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Hell On Wheels — Government Train Wreck Kills 8, Injures 200 Plus — Speeding At Over 100 Miles Per Hour in A 50 MPH Zone — Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York — Democrats Want More Money and Subsidies For Amtrak — Stop Subsidizing Silly Walks — $1 Billion Per Year For 44 Years in Subsidies To Amtrak — $45 Billion Total — Hell of A Way To Run A Railroad — Shut It Down — Videos

Posted on May 14, 2015. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Investments, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Movies, Music, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Radio, Railroads, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Speech, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Transportation, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: Hell On Wheels — Government Train Wreck Kills 8, Injures 200 Plus — Speeding At Over 100 Miles Per Hour in A 50 MPH Zone —  Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York — Democrats Want More Money and Subsidies For Amtrak — Stop Subsidizing Silly Walks — $1 Billion Per Year For 44 Years in Subsidies To Amtrak — $45 Billion Total — Hell of A Way To Run A Railroad — Shut It Down —  Videos

In an aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia, after a fatal Amtrak derailment Tuesday night, in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. Federal investigators arrived Wednesday to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in a wreck that killed at least six people, and injured dozens. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In an aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia, after a fatal Amtrak derailment Tuesday night, in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. Federal investigators arrived Wednesday to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in a wreck that killed at least six people, and injured dozens. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

image.adapt.960.high.amtrak_train_derailment

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7 killed, over 200 injured in Amtrak crash

Speed Eyed as Possible Cause of Amtrak Crash: Sources

GOP moves to slash Amtrak budget nearly 20% day after fatal train crash

Time to derail heavily subsidized Amtrak

Randal O’Toole on transportation privatization

Rep. Denham Talks Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act

New York Bound Amtrak Train Derails Near Philadelphia, 50 Injured (BREAKING NEWS)

Amtrak Train Derails, At Least 5 Dead 

Former Congressman Patrick Murphy Shares Experience Aboard Philadelphia Derailed Amtrak Train – CBS

“Should the Government Subsidize…Silly Walks? | LearnLiberty”

Why Are Gas Prices So High?

Government Subsidies

Microeconomics – Subsidies

Obama Addresses Poverty in Washington Panel

Obama: Tax Hedge Funds More

Source: Amtrak train thought to be going twice as fast as it should have been

Amtrak Train That Derailed Was Going 100 M.P.H., Officials Say; 7 Killed

Amtrak Bill Continues History of Wasted Subsidies

Congressional Republicans were elected on a platform of cutting spending, but taxpayers will continue to pay for Amtrak’s losses for at least 5 more years if a bill that just passed the House becomes law.  Can’t Congress do better?

Amtrak has cost the government over $45 billion in subsidies over the last 44 years, allowing it to finance the upkeep of unprofitable routes, overstaffed trains, and the mismanagement of its food services.

The bipartisan Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 would subsidize Amtrak by an estimated $7 billion from 2016 to 2020.  It passed the House by 316 votes to 101 votes on Wednesday and is now headed to the Senate and, presumably, President Obama’s signature.  Amtrak has been operating without official funding authorization since the previous bill expired in October 2013.

Despite generous taxpayer subsidies, Amtrak has run operating losses every year since it began operating in 1971. Although these losses are declining, in 2014, the railroad reported what it described as a “strong” result, with an operating loss of only $227 million.

The operating loss is unlikely to continue to decline due to the losses in Amtrak’s long-distance routes, which bleed about $600 million annually. After factoring in depreciation and other expenses, Amtrak lost a total of $1.1 billion in 2014.

The railroad’s food and beverage service has been singled out in recent years by both government watchdogs and Congress for its wasteful use of government subsidies.  Amtrak lost over $900 million from 2003 to 2013 on food services alone.

In a 2012 congressional hearing, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) noted that a $9 cheeseburger sold on an Amtrak train actually costs $16 after factoring in the services’ operating expenses, and the $7 shortfall is subsidized taxpayers.  A 2013 Inspector General report found that employee-pass riders who are offered free trips on Amtrak also received complimentary meals, resulting in a $240,000 loss for the railroad in 2012.

A provision in the 2015 bill requires Amtrak to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the losses from its food and beverage in five years, but a similar rule passed decades ago failed to achieve savings. Amtrak was required by Congress to turn a profit from its food and beverage service in 1981, but the railroad never complied. A 1997 law went a step further by requiring Amtrak to operate subsidy-free by 2002, but losses continued, along with government subsidies.

The 2015 bill lacks an effective mechanism to force Amtrak’s food service to become solvent in an enforceable timeframe, thus allowing Amtrak to continue losing money without fear of losing its subsidies.  The millions lost from its food services are dwarfed by the billions spent on labor costs and mismanagement of funds, and will continue as long as subsidies prevent accountability for the losses.

The $1 billion in annual subsidies have not covered all of Amtrak’s expenses, and the company has incurred an estimated $1 billion in non-federal debt.  The 2015 bill authorizes $625 million in federal funds to pre-pay Amtrak’s non-federal debt as the railroad has been unable to renegotiate favorable terms to result in savings.

Amtrak’s largest expense is labor, salary, and benefits, which cost over $2 billion in 2014.  Maintaining fully-staffed trains on infrequently-traveled routes has contributed to high labor costs, but the pay rate of Amtrak’s employees raise its costs substantially. The average onboard employee made $41.19 an hour on Amtrak in 2012, while railroads that contracted out services to private companies paid their employees $7.75 to $13.00 an hour.

Base pay may already be substantial, but regulations and poor oversight allowed employees to pocket $185 million in overtime pay in 2013.  The management allowed employee misconduct and wasteful business practices to thrive, even as at the same time it hindered plans to make train stations accessible to the disabled to comply with the Americans with Disability Program.

Amtrak’s did not meet ADA’s goals due to lack of structure and a strategy, according to a 2014 IG report.  Management activities took up 46% of the $100 million budget, $6.5 million was spent on unrelated projects, and an undetermined amount was shipped out of state on non-ADA projects.

The ADA program’s failure was rooted in a lack of vision, goals and objectives, and was compounded by a lack of accountability and decision making authority. The IG’s summation of the ADA program reflects problems inherent to Amtrak’s culture. Its promises of reform have never fully materialized into solvency, and its failure to follow congressional mandates never resulted in penalties.  Amtrak has never made a profit because it doesn’t need to.

Privatizing Amtrak is the only option certain to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted while providing the benefits that accompany competitive services. Congress should develop a plan to privatize the railroad and allow for private companies to compete for routes.

America has successfully privatized rail before, as freight railroads were once unprofitable enterprises subsidized by the federal government until the industry was deregulated and sold to private investors in the 1980s.  The industry has thrived since routes were opened up to competition.

Amtrak has had 44 years to become solvent without success.  Reducing labor costs can be an effective interim measure, but deregulating the passenger rail system is the best way to ensure improved service and lower fares for consumers. Cutting Amtrak’s subsidies and ending its monopoly is a responsible alternative to passing inneffective reforms.

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National Security Agency Whistle-blower William Binney on U.S. Government Efforts to Control American People — Binney Should Be Awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom — Videos

Posted on May 3, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, Politics, Video, Books, Raves, Rants, Economics, Links, War, Films, People, Life, Education, Employment, Security, Communications, Computers, Philosophy, Foreign Policy, Wisdom, liberty, Crime, Fiscal Policy, government spending, media, Psychology, history, Entertainment, government, Federal Government, College, Movies, Business, Wealth, American History, Drug Cartels, Tax Policy, Federal Government Budget, Radio, Literacy, Terrorism, Constitution, Press, External Hard Drives, Data Storage, Photos, Systems, Writing, Non-Fiction, Faith, Family, Freedom, Federal Communications Commission, National Security Agency (NSA_, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Welfare, Crisis, Documentary, Corruption, Articles, Speech, Police, National Security Agency (NSA) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

william binneybill-binney-we-are-now-a-police-stateBill-Binney07Former NSA technical director Binney sits in the witness stand of a parliamentary inquiry in Berlinbinney

NSA Whistle-blower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

A 36-year veteran of America’s Intelligence Community, William Binney resigned from his position as Director for Global Communications Intelligence (COMINT) at the National Security Agency (NSA) and blew the whistle, after discovering that his efforts to protect the privacy and security of Americans were being undermined by those above him in the chain of command.

The NSA data-monitoring program which Binney and his team had developed — codenamed ThinThread — was being aimed not at foreign targets as intended, but at Americans (codenamed as Stellar Wind); destroying privacy here and around the world. Binney voices his call to action for the billions of individuals whose rights are currently being violated.

William Binney speaks out in this feature-length interview with Tragedy and Hope’s Richard Grove, focused on the topic of the ever-growing Surveillance State in America.

On January 22, 2015: (Berlin, Germany) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is proud to announce that retired NSA Technical Director and GAP client, William “Bill” Binney, will accept the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award today in Berlin, Germany. The award is presented annually by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) to a professional who has taken a strong stand for ethics and integrity. http://whistleblower.org/press/nsa-wh…

NSA Whistle-blower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes

Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

“Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state,” says William Binney. “You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens – that’s what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did.”

Binney is talking about the collection of various forms of personal data on American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA), where he worked for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. A registered Republican for most of his life, Binney volunteered for military service during the Vietnam War, which led to his being hired by the NSA in the early ’70s.

In 2002 – long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked the world – Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated. Not only was the super-secretive agency wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffective programs, they argued, it was broadly violating constitutional guarantees to privacy and due process.

The government didn’t just turn a blind eye to the agency’s activities; it later accused the whistleblowers of leaking state secrets. A federal investigation of Binney – including an FBI search and seizure of his home and office computers that destroyed his consulting business – exonerated him on all charges.

“We are a clear example that [going through] the proper channels doesn’t work,” says Binney, who approves of Edward Snowden’s strategy of going straight to the media. At the same time, Binney criticizes Snowden’s leaking of documents not directly related to the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens and violation of constitutional rights. Binney believes that the NSA is vital to national security but has been become unmoored due to technological advances that vastly extend its capabilities and leadership that has no use for limits on government power. “They took that program designed [to prevent terrorist attacks] and used it to spy on American citizens and everyone else in the world,” flatly declares Binney (33:30).

Binney sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss “Trailblazer”, a data-collection program which was used on American citizens (1:00), why he thinks the NSA had the capability to stop the 9/11 attacks (7:00), his experience being raided by the FBI in 2007 (12:50), and why former President Gerald Ford, usually regarded as a hapless time-server, is one of his personal villians (41:25).

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times

William Binney: NSA had 9/11 foreknowledge

NSA Whistleblower Supports 9/11 Truth – William Binney and Richard Gage on GRTV

“The NSA Is Lying”: U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails Says NSA Whistleblower

William Binney (U.S. intelligence official)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
William Binney
William Binney-IMG 9040.jpg

Binney at the Congress on Privacy & Surveillance (2013) of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Born William Edward Binney
Pennsylvania, US
Education Pennsylvania State University(B.S., 1970)
Occupation Cryptanalyst-mathematician
Employer National Security Agency (NSA)
Known for Cryptography, SIGINT analysis,whistleblower
Awards Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage (2012)[1]

William Edward Binney[2] is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA)[3] turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.

Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama‘s presidency about the NSA’s data collection policies, and continues interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on communication intercepts by governmental agencies of American citizens. In a legal case, Binney has testified in an affidavit that the NSA is in deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Biography

Binney grew up in rural Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1970. He said that he volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam era in order to select work that would interest him rather than be drafted and have no input. He was found to have strong aptitudes for mathematics, analysis, and code-breaking,[4] and served four years from 1965–1969 at the Army Security Agency before going to the NSA in 1970. Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as Technical Director prior to becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, he co-founded a unit on automating signals intelligence with NSA research chief Dr. John Taggart.[5] Binney’s NSA career culminated as Technical Leader for intelligence in 2001. Having expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management, and mathematics (including set theory, number theory, and probability),[6] Binney has been described as one of the best analysts in the NSA’s history.[7] After retiring from the NSA he founded “Entity Mapping, LLC”, a private intelligence agency together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe to market their analysis program to government agencies. NSA continued to retaliate against them, ultimately preventing them from getting work, or causing contracts they had secured to be terminated abruptly.[8]

Whistleblowing

Binney sitting in the offices ofDemocracy Now! in New York City, prior to appearing with hosts Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and guest Jacob Appelbaum. Photo taken byJacob Appelbaum.

In September 2002, he, along with J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, asked the U.S. Defense Department to investigate the NSA for allegedly wasting “millions and millions of dollars” on Trailblazer, a system intended to analyze data carried on communications networks such as the Internet. Binney had been one of the inventors of an alternative system, ThinThread, which was shelved when Trailblazer was chosen instead. Binney has also been publicly critical of the NSA for spying on U.S. citizens, saying of its expanded surveillance after the September 11, 2001 attacks that “it’s better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had”[9] as well as noting Trailblazer’s ineffectiveness and unjustified high cost compared to the far less intrusive ThinThread.[10] He was furious that the NSA hadn’t uncovered the 9/11 plot and stated that intercepts it had collected but not analyzed likely would have garnered timely attention with his leaner more focused system.[7]

After he left the NSA in 2001, Binney was one of several people investigated as part of an inquiry into the 2005 New York Times exposé[11][12] on the agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program. Binney was cleared of wrongdoing after three interviews with FBI agents beginning in March 2007, but one morning in July 2007, a dozen agents armed with rifles appeared at his house, one of whom entered the bathroom and pointed his gun at Binney, still towelling off from a shower. In that raid, the FBI confiscated a desktop computer, disks, and personal and business records. The NSA revoked his security clearance, forcing him to close a business he ran with former colleagues at a loss of a reported $300,000 in annual income. In 2012, Binney and his co-plaintiffs went to federal court to get the items back. Binney spent more than $7,000 on legal fees.[13]

During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012[14] with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600’s hacker conference HOPE[4] and at DEF CON a couple weeks later,[15]Binney repeated estimates that the NSA (particularly its Stellar Wind project[16]) had intercepted 20 trillion communications “transactions” of Americans such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data (but not including financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens. Binney disclosed in an affidavit for Jewel v. NSA[17] that the agency was “purposefully violating the Constitution”.[6] Binney also notes that he found out after retiring that the NSA was pursuing collect-it-all vs. targeted surveillance even before the 9/11 attacks.

Binney was invited as a witness by the NSA commission of the German Bundestag. On July 3, 2014 the Spiegel wrote, he said that the NSA wanted to have information about everything. In Binney’s view this is a totalitarian approach, which had previously been seen only in dictatorships.[18] Binney stated the goal was also to control people. Meanwhile, he said it is possible in principle to survey the whole population, abroad and in the US, which in his view contradicts the United States Constitution. In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the NSA began with its mass surveillance, he said. Therefore, he left the secret service shortly afterwards, after more than 30 years of employment. Binney mentioned that there were about 6000 analysts in the surveillance at NSA already during his tenure. According to him, everything changed after 9/11. The NSA used the attacks as a justification to start indiscriminate data collection. “This was a mistake. But they still do it”, he said. The secret service was saving the data as long as possible: “They do not discard anything. If they have anything they keep it.” Since then, the NSA has been saving collected data indefinitely. Binney said he deplored the NSA’s development of the past few years, to collect data not only on groups who are suspicious for criminal or terrorist activities. “We have moved away from the collection of these data to the collection of data of the 7 billion people on our planet.” Binney said he argued even then, to only pull relevant data from the cables. Access to the data was granted to departments of the government or the IRS.[18]

In August 2014 Binney was among the signatories of an open letter by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to German chancellor Angela Merkel in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[19][20]

See also

The Future of Freedom: A Feature Interview with NSA Whistleblower William Binney

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_%28U.S._intelligence_official%29

Background Articles and Videos

Presidential Medal of Freedom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Presidential Medal of Freedom
PresMedalFreedom.jpg
Awarded by
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
President of the United States
Type Medal
Awarded for “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”[1]
Status Active
Statistics
Established 1960
First awarded 1960
Distinct
recipients
unknown; an average of fewer than 11 per year since 1993 [2]
Precedence
Next (lower) Presidential Citizens Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction (ribbon).PNG Presidential Medal of Freedom (ribbon).png
Service ribbon of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
(left: Medal with Distinction)

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal, bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award of the United States. It recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.[3] The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

It was established in 1963 and replaced the earlier Medal of Freedom that was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945 to honor civilian service duringWorld War II.

History of the award

Similar in name to the Medal of Freedom,[3] but much closer in meaning and precedence to the Medal for Merit: the Presidential Medal of Freedom is currently the supreme civilian decoration in precedence, whereas the Medal of Freedom was inferior in precedence to the Medal for Merit; the Medal of Freedom was awarded by any of three Cabinet secretaries, whereas the Medal for Merit was awarded by the president, as is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Another measure of the difference between these two similarly named but very distinct awards is their per-capita frequency of award: from 1946 to 1961 the average annual incidence of award of the Medal of Freedom was approximately 1 per every 86,500 adult U.S. citizens; from 1996 to 2011 the average annual incidence of award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom was approximately 1 per every 20,500,000 adult U.S. citizens (so on an annualized per capita basis, 240 Medals of Freedom have been awarded per one Presidential Medal of Freedom).[2][4]

President John F. Kennedy established the current decoration in 1963 through Executive Order 11085, with unique and distinctive insignia, vastly expanded purpose, and far higher prestige.[1] It was the first U.S. civilian neck decoration and, in the grade of Awarded With Distinction, is the only U.S. sash and star decoration (the Chief Commander degree of the Legion of Merit – which may only be awarded to foreign heads of state – is a star decoration, but without a sash). The Executive Order calls for the medal to be awarded annually on or around July 4, and at other convenient times as chosen by the president,[5] but it has not been awarded every year (e.g., 2001, 2010). Recipients are selected by the president, either on his own initiative or based on recommendations. The order establishing the medal also expanded the size and the responsibilities of the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board so it could serve as a major source of such recommendations.

The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once; John Kenneth Galbraith and Colin Powell each have received two awards; Ellsworth Bunker received both of his awards With Distinction. It may also be awarded posthumously; examples include Cesar Chavez, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Roberto Clemente, Jack Kemp, John F. Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall and Lyndon Johnson.

Insignia

Medal andaccoutrementsincluding undress ribbon, miniature, and lapel badge.

Graphical representation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction

The badge of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is in the form of a golden star with white enamel, with a red enamel pentagon behind it; the central disc bears thirteen gold stars on a blue enamel background (taken from the Great Seal of the United States) within a golden ring. Golden American bald eagles with spread wings stand between the points of the star. It is worn around the neck on a blue ribbon with white edge stripes.

A special grade of the medal, known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction,[6] has a larger execution of the same medal design worn as a star on the left chest along with a sash over the right shoulder (similar to how the insignia of a Grand Cross is worn), with its rosette (blue with white edge, bearing the central disc of the medal at its center) resting on the left hip. When the medal With Distinction is awarded, the star may be presented depending from a neck ribbon and can be identified by its larger size than the standard medal (compare size of medals in pictures below; President Reagan’s was awarded With Distinction).

Both medals may also be worn in miniature form on a ribbon on the left chest, with a silver American bald eagle with spread wings on the ribbon, or a golden American bald eagle for a medal awarded With Distinction. In addition, the medal is accompanied by a service ribbon for wear on military service uniform, a miniature medal pendant for wear on mess dress or civilian formal wear, and a lapel badge for wear on civilian clothes (all shown in the accompanying photograph of the full presentation set).

Recipients

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Executive Order 11085, signed February 22, 1960; Federal Register 28 FR 1759, February 26, 1963
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Senate.gov
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Executive Order 9586, signed July 6, 1945; Federal Register 10 FR 8523, July 10, 1945
  4. Jump up^ Census.gov
  5. Jump up^ Presidential Medal of Freedom Award

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

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

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

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program

The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2

AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program

The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2

Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

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

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

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

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

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

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

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

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]

Canada

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]

Germany

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

Israel

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

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

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

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

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

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]

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

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

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

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

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

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

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

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

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

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

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

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

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

Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

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

Technology

According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]

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

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)

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

Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]

Description

Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.

Lawsuit

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

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

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

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

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

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

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

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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

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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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Media Frenzy Over Queen Hillary Black Van — Hit The Road Jack — Videos

Posted on April 14, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Comedy, Culture, Documentary, Entertainment, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, Music, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Jeff Koterba cartoon for December 29, 2014 "CLINTON BUSH CAMPAIGN."Hillary_Clinton_s_Scooby_Van_Is_Finally_Sighted_In_Lowa
hillary-clinton-mystery-machine

Scooby Doo Goes Hunting For Rabbits


Mystery-van-clinton-headline

lime green

clinton students
watch-reporters-hilariously-chase-after-hillary-clintons-van-at-her-first-campaign-event

bush clinton 2

Ray Charles – Hit The Road Jack (Original)

Hillary Clinton and Her ”Scooby Van” Hit the Road, Start Presidential Campaign in Iowa

Media sprints after Hillary Clinton’s van in Iowa

Hillary Clinton Takes Her Presidential Bid On The Road

Hillary Clinton and the “Scooby” van spotted in Iowa

Hillary Clinton Meets Voters In Lowa Coffee Shop

Hillary Clinton Makes First Campaign Stop In Iowa

Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack on Saturday Live 1996

hillary_clinton_cartoonpast-catches up

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Queen Hillary — Radical Hag in Drag — Clinton Is The One — Game of Thrones — Hillary Clinton Scandals: The Gift That Keeps On Giving — Phony Psychopath President — Obama’s Third Term — Give Me A Break — Run Jerry Run — California Governor Jerry Brown — Videos

Posted on April 12, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, College, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Data, Demographics, Documentary, Drones, Education, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Movies, Narcissism, Nuclear, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Story 1: Queen Hillary — Radical Hag in Drag — Clinton Is The One — Game of Thrones  — Hillary Clinton Scandals: The Gift That Keeps On Giving — Phony Psychopath President — Obama’s Third Term — Give Me A Break — Run Jerry Run — California Governor Jerry Brown — Videos

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

~Lord ActonQueen-Hillary-Clinton

2014-cartoon-funny-queen-hillary-clinton-thinks-about-runnin Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Hillary's "dead broke" commenthillary-elitehillary_queen2Bruce Plante Cartoon: Hillary Clinton's emailsborkehillary-clinton-what-difference-does-it-make-burying-benghazi-groundwork-2016-political-cartoonwopper2016_Hillary-Clintontransparencyhillary baggageebatesdrawinghillary-clinton-witchhillary_clinton_boobs_bill_cleavagehillary close upgame of thrones

Hillary Clinton Election Video Cold Open – SNL

Hillary Clinton Cold Open – SNL

Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton

Reagan, Clinton, Ford, Bush I and Bush II Explain it all to Obama

Hillary Clinton: ‘I’m Running for President’

Hillary Clinton announces presidential run

Hillary Clinton Camp Announces Her 2016 Presidential Run

Finally: Hillary Makes 2016 Run Official

Hillary Clinton says she’s running for president in 2016

Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016

Romney: ‘Hillary Clinton Is Just Not Trustworthy’

Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer

Rand Paul asks Hillary Clinton About Involvement in Transferring Weapons to Turkey out of Libya

Clinton on talking points: ‘What difference at this point does it make?’

‘What Difference, Does it Make?’ – Hillary Clinton at Benghazi Hearing

PJTV: Afterburner: What Difference Does It Make?

PJTV — Young Hillary Clinton Supporters Struggle to Name Her Achievements

Dummies On The Street (DOTS)

THE CRIMINAL ARROGANCE OF HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary the Scandals

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYW5nmS9ps

Exposed: Hillary Clinton’s Sex Scandal

The real story behind the Clinton scandals

Genius Quotes of Frank Underwood, House of Cards Seven Minutes

Bill Clinton Loves ‘House Of Cards & ‘Scandal’ | Overheard On The Hill | msnbc

THE CLINTON MURDERS

Will Jerry Brown Challenge Hillary? Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Bill Clinton Versus Jerry Brown 1992

Why Is Hillary Clinton Even Running?

Victor Davis Hanson

I. Who Else?

One, there is no other credible Democrat who could run for presidency. The senior party leadership — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Dianne Feinstein — is shrill and buffoonish. They all have either tried before and failed, or are ossified has-beens — or both. There are no up-and-coming governors with distinguished records of executive success. There are no young charismatic Democratic senators — other than the well-preserved, 65-year-old Harvard populist Elizabeth Warren — out to make a name, who can speak well and mirror image a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mario Rubio. Congressional-district gerrymandering that encourages ethnic chauvinism and hard-left polarization has almost ensured that there will not be another minority star, like Barack Obama, who can win crossover votes and statewide office as a springboard to the White House.

 

II. Her Turn

Two, Hillary Clinton, like a Walter Mondale, Bob Dole or John McCain, believes that it is finally her turn. In her case she lost in 2008 and loyally served the man who defeated and often humiliated her (“you’re likable enough, Hillary” Obama condescendingly remarked during a debate of Democratic presidential candidates in January of 2008).

She feels that she was robbed of a sure nomination by the upstart Obama, who cut in front of the line with his inane “hope and change” banalities and subtle race carding, as if racial chauvinism must always trump gender pandering. She blew a huge lead in the primaries, licked her wounds, and now it is time for the party to unite loyally behind her the way she did with Obama.

III. First Woman

Three, she thinks she can win largely on the issue of being the first woman president in the manner that Barack Obama milked his racially iconic status in lieu of a record. Her supporters believe that they can reignite the old wars: the Republican war on women, war on minorities, war on immigrants, war on the environment, war on the poor, war on everybody — and thereby galvanize the supposedly oppressed, as in 2008-2012, to register, turn out, and vote in lockstep in record numbers. Thereby they will more than make up for the millions of independents and white, blue-collar so-called Reagan Democrats that she will lose by such racial and gender histrionics.

V. Money, Money, Money…

Four, Hillary Clinton assumes that she can buy her way to the White House and trump even the Obama shakedowns of the one-percent elite. No one grubs money better than the Clintons, who have turned a so-so presidential foundation into a money-laundering machine for their global jetting and politicking.

Both Bill and Hillary have an uncanny insight into the very wealthy of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Upper West Side, and the Florida coast. They understand the formula: when many of the rich become very rich they no longer worry about high tax rates, either on the assurance that they have the capital and know-how to avoid them, or in the belief that that a 50% federal and state rate could hardly eat away much of their enormous pile. Huge federal redistributionist policies may fail and hurt the minorities and poor, but for now they are felt to be about the only insurance that the gates of the rich will not be stormed or their private schools and neighborhoods flooded.

The Clintons rightly sense that the one-percenters in certain fleeting moments feel awfully bad about their privilege. Thus they will feel much better about indulging their endless material appetites, if they give large tax-deductible contributions to the spread-the-wealth, help-the-helpless shtick of elite Democrats. The lifestyles of Hill and Bill over the last two decades reassure wealthy liberals that it is OK to wallow in the material good life as long as you pay occasional penance for such indulgence — and there is no better atonement than helping Hillary Clinton out in 2016 to speak truth to power. After all, with students facing $1 trillion in aggregate debt, Clinton marched into UCLA, check-listed some liberal nostrums for 30 minutes and walked away with $300,000 without a complaint — or about $165 in scarce university dollars for each second of her pieties. In other words, Hillary is running because she has invested enough in the past that the money will be harvested as never before in a presidential race.
: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/why-is-hillary-clinton-even-running/#ixzz3XFPKX8o3

‘Everyday Americans need a champion': Wealthy Hillary Clinton finally enters formal race to be president with video telling middle class voters ‘the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top’ of the economy

  • ‘Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,’ says the multimillionaire politician in a launch video
  • Her chief of staff stepped on her big moment with an email to donors saying, ‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me’
  • Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’ 
  • Official campaign website is full of biographical material but includes no policy statements or issue platforms 
  • Republican Party fires its opening salvo: ‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton’
  • Hillary will start her ‘listening tour’ in Iowa and New Hampshire without huge fanfare, and then have a more formal launch event in May
  • Wunderkind campaign manager, 35, was a child when she was first lady and didn’t live through her defining White House scandals

Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president, leaning on a message of middle-class rescue and claims that America’s economy is ‘still stacked in favor of those at the top,’ according to a campaign video that went online Sunday afternoon.

‘I’m getting ready to do something,’ Clinton says in the brief ad, following a series of clips of ordinary-looking Americans describing what they’re ‘getting ready’ for.

‘I’m running for president,’ she says.

‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.’

That message is a daring one, given Clinton’s wealth. When she left the U.S. State Department in 2013, her financial disclosure report showed that her combined net worth with her husband was between $5.2 and $25.5 million. Millions more rolled in when she published her memoirs.

She famously claimed last year that she and former president Bill Clinton were ‘dead broke’ whenthey left the White House in 2001 – when they moved into a palatial home in a tree-lined New York City suburb.

Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta pushed a similar ‘middle-class’ message, but stepped on her announcement with his own email to a group of donors.

HILLARY'S TURN: Mrs Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America's first female commander-in-chief if things go her way

HILLARY’S TURN: Mrs Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America’s first female commander-in-chief if things go her way

PITCH: The former First Lady announced her run with a video that showed her interacting with citizens

PITCH: The former First Lady announced her run with a video that showed her interacting with citizens

DIVERSITY: The video makes a point of featuring same-sex couples, Hispanic citizens, parents and the elderly

DIVERSITY: The video makes a point of featuring same-sex couples, Hispanic citizens, parents and the elderly

SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary's big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House

SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary’s big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House

SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back

SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back

‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,’ Podesta wrote.

He said the former secretary of state ‘is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month.’

‘We need to make the middle class mean something again,’ Podesta’s email closed. ‘We can do this.’

From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.
Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’

Podesta leads the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. He was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama until February.

Clinton, too, is part of the upper-crust of America’s wealth pool, earning millions since she left public office.

The campaign’s internal schedule had called for a 12:00 p.m. tweet linked to a video, revealing the worst-kept secret in America to more than 3 million online followers. In reality, the big reveal was nearly two and a half hours late.

Clinton is entering the 2016 race without a splashy announcement of the kind that Republicans are staging for cheering throngs this month.

That strategy will help her skirt the kind of uncomfortable media questions that tend to dog anyone named Clinton.

There will be no press conferences, no grand speeches until at least early May, and few interviews.

Also missing: Her campaign website includes a lengthy biography but no discussion of issues, no policy platforms and no staked-out ideological territory.

Hillary for America, the official campaign organization, said in a statement that Clinton is ‘committed to spending the next 6 to 8 weeks in a “ramp up” period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters.’

‘In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live-streams,’ the statement said, ‘Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.

In a sign of her campaign’s fundraising trajectory – her insiders are said to be eyeing a staggering $2.5 billion war chest – a political action committee called HillaryPAC had its first solicitation email out 18 minutes before the campaign’s own press release.

That announcement to reporters, perhaps finished in haste, included an embarrassing mistake in the omission of a key word.

Hillary, it said, has ‘fought children and families all her career.’

‘I’m running for President': Hillary Clinton enters 2016 race

BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton's time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya 

BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton’s time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya

TRANSCRIPT: HILLARY’S LAUNCH VIDEO – ‘GETTING STARTED’

Most of Clinton’s video announcement is composed of hopeful stories told by ordinary Americans – exactly the image she wants to project:

WOMAN TENDING A GARDEN: ‘It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready, and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood.’

MOTHER #1: ‘My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving so she can belong to a better school.’

LATINO MAN: ‘My brother and I are starting our first business.’

MOTHER #2: ‘After five years of raising my children, I am now going back to work.’

YOUNG WOMAN: ‘Every day we’re trying to get more and more ready and more prepared.’

HER HUSBAND: ‘Baby boy, coming your way.’

FEMALE STUDENT: ‘Right now I’m applying for jobs. It’s a look into what the real world will look like after college.’

SAME-SEX COUPLE: ‘I’m getting married this summer to someone I really care about.’

AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILD: ‘I’m gonna be in the play, and I’m going to be in a fish costume. [Sings] From little tiny fishes…’

OLDER WOMAN: ‘I’m getting ready to retire soon. Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways.’

WOMAN: ‘Well, we’ve been doing a lot of home renovations.’

HER HUSBAND: ‘But most importantly, we just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash.’

WOMAN: ‘And so we have high hopes for 2015 that that’s going to happen.’

FACTORY WORKER: ‘I’ve started a new career recently. This is a fifth generation company, which means a lot to me. This country was founded on hard work, and it really feels good to be a part of that.’

HILLARY CLINTON: ‘I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.

‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead, and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.

‘So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.’

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic favorite, has a storied and rocky relationship with the press, one that sometimes brings out snippiness, mistrust and a temper that her handlers are loath to provoke.

But ‘Hillary’ sports a one-name celebrity ID, like Madonna or Beyonce; she doesn’t need the TV time to build name-recognition.

Republicans were quick on the trigger with their opening salvos.

‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton,’ Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

‘Over decades as a Washington insider, Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal, and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds.’

‘The Clintons believe they can play by a different set of rules and think they’re above transparency, accountability, and ethics,’ Priebus said. ‘Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton.’

Ted Cruz, the fire-breathing Texas GOP senator who was the first major party candidate to join the race, blasted her in a Web video of his own.

‘Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past,’ he said in the brief online ad, referring dismissively to the ‘Obama-Clinton foreign policy.’

‘There’s going to be a very clear choice to make in 2016. Does America want a third Obama term or are we ready for strong conservative leadership to make America great again?’

Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary Clinton’s President announcement

Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3035748/Everyday-Americans-need-champion-Wealthy-Hillary-Clinton-enters-race-president.html

Hillary Clinton camp announces her 2016 presidential run

With an announcement on social media, she picks up where she left off 7 years ago.

By Hillary Clinton on Sunday formally announced her second run for the White House, declaring on a new campaign website that “everyday Americans need a champion.” As part of the eagerly anticipated digital launch, Clinton debuted a slogan “New Adventures. Next Chapters.” and posted a video that hit on what are expected to be major themes of her campaign — middle-class empowerment and social equality issues.

Clinton’s camp previewed other parts of her kick-off. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, on Sunday emailed supporters and alumni of Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, saying that Clinton is hitting the road in Iowa to talk to voters. He also said that there will be a formal kickoff event next month.

The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a presidential run that the party is deeply invested in. “For months I’ve been getting calls from people who donate good money, asking when are we having an event, who are we writing a check to,” said Jay Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat, and a longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser. “It’s completely topsy-turvy. The groundswell has been percolating for so long. This thing had to get going, I can’t imagine we could have waited much longer.” Clinton is the first candidate in the thin Democratic field to formally announce a 2016 run, and is unlikely to face any real challenge until the general election. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – the most likely candidates to run in a primary – would face a steep uphill climb against Clinton. Two party stalwarts who might pose a bigger threat, Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have given few signals they are planning to enter the race. The Republican field is shaping up more quickly, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul holding splashy events in recent weeks to declare their campaigns. Sen. Marco Rubio is due to hold his own kick-off event at the Freedom Tower in Miami on Monday evening, which threatens to be overshadowed by the intense media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s launch. For the past year, the former secretary of state has been treated like a candidate while lacking the structure around her to support one. That has led to some rusty moments as Clinton has sometimes painfully re-entered public life, outside of the State Department’s protective bubble. The missteps began on her high-profile international book tour. When pressed during an interview with Diane Sawyer last June about why she was spending her time delivering highly paid speeches, Clinton delivered a tin-eared answer: She said that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Clinton — who has raked in more than $5 million on the paid speaking circuit since leaving Foggy Bottom and earned a reported $14 million advance on her latest book deal — admitted later that she regretted the comment and that it was “inartful.” But it fueled an emerging GOP storyline that she is out of touch with ordinary Americans. She was the subject of bruising headlines again last month after the New York Times reported that Clinton had relied solely on a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. Supporters were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn’t hiding official documents. But they were less forgiving of her clunky response.

“It took eight days to provide a pretty straight forward simple answer,” said one Clinton insider, referring to her press conference at the United Nations, where she finally addressed the issue. “All of us thought, why didn’t you give that

a day and a half after?”

Other Clinton backers considered the past year a useful proving ground. “She was bound to be rusty,” one insider said. “She’d been insulated and protected.” Clinton’s time on the paid speaking circuit has enabled her to hone a campaign stump speech: in recent months, she has been highlighting her decades-long record fighting for women’s rights and supporting equal pay and legislation like paid sick leave. The speeches, in controlled environments filled with supporters, have provided Clinton with the opportunity for a soft launch before entering the fray. As expected, Clinton’s formal entrance into the race immediately unleashed Republican attacks. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to launch his own campaign in the coming weeks, released a video Sunday morning linking Clinton to Obama’s presidency. “We must to do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies,” Bush said. “Better than their failed, big-government policies that grow our debt and stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity.” Rand Paul also jumped in, jabbing at both Clinton’s use of private email and the foreign money that has freely flowed to the Clinton Foundation. “It’s going to be hard for her to say she’s for women’s rights when she’s accepting money from sort of stone-age sort of regimes that really abuse the rights of women,” said Paul on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” She faces some skepticism from the left, too, for her perceived closeness to Wall Street and her husband’s deregulatory moves during his presidency. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive who managed Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign, declined a chance to endorse her. “Like a lot of people in this country, I want to see a vision,” de Blasio said on Meet the Press. When asked if he was endorsing Clinton, he demurred: “Not until I see — and I would say this about any candidate — till I see an actual vision of where they want to go.” In assembling a campaign team and vision — for an effort many close to Clinton estimate will raise and spend $1.5-to-$2 billion — Clinton has been careful to learn from the mistakes that marred her 2008 bid against Barack Obama. In a mission statement handed out to the team Saturday, campaign manager Robby Mook outlined how important it will be for the team to operate as a unified team, and as a diverse “family.” The memo’s point was clear: Mook and senior staffers are determined to set a collaborative tone — a sharp contrast from the last campaign, when Clinton’s operation was crippled by infighting and discord among the top aides. The memo also reminded staffers of one of the campaign’s animating themes: that the election “is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us — it’s about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.” That point was lost during the 2008 run, which carried the scent of coronation and when even Clinton’s first official announcement had a imperious and self-centered ring to it: “I’m in, and I’m in to win.” Even as Clinton seeks a fresh start, she has many supporters who have been waiting for her to run again since the day she lost. “There are 18 million people who have been ready since June 3, 2008,” said Jeffrey Campagna, who served on Clinton’s 2008 finance committee and LGBT steering committee. The official announcement “means everybody can press send — everybody has mailing lists, everybody has social networks.” President Obama, Clinton’s one-time rival, offered support Saturday at a press conference in Panama. “She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” Obama said. “She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president. And I’m not on the ballot. So I’m not gonna step on her lines.” He added: “The one thing I can say is she’s going to be able to handle herself very well in a conversation or debates around foreign policy. And her track record with respect to domestic policy is I think one that cares about working families.” Many of Clinton’s allies admit they would have preferred a shorter campaign, and would have liked to delay her official entry into the race for as long as possible, but they realize that has become impossible as the anticipation of her run got ahead of her. “The race has already begun, the coverage has already begun, she has to be part of the debate right now,” said New York labor leader Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a labor group that endorsed Clinton in 2008. “It’s going to be long and intense.” Clinton’s official announcement also marks the official end for Ready for Hillary, the independent super PAC that for two years has been building grassroots support for Clinton’s run. “People have wanted it to be real for two years,” said Tracy Sefl, a senior advisor to Ready for Hillary. And while some supporters have expressed skepticism in recent days about a digital launch, fearing it would do little to humanize Clinton, Sefl said she supported the approach. “There is something symbolic and also very real about going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class and issues that people care about, which don’t have to do with Beltway/Acela corridor stuff,” she said. “She’s going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class. It seems perfect.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/hillary-clinton-2016-election-presidential-launch-116888.html

Second shot: Hillary Clinton running again for president

By KEN THOMAS and LISA LERER Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said. As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations. This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama. Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders. Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to the approach Obama took in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession. Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy. “It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.

The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.” Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments. Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights. “I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.” Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible. Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html

Grandmama Mia!

WHEN my brother Michael was a Senate page, he delivered mail to John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, who had offices across the hall from each other.

He recalled that Kennedy never looked up or acknowledged his presence, but Nixon would greet him with a huge smile. “Hi, Mike,” he’d say. “How are you doing? How’s the family?”

It seemed a bit counterintuitive, especially since my dad, a D.C. police inspector in charge of Senate security, was a huge Kennedy booster. (The two prominent pictures in our house were of the Mona Lisa and J.F.K.) But after puzzling over it, I finally decided that J.F.K. had the sort of magnetism that could ensorcell big crowds, so he did not need to squander it on mail boys. Nixon, on the other hand, lacked large-scale magnetism, so he needed to work hard to charm people one by one, even mail boys.

Hillary Clinton has always tried to be more like the Democratic president she lived with in the White House, to figure out how he spins the magic. “I never realized how good Bill was at this until I tried to do it,” she once told her adviser, Harold Ickes. But she ends up being compared with the Republican president she investigated as a young lawyer for the House Judiciary’s Watergate investigation.

Her paranoia, secrecy, scandals and disappearing act with emails from her time as secretary of state have inspired a cascade of comparisons with Nixon.

Pat Buchanan, a former Nixon adviser, bluntly told Jason Zengerle recentlyin New York magazine: “She reminds me of Nixon,” another pol who’s more comfortable behind the scenes than grinding it out in the arena.

As Hillary finally admits the axiomatic — she wants to be president — she will take the Nixon approach, trying to charm people one by one in the early states for 2016, an acknowledgement that she cannot emulate the wholesale allure of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.

That reality hit her in 2008, when throngs waited hours to get in to hear The One. “Enough with the speeches and the big rallies,” a frustrated Hillary cried out to a Cincinnati crowd.

She wants to avoid the coronation vibe this time, a member of her orbit told Politico’s Glenn Thrush, even though Martin O’Malley, a potential rival, objected that “the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families” and The Onion reported her campaign slogan is “I deserve this.”

Hillary’s team plans to schedule low-key events where she can mingle with actual voters. “I think it’s important, and Hillary does, too, that she go out there as if she’s never run for anything before and establish her connection with the voters,” Bill Clinton told Town & Country for a cover story.

The Big Dog, who got off his leash last time in South Carolina, said he will start small as well, noting: “My role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election.”

Democratic strategists and advisers told The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan and Dan Balz that “the go-slow, go-small strategy” plays to her strengths, “allowing her to meet voters in intimate settings where her humor, humility and policy expertise can show through.”

As the old maxim goes, if you can fake humility, you’ve got it made. Butseeing Rahm and Hillary do it in the same season might be too much to take.

President Obama has said: “If she’s her wonderful self, I’m sure she’s going to do great.” But which self is that?

Instead of a chilly, scripted, entitled policy wonk, as in 2008, Hillary plans to be a warm, spontaneous, scrappy fighter for average Americans. Instead of a woman campaigning like a man, as in 2008, she will try to stir crowds with the idea of being the first woman president. Instead of haughtily blowing off the press, as in 2008, she will make an effort to play nice.

SECOND SHOT: HILLARY CLINTON RUNNING AGAIN FOR PRESIDENT

Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said.

As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes.

“So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations.

This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama.

Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders.

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion,” she said in the video.

“So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.”

Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to Obama’s approach in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession.

Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy.

“It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.

The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.”

Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments.

Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights.

“I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.”

Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible.

Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEM_2016_CLINTON?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-04-12-10-39-06

Five Reasons Why Hillary Wins in 2016

by MYRA ADAMS

Many voters will hold their noses but still pull the lever for Clinton. As Hillary Clinton famously said, “What difference at this point does it make?”

The difference is that half of Americans believe the other half are insane if they vote the Clintons back into the White House. The sane voters know that Hillary Clinton is not trustworthy and represents all that is wrong with Washington.

We know that she carries more baggage than an airport luggage carousel. Hillary is a 20th-century politician, and as of yesterday her lame new 21st-century video message is, “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.” (Perhaps instead she should run for president of Greyhound?)

Even our Democratic friends cannot name a single real accomplishment by Hillary Clinton.

We all know that if she were a man, she would be long past her political expiration date. But despite all that (topped off by her botched announcement), here are five reasons why Hillary Clinton is likely to be elected the 45th president of the United States. Any one of these five factors gives her a huge advantage over whoever the Republican nominee may be, and, taken together, they make her victory almost inevitable (barring some major campaign catastrophe).

First Female President Hillary’s official announcement video was devoid of a clear campaign message — but does she really need one other than, “It’s time for a woman president”?

Running as a historic candidate will be her default position — with her mantra being that “It’s time,” rather than that it’s her time. And she will downplay, of course, the fact that her last attempt was hijacked by the first African-American nominee. Writing as a Republican baby-boomer woman, I cannot emphasize enough how emotionally rewarding it would be for Democratic and Independent baby-boomer women to elect the first female president.

Older women feel this way too — my 89-year-old mother in her nursing home recently spoke these exact words: “It’s time for a woman president.” And those raised on girl power — women aged 50 and younger, who twice helped elect President Obama — are the most rah-rah for “It’s time.” For the record, in 2012 53 percent of all voters were women. In that election, President Obama won this group by an 11-point margin — 55 to 44 percent — over GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Hillary is banking on surpassing those numbers just by having her name on the ballot. Therefore, any Republican pundit or pollster who downplays the true meaning and potential of Hillary’s historic candidacy is being untruthful, or has his head in the sand. The Electoral College Is the GOP’s Worst Enemy Our constitutionally mandated Electoral College has evolved to a point where it is slanted in favor of the Democratic party’s nominee. If Hillary is indeed the 2016 Democratic nominee, all she has to do to win the necessary 270 electoral votes is sustain the historic equation outlined in my November National Review piece “Breaking the Blue Barrier.”

That equation is: 1992 + 1988 + Florida = a Democrat in the White House. That first number represents the ten states with a total of 152 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1992.

The second number represents the nine states with a total of 90 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1988. Together, those states command 242 electoral votes.

Thus, if Hillary follows the Electoral College precedent that has held since 1992 and also wins Florida, with its 29 electoral votes (or any combination of states yielding 28 votes), Bill Clinton would be elected First Dude. (Mothers, hide your daughters!) Florida, need I remind you, was won by Obama, though by small margins, in both 2008 and 2012, ensuring that in 2016 Mrs. Clinton will become a de facto resident of the Sunshine State. Obama’s Third Term

There has been much talk about Hillary either winning or losing Obama’s “third term.” My theory is that she will find a way to take only what she needs and jettison the rest. And what she needs is Obama’s winning voter coalition of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, voters aged 18 to 44, voters with incomes under $50,000, and those belonging to a union. It is no coincidence that Hillary’s high command is stacked with seasoned veterans from Obama’s two campaigns who are adept at delivering these voter groups.

Additionally, the CEO of Hillary 2016 is John Podesta, who was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and who was “counselor to the president” in Obama’s White House until he stepped down in February. Podesta, known as one of Washington’s fiercest political operators, was also the mastermind behind Obama’s excessive use of executive orders. Now, Republicans, get ready for some astounding news: President Obama’s current job approval rating stands at 45.3 percent, with a 50.3 percent disapproval rating, according to Real Clear Politics.

These are highly respectable approval numbers for a seventh presidential year, which explains the following paragraph from yesterday’s New York Times: “Mrs. Clinton and her team have decided that, on balance, the risk of lining up near Mr. Obama’s record is worth taking.

Rather than run from Mr. Obama, she intends to turn to him as one of her campaign’s most important allies and advocates — second only, perhaps, to her husband, the other president whose record will hover over her bid.” This brings us to Hillary’s advantage number four: Bill Clinton’s Third Term Revolting as that sounds to Republican ears, here is a Washington Post headline from March 13: “Bill Clinton is incredibly popular. How much will that help Hillary’s 2016 campaign?”

The piece reported: “Bill Clinton is almost certainly the most popular person in American politics. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed that 56 percent of people have a positive view of the former president while just 26 percent hold a negative one.”

The article continues, referring to Bill Clinton: “‘The campaigner in chief is always more an asset than anything,’ said Jef Pollock, a New York–based Democratic pollster. ‘He’s good for money, he’s good for strategy, and he’s good for turnout. That’s the holy trinity of good campaigning.’”

Therefore, Hillary will have the unusual advantage of running for both Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s “third term.” Watch her switch back and forth between the achievements (real or imagined) of the former and current presidents whenever it makes good political sense.

In turn, the 42nd and 44th presidents will each campaign and fundraise for Hillary in places and to groups where they are most popular. You can just hear each of them say, “A vote for Hillary is a vote for me,” and the crowd will go wild. Republicans and the General-Election Curse In five out of the past six presidential elections, starting with 1992, Republicans have lost the popular vote.

The key for a 2016 GOP victory will be to nominate a candidate who can attract a winning coalition of voter groups beyond those won by Mitt Romney in 2012.

Here are the groups won by Romney over Obama:

• Whites: 59 to 39 percent • Men: 52 to 45 percent

• Voters aged 45 to 64: 51 to 47 percent • Voters aged 65 and over: 56 to 44 percent

• College graduates: 51 to 47 percent (interestingly, Romney lost postgraduate-educated voters to Obama 42 to 55 percent)

• Voters with incomes between $50,000 and $90,000: 52 to 46 percent.

• Voters with incomes of $100,000 and over: 54 to 44 percent. MORE HILLARY CLINTON ON THE ROAD WITH HILLARY CLINTON SNL’S HILLARY ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO SPOOF INCLUDED A BILL CAMEO HOW TO DEFEAT HILLARY

The trouble is that older, whiter, richer male college graduates — the kind of voters who show up for midterm elections and vote Republican — are overwhelmed by the sheer number of female, younger, poorer, less educated, and less white voters who tend to flood the polls in presidential-election years.

And, as I mentioned earlier, Clinton will target these same voter groups as she tries to assemble the coalition that gave Obama his two victories.

Finally, anything can happen, and much will, between now and November 8, 2016. However, these five factors will likely form the foundation of Hillary Clinton’s victory (even though many of her voters will be holding their noses). In addition, many low-information voters will pull the Clinton lever because they have been led to believe that a Republican alternative is far more dangerous than letting Bill and Hill back in the White House.

Now, friends, please don’t shoot the messenger. Just tell me why I am wrong.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416867/five-reasons-why-hillary-wins-2016-myra-adams

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Senator Rand Paul Learns Valuable Lesson — Most Media Interviewers Are Liberal Progressive Democrats Pushing Their Agenda — Republican Candidates For President Are To Be Buried Not Praised — Just Smile and Give Your Prepared Response — “Friends, Romans, countrymen” — Drives Interviewers Nuts — Be Prepared — Stay On Message — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Story 1: Senator Rand Paul Learns Valuable Lesson — Most Media Interviewers Are Liberal Progressive Democrats Pushing Their Agenda — Republican Candidates For President Are To Be Buried Not Praised — Just Smile and Give Your Prepared Response — “Friends, Romans, countrymen” —  Drives Interviewers Nuts — Be Prepared — Stay On Message — Videos

rand-paul-todayrand paul dronesconstitution

dronesrand paul friends

Charlton Heston Mark Antony speech “Julius Caesar” (1970)

Rand Paul Goes off on Savannah Guthrie for Saying He’s ‘Changed His Positions’

Adoring Fan Savannah Guthrie Fawns Over Left-Wing Lena Dunham: ‘Voice Of Her Generation’

Megyn Kelly Rips Rand Paul For Constantly Losing His Cool

Thin-Skinned Obama gets vewy mad during Texas-Style Interview 4-18-11 (video)

Chic – Le Freak

Rand-Paul-Ted-Cruz

Rand Paul and the media: No love story

Reporters who cover him describe the Kentucky senator as “prickly” even as they laud his unusual accessibility.

Rand Paul loves the spotlight. He just doesn’t love the people who wield it.
In February, the Kentucky senator scolded CNBC anchor Kelly Evans as she tried to ask him about a bill he co-sponsored.
Story Continued Below

“You have taken an interview and you’ve made an interview into something where we got no useful information because you were argumentative and you started out with so many preoppositions [sic] that were incorrect,” he said.
The interview continued, but Paul wasn’t done with the tongue-lashing, and went back to media criticism a few minutes later.
“Part of the problem is that you end up having interviews like this where the interview is so slanted and full of distortions that you don’t get useful information,” he said. “I think this is what is bad about TV sometimes. So frankly, I think if we do this again, you need to start out with a little more objectivity going into the interview.”
Ron Paul is shown. | Getty
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Clips of the interview quickly went viral as headlines blared how Rand Paul “tears into,” “snaps,” “shushes” and “belittles” the CNBC host.
“Rand Paul needs to be shushed,” read a headline from a piece by Joan Walsh on Salon.com. “To some men, apparently, an assertive woman is out of control and needs to calm down – especially if she’s succeeded in upsetting his calm,” she wrote.
PBS NewsHour host Gwen Ifill warned in a blog post soon after the interview that whether or not he considers questions from the press to be distorted, “Paul might want to get used to concealing his irritation. That sort of viral video lives forever.”
The tantrum was a rare case of Paul losing his temper on live TV, which he’s made almost a second home as he’s sought to build his brand ahead of his expected April 7 presidential launch. But his famed accessibility — he’s willing to submit to most Capitol Hill hallway interviews and even impromptu interviews on airplanes; he’ll hop on the phone with a junior reporter and talk to cable shouters from Bill Maher to Bill O’Reilly — masks a relationship with the media that is anything but friendly. Reporters who cover Paul have called him “thin-skinned,” “sensitive,” “wary” and “prickly.” Others say he and his team will blame the media for his own mistakes, at some points freezing out reporters for perceived slights.
Sen., Rand Paul is pictured. | AP
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Brian Darling, Paul’s former senior communications director and now a senior VP at Third Dimension Strategies, a Washington PR firm, told POLITICO Paul is an “open guy” who “speaks with what’s in his heart and mind … that’s the way he’s wired.”
“To make him be more secretive, walled off from the media — it would be something that would not be consistent with the way Rand Paul is put together,” Darling said.
“We’re not an office that hides things, we want to get our message far and wide,” Paul spokesperson Sergio Gor echoed. “He’s interesting, he speaks his mind … I think people appreciate the honesty he brings.”
Paul’s willingness to go off script might sometimes get him in trouble, but reporters find it a welcome break from the rigidly controlled operations of other potential 2016 candidates, like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
Rand Paul is shown. | Getty
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“One of the refreshing things in covering him is the tendency to go offscript. Now that’s not always intentional and his staff doesn’t always appreciate it when that happens and you write about it, but it is a departure from the norm in covering politics to be around somebody who isn’t so tightly scripted,” said New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters.
Ask Paul the wrong type of question, or point out an inconsistency, though, and he doesn’t hide his irritation.
“He still has pretty thin skin when things get tough,” one reporter who has covered Paul for years and asked to speak on background said. “He doesn’t hide his displeasure and anger very well and that can do you in. He’s probably overly sensitive to some of the coverage.”
Another reporter for a major national paper wondered whether Paul, an ophthalmologist, suffers from what a lot of doctors experience, “a sense of never being questioned in their professional lives.”
Darling defends Paul, saying he “has a thick skin,” despite one or two antagonistic interviews.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., arrives in his hometown, Bowling Green, Ky., Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, to give an assist to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at his final campaign stop. McConnell, a 30-year incumbent, would ascend to majority leader if he holds his seat and Republicans take control of the Senate in Tuesday’s midterm election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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“The CNBC interview turned out to be a bait and switch where the network was intent on making news,” Darling said. “Sometimes prickly is the best way to deal with a hostile interviewer. I don’t think he is prickly, but if that is a perception, then he should work to smooth out his delivery so that he can dispel that perception.”
But Kevin Madden, a senior adviser and spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign who is now a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies not connected with any 2016 candidate, said that how a candidate answers a question can matter just as much as the content of their answer.

“Oftentimes it’s not just how you answer the message but substantively it’s what kind of message you send about your leadership style,” Madden said. “If you’re prickly and easily irritated that’s not going to be something that really gives people a great sense of security. If you can be calm and collected, show a lot of poise — that says a lot about your leadership style and voters pick up on that.”
Almost all pols have their prickly moments with the press corps. What’s nonetheless appealing about Paul, journalists who cover him say, is his accessibility.
“Would I rather have that, or Mitt who always stayed in front of plane and never deviated from script? Of course, I’d never want to cover someone like Romney, or Hillary for that matter,” one reporter said.

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But Paul and his team are also known to blame the media when the senator makes a mistake, or says something that’s inconsistent with his previous positions.
In 2010, The Louisville Courier-Journal published the transcript of a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board, in which Paul suggested he wasn’t a fan of how the Civil Rights Act lets the federal government intrude into private business practices.
“I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind,” Paul said at the time.
When asked whether he then believed that it was OK for a restaurant to deny service to someone such as Martin Luther King Jr., Paul said he’d protest t but that the First Amendment allows for “boorish people.”
File-This March 28, 2015, file photo shows Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky reacting after winning possession of the ball against Arizona during the second half of a college basketball regional final in the NCAA Tournament, in Los Angeles. When Kentucky, with four NBA-quality freshmen on the roster, lost to a senior-laden team from Wisconsin in the semifinals Saturday, it struck a blow for traditionalists who say you can still have it all, a full college career, a chance to play for a title, a wealthy future in the NBA. Player of the Year Kaminsky and two of his teammates, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes, forged opportunities to do all that with the Badgers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
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“In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior, but if we’re civilized people we publicly criticize that and don’t belong or associate with those people,” Paul said.
Paul went on the “Rachel Maddow Show” for a follow-up interview a few weeks later, repeated his position and endured a few more days of media firestorm. In 2014, when the hosts of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” brought up his old Civil Rights Acts comments, Paul turned the attack back on the network.
“Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yeah, and I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and they will go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act and that you’re some terrible racist,” Paul said.
When Yahoo! News asked Paul whether he still believed the United States should stop sending federal aid to Israel, he denied he’d made the proposal. After being pointed to interviews and videos showing that he had said as much previously, Paul lashed out.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, accompanied by Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, speaks to lawmakers, Thursday, March 19, 2015, at the State Capitol in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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“You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question,” Paul said. “That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.”
Earlier this year as measles outbreaks were making headlines, Paul seemed to suggest in a link between vaccines and mental disorders, a link widely debunked by the medical community.
“I’ve heard many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” he said in the same CNBC appearance where he shushed the anchor.
Paul later tried to clarify his statement, denying that he had said vaccines caused mental illness but saying he believed it should be a personal decision. Paul’s staff then invited members of the media, including The New York Times, to accompany the senator as he received a booster shot at the congressional infirmary.
“Today, I am getting my booster vaccine. Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this,” Paul tweeted.
Paul’s media attacks can backfire, says Eric Fehrnstrom, a former top Mitt Romney adviser and founder of the consulting firm the Shawmut Group who is unaligned with any 2016ers.
“He sounds like a surly teenager arguing with his parents, and not about the substance of things either but about their meaning and definition,” Fehrnstrom said in an email. “It’s tiresome. I’m not saying the media is always right, they aren’t, but that can’t be your constant critique.”
One favored tactic among Paul and his team is a common one — freeze out reporters who have committed perceived slights, sometimes for months. At least three reporters interviewed mentioned specific instances where after certain stories — about the medical board he created in Kentucky, funding for Israel or his criticisms of the GOP’s focus on voter ID policies — Paul and his team would institute a temporary ban on the reporter. And it’s not just reporters who suffer the freeze — in September, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said Paul had said he would no longer appear on his show.
“I think maybe he’s written off a lot of conservative talk radio as simply neocon or hawkish, and he won’t talk to us,” Hewitt said. (That seems to be changing though — both Paul and Hewitt’s teams said Paul would appear on the show in the next couple weeks.)
Gor pushed back on Hewitt’s comment that Paul doesn’t like conservative radio, calling it “blatantly false” and noting that he is a regular on Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity’s shows. “We do tend to avoid unfair and biased interviewers,” Gor said.
But while Paul’s team may have a penchant for freezing reporters out, Paul himself doesn’t even seem remember them.
“I approached him for an interview in the hall and he asked his staff, ‘So why are we mad at him again, why shouldn’t I talk to him?’” Peters said. “He clearly doesn’t remember day to day what grievances he has against the media. And that’s definitely a good thing.”
Reporters also noted that Paul is still a rather mysterious character for them, though that may be rectified with long days on the campaign trail.
“They put him in front of so many reporters, it is kind of hard to get a good feel for him, develop the same kind of rapport that I’ve had with other politicians. He’s not the most chatty, extroverted guy. Very little small talk. Maybe he’d rather keep the interviews short and get down to other business. But at least he suffers through them,” Peters said.
Another reporter who has covered Paul for years said that for a politician, Paul doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy the social aspect of his job.
“I wouldn’t call him a happy warrior,” the reporter said. “For all his hipster demeanor and clothing, he doesn’t look really comfortable a lot of the time. He’s doing most public thing you can do but doesn’t see to be enjoying it. I’ve seen him at events where he doesn’t even work the room. If you’re running for president, that’s not how you do it.” (Running for president is “not really a lot of fun,” Paul told a conference in February.)
Paul’s relationship with the media has matured as he has spent time in Washington, especially as his press team of just three staffers gained experience from fielding as many as 100 requests some weeks.
“When he first got here, his overall press organization was quite challenged, to be generous,” said Courier-Journal Washington Correspondent Jim Carroll. “He’s a work in progress as a candidate.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/rand-paul-and-the-media-no-love-story-116709.html

Rand Paul comes out swinging…at interviewers

By Thomas Lifson

In a round of interviews yesterday, Rand Paul took on questions he found unfair, and got into an argument with Savannah Guthrie of the Today show. The predictable result was return fire from talking head pundits, unhappy over his refusal to play the game on the ground rules the media likes to set.  In the words of T. Beckett Adams of the Washington Examiner, it was a “media pile-on.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., became the target of media criticism Wednesday after he accused NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie during an interview of “editorializing” her questions.

“That Rand Paul sure is a charmer,” tweeted Business Insider’sNicholas Carson, after Paul said Today Show co-anchor Guthrie was phrasing her questions as declaratives rather than interrogatives during an interview with the newly declared 2016 presidential candidate.

Politico’s Ben White tweeted, “Politicians mansplaining to female journos how to conduct an interview is just, well, it’s just very bad.”

The hoary Democrat spin of the GOP “war on women” was picked up by several commentators, including Chuck Todd on MSNBC (embedded below because almost nobody saw it when broadcast):

Paul shot back: “I’ve Been Universally Short Tempered and Testy with Both Male and Female Reporters” (Mediaite).

That is true, and it may be the best signal for the senator from Kentucky to heed.  Without question, the GOP base, sick to death of unfair media treatment, will cheer Paul on.  And he did something that many of us have longed for (via CNN).

Rand Paul says he doesn’t want to be grilled about abortion until Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz answers similarly tough questions.

My own opinion is that Rand is pursuing a good strategy, but he needs to quickly refine his skills.  It is important to be likable, especially when taking on media interviewers who have been chosen for their Q Score (likability).  By shushing Savannah Guthrie, Paul left himself wide open, and Wasserman Schultz took advantage:

Wasserman Schultz hit back — highlighting Paul’s testy interviews with female television anchors, too, by saying she hopes he can “respond without ‘shushing’ me.”

President Reagan was a master of being genial while also refusing to kowtow to media gotcha questions.  It is an open question in my mind whether or not this is a skill that can be picked up or a gift that is inherent in a personality.

Megyn Kelly’s interview with Rand Paul last night saw a mixture of criticism and concern.
What works for Sen. Paul in the primaries will not work in a general election.  I think voters do not want a president whom they perceive as “short-tempered and testy” (in the senator’s own words).  I realize that Rand Paul is running on ideas and change.  But the sad reality is that a huge number of voters, probably a majority, choose their president based on factors like their comfort level in having a beer with the person.  To paraphrase an old saying, you go to the voters with the electorate you have.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/04/rand_paul_comes_out_swinging__at_interviewers.html

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Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

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Story 1: Indiana and 19 States and Federal Government Have Religious Freedom Restoration Laws — Nothing New Here — Crackup of Lying Lunatic Left Democratic Party — Attacks People of Faith — Bullies — Christians and Jews — Demonizes Businesses — Supports Sin (“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) — No Wonder Americans Are Going Independent and Abandoning Democratic Party — Please Take Your Business Elsewhere and Switch Channels — “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — Seeking happiness is seeking God. — Videos

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John, Chapter 8

Catechism of The Catholic Church

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

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Youth and Sex – Venerable Fulton Sheen

Marriage & Incompatibility – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

How to Psychoanayze Yourself | Bishop Fulton J.Sheen

His Last Words ~ Ven Fulton J Sheen

Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law

“Straights Only”? Indiana Faces Boycotts, Protests over Anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says Controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Won’t Change

Pence signs Religious Freedom bill into law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on FOX News Sunday

Joey Heatherton Look What They’ve Done To My Song

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Joey Heatherton for Serta mattresses

In Defense of Indiana

by RICH LOWRY

The anti-RFRA backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance.

Indiana is experiencing its two minutes of hate. It is doubtful that since its admittance into the union in 1816, the heretofore inoffensive Midwestern state has ever been showered with so much elite obloquy.

Indiana’s sin is that its legislature passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, setting out a legal standard for cases involving a clash between a person’s exercise of religion and the state’s laws. To listen to the critics, you’d think the law was drafted by a joint committee of attorneys from the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church. The enlightened are stumbling over themselves in their rush to boycott Indiana. Seattle and San Francisco are banning official travel there, and Connecticut is following suit. In a Washington Post op-ed, Apple CEO Tim Cook pronounced the Indiana law part of a “very dangerous” trend that allows “people to discriminate against their neighbors” (never mind that his company is happy to do business in Communist China). The anti-Indiana backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance, supercharged by the particularly censorious self-righteousness of the Left.

All the Indiana law says is that the state can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling governmental interest at stake and it is pursued by the least restrictive means. The law doesn’t mandate any particular outcome; it simply provides a test for the courts in those rare instances when a person’s exercise of religion clashes with a law.

Nineteen other states have similar protections, and they are all modeled on a federal version of the law that passed Congress with near unanimity in 1993 (Indiana’s law is arguably a little more robust than the federal version, because it also applies to private suits). If these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts were the enablers of discrimination they are portrayed as, much of the country would already have sunk into a dystopian pit of hatred.

Legal historians a century from now may be mystified by how a measure that was uncontroversial for so long suddenly became a mark of shame. They will find their answer in the Left’s drive to crush any dissent from its cultural agenda, especially on gay marriage.

The religious-freedom laws once were associated with minorities that progressives could embrace or tolerate — Native Americans who smoke peyote as part of religious ceremonies, Amish who drive their buggies on the roads, and the like. That was fine. It is the specter of Christian small-business people — say, a baker or a florist — using the laws to protect themselves from punishment for opting out of gay-wedding ceremonies that drives progressives mad.

Why? It’s a large, diverse country, with many people of differing faiths and different points of view. More specifically, the country has an enormous wedding industry not known for its hostility to gays. The burgeoning institution of gay marriage will surely survive the occasional florist who doesn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.

As a practical matter, such a dissenting florist doesn’t make a difference; the affected couple might be offended but can take its business elsewhere. But for the Left, it’s the principle of the thing. For all its talk of diversity, it demands unanimity on this question — individual conscience be damned. So it isn’t bothered when religious wedding vendors are sued or harassed under anti-discrimination laws for their nonparticipation in ceremonies they morally oppose.

It’s not clear that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts will shield these kinds of business people (they haven’t, to this point). It might be that more specific exemptions are necessary. But the mere possibility that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act might protect a baker opposed to gay marriage is enough to create a furious, unhinged reaction.

Yes, there is intolerance afoot in the debate over Indiana, but it’s not on the part of Indianans.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416196/defense-indiana-rich-lowry

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United States Nuclear Deal is Another Obama Disaster — Just Walk Away Kerry — Back To Punishing Economic Sanctions — Iranian Regime Change — Videos

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Data, Demographics, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, Music, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Proliferation, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Science, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 2: United States Nuclear Deal is Another Obama Disaster — Just Walk Away Kerry — Back To Punishing Economic Sanctions — Iranian Regime Change — Videos

Treaty Clause

“The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2

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Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee

  1. And when I see the sign that points one way
    The lot we used to pass by every day
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
    You’re not to blame
    From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
    From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
    For me, it cries
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
    For me, it cries
    Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
    Still finds a way to haunt me though they’re so small
    Just walk away, Renee
    You won’t see me follow you back home
    The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
    You’re… Full lyrics on Google Play

    Herman’s Hermits – Walk Away Renee (1968)

    The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)

Pro-Hassan Rouhani Iranian editor defects while covering nuclear talks in Lausanne

Amir Hossein Motaghi says he no longer sees any “sense” in his profession as he could only write as he was told

A close media aide to Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, has sought political asylum in Switzerland after travelling to Lausanne to cover the nuclear talks between Tehran and the West.

Amir Hossein Motaghi, who managed public relations for Mr Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign, was said by Iranian news agencies to have quit his job at the Iran Student Correspondents Association (ISCA).

He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told.

“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.

“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.

But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.


Jason Rezalan

He is said to have been a friend of Jason Rezaian, the Iranian-American reporter for the Washington Post who has been detained in Tehran, and to have campaigned privately for his release.

ISCA, which has come under fire from regime hardliners critical of Mr Rouhani, issued a statement denying that Mr Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it.

“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, it said.

However, critics said Mr Mottaghi was “prey of the exiled counter-revolutionaries” and had gone to Lausanne with the sole purpose of seeking refugee status in Switzerland.

In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11500145/Pro-Hassan-Rouhani-Iranian-editor-defects-while-covering-nuclear-talks-in-Lausanne.html

NETANYAHU: NUKE DEAL A ‘REWARD FOR IRAN’S AGGRESSION’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.

“The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to continue fighting against vital threats to the national security of his country.

He added: “We will never close our eyes and we will continue to operate against every threat in every generation, and of course in this generation.”

Netanyahu predicted that many countries in the region would be immediately affected by a bad deal.

“Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement,” he said.

On Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister expressed concern with the Iranian regime’s growing sphere of influence and control.

“After the Beirut-Damascus- Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu suggested in the meeting that the impending nuclear deal likely “paves Iran’s way to the [nuclear] bomb.”

The foreign ministers of Iran and the entire P5+1 world powers met in Switzerland on Monday in hopes to secure a basic framework for a nuclear deal by Tuesday’s March 31 deadline. This marked the first time that all of the negotiating foreign minister’s gathered together at the same event.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media, “I think it is possible to reach a deal by [Tuesday] night. The gaps are narrowing. I am always optimistic.”

“Our deadline is tomorrow night so obviously we are working very hard,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.

Treaty Clause

The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2

Teacher’s Companion Lesson (PDF)

The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.

Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:

The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.

Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”

The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.

At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.

The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.

Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?

While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.

A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.

A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.

A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).

The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.

Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.

Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.

Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.

A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.

Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.

The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.

http://www.heritage.org/constitution#!/articles/2/essays/90/treaty-clause

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