Archive for June, 2013

Progressive Democrats and Republicans and Neocons Want Another War in The Middle East With Syria, Iran and Russia — Heading Towards World War 3 — Videos

Posted on June 29, 2013. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Biology, Blogroll, Bomb, Chemistry, College, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Dirty Bomb, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Genocide, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Science, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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War – Edwin Starr

Ron Paul On Syria – Plans Rumours And War Propaganda For Attacking Syria – Revolution – June 19 2012

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Glenn Beck : The New War Republicans and Democrats Want In The Middle East 2013

The United States continues to supply weapons to rebels in the Middle East who kill, cut open, and eat organs out of their enemies dead bodies. 6/17/13

Glenn Beck : Progressive’s War Causes Refugees To Flee For Life 6/18/13

Glenn Beck : It’s Time To Change Things 6/25/13

World War 3 – The Map – TheBlaze

WW3 is about to BEGIN U S British, German, French, Nato TROOPS n WARSHIPS Ready to Invade SYRIA

Pete Seeger: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Background Articles and Videos

The United States continues to supply weapons to rebels in the Middle East who kill, cut open, and eat organs out of their enemies dead bodies. 6/17/13

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Obama’s Lies — Only Fools Believe Anything Obama Says or Trust Him — Obama Has Narcissistic Personality Disorder — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Obama-Lies

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2013-06-03, Mon_Glenn Beck, The Blaze TV

65 Outrageous Lies by President Obama

Narcissist: Confabulations, Lies

Obama: Narcissist’s Reaction to Failure and Defeat

Glenn Beck – Presidential Lies “Do You Know Anybody Like Barack Obama?”

Who is the REAL Barack Obama?

Barack Obama Lies To America

Who else than Obama is able to lie 16 times in 3 minutes ?

Barack Obama lies watch how many times!

Obama: The Early Lies

Obama Lies: Healthcare

Obama Lies: Fast And Furious

Obama Lies: Benghazi

Obama Lying About The Economy  – The BlazeTV

BREAKING: Obama To Start A War With Syria

Is Obama Admin Lying To Congress? – Big Brother Expoxed! – On The Record w/ Greta

Build upto WW3 – U.S. WAR on SYRIA is all about MONEY. Obama’s LIES about CHEMICAL WEAPONS In Syria

Krauthammer’s Take: ‘My Jaw Dropped’ at Obama’s Syria Plan

Syria : The Red Line has been crossed Obama to send military aid to al qaeda rebels (Jun 13, 2013)

Zbigniew Brzezinski on Syria: US is engaging in “mass propaganda”, “Who’s fighting for democracy?”

ANALYSIS: Why Bill Clinton Calls President Obama “Total Fool” over Syria Conflict

Michael Savage Attacks Caller Defending Obama on NSA Spying

‘Engaging In Mass Propaganda’ MSNBC Guest Tears Into Obama’s ‘Chaotic,’ ‘Baffling’ Syria Response

All The Lies – TheBlazeTV – The Glenn Beck Program – 2013.06.03

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The U.S. Economy Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Grew Only 1.8% (Third Estimate) Not 2.4% (Second Estimate) in First Quarter of 2013 — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Resources, Security, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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GDP

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http://seekingalpha.com/article/1379861-real-gdp-per-capita-another-perspective-on-the-economy

Line 2011 2012 2013
I II III IV I II III IV I
1 Gross domestic product 0.1 2.5 1.3 4.1 2.0 1.3 3.1 0.4 1.8
2 Personal consumption expenditures 3.1 1.0 1.7 2.0 2.4 1.5 1.6 1.8 2.6
3 Goods 5.4 -1.0 1.4 5.4 4.7 0.3 3.6 4.3 4.4
4 Durable goods 7.3 -2.3 5.4 13.9 11.5 -0.2 8.9 13.6 7.6
5 Nondurable goods 4.6 -0.3 -0.4 1.8 1.6 0.6 1.2 0.1 2.8
6 Services 2.0 1.9 1.8 0.3 1.3 2.1 0.6 0.6 1.7
7 Gross private domestic investment -5.3 12.5 5.9 33.9 6.1 0.7 6.6 1.3 7.4
8 Fixed investment -1.3 12.4 15.5 10.0 9.8 4.5 0.9 14.0 3.0
9 Nonresidential -1.3 14.5 19.0 9.5 7.5 3.6 -1.8 13.2 0.4
10 Structures -28.2 35.2 20.7 11.5 12.9 0.6 0.0 16.7 -8.3
11 Equipment and software 11.1 7.8 18.3 8.8 5.4 4.8 -2.6 11.8 4.1
12 Residential -1.4 4.1 1.4 12.1 20.5 8.5 13.5 17.6 14.0
13 Change in private inventories
14 Net exports of goods and services
15 Exports 5.7 4.1 6.1 1.4 4.4 5.3 1.9 -2.8 -1.1
16 Goods 5.7 3.7 6.2 6.0 4.0 7.0 1.1 -5.0 -2.5
17 Services 5.8 5.1 6.1 -8.8 5.2 1.1 4.0 2.5 2.4
18 Imports 4.3 0.1 4.7 4.9 3.1 2.8 -0.6 -4.2 -0.4
19 Goods 5.2 -0.7 2.9 6.3 2.0 2.9 -1.2 -3.9 -1.3
20 Services -0.6 4.2 13.8 -1.7 9.0 2.3 2.6 -5.6 4.5
21 Government consumption expenditures and gross investment -7.0 -0.8 -2.9 -2.2 -3.0 -0.7 3.9 -7.0 -4.8
22 Federal -10.3 2.8 -4.3 -4.4 -4.2 -0.2 9.5 -14.8 -8.7
23 National defense -14.3 8.3 2.6 -10.6 -7.1 -0.2 12.9 -22.1 -12.0
24 Nondefense -1.7 -7.5 -17.4 10.2 1.8 -0.4 3.0 1.7 -2.1
25 State and local -4.7 -3.2 -2.0 -0.7 -2.2 -1.0 0.3 -1.5 -2.1
Addendum:
26 Gross domestic product, current dollars 2.2 5.2 4.3 4.2 4.2 2.8 5.9 1.3 3.1

US first-quarter growth was 1.8%, not 2.4% – economy

Marc Faber – Economic Predictions, Debt, Crisis, Depression

Financial Crisis, Jim Rogers Interview

Peter Schiff: Don’t get Burned by a Volatile Market

Peter Schiff ~ Where Is The Bottom In Gold?

Jim Rogers Economy Predictions 2013

USA Will Lose Economic War Jim Rogers

Background Articles and Videos

GDP Propaganda Exposed

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013
BEA 13-30

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Kate Shoemaker: (202) 606-5564 (Profits) cpniwd@bea.gov
Recorded message: (202) 606-5306
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product, 1st quarter 2013 (third estimate);
Corporate Profits, 1st quarter 2013 (revised estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 (that
is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau
of Economic Analysis.  In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.

      The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the "second" estimate issued last month.  In the second estimate, real GDP increased 2.4 percent.  With
the third estimate for the first quarter, the increase in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) was less
than previously estimated, and exports and imports are now estimated to have declined (for more
information, see "Revisions" on page 3).

      The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE,
private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative
contributions from federal government spending, state and local government spending, and exports.
Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

BOX._____________

     Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts

     BEA will release the results of the 14th comprehensive (or benchmark) revision of the national
income and product accounts (NIPAs) in conjunction with the second quarter 2013 "advance" estimate
on July 31, 2013.  More information on the revision is available on BEA’s Web site at
www.bea.gov/gdp-revisions.  An article in the March 2013 issue of the Survey of Current Business
discusses the upcoming changes in definitions and presentations, and an article in the May Survey
describes the changes in statistical methods.  Revised NIPA table stubs and news release stubs are also
available on the Web site.  An article in the September Survey will describe the estimates in detail.
________________

FOOTNOTE._______
Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise specified.
Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates.  Percent changes are
calculated from unrounded data and are annualized.  "Real" estimates are in chained (2005) dollars.
Price indexes are chain-type measures.

      This news release is available on BEA’s Web site along with the Technical Note
 and Highlights related to this release.  For information on revisions, see "Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components".
_________________

      The acceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected an upturn in private
inventory investment, an acceleration in PCE, and smaller decreases in federal government spending and
in exports that were partly offset by a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment and a smaller
decrease in imports.

      Motor vehicle output added 0.33 percentage point to the first-quarter change in real GDP after
adding 0.18 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change.  Final sales of computers added 0.09
percentage point to the first-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.10 percentage point to the fourth-
quarter change.

      The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.2 percent in the first quarter, unrevised from the second estimate; this index increased 1.6
percent in the fourth quarter.  Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic
purchases increased 1.5 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.2 percent in the
fourth.

      Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with
an increase of 1.8 percent in the fourth.  Durable goods increased 7.6 percent, compared with an increase
of 13.6 percent.  Nondurable goods increased 2.8 percent, compared with an increase of 0.1 percent.
Services increased 1.7 percent, compared with an increase of 0.6 percent.

      Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 0.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with an
increase of 13.2 percent in the fourth.  Nonresidential structures decreased 8.3 percent, in contrast to an
increase of 16.7 percent.  Equipment and software increased 4.1 percent, compared with an increase of
11.8 percent.  Real residential fixed investment increased 14.0 percent, compared with an increase of
17.6 percent.

      Real exports of goods and services decreased 1.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with a
decrease of 2.8 percent in the fourth.  Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.4 percent,
compared with a decrease of 4.2 percent.

      Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 8.7 percent
in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of 14.8 percent in the fourth.  National defense decreased
12.0 percent, compared with a decrease of 22.1 percent.  Nondefense decreased 2.1 percent, in contrast
to an increase of 1.7 percent.  Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment decreased 2.1 percent, compared with a decrease of 1.5 percent.

      The change in real private inventories added 0.57 percentage point to the first-quarter change in
real GDP, after subtracting 1.52 percentage points from the fourth-quarter change.  Private businesses
increased inventories $36.7 billion in the first quarter, following increases of $13.3 billion in the fourth
quarter and $60.3 billion in the third.

      Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 1.2
percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent in the fourth.

Gross domestic purchases

      Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 1.8 percent in the first quarter; it was unchanged in the fourth.

Gross national product

      Real gross national product -- the goods and services produced by the labor and property
supplied by U.S. residents -- increased 1.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 0.9
percent in the fourth.  GNP includes, and GDP excludes, net receipts of income from the rest of the
world, which decreased $17.7 billion in the first quarter after increasing $19.2 billion in the fourth; in
the first quarter, receipts decreased $16.3 billion, and payments increased $1.4 billion.

Current-dollar GDP

      Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased
3.1 percent, or $120.0 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $15,984.1 billion.  In the fourth quarter,
current-dollar GDP increased 1.3 percent, or $53.1 billion.

Gross domestic income

      Real gross domestic income (GDI), which measures the output of the economy as the costs
incurred and the incomes earned in the production of GDP, increased 2.5 percent in the first quarter,
compared with an increase of 5.5 percent in the fourth.  For a given quarter, the estimates of GDP and
GDI may differ for a variety of reasons, including the incorporation of largely independent source data.
However, over longer time spans, the estimates of GDP and GDI tend to follow similar patterns of
change.

Revisions

      The downward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected downward
revisions to personal consumption expenditures, to exports, and to nonresidential fixed investment that
were partly offset by a downward revision to imports.

                                             Advance Estimate         Second Estimate         Third Estimate
				        		(Percent change from preceding quarter)

Real GDP......................................     2.5                     2.4                     1.8
Current-dollar GDP............................     3.7                     3.6                     3.1
Gross domestic purchases price index..........     1.1                     1.2                     1.2

                                              Corporate Profits

      Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital
consumption adjustments) decreased $28.0 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $45.4
billion in the fourth quarter.  Current-production cash flow (net cash flow with inventory valuation
adjustment) -- the internal funds available to corporations for investment -- increased $125.6 billion in
the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $89.8 billion in the fourth.

      Taxes on corporate income decreased $10.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease
of $4.4 billion in the fourth.  Profits after tax with inventory valuation and capital consumption
adjustments decreased $17.5 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $49.8 billion in the
fourth.  Dividends decreased $103.5 billion, in contrast to an increase of $124.3 billion.  The large
fourth-quarter increase reflected accelerated and special dividends paid by corporations at the end of
2012 in anticipation of changes to individual income tax rates.   Current-production undistributed profits
increased $85.8 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $74.3 billion.

      Domestic profits of financial corporations decreased $3.4 billion in the first quarter, compared
with a decrease of $3.5 billion in the fourth.  Domestic profits of nonfinancial corporations decreased
$5.0 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $24.8 billion in the fourth.  In the first
quarter, real gross value added of nonfinancial corporations increased, and profits per unit of real value
added decreased.  The decrease in unit profits reflected an increase in the unit nonlabor costs incurred by
corporations that was partly offset by a decrease in unit labor costs; unit prices were unchanged.

      The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $19.6 billion in the first quarter, in contrast
to an increase of $24.1 billion in the fourth.  This measure is calculated as (1) receipts by U.S. residents
of earnings from their foreign affiliates plus dividends received by U.S. residents from unaffiliated
foreign corporations minus (2) payments by U.S. affiliates of earnings to their foreign parents plus
dividends paid by U.S. corporations to unaffiliated foreign residents.  The first-quarter decrease was
accounted for by a larger decrease in receipts than in payments.

      Profits before tax with inventory valuation adjustment is the best available measure of industry
profits because estimates of the capital consumption adjustment by industry do not exist.  This measure
reflects depreciation-accounting practices used for federal income tax returns.  According to this
measure, domestic profits of both financial and nonfinancial corporations decreased.  The decrease in
nonfinancial corporations primarily reflected decreases in "other" nonfinancial and in manufacturing that
were partly offset by increases in information and in wholesale trade.  Within manufacturing, the largest
decreases were in petroleum and coal products and in machinery.

      Profits before tax decreased $34.7 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $27.3
billion in the fourth.  The before-tax measure of profits does not reflect, as does profits from current
production, the capital consumption and inventory valuation adjustments.  These adjustments convert
depreciation of fixed assets and inventory withdrawals reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to
the current-cost measures used in the national income and product accounts.  The capital consumption
adjustment increased $12.5 billion in the first quarter (from -$199.5 billion to -$187.0 billion), compared
with an increase of $0.5 billion in the fourth.  The inventory valuation adjustment decreased $5.8 billion
(from -$9.2 billion to -$15.0 billion), in contrast to an increase of $17.6 billion.

      The first-quarter changes in taxes on corporate income and in the capital consumption
adjustment mainly reflect the expiration of bonus depreciation claimed under the American Taxpayer
Relief Act of 2012.  For detailed data, see the table "Net Effects of the Tax Acts of 2002, 2003, 2008,
2009, 2010, and 2012 on Selected Measures of Corporate Profits" at
www.bea.gov/national/xls/technote_tax_acts.xls.  Profits from current production are not affected
because they do not depend on the depreciation-accounting practices used for federal income tax returns;
rather, they are based on depreciation of fixed assets valued at current cost using consistent depreciation
profiles based on used-asset prices. For more details on the effect of tax act provisions on the capital
consumption adjustment, see FAQ #999 on the BEA Web site, "Why does the capital consumption
adjustment for domestic business decline so much in the first quarter of 2012?"

                                        *          *          *

      BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.

                                        *          *          *

                         Next release -- July 31, 2013, at 8:30 A.M. EDT for:
                    Gross Domestic Product:  Second Quarter 2013 (Advance Estimate)
                  Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts
                                  (1929 through First Quarter 2013)

Real GDP Per Capita: Another Perspective On The Economy

Earlier Friday we learned that the Advance Estimate for Q1 2013 real GDP came in at 2.5 percent, up from 0.4 percent in Q4 2012. Let’s now review the numbers on a per-capita basis.

For an alternate historical view of the economy, here is a chart of real GDP per-capita growth since 1960. For this analysis I’ve chained in today’s dollar for the inflation adjustment. The per-capita calculation is based on quarterly aggregates of mid-month population estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which date from 1959 (hence my 1960 starting date for this chart, even though quarterly GDP has is available since 1947). The population data is available in the FRED series POPTHM. The logarithmic vertical axis ensures that the highlighted contractions have the same relative scale.

I’ve drawn an exponential regression through the data using the Excel GROWTH() function to give us a sense of the historical trend. The regression illustrates the fact that the trend since the Great Recession has a visibly lower slope than long-term trend. In fact, the current GDP per-capita is 11.6% below the regression trend.

(click to enlarge)

The real per-capita series gives us a better understanding of the depth and duration of GDP contractions. As we can see, since our 1960 starting point, the recession that began in December 2007 is associated with a deeper trough than previous contractions, which perhaps justifies its nickname as the Great Recession. In fact, at this point, 20 quarters beyond the 2007 GDP peak, real GDP per capita is still 1.04% off the all-time high following the deepest trough in the series.

Here is a more revealing snapshot of real GDP per capita, specifically illustrating the percent off the most recent peak across time, with recessions highlighted. The underlying calculation is to show peaks at 0% on the right axis. The callouts shows the percent off real GDP per-capita at significant troughs as well as the current reading for this metric.

(click to enlarge)
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Court Liberals Court Gays — Strikes Down Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — What’s next? Sodomite Shotgun Mandated Marriages Coming Soon? — Defining Democratic Degeneracy Down — Videos

Posted on June 26, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Catholic Church, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Federal Government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Religion, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DOMA_Supreme_Court

DOMA-and-PROP-8-Defeated-by-US-Supreme-Court

USA-COURT-GAYMARRIAGE

crowd_fron_supreme_court

Casablanca – As Time Goes By

Marriage Redefinition Sought at SCOTUS Fails, Debate Continues 

Ryan Anderson discusses what the Supreme Court got wrong in its marriage decisions—but why the proponents of same-sex marriage failed to achieve their goal of a court-imposed nationwide redefinition. One thing is clear: the debate about marriage will continue, now more than ever.

The morning after two important—and troubling—Supreme Court decisions in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases, here’s the lay of the land. The important takeaway: The marriage debate is every bit as live today as it was yesterday morning…and that means it’s time to redouble our efforts to stand for marriage across America. Some key numbers following the decisions:

50        The number of states whose marriage laws remain the same after the Court’s marriage decisions.

38        The number of states with laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That includes California, where the scope of today’s Prop 8 decision beyond the specific plaintiffs will be the subject of ongoing debate and, most likely, further litigation.

12        The number of states that can now force the federal government to recognize their redefinition of marriage. The Court struck Section 3 of DOMA, which means that it must recognize same-sex marriages in states that redefine marriage.

1          The number of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down yesterday (Section 3). Section 2, which ensures that no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage, is still law.

0          The number of states forced to recognize other states’ redefinition of marriage.

The important news you may not be hearing is that the U.S. Supreme Court did not redefine marriage across the nation. That means the debate about marriage will continue. States are free to uphold policies recognizing that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, so that children have a mother and a father.

States will lead the way even as we work to restore clear marriage policy at the federal level. And in the states, support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman remains strong.

Still, the Court should have respected the authority of California citizens and Congress.

On DOMA, the Court did not respect Congress’s authority to define marriage for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. The Court got federalism wrong.

On Proposition 8, the citizens of California who voted twice to pass Prop 8 should have been able to count on their Governor and Attorney General to defend the state’s constitution. That’s what democratic self-government is all about.

Now more than ever, we need to make it clear why marriage as the union of a man and a woman matters—for children, for civil society, and for limited government. As citizens, we all need to be prepared to make the case for marriage. That’s why we at Heritage have worked with allies to produce a booklet called “What You Need to Know about Marriage.” Download your free copy at TheMarriageFacts.com.

http://blog.heritage.org/2013/06/27/morning-bell-the-supreme-courts-marriage-decisions-by-the-numbers/

Jay Sekulow Spoke with Glenn Beck: SCOTUS Decision on DOMA & Prop 8

Breaking Down the Court’s Prop 8 and Doma Rulings | Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Wall Street Journal Legal Editor Ashby Jones breaks down the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 and Doma rulings, and what the decisions could mean for same-sex marriage going forward.

Supreme Court strikes down key part of DOMA, dismisses Prop 8 case

America : Supreme Court shoots down DOMA and Prop 8 within the U.S. (Jun 26, 2013)

Rush Limbaugh: Scalia was right when he warned repeal of sodomy laws would lead to gay marriage

Glenn Beck and Rand Paul DOMA Reaction: Gay Marriage Rulings Will Lead To Polygamy, Zoophilia

The Five Reacts To Supreme Court’s DOMA And Prop 8 Rulings  ‘This Is A Huge Conservative Victory’

Dr. Jeffress Discusses the SCOTUS DOMA Decision on The O’Reilly Factor (6/26/13)

DOMA Struck DOWN – Justice Scalia’s Hypocritical Rage Quotes

Andrew Sullivan: Gay People Like Glenn Greenwald Can Now Come Back, and Jesus Was Thrilled Today

Sally Kohn Battles Fox Panelist Over SCOTUS Ruling: How Does My Right To Marry Affect You At All?

Fox News contributor Sally Kohn today reacted to the Supreme Court ruling that her partnership and the unions of many other people across the country deserve equal protection under the law. She said that this is the latest step in the United States’ attempts over history in “striving towards making a more perfect union,” adding that in the United States, you can’t just pass a law “solely for the purpose of discriminating.”

Kohn thought it was smart for the Supreme Court to lean on the states rights argument, which she said conservatives would be cheering had this been literally any other political issue. Fellow panelist Ryan Anderson found it contradictory that the Supreme Court would take make such a significant ruling for states rights in the DOMA case, yet dismissed the California Proposition 8 case in which the people actually voted to decide how to define marriage in their state. He argued that the government’s business in getting involved in marriage is to promote marriages that can produce children, hence the definition of marriage being one man and one woman.

Kohn told Anderson that he can make “excuses” but the fact is laws passed just to discriminate are wrong. She also pointed out that the ruling is also significant due to the marriage benefits that gay couples can now get. Anderson shot back that the Supreme Court didn’t exactly say that state bans against gay marriage are unconstitutional, and reaffirmed that the California ban “tells the truth about marriage.” Kohn said, “I’m a little confused as to how my right to marry affects Ryan at all, unless we’re getting married, Ryan.”

Headline: Supreme Court rules DOMA is unconstitutional

Watch Rep. Bachmann and Others Speak Against DOMA Ruling

Moments After DOMA Ruling – Gay Activists Promise to Push Gay Marriage Nation-Wide

Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA | WSJ WorldStream | Supreme Court DOMA Ruling

Mixed Reactions to Supreme Court Decisions

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court strikes down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married couples. For more CNN videos, visit our site at http://www.cnn.com/video/

Edith Windsor, who filed the original case that could upend the Defense of Marriage Act, says just getting the case to this point is a kind of victory.

“We’ve made a huge step forward and a huge difference in how people look at us,” she said. “And so, it’ll happen. Another year if not now.”

It was the death of Windsor’s life partner, Thea Clara Spyer, that led to the case.

Theirs was not a fleeting romance — the women were together 42 years sharing ups and downs, laughs and tears. They also shared what they’d earned together, including from Windsor’s job as a programmer with IBM and Spyer’s work as a psychologist.

FRANK SINATRA – STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT – LIVE

Frank Sinatra – My Way (Live in London 1971)

The Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA. Here’s what you need to know

By Dylan Matthews

The Supreme Court today struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law signed by President Clinton that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal law.

The decision was 5-4, with the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy — who also wrote the court’s historic gay rights decisions in Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas. Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts all filed dissents. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia’s dissent, and joined Alito’s in part, while Roberts joined Scalia’s in part. Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Kennedy’s majority opinion.

Here’s what you need to know.

What was the actual case about?

United States v. Windsor concerns Edith Windsor, who was widowed when her wife Thea Spyer died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer were married in 2007 in Canada after being partners for 40 years. Windsor was forced to pay $363,053 in estate tax on Spyer’s estate, which she argues she would not have to pay if she had been Spyer’s husband. Thus, she claims, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents her from being considered Spyer’s spouse for the purposes of federal taxes, literally cost her $363,053.

How did it get here?

The Obama administration has declined to defend DOMA, and so the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a standing organization in Congress, took over the law’s defense at the instruction of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in June that DOMA’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman lacked a rational basis, and ordered damages of $363,053 paid to Windsor. In October, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals concurred, with a panel ruling 2-1 for Windsor. Then the Supreme Court considered it. Here are the arguments in the case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/26/the-supreme-court-struck-down-doma-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

What issues did the Court have to decide on?\

Three. The first was the equal protection issue. The second was whether the fact that the executive branch agrees with Windsor means that there isn’t a real controversy in this case, meaning the court doesn’t have jurisdiction. The third was whether BLAG would be harmed by DOMA being overturned, and thus whether it has standing to defend the law (a friend-of-the-court brief by Harvard professor Vicki Jackson argues that even Congress doesn’t have standing, and even if it did, BLAG wouldn’t).

Justice Kennedy’s ruling held that the court had jurisdiction in the case, effectively ruling that there was a real controversy and that BLAG had standing to defend the law. His ruling was solely based on his judgment that DOMA violates the equal protection clause.

What does this mean for gay couples?

It depends on what area you’re talking about. “What section 3 of DOMA does is that it performs a find and replace of every instance of ‘spouse’ or ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ appears and changes it so that it’s “opposite sex husband” or ‘opposite sex wife’,” says Rita Lin, a partner at Morrison and Foerster in San Francisco who argued Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, another DOMA case. “The effect is going to vary based on which of the thousand-plus statutes or regulations are affected.”

There are some clear-cut cases. It seems pretty clear that legally married same-sex couples where one member is employed by the federal government are entitled to spousal benefits, just the same as any other married couple. For other legally married couples who don’t live in states where same-sex marriage is recognized, there’s some question as to whether the “state of celebration” or “state of residence” matters. Usually, the former is the standard used, meaning a marriage is valid if it’s valid in the state it was celebrated. That would mean most legally married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live, are entitled to spousal benefits.

Other areas, like tax law, may require additional rule-making before same-sex couples are treated equally. “Some operate just based on policy, without getting into a regulation or statute, so those can be modified very quickly,” Tara Borelli, an attorney at Lambda Legal who was also a counsel in Golinski. ”Others require rule-making.” And others require statutory changes. Borelli notes that Social Security will probably have to be changed by Congress for same-sex couples to be treated equally.

This does open the door for  bi-national same-sex couples to be treated equally under the law. That means that comprehensive immigration reform probably need not include a provision specifically tailored to making sure bi-national partners of same-sex couples can get visas automatically, the same as opposite-sex partners. As Paul Smith, a partner at Jenner & Block and arguably the leading gay rights litigator in the country (he won Lawrence v. Texas, overturning state bans on gay sex), told me, “My understanding is that the elimination of DOMA would by itself mean that all bi-national married couples would have the same rights, whether same sex or not.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/26/the-supreme-court-struck-down-doma-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

Background Articles and Videos

Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas (Dale Carpenter)

n 2003 the Supreme Court struck down America’s sodomy laws in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. In Flagrant Conduct, a work nine years in the making, Dale Carpenter challenges what we thought we knew about the case. Drawing on dozens of interviews, he analyzes the claims of virtually every person involved. Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared “for the strike of lightning” that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers. He charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nation’s extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Dale Carpenter clerked for Judge Edith H. Jones of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and blogs frequently for The Volokh Conspiracy. Charles Lane is the author of The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction.

Geoffrey R. Stone of the University of Chicago Law School says, “Dale Carpenter’s Flagrant Conduct does for Lawrence v. Texas what Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice and Anthony Lewis’s Gideon’s Trumpet did for Brown v. Board of Education and Gideon v. Wainwright. It tells the story of a profoundly dramatic and important Supreme Court decision in a way that brings to life the stakes, the participants, the justices, and the drama of the constitutional controversy. It is a landmark achievement.”

Lawrence Vs. Texas (2003) – Opinion (Kennedy) – Supreme Court Of The United Sates Of America

Justice Kennedy delivering the opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the case John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v Texas 02-102 (2003). The court found that a Texas law classifying consensual, adult homosexual intercourse as illegal sodomy violated the privacy and liberty of adults to engage in private intimate conduct under the 14th amendment. Kennedy is joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, while O’Connor wrote a separate concurrence. Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, which is joined by Rehnquist, Thomas. Thomas also wrote a separate dissenting opinion.

Lawrence Vs. Texas (2003) – Dissent (Scalia) – Supreme Court Of The United Sates Of America

Lawrence v. Texas

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003),[1] is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. In the 6–3 ruling, the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in thirteen other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. The Court overturned its previous ruling on the same issue in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute and did not find a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.

Lawrence explicitly overruled Bowers, holding that it had viewed the liberty interest too narrowly. The Court held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence invalidated similar laws throughout the United States that criminalized sodomy between consenting adults acting in private, whatever the sex of the participants.[2]

The case attracted much public attention, and a large number of amici curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs were filed. Its outcome was celebrated by gay rights advocates, who hoped that further legal advances might result as a consequence.

Background

Legal punishments for sodomy often included heavy fines and/or life prison sentences, with some states, beginning with Illinois in 1827, denying other rights, such as suffrage, to anyone convicted of the crime of sodomy.[citation needed] In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several states imposed various eugenics laws against anyone deemed to be a “sexual pervert”.[citation needed] As late as 1970, Connecticut denied a driver’s license to a man for being an “admitted homosexual”.[3]

As of 1960, every state had an anti-sodomy law.[4] In 1961, the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code advocated repealing sodomy laws as they applied to private, adult, consensual behavior.[5] Two years later the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took its first major case in opposition to these laws.[6] Most judges were largely unsympathetic to the substantive due process claims raised.

In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court struck down a law barring the use of contraceptives by married couples. In Griswold for the first time the Supreme Court recognized, at least for married couples, a right to privacy,[7] drawing on the Fourth Amendment’s protection of private homes from searches and seizures without a warrant based on probable cause, the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process of law, and the Ninth Amendment’s assurance that rights not specified in the Constitution are “retained by the people”. Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) expanded the scope of sexual privacy rights to unmarried persons. In 1973, the choice whether to have an abortion was found to be protected by the Constitution in Roe v. Wade.

In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the Supreme Court heard a constitutional challenge to sodomy laws brought by a man who had been arrested, but was not prosecuted, for engaging in oral sex with another man in his home. The Court rejected this challenge in a 5 to 4 decision. Justice Byron White’s majority opinion emphasized that Eisenstadt and Roe had only recognized a right to engage in procreative sexual activity, and that long-standing moral antipathy toward homosexual sodomy was enough to argue against the notion of a “right” to sodomy. Justice Blackmun, writing in dissent, argued that Eisenstadt held that the Constitution protects people as individuals, not as family units.[8] He then reasoned that because state intrusions are equally burdensome on an individual’s personal life regardless of his marital status or sexual orientation, then there is no reason to treat the rights of citizens in same-sex couples any differently.[9]

By the time of the Lawrence decision, nine states—Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia—still banned consensual sodomy without respect to the sex of those involved, and four—Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri—prohibited same-sex couples from engaging in anal and oral sex.[4]

History

Arrest of Lawrence and Garner

On September 17, 1998, John Lawrence,[10][11] a gay 55-year-old medical technologist, was hosting two gay acquaintances, Tyron Garner,[12] age 31, and Robert Eubanks,[13] 40, at his apartment on the outskirts of Houston. Lawrence and Eubanks had been friends for more than 20 years. Garner and Eubanks had a tempestuous on-again off-again romantic relationship since 1990. Lacking transportation home, the couple were preparing to spend the night. Eubanks, who had been drinking heavily, left to purchase a soda from a nearby vending machine. Apparently outraged that Lawrence had been flirting with Garner, he called police and reported “a black male going crazy with a gun” at Lawrence’s apartment.[14]

Four Harris County sheriff’s deputies responded within minutes and Eubanks pointed them to the apartment. They entered the unlocked apartment toward 11 p.m. with their weapons drawn. In accordance with police procedures, the first to arrive, Joseph Quinn, took the lead both in approaching the scene and in later determining what charges to bring, if any. He later reported seeing Lawrence and Garner having anal sex in the bedroom. A second officer reported seeing them engaged in oral sex, and two others did not report seeing the pair having sex. Lawrence did not acquiesce to the police. Instead he repeatedly challenged the police for entering his home. Quinn had discretionary authority to charge them for a variety of offenses and then to arrest them or not. When Quinn considered charging them with having sex in violation of state law, he had to get an Assistant District Attorney to check to the statutes to be certain they covered sexual activity inside a residence. He was told that Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, the “Homosexual Conduct” law, made it a Class C misdemeanor if someone “engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”.[15] The statute, Chapter 21, Sec. 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, had been adopted in 1973 when the state revised its criminal code to end its proscription on heterosexual anal and oral intercourse.[16]

Quinn decided to charge Lawrence and Garner with having “deviate sex” and to arrest them. In the opinion of the author of the most detailed account of the arrests, Quinn’s decision was likely driven by Lawrence’s verbal abuse, along with some combination of Quinn’s negative response to homosexuality, the fact that Lawrence was white and Garner was black, and the false gun report.[17] In the separate arrest reports he filed for each, he wrote that he had seen the arrestee “engaged in deviate sexual conduct namely, anal sex, with another man”.[17] Lawrence and Garner were held in jail overnight. At a hearing the next day, they pled not guilty to a charge of “homosexual conduct”. They were released toward midnight.[18] Eubanks pled no contest to charges of filing a false police report. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail but released early.[19]

Prosecution and appeals

The gay rights advocates from Lambda Legal litigating the case convinced Lawrence and Garner not to contest the charges despite their innocence and to plead no contest instead.[20] On November 20, Lawrence and Garner pleaded no contest to the charges and waived their right to a trial. Justice of the Peace Mike Parrott found them guilty and imposed a $100 fine and court costs of $41.25 on each defendant. When the defense attorneys realized that the fine was below the minimum required to permit them to appeal the convictions, they asked the judge to impose a higher penalty. Parrott, well aware that the attorneys intended to use the case to raise a constitutional challenge, increased it to $125 with the agreement of the prosecutor.[21]

To appeal, Lawrence and Garner needed to have their cases tried in Texas Criminal Court. Their attorneys asked the court to dismiss the charges against them on Fourteenth Amendment equal protection grounds, claiming that the law was unconstitutional since it prohibited sodomy between same-sex couples, but not between heterosexual couples. They also asserted a right to privacy and that the Supreme Court’s decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that found no privacy protection for consensual sex between homosexuals was “wrongly decided”.[22] On December 22, Judge Sherman Ross denied the defense motions to dismiss. The defendants again pled “no contest”. Ross fined them $200 each, the amount agreed upon in advance by both sides.[23]

A three-judge panel of the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals heard the case on November 3, 1999.[24] Their 2–1 decision issued on June 8, 2000, ruled the Texas law was unconstitutional. Justice John S. Anderson and Chief Justice Paul Murphy found that the law violated the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment to the Texas Constitution, which bars discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. J. Harvey Hudson dissented.[25] The Court of Appeals decided to review the case en banc. On March 15, 2001, without hearing oral arguments, it reversed the three-judge panel’s decision and upheld the law’s constitutionality 7–2, denying both the substantive due process and equal protection arguments.[26] Attorneys for Lawrence and Garner asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest appellate court in Texas for criminal matters, to review the case. After a year’s delay, on April 17, 2002, that request was denied. Lambda Legal’s Harlow called that decision “a major abdication of judicial responsibility”. Bill Delmore, the Harris County prosecutor who argued the case, called the judges “big chickens” and said: “They have a history of avoiding the hot potato cases if they can.”[27]

Consideration by the Supreme Court

In a petition for certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 16, 2002, Lambda Legal attorneys asked the Court to consider:[28]

1. Whether the petitioners’ criminal convictions under the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law—which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples—violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws?2. Whether the petitioners’ criminal convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in their home violate their vital interests in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?3. Whether Bowers v. Hardwick should be overruled?

On December 2, 2002, the Court agreed to hear the case. Lambda Legal coordinated the submission of sixteen amicus curiae briefs to complement their own brief. Submitting organizations included the American Bar Association, the American Psychological Society, the American Public Health Association, the Cato Institute, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of history professors, and a group of religious denominations.[29] An op-ed in support by former Sen. Alan Simpson appeared in The Wall Street Journal on the morning scheduled for oral argument.[30] The attorneys for Texas did not control the amicus briefs submitted in support of their position. Two were by noteworthy scholars, Jay Alan Sekulow and Robert P. George, while the remainder represented religious and social conservatism. Several, including that of Liberty Counsel, depicted homosexuals as self-destructive, disease-prone, and promiscuous. The states of Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah advised the Court that unlike heterosexual sodomy, homosexual sodomy had “severe physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences”.[31]

At oral argument on March 26, 2003, Paul M. Smith, an experienced litigator who had argued eight cases before the Supreme Court, spoke on behalf of the plaintiffs.[32] Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate, refused to have his office take the case. Charles A. Rosenthal, District Attorney of Harris County, represented the state.[33] His performance was later described as “the worst oral argument in years”, but some believe his lack of preparation reflected his lack of enthusiasm for the statute he was defending.[34][35]

On April 7, 2003, Sen. Rick Santorum referred to the oral arguments in Lawrence when asked his views on homosexuality:

We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose…. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything…. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created…in Griswold[36]

Decision

On June 26, 2003, the Supreme Court released its 6–3 decision striking down the Texas statute. Five justices held it violated due process guarantees, and a sixth, Sandra Day O’Connor, held it violated equal protection guarantees. The opinion overruled Bowers v. Hardwick and implicitly invalidated similar sodomy statutes in 13 other states.

Majority opinion

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion which Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer joined. He wrote: “The petitioners [Lawrence and Garner] are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” Kennedy reviewed the assumption the court made in Bowers, using the words of Chief Justice Burger’s concurring opinion in that case, that “Condemnation of [homosexual practices] is firmly rooted in Judeao-Christian moral and ethical standards.” He reviewed the history of legislation that criminalized certain sexual practices, but without regard for the gender of those involved. He cited the Model Penal Code’s recommendations since 1955, the Wolfenden Report of 1963, and a 1981 decision of the European Court of Human Rights.

He endorsed the views Justice Stevens had outlined in his dissent in Bowers and wrote: “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.” The majority decision also held that the intimate, adult consensual conduct at issue here was part of the liberty protected by the substantive component of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process protections. Holding that “the Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual”, the court struck down the anti-sodomy law as unconstitutional.

Kennedy underscored the decision’s focus on consensual adult sexual conduct in a private setting:

The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.[37]

O’Connor’s concurrence

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor filed a concurring opinion in which she offered a different rationale for invalidating the Texas sodomy statute. She disagreed with the overturning of Bowers—she had been in the Bowers majority—and disputed the court’s invocation of due process guarantees of liberty in this context. Rather than including sexuality under protected liberty, she used the equal protection argument and struck down the law because it was directed at one group. O’Connor maintained that a sodomy law that was neutral both in effect and application might be constitutional, but that there was little to fear because “democratic society” would not tolerate it for long. O’Connor noted that a law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples would pass the rational scrutiny as long as it was designed to “preserv[e] the traditional institution of marriage” and not simply based on the state’s dislike of homosexual persons.

Scalia’s dissent

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent, which Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas joined. Scalia objected to the Court’s decision to revisit Bowers, pointing out many decisions from lower courts that relied on Bowers that might now need to be reconsidered.[38] He noted that the same rationale used to overturn Bowers[39] could have been used to overturn Roe v. Wade, which the Justices in the majority in Lawrence had recently upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Scalia also criticized the majority opinion for failing to give the same respect to stare decisis that three of those in the majority had insisted on in Casey.[40]

Scalia wrote that if the court was not prepared to validate laws based on moral choices as it had done in Bowers, state laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity would not prove sustainable.[41]

He wrote that:

Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct…. [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.

He cited the majority opinion’s concern that the criminalization of sodomy could be the basis for discrimination against homosexuals as evidence that the majority ignored the views of most Americans:

So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously “mainstream”; that in most States what the Court calls “discrimination” against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal.

He continued: “Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means.” The majority’s “invention of a brand-new ‘constitutional right'”, he wrote, showed it was “impatient of democratic change”.

Thomas’s dissent

Justice Thomas wrote in a separate dissent that the law the Court struck down was “uncommonly silly”, a phrase from Justice Potter Stewart’s dissent in Griswold v. Connecticut, but he voted to uphold it as he could find “no general right of privacy” or relevant liberty in the Constitution. He added that if he were a member of the Texas legislature he would vote to repeal the law.

Reactions

President Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer refused to comment on the decision, noting only that the administration had not filed a brief in the case. As governor, Bush had opposed repeal of the Texas sodomy provision, which he called a “symbolic gesture of traditional values”.[42] After quoting Fleischer calling it “a state matter”, Linda Greenhouse, writing in The New York Times, commented: “In fact, the decision today…took what had been a state-by-state matter and pronounced a binding national constitutional principle.”[43]

The Lambda Legal’s lead attorney in the case, Ruth Harlow, stated in an interview after the ruling that “the court admitted its mistake in 1986, admitted it had been wrong then…and emphasized today that gay Americans, like all Americans, are entitled to full respect and equal claim to [all] constitutional rights.”[44] Prof. Laurence Tribe has written that Lawrence “may well be remembered as the Brown v. Board of Education of gay and lesbian America”.[45] Jay Alan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice has referred to the decision as having “changed the status of homosexual acts and changed a previous ruling of the Supreme Court… this was a drastic rewrite”.[46]

Peter LaBarbera, a senior policy analyst of the anti-LGBT group Culture and Family Institute, later president of the anti-LGBT organization Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, said that the end result of Lawrence v. Texas was “like the Roe v. Wade of the homosexual issue”.[47][48] The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision “deplorable”.[49]

Columbia Law Prof. Katherine M. Franke, in an analysis of Lawrence that appeared in June 2004, criticized its “domesticated” conception of liberty that failed to present “a robust concept of freedom”. She contrasted it with the language of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which discussed “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”. Lawrence‘s emphasis on geographical privacy, in her view, described a circumscribed form of liberty and failed to develop the court’s evolving assertion of the right to autonomy and personal independence. Its assumption, based on nothing in the record, that Lawrence and Garner were in a relationship and had a personal bond leaves open the court’s view of their right to express their sexuality or fulfill erotic desires. She noted how a Kansas court in Limon v. Kansas read Lawrence to allow far greater punishment for engaging in same-sex activity with a minor than different-sex activity with a minor. She terms this “the legal enforcement of heteronormative preferences”.[50] The decision in Limon was later reversed, in part on the basis of Lawrence.[51]

Subsequent cases

A few months later, on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry. Though deciding the case on the basis of the state constitution, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall quoted Lawrence in its second paragraph: “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”[52]

Upon rehearing Williams v. Pryor after Lawrence, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Alabama’s ban on the sale of sex toys.[53] Facing comparable facts, the Fifth Circuit struck down Texas’s sex toy ban holding that “morality is an insufficient justification for a statute” and “interests in ‘public morality’ cannot constitutionally sustain the statute after Lawrence“.[54]

Lawrence invalidated age of consent laws that differed based on sexual orientation. The day after the Lawrence decision, the Supreme Court ordered the State of Kansas to review its 1999 “Romeo and Juliet” law that reduces the punishment for a teenager under 18 years of age who has consensual sexual relations with a minor no more than four years their junior, but explicitly excludes same-sex conduct from the sentence reduction.[55] In 2004, the Kansas Appeals Court upheld the law as is, but the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously reversed the lower court’s ruling on October 21, 2005,[56] in State v. Limon.[57]

Subsequent federal and state case law has been quite explicit in limiting the scope of Lawrence and upholding traditional state regulations on marriage, expressly allowing a marriage-procreation link. (See Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. App. 2003); Morrison v. Sadler, 821 N.E.2d 15 (Ind. App. 2005); Hernandez v Robles (7 NY3d 338 2005).) In Muth v. Frank, 412 F.3d 808 (7th Cir. 2005), the Seventh Circuit declined to extend Lawrence to cases of consensual adult incest, although it did say that Lawrence v. Texas was “a new substantive rule and […] thus retroactive”. The case was distinguished because parties were not similarly situated since there is in the latter case an enhanced possibility of genetic mutation of a possible offspring.

In Martin v. Ziherl, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled the state’s fornication law unconstitutional.[58] In the Holm case a polygamist attempted without success to use Lawrence to overturn Utah’s laws banning these polygamous relationships. The Supreme Court refused to hear his plea.[59] The Connecticut Supreme Court rejected an argument based on Lawrence that a teacher had a constitutional right to engage in sexual activity with his female students.[60][61]

The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the last court of appeals for Courts-Martial before the Supreme Court, has ruled that Lawrence applies to Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the article banning sodomy. It has also twice upheld prosecutions under Article 125 when applied as necessary to preserve good order and discipline in the armed forces.[62][63]

Judge Vaughn Walker cited Scalia’s dissent in his decision in Perry v. Brown that found California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[64]

The level of scrutiny applied in Lawrence

Justice Scalia and others have noted that the majority did not appear to apply the strict scrutiny standard of review that would be appropriate if the Lawrence majority had recognized a full-fledged “fundamental right”. He wrote the majority, instead, applied “an unheard-of form of rational basis review that will have far-reaching implications beyond this case”.[65]

Nan D. Hunter has argued that Lawrence used a new method of substantive due process analysis, and that the Court intended to abandon its old method of categorizing due process rights as either “fundamental” or “not fundamental” as too restrictive.[66] Justice Souter, for example, argued in Washington v. Glucksberg that the role of the Court in all cases, including unenumerated rights cases, is to ensure that the government’s action has not been arbitrary.[67] Justice Stevens has repeatedly criticized tiered scrutiny and prefers a more active judicial balancing test based on reasonability.[68]

Lower courts have read Lawrence differently on the question of scrutiny. In Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a state law barring adoption of children by homosexuals, holding explicitly that Lawrence did not apply strict scrutiny.[69] In Witt v. Department of the Air Force, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Lawrence applied intermediate scrutiny.[70]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas

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Conservative Court Calls Congress Cowards: Voting Rights Act of 1965, Section 4 (b) and Its formula for Requiring Preclearance Struck Down as Unconstitutional –Videos

Posted on June 26, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Talk Radio, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Band – Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Judge Napolitano ~ Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Provision Of Voting Rights Law

Voting Rights Act Takes Hit by Supreme Court – 6/25/2013

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act, weakening a tool the federal government has used for nearly five decades to block discriminatory voting laws.

In a five-to-four ruling, the court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. That section of the landmark 1965 law provides the formula for determining which states must have any changes to their voting laws pre-approved by the Justice Department’s civil rights division or the D.C. federal court. Nine states are required to get pre-clearance, as are certain jurisdictions in seven other states.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that Section 4 is unconstitutional because the standards by which states are judged are “based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”

“Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically,” Roberts wrote. “The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased [Section 5’s] restrictions or narrowed the scope of [Section 4’s] coverage formula along the way. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger.”

The court could have made a much broader ruling by striking down Section 5, which dictates that those states must get pre-clearance. However, the court decided that the Justice Department still has a role in overseeing voting laws.

Nevertheless, civil rights advocates called the ruling a huge blow to democracy.

“The Supreme Court has failed minority voters today,” Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund said Tuesday outside of the court.

The ruling underscores the Supreme Court’s lawmaking powers, challenging Congress’ overwhelmingly bipartisan decision in 2006 to renew the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. Ifill pointed out that the court renewed the law after holding 52 hearings over nine months and amassing 15,000 pages of evidence of discrimination — including more than 600 objections to voting based on intentional discrimination in the jurisdictions covered by Section 4.

It’s now up to Congress to change the coverage rules so that Section 5 — the section requiring pre-clearance of voting laws in certain states — can continue to be enforced.

“The ball has been thrown not only in Congress’ court, but in our court,” Ifill said, calling on the public to mobilize behind an update to the law.

CLASH Sean Hannity, Juan Williams, Erik Rush over Congress fixing Voting Rights Act

Howard Fineman: Voting Rights ‘Preclearance Is Dead Unless Congress Acts Soon’

The Huffington Post Editorial Director Howard Fineman delivered a grim prognosis relating to the sustainability of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after the Supreme Court struck from the law provisions relating to the regions of the United States which must submit reapportionment proposals to the Justice Department for preclearance. “Preclearance is dead,” Fineman said, “unless Congress acts soon.”

NBC News reporter Luke Russert began by asking Fineman how today’s ruling on the VRA impacts Democratic plans to expand into traditionally Republican states in the Deep South and Southwest.

“I think a lot is going to depend on how we come to look at discrimination and voting now,” Fineman began. “I think the way to approach this is for the Democrats to say, ‘Look, let’s move forward here.'”

RELATED: If GOP Approaches New Voting Rights Act Like They Did Immigration Reform, The Party Is Doomed

“This is an opportunity to renew for the next century the spirit of the Civil Rights Acts of the ’60s,” Fineman continued. “At the very least, what they’re going to have to do, is raise a whole lot of money for a whole lot of lawsuits all over the country.”

“I think preclearance is dead unless Congress acts soon,” he concluded. “And that’s going to mean you’re going to have to have vigilant people filing lawsuits all over the country, seeking injunctions after the fact trying to make sure the voting procedures are just.”

BREAKING NEWS Supreme Court Throws Out Voting Rights Provision

The divided U.S. Supreme Court threw out a core part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, rolling back a landmark law that opened the polls to millions of southern blacks. The justices, voting 5-4, struck down the law’s formula for determining which states must get federal approval before changing their election rules. The ruling all but invalidates the section preclearance requirement, leaving it without force unless Congress can enact a new method for determining which jurisdictions are covered.

Part of Voting Rights Act Unconstitutional

The Five Clash w/ Beckel on Voting Rights: Supreme Court Has Gutted Civil Rights And It’s Just Wrong

Al Sharpton: The Supreme Court ‘Just Cancelled The Dream’ Of MLK Jr. In Voting Rights Decision

Voting Rights Act Section 4 Struck Down By Supreme Court ~ 6. 25. 2013

Scalia: ‘Racial Entitlement’ in Voting Rights Act

SCOTUS Conservatives Signal Intention To Dismantle Voting Rights Act

Supreme Courts Rules Struck Down Of Voting Rights Act

Joan Baez – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973aa-6)[1] is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.[2]

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”[3] Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African Americans from exercising the franchise.[2] The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.[2][4]

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance.[5] These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964.[5] The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.[6]

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation,[7] though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate.[8] Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots.[9] Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.[10]

In the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b) of the Act and its formula for requiring preclearance as unconstitutional based on current conditions, saying it was rational and needed at the time it was enacted but is no longer necessary. Preclearance itself was not struck down, but it currently has no effect unless or until Congress passes a new formula.[11]

Background

The first page of the Voting Rights Act

Further information: Disfranchisement after the Civil War

The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865 after the Civil War, abolished and prohibited slavery and secured a minimal degree of citizenship to former slaves. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, granted citizenship to all people “born or naturalized in the United States,” and included the due process and equal protection clauses. This amendment did not explicitly prohibit vote discrimination on racial grounds.

The 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, provided that, “The right of U.S. citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”.[12] Additionally under the Amendment, the Congress was given the authority to enforce those rights and regulate the voting process. Soon after the end of Reconstruction, starting in the 1870s, Southern Democratic legislators found other means to deny the vote to blacks, through violence, intimidation, and Jim Crow laws. From 1890 to 1908, 10 Southern states wrote new constitutions with provisions that included literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses that permitted otherwise disqualified voters whose grandfathers voted (thus allowing some white illiterates to vote), some with the aim and effect of re-imposing racially motivated restrictions on the voting process that disenfranchised blacks. State provisions applied to all voters and were upheld by the Supreme Court in early litigation, from 1875 (United States v. Cruikshank) through 1904. During the early 20th century, the Supreme Court began to find such provisions unconstitutional in litigation of cases brought by African Americans and poor whites. States reacted rapidly in devising new legislation to continue disfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites. Although there were numerous court cases brought to the Supreme Court, through the 1960s, Southern states effectively disfranchised most blacks.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was created with the mission to promote blacks’ civil rights, including to “secure for them impartial suffrage.” The NAACP’s success was limited: although they did achieve important judicial rulings by the Supreme Court and some legislative successes, Southern legislators quickly devised alternate ways to keep many southern blacks disfranchised through the early 1960s.

Following the 1964 election, a variety of civil rights organizations banded together to push for the passage of legislation that would ensure black voting rights once and for all. The campaign to bring about federal intervention to prevent discrimination in voting culminated in the voting rights protests in Selma, Alabama, and the famous Selma to Montgomery marches. Demonstrations also brought out white violence, and Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo were murdered. President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a dramatic joint-session address, called upon Congress to enact a strong voting rights bill. Johnson’s administration drafted a bill intended to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, aiming to eliminate various previously legal strategies to prevent blacks and other minorities from voting.

Legislative history

The Act was sent to Congress by President Johnson on March 17, 1965. The bill passed the Senate on May 26, 1965 (after a successful cloture vote on March 23), by a vote of seventy-seven to nineteen. The House was slower to give its approval. After five weeks of debate, it was finally passed on July 9. After differences between the two bills were resolved in conference, the House passed the Conference Report on August 3, the Senate on August 4. On August 6, President Johnson signed the Act into law with Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and other civil rights leaders in attendance.

Vote count

President Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965.

The two numbers in each line of this list refer to the number of representatives voting in favor and against the act, respectively.

Senate: 77–19

  • Democrats: 47–17 (73%-27%)
  • Republicans: 30–2 (94%-6%)

House: 333–85

  • Democrats: 221–61 (78%-22%)
  • Republicans: 112–24 (82%-18%)

Conference Report:

Senate: 79–18

  • Democrats: 49–17 (four Southern Democrats voted in favor: Albert Gore, Sr., Ross Bass, George Smathers and Ralph Yarborough).
  • Republicans: 30–1 (the lone nay was Strom Thurmond; John Tower who did not vote was paired as a nay vote with Eugene McCarthy who would have voted in favor.)

House: 328–74

  • Democrats: 217–54
  • Republicans: 111–20

Provisions

Section 2

Final page of the Voting Rights Act, signed by President Johnson, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House

Section 2 contains a general prohibition on voting discrimination, enforced through federal district court litigation. Congress amended this section in 1982, prohibiting any voting practice or procedure that has a discriminatory result. The 1982 amendment provided that proof of intentional discrimination is not required. The provision focused instead on whether the electoral processes are equally accessible to minority voters.[13] This section is permanent and does not require renewal.

On March 9, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bartlett v. Strickland that the Voting Rights Act does not require governments to draw district lines favorable to minority candidates when the district has minorities as less than half of the population.[14]

Section 4

The central component to Section 4 of the Act is a formula for determining which jurisdictions will be subject to the preclearance conditions of Section 5. As originally enacted, the first portion of the formula was whether, as of November 1, 1964, the jurisdiction used some form of “test or device” to restrict the opportunity to register and vote (such as a literacy test or a character reference). The second portion was a check of whether less than half of all eligible citizens were registered to vote on November 1, 1964, or that half of all eligible citizens voted in the presidential election of November 1964.[15]

Subsequent revisions of the law moved the date where both portions of the formula were gauged ahead to be as of November 1, 1968 and, later, as of November 1, 1972. Revisions in 1982 and 2006 extended the protections of the law but did not change the nature of the formula itself.

Smaller components of Section 4 include protections for voters with limited English skills to ensure they are able to register and vote as well as receive materials on the electoral process in a language which they will understand.[16]

In a decision on the Shelby County v. Holder case released on June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Section 4(b) unconstitutional.[17]

Section 5

Preclearance

Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice, through an administrative procedure, or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, through a declaratory judgment action “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction.”[5] The Supreme Court gave a broad interpretation to the words “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting” in Allen v. State Board of Election, 393 U.S. 544 (1969). A covered jurisdiction that seeks to obtain Section 5 Preclearance, either from the United States Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, must demonstrate that a proposed voting change does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of discriminating based on race or color. In some cases, they must also show that the proposed change does not have the purpose or effect of discriminating against a “language minority group.” Membership in a language minority group includes “persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives or of Spanish heritage.” The burden of proof under current Section 5 jurisprudence is on the covered jurisdiction to establish that the proposed change does not have a retrogressive purpose.[18]

Covered jurisdictions may not implement voting changes without federal preclearance. The Justice Department has 60 days to respond to a request for a voting change. If the Justice Department or federal court rejects a request for Preclearance, the jurisdiction may continue the prior voting practice or may adopt a substitute and seek Preclearance for it. If the jurisdiction implements a voting change before the Justice Department denies Preclearance in contravention of the Act, the jurisdiction must return to the pre-existing practice or enact a different change.

Those states that had less than 50 percent of the voting age population registered to vote in 1960 and/or 1964 were covered in the original act. In addition, some counties and towns that have been found in violation of section 2 have been added. Some cities and counties in Virginia and New Hampshire (see below) have since been found no longer to need Preclearance.

In 2006, the United States Commission on Civil Rights reviewed the Justice Department Preclearance record and found that the percentage of DOJ objections to submitted changes has declined markedly throughout the 40-year period of the Act: from 5.5 percent in the first period to 1.2 percent in the second, and to 0.6 percent in the third. Over the 10 years prior to the review, the overall objection rate was so low as to be practically negligible, at less than 0.1 percent.[19] The Commission’s two Democratic members dissented from the report, charging that the Commission had “abandon[ed] the field of battle.”[20]

In the case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder (2009), the Supreme Court ruled that the district should have greater capability of applying for exemption from this section.[21]

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder held that the preclearance coverage formula in Section 4(b) was unconstitutional. Without a valid coverage formula, no jurisdiction is currently required to have any of their voting changes precleared under Section 5.[22]

Bail out

The term “bail out” refers to the process by which covered jurisdictions may seek exemption from Section 5 coverage.[23] In order to bail out, a covered jurisdiction needs to obtain a declaratory judgment from the District Court for the District of Columbia.[5] Eighteen Virginia jurisdictions not covered by Section 5 Preclearance requirements have successfully “bailed out.”[23]

Before August 1984, this process required covered jurisdictions to demonstrate that the voting test that they used immediately before coverage was not used in a discriminatory fashion. The 1982 amendment included two significant changes.[23] First, Congress provided that where a state is covered in its entirety, individual counties in that state may separately bail out. Second, Congress completely redesigned the bailout standard. The post-1984 bailout standard requires that a covered jurisdiction demonstrate nondiscriminatory behavior during the 10 years prior to filing and while the action is pending and that it has taken affirmative steps to improve minority voting opportunities.[23][24]

On September 22, 2010, the first two jurisdictions outside the state of Virginia—Kings Mountain, North Carolina, and Sandy Springs, Georgia—successfully “bailed out” from Section 5 Preclearance requirements.[25] On November 15, 2012, New Hampshire sued to “bail out” from the requirements, which were originally imposed on ten towns that used a literacy test and had voting disparities when the Act was passed,[26] and prevailed on March 1, 2013.[27]

Bail in

Similar to the bail out procedure, under Section 3 of the VRA there is a “bail in” or ‘pocket trigger’ process by which uncovered jurisdictions found to be a ‘pocket’ of discrimination may be required to seek preclearance under 42 USC 1973a(c).[28] The statutory language is similar to Section 5 oversight but the period of coverage is based on a ruling or consent decree issued by a federal judge. Not used prior to 1975, Section 3 has bailed in the following: [29]

States
  • Arkansas
  • New Mexico
Counties
  • California: Los Angeles
  • Florida: Escambia
  • Nebraska: Thurston
  • New Mexico: Bernalillo
  • South Dakota: Buffalo
  • South Dakota: Charles Mix
Townships
  • Tennessee: Chattanooga

These covered districts are not counted in the Section 5 covered areas below and are not affected by the 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating the formula in Section 4 for jurisdictions requiring Section 5 preclearance.

Jurisdictions formerly covered

States and counties requiring preclearance under Section 5 of the VRA as of January, 2008. Several small jurisdictions have since bailed out,[30] but the majority of the map remains accurate

The jurisdictions listed below had to have their voting changes precleared before the June 25, 2013, Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder that struck down the formula used to determine who was covered under Section 5 (see 28 C.F.R. part 51 appendix):[32]

States
  • Alabama, except for the city of Pinson[33]
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Georgia, except for the city of Sandy Springs
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Texas, except for Jefferson County Drainage District Number Seven and Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One
  • Virginia, except for 24 counties (Amherst, Augusta, Bedford, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Culpeper, Essex, Frederick, Grayson, Greene, James City, King George, Middlesex, Page, Prince William, Pulaski, Rappahanock, Roanoke, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Washington, Warren, and Wythe) and seven independent cities (Fairfax, Falls Church, Harrisonburg, Manassas Park, Salem, Williamsburg, and Winchester)
Counties
  • California: Kings (except for Alta Irrigation District), Monterey, Yuba (except for Browns Valley Irrigation District and the city of Wheatland)
  • Florida: Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Monroe
  • New York: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan)
  • North Carolina: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Chowan, Cleveland (except for the city of Kings Mountain), Craven, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Jackson, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Rockingham, Scotland, Union, Vance, Washington, Wayne, Wilson
  • South Dakota: Shannon, Todd
Townships
  • Michigan: Clyde Township (Allegan County), Buena Vista Township

Renewal

President George W. Bush signs the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in July 2006.

Some temporary sections of the Voting Rights Act (none involving the outlawing of literacy tests, which are permanently banned)[34] have been renewed four times and remain in force. These provisions were renewed in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006. In the 1982 action, Congress amended the Act to make some sections (including section 2) permanent while renewing the remainder (including section 5) for 25 years (until July 1, 2007).

In July 2006, 41 years after the Voting Rights Act passed, renewal of the temporary provisions enjoyed bi-partisan support. However, a number of Republican lawmakers acted to amend, delay or defeat renewal of the Act for various reasons. One group of lawmakers led by Georgia congressman Lynn Westmoreland came from some preclearance states, and claimed that it was no longer fair to target their states, given the passage of time since 1965 and the changes their states had made to provide fair elections and voting. Another group of 80 legislators supported an amendment offered by Steve King of Iowa, seeking to strip provisions from the Act that required that translators or multilingual ballots be provided for U.S. citizens who do not speak English.[9] The “King letter” said that providing ballots or interpreters in multiple languages is a costly, unfunded mandate.

The bill to renew the Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13 by a vote of 390-33, with support from Republican House leadership, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. The U.S. Senate passed the bill 98–0 on July 20.[6] President George W. Bush signed the bill in a morning ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on July 27, 2006, one year in advance of the 2007 expiration date.[6] This extension renewed the Act for another 25 years.[6] The audience included members of the families of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Also in attendance were the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and other prominent African Americans.[6]

Criticisms

Preclearance

Some jurisdictions singled out in the Act for their practices in the 1960s are still required by law to receive federal permission for certain changes to election law or changes in venue.[35] These nine Southern states and mostly Southern counties have complained that the practices banned by the Act disappeared long ago and that further compliance with the mandates of the Act are a costly nuisance and an “unfair stigma” to their towns.[9] As an example of the federal bureaucracy involved, Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston said, “If you move a polling place from the Baptist church to the Methodist church, you’ve got to go through the Justice Department.”[9]

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said:[36]

Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven, that Georgians must eternally wear the scarlet letter because of the actions of their grandparents and great-grandparents. We have repented and we have reformed.
— Lynn Westmoreland

Some who think that this federal oversight is discriminatory to these particular states have proposed that the oversight be extended to all 50 states or eliminated entirely.[37]

The 2006 extension of the preclearance procedure was challenged in a lawsuit, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, which was argued before the Supreme Court on April 30, 2009.[38] The lawsuit was brought by a municipal water district in Texas, which elects members to a water board. The district does not register voters, nor has it been accused of discrimination. However, it wished to move the voting location from a private home to a public school; the preclearance procedure required it to seek approval from the Justice Department, because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5.[39] While the Court did not declare preclearance unconstitutional, the decision redefined the law to allow any political subdivision covered by Section 5 to request exemption from federal review.[40]

During the 2010 election cycle, the state of Florida passed two redistricting amendments to their state constitution that were aimed at preventing future attempts at gerrymandering. Then-governor Charlie Crist, a supporter of both amendments, submitted a request to the DOJ for preclearance, as required by the VRA. In early 2011, Florida’s newly-elected governor Rick Scott, a vocal opponent of these amendments, withdrew the request for preclearance, placing the legal status of the amendments in limbo.[41][42] In particular, only five of Florida’s counties are required to obtain preclearance under the Act, making it unclear what the status of these amendments is in the remaining counties. Proponents of these amendments, both of which passed with greater than 60% voter approval, are accusing Scott’s administration of attempting to “thwart the will of the voters”, by “abusing their power”, and the VRA’s preclearance clause, as a means to defeat these amendments despite overwhelming voter support.[43]

Gerrymandering

Some judges and proponents of racially drawn congressional districts have interpreted Section 5 of the Act as requiring racial gerrymandering in order to ensure minority representation.[44][45] The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995), overturned a 1992 Congressional redistricting plan that had created minority majority districts in Georgia as unconstitutional gerrymander. In Bush v. Vera, the Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, rejected Texas’s contention that Section 5 required racially-gerrymandered districts.

Constitutionality

On November 9, 2012, the Supreme Court granted certiorari for the case of Shelby County v. Holder originating from Shelby County, Alabama, limited to the question of whether Congress’ decision in 2006 to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth Amendment and Article IV of the United States Constitution.[46][47]

Oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder were on February 27, 2013.[48] On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down, with a 5 to 4 vote, Section 4(b) of Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional while ruling that Section 5 is still permissible.[49][17]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965

Background Articles and Videos

Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act

Why Today Is Better Than Yesterday

By  John Yoo

Do conservatives have a lot more to be happy about today than yesterday? Yes. Today, the Supreme Court struck down the most onerous element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder. The Act had required several states and localities, almost all in the southern states of the confederacy, to seek permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before changing any electoral procedure. This included the drawing of electoral districts. A separate provision, still in force after Shelby, prohibits individual measures to block access to the ballot on the grounds of race.

The Act made sense in 1965, when Jim Crow still prevented blacks from registering and voting in the South. But it doesn’t anymore. One chart of voting registration by race, found on page 15 of Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion, says it all:

voter_registration_chart

I became a lawyer so I wouldn’t have to work with numbers. But even I get it. After 40 years of the Voting Rights Act, in the original Jim Crow southern states African-American voting registration is actually the same or higher than that of whites. In the last election, African-American turnout was higher than white turnout in five of these six states, and in the sixth state the gap was less than 0.5 percent.

Shelby shows that the Court — albeit by a 5-4 majority — finally came to grips with reality. The Voting Rights Act worked. But it was an extraordinary remedy that intruded on state sovereignty over elections. And like all extraordinary remedies, it was only for unusual times. Those times have come to an end.

But there is one remaining and open question: Will this be bad for Republicans in the South? The Voting Rights Act resulted in an alliance between the NAACP and the Republican party of the 1980s and 1990s to pack minorities into voting districts. This had the effect of ensuring that minorities would be elected to Congress (which the NAACP liked), but diluted minority influence in regular politics by reducing their numbers in all other voting districts (which the Republican party liked). The end of the Voting Rights Act might have the long-term effect of making more congressional seats in the South more competitive and reducing the number of safe seats for members of the congressional black caucus. I would say that that is another victory for the nation wrought by Shelby.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/351985/why-today-better-yesterday-john-yoo

June 26, 2013

Voting Rights Act: Winning the Case While Losing the Principle

By Herbert W. Titus and William J. Olson

Yesterday morning, by a vote of five to four, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress could no longer rely on data of state racial discrimination affecting voting rights which had been assembled in the 1960’s and 1970’s to justify the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act.  Under the preclearance provision (section 4) struck down by the Court, some States and their political subdivisions had been required since 1965 to obtain approval by specified federal authorities in Washington, D.C. before any change in their voting laws can take effect.

Roberts.  Justice Thomas wrote aconcurring opinion.  A dissent was filed by Justice Ginsburg, with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

While the Court ruled that section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional, this decision was anything but a principled victory, and, indeed, has opened the door to further legislation that could be every bit as bad, if not worse, than the section 4 which it struck down.

In the very first paragraph of the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged the extraordinary nature of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Section 5 of the Act requiring “States to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to voting [is] a drastic departure from basic principles of federalism….”  And, Section 4 of the Act “appl[ying] that requirement only to some States – [is] an equally dramatic departure from the principle that all States enjoy equal sovereignty.”

However extraordinary and unprecedented these two sections were viewed, the Court refused to rule that either section was unconstitutional for that reason.

Rather, the Court decided that the Section 4 formula governing whether a particular State or political subdivision was required to get Section 5 permission was unconstitutional solely because it was based upon outdated voting discrimination data.

On two occasions Justice Roberts cited with apparent approval some of the most lawless words ever written by the Supreme Court — words contained in Justice Warren’s opinion approving the original Voting Rights Act of 1965:  “exceptional conditions can justify legislative measures not otherwise appropriate.”  South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 393 U.S. 301, 309 (1966).

In so ruling, the Court left the door open for Congress to assemble new data to enact into law a new formula whereby some States and their political subdivisions would be singled out for federal preclearance before they would be permitted to make any election law change.  And what might that new formula be?

According to Section 5, left intact by the Court, the 1965 Act, as amended, prohibits:  (i) any voting procedure that has “any discriminatory purpose” — not just one that worsens one’s exercise of the voting privilege, or (ii) any voting change that diminishes the ability of citizens on account of race, or language minority status “to elect their preferred candidates of choice.”  Neither outcome based test was ever envisioned by the Fifteenth Amendment.

The Court invited Congress to replace section 4 with a new and improved version.  Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

“Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions.  Such a formula is an initial prerequisite to a determination that exceptional conditions still exist justifying such an ‘extraordinary departure from the traditional course of relations between the States and the Federal Government.'”

How refreshing to know that a State’s sovereignty cannot be overridden by the federal government — unless Congress and the President have an important reason to do so.

According to the Court’s decision, then, neither the principle of state sovereignty, nor the principle of state equality, preserved not only by the Tenth Amendment and by the nation’s federal structure dating back to the Declaration of Independence, stands in the way of an affirmative action by Congress that would single out those states that fail to elect to office minority group candidates sufficiently proportionate to their numbers in the population.

Thus, the Shelby County Court opinion frees Congress to amend the 1965 Act to impose new burdens on a new group of States and their political subdivisions — or on all states — just so long as Congress justifies the imposition of new burdens to meet current needs.

In our Shelby County amicus brief, we advocated a legal system that treats each man as man, no more and no less.  We urged the Court to strike down not only Section 4 of the 1965 Act, but Section 5 — to close the door to special privileges based upon race — minority, majority, or otherwise.  The Court rejected that invitation.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas claimed that the same reasons that justified the Court to strike down the outmoded formula of Section 4, would justify striking down Section 5 as well.  However, until the Court returns to the rule of law — fixed as to time, uniform as to person, and universal as to place — we will continue to be ruled by judges whose opinions change with changing times.

Postscript:  To put this case into the context of how the current Court views constitutional principles, just the day before the Court handed down Shelby County, the Court decided Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.  In Fisher the Court refused to adopt the principle of racial equality in the admission of students to the University, permitting race to be used as a factor in the admitting process if it did so in pursuance of a compelling interest to carry out a policy of educational diversity.  Thus, once again the Court sidestepped our constitutional commitment in the nation’s charter and in the Fourteenth Amendment to the principle of human equality regardless of race or color, and preserved the right of every justice to decide each case as he pleases, without meaningful constitutional constraint, doing what each believes to be right in his own eyes.

Herb Titus taught constitutional law for 26 years, concluding his academic career as founding dean of Regent Law School.  Bill Olson served in three positions in the Reagan administration.  They now practice constitutional law together, defending against government excess, at William J. Olson, P.C.  They filed an amicus curiae brief in the Shelby County case.  They can be reached at wjo@mindspring.com or twitter.com/OlsonLaw

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Enemy Of The State: Life Imitating Art –National Security Agency Targets American People — Videos

Posted on June 25, 2013. Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Computers, Crime, Economics, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State is a 1998 American action-thriller about a group of rogue NSA agents who kill a US Congressman and try to cover up the murder. It was written by David Marconi, directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It stars Will Smith and Gene Hackman, with Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, and Regina King in supporting roles.

The film grossed over $250,000,000 worldwide ($111,549,836 within the US).

Plot

As the U.S. Congress moves to pass new legislation that dramatically expands the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies, Congressman Phil Hammersley (Robards) remains firmly opposed to its passage. To ensure the bill’s passage, National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Voight) kills Hammersley, but he is unaware of a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz (Lee) that has captured the entire incident. Zavitz discovers the murder, and alerts an underground journalist, at the same time transferring the video to an innocuous computer disc. Reynolds learns of Zavitz’s footage, and sends a team to recover the video. While fleeing, Zavitz runs into an old college friend, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Smith). Zavitz secretly passes the computer disc into Dean’s shopping bag without his knowledge. Zavitz flees and is killed when hit by a fire truck. Reynolds soon has the underground journalist killed.

When the NSA discovers that Dean may have the video, a team raids his house and plants surveillance devices. Unable to find the video, the NSA proceeds to falsely incriminate Dean of passing classified information to Rachel Banks (Bonet), a former girlfriend. The subterfuge destroys Dean’s life: he is fired from his job, his bank accounts are frozen, and his wife (King) throws him out of the house. Dean, trailed by the NSA, meets with Banks, who sets up a meeting with “Brill”, one of her secret contacts. After meeting an NSA agent posing as Brill (Byrne), Dean realizes his error, only to have the real Brill, retired NSA agent Edward Lyle (Hackman), ferry him to temporary safety and help rid Dean of most of the tracking devices he is unwittingly carrying. Dean ultimately rids himself of the final device and, fleeing his pursuers, escapes.

With Dean and Lyle in hiding, the NSA agents kill Banks and frame Dean for the murder. Lyle is able to find evidence that the NSA executed Hammersley’s murder, but it is destroyed during an escape from an NSA raid.

It is then revealed that Lyle was an expert in communications for the NSA; he was stationed in Iran before the Iranian Revolution. When the revolution occurred, Lyle made it out of the country, but his partner, Rachel’s father, was killed. Since then he has been in hiding. Lyle tries to coax Dean into trying to run away, but Dean is adamant about clearing his name.

Dean and Lyle blackmail another supporter of the surveillance bill, Congressman Sam Albert (Wilson), by videotaping him having an affair with his aide. Dean and Lyle “hide” bugs that Reynolds had used on Dean in Albert’s room so Albert will find them and have the NSA start an investigation. Lyle also deposits $140,000 into Reynolds’ bank account to make it appear that he is taking bribes.

Lyle contacts Reynolds to tell him he has the video of the Hammersley murder and asks to meet. Dean tells them that the Hammersley murder footage is in the hands of Mafia boss Joey Pintero (Sizemore), whose office is under FBI surveillance. Dean, Reynolds, and the NSA team head into Pintero’s restaurant, precipitating a gunfight that kills the mobsters, Reynolds, and several of his NSA team.

Dean and Lyle escape, with Lyle quickly disappearing from the authorities. The FBI discovers the plot behind the legislation, causing it to fail, though they cover up the NSA’s involvement. Dean is cleared of all charges and is reunited with his wife. Lyle escapes to a tropical location, but sends a “goodbye” message to Dean.

Cast

  • Will Smith as Robert Clayton Dean
  • Gene Hackman as Edward “Brill” Lyle
  • Jon Voight as Thomas Brian Reynolds
  • Barry Pepper as David Pratt
  • Regina King as Carla Dean
  • Ian Hart as John Bingham
  • Lisa Bonet as Rachel F. Banks
  • Jascha Washington as Eric Dean
  • James LeGros as Jerry Miller
  • Jake Busey as Krug
  • Scott Caan as Jones
  • Jamie Kennedy as Jamie Williams
  • Jason Lee as Daniel Leon Zavitz
  • Gabriel Byrne as Fake Brill
  • Stuart Wilson as Congressman Sam Albert
  • Jack Black as Fiedler
  • Anna Gunn as Emily Reynolds
  • Laura Cayouette as Christa Hawkins
  • Loren Dean as Loren Hicks
  • Bodhi Elfman as Van
  • Dan Butler as NSA Director Admiral Shaffer
  • Seth Green as Selby (uncredited)
  • Tom Sizemore as Boss Paulie Pintero (uncredited)
  • Jason Robards as Congressman Phil Hammersley (uncredited)
  • Philip Baker Hall as Attorney Mark Silverberg (uncredited)
  • Brian Markinson as Attorney Brian Blake (uncredited)
  • Larry King as Himself (uncredited)
  • Ivana Miličević as Ruby’s Sales Clerk

Production

Although the story is set in both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, most of the filming was done in Baltimore. Location shooting began on a ferry in Fells Point. In mid-January, the company moved to Los Angeles to complete production in April 1998.[3]

Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise were considered for the part that went to Will Smith, who took the role largely because he wanted to work with Gene Hackman and had previously enjoyed working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Bad Boys. George Clooney was also considered for a role in the film. Sean Connery was considered for the role that went to Hackman. The film’s crew included a technical surveillance counter-measures consultant who also had a minor role as a spy shop merchant. Hackman had previously acted in a similar thriller about spying and surveillance film, The Conversation (1974).

Reception

Enemy of the State was moderately well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes presented a 71% “Fresh” rating for the movie, with 57 critics approving of the movie and 24 noting the film as “Rotten;”[4] similar results could be found at the website Metacritic, which displayed a normalized ranking of 67 out of 100 on the basis of the views of 22 critics.[5] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times expressed enjoyment in the movie, noting how its “pizazz [overcame] occasional lapses in moment-to-moment plausibility;”[6] Janet Maslin of the New York Times approved of the film’s action-packed sequences, but cited how it was similar in manner to the rest of the members of “Simpson’s and Bruckheimer’s school of empty but sensation-packed filming.”[7] In a combination of the two’s views, Edvins Beitiks of the San Francisco Examiner praised many of the movie’s development aspects, but criticized the overall concept that drove the film from the beginning — the efficiency of government intelligence — as unrealistic.[8]

According to film critic Kim Newman, Enemy of the State could be construed as a “continuation of The Conversation,” the 1974 psychological thriller that starred Hackman as a paranoid, isolated surveillance expert.[9]

Box office

The film opened at #2, behind The Rugrats Movie, grossing $20,038,573 over its first weekend in 2,393 theatres and averaging about $8,374 per venue.[10][11]

Real life

An episode of PBS’ Nova titled “Spy Factory” reports that the film’s portrayal of the NSA’s capabilities are fiction: although the agency can intercept transmissions, connecting the dots is difficult.[12] However, in 2001, then-NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden, who was appointed to the position during the release of the film, told CNN’s Kyra Philipps that “I made the judgment that we couldn’t survive with the popular impression of this agency being formed by the last Will Smith movie.[13]” James Risen wrote in his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration that Hayden “was appalled” by the film’s depiction of the NSA, and sought to counter it with a PR campaign on behalf of the agency.[14]

In June 2013 the NSA’s PRISM and Boundless Informant programs for domestic and international surveillance were uncovered by the Guardian and Washington Post as the result of information provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. This information revealed much more extensive capabilities than those represented by the film, such as collection of internet browsing, email and telephone data of not only every American, but citizens of other nations as well. The Guardian’s John Patterson opined that Hollywood depictions of NSA surveillance, including Enemy of the State and Echelon Conspiracy, had “softened” up the American public to “the notion that our spending habits, our location, our every movement and conversation, are visible to others whose motives we cannot know.[15]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_of_the_State_%28film%29

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The Armenian Genocide in Turkey Under The Ottoman Empire in 1915 — Videos

Posted on June 22, 2013. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, European History, Genocide, history, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

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Western Digital My Passport 2TB and WD Nomad Rugged Carrying Case — Videos

Posted on June 22, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Data Storage, Economics, Education, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Music, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Review: Western Digital My Passport (2TB)

If looks aren’t paramount, you’d be hard pressed to find a better portable drive than the My Passport. It has plenty of capacity and top-notch performance.

The My Passport is Western Digital’s mainstream line of portable hard drives. The best performer in the roundup, it’s available in 500GB to 2TB flavors for twice the available capacity of any of the other drives we tested.

The $180, 2TB My Passport that WD sent us took the top spot by a very slight margin over its slimmer My Passport Edge cousin. It read our 10GB mix of files and folders at 61.2MBps, and it wrote them at 48.3MBps. The same operations with our large 10GB file registered 113.2MBps and 104.2MBps. That’s fast in anyone’s book; it’s more than adequate for streaming HD movies, backing up client PCs, or any other chore you can think of.

WD’s SmartWare software bundle comes preloaded on the My Passport. The package supports the PC and the Mac, offering secure erase, SMART status, drive-level password protection, and sleep timer adjustment, as well as backup. While it’s neither the smallest nor the sexiest drive in this roundup, the My Passport is arguably the best all-around product.

Note: This review is part of a five-product roundup. Click here to return to the introduction, or click on the next review you’d like to read:

Rocstor Lancer LX (500GB)

Seagate Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage (500GB)

Seagate Slim (500GB)

Western Digital My Passport Edge (500GB)

 

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http://www.pcworld.com/article/2013329/review-western-digital-my-passport-2tb.html

How to buy the best portable hard drive

By Michael Brown

ou can never have too much digital storage, and the day will come—sooner than you think—when you won’t be able to squeeze a single new file onto your computer’s hard drive. And if your primary computer is a laptop or an all-in-one desktop, you won’t be able to solve the problem by opening the case and tossing in a supplemental drive.

One solution might be to rent storage space in the cloud, but buying a hard-drive’s worth of capacity is prohibitively expensive: 500GB of storage on Dropbox, for example, will set you back $499 per year. If you need just storage, as opposed to a service for file syncing or collaborating via the cloud, buying a portable hard drive is far more economical. For less than $200, you can get a 2TB drive that supplies four times the capacity of a Dropbox account. Pay for that storage capacity once, and you’ll own it forever—and you can take it with you wherever you go. Before you can choose the right drive, however, you have to identify your needs, wants, and budget.

Mac or PC: OS X and Windows use different file systems (HFS+ and NTFS, respectively), so most hard-drive manufacturers offer platform-specific models; the drives are preformatted accordingly, and the bundled software (if any) is compatible with the given platform. OS X can read files on an NTFS drive, but it can’t write them. If you intend to use the same drive on both platforms, you can install software on your Mac that will enable it to do both: NTFS-3G is a free option. If you prefer commercial software, take a look at Paragon NTFS ($20) or Tuxera NTFS ($32).

Capacity: To determine how much storage you need, consider adopting this rule of thumb from drive manufacturer Western Digital: A 500GB hard drive can store approximately 100,000 digital photos taken with a 6-megapixel camera, or 125,000 songs encoded as 128-kbps MP3 files. Higher-resolution photos and music, of course, consume more storage.

Everything else being equal, a high-capacity drive will deliver a better price-to-performance ratio than a low-capacity model: For instance, a 500GB drive priced at $100 costs around 20 cents per gigabyte, while a 2TB drive priced at $180 costs just 9 cents per gigabyte. You won’t regret buying more storage capacity than you currently need, because you will surely need more later.

Rotational speed: The rate at which a hard drive spins its platters has a direct effect on how fast it can read and write data. A drive spinning at 7200 rpm will deliver much better performance than a drive spinning at 5400 rpm. Some high-end desktop drives spin their platters at 10,000 rpm.

The Buffalo MiniStation provides both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections.

Drive interface: Once you’ve decided on the speed and capacity you need, you need to consider how the drive will connect to your computer. USB is the most common interface for Macs and PCs, and USB 3.0 delivers a faster data rate than USB 2.0 (5 gbps versus 480 mbps) and more electrical power to an attached device (900mA versus 500mA). The newer standard is backward-compatible, so your computer will be able to use a USB 3.0 drive even if the computer has only USB 2.0 ports.


Thunderbolt ports are twice as fast as USB 3.0 ports, achieving a raw data transfer rate of 10 gbps. That’s speedy enough to transfer a full-length, high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds. Apple provides Thunderbolt ports on its most recent desktop and laptop computers, and the technology is beginning to show up on Windows machines, too. Thunderbolt hard drives are relatively expensive, however: At $180, Buffalo’s 500GB MiniStation HD-PA500TU3 portable drive costs nearly as much as a 2TB hard drive equipped with a USB 3.0 interface. Still, If you choose to buy one of Buffalo’s drives, you’ll be happy to know that the company includes a Thunderbolt cable in the box, given ho pricey these cables are: Apple’s 2-meter cable costs $49.

Plug this $100 adapter into any Seagate GoFlex drive, and you’ll gain a fast Thunderbolt port.

FireWire (also known as IEEE 1394) is another high-speed interface used on both Macs and many PCs. The FireWire 400 interface can support a data transfer rate of 400 mbps, while the newer FireWire 800 interface can deliver throughput of 786 mbps.

USB, Thunderbolt, and FireWire all provide enough electrical power to run an attached drive, so the only cord you’ll need to carry with you is the appropriate interface cable.

Enclosure: The vast majority of portable hard drives are 2.5-inch mechanisms, but not all portable hard drives are the same size. Some models come housed in low-profile enclosures, while others are wrapped in shock-absorbing material within ruggedized cases. Such design decisions affect the drive’s overall weight, but they also influence how well the drive can survive misadventure. If you’re a frequent traveler who grudges every ounce that goes into your laptop bag, you’ll need to work out for yourself the right balance between data security and tolerable shoulder load.

This rugged Nomad case for Western Digital’s Passport drives costs $20.

Some manufacturers, including Seagate and Western Digital, offer accessory cases for their drives that can add shock protection. We especially like the Nomad hard-shell case for Western Digital’s Passport drives. The amply padded, 6.25-ounce polycarbonate case has an opening for a USB cable, so you don’t have to remove the drive to use it.

Other features: In situations where performance is roughly equal, the easiest way for a hard drive manufacturer to differentiate its product from the competition’s is by adding special features or by bundling the drive with useful software. If you’re interested in backing up your PCs, watch for drives that come bundled with automated backup software.

If you’re security conscious, look for a drive that you can password-protect or that includes software for encrypting the data stored on it. Some Seagate drives support the Universal Storage Module standard: They use SATA as their primary hardware interface, but you can switch to a USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire interface by plugging in the appropriate module. Seagate is also unique in offering a portable drive that can wirelessly stream media to a mobile client device.

A few of our favorite portable hard drives

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt: The MiniStation sports both a USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt interface, but the drive’s rather pedestrian rotational speed of 5400 rpm hobbles its overall performance. It comes preformatted for the Mac, and both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt cables are included.

Click here to read Macworld’s complete hands-on review of the 1TB model in a Mac environment.

Rocstor Lancer LX

Rocstor Lancer LX: If you’re looking for a ruggedized drive with a very fast interface, Rocstor’s Lancer LX provides both USB 3.0 and two FireWire 800 ports. The border of the enclosure is fabricated from aluminum and can bear a fair amount of weight, while shock-absorbing material inside the case protects the drive from thumps and bumps.

Click here to read our detailed review of the 500GB model in a PC environment.

Seagate Satellite

Seagate Satellite: This battery-powered drive can create its own local hotspot, and stream audio and video to up to eight wireless clients. Seagate provides client software for Android and iOS devices, plus an NTFS driver for the Mac. It uses a USB 3.0 interface.

Click here to read our full review of the 500GB drive in a PC environment.

Seagate Slim

Seagate Slim: The 9mm-thin Seagate Slim is appropriately named. It leaves the factory with a USB 3.0 interface, but since it’s based on the Universal Storage Module standard, you can purchase an optional Thunderbolt interface for $100 (you’ll need to provide your own cable). It comes formatted for NTSF, but Seagate provides an NTFS driver for the Mac. On the downside, this model delivers only 500GB of capacity.

Click here for our hands-on review of the Slim in a PC environment.

Western Digital My Passport

Western Digital My Passport: For people who need a lot of storage on the go, this drive packs up to 2TB of space into a package that weighs just 8 ounces. It comes with a USB 3.0 interface and a collection of utilities—including automatic back-up software—for both the Mac and the PC.

Click here for our complete review of the My Passport in a PC environment.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2015241/how-to-buy-the-best-portable-hard-drive.html

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God Bless The Tea Party: Senators Cruz and Rand, Representatives Bachmann and King, Broadcaster Beck — Complete Coverage of The Tea Party’s Audit The IRS Rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 19, 2013 — Videos

Posted on June 22, 2013. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Psychology, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Tea+Party+rally+at+Capitolted_cruz_michele-bachmann_33irs-rally-wide-shotGlenn Beck addresses the crowd during a Tea Party rally to "Audit the IRS" in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington

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Mark Krikorian — The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal — Videos

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Security, Tax Policy, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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Enforce Existing Immigration Laws — Deport The 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens and Build The U.S. Mexican Border Fence — No Amnesty — Vote Out of Office Any Politician That Votes For Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Videos

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Autos, Babies, Blogroll, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Energy, Federal Government Budget, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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BORDERS : Mexican Drug War – Full Documentary 2013

The full-length documentary that is an “on the ground,” on location look at the problem at the US/Mexico border. The film demonstrates the reticence, if not absolute refusal, of the US Govt to adequately protect the dangerous southern border. While security is feigned in some locations, it is totally disregarded in others. Footage shows the mostly non-functional and worthless border fence, easy access across the border at nearly any location, interviews with affected US citizens in the border zone, and questions why certain drugs are illegal that fuel the carnage. I do apologize for some of the wind problems in the sound as I was in very windy locations without an adequate cover on the mic. I did submit this documentary to several networks, but was told it was too politically charged for broadcast. So, here it is on youtube.

The Mexico–United States barrier – also known in the United States as the border fence, rotted fence or border wall – is actually several separation barriers designed to prevent illegal movement across the Mexico–United States border. The barriers were built as part of three larger “Operations” to taper transportation of illegal drugs manufactured in Latin America and illegal immigration: Operation Gatekeeper in California, Operation Hold-the-Line [1] in Texas, and Operation Safeguard[2] in Arizona. The barriers are strategically placed to mitigate the flow of illegal border crossings along the Mexico–United States international border into the Southwestern United States. Construction supporters cite the ongoing escalation of national security risks, relating to Cartel border violence, and their possible co-operation with overseas terrorists. Opponents claim the barriers are a taxpayer boondoggle, an ineffective deterrent and that the barriers inappropriately jeopardize the health and safety of those seeking illegal entry into the United States, as well as destroy animal habitat, prevent animals from reaching water, disturb animal migration patterns, and otherwise damage the environment.

General impact on illegal immigration

96.6% of apprehensions by the Border Patrol in 2010 occurred at the southwest border.[3] The number of Border Patrol apprehensions declined 61% from 1,189,000 in 2005 to 723,840 in 2008 to 463,000 in 2010. The decrease in apprehensions may be due to a number of factors including changes in U.S. economic conditions and border enforcement efforts. Border apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972.[3]

The 1,951-mile (3,141 km) border between the United States and Mexico traverses a variety of terrains, including urban areas and deserts. The barrier is located on both urban and uninhabited sections of the border, areas where the most concentrated numbers of illegal crossings and drug trafficking have been observed in the past. These urban areas include San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. As of August 29, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had built 190 miles (310 km) of pedestrian border fence and 154.3 miles (248.3 km) of vehicle border fence, for a total of 344.3 miles (554.1 km) of fence. The completed fence is mainly in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, with construction under way in Texas.[4]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of fence in place by the second week of January, 2009.[5] Work is still under way on fence segments in Texas and on the Border Infrastructure System in California.

The border fence is not one continuous structure and is actually a grouping of short physical walls that stop and start, secured in between with “virtual fence” which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by Border Patrol Agents.[6] As a result of the effect of the barrier, there has been a marked increase in the number of people trying to illegally cross the Sonoran Desert and crossing over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona.[7] Such illegal immigrants must cross 50 miles (80 km) of inhospitable terrain to reach the first road, which is located in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.[7][8]

There have been around 5,000 migrant deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border in the last thirteen years, according to a document created by the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico, also signed by the American Civil Liberties Union[9] Between 43 and 61 people died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert during that same time period; three times that of the same period the previous year.[7] In October 2004 the Border Patrol announced that 325 people had died crossing the entire border during the previous 12 months.[10] Between 1998 and 2004, 1,954 persons are officially reported to have died along the US-Mexico border. Since 2004, the bodies of 1086 migrants have been recovered in the southern Arizona desert.[11]

U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector reported on Oct. 15, 2008 that its agents were able to save 443 undocumented immigrants from certain death after being abandoned by their smugglers, during FY 2008, while reducing the number of deaths by 17 percent from 202 in FY 2007 to 167 in FY 2008. Without the efforts of these agents, hundreds more could have died in the deserts of Arizona.[12] According to the same sector, border enhancements like the wall have allowed the Tucson Sector agents to reduce the number of apprehensions at the borders by 16 percent compared with fiscal year 2007.[13]

Barrier status

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California and the then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, proposed a plan to the House on November 3, 2005 calling for the construction of a reinforced fence along the entire United States–Mexican border. This would also include a 100-yard (91 m) border zone on the U.S. side. On December 15, 2005, Congressman Hunter’s amendment to the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) passed in the House. This plan calls for mandatory fencing along 698 miles (1,123 km) of the Mexican border.[14] On May 17, 2006 the U.S. Senate proposed with Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) what could be 370 miles (600 km) of triple layered-fencing and a vehicle fence. Although that bill died in committee, eventually the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006.

U.S.-Mexico Border at the Pacific Ocean in Imperial Beach, California. (Tire tracks from Border Patrol Jeeps are visible on the beach.)

The government of Mexico and ministers of several Latin American countries have condemned the plans.[15] Rick Perry, governor of Texas, also expressed his opposition saying that instead of closing the border it should be opened more and through technology support legal and safe migration.[16] The barrier expansion has also been opposed by a unanimous vote of the Laredo, Texas City Council.[17] Laredo’s Mayor, Raul G. Salinas, is concerned about defending his town’s people by saying that the Bill which includes miles of border wall would devastate Laredo. He states “these are people that are sustaining our economy by forty percent, and I am gonna [sic] close the door on them and put [up] a wall? You don’t do that. It’s like a slap in the face.” He hopes that Congress would revise the Bill that better reflects the realities of life on the border.[18] There are no plans to build border fence in Laredo at this time. However, there is a large Border Patrol presence in Laredo.

Secure Fence Act

Beach in Tijuana.

House Resolution 6061 (H.R. 6061), “Secure Fence Act of 2006”, was introduced on September 13, 2006. It passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on September 14, 2006 with a vote of 283–138.

On September 29, 2006, by a vote of 80–19 the U.S. Senate confirmed H.R. 6061 authorizing, and partially funding the “possible” construction of 700 miles (1,125 km) of physical fence/barriers along the border. The very broad support implies that many assurances have been made by the Administration, to the Democrats, Mexico, and the pro “Comprehensive immigration reform” minority within the GOP, that Homeland Security will proceed very cautiously. Michael Chertoff, announced that an eight-month test of the virtual fence, he favors, will precede any construction of a physical barrier.

On October 26, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 6061 which was voted upon and passed by the 109th Congress of the United States.[19] The signing of the bill comes right after a CNN poll shows us that most Americans “prefer the idea of more Border Patrol agents to a 700-mile (1,125-kilometer) fence.”[20] There is a down payment of $1.2 billion to the Department of Homeland Security marked for border security, but not specifically for the border fence.

As of January 2010, the fence project has been completed from San Diego, California to Yuma, Arizona. From there it continues into Texas and consists of a fence that is 21 feet (6.4 m) tall and 6 feet (1.8 m) deep in the ground, cemented in a 3-foot (0.91 m)-wide trench with 5000 psi (UK/Éire:345 bar; 352 kg/cm²) concrete. There were no fatalities during construction, but there were 4 serious injuries with multiple aggressions against building crews, there was one reported shooting with no injury to a crew member in Mexicali region. All fence sections are south of the all American canals, and have access roads giving border guards the ability to reach any point easily, including the dunes area where a border agent was killed 3 years before and is now sealed off.

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform states that “The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built.”[21] The Washington Office on Latin America notes on its Border Fact Check site that the extremely high cost of complying with the Secure Fence Act’s mandate, estimated at US$4.1 billion, or more than the Border Patrol’s entire annual budget of US$3.55 billion, was the main reason that it was not fulfilled.[22]

Rethinking the expansion

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) announced in January 2007 that Congress will revisit the fence plan, while committee chairs are holding up funding until a comprehensive border security plan is presented by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Both Senators from Texas, John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), advocate revising the plan.[17]

Construction of the border fence will not be subject to any laws. This is because in 2005 the Real ID Act, attached as a rider to a supplemental appropriations bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decreed, “Not withstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads.” Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff used his new power to “waive in their entirety” the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act to extend triple fencing through the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve near San Diego.[23] The Real ID Act further stipulates that his decisions are not subject to judicial review, and in December 2005 a federal judge dismissed legal challenges by the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and others to Chertoff’s decision.

Secretary Chertoff exercised his waiver authority on April 1, 2008. In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a lower court ruling upholding the waiver authority in a case filed by the Sierra Club. (Associated Press) In September, 2008 a federal district court judge in El Paso dismissed a similar lawsuit brought by El Paso County, Texas.[24]

By January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had spent $40 million on environmental analysis and mitigation measures aimed at blunting any possible adverse impact that the fence might have on the environment. On January 16, 2009, DHS announced it was pledging an additional $50 million for that purpose, and signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior for utilization of the additional funding.[25]

Expansion freeze

President Barack Obama ordered a halt to the expansion of the “virtual fence,” the Department of Homeland Security announced on March 16, 2010.[26] The money would be used to upgrade current border technology.

Local efforts

In response to a perceived lack of will on the part of the federal government to build a secure border fence, and a lack of state funds, Arizona officials plan to launch a website allowing donors to help fund a state border fence.

Controversy

Steel barrier wall near Mariposa port of entry, Nogales Sonora, Mexico. Viewpoint: from Sonora northeast to Arizona.

Wildlife Friendly Border Wall in Brownsville, Texas. A young man climbs wall using horizontal beams for foot support.

Divided land

Tribal lands of three American Indian nations would be divided by the proposed border fence.[27][28][29][30][31]

On January 27, 2008, a U.S. Native American human rights delegation, which included Margo Tamez, (Lipan Apache-Jumano Apache) and Teresa Leal (Opata-Mayo) reported the removal of the official International Boundary obelisks of 1848 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Las Mariposas, Sonora-Arizona sector of the Mexico-U.S. border. The obelisks were moved southward approximately 20 meters, onto the property of private landowners in Sonora, as part of the larger project of installing the 18-foot (5.5 m) steel barrier wall.[32]

The proposed route for the border fence would divide the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville into two parts, according to Antonio N. Zavaleta, a vice president of the university.[33] There have been campus protests against the wall by students who feel it will harm their school.[6] In August, 2008, UT-Brownsville reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the university to construct a portion of the fence across and adjacent to its property. The final agreement, which was filed in federal court on Aug. 5 and formally signed by the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees later that day, ended all court proceedings between UTB/TSC and DHS. On August 20, 2008, the university sent out a request for bids for the construction of a 10-foot (3.0 m) high barrier that incorporates technology security for its segment of the border fence project. The southern perimeter of the UTB/TSC campus will be part of a laboratory for testing new security technology and infrastructure combinations.[34] The border fence segment on the UTB campus was substantially complete by December, 2008.[35]

Hidalgo County

In the spring of 2007 more than 25 landowners, including a corporation and a school district, from Hidalgo and Starr County in Texas refused border fence surveys, which would determine what land was eligible for building on, as an act of protest.[36]

In July 2008, Hidalgo County and Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the construction of a project that combines the border fence with a levee to control flooding along the Rio Grande. Construction of two of the Hidalgo County fence segments are under way; five more segments are scheduled to be built during the fall of 2008; the Hidalgo County section of the border fence will constitute 22 miles (35 km) of combined fence and levee.[37]

Mexico

Mexico has almost always condemned any course of action by the United States on its stance to increase border security and immigration control dating back over a century. It is estimated that over 500 people a year die trying to cross into the US illegally. In prior years, two times the amount was estimated as a casuality. Because of this, some Mexicans see the barriers as a slightly positive thing; but most Mexicans, as well as the Mexican government, somewhat view it a discrimination, as well as a source of alienation by the United States.

In 2006, the Mexican Government vigorously condemned the Secure Fence act of 2006. Mexico has also urged the US to alter its plans for expanded fences along their shared border, saying that it would damage the environment and harm wildlife.[38]

In June 2007, it was announced that a section of the barrier had been mistakenly built from 1 to 6 feet (1.8 m) inside Mexican territory. This will necessitate the section being moved at an estimated cost of over US$3 million.[39]

In 2012, then presidential candidate of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto was campaigning in Tijuana at the Playas de Monumental, less than 600 yards from the US/Mexico border adjacent to Border Field State Park. In one of his speeches he critizied the US government for building the barriers, and asked for them to be removed. Ultimately, he mocked Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech from Berlin in 1987.

Environmental impact

In April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to waive more than 30 environmental and cultural laws to speed construction of the barrier. Despite claims from then Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff that the department would minimize the construction’s impact on the environment, critics in Arizona and Texas asserted the fence endangered species and fragile ecosystems along the Rio Grande. Environmentalists expressed concern about butterfly migration corridors and the future of two species of local wildcats, the ocelot and the jaguarundi.[40]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted environmental reviews of each pedestrian and vehicle fence segment covered by the waiver, and published the results of this analysis in Environmental Stewardship Plans (ESPs).[41] Although not required by the waiver, CBP has conducted the same level of environmental analysis (in the ESPs) that would have been performed before the waiver (in the “normal” NEPA process) to evaluate potential impacts to sensitive resources in the areas where fence is being constructed.

ESPs completed by CBP contain extremely limited surveys of local wildlife. For example, the ESP for border fence built in the Del Rio Sector included a single survey for wildlife completed in November, 2007, and only “3 invertebrates, 1 reptile species, 2 amphibian species, 1 mammal species, and 21 bird species were recorded.” The ESPs then dismiss the potential for most adverse effects on wildlife, based on sweeping generalizations and without any quantitative analysis of the risks posed by border barriers. Approximately 461 acres of vegetation will be cleared along the impact corridor. From the Rio Grande Valley ESP: “The impact corridor avoids known locations of individuals of Walker’s manioc and Zapata bladderpod, but approaches several known locations of Texas ayenia. For this reason, impacts on federally listed plants are anticipated to be short-term, moderate, and adverse.” This excerpt is typical of the ESPs in that the risk to endangered plants is deemed short-term without any quantitative population analysis.

By August, 2008, more than 90 percent of the southern border in Arizona and New Mexico had been surveyed. The remaining portions will be surveyed in the next three months. In addition, 80 percent of the California/Mexico border has been surveyed.[4]

Public opinion in the United States

A July 29, 2010 Rasmussen Reports nationwide poll revealed that Americans favored building a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico, with 68 percent in favor and 21 percent against (margin of error: +/- 3 percentage points).[42]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico%E2%80%93United_States_barrier

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Vince Flynn — May He Rest In Peace — Videos

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Business, Communications, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Employment, Energy, Entertainment, Federal Government, Fiction, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Movies, Oil, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Science, Security, Ships, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Bernanke and Federal Reserve Will End The Keyboarding of Money and Buying Bonds in 2014 and May Lower Unemployment Threshold Below 6.5% — Videos

Posted on June 19, 2013. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senate Holds Hearing To Re-Nominate Ben Bernanke As Fed Chairman

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Bernanke Says Fed on Course to End Asset Buying in 2014

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may start dialing down its unprecedented bond-buying program this year and end it entirely in mid-2014 if the economy finally achieves the sustainable growth the Fed has sought since the recession ended in 2009.

The Federal Open Market Committee today left the monthly pace of bond purchases unchanged at $85 billion, while saying that “downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market” have diminished. Policy makers raised their growth forecasts for next year to a range of 3 percent to 3.5 percent and reduced their outlook for unemployment to as low as 6.5 percent.

“If the incoming data are broadly consistent with this forecast, the committee currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the pace of purchases later this year,” Bernanke said in a press conference in Washington. If later reports meet the Fed’s expectations, “we will continue to reduce the pace of purchases in measured steps through the first half of next year, ending purchases around mid-year.”

Stocks and Treasuries slid as Bernanke’s comments raised the prospect of an end to the quantitative easing that has fueled a rally in financial markets and helped keep the world’s largest economy expanding in the face of federal budget cuts, a slowdown in China and a recession in the euro area.

Connecting Dots

“The Fed is out of the closet,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies Group LLC in New York and a former Richmond Fed economist. “They expect to end these QE purchases. Bernanke wasn’t more specific than later this year, but connecting all the dots suggests he is thinking in the fourth quarter.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 1.4 percent to 1,628.93. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.36 percent, the highest since March 2012, from 2.19 percent late yesterday.

Still, Bernanke tried to temper his message by saying that the Fed has “no deterministic or fixed plan” to end asset purchases.

“If you draw the conclusion that I just said that our policies — that our purchases will end in the middle of next year, you’ve drawn the wrong conclusion, because our purchases are tied to what happens in the economy,” he said. “If the economy does not improve along the lines that we expect, we will provide additional support.”

Open-Ended

Bernanke is expanding the Fed’s balance sheet toward $4 trillion as he seeks to reduce a jobless rate that stands at 7.6 percent after four years of economic growth. The Fed’s open-ended purchases, started last September and expanded in December, are unprecedented. In two previous rounds, it specified total purchases in advance.

“I’m surprised at how badly the Fed wants to taper” to a slower pace of purchases, said Julia Coronado, the chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas SA in New York and a former Fed economist. The Fed has “greater confidence than the average private sector forecaster in the outlook.”

The economy will grow 1.9 percent in 2013 and 2.7 percent in 2014, according to the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The economy has not grown more than 3 percent over the course of 12 months since the four quarters ending in June 2006.

The Fed also left unchanged its statement that it plans to hold its target interest rate near zero as long as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent and the outlook for inflation doesn’t exceed 2.5 percent.

Unemployment Threshold

Bernanke said policy makers might aim for a lower unemployment threshold before considering an increase in short-term interest rates.

“In terms of adjusting the threshold, I think that’s something that might happen,” he said in response to a question. “If it did happen, it would be to lower it, I’m sure, not to raise it.” He said an interest-rate increase is still “far in the future.”

Fed officials lowered their forecasts for the unemployment and inflation rates this year.

They now see a jobless rate of 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent, compared with 7.3 percent to 7.5 percent in their March forecasts. They predict the jobless rate will fall to 6.5 percent to 6.8 percent in 2014.

“Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated,” the FOMC said in its statement. “Partly reflecting transitory influences, inflation has been running below the committee’s longer-run objective, but longer term inflation expectations have remained stable.”

Target Rate

Fifteen of 19 policy makers expect no increase in the federal funds rate before 2015, according to today’s forecasts. In March, 14 policy makers had that expectation.

The Fed repeated that it will keep buying assets “until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially.” Bond purchases will remain divided between $40 billion a month of mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion a month of Treasury securities. The central bank also will continue reinvesting securities as they mature.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard dissented for the first time in his tenure on the FOMC, saying the committee should “signal more strongly its willingness to defend its inflation goal in light of recent low inflation readings.”

Kansas City Fed President Esther George dissented for the fourth meeting in a row, continuing to cite concern that keeping the benchmark interest rate near zero risks creating “economic and financial imbalances,” including asset price bubbles.

Economists’ Forecasts

No change in policy was expected at today’s meeting. Fifty-eight of 59 economists in a June 4-5 Bloomberg Survey predicted the central bank would maintain the pace of purchases.

Inflation is providing little impetus for a tapering in bond purchases. A gauge of consumer prices excluding food and energy that is watched by the Fed rose 1.1 percent in the year through April, matching the smallest gain since records started in 1960. Officials expect inflation to slowly rise in coming years, with core prices climbing to 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent in 2014 and 1.7 percent to 2 percent in 2015.

Speculation that an improving economy will prompt Fed policy makers to reduce bond buying last month triggered the biggest jump in 10-year Treasury yields since December 2010.

About $2 trillion has been erased from the value of global equities since Bernanke told U.S. lawmakers on May 22 that the FOMC “could” consider reducing bond purchases within “the next few meetings” if officials see signs of improvement in the labor market and are convinced the gains can be sustained.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have soared the most in a decade on speculation the Fed’s purchases may slow. The interest rate on a 30-year fixed home loan climbed to a 14-month high of 3.98 percent last week, according to data compiled by Freddie Mac.

Bernanke is nearing the end of his second four-year term, a period marked by unprecedented measures to battle the deepest recession since the 1930s and then to keep the economy growing at a pace that’s brisk enough to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work.

The former Princeton professor cut the Fed’s target interest rate almost to zero in December 2008 and has led the central bank in three rounds of large-scale asset purchases that have swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to a record $3.41 trillion.

President Barack Obama, in an interview on PBS this week, provided one of the clearest signals yet that Bernanke may not remain beyond the end of his term on Jan. 31. Bernanke “already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to,” Obama said.

Bernanke declined to discuss his future at today’s press conference.

“We just spent two days working on monetary policy issues and I would like to keep the debate, discussion, questions here on policy,” he said in response to a question. “I don’t have anything for you on my personal plans.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-19/fed-keeps-85-billion-pace-of-bond-buying-sees-risks-waning.html

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National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Uses Stellar Wind and PRISM To Create Secret Dossiers On All American Citizen Targets Similiar To East Germany Stasi Files–Videos

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Document two: procedures used by NSA to minimise data collected from US persons

Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.

The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.

The procedures cover only part of the NSA’s surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Fisa court’s oversight role has been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.

The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.

However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:

• Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;

• Retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;

• Preserve “foreign intelligence information” contained within attorney-client communications;

• Access the content of communications gathered from “U.S. based machine[s]” or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans’ call or email information without warrants.

The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA’s foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.

Since the Guardian first revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of US communications, there have been repeated calls for the legal basis of the programs to be released. On Thursday, two US congressmen introduced a bill compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for NSA surveillance.

The disclosure bill, sponsored by Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, is a complement to one proposed in the Senate last week. It would “increase the transparency of the Fisa Court and the state of the law in this area,” Schiff told the Guardian. “It would give the public a better understanding of the safeguards, as well as the scope of these programs.”

Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which was renewed for five years last December, is the authority under which the NSA is allowed to collect large-scale data, including foreign communications and also communications between the US and other countries, provided the target is overseas.

FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.

One-paragraph order

One such warrant seen by the Guardian shows that they do not contain detailed legal rulings or explanation. Instead, the one-paragraph order, signed by a Fisa court judge in 2010, declares that the procedures submitted by the attorney general on behalf of the NSA are consistent with US law and the fourth amendment.

Those procedures state that the “NSA determines whether a person is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States in light of the totality of the circumstances based on the information available with respect to that person, including information concerning the communications facility or facilities used by that person”.

It includes information that the NSA analyst uses to make this determination – including IP addresses, statements made by the potential target, and other information in the NSA databases, which can include public information and data collected by other agencies.

Where the NSA has no specific information on a person’s location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas, the document continues.

“In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person,” it states “a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person.”

If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.

Referring to steps taken to prevent intentional collection of telephone content of those inside the US, the document states: “NSA analysts may analyze content for indications that a foreign target has entered or intends to enter the United States. Such content analysis will be conducted according to analytic and intelligence requirements and priorities.”

Details set out in the “minimization procedures”, regularly referred to in House and Senate hearings, as well as public statements in recent weeks, also raise questions as to the extent of monitoring of US citizens and residents.

NSA minimization procedures signed by Holder in 2009 set out that once a target is confirmed to be within the US, interception must stop immediately. However, these circumstances do not apply to large-scale data where the NSA claims it is unable to filter US communications from non-US ones.

The NSA is empowered to retain data for up to five years and the policy states “communications which may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on the NSA’s ability to filter communications”.

Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains “significant foreign intelligence information”, “evidence of a crime”, “technical data base information” (such as encrypted communications), or “information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property”.

Domestic communications containing none of the above must be destroyed. Communications in which one party was outside the US, but the other is a US-person, are permitted for retention under FAA rules.

The minimization procedure adds that these can be disseminated to other agencies or friendly governments if the US person is anonymised, or including the US person’s identity under certain criteria.

A separate section of the same document notes that as soon as any intercepted communications are determined to have been between someone under US criminal indictment and their attorney, surveillance must stop. However, the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database:

“The relevant portion of the communication containing that conversation will be segregated and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice will be notified so that appropriate procedures may be established to protect such communications from review or use in any criminal prosecution, while preserving foreign intelligence information contained therein,” the document states.

In practice, much of the decision-making appears to lie with NSA analysts, rather than the Fisa court or senior officials.

A transcript of a 2008 briefing on FAA from the NSA’s general counsel sets out how much discretion NSA analysts possess when it comes to the specifics of targeting, and making decisions on who they believe is a non-US person. Referring to a situation where there has been a suggestion a target is within the US.

“Once again, the standard here is a reasonable belief that your target is outside the United States. What does that mean when you get information that might lead you to believe the contrary? It means you can’t ignore it. You can’t turn a blind eye to somebody saying: ‘Hey, I think so and so is in the United States.’ You can’t ignore that. Does it mean you have to completely turn off collection the minute you hear that? No, it means you have to do some sort of investigation: ‘Is that guy right? Is my target here?” he says.

“But, if everything else you have says ‘no’ (he talked yesterday, I saw him on TV yesterday, even, depending on the target, he was in Baghdad) you can still continue targeting but you have to keep that in mind. You can’t put it aside. You have to investigate it and, once again, with that new information in mind, what is your reasonable belief about your target’s location?”

The broad nature of the court’s oversight role, and the discretion given to NSA analysts, sheds light on responses from the administration and internet companies to the Guardian’s disclosure of the PRISM program. They have stated that the content of online communications is turned over to the NSA only pursuant to a court order. But except when a US citizen is specifically targeted, the court orders used by the NSA to obtain that information as part of Prism are these general FAA orders, not individualized warrants specific to any individual.

Once armed with these general orders, the NSA is empowered to compel telephone and internet companies to turn over to it the communications of any individual identified by the NSA. The Fisa court plays no role in the selection of those individuals, nor does it monitor who is selected by the NSA.

The NSA’s ability to collect and retain the communications of people in the US, even without a warrant, has fuelled congressional demands for an estimate of how many Americans have been caught up in surveillance.

Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-without-warrant

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.)
  • Bad Aibling Station (Bad Aibling, 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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Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach–Videos

No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

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Gangster Progressives in Democratic and Republican Party Want Amnesty for 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens Against The Will of The American People — Tea Party Revolt In Republican Party by Conservatives and Libertarians — Senators Sessions and Cruz Lead The Way on Securing The Borders and Enforcing Immigration Laws — Videos

Posted on June 14, 2013. Filed under: American History, Babies, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Regulations, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Top Rep For Immigration Law Enforcement Officers: Senate Immigration Bill Threatens Public Safety

–Testimony from Chris Crane, ICE Officer and President of the National ICE Council representing our nation’s ICE officers, agents and staff. Crane is also a former marine.

Today’s hearing was on the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal, which the Majority hopes to rush to a vote before the American people know what’s in it.”

Chris Crane Testimony At Senate Immigration Hearing

Sessions To Senate: Can Anyone Explain How This Immigration Bill Will Help Struggling Americans?

Schumer, Gang of Eight Refuse To Say How Many Will Be Admitted Under Their Plan

Law Enforcement Groups Detail How Immigration Bill Guts Future Enforcement 

Dramatic Guest Worker Provisions In Immigration Bill Designed To Suppress Wages 

Sessions Warns Washington Elites Against Rush To Amnesty

Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks on the Senate Floor in Opposition to the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill

Congressman Steve King Spoke on the House Floor — Immigration and Securing the Border

Congressman Steve King leads House opposition to Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill

Immigration Reform in Limbo: House ‘Teabaggers’ Bent on Torpedoing Bill

 

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs – Updated 2010

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US?  – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 1.

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US?  – Walsh – 2

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 2.

Glenn Beck: Interview with House Republicans Planning Revolt On Immigration Bill

Glenn Beck to Release Name of 70 House Republicans for Showdown w John Boehner on Amnesty Bill

Laura Ingraham Confronts Marco Rubio Over Immigration Reform: ‘Stop Dividing The Republican Party’

Rand Paul: Immigration Reform Can’t Pass Without Conservative Votes – Laura Ingraham 4/24/2013

Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

NSC’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

Amnesty Before Enforcement — Congressional Gangsters’ Comprehensive Immigration “Reform” Bill Targets American Citizens For Unemployment — American Citizens Want All Illegal Aliens Deported Not Rewarded With Legal Status — Target The Amnesty Illegal Alien Gangsters For Defeat — Videos

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Big Interventionist Government Statist (BIGS) Obama Sending Military Support To Syrian Rebels Including Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda connected) — Neocon Warmonger McCain Approves — All In For World War 3 — Videos

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Diasters, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jabhat al_Nusra fighter

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Al-Nusra-Front

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US convinced of failure in Syria

Ignatius on how we arm the Syrian rebels

Congress Approves Weapons for Syrian Rebels

Syria: UN experts arrive in Damascus, refugees arrive in northern Iraq

LibertyNEWS TV – “Distracting Al Qaeda Terror Threat Played Down – Now Obama Can Play Golf”

Rand Paul Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels means siding with terrorists

Obama Funded Syrian Rebels Mauling Christians, Using Child Soldiers

Al Qaeda’s fighting is ‘spinning out of control’

US Arming Syrian Rebels Likely to Inflame Already Bloody Conflict

Breaking NEWS: Syria CIVIL WAR Obama supports REBELS, Al-Qaeda take down Assad REGIME (CIA funding)

Rand Paul: You Will Be Voting To Fund And Send Arms To The Allies Of Al-Qaeda

SYRIA CRISIS: U.S. senators seek to bar MILITARY AID to AL-QAEDA linked Syrian REBELS [INFOWARS]

WAR: White House Says Syria Crossed “Red Line” – Will Provide Military Support To Syrian Rebels!

Syria – Who are Jabhat al-Nusra? – Truthloader

Al Nusra Front Terror Camp in Lattakia, Syria (30/12/12)

A video released by an increasingly powerful and well connected Al Qaeda cell in Syria’s Northern Province of Lattakia depicts the terrorist organisation training recruits, many of whom are foreigners in the heavily forested and mountainous terrain typical of Lattakia.

The original video feratured speeches from well known Al Qaeda figures, (which I haven’t included in this video) including slain former second in command Abu Yaya Al Libi who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. Al Qaeda in Lattakia could beconsidered separate to the major Al Qaeda in Syria branch Jabhat Al Nusra in the sense that they have direct connections to the mainstream global Jihadist community without having to run through Jabhat Al Nusra, itself a known affiliate of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The emergence of groups like Al Qaeda in Lattakia mirrors a trend in which new Jihadist groups many connected to previous incarnations of the Al Qaeda brand are now springing up all over Syria making a volatile situation in which extreme Jihadists already dominate the insurgency even more complex and dangerous. There can be little doubt that Afghanistan’s problems with Islamic militany similarly tired to Western support may well be dwarfed by the carnage and terrorism that may emanate from Syria for decades to come should the insurgents not be defeated.

The Road to World War 3

World War 3 Has Already Begun

World War 3  – TheBlaze

GLENN Beck Explains Why World War III Could Be on the Horizon

John McCain meets Syrian opposition face-to-face 

JOHN McCain Syria Chemical Weapons Use Crosses Red Line Game Changer.

Glenn Beck: We Are on The Wrong Side in Syria

Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

GERALD CELENTE – The Start Of WW3 – ISRAEL says they have Right to Defend Themselves

U.S.: Syria used chemical weapons, crossing “red line”

By Steve Chaggaris, Stephanie Condon

The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.

“The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the [Supreme Military Council]. That includes military support,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.

President Obama has repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that, if crossed, would be a “game changer” for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.

“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States,” said Rhodes in a separate written statement.

“The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” he continued.

In terms of further response, Rhodes said, “we will make decisions on our own timeline” and that Congress and the international community would be consulted.  Mr. Obama is heading to Northern Ireland Sunday for a meeting of the G8 group of nations; Rhodes indicated the president will consult with leaders of those countries.

“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.

To date, the U.S. policy on Syria has primarily focused on offering the rebels nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president’s Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: “We appreciate the President’s finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.”

“A decision to provide lethal assistance, especially ammunition and heavy weapons, to opposition forces in Syria is long overdue, and we hope the President will take this urgently needed step” they added. Former President Bill Clinton this week, at a private event with McCain, also ratcheted up pressure for the White House to increase its support to the rebels.

However, Rhodes would not detail the type of military support the administration intends on providing. He said helping the opposition improve their effectiveness as a fighting force means helping with “nonlethal assistance” such as communications equipment and transportation. “These are things that allow them to cohere as a unit,” he said.

He added, meanwhile, that no decision has been made about enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria. “A no-fly zone… would carry with it open-ended costs for the international community,” Rhodes said. “Furthermore, there’s not even a clear guarantee that it would dramatically improve the situation on the ground.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57589252/u.s.-syria-used-chemical-weapons-crossing-red-line/

Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda

A Syrian rebel group’s pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda’s replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group’s influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well.

Lebanese Sheik Omar Bakri, a Salafist who says states must be governed by Muslim religious law, says al-Qaeda has  assisted al Nusra for some time.

“They provided them early on with technical, military and financial support , especially when it came to setting up networks of foreign jihadis who were brought into Syria,” Bakri says. “There will certainly be greater coordination between the two groups.”

The United States, which supports the overthrow of Assad, designated al Nusra a terrorist entity in December. The Obama administration has said it wants to support only those insurgent groups that are not terrorist organizations.

Al Nusra and groups like it have seen some of the most significant victories against Syrian government forces in the course of the 2-year-old uprising in which Assad’s forces have killed about 80,000 people. Rebels not affiliated with al-Qaeda have pressed Washington for months to send weaponry that will allow them to match the heavy weapons of the Syrian army. They’ve urged the West to mount an air campaign against Assad’s mechanized forces.

President Obama refuses to provide any direct military aid. Foreign radical Islamists streaming into the fight from the Middle East and Europe are making headway with the Syrian population by providing services and gaining ground in battles.

Tamer Mouhieddine, spokesman for the Syrian Free Army, a force made up of Syrian soldiers who have defected, said the recent announcements would not change his group’s attitude toward al Nusra.

“The rebels in Syria have one common enemy — Bashar Assad — and they will collaborate with any faction allowing them to topple his regime,” he said.

He confirmed that al Nusra is generating loyalty in Aleppo, a region battling for months with Assad, by providing financial support  as well as setting up charities.

Aaron Zelin at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington says al Nusra’s ability to provide security and basic needs such as bread and fuel to Syrian civilians, as well as to reopen shops and restart bus services, has won gratitude from people who would not usually adhere to its strict ideology.

Zelin says some Syrian people have criticized al Nusra for banning alcohol, forcing women to wear a full veil and whipping men who are seen with women in public.

“This illustrates the need for American leadership in the Syrian conflict, particularly with regard to helping non-Qaeda-aligned rebels contain the growth of (al Nusra) and similar groups,” he said. “Washington should also try to take advantage of cleavages within the rebellion and civilian population, since al Nusra is outside the mainstream and more concerned with establishing a transnational caliphate than maintaining the Syrian state.”

Groups such as the Islamic Liwaa al Tawhid, which collaborates with al Nusra on military operations, worried that Assad would use the announcement from al Nusra as evidence for his claim that he is fighting terrorists, not Syrian citizens who wish an end to his dictatorship, Mouhieddine said.

“We are willing to fight alongside any faction targeting the Assad regime, as long as it does not have a foreign agenda, which seems now the case” of al Nusra, he said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/04/11/syria-al-qaeda-connection/2075323/

Background Articles and Videos

Ron Paul On Syria – Plans Rumours And War Propaganda For Attacking Syria – Revolution – June 19 2012

Ron Paul First Syria Then Iran

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

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People Peace Doves vs. Politician War Hawks– Bye Bye Birdie — Obama’s Secret Sincere Syria Weapon? — War, Eve of Destruction, Where Have All The Flowers Gone? — Videos

Obama’s Red Lines — Videos

Who used chemical weapons in Syria? Syrian Rebels (FSA) or Syrian Regime (SAA) — American People Do Not Want To Take Sides in Syrian Civil War — Videos

Big Interventionist Government Statist (BIGS) Obama Sending Military Support To Syrian Rebels Including Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda connected) — Neocon Warmonger McCain Approves — All In For World War 3 — Videos

Launching World War 3 with The Missiles of September — Videos

Who Wants World War 3 To Start in Syria? The Warmongers Obama and McCain — Not The American People! — Videos

Muslim Brotherhood Massive Attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt — Silence From President Obama Who Supports Muslim Brotherhood — Muslim Ethnic Cleansing of Coptic Christians — Videos

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Muslim Brotherhood in America — Videos

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A History of Syria — Videos

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NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Private Sector, Programming, Psychology, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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“This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this.”

~Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, D-Mass, regarding an amnesty bill passed in 1986

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs – Updated 2010

1984 – Ronald Reagan on Amnesty 

In this brief video-clip from the 1984 presidential debates Ronald Reagan discusses immigration, amnesty and the failure of the first attempt to pass the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform and Control Act. [When the act finally passed (1986) did we get reform? Did we get control?]

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Illegal Alien

A foreigner who has either entered a country illegally (e.g. without inspection or proper documents) or who has violated the terms of legal admission to the country (e.g. by overstaying the duration of a tourist or student visa).

8 USC § 1101 – Definitions

(3) The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US?  – Walsh – 1 

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 1.

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US?  – Walsh – 2

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 2.

Census Bureau estimates of the number of illegals in the U.S. are suspect and may represent significant undercounts.  The studies presented by these authors show that the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S. could range from 20 to 38 million.

US immigration system moves towards reform

Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks on the Senate Floor in Opposition to the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill

Glenn Beck to Release Name of 70 House Republicans for Showdown w John Boehner on Amnesty Bill

Glenn Beck: Interview with House Republicans Planning Revolt On Immigration Bill

Glenn Beck Program Immigration and Equal Opportunity 06132013

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U.S. and World Population Clock

http://www.census.gov/popclock/

316 Million and Counting

Less 40 Million Plus Foreigners (Illegal Aliens) and Rapidly Growing

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

US Senate Votes to Consider Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

News Wrap: Senate Votes to Begin Immigration Reform Debate

Border Insecurity Citizens Track Surge Of Illegal Immigration! – Wake Up America!!

Chris Pyle, Whistleblower on CIA Domestic Spying in 70s, Says Be Wary of Attacks on NSA’s Critics

NSA Chief Grilled at Senate Hearing on Surveillance Programs

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

“In the wake of multiple leaks regarding the data mining programs PRISM and Boundless Informant, whistleblowers are coming out in droves to talk about the unprecedented government surveillance on the American public. RT Correspondent Meghan Lopez had a chance to sit down with NSA whistleblower William Binney to talk about the latest developments coming out of the NSA case. Binney is a 32 year veteran of the NSA, where he helped design a top secret program he says helps collect data on foreign enemies. He is regarded as one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history. He became an NSA whistleblower in 2002 when he realized the program he helped create to spy no foreign enemies was being used on Americans.”

A Massive Surveillance State   Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

What You Should Know About The New NSA Utah Data Center

Glenn Greenwald Vs Bush Press Sec. Ari Fleischer Over NSA’s PRISM

NSA Whistleblowers: “All U.S.Citizens” Targeted By Surveillance Program, Not Just Verizon Customers

Experts Say NSA Leak Damage Could be Significant

“SPY AND DENY” IS THE NEW NORMAL IN USA!

Era of Online Sharing Offers ‘Big Data,’ Privacy Trade-Offs

Rep King Drops Bombshell; Sen Lee To Talk Claim Chief Justice Roberts Blackmailed

How PRISM Easily Gives Your Private Data Over to Big Brother

“The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.”*

We’ve been assured by the president that the NSA’s PRISM program won’t affect “ordinary” U.S. citizens, but what is the criteria for deciding who gets their data mined and monitored? Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, and John Iadarola (Host, TYT University) discuss the egregious reach of the Obama administration’s secret mass surveillance program.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

Microtargeting

RNC/DNC Collecting Your Info En Masse

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS DESTROYING AMERICA

The Dangers of Unlimited Legal & Illegal Immigration

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs – Updated 2010

THEY COME TO AMERICA II. The Cost of Amnesty

They Come to America (Trailer 2)

2012: They Come to America. The Cost of Illegal Immigration.

Schumer Refuses To Estimate Future Immigration Flow Under Gang Of Eight Proposal

Obama To Stop Deporting Young Illegal Immigrants

“The Obama administration will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who do not pose a security threat, senior administration officials said this morning, a move that could prove important in a presidential campaign that will turn in part on who wins over Latino voters.
Effective immediately, young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally before they turned 16 will be allowed to apply for work permits as long as they have no criminal history and meet other criteria, officials said.

Reality Check: President Obama’s Immigration Reform Rings Hollow

(Part I) A Day in the Life of an Arizona Rancher: Fences, Illegal Aliens, and One Man’s Watchtower

(Part II) A Day in the Life of an Arizona Rancher: Fences, Illegal Aliens, and One Man’s Watchtower

Background Articles and Videos

Ap’s “Illegal Immigrant” Stand – Leno: Illegal Immigrants That is Out, Now “Undocumented Democrats”

Illegal immigration to the United States – Wiki Article

Illegal immigration to the United States is the act of foreign nationals entering the United States, without government permission and in violation of United States nationality law, or staying beyond the termination date of a visa, also in violation of the law.

The illegal immigrant population of the United States in 2008 was estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies to be about 11 million people, down from 12.5 million people in 2007. Other estimates range from 7 to 20 million. According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, in 2005, 56% of illegal immigrants were from Mexico; 22% were from other Latin American countries, primarily from Central America; 13% were from Asia; 6% were from Europe and Canada; and 3% were from Africa and the rest of the world.

Profile and demographics

Illegal immigrants continue to outpace the number of legal immigrants —a trend that’s held steady since the 1990s. While the majority of illegal immigrants continue to concentrate in places with existing large Hispanic communities, increasingly illegals are settling throughout the rest of the country.

An estimated 14 million people live in families in which the head of household or the spouse is in the United States illegaly . The number of illegal immigrants arriving in recent years tend to be better educated than those who have been in the country a decade or more. A quarter of all immigrants who have arrived in recent years have at least some college education. Nonetheless, illegal immigrants as a group tend to be less educated than other sections of the U.S. population: 49 percent haven’t completed high school, compared with 9 percent of native-born Americans and 25 percent of legal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants work in many sectors of the U.S. economy. According to National Public Radio in 2005, about 3 percent work in agriculture; 33 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (16 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (17 percent). According to USA Today in 2006, about 4 percent work in farming; 21 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (19 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (15 percent), with 12% in sales, 10% in management, and 8% in transportation. Illegal immigrants have lower incomes than both legal immigrants and native-born Americans, but earnings do increase somewhat the longer an individual is in the country.

A percentage of illegal immigrants do not remain indefinitely but do return to their country of origin; they are often referred to as “sojourners: they come to the United States for several years but eventually return to their home country.”

Breakdown by state

As of 2006, the following data table shows a spread of distribution of locations where illegal immigrants reside by state.

Number of illegal immigrants

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), different estimates of the total number of illegal immigrants vary depending on how the term is defined. There are also questions about data reliability.

The GAO has stated that “it seems clear that the population of undocumented foreign-born persons is large and has increased rapidly.” On April 26, 2006 the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) estimated that in March 2005 the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. ranged from 11.5 to 12 million individuals. This number was derived by a statistical method known as the “residual method.” According to the General Accounting office the residual estimation (1) starts with a census count or survey estimate of the number of foreign-born residents who have not become U.S. citizens and (2) subtracts out estimated numbers of legally present individuals in various categories, based on administrative data and assumptions (because censuses and surveys do not ask about legal status). The remainder, or residual, represents an indirect estimate of

Senate Dismisses Any Pretense of Enforcement in the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill

Rubio Reneges on Promise to Fix Flaws in the Bill

(Washington, D.C. June 13, 2013) In the first important vote on amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration bill, S.744, the United States Senate quickly dismissed any pretense that they intend to deliver on promises of future immigration enforcement, declared the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). By a 57-43 vote, the Senate tabled an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would have required that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demonstrate effective control of U.S. borders for six months before illegal aliens could gain amnesty.

“Today’s vote makes it clear that a majority of senators place a higher priority on granting amnesty to illegal aliens than they do on fulfilling their promises to the American people that our borders will be secured and that our immigration laws will be enforced,” said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Tellingly, Gang of Eight member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has repeatedly vowed to oppose the bill if border enforcement provisions are not strengthened, was among the majority of senators who voted to kill the Grassley amendment.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) described the amendment as a “poison pill” and used a parliamentary procedure to shut off debate on it. “In the Alice in Wonderland world of the United States Senate, securing our borders and fulfilling promises to the American people, before rewarding illegal aliens, is considered a ‘poison pill,'” observed Stein.

“The vote also undermines whatever credibility Sen. Rubio had left as an honest broker on behalf of the interests of the American people. The fix is in and Rubio is off the fence. The Gang of Eight and the Senate leadership will employ any tactic to prevent amendments that might upset special interest constituencies from supporting the bill,” Stein continued.

“Under this bill there will be no border security. There will be no immigration enforcement. The Gang of Eight bill is about delivering amnesty to illegal aliens and cheap labor to business interests, and nothing else,” Stein concluded.

http://www.fairus.org/news/senate-dismisses-any-pretense-of-enforcement-in-the-gang-of-eight-immigration-bill

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No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach — Videos

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Digital Campaigns Using Microtargeting and Data Mining To Target Voters — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 112, June 7, 2013, Segment 0: Marxist-Leninists Go To The Wall With Holder — The Man Who Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried Enjoys President Obama’s Full Confidence Says Political Fixer Valerie Jarrett — Wall Street Wants Holder To Hang On — American People Say Hit The Road Jack — Videos

Pronk Pops Show 112, June 7, 2013: Segment 1: U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Still Stagnating At 2.4% in First Quarter of 2013 As Institute for Supply Management Factory Index Sinks to 49.0 Lowest Since June 2009 — Videos

Pronk Pops Show 112, June 7, 2013, Segment 2: Federal Advisory Council (FAC) May 17, 2013 Report — No Exit To A Bridge Over Troubled Waters — Keyboarding Money — We’re screwed! — Videos

Pronk Pops Show 112, June 7, 2013, Segment 3: Official Unemployment Rate Rises To 7.6% with 11.8 Million Americans Unemployed and Only 175,000 Jobs Created in May — Videos

Pronk Pops Show 112, June 7, 2013, Segment 4: No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

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U.S. Hacking China and Hong Kong — Videos

Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: American History, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Immigration, Inflation, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Protesters supporting Snowden march to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong

 Interview of Snowden in South China Morning Post and webpage supporting Snowden are displayed on a computer screen in Hong Kong

China says US surveillance has ‘stained’ Washington’s image

Snowden still in hiding after new claims US ‘hacked’ China

Edward Snowden Claims US Hacked China Targets

Snowden: ‘U.S. Hacked China Computers For Years’

Edward Snowden Tells South China Morning Post: U.S. Has Been Hacking Hong Kong And China Since 2009

Glenn Greenwald “The Grounds On Which He Called For My Prosecution Was An Outright Fabrication”

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Edward Snowden: US government has been hacking Hong Kong and China for years

Former CIA operative makes more explosive claims and says Washington is ‘bullying’ Hong Kong to extradite him

US whistle-blower Edward Snowden yesterday emerged from hiding in Hong Kong and revealed to the South China Morning Post that he will stay in the city to fight likely attempts by his government to have him extradited for leaking state secrets.

In an exclusive interview carried out from a secret location in the city, the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst also made explosive claims that the US government had been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland for years.

At Snowden’s request we cannot divulge details about how the interview was conducted.

A week since revelations that the US has been secretly collecting phone and online data of its citizens, he said he will stay in the city “until I am asked to leave”, adding: “I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the US government in the courts, because I have faith in HK’s rule of law.”

In a frank hour-long interview, the 29-year-old, who US authorities have confirmed is now the subject of a criminal case, said he was neither a hero nor a traitor and that:

  • US National Security Agency’s controversial Prism programme extends to people and institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China;
  • The US is exerting “bullying’’ diplomatic pressure on Hong Kong to extradite him;
  • Hong Kong’s rule of law will protect him from the US;
  • He is in constant fear for his own safety and that of his family.

Snowden has been in Hong Kong since May 20 when he fled his home in Hawaii to take refuge here, a move which has been questioned by many who believe the city cannot protect him.

“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice, I am here to reveal criminality,” he said.

Snowden said that according to unverified documents seen by the Post, the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009. None of the documents revealed any information about Chinese military systems, he said.

I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American

One of the targets in the SAR, according to Snowden, was Chinese University and public officials, businesses and students in the city. The documents also point to hacking activity by the NSA against mainland targets.

Snowden believed there had been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally, with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he said.

“Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.”

Snowden said he was releasing the information to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries”.

“Not only does it do so, but it is so afraid of this being known that it is willing to use any means, such as diplomatic intimidation, to prevent this information from becoming public.”

Since the shocking revelations a week ago, Snowden has been vilified as a defector but also hailed by supporters such as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” he said, adding that he was proud to be an American. “I believe in freedom of expression. I acted in good faith but it is only right that the public form its own opinion.”

Snowden said he had not contacted his family and feared for their safety as well as his own.

“I will never feel safe.

“Things are very difficult for me in all terms, but speaking truth to power is never without risk,” he said. “It has been difficult, but I have been glad to see the global public speak out against these sorts of systemic violations of privacy.

“All I can do is rely on my training and hope that world governments will refuse to be bullied by the United States into persecuting people seeking political refuge.”

Asked if he had been offered asylum by the Russian government, he said: “My only comment is that I am glad there are governments that refuse to be intimidated by great power”.

The interview comes on the same day NSA chief General Keith Alexander appeared before Congress to defend his agency over the leaks. It was his first appearance since the explosive revelations were made last week. Alexander’s prepared remarks did not specifically address revelations about the Prism program.

Snowden’s revelations threaten to test new attempts to build US-Sino bridges after a weekend summit in California between the nations’ presidents, Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.

If true, Snowden’s allegations lend credence to China’s longstanding position that it is as much a victim of hacking as a perpetrator, after Obama pressed Xi to rein in cyber-espionage by the Chinese military.

Tens of thousands of Snowden’s supporters have signed a petition calling for his pardon in the United States while many have donated money to a fund to help him.

“I’m very grateful for the support of the public,” he said. “But I ask that they act in their interest – save their money for letters to the government that breaks the law and claims it noble.

“The reality is that I have acted at great personal risk to help the public of the world, regardless of whether that public is American, European, or Asian.”

The US consulate in Hong Kong could not be contacted yesterday on a public holiday.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1259508/edward-snowden-us-government-has-been-hacking-hong-kong-and-china

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Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Diasters, Economics, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Talk Radio, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Samsung_Nexus_Prime_Teaser

glenn_beck

The Beatles – Day Tripper

Got a good reason for taking the easy way out
Got a good reason for taking the easy way out now

She was a day tripper, a one way ticket yea
It took me so long to find out, and I found out

She’s a big teaser, she took me half the way
there
She’s a big teaser, she took me half the way
there now

Tried to please her, she only played one night
stands
Tried to please her, she only played one night
stands now

She was a day tripper, a Sunday driver yea
Took me so long to find out, and I found out

Day tripper
Day tripper yea.

UPDATED June 14, 2013

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Sasha Issenberg — The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns — Videos

Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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THE_VICTORY_lAB

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Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Raves, Strategy, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

microtargeting

microtargeting-voter_lifestyle_social_media

National-Media-analysis-of-undecided-voters-media-habits

data-mining-algorithms

Data Mining

big-data-mining

obama_biden

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http://video.pbs.org/video/2295038658

RNC/DNC Collecting Your Info En Masse

Microtargeting

About Aristotle

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Better Data

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Use Voter Data for a Smart Political Campaign

‘Big Brother’ is watching, in sophisticated digital ways

By Gitte Laasby

Town of Mukwonago voter Priscilla Trulen is used to ignoring political solicitations. For weeks, she’s been receiving three political robocalls per day related to the presidential election. On Thursday, she got seven.

But one call she got on Halloween still haunts her. It was a recorded message read by a presidential candidate trying to get her to vote.

“It was Mitt Romney saying, ‘I know you have an absentee ballot and I know you haven’t sent it in yet,’ ” Trulen said in an interview. “That just sent me over the line. Not only is it like Big Brother. It is Big Brother. It’s down to where they know I have a ballot and I haven’t sent it in! I thought when I requested the ballot that the only other entity that would know was the Mukwonago clerk.”

Trulen isn’t the only voter among Wisconsin’s much-courted electorate who is getting creeped out by the political campaigns’ unprecedented, uncanny ability to micro-target voters who are likely to vote for their candidate.

In Brown County, residents are unnerved about “voter report cards” from Moveon.org that show the recipients how their voting participation compares to those of their neighbors.

The solicitations give only a small glimpse into how much digital information the campaigns are able to access about voters.

For years, campaigns have requested the statewide voter registration list, which is subject to public information requests.

The database contains the names and addresses of active voters who are registered and able to vote, as well as inactive voters who are ineligible to vote because they have passed away, moved out of state or committed a felony, or people who need to re-register to be eligible, said Reid Magney, public information officer with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

The list also contains information that the state does not release, for instance people’s birth dates, driver’s license numbers and phone numbers.

“It’s typical for both parties, or individual candidates, to be making public records requests from the clerks. And it’s perfectly legal,” Magney said. “This information is public so there’s transparency in our elections. . . . Except for how you vote, there really are no secrets.”

The state database also contains information on absentee voters. The state’s 1,851 municipalities are required to account for military and overseas absentee ballots both before and after the election, Magney said. Municipalities don’t have to report to the state whether regular absentee ballots such as Trulen’s have been returned until the election is over. However, some municipalities, including the Town of Mukwonago where Trulen lives, report to the state database as they go whether those ballots have been returned. Most likely, that’s how the Republican campaign found out Trulen received an absentee ballot.

“There’s nothing confidential as far as, ‘Did so and so vote?’ ” said Kathy Karalewitz, administrative clerk treasurer with the town. “As far as how they vote, yes.”

Requesters can also request information related to absentee ballots directly from the municipalities, although that’s more cumbersome and labor intensive.

The cost of the entire state database is $12,500. Four requesters have been willing to pay that since Sept. 1, Magney said: Catalist (a progressive voter database organization), the Democratic National Committee, and data analysis firm Aristotle – all based in Washington, D.C. The last requester was Colorado-based Magellan Strategies, a firm that specializes in “micro-targeting” for Republican parties and candidates.

Another 200 requests have been made since Sept. 1 for smaller portions of the database, Magney said.

Crunching the numbers

But what really enables the campaigns to “slice and dice” the electorate down to individual voters is that the voter list is correlated with a slew of other information designed to predict voting behavior and issues that the voter would care about.

In an interview with PBS that aired in October, Aristotle’s chief executive officer, John Phillips, said the company keeps up to 500 data points on each voter – from the type of clothes they buy, the music they listen to, magazines they read and car they own, to whether they are a NASCAR fan, a smoker or a pet owner, or have a gold credit card. Some of that information comes from commercial marketing firms, product registration cards or surveys. Other information is obtained through Facebook, door-to-door canvassing, petitions and computer cookies – small data codes that register which websites the user has visited.

Through data modeling, analyzers can categorize voters based on how they feel about specific issues, values or candidates. They then try to predict voting behavior and figure out which issue ads voters are most likely to be susceptible to – for instance ads on education, gun control or immigration.

One of the companies that requested the full Wisconsin voter database, Magellan Strategies, explains on its website that it conducts surveys on people’s opinions and merges that with their political, consumer and census demographics.

“By correlating respondents’ demographics to the demographics of the whole voting district, we can make predictions about the voting preferences of each voter in the district,” the site states.

The company also states why the strategy is so popular.

“Microtargeting enables campaigns to send targeted messages to voters who are very receptive to those messages,” the website states. “Microtargeting allows for the most cost effective voter targeting programs, for voter persuasion or get-out-the-vote.”

According to its website, Magellan has conducted microtargeting since 2008.

A little extra effort is required to determine party affiliation in Wisconsin which, contrary to other states such as California, does not register people to vote by party.

The last piece of the puzzle is the phone number, which is not available through the government, but easily found in a phone book or located in online databases, sometimes free of charge.

Nathan Conrad, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, did not respond to a request for comment on how the campaign obtained Trulen’s digits. Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, did not respond for requests on how his party obtains phone numbers either.

As for Trulen, she just wishes she could find a way to make the calls stop.

“It’s alarming to me,” she said. “It’s just not right. . . . It’s like you can feel the tentacles creeping into your house under your door.”

The calls to Trulen were likely part of the GOP’s effort to get out the vote in what the party considers one of its strongest counties. Waukesha County is traditionally a Republican stronghold, just as Milwaukee tends to go for Democrats.

The irony is that the robocallers apparently haven’t figured out Trulen is actually a minority in her county: She has been voting Democratic.

Big Brother

Political campaigns can obtain nearly unlimited information about people through commercially available databases. Here’s what information they can, and can’t, learn about you from public records related to voting:

Public (obtainable)

Your name, address, gender and race

Which elections you voted in, going back to 2000

Whether you have requested an absentee ballot and whether you have sent it in.

Private (redacted)

Whom you voted for

Your date of birth

Your Social Security number, and any part of it

Your driver’s license number

Your phone number (if officials remember to redact it before they release your registration to anyone who asks.)

Online

For more on the information that campaigns and others collect on you, watch this video from PBS.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/unprecedented-microtargeting-by-campaigns-creeps-out-voters-007f111-177062301.html

Microtargeting

Microtargeting is the use by political parties and election campaigns of direct marketing datamining techniques that involve predictive market segmentation (aka cluster analysis). It is used by United States Republican and Democratic political parties and candidates to track individual voters and identify potential supporters.

They then use various means of communication—direct mail, phone calls, home visits, television, radio, web advertising, email, text messaging, etc.–to communicate with voters, crafting messages to build support for fundraising, campaign events, volunteering, and eventually to turn them out to the polls on election day. Microtargeting’s tactics rely on transmitting a tailored message to a subgroup of the electorate on the basis of unique information about that subgroup.

History

Although some of the tactics of microtargeting had been used in California since 1992, it really started to be used nationally only in 2004.[1] In that year, Karl Rove, along with Blaise Hazelwood at the Republican National Committee, used it to reach voters in 18 states that George W. Bush’s reelection campaign was not able to reach by other means. The results were greater contacts with likely Bush voters. For example, in Iowa the campaign was able to reach 92% of eventual Bush voters (compared to 50% in 2000) and in Florida it was able to reach 84% (compared to 50% in 2000).[2] Much of this pioneering work was done by Alex Gage and his firm, TargetPoint Consulting.

Democrats did only limited microtargeting in 2004, with some crediting microtargeting for Kerry’s win in Iowa in 2004.[3] Some news accounts credited Republican superiority in that area for victories in that election cycle.[4] Democrats later developed microtargeting capabilities for the 2006 election cycle.[1][2] “It’s no secret that the other side [Republicans] figured this out a little sooner”, said Josh Syrjamaki, director of the Minnesota chapter of America Votes in October 2006. “They’ve had four to six years’ jump on us on this stuff…but we feel like we can start to catch up.”[5]

Method

Microtargeting is a modification of a practice used by commercial direct marketers. It would not be possible on a large scale without the development of large and sophisticated databases that contain data about as many voters as possible. The database essentially tracks voter habits in the same ways that companies like Visa track consumer spending habits. The Republican National Committee’s database is called Voter Vault. The Democratic National Committee effort is called VoteBuilder.[6] A parallel Democratic effort is being developed by Catalist, a $9 million initiative headed by Harold Ickes,[2] while the leading non-partisan database is offered by Aristotle.[7]

The databases contain specific information about a particular voter (party affiliation, frequency of voting, contributions, volunteerism, etc.) with other activities and habits available from commercial marketing vendors such as Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Americas, and InfoUSA. Such personal information is a “product” sold to interested companies. These data are particularly illuminating when portrayed through a Geographic Information System (GIS), where trends based on location can be mapped alongside dozens or hundreds of other variables. This geographic depiction also makes it ideal for volunteers to visit potential voters (armed with lists in hand, laid out in the shortest route – much like how FedEx and UPS pre-determine delivery routes).

These databases are then mined to identify issues important to each voter and whether that voter is more likely to identify with one party or another. Political information is obviously important here, but consumer preferences can play a role as well. Individual voters are then put into groups on the basis of sophisticated computer modeling. Such groups have names like “Downscale Union Independents”, “Tax and Terrorism Moderates,” and “Older Suburban Newshounds.”[2][5]

Once a multitude of voting groups is established according to these criteria and their minute political differences, then the tailored messages can be sent via the appropriate means. While political parties and candidates once prepared a single television advertisement for general broadcast nationwide, it is now not at all uncommon to have several dozen variations on the one message, each with a unique and tailored message for that small demographic sliver of the voting public. This is the same for radio advertisement, direct mail, email, as well as stump speeches and fundraising events.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Chad Vander Veen, Zeroing In, www.govtech.net, Jan 2, 2006, accessed November 1, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Yochi J. Dreazen, Democrats, Playing Catch-Up, Tap Database to Woo Potential Voters, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2006, A1.
  3. ^ Schaller, T: New Math: How a trio of savvy Kerry campaign workers used a fresh voter equation to win Iowa., web only. American Prospect, 2004.
  4. ^ Martin Kettle, “How Democrats missed the vote”, The Guardian, November 3, 2006 [1], accessed February 2, 2007
  5. ^ a b Dan Balz, Democrats Aim to Regain Edge In Getting Voters to the Polls, Washington Post, October 8, 2006, accessed November 7, 2006. [2]
  6. ^ Aaron Blake (August 15, 2007). “DNC holds national training as it rolls out new voter file”. The Hill.
  7. ^ James Verini (December 3, 2007). “Big Brother Inc.”. Vanity Fair.

External links

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

Data mining

Data mining (the analysis step of the “Knowledge Discovery in Databases” process, or KDD),[1] an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science,[2][3][4] is the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, and database systems.[2] The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.[2] Aside from the raw analysis step, it involves database and data management aspects, data preprocessing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of discovered structures, visualization, and online updating.[2]

The term is a buzzword,[5] and is frequently misused to mean any form of large-scale data or information processing (collection, extraction, warehousing, analysis, and statistics) but is also generalized to any kind of computer decision support system, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and business intelligence. In the proper use of the word, the key term is discovery[citation needed], commonly defined as “detecting something new”. Even the popular book “Data mining: Practical machine learning tools and techniques with Java”[6] (which covers mostly machine learning material) was originally to be named just “Practical machine learning”, and the term “data mining” was only added for marketing reasons.[7] Often the more general terms “(large scale) data analysis“, or “analytics” – or when referring to actual methods, artificial intelligence and machine learning – are more appropriate.

The actual data mining task is the automatic or semi-automatic analysis of large quantities of data to extract previously unknown interesting patterns such as groups of data records (cluster analysis), unusual records (anomaly detection) and dependencies (association rule mining). This usually involves using database techniques such as spatial indices. These patterns can then be seen as a kind of summary of the input data, and may be used in further analysis or, for example, in machine learning and predictive analytics. For example, the data mining step might identify multiple groups in the data, which can then be used to obtain more accurate prediction results by a decision support system. Neither the data collection, data preparation, nor result interpretation and reporting are part of the data mining step, but do belong to the overall KDD process as additional steps.

The related terms data dredging, data fishing, and data snooping refer to the use of data mining methods to sample parts of a larger population data set that are (or may be) too small for reliable statistical inferences to be made about the validity of any patterns discovered. These methods can, however, be used in creating new hypotheses to test against the larger data populations.

Data mining uses information from past data to analyze the outcome of a particular problem or situation that may arise. Data mining works to analyze data stored in data warehouses that are used to store that data that is being analyzed. That particular data may come from all parts of business, from the production to the management. Managers also use data mining to decide upon marketing strategies for their product. They can use data to compare and contrast among competitors. Data mining interprets its data into real time analysis that can be used to increase sales, promote new product, or delete product that is not value-added to the company.

Etymology

In the 1960s, statisticians used terms like “Data Fishing” or “Data Dredging” to refer to what they considered the bad practice of analyzing data without an a-priori hypothesis. The term “Data Mining” appeared around 1990 in the database community. At the beginning of the century, there was a phrase “database mining”™, trademarked by HNC, a San Diego-based company (now merged into FICO), to pitch their Data Mining Workstation;[8] researchers consequently turned to “data mining”. Other terms used include Data Archaeology, Information Harvesting, Information Discovery, Knowledge Extraction, etc. Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro coined the term “Knowledge Discovery in Databases” for the first workshop on the same topic (1989) and this term became more popular in AI and Machine Learning Community. However, the term data mining became more popular in the business and press communities.[9] Currently, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery are used interchangeably.

Background

The manual extraction of patterns from data has occurred for centuries. Early methods of identifying patterns in data include Bayes’ theorem (1700s) and regression analysis (1800s). The proliferation, ubiquity and increasing power of computer technology has dramatically increased data collection, storage, and manipulation ability. As data sets have grown in size and complexity, direct “hands-on” data analysis has increasingly been augmented with indirect, automated data processing, aided by other discoveries in computer science, such as neural networks, cluster analysis, genetic algorithms (1950s), decision trees (1960s), and support vector machines (1990s). Data mining is the process of applying these methods with the intention of uncovering hidden patterns[10] in large data sets. It bridges the gap from applied statistics and artificial intelligence (which usually provide the mathematical background) to database management by exploiting the way data is stored and indexed in databases to execute the actual learning and discovery algorithms more efficiently, allowing such methods to be applied to ever larger data sets.

Research and evolution

The premier professional body in the field is the Association for Computing Machinery‘s (ACM) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD). Since 1989 this ACM SIG has hosted an annual international conference and published its proceedings,[11] and since 1999 it has published a biannual academic journal titled “SIGKDD Explorations”.[12]

Computer science conferences on data mining include:

Data mining topics are also present on many data management/database conferences such as the ICDE Conference, SIGMOD Conference and International Conference on Very Large Data Bases

Process

The Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) process is commonly defined with the stages:

(1) Selection
(2) Pre-processing
(3) Transformation
(4) Data Mining
(5) Interpretation/Evaluation.[1]

It exists, however, in many variations on this theme, such as the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) which defines six phases:

(1) Business Understanding
(2) Data Understanding
(3) Data Preparation
(4) Modeling
(5) Evaluation
(6) Deployment

or a simplified process such as (1) pre-processing, (2) data mining, and (3) results validation.

Polls conducted in 2002, 2004, and 2007 show that the CRISP-DM methodology is the leading methodology used by data miners.[13][14][15] The only other data mining standard named in these polls was SEMMA. However, 3-4 times as many people reported using CRISP-DM. Several teams of researchers have published reviews of data mining process models,[16][17] and Azevedo and Santos conducted a comparison of CRISP-DM and SEMMA in 2008.[18]

Pre-processing

Before data mining algorithms can be used, a target data set must be assembled. As data mining can only uncover patterns actually present in the data, the target data set must be large enough to contain these patterns while remaining concise enough to be mined within an acceptable time limit. A common source for data is a data mart or data warehouse. Pre-processing is essential to analyze the multivariate data sets before data mining. The target set is then cleaned. Data cleaning removes the observations containing noise and those with missing data.

Data mining

Data mining involves six common classes of tasks:[1]

  • Anomaly detection (Outlier/change/deviation detection) – The identification of unusual data records, that might be interesting or data errors that require further investigation.
  • Association rule learning (Dependency modeling) – Searches for relationships between variables. For example a supermarket might gather data on customer purchasing habits. Using association rule learning, the supermarket can determine which products are frequently bought together and use this information for marketing purposes. This is sometimes referred to as market basket analysis.
  • Clustering – is the task of discovering groups and structures in the data that are in some way or another “similar”, without using known structures in the data.
  • Classification – is the task of generalizing known structure to apply to new data. For example, an e-mail program might attempt to classify an e-mail as “legitimate” or as “spam”.
  • Regression – Attempts to find a function which models the data with the least error.
  • Summarization – providing a more compact representation of the data set, including visualization and report generation.
  • Sequential pattern mining – Sequential pattern mining finds sets of data items that occur together frequently in some sequences. Sequential pattern mining, which extracts frequent subsequences from a sequence database, has attracted a great deal of interest during the recent data mining research because it is the basis of many applications, such as: web user analysis, stock trend prediction, DNA sequence analysis, finding language or linguistic patterns from natural language texts, and using the history of symptoms to predict certain kind of disease.

Results validation

The final step of knowledge discovery from data is to verify that the patterns produced by the data mining algorithms occur in the wider data set. Not all patterns found by the data mining algorithms are necessarily valid. It is common for the data mining algorithms to find patterns in the training set which are not present in the general data set. This is called overfitting. To overcome this, the evaluation uses a test set of data on which the data mining algorithm was not trained. The learned patterns are applied to this test set and the resulting output is compared to the desired output. For example, a data mining algorithm trying to distinguish “spam” from “legitimate” emails would be trained on a training set of sample e-mails. Once trained, the learned patterns would be applied to the test set of e-mails on which it had not been trained. The accuracy of the patterns can then be measured from how many e-mails they correctly classify. A number of statistical methods may be used to evaluate the algorithm, such as ROC curves.

If the learned patterns do not meet the desired standards, then it is necessary to re-evaluate and change the pre-processing and data mining steps. If the learned patterns do meet the desired standards, then the final step is to interpret the learned patterns and turn them into knowledge.

Standards

There have been some efforts to define standards for the data mining process, for example the 1999 European Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM 1.0) and the 2004 Java Data Mining standard (JDM 1.0). Development on successors to these processes (CRISP-DM 2.0 and JDM 2.0) was active in 2006, but has stalled since. JDM 2.0 was withdrawn without reaching a final draft.

For exchanging the extracted models – in particular for use in predictive analytics – the key standard is the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML), which is an XML-based language developed by the Data Mining Group (DMG) and supported as exchange format by many data mining applications. As the name suggests, it only covers prediction models, a particular data mining task of high importance to business applications. However, extensions to cover (for example) subspace clustering have been proposed independently of the DMG.[19]

Notable uses

See also category: Applied data mining

Games

Since the early 1960s, with the availability of oracles for certain combinatorial games, also called tablebases (e.g. for 3×3-chess) with any beginning configuration, small-board dots-and-boxes, small-board-hex, and certain endgames in chess, dots-and-boxes, and hex; a new area for data mining has been opened. This is the extraction of human-usable strategies from these oracles. Current pattern recognition approaches do not seem to fully acquire the high level of abstraction required to be applied successfully. Instead, extensive experimentation with the tablebases – combined with an intensive study of tablebase-answers to well designed problems, and with knowledge of prior art (i.e. pre-tablebase knowledge) – is used to yield insightful patterns. Berlekamp (in dots-and-boxes, etc.) and John Nunn (in chess endgames) are notable examples of researchers doing this work, though they were not – and are not – involved in tablebase generation.

Business

Data mining is the analysis of historical business activities, stored as static data in data warehouse databases, to reveal hidden patterns and trends. Data mining software uses advanced pattern recognition algorithms to sift through large amounts of data to assist in discovering previously unknown strategic business information. Examples of what businesses use data mining for include performing market analysis to identify new product bundles, finding the root cause of manufacturing problems, to prevent customer attrition and acquire new customers, cross-sell to existing customers, and profile customers with more accuracy.[20] In today’s world raw data is being collected by companies at an exploding rate. For example, Walmart processes over 20 million point-of-sale transactions every day. This information is stored in a centralized database, but would be useless without some type of data mining software to analyse it. If Walmart analyzed their point-of-sale data with data mining techniques they would be able to determine sales trends, develop marketing campaigns, and more accurately predict customer loyalty.[21] Every time we use our credit card, a store loyalty card, or fill out a warranty card data is being collected about our purchasing behavior. Many people find the amount of information stored about us from companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, disturbing and are concerned about privacy. Although there is the potential for our personal data to be used in harmful, or unwanted, ways it is also being used to make our lives better. For example, Ford and Audi hope to one day collect information about customer driving patterns so they can recommend safer routes and warn drivers about dangerous road conditions.[22]

Data mining in customer relationship management applications can contribute significantly to the bottom line.[citation needed] Rather than randomly contacting a prospect or customer through a call center or sending mail, a company can concentrate its efforts on prospects that are predicted to have a high likelihood of responding to an offer. More sophisticated methods may be used to optimize resources across campaigns so that one may predict to which channel and to which offer an individual is most likely to respond (across all potential offers). Additionally, sophisticated applications could be used to automate mailing. Once the results from data mining (potential prospect/customer and channel/offer) are determined, this “sophisticated application” can either automatically send an e-mail or a regular mail. Finally, in cases where many people will take an action without an offer, “uplift modeling” can be used to determine which people have the greatest increase in response if given an offer. Uplift modeling thereby enables marketers to focus mailings and offers on persuadable people, and not to send offers to people who will buy the product without an offer. Data clustering can also be used to automatically discover the segments or groups within a customer data set.

Businesses employing data mining may see a return on investment, but also they recognize that the number of predictive models can quickly become very large. Rather than using one model to predict how many customers will churn, a business could build a separate model for each region and customer type. Then, instead of sending an offer to all people that are likely to churn, it may only want to send offers to loyal customers. Finally, the business may want to determine which customers are going to be profitable over a certain window in time, and only send the offers to those that are likely to be profitable. In order to maintain this quantity of models, they need to manage model versions and move on to automated data mining.

Data mining can also be helpful to human resources (HR) departments in identifying the characteristics of their most successful employees. Information obtained – such as universities attended by highly successful employees – can help HR focus recruiting efforts accordingly. Additionally, Strategic Enterprise Management applications help a company translate corporate-level goals, such as profit and margin share targets, into operational decisions, such as production plans and workforce levels.[23]

Another example of data mining, often called the market basket analysis, relates to its use in retail sales. If a clothing store records the purchases of customers, a data mining system could identify those customers who favor silk shirts over cotton ones. Although some explanations of relationships may be difficult, taking advantage of it is easier. The example deals with association rules within transaction-based data. Not all data are transaction based and logical, or inexact rules may also be present within a database.

Market basket analysis has also been used to identify the purchase patterns of the Alpha Consumer. Alpha Consumers are people that play a key role in connecting with the concept behind a product, then adopting that product, and finally validating it for the rest of society. Analyzing the data collected on this type of user has allowed companies to predict future buying trends and forecast supply demands.[citation needed]

Data mining is a highly effective tool in the catalog marketing industry.[citation needed] Catalogers have a rich database of history of their customer transactions for millions of customers dating back a number of years. Data mining tools can identify patterns among customers and help identify the most likely customers to respond to upcoming mailing campaigns.

Data mining for business applications is a component that needs to be integrated into a complex modeling and decision making process. Reactive business intelligence (RBI) advocates a “holistic” approach that integrates data mining, modeling, and interactive visualization into an end-to-end discovery and continuous innovation process powered by human and automated learning.[24]

In the area of decision making, the RBI approach has been used to mine knowledge that is progressively acquired from the decision maker, and then self-tune the decision method accordingly.[25]

An example of data mining related to an integrated-circuit (IC) production line is described in the paper “Mining IC Test Data to Optimize VLSI Testing.”[26] In this paper, the application of data mining and decision analysis to the problem of die-level functional testing is described. Experiments mentioned demonstrate the ability to apply a system of mining historical die-test data to create a probabilistic model of patterns of die failure. These patterns are then utilized to decide, in real time, which die to test next and when to stop testing. This system has been shown, based on experiments with historical test data, to have the potential to improve profits on mature IC products.

Science and engineering

In recent years, data mining has been used widely in the areas of science and engineering, such as bioinformatics, genetics, medicine, education and electrical power engineering.

In the study of human genetics, sequence mining helps address the important goal of understanding the mapping relationship between the inter-individual variations in human DNA sequence and the variability in disease susceptibility. In simple terms, it aims to find out how the changes in an individual’s DNA sequence affects the risks of developing common diseases such as cancer, which is of great importance to improving methods of diagnosing, preventing, and treating these diseases. The data mining method that is used to perform this task is known as multifactor dimensionality reduction.[27]

In the area of electrical power engineering, data mining methods have been widely used for condition monitoring of high voltage electrical equipment. The purpose of condition monitoring is to obtain valuable information on, for example, the status of the insulation (or other important safety-related parameters). Data clustering techniques – such as the self-organizing map (SOM), have been applied to vibration monitoring and analysis of transformer on-load tap-changers (OLTCS). Using vibration monitoring, it can be observed that each tap change operation generates a signal that contains information about the condition of the tap changer contacts and the drive mechanisms. Obviously, different tap positions will generate different signals. However, there was considerable variability amongst normal condition signals for exactly the same tap position. SOM has been applied to detect abnormal conditions and to hypothesize about the nature of the abnormalities.[28]

Data mining methods have also been applied to dissolved gas analysis (DGA) in power transformers. DGA, as a diagnostics for power transformers, has been available for many years. Methods such as SOM has been applied to analyze generated data and to determine trends which are not obvious to the standard DGA ratio methods (such as Duval Triangle).[28]

Another example of data mining in science and engineering is found in educational research, where data mining has been used to study the factors leading students to choose to engage in behaviors which reduce their learning,[29] and to understand factors influencing university student retention.[30] A similar example of social application of data mining is its use in expertise finding systems, whereby descriptors of human expertise are extracted, normalized, and classified so as to facilitate the finding of experts, particularly in scientific and technical fields. In this way, data mining can facilitate institutional memory.

Other examples of application of data mining methods are biomedical data facilitated by domain ontologies,[31] mining clinical trial data,[32] and traffic analysis using SOM.[33]

In adverse drug reaction surveillance, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre has, since 1998, used data mining methods to routinely screen for reporting patterns indicative of emerging drug safety issues in the WHO global database of 4.6 million suspected adverse drug reaction incidents.[34] Recently, similar methodology has been developed to mine large collections of electronic health records for temporal patterns associating drug prescriptions to medical diagnoses.[35]

Data mining has been applied software artifacts within the realm of software engineering: Mining Software Repositories.

Human rights

Data mining of government records – particularly records of the justice system (i.e. courts, prisons) – enables the discovery of systemic human rights violations in connection to generation and publication of invalid or fraudulent legal records by various government agencies.[36][37]

Medical data mining

In 2011, the case of Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, ruled that pharmacies may share information with outside companies. This practice was authorized under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, protecting the “freedom of speech.”[38]

Spatial data mining

Spatial data mining is the application of data mining methods to spatial data. The end objective of spatial data mining is to find patterns in data with respect to geography. So far, data mining and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have existed as two separate technologies, each with its own methods, traditions, and approaches to visualization and data analysis. Particularly, most contemporary GIS have only very basic spatial analysis functionality. The immense explosion in geographically referenced data occasioned by developments in IT, digital mapping, remote sensing, and the global diffusion of GIS emphasizes the importance of developing data-driven inductive approaches to geographical analysis and modeling.

Data mining offers great potential benefits for GIS-based applied decision-making. Recently, the task of integrating these two technologies has become of critical importance, especially as various public and private sector organizations possessing huge databases with thematic and geographically referenced data begin to realize the huge potential of the information contained therein. Among those organizations are:

  • offices requiring analysis or dissemination of geo-referenced statistical data
  • public health services searching for explanations of disease clustering
  • environmental agencies assessing the impact of changing land-use patterns on climate change
  • geo-marketing companies doing customer segmentation based on spatial location.

Challenges in Spatial mining: Geospatial data repositories tend to be very large. Moreover, existing GIS datasets are often splintered into feature and attribute components that are conventionally archived in hybrid data management systems. Algorithmic requirements differ substantially for relational (attribute) data management and for topological (feature) data management.[39] Related to this is the range and diversity of geographic data formats, which present unique challenges. The digital geographic data revolution is creating new types of data formats beyond the traditional “vector” and “raster” formats. Geographic data repositories increasingly include ill-structured data, such as imagery and geo-referenced multi-media.[40]

There are several critical research challenges in geographic knowledge discovery and data mining. Miller and Han[41] offer the following list of emerging research topics in the field:

  • Developing and supporting geographic data warehouses (GDW’s): Spatial properties are often reduced to simple aspatial attributes in mainstream data warehouses. Creating an integrated GDW requires solving issues of spatial and temporal data interoperability – including differences in semantics, referencing systems, geometry, accuracy, and position.
  • Better spatio-temporal representations in geographic knowledge discovery: Current geographic knowledge discovery (GKD) methods generally use very simple representations of geographic objects and spatial relationships. Geographic data mining methods should recognize more complex geographic objects (i.e. lines and polygons) and relationships (i.e. non-Euclidean distances, direction, connectivity, and interaction through attributed geographic space such as terrain). Furthermore, the time dimension needs to be more fully integrated into these geographic representations and relationships.
  • Geographic knowledge discovery using diverse data types: GKD methods should be developed that can handle diverse data types beyond the traditional raster and vector models, including imagery and geo-referenced multimedia, as well as dynamic data types (video streams, animation).

Sensor data mining

Wireless sensor networks can be used for facilitating the collection of data for spatial data mining for a variety of applications such as air pollution monitoring.[42] A characteristic of such networks is that nearby sensor nodes monitoring an environmental feature typically register similar values. This kind of data redundancy due to the spatial correlation between sensor observations inspires the techniques for in-network data aggregation and mining. By measuring the spatial correlation between data sampled by different sensors, a wide class of specialized algorithms can be developed to develop more efficient spatial data mining algorithms.[43]

Visual data mining

In the process of turning from analogical into digital, large data sets have been generated, collected, and stored discovering statistical patterns, trends and information which is hidden in data, in order to build predictive patterns. Studies suggest visual data mining is faster and much more intuitive than is traditional data mining.[44][45][46] See also Computer Vision.

Music data mining

Data mining techniques, and in particular co-occurrence analysis, has been used to discover relevant similarities among music corpora (radio lists, CD databases) for the purpose of classifying music into genres in a more objective manner.[47]

Surveillance

Data mining has been used to stop terrorist programs under the U.S. government, including the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, Secure Flight (formerly known as Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II)), Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE),[48] and the Multi-state Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX).[49] These programs have been discontinued due to controversy over whether they violate the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, although many programs that were formed under them continue to be funded by different organizations or under different names.[50]

In the context of combating terrorism, two particularly plausible methods of data mining are “pattern mining” and “subject-based data mining”.

Pattern mining

“Pattern mining” is a data mining method that involves finding existing patterns in data. In this context patterns often means association rules. The original motivation for searching association rules came from the desire to analyze supermarket transaction data, that is, to examine customer behavior in terms of the purchased products. For example, an association rule “beer ⇒ potato chips (80%)” states that four out of five customers that bought beer also bought potato chips.

In the context of pattern mining as a tool to identify terrorist activity, the National Research Council provides the following definition: “Pattern-based data mining looks for patterns (including anomalous data patterns) that might be associated with terrorist activity — these patterns might be regarded as small signals in a large ocean of noise.”[51][52][53] Pattern Mining includes new areas such a Music Information Retrieval (MIR) where patterns seen both in the temporal and non temporal domains are imported to classical knowledge discovery search methods.

Subject-based data mining

“Subject-based data mining” is a data mining method involving the search for associations between individuals in data. In the context of combating terrorism, the National Research Council provides the following definition: “Subject-based data mining uses an initiating individual or other datum that is considered, based on other information, to be of high interest, and the goal is to determine what other persons or financial transactions or movements, etc., are related to that initiating datum.”[52]

Knowledge grid

Knowledge discovery “On the Grid” generally refers to conducting knowledge discovery in an open environment using grid computing concepts, allowing users to integrate data from various online data sources, as well make use of remote resources, for executing their data mining tasks. The earliest example was the Discovery Net,[54][55] developed at Imperial College London, which won the “Most Innovative Data-Intensive Application Award” at the ACM SC02 (Supercomputing 2002) conference and exhibition, based on a demonstration of a fully interactive distributed knowledge discovery application for a bioinformatics application. Other examples include work conducted by researchers at the University of Calabria, who developed a Knowledge Grid architecture for distributed knowledge discovery, based on grid computing.[56][57]

Reliability / Validity

Data mining can be misused, and can also unintentionally produce results which appear significant but which do not actually predict future behavior and cannot be reproduced on a new sample of data. See Data snooping, Data dredging.

Privacy concerns and ethics

Some people believe that data mining itself is ethically neutral.[58] While the term “data mining” has no ethical implications, it is often associated with the mining of information in relation to peoples’ behavior (ethical and otherwise). To be precise, data mining is a statistical method that is applied to a set of information (i.e. a data set). Associating these data sets with people is an extreme narrowing of the types of data that are available. Examples could range from a set of crash test data for passenger vehicles, to the performance of a group of stocks. These types of data sets make up a great proportion of the information available to be acted on by data mining methods, and rarely have ethical concerns associated with them. However, the ways in which data mining can be used can in some cases and contexts raise questions regarding privacy, legality, and ethics.[59] In particular, data mining government or commercial data sets for national security or law enforcement purposes, such as in the Total Information Awareness Program or in ADVISE, has raised privacy concerns.[60][61]

Data mining requires data preparation which can uncover information or patterns which may compromise confidentiality and privacy obligations. A common way for this to occur is through data aggregation. Data aggregation involves combining data together (possibly from various sources) in a way that facilitates analysis (but that also might make identification of private, individual-level data deducible or otherwise apparent).[62] This is not data mining per se, but a result of the preparation of data before – and for the purposes of – the analysis. The threat to an individual’s privacy comes into play when the data, once compiled, cause the data miner, or anyone who has access to the newly compiled data set, to be able to identify specific individuals, especially when the data were originally anonymous.

It is recommended that an individual is made aware of the following before data are collected:[62]

  • the purpose of the data collection and any (known) data mining projects
  • how the data will be used
  • who will be able to mine the data and use the data and their derivatives
  • the status of security surrounding access to the data
  • how collected data can be updated.

In America, privacy concerns have been addressed to some extent by the US Congress via the passage of regulatory controls such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The HIPAA requires individuals to give their “informed consent” regarding information they provide and its intended present and future uses. According to an article in Biotech Business Week’, “‘[i]n practice, HIPAA may not offer any greater protection than the longstanding regulations in the research arena,’ says the AAHC. More importantly, the rule’s goal of protection through informed consent is undermined by the complexity of consent forms that are required of patients and participants, which approach a level of incomprehensibility to average individuals.”[63] This underscores the necessity for data anonymity in data aggregation and mining practices.

Data may also be modified so as to become anonymous, so that individuals may not readily be identified.[62] However, even “de-identified”/”anonymized” data sets can potentially contain enough information to allow identification of individuals, as occurred when journalists were able to find several individuals based on a set of search histories that were inadvertently released by AOL.[64]

Software

Free open-source data mining software and applications

  • Carrot2: Text and search results clustering framework.
  • Chemicalize.org: A chemical structure miner and web search engine.
  • ELKI: A university research project with advanced cluster analysis and outlier detection methods written in the Java language.
  • GATE: a natural language processing and language engineering tool.
  • SCaViS: Java cross-platform data analysis framework developed at Argonne National Laboratory.
  • KNIME: The Konstanz Information Miner, a user friendly and comprehensive data analytics framework.
  • ML-Flex: A software package that enables users to integrate with third-party machine-learning packages written in any programming language, execute classification analyses in parallel across multiple computing nodes, and produce HTML reports of classification results.
  • NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit): A suite of libraries and programs for symbolic and statistical natural language processing (NLP) for the Python language.
  • SenticNet API: A semantic and affective resource for opinion mining and sentiment analysis.
  • Orange: A component-based data mining and machine learning software suite written in the Python language.
  • R: A programming language and software environment for statistical computing, data mining, and graphics. It is part of the GNU project.
  • RapidMiner: An environment for machine learning and data mining experiments.
  • UIMA: The UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) is a component framework for analyzing unstructured content such as text, audio and video – originally developed by IBM.
  • Weka: A suite of machine learning software applications written in the Java programming language.

Commercial data-mining software and applications

Marketplace surveys

Several researchers and organizations have conducted reviews of data mining tools and surveys of data miners. These identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of the software packages. They also provide an overview of the behaviors, preferences and views of data miners. Some of these reports include:

 

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Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach–Videos

Posted on June 11, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Employment, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

~United States Constitution, Amendment IV

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

~George Orwell’s 1984

POWER IS NOT A MEANS, IT IS AN END

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Maxine Waters Confirms Big Brother Database 2013 Foretells NSA Phone & Internet Spying

Glenn Beck:Govt Storing Citizen Cellphone& Internet Activity

Digital Blackwater: How the NSA Gives Private Contractors Control of the Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald on How NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Helped Expose a “Massive Surveillance Apparatus”

“A Massive Surveillance State”: Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

What You Should Know About The New NSA Utah Data Center

Is Edward Snowden a Hero? A Debate With Journalist Chris Hedges & Law Scholar Geoffrey Stone

Spying On Americans By NSA Prism Collection Details – Rand Paul On Hannity

NSA is Spying on EVERYTHING you do. Phone calls and internet activity is being stored and monitored.

PRISM: Why the NSA is Mining Internet Data

Total Surveillance : N.S.A. data mining all computers, phone calls, internet, emails

CNET Update – Uproar over PRISM government surveillance

NSA Caught Spying on Americans’ Internet Use

Columnist exposes Obama surveillance

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

Sky News interview w/ Julian Assange and JP Barlow RE: Prism and Edward Snowden

Complete News – Snowden leaks show NSA ‘routinely lies’ to Congress

Judge Napolitano On NSA Spying: Most Extraordinarily Broad Search Warrant Ever Issued In US History

Rand Paul Discusses The NSA’s Violation Of The Bill Of Rights On Yahoo News (6-6-13)

Rand Paul On NSA Spying: ‘I’m Going To Challenge This At The Supreme Court’ –

Ron Paul: NSA Seizing Phone Records Symptom of Failure of The State