Story 1: The Key To Identity Politics: Ignorance and Apathy of Voters — I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care — I Am A Woman and Will Vote For Hillary Clinton — I am Hispanic and Will Vote For Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz — I am Fat and Will Vote For Chris Christie — I am White and Will Vote For Rand Paul — I am Rich and Will Vote For Jeb Bush — I Make Stupid Remarks and Will Vote for Joe Biden — The Tyranny of Ignorance and Apathy — Garbage In — Garbage Out — Videos
Is The Best We Can Do?
George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it
C.W. McCALL – CONVOY 1975 (Audio Enhanced)
Hillary Clinton Road Trips to Iowa
The Blues Brothers – Aretha Franklin
Exploring Liberty: The Problem of Political Ignorance
Ilya Somin is a Professor of Law at the George Mason University School of Law and is also a regular contributor at The Volokh Conspiracy, a group law blog.
Francis Fukuyama: Identity Politics
Hillary: ‘Let’s Keep Fighting’ For Women
Marco Rubio: Election Is ‘A Generational Choice About What Kind Of Country We Will Be’
Christie Proposes Income Cap on Social Security
Rand Paul on Civil Rights Act of 1964 – May 20, 2010
If Jeb Bush Is In, Who Will Win Wall Street’s Money?
Joe Biden Says Dumb Things
Blues Brothers 2000: Aretha Franklin – R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Respect)
C.W. McCall – I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care
George Carlin – Voting
The Best of George Carlin: Exposing our government and fall of humanity one joke at a time
Story 1: It Is Time For A New Different Kind of President? Neither Democrat Nor Republican! — An Independent Constitutionalist — The Longer Senator Rand Paul Stays In Washington He Becomes More An Establishment Republican On Key Issues — Big Government Conservative Not Limited Government Libertarian — The Co-opting of Rand Paul — Videos
Most Voters Want More Aggressive Deportation Policies
More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally, even as President Obama continues to push his plan to make up to five million illegal immigrants safe from deportation.
Just 16% of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in the country illegally. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% believe the government is not aggressive enough in deporting these illegal immigrants, up from 52% a year ago and 56%in November.Fifteen percent (15%) feel the current number of deportations is about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Thirty-two percent (32%) believe illegal immigrants who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation, an element of Obama’s plan, but 51% now disagree. In November, voters were much more closely divided: 38% said they should be exempt from deportation, and only 42% disagreed. Seventeen percent (17%) remain undecided.
But then most voters (54%) continue to feel that a child born to an illegal immigrant mother in the United States should not automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the case. Thirty-eight percent (38%) favor the current policy of automatic citizenship for these children. Opposition has ranged from 51% to 65% in surveys since April 2006. Support has been in the 28% to 41% range in that same period.
An overwhelming 83% of voters think someone should be required to prove they are legally allowed in the United States before receiving local, state or federal government services. Just 12% disagree. These findings have changed little over the past four years.
Still, 54% are concerned that efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens. Forty-three percent (43%) don’t have that concern. This includes 25% who are Very Concerned about possible civil rights violations and 12% who are Not at All Concerned. This, too, is consistent with past surveying.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 1-2, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Most voters in nearly every demographic category agree that the federal government is not aggressive enough in its deportation policies. Most also believe very strongly that someone should have to prove they are a U.S. citizen before obtaining government benefits.
Most women and men agree that a child born to an illegal immigrant in this country should not automatically become a U.S. citizen.
Voters under 40 are only slightly less supportive than their elders of more aggressive deportation policies. But they are much more likely than those 40 and over to think that a child born to an illegal alien in this country should automatically become a U.S. citizen.
Sixty percent (60%) of whites oppose automatic citizenship; 51% of blacks and 56% of other minority voters favor it.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 68% of voters not affiliated with either major party think the government is not aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants. Just 40% of Democrats agree. But then Democrats are far more concerned than the others that deportation efforts may end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens.
Democrats by a 51% to 33% margin believe illegals who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation. Sixty-two percent (62%) of GOP voters and 60% of unaffiliateds disagree.
Most voters continue to believe federal government policies encourage illegal immigration, but they still aren’t convinced states should go it alone in enforcing immigration laws.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the policies and practices of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally, the highest level of cynicism since June 2012. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree, while 15% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The number of voters who believe the federal government encourages illegal immigration reached a high of 62% in September 2010 but has mostly stayed in the mid-to high-50s in regular surveying for several years.
Still, 48% think relying on the federal government rather than states to enforce immigration laws is the best approach to dealing with illegal immigration. That’s down two points from last Augustbut is in line with findings since February 2011. Forty-two percent (42%) think it’s better to allow individual states to act on their own. Ten percent (10%) are undecided. Support for state action was slightly higher in 2011.
Voters remain more conflicted when it comes to landlords who rent or sell property to illegal immigrants. Forty-four percent (44%) favor strict government sanctions against them. Thirty-four percent (34%) are opposed, while 22% are undecided. These attitudes haven’t changed much over the years either.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 4-5, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe the policies and practices of the federal government encourage illegal immigration. Democrats by a narrow 44% to 39% disagree. Most Republicans (62%) and unaffiliated voters by a 46% to 42% margin think states should be allowed to enforce immigration laws on their own, but 68% of Democrats think they should rely on the feds.
Sixty percent (60%) of voters who believe government policies encourage people to come here illegally favor allowing states to act on their own to enforce immigration laws. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of those who don’t believe government policies encourage illegal immigration think enforcement of such laws should be left to the federal government.
White voters are generally more supportive of strict sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and landlords who rent or sell property to such individuals than black and other minority voters are. White voters also show stronger support for automatic police checks during traffic stops.
Story 1: Republican Donor Base Says So long it’s been good to know you and Voter Base Says — Hit The Road Jack — Mitt Romney — American Pie — Videos
Woody Guthrie – So long it’s been good to know you
Romney Says He Won’t Run for President in 2016
FULL AUDIO: Mitt Romney explains decision not to run in 2016
Mitt Romney will not run for President
Mitt Romney Vs. Jeb Bush. Who Will Be On The Republican Ticket In 2016?
Laura Ingraham: Rand Paul is almost as bad as Jeb Bush on amnesty
Laura Ingraham “super disappointed” in Rand Paul for opposing mass deportation
Laura Ingraham: Rand Paul ISIS flip-flop a mistake
Laura Ingraham goofs on Rand Paul’s newfound neoconservatism
Rand Paul vs. Charles Krauthammer on Iran
Charles Krauthammer: Rand Paul “has a lot of political genius”
Rand Paul says He Would Give a Legalized Status to Illegal Immigrants
RAND PAUL Explains LIBERTARIANISM
Why is Rand Paul the right choice for America? Rand Paul 2016.
Rand Paul: Voters ready for Libertarian Republican in 2016
Libertarians need to get over Rand Paul
Ray Charles – Hit The Road Jack
Don McLean – American Pie
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a whileBut February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more stepI can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died[Chorus]
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and bluesI was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died[Chorus]
I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 2]
Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and meOh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returnedAnd while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died[Chorus]
We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”
Mitt Romney will NOT run for President again: Former Massachusetts governor says he will not mount a third campaign
‘I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team,’ he told donors during a Friday morning conference call
Jeb Bush boxed him out of access to big donors by getting in the race early with an exploratory committee
Romney and his wife had told reporters time and time again that he wasn’t running in 2016 but few believed them
CNN aired part of the private call live as Romney thanked his inner circle and said he thought another leader would have the best chance
Romney will have dinner with Chris Christie on Friday night, raising new eyebrows about the aftermath of his bowing out
White House paid him a backhanded compliment for messages about poverty, saying Republicans had used it as ‘a talking point’
By DAVID MARTOSKO, US POLITICAL EDITOR FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 10:56 EST, 30 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:38 EST, 30 January 2015
Mitt Romney, who stumbled his way to a lackluster finish in the 2012 presidential election as the Republican nominee, will not make a third run at the political world’s ultimate prize.
The former Massachusetts governor told top donors Friday morning that ‘after putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.’
‘I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again,’ he said, ‘if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely.’
‘Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.’
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (left) campaigned with Romney in 2012, but he’s the main beneficiary of Mitt’s decidion to drop out of the next race early
That giant noise you hear this morning in suburban New York is the sound of opposition-research binders being shredded in the offices of Hillary Clinton, who was looking forward to taking on Romney in 2016
Mitt Romney will NOT run for president in 2016
Daily Mail Online obtained Romney’s prepared remarks from a consultant close to the former governor.
The White House reacted Friday by paying him a backhanded compliment.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said at the beginning of his press briefing that he hadn’t spoken to the president about Romney’ss decision, but offered his own observations.
Romney, he said, is ‘a man of great faith and a man who has tremendous loyalty and commitment to his country’ and ‘is worthy of our respect.’
‘He did say in recent days that he hoped that we can have a more robust debate in this country about what we could do to put in place policies that benefit middle class families,’ Earnest noted, before dismissing Republicans whom he said ‘have used the middle class as a talking point.’
JEB BUSH’S FACEBOOK FAREWELL TO MITT
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted this message on Facebook shortly after Romney’s inner-circle conference call ended:
‘Mitt Romney has been a leader in our party for many years. There are few people who have worked harder to elect Republicans across the country than he has. Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense.
‘Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.
‘Columba and I wish Mitt, Ann and their entire family the very best.’
‘We are seeing more rhetoric from Republicans indicating what was a previously unstated concern for people who aren’t at the top,’ Earnest said.
‘All of a sudden … some Republicans seem to be changing their tune.’
Two weeks ago Earnest seemed to mock reports that Romney would be seeking the White House in 2016, addressing ‘reports that Governor Romney is considering gettng the band back together again.’
Obama drew jeers from Democratic lawmakers on Thursday night in Philadelphia when he said that ‘a former presidential candidate on the other side’ was ‘suddenly … just deeply concerned about poverty.’
‘That’s great. Let’s go. Come on. Let’s do something about it,’ he said.
Earnest dismissed the nation’s momentary fascination with a third Romney run.
‘I’m confident that Governor Romney will be someone whose endorsement will be, um, sought,’ he said Friday.
He also said Obama is ‘not disappointed’ that Romney won’t be part of the 2016 race.
Romney’s decision to end his much-discusion flirtation with another White House run comes just hours after a Fox News poll put Romney at the top of the pack, leading former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others by a considerable margin
His 21 per cent support among Republican voters was nearly double that of a second-place cluster that included Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 11 per cent each, and Bush, with 10 per cent.
Romney’s infamous ‘47%’ comment and his reaction
Bush posted a statement on Facebook shortly after Romney made his announcement.
‘Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,’ he wrote.
‘Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.’
Jeb poached a key member of Romney’s poltical organization on Thursday.
David Kochel, an Iowa-based consultant who worked on ROmney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, went to work for Right to Rise, Bush’s new political action committee.
Romney’s first shot at the presidency came in 2008, when he lost the GOP nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
He risked losing a third time to any of nearly two dozen other potential candidates, although Bush’s entry into the picture last month has caused the most concern – at least from a fundraising perspective.
‘Mitt Romney 3.0 was worried about Jeb Bush 1.0 freezing him out of the big money,’ a GOP campaign consultant in the early primary state of New Hampshire warned Daily Mail Online on Friday morning. ‘That’s why he’s sitting out.’
‘Let’s face it: Jeb has a month-long head start. Mitt was already running out of billionaires who haden’t already made commitments.’
SIX DAYS AGO: Broadcaster Larry King tweeted on Jan. 24 that Romney told him a decision would be forthcoming within two weeks
He seemed to recognize that reality on Friday, but framed his decision in terms of what some in the party had begun to call ‘Romney fatigue.’
‘I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president,’ he said. ‘You know that I have wanted to be that president.’
‘But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president.’
At the same time, Romney clung to the idea that his financing and organization would have been adequate to the task.
‘Our finance calls made it clear we would have enough funding to be more than competitive and with few exceptions our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race.,’ he told supporters.
‘The reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening.’
CNN made waves Friday morning by airing part of the Romney conference call, which was a private conversation and not meant for the press.
Romney would have faced considerable challenges if he had run.
In addition to his complaint in 2012 that ’47 per cent’ of Americans who depend on government benefits to make ends meet would never vote for him, he has said over and over in the past two years that he’s no longer interested in the White House.
‘Oh, no, no, no,’ he told the New York Times twelve months ago. ‘No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. I’m not running again.’
WINNER? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could benefit from Romney’s disappearance in presidential polls as much of his support among self-described ‘moderates’ had swung to Romney – and Romney himself will dine with Christie on Friday night
‘In February 2014, he said on Meet the Press: ‘You know, I’m not Ronald Reagan. And I’m not running for president. We’ve got some very good people who are considering the race. And I’m looking forward to supporting someone who I think will have the best shot of defeating whoever it is the Democrats put up.’
In June 2014 he told another NBC News interviewer that ‘I’m not running for president.’
‘I’m not running, I’m not planning on running, and I’ve got nothing new on that story,’ he told Bloomberg in October.
Ann Romney, the once upon a time would-be first lady, piled on too.
‘Done, completely,’ she said then. ‘Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.’
Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run.
But it’s over for him as of Friday morning, as it became apparent that many of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to the Bush camp.
One told the Associated Press this week, ‘I have turned the page.’
Several called other candidates and their campaign consultants, pledgign support to presidential hopefuls including Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Christie got a boost from news that he will have dinner with Romney on Friday night.
That could indicate the Utah Republican’s desire to box Jeb Bush out and help a different moderate alternative rise to take his place.
MITT ROMNEY’S PREPARED STATEMENT TO DONORS
‘Let me begin by letting you know who else is on this call, besides Ann and me. There are a large number of people who signed on to be leaders of our 2016 finance effort. In addition, state political leadership from several of the early primary states are on the line. And here in New York City, and on the phone, are people who have been helping me think through how to build a new team, as well as supporters from the past who have all been kind enough to volunteer their time during this deliberation stage. Welcome, and thank you. Your loyalty and friendship, and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership warms my heart.
‘After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
‘Let me give you some of my thinking. First, I am convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination. Our finance calls made it clear that we would have enough funding to be more than competitive. With few exceptions, our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race. And the reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening. I know that early poll numbers move up and down a great deal during a campaign, but we would have no doubt started in a strong position. One poll out just today shows me gaining support and leading the next closest contender by nearly two to one. I also am leading in all of the four early states. So I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but fully realize it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.
‘I also believe with the message of making the world safer, providing opportunity to every American regardless of the neighborhood they live in, and working to break the grip of poverty, I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee, but that is before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters.
‘I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
‘I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.
‘I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.
‘I encourage all of you on this call to stay engaged in the critical process of selecting a Republican nominee for President. Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee.
‘I believe a Republican winning back the White House is essential for our country, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.
‘To all my supporters, friends and family who worked both tirelessly and loyally to support my campaigns in the past, I will always be deeply appreciative. What you have already done is a tribute to your patriotism. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your loyalty to us, by your generosity of spirit, and by your friendship. God bless you all.
Obamacare Crippling Job Creation – Unable To Hire Full-Time Where’s My Job?- Huckabee Special
Fight For America: ObamaCare
Obamacare – Reid: More Funding Needed To Prevent Health Care Law From Becoming “Train Wreck”
Harry Reid and Tom Coburn Agree: Obamacare Was Designed to Fail, Pave Way for Single-Payer
In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges.
But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.
Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.
When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
The idea of introducing a single-payer national health care system to the United States, or even just a public option, sent lawmakers into a tizzy back in 2009, when Reid was negotiating the health care bill.
And so we have a rare moment of bipartisan agreement in the United States Senate. Reid now appears to concur with Republican senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who has has been warning for quite some time that Obamacare was “rigged to fail” in order to pave the way for a total government takeover of the health insurance industry.
“More than two years after the passage of Obamacare, the data overwhelming show the law will fail to achieve its core objectives of lowering costs and improving access,” Coburn wrote in 2012. “That, ironically, may have been the design. By making private insurance unaffordable for everyone, it will become available to no one. All that will be left is government-centered, government-run, single-payer health care.”
As liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein said in 2008, organizations on the left pushing for health care reform were pursuing a “sneaky strategy” to “put in place something that over time the natural incentives … move it to single payer.”
So the big question on the left and right isn’t really whether or not Obamacare will eventually fail, but what comes after it fails.
When Obamacare starts to unravel, will the American people really trust the Democrats who designed it to fix it by giving the government more power and more control? Or will Obamacare’s failure provide an opportunity to repeal it and replace it with a more conservative, free-market reform?
In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges.
But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.
Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.
When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
The idea of introducing a single-payer national health care system to the United States, or even just a public option, sent lawmakers into a tizzy back in 2009, when Reid was negotiating the health care bill.
“We had a real good run at the public option … don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system,” Reid said on the PBS program, recalling how then-Sen. Joe Lieberman’s opposition to the idea of a public option made them abandon the notion and start from scratch.
Eventually, Reid decided the public option was unworkable.
“We had to get a majority of votes,” Reid said. “In fact, we had to get a little extra in the Senate, we have to get 60.”
Reid cited the post-WWII auto industry labor negotiations that made employer-backed health insurance the norm, remarking that “we’ve never been able to work our way out of that” before predicting that Congress would someday end the insurance-based health care system.
Reid also had some strong words for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller concerning their ongoing dispute with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz over shipments of low-level nuclear waste from Oak Ridge, Tenn., to Nevada.
Sandoval disputes the existence of “many memos” that Moniz said were signed between state and federal officials, permitting the import of the spent fuel rods. Heller has asked Moniz to clarify the existence of the memos, which Moniz first referred to in testimony before the Senate Energy Committee on July 30.
Reid suggested that Sandoval and Heller were “flailing away” with their complaints, before establishing the facts, which Reid said he “just do[es]n’t think we have.”
“If there are these memos flying around then somebody should be able to find them someplace, but this is not the point,” Reid said. “Gov. Sandoval knows his powers are limited. This is interstate commerce … you can’t just say ‘we’re not going to take it.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.
The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.
The procedures cover only part of the NSA’s surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The Fisa court’s oversight rolehas been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.
The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.
However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:
• Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;
• Retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;
• Preserve “foreign intelligence information” contained within attorney-client communications;
• Access the content of communications gathered from “U.S. based machine[s]” or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.
The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans’ call or email information without warrants.
The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA’s foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.
Since the Guardian first revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of US communications, there have been repeated calls for the legal basis of the programs to be released. On Thursday, two US congressmen introduced a bill compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for NSA surveillance.
The disclosure bill, sponsored by Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, is a complement to one proposed in the Senate last week. It would “increase the transparency of the Fisa Court and the state of the law in this area,” Schiff told the Guardian. “It would give the public a better understanding of the safeguards, as well as the scope of these programs.”
Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which was renewed for five years last December, is the authority under which the NSA is allowed to collect large-scale data, including foreign communications and also communications between the US and other countries, provided the target is overseas.
FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.
One such warrant seen by the Guardian shows that they do not contain detailed legal rulings or explanation. Instead, the one-paragraph order, signed by a Fisa court judge in 2010, declares that the procedures submitted by the attorney general on behalf of the NSA are consistent with US law and the fourth amendment.
Those procedures state that the “NSA determines whether a person is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States in light of the totality of the circumstances based on the information available with respect to that person, including information concerning the communications facility or facilities used by that person”.
It includes information that the NSA analyst uses to make this determination – including IP addresses, statements made by the potential target, and other information in the NSA databases, which can include public information and data collected by other agencies.
Where the NSA has no specific information on a person’s location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas, the document continues.
“In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person,” it states “a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person.”
If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.
Referring to steps taken to prevent intentional collection of telephone content of those inside the US, the document states: “NSA analysts may analyze content for indications that a foreign target has entered or intends to enter the United States. Such content analysis will be conducted according to analytic and intelligence requirements and priorities.”
Details set out in the “minimization procedures”, regularly referred to in House and Senate hearings, as well as public statements in recent weeks, also raise questions as to the extent of monitoring of US citizens and residents.
NSA minimization procedures signed by Holder in 2009 set out that once a target is confirmed to be within the US, interception must stop immediately. However, these circumstances do not apply to large-scale data where the NSA claims it is unable to filter US communications from non-US ones.
The NSA is empowered to retain data for up to five years and the policy states “communications which may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on the NSA’s ability to filter communications”.
Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains “significant foreign intelligence information”, “evidence of a crime”, “technical data base information” (such as encrypted communications), or “information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property”.
Domestic communications containing none of the above must be destroyed. Communications in which one party was outside the US, but the other is a US-person, are permitted for retention under FAA rules.
The minimization procedure adds that these can be disseminated to other agencies or friendly governments if the US person is anonymised, or including the US person’s identity under certain criteria.
A separate section of the same document notes that as soon as any intercepted communications are determined to have been between someone under US criminal indictment and their attorney, surveillance must stop. However, the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database:
“The relevant portion of the communication containing that conversation will be segregated and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice will be notified so that appropriate procedures may be established to protect such communications from review or use in any criminal prosecution, while preserving foreign intelligence information contained therein,” the document states.
In practice, much of the decision-making appears to lie with NSA analysts, rather than the Fisa court or senior officials.
A transcript of a 2008 briefing on FAA from the NSA’s general counsel sets out how much discretion NSA analysts possess when it comes to the specifics of targeting, and making decisions on who they believe is a non-US person. Referring to a situation where there has been a suggestion a target is within the US.
“Once again, the standard here is a reasonable belief that your target is outside the United States. What does that mean when you get information that might lead you to believe the contrary? It means you can’t ignore it. You can’t turn a blind eye to somebody saying: ‘Hey, I think so and so is in the United States.’ You can’t ignore that. Does it mean you have to completely turn off collection the minute you hear that? No, it means you have to do some sort of investigation: ‘Is that guy right? Is my target here?” he says.
“But, if everything else you have says ‘no’ (he talked yesterday, I saw him on TV yesterday, even, depending on the target, he was in Baghdad) you can still continue targeting but you have to keep that in mind. You can’t put it aside. You have to investigate it and, once again, with that new information in mind, what is your reasonable belief about your target’s location?”
The broad nature of the court’s oversight role, and the discretion given to NSA analysts, sheds light on responses from the administration and internet companies to the Guardian’s disclosure of the PRISM program. They have stated that the content of online communications is turned over to the NSA only pursuant to a court order. But except when a US citizen is specifically targeted, the court orders used by the NSA to obtain that information as part of Prism are these general FAA orders, not individualized warrants specific to any individual.
Once armed with these general orders, the NSA is empowered to compel telephone and internet companies to turn over to it the communications of any individual identified by the NSA. The Fisa court plays no role in the selection of those individuals, nor does it monitor who is selected by the NSA.
The NSA’s ability to collect and retain the communications of people in the US, even without a warrant, has fuelled congressional demands for an estimate of how many Americans have been caught up in surveillance.
Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.
Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.
The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity. William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.
There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”. One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.
In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon. The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.
PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[Notes 1]PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN. It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.
A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.” The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012. The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum. Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet” to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US
Details of information collected via PRISM
PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC. Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017. According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.
PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles. The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012). The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”
The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States. The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally. Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”
Response from companies
The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.
Initial Public Statements
Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports. Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:
Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began
Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”
Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.” “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”
Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”
Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.” “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”
Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”
Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”
In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.” “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.
“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.
Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.
On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant. Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”
The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.” The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely. In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort. The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel. These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers” and the companies’ denials.
While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission. Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information. Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.
Post-PRISM Transparency Reports
In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.
On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.
Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.
Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.
Response from United States government
Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats. The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.” He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.” On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans. In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.
Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”
On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.” The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”
The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.” He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.
In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification, and others said that they had not been aware of the program. After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.
June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”
June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee
June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”
Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives
June 11 “He’s a traitor” (referring to Edward Snowden)
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act
June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.” “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”
Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”
June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.
Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)
June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”
June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.
Applicable law and practice
On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).” Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.” When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.
After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret. The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.
If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.
If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it. A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.
Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive. In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order. The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”
Involvement of other countries
The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.
Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”
Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.
Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed the Business Insider article about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.
In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”
In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)
The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,” and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”
Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.” Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.” He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.
In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case. An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.” Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.” Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.” In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.
In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers; the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.” George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.
On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.
Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California. When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”. The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style. Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.
Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”. He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.
The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.
William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.” David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.” Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”
Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.” The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.
Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”
A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”
A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.
ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun. The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority. The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.
ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections. A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.
Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail. It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.
NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.
The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation. The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.
Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens. Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.
In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000. SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman. SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.
Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. 
The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” 
In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.” The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.
In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule. In 2006 the program was shut down, after having cost billions of US Dollars. Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.
The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.
According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”
In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying. A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy. Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter. Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed. She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.
Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.
In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG) had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure. It had cost more than $1 billion.
In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative. Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.
In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.
In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917, part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”. The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.
In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities. It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian. According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.
Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.
Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).
NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.
Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian. The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.
Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008
The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.
The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”
Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.
ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.
The system has been reported in a number of public sources. Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001, and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States. The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.
Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.
The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:
the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
the National Security Agency of the United States,
the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands
The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.
The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic. During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication, and could be intercepted at great distances. The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”
The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber. The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%. Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video. Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.
One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt. A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.
Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.
See also: Industrial espionage
Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes. Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie. An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.
In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.
Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.
According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits. The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.
The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.” The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).
Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK. At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.
The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:
Likely satellite intercept stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:
Hong Kong (since closed)
Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)
Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)
Other potentially related stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:
Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
Bad Aibling Station (Bad Aibling, Germany – U.S.)
relocated to Griesheim in 2004
deactivated in 2008
Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)
Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.
Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T. The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.” Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.
The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.
The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T. Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.
Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.
Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.
PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States
Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.
Sen. Rand Paul on America’s Newsroom w/ Megyn Kelly to discuss the Brennan Filibuster – 3/7/13
Rand Paul Fires Back At Filibuster Critics, Shocks Glenn Beck With Revelation
Michelle Malkin: Did Rand Paul’s Filibuster Refurbish The Republican Party’s Tarnished Brand? 3/7/13
Sen. Paul appears on CNN’s Newsroom with Dana Bash- 3/7/2013
#StandWithRand Rand Paul Filibuster Highlights
Rand Paul Interview: Rush Limbaugh (7 March 2013)
Drone Strikes: Where Are Obama’s Tears For Those Child Victims?
Yes, Lethal Drone Attacks on Americans Are Allowed, Says Atty General
“The Obama administration believes it could technically use military force to kill an American on U.S. soil in an “extraordinary circumstance” but has “no intention of doing so,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter disclosed Tuesday.”*
It’s starting to happen. Attorney General Eric Holder says lethal drone attacks without due process on Americans while on American soil, are hypothetically legal. A surprising Republican Senator is standing against it. Do Republicans and Democrats make exceptions for their own “teams?” Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
Sean Hannity & Krauthammer Talk Excitement in GOP Grassroots on Rand Paul Filibuster & Spending Cuts
Drone Strikes on American Citizens, on US Soil. Sen. Rand Paul Talks with Sean Hannity
Reality Check: Sen. Rand Paul’s Talking Filibuster of John Brennan
Rand Paul blasted Obama for using drone strikes against American citizens
Rand Paul “Senators McCain & Graham Voted FOR Indefinite Detention Of Americans!”
What’s ‘Cooler’ Than Being ‘Cool’? Rand Paul’s Filibuster, According To Fox News’ The Five
Importing the War on Terror: Glenn Greenwald & Activist Trevor Timm on Domestic Drone Surveillance
Obama’s Chilling Secrecy, From Denying Drone Program’s Existence to Stonewalling on Legal Memos
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs revealed over the weekend he was initially instructed to deny the existence of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program overseas. Even though the administration has since backed down from that stance, it continues to stonewall members of Congress on releasing the Justice Department memos explaining the program’s legal rationale. Unanswered questions around the program have held up the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan. “For a program that is so far reaching and that has so many consequences — not just in the word, but for the rule of law — the Obama administration has an obligation to be far more transparent than they’ve been so far,” says Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
US drones killed almost five thousand people
Special court to approve of killing Americans with drones?
Obama’s Kill List, Drones, & Assassinating U.S. Citizens
Amazing – Obama Caught in Bald-Faced Lie on White House Sequester
Sequester- President Obama says $85B in spending cuts WILL kick in Friday
Judge Napolitano: Facts About Sequester Caught Up To Obama “His Scare Tactics Are Reprehensible”
Obama’s big lie and massive deficits: spending addiction disorder (SAD)
By Raymond Thomas Pronk
Crisis and fear mongering as well as blame shifting are again running rampant among the ruling political elites in Washington over out-of-control government spending and what to do about it.
President Barack Obama and progressive Congressional Democrats want to increase federal government spending by increasing taxes through closing so-called “tax loopholes” or more precisely eliminating existing tax deductions and credits in the Internal Revenue code.
House Speaker John Boehner and conservative Congressional Republicans want to decrease government spending and decrease tax rates by also eliminating “tax loopholes.” There is no middle ground to negotiate given the diametrically opposed positions of the political parties. This was not always the case.
Early in his first term Obama delivered a speech in the White House titled “A New Era of Responsibility,” captured on the YouTube video titled “Obama will cut deficit in half FEB 2009.” He said, “We cannot, and will not, sustain deficits like these without end. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration, or the next generation.
“We are paying the price for these deficits right now. In 2008 alone, we paid $250 billion in interest on our debt — one in every 10 taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spent on education that year; more than seven times what we spent on VA health care.
“So if we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road as our interest payments rise, our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes, and our children and our grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because they’re saddled with our debts.
“And that’s why today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we’ve long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.”
The last George W. Bush deficit for fiscal year 2008 was nearly $459 billion. If Obama was serious about meeting his pledge of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term, the deficit should have been less than $230 billion for fiscal year 2012. Obama did the exact opposite of what he promised the American people he would do in February 2009. Instead of cutting the deficit in half, he doubled the deficit to more than a trillion dollars for each fiscal year he has been in office as the table below clearly shows:
Summary of Spending Outlays, Tax Receipts, Deficits (-) or Surpluses, 2005-2013
(in millions of dollars)
Source: The Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, Historical Tables, Table 1.1http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist.pdf
These massive and unprecedented deficits required that the national debt be increased to pay for the government’s out-of-control spending and for Congress to increase the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion. On Aug. 2, 2011 President Obama signed into law The Budget Control Act of 2011. This ended the so-called debt ceiling crisis by increasing the debt-level immediately by $400 billion and allowing Obama to ask for another increase of the ceiling by $500 billion with Congressional approval in the future. The law established the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction, better known as the “super committee,” with the task of reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Dec. 23, 2011. The super committee failed to accomplish its assigned task.
This triggered the sequestration provisions in the law requiring across-the-board cuts in government spending of $1.2 trillion over 10 years with a corresponding increase in the debt-level by $1.2 trillion. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for the sequestration when they passed the law. However, the original idea for sequestration came from White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors and Jack Lew, who was then budget director, whom with Obama’s approval presented the idea to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to Bob Woodward as documented in his book “The Price of Politics.“
On Jan. 31, Congress suspended the borrowing limit or debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion for three months until May 19.
By March 1 Congress needed to cut $1.2 trillion from the growth in the Congressional Budget Office baseline for fiscal years 2013 through 2021 or the sequestration would be triggered. These automatic spending cuts had to come from both discretionary and mandatory spending.
Under the sequestration order for fiscal year 2013, signed by Obama on Mar. 1, there needs to be a $85.3 billion cut in growth in federal government budget authority of which $42.7 billion is defense, $28.7 billion non-defense discretionary, $9.9 billion Medicare and $4 billion other mandatory.
For fiscal year 2013 the total federal government spending outlays are estimated to be about $3.8 trillion with estimated total tax revenues of about $2.9 trillion resulting in a deficit of about $901 billion. The sequestration impact for fiscal year 2013 is an estimated $44 billion cut in spending outlays or about 1.4% of total federal government spending.
The crisis and fear mongering and blame shifting is never-ending as Congress must now agree to a fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution by March 31. Meanwhile the U.S. economy is on the verge of another recession with higher unemployment rates and many more millions of unemployed Americans.
The absence of leadership in Washington to budget to estimated tax receipts and by so doing live within the means of the American people is the core problem. The solution would require the repeal of Congress’s baseline budgeting process whereby current spending levels are used to determine future funding requirements by adding increased funding for population growth, inflation and other factors to the current level of spending. The congressional budget baseline process totally ignores estimated tax receipts or revenues as a budgetary constraint. The result is massive unsustainable deficits.
Obama’s new era of responsibility was pure propaganda prevarication. Obama’s age of fiscal insanity and spending addiction disorder continues to destroy jobs, wreck the economy and kill the American dream. Neither progressive Democrats nor Republicans have the will, courage, integrity, wisdom and vision to balance the federal budget. Truly unbelievable.
Includes legal tender notes, gold and silver certificates, etc.
The first fiscal year for the U.S. Government started Jan. 1, 1789. Congress changed the beginning of the fiscal year from Jan. 1 to Jul. 1 in 1842, and finally from Jul. 1 to Oct. 1 in 1977 where it remains today.
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Sessions Criticizes Composition Of Sequester, Says Surging Domestic Spending
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Jay Carney: Yes the Sequester Idea Was Put Forward by the President’s Team
Flashback: Obama promises veto stopgap alternative to sequester cuts
Bob Woodward on ‘The Price of Politics,’ Fiscal Fight
In summer 2011, a partisan Congress sparred with the White House on how to solve the U.S. debt crisis. Judy Woodruff talks to journalist Bob Woodward about his new book, “The Price of Politics,” about how Washington’s politicians couldn’t look past their own political aspirations in order to forge a deal.
Our Lying President – Debate lie on sequestration
White House Already Backpedaling On Obama Sequestration Comments
Bob Woodward talks about his new book ‘The Price of Politics’
Fox & Friends Rips Obama On Sequester: Is It ‘Blackmail’ To Get More Tax Hikes
CBO Director: “We haven’t seen a specific proposal” from Obama on replacing
OBAMA despises his OWN idea: the SEQUESTER
Obama:Congress Putting Thousands Of Jobs At Risk
Markets Will React Big When Reality Sets In
Peter Schiff: Obama recession will be worse than the Obama recovery
John Lennon – Give Peace or Sequester A Chance (Original Video Tape)
John Boehner: The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created
Obama invented the ‘sequester’ in the summer of 2011 to avoid facing up to America’s spending problem.
A week from now, a dramatic new federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more. In a bit of irony, President Obama stood Tuesday with first responders who could lose their jobs if the policy goes into effect. Most Americans are just hearing about this Washington creation for the first time: the sequester. What they might not realize from Mr. Obama’s statements is that it is a product of the president’s own failed leadership.
The sequester is a wave of deep spending cuts scheduled to hit on March 1. Unless Congress acts, $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will occur this year, with another $1.1 trillion coming over the next decade. There is nothing wrong with cutting spending that much—we should be cutting even more—but the sequester is an ugly and dangerous way to do it.
By law, the sequester focuses on the narrow portion of the budget that funds the operating accounts for federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense. Exempt is most entitlement spending—the large portion of the budget that is driving the nation’s looming debt crisis. Should the sequester take effect, America’s military budget would be slashed nearly half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Border security, law enforcement, aviation safety and many other programs would all have diminished resources.
How did the country find itself in this mess?
During the summer of 2011, as Washington worked toward a plan to reduce the deficit to allow for an increase in the federal debt limit, President Obama and I very nearly came to a historic agreement. Unfortunately our deal fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new tax revenue—50% more than we had shaken hands on just days before.
It was a disappointing decision by the president, but with just days until a breach of the debt limit, a solution was still required—and fast. I immediately got together with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to forge a bipartisan congressional plan. It would be called the Budget Control Act.
The plan called for immediate caps on discretionary spending (to save $917 billion) and the creation of a special House-Senate “super committee” to find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings. The deal also included a simple but powerful mechanism to ensure that the committee met its deficit-reduction target: If it didn’t, the debt limit would not be increased again in a few months.
But President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester.
With the debt limit set to be hit in a matter of hours, Republicans and Democrats in Congress reluctantly accepted the president’s demand for the sequester, and a revised version of the Budget Control Act was passed on a bipartisan basis.
Ultimately, the super committee failed to find an agreement, despite Republicans offering a balanced mix of spending cuts and new revenue through tax reform. As a result, the president’s sequester is now imminent.
Both parties today have a responsibility to find a bipartisan solution to the sequester. Turning it off and erasing its deficit reduction isn’t an option. What Congress should do is replace it with other spending cuts that put America on the path to a balanced budget in 10 years, without threatening national security.
Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn’t even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security.
The president has repeatedly called for even more tax revenue, but the American people don’t support trading spending cuts for higher taxes. They understand that the tax debate is now closed.
The president got his higher taxes—$600 billion from higher earners, with no spending cuts—at the end of 2012. He also got higher taxes via ObamaCare. Meanwhile, no one should be talking about raising taxes when the government is still paying people to play videogames, giving folks free cellphones, and buying $47,000 cigarette-smoking machines.
Washington must get serious about its spending problem. If it can’t reform America’s safety net and retirement-security programs, they will no longer be there for those who rely on them. Republicans’ willingness to do what is necessary to save these programs is well-known. But after four years, we haven’t seen the same type of courage from the president.
The president’s sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting spending. The government simply cannot keep delaying the inevitable and spending money it doesn’t have.
So, as the president’s outrage about the sequester grows in coming days, Republicans have a simple response: Mr. President, we agree that your sequester is bad policy. What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?
— Mr. Boehner, a Republican congressman from Ohio, is speaker of the House.
A version of this article appeared February 20, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created.
The 2013 United States federal budget is the budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2013, which is October 2012–September 2013. The original spending request was issued by President Barack Obama in February 2012. The actual appropriations for fiscal year 2013 must be authorized by the full Congress before the budget can take effect, in accordance with the United States budget process.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 mandates caps on discretionary spending, which under current law will be lowered beginning in January 2013 to remove $1.2 trillion of spending over the following ten years. In addition, several temporary tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the beginning of the 2013 calendar year, including the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts on income, capital gains, and estate tax, which had been extended in a 2010 tax deal, as well as a payroll tax cut that began as a result of the 2010 deal and had been most recently extended in an early 2012 tax deal. The combination of sudden spending cuts and tax increases has led to concerns about significant negative effects on the economy in the wake of the weak recovery from the late 2000s recession.
Budget Control Act and the Deficit Reduction Committee
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed in August 2011 as a resolution to the debt-ceiling crisis. The fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget is the first to be affected by the second of two rounds of budget cuts specified in the act. (The first round of cuts has already been applied to the ten years beginning in FY2012.) For this second round of cuts, the Budget Control Act had formed the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, sometimes referred to as the “supercommittee”, to identify at least $1.2 trillion in cuts over the ten years beginning with FY2013, and specified automatic across-the-board cuts of the same amount, equally split between security and non-security programs, if no such budget reduction legislation was passed by Congress.
On November 21, 2011, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced that it did not reach a deal on the budget-cutting legislation, raising the possibility that the automatic cuts would be activated if the full Congress could not enact its own deficit reduction legislation by December 23, 2011. The supercommittee’s lack of an agreement was attributed to the refusal of Republicans to consider any tax increases, combined with Democratic insistence on including these revenue increases such as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which under current law expire at the end of 2012.
President Obama’s February 2012 budget message to Congress addressed themes of economic crisis and response, an updated defense strategy, taxation fairness, income equality, fiscal responsibility, and investments in education and research to help the U.S. compete economically. He wrote: “The way to rebuild our economy and strengthen the middle class is to make sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. Instead of lowering our standards and our sights, we need to win a race to the top for good jobs that pay well and offer security for the middle class. To succeed and thrive in the global, high-tech economy, we need America to be a place with the highest-skilled, highest-educated workers; the most advanced transportation and communication networks; and the strongest commitment to research and technology in the world. This Budget makes investments that can help America win this race, create good jobs, and lead in the world economy.”
Key elements of the President’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 included expiration of a variety of tax cuts for couples earning over $250,000 ($200,000 if single), short-term stimulus measures to support job growth, and targeted tax cuts for families and businesses. The budget included 2013 revenues of $2.9 trillion or 17.8% GDP (up from $2.5 trillion or 15.8% GDP in 2012) and spending of $3.8 trillion or 23.3% GDP (similar to the prior year in dollar terms but below the 24.3% GDP in 2012). The projected 2013 deficit was $900 billion (5.5% GDP), down from the 2012 deficit of $1.3 trillion (8.5% GDP).
Over the 2013-2022 period, the budget essentially freezes defense and non-defense discretionary spending in dollar terms, such that these categories shrink relative to a growing economy, from 8.7% GDP to 5.9% GDP. Mandatory spending (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other safety net programs) remain around 14% GDP. Net interest rises from 1.5% GDP to 3.3% GDP. Revenues rise steadily during the period from 17.8% GDP to 20.1% GDP, averaging 19.2% GDP. Debt held by the public rises from $12.6 trillion to $18.7 trillion, but remains flat around 77% GDP during the period.
On May 16, 2012, the United States Senate voted on a 52-page Republican budget amendment billed as a summary of the nearly 2,000 pages in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget proposal. The amendment was defeated by a unanimous 99–0 vote, which paralleled the House of Representatives having voted a similar rejection in March by a count of 414–0. Those defeats of the Republicans’ amendments marked the second year in a row such summary bills met unanimous opposition. In explaining their votes against, Congressional Democrats disputed whether the Republican summary accurately represented the Obama budget proposal; by contrast, Congressional Republicans claimed that their amendment included ample data taken directly from said budget.
Legislation begins to be passed
On July 31, 2012, a tentative deal was announced to fund the government from October 2012 through March 2013 through a continuing resolution, with spending rates slightly higher than the FY2012 levels. The deal was reached because Republicans were eager to avoid a prolonged dispute that could threaten a government shutdown just before the upcoming 2012 general elections. The bill, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013, was passed in the House 329–91, passed in the Senate 62–30, and signed by President Obama on September 28, 2012.
On August 1, 2012, the House and Senate passed competing bills on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. The House bill would extend all the tax cuts for one year, while the Senate version would allow taxes to rise on incomes over $250,000. The passage of the bills was reported as being intended as political cover; progress on tax legislation was not expected until after the November elections.
In late December, the Republican House leadership proposed legislation that would allow tax cuts to rise relative to 2012 levels only for annual income over $1,000,000. The proposal was known as “Plan B”, and was intended to force the Senate and the Obama administration to pass it and delay further negotiations until the following month, when Republicans were expected to use the reaching of the federal debt limit as leverage. However, the House vote on the plan was abruptly cancelled on December 20, 2012 after it became clear that the bill did not have enough support to pass, due to conservative members of the House who would not support any legislation that would raise taxes without also cutting spending.
On December 28, 2012, the Senate passed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 to provide for $60.4 billion in additional spending to cover recovery costs from Hurricane Sandy, which had hit the northeastern United States in late October. The bill passed the Senate 62–32, but faced uncertain prospects in the House.
At around 2 a.m. on January 1, 2013, the Senate passed a compromise bill, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, by a margin of 89–8. The bill would delay the budget sequestration by two months, and bill includes $600 billion over ten years in new tax revenue relative to extending 2012 levels, which is about one-fifth of the revenue that would have been raised had no legislation been passed. The revenue would come from increased marginal income and capital gains tax rates relative to their 2012 levels for annual income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples; a phase-out of certain tax deductions and credits for those with incomes over $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples, an increase in estate taxes relative to 2012 levels on estates over $5 million, and expiration of the two-year-old cut to payroll taxes, which is applied to income under the Social Security Wage Base, which was $110,100 in 2012. All these changes would all be made permanent. House Speaker John Boehner promised a prompt vote on the Senate bill, but the prospect of the House passing an amended bill raised the prospect that legislation might not be enacted by the end of the 112th Congress at noon on January 3.
Implications of the Budget Control Act
Main articles: Budget Control Act of 2011 and United States fiscal cliff
The automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion resulting from the absence of a deal from the supercommittee over ten years would be split equally between security and non-security programs, and include $500 billion in cuts to the Department of Defense. The FY2013 defense budget would be reduced 11%, from $525 billion to $472 billion, after already having been cut from $571 billion in the first installment of cuts in the Budget Control Act. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta initially gave the total cut figure as 23%. The planned cuts include reductions in troop levels, a modest limit in pay raises for soldiers starting in 2015, an increase in health fees for veterans, delays in the construction of new naval ships and in the purchasing of new fighter aircraft such as the F-35, and the possibility of a round of base closings within the United States, but cuts to special operations, cyberwarfare, and intelligence programs were avoided. Initial reports had also suggested that the number of carrier battle groups might be reduced from 11 to 10, although it was later determined that the number of aircraft carriers would not in fact be cut. Some Republicans in Congress advocated reversing the cuts to the military, citing the effect on national security, and Secretary Panetta has opposed the cuts, calling them “devastating” and raising “substantial risk of not being able to meet our defense needs.” President Obama has promised to veto any legislation seeking to avoid the cuts, and House Speaker John Boehner also indicated his commitment to following the cuts in the Budget Control Act. According to the Center for American Progress, several Presidents have significantly reduced defense spending after wars, without compromising national security. Defense spending in 2011 remained high by historical standards, adjusted for inflation.
The Budget Control Act also specifies automatic cuts of 7.8% to domestic programs and 2% to Medicare, while Medicaid and Social Security will be unaffected. These entitlement programs were protected from cuts in return for the absence of new revenues in the Budget Control Act.
The automatic cuts to domestic programs would include cuts of up to 11% to science research and development agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the U. S. National Laboratories run by the Department of Energy. It is anticipated that this could cause federal grant acceptance levels to fall into the single digits, a consequence which has been called catastrophic for academic institutions by Michael Lubell of the American Physical Society. The cuts could also endanger politically controversial research such as climate change research programs in NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Due to the role of scientific research in economic growth and job creation, and given international competition in this field, the cuts have been opposed by professional and academic organizations, and federal support of research and development has been called “an area of U.S. investment too critical to be cut” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Annual rates of increase in major revenue categories budgeted for the 2012-2022 period were:
Individual income taxes: 8.4%
Corporation income taxes: 8.2%
Social insurance (mainly payroll) taxes: 6.6%
Total tax revenues: 7.6%
Annual rates of increase in major spending categories budgeted for the 2012-2022 period were:
Non-defense discretionary: 1.6%
Social Security: 5.8%
Net interest: 14.2%
Total spending: 5.0%
Changes in revenues primarily represent a return to the long-run average. Tax revenues historically have averaged around 18% GDP. The subprime mortgage crisis resulted in significant declines in revenues due to high unemployment and reduced economic activity, with revenue falling to a record low 15% GDP. President Obama’s budget preserves the Bush income tax cuts for couples earning below $250,000, while eliminating some tax exemptions and deductions (tax expenditures).
Defense and non-defense discretionary expenses are essentially frozen in real dollar terms for the 2013-2022 period, growing at or below the rate of inflation. Department of Defense spending rose at an annual rate of 8% between 2000 and 2011; this amount includes both the baseline and war spending. Non-defense discretionary spending rose at an annual rate of 6.6% between 2000 and 2011. Mandatory spending is mainly driven by demographic changes (i.e., an aging population, with fewer workers per retiree), healthcare cost increases per capita, and Social Security cost of living adjustments. Interest costs represent a return to more typical interest rates as the economy recovers along with the growing public debt.
Total revenues and spending
The Obama administration’s February 2012 budget request contained $2.902 trillion in receipts and $3.803 trillion in outlays, for a deficit of $901 billion. The budget projects a reduction in the deficit to $575 billion by 2018 before rising to $704 billion by 2022.
Total receipts (in billions of dollars)::
Individual income tax
Corporate income tax
Social Security and other payroll tax
Estate and gift taxes
Deposits of earnings and Federal Reserve System
Other miscellaneous receipts
Total outlays by agency (in billions of dollars):
Department of Defense including Overseas Contingency Operations
Department of Health and Human Services including Medicare and Medicaid
Department of Education
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of State and Other International Programs
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Energy
Department of Justice
Department of Agriculture
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Intelligence Program
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Department of the Interior
Department of Labor
Social Security Administration
Department of Commerce
Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works
Environmental Protection Agency
National Science Foundation
Small Business Administration
Corporation for National and Community Service
^ Riley, Charles (February 13, 2012). “Obama unveils $3.8 trillion budget”. CNNMoney. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
^ Hensarling, Jeb (November 22, 2011). “Why the Super Committee Failed”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
^ Murray, Patty. “Deficit-reduction chair says she’s not done working for compromise”. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
^ Lisa Mascaro; Kathleen Hennessey (July 31, 2011). “U.S. leaders strike debt deal to avoid default”. Los Angeles Times.
^ ab Steinhauer, Jennifer; Cooper, Helene; and Pear, Robert (22 November 2011). “Panel Fails to Reach Deal on Plan for Deficit Reduction”. The New York Times: p. A18. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
^ President Obama-The Budget Message of the President-February 2012
^ OMB-President Obama’s 2013 Budget-Summary Tables S5 and S6
Rand Paul Gives The Tea Party Response To The President’s State of the Union Address
Marco Rubio – 2013 State of the Union – GOP Response w/ Water Break (12:01) (English)
Transcript: Obama’s State Of The Union Address As Prepared For Delivery
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.”
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.
Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.
But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget – decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.
Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.
Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?
In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” are a really bad idea.
Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits.
That idea is even worse. Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms – otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.
But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters. Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.
On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I’m proposing go even further. We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.
To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? How does that promote growth?
Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms, and more time expanding and hiring; a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can’t pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries; a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America. That’s what tax reform can deliver. That’s what we can do together.
I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won’t be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let’s set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let’s agree, right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.
Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let’s be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?
A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest. Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.
There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.
After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.
But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.
The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.
In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.
Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America – a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina – has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I’ve seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.
Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.
Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.
These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at the earliest possible age.
Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.
Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.
Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering.
We need to give every American student opportunities like this. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top – a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.
Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.
Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.
To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.
Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made – putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.
In other words, we know what needs to be done. As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. Now let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.
But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.
Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here’s an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.
Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that is why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.
Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest. And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.
Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.
Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda. Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.
Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged – from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.
As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.
Of course, our challenges don’t end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.
Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. At the same time, we will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands – because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead.
America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.
That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.
Even as we protect our people, we should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.
We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.
Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon – when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, “There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.”
In defense of freedom, we will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can – and will – insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.
All this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk – our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world. We will invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight. We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans – investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned. And I want to thank my wife Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they serve us.
But defending our freedom is not the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes our most fundamental right as citizens: the right to vote. When any Americans – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. That’s why, tonight, I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And I’m asking two long-time experts in the field, who’ve recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney’s campaign, to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.
Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.
It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.
Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.
Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another, every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example.
We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, her thoughts were not with how her own home was faring – they were with the twenty precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe.
We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her. Because Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read “I Voted.”
We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Brian was the first to arrive, he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside – even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds.
When asked how he did that, Brian said, “That’s just the way we’re made.”
That’s just the way we’re made.
We may do different jobs, and wear different uniforms, and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title:
We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Full Text of Rand Paul’s Tea Party Response to State of the Union
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delivered the Tea Party rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union speech
These are the prepared remarks of Rand Paul’s Tea Party rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. Follow U.S. News’s live coverage here.
I speak to you tonight from Washington, D.C. The state of our economy is tenuous but our people remain the greatest example of freedom and prosperity the world has ever known.
People say America is exceptional. I agree, but it’s not the complexion of our skin or the twists in our DNA that make us unique. America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
For the first time in history, men and women were guaranteed a chance to succeed based NOT on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work.
We are in danger, though, of forgetting what made us great. The President seems to think the country can continue to borrow $50,000 per second. The President believes that we should just squeeze more money out of those who are working.
The path we are on is not sustainable, but few in Congress or in this Administration seem to recognize that their actions are endangering the prosperity of this great nation.
Ronald Reagan said, government is not the answer to the problem, government is the problem.
Tonight, the President told the nation he disagrees. President Obama believes government is the solution: More government, more taxes, more debt.
What the President fails to grasp is that the American system that rewards hard work is what made America so prosperous.
What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith. In the year we won our independence, Adam Smith described what creates the Wealth of Nations.
He described a limited government that largely did not interfere with individuals and their pursuit of happiness.
All that we are, all that we wish to be is now threatened by the notion that you can have something for nothing, that you can have your cake and eat it too, that you can spend a trillion dollars every year that you don’t have.
I was elected to the Senate in 2010 by people worried about our country, worried about our kids and their future. I thought I knew how bad it was in Washington. But it is worse than I ever imagined.
Congress is debating the wrong things.
Every debate in Washington is about how much to increase spending – a little or a lot.
About how much to increase taxes – a little or a lot.
The President does a big “woe is me” over the $1.2 trillion sequester that he endorsed and signed into law. Some Republicans are joining him. Few people understand that the sequester doesn’t even cut any spending. It just slows the rate of growth. Even with the sequester, government will grow over $7 trillion over the next decade.
Only in Washington could an increase of $7 trillion in spending over a decade be called a cut.
So, what is the President’s answer? Over the past four years he has added over $6 trillion in new debt and may well do the same in a second term. What solutions does he offer? He takes entitlement reform off the table and seeks to squeeze more money out of the private sector.
He says he wants a balanced approach.
What the country really needs is a balanced budget.
Washington acts in a way that your family never could – they spend money they do not have, they borrow from future generations, and then they blame each other for never fixing the problem.
Tonight I urge you to demand a new course.
Demand Washington change their ways, or be sent home.
To begin with, we absolutely must pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution!
The amendment must include strict tax and spending limitations.
Liberals complain that the budget can’t be balanced but if you cut just one penny from each dollar we currently spend, the budget would balance within six or seven years.
The Penny Plan has been crafted into a bill that millions of conservatives across the country support.
It is often said that there is not enough bipartisanship up here.
That is not true.
In fact, there is plenty.
Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses.
It is time for a new bipartisan consensus.
It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud.
Where would we cut spending; well, we could start with ending all foreign aid to countries that are burning our flag and chanting death to America.
The President could begin by stopping the F-16s and Abrams tanks being given to the radical Islamic government of Egypt.
Not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester really needs to be at least $4 trillion to avoid another downgrade of America’s credit rating.
Both parties will have to agree to cut, or we will never fix our fiscal mess.
Bipartisanship is not what is missing in Washington. Common sense is.
Trillion-dollar deficits hurt us all.
Printing more money to feed the never-ending appetite for spending hurts us all.
We pay higher prices every time we go to the supermarket or the gas pump. The value of the dollar shrinks with each new day.
Contrary to what the President claims, big government and debt are not a friend to the poor and the elderly. Big-government debt keeps the poor poor and saps the savings of the elderly.
This massive expansion of the debt destroys savings and steals the value of your wages.
Big government makes it more expensive to put food on the table. Big government is not your friend. The President offers you free stuff but his policies keep you poor.
Under President Obama, the ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.
The cycle must be broken.
The willpower to do this will not come from Congress. It must come from the American people.
Next month, I will propose a five-year balanced budget, a budget that last year was endorsed by taxpayer groups across the country for its boldness, and for actually solving the problem.
I will work with anyone on either side of the aisle who wants to cut spending.
But in recent years, there has been no one to work with.
The President’s massive tax hikes and spending increases have caused his budgets to get ZERO votes in both houses of Congress. Not a single Democrat voted for the President’s budget!
But at least he tried.
Senate Democrats have not even produced a budget in the time I have been in office, a shameful display of incompetence that illustrates their lack of seriousness.
This year, they say they will have a budget, but after just recently imposing hundreds of billions in new taxes, they now say they will include more tax hikes in their budget.
We must stand firm. We must say NO to any MORE tax hikes!
Only through lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom will the economy begin to grow again.
Our party is the party of growth, jobs and prosperity, and we will boldly lead on these issues.
Under the Obama economy, 12 million people are out of work. During the President’s first term 800,000 construction workers lost their jobs and another 800,000 simply gave up on looking for work.
With my five-year budget, millions of jobs would be created by cutting the corporate income tax in half, by creating a flat personal income tax of 17%, and by cutting the regulations that are strangling American businesses.
The only stimulus ever proven to work is leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it!
For those who are struggling we want to you to have something infinitely more valuable than a free phone, we want you to have a job and pathway to success.
We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future.
We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities.
We must be the party that says, “If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.”
For those striving to climb the ladder of success we must fix our schools.
America’s educational system is leaving behind anyone who starts with disadvantages.
We have cut classroom size in half and tripled spending on education and still we lag behind much of the world.
A great education needs to be available for everyone, whether you live on country club lane or in government housing.
This will only happen when we allow school choice for everyone, rich or poor, white, brown, or black.
Let the taxes you pay for education follow each and every student to the school of your choice.
Competition has made America the richest nation in history. Competition can make our educational system the envy of the world.
The status quo traps poor children in a crumbling system of hopelessness.
When every child can, like the President’s kids, go to the school of their choice, then will the dreams of our children come true!
Washington could also use a good dose of transparency, which is why we should fight back against middle of the night deals that end with massive bills no one has read.
We must continue to fight for legislation that forces Congress to read the bills!
We must continue to object when Congress sticks special interest riders on bills in the dead of night!
And if Congress refuses to obey its own rules, if Congress refuses to pass a budget, if Congress refuses to read the bills, then I say:
Sweep the place clean. Limit their terms and send them home!
I have seen the inner sanctum of Congress and believe me there is no monopoly on knowledge there.
If they will not listen, if they will not balance the budget, then we should limit their terms.
We are the party that adheres to the Constitution. We will not let the liberals tread on the Second Amendment!
We will fight to defend the entire Bill of Rights from the right to trial by jury to the right to be free from unlawful searches.
We will stand up against excessive government power wherever we see it.
We cannot and will not allow any President to act as if he were a king.
We will not let any President use executive orders to impinge on the Second Amendment.
We will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial.
Montesquieu wrote that there can be no liberty when the executive branch and the legislative branch are combined. Separation of powers is a bedrock principle of our Constitution.
We took the President to court over his unconstitutional recess appointments and won.
If necessary, we will take him to court again if he attempts to legislate by executive order.
Congress must reassert its authority as the protector of these rights, and stand up for them, no matter which party is in power.
Congress must stand as a check to the power of the executive, and it must stand as it was intended, as the voice of the people.
The people are crying out for change. They are asking for us to hear their voices, to fix our broken system, to right our economy and to restore their liberty.
Let us tonight let them know that we hear their voices. That we can and must work together, that we can and must re-chart our course toward a better future.
America has much greatness left in her. We will begin to thrive again when we begin to believe in ourselves again, when we regain our respect for our founding documents, when we balance our budget, when we understand that capitalism and free markets and free individuals are what creates our nation’s prosperity.
Text of Senator Marc Rubio’s response to the Union address on Tuesday night
Good evening. I’m Marco Rubio. I’m blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers.
The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.
This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.
Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle-class prosperity.
But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems. That the economic downturn happened because our government didn’t tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.
This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle-class taxpayers – that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried.
More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back.
More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them.
And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.
Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow.
Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs.
And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.
For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle-class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren’t hiring. Not only that; they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.
Now does this mean there’s no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government’s role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can’t play its essential role when it ignores those limits.
There are valid reasons to be concerned about the president’s plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the president’s agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.
When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can’t control the weather – he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them – he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.
And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts – cuts that were his idea in the first place.
But his favorite attack of all is that those who don’t agree with him – they only care about rich people.
Mr. President, I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle-class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs.
And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security.
So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.
Hard-working middle-class Americans who don’t need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They want a plan to grow the middle class.
Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class. Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012.
But if we can get the economy to grow at just 4 percent a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4 trillion dollars over the next decade.
Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private-sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy.
One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called “clean energy” companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense. If we can grow our energy industry, it will make us energy independent, it will create middle-class jobs and it will help bring manufacturing back from places like China.
Simplifying our tax code will also help the middle class, because it will make it easier for small businesses to hire and grow.
And we agree with the president that we should lower our corporate tax rate, which is one of the highest in the world, so that companies will start bringing their money and their jobs back here from overseas.
We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require.
We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training.
We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.
And because tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education.
I believe in federal financial aid. I couldn’t have gone to college without it. But it’s not just about spending more money on these programs; it’s also about strengthening and modernizing them.
A 21st century workforce should not be forced to accept 20th century education solutions. Today’s students aren’t only 18-year-olds. They’re returning veterans. They’re single parents who decide to get the education they need to earn a decent wage. And they’re workers who have lost jobs that are never coming back and need to be retrained.
We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that non-traditional students rely on – like online courses, or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.
When I finished school, I owed over $100,000 in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.
All these measures are key to helping the economy grow. But we won’t be able to sustain a vibrant middle class unless we solve our debt problem.
Every dollar our government borrows is money that isn’t being invested to create jobs. And the uncertainty created by the debt is one reason why many businesses aren’t hiring.
The president loves to blame the debt on President Bush. But President Obama created more debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight.
The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending $1 trillion more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced budget amendment.
The biggest obstacles to balancing the budget are programs where spending is already locked in. One of these programs, Medicare, is especially important to me. It provided my father the care he needed to battle cancer and ultimately die with dignity. And it pays for the care my mother receives now.
I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother. But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.
Republicans have offered a detailed and credible plan that helps save Medicare without hurting today’s retirees. Instead of playing politics with Medicare, when is the president going to offer his plan to save it? Tonight would have been a good time for him to do it.
Of course, we face other challenges as well. We were all heart broken by the recent tragedy in Connecticut. We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.
On foreign policy, America continues to be indispensable to the goal of global liberty, prosperity and safeguarding human rights. The world is a better place when America is the strongest nation on earth. But we can’t remain powerful if we don’t have an economy that can afford it.
In the short time I’ve been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the president laid out tonight.
The choice isn’t just between big government or big business. What we need is an accountable, efficient and effective government that allows small and new businesses to create middle class jobs.
We don’t have to raise taxes to avoid the president’s devastating cuts to our military. Republicans have passed a plan that replaces these cuts with responsible spending reforms.
In order to balance our budget, the choice doesn’t have to be either higher taxes or dramatic benefit cuts for those in need. Instead we should grow our economy so that we create new taxpayers, not new taxes, and so our government can afford to help those who truly cannot help themselves.
And the truth is every problem can’t be solved by government. Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians.
Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important.
If we can get our economy healthy again, our children will be the most prosperous Americans ever.
And if we do not, we will forever be known as the generation responsible for America’s decline.
At a time when one showdown after another ends in short-term deals that do little or nothing about our real problems, some are starting to believe that our government leaders just can’t or won’t make the right choices anymore.
But our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol. It’s always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible.
Americans have always celebrated and been inspired by those who succeed. But it’s the dreams of those who are still trying to make it that sets our nation apart.
Tonight, all across this land, parents will hold their newborn children in their arms for the first time. For many of these parents, life has not gone the way they had planned.
Maybe they were born into circumstances they’ve found difficult to escape. Maybe they’ve made some mistakes along the way. Maybe they’re young mothers, all alone, the father of their child long gone.
But tonight, when they look into the eyes of their child for the first time, their lives will change forever. Because in those eyes, they will see what my parents saw in me, and what your parents saw in you. They will see all the hopes and dreams they once had for themselves.
This dream – of a better life for their children – it’s the hope of parents everywhere. Politicians here and throughout the world have long promised that more government can make those dreams come true.
But we Americans have always known better. From our earliest days, we embraced economic liberty instead. And because we did, America remains one of the few places on earth where dreams like these even have a chance.
Each time our nation has faced great challenges, what has kept us together was our shared hope for a better life.
Now, let that hope bring us together again. To solve the challenges of our time and write the next chapter in the amazing story of the greatest nation man has ever known.
Thank you for listening. May God bless all of you. May God bless our president. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE
STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)
ACCOUNTING DATE: 01/13
PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+ ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________
OCTOBER 163,072 261,539 98,466
NOVEMBER 152,402 289,704 137,302
DECEMBER 239,963 325,930 85,967
JANUARY 234,319 261,726 27,407
FEBRUARY 103,413 335,090 231,677
MARCH 171,215 369,372 198,157
APRIL 318,807 259,690 -59,117
MAY 180,713 305,348 124,636
JUNE 260,177 319,919 59,741
JULY 184,585 254,190 69,604
AUGUST 178,860 369,393 190,533
SEPTEMBER 261,566 186,386 -75,180
YEAR-TO-DATE 2,449,093 3,538,286 1,089,193
OCTOBER 184,316 304,311 119,995
NOVEMBER 161,730 333,841 172,112
DECEMBER 269,508 270,699 1,191
JANUARY 272,225 269,342 -2,883
YEAR-TO-DATE 887,778 1,178,193 290,415
Clinton, Biden, Cuomo, Kerry in 2016, What’s the difference?
Dinah Washington: What Difference A Day Makes
O’Reilly on Hillary Benghazi Testimony: If Any Politician Should Be Advertising Teflon, It’s
Chairman Royce on Fox News “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Sec Clinton testimony
012313 – Sen. Rand Paul on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer discussing Benghazi h
Explosive: Sen. Rand Paul To Hillary Clinton – I Would Have Fired You
John McCain Confronts Hillary Clinton On Benghazi: Your Answers ‘Are Not
Marco Rubio Grills Hillary Clinton About Benghazi Testimony
GOP Rep.: Clinton let Benghazi consulate “become a death trap”
[HIGHLIGHTS] Hillary Clinton Testifies On Libya Benghazi Attack [FULL]
LATEST NEWS : Clinton on Benghazi: No delays in decision making
Death And Deceit In Benghazi – Did Obama Amind Try Hide The Truth? – W Bret Bair
Glenn Beck Analyzes U.S. Consulate Attack in Benghazi, Libya
Lebanon seizes 150 tons of Libyan arms en route to Syrian rebels
Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey
CNBC: Benghazi is not about Libya! “It’s An NSC Operation Moving Arms & Fighters Into Syria”
SYRIA CRISIS: US ADMITS arms sent to Syria find ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS [WEST FU
Syrian opposition getting ‘daily shipments’ of arms
LATEST NEWS : Clinton on Benghazi: No delays in decision making
Murder Of Chris Stevens In Benghazi Attack Ordered By American Military Leadership
OBAMA CONFRONTED ON BENGHAZI – Stutters Through Response
Top AFRICOM Leader General Carter Ham Was Never Ordered to Save US Men in Ben
President Obama Comments on the Attack in Benghazi, Libya
Michael Scheuer: Mrs Clinton Has Blood on her Hands Everywhere
FMR CIA Chief on ‘Benghazi-Gate': “The Democrats Are Very Good At Watching People Die”
Benghazi-Gate: Ex-CIA Michael Scheuer “Obama’s Benghazi Cover-up Worse than
Michael Scheuer Slams CNN Host Over Libya: ‘You’re Just Carrying the Water for Mr. Obama
Sen. Rand Paul on Benghazi: ‘Where in the hell were the Marines?’
Clinton Grilled on Benghazi Attacks in Congressional Inquiry
By Paul Stanley
“…An emotional and frustrated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traded barbs with legislators on Capitol Hill in her appearances Wednesday before Senate and House committees searching for answers in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three security personnel.
Clinton’s day began first thing on Wednesday morning when she appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will end later in the day before the House committee.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure.”
But soon after making her statement claiming responsibility, Sen. Rob Johnson (R-Wis.) seemed to back Clinton in a corner when he suggested “a simple phone call” to sources in Benghazi might have determined there was no protest at the American Embassy. “Why wasn’t that known?” asked Johnson.
Clinton initially said it was not policy to make inquiries before the FBI investigation was completed, but fired back at the GOP senator when she was pressed on the issue. “With all due respect, what difference at this point does it make?” she said. “We have four dead Americans. It’s our job to figure out what happened and make sure it never happens again. People were tying in real time to get to the information.”
She also said the deaths were extremely “personal” to her.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also pressed the secretary on why additional security was not in place. He also revealed that he had met with Ambassador Chris Stevens approximately two months before his death and that he expressed “his deep and grave concerns about security in Benghazi.”
Clinton said those concerns never reached her desk.
“I did not see these requests. They did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny,” she said.
However, a review by an independent board concluded that “systemic failures” resulted in the consulate being at risk to attacks and that no organized protest were planned or were in place at the time of the attacks.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the son of former presidential candidate and House member Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), further pressed Clinton by criticizing her for not reading the cables requesting more security. “Had I been president and found out you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post,” said Paul. “I think it’s inexcusable.”
However, neither members of the House or Senate asked Clinton why the initial attacks were blamed on an amateur video that insulted Islam.
Clinton’s appearance was postponed for several weeks due to her health. She is expected to step down from her post in the coming days and will most likely be replaced by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and who, like Clinton, ran unsuccessfully for the White House.
Prior to her being appointed as Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term, Clinton served as the first lady when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, served two terms in the White House. She went on to be elected as a U.S. Senator from New York prior to serving as the nation’s top diplomat.
She is also mentioned as a potential 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. …”
Angry Clinton Explodes at Questioning on Libya Protest: ‘We Have Four Dead Americans…What Difference at This Point Does It Make?’
“…Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erupted at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) during his questioning Wednesday over whether there were protests in Benghazi, Libya before the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission.
Johnson was insisting that the American people were “misled” about protests that supposedly occurred over an anti-Islam video, similar to those that had taken place at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo hours earlier on Sept. 11, 2012. It was later determined there had been no protests in Benghazi and the assault was labeled a terrorist attack.
“Do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened would have ascertained immediately that there was no protest?” Johnson asked Clinton during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained, within hours if not days.”
“Senator, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on — ” Clinton started to answer.
” — I realize that’s a good excuse,” Johnson cut in.
“Well, no, it’s the fact,” Clinton said sharply, adding that there are questions being raised “even today” about what precisely happened in Benghazi.
She continued, “Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing, is still — ”
Passerby pushes suicide jumper off bridge in frustration
China bridge jumper ‘gets a push’ 1
The Deal with Jack Hunter: Ignoring Rand Paul’s Budget
Sen. Rand Paul: People in Congress Don’t Deserve to Manage Any More Money
Rand Paul: We Should Let Dems Raise Taxes And Then Let Them Own It –
Rand Paul: We Should Let Democrats Raise Taxes
Rand Paul On The Fiscal Cliff: Spending Cuts Are Fiction, The Tax Increases Should Be Too
Sen. Rand Paul on $500B in Spending Cuts: The American People Are Ready
Senator Rand Paul on Neil Cavuto about $500 Billion spending cut S.162
TEA PARTY THE ANSWER TO GOVT. SPENDING?: Sen. Rand Paul: $500 billion budget cuts
Rand Paul: I’m Mad At My Dad! I Had 500 Billion In Cuts, Now He Comes Out With A Trillion!
Since President Obama wants to grow government and make all Americans dependent upon the Government and Democratic Party, let the Democratic Party and Obama jump from the fiscal cliff.
They will own the resulting recession and will be committing political suicide.
Do not negotiate with a person or party that wants to jump off the cliff by raising taxes on all Americans.
The Republican Party should stop negotiating with the person responsible with the massive spending problem resulting in huge deficits and over $5 trillion of new national debt.
Neither the Democratic Party led by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nor the Republican Party led by House Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are capable of balancing the budget of the U.S. government.
The table below summarizes the failed 10 year record of both political parties in controlling government spending that have produced massive fiscal-year deficits and an ever increasing national debt.
Summary of Tax Receipts and Spending Outlays of theUnited States Government for Fiscal Years 2002-2012[in million of dollars]
Deficits (+) or Surplus (-)
Source: Department of the Treasury, Final Monthly Treasury Statements of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government for Fiscal Years 2002-2012, table 1.
Simply tell the American people that the Republican Party wants no tax increase for any American and is willing to have a Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $3 trillion that represents a real spending cut of over $500 billion.
Obama rejected the proposal and jumped. Rest in peace.
Pass Senator Rand Paul’s $500 billion spending cuts for Fiscal Year 2014!
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS) ACCOUNTING DATE: 11/12 PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-) + ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ PRIOR YEAR OCTOBER 163,072 261,539 98,466 NOVEMBER 152,402 289,704 137,302 DECEMBER 239,963 325,930 85,967 JANUARY 234,319 261,726 27,407 FEBRUARY 103,413 335,090 231,677 MARCH 171,215 369,372 198,157 APRIL 318,807 259,690 -59,117 MAY 180,713 305,348 124,636 JUNE 260,177 319,919 59,741 JULY 184,585 254,190 69,604 AUGUST 178,860 369,393 190,533 SEPTEMBER 261,566 186,386 -75,180 YEAR-TO-DATE 2,449,093 3,538,286 1,089,193 CURRENT YEAR OCTOBER 184,316 304,311 119,995 NOVEMBER 161,730 333,841 172,112 YEAR-TO-DATE 346,045 638,152 292,107 - - - - - - - - 0REPORT ID: STM0P081 USER ID : DATE: 2012-12-10 TIME: 18.47.19 PAGE http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts1112.txt
Mr. Conservative: Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention
Reagan – A Time For Choosing
Turnout shaping up to be lower than 2008
A drop in voter turnout in Tuesday’s election didn’t keep President Barack Obama from winning a second term.
Preliminary figures suggest fewer people voted this year than four years ago, when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Obama to his first term.
In most states, the numbers are shaping up to be even lower than in 2004, said Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Every state is showing lower numbers than in 2008, Gans said. Still, the full picture may not be known for weeks because much of the counting takes place after Election Day.
“This is one of those rare elections in which turnout in every state in the nation went down,” Gans said.
In Texas, turnout for the presidential race dropped almost 11 percent from 2008. Vermont and South Carolina saw declines that were almost as large. The drop-off was more than 7 percent in Maryland, where voters approved a ballot measure allowing gay marriage.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press’ figures showed more than 118 million people had voted in the White House race, but that number will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Experts calculate turnout in different ways based on who they consider eligible voters. A separate, preliminary estimate from George Mason University’s Michael McDonald put the 2012 turnout rate at 60 percent of eligible voters. That figure was expected to be revised as more precincts reported and absentee votes were counted. …”
What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:
Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.
Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The “massive undertaking” is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second). This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s. And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure.
The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.
From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.
Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.
On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by “packet”. Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again). So, at this point I became panicked. I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open. I was thankfully able to find a Kinko’s open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do. They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day? From what I hear, other people had similar experiences. In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.
At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn’t have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had “registered me”. Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn’t inform people that this was a requirement. In fact, check out my “checklist” from my ORCA packet:Notice anything missing? My guess is the second “Chair (if allowed)” was supposed to be “poll watcher certificate” but they put chair twice. This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people. Did no one proof-read it?
So, I headed back home to see if I could get my certificate. I called their official help line. It went unanswered. I tried their legal line. Same thing. I emailed them. No response. I continued to do this for six straight hours and never got a response. I even tried to call three local victory centers. All went straight to voicemail.
While I was home, I took to Twitter and the web to try to find some answers. From what I saw, these problems were widespread. People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate. Others never received their pdf packets. Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area. Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn’t work.
Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an “app” when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or “web app”). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn’t find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn’t download it. Well, that’s because it didn’t exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn’t even “turn it on” until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn’t properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.
Next, and this part I find mind-boggingly absurd, the web address was located at “https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca”. Notice the “s” after http. This denotes it’s a secure connection, something that’s used for e-commerce and web-based email. So far, so good. The problem is that they didn’t auto-forward the regular “http” to “https” and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down. Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it. This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to “http” when you just start with “www” (as 95% of the world does).
By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here’s the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.
So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake.
The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.
I’m on Twitter at @JohnEkdahl if you have any questions.
Ron Paul’s rEVOLution: The Man And the Movement He Inspired (Broadside/HarperCollins, 2012)
Ron Paul’s two presidential campaigns have galvanized a mass movement for smaller government, sound money, and an end to our interventionist foreign policy. This genuinely spontaneous movement has featured blimps, “money bombs,” the rEVOLution logo, and thousands of college students chanting “End the Fed” at campuses across the country. Somehow the message Ron Paul had been advancing for 30 years caught on in an era of financial collapse, bailouts, unprecedented deficits, and the two longest wars in American history. Brian Doherty, a senior editor at Reason and author of several books on libertarian history, has been covering Ron Paul since 1999. In his new book he looks at Paul’s background, his early years in Congress, his 1988 Libertarian presidential run, his recent campaigns, the grassroots activists who joined the Ron Paul revolution, and indeed the election of Senator Rand Paul. Join us to hear two close observers of Ron Paul discuss “the man and the movement he inspired.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Discusses ‘Ron Paul’s Revolution’
Ron Paul’s two presidential campaigns have galvanized a mass movement for smaller government, sound money, and an end to our interventionist foreign policy. This genuinely spontaneous movement has featured blimps, “money bombs,” the rEVOLution logo, and thousands of college students chanting “End the Fed” at campuses across the country. Somehow the message Ron Paul had been advancing for 30 years caught on in an era of financial collapse, bailouts, unprecedented deficits, and the two longest wars in American history. Brian Doherty, a senior editor at Reason and author of several books on libertarian history, has been covering Ron Paul since 1999. In his new book he looks at Paul’s background, his early years in Congress, his 1988 Libertarian presidential run, his recent campaigns, the grassroots activists who joined the Ron Paul revolution, and indeed the election of Senator Rand Paul.
Dionysium with Brian Doherty author of Ron Paul’s Revolution
“Bernard Whitman, Democratic strategist, argues that Republicans are uncomfortable with Mitt Romney, who has effectively been running for president for 8 years. The audience at CPAC doesn’t like him, but the one thing he has going for him is his business credentials. Although, his business credentials don’t resonate with the Independent and Democratic base. His biggest problem is that he doesn’t have a clear concise economic plan. In order to reach out and grab conservatives he has to make them believe he is in the only viable candidate that can bring economic renewal to America and beat President Obama.”
Ann Coulter “We Elected A Man Based On The Color Of His Skin” pt.1
Ann Coulter “We Elected A Man Based On The Color Of His Skin” pt.2
Ann Coulter endorses Ron Paul in 2012
One Minute of Ann Coulter Playing With Her Hair At CPAC
Laura Ingraham Crushes On Arianna At CPAC
HuffPost Talks To ‘Joe The Plumber’ At CPAC
Ron Paul at CPAC 2012!
Mark Levin Plays Audio Clips Of Mitt Romney’s CPAC 2012 Speech
Newt Gingrich’s Speech at CPAC 2012 | High Quality |
A Conservative A Liberal & A Moderate Walk Into A Bar… Bartender Says…” Foster Friess
Full Speech Rick Santorum at CPAC 2012
Breitbart and company make an enterence CPAC 2012
Andrew Breitbart on the the new Citizens United movie on the occupy movement at CPAC 2012
Art at CPAC again
Steven Malanga – Public Sector Unions
Voices of CPAC Taylor Thompson Ron Paul fan
Rand Paul full speech at CPAC 2012
Senator Marco Rubio Addresses CPAC 2012
Mitch McConnell at CPAC 2012
Rick Perry CPAC 2012 Speech (2/9/2012)
RGA Chair Bob McDonnell’s speech at CPAC 2012
Brad Stine Brings The Wussification Of America To CPAC 2012
John Boehner “No One Loves Congress” (HEY! Something We Can ALL Agree On!)
Representative Jim Jordan Addresses CPAC 2012
Allen West CPAC 2012 Full Speech
Congressman Steve King 2012 CPAC Speech
CPAC 2012: Lt. Col. Oliver North
Ted Cruz at CPAC 2012
CPAC 2012: Occupy Protesters & Anti-gay Activists
Ron Paul cites ‘travel constraints’ as reason for skipping CPAC
By Felicia Sonmez
“…Ron Paul, the two-time winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, isn’t attending this year’s conference in Washington because of “travel constraints” – but the Texas congressman hasn’t held a campaign event since Tuesday.
The American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual confab, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) addresses supporters during a caucus night party Tuesday, in Golden Valley, Minn. His campaign has been quiet since. (Jim Mone – AP) said in a statement last week that Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would address the conference in his father’s stead “due to the travel constraints of his Presidential campaign.”
And Paul’s press secretary Gary Howard told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday that “we have too much campaigning to do across the country.” …”
FOX News:Judge Napolitano Talks Ron Paul,Mitt Romney,Rick Santorum on Freedom Watch
Ron Paul on Freedom Watch w/ Judge Nepalitano (1-5-12)
SA@TAC – Taking the ‘Neo’ Out of ‘Conservative’
SA@TAC – The End of Right-Wing Progressivism?
SA@TAC – No Excuse: Mitt Romney’s Case for American Empire
SA@TAC – Newt Gingrich is Not a Conservative
SA@TAC – Compassionate Conservative Rick Santorum
Mitt Romney takes Iowa, Who will take New Hampshire? The Progressives!
SA@TAC – Daniel McCarthy on Neoconservatism
An interview with The American Conservative Editor Daniel McCarthy on the state of the American Right in 2010 and how the neoconservatives turned the GOP into the “War Party,” corrupting, devaluing and damaging conservatism for most of the decade prior.
SA@TAC – What’s a ‘Neoconservative?’
Libya and Syria: The Neocon Plan to Attack Seven Countries in Five Years
GBTV: Progressives in the Republican party
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 1
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 2
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 3
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 4
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 5
Glenn Beck on Progressivism Part 6
Making Sense of the Conservative Movement
What’s the Modern Definition of a Conservative?
Movie Magic Crippled Conservatives
The Bulwarks of the Conservative Movement
Progressives have taken over the Republican Party as they did the Democratic Party.
Romney, Gingrich, Santorium and Perry are big government progressives that try to fool the American people into believing that they are conservatives that support limited government.
All four “talk” conservative while they “walk” progressive and expand the size and scope of Federal and state governments.
What is even worse is all four are also neoconservatives that want the United States to police the world and empire or nation build abroad–spread progressivism over the entire world–with an interventionist aggressive foreign policy!
The neoconservatives want war with Iran and Syria.
Progressives want government intervention at home and abroad.
Do not let the so-called “conservative” talk radio show hosts fool you that they favor one of the Republican progressive candidates as their “conservative” choice.
None of the Republican progressive candidates are either conservative libertarians or conservative traditionalists, they are big government Republican neoconservative progressives.
The Republican progressives want to make the American people dependent upon war.
The Democratic progressives want to make the American people dependent upon welfare.
Both political parties are running budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion and will never run balanced budgets or pay off the national debt.
The American people pay the bills in taxes, inflation, damaged bodies and their lives.
Only the American people can stop Republican and Democratic progressives.
Keep in mind that most of the media are either Democratic or Republican progressives including many of the so-called “conservative” talk radio show hosts.
Many of these talk radio show hosts are neoconservative progressives that support Romney, Gingrich, Santorium and Perry.
These talk radio show hosts fear that the American people are starting to wake up to the fact that all four Repubican presidential candidates that they support and praise are neoconservative progressives.
This includes Bennett, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Hewitt, Levin, Medved and Ingraham.
The American people are reading and discovering that Republican candidates are big government neoconservative progressives and not conservative libertarians or conservative traditionalist.
Do not be fooled by either the Republican neoconservative progressive candidates nor your favorite talk radio show hosts.
I have been in the conservative movement since Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964.
I am a classical liberal or what in America is called a libertarian.
I identify my political philosophy as classical liberal or traditional libertarian or simply conservative.
SA@TAC – The Great Neo-Con: Libertarianism Isn’t ‘Conservative’
I have read and reread the works of Smith, Burke, Bastiat, Say, Menger, Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Sowell, Rand, Rothbard, Nock, Nash, Kirk and many others.
For many years I voted the lesser of two evil progressives by voting for Republican candidates that I knew were neither libertarians nor traditional conservatives.
Only one President, Ronald Reagan, was a conservative libertarian, but he was a disappointment for he failed to reduce the size and scope of the Federal government.
I am no longer a Republican, but an independent.
Life is too short and I have wised up.
I will no longer vote for the lesser of two evils for the simple reason it is still evil.
The only Republican presidential candidate that is clearly not a progressive but a classical liberal or traditional libertarian is Ron Paul.
The only Republican presidential candidate that wants to decrease the size and scope of the Federal government, balance the Federal budget, bring the troops home and eliminate the progressive income tax, IRS, Federal Reserve System, and many government departments, agencies and programs is Ron Paul.
The only way to stop the progressives of both political parties is to vote for candidates that truly believe in the Constitution and limited government.
This will take decades to accomplish and another political party with the financial backing of the American people.
Progressives control both political parties, media, professions, colleges, unions, and most large businesses.
It will not be easy, but it can be done over time.
Do not be fooled by the neoconservatives who are actually right-wing progressives who left the Democratic Party.
Now and in the future I will not support or vote for any Republican or Democratic candidate for any public office that is a progressive or neoconservative.
As they say in Texas, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Republican Neoconservative Progressive Candidates
Party Establishment Choice: Mitt Romney
Rush Limbaugh Admits Mitt Romney is a GOP Disaster if nominated
John McCain endorses Mitt Romney for President
Mitt Romney gets Endorsement from George H.W. Bush (12-22-11)
The story of two men trapped in one body
Mitt Romney: I’m Progressive
Mitt Romney: “R” Does Not Stand for Republican
The Real Romney?
Mitt Romney on the Contract with America
See Mitt Romney Promote an Individual Mandate
Romney anti-Gingrich ad “Baggage”
Smiling (Restore Our Future)
Newt Gingrich Vs Mitt Romney 2012 Ad
SA@TAC – No Excuse: Mitt Romney’s Case for American Empire
Party Base Choice: Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich on abortion in 1991: “Relax and accept it”
Newt Gingrich: We should respect pro-abortion Republicans
Newt Gingrich: There’s plenty of room for pro-abortion Republicans
Newt Gingrich Admits He’s a Progressive in the Theodore Roosevelt Tradition
Newt Gingrich is a Progressive Rockefeller Republican
Newt Gingrich: I’m a Wilsonian
Newt Gingrich: I supported Rockefeller over Goldwater
Newt Gingrich FDR was Greatest President of the 20th Century
Newt Gingrich: Progressives took over both parties
Sean Hannity endorses Newt Gingrich
The REAL Newt Gingrich
SA@TAC – Newt Gingrich is Not a Conservative
Newt Gingrich is Toast
Neoconservative Religious Right Choice: Rick Santorium
SA@TAC – Who’s a Republican?
SA@TAC – Compassionate Conservative Rick Santorum
Santorum: pursuit of happiness harms America
Rick Santorum says he’s “proud” of his earmarks
Rick Santorum – Unelectable
Senator Rick Santoum A Big Washington Insider & Spender
Senator Rick Santorum Admits Voting for Ear Marks and The Bridge To Nowhere
Rick Santorum On Earmarks “Congress Appropriates Money! That’s What Congress Is Supposed To Do”
Rick Santorum hearts turncoat Arlen Specter
Rick Santorum on gay marriage
Rick Santorum Opposes Gay Marriage and Adoption
Santorum: pursuit of happiness harms America
Ron Paul Destroys Rick Santorum On Iran! – Iowa Republian Presidential Debate
cnn – rick santorum: barack obama’s foreign policy is appeasement
Dennis Kucinich on Santorum’s attacks on Ron Paul
Rand Paul Exposes Rick Santorum: He’s a Reckless & Trigger-Happy Big Spender
SA@TheDC – Conservatism for What?
SA@TAC – Constitutional Conservatives?
Republican Party Conservative Libertarian Choice: Ron Paul
Ron Paul – The Founders gave Government one Role: Protecting Liberty
Ron Paul Ad – Life
Thanksgiving Family Forum – Ron Paul Highlights
SA@TheDC – Conservatism for What?
Ron Paul on Iowa Caucus, Spending Cuts, Opponents
Ron Paul Ad – Plan
Ron Paul: The Economy
Ron Paul: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney Are “Consistently Inconsistent”
Veteran Ron Paul Calls Newt Gingrich A Chicken Hawk Draft Dodger!
“Blessed are the Peacemakers:” Ron Paul’s Christian Foreign Policy
Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned
Ron Paul on Just War, War Breaking Families
SA@TAC – Ronald Reagan: Isolationist
SA@TheDC – “I Like Ron Paul Except on Foreign Policy”
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
~Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
SA@TheDC – The Terrorists Have Won
SA@TheDC – Assassinating the Constitution
SA@TheDC – Does Newt Gingrich Want the Constitution to ‘Die?’
Farewell Bill of Rights
Any tea party supported representative, Senator or Representative, that voted for the NDAA section 1031 with the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military without legal due process will be targeted for defeat in the next election.
These politicians apparently have never read nor understood the U.S. Constitution that they swore an oath to protect and defend.
The tea party people are going to be real upset when they find out about this.
Shame on Congress.
Defeat all politicians who voted for this!
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012
S.1867 National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 – Indefinite Detainment of US Citizens
Martial Law NDAA Snatch Grab
Obama Signs NDAA Marial Law ∞ Legal Holocaust End of Human Rights Ron Paul Revolution
Obama’s Deception of the Indefinite Detention Bill
Military Could Detain Americans Indefinitely
“Shut Up. You Don’t Get a Lawyer!”: The Defense Authorization Act Guts Civil Liberties
Obama Administration Demanded Power To Indefinitely Detain U.S. Citizens
Ron Paul – USA Is Setting Up For A Military Dictatorship *It Happened*
AMERICA IS GONE!! Listen to this… It is over! WAKE UP PLEASE!!!.
Treason in the US Senate
Sen. Kirk on Fox News talking detainee language in Defense Authorization bill
S. 1867 The End Of America
Sen. Jeff Merkley – Why He Did Not Vote For S 1867
Alex Jones: Senate wants martial law in America
Battlefield: America – Have the Terrorists Won?
National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and The Trading With The Enemy Act of 1917 (Every 10yrs)
Bringing the War of Terror Home
Indefinite Detention of Americans under New NDAA Bill
THE END TO OUR FREE CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC – RAND PAULS – NEW NDAA SENATE BILL
National Defense Authorization Act:The End of America
US Senate – Terror Detainee Policy
Stewart Rhodes: Senate Has Declared War on American People 1/3
Stewart Rhodes: Senate Has Declared War on American People 2/3
Stewart Rhodes: Senate Has Declared War on American People 3/3
JACL Director Floyd Mori: NDAA Bill is A Move Back to The Dark Ages 1/2
JACL Director Floyd Mori: NDAA Bill is A Move Back to The Dark Ages 2/2
Three myths about the detention bill
By Glenn Greenwald
“…Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These denunciations come not only from the nation’s leading civil liberties and human rights groups, but also from the pro-Obama New York Times Editorial Page, which today has a scathing Editorial describing Obama’s stance as “a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency” and lamenting that “the bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all,” as well as from vocal Obama supporters such as Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday that this episode is “another sign that his campaign pledge to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror was a lie.” In damage control mode, White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill’s dangers.
For that reason, it is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes (this is all above and beyond the evidence I assembled in writing about this bill yesterday):
Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention …”
“… Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF
“… Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill …”
“…Fascism ( /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood. To achieve this, fascists purge forces, ideas, people, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration. Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, discipline and family policy (such as eugenics). This state is led by a supreme leader who exercises a dictatorship over the fascist movement, the government and other state institutions. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition.
Fascism promotes political violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality. It views violence as a fact of life that is a necessary means to achieve human progress. It exalts militarism as providing positive transformation in society and providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people’s character and creating national comradeship through military service. Fascists commonly utilize paramilitary organizations for violent attacks on opponents or to overthrow a political system.
Fascism opposes class-based identity and society, it is thus both anti-bourgeois and anti-proletarian; and individualist based identity and society. It is opposed to many ideologies, including conservatism, liberalism, and two major forms of socialism: communism and social democracy. It opposes a variety of economic, political and social systems, it is opposed to democracy, parliamentary systems, is anti-clerical, and holds a distinctive opposition to capitalism. It rejects egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism in favour of action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit and will.
In economics, fascists oppose economic liberalism (as a bourgeois movement) and Marxism (as a proletarian movement) for being class-based movements. Fascists present their ideology as that of an economically trans-class movement that advocates resolving economic class conflict to secure national solidarity. Fascists advocate: a state-directed, regulated economy that is dedicated to the nation; the use and primacy of regulated private property and private enterprise contingent upon service to the nation or state; the use of state enterprise where private enterprise is failing or is inefficient; and autarky. They are hostile to finance capitalism, plutocracy, the “power of money”, and internationalist economics.
Fascism was founded during World War I by Italian national syndicalists who combined left-wing and right-wing political views, but Italian fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s. Italian Fascists described fascism as a right-wing ideology in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century.” However they also officially declared that although they were “sitting on the right” they were generally indifferent to their position on the left-right spectrum, as being a conclusion of their combination of views rather than an objective, and considering it insignificant to their basis of their views that they claimed could just as easily be associated with “the mountain of the center” as with the right. There is a running dispute among scholars about where along the left/right spectrum that fascism resides. …”
Tea Party Trashing: Dems Blame Tea Party For Credit Downgrade
Sen. Rand Paul on balancing the budget
03/17/11: Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Five-Year Balanced Budget Plan
Rubio Joins Floor Debate: No Spending Bills Without A Budget
Lee Joins Floor Debate: No Spending Bills Without A Budget
“Defending the Tea Party Against Sen. John Kerry”
Michele Bachmann Calls on President to Demand Geithner’s Resignation
Ron Paul on Bloomberg: Out of Control Spending Responsible for Downgrade
The Tea Party demands that the Democratic and Republican Party establishments live within the means of the American people by balancing the budget every year.
If either political party had done this when they were in power, Standard & Poor’s would not have downgraded the Treasury Securities of the United States.
The Democratic Party controlled both the Senate and House of Representatives from January 2007 through January 2011 and ran up massive budgetary deficits and together with a $787 billion stimulus package increased the National Debt by nearly $7,000 billion.
The S&P downgrade was a direct result of this massive spending and huge increases in the National Debt that have now exceeded 100% of Gross Domestic Product.
Now the President, his propagandists and fellow Democrats blame the tea party for the downgrade–the big lie repeated over and over again.
The truth is the Tea Party pointed out that both political parties were not fiscally responsible and future budgets needed to be balanced or in surplus.
This requires massive cuts in the budget baseline itself and not just reductions in the rate of growth of the budget baseline.
S-1 FY2012 Tea Party’s Balanced/Surplus Budget(Nominal Dollars in Billions)
Debt Held By Public
The political elites are aware that the American people know they are being lied to and many of the current Senators and Representatives will be replaced by candidates who truly believe in fiscal responsibility and a constitutional republic.
While it may take several elections to accomplish this, President Obama will be fired by the American people for his failure of leadership in deliverying a peace and prosperity economy.
Cut, Cap & Balance! Senators Paul, Lee and Vitter want a Constitutional Amendment
Sen. Toomey holds press conference on bill to protect seniors and active military
Sen. Toomey on Fox and Friends discussing the debt debate
Mark Levin Interviews Congressman Jim Jordan Who Supports Cut,Cap And Balance
The Lee-Toomey-Paul Cut, Cap and Balance Act Press Conference
Sen. Rand Paul Supports Cut-Cap-Balance Pledge
Lee Says Debt Plan Must Have Balanced Budget Amendment
7-21-11 – Ron Paul on the Debt Negotiations & Cut, Cap and Balance
Sen. Rand Paul on Fox Business w/ Lou Dobbs – 07/20/11
Ron Paul on The Lou Dobbs Show: Explains Why he didn’t vote for the Cut, Cap and Balance Bill
Ron Paul on WMAL Morning Majority: Talks about Dept Limit & Cut, Cap, and Balance
Ron Paul Ad – Conviction
Bachmann: “I can not vote to raise the debt ceiling”
“…The national debt-ceiling law should be judged by what it actually does, not by how good an idea it seems to be. The one thing that the national debt-ceiling has never done is to put a ceiling on the rising national debt. Time and time again, for years on end, the national debt-ceiling has been raised whenever the national debt gets near whatever the current ceiling might be.
Regardless of what it is supposed to do, what the national debt-ceiling actually does is enable any administration to get all the political benefits of runaway spending for the benefit of their favorite constituencies — and then invite the opposition party to share the blame, by either raising the national debt ceiling, or by voting for unpopular cutbacks in spending or increases in taxes.
The Obama administration is a classic example. When all its skyrocketing spending bills were being rushed through Congress without even being read, the Democrats had such overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives that Republicans had all they could do to get a word in edgewise — even though their words had no chance of stopping, or even slowing down, the spending of trillions of dollars.
Now that the bill is coming due for all that spending and borrowing, Republicans are suddenly being invited in to share the blame for either raising the national debt ceiling or for whatever other unpopular measures will be legislated.
Many years ago, someone said, “If you didn’t invite me to the big take-off, don’t invite me to the crash landing.” This was Obama’s big spending spree, but “bipartisanship” requires Republicans to either split the bill or be blamed if the government shuts down or defaults.
What would happen if there were no national debt-ceiling law?
Those who got the political benefits from handing out trillions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money (plus borrowed money) would also get the clear and sole blame for the resulting skyrocketing national debt and all the unpopular consequences.
Those people who want serious and substantial spending cuts are absolutely right in what they want. There are not only government programs that need to be cut but whole government agencies, including Cabinet-level Departments, that are not merely useless but positively harmful on net balance.
There are a lot of things that could be cut, and should be cut, instead of defaulting on the nation’s debts. But that is not likely to happen, if Obama and his media chorus can instead blame the Republicans for forcing a government shutdown or a credit default. …”
How to Freeze the Debt Ceiling Without Risking Default
Next year, the government will have 10 times more income than it needs to honor its interest obligations.
By Pat Toomey
“…As members of Congress debate whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling—the limit on our government’s debt—we should all agree on at least one thing: Under no circumstances is it acceptable for the U.S. to default on its debt. Not only are we morally obligated to honor our debts, but we benefit greatly from the nearly universal conviction that those who lend to us will always be repaid, on time and in full. We should never undermine that conviction.
Fortunately, even if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, a default on our debt need not follow when our borrowings reach their limit in the next few months. I intend to introduce legislation to make sure of this.
For months, some political leaders and commentators have argued that failure to raise the debt ceiling would necessarily cause the U.S. to default on its debt. President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors chairman, Austan Goolsbee, recently warned, “If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity. I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling.”
In fact, if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling, the federal government will still have far more than enough money to fully service our debt. Next year, for instance, about 6.5% of all projected federal government expenditures will go to interest on our debt, and tax revenue is projected to cover about 67% of all government expenditures. With roughly 10 times more income than needed to honor our debt obligations, why would we ever default?
To make absolutely sure, I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised. This would not only ensure the continued confidence of investors at home and abroad, but would enable us to have an honest debate about the consequences of our eventual decision about the debt ceiling. …”
Rand Paul Amendments Debate: Patriot Act – 05/26/11 Pt.1
Rand Paul Amendments Debate: Patriot Act – 05/26/11 Pt.2
Harry Reid attacks Rand Paul to enforce Patriot Act
Sen. Rand Paul Against Renewal of PATRIOT Act
THE PATRIOT ACT – Senator Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul: “I Rise In Response to a Scurrilous Accusation”
Bachmann Addresses Security Provisions
Go to a judge and get a warrant.
Vote against the renewal of The Patriot Act.
Background Artcles and Videos
Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural Rights and The Patriot Act part 1 of 3
Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural Rights and PATRIOT ACT Part 2 of 3
Judge Andrew Napolitano : Natural Rights and The Patriot Act! (Part 3/3)
USA PATRIOT Act
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001
“…The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the “Patriot Act”) is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the Act is a contrived three letter initialism (USA) preceding a seven letter acronym (PATRIOT), which in combination stand for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.
On May 27, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a 4-year extension of three key provisions in the USA Patriot Act: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision“), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups. …”
S-1 FY2012 Tea Party’s Balanced/Surplus Budget(Nominal Dollars in Billions)
Debt Held By Public
George H W Bush read my lips
Boehner on GMA: To Create Jobs, Let’s Cut Spending & Stop The Tax Hike — Now
The Republican Party establishment still does not get it nor are they listening to the tea party movement or the American people.
The tea party movement is being betrayed by the Republican Party establishment in Washington D.C. by Senators Toomey, Lee, Rubio and DeMint and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.
Starting this year, all fiscal year budgets from here on out must be balanced by cutting spending outlays including the closing of Federal Departments.
Taking ten to twenty-five years to balance the budget is simply neither serious nor fiscally responsible.
Gentlemen, your plans do not live within the means of the American people.
Gentlemen, your plans are fiscally irresponsible and your budgets are massively unbalanced.
Gentlemen, your plans would increase the National Debt by several trillion dollars over the next ten years.
Gentlemen, your plans would not get the American economy on a high growth path needed to create over 30 million new full-time jobs that are needed now and not in ten years.
Gentlemen, your plan is a disappointment and a disgrace.
Stop protecting the budget baseline and in turn the Federal Government Departments, and start balancing the budget in Fiscal Year 2012 by permanently closing Federal Departments, agencies and programs.
Congratulations, you are repeating the mistakes that led to the Republican Party losses in 2006 and 2008.
Only Senator Rand Paul’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget proposal comes close to understanding the scope and urgency of the fiscal crisis.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government does not have the luxury of waiting five years to balance the budget.
In less than three years the economy will be in another recession as a direct result of Congress not balancing the budget in a timely manner.
By then the credit rating agencies will have downgraded Treasury debt and interest rates will be significantly higher making matters even worse.
Any Senator or Representative that votes for either Senator Toomey’s or Representative Ryan’s plan deserves to be defeated in the next election.
Budget to the estimated tax revenues not the CBO budget baseline.
Streamline the Federal Government by closing ten Federal Departments.
Cap the National Debt Limit at $15,000 billion and start paying off the National debt within five years.
Cut the budgets of the remaining Departments including the Department of Defense by 20% and total compensation for all Government employees by 20%.
Pass the FairTax with a 25% (excluding the tax) or 20% (including the tax) national retail sales consumption tax on the sale of new goods and services to replace all Federal taxes.
The United States of America needs to return a peace and prosperity economy with a constitutional republic that is limited in both size and scope.
The United States of America needs to abandon the warfare and welfare economy with a collectivist state that is not limited in either size or scope.
The American people want a choice not an echo of President Obama’s Democratic Party Fiscal 2012 budget proposal.
Gentleman, back to the drawing boards–start cutting and balancing–earn you pay.
Background Articles and Videos
Ron Paul on FOX News 05/25/11
U.S. Debt Rating Drops to “Negative”
Summary of Outlays, Revenues (Receipts), Deficits, Surpluses Fiscal Years 1980-2010(Nominal Dollars in Millions)
Deficits (-), Surpluses
For a history of the Federal Government’s Receipts (Revenues), Outlays, and Deficits and Surpluses