 71% “Fresh” rating for the movie, with 57 critics approving of the movie and 24 noting the film as “Rotten;” similar results could be found at the website Metacritic, which displayed a normalized ranking of 67 out of 100 on the basis of the views of 22 critics. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times expressed enjoyment in the movie, noting how its “pizazz [overcame] occasional lapses in moment-to-moment plausibility;” Janet Maslin of the New York Times approved of the film’s action-packed sequences, but cited how it was similar in manner to the rest of the members of “Simpson’s and Bruckheimer’s school of empty but sensation-packed filming.” In a combination of the two’s views, Edvins Beitiks of the San Francisco Examiner praised many of the movie’s development aspects, but criticized the overall concept that drove the film from the beginning — the efficiency of government intelligence — as unrealistic.
According to film critic Kim Newman, Enemy of the State could be construed as a “continuation of The Conversation,” the 1974 psychological thriller that starred Hackman as a paranoid, isolated surveillance expert.
The film opened at #2, behind The Rugrats Movie, grossing $20,038,573 over its first weekend in 2,393 theatres and averaging about $8,374 per venue.
An episode of PBS’ Nova titled “Spy Factory” reports that the film’s portrayal of the NSA’s capabilities are fiction: although the agency can intercept transmissions, connecting the dots is difficult. However, in 2001, then-NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden, who was appointed to the position during the release of the film, told CNN’s Kyra Philipps that “I made the judgment that we couldn’t survive with the popular impression of this agency being formed by the last Will Smith movie.” James Risen wrote in his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration that Hayden “was appalled” by the film’s depiction of the NSA, and sought to counter it with a PR campaign on behalf of the agency.
In June 2013 the NSA’s PRISM and Boundless Informant programs for domestic and international surveillance were uncovered by the Guardian and Washington Post as the result of information provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. This information revealed much more extensive capabilities than those represented by the film, such as collection of internet browsing, email and telephone data of not only every American, but citizens of other nations as well. The Guardian’s John Patterson opined that Hollywood depictions of NSA surveillance, including Enemy of the State and Echelon Conspiracy, had “softened” up the American public to “the notion that our spending habits, our location, our every movement and conversation, are visible to others whose motives we cannot know.“
President Barack Obama jokes with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, aboard Air Force One
A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. In a passive cover-up information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up deception is used.
The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism or to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Those who initiate a cover up (or their allies) may be responsible for a misdeed, a breach of trust or duty or a crime.
While the terms are often used interchangeably, cover-up involves withholding incriminatory evidence, while whitewash involves releasing misleading evidence.
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Rice University, and New York University. He has been described as a realist by The Washington Post, and was mentioned by Time on the “40 Under 40″ list of powerful and prominent young professionals in 2011. His brother, David, is president of CBS News.
Rhodes wrote Pres. Barack Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech A New Beginning.
Rhodes was the one who advised Pres. Barack Obama to withdraw support from Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, becoming a key adviser during the Arab Spring.
Rhodes euphemistically described the United States’ military involvement in Libya as “kinetic military action.” In a March 16, 2013 feature story appearing in The New York Times, Rhodes declined to comment on his role in Obama administration policy decisions, saying, “My main job, which has always been my job, is to be the person who represents the president’s view on these issues.”
The White House continued to fend off suggestions it misled the public about the attack on the US mission in Libya in September, a day after ex-CIA chief David Petraeus told Congress that mentions of al-Qaeda were edited out of public talking points.
The White House insisted on Saturday that it did not make significant changes to its talking points about the September attack on a US diplomatic building in the Libyan city of Benghazi, as it continued to fend off accusations by Republicans that the Obama administration had misled the American public about the terrorist nature of the attack.
“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made,” Rhodes said about notes that were used by UN Ambassador Susan Rice to speak to the press about the attack that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.
On Friday, former CIA chief David Petraeus revealed that the original taking points about the attack had mentioned groups linked to al-Qaeda, but those mentions were removed from the texts used by Rice, according to US lawmakers who heard Petraeus’ testimony to Congress.
Petraeus –who is caught up in a career-ending sex scandal– appeared before House and Senate intelligence panels that were closed off to reporters. The respected ex-spy chief also said the changes to talking points were not made for political reasons during President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, as some Republicans have suggested.
After his testimony to Congress, Petraeus was escorted through a back exit to avoid contact with journalists. His testimony to Congress was later relayed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers who attended the closed-door hearings.
‘Changes made to protect classified information’
On Saturday, Rhodes deflected responsibility for removing the Al Qaeda references onto the CIA and other members of the US intelligence community. “If there were adjustments made to them [the talking points] within the intelligence community, that’s common, and that’s something they would have done themselves,” the deputy national security advisor told reporters.
Democratic lawmakers said that Petraeus was adamant that there had been no White House interference. The recently resigned four-star general explained that references to terrorist groups suspected of carrying out the violence were removed from the public statement by Rice and others so as not to tip off those groups that US intelligence was on their trail.
“There was an interagency process to draft it, not a political process,” Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California said. “They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information.”
Republicans remain skeptical
However, Republicans remained skeptical over the White House and Petraeus’ explanation, maintaining that the Obama administration may have watered down information to cover up for poor intelligence or inadequate security of US personnel in Libya.
Ambassador Rice has been floated as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is stepping down early next year, but some Republicans are threatening to block Rice’s nomination.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said Petraeus’ testimony showed that security measures were inadequate “despite an overwhelming and growing amount of information that showed the area in Benghazi was dangerous, particularly on the night of September 11.”
Peter King, a Congressman from New York and the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Friday he saw a contradiction between the account Petraeus had given to an earlier House hearing and the one given during his most recent appearence.
“His testimony was he told us that from the start it was a terrorist attack. I told him that was not my direct recollection. The clear impression we were given was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration and [not] that it was a terrorist attack.”
On Saturday King told Fox News television that it remained unclear who had made the edits concerning al Qaeda involvement in Benghazi, and did not rule out the White House.
“That’s why it’s important to find out why it was done. It could be anywhere in the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, the White House,” King told the right-wing news channel. “[We need] to find out why it was done, what the purpose of it was.
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom.
As intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of events unfolding in Libya, they concluded even before the assaults had ended that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.
The exchange of emails is laid out in a 43-page report from the chairmen of five committees in the House of Representatives. Although the investigation was conducted by Republicans, leading some reporters and commentators to dismiss it, the report quotes directly from emails between top administration and intelligence officials, and it includes footnotes indicating the times the messages were sent. In some cases, the report did not provide the names of the senders, but The Weekly Standard has confirmed the identities of the authors of two critical emails—one indicating the main reason for the changes and the other announcing that the talking points would receive their final substantive rewrite at a meeting of top administration officials on Saturday, September 15.
The White House provided the emails to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees for a limited time and with the stipulation that the documents were available for review only and would not be turned over to the committees. The White House and committee leadership agreed to that arrangement as part of a deal that would keep Republican senators from blocking the confirmation of John Brennan, the president’s choice to run the CIA. If the House report provides an accurate and complete depiction of the emails, it is clear that senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about Benghazi in order to mislead the public. The Weekly Standard sought comment from officials at the White House, the State Department, and the CIA, but received none by press time. Within hours of the initial attack on the U.S. facility, the State Department Operations Center sent out two alerts. The first, at 4:05 p.m. (all times are Eastern Daylight Time), indicated that the compound was under attack; the second, at 6:08 p.m., indicated that Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group operating in Libya, had claimed credit for the attack. According to the House report, these alerts were circulated widely inside the government, including at the highest levels. The fighting in Benghazi continued for another several hours, so top Obama administration officials were told even as the fighting was taking place that U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives were likely being attacked by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. A cable sent the following day, September 12, by the CIA station chief in Libya, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and made clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this fact, along with several others, that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure.
After a briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA director David Petraeus, Democrat Dutch Ruppersburger, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, asked the intelligence community for unclassified guidance on what members of Congress could say in their public comments on the attacks. The CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis prepared the first draft of a response to the congressman, which was distributed internally for comment at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, September 14 (Version 1 at right). This initial CIA draft included the assertion that the U.S. government “know[s] that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.” That draft also noted that press reports “linked the attack to Ansar al Sharia. The group has since released a statement that its leadership did not order the attacks, but did not deny that some of its members were involved.” Ansar al Sharia, the CIA draft continued, aims to spread sharia law in Libya and “emphasizes the need for jihad.” The agency draft also raised the prospect that the facilities had been the subject of jihadist surveillance and offered a reminder that in the previous six months there had been “at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy.”
After the internal distribution, CIA officials amended that draft to include more information about the jihadist threat in both Egypt and Libya. “On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the [Cairo] Embassy and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy,” the agency had added by late afternoon. And: “The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and Libya.” But elsewhere, CIA officials pulled back. The reference to “Islamic extremists” no longer specified “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda,” and the initial reference to “attacks” in Benghazi was changed to “demonstrations.”
The talking points were first distributed to officials in the interagency vetting process at 6:52 p.m. on Friday. Less than an hour later, at 7:39 p.m., an individual identified in the House report only as a “senior State Department official” responded to raise “serious concerns” about the draft. That official, whom The Weekly Standard has confirmed was State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
There is little information about what happened at that meeting of the Deputies Committee. But according to two officials with knowledge of the process, Mike Morrell, deputy director of the CIA, made broad changes to the draft afterwards. Morrell cut all or parts of four paragraphs of the six-paragraph talking points—148 of its 248 words (see Version 2 above). Gone were the reference to “Islamic extremists,” the reminders of agency warnings about al Qaeda in Libya, the reference to “jihadists” in Cairo, the mention of possible surveillance of the facility in Benghazi, and the report of five previous attacks on foreign interests.
What remained—and would be included in the final version of the talking points—was mostly boilerplate about ongoing investigations and working with the Libyan government, together with bland language suggesting that the “violent demonstrations”—no longer “attacks”—were spontaneous responses to protests in Egypt and may have included generic “extremists” (see Version 3 above).
If the story of what happened in Benghazi was dramatically stripped down from the first draft of the CIA’s talking points to the version that emerged after the Deputies Committee meeting, the narrative would soon be built up again. In ensuing days, administration officials emphasized a “demonstration” in front of the U.S. facility in Benghazi and claimed that the demonstrators were provoked by a YouTube video. The CIA had softened “attack” to “demonstration.” But as soon became clear, there had been no demonstration in Benghazi.
More troubling was the YouTube video. Rice would spend much time on the Sunday talk shows pointing to this video as the trigger of the chaos in Benghazi. “What sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet. It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States.” There is no mention of any “video” in any of the many drafts of the talking points.
Still, top Obama officials would point to the video to explain Benghazi. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even denounced the video in a sort of diplomatic public service announcement in Pakistan. In a speech at the United Nations on September 25, the president mentioned the video several times in connection with Benghazi.
On September 17, the day after Rice appeared on the Sunday shows, Nuland defended Rice’s performance during the daily briefing at the State Department. “What I will say, though, is that Ambassador Rice, in her comments on every network over the weekend, was very clear, very precise, about what our initial assessment of what happened is. And this was not just her assessment, it was also an assessment you’ve heard in comments coming from the intelligence community, in comments coming from the White House.”
“Innocence of Muslims” FULL MOVIE HD Anti-Muslim Anti-Islam Prophet Muhammad
Is Ben Rhodes the Mastermind Behind the Benghazi Cover Up?
wrote yesterday about how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) knew that the attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was a terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda operatives. We know the Obama White House put out the story for nearly a week that it was just Muslims upset over a benign YouTube video. In spite of knowing what was going on and having the ability to intervene, the Obama administration did nothing to stop or assist Americans who they knew were being attacked by Al-Qaeda. Instead, they chose to cover it up and intimidate witnesses. Stephen F. Hayes has an excellent piece at the Weekly Standard titled The Benghazi Talking Points, in which he fingers the man he believes is the main person behind the Benghazi cover up, Ben Rhodes.
Of course, one would immediately have to wonder about those who would be around a man who has vowed to stand with the Muslims instead of America. If you recall, Barack Obama made a speech in Cairo, Egypt to an audience which included the Muslim Brotherhood, in which he distorted the Qur’an to put it in a good light and then attempted to make out like Islam had made great contributions to both America and the world. That speech was written by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter and now a part of a his National Security Council.
Hayes writes in his article about the talking points that were first put out to officials. He writes:
The talking points were first distributed to officials in the interagency vetting process at 6:52 p.m. on Friday. Less than an hour later, at 7:39 p.m., an individual identified in the House report only as a “senior State Department official” responded to raise “serious concerns” about the draft. That official, whom The Weekly Standard has confirmed was State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
There is little information about what happened at that meeting of the Deputies Committee. But according to two officials with knowledge of the process, Mike Morrell, deputy director of the CIA, made broad changes to the draft afterwards. Morrell cut all or parts of four paragraphs of the six-paragraph talking points—148 of its 248 words (see Version 2 above). Gone were the reference to “Islamic extremists,” the reminders of agency warnings about al Qaeda in Libya, the reference to “jihadists” in Cairo, the mention of possible surveillance of the facility in Benghazi, and the report of five previous attacks on foreign interests.
Ed Lasky writes concerning Rhodes, “Ben Rhodes should be called to account for trying to divert blame away from Islamic terrorists and the Obama team members whose feckless negligence led to the Benghazi massacre.”
“I have previously written about Ben Rhodes and his role in the Obama White House,” writes Lasky. “It is shameful that this ‘kid’ (he is all of 35) has been given any responsibility at all in our government. In ‘Does it bother anyone that this person is the Deputy National Security Adviser?’ I noted his problematic background for someone given so much power by Obama. But then again he does specialize in fiction-writing. He earned a master’s degree in fiction-writing from New York University just a few years ago . He did not have a degree in government, diplomacy, national security; nor has he served in the CIA, or the military. He was toiling away not that long ago on a novel called ‘The Oasis of Love’ about a mega church in Houston, a dog track, and a failed romance. ”
Lasky concludes that Ben Rhodes is the man that attempted to whitewash Islamists and the Obama administration, not only in the Cairo speech, but in the talking points promoted by the Obama White House in the days following the attack on Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
I guess we’ll wait and see if he is even called as a witness this by the House in this week’s hearings.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.
Rhodes grew up in New York City and moved to Washington in 2002, eventually taking a job writing speeches for Barack Obama, then a freshman Senator. Now, as Obama’s principal communications aide on national security, he reads the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, advises the President on key decisions and runs meetings with advisers much older than he is. “It was awkward for the first few weeks,” says Rhodes, 32, “but you get used to it.”
Who is your political hero/inspiration?
Robert F. Kennedy.
If you weren’t working in politics, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be living in New York trying to write novels but making a living off of non-fiction.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing America these days?
We need a broad and sustainable consensus about the politics of national security and America’s role in the world, which we have not had in the 21st century
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
Transitioning out of the second Obama Administration to live in California (per my wife), trying to write novels but making a living off of non-fiction.
Stan Freberg The Federal Budget Review – Part 1 of 3
Stan Freberg’s Federal Budget Revue was a 1982 PBS television special lampooning the federal budget of the United States Of America – a staggering 600 billion dollars.
Cast includes Sterling Holloway, Ray Bradbury, Donna Freberg and David Ogden Stiers
Stan Freberg’s Federal Budget Revue – Part 2 of 3
Stan Freberg’s Federal Budget Revue – Part 3 of 3
Background Articles and Videos
The Calypso Singer Banana Boat Song Stan Freberg animation Paul
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 1&2
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 3,4&5
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 7,8&9
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America pt 10&11
Stan Freberg bitches about the Vietnam war
Stan Freberg on Beany & Cecil
BERT NEWTON Interviews JUNE FORAY & STAN FREBERG
The Stan Freberg Show – All About Werewolves
Stanley Victor “Stan” Freberg (born August 7, 1926) is an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director, whose career began in 1944. He is still active in the industry in his mid-80s, nearly 70 years after entering it.
Born in Pasadena, California, Freberg is the son of a Baptist minister. His work reflects both his gentle sensitivity (despite his liberal use of biting satire and parody) and his refusal to accept alcohol and tobacco manufacturers as sponsors—an impediment to his radio career when he took over for Jack Benny on CBS radio. As Freberg explained to Rusty Pipes:
After I replaced Jack Benny in 1957, they were unable to sell me with spot announcements in the show. That would mean that every three minutes I’d have to drop a commercial in. So I said, “Forget it. I want to be sponsored by one person”, like Benny was, by American Tobacco or State Farm Insurance, except that I wouldn’t let them sell me to American Tobacco. I refused to let them sell me to any cigarette company.
Stan Freberg’s first wife, Donna, died in 2000. He has two children from that marriage, Donna Jean and Donavan. He married Betty Hunter in 2001, and she adopted the personal and family names Hunter Freberg.
Freberg was employed as a voice actor in animation shortly after graduating from Alhambra High School. He began at Warner Brothers in 1944 by getting on a bus and asking the driver to let him off “in Hollywood.” As he describes in his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, he did this, getting off the bus and finding a sign that said “talent agency.” He walked in, and the agents there arranged for him to audition for Warner Brothers cartoons where he was promptly hired.
His first cartoon voice work was in a Warner Brothers cartoon called For He’s a Jolly Good Fala, which was recorded but never filmed (due to the death of Fala’s owner, President Franklin D. Roosevelt), followed by Roughly Squeaking (1946) as Bertie; and in 1947, he was heard in It’s a Grand Old Nag (Charlie Horse), produced and directed by Bob Clampett for Republic Pictures; The Goofy Gophers (Tosh), and One Meat Brawl (Grover Groundhog and Walter Winchell). He often found himself paired with Mel Blanc while at Warner Bros., where the two men performed such pairs as the mice Hubie and Bertie and Spike the Bulldog and Chester the Terrier. He was the voice of Pete Puma in the 1952 cartoon Rabbit’s Kin, in which he did an impression of an early Frank Fontaine characterization (which later became Fontaine’s “Crazy Guggenheim” character).
Freberg is often credited with voicing the character of Junyer Bear in Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944), but that was actor Kent Rogers. After Rogers was killed during World War II, Freberg assumed the role of Junyer Bear in Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes cartoon What’s Brewin’, Bruin? (1948), featuring Jones’ version of The Three Bears. He also succeeded Rogers as the voice of Beaky Buzzard.
Freberg was heard in many Warner Brothers cartoons, but his only screen credit on one was Three Little Bops (1957). His work as a voice actor for Walt Disney Productions included the role of Beaver in Lady and the Tramp (1955) and did voice work in Susie the Little Blue Coupe and Lambert the Sheepish Lion. Freberg also provided the voice of Sam, the orange cat paired with Sylvester in the Academy Award-nominated short Mouse and Garden (1960). He voiced Cage E. Coyote, the father of Wile E. Coyote, in the 2000 short Little Go Beep.
Freberg was cast to sing the part of the Jabberwock in the song “Beware the Jabberwock” for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, with the Rhythmaires and Daws Butler. Written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul, the song was a musical rendering of the poem “Jabberwocky” from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. The song was not included in the final film but a demo recording was included in the 2004 and 2010 DVD releases of the movie.
Freberg made his movie debut as an on-screen actor in the comedy Callaway Went Thataway (1951), a satirical spoof on the marketing of Western stars (apparently inspired by the TV success of Hopalong Cassidy). Freberg costarred with Mala Powers in Geraldine (1953) as sobbing singer Billy Weber, enabling him to reprise his satire on vocalist Johnnie Ray (see below). In 1963’s mega-comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Freberg appeared in a non-speaking part as the Deputy Sheriff and also voiced as a dispatcher.
Contrary to popular belief George Lucas called upon Freberg, not Mel Blanc, to audition for the voice of the character C-3PO for the 1977 film Star Wars. After he and many others auditioned for the part Freberg suggested that Lucas use mime actor Anthony Daniels’ own voice.
Freberg began making satirical recordings for Capitol Records, beginning with the February 10, 1951, release of “John and Marsha” (in both 45-rpm and 78-rpm formats), a soap opera parody that consisted of the title characters (both played by Freberg) repeating each other’s names, and “Ragtime Dan”. In a 1954 follow-up, he used pedal steel guitarist Speedy West to satirize the 1953 Ferlin Husky country hit, “A Dear John Letter”, as “A Dear John and Marsha Letter” (Capitol 2677). A seasonal recording, “The Night Before Christmas/Nuttin’ for Christmas”, made in 1955, still remains a cult classic.
With Daws Butler and June Foray, he produced his 1951 Dragnet parody, “St. George and the Dragonet”, a #1 hit for four weeks in October 1953. Also with June Foray, he recorded “The Quest for Bridey Hammerschlaugen”, a spoof of The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein, a 1956 book on hypnotic regression to a past life. On “Little Blue Riding Hood”, the record’s B-side, the title character is arrested for smuggling goodies. After “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (1951), he followed with more popular musical satires, including “Sh-Boom” (1954), “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (1955) and “The Great Pretender” (1956). He spoofed Elvis Presley in 1956 with his own version of Elvis’ first gold record, “Heartbreak Hotel”, in which the echo effect goes out of control. In Freberg’s spoof, Elvis rips his jeans during his performance, a problem the real Elvis had with jumpsuits when performing in the early 1970s – by that time he was grossly overweight.
Another hit to get the Freberg treatment was Johnnie Ray’s weepy “Cry”, which Freberg rendered as “Try (‘You too can be unhappy… if you try’)”, exaggerating Ray’s histrionic vocal style. Ray was furious until he realized the success of Freberg’s 1952 parody was helping sales and airplay of his own record.
“Banana Boat Song” and “The Great Pretender”
Freberg’s “Banana Boat (Day-O)” (1957) satirized Harry Belafonte’s popular recording of “Banana Boat Song.” In Freberg’s version, the lead singer is forced to run down the hall and close the door after him to muffle the sound of his “Day-O!” because the beatnik bongo drummer (voiced by Peter Leeds) complains, “It’s too shrill, man. It’s too piercing!” When he gets to the lyric about “A beautiful buncha ripe banana/Hide the deadly black tarantula,” the drummer protests, “I don’t dig spiders, man!”
He also used the beatnik musician theme in a parody of “The Great Pretender,” the hit by The Platters—who, like Ray and Belafonte (see both above) and Welk (see below), were not pleased. At that time, when it was still hoped that musical standards might be preserved, it was quite permissible to ridicule the ludicrous, as Freberg had obviously thought when he parodied Presley. The pianist in Freberg’s parody is an Erroll Garner and George Shearing devotee who rebels against playing a single-chord accompaniment. He retorts, “I’m not playing that ‘plink-plink-plink jazz’!” But Freberg is adamant about the pianist’s sticking to The Platters’ style: “You play that ‘plink-plink-plink jazz’, or you don’t get paid tonight!” The pianist relents—sort of. The pianist even quotes the first six notes from Shearing’s classic piece “Lullaby of Birdland,” before getting back to playing “Great Pretender.” The parody was itself partly parodied when Mitchel Torok recorded “All Over Again, Again” for Columbia Records in mid-March 1959 but billed it as “The Great Pretender,” as a spoof on the recent Sun Records recordings of Johnny Cash. Cash had only recently been signed to Columbia. The annoying pianist on the Freberg record was replaced by an equally annoying banjo player and a showboating guitarist on the Columbia release, a song written by Torok’s wife who was then billed as “R. Redd” (Ramona Redd).
Freberg’s musical parodies were a byproduct of his collaborations with Billy May, a veteran big band musician and jazz arranger, and his Capitol Records producer, Ken Nelson. Two weeks after Johnny Mathis’ “Wonderful! Wonderful!” fell off the Billboard Top 100, “Wun’erful, Wun’erful! (Sides uh-one & uh-two)”, Freberg’s 1957 spoof of TV “champagne music” master Lawrence Welk, debuted. To replicate Welk’s sound, May and some of Hollywood’s finest studio musicians and vocalists worked to clone Welk’s live on-air style, carefully incorporating bad notes and mistimed cues. Billy Liebert, a first-rate accordionist, copied Welk’s accordion playing. In the parody, the orchestra is overwhelmed by the malfunctioning bubble machine and eventually floats out to sea. Welk denied he had ever said “Wunnerful, Wunnerful!”, though it became the title of Welk’s autobiography (Prentice Hall, 1971).
Freberg also tackled political issues of the day. On his radio show, an extended sketch paralleled the Cold War brinkmanship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by portraying an ever-escalating public relations battle between the El Sodom and the Rancho Gomorrah, two casinos in the city of Los Voraces (Spanish for “The Greedy Ones”—a thinly disguised Las Vegas). The sketch ends with the ultimate tourist attraction, the Hydrogen Bomb, which turns Los Voraces into a vast, barren wasteland. Network pressure forced Freberg to remove the reference to the hydrogen bomb and had the two cities being destroyed by an earthquake instead. The version of “Incident at Los Voraces,” released later on Capitol Records, contains the original ending.
Freberg had poked fun at McCarthyism in passing in “Little Blue Riding Hood” with the line, “Only the color has been changed to prevent an investigation.” Later he blatantly parodied Senator Joseph McCarthy with “Point of Order” (taken from his frequent objection), about which Capitol’s legal department was very nervous. Freberg describes being called in for a chat about this and being asked whether he ever belonged to any “disloyal” group. “Well,” he replied, “I have been for many years a card-carrying member of… “—the executive went pale—”… the Mickey Mouse Fan Club.” “Dammit, Freberg,” the executive angrily retorted, “this isn’t a game.” A watered-down version of the parody was eventually aired, and Freberg never found himself “in front of a committee.”
On two occasions, Capitol refused to release Freberg’s creations. “That’s Right, Arthur” was a barbed parody of controversial 1950s radio/TV personality Arthur Godfrey, who expected his stable of performers—known as “little Godfreys”—to endlessly toady to him. The dialogue included Freberg’s “Godfrey” monologue, punctuated by Daws Butler imitating Godfrey announcer Tony Marvin, repeatedly interjecting, “That’s right, Arthur!” between Godfrey’s comments. Capitol feared Godfrey might take legal action and sent a tape of the sketch to his legal department for permission, which was denied. Capitol also rejected the equally acerbic “Most of the Town”, a spoof of Ed Sullivan, under the same circumstances. Both recordings eventually surfaced on a box-set Freberg retrospective issued by Rhino Records.
Freberg continued to skewer the advertising industry after the demise of his show, producing and recording “Green Chri$tma$” in 1958, a scathing indictment of the over-commercialization of the holiday, in which Butler soberly hoped instead that we’d remember “whose birthday we’re celebrating.” Released originally on 45-rpm discs, the satire ended abruptly with a rendition of “Jingle Bells” punctuated by cash register sounds when reissued by Capitol on LP and CD. The original version was somewhat longer, but Capitol did not reissue the full recording. Freberg also revisited the “Dragnet” theme, with “Yulenet,” also known as “Christmas Dragnet,” in which the strait-laced detective convinces a character named “Grudge” that Santa Claus really exists (and Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and the Easter Bunny, but Grudge still hadn’t made up his mind yet about Toledo). Butler does several voices on that record.
In 1958, the Oregon Centennial Commission, under the sponsorship of Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, hired Freberg to create a musical to celebrate Oregon’s one-hundredth birthday. The result was Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts. Recorded at Capitol in Hollywood, it was released during the Oregon Centennial in 1959 as a 12″ vinyl LP album. Side one featured two versions of an introduction by Freberg (billed as “Stan Freberg, Matinee Idol”), with the second version including a few words from the president of Blitz-Weinhard Co. This was followed by the show itself, which runs for 21 minutes. Side two includes separate individual versions of each of the featured songs, including several variations on the title piece, Oregon! Oregon!
Fifty years later, as Oregon approaches its Sesquicentennial, an updated version was prepared by Freberg and the Portland band Pink Martini as part of a signature series of performances throughout the state. Pink Martini toured the state and perform four regional performances in the northern, southern and central areas of Oregon in August and September 2009. This was made possible by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation for a $40,000 launch of Pink Martini’s Oregon! Oregon! 2009 with Freberg.
1960s and since
Freberg in an early 60s publicity photo
In 1960, in light of the payola scandal, Freberg made a two-sided single entitled “Old Payola Roll Blues,” which had a corrupt recording studio promoter (Jesse White) who gets a teenager who cannot sing to record a song called “High School OO OO,” as well as the flip side, “I Was on My Way to High School.” The promoter then tries to bribe a disc jockey at a jazz station to play the song on the air, which he flatly refuses, suspecting that the promoter was never in the music business in the first place. Afterward, a song in the big band style heralds the end of rock and roll and a resurgence of swing and jazz. Freberg’s record was on the Hot 100 only the week of Leap Day 1960, at #99, about three and half months after Tommy Facenda’s multi-versioned “High School U.S.A.” peaked at #28. Alan Freed, whose career fell prey to charges of payola, was reported to have laughed at Freberg’s interpretation of the scandal.
Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume One: The Early Years (1961) combined dialogue and song in a musical theater format. The original album musical, released on Capitol, parodies the history of the United States from 1492 until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. In it, Freberg parodied both large and small aspects of history. For instance, in the Colonial era, it was common to use the long s, which resembles a lowercase f, in the middle of words; thus, as Ben Franklin is reading the Declaration of Independence, he questions the passage, “Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happineff?!?” Most of that particular sketch is a satire of McCarthyism. For example, Franklin remarks, “You…sign a harmless petition, and forget all about it. Ten years later, you get hauled up before a committee.”
The album also featured the following exchange, where Freberg’s Christopher Columbus is “discovered on beach here” by a Native American played by Marvin Miller. Skeptical of the Natives’ diet of corn and “other organically grown vegetables,” Columbus wants to open “America’s first Italian restaurant” and needs to cash a check to get started:
Native: “You out of luck, today. Banks closed.” Columbus: [archly, knowing what the response will be] “Oh? Why?” Native: “Columbus Day!” Columbus: [pregnant pause] “We going out on that joke?” Native: “No, we do reprise of song. That help …” Columbus and Native together: “But not much, no!”
Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America, Volume Two was planned for release during America’s Bicentennial in 1976, but did not emerge until 1996.
Freberg’s early parodies revealed his obvious love of jazz. His portrayals of jazz musicians were usually stereotypical “beatnik” types, but jazz was always portrayed as preferable to pop, calypso, and particularly the then-new form of music, rock and roll. He whopped doo-wop in his version of “Sh-Boom” and lampooned Elvis Presley with an echo/reverb rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel”. The United States of America includes a sketch involving the musicians in the painting The Spirit of ’76. The terribly hip fife player (“Bix”, played by Freberg) and the younger drummer (played by Walter Tetley) argue with the older, impossibly square drummer (“Doodle,” also voiced by Freberg) over how Yankee Doodle should be performed.
Theater for the ear: Freberg strikes a pose, 1962
The popularity of Freberg’s recordings landed him his own program, the situation comedy That’s Rich. Freberg portrayed bumbling but cynical Richard E. Wilk, a resident of Hope Springs, where he worked for B.B. Hackett’s Consolidated Paper Products Company. Freberg suggested the addition of dream sequences, which made it possible for him to perform his more popular Capitol Records satires before a live studio audience. The CBS series aired from January 8 to September 23, 1954.
The Stan Freberg Show was a 1957 replacement for Jack Benny on CBS radio. The satirical show, which featured elaborate production, included most of the team he used on his Capitol recordings, including June Foray, Peter Leeds, and Daws Butler. Billy May arranged and conducted the music. The Jud Conlon Singers, who had also appeared on Freberg recordings, were regulars, as was singer Peggy Taylor, who had participated in his “Wun’erful, Wun’erful!” record. The show was produced by Pete Barnum.
The show failed to attract a sponsor after Freberg decided he did not want to be associated with the tobacco companies that had sponsored Benny. In lieu of actual commercials, Freberg mocked advertising by touting such products as “Puffed Grass” (“It’s good for Bossie, it’s good for me and you!”), “Food” (“Put some food in your tummy-tum-tum!”), and himself (“Stan Freberg—the foaming comedian! Bobba-bobba-bom-bom-bom”), a parody of the well-known Ajax cleanser commercial.
The lack of sponsorship was not the only issue. Freberg frequently complained of radio network interference. Another sketch from the CBS show, “Elderly Man River,” anticipated the political correctness movement by decades. Daws Butler plays “Mr. Tweedly,” a representative of a fictional citizens’ radio review board, who constantly interrupts Freberg with a loud buzzer as Freberg attempts to sing “Old Man River.” Tweedly objects first to the word “old,” “which some of our more elderly citizens find distasteful.” As a result, the song’s lyrics are progressively and painfully distorted as Freberg struggles to turn the classic song into a form that Tweedly will find acceptable “to the tiny tots” listening at home: “He don’t, er, doesn’t plant ‘taters, er, potatoes… he doesn’t plant cotton, er, cotting… and them-these-those that plants them are soon forgotting,” a lyric of which Freberg is particularly proud. Even when the censor finds Freberg’s machinations acceptable, the constant interruption ultimately brings the song to a grinding halt (just before Freberg would have had to edit the line “You gets a little drunk and you lands in jail”), saying, “Take your finger off the button, Mr. Tweedly—we know when we’re licked,” furnishing the moral and the punch line of the sketch at once. But all of these factors forced the cancellation of the show after a run of only 15 episodes.
In 1966, he recorded an album, Freberg Underground, in a format similar to his radio show, using the same cast and orchestra. He called it “pay radio,” in a parallel to the phrase pay TV (the nickname at the time for subscription-based cable and broadcast television) “…because you have to go into the record store and buy it.” This album is notable for giving Dr. Edward Teller the Father of the Year award for being “father of the hydrogen bomb” (“Use it in good health!”); for a combined satire of the Batman television series and the 1966 California Governor’s race between Edmund G. “Pat” Brown and Ronald Reagan; and probably most famous for a bit in which, through the magic of sound effects, Freberg drained Lake Michigan and refilled it with hot chocolate and a mountain of whipped cream while a giant maraschino cherry was dropped like a bomb by the Royal Canadian Air Force to the cheers of 25,000 extras viewing from the shoreline. Freberg concluded with, “Let’s see them do that on television!” That bit became a commercial for advertising on radio.
Beginning in 1949, Freberg and frequent collaborator Daws Butler provided voices and were the puppeteers for Bob Clampett’s puppet series, Time for Beany, a triple Emmy Award winner (1950, 1951, 1953). Broadcast nationwide from KTLA in Los Angeles, the pioneering children’s TV show garnered considerable acclaim. Among its fans was Albert Einstein, who once reportedly interrupted a high-level conference by announcing, “You will have to excuse me, gentlemen. It is time for Beany.”
Freberg made television guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows, usually with Orville the Moon Man, his puppet from outer space. He reached through the bottom of Orville’s flying saucer to control the puppet’s movements and turned away from the camera when he delivered Orville’s lines. Freberg had his own ABC special, Stan Freberg Presents the Chun King Chow Mein Hour: Salute to the Chinese New Year (February 4, 1962), but he garnered more laughs when he was a guest on late night talk shows.
A piece from Stan’s show was used frequently on Offshore Radio in the UK in the 60’s: “You may not find us on your TV”. Other on-screen television roles included The Monkees (1966) and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1967). In 1996, he portrayed the continuing character of Mr. Parkin on Roseanne, and both Freberg and his son had roles in the short-lived Weird Al Show in 1997.
When Freberg introduced satire to the field of advertising, he revolutionized the industry, influencing staid ad agencies to imitate Freberg by injecting humor into their previously dead-serious commercials. Freberg’s long list of successful ad campaigns includes:
Butternut coffee: A six-minute musical, “Omaha!”, which actually found success outside advertising as a musical production in the city of Omaha.
Contadina tomato paste: “Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?”
Jeno’s pizza rolls: A parody of the Lark cigarettes commercial that used the William Tell Overture and a pick-up truck with a sign in the bed saying “Show us your Lark pack”, here ending with a confrontation between a cigarette smoker, portrayed by Barney Phillips (supposedly representing the Lark commercial’s announcer) and Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger over the use of the music. Jay Silverheels also appears as Tonto, filling his possibles bag with pizza rolls, after asking “Have a Pizza Roll, kemo sabe?”. It was regarded as one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed TV ads of the period; after one showing on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson remarked that it was the first commercial he had ever seen to receive spontaneous applause from the studio audience.
Jeno’s pizza, in a parody of Scope mouthwash commercials. “You know why nobody likes your parties, Mary? You have bad pizza—bad pizza!”
Sunsweet pitted prunes: Depicted as the “food of the future” in a futuristic setting, until science fiction icon Ray Bradbury, a friend of Freberg’s (shown on a wall-to-wall television screen reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451) butts in: “I never mentioned prunes in any of my stories.” “You didn’t?” “No, never. I’m sorry to be so candid.” “No, they’re not candied,” (rim shot). Bradbury reportedly refused to consider doing a commercial until Freberg told him, “I’m calling it Brave New Prune,” prompting Bradbury to ask, “When do we start?”
Another Sunsweet commercial features Ronald Long as a picky eater: “They’re still rather badly wrinkled, you know,” and ends with the famous line, “Today, the pits; tomorrow, the wrinkles. Sunsweet marches on!”
Heinz Great American soups: Ann Miller is a housewife who turns her kitchen into a gigantic production number, singing such lyrics as “Let’s face the chicken gumbo and dance!” After watching his wife’s flashy tap dancing, her husband, played by veteran character actor Dave Willock, asks, “Why do you always have to make such a big production out of everything?” At the time (1970), this was the most expensive commercial ever made—so expensive, in fact, that there was little money left over to buy air time for it.
Jacobsen Mowers: Sheep slowly munch on a front lawn. On camera reporter/announcer (voice of William Woodson): “Jacobsen mowers. Faster… than sheep!”
Encyclopædia Britannica: The boy in these commercials is Freberg’s son Donavan. Freberg talks to him from off screen.
Chun King Chinese Food: Magazine ad, featuring a lineup of nine smiling Chinese men and one frowning Caucasian man, all dressed in scrub suits and white lab coats, with the caption, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King Chow Mein!” The frowning Caucasian doctor is Freberg.
Today, these advertisements are considered classics by many critics. Though Bob & Ray had pioneered intentionally comic advertisements (stemming from a hugely successful campaign for Piels beer), Stan Freberg is usually credited as being the first person to introduce humor into television advertising with memorable campaigns. Freberg felt a truly funny commercial would cause consumers to request a product, as was the case with his elaborate ad campaign that prompted stores to stock Salada tea. The owner of Jeno’s Pizza Rolls had to pay off a bet over the success of a Freberg ad campaign by pulling Freberg in a rickshaw on Hollywood’s La Cienega Boulevard. Freberg won 21 Clio awards for his commercials. Many of those spots were included in the Freberg four-CD box set Tip of the Freberg.
Hunter and Stan Freberg at the San Diego ComicCon 2009
Following his success in comedy records and television, Freberg was often invited to appear as a featured guest at various events. Each time has been memorable, such as his skit at the 1979 Science Fiction Awards, again playing straight man to Orville in his UFO. He innocently asks why there is a hole in the end of the spacecraft, only to be told, “That’s where the swamp gas comes out.”
Freberg was the narrator for The Wuzzles, a Disney cartoon series that aired on CBS’s Saturday morning schedule during the 1985–1986 season.
In his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Freberg recounts much of his life and early career, including his encounters with such show business legends as Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra and Ed Sullivan, and the struggles he endured to get his material on the air.
Freberg had brief sketches on KNX (AM) radio in the early 1990s, beginning each with “Freberg here!” In one sketch Freberg mentioned that the band played “Inhale to the Chief” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
Freberg voiced guest stars in Garfield and Friends.
Freberg was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. From 1995 until October 6, 2006, Freberg hosted When Radio Was, a syndicated anthology of vintage radio shows. The release of the 1996 Rhino CD The United States of America Volume 1 (the Early Years) and Volume 2 (the Middle Years) suggests a possible third volume. This set includes some parts written but cut because they would not fit on a record album.
Freberg appeared on “Weird Al” Yankovic’s The Weird Al Show, playing both the J.B. Toppersmith character and the voice of the puppet Papa Boolie. Yankovic has many times acknowledged Freberg as his greatest influence. Freberg is among the commentators in the special features on the multiple-volume DVD sets of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection and narrates the documentary “Irreverent Imagination” on Volume 1.
Freberg was the announcer for the boat race in the movie version of Stuart Little, and in 2008 he guest starred as Sherlock Holmes in two episodes of The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd.
Since 2008, Freberg has been doing the voices of numerous characters, including Doctor Whipple and Fluffykins on The Garfield Show.
In popular culture
In 1961’s The Parent Trap, the characters during the animated opening title sequence refer to each other as “John” and “Marsha”.
In 2007, comedian the great Luke Ski recorded a ten-minute homage called MC Freberg, a parody illustrating what a Freberg-type satire of rap music would have sounded like. Originally recorded for The FuMP, the track also appears on Ski’s album BACONspiracy.
On the fourth season premiere of the TV series Mad Men, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joey Baird (Matt Long) repeatedly call each other “John” and “Marsha”.
Freberg’s Dragnet parodies are generally credited with the popularizing the catch phrase “Just the facts, ma’am”, which Jack Webb’s character never actually said on the show.
Warner Brothers cartoons (in which Freberg appeared, uncredited, as a voice artist) often had cameo appearances by couples named “John” and “Marsha”. In one case, the woman was an alien, making the couple “John” and “Martian”.
^ “The Stan Freberg Show: Episodes One Through Seven”. The Official Website of Daws Butler. Joe Bevilacqua and Lorie Kellogg. July 2003. http://www.dawsbutler.com/Freberg1.htm. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
A romantic comic-drama about mental illness, ballroom dancing, gambling and the Philadelphia Eagles with a puzzling title — “Silver Linings Playbook” — a movie or madness?
The first half of the movie is a drama about two crazy people struggling with their mental problems. Pat Solitano Jr., played by Bradley Cooper, is suffering from bipolar manic-depression. He was recently released after eight months in a psychiatric facility for severely beating his wife’s lover when he caught them in the shower having sex.
Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence) has been depressed over the death of her husband, Tommy, and is a recovering sex addict who was fired from her job for sleeping with everyone in the office.
Pat moves in with his father, “Pat Sr.” (Robert De Niro), an unemployed compulsive-obsessive gambler and his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver). They care about their son’s recovery from mental illness and worry about his future.
Pat’s friend Ronnie Miles (John Ortiz) and his wife, Veronica (Julie Stiles), invite him to dinner. Ronnie warns Pat not to mention to his sister-in-law, Tiffany, the death of her husband. Pat and Tiffany quickly exchange inappropriate remarks and compare the drugs they have taken for their respective mental disorders.
The second half of the movie is a romantic-comedy as they both work together on their issues and strategies to recover from their mental illnesses.
Pat’s wife has moved away and has a restraining order against her husband for his past violent behavior. Pat agrees to enter a ballroom dancing contest and practice with Tiffany provided she will get a letter to his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), with whom Pat hopes to get back together. Tiffany delivers to Pat a letter from Nikki in which she hints at a possible reconciliation.
Pat’s father asks his son to attend a Philadelphia Eagles football game on which he has placed a big bet believing his son will bring him luck or good juju. This requires Pat to miss a practice dance session with Tiffany. Pat, his brother Jake (Shea Whigham) and his psychiatrist Dr. Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) meet in the stadium parking lot, where Pat gets into a fight and is arrested. Pat’s father loses the big bet. He believes it was the result of bad juju for his son not attending the game. Tiffany convinces Pat Sr. that when his son is with her, the Eagles always win and she is good juju.
Pat Sr. doubles down with a parlay bet on the Eagles beating Dallas and for Pat and Tiffany to score at least 5 out of 10 points in the ballroom dance contest the same night. Tiffany becomes agitated when Pat’s wife Nikki shows up to watch the dance contest.
If you are an incurable romantic and optimist who believes in a match made in heaven and every cloud has a silver lining,” you may be enchanted by the film’s storybook ending. If you are a realist, this movie will seem hopelessly far-fetched and sheer madness.
The film’s Academy Award nominations include best picture, director (David O. Russell), actor (Cooper), actress (Lawrence), supporting actor (De Niro), supporting actress (Weaver), adapted screenplay (David O. Russell) and film editing (Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers).
It is rare for a film to be nominated for the Academy’s four top acting awards; the last time was in 1981 with “Reds,” as well as the so-called “big five” for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay. If the film won the “big five” awards it would be in the select company of “It Happened One Night” (1934), a romantic comedy, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1971), a drama set in a mental institution, and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), a thriller about a psychiatrist who is also a cannibalistic serial killer.
The film faces two tough competitors in “Argo” and “Lincoln” for best picture, director, actor, film editing and adapted screenplay. However, I will not be surprised if Russell edges out “Lincoln” director Steven Spielberg or “Lincoln” writer Tony Kushner or “Argo” writer Chris Terrio for adapted screen play. However, “Silver Lining Playbook” looks like a real long shot for the “big five” because the most likely Oscar winner for best actor is Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.
In January, Lawrence won a Golden Globe award for best actress in a comedy or musical and the Screen Actors Guild’s best actress award.
I believe “Silver Linings Playbook” will win at least two Oscars for best actress (Lawrence) and supporting actor (De Niro).
The movie is a crazy “chick flick”. For Valentine’s Day see the movie with a date and then sing Van Morrison’s Crazy Love:
I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that’s where I belong
Yet Im running to her like a rivers song
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love…
Complete Third Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy 2012: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Oct 22, 2012
Glenn Beck – Becoming presidential
Charles Krauthammer Tells Why Romney Won the 3rd Presidential Debate
Final Presidential Debate 2012: Mitt Romney Vs Barack Obama – Analysis – Oct 22, 2012
Debate 3: Romney’s economy-based reason for not being aggressive on Obama foreign policy (Limbaugh)
Background Articles and Videos
Fox News broadcast on 10/19/2012. Bret Baier hosts a special report detailing the events leading to the terrorist attack on the Libyan consulate in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed on 9/11/2012.
Segment 3: Who Is Behind And Funding Occupy Wall Street–The Radical Left: Communist Party USA, Socialist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America, Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, Worker’s World Party,Working Families Party (front for ACORN), New York Communities For Change, Adbusters, George Soros and Barack Obama–Video
Segment 1: CBS–Communists, Bolshevik, Socialists–Progressives All–Limited Ron Paul To 90 Seconds And Pulls Poll In Republican Presidential Debate On Foreign Policy–Warfare and Welfare Washington vs. Peace and Prosperity People–Videos
Segment 0: Unemployment Rate 9.0 Percent Or Greater For 28 Months and Over 8% For Entire Obama Administration–Only 80,000 New Jobs Created in October, 2011–Never Created 250,000 Permanent Jobs In A Single Month Of Obama Presidency–Videos
Segment 1: Newt Gingrich’s Optional 15% Flat Tax Plus 15.3% Social SecurityTax–More Taxes Than Cain’s-9-9-9 (27%) Tax Plan But Less Than Perry’s Optional 20% Flat Tax Plus 15.3% Social SecurityTax–Videos
Segment 0: President Obama In Dallas Tuesday Oct. 4: Collecting Contributions For $1,000,000,000 Propaganda Campaign And Demanding His Jobs Bill Be Passed–More Taxes, More Spending, More Deficits, More Debt, More Unemployment–No Hope, No Change, No Jobs, No Thanks–”How’s That Hopey-Changey Stuff Working Out For Ya?”–Videos
Segment 0: The Warfare and Welfare Economy Worsens With 30 Americans Killed and Over 45 Million Americans On Food Stamps–American People Want A Peace and Prosperity Economy–A Paycheck Not Food Stamps–Stop Out Of Control Spending On Government Interventions Abroad and At Home–Videos
Segment 1: More GORE–Great Obama Recession Economy–Government Treasury Securities Downgraded From AAA to AA+ With A Negative Outlook By Standard & Poor’s Rating Agency–Too Little Too Late–The Austrian School of Economics Was Right!–Videos
Segement 0: Will Tea Party Caucus Vote As A Block Against Democratic and Republican Establishment Compromise Bill On Raising National Debt Ceiling By $900 Billion, Adding Over $7,000 Billion To National Debt In The Next Ten Years Plus A Huge Tax Hike in 2013?–The American People Would Like To Know!–Videos
Segment 1: The Second Obama Recession Starts Or The Great Obama Depression Continues–The Growth Rate of Gross Domestic Product Declines For Four Consecutive Quarters–The Economy Has Peaked And Entered A Period Of Stagflation–Rising Prices, Unemployment And Obama Misery Index!–Ron Paul To The Rescue?–Videos