Demographics

Illegal Alien Invasion of The United States of America — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Beef, Blogroll, College, Communications, Crime, Demographics, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector, Resources, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

The Illegal Invasion of America

The Illegal Invasion From Ground Zero

Obama’s Border Crisis Could Result In The Deaths Of Millions Of Americans

Illegal Invasion Destroying Small Town America

A once prosperous Texas town is now drowning in debt due to the swarm of illegals destroying property,spreading disease and filling up mass graves on the taxpayer’s dime. Infowars reporter Jon bowne speaks with Falfurrias Texas judge Raul Ramirez about the red level warning signs for main street America.

Tidal Wave of Illegals Overrun Brownsville, Texas

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – Illegal Alien Released Kills US Citizen – Obama’s Crisis

TV In Central America Telling Illegals To Go The US With Your Child – “You Won’t Be Turned Away”

 

 

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George J. Borjas — Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and The American Economy — Videos

Posted on July 22, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Data, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

george_borjas

George J. Borjas: Costs of Immigration – Economics Roundtable

The Implications of Economics for Immigration Policy

The 2012 Richard Grandin Shepherd Lecture in Economics at Kenyon College by George Borjas

.@fordschool – Immigration, Public Policy, and the Skills Debate Panel

 

 

George J. Borjas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George J. Borjas
Born Jorge Jesus Borjas
October 15, 1950 (age 63)
Havana, Cuba
Residence Lexington, Massachusetts
Citizenship American
Fields Economist
Institutions Harvard Kennedy School
Alma mater St. Peter’s College
Columbia University
Known for research on immigration

George Jesus Borjas (born Jorge Jesus Borjas; October 15, 1950)[1] is an American economist and the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.[2] He is most well known for his advocacy of reducing the rates of immigration to the United States.

Personal life and education

Borjas was born in Havana, Cuba on October 15, 1950. He migrated to the United States in October, 1962 with his mother. He graduated with a B.S. in economics and mathematics from St. Peter’s College in 1971. He then completed his M.A. in economics from Columbia University in 1974. He completed his M.Phil and Ph.D. in economics from Columbia in 1975 for thesis titled Job Investment, Labor Mobility and Earnings.[3]

He is married and has three children.[3]

Academic career

Borjas became an assistant professor of economics at Queens College, City University of New York from 1975 to 1977. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Chicago from 1977 to 1978. He was also a Senior Research Analyst, National Bureau of Economic Research from 1972 to 1978.[3]

He joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1980 and remained there for ten years. He then became a professor at the University of California, San Diego from 1990 to 1995. He joined the faculty at Harvard University in 1995.[3]

Work

Borjas was called ‘America’s leading immigration economist’ by BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal. He is an influential figure in the debate on immigration and his research on the economic impact of immigration plays a central role in the debate over immigration policy in the United States.[1]

He has written many books and has published more than 100 articles in books and scholarly journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.[2] His most recent book is Immigration Economics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Honors

Borjas was listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry and Who’s Who in Economics. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society in 1998 and a fellow of the Society of Labor Economists in 2004. He was also a member of the Council of Economic Advisors for the Governor of California from 1993 to 1998, of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Demographic and Economic Impact of Immigration from 1995 to 1997, and chaired the National Science Foundation’s Committee of Visitors for the Economics Program in 1996.[2]

In 2011 he was named co-winner of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics.[4]

Books

The following are the books published by Borjas.

  • Wage Policy in the Federal Bureaucracy (American Enterprise Institute, 1980)
  • Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. Economy (Basic Books, 1990)
  • Labor Economics (McGraw-Hill, 1996; 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd edition, 2005, 4th edition, 2008, 5th edition, 2010,)
  • Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton University Press, 1999)

References

  1. Davis, Bob (April 26, 1996). “Despite His Heritage, Prominent Economist Backs Immigration Cut”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-30.[dead link]
  2. “Biography of George J. Borjas”. Harvard University. Retrieved 2008-06-30.[dead link]
  3. “Curriculum Vitae of George J. Borjas” (pdf). Harvard University. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  4. George Borjas Named Co-Winner of 2011 IZA Prize in Labor Economics Harvard Kennedy School, July 21, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2012

External links

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Peter Brimelow — Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medicine, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

aliennation

peter_brimelow

VDARE.com

What Price Mass Immigration – Peter Brimelow Introduction

 

Peter Brimelow of VDare on How Republican Party Has to be More White

Alien Nation: America’s Immigration Disaster

Mr. Brimelow discussed his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, published by Random House. The book focuses on U.S. immigration policy and cycles of control on immigration. Mr. Brimelow argues that legislation passed in 1965 has resulted in negative trends in immigration to the United States, including an influx of immigrants from a very few countries that he says are engulfing America. The author says that the latest immigration wave consists of immigrants who are less educated, less skilled, and less likely to share American ideals, which he argues is a detriment to American culture.

Peter Brimelow Reflects on Immigration in America, Post-Alien Nation

Michael Coren Interviews Peter Brimelow

Peter Brimelow, Immigration Road to Hell

Peter Brimelow speaks CPAC 2012

Inequality and Immigration (1 of 3)

Inequality and Immigration (2 of 3)

Inequality & Immigration (3 of 3)

Peter Brimelow On Western Culture At The Thomas Jefferson Club

The Libertarian Case Against Open Immigration | Peter Brimelow

Related Articles and Videos

George J. Borjas: Costs of Immigration – Economics Roundtable

 

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Kurdistan — A New Nation In The Making With 40 Million Kurds — Turkey (15 Million +), Iran (7 Million +), Iraq (6 Million +), and Syria (3 Million +) — No Friends But The Mountains — Videos

Posted on June 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

contemporarykurdistanmap-kurdistan-official-map-Washington-Report-Middle-East-Affairs

 

kurdistan_map

Kurdistan-Map2

Kurdistan-Map

kurdistan3

kurdistan_map

free-kurdistan-map

Flag_of_Kurdistan.svg

Who are the Kurds

Kurdistan; Paradise of 7 tribes

Iraq: Border crossings into autonomous Kurdistan flooded with fleeing Iraqis

( Kurdistan ) New country in Mideast Kurds aim to create own state amid conflicts

Brief History of Kurdistan

New country in Mideast? Kurds aim to create own state amid conflicts

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

Kurds After the Gulf War

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 1

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 2

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland

Iraqi Kurds ‘fully control Kirkuk’ as army flees

2014 – BBC World News – Imminent ISIS Attack on Baghdad; Iraqi Kurds Seize Ctrl of Kirkuk

Kurdish Special Forces VS isis 2014

Syrias Kurdish Islamist terror conflict Ceylanpınar

MidEast In-Depth: What’s the impact of the rift between the Kurds in Syria?

 

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 1/3)

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 2/3)

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 3/3)

Women fighters in kurdistan 2013 (documentary)

Cases: The Condition of Kurds in Turkey

26 years of Kurdish struggle in Turkey 

DN! US Journalist (1) on Plight of Kurds Deported from Turkey

DN! US Journalist (2) on Plight of Kurds Deported from Turkey

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 1/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 2/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 3/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 4/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 5/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 6/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 7/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 8/8

 

 

 

 

 

The Kurdish Question

History of the Kurdish Aryan Race (Proto indo-European)

BBC – Fast Track, About Kurdistan

The Other Iraq Who are the Kurds

KURDISTAN – CBS NEWS REPORT, WHAT IS KURDISTAN?

Booming Economy in Kurdistan Transforms Region into Business Hub

In A Changing Middle East, Should the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

KURDISTAN the new Dubai 2012-2031

Kurdish wedding in Dallas Plano

Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford on Kurds in Syria

Noam Chomsky (July, 2013) “On the Kurds”

Kurdish oil upsets Washington and Baghdad

Kurdish population

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kurdish people are an Indo-European ethnic group, whose origins are in the Middle East.[1] They are the largest ethnic group in the world that do not have a state of their own.[2] The region of Kurdistan, the original geographic region of the Kurdish people and the home to the majority of Kurds today, covers contemporary TurkeyIraqIran, and Syria. This geo-cultural region means “Land of the Kurds”. Kurdish populations occupy the territory in and around the Zagros mountains. These arid unwelcoming mountains have been a geographic buffer to cultural and political dominance from neighboring empires.[2] Persians,Arabs and Ottomans were kept away, and a space was carved out to develop Kurdish culture, language and identity.[2]

 

Turkey[edit]

According to a report by Turkish agency KONDA, in 2006, out of the total population of 73 million people in Turkey there were 11.4 million Kurds and Zazas living in Turkey (close to 15.68% of the total population).[3]The Turkish newspaper Milliyet has reported in 2008 that the Kurdish population in Turkey is 12.6 million; although this also includes 3 million Zazas.[4] According to the World Factbook, Kurdish people make up 18% of Turkey’s population (about 14 million, out of 77.8 million people).[5] Kurdish sources put the figure at 20[6] to 25 million Kurds in Turkey.[7]

Kurds mostly live in southeastern and eastern parts of Anatolia. But large Kurdish populations can be found in western Turkey due to internal migration. According to Rüstem Erkan, Istanbul is the province with the largest Kurdish population in Turkey.[8]

Iran[edit]

Main articles: Kurds in Iran and Kurds of Khorasan

From the 7 million Iranian Kurds, a significant portion are Shia.[9] Shia Kurds inhabit Kermanshah Province, except for those parts where people are Jaff, and Ilam Province; as well as some parts of Kurdistan,Hamadan and Zanjan provinces. The Kurds of Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran are also adherents of Shia Islam. During the Shia revolution in Iran the major Kurdish political parties were unsuccessful in absorbing Shia Kurds, who at that period had no interest in autonomy.[10][11][12] However, since the 1990s Kurdish nationalism has seeped into the Shia Kurdish area partly due to outrage against government’s violent suppression of Kurds farther north.[13]

Iraq[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Iraq

Kurds constitute approximately 17% of Iraq’s population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in KirkukMosul,Khanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[14]

Kurds led by Mustafa Barzani were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[15] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions of Kirkuk and Khanaqin.[16] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover in March 1975, Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[17] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[18]

Syria[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Syria

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria and make up nine percent of the country’s population.[19] Syrian Kurds have faced routine discrimination and harassment by the government.[20][21]

Syrian Kurdistan is an unofficial name used by some to describe the Kurdish inhabited regions of northern and northeastern Syria.[22] The northeastern Kurdish inhabited region covers the greater part of Hasakah Governorate. The main cities in this region are Qamishli and Hasakah. Another region with significant Kurdish population is Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) in the northern part of Syria near the town of Jarabulus and also the city of Afrin and its surroundings along the Turkish border.

Many Kurds seek political autonomy for the Kurdish inhabited areas of Syria, similar to Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq, or outright independence as part of Kurdistan. The name “Western Kurdistan” (Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê) is also used by Kurds to name the Syrian Kurdish inhabited areas in relation to Kurdistan.[23][24][25] Since the Syrian civil war, Syrian government forces have abandoned many Kurdish-populated areas, leaving the Kurds to fill the power vacuum and govern these areas autonomously.[26]

Armenia[edit]

According to the 2011 Armenian Census, 37,470 Kurds live in Armenia, mainly Yazidi.[27] They mainly live in the western parts of Armenia. The Kurds of the former Soviet Union first began writing Kurdish in the Armenian alphabet in the 1920s, followed by Latin in 1927, then Cyrillic in 1945, and now in both Cyrillic and Latin. The Kurds in Armenia established a Kurdish radio broadcast from Yerevan and the first Kurdish newspaper Riya Teze. There is a Kurdish Department in the Yerevan State Institute of Oriental studies. The Kurds of Armenia were the first exiled country to have access to media such as radio, education and press in their native tongue[28] but many Kurds, from 1939 to 1959 were listed as the Azeri population or even as Armenians.[29]

Georgia[edit]

According to the 2000 Georgian Census, 20,843 Kurds live in Georgia.[30] The Kurds in Georgia mainly live in the capital of Tbilisi and Rustavi.[31] According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugeesrerport from 1998, about 80% of the Kurdish population in Georgia are Yazidi Kurds.[31]

Russia[edit]

According to the 2010 Russian Census, 63,818 Kurds live in Russia. Russia has maintained warm relations with the Kurds for a long time, During the early 19th century, the main goal of the Russian Empire was to ensure the neutrality of the Kurds, in the wars against Persia and the Ottoman Empire.[32] In the beginning of the 19th century, Kurds settled in Transcaucasia, at a time when Transcaucasia was incorporated into the Russian Empire. In the 20th century, Kurds were persecuted and exterminated by the Turks and Persians, a situation that led Kurds to move to Russia.[33]

Lebanon[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Lebanon

The existence of a community of at least 100,000 Kurds is the product of several waves of immigrants, the first major wave was in the period of 1925-1950 when thousands of Kurds fled violence and poverty in Turkey.[34] Kurds in Lebanon go back far as the twelfth century A.D. when the Ayyubids arrived there. Over the next few centuries, several other Kurdish families were sent to Lebanon by a number of powers to maintain rule in those regions, others moved as a result of poverty and violence in Kurdistan. These Kurdish groups settled in and ruled many areas of Lebanon for a long period of time.[35]:27 Kurds of Lebanon settled in Lebanon because of Lebanon’s pluralistic society.[36]

Western Europe[edit]

The Kurdish diaspora in Western Europe is most significant in Germany, France, Sweden and the UK. Kurds from Turkey went to Germany and France during the 1960s as immigrant workers. Thousands of Kurdish refugees and political refugees fled from Turkey to Sweden during the 1970s and onward, and from Iraq during the 1980s and 1990s.

In France, the Iranian Kurds make up the majority of the community.[37] However, thousands of Iraqi Kurds also arrived in the mid 1990s.[38] More recently, Syrian Kurds have been entering France illegally[39]

In the United Kingdom, Kurds first began to immigrate between 1974-75 when the rebellion of Iraqi Kurds against the Iraqi government was repressed. The Iraqi government began to destroy Kurdish villages and forced many Kurds to move to barren land in the south.[40] These events resulted in many Kurds fleeing to the United Kingdom. Thus, the Iraqi Kurds make up a large part of the community.[37] In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran and installed Islamic law. There was widespread political oppression and persecution of the Kurdish community. Since the late 1970s the number of people from Iran seeking asylum in Britain has remained high.[40] In 1988, Saddam Hussein launched the Anfal campaign in the northern Iraq. This included mass executions and disappearances of the Kurdish community. The use of chemical weapons against thousands of towns and villages in the region, as well as the town of Halabja increased the number of Iraq Kurds entering the United Kingdom.[40] A large number of Kurds also came to the United Kingdom following the 1980 military coup in Turkey.[40] More recently, immigration has been due to the continued political oppression and the repression of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Iran.[40] Estimates of the Kurdish population in the United Kingdom are as high as 200-250,000.[40]

In Denmark, there is a significant number of Iraqi political refugees, many of which are actually Kurds.[41]

In Finland, most Kurds arrived in the 1990s as Iraqi refugees.[42] Kurds in Finland have no great attachment to the Iraqi state because of their position as a persecuted minority. Thus, they feel more accepted and comfortable in Finland, many wanting to get rid of their Iraqi citizenship.[43]

North America[edit]

In the United States, it is believed that the Kurdish population is approximately 58,000,[44] the large majority of which come from Iran.[45] It is estimated that some 23,000 Iranian Kurds are living in the United States.[45]During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 10,000 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the United States, most of which were Kurds and Shiites who had assisted or were sympathisers of the U.S –led war.[46] Nashville, Tennessee has the nation’s largest population of Kurdish people, with an estimated 8,000-11,000. There are also Kurds in Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, and San Diego.[47]

In Canada, Kurdish immigration was largely the result of the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. Thus, many Iraqi Kurds immigrated to Canada due to the constant wars and suppression of Kurds and Shiites by the Iraqi government.[48]

Oceania[edit]

In Australia, Kurdish migrants first arrived in the second half of the 1960s, mainly from Turkey.[49] However, in the late 1970s families from Syria and Lebanon were also present in Australia.[49] Since the second half of the 1980s, the majority of Kurds arriving in Australia have been from Iraq and Iran; many of them were accepted under the Humanitarian Programme.[49] However, Kurds from Lebanon, Armenia and Georgia have also migrated to Australia. The majority live in Melbourne and Sydney.[49]

Statistics by country[edit]

Traditional areas of Kurdish settlement[edit]

Country Official figures Official figures in % Current est. Kurdish population Further information
 Turkey 2,819,727 (1965 census, Kurdish speakers)a 8.98% 13,261,000 (18.3%)e Kurds in Turkey
 Iran N/A N/A approx. 6,500,000[50] Kurds in Iran
 Iraq N/A N/A approx. 5,000,000[51] Kurds in Iraq
 Syria N/A N/A approx. 2,200,000[52] Kurds in Syria
 Armenia 37,470 (2011 census)d 1.24% Kurds in Armenia

 Azerbaijan6,073 (2009 census)b0.07%150,000–180,000[59][60]Kurds in Azerbaijan

 Russia63,818 (2010 census)c0.04%—Kurds in Russia

 Georgia20,843 (2002 census)[63]0.48%—Kurds in Georgia

Other countries[edit]

Country Official figures Official figures in % Current est. Kurdish population Further information
 Germany N/A N/A approx. 800,000[64]
 Israel N/A N/A approx. 150,000[65] Kurds in Israel
 France N/A N/A approx. 150,000[66]
 Sweden N/A N/A approx. 90,000[67] Kurds in Sweden
 Lebanon N/A N/A approx. 80,000[68] Kurds in Lebanon
 Netherlands N/A N/A approx. 70,000[69]
 Belgium N/A N/A approx. 80,000[70]
 United Kingdom 49,921 (2011 census)[71][72][73] 0.08% Kurds in the United Kingdom

 Kazakhstan 41,431 (2013 annual statistics)[74] 0.25% Kurds in Kazakhstan
 Jordan N/A N/A 30,000[75]–100,000[76] Kurds in Jordan
 Denmark N/A N/A 30,000[77]
 Greece N/A N/A 28,000[78]
 United States 15,361 (2006-2010 ACS)[79] 0.01% Kurds in the United States

  Switzerland 14,699 (2012 statistics, Kurdish speakers)[80] 0.22% N/A
 Kyrgyzstan 13,171 (2009 census)[81][82] 0.25%
 Canada 11,685 (2011 census)[83] 0.04%
 Finland 10,075 (2013 annual statistics, Kurdish speakers)[84] 0.18%
 Australia 6,991 (2011 census)[85]
4,586 (2011 census, Kurdish speakers)[85]
0.03%
0.02%
 Turkmenistan 6,097 (1995 census)[89] 0.14% Kurds in Turkmenistan
 Kuwait N/A N/A 5,000[90]
 Norway N/A N/A 5,000[70]
 Italy N/A N/A 4,000[70]
 Romania N/A N/A 3,000[91]
 Austria 2,133 (2001 census, Kurdish speakers)[92] 0.03% N/A
 Ukraine 2,088 (2001 census)[93] 0%
 Uzbekistan 1,839 (1989 census)[94] 0.01%
 Ireland 128 (2011 census)[95] 0% 1,500[96]
 Cyprus N/A N/A 1,500[97]
 South Korea N/A N/A 1,000[98]
 Spain N/A N/A 1,000[99]
 New Zealand 720 (2013 census)[100]
828 (2013 census, Kurdish speakers)[100]
0.02%
0.02%
 Japan N/A N/A 300–400[101] Kurds in Japan
 Poland 224 (2011 census)[102] 0%
 Hungary 149 (2011 census)[103] 0%
 Bulgaria 147 (2011 census)[104] 0%
 Moldova (1989 census)[105]
132 (Immigrants 1993-2013)[106]
0%
0%
 Czech Republic 100 (2011 census)[107] 0%
 Belarus 81 (2009 census)[108] 0%
 Abkhazia 29 (1989 census)[109] 0.01%
 Latvia 29 (2014 annual statistics)[110] 0%
 Estonia 23 (2011 census)[111] 0%
 Serbia <12 (2011 census)[112] 0%
 Lithuania <10 (2011 census)[113] 0%
 Croatia (2011 census)[114][115] 0%
 Tajikistan (2010 census)[116] 0%
 South Ossetia (1989 census)[109] 0%
Notes
^a According to the Turkish 1965 census, 2,219,502 people indicated Kurdish as their mother language and 429,168 as their second best language spoken. 150,644 people indicated Zaza as their mother language and 20,413 as their second best language spoken.[117]
^b Official Azerbaijani records claim only 6,073 Kurds in 2009,[61] while Kurdish leaders estimate as much as 200,000. The problem is that the historical record of the Kurds in Azerbaijan is filled with lacunae.[118]For instance, in 1979 there was according to the census no Kurds recorded.[119] Not only did Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue an identical policy against the Kurds, they even employed identical techniques like forced assimilation, manipulation of population figures, settlement of non-Kurds in areas predominantly Kurdish, suppression of publications and abolition of Kurdish as a medium of instruction in schools.[119]
^c In the 2010 Russian Census, 23,232 people indicated Kurdish (Курды) as their ethnicity, while 40,586 chose Yazidi (Езиды) as their ethnicity.[120]
^d In the 2011 Armenian Census, 2,131 people indicated Kurdish (Քրդեր) as their ethnicity, while 35,272 indicated Yazidi (Եզդիներ) as their ethnicity.[27]
^e 2006 Konda survey.[121]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish_population
Kurds
The Kurdish people, or Kurds (Kurdishکورد, Kurd), are an ethnic group in Western Asia, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of IranIraqSyria, and Turkey.They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which are members of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages.[31] The Kurds number about 30 million, the majority living in West Asia, with significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Russia, Lebanon and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States.

The Kurds have had partial autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991. Nationalist movements in the other Kurdish-populated countries (TurkeySyriaIran) push for Kurdish regional autonomy or the creation of a sovereign state.

 

 

Etymology

The exact origins of the name “Kurd” are unclear.[32] Though it is believed that the term precedes the formation of the ethnic group by centuries or even millennia.

G.S. Reynolds believes that the term Kurd is most likely related to the ancient term Qardu. The common root of Kurd and Qardu is first mentioned in a Sumeriantablet from the third millennium BC as the “land of Kar-da.”[33] Similarly, Hennerbichler believes the term Kurd and similar ethnic labels to have been derived from the Sumerian word stem “kur”, meaning mountain.[34]

The term Qardu however, appears in Assyrian sources, where it refers to the contemporary Mount Judi, and which derived its name from the people inhabiting the region, the Carduchi,[35] mentioned by Xenophon as the tribe who opposed the retreat of the Ten Thousand through the mountains north of Mesopotamia in the 4th century BC. However, according to G. Asatrian, the most reasonable explanation of the ethnonym is its possible connections with the Cyrtii (Cyrtaei).[36]

The word Kurd was first written in sources in the form of Kurt(kwrt-) in the Middle Persian treatise (Karnamak Ardashir Papakan and the Matadakan i Hazar Dastan), used to describe a social group or tribes that existed before the development of the modern ethnic nation.[37] The term was adopted by Arabic writers of the early Islamic era and gradually became associated with an amalgamation of Iranian and Iranicized nomadic tribes and groups in the region[38][39][40] Sherefxan Bidlisi states that there are four division of Kurds: KurmanjLurKalhor and Guran, each of which speak a different dialect or language variation. Of these, according to Ludwig Paul, only Kurmanji and possibly the Kalhuri correspond to the Kurdish language, while Luri and Gurani are linguistically distinct. Nonetheless, Ludwig writes that linguistics does not provide a definition for when a language becomes a dialect, and thus, non-linguistic factors contribute to the ethnic unity of some of the said groups, namely the Kurmanj, Kalhur, and Guran.[41]

Language

Main article: Kurdish languages

Kurdish area in the Middle East(2007)

The Kurdish language (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) refers collectively to the related dialects spoken by the Kurds.[42] It is mainly spoken in those parts of IranIraq,Syria and Turkey which comprise Kurdistan.[43] Kurdish holds official status in Iraq as a national language alongside Arabic, is recognized in Iran as a regional language, and in Armenia as a minority language.

The Kurdish languages belong to the northwestern sub‑group of the Iranian languages, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-Europeanfamily.

Most Kurds are either bilingual or multilingual, speaking the language of their respective nation of origin, such as ArabicPersian, and Turkish as a second language alongside their native Kurdish, while those in diaspora communities often speak 3 or more languages. Kurdish Jews and some Kurdish Christians (not be confused with ethnic Assyrians) usually speak Aramaic (for example: Lishana Deni) as their first language. Aramaic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew andArabic rather than Kurdish.[44]

According to Mackenzie, there are few linguistic features that all Kurdish dialects have in common and that are not at the same time found in other Iranian languages.[45]

The Kurdish dialects according to Mackenzie are classified as:[46]

  • Northern group (The Kurmanji dialect group.)
  • Central group (Part of the Sorani dialect group)
  • Southern group (Part of the Sorani dialect group) including Kermanshahi, Ardalani and Laki

The Zaza and Gorani are ethnic Kurds,[citation needed] but the Zaza–Gorani languages are not classified as Kurdish.

Commenting on the differences between the dialects of Kurdish, Kreyenbroek clarifies that in some ways, Kurmanji and Sorani are as different from each other as English and German, giving the example that Kurmanji has grammatical gender and case endings, but Sorani does not, and observing that referring to Sorani and Kurmanji as “dialects” of one language is supported only by “their common origin…and the fact that this usage reflects the sense of ethnic identity and unity of the Kurds.”[47]

Population

Main article: Kurdish population

The number of Kurds living in Southwest Asia is estimated at 26-34 million, with another one or two million living in diaspora. Kurds are the fourth largest ethnicity in Western Asia after the ArabsPersians, and Turks.

Kurds comprise anywhere from 18% to 25% of the population in Turkey,[3][48] 15-20% in Iraq, 9% in Syria,[49][50] 7% in Iran and 1.3% in Armenia. In all of these countries except Iran, Kurds form the second largest ethnic group. Roughly 55% of the world’s Kurds live in Turkey, about 18% each in Iran and Iraq, and a bit over 5% in Syria.[51]

McDowall has estimated that in 1991 the Kurds comprised 19% of the population in Turkey, 23% in Iraq, 10% in Iran, and 8% in Syria. The total number of Kurds in 1991 was in this estimate placed at 22.5 million, with 48% of this number living in Turkey, 18% in Iraq, 24% in Iran, and 4% in Syria.[52]

History

The greatest extent of the Median Empire

Origins

Further information: Gutian peopleMedesCyrtii and Carduchi

The Kurds as an ethnic group appear in the medieval period. The Kurdish people are believed to be of heterogenous origins[53][54] combining a number of earlier tribal or ethnic groups[55] including Median,[54][55][56][57] Lullubi,[58] Guti,[58] Cyrtians,[59] Carduchi.[60] They have also absorbed some elements from Semitic,[55][61][62][63][64]Turkic[65][66][67][68] and Armenian people.[55][69][70][71][72][73] According to J.P. Mallory, the original Gutians precede the arrival of Indo-Iranian peoples (of which the Kurds are one) by some 1500 years.[74] This argument is seconded by F. Hennerbichlers theory which reassigns the ethnic Iranian origin of Kurds (traditionally considered Indo-European) to a people of predominantly unknown ancient Middle Eastern stock, in particular to indigenous Neolithic Northern Fertile Crescent aborigines.[75] This hypothesis is supported by the tentative linguistic identification of Kurds as a people “Iranianized in several waves by militarily organized elites of immigrants from Central Asia”, tentatively ascribing it to carriers of the Y-Dna haplogroup R1a1.[75]

Additionally Minorsky states that there is an “ethno-geographical identification” of present day Kurds as descendent of ancient Medes, an idea based on his “historical, linguistic, and philological” arguments.[76] This was further advanced by I. Gershevitch who provided first “a piece of linguistic confirmation” of Minorsky’s identification and then another “sociolinguistic” argument. Those works of Minorsky were the base of yet another and different approach by Mackenzie. He argued that in contrast to Minorsky (and precisely Gershevitch’s advancement) the evolution of the present day Kurdish language as a Northwestern Iranian language was to “lean more toward Persian” and in turn “marked off from Median”.[76] These disagreements of scholars caused bitter reactions.[76] Dandamaev considers Carduchi (who were from the upper Tigris near the Assyrian and Median borders) less likely than Cyrtians as ancestors of modern Kurds.[77] However according to McDowall, the term Cyrtii was first applied to Seleucid or Parthian mercenary slingers from Zagros, and it is not clear if it denoted a coherent linguistic or ethnic group.[78] Gershevitch and Fisher consider the independent Kardouchoi or Carduchi as the ancestors of the Kurds, or at least the original nucleus of the Iranian-speaking people in what is now Kurdistan.[60]

Legends

Depiction of Noah’s ark landing on the mountain top, from the North French Hebrew Miscellany (13th century)

There are multiple legends that detail the origins of the Kurds. One details the Kurds as being the descendants of King Solomon’s angelic servants (Djinn). These were sent to Europe to bring him five-hundred beautiful maidens, for the king’s harem. However, when these had done so and returned to Israel the king had already passed away. As such, the Djinn settled in the mountains, married the women themselves, and their offspring came to be known as the Kurds.[79]

Additionally, in the legend of Newroz, an evil Assyrian king named Zahak, who had two snakes growing out of his shoulders, had conquered Iran, and terrorized its subjects; demanding daily sacrifices in the form of young men’s brains. Unknowingly to Zahak, the cooks of the palace saved one of the men, and mixed the brains of the other with those of a sheep. The men that were saved were told to flee to the mountains. Hereafter, Kaveh the Blacksmith, who had already lost several of his children to Zahak, trained the men in the mountains, and stormed Zahak’s palace, severing the heads of the snakes and killing the tyrannical king. Kaveh was instilled as the new king, and his followers formed the beginning of the Kurdish people.[80][81]

In the writings of the Ottoman Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi, there’s also a legend concerning the Kurds to be found. He states to have learned of this legend from a certainMighdisî, an Armenian historian:

According to the chronicler Mighdisî, the first town to be built after Noah’s Flood was the town of Judi, followed by the fortresses of Sinjar and Mifariqin. The town of Judi was ruled by Melik Kürdim of the Prophet Noah’s community, a man who lived no less than 600 years and who travelled the length and width of Kurdistan. Coming to Mifariqin he liked its climate and settled there, begetting many children and descendants. He invented a language of his own, independent of Hebrew. It is neither Hebrew nor Arabic, Farsi, Dari or Pahlavi; they still call it the language of Kürdim. So the Kurdish language, which was invented in Mifariqin and is now used throughout Kurdistan, owes its name to Melik Kürdim of the community of the Prophet Noah. Because Kurdistan is an endless stony stretch of mountains, there are no less than twelve varieties of Kurdish, differing from one another in pronunciation and vocabulary, so that they often have to use interpreters to understand one another’s words.[82]

Ancient Period

Artistic rendition of Ardashir I

The first attestation of the Kurds was during the time of rule of the Sassanids. In the Kar-Namag i Ardashir i Pabagan, a short prose work written in Middle Persian, Ardashir I is depicted as having battled the Kurds and their leader, Madig. After initially sustaining a heavy defeat, Ardashir I was successful in subjugating the Kurds.[83] In a letter Ardashir I received from his foe, Ardavan V, which is also featured in the same work, he’s referred to as being a Kurd himself.

You’ve bitten off more than you can chew
and you have brought death to yourself.
O son of a Kurd, raised in the tents of the Kurds,
who gave you permission to put a crown on your head?[84]

The usage of the term Kurd during this time period most likely was a social term, designating Iranian nomads, rather than a concrete ethnic group.[85][86] At least one author believes Ardashir I to have actually descended from a Kurdish tribe.[87]

Similarly, in 360 CE, the Sassanid king Shapur II marched into the Roman province Zabdicene, to conquer its chief city, Bezabde, present-day Cizre. He found it heavily fortified, and guarded by three legions and a large body of Kurdish archers.[88] After a long and hard-fought siege, Shapur II breached the walls, conquered the city and massacred all its defenders. Hereafter he had the strategically located city repaired, provisioned and garrisoned with his best troops.[88]

There is also a 7th-century text by an unidentified author, written about the legendary Christian martyr Mar Qardagh. He lived in the 4th century, during the reign of Shapur II, and during his travels is said to have encountered Mar Abdisho, a deacon and martyr, who, after having been questioned of his origins by Mar Qardagh and his Marzobans, stated that his parents were originally from an Assyrian village called Hazza, but were driven out and subsequently settled in Tamanon, a village in the land of the Kurds, identified as being in the region of Mount Judi.[89]

Medieval period

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, orSaladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynastyin Egypt and Syria

In the early Middle Ages, the Kurds sporadically appear in Arabic sources, though the term was still not being used for a specific people; instead it referred to an amalgam of nomadic western Iranic tribes, who were distinct from Persians. However, in the High Middle Ages, the Kurdish ethnic identity gradually materialized, as one can find clear evidence of the Kurdish ethnic identity and solidarity in texts of the 12th and 13th century,[90] though, the term was also still being used in the social sense.[91]

Al-Tabari wrote that in 639, Hormuzan, a Sasanian general originating from a noble family, battled against the Islamic invaders in Khuzestan, and called upon the Kurds to aid him in battle.[92] They were defeated however, and brought under Islamic rule.

In 838, a Kurdish leader based in Mosul, named Mir Jafar, revolted against the Caliph Al-Mu’tasim who sent the commander Itakh to combat him. Itakh won this war and executed many of the Kurds.[93][94] Eventually Arabs conquered the Kurdish regions and gradually converted the majority of Kurds to Islam, often incorporating them into the military, such as the Hamdanids whose dynastic family members also frequently intermarried with Kurds.[95][96]

In 934 the Daylamite Buyid dynasty was founded, and subsequently conquered most of present-day Iran and Iraq. During the time of rule of this dynasty, Kurdish chief and ruler, Badr ibn Hasanwaih, established himself as one of the most important emirs of the time.[97]

In the 10th-12th centuries, a number of Kurdish principalities and dynasties were founded, ruling Kurdistan and neighbouring areas:

Due to the Turkic invasion of Anatolia, the 11th century Kurdish dynasties crumbled and became incorporated into the Seljuk Dynasty. Kurds would hereafter be used in great numbers in the armies of theZengids.[106] Succeeding the Zengids, the Kurdish Ayyubids established themselves in 1171, first under the leadership of Saladin. Saladin led the Muslims to recapture the city of Jerusalem from the Crusaders at theBattle of Hattin; also frequently clashing with the Hashashins. The Ayyubid dynasty lasted until 1341 when the Ayyubid sultanate fell to Mongolian invasions.

Safavid period

The Safavid Dynasty, established in 1501, also established its rule over Kurdish territories. The paternal line of this family actually had Kurdish roots, tracing back to Firuz-Shah Zarrin-Kolah, a dignitary who moved from Kurdistan to Ardabil in the 11th century.[107][108]

Nevertheless, the Kurds would revolt several times against the Safavids. Shah Ismail I put down a Yezidi rebellion which went on from 1506-1510. A century later, the year-long Battle of Dimdim took place, wherein Shah Abbas I succeeded in putting down the rebellion led by Amir Khan Lepzerin. Hereafter, a large number of Kurds was deported to Khorasan, not only to weaken the Kurds, but also to protect the eastern border from invading Afghan and Turkmen tribes. Others migrated to Afghanistan where they took refuge.[109] Kurds were found in great numbers at the slave markets of Khiva and Bukhara, being sold by the Turkmens. The Kurds of Khorasan, numbering around 700,000, still use the Kurmanji Kurdish dialect.[8][110]

Zand Period

Karim Khan, the Laki ruler of the Zand Dynasty

After the fall of the Safavids, Iran fell into civil war, with multiple leaders trying to gain control over the country. Ultimately, it was Karim Khan, a Laki general of the Zand tribe (perhaps of Kurdish origin)[111] One of the contenders for power was Karim Khan Zand, a member of the Lak tribe near Shiraz.[112][113][114][115][116] who proved to be superiour, and became ruler of Iran with the exception of the Khorasan region.[117]

The country would flourish during Karim Khan’s reign; a strong resurgence of the arts would take place, the economy was restored and international ties were strengthened.[117] Karim Khan was portrayed as being a ruler who truly cared about his subjects, thereby gaining the title Vakil e-Ra’aayaa (Representative of the People).[117]

After Karim Khan’s death, the dynasty would decline in favor of the rivaling Qajars due to infighting between the Khan’s incompetent offspring. It wasn’t until Lotf Ali Khan, 10 years later, that the dynasty would once again be led by an adept ruler. By this time however, the Qajars had already progressed greatly, having taken a number of Zand territories. Lotf Ali Khan made multiple successes before ultimately succumbing to the rivaling faction. Iran and all its Kurdish territories would hereby be incorporated in the Qajar Dynasty.

The Kurdish tribes present in Baluchistan and some of those in Fars are believed to be remnants of those that assisted and accompanied Lotf Ali Khan and Karim Khan, respectively.[118]

Ottoman period

Further information: Sheik Ubeydullah

When Sultan Selim I, after defeating Shah Ismail I in 1514, annexed Armenia and Kurdistan, he entrusted the organisation of the conquered territories to Idris, the historian, who was a Kurd of Bitlis. He divided the territory into sanjaks or districts, and, making no attempt to interfere with the principle of heredity, installed the local chiefs as governors. He also resettled the rich pastoral country between Erzerum and Erivan, which had lain in waste since the passage of Timur, with Kurds from the Hakkari and Bohtan districts.

The Ottoman centralist policies in the beginning of the 19th century aimed to remove power from the principalities and localities, which directly affected the Kurdish emirs. Bedirhan Bey was the last emir of the Cizre Bohtan Emirate after initiating an uprising in 1847 against the Ottomans to protect the current structures of the Kurdish principalities. Although his uprising is not classified as a nationalist one, his children played significant roles in the emergence and the development of Kurdish nationalism through the next century.[119]

The first modern Kurdish nationalist movement emerged in 1880 with an uprising led by a Kurdish landowner and head of the powerful Shemdinan family, Sheik Ubeydullah, who demanded political autonomy or outright independence for Kurds as well as the recognition of a Kurdistan state without interference from Turkish or Persian authorities.[120] The uprising against Qajar Persia and the Ottoman Empire was ultimately suppressed by the Ottomans and Ubeydullah, along with other notables, were exiled to Istanbul.

20th century

2Provisions of the Treaty of Sèvresfor an independent Kurdistan (in 1920).

Kurdish nationalism emerged after World War I with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire which had historically successfully integrated (but not assimilated) the Kurds, through use of forced repression of Kurdish movements to gain independence. Revolts did occur sporadically but only in 1880 with the uprising led by Sheik Ubeydullah were demands as an ethnic group or nation made. Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid responded by a campaign of integration by co-opting prominent Kurdish opponents to strong Ottoman power with prestigious positions in his government. This strategy appears successful given the loyalty displayed by the Kurdish Hamidiye regiments during World War I.[121]

The Kurdish ethnonationalist movement that emerged following World War I and end of the Ottoman empire was largely reactionary to the changes taking place in mainstream Turkey, primarily radical secularization which the strongly Muslim Kurds abhorred, centralization of authority which threatened the power of local chieftains and Kurdish autonomy, and rampant Turkish nationalism in the new Turkish Republic which obviously threatened to marginalize them.[122]

Kurdish Cavalry in the passes of the Caucasus mountains (The New York Times, January 24, 1915).

Jakob Künzler, head of a missionary hospital in Urfa, has documented the large scale ethnic cleansing of both Armenians and Kurds by the Young Turks during World War I.[123] He has given a detailed account of deportation of Kurds from Erzurum and Bitlis in winter of 1916. The Kurds were perceived to be subversive elements that would take the Russian side in the war. In order to eliminate this threat, Young Turks embarked on a large scale deportation of Kurds from the regions of DjabachdjurPaluMuschErzurum and Bitlis. Around 300,000 Kurds were forced to move southwards to Urfa and then westwards to Aintab and Marasch. In the summer of 1917, Kurds were moved to the Konya region in central Anatolia. Through this measures, the Young Turk leaders aimed at eliminating the Kurds by deporting them from their ancestral lands and by dispersing them in small pockets of exiled communities. By the end of World War I, up to 700,000 Kurds were forcibly deported and almost half of the displaced perished.[124]

Some of the Kurdish groups sought self-determination and the championing in the Treaty of Sèvres of Kurdish autonomy in the aftermath of World War I, Kemal Atatürk prevented such a result. Kurds backed by the United Kingdom declared independence in 1927 and established so-called Republic of AraratTurkey suppressed Kurdist revolts in 1925, 1930, and 1937–1938, while Iran did the same in the 1920s to Simko Shikak at Lake Urmia and Jaafar Sultan of Hewraman region who controlled the region betweenMarivan and north of Halabja. A short-lived Soviet-sponsored Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iran did not long outlast World War II.

Kurdish-inhabited areas of the Middle East and the Soviet Union in 1986.

From 1922–1924 in Iraq a Kingdom of Kurdistan existed. When Ba’athist administrators thwarted Kurdish nationalist ambitions in Iraq, war broke out in the 1960s. In 1970 the Kurds rejected limited territorial self-rule within Iraq, demanding larger areas including the oil-richKirkuk region.

During the 1920s and 1930s, several large scale Kurdish revolts took place in Kurdistan Following these rebellions, the area of Turkish Kurdistan was put under martial law and a large number of the Kurds were displaced. Government also encouraged resettlement of Albanians from Kosovo and Assyrians in the region to change the population makeup. These events and measures led to a long-lasting mutual distrust between Ankara and the Kurds .[125] During the relatively open government of the 1950s, Kurds gained political office and started working within the framework of the Turkish Republic to further their interests but this move towards integration was halted with the 1960 Turkish coup d’état.[121] The 1970s saw an evolution in Kurdish nationalism as Marxist political thought influenced a new generation of Kurdish nationalists opposed to the localfeudal authorities who had been a traditional source of opposition to authority, eventually they would form the militant separatist PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, European Union, NATO and many states that includes United States), or Kurdistan Workers Party in English.

Kurds are often regarded as “the largest ethnic group without a state”,[126][127][128][129][130][131] although larger stateless nations exist. Such periphrasis is rejected by leading Kurdologists like Martin van Bruinessen[132] and other scholars who agree that claim obscures Kurdish cultural, social, political and ideological heterogeneity.[133][134][135]Michael Radu argues such meaningless claims mostly come from Western human rights militants, leftists and Kurdish nationalists in Europe.[133]

Kurdish communities

Further information: Kurdistan and Kurdish refugees

Turkey

According to CIA Factbook, Kurds formed approximately 18% of the population in Turkey (approximately 14 million) in 2008. One Western source estimates that up to 25% of the Turkish population is Kurdish (approximately 18-19 million people).[3] Kurdish sources claim there are as many as 20 or 25 million Kurds in Turkey.[136] In 1980, Ethnologue estimated the number of Kurdish-speakers in Turkey at around five million,[137] when the country’s population stood at 44 million.[138] Kurds form the largest minority group in Turkey, and they have posed the most serious and persistent challenge to the official image of a homogeneous society. This classification was changed to the new euphemism of Eastern Turk in 1980.[139]

Several large scale Kurdish revolts in 1925, 1930 and 1938 were suppressed by the Turkish government and more than one million Kurds were forcibly relocated between 1925 and 1938. The use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned and the Kurdish-inhabited areas remained under martial law until 1946.[140] The Ararat revolt, which reached its apex in 1930, was only suppressed after a massive military campaign including destruction of many villages and their populations. In quelling the revolt, Turkey was assisted by the close cooperation of its neighboring states such as Soviet UnionIran and Iraq.[141] The revolt was organized by a Kurdish party called Khoybun which signed a treaty with the Dashnaksutyun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) in 1927.[141] By the 1970s, Kurdish leftist organizations such as Kurdistan Socialist Party-Turkey (KSP-T) emerged in Turkey which were against violence and supported civil activities and participation in elections. In 1977, Mehdi Zana a supporter of KSP-T won the mayoralty of Diyarbakir in the local elections. At about the same time, generational fissures gave birth to two new organizations: the National Liberation of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Workers Party.[142]

Kurdish boys in Diyarbakir.

The Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), also known as KADEK and Kongra-Gel, is considered by the US, the EU, and NATO to be a terrorist organization.[143] It is an ethnicsecessionist organization using violence for the purpose of achieving its goal of creating an independent Kurdish state in parts of southeastern Turkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran.

Between 1984 and 1999, the PKK and the Turkish military engaged in open war, and much of the countryside in the southeast was depopulated, as Kurdish civilians moved to local defensible centers such as DiyarbakırVan, and Şırnak, as well as to the cities of western Turkey and even to western Europe. The causes of the depopulation included PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans they could not control, the poverty of the southeast, and the Turkish state’s military operations.[144] State actions also included forced inscription, forced evacuation, destruction of villages, severe harassment and extrajudicial executions.[145][146]

Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish female MP from Diyarbakir, caused an uproar in Turkish Parliament after adding the following sentence inKurdish to her parliamentary oath during the swearing-in ceremony in 1994:[147]

I take this oath for the brotherhood of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples. —

In March 1994, the Turkish Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Zana and five other Kurdish DEP members: Hatip Dicle, Ahmet Turk, Sirri Sakik, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak. Zana, Dicle, Sadak and Dogan were sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Supreme Court in October 1995. Zana was awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights by theEuropean Parliament in 1995. She was released in 2004 amid warnings from European institutions that the continued imprisonment of the four Kurdish MPs would affect Turkey’s bid to join the EU.[148][149] The 2009 local elections resulted in 5.7% for Kurdish political party DTP.[150]

Officially protected death squads are accused of disappearance of 3,200 Kurds and Assyrians in 1993 and 1994 in the so-called mystery killings. Kurdish politicians, human-rights activists, journalists, teachers and other members of intelligentsia were among the victims. Virtually none of the perpetrators were investigated nor punished. Turkish government also encouraged Islamic extremist group Hezbollah to assassinate suspected PKK members and often ordinary Kurds.[151] Azimet Köylüoğlu, the state minister of human rights, revealed the extent of security forces’ excesses in autumn 1994: While acts of terrorism in other regions are done by the PKK; in Tunceli it is state terrorism. In Tunceli, it is the state that is evacuating and burning villages. In the southeast there are two million people left homeless.[152]

Iran

A view of Sanandaj, a major city inIranian Kurdistan.

The Kurdish region of Iran has been a part of the country since ancient times. Nearly all Kurdistan was part of Iranian Empire until its Western part was lost during wars against the Ottoman Empire.[153] Following dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, at Paris Conferences of 1919 Tehran has demanded all lost territories including Turkish Kurdistan,Mosul, and even Diyarbakır, but demands were quickly rejected by Western powers.[154] This area has been divided by modern TurkeySyria and Iraq.[155] Today, the Kurds inhabit mostly north western territories known as Iranian Kurdistan but also north eastern region of Khorasan, and constitute approximately 7-10%[156] of Iran’s overall population (6.5–7.9 million), comparing to 10.6% (2 million) in 1956 or 8% (800 thousand) in 1850.[157]

Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Unlike in other Kurdish-populated countries, there are strong ethnolinguistical and cultural ties between Kurds, Persians and others as Iranian peoples.[156] Some of modern Iranian dynasties like Safavids and Zands are considered to be partly of Kurdish origin. Kurdish literature in all of its forms (KurmanjiSorani and Gorani) has been developed within historical Iranianboundaries under strong influence of Persian language.[155] Fact that Kurds share much of their history with the rest of Iran is seen as reason why Kurdish leaders in Iran do not want a separate Kurdish state[156][158][159]

The government of Iran has never employed the same level of brutality against its own Kurds like Turkey or Iraq, but it has always been implacably opposed to any suggestion of Kurdish separatism.[156] During and shortly after First World War the government of Iran was ineffective and had very little control over events in the country and several Kurdish tribal chiefs gained local political power, even established large confederations.[158] In the same time, wave of nationalism from disintegrating Ottoman Empire has partly influenced some Kurdish chiefs in border region, and they posed as Kurdish nationalist leaders.[158] Prior to this, identity in both countries largely relied upon religion i.e. Shia Islam in the particular case of Iran.[159][160] In 19th century IranShia–Sunni animosity and describing Sunni Kurds as Ottoman fifth column was quite frenquent.[161]

During late 1910’s and early 1920’s, tribal revolt led by Kurdish chieftain Simko Shikak stroke north western Iran. Although elements of Kurdish nationalism were present in this movement, historians agree these were hardly articulate enough to justify a claim that recognition of Kurdish identity was a major issue in Simko’s movement, and he had to rely heavily on conventional tribal motives.[158] Government forces and non-Kurds were not the only ones to suffer in the attacks, theKurdish population was also robbed and assaulted.[158][162] Rebels do not appear to have felt any sense of unity or solidarity with fellow Kurds.[158] Kurdish insurgency and seasonal migrations in late 1920’s, along with long-running tensions between Tehran and Ankara, resulted in border clashes and even military penetrations in both Iranian and Turkish territory.[154] Two regional powers have used Kurdish tribes as tool for own political benefits: Turkey has provided military help and refuge for anti-Iranian Turcophone Shikak rebels in 1918-1922,[163] while Iran did the same during Ararat rebellion against Turkey in 1930. Reza Shah‘s military victory over Kurdish and Turkic tribal leaders initiaded with repressive era toward non-Iranian minorities.[162] Government’s forced detribalization andsedentarization in 1920’s and 1930’s resulted with many other tribal revolts in Iranian regions of AzerbaijanLuristan and Kurdistan.[164] In particular case of the Kurds, this repressive policies partly contributed to developing nationalism among some tribes.[158]

As a response to growing Pan-Turkism and Pan-Arabism in region which were seen as potential threats to the territorial integrity of Iran, Pan-Iranist ideology has been developed in the early 1920s.[160] Some of such groups and journals openly advocated Iranian support to the Kurdish rebellion against Turkey.[165] Secular Pahlavi dynasty has endorsed Iranian ethnic nationalism[160] which seen the Kurds as integral part of the Iranian nation.[159] Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has personally praised the Kurds as “pure Iranians” or “one of the most noble Iranian peoples“.[166] Another significant ideology during this period was Marxism which arose among Kurds under influence of USSR. It culminated in the Iran crisis of 1946 which included a separatist attempt of KDP-I and communist groups[167] to establish the Soviet puppet government[168][169][170]called Republic of Mahabad. It arose along with Azerbaijan People’s Government, another Soviet puppet state.[156][171] The state itself encompassed a very small territory, including Mahabad and the adjacent cities, unable to incorporate the southern Iranian Kurdistan which fell inside the Anglo-American zone, and unable to attract the tribes outside Mahabad itself to the nationalist cause.[156] As a result, when the Soviets withdrew from Iran in December 1946, government forces were able to enter Mahabad unopposed.[156]

Several Marxist insurgencies continuted for decades (196719791989–96) led by KDP-I and Komalah, but those two organization have never advocated a separate Kurdish state or greater Kurdistan as did the PKK in Turkey.[158][173][174][175] Still, many of dissident leaders, among others Qazi Muhammad and Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, were executed or assassinated.[156] During Iran–Iraq War, Tehran has provided support for Iraqi-based Kurdish groups like KDP or PUK, along with asylum for 1,400,000 Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds. Although Kurdish Marxist groups have been marginalized in Iran since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 2004 new insurrection has been started by PJAK, separatist organization affiliated with the Turkey-based PKK[176] and designated as terrorist by Iran, Turkey and the USA.[176] Some analysts claim PJAK do not pose any serious threat to the government of Iran.[177] Cease-fire has been established on September 2011 following the Iranian offensive on PJAK bases, but several clashes between PJAK and IRGC took place after it.[134]Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, accusations of “discrimination” by Western organizations and of “foreign involvement” by Iranian side have become very frequent.[134]

Kurds have been well integrated in Iranian political life during reign of various governments.[158] Kurdish liberal political Karim Sanjabi has served as minister of education underMohammad Mossadegh in 1952.[166] During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi some members of parliament and high army officers were Kurds, and there was even a Kurdish Cabinet Minister.[158] During the reign of the Pahlavis Kurds received many favours from the authorities, for instance to keep their land after the land reforms of 1962.[158] In early 2000’s, presence of thirty Kurdish deputies in the 290-strong parliament has also helped to undermine claims of discrimination.[178] Some of influential Kurdish politicians during recent years include former first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Mohammad Bagher GhalibafMayor of Tehran and second-placed presidential candidate in 2013. Kurdish language is today used more than at any other time since the Revolution, including in several newspapers and among schoolchildren.[178] Large number of Kurds in Iran show no interest in Kurdish nationalism,[156] especially Shia Kurds who even vigorously reject idea of autonomy, preferring direct rule from Tehran.[156][173] Iranian national identity is questioned only in the peripheral Kurdish Sunni regions.[179]

Iraq

The President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, meeting with U.S. officials inBaghdad, Iraq, on April 26, 2006.

Kurds constitute approximately 17% of Iraq’s population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in KirkukMosulKhanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[180]

Kurds led by Mustafa Barzani were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[181] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions ofKirkuk and Khanaqin.[182] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover in March 1975, Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[183] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[184]

During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. Iraq was widely condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures such as the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians, the wholesale destruction of thousands of villages and the deportation of thousands of Kurds to southern and central Iraq.

The genocidal campaign, conducted between 1986 and 1989 and culminating in 1988, carried out by the Iraqi government against the Kurdish population was called Anfal (“Spoils of War”). The Anfal campaign led to destruction of over two thousand villages and killing of 182,000 Kurdish civilians.[185] The campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical attacks, including the most infamous attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988 that killed 5000 civilians instantly.

After the collapse of the Kurdish uprising in March 1991, Iraqi troops recaptured most of the Kurdish areas and 1.5 million Kurds abandoned their homes and fled to the Turkish and Iranian borders. It is estimated that close to 20,000 Kurds succumbed to death due to exhaustion, lack of food, exposure to cold and disease. On 5 April 1991, UN Security Council passed resolution 688 which condemned the repression of Iraqi Kurdish civilians and demanded that Iraq end its repressive measures and allow immediate access to international humanitarian organizations.[186] This was the first international document (since the League of Nationsarbitration of Mosul in 1926) to mention Kurds by name. In mid-April, the Coalition established safe havens inside Iraqi borders and prohibited Iraqi planes from flying north of 36th parallel.[187] In October 1991, Kurdish guerrillas captured Erbil and Sulaimaniyah after a series of clashes with Iraqi troops. In late October, Iraqi government retaliated by imposing a food and fuel embargo on the Kurds and stopping to pay civil servants in the Kurdish region. The embargo, however, backfired and Kurds held parliamentary elections in May 1992 and established Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).[188]

The Kurdish population welcomed the American troops in 2003 by holding celebrations and dancing in the streets.[189][190][191][192] The area controlled by peshmerga was expanded, and Kurds now have effective control in Kirkuk and parts of Mosul. The authority of the KRG and legality of its laws and regulations were recognized in the articles 113 and 137 of the new Iraqi Constitution ratified in 2005.[193] By the beginning of 2006, the two Kurdish administrations of Erbil and Sulaimaniya were unified. On August 14, 2007 Yazidis were targeted in a series of bombings that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq War began, killing 796 civilians, wounding 1,562.[194]

Syria

Main article: Kurds in Syria

PYD militiaman manning acheckpoint in AfrinSyria, during the2012 Syrian Kurdistan rebellion

Kurds account for 9% of Syria‘s population, a total of around 1.6 million people.[195] This makes them the largest ethnic minority in the country. They are mostly concentrated in the northeast and the north, but there are also significant Kurdish populations in Aleppo and Damascus. Kurds often speak Kurdish in public, unless all those present do not. According to Amnesty International, Kurdish human rights activists are mistreated and persecuted.[196] No political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish or otherwise.

Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of Kurds in Syria include various bans on the use of the Kurdish language, refusal to register children with Kurdish names, the replacement of Kurdish place names with new names in Arabic, the prohibition of businesses that do not have Arabic names, the prohibition of Kurdish private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Kurdish.[197][198] Having been denied the right to Syrian nationality, around 300,000 Kurds have been deprived of any social rights, in violation of international law.[199][200] As a consequence, these Kurds are in effect trapped within Syria. In March 2011, in part to avoid further demonstrations and unrest from spreading across Syria, the Syrian government promised to tackle the issue and grant Syrian citizenship to approximately 300,000 Kurds who had been previously denied the right.[201]

On March 12, 2004, beginning at a stadium in Qamishli (a largely Kurdish city in northeastern Syria), clashes between Kurds and Syrians broke out and continued over a number of days. At least thirty people were killed and more than 160 injured. The unrest spread to other Kurdish towns along the northern border with Turkey, and then to Damascus and Aleppo.[202][203]

As a result of Syrian civil war, since July 2012, Kurds were able to take control of large parts of Syrian Kurdistan from Andiwar in extreme northeast to Jindires in extreme northwest Syria.

Armenia

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union, within which Kurds, like other ethnic groups, had the status of a protected minority. Armenian Kurds were permitted their own state-sponsored newspaper, radio broadcasts and cultural events. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many non-Yazidi Kurds were forced to leave their homes since both the Azeri and non-Yazidi Kurds were Muslim.

Azerbaijan

Main article: Kurds in Azerbaijan

In 1920, two Kurdish-inhabited areas of Jewanshir (capital Kalbajar) and eastern Zangazur (capital Lachin) were combined to form the Kurdistan Okrug (or “Red Kurdistan”). The period of existence of the Kurdish administrative unit was brief and did not last beyond 1929. Kurds subsequently faced many repressive measures, including deportations, imposed by the Soviet government. As a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many Kurdish areas have been destroyed and more than 150,000 Kurds have been deported since 1988 by separatist Armenian forces.[204]

Diaspora

Hamdi Ulukaya, Kurdish-American billionaire, founder and CEO ofChobani.

According to a report by the Council of Europe, approximately 1.3 million Kurds live in Western Europe. The earliest immigrants were Kurds from Turkey, who settled inGermanyAustria, the Benelux countries, Great BritainSwitzerland and France during the 1960s. Successive periods of political and social turmoil in the region during the 1980s and 1990s brought new waves of Kurdish refugees, mostly from Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, came to Europe.[8] In recent years, many Kurdish asylum seekers from both Iran and Iraq have settled in the United Kingdom (especially in the town of Dewsbury and in some northern areas of London), which has sometimes caused media controversy over their right to remain.[205] There have been tensions between Kurds and the established Muslim community in Dewsbury,[206][207] which is home to very traditional mosques such as the Markazi. There was substantial immigration of Kurds into North America, who are mainly political refugees and immigrants seeking economic opportunity. Kurdish immigrants started to settle in large numbers in Nashville in 1976,[208] which is now home to the largest Kurdish community in the United States and is nicknamed Little Kurdistan.[209] Kurdish population in Nashville is estimated to be around 11,000.[210] Total number of ethnic Kurds residing in the United States is estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be around 15,000.[211] According to the 2006 Canadian Census, there were over 9,000 people of Kurdish ethnic background living in Canada[212]and according to the 2011 Census, more than 10,000 Canadians spoke Kurdish language.[213]

 

Religion

As a whole, the Kurdish people are adherents to a large amount of different religions and creeds, perhaps constituting the most religiously diverse people of West Asia. Traditionally, Kurds have been known to take great liberties with their practices. This sentiment is reflected in the saying “Compared to the unbeliever, the Kurd is a Muslim”.[214]

Islam

Main articles: Islam and Alevi

The Zulfiqar, symbol for the Shia Muslims and Alevis.

Today, the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslim, belonging to the Shafi school.

There is also a minority of Kurds who are Shia Muslims, primarily living in the Ilam and Kermanshah provinces of Iran, Central and south eastern Iraq (Fayli Kurds)

Mystical practices and participation in Sufi orders are also widespread among Kurds.[215]

The Alevis (usually considered adherents of a branch of Shia Islam) are another religious minority among the Kurds, living in Eastern Anatolia. Alevism developed out of the teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, a 13th-century mystic from Khorasan. Among the Qizilbash, the militant groups which predate the Alevis and helped establish the Safavid Dynasty, there were numerous Kurdish tribes. The American missionary Trowbridge, working at Aintab (present Gaziantep) reported that his Alevi acquaintances considered as their highest spiritual leaders an Ahl-i Haqq sayyid family in the Guran district.[216]

Ahl-i Haqq (Yarsan)

Main article: Yârsânism

Ahl-i Haqq is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. Most of its adherents, totaling around 1,000,000, are Kurds. Its central religious text is the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in Gurani.

In this text, the religion’s basic pillars are summarized as such:

The Yarsan should strive for these four qualities: purity, rectitude, self-effacement and self-abnegation.[217]

The Yârsân faith’s unique features include millenarismnativismegalitarianismmetempsychosisangelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians and in Shī‘ah extremist groups; certainly, the names and religious terminology of the Yârsân are often explicitly of Muslim origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the Yârsân explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yezidis and Zoroastrians.[218]

The Ahl-i Haqq consider the Bektashi and Alevi as kindred communities.[216]

Yazidis

Main article: Yazidis

Melek Taus, the central figure of Yezidism.

Yazidism is another syncretic religion practiced among Kurdish communities, founded by Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, an 12th-century mystic from Lebanon. Their numbers exceed 500,000. Its central religious texts are the Kitêba Cilwe and Meshaf Resh

According to Yazidi beliefs, God created the world but left it in the care of a heptad of holy beings or angels. The most prominent angel is Melek Taus (Kurdish: Tawûsê Melek), the Peacock Angel, God’s representative on earth. Yazidis believe in the periodic reincarnation of the seven holy beings in human form.

Their holiest shrine and the tomb of the faith’s founder is located in Lalish, in northern Iraq.[219]

Zoroastrianism

Main article: Zoroastrianism

Presently, there are a small number of Zoroastrian Kurds, most of which are recent converts. These communities have established new temples and have been attempting to recruit new members to their faith.[220] The Kurdish philosopher Sohrevardi drew heavily from Zoroastrian teachings.[221]

Judaism

Main article: Kurdish Jews

A decorated plaque with Kurdish Jewish Purim poems, 19th century.

Judaism is still practised in very small numbers across Kurdistan. There are however some 200,000 Kurdish Jews, residing in Israel. The Jews of Kurdistan migrated to Palestine during the previous centuries but the overwhelming majority of the Kurdish Jews had fled to Israel together with Iraqi Jews in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah during 1950–1952.

The Jews of Kurdistan are thought to be the descendants of those Jews that were deported from Israel by the Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC. These later formed the Kingdom of Adiabene, and, after fading into obscurity in centuries thereafter, reappeared in the Middle Ages, where multiple accounts of them were made. One such accounts details the story of David Alroy, a Jewish leader from Amadiyah in the 12th century, who revolted against the Persian rulers and was bent on recapturing Jerusalem.

For centuries thereafter, the Jews had lived as protected subjects of the Kurdish tribal chieftains (aghas) and survived in the urban centers and villages in which they lived. According to Mordechai Zaken, the Kurdistani Jews had managed to survive by supporting their tribal chieftains and village aghas in times of need and through financial contributions, occasional gifts, variety of services as well as taxes and dues in the form of commissions of their commercial and agricultural transactions. In return, the tribal Kurdish aghas would protect their Jewish subjects and grant them patronage in the tribal arena. Indeed, some wealthy Jewish merchants and community leaders had to deal at times with aghas who coveted their vineyards or other material goods and satisfy their needs and fulfil their desire. However, in his research, Zaken points out that there was a kind of tribal tradition, passed on from father to son, to keep and protect the Jewish subjects in the village (at times one or two Jewish families in one village) or the tribal arena.[222] Even though the ancestral origins, as well as the mother tongue of the Kurdish Jews is different from the main Kurdish populace, the vast majority regard themselves as Kurds.[223]

Christianity

Main article: Kurdish Christians

Two Kurds with an Orthodox priest, 1873.

Although historically there have been various accounts of Kurdish Christians, most often these were in the form of individuals, and not as communities. However, in the 19th and 20th century various travel logs tell of Kurdish Christian tribes, as well as Kurdish Muslim tribes who had substantial Christan populations living amongst them. A significant number of these were allegedly originally Armenian or Assyrian,[224] and it has been recorded that a small number of Christian traditions have been preserved. Several Christian prayers in Kurdish have been found from earlier centuries.[225]

However, most contemporary Kurdish Christians are recent converts. Both among Turkish and Iraqi Kurds there have been an increasing number of Kurds converting to Christianity. Some communities of the Iraqi converts have formed their own evangelical churches. Prominent historical Kurdish Christians include Theophobos[226][227] and the brothers Zakare and Ivane.[228][229][230]

Culture

Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society. As most other Middle Eastern populations, a high degree of mutual influences between the Kurds and their neighbouring peoples are apparent. Therefore, in Kurdish culture elements of various other cultures are to be seen. However, on the whole, Kurdish culture is closest to that of other Iranian peoples, in particular those who historically had the closest geographical proximity to the Kurds, such as the Persiansand Lurs. Kurds, for instance, also celebrate Newroz (March 21) as New Year’s Day.[231]

Women

Kurdish men and women participate in mixed-gender dancing during feasts, weddings and other social celebrations. Major Soane, a British colonial officer during World War I, noted that this is unusual among Islamic people and pointed out that in this respect Kurdish culture is more akin to that of eastern Europe than to their West Asian counterparts.[232]

Folklore and Mythology

The fox; a widely recurring character in Kurdish tales

The Kurds possess a rich tradition of folklore, which, until recent times, was largely transmitted by speech or song, from one generation to the next. Although some of the Kurdish writers’ stories were well-known throughout Kurdistan; most of the stories told and sung were only written down in the 20th and 21st century. Many of these are, allegedly, centuries old.

Widely varying in purpose and style, among the Kurdish folklore one will find stories about nature, anthropomorphic animals, love, heroes and villains, mythological creatures and everyday life. A number of these mythological figures can be found in other cultures, like the Simurgh and Kaveh the Blacksmith in the broader Iranian Mythology, and stories of Shahmaran throughout Anatolia. Additionally, stories can be purely entertaining, or have an educational or religious aspect.[233]

Perhaps the most widely reoccurring element is the fox, which, through cunningness and shrewdness triumphs over less intelligent species, yet often also meets his demise.[233]Another common theme are the origins of a tribe.

Storytellers would perform in front of an audience, sometimes consisting of an entire village. People from outside the region would travel to attend their narratives, and the storytellers themselves would visit other villages to spread their tales. These would thrive especially during winter, where entertainment was hard to find as evenings had to be spent inside.[233]

Coinciding with the heterogeneous Kurdish groupings, although certain stories and elements were commonly found throughout Kurdistan, others were unique to a specific area; depending on the region, religion or dialect. The Kurdish Jews of Zakho are perhaps the best example of this; whose gifted storytellers are known to have been greatly respected throughout the region, thanks to a unique oral tradition.[234] Other examples are the mythology of the Yezidis,[235] and the stories of the Dersim Kurds, which had a substantial Armenian influence.[236]

During the criminalization of the Kurdish language after the coup d’état of 1980, dengbêj (singers) and çîrokbêj (tellers) were silenced, and many of the stories had become endangered. In 1991, the language was decriminalized, yet the now highly available radios and TV’s had as effect a diminished interest in traditional storytelling.[237] However, a number of writers have made great strides in the preservation of these tales.

Weaving

Modern rug from Bijar

Kurdish weaving is renowned throughout the world, with fine specimens of both rugs and bags. The most famous Kurdish rugs are those from the Bijar region, in the Kurdistan Province. Because of the unique way in which the Bijar rugs are woven, they are very stout and durable, hence their appellation as the ‘Iron Rugs of Persia’. Exhibiting a wide variety, the Bijar rugs have patterns ranging from floral designs, medallions and animals to other ornaments. They generally have two wefts, and are very colorful in design.[238]With an increased interest in these rugs in the last century, and a lesser need for them to be as sturdy as they were, new Bijar rugs are more refined and delicate in design.

Another well-known Kurdish rug is the Senneh rug, which is regarded as the most sophisticated of the Kurdish rugs. They are especially known for their great knot density and high quality mountain wool.[238] They lend their name from the region of Sanandaj. Throughout other Kurdish regions like KermanshahSiirtMalatya and Bitlis rugs were also woven to great extent.[239]

Kurdish bags are mainly known from the works of one large tribe: the Jaffs, living in the border area between Iran and Iraq. These Jaff bags share the same characteristics of Kurdish rugs; very colorful, stout in design, often with medallion patterns. They were especially popular in the West during the 1920s and 1930s.[240]

Handicrafts

A Kurdish nobleman bearing ajambiya dagger

Outside of weaving and clothing, there are many other Kurdish handicrafts, which were traditionally often crafted by nomadic Kurdish tribes. These are especially well known in Iran, most notably the crafts from the Kermanshah and Sanandaj regions. Among these crafts are chess boards, talismans, jewelry, ornaments, weaponry, instruments etc.

Kurdish blades include a distinct jambiya, with its characteristic I-shaped hilt, and oblong blade. Generally, these possess double-edged blades, reinforced with a central ridge, a wooden, leather or silver decorated scabbard, and a horn hilt, furthermore they are often still worn decoratively by older men. Swords were made as well. Most of these blades in curcilation stem from the 19th century.

Another distinct form of art from Sanandaj is ‘Oroosi’, a type of window where stylized wooden pieces are locked into each other, rather than being glued together. These are further decorated with coloured glass, this stems from an old belief that if light passes through a combination of seven colours it helps keep the atmosphere clean.

Among Kurdish Jews a common practice was the making of talismans, which were believed to combat illnesses and protect the wearer from malevolent spirits.

Tattoos

Adorning the body with tattoos (Deq in Kurdish) is widespread among the Kurds; even though permanent tattoos are not permissible in Sunni Islam. Therefore, these traditional tattoos are thought to derive from pre-Islamic times.[241]

Tattoo ink is made by mixing soot with (breast) milk and the poisonous liquid from the gall bladder of an animal. The design is drawn on the skin using a thin twig and is, by needle, penetrated under the skin. These have a wide variety of meanings and purposes, among which are protection against evil or illnesses; beauty enhancement; and the showing of tribal affiliations. Religious symbolism is also common among both traditional and modern Kurdish tattoos. Tattoos are more prevalent among women than among men, and were generally worn on feet, the chin, foreheads and other places of the body.[241][242]

The popularity of permanent, traditional tattoos has greatly diminished among newer generation of Kurds. However, modern tattoos are becoming more prevalent; and temporary tattoos are still being worn on special occasions (such as henna, the night before a wedding) and as tribute to the cultural heritage.[241]

Music and Dance

Main article: Kurdish music

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish classical performers: storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj), and bards (dengbêj). No specific music was associated with the Kurdish princely courts. Instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawiks, heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes such as SaladinHeyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love, one of the first Kurdish female singers to sing heyrans is Chopy Fatah, while Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed during the autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk), erotic poetry, and work songs are also popular.

Throughout the Middle East, there are many prominent Kurdish artists. Most famous are Ibrahim TatlisesNizamettin ArıçAhmet Kaya and the Kamkars. In Europe, well-known artists are Darin ZanyarSivan Perwer, and Azad.

Cinema

Bahman Ghobadi at the presentation of his film Nobody Knows About Persian Cats in San Sebastián, 2009

The main themes of Kurdish films are the poverty and hardship which ordinary Kurds have to endure. The first films featuring Kurdish culture were actually shot in Armenia. Zare, released in 1927, produced by Hamo Beknazarian, details the story of Zare and her love for the shepherd Seydo, and the difficulties the two experience by the hand of the village elder.[243] In 1948 and 1959, two documentaries were made concerning the Yezidi Kurds in Armenia. These were joint Armenian-Kurdish productions; with H. Koçaryan and Heciye Cindi teaming up for The Kurds of Soviet Armenia,[244] and Ereb Samilov and C. Jamharyan for Kurds of Armenia.[244]

The first critically acclaimed and famous Kurdish films were produced by Yılmaz Güney. Initially a popular, award-winning actor in Turkey with the nickname Çirkin Kral (the Ugly King, after his rough looks), he spent the later part of his career producing socio-critical and politically loaded films. Sürü (1979), Yol (1982) and Duvar (1983) are his best-known works, of which the second won Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival of 1982,[245] the most prestigious award in the world of cinema.

Another prominent Kurdish film director is Bahman Qubadi. His first feature film was A Time for Drunken Horses, released in 2000. It was critically acclaimed, and went on to win multiple awards. Other movies of his would follow this example;[246] making him one of the best known film producers of Iran of today. Recently, he released Rhinos Season, starring Behrouz VossoughiMonica Bellucci and Yilmaz Erdogan, detailing the tumultuous life of a Kurdish poet.

Other prominent Kurdish film directors are Mahsun KırmızıgülHiner Saleem and before mentioned Yilmaz Erdogan. There’s also been a number of films set and/or filmed in Kurdistan made by non-Kurdish film directors, such as the Wind Will Carry UsTriageThe ExorcistThe Market: A Tale of TradeDurchs wilde Kurdistan (de) and Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen (de).

Sports

Eren Derdiyok, the most famous contemporary Kurdish footballer, striker for the Swiss national football team

The most popular sport among the Kurds is football. Because the Kurds have no independent state, they have no representative team in FIFA or the AFC; however a team representing Iraqi Kurdistan has been active in the Viva World Cup since 2008. They became runners-up in 2009 and 2010, before ultimately becoming champion in 2012.

On a national level, the Kurdish clubs of Iraq have achieved success in recent years as well, winning the Iraqi Premier League four times in the last five years. Prominent clubs are Erbil SCDuhok SCSulaymaniyah FC and Zakho FC.

In Turkey, a Kurd named Celal Ibrahim was one of the founders of Galatasaray S.K. in 1905, as well as one of the original players. The most prominent Kurdish-Turkish club isDiyarbakirspor. In the diaspora, the most successful Kurdish club is Dalkurd FF and the most famous player is Eren Derdiyok.[247]

Another prominent sport is wrestling. In Iranian Wrestling, there are three styles originating from Kurdish regions:

Furthermore, the most accredited of the traditional Iranian wrestling styles, the Bachoukheh, derives its name from a local Khorasani Kurdish costume in which it is practiced.[248]

Kurdish medalists in the 2012 Summer Olympics were Nur Tatar,[249] Kianoush Rostami and Yezidi Misha Aloyan;[250] who won medals in taekwondoweightlifting and boxing, respectively.

Architecture

The Krak des Chevaliers, originally a Kurdish dwelling place known as Hisn al-Akrad (Castle of the Kurds),Homs

The traditional Kurdish village has simple houses, made of mud. In most cases with flat, wooden roofs, and, if the village is built on the slope of a mountain, the roof on one house makes for the garden of the house one level higher. However, houses with a beehive-like roof, not unlike those in Harran, are also present.

Over the centuries many Kurdish architectural marvels have been erected, with varying styles. Kurdistan boasts many examples from ancient Iranic, Roman, Greek and Semitic origin, most famous of these include Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah, Takht-e Soleyman near Takab, Mount Nemrud near Adiyaman and the citadels of Erbil and Diyarbakir.

The first genuinely Kurdish examples extant were built in the 11th century. Those earliest examples consist of the Marwanid Dicle Bridge in Diyarbakir, the Shadaddid Minuchir Mosque in Ani,[251] and the Hisn al Akrad near Homs.[252]

In the 12th and 13th centuries the Ayyubid dynasty constructed many buildings throughout the Middle East, being influenced by their predecessors, the Fatimids, and their rivals, the Crusaders, whilst also developing their own techniques.[253] Furthermore, women of the Ayyubid family took a prominent role in the patronage of new constructions.[254] The Ayyubids’ most famous works are the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque that surrounds the Pool of Sacred Fish in Urfa, the Citadel of Cairo[255] and most parts of the Citadel of Aleppo.[256] Another important piece of Kurdish architectural heritage from the late 12th/early 13th century is the Yezidi pilgrimage site Lalish, with its trademark conical roofs.

In later periods too, Kurdish rulers and their corresponding dynasties and emirates would leave their mark upon the land in the form mosques, castles and bridges, some of which have decayed, or have been (partly) destroyed in an attempt to erase the Kurdish cultural heritage, such as the White Castle of the Bohtan Emirate. Well-known examples are Hosap Castle of the 17th century,[257] Sherwana Castle of the early 18th century, and the Ellwen Bridge of Khanaqin of the 19th century.

Most famous is the Ishak Pasha Palace of Dogubeyazit, a structure with heavy influences from both Anatolian and Iranic architectural traditions. Construction of the Palace began in 1685, led by Colak Abdi Pasha, a Kurdish bey of the Ottoman Empire, but the building wouldn’t be completed until 1784, by his grandson, Ishak Pasha.[258][259]Containing almost 100 rooms, including a mosque, dining rooms, dungeons and being heavily decorated by hewn-out ornaments, this Palace has the reputation as being one of the finest pieces of architecture of the Ottoman Period, and of Anatolia.

In recent years, the KRG has been responsible for the renovation of several historical structures, such as Erbil Citadel and the Mudhafaria Minaret.[260]

 

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

 

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Keith E. Wrightson — Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts — History 251 — Yale University — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, Art, Art, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Climate, College, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Cult, Culture, Dance, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Entertainment, European History, Faith, Family, Farming, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Games, government, Heroes, history, Homes, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Music, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Professor Keith E. Wrightson

Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (HIST 251)

1. General Introduction

2. “The Tree of Commonwealth”: The Social Order in the Sixteenth Century

3. Households: Structures, Priorities, Strategies, Roles

4. Communities: Key Institutions and Relationships

5. “Countries” and Nation: Social and Economic Networks and the Urban System

6. The Structures of Power

7. Late Medieval Religion and Its Critics

8. Reformation and Division, 1530-1558

9. “Commodity” and “Commonweal”: Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560

10. The Elizabethan Confessional State: Conformity, Papists and Puritans

11. The Elizabethan “Monarchical Republic”: Political Participation

12. Economic Expansion, 1560-1640

13. A Polarizing Society, 1560-1640

14. Witchcraft and Magic

15. Crime and the Law

16. Popular Protest

17. Education and Literacy

18. Street Wars of Religion: Puritans and Arminians

19. Crown and Political Nation, 1604-1640

20. Constitutional Revolution and Civil War, 1640-1646

21. Regicide and Republic, 1647-1660

22. An Unsettled Settlement: The Restoration Era, 1660-1688

23. England, Britain, and the World: Economic Development, 1660-1720

24. Refashioning the State, 1688-1714

25. Concluding Discussion and Advice on Examination

 

 

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Civilisation — Videos

Posted on April 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Art, Blogroll, Books, Catholic Church, College, Communications, Culture, Dance, Demographics, Economics, Education, Entertainment, European History, Federal Government, government spending, Heroes, history, Language, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Security, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

civilization

civilization_2Civilisation by Kenneth Clark - Folio Society

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Civilisation (1969) Part 1 of 13 – The Skin of Our Teeth [HD]

 

Civilisation (1969) Part 2 of 13 – The Great Thaw [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 3 of 13 – Romance and Reality [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 4 of 13 – Man: The Measure of all Things [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 5 of 13 – The Hero as Artist [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 6 of 13 – Protest and Communication [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 7 of 13 – Grandeur and Obedience [HD] No Sound

Civilisation (1969) Part 8 of 13 – The Light of Experience [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 9 of 13 – The Pursuit of Happiness [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 10 of 13 – The Smile of Reason [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 11 of 13 – The Worship of Nature [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 12 of 13 – The Fallacies of Hope [HD]

 

Civilisation (1969) Part 13 of 13  [HD]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Legend of Barry Davis aka Barack Obama — A Legend in His Own Mind — Videos

Posted on April 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Strategy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

 

The Platters – The Great Pretender – HD (1955)

 

Glenn Beck Exposes Obama’s Fraudulent History and Radicalized Beliefs

Mark Levin – Obama the “Red Diaper Baby”

OBAMA’s REAL FATHER is Frank Marshall Davis !!!

President Frank Marshall Davis Jr.

The Great Pretender

Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 1)

Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 2)

Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 3)

Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 4)

Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama (Part 5)

 

 

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When will Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Roundup 2,000 Plus Wild Horses On Utah Rangeland? — The BLM Should Do Its Job and Not Harass Neveda Ranchers! — BLM’s Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 27,000 Wild Horses and Over 40,000 Wild Horses Nationally Plus Over 50,000 in Feed Lost Costing The American Taxpayer Millions! — Herd Size Doubles Every 4 Years — Sell The Wild Horses To China and Mexico — Beef and Food Prices Soaring — Connect The Dots People — Videos

Posted on April 13, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Beef, Blogroll, Bread, Business, College, Communications, Data, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Famine, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Freedom, Friends, Fruit, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Milk, People, Philosophy, Photos, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Transportation, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Wild Horses on Public Lands and the impact on Ranching and Communities

We took the show to Beaver County this week to get an on the ground look at how wild horses impact the range. In Utah the population of wild horses is over the Appropriate Management Level (AML) by 1,300 animals. Nationally the problem of dealing with the number of wild horses increases to 14,000 beyond the AML. The management of wild horses costs the BLM tens of millions of dollars every year but despite the efforts to gather wild horses off the range; the numbers keep increasing.
Chad Booth talks to Beaver County Commissioner, Mark Whitney; Iron County Commissioner, David Miller; and local rancher Mark Winch about the impacts on ranchers and the ultimate impact it has on the economies of rural Utah.

Transfer of Public Lands

Public Lands in Utah County Seat Season3, Episode 8

In recent years there has been a public outcry from Utahans asking the State to take a more active role in how management decisions are made on public lands. The take back Utah movement has looked at the history of public lands in the United States and began to ask why hasn’t Utah received the same treatment as other states in the Union. Utah has about 67% of its lands controlled and managed by the federal government. Some counties in the state are about 90% federally owned which creates a burden on the local governments because there is no property tax base to pay for the services that citizens need.

Last year Utah passed the Utah Public Lands Transfer Act, HB148; which basically asks the federal government to dispose of the remaining unallocated federal lands within the state by 2014. HB148 has opened up a conversation about what the proper role of the federal government should be in the management of public lands. Today’s show takes a look at the issues from a federal, state, and county perspective.

 

WARNING! MORE FOOD INFLATION COMING 2014 STOCK UP ASAP

Grocery Prices Soar

Spike in food prices has shoppers feeling effects – Mar 19th, 2014

U S Government Says ‘No Inflation’ As Food Prices Soar New update 2014

Preppers: Food Prices Rise Sharply – Up 19% for 2014!

Milk Prices PKG

Food Prices The Shocking Truth

Food Prices The Shocking Truth 1 of 2

Food Prices The Shocking Truth 2 of 2

Worldwide Food Shortages

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS to Usher in Worldwide Famine

Where’s the (Cheap) Beef? US Prices Soar

Meat Beef Bacon Costs Rise due to Drought? Inflation! Starvation Great-Depression Dollar$

Beef prices explained

BLM Wild Horse Strategy

The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program

BLM Socorro Water Trap Method Wild Horse Gather

The World Food Crisis ~ Special Report

Don’t Fence Me In – Roy Rogers & The Sons of the Pioneers –

Roy Rogers & Sons of The Pioneers Sing “The Last Roundup”

Wild horses targeted for roundup in Utah rangeland clash

Reuters
Two of a band of wild horses graze in the Nephi Wash area outside Enterprise, Utah

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View gallery

Two of a band of wild horses graze in the Nephi Wash area outside Enterprise, Utah, April 10, 2014. REUTERS/Jim …

By Jennifer Dobner

ENTERPRISE, Utah (Reuters) – A Utah county, angry over the destruction of federal rangeland that ranchers use to graze cattle, has started a bid to round up federally protected wild horses it blames for the problem in the latest dustup over land management in the U.S. West.

Close to 2,000 wild horses are roaming southern Utah’s Iron County, well over the 300 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has dubbed as appropriate for the rural area’s nine designated herd management zones, County Commissioner David Miller said.

County officials complain the burgeoning herd is destroying vegetation crucial to ranchers who pay to graze their cattle on the land, and who have already been asked to reduce their herds to cope with an anticipated drought.

Wild horse preservation groups say any attempt to remove the horses would be a federal crime.

On Thursday county workers, accompanied by a Bureau of Land Management staffer, set up the first in a series of metal corrals designed to trap and hold the horses on private land abutting the federal range until they can be moved to BLM facilities for adoption.

“There’s been no management of the animals and they keep reproducing,” Miller said in an interview. “The rangeland just can’t sustain it.”

The conflict reflects broader tension between ranchers, who have traditionally grazed cattle on public lands and held sway over land-use decisions, and environmentalists and land managers facing competing demands on the same land.

The Iron County roundup comes on the heels of an incident in neighboring Nevada in which authorities sent in helicopters and wranglers on horseback to confiscate the cattle herd of a rancher they say is illegally grazing livestock on public land.

In Utah, county commissioners warned federal land managers in a letter last month that the county would act independently to remove the horses if no mitigation efforts were launched.

“We charge you to fulfill your responsibility,” commissioners wrote. “Inaction and no-management practices pose an imminent threat to ranchers.”

The operation was expected to last weeks or months.

“The BLM is actively working with Iron County to address the horse issue,” Utah-based BLM spokeswoman Megan Crandall said, declining to comment further.

Attorneys for wild horse preservation groups sent a letter this week to Iron County commissioners and the BLM saying the BLM, under federal law, cannot round up horses on public lands without proper analysis and disclosure.

“The BLM must stop caving to the private financial interests of livestock owners whenever they complain about the protected wild horses using limited resources that are available on such lands,” wrote Katherine Meyer of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal a Washington, DC-based public interest law firm representing the advocates.

LONG-RUNNING PROBLEM

The BLM puts the free-roaming wild horse and burro population across western states at more than 40,600, which it says on its website exceeds by nearly 14,000 the number of animals it believes “can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.”

Wild horse advocates point out that the tens of thousands of wild horses on BLM property pales into comparison with the millions of private livestock grazing on public lands managed by the agency.

Wild horses have not been culled due to budget constraints, according to Utah BLM officials, who say their herds grow by roughly 20 percent per year.

Pressure on rangeland from the horses may worsen this summer due to a drought that could dry up the already sparse available food supply, according to Miller.

“We’re going to see those horses starving to death out on the range,” he said. “The humane thing is to get this going now.”

Adding to frustration is BLM pressure on ranchers to cut their cattle herds by as much as 50 percent to cope with the drought, Miller said.

A tour of Iron County rangeland, not far from the Nevada border, illustrates the unchecked herds’ impact on the land, said Jeremy Hunt, a fourth generation Utah rancher whose cattle graze in the summer in a management area split through its middle by a barbed wire fence.

On the cattle side of the fence, the sagebrush and grass landscape is thick and green. The other, where a group of horses was seen on Thursday, is scattered with barren patches of dirt and sparse vegetation.

“This land is being literally destroyed because they are not following the laws that they set up to govern themselves,” said Hunt, who also works as a farmhand to make ends meet for his family of six.

“I want the land to be healthy and I want be a good steward of the land,” he added. “But you have to manage both sides of the fence.”

 

 

Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise on Services as Goods Stagnate

 

Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose in March as the cost of services climbed by the most in four years while commodities stagnated.

The 0.5 percent advance in the producer-price index was the biggest since June and followed a 0.1 percent decrease the prior month, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The recent inclusion of services may contribute to the gauge’s volatility from month-to-month, which will make it more difficult to determine underlying trends.

Rising prices at clothing and jewelry retailers and food wholesalers accounted for much of the jump in services, even as energy costs retreated, signaling slowing growth in emerging markets such as China will keep price pressures muted. With inflation running well below the Federal Reserve’s goal, the central bank is likely to keep borrowing costs low in an effort to spur growth.

“Every six months or so service prices seem to pop, but over the year, service prices tend to dampen inflation more often than not,” Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial in New York, wrote in a note. “One month of price gains is not indicative of a trend.”

Also today, consumer confidence climbed this month to the highest level since July, a sign an improving job market is lifting Americans’ spirits. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary April sentiment index rose to 82.6 from 80 a month earlier.

 
Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg

Rising prices at clothing and jewelry retailers and food wholesalers accounted for much… Read More

Shares Fall

Stocks dropped, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index heading for its biggest weekly decline since January, as disappointing results from JPMorgan Chase & Co. fueled concern that corporate earnings will be weak. The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,826.29 at 10:02 a.m. in New York.

Today’s PPI report is the third to use an expanded index that measures 75 percent of the economy, compared to about a third for the old metric, which tallied the costs of goods alone. After its first major overhaul since 1978, PPI now measures prices received for services, government purchases, exports and construction.

Estimates for the PPI in the Bloomberg survey of 72 economists ranged from a drop of 0.2 percent to a 0.3 percent gain.

Core wholesale prices, which exclude volatile food and energy categories, climbed 0.6 percent, the biggest gain since March 2011, exceeding the projected 0.2 percent advance of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. They dropped 0.2 percent in February.

Past Year

The year-to-year gain in producer prices was the biggest since August and followed a 0.9 percent increase in the 12 months to February. Excluding food and energy, the index also increased 1.4 percent year to year following a 1.1 percent year-to-year gain in February.

The cost of services climbed 0.7 percent in March, the biggest gain since January 2010. Goods prices were unchanged and were up 1.1 percent over the past 12 months.

Wholesale food costs climbed 1.1 percent in March, led by higher costs for meats, including pork and sausage. Energy costs fell 1.2 percent last month.

Food producers and restaurants say they’re paying more for beef, poultry, dairy and shrimp. At General Mills Inc. (GIS), maker of Yoplait yogurt, Cheerios cereal and other brands, rising dairy prices helped push retail profit down 11 percent in the third quarter, said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based company. Powell called the inflation “manageable.”

Food Prices

“While the economy is improving slowly and incomes are strengthening slowly, they are improving,” Powell said on a March 19 earnings call. “As incomes continue to grow and consumers gain confidence that will be a positive sign for our category.”

Today’s PPI report provides a glimpse into the consumer-price index, the broadest of three inflation measures released by the Labor Department. The CPI, due to be released April 15, probably climbed 0.1 percent in March, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

The wholesale price report also offers an advance look into the personal consumption expenditures deflator, a gauge monitored closely by the Fed. Health care prices make up the largest share of the core PCE index, which excludes food and energy costs. The next PCE report is due from the Commerce Department May 1.

This week, Fed policy makers played down their own predictions that interest rates might rise faster than they had forecast, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting. The minutes bolstered remarks made by last month by Chair Janet Yellen.

“If inflation is persistently running below our 2 percent objective, that is a very good reason to hold the funds rate at its present range for longer,” Yellen said at a March 19 press conference following the committee meeting.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-11/wholesale-prices-in-u-s-rise-more-than-forecast-on-services.html

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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

Posted on March 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, European History, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

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

nsa_logo

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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
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

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

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.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] 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.[3]

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.[1] 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.[4]

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.[4]

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”.[2] 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.[1]

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.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind_%28code_name%29

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] 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.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] 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.[13][14]

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.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

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.[1] 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).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] 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.[2][22] 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.[22]

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.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] 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).[23] 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.”[1]

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.[11] 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.[2][11]

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.[1] 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.”[1]

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.[2][1]

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.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

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.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • 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.”[25]
  • 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.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • 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.”[27]
  • 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.”[25]

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.[13] 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.”[1] “[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.[26]

“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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30] 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.”[31]

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.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] 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.[32] 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”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

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.[32] 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.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

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.[34]

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”.[35]

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.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

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.[13] 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.”[37] 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.”[37] 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.”[37] 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.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

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.”[15]

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.”[40][10] 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).”[10]

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.”[10]

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.”[41] 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.”[41]

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.[42]

Legislative branch

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,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] 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,”[45]

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”.[46]
  • 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.”[47]
  • 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.”[48]

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?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (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.”[51] “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.”[51]

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,”[46]
  • 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,”[52]

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”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

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,”[54]
  • 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.”[45]

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.”[52]

Judicial branch

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).”[10] 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.”[55] 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.”[55] 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.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

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.[55] 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.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] 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.[55] 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.[55]

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.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

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.[57]

Canada

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.”[58]

Germany

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]

Israel

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

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.”[62]

United Kingdom

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.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
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,”[65] 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.”[66]

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.”[67] 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.”[67] 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.[68]

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.[69] 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.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] 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.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

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;[72] 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.”[72][73] 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.[74]

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.[75]

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”.[76]

International response

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.[77][78] 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”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] 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.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] 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.[84]

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”.[85]

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[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] 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.”[86][87] 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.[87] 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.”[82]

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.”[88]

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.”[89] 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.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

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.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

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.”[94]

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.[95]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

ThinThread

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

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

Trailblazer

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.[1][2] 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.[3][4] 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”.[5]

Background

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.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

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.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

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.” [13]

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.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

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.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

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.”[3]

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.[3][18][19] 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.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

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.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] 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.[17]

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.[3][18] 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,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] 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.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXwwSq_me4

Boundless Informant

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.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] 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.[3][4]

History

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).[5][6][7]

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.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]

Technology

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.[11]

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.[12][13][14][15]

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.”[16]

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.[17][18]

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

ECHELON

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[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

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.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] 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.[5]

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.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

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.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] 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.”[5]

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.[8] 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%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] 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.[5]

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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[10]

Controversy

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.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] 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.[13][14]

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.[5]

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.

Hardware

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.[citation needed] 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.[15]

Name

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.”[5] 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.[16] 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.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] 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)[18]
  • 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[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • 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)

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

Room 641A

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.[1][2]

Description

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.[1] 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[3] 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.”[4] 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.[2]

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.[1]

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.[5] 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”.

Lawsuit

Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

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.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

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

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The First World War – Part 2/10

The First World War – Part 3/10

The First World War – Part 4/10

The First World War – Part 5/10

The First World War – Part 6/10

The First World War – Part 7/10

The First World War – Part 8/10

The First World War – Part 9/10

The First World War – Part 10/10

The Guns of August

The Guns of August is a documentary that follows the book by the same title by author, Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989), an eminent American historian. She received the first of her two Pulitzer prizes for this 1962 masterpiece on World War I. The documentary was made in 1965. Barbara Tuchman was highly respected for her ability to present complex subjects and present them with clarity. Until I read the previous review, I have never heard of anyone accusing her of hating Germany or its people or of her book being anti-German propaganda. But there are pictures of shot civilians and movies of smoldering ruins. Then again, there are people who claim the Holocaust never took place and is just anti-Nazi propaganda… Facts: On August 3 1914, Germany declared war on France. The German invasion plan for France called for an attack through Belgium, instead of through the heavily defended Franco-German border. Belgium was neutral and its neutrality was protected by treaty with Great Britain. The Germans attacked on August 3rd. The next day, August 4th, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Germany warned Belgium that they only wanted to reach France and if Belgium complied, there wouldn’t be any trouble. Despite its small army, Belgium chose to protect its sovereignty and its honor and paid for it. Liège, Aarschot, Andenne, Tamines, Dinant, and Leuven, where the worst of the German depredations occurred.

 

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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

Posted on February 10, 2014. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Comedy, Communications, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, government spending, Health Care, history, Homes, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medicine, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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

entitlements

CBO_Impact_Obamacare_Employmentjob_impact

CBO_Labor_Participation_Rate

fiscal_policy_unstainablecbo_job_report

obama-economy-jobs-debt-deficit-political-cartoon-new-normal

cartoon_obamacare

obamacare_work_killer

obamacare_admitting

obamacare_impact

n0nh6p-ramirez.jobsdeathpanelobamacare_web_designercreating part time jobs

beeler_class_warfare_full

Appendix C: Labor Market Effect of Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates

Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act— CBO’s February 2014 Baseline

Table 1. CBO’s May 2013 Estimate of the Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage

Obamacare and jobs reports: Health care law could cost more than 2 million jobs

Casey Mulligan: Eroding incentives is damaging

W.H. defends Obamacare amid CBO findings

Obamacare ACA Impact On Workforce Why Work? Special Report All Star Panel

CBO Director to Congress: Obamacare Will Reduce Unemployment Rate

Hayes Admits CBO Obamacare Report ‘Not Some Right Wing Attack’

Obama Admin On CBO Report: You’re Now Free To “Work Or Not Work”, Thanks Obamacare – Stuart Varney

CBO Director: Obamacare creates ‘disincentive’ to work

Casey Mulligan – Affordable Care and the Labor Market

Casey Mulligan, PhD, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
“Affordable Care and the Labor Market”
October 16, 2013
MacLean Center Seminar Series 2013-2014, Ethical Issues in Health Care Reform

15 Poverty and Welfare Programs

Public Economics and Finance – Social Insurance Programs

Public Economics and Finance – Social Insurance Programs Continued and Welfare Programs

Charles Murray: Why America is Coming Apart Along Class Lines

Uncommon Knowledge: White America Is ‘Coming Apart’

In Depth with Charles Murray

Appendix C: Labor Market Effect of Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates

Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act— CBO’s February 2014 Baseline

Table 1. CBO’s May 2013 Estimate of the Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage

The Economist Who Exposed ObamaCare

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.

Unaffordable_Careless_Act

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.”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304181204579364933406260084?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304181204579364933406260084.html

Health Law To Cut Into Labor Force

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.[1]

Social programs in the United States are welfare subsidies designed to aid the needs of the U.S. population. Proposals for federal programs began with Theodore Roosevelt‘s New Nationalism and expanded with Woodrow Wilson‘s New FreedomFranklin D. Roosevelt‘sNew DealJohn F. Kennedy‘s New Frontier, and Lyndon B. Johnson‘s Great Society.

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.[1][2] 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.[3] As of 2011, the public social spending-to-GDP ratio in the United States was below the OECD average.[4]

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.[5][6]

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.[7]

Analysis

Household Characteristics

[hide]Characteristics of Households by Quintile 2010[8]

Household Income
Bracket
0-20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% 81-100%
Earners Per Household 0.42 0.90 1.29 1.70 1.97
Marital Status
Married couples (%) 17.0 35.9 48.8 64.3 78.4
Single Parents or Single (%) 83.0 64.1 51.2 35.7 21.6
Ages of Householders
Under 35 23.3 24 24.5 21.8 14.6
36-64 years 43.6 46.6 55.4 64.3 74.7
65 years + 33.1 29.4 20.1 13.9 10.7
Work Status householders (%)
Worked Full Time (%) 17.4 44.7 61.1 71.5 77.2
Worked Part Time (%) 14.3 13.3 11.1 9.8 9.5
Did Not Work (%) 68.2 42.1 27.8 17.7 13.3
Education of Householders (%)
Less than High School 26.7 16.6 8.8 5.4 2.2
High School or some College 61.2 65.4 62.9 58.5 37.6
Bachelor’s degree or Higher 12.1 18.0 28.3 36.1 60.3
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.

Unlike in Europe, Christian democratic and social democratic theories have not played a major role in shaping welfare policy in the United States.[9] Entitlement programs in the U.S. were virtually non-existent until the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the implementation of the New Deal programs in response to the Great Depression. Between 1932 and 1981, modern American liberalism dominated U.S. economic policy and the entitlements grew along with American middle class wealth.[10]

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. [11] Others claim that ordering the needy to drug test “stereotypes, stigmatizes, and criminalizes” them without need. [12] States that currently require drug tests to be performed in order to receive public assistance include ArizonaFloridaGeorgiaMissouriOklahomaTennessee, and Utah.[13]

Demographics of TANF Recipients

A chart showing the overall decline of average monthly welfare benefits (AFDC then TANF) per recipient 1962–2006 (in 2006 dollars).[14]

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”.[15][16] This perception possibly perpetuates negative racial stereotypes and could increase Americans’ opposition and racialization of welfare policies.[15]

In FY 2010, African-American families comprised 31.9% of TANF families, white families comprised 31.8%, and 30.0% were Hispanic.[17] 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%.[18] 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.[19] TANF programs at a cost of about $20.0 billion (2013) have decreased in use as Earned Income Tax CreditsMedicaid 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.[20]

Costs

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.[21][22]

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.[23] The previous decade had seen a 60% decrease in the number of people receiving welfare benefits,[24] 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*[25]

Households
by Income
Market
Income1
Federal
Transfers 2
Income +
Transfers
Avg Federal
Tax rate %3
Federal
Taxes $4
% Federal
Taxes Pd. 5
#W6 % Net
Income7
0-20% 7,600 22,900 30,500 1.0 200 0.3 0.42 6.2
21-40% 30,100 14,800 45,000 6.8 2,900 3.8 0.90 11.1
41-60% 54,200 10,400 64,600 11.1 7,200 9.4 1.29 15.8
61-80% 86,400 7,100 93,500 15.1 14,100 18.3 1.70 21.6
80-100 218,800 6,000 224,800 23.2 51,900 67.9 1.97 47.2
Source: Congressional Budget Office Study[25]
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.[25]

History

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.

War on Poverty and Great Society programs (1960s)

Further information: War on Poverty and Great Society

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.[26][dubious – discuss] Aid could include general welfare payments, health care through Medicaidfood stamps, special payments for pregnant women and young mothers, and federal and state housing benefits.[26]

In 1968, 4.1% of families were headed by a woman receiving welfare assistance; by 1980, the percentage increased to 10%.[26] In the 1970s, California was the U.S. state with the most generous welfare system.[27] Virtually all food stamp costs are paid by the federal government.[28] In 2008, 28.7 percent of the households headed by single women were considered poor.[29]

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.”[30] Prior to reform, states were given “limitless”[30] money by the federal government, increasing per family on welfare, under the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.[31] 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).[32] Nationwide, one child in seven received AFDC funds,[31] which mostly went to single mothers.[28]

In 1996, under the Bill Clinton administrationCongress 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,”[28]amounts from the federal government were given out in a flat rate per state based on population.[32]

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).[31] 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.[28][24][31] The bill restricts welfare from most legal immigrants and increased financial assistance for child care.[24] The federal government also maintains an emergency $2 billion TANF fund to assist states that may have rising unemployment.[31]

President Bill Clinton signing welfare reform legislation.

Following these changes, millions of people left the welfare rolls (a 60% drop overall),[24] employment rose, and the child poverty rate was reduced.[28] A 2007 Congressional Budget Office study found that incomes in affected families rose by 35%.[24] The reforms were “widely applauded”[33] after “bitter protest.”[28] The Times called the reform “one of the few undisputed triumphs of American government in the past 20 years.”[34]

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.[28]

National Review editorialized 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.[32] 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.[34] The House bill provides $4 billion to pay 80% of states’ welfare caseloads.[31] 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.[30]

[hide]Spending on largest Welfare Programs
Federal Spending 2003-2013*[35]

Federal
Programs
Spending
2003*
Spending
2013*
Medicaid Grants to States $201,389 $266,565
Food Stamps (SNAP) 61,717 82,603
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) 40,027 55,123
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 38,315 50,544
Housing assistance 37,205 49,739
Child Nutrition Program (CHIP) 13,558 20,842
Support Payments to States, TANF 28,980 20,842
Feeding Programs (WIC & CSFP) 5,695 6,671
Low Income Home Energy Assistance 2,542 3,704
Notes:
* Spending in millions of dollars

Timeline

The following is a short timeline of welfare in the United States:[36]

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.

1933: In March 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed Congress to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps.

1935: The Social Security Act was passed on June 17, 1935. The bill included direct relief (cash, food stamps, etc.) and changes for unemployment insurance.

1940: Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) was established.

1964: Johnson’s War on Poverty is underway, and the Economic Opportunity Act was passed. Commonly known as “the Great Society

1996: Passed under Clinton, the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996″ becomes law.

2013: Affordable Care Act goes into effect with large increases in Medicaid and subsidized medical insurance premiums go into effect.

Types of social programs

Means tested Social Programs

[hide]79 Means Tested Programs in U.S. (2011)[37]

Programs Federal
Spending*
State
Spending*
Total
Spending*
TOTAL cost in (billions) (2011) $717 $210 $927
Social Security OASDI (2013) $785
Medicare(2013) $574
TOTAL all programs (billions) $2,287
============================ ======= ====== ======
CASH ASSISTANCE (millions)
SSI/Old Age Assistance 56,462.00 4,673.00 61,135.00
Earned Income Tax Credit
(refundable portion)
55,652.00 55,652.00
Refundable Child Credit 22,691.00 22,691.00
Make Work Pay Tax Credit
(Refundable Portion)
13,905.00 13,905.00
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF, old AFDC)
6,882.89 6,876.86 13,759.74
Foster Care Title IVE 4,456.00 3,921.28 8,377.28
Adoption Assistance Title IVE 2,362.00 1,316 3,678.00
General Assistance Cash 2,625.00 2,625.00
Refugee Assistance 167.86 167.86
General Assistance to Indians 115.00 115.00
Assets for Independence 24.00 24.00
CASH TOTAL 162,717.75 19,412.14 182,129.88
MEDICAL
Medicaid 274,964.00 157,600.00 432,564.00
SCHIP State Supplemental
Health Insurance Program
8,629.00 3,796.76 12,425.76
Medical General Assistance 6,965.90 6,965.90
Consolidated Health Center
/Community Health Centers
1,481.00 1,481.00
Maternal & Child Health 656.00 492.00 1,148.00
Medical Assistance to Refugees 167.86 167.86
Healthy Start 104.00 104.00
MEDICAL TOTAL 289,816.86 168,854.66 458,671.52
FOOD
Food Stamps, SNAP 77,637.00 6,987.33 84,624.33
School Lunch Program 10,321.00 10,321.00
WIC Women, Infant and
Children Food Program
6,787.00 6,787.00
School Breakfast 3,076.00 3,076.00
Child Care Food Program 2,732.00 2,732.00
Nutrition Program for the
Elderly, Nutrition Service Incentives
820.00 139.40 959.40
Summer Program 376.00 376.00
Commodity Supplemental Food Program 196.00 196.00
TEFAP Temporary
Emergency Food Program
247.00 247.00
Needy Families 60.00 60.00
Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program 23.00 23.00
Special Milk Program 13.00 13.00
FOOD TOTAL 102,288.00 7,126.73 109,414.73
HOUSING
Section 8 Housing (HUD) 28,435.00 28,435.00
Public Housing (HUD) 8,973.00 8,973.00
Low Income Housing
Tax Credit for Developers
6,150.00 6,150.00
Home Investment
Partnership Program (HUD)
2,853.00 2,853.00
Homeless Assistance
Grants (HUD)
2,280.00 2,280.00
State Housing Expenditures (from SWE) 2,085.00 2,085.00
Rural Housing Insurance
Fund (Agriculture)
1,689.00 1,689.00
Rural Housing
Service (Agriculture)
1,085.00 1,085.00
Housing for the Elderly (HUD) 934.00 934.00
Native American
Housing Block Grants (HUD)
854.00 854.00
Other Assisted Housing
Programs (HUD)
496.00 496.00
Housing for Persons
with Disabilities (HUD)
309.00 309.00
HOUSING TOTAL 54,058.00 2,085.00 56,143.00
ENERGY AND UTILITIES
LIHEAP Low Income Home
Energy Assistance
4,419.00 4,419.00
Universal Service Fund
Subsidized Low Income Phone Service
1,750.00 1,750.00
Weatherization 234.00 234.00
ENERGY AND UTILITIES TOTAL 6,403.00 6,403.00
EDUCATION
Pell Grants 41,458.00 41,458.00
Title One Grants to
Local Education Authorities
14,472.00 14,472.00
21st Century Learning Centers 1,157.00 1,157.00
Special Programs for
Disadvantaged (TRIO)
883.00 883.00
Supplemental Education
Opportunity Grants
740.00 740.00
Adult Basic Education Grants 607.00 607.00
Migrant Education 444.00 444.00
Gear-Up 303.00 303.00
LEAP Formerly State Student
Incentive Grant Program (SSIG)
1.00 1.00
Education for Homeless
Children and Youth
65.00 65.00
Even Start 4.00 4.00
Aid for Graduate and Professional
Study for Disadvantaged and Minorities
41.00 41.00
EDUCATION TOTAL 60,175.00 60,175.00
TRAINING
TANF Work Activities and Training 2,504.90 831.93 3,336.83
Job Corps 1,659.00 1,659.00
WIA Youth Opportunity Grants
Formerly Summer Youth Employment
946.00 946.00
Senior Community Service Employment 705.00 77.55 782.55
WIA Adult Employment and Training
formerly JTPA IIA Training for
Disadvantaged Adults & Youth
766.00 766.00
Food Stamp Employment
and Training Program
393.00 166.00 559.00
Foster Grandparents 104.00 10.40 114.40
YouthBuild 110.00 110.00
Migrant Training 85.00 85.00
Native American Training 52.00 52.00
TRAINING TOTAL 7,324.90 1,085.88 8,410.78
SERVICES
TANF Block Grant Services 5,385.12 4,838.13 10,223.25
Title XX Social Services Block Grant 1,787.00 1,787.00
Community Service Block Grant 678.00 678.00
Social Services for
Refugees Asylees and Humanitarian Cases
417.28 417.28
Safe and Stable Families 553.00 553.00
Title III Aging Americans Act 369.00 369.00
Legal Services Block Grant 406.00 406.00
Family Planning 298.00 298.00
Emergency Food and Shelter Program 48.00 48.00
Healthy Marriage and
Responsible Fatherhood Grants
50.00 150.00
Independent Living (Chafee
Foster Care Independence Program)
140.00 28.00 168.00
Independent Living Training Vouchers 45.00 45.00
Maternal, Infants and
Children Home Visitation
36.00 36.00
SERVICES TOTAL 10,411.40 4,866.13 15,277.53
CHILD CARE AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Headstart 7,559.0 1,889.75 9,448.75
Childcare and
Child Development Block Grant
2,984 2,176.00 5,160.00
Childcare Entitlement to the States 3,100.00 3,100.00
TANF Block Grant Child Care 2,318.56 2,643.78 4,962.35
CHILD CARE & CHILD DEVELOPMENT TOTAL 15,961.56 6,709.53 22,671.10
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Community Development Block Grant
and Related Development Funds
7,445.00 7,445.00
Economic Development
Administration (Dept. of Commerce)
423.00 423.00
Appalachian Regional Development 68.00 68.00
Empowerment Zones,
Enterprise Communities Renewal
1.00 1.00
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TOTAL 7,937.00 7,937.00
TOTAL in millions (2011) $717,093.48 $210,140.07 $927,233.55
Social Security OASDI (2013) $785,700
Medicare(2013) $574,200
TOTAL in millions $2,287,133
Notes:
* 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

Social security

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).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a federal insurance program that providesincome supplements to people who are restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability.

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.

General welfare

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides stipends to low-income people who are either aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children.

Healthcare spending

Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by the private sectorHealth insurance in the United States is now primarily provided by the government in the public sector, with 60–65% of healthcare provision and spending coming from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid,TRICARE, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration.

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.[38] 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.[39] The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.

The Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services Block Grant (or ADMS Block Grant) is a federal assistance block grant given by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Education spending

University of California, Berkeley is one of the oldest public universities in the U.S.

Per capita spending on tertiary education is among the highest in the world[citation needed]. 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[40]), 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.[41] 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.[citation needed]

Food assistance

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.[42] 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.[43] Since the economic downturn began in 2008, the use of food stamps has increased.[43]

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a child nutrition program for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five. The eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines, but if a person participates in other benefit programs, or has family members who participate in SNAP, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, they automatically meet the eligibility requirements.

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[44] in non-residential, day-care settings.[45]

Public housing

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 created Section 8 housing, the payment of rent assistance to private landlords on behalf of low-income households.

See also

General:

References

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  40. Jump up^ Jonathan L. v. Superior Court, 165 Cal.App.4th 1074 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 2008). Text of opinion
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  45. Jump up^ Child and Adult Care Food Program (CFDA 10.558);OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement; Part 4: Agency Program Requirements: Department of Housing and Urban Development, pg. 4-10.558-1

Further reading

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

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The entire memo is here and worth a read:

Sessions Warns House GOP: Immigration Bill Is Bad Politics, Bad Policy

Offers a better way forward.

By DANIEL HALPER

Yesterday afternoon, before President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff hand-delivered to each Republican member of the House an important memo on the so-called immigration reform bill being debated on Capital Hill. The 3-page document, written by Sessions, argues that pushing the current immigration legislation forward is bad politics, bad policy, and that there’s a better way for Republicans.

Jeff Sessions

Sessions believes House Republicans are at risk of falling into President Obama’s trap. “[A]ccording to news reports, House Republican leaders are instead turning 2014 into a headlong rush towards Gang-of-Eight style ‘immigration reform,'” writes Sessions. “They are reportedly drafting an immigration plan that is uncomfortably similar to a ‘piecemeal’ repackaging of the disastrous Senate plan—and even privately negotiating a final package with Democrat activists before consulting with their own members.”

It’s bad politics, Sessions writes. “In the rush to pass an immigration bill, there has been a near absence of any serious thought about the conditions facing American workers. The last 40 years has been a period of record immigration to the U.S., with the last 10 years seeing more new arrivals than any prior 10- year period in history. This trend has coincided with wage stagnation, enormous growth in welfare programs, and a shrinking workforce participation rate. A sensible, conservative approach would focus on lifting those living here today, both immigrant and native-born, out of poverty and into the middle class—before doubling or tripling the level of immigration into the U.S.

A sensible immigration policy would also listen to the opinion of the American people. Not the opinions of the paid-for consultants trotted out with their agenda-driven polls to GOP member meetings—but the actual, honest opinion of the people who sent us here. There is a reason why none of the corporate-funded ads for amnesty breathe a word about doubling immigration levels. According to Rasmussen Reports, working and middle class Americans strongly oppose large expansions of our already generous immigration system. Those earning under $30,000 prefer a reduction to an increase by an overwhelming 3-1 margin.

And bad policy, the senator from Alabama details. “Coordinating with a small group of the nation’s most powerful special interests, last year President Obama and Senate Democrats forced through an immigration bill which can only be described as a hammer blow to the American middle class. Not only would it grant work permits to millions of illegal immigrants at a time of record joblessness, it would also double the annual flow of new immigrant workers and provide green cards to more than 30 million permanent residents over the next decade. These new workers, mostly lesser-skilled, will compete for jobs in every sector, industry, and occupation in the U.S. economy.”

He adds, “House Republicans, in crafting immigration principles, should reply to the President’s immigration campaign with a simple message: our focus is to help unemployed Americans get back to work—not to grant amnesty or to answer the whims of immigration activists and CEOs. In turn, that message could be joined with a detailed and unifying policy agenda for accomplishing that moral and social objective.”

As for Sessions’ “Better Agenda,” he lays it out very precisely:

The GOP’s 2014 agenda should not be to assist the President in passing his immigration plan. Rather, it should be a consuming focus on restoring hope and opportunity to millions of discouraged workers. The GOP’s 2014 agenda should be a national effort—announced proudly and boldly—to reduce the welfare rolls and get America back to work, including:

  •  More American energy that creates good-paying jobs right here in the U.S.
  •  A more competitive tax and regulatory code that allows U.S. businesses and workers tocompete on a level global playing field
  •  A trade policy that increases U.S. exports and expands domestic manufacturing
  •  An immigration policy that serves the interests of the American people
  •  Converting the welfare office into a job training center
  •  Making government leaner and more accountable to U.S. taxpayers
  •  Restoring economic confidence by continuing our effort to balance the federal budget

An all-out immigration push is inimical to these goals.

Rep. Ryan: GOP Looking at Legal Status, Chance for Citizenship

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), a leading GOP advocate for tackling immigration, confirmed Wednesday that Republicans are looking to give illegal immigrants legal status right away, with the chance for a green card—and citizenship—down the line.

Officials familiar with the planning had said as much before. But Mr. Ryan is the first member of the GOP leadership to lay out the Republican vision publicly.

At issue is how to handle more than 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally. Most House Republicans oppose the Senate approach, whereby all qualified illegal immigrants would first win legal status, then have the chance to apply for legal permanent residence (also known as a green card), and then for citizenship. House Republicans call that a “special path to citizenship” that is unavailable to those who followed the law.

House Republicans have been talking since last summer about a different approach, and Mr. Ryan laid it out on Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”

First, illegal immigrants would be offered a “probationary” status, allowing them to work while the government tightened border security and interior enforcement. Officials have explained that this would allow people to work legally while they wait for permanent legal status. (Officials have explained that this group could revert to illegal status if enforcement benchmarks are not met.)

Mr. Ryan said it would make sure that the Obama administration went ahead with the enforcement provisions. “We want to make sure that we write a law that he can’t avoid,” Mr. Ryan said.

After that, they would be eligible for a “regular work permit,” he said.

“If those things are met, you satisfy the terms of your probation, you’re not on welfare, you pay a fine, you learn English and civics, and the border’s been secured and interior enforcement independently verified, then you can get a regular work permit,” he said.

At that point, this group could apply for green cards using the same system available to any newcomer.

“That’s the kind of process we envision,” he said. “Which is not a special pathway to citizenship and it’s not going to automatically in any way give an undocumented immigrant citizenship.”

Some Democrats and immigration advocates have signaled that they could accept this approach, depending on the details. It’s unclear whether enough Republicans would feel the same. The idea will get its first full airing on Thursday afternoon, when House Republicans are scheduled to discuss immigration at their retreat in Cambridge, Md.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/01/29/rep-ryan-gop-looking-at-legal-status-chance-for-citizenship/

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President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 Address — The Young and The Jobless Betrayed By Obama — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Babies, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, government, government spending, Health Care, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Narcissism, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Psychology, Public Sector, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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unemployment_minimum_wage

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Story 1: President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 Address — The Young and The Jobless Betrayed By Obama — Videos

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The Stupid Republican Party Leadership About To Commit Political Suicide By Supporting Legal Status For 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens — The Party Will Split and Their Base Will Stay Home On Election Day 4 November 2014 — Videos

Posted on January 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Business, College, Communications, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Raves, Regulations, Security, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Video, War, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: The Stupid Republican Party Leadership About To Commit Political Suicide By Supporting Legal Status For 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens — The Party Will Split and Their Base Will Stay Home On Election Day 4 November 2014 — Videos

Immigration Reform Bill May Offer Protections For Illegal Aliens Convicted Of Certain Crimes!

John Boehner’s Sad Excuses On Immigration Reform

Backing in G.O.P. for Legal Status for Immigrants

The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

But even before the document is unveiled later, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections.

“It’s one of the few things that could actually disrupt what looks like a strong Republican year,” said William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, calling an immigration push “a recipe for disaster.”

At the same time, Republicans have seen their support from Latinos plummet precisely because of their stance on immigration, and the “statement of principles,” barely more than a page, is intended to try to reverse that trajectory.

The statement of principles criticizes the American higher education system for educating some of the world’s best and brightest students only to lose them to their home countries because they cannot obtain green cards; insists that Republicans demand that current immigration laws be enforced before illegal immigrants are granted legal status; and mentions that some kind of triggers must be included in an immigration overhaul to ensure that borders are secured first, said Republican officials who have seen the principles.

With concern already brewing among conservatives who call any form of legal status “amnesty,” the document has the feel more of an attempt to test the waters than a blueprint for action. House Republican leaders will circulate it at a three-day retreat for their members that begins Wednesday on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Several pro-immigration organizations that have been briefed on the guidelines say they are not intended to serve as a conservative starting point for future negotiations, but as a gauge of how far to the left House Republicans are willing to move.

The principles say that Republicans do not support a “special path to citizenship,” but make an exception for the “Dreamers,” the immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, quoting a 2013 speech by Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader. “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” Mr. Cantor said at the time. “It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.”

Even ardent proponents of an immigration-law overhaul are, at best, cautiously optimistic. In June, a broad immigration overhaul — with a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants now in the country illegally, and stricter border security provisions that would have to be in place before the immigrants could gain legal status — passed the Senate with bipartisan support. But that legislation has largely stalled in the Republican-controlled House, where Mr. Boehner has rejected any negotiations with the Senate over its comprehensive bill.

“This is obviously a long, hard road,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, who helped negotiate the Senate bill, “but I think since August, the number on the other side vehemently opposed has stayed the same, the number who think it should go forward has grown, and numbers in the wide middle are less opposed than they used to be. But that doesn’t guarantee an outcome one way or another.”

Republican Party leaders, backed strongly by business groups, have said an overhaul is critical if they are to repair their political position with Latino and other immigrant voters.

Barry Jackson, Mr. Boehner’s former chief of staff, is consulting for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports an overhaul that expands high-technology visas and guest worker programs.

But immigration is less of an issue during midterm elections, when immigrants are not as likely to vote and House members in safe districts are insulated somewhat from the wrath of more moderate swing voters. Often the biggest threats to Republicans are primary challenges from more conservative candidates who say that changing the immigration status of someone who is in the country illegally amounts to amnesty for a lawbreaker.

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Downsize Federal Government — Eliminate The Department of Energy — Home Energy Score — Government Intervention Into The Private Sector — Videos

Posted on January 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, history, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Raves, Regulations, Science, Talk Radio, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

us-doe-logodoe-energyscore

home energy score timeline internachi energy rating ben gromicko

ScoreCard

DOE-logo

Our Ever Growing Dependence on Government

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Giving Away Money Costs More Than You Think

Downsizing the Federal Government

Downsize the Department of Energy

Can We Eliminate the Department of Education? (Charles Murray)

$5 Billion Loan for Solar Energy — Department of Energy

Phil Kerpen on Neil Cavuto to discuss the DOE loan program

Our Ever Growing Dependence on Government

Obamanomics: A Legacy of Wasteful Spending

Why Does Big Business Love Big Government? (Domhoff, Rothbard, and Evers)

G. William Domhoff is a research professor in psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Who Rules America? (1967), Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness (1974), and other books.

A prolific author and Austrian economist, Murray Rothbard promoted a form of free market anarchism he called “anarcho-capitalism.”

Bill Evers was a resident scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution (and is currently a research fellow there) and also served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education from 2007-09.

In this lecture Domhoff, Rothbard, and Evers talk about the “interlocking overlappers” that get together to influence the government, in California and in the country generally. They each spend some time describing what it is that draws businesspeople to market-capturing and rent-seeking behaviors, and take questions from the audience.

Walter Block – Free-Market Environmentalism [Australian Mises Seminar 2012]

How Murray Rothbard Became a Libertarian

The tide is rising for America’s libertarians

By Edward Luce

The new spirit in a rising climate of anti-politics has become an attitude, rather than a movement

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cc9a31b8-7928-11e3-b381-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2qJAmizcR

Robert Nozick, the late US libertarian, smoked pot while he was writing Anarchy, State and Utopia. He would applaud the growth of libertarianism among today’s young Americans. Whether it is their enthusiasm for legalised marijuana and gay marriage – both spreading across the US at remarkable speed – or their scepticism of government, US millennials no longer follow President Barack Obama’s cue. Most of America’s youth revile the Tea Party, particularly its south-dominated nativist core. But they are not big-government activists either. If there is a new spirit in America’s rising climate of anti-politics, it is libertarian.

On the face of it this ought to pose a bigger challenge to the Republican party – at least for its social conservative wing. Mr Obama may have disappointed America’s young, particularly the millions of graduates who have failed to find good jobs during his presidency. But he is no dinosaur. In contrast, Republicans such as Rick Santorum, the former presidential hopeful, who once likened gay sex to “man on dog”, elicit pure derision. Even moderate Republicans, such as Chris Christie, who until last week was the early frontrunner for the party’s 2016 nomination, are considered irrelevant. Whether Mr Christie was telling the truth last week, when he denied knowledge of his staff’s role in orchestrating a punitive local traffic jam, is beside the point. Mr Christie’s Sopranos brand of New Jersey politics is not tailored to the Apple generation.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cc9a31b8-7928-11e3-b381-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2qJAvkWVr

The opposite is true of Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator, whose chances of taking the 2016 prize rose with Mr Christie’s dented fortunes last week. Unlike Ron Paul, the senator’s father, who still managed to garner a large slice of the youth vote in 2008, Rand Paul eschews the more outlandish fringes of libertarian thought. Rather than promising an isolationist US withdrawal from the world, he touts a more moderate “non-interventionism”. Instead of pledging to end fiat money, he promises to audit the US Federal Reserve – “mend the Fed”, rather than “end the Fed”. Both find echo among the Y generation. So too does his alarmism about the US national debt. Far from being big spenders, millennials are more concerned about US debt than other generations, according to polls. They are also strongly in favour of free trade. More than a third of the Republican party now identifies as libertarian, according to the Cato Institute. Just under a quarter of Americans do so too, says Gallup.

All of which looks ominous for Ted Cruz, the Texan Republican whose lengthy filibuster against Obamacare last year lit the fuse for the US government shutdown. Mr Cruz, also a 2016 aspirant, leads the pugilistic wing of the Republican party that is prepared to burn the house down in order to save the ranch. Although also a Tea Partier, Mr Paul is cultivating a sunnier Reaganesque optimism that draws on the deep roots of US libertarianism. His brand of politics also strikes a chord with those who fear the growth of the US surveillance state – the types who view Edward Snowden (another millennial) as a hero rather than a traitor. Last year the US House of Representatives came within 12 votes of passing a bill to defund the National Security Agency. Mr Paul led the bill in the Senate. Next time they could succeed.

November 2012: While Obama lost ground among white male voters, his 2012 victory was the product of perhaps the most diverse electoral coalition in American history. Voters talk about how they interpret the president’s re-election

What does it mean for the Democrats? In terms of social values, libertarians are almost identical to liberals. Smoking pot and same-sex marriage both meet with big approval. The same is not necessarily true of guns. In spite of recent school massacres, 40 US states now have “concealed weapons” laws – many passed in the past 12 months. Again, millennials are surprisingly sceptical of gun control, say the polls. But it is on economic policy where they really part company with liberals. The Great Depression helped forge a generation of solid Democrats. The same does not appear to be true of the Great Recession. Franklin Roosevelt helped dig people out of misery in the 1930s by providing direct public employment. Mr Obama, on the other hand, has stuck largely to economic orthodoxy. He may have missed a golden opportunity to mould a generation of social democrats.

He has also inadvertently fuelled scepticism about the role of government. Mr Obama came to power in 2008 on a surge of voluntarism. He did so in part by appealing to youthful idealism about public service. That now feels like a long time ago. Distrust in public institutions has continued to rise during his presidency – most strongly among the youngest generation. The share of voters who identify as independents, rather than Democrats or Republicans, recently hit an all-time high of 42 per cent, according to Gallup. This is bad news for established figures in either party – and, indeed, in any walk of life. Hillary Clinton should beware. So should Jeb Bush.

On the minus side, libertarians have no real answer to many of America’s biggest problems – not least the challenges posed to US middle-class incomes by globalisation and technology. Nor are they coherent as a force. Libertarianism is an attitude, rather than an organisation. It is also potentially fickle. Young Americans disdain foreign entanglements. That could change overnight with a big terrorist attack on the homeland. They feel let down by Democrats and hostile to mainstream Republicans. Yet they could flock to an exciting new figure in either party. Theirs is a restless generation that disdains authority. Establishment figures should take note. Tomorrow belongs to them.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cc9a31b8-7928-11e3-b381-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2qJAO0w8t

DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

The Energy Department on Tuesday is rolling out new, improved software to help Americans measure the energy efficiency of their homes.

DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool — is like a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes’ efficiency.

The software is part of the government’s effort to reduce the nation’s energy consumption; but it’s also billed as a way to keep home-retrofitting going, at a time when stimulus funds for weather-proofing have run out.

The Home Energy Scoring Tool “can be a powerful motivator in getting homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements,” DOE says. “It’s also a great way to help trained workers enter the private sector energy improvement market as funding for weatherization efforts decline.”

DOE says its Home Energy Score is useful if you are a homeowner looking to renovate or remodel your home, lower your utility bills, improve the comfort of your home, or reduce your energy usage. Moreover, “the score serves as an official way to document these improvements and thereby enhance your home’s appeal when you’re ready to sell.”

Right now, getting your home scored is voluntary.

To produce a Home Energy Score, a trained, “qualified assessor” comes to your home — for a fee — and collects approximately 40 pieces of data about the home’s “envelope” (e.g., walls, windows, heating and cooling systems) during an hour-long walk-through.

Based on the home’s characteristics, the DOE software estimates the home’s annual energy use, assuming “typical homeowner behavior.” The software then converts the estimated energy use into a score, based on a 10-point scale (10 being the most energy-efficient). The 1-10 scale accounts for differences in weather conditions by using the zip code to assign the house to one of more than 1,000 weather stations.

In addition to showing the home’s current energy efficiency — or inefficiency — the score also shows where a home would rank if all of the energy-saving improvements identified during the home walk-through were made. That may prompt some homeowners to buy new windows or doors, for example, boosting the market for home retro-fitters.

DOE recommends getting a Home Energy Score “as soon as the program becomes available in your area.” The program launched in 2012, and at this time, only single-family homes and townhouses can be scored.

The scoring is available only through DOE’s participating partners, which include state and local governments, utilities, and non-profits. DOE does not determine how much an assessor charges to score a house. “It will depend on what the local market supports.” But DOE says its partners “have indicated plans to charge between $25 and $125 for the Home Energy Score.”

And yes, the size of the home matters because larger homes use more energy.

The Home Energy Score and the associated report is generated through DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory software. The 2014 version of DOE’s Home Energy Scoring Tool will be introduced at a webinar on Tuesday.

So far,

home energy scoreThe Home Energy Score is similar to a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating, says the U.S. Energy Department. (Graphic is from DOE website)

DOE says more than 8,500 homes have been scored by the Energy Department’s growing network of more than 25 partners and 175 qualified assessors.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

- See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/doe-plugs-energy-rating-homes-similar-mpg-rating-cars#sthash.CQAafjhv.9gcKr0Ng.dpuf

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/doe-plugs-energy-rating-homes-similar-mpg-rating-cars

Home Energy Assessments

Cathy Zoi on the new Home Energy Score pilot program

Acting Under Secretary Cathy Zoi talks about the new Home Energy Score pilot program that was announced today by Vice President Biden and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Home Energy Score will offer homeowners straightforward, reliable information about their homes’ energy efficiency. A report provides consumers with a home energy score between 1 and 10, and shows them how their home compares to others in their region. The report also includes customized, cost-effective recommendations that will help to reduce their energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes.

200,000 homes weatherized under the Recovery Act

Home Energy Score Pilot Program Launched By DOE

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 1 intro

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 2

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 3

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 4

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 5

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 6

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 7

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 8

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 9

Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 10

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Three Cheers for Phil Robertson — Duck Dynasty, Free Speech, and Religious Freedom Win One — GLAAD IS SAD — Live With It and Move On — Videos

Posted on December 28, 2013. Filed under: American History, Art, Art, Babies, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Heroes, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Rifles, Talk Radio, Television, Television, Vacations, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson reinstated

 

A & E lifts suspension on ‘Duck Dynasty’

‘This Week’ Roundtable: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Debate

‘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/

Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

God Is Behind Going Duck Crazy — Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson Suspended From Show For Expressing Views On Gays — Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God — I’m With Phil — Photos &amp; Videos

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How Low Will Poll Numbers Go On Obamacare and Obama? — Videos

Posted on December 23, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Unemployment, Video, Wealth | Tags: , , , |

Poll Obamacare support drops to new low

CNN’s Christmas Present For President Obama: Record Low Obamacare Poll Numbers

Brit Hume on Obama’s 43% Approval Rating: ‘I think these chickens are coming home to roost!’

MSNBC: Obama Poll Numbers At All Time Lows, Dragging Down 2014 Democrats

New Poll: Obamacare Approval Sinks To 31% Down 12 Points Since Oct – Rolling Collapses – Varney

ABC: New Poll Numbers Brutal For Obama

What you missed on Washington Week: Obama’s poll numbers slipping

Democratic senator says Obamacare could have ‘meltdown,’ hurt party

President Barack Obama’s healthcare law could have a “meltdown” and make it difficult for his Democratic Party to keep control of the U.S. Senate next year if ongoing problems with the program are not resolved, a Democratic senator said on Sunday.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has urged delaying a penalty for people who do not enroll for health insurance in 2014 under the law, told CNN that a transitional year was needed for the complex healthcare program, commonly known as Obamacare, to work.

“If it’s so much more expensive than what we anticipated and if the coverage is not as good as what we had, you’ve got a complete meltdown at that time,” Manchin told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

“It falls of its own weight, if basically the cost becomes more than we can absorb, absolutely.”

The White House has been scrambling for months to control the damage from the botched October 1 launch of the law, formally called the Affordable Care Act, which aimed at making sure that millions of Americans without health insurance are able to receive medical coverage.

There have been complaints from consumers about higher premiums than they previously had to pay for health insurance after their old plans were canceled because of new standards under the law, as well as lingering problems with the main web portal used to sign up for insurance, HealthCare.gov.

Manchin said Senate Democrats who are up for re-election next year are “feeling the weight” of the program’s woes and could have trouble keeping their majority in the chamber.

Republicans have been highlighting the healthcare law’s difficulties as they seek to gain the six seats they would need to win control of the 100-member Senate.

“It needs to turn around,” Manchin said of Obamacare. “I’m not going to say that I think we will lose it (the Senate). It’s going to be extremely challenging. We have some very good people who are truly there, I believe, for the right reason. They’re going to be challenged for the wrong reason.”

Obama acknowledged on Friday that that the bungled launch of the healthcare law was his biggest mistake of 2013. His public approval numbers have dropped to historic lows over the law’s debut.

The president said more than 1 million people have signed up so far for new coverage under Obamacare through HealthCare.gov, which services 36 states, and 14 state-run marketplaces.

A day earlier, Obama’s administration said people whose insurance plans were canceled because of the law may claim a “hardship exemption” to the requirement that all Americans must have coverage by March 31 next year or face a penalty.

Manchin, a conservative Democrat whose state of West Virginia has been increasingly trending Republican, has made no secret of his frustration over the program’s fits and starts.

Last month he introduced legislation to delay by a year the $95 penalty for failing to sign up for health insurance, saying Americans should not be penalized while Obamacare is going through its “transition period.”

Manchin does not face re-election next year, but some Democrats who do have also urged changes to the program, such as extending the open enrollment period beyond the March 31 deadline. One third of the Senate is re-elected every two years.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/democratic-senator-says-obamacare-could-39-meltdown-39-172125028.html

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U.S. District Court Rules National Security Agency (NSA)’s Phone Surveillance Program Unconstitutional — Videos

Posted on December 16, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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Segment 0: U.S. District Court Rules National Security Agency (NSA)’s Phone Surveillance Program Unconstitutional — Videos

Judge rules NSA spying program likely unconstitutional

Federal Judge Rules NSA Spying On All American Phone Calls Unconstitutional

OBAMA defends Massive NSA Spying PRISM program. Taps in to Data of Apple, Google, Skype, Verizon

Sen. Paul Applauds the Protection of Fourth Amendment Rights

Dec 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. District Court ruling that deemed the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone surveillance program unconstitutional:

“I commend U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon for upholding and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights. This decision represents an important first step in having the constitutionality of government surveillance programs decided in the regular court system rather than a secret court where only one side is presented,” Sen. Paul said. “In June, I introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act which, if enacted, would have restored our Constitutional rights and declared that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause. The NSA phone surveillance program is a blatant abuse of power and an invasion of our privacy. This ruling reminds the Federal government that it is not above the law. I will continue to fight against the violations of American’s Constitutional rights through illegal phone surveillance until it is stopped once and for all.”

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